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Strype* that the chasm was almost filled up. If allowance be made for exaggeration in language, perhaps the protestant account of numbers, which is not opposed by any distinct enumeration on the side of the vanquished party, is not greatly defective, and may be nearly reconciled to the loud complaints of destitute churches, by the strong impression which the minds of men had received from the striking examples of the capital and the chief seminary of education. Even cardinal Allen, in his "Answer to the Defence of the Justice of Elizabeth," makes the whole number, exclusive of Ireland, to be only 229; an estimate which falls very short of the whole number of the parochial clergy who occupied the thousand parishes of England and Wales.
According to the standard of that age, the treatment of the deprived bishops was remarkable for mildness. The imprisonment of Bonner, whose odious character gave some colour to the reason alleged by a few partisans* of the government, that his confinement was necessary to shelter him from popular violence, can hardly be regarded as an exception. Elizabeth, who had received the other bishops at her first audience with due courtesy, turned from Bonner as from a man of blood; and on his death, in 1569, the bishop of London caused him to be interred by night, to protect his remains from the fury of the populace. † The respectable Heath passed the remainder of his life at his own house in Surrey, where he was frequently visited by the queen. The venerable Tunstall, together with Thirlby, a statesman rather than a prelate, was placed in a state of lenient ward at Lambeth palace. Scott, Pate, and Goldwell retired beyond sea, not without the connivance of the ministers. White and Watson had threatened to excommunicate the queen. The former was, however, released, after acknowledging his fault; and at his death, which occurred in 1559, he was publicly and solemnly interred in his late cathedral of Winchester. Watson, though unpopular as a sour and morose
* Strype, i. 203.
+ Grindall's letter of September, 1569. Ellis. ii. 258.
man," lived for twenty years with the bishops of Rochester and Ely; but was, in 1580, in consequence of a charge of conspiracy, confined in Wisbeach castle, where he died two years after. *
To fill the seats of the deceased and deprived bishops became one of the most serious cares of the new government. Cecil and Bacon, the principal ministers, turned their immediate attention to the vacant primacy, at that crisis the most important station in the kingdom. Their choice was, even before the coronation, fixed on Matthew Parker, a man of worth and learning, who, though a married clergyman, was endeared to Elizabeth by having been the chaplain of her mother, who with her dying breath commended to his pious care the religious nurture of her infant daughter. He was for some time confined to the country by a quartan ague, - a distemper then often fatal. A great part of the next year was employed in conquering the repugnance of this humble and disinterested man to the highest dignity in the reformed churches.
When Cecil and Bacon had finally succeeded in overcoming his scruples, the consecration was delayed for some time, in order to take such precautions as might best secure its validity from being impugned.+ The church of England then adopted, and has not yet renounced, the inconsistent and absurd opinion, that' the church of Rome, though idolatrous, is the only channel through which all lawful power of ordaining priests, of consecrating bishops, or validly performing any religious rite, flowed from Christ, through a succession of prelates, down to the latest age of the world. The ministers, therefore, first endeavoured to obtain the concurrence of the catholic bishops in the consecration; which those prelates, who must have considered such an act as a profanation, conscientiously refused.
* Dod, i. 485.
Strype, i. 214.
It is needless to discuss the ridiculous story of a consecration of the new prelates at the Nag's Head tavern; which has been judiciously abandoned by Dr. Lingard, the most eminent of our Roman catholic his torians.
They were at length obliged to issue a new commission for consecrating Parker, directed to Kitchen of Llandaff, to Ball, an Irish bishop, to Barlow, Scory, and Coverdale, deprived in the reign of Mary, and to two suffragans.* Whoever considers it important at present to examine this list, will perceive the perplexities in which the English church was involved by a zeal to preserve unbroken the chain of episcopal succession. On account of this frivolous advantage, that church was led to prefer the common enemy of all reformation to those protestant communions which had boldly snapped asunder that brittle chain: a striking example of the evil that sometimes arises from the inconsistent respect paid by reformers to ancient establishments.
