H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

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Knollys, and Beale (the Clerk of the Council) attacked Whit-
gift's policy with especial bitterness ; Knollys, thinking the
"superiority claimed for bishops could by no means consist
with the Queen's Sovereignty," demanded that the primate
should " retract his claim of superiority from God's own
ordinance, without which retractation her Majesty's Supremo
Government could neither be salved nor preserved, as he

With the opposition of the Council about to be reflected
with greater force in the Parliament summoned for 1584,
with old friends like Burghley alienated, the libellers in full
cry, the Queen anxious for answers to Puritan objections, and
the great danger from Spain and the Catholic reaction still
hanging over England and seeming to forbid that open
division in English Protestantism which w T as only excused by
the national deliverance of the Armada year, Whitgift offered



Of 1585.



conciliation, and while justifying himself 1<> Kli/abeth, sum-
moned a conference of divines to Lamlieth in the autumn of
15.S4, one of the earliest of a long series of hopeless attempts
at compromise, which at least did something to prepare the
English mind for the necessity of toleration.

The main support of Nonconformity, Whitgift complained
to the Queen, came from the Court: the "greatest number,
the most ancient, and the wisest of the clergy," he declared,
were conformable enough ; the unmanageable were mostly
young and foolish. ' In the Lambeth conference, where dis-
putations were held before Leicester, Gray, Walsingham, and
others, both sides, according to their account, as so often
happened later, were pathetically certain that the ' honourable
personages " were highly satisfied with their arguments, and
that the opponent had been utterly reduced to silence it
only remained for him to abjure.

In the Parliament which met in November, 1584, the
Puritan attack upon Anglicanism found a voice. Some hoped
that this session might see the Book of Discipline substituted
for the Prayer Book. The Commons were first approached
by petitions : then a member, directed by the Council of
Ministers outside, was to bring in a Bill for Reformation of
the Church, at the same time offering for ratification and
statutory approval the Book of the Godly Ministers. 2

Now, still more than in 1586, the temper of the House
was on the whole plainly favourable to the " further reform "
desired by the Puritans, and the progress of the Bill was
only stopped by the veto of the Government ; the main
points of it were urged by the Commons upon the Lords,
who were asked to lay the matter before the Queen. The
Upper House politely evaded the unpleasant duty.

On the other hand, the primate, besides doing his best
as a peer to defeat the consideration of the Commons'
petition, now passed a series of canons through Convocation,
which received the royal assent on March 23, 1585, and
dealt with points insufficiently noticed in the canons of 157(5.

1 Of ten dioceses, there were returned to him the names of S3.") preachers :
of these 786 were conformable, and only 41) not. Many of the latter also
yielded after " admonition." (Strype's Whitgift, App. iii., No. viii.)

2 Strype's Whit-rift, iii., c. 10.

ccnipounduut to jpoyscn the ^ttccne_

fMIijn of Jorthu~. o/ Wcsttn :

Jdabtnjton with his Couipliccs


(/'/'// i'iiiiti:iiii"n'iii'n Engravings l>y C. Do.nckmrts.)



But though planned on the linos of the Enquiry Articles
of 15S3, they dealt mainly with practical abuses: one of the
most u'lariiiiif of all the manner in which the Queen kept

O o

sees vacant and pocketed the revenues, l they could not
touch. Other Puritan Bills brought into the Commons during
this session rather annoyed and frightened the Anglican party
than seriously threatened them.- The Queen took advantage
of the dissolution to delight both parties (each deeply conscious
of the other's imperfections; by some stinging remarks upon
their opponents. " There were some fault-tinders," she began,
"with the Order of the Clergy, which so might make a
slander to herself and the Church, whose over-looker God
had made her, and her negligence thereof could not be
excused if schisms or errors heretical were suffered. Some
faults might grow, as in other great charges it happened-
and what vocation without?" Then, turning upon the Lords
of the Clergy, " If they did not amend," she went on, " she
was minded to depose them : she bade them henceforth look
to their charges. She would not animate Romanism, but
neither would she tolerate newfangledness. She meant to
guide both by God's true rule." 3

On the whole the conservative or Anglican church party
weathered the first storm of the new primacy pretty success-
fully ; and by relaxing the subscription test for all but the
newly instituted or newly ordained, Whitgifr not only gained
some credit for conciliation, but a "great increase of ease and
quietness." In February, 1586, while Leicester, the Puritan
figure-head, was absent in the Low Countries masquerading

1 Five were being 1 thus treated in September. 1.1S4.

2 One of these, aimed at pluralities, was complained of by the clergy in
Convocation as one that " impeacheth the prerogative Royal, impaireth the
resources of the Crown, overthroweth the study of Divinity, depriveth men
of the livings they do lawfully possess, beggareth the clergy, bringeth in a
base unlearned ministry, taketh away all hope of a succession in learning-.''
Cf. Strype. Whitgift. iii. 11.

