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realm.” Several clauses of this act deserve commendation as manifestations of a tolerant temper, which, though in themselves imperfect, yet were very extensive compared with the practice of the age. The ancient statutes against Lollardy, revived and executed by Mary, were repealed; and the ecclesiastical commissioners were forbidden to declare any matter to be heresy but such as had been decided to be so either by the Scripture or by any of the first four general councils ; a provision which appears to be equivalent to an exemption of Roman ca. tholics, as such, from the imputation of heresy. On the other hand, the maintenance of foreign authority in this kingdom, by writing, printing, or preaching, was, for the first offence, punished by fine and imprisonment; for the second, by the severe penalties of præmunire ; and for the third, by death. Nothing can be urged in mitigation of such a clause, considered even as a menace, but the disposition of the consistent adherents of papal supremacy to deny the legitimate birth, and to dispute the civil authority, of the queen. Two temporal peers and nine prelates voted against the third reading of the bill. On its return from the commons, the lay lords withdrew their opposition, but the spiritual lords persevered. * The next act, for re-establishing the Common Prayer Book of Edward VI.t, gave occasion to more serious scruples, and excited a more numerous as well as more firm resistance. The clause which subjected the ministers of the established church to punishment for disobedience, is rather to be blamed as departure from clemency than as a breach of justice. The severe penalties denounced against all others who libelled the established service, though they would be condemned by all who regard it as impolitic or unjust to punish the excesses of discussion, yet were more probably then blamed, if at all, for extreme laxity and
* 18th and 22d of March, 1559. D'Ewes's Journal. The earl of Shrews. bury and the viscount Montague (the latter had been ambassador at Rome), were the lay peers. Heath, Bonner, Oglethorpe, and the abbot of West minster, were among the spiritual lords.
+ An Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer. 1 Eliz. c. 2.
feebleness. This bill passed the house of commons in three days *, with no opposition but that of Mr. Arnold, which, though directed against the penal clauses, was intended to destroy the bill. It was passed by the house of lords on the 28th of April, against the opposition of nine prelates and nine temporal peers. + Among the latter we find not only the names of Shrewsbury and Montacute, the usual opponents of this session, but those also of the marquess of Winchester, of the lords Morley, Stafford, Dudley, Wharton, Rich, and North. The Journals of the house of lords, from the 22d of April to the 1st of May, not being printed, nor perhaps extant, we cannot determine the proportion which this minority bore to the whole number of the house. But as the lords present on both the days just mentioned were about eighty-five, and the same number ordinarily attended after that time, there appears no sufficient reason for doubting that the bill was carried by a majority of nearly four to one. The convocation had, at their first meeting, protested against the impending innovations, and conveyed their dissent through the unwelcome hand of Bonner. A disputation was in consequence appointed to be holden in Westminster Abbey, on the 31st of March, between catholic and protestant divines. It was agreeable to the principles, though not to the practice, of the latter to enter on such a conference with the possibility of advantage; since they exercised the right of free enquiry, and might therefore be convinced by arguments of adequate force. But the Roman catholic divines, who deemed themselves concluded by the decisions of an unerring church, with whatever ability they might vindicate their doctrines, could not profess any openness to conviction. It was consistent with their system to disapprove such disputes. The conference, in which lord keeper Bacon presided, was productive as usual of increased irritation, and the * Commons' Journals, 18th to 20th April, 1559. + D'Ewes, 30. I Dr. Lingard and Mr. Ellis have told us that the bill passed by a majo rity of only three. But neither quotes authority.
boasts of victory were equally loud on both sides. The catholic prelates remarked on the unseemliness of placing Bacon, à layman, in the chair, to moderate a religious debate. It was very angrily conducted, and the bishops of Winchester and Lincoln were committed to the Tower for threatening to excommunicate the queen.
Some documents purporting to be the speeches of the minority in parliament in these important debates are preserved. But they are considered as spurious or doubtful by the ecclesiastical historians of both parties.t Those ascribed to archbishop Heath, bishop Scott, and Feckenham, abbot of Westminster, are summaries of the controversy on the catholic side, and are not properly within the province of the civil historian. The speech of lord Montague is more ingenious and seasonable ; objecting to the severe penalties, and urging the ordinary arguments from the antiquity and universality of the catholic church only as presumptions of the uncertainty of protestantism, and as aggravations of the injustice of severely punishing adherents to a faith maintained for so many ages by their fathers.
