Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3, 1639-40. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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Articles of the Commons assembled in Parliament, in maintenance of their Accusation against William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, whereby he stands charged with High Treason; presented and carried up to the Lords, by Mr. J. Pym, Feb. 26. 1640.
I Am commanded by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, now assembled for the Commons in Parliament, to deliver to your Lordships these Articles in maintenance of their Charge against the Archbishop of Canterbury. Their Desire is, That first your Lordships would be pleased to hear the Articles read: and then I shall endeavour to present to you the Sense of the Commons, concerning the nature of the Charge, and the order of their Proceedings.
- 1. That he hath traiterously endeavoured to subvert the Fundamental Laws and Government of this Kingdom of England, and instead thereof, to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical Government against Law; and to that end hath wickedly and traiterously advised his Majesty, that he might, at his own Will and Pleasure, levy and take Money of his Subjects, without their Consent in Parliament: and this he affirmed was warrantable by the Law of God.
- 2. He hath, for the better accomplishment of that his traiterous Design, advised and procured Sermons, and other Discourses, to be preached, printed and published, in which the Authority of Parliaments, and the Force of the Laws of this Kingdom have been denied, and absolute and unlimited power over the Persons and Estates of his Majesty's Subjects maintained and defended, not only in the King, but in himself, and other Bishops, against the Law; and he hath been a great protector, favourer, and promoter of the publishers of such false and pernicious Opinions.
He hath traiterously caused a Book of Canons to be composed and published without any lawful Warrant and Authority in that behalf; in which pretended Canons many matters are contained contrary to the King's Prerogative, to the Fundamental Laws and Statutes of this Realm, to the Right of Parliament, to the Property and Liberty of the Subject, and matters tending to Sedition, and of dangerous Consequence, and to the establishment of a vast unlawful, and presumptuous Power in himself, and his Successors; many of which Canons, by the practice of the said Archbishop, were surreptitiously passed in the late Convocation, without due Consideration and Debate; others by Fear and Compulsion were subscribed by the Prelates and Clerks there assembled, which had never been voted and passed in the Convocation as they ought to have been. And the said Archbishop hath contrived and endeavoured to assure and confirm the unlawful and exorbitant Power which he hath usurped and exercised over his Majesty's Subjects by a wicked and ungodly Oath in one of the said pretended Canons, enjoined to be taken by all the Clergy; and many of the Laity of this Kingdom.
He hath traiterously assumed to himself a papal and tyrannical Power, both in Ecclesiastical and Temporal Matters, over his Majesty's Subjects in this Realm of England, and in other places, to the disherison of the Crown, dishonour of his Majesty, and derogation of his Supreme Authority in Ecelesiastical Matters; and the said Archbishop claims the King's Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, as incident to his Episcopal Office, and Archiepiscopal in his Kingdom, and doth deny the same to be derived from the Crown of England, which he hath accordingly exercised, to the high Contempt of his Royal Majesty, and to the Destruction of divers of the King's Liege People in their Persons and Estates.
That he hath traiterously endeavoured to alter and subvert God's true Religion, by Law established in this Realm, and instead thereof to set up Popish Superstition and Idolatry. And to that end, hath declared and maintained in Speeches, and printed Books, divers Popish Doctrines and Opinions, contrary to the Articles of Religion establish'd by Law. He hath urged and enjoined divers Popish and Superstitious Ceremonies without any warrant of Law, and hath cruelly persecuted those who have opposed the same, by corporal Punishments and Imprisonments, and most unjustly vexed others, who refused to conform thereunto, by Ecclesiastical Censures of Excommunication, Suspension, Deprivation, and Degradation, contrary to the Laws of this Kingdom.
He hath, for the same traiterous and wicked Intent, chosen and employ'd such Men to be his own domestical Chaplains, whom he knew to be notoriously disaffected to the Reformed Religion, grosly addicted to Popish Superstition, and erroneous and unsound both in Judgment and Practice: and to them or some of them hath he committed the Licensing of Books to be printed, by which means divers false and superstitious Books have been published, to the great Scandal of Religion, and to the feducing of many of his Majesty's Subjects.
He hath traiterously and wickedly endeavoured to reconcile the Church of England with the Church of Rome; and for the effecting thereof, hath consorted and confederated with divers Popish Priests and Jesuits, and hath kept secret Intelligence with the Pope of Rome; and by himself, his Agents and Instruments treated with such as have from thence received Authority and Instruction: he hath permitted and countenanced a Popish Hierarchy or Ecclesiastical Government to be established in this Kingdom. By all which traiterous and malicious Practices, this Church and Kingdom hath been exceeding endangered, and like to fall under the Tyranny of the Roman See.