3 After the prorogation of Parliament. Convocation continued at work,
passing Whitgift's new canons, and ordering systematic study on the part of
the clergy. Weekly and quarterly exercises were to be composed by all
ministers and submitted to the ordinary. (Strype's Whitgift. iii. 12.) The
primate at the same time was resisting successfully a project for the revaluation
of clerical incomes, which he looked on as a plot for forcing more money
from the clergy by raising the value of the tenths and first-fruits paid to
the Crown.




as general of the Netherland insurrection against Philip II.
and Alexander of Parma, the archbishop gained admission to
the Privy Council, and at the same time the lay element in
the same friendly to the Church was strengthened.


(Tower of London.)

The second struggle of Whitgift's government between Tlie
the Church and Puritanism, or rather between Anglicanism Renewed,
and Puritanism within the same Church, opened with the
reassembling of Parliament in October, 15iS(>. It began with

604 '/'///; EXPANSION <H<'


the Supplication presented to tin- ('ominous against the bishops
their neglect of what they ought to have done, their harsh-
ness in insisting upon what i night, not. to be done.

Next, it was moved in the Lower House (February '27,
15S7), that all laws then in force touching the ecclesiastical
settlement might be repealed, and that the Book of Discipline)
might be adopted as the legal settlement of discipline and


(University /./',,///. Cumin-iiiiii'.)

public worship. But the House "was less pliable than in 15S4 :
it, refused to allow the Bill embodying the advice of the
Supplication to be introduced, and the Queen told the
malcontents that their " platform she accounted most pre-
judicial to the Religion established, to her crown, her govern-
ment, and her subjects."

Defeated in the Council and in Parliament, driven from
their position of constitutional resistance, the Puritan Extrcm-



ists now fell back upon the secret nonconformity of the
classis-system (p. 589), upon the evasions or grudging obedience
of earlier times, and upon the literary warfare of scurrilous
pamphleteering, which is known to us by the name of Martin
Marprelate (p. 012), the nom. dc f/nerrc of a number of the
most fanatical of the " nonconformable " ministers, who " for
Sinn's sake could not hold their peace."

But the ungoverned violence 1 of their attacks did not
really advance their cause among the mass of moderate and
sensible men, from whom alone a, great Puritan party could be
built up ; an " undoubted reaction against Puritanism marked
the end of the sixteenth century," 1 as a generation arose
which, except in books of controversy, knew nothing of any
religion which differed from that of the Church of England ;
and with the triumph over the Armada, with the breaking up
of the thunder-clouds which threatened England with the
vengeance of the Catholic reaction, Anglicanism grew less and
less inclined to compromise, took in hand more steadily and
more successfully the repression of at least the more open
and extreme Nonconformity, and began to work out her own
distinctive system.

The Marprelate libels, the sign that the advanced Puritans

1 As Heylin remarks. They could find no other title for the archbishop
than Beelzebub of Canterbury. Pope of Rome, the Canterbury Caiaphas, Esau,
a monstrous antichrist, a most bloody opposer of God's saints, a very anti-
christian beast, most bloody tyrant. The bishops are unlawful, unnatural,
false and bastardly governors of the Church, the ordinances of the devil, petty
popes, petty antichrists, incarnate devils, bishops of the devil, cogging:,
cozening knaves, who will lie like dogs : proud, popish, profane, presump-
tuous, paltry, pestilent, pernicious prelates and usurpers, enemies of God and
the State. The clergy are popish priests, monks, and friars, alehaunters,
drunkards, dolts, hogs. dogs, wolves, foxes, simoniacs. usurpers, proctors of
antichrist, popish chapmen, greedy dogs to fill their paunches, desperate and
forlorn atheists, a cursed uncircumcised murdering generation, a crew of
bloody soul murderers, sacrilegious church robbers, and followers of anti-
christ." Nothing excited the Marprelate controversialists more than the
clerical Parliament in Convocation. ' : Right puissant, poisoned, persecuting,
and terrible priests, masters of the Confocation House, and the holy league of
subscription, the crew of monstrous and ungodly wretches that mingle heaven
and earth together ; horned monsters ;f the Conspiration House, an anti-
christian swinish rabble, enemies of the Gospel, most covetous, wretched,
popish priests : the Confocation House of devils, and of Beelzebub of Canter-
bury, the chief of the devils."

