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Ecclesiastical history of England : from the opening of the long parliament to the death of Oliver Cromwell (Volume 4) online

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Cfje CburcJ) of tfje Eestoration,












Popish Plot
Titus Gates
Coleman ..

Act for Excluding Roman
Catholics lo


FallofDanby 12

New ParHament 13

The Duke of York and the

Bishops 14

Archbishop Bancroft 17

Dangerfield's Plot 21

Exclusion BiU 23


Stillingfleet 26

Howe andTiUotson 27

Scheme of Comprehension 29

Toleration Bill 30

Oxford Parliament 31

Exclusion Bill 32

King's Declaration 35


Duke of Buckingham and Howe 40

M en in Power — Halifax 41

Rochester 43

Conway and Jenkins 43

Trial of Colledge 45

Fall of Shaftesbury 49

Persecution of Nonconformists. 50

Vincent 54

Annesley and Bates 57




Duke of Monmouth 60

Royal Despotism 63

Rye House Plot 64

Lord Russell 65

Death of Owen 7°

Persecution of Nonconformists —

Heywood 7^

Rosewell 7*

Delaune 73

Bampfield 75


French Protestants 76

Cabinet Meetings 82

WnUam Jenkyn 84

Charles' Court 85

Scenes at Whitehall 86

Death of Charles II 87


James II 89

Alterations in the Ministry 92

Trial of Baxter 95

Monmouth's Rebellion 97

Alicia Lisle 98

Elizabeth Gaunt 99

Persecution of Nonconformists. 100


Changes in the Cabinet 104

Court Intrigues 105

James' PoUcy 106

Declaration of Indulgence 118

Penn 125

Kiffin 127


The Papal Nuncio 129]

Promotion of Romanists 131

Proceedings at the Univerfiities 132
New Declaration 139

The Seven Bishops 140

Prosecution 149

Trial 153

Acquittal 155


Development of Nonconformity 159

Presbyterians 159

Form of Church Government... 160

Independents 164

Confession of Faith 166

Baptists 171

Confession of Faith 172

Quakers 177

Form of Church Government... 178



Cathedrals i8o

Churches 182

Worship 185

Ecclesiastical Revenues 190

Ecclesiastical Courts 198

Nonconformist Places ofWorship 205
Relative number of Conformists

and Nonconformists 207

Contrasts in Preaching 209

Superstition 213


Family Life amongst Noncon-
formists 217

Family Life amongst Episcopa-
lians 228

Observance of the Sabbath 234

Festivals 237

Recreations 238

Charities 243

Missions 247

Universities 250


Theology 259

Anglicans —

Thorudike 268

Bull 279

Heylyn 287

Taylor 289

Cosin 299

Morley 302

Bramhall 303


Anglicans —

Sanderson 305

Hammond 306

Pearson 308

Barrow 311

Opinions respecting Popery ... 316

Opinions respecting Unepis-

copal Churches 318

The Prayer Book 323

Hooker's Works 324

Anglican Sermon Writers 328

Critics 331


Liberal Orthodox —

Chilllingworth 334

Smith 336

Hales 338

Farindon 339

Wilkins 348

Cudworth 349

Stillingfleet 352

Critics — Lightfoot 353

Patrick 354

Fowler 344 Science 355


Latitudinarians 359

Milton 363

Biddle 365

Scargill 368




Quakers — Penn 369

Barclay 377

Other Mystics — Saltmarsh 380

Sterry 382

SirHenryVane 385


Puritan "Works on Evidences... 386

Gale 387

Howe 389

Owen 390

Puritan Works — Baxter 392

Puritan Theology 394.