He hath maliciously and traiterously plotted and endeavoured to stir up War and Enmity betwixt his Majesty's two Kingdoms of England and Scotland, and to that purpose hath laboured to introduce into the Kingdom of Scotland divers Innovations both in Religion and Government, all or the most part of them tending to Popery and Superstition, to the great Grievance and Discontent of his Majesty's Subjects of that Nation; and for their refusing to submit to such Innovations, he did traiterously advise his Majesty to subdue them by force of Arms, and by his own Authority and Power, contrary to Law, did procure sundry of his Majesty's Subjects, and enforced the Clergy of this Kingdom to contribute towards the maintenance of that War: And when his Majesty, with much Wisdom and Justice, had made a Pacification betwixt the two Kingdoms, the said Archbishop did presumptuously censure that Pacification, as dishonourable to his Majesty, and by his Counsels and Endeavours so incensed his Majesty against his said Subjects of Scotland, that he did thereupon (by Advice of the said Archbishop) enter into an offensive War against them, to the great hazard of his Majesty's Person, and his Subjects of both Kingdoms.
The said Commons do further aver, that the said William Archbishop of Canterbury, during the times that the Crimes afore mentioned were done and committed, hath been a Bishop, or Archbishop of this Realm of England, one of the King's Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Matters, and one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy-Council, and hath taken an Oath for his faithful discharge of the said Office of Counsellor, and hath likewise taken an Oath of Supremacy and Allegiance.
Further Articles of Impeachment by the Commons assembled in Parliament, against William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, of High Treason, and divers high Crimes and Misdemeanors, as followeth.
- 1. That the said Archbishop of Canterbury, to introduce an Arbitrary Government within this Realm, and to destroy Parliaments, in the third and fourth Years of his Majesty's Reign that now is, a Parliament being then called, and sitting at Westminster, traiterously and maliciously caused the said Parliament to be dissolved, to the great Grievance of his Majesty's Subjects, and Prejudice of this Common-Wealth: And soon after the dissolution thereof, gave divers Propositions under his hand to George then Duke of Bucks, casting therein many false Aspersions upon the said Parliament, calling it a Factious Parliament, and falsly affirming, that it had cast many Scandals upon his Majesty, and had used him like a Child in his Minority, stiling them Puritans, and commending the Papists for harmless and peaceable Subjects.
- 2. That within the space of ten Years last past, the said Archbishop hath treacherously endeavoured to subvert the Fundamental Laws of this Realm; and to that end hath in like manner endeavoured to advance the Power of the Council-Table, the Canons of the Church, and the King's Prerogative, above the Laws and Statutes of the Realm; and for manifestation thereof, about six Years last past, being then a Privy Counsellor to his Majesty, and sitting at the Council-Table, he said, 'That as long as he sat there, they should know that an Order of that Board should be of equal force with a Law or Act of Parliament.'And at another time used these words, 'That he hoped e're long that the Canons of the Church, and the King's Prerogative, should be of as great Power as an Act of Parliament.'And at another time said, 'That those that would not yield to the King's Power, he would crush them to pieces.'
- 3. That the said Archbishop, to advance the Canons of the Church, and Power Ecclesiastical above the Law of the Land, and to pervert and hinder the course of Justice, hath at divers times within the said time, by his Letters, and other undue Means and Solicitations used to Judges, opposed and stopped the granting of his Majesty's Writs of Prohibition, where the same ought to have been granted, for stay of Proceedings in the Ecclesiastical Court, whereby justice hath been delayed and hindered, and the Judges diverted from doing their Duties.
- 4. That for the end and purpose aforesaid, about seven Years last past, a Judgment being given in his Majesty's Court of Kings-Bench against one Burley a Parson, being a Man of bad Life and Conversation, in an Information upon the Statute of 21 Hen. 8. for wilful Non Residency; the said Archbishop, by Solicitations, and other undue Means used to the Judges of that Court, caused Execution upon the said Judgment to be stayed; and being moved therein, and made acquainted with the bad Life and Conversation of the said Parson, he said, That he had spoken to the Judges for him, and that he would never suffer a Judgment to pass against any Clergyman by Nihil dicit.
- 5. That the said Archbishop, about eight Years last past, being then also a Privy-Counsellor to his Majesty, for the end and purpose aforesaid, caused Sir John Corbet of Stoake in the County of Salop Baroner, then a Justice of Peace of the said County, to be committed to the Prison of the Fleet, where he continued Prisoner for the space of half a Year or more, for no other cause but for calling for the Petition of Right, and causing it to be read at the Sessions of the Peace for that County, upon a just and necessary occasion; and during the time of his said Imprisonment, the said Archbishop, without any colour of Right, by a Writing under the Seal of his Archbishoprick, granted away parcel of the Glebe-Land of the Church of Adderly in the said County, whereof the said Sir John Corbet was then Patron, unto Robert Viscount Kilmurry, without the consent of the said Sir John, or the then Incumbent of the said Church: which said Viscount Kilmurry built a Chappel upon the said parcel of Glebe-Land, to the great prejudice of the said Sir John Corbet, which hath caused great Suits and Dissensions between them. And whereas the said Sir John Corbet had a Judgment against Sir James Stonehouse Knight, in an Action of Waste, in his Majesty's Court of Common-Pleas at Westminster, which was afterwards affirmed in a Writ of Error in the King's-Bench, and Execution thereupon awarded; yet the said Sir John, by means of the said Archbishop, could not have the effect thereof, but was committed to the Prison by the said Archbishop, and others at the Council-Table, until he had submitted himself unto the Order of the said Table; whereby he lost the benefit of the said Judgment and Execution.