- Gardiner, "History of England. 1 ' i. l.li;.


'/'///; /; \l '. \\-SION OF ENGLAND.




hud been beaten out of the open field, began in 15X-S ; in 1500
(September 1) Cartwright and sixteen others were committed
i'or nonconformity and seditions disturbance; in 15!).'} the
Con 11 nous united cordially in carrying out the Queen's request
"to compel by some sharp means to a more due obedience those
who neglected the service of God." 1 More important still, on
February Oth, J5SO, Bancroft, in a famous sermon, declared
the divine right and office of bishops, rejecting or ignoring all
lower or more political claim, and thus put forth the first clear
manifesto of the new High Church party.

The statute of 1593 threw the burden, though not the
odium, of the repression of Nonconformity upon the common-
law judges and courts ; and by permitting the inflexible to
abjure the country it provided an outlet so effectual that the
last years of Elizabeth were hardly troubled by religious divi-
sion on the surface. Most of the advanced dissentients went
into Holland; some of the Brownists now even thought of
emigrating to Canada, where " they might worship God
according to their conscience and do Her Majesty good service
against the persecuting Spaniards."

The real movement of this time in English religion seemed
to lie in the practical improvement brought about in the
Establishment, in the gradual fixing and elaboration of the
Anglican school and its principles. The unconscious Anglo-
Catholicism of Parker was now passing into a definite form
of creed, which from that time was more and more widely
believed to represent most clearly and most historically the
real position of the Church of England, the real spirit of her

1 Those avoiding church for a mouth together, or attacking the Established
religion in writing, were to be "committed to prison without bail or main-
prize." and. if they did not submit within three months, to be banished ;
if they returned without leave, to die without benefit of clergy (3. r > Eliza-
beth, c. i.).

'- They complained bitterly of the earlier state of things, when they were
neither tolerated nor allowed to emigrate : " Some of us they have kept in close
prison four or five years with miserable usage ; others they have cast into
Newgate and laden with as many irons as they could bear ; others into
dangerous and loathsome gaols among the most facinorous and vile persons,
where it is lamentable to relate how many of those innocents have perished
within these five years, where so many as the infection hath spared lie in
woeful distress : and these have been grievously beaten with cudgels and
cast into Little Ease for refusing to come to their chapel service."




religious compromise, the real mind of the Prayer Book.
Hooker and Bilson, Bancroft and Saravia, Andrewes and
Baro, revolutionised the state of English religion by putting
a living soul, an independent life and meaning, into the

<^rcatj fiucc S3.'f oljii

fc? iris a tooul^'

Boofte of tljat ngtjtu>o?f!}ipfui!

Iiunc/ JDjittcn againft tljc Romanes/ inttjc Dcfciu.c of

t!;c noble elcarjic/ Jjpaotoo?ft5i{^0-ap;icf?f. J:o6ii^jtJ(rcB'

p;rf tiftct. ^;ic(l o? rlbcr. Jwcto; of isulfttic aai 3Drt:tc of

^5antm.lD^criB tljc acgrusncufe of r^jr purtuno arc

ttjffclp wrwcrttcti/ rftatw^ta tfjef rome ro atv

(tocw fft, &acta}>'ti)er nwfl rtertJts

far fometljing ti;af Ijat ^

lirnr fpolim,

Conipiltu fo? tl)c bcftoofc ant) otertlj^ou? of

tlK$atfQi$/:f pcHct^/anO CurraW/t^atljabc Ictut

tfyctt Catccfjifmrs/ant) arc paf? flt^cc: *&p rt?c rctjftcnti
>ti;{i;ic/tiarfi .#ftat})?dte gentleman /an&
bctJicatcb to t\)t Confotation^owfc,

Clje epitome t^ wot pet pubUQjefc/but tt l^al!

t!/r 36ifl)opo ate at comirnicnt Irpfurc to eictc tijc fainc,
^n tljc mranctimf /let t^em Lc content toitlj
t^ic Jracn

>i\\\m o^erfca/m Curopt

longs' of a Bounfuig ^jicft/at ttje coft aD cl^argc^


body of that Church which had lately seemed to be the
mere creature of the State, an automaton directed by the
political power.