Parker, who had been elected on the 1st of August, was finally consecrated on the 17th of December.† Four new bishops were consecrated three days after the primate; whose preferment, as they had been exiles for religion in the time of Mary, was a strong and irrevocable pledge of the queen's early determination to stand or fall with the reformed faith. This politic, as well as generous, elevation of faithful adherents and patient sufferers did not prevent the wise ministers from a general choice which none of their antagonists ventured to impugn. For some time many of the Roman catholics, unskilled in theological disputes, continued to frequent their parish churches, regardless of the differences which were to steep Europe in blood. ‡
This unenquiring conformity appears not immediately to have yielded to the condemnation of it pronounced by the divines at Trent. The Anglican reformation was completed by the publication of the articles of religion, exhibiting the creed of that establishment, which, upon the whole, deserves commendation, in the only points where the authors could exercise any discretion; for treating the ancient church
A suffragan is one who executes the office of a bishop, but who hath not the title Ed. Phillips's World of Words. 4th ed. 1678. + Strype's Parker, b. ii. c. i. Burnet.
Collier, ii. 436.
with considerable approaches to decency, and for preferring quiet, piety, and benevolence to precision and consistency not pressing those doctrines to their utmost logical consequences, which, by such a mode of inference, lead only to hatred, to blood, and often to a corruption of moral principle.
A translation of the Scripture was published by authority, which, after passing through several emendations, became, in the succeeding reign, the basis of our present version. This was the work of translators not deeply versed in the opinions, languages, manners, and institutions of the ancient world, who were born before the existence of eastern learning in Europe, and whose education was completed before the mines of criticism had been opened, either as applied to the events of history, or to the reading, interpretation, and genuineness of ancient writings. On these accounts, as well as on account of the complete superannuation of some parts of its vocabulary, it undoubtedly requires revision and emendation. Such a task, however, should only be entrusted to hands skilful and tender in the case of a translation, which, to say nothing of the connection of its phraseology with the religious sensibilities of a people, forms the richest storehouse of the native beauties of our ancient tongue; and by frequent yet reverential perusal has more than any other cause contributed to the permanency of our language, and thereby to the unity of our literature. In waving the higher considerations of various kinds which render caution, in such a case, indispensable, it is hard to overvalue the literary importance of daily infusions from the "well of English undefiled" into our familiar converse. Nor should it be forgotten, if ever the revision be undertaken, that we derive an advantage, not to be hazarded for tasteless novelties, from a perfect model of a translation of works of the most remote antiquity, into that somewhat antique English, venerable without being obscure, which alone can faithfully represent their spirit and genius.
While Elizabeth continued to consolidate her throne
on the basis of the protestant religion, which her enemies as well as her friends taught her to contemplate as the only secure foundation of her title and government, the opposition of innovation to establishment, sometimes traversed by personal interests and temporary incidents, sometimes blended with the more shifting objects of policy, was hastening to become the mainspring of the wars and revolutions of Europe. Some of the steps towards a general war of opinion have been traced in the conclusion of the preceding volume. Some of the political causes which gave an ascendant for a short time to a transient and narrow policy have also been there observed. The most considerable of them was the marriage of Mary Stuart to the dauphin. At the death of Mary Tudor, the queen dauphiness assumed the arms and regal title of England, to which she was indeed the heir in the eyes of all who deemed Elizabeth illegitimate, and considered the parliament as not having the power to invade the sacred order of succession. Mary and her husband even executed a grant of land to lord Fleming, by their style as king and queen of England as well as of Scotland.* These acts could not be regarded as the mere assumption of barren titles, since they never were practised during the reign of Mary, or even of Edward. The claims of a Roman catholic pretender, wedded to the heir apparent of such a monarchy as France, - while Scotland was divided between the contending communions, while Ireland was altogether catholic, and while catholics predominated in the northern provinces of England,—were in the highest degree formidable to the protestant succession in England, and seemed to threaten an instant overthrow of Elizabeth's tottering throne. The princes of the house of Lorraine established in France, a race remarkable for capacity, valour, and daring ambition,- - became the masters of that monarchy at the death of Henry II., who was mortally wounded in a tournament in July, 1559, shortly after having issued an edict inflicting
As early as January, 1559.- Cecil's Diary, Murdin, 747.