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whereof I am very weary, but in respect of the church of Christ, which is most dear unto me. But I am too weak; our estimation is little; our authority is less : so that we are become contemptible in the eyes of the basest sort of people. How or by what means, or who is in the fault, I will not dispute, but leave it to the Searcher of all secrets to judge. But, my good lords, even for that reverence which you bear to the Almighty, even for that love which you bear to the church of Christ, even for that duty which you bear unto her Majesty and the safety of this her state, as God hath placed you in authority, and given yon ability, so earnestly, prudently, and speedily resist these tumultuous enterprises of these new fangled fellows and tumultuous people, and seek, by what means you can, the peace of the church, the tranquillity and safety of this realm. I could not in duty but say thus much unto your lordships. Pardon my many words. I have much more needful matter to utter, which I spare, because I would not be tedious unto you. Thus I commend your good lordships to the good direction of God's Holy Spirit. From roy house at Fulham, this oth of August, 1573. Your Lordships at command, E. LONDON"*
Queen Elizabeth's despotic rule disallowed the liberty of the press, though the birthright of rational man; and her servants, the bishops, had the sovereign direction what books should and what should not be printed. The people could not yield their souls to this despotism, but issued the fruits of their mental exertions from private presses, without prelatical sanction or control, which gave great offence to the right reverend fathers. Bishop Sandys, as he informed Lord Burghley, was successfully employed in discovering a printing press in the country, and in apprehending the printers, whom he denominates a "confederacy,” and who had reprinted Mr. Cartwright's work against Whitgift, the impression consisting of a thousand copies. He very uncourteously styles these printers “ stubborn and malicious men, contemning all authority," then solicits to be invested with additional powers, with a view to punish these victims of his episcopal displeasure. He assures his lordship, that when favoured with sufficient authority, he should prosecute them, otherwise, said be, “ it will not be well done !"+ The venerable prelate was of opinion, that the punishment of the confederated printers would not be ** well done,” unless he was the doer of it; but, surely, it would have been equally honourable to the character of a christian bishop if, instead of apprehensions and prosecutions, he had been assidnously employed in promoting the spiritual welfare of his diocese, or of any one congregation.
The bishop having engaged in catching printers and seizing printing presses, had the satisfaction of being eminently successful; and by his zealous episcopal efforts, other printers were apprehended and arraigned before the high commission, some of whom, though men of high respectability, were, by this prelate, committed to New.
gate.* Bishop Sandys was not satisfied with proceedings of ertreme severity against scrupulous nonconformists, but with fervent zeal he excited the co-operation of his episcopal brethren.f While actively employed in these compulsory proceedings, and craving additional powers of commanding and punishing his victims, he sent the following letter to Lord Burghley :
" My singular good Lord,- Although I perceive by your letters that you stand satisfied by my reason of my answer to the untrue calumniation against me objected; yet my trust is, that in bonour you will so much respect my answer as to call the party to trial, that his impudence and my innocency may fully appear. I may not put up with this wrong, but clear myself of it for my office sake, and burden the latter with this impudent untruth. I lament, with your lordship, from the bottom of my heart, that such as should be feeders of the flock only feed themselves, and turn teaching into commanding. Such I wish to be removed, and more faithful pastors placed in their rooms. The unworthy sinister is to be touched, but not the worthy office to be taken away. The convocation of the clergy to convict or reject these new masters is well minded by your lordship. It is the thing that I have sundry times remembered, and oftentimes desired, for otherwise the people can hardly be satisfied. I humbly