- 6. That whereas divers Gifts, and dispositions of divers Sums of Money were heretofore made by divers charitable and well-disposed Persons, for the buying in of divers Impropriations for the maintenance of preaching the Word of God in several Churches, the said Archbishop, about eight Years last past, wilfully and maliciously caused the said Gifts, Feoffments, and Conveyances made to the Uses aforesaid, to be overthrown in his Majesty's Court of Exchequer, contrary to Law, as things dangerous to the Church and State, under the specious pretence of buying in Impropriations; whereby that pious Work was suppressed and trodden down, to the great Dishonour of God, and Scandal of Religion.
- 7. That the said Archbishop at several times within these ten Years last past, at Westminster, and elsewhere within this Realm, contrary to the known Laws of this Land, hath endeavoured to advance Popery and Superstition within this Realm: and for that end and purpose hath wittingly and willingly received, harboured, and relieved divers Popish Priests and Jesuits, namely one called Sancta Clara, alias Damport, a dangerous Person, and Franciscan Friar; who having written a popish and feditious Book, intitled, Deus natura gratia, wherein the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, establish'd by Act of Parliament, were much traduced and scandaliz'd, the said Archbishop had divers Conferences with him while he was in writing the said Book; and did also provide Maintenance and Entertainment for one Monsieur St. Gyles, a Popish Priest at Oxford, knowing him to be a Popish Priest,
- 8. That the said Archbishop, about four Years last past, at Westminster aforesaid, said, That there must be a Blow given to the Church, such as hath not been yet given, before it could be brought to Conformity; declaring thereby his Intention to be, to shake and alter the true Protestant Religion establish'd in the Church of England.
- 9. That in or about the Month of May 1640. presently after the Dissolution of the last Parliament, the said Archbishop, for the ends and purposes aforesaid, caused a Synod or Convocation of the Clergy to be held for the several Provinces of Canterbury and York; wherein were made and established by his means and procurement divers Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical, contrary to the Laws of this Realm, the Rights and Privileges of Parliament, the Liberty and Property of the Subject, tending also to Sedition, and of dangerous Consequence: And amongst other things the said Archbishop caused a most dangerous and illegal Oath to be therein made and contrived, the Tenour whereof followeth in these Words: That I A. B. do swear, that I do approve the Doctrine and Discipline or Government establish'd in the Church of England, as containing all things necessary to Salvation; and that I will not endeavour by myself, or any other, directly or indirectly, to bring in any Popish Doctrine, contrary to that which is so established: Nor will I ever give my consent to alter the Government of this Church by Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, and Arch-Deacons, &c. as it stands now established, and as by right it ought to stand; nor yet ever to subject it to the Usurpations and Superstitions of the See of Rome. And all these things do I plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear according to the plain and common Sense and Understanding of the same Words, without any Equivocation or mental Evasion, or secret Reservation whatsoever; and this I do heartily, willingly and truly, upon the Faith of a Christian: So help me God in Jesus Christ. Which Oath the said Archbishop himself did take, and caused divers other Ministers of the Church to take the same, upon pain of Suspension, and Deprivation of their Livings, and other severe Penalties; and did also cause Godfrey, then Bishop of Gloucester, to be committed to Prison, for refusing to subscribe to the said Canons, and to take the said Oath; and afterwards, the said Bishop submitting himself to take the said Oath, he was set at liberty.
- 10. That a little before the calling of the last Parliament, Anno 1640. a Vote being then passed, and a Resolution taken at the Council-Table, by the Advice of the said Archbishop, for assisting of the King in extraordinary ways, if the said Parliament should prove peevish, and refuse to supply his Majesty; the said Archbishop wickedly and maliciously advised his Majesty to dissolve the said Parliament, and accordingly the same was dissolved: And presently after the said Archbishop told his Majesty, That now he was absolved from all Rules of Government, and left free to use extraordinary ways for his Supply.
For all which matters and things the said Commons assembled in Parliament, in the name of themselves, and all the Commons of England, do impeach rhe said Archbishop of Canterbury of High Treason, and other Crimes and Misdemeanors, tending to the Subversion of our Religion, Laws and Liberties, and to the utter Ruin of this Church and Common-Wealth.
And the said Commons by Protestation saving to themselves the liberty of exhibiting at any time hereafter, any further, or other Accusation or Impeachment against the said William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, and also of replying to the Answer that he shall make unto the said Articles, or any of them; or offering proof of the Premises; or any other Impeachments or Accusations that shall be exhibited by them, as the cause shall (according to the course of Parliaments) require; do pray, that he the said William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury may be called to answer the said several Crimes and Misdemeanors, and receive such condign Punishment as the same shall deserve: And that such further Proceeding may be upon every one of them had, and used against him, as is agreeable to Law and Justice.