Convocation was kept steadily at work during these years :
AVhitgift, as the Lambeth Articles showed, did not understand
the new shape in which the Catholic Reaction had taken root-
in England in the very heart of a Church which he with


of the



most men still supposed to be dogmatically Calvinist : but,
at any rate, he was resolute in perfecting the machinery of
Church government. Like Laud, he wished before all else t<>
see an ordered uniformity, to have a discipline which his con-
servative instincts could recognise as such. So, after ratifying
the Canons of 15S5, and passing the new rules about clerical
study, " order was taken " for regular preaching. Every licensed
preacher was to give twelve sermons every year in the diocese
where his benefice lay, and the archdeacon was to appoint six
or seven to minister " by course " Sunday by Sunday in the

parishes where no licensed
preacher was. The sanction
of Convocation was given
to four books of staunch
Protestant character, and
their public or private use
on certain occasions and
within limits was author-
ised. One would not have
thought a Puritan could
have suspected of Popery
the Church assembly which
recommended Bullinger's
"Decades," Foxe's "Mar-
tyrs," Jewell's " Apology."
and NoAvell's "Catechism."
In 1589 the primate
took some measures against non-residence and pluralities :
but neither he nor Convocation looked upon these abuses as
anything like so serious as the poverty of the clergy, and up
to a certain point were inclined to excuse such irregularities
as necessary for the support of a learned ministry.

The Church Courts now, as before the Reformation, the
Church's own worst enemy were bitterly attacked in the
Parliaments of 1593 and 1597. Their immorality, their cost,
their delays, their numberless abuses, were the theme of
endless tirades; and so serious did the scandal become, that
both in 1597 and in 1601 Whitgift passed canons and rules
through Convocation for the better regulation of these Courts. 1

1 Cardwell, " Synodalia." i. 147-Ki:: : ii. 583.


(Barclay, "Ship of Fools.'')



Still later, in an encyclical of January 7, 1602, the primate
warned the bishops that it was a case of mending or ending
for the spiritual jurisdiction. Prohibitions from the common
law were now constantly issued to stop the procedure in
ecclesiastical cases ; and the hatred and suspicion of Canon
Law, even as reformed and safeguarded, continued to deepen
in the mind of the laity till the storm of the Great Rebellion
swept away the whole sand castle.

Yet, in spite of some very terrible weaknesses, the Church's
growth towards the self-conscious and vigorous Anglicanism of
the seventeenth century was the great religious fact of Eliza-
beth's last years. Into the literary controversies upon dog-
matic points we cannot enter here, more than to notice that as
Bancroft in 1589 denied the whole divine claim of the Presby-
terian Church government and re-asserted the old Catholic
theory of Apostolical succession, 1 so Bilson in his Perpetual
Government of Christ's Church, Bancroft in his Survey of the
Holy Discipline, Saravia in his treatise Or the Various Orders
of Ministers, Barret - and Baro in their Cambridge sermons
on Predestination, and, above all, Hooker (p. 616) in his great
attempt to re-combine politics and religion in a single view as
the medieval theorists of the highest order had combined
them all took their part in founding a new school of religious

But while this movement was progressing under the very
shelter of his action and his policy, Whitgift himself, as he
showed by his Lambeth Articles in 1596, had not in any way

1 In a region where for many years the Episcopalian defence had been
nf a most weak and halting- nature, only objecting, as Whitgift himself
was content to do, to the absolute necessity and indispensableness of the
Geneva discipline.