Thomas Goodwin 397

Owen 401


John Goodwin 406

Home 409

Conyers— Lawson 410

Fur PrcBdestinatus 412


Baxter 414

Howe 421

Puritan Views on Sacraments
and the IVIinistry 430

Controversy with Papists 435

Ecclesiastical Controversy 437

Practical Theology 442

Expositors 446



451 I Hymnology



Illustrations of Religious Cha-
racter —

Isaak Walton ^.gg

John Evelyn ^71

Margaret Godolpliin 475

Sir Matthew Hale 478

Dr. Henry More 482

Sir Thomas Browne 485

Countess of Warwick 48 8


Illustrations of Religious Cha-
racter — {Continued) —

John Bumyeat 492

Joseph Alleine 494

Thomas Ewins 497

Owen Stockton 500

Dr. Thomas Jacomb 504

Sir Harbottle Gilmston 505

Unity of Spiritual Life 506




I. Letter referring to Pro-
jected Insurrection. ... 509
II. Prayer Book attached to

the Act of Uniformity .513

III. Alterations in Prayer

Book in compliance
with the Recommenda-
tion of the Puritans ... 521

IV. Act of Uniformity 522

V. Sealed Books 536

VI. Number of tlie Ejected 538
VII. Informer's Note Book... 541
VIII. Accuracy of Anecdote

respecting Peter Ince... 544

IX. Cecil, Lord Burleigh ... 545
X. MS. respecting the Death

of Charles II 546

XI. Story about Samuel

Wesley 548

XII. Anglican Views on the
Relations of Church
and State 549

XIII. MS. Joui-nal of Parlia-

mentary Proceedings,
by Lloyd, Bishop of
Norwich 550

XIV. Extract from MS. Vol. in

the Bodleian Library re-
specting Jolin Bunyan 555

.X xi o-ii'iii.


WE resume the thread of our History, and return to
notice the progress of the anti-Popish excitement.
Perhaps, in the history of the civiHzed world, there
never occurred a period when the passions of men were
more deeply moved, than in the autumn of the year 1678,
when England was startled from side to side by the
following extraordinary story. The Jesuits had formed a
project for the conversion of Grreat Britain to the Koman
Catholic faith ; and ^^ 10,000 had been procured to assist
in carrjdng out their plans. With this project was blended
a conspiracy to assassinate the King, who was to be
poisoned by the Queen's physician ; failing which, he
was to be shot with bullets ; and, if that did not succeed,
he was to be stabbed with a large knife. With a feeble
attempt at wit it was said, if he would not become R.C.,
a Roman Catholic, he should be no longer C.R., Charles
Rex. Twenty thousand Catholics in London were to rise
within twenty-four hours, and cut the throats of the
Protestant inhabitants ; eight thousand were to take up
arms in Scotland ; and, of course, in Ireland the pro-
fessors of the ancient religion, possessed of enormous
influence, meant to have it all their own way. The
Crown was to be offered to the Duke of York, upon
certain conditions; and if James refused, then, it was
^S 6


elegantly said, *' to pot he must go also." Amongst
other means certam Jesuits were instructed to " carry
themselves like Nonconformist ministers, and to preach
to the disaffected Scots, the necessity of taking up the
sword for the defence of liberty of conscience." Sedi-
tious preachers and catechists were to be sent out, and
directed when and what to preach in private and public
conventicles, and field meetings. The Society in London
intended to knock on the head Dr. Stillingfleet and
Matthew Pool, for writing against them ; and Croft,
Bishop of Hereford, was doomed to death as an apostate.
A second conflagration in the City of London formed an
element in this scheme of wholesale destruction ; and, in
anticipation of the success of the design, the Pope had
prepared a list of the priests to succeed the Bishops and
other dignitaries, who were to be so speedily swept away.
The author of this intelligence was the notorious Titus
Gates, who professed to have picked it up at St. Omer's, at
Valladolid, at Burgos, and at a tavern in the Strand,
where, owing to his pretended conversion and zeal in the
Catholic service, the Jesuits had entrusted him with their
deepest secrets.

The first communication of the story staggered every-
body. The King did not know what to make of it.
Danby, though inclined to use anything he could for party
purposes, hardly credited this amazing revelation. Yet,
incredible as it may appear, no means seem to have
been used at the outset to sift the matter to the bottom.^
Therefore the tale came to be looked at as credible, and,

' Burnet, Eapin, Hume, and Lin- Popish Party cujainst the Life of

gard, give numerous particulars, but His Majesty, the Government, and

the account I have presented is the Protestant Beliyion, by Titus

drawn from A True Narrative of the Gates liimself, published 1679.