The Charge of the Scotish Commissioners against the Prelate of Canterbury.
Novations in Religion, which are universally acknowledged to be the main cause of Commotions in Kingdoms and States, and are known to be the true cause of our present Troubles, were many and great, besides the Books of Ordination aud Homilies; 1. Some particular Alterations in matters of Religion, pressed upon us without us Order, and against Law, contrary to the Form establish'd in our Kirk. 2. A new Book of Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical. 3. A Liturgy, or Book of Common Prayer, which did also carry with them many dangerous Errors in matters of Doctrine; of all which we challenge the Prelate of Canterbury, as the prime cause on Earth.
First, By fourteen Letters, subscribed William Cant. in the space of two Years, to one of our pretended Bishops, Bannatine, wherein he often enjoineth him, and other pretended Bishops, to appear in the Chappel in their Whites, contrary to the custom of our Kirk, and to his Promise made to the pretended Bishop of Edinburgh at the Coronation, that none of them after that time should be pressed to wear these Garments, thereby moving him against his will to put them on for that time; wherein he directeth him ro give order for saying the English Service in the Chappel twice a day for his neglect, shewing him that he was disappointed of the Bishoprick of Edinburgh, promising him, upon the greater care of these Novations, Advancement to a better Bishoprick; taxing him for his Bolduess in preaching the sound Doctrine of the Reformed Kirks against Mr. Mitchel, who had taught the Errors of Arminius in the Point of the Extent of the Merit of Christ; bidding himsend up a List of the Names of Chancellors and Senators of the College of Justice, who did not communicate in the Chappel in a Form which was not received in our Kirk; commending him when he found him obsequious to these his Commands; telling him, that he had moved the King the second time for the Punishment of such as had not received in the Chappel; and wherein he upbraideth him bitterly, that in his first Synod at Aberdeen he had only disputed against our Custom of Scotland, of Fasting sometimes on the Lord's Day, and presumptuously censuring our Kirk, that in this we were opposite to Christianity itself; and amongst us there were no Canons at all.
The second Novation which troubled our Peace, was a Book of Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical, obtruded upon our Kirk, found by our General Assembly to be devised for establishing a tyrannical Power in the Persons of our Prelates over the Worship of God, over the Consciences, Liberties and Goods of the People, and for abolishing the whole Discipline and Government of our Kirk, by General and Provincial Assemblies, Presbyteries, and Kirk-Sessions, which was settled by Law, and in continual Practice since the time of Reformation. That Canterbury was Master of this Work is manifest.
Thirdly, The formidable Canon, Cap. 1. 3. threatning no less than Excommunication against all such Persons, whosoever shall open their Mouths against any of these Books, proceeded not from our Prelates, nor is to be found in the Copy sent from them, but is a Thunderbolt forged in Canterbury's own Fire.
The third and great Novation was the Book of Common-Prayer, Administration of the Sacraments, and other parts of Divine Service, brought in without warrant from our Kirk, to be universally received, as the only Form of Divine Service, under all highest Pains both Civil and Ecclesiastical; which is found by our National Assembly, besides the Popish Freme and Forms in Divine Worship, to contain many Popish Errors and Ceremonies, and the Seeds of manifold and gross Superstitions and Idolatries, and to be repugnant to the Doctrine, and Discipline, and Order of our Reformation, to the Consession of Faith, Constitutions of General Assemblies and Acts of Parliament, establishing the true Religion. That this also was Canterbury's Work, we make manifest,
By the Memoirs and Instruction sent unto him from our Prelates, wherein they gave a special Account of the Diligence they had used to do all which herein they were enjoined by the Approbation of the Service-Book sent to them; and of all the Marginal Corrections, wherein he varieth from the English Books, shewing their Desire to have some few things changed in it, which notwithstanding was not granted. This we find written by St. Androis own Hand, and subscribed by him, and nine other of our Prelates.
But the Book itself, as it standeth interlined, margined, and patch'd up, is much more than all that is expressed in his Letters, and the Changes and Supplements themselves taken from the Mass-Book, and other Romish Rituals, by which it maketh it to vary from the Book of England.
The corporal Presence of Christ's Body in the Sacrament is also to be found here; for the words of the Mass Book serving to this purpose, which are sharply censured by Bucer, in King Edward's Liturgy, and are not to be found in the Book of England, are taken in here. Almighty God is in-called, that of his Almighty Goodness he may vouchsafe so to bless and sanctify with his Word and Spirit these Gifts of Bread and Wine, that they may be unto us the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Change here is made a Work of God's Omnipotency. The words of the Mass, ut fiant nobis, are translated in King Edward's Book, That they be unto us; which are again turned into Latin by Alesuis, ut fiant nobis. On the other part the Expressions of the Book of England, at the delivery of the Elements, feeding on Christ by Faith, and of eating and drinking in Remembrance that Christ died for thee, are utterly declared. Many Evidences there be in this part of the Communion, of the bodily Presence of Christ, very agreeable to the Doctrines taught by his Sectaries, which this Paper cannot contain. They teach us, That Christ is received in the Sacrament, Corporaliter, both Objective and Subjective; Corpus Christi est Objectum quod recipitur, & Corpus nostrum Subjectum quo recipitur.