- It was Barret's attack on the Calvinistic Theology that produced the
Lambeth Articles of lo!)(5 ; among which the ninth is the most representative :
" It is not placed in the will or power of every man to be saved." They set
out with the ordinary Calvinistic axioms, " God from eternity hath pre-
destinated some to life, some He hath reprobated to death," and the "moving "
or efficient cause of predestination to life is ' only the will of the good
pleasure of God." (Strype, Whitgift, iv.. c. xvii.) The Queen disliked the
articles from the first, and through this, through the knowledge that the
Puritans were also attacking Barret from the same dogmatic platform, and
through the persuasions of Andrewes or Overall. Whitgift was brought to
change his attitude. (Ibid., c. xviii.) By Elizabeth's order the articles we*-e
recalled and suppressed.





consciously separated himself from doctrinal Calvinism : he
was a disciplinarian rather than a dogmatist : and though
towards the end of his life he began to realise more clearly
the direction in which the Anglicanism he had fought for
so practically was travelling, lie belonged, like Parker, like
Jewell, like Nowcll, like all the earlier Elizabethans, to the
school of divines who took their religion as the political
sovereign directed. Cartwright was essentially wrong, to his
mind, because he was questioning " what the magistrate
might lawfully ordain."

From the same point of view he resisted the new Puritan
attempts, from 1595, to change the character of the English
Sunday l by " more than either kingly or popely directions lor
the observation of the Lord's Day."

But in English society at large "those 2 to whom comely
forms and decent order Avere attractive qualities gathered
round the institutions which had been established in the
Church under Elizabeth. In the place of her rirst bishops,
who were content to admit these institutions as a matter
of necessity, a body of prelates grew up who were ready to
defend them for their own sake, and who believed that at
least in their main features they were framed in accordance
with the will of God."

w - H - THE period of English History which begins with the defeat


Religion of the Armada and ends with the death of Elizabeth is in

and all our annals the richest in works of undying literature. It

Literature J ....

was the age of the great dramatists : it saw the publication

of Bacon's Essays ; it marked the first fame and the progress
towards maturity of Shakespeare. It would have been im-
possible that this literary awakening should not have been
felt in the sphere where men's hearts are most nearly touched.
The literary genius of the age was expressed to the full in
religion. The difficulties of Whitgift, the rise of a Puritan
party, were reflected not only in ecclesiastical and political
life but in literature. What men thought, that they wrote;

1 Of. Rogers, ''On. the Articles'' (a reply to the Puritan book which be^an
the controversy : " Dr. Bound's Plea for Stricter Observance ").

2 Gardiner, " History of England," i.. l.~>8.




and though the religious interest of the time was far narrower
than the dramatic, it was quite as intense.

The primacy of Whitgift was marked by an union of
sectarianism in all its divergent phases against episcopal
government and fehe historic order of the Church. This
union, since the " prophesyings " were suppressed, found its
easiest outlet in literature. Travers and Cartwright had
already published their " Book of Discipline," and Whitgift
had met it by exacting an enlarged form of subscription.
Cartwright had embodied the spirit of antagonism to prelacy
in a famous prayer " Because the bishops, which ought to be
pillars in the Church, combine themselves against Christ and
His Truth, therefore, Lord, give us grace and power, all, as
one man, to set ourselves against them." It was this spirit
which now displayed itself in a series of popular attacks upon
the episcopate, which for violence of language and grossness of
conception are almost unparalleled in English literature.

The way for such writing had not been unprepared. The Atta p ks
famous work of Foxe, which was in every man's hands, and Epis-
had received something of a sanction from Convocation, " had
not spared direct personal allusions, and had attributed in
many cases the basest motives to those in authority. " Mnch
harm, too, had been done by the incautious language of Bishop
Hooper, and the coarseness of Bishop Bale Since 1570 the
series of Puritan tracts had been increasing, and their violence
had grown with their number. Dr. John Bridges, Dean of
Salisbury, wrote a large quarto in 1587 in answer to many
of them " A Defence of the Government of the Church
of England." In 1588 Udall, a Calvinist minister, wrote
" A Conference on the State of the Church of England,'
published in April, and a " Demonstration of Discipline,' 1
which appeared later in the year. The object of the one
was destructive a denunciation of the system of the English
Church - - that of the other constructive. Its latest editor
(Mr. Edward Arber) has clearly described it. " The intention
of the writer of this ' Demonstration ' was that it should be
a kind of ecclesiastical Euclid of Church management ; and
nowhere else do we get, in so short a space, such a clear
tracing of the precise rift, in matters of public worship and
church order, between the two systems of the episcopacy and



the eldership as they subsisted in Elizabeth's reign. Dr.
Bridges in his 'Defence' describes the Presbyterian govern-

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 51 of 68)