Horrid Plot and Conspiracy of the In the Dedication there is a sen-

C'nap. L] POPISH PLOT. f]

when Gates, on Michaelmas Eve, came before the Council,
and began his unprecedented story, he found ready hsten-
ers. The items which he specified, with names and
dates minutely mentioned, certainly wore a plausible
appearance ; and, presently, two circumstances occurred,
which, at the time, obtained for his reports all but
universal credence.

The first of these circumstances was the sudden death
of a magistrate. Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, to whom
Gates had made some of his statements before divulging
the whole to the Council. This magistrate was found
dead in a ditch near Primrose Hill, with a sword plunged
in his body, and marks of strangulation on his neck. A
cry instantly rose, and ran through London and the
country, that Sir Edmondbury, who w^as famed for his
Protestant zeal, had been murdered by the Papists on
account of his receiving Gates' deposition. The plot, it
was argued, must be real, or such a deed would not have
been committed by the Koman Catholics. What could
the object of the murder be, but to take revenge on the
exposers of the conspiracy ? The next circumstance
which aided the prevalent belief is found in the discovery
of certain letters, in the handwriting of one Coleman,
addressed to Pere la Cliaise — the famous Jesuit, who has
given his name to the Cemetery at Paris — in wdiicli

liraent expressed worthy of a better " the horrid Popish plot," by Capt.

man. "It is a false suggestion," W. Bedloe, 1679; another by Miles

says Gates, "which such tempters Prance, 1679; and a collection of

use, that a King that rules by will is letters relating to it published by

more great and glorious than a orderoftheHouseof Commons, 168 1.

King that rules by law : — the quality Gates' narrative, which, though dated

of the retinue best proves the state the 27th of September, 1678, was not

of the lord ; the one being but a published until the following April,

Idng of slaves, while the other, like contains a digested statement, in

God, is a king of kings and hearts." eighty-one items, of all the parti-

I have before me a narrative of culars which he had alleged.

b 2


letters, unmistakable allusions occur to designs for over-
throwing Protestantism in this country ; and Coleman's
plans were at once identified with the plot related by
Titus Oates.^

Believed by Parliament, not only by the Country party,
but by the Court party as well, believed also by the
Ministers of State, and by the dignitaries of the Church,
the plot came to be regarded by almost everybody as
an unquestionable fact. The higher circles would not
tolerate any doubt of Gates' veracity ; even Burnet,
with all his Protestantism, inasmuch as he hesitated
to accept Gates' evidence, raised against himself "a
great clamour:" and the Earl of Shaftesbury, who
threw himself with all his energy and eloquence into the
prosecution, declared "that all those who undermined
the credit of the witnesses were to be looked on as public
enemies. "2 In the lower circles a conviction of the
truthfulness of the accuser, and of the guilt of the
accused, prevailed to the last degree ; and the narrative
related to the Council and the House of Commons, cir-
culated amongst eager and credulous groups, in thousands
of chimney corners during those autumn evenings. The
King and the Duke of York seemed not to believe what
other people admitted. Yet the former felt obliged to
act as if he did. The reader who remembers the agita-
tion attending the Popish aggression more than twenty
years ago, must not take even that as a measure of the
feeling awakened in 1678 : perhaps nothing we have
ever seen could be a parallel to what our fathers expe-
rienced at that time. Even the heavens were imamned

' The letters are published in the collection just named. Some are in
Bapin, iii. 171.

'■' History of his Own Time, i. 434.