Our Supplications were many against these Books, but Canterbury procured them to be answered with terrible Proclamations. We were constrained to use the Remedy of Protestation; but for our Protestations, and other lawful means, which we used for our Deliverance, Canterbury procured us to be declared Rebels and Traitors in all Parish Kirks of England; when we were seeking to possess our Religion in peace against these Devices and Novations, Canterbury kindled War against us. In all these it is known that he was, altho not the sole yet, the principal Agent and Adviser.
When by the Pacification at Berwick, both Kingdoms looked for Peace and Quietness, he spared not openly in the hearing of many, often before the King, and privately at the Council Table, and the privy Junto, to speak of us as Rebels and Traitors, and to speak against the Pacification as dishonourable, and meet to be broken. Neither did his Malignancy and Bitterness ever suffer him to rest till a new War was entred upon, and all things prepared for our Destruction.
When our Commissioners did appear to render the Reasons of our Demands, he spared not in the presence of the King and Committee, to rail against our National Assembly, as not daring to appear before the World and Kirks abroad; where himself and his Actions were able to endure tryal; and against our just and necessary Defence as the most malicious and treasonable Contempt of Monarchical Government that any by-gone Age heard of: his Hand was also at the Warrant for the Restraint and Imprisonment of our Commissioners, sent from the Parliament warranted by the King, and seeking the Peace of the Kingdoms.
When we had by our Declarations, Remonstrances, and Representations, manifested the truth of our Intentions, and lawfulness of our Actions to all the good Subjects of the Kingdom of England, when the late Parliament could not be moved to assist or enter in War against us, maintaining our Religion and Liberties, Canterbury did not only advise the hreaking up of that high and honourable Court, to the great grief and hazard of the Kingdom, but (which is without example) did sit still in the Convocation, and make Canons and Constitutions against us, and our just and necessary Defence; ordaining under all highest Pains, that hereafter the Clergy shall preach four times in the Year against our Proceedings.
And as if this had not been sufficient, he procured six Subsidies to be lifted of the Clergy, under pain of deprivation to all that should refuse And which is yet worse, and above which Malice itself cannot ascend, by his means a Prayer is framed, printed, and sent thro all Parishes of England, to be said in all Churches in time of Divine Service, next after the Prayer for the Queen and Royal Progeny, against our Nation by name of traiterous Subjects, having cast off all rebellious Obedience to our anointed Sovereinn, and coming in all rebellious manner to invade England, that shame may cover our Faces as Enemies to God and the King.
We are therefore confident that your Lordships will, by your means, deal effectually with the Parliament, that this great Firebrand be presently removed from his Majesty's Presence, and that he may be put to tryal, and put to his deserved Censure according to the Laws of the Kingdom.
The humble Answer of William Archbishop of Canterbury to the first and further Articles of Impeachment, brought up by the Honourable House of Commons against him, and by Order of the Right Honourable the Lords in Parliament of the 16th of this Instant directed to be put in.
As to the 13th Article of the said first Articles, and the matters therein charged, and all matters or things in the same, or any of the rest of the said Articles contained, which concern any Act of Hostility, whether between the King and his Subjects, or between Subject and Subject, or which may be cenceived to arise upon the coming of any English Army against Scotland, or the coming of the Scotish Army into England, or upon any Action, Attempt, Assistance, Counsel, or Device, having relation thereunto, and falling out by the occasion of the late Troubles preceding the late conclusion of the Treaty, and return of the Scotish Army into Scotland; this Defendant faith, That it is enacted by an Act made during the sitting of this present Parliament, that the same, and whatsoever hath ensued thereupon, whether trenching upon the Laws and Liberties of the Church and Kingdom, or upon his Majesty's Honour and Authority, in no time hereafter may be called in question, or resented as a Wrong, national or personal, and that no mention be made thereof in time coming, neither in Judgment nor out of Judgment; but that it be held and reputed as tho never such things had been thought or wrought, as by the said Act may more at large appear, with this, that this Defendant doth aver, that he is none of the Persons excepted by the said Act, or the said Offences charged upon this Defendant any of the Offences excepted by the said Act.
And as to all the rest of the said first and further Articles; this Defendant saving to himself all Advantages of Exception to the said Articles, humbly saith, he is not guilty of all or any of the matters by the said Articles charged, in such manner and form as the same are by the said Articles charged against him.
'My being in this place in this Condition, recalls to my Memory that which I long since read in Seneca, Tormentum est etiamsi absolutus quis fuerit, causam dixisse; (6. de Benef. c. 28.) 'Tis not a Grief only, no, 'tis no less than a Torment for an ingenious Man to plead capitally or criminally, though it should so fall out that he be absolved. The great truth of this I find at present in myself; and so much the more, because I am a Christian; and not that only, but in holy Orders; and not so only, but by God's Grace and Goodness preferred to the greatest Place this Church affords; and yet brought, causam dicere, to plead for my self at this great Bar.