pray your lordship to be a means unto her majesty, that a national council may be called, wherein these matters now in question may be thoroughly debated and concluded on, and by ber Majesty confirmed, which may most tend to the true serving of God, and to the good ordering of this church of England. If your lordship travail herein, you shall travail in God's cause, and for the quiet of his church; and the sooner the better; for it is time to cut off these troublers. I have earnestly moved the Archbishop of Canterbury in this matter. We here look for some order from you, touching these disordered men. Thus I humbly take my leave of your lordship, commending the same to the good direction of God's
Holy Spirit. From London, this September 9, 1573. Your lord. ships at command, E. London." I
The recommendation of a “ national council" proved an entire failure, and the prelate was disappointed in wishing to establish a new ecclesiastical tribunal. His multiplied severities, and a desire for an accumulation of power, diminished his reputation; yet he assumed, at least in one instance, no ordinary degree of moderation, and in one of his letters to Lord Burghley, he strenuously recommended the adoption of lenient measures, concluding “ that a soft plaster was better than a sharp corrosive."$ The venerable prelate soon after addressed another epistle to Lord Burghley, containing the following statements :
“I humbly pray your lordship to give hear and credit to the bringer hereof, a man of good integrity, and unsuspected of the clamourous world, to be sent from me. All my doings are so
searched out, sifted, and misconstrued, that I thought it not convenient to send one of mine own family, but chose this my trusty friend. What I crave of your lordship he will declare unto you. My suit seemeth to be so reasonable, that I trust your lordship will easily grant it. For I only seek that my ministry may be profitable to the church of Christ. I would continue no longer than I may do good. If you think my service necessary, then I trust you will be a means to preserve my credit with the people, which is already too much injured, not by my desert, but through the slanderous speeches of the evil-minded. I renew but my old and often suit, as well to her Majesty as to your lordship and others. The matter is merely temporal, fittest for temporal men to deal in. It is.not convenient that men of my calling deal with matters of conscience, and to send men to the Tower and torture. As your lordship well remembered in your last letter to me, we should rather be feeders than punishers. If the printer of that seditious book is most justly to be corrected, if the aiders and maintainers of him are to be punished, verily the defenders of the errors contained therein are not worthy to find favour. But I will stay my pen, and humbly pray your lordship to hear the messenger. Thus commending my cause to your honourable consideration, and your lordship to the good direction of God's Holy Spirit, I humbly take my leave. From my house at Fulham, this September 19, 1573. Your lordship’s at command, E. LONDON."*
Notwithstanding the prelate's avowed lenity, and the inconvenience of dealing in matters of " conscience” and of “ torture," yet he pressed forwards in the unhallowed work of silencing and imprisoning the ministers of Christ. He stopped the mouth of Mr. Robert Johnson, minister of Clement's Church, London, and committed him close prisoner in the Gatehouse, where he fell sick, and his life was in danger, from the severity of his imprisonment. Mr. Johnson, under this heavy affliction, addressed a heart-stirring letter to the bishop, styling him “ superintendent of popish corruptions in the diocese of London.” The privy council, moved with the deepest sympathy, addressed two letters to the bishop, signifying that Mr. Johnson, committed to the Gatehouse for nonconformity, was very sick, and likely to die, unless he might enjoy the benefit of open air; they, therefore, even commanded his lordship to give instructions for the poor afflicted man to be bailed, and on obtaining sureties, to be removed to his own house, but not to depart thence without further order.f All these efforts, however, were unavailing. The restless unfeeling prelate remained inflexible. Mr. Johnson found neither lenity, nor charity, nor any other favour; but he continued in the Gatehouse, where he languished and died under the severity of the prison !