The true hinge of the dispute was not touched by either party. The question was, whether the legislature had a right to alter the established and endowed religion, on condition of respecting the estates for life vested by law in certain ecclesiastics. The protestants as well as the catholics converted the debate into a theological discussion, because they justified their measures by the truth of their own religious opinions. No one then saw that the legislature could not, without usurping authority over conscience, consider religion otherwise than as it affected the outward interests of society ; which alone were entrusted to their care, and submitted to their rule. Every other view of the subject, however arising from a wish to exalt religion, must in truth tend to degrade and enslave her.
Of the only two important deviations in the new Book of Common Prayer from the liturgy of Edward VI.,
* Collier, ii. 431. Strype, Ann, i. 133. + Strype, i. 107. Dod, ii, 4.
the first, consisting in the omission of a prayer to be delivered from the “tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities,” manifested a conciliatory temper towards the Roman church; and the second, instead of the Zwinglian language, which spoke of the sacrament as being only a remembrance of the death of Christ, substituted words indicating some sort of real presence of a body, though not affirming the presence to be corporeal ; coinciding with the phraseology of Calvin, which, if any meaning can be ascribed to the terms, might, it should seem, be used by catholics, not indeed as adequately conveying their doctrine, but as containing nothing inconsistent with it.*
The queen also scrupled about the abolition of the honours shown to the statues and pictures of holy men. She harboured prejudices favourable to the superior sanctity of a single life, which withheld her from approving the marriage of the clergy. She was indulgent to the affectionate practice of praying for the souls of the departed, which a simple piety seems very early to have suggested to the ancient Christians.
At midsummer, 1559, the protestant liturgy was introduced, and the oath of supremacy administered. Fifteen bishops refused the oath; being all the prelates then alive, except Kitchen of Llandaff, who did not shrink from the completion of that time-serving course, of which others of his brethren were at length ashamed. Their example was followed by seventy-seven dignitaries, and fifteen heads of colleges; but, out of the numerous body of parochial clergy, only by eighty rectorst; a singular proportion, clearly marking the great power of honour and shame in a case where conspicuous per
* (At the delivery of the bread.) King Edward's Prayer Book. Queen Elizabeth's Prayer Book.
“ The body of our Lord Jesus brance that Christ died for thee, Christ, who was given for thee, and feed on him in thy heart with preserve thy body and soul.”
+ Strype, Ann. i. 106. Dod only names about 150 : if we deduct the abbots and monks, whose leaving their monasteries was not voluntary, and could not have been avoided by taking the oath, the difference will be trifling. Dod, ii. 318,
“ Take and eat this in remem
sons remained faithful, while the obscure majority consulted their interest. The pliancy was by no means so considerable as under Henry and Edward; partly because the progress was then gradual, partly because the clergy were engaged in the first steps of it almost by surprise, and in no small degree from the terrors of Henry's sanguinary government. It is remarkal that so small a loss should have occasioned so great a deficiency in the means of religious instruction, as that which protestant writers deplore. The necessity of one minister serving several churches, however, is almost confined by Strype to London, where the conformity of known catholics was more disgraceful. *
Laymen were appointed, he tells us, to read the service in the churches which were left destitute.
The university of Oxford (we have little information at that time concerning Cambridge) displayed a steadiness, venerable, if it proceeded from conscience; respectable, if it had no higher source than a regard to character;- -on either supposition, natural in stations of eminence and influence; which was the first instance, and perhaps one of the fountains, of their zealous attachment to ancient institutions. A small deduction from the number of fellows of colleges, on whom the education of the learned classes chiefly devolved, must have caused a great chasm in clerical and literary in. struction. Bishop Jewel complained that there were not two in Oxford of the reformed opinions. + It is not to be forgotten, that many catholic priests at first conformed; that means were found to exempt others from the oath, and to convert their benefices into sinecures. The expulsions were not all enforced in the beginning §; and before the year 1564, we are told by
* Strype, i. 203,
+ Dod, ii. 8. The complaint of archbishop Parker, that there were not two men in Cambridge able and willing to read theological lectures, is reduced in value by the fact that it occurred in 1568, and by the circum. stance that it was written to obtain for the university pecuniary liberalities from the queen.-Collier, ii. 527.
t Dod, ut suprà. 1
Tam anno isto (1560) quam proximo sequentibus exturbati sunt bene multi, Aut. Oxon.