'And whatsoever the World think of me (and they have been taught to think much more ill of me, than I humbly thank Christ for it, I was ever acquainted with) yet, my Lords, this I find, Tormentum est, 'tis no less than a Torment to me to appear in this place.
'Nay, my Lords, give me leave to speak plain truth; no Sentence that can justly pass upon me, (and other I will never fear from your Lordships) can go so near me, as Causam dicere, to plead for my self upon this occasion, and in this place.
'For as for the Sentence, be it what it shall, I thank God for it, I am for it at St. Paul's word, (Acts 25. 11.) If I have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die. For I thank God I have so lived, as that I am neither afraid to die, nor ashamed to live. But seeing the malignity which hath been raised against me by some Men, I have carried my very Life in my Hands these divers years past: But yet, my Lords, if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, though I may not in this Case, and from this Bar, appeal unto Cæsar, yet to your Lordships Justice and Integrity I both may and do; not doubting, but that God of his Goodness will preserve my Innocency.
'And as Job in the midst of his affliction said to his mistaken friends, so shall I to my Accusers; God forbid I should justifie you, till I die I will not remove mine Integrity from me, I will hold it fast, and not let it go, my Heart shall not reproach me as long as I live, Job 22. 5.
'My Lords, The Charge against me is brought up in ten Articles, but the main Heads are two; An endeavour to subvert the Laws of the Land, and the Religion established: six Articles, (the five first and the last) concern the Laws, and the other four, Religion.
'For the Laws, first I may safely say, I have been to my understanding as strict an observer of them all the days of my life, so far as they concern me, as any Man hath; and since I came into Place, I have followed them, and been as much guided by them as any Man that sat where I had the Honour to sit. And of this I am sorry I have lost the Testimony of the Lord Keeper Coventry, and other Persons of Honour since dead.
'And the Council which attended at the Council-Board can witness, some of them here present, that in all references to the Board, or debates arising at the Board, I was for that part of the Cause where I found Law to be; and if the Council desired to have the Cause left to the Law, well I might move in some Causes Charity or Conscience to them; but I left them to the Law, if thither they would go: and how such a carriage as this through the whole course of my Life in private and publick can stand with an intention to overthrow the Laws, I cannot yet see.
'Nay more, I have ever been of opinion, That Laws bind the Conscience, and have accordingly made Conscience of observing them; and this Doctrine I have constantly preached as occasion hath been offered me: and how it is possible, I should seek to overthrow those Laws which I held my self bound in Conscience to keep and observe?
'As for Religion, I was born and bred up in and under the Church of England, as it stands established by Law; I have by Gods Blessing, grown up in it to the years which are now upon me, and to the Place of preferment which I now bear.
'I have, ever since I understood ought in my Profession, kept one constant Tenor in this my Profession, without variation or shifting from one opinion to another, for any worldly ends: And if my Conscience would have suffered me to do so, I could easily have slid through all the difficulties which I have prest upon me in this kind; but of all Diseases, I have ever held a Palsey in Religion most dangerous, well knowing and remembring that Disease often ends in a dead Palsie.
'Ever since I came in Place, I have laboured nothing more than that the External publick Worship of God (so much slighted in divers parts of this Kingdom) might be preserved, and that with as much decency and uniformity as might be; for I evidently saw, that the publick neglect of God's Service in the outward face of it, and the nasty lying of many Places dedicated to that Service, had almost cast a damp upon the true and inward Worship of God, which while we live in the Body, needs external helps, and all little enough to keep it in vigour. And this I did to the uttermost of my knowledge, according both to Law and Canon, and with the consent and liking of the People; nor did any command issue from me against the one, or without the other.
'Further, my Lords, give me leave I beseech you, to acquaint you with this also, that I have as little acqaintance with Recusants, as I believe any man of my Place of England hath, or ever had sithence the Reformation; and for my Kindred, no one of them was ever a Recusant, but Sir William Web, Grand-child to Sir William Web, sometimes Lord Major of London, and since which some of his Children I reduced back to the Church of England.
'On this, one thing more I humbly desire may be thought on, That I am fall'n into a great deal of obloquy in matter of Religion, and that so far, (as appears by the Articles against me) that I have endeavoured to advance and bring in Popery: Perhaps, my Lords, I am not ignorant what Party of Men have raised these scandals upon me, not for what end, nor perhaps by whom set on; but however, I would fain have a good reason given me, if my Conscience stood that way, and that with my Conscience I could subscribe to the Church of Rome, what should have kept me here before my Imprisonment to endure the libelling and the slander, and the base usage that hath been put upon me, and these to end in this question for my Life? I say, I would know a good reason for this.
'First, my Lords, is it because of any Pledges I have in the World to sway me against my Conscience? No sure, for I have neither Wife nor Children to cry out upon me to stay with them; And if I had, I hope the calling of my Conscience should be heard above them.