Bishop Sandys, being made Archbishop of York, carried that persecuting spirit into the north which he had so prominently ex
hibited in the south. One of his first acts, after his promotion, was the visitation of the cathedral of Durham, the design of which was the deprivation of Mr. William Whittingham, the puritan dean, who had obtained a distinguished reputation, and where he was a faithful preacher many years; but, in the reign of Mary, he had been ordained by the English church at Geneva, of which he had written testimonials. The dean denied and resisted the Archbishop's power of visitation, for which he is highly commended, even by Anthony Wood ;* but the archbishop immediately excommunicated him. Mr. Whittingham then appealed to the Queen, and her Majesty directed a commission, consisting of Archbishop Sandys, Dr. Hutton, Dean of York, and the Earl of Huntingdon, Lord President of the North, to consider the validity of Mr. Whittingham's ordination; but this proved an entire failure. Dr. Hutton, being of Mr. Whittingham's principles, declared “ that Mr. Whittingham was ordained in a better sort than the archbishop.” And the Earl of Huntingdon, a distinguished christian patriot, addressed the following letter to the Lord Treasurer Burghley, containing a brief account of these proceedings:
" I know right well, that before these letters come to your hands, you shall have understanding, that my lord of York and I, with the rest of the commissioners, have been at Durham to visit the church, according to her Majesty's commission directed unto us. At Auckland, the same night we came from Durham, letters of certificate were sent unto my lords of the council, and were, by post, next morning despatched; but because those letters contain nothing but a general report of our doings, I will be bold to let your lordship know what I have considered with myself of the matter in hand, which, as hitherto I have seen by our dealing in it is, methinks, of more weight than some of us take it to be, and of our manner of proceeding therein, in my judgment, we had need to be better advised than I doubt we shall be, except we be from higher autbority admonished. Therefore, that your lordship might understand, so much as I know and do conceive hereof, I am bold to trouble you with; for the matter which I mean especially to open unto your lordship is this :
" When we came into the Chapter-house, after the reading of letters warranting our commission, and all cereinopies past, which I perceive to be usual in such cases, it was manifest to all present, that, for this time, the purpose was to deal with the dean only, and with the rest at another time. Against the dean, there were articles ready drawn thirty-five, and interrogatories forty-nine, in the hands of the promoter, to be put into the court; with which, as was there affirmed, none of the commissioners ever were before acquainted. We all thought it not unfit, first to deal with the dean, because he was the principal man; and then, as occasion served, to deal with the rest of the prebendaries; but first to begin our inquiry of all disorders in the church, as some thought to be most meet, which was acceded to by all, and some proceeded to the spending of
more time than, I think, was intended; and yet we put down no more then, but only made an inquiry, and have adjourned the meeting till the second of this instant.
“ Against the dean this matter was first argued, and most specially urged; which is, that he was not made minister according to the laws of this realm, but is a mere layman, and so to be deprived. How, in other matters alleged against him, there may fall out some cause of deprivation, I know not; but, if it be the mark, as it is indeed, that the voice of all is true, I wish it should be settled some other way, rather than by once touching this, which concerneth his ministry; whereunto, as he said, he was able to prove his vocation to be such and the same that all other ministers in general use to have. Your lordship can judge what flame this spark is likely to kindle ; for it cannot but be evil taken of all the godly learned both at home and in all the reformed churches abroad, that we should allow of the popish massing priest in our ministry, and disallow a minister made in a church reformed. Truly the earnest urging of it in the conference that we already have had, maketh me greatly to doubt, that, at the next time, we commissioners shall much differ in opinion of this matter, as already there hath been great difference grown between my lord archbishop and the Dean of York upon this case. And for myself, I must confess to your lordship plainly, that I think in conscience, I may not agree to the sentence of deprivation for this cause only. Many causes that I could rehearse, and do conceive to be worthy of consideration, but especially that which I have noted, which is, indeed, the check of all. I could wish that we might be admonished before the next court day, that we should proceed in other matters concerning the good government of the house, and such like causes, whereof there is store; and the case of deprivation, especially for this cause of his ministry to stay, and to deal fuller another term; when, with better advice that may be procured, and which may easily be done ; for our commission is limited to no certain time, but hath continuance till her Majesty shall please to revoke it.
"Thus am I bold to offer to your lordship what I conceive summarily of this matter; wherein as I stand, and my conscience to God, my duty to her Majesty, and the desire I have that peace may be kept in our own church at home, and all contention avoided with others, which for profession of the gospel do best like these things, I say do move me to consider of the matter, and no particular affection to the party, or other private respects, as God is my witness; and herein I humbly pray you to believe me. Thus leaving the whole to your grave consideration, I take my leave, and commit your lordship to your heavenly Father. November 3, 1578. Your lordship's most assured, H. HUNTINGDON."*
Archbishop Sandys, however, was not to be defeated in this way. He still maintained his archiepiscopal warfare against Mr. Whittingham, which he carried on till death interposed, and rescued the
* Lansdowne's MSS. Vol. xxvii. No. 6.