'Is it because I was loth to leave the Honour and Profit of the Place I was risen to? Surely no, for I desire your Lordships, and all the World should know, I do much scorn the one and the other, in comparison of my Conscience. Besides it cannot be imagined by any man, but that if I should have gone over to them, I should not have wanted both honour and profit, and suppose not so great as this I have here, yet sure would my Conscience have served my self of either, less with my Conscience would have prevailed with me more than greater against my Conscience.
'Is it because I have lived here at ease, and loth to venture that? Not so neither, for whatsoever the world may be pleased to think of me, I have led a very painful life, and such as I would have been content to change, had I well known how; and would my Conscience have served me that way, I am sure I might have lived at far more ease, and either have avoided the barbarous libelling and other bitter grievous scorns which have been put upon me, or at least been out of the hearing of them.
'Not to trouble your Lordships too long, I am so innocent in the business of Religion, so free from all practice, or so much as thought of practice for any alteration unto Popery, or any blemishing the true Protestant Religion established in England, as I was when my Mother first bore me into the world; and let nothing be spoken but truth, and I do here challenge whatsoever is between Heaven or Hell, that can be said against me in point of my Religion, in which I have ever hated dissimulation. And had I not hated it, perhaps I might have been better for worldly safety than now I am, but it can no way become a Christian Bishop to halt with God.
'Lastly, If I had any purpose to blast the true Religion established in the Church of England, and to introduce Popery, sure I took a wrong way to it; for, My Lords, I have staid more going to Rome, and reduced more that were already gone, than, I believe any Bishop or Divine in this Kingdom hath done; and some of them, men of great abilities, and some Persons of great place; and is this the way to introduce Popery?
'And that it may appear unto your Lordships how many, and of what condition the Pers ns are, which by Gods blessing upon my Labours, I have settled in the true Protestant Religion established in England: I shall briefly name some of them, though I cannot in order of time as I converted them.
'Henry Berkinstead of Trinity Colledge Oxon, seduced by a Jesuit and brought to London, (the Lords and others perceiving him to be Berchinhead, the Author of all the Libellous Popish Oxford Aulicusses, against the Parliament, at the naming of him smiled; which the Arch-bishop perceiving, said, My Lords, I mean not Berchinhead the Author of Oxford Aulicus, but another.)
'Two Scholars of Saint Johns Colledge Cambridge, Toppin and Ashton, who had got the French Ambassador's Pass, and after this I allowed means to Toppin, and then procured him a Fellowship in St. John's; and he is at this present as hopeful a young man as any of his time, and a Divine.
'The Sons and Heirs of Mr. Winchcomb and Mr. Wollescot, whom I sent with their Friends liking to Wadham College, Oxford; and received a Certificate 1638 of their continuing in Conformity to the Church of England: Nor did ever any one of these named relapse again, but only the Countess of Buckingham and Sir William Spencer; it being only in God's Power, not mine, to preserve them from relapse.
Here follow some Passages concerning Auricular Confession.
One Mr. Adams preaching publickly in St. Mary's Church in Cambridge before the University, on John 20. 23. Whosesoever Sins ye remit they are remitted, &c. used these exorbitant Popish Assertions touching Confession of Sins to Priests; that a special Confession unto a Priest (actually where Time and Opportunity presents itself, or otherwise in explicite Intention and Resolution) of all our Sins committed after Baptism, so far forth as we do remember, is necessary unto Salvation, in the Judgment of Fathers, Schoolmen, and almost all Antiquity, not only necessitate præcepti, but also necessitate medii; so that according to the ordinary or revealed means appointed by Christ, there can be no Salvation without the aforesaid Confession. That Christ intended this Confession of our Sins in special before the Priest, for a necessary means to bring us to Salvation; and to frustrate his Intention or Will through Misconceits, what were it more but an Argument no less of Indiscretion, than of Madness and Impiety? That God being an Enemy to all Sin will not pardon any, if we willingly conceal but one in our Confession to the Priest. That Confession is as necessary to Salvation as the Ministry of Baptism, as necessary to Salvation as Meat is to the Body. That since Christ ordained a Tribunal-Seat of Judgment, where Sins should be remitted or retained at the discretion of a lawful Minister, (as was evident by the Text he did) then without doubt 'twas his Intention that the faithful should necessarily confess all their Sins before the Priest, so far forth as they remember, for the purchasing of his Pardon and Remission. This he aver'd to be (as he conceived) the Doctrine of the Church of England, contained in our Liturgy. That Confession is a Duty of far more Antiquity and Extent than ever Popery was, in regard 'twas instituted by our Saviour, practised by the Apostles, the holy Fathers, and all succeeding Ages; and therefore tho the Papists use it, it is not, it cannot be, as some would have it, a point of Popery. What! shall their Errors in some Tenets prejudice the Truth in this? What! shall we refuse the Grape because the Stalk is withered? This were a Puritannical Novation-Nicety. I never heard of any thing but a foolish Cock that ever refused a Gem, though in a Dunghil.
The whole Sermon being to this effect, Dr. Ward, Dr. Love, Dr. Brownrig and Dr. Holdsworth, took exceptions against this Sermon, as Scandalous and Popish: Whereupon Mr. Adams was Convented for it before the Vicechancellor and Heads, who both required and perused the Copy of his Sermon; which done the Vice-chancellor Dr. Brownrig, drew up this ensuing Recantation, which he enjoyned him to make in publick, to give satisfaction to those whom his Sermon had scandalized.
Whereas, &c. on Sunday the 25th of June last, in my publick Sermon on these Words, Saint John 20. 23. Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain, they are retained; I delivered this Doctrine, that a special Confession unto a Priest (actually, where time or opportunity presents it self, or otherwise in explicit intention, and resolution) of all our sins committed after Baptism, so far forth as we do remember, is necessary unto Salvation, not only necessitate præcepti, but also necessitate medii; so that according to the Ordinance, or revealed Means appointed by Christ, there can be no Salvation without the aforesaid Confession; upon more mature thoughts, and better Information, I do find that this Doctrine then delivered, was both erroneous, and dangerous, having not warrant from the word of God, and crossing the Doctrine of our Church, as may appear by her Liturgy in the second Exhortation at the Communion, and in the Visitation of the Sick, and in the second part in the Homily of Repentance. As therefore in general, I do acknowledge in the words of the aforesaid Homily, that it is most evident and plain, that this auricular Confession hath not his warrant of God's word, and that therefore being not led with the Conscience thereof, if we with fear and trembling, and with a contrite heart, use that kind of Confession, which God doth command in his word (namely an unfeigned Confession unto Almighty God himself) then doubtless (as he is faithful and true) he will forgive us our sins, and make us clean from all our wickedness; so in the case of a troubled, or doubtful Conscience, I do conform my Opinion unto the direction of our Church, which in her Liturgy doth exhort and require whose whose Consciences are troubled with any weighty matter to a special Confession, so that they who cannot quiet their own Consciences, are to repair to their own, or some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word to open to them their Grief, that so they may receive such ghostly Counsel, Advice and Comfort, as their Consciences may be relieved, and by the ministry of God's Word, they may receive Comfort and the benefit of Absolution to the quieting their Conscience, and the avoiding of all Scruple and Doubtfulness. But it is against true Christian Liberty, that any Man should be bound to the numbering his Sins, as it hath been used heretofore in the Times of Ignorance and Blindness. This I do acknowledge to be the Doctrine of the Church of England concerning Confession, and to it I do ex animo, subscribe, and am heartily sorry for whatever I have delivered to the contrary.
Mr Adams refused to make this Recantation, saying, he was not conscious to himself of any thing he had said in his Sermon contrary to the Doctrine of the Church of England; whereupon at a full meeting of the Doctors, it was put to the Vote, whether this Recantation should be enjoined him or no, Dr. Ward, Dr. Bambridge, Dr. Banhcroft, Dr. Love, Dr. Holdsworth, and the Vice-Chancellor voted he should make this Recantation, but Dr. Collins, Dr. Smith, Dr. Cumber, Dr. Cousin, Dr. Lany, Dr. Martin, Dr. Stern, and Dr. Eden, voted against the making of it; so Mr. Adams, without making any Submission or Recantation at all, was dismissed, and the whole Proceedings in this business were sent up to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and found in his Study at the Tower indorsed with his own Hand thus, Received March 16. 1637. Dr. Cousin's Letter about the Proceedings of Brownrig Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, against Mr. Adams, for his Sermon about Confession, Jan. 25. 1637. and so this matter slept.
Dr. Laud Archbishop of Canterbury thought fit to recommend to Sir Thomas Wentworth, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, one Mr. Croxton a young Minister, requesting his Lordship to take notice of him, not doubting but as it shall fall in his Lordship's way, that he will bestow some Preferment on him for his maintenance, for which the Lord Archbishop would thank his Lordship.
Upon which Recommendation the Lord Deputy promoted Mr. Croxton to Ecclesiastical Preferments there, as it appears by his Letters of Thanks to the Archbishop, in some of which he gives him the title of Holiness and most Holy Father; and in his Letter dated and directed to him as Metropolitan, &c. at Goran, April 19. 1638, made the Sign of the *** on the top of the first Page of his Letter, a branch of which Letter was as followeth.
My Lord, In humblest manner I beg your gracious Acceptance of this just as necessary Duty, whilst I make an unquestionable Relation of that which so nearly concerns my self. To provide the best I could for the more worthy receiving of the holy Communion this last Easter, I have (I thank God for it) been able in some measure, to do that here which able Men have sufficiently spoken of elsewhere; I have Sacramentally heard the Confessions of the People committed to my charge in Goran (a certain thorow-fare Town in the County of Kilkeny in the Chancel, they kneeling before the Altar) this is every where now accounted, a most strange Act, without all Warrant, &c.