Chap. I.] POPISH PLOT. 5

to sympathize in the abounding alarm : a fog, after
Godfrey's death, gave to the day on which it occurred the
name of Black Sunday ; and a respectable Noncon-
formist speaks of it growing so dark, all on a sudden,
about eleven in the forenoon, that ministers could not
read their notes in their pulpits without the help of
candles, — no uncommon occurrence, one would think, in
the month of November. Not a house, he informs us,
could be found unfurnished with arms, nor did anybody
go to bed without apprehensions of something tragical
which might happen before the next morning.^ People
gave the martyred magistrate — for so they considered
Godfrey — a public funeral, after having for two days
publicly exhibited his wounded remains in his own house.
An immense crowd followed him to the grave, the corpse
being preceded by seventy-two clergymen in their robes ;
and, on its arrival at the church of St. Martin 's-in-the-
Fields, the Incumbent, Dr. Lloyd, afterwards Bishop of St.
Asaph, delivered a sermon in honour of the slain confessor.
A Protestant festival had long been kept on the 17th of
November, Queen Elizabeth's birthday; and this year an
effigy of the Pope with the Devil whispering in his ear — and
models of Godfrey's dead body, and of Romish Bishops
and priests in mitres and copes — were carried through
the streets, to inflame to the highest pitch the prevalent
indignation against the Church of Rome. Daniel Defoe
was then a mere boy, and looked with wonder upon what
passed before him ; and, in after years, told how old
City blunderbusses were burnished anew ; how hats and
feathers, and shoulder belts, and other military gear, came
into fashion again ; how the City train-bands aj^peared
rampant, and how soldiers disturbed meeting-houses, even

' Life of Calamy,! %i.


murdering people, under pretence that they would not
stand at their command.^ Justice, or injustice, showed
itself swift in ai)prehending Roman Catholics. Two
thousand suspected persons are said to have been im-
prisoned, the houses of Roman Catholics were searched
for arms, and it is computed that as many as 30,000
recusants were driven to a distance of ten miles from
Whitehall. Within little more than two months of the
first whisper of the conspiracy, Srayley, a banker, accused
of sharing in it, died on the gallows at Tyburn, and
Coleman perished on the scaffold about a week after-
wards.^ Three more victims followed the next month,
all of them to the last declaring their innocence. Gates
at the same time went about dressed in gown and cassock,
wearing a large hat with a silk band and rose, and
attended by guards to secure him from Popish violence.
Lodgings at Wliitehall were assigned for his use ; he
received a pension of _^ 1,200 per annum, and was wel-
comed at the houses of the rich and great. ^ A large
number of pamphlets containing accounts of the plot
issued from the press, whilst pulpits rung with impas-
sioned declamation against Popery and rebellion.

Amongst papers belonging to the Secretary of State
at that period are memoranda of strange rumours — one
that the progress in rebuilding St. Paul's Cathedral was
suspended, from fear lest it should become a Popish
Church. There is also a note, that the Prince of Orange
should be written to, or that some communication should

' Defoe quoted in Kniyht's Hist. are numerous entries of sums paid

of En gin ml iv. 335. to Gates and others. Curious refer-

'■* Stayley was executed November ences to Gates' character as an im-

26tli, Coleman December 3vd. postor, may be found in Rereshys

'In the Moneys for Secret Sercices, Memoirs, 239, and North's Lives,

published by the Camden Society, i. 325.

Chap. I.] POPISH PLOT. i

be made to him, through the Ambassador at his Court,
or through Sir W. Temple, to prevent the publication in
Holland of a remonstrance, and of a hellish libel,
*' destructive to the Koyal authority, and the fundamental
laws of the nation." The same Collection includes a
letter to the Bishop of London from some zealous Pro-
testant, proposing an attack on the City of Rome, "on
that side where the Vatican Palace stands, and bringing
away the library."^

Reviewing the whole of this history, I may remark,
that Titus Oates was an utterly worthless character, and
that his statements are not entitled to the smallest belief.
He had been an Anabaptist under Cromwell, had become
an orthodox clergyman at the Restoration, had professed
himself a Catholic on the Continent, had been admitted
to Jesuit colleges, and had then abjured Popery on his
return to England. All this while he conducted himself
in so abominable a manner as repeatedly to incur expul-
sion from the positions in which he was placed. His
tale was as absurd and incredible as his conduct was
infamous; yet, notwithstanding this circumstance, it is
by no means surprising that at the time, the story with
its most improbable details should be believed — for
Englishmen were filled with alarm at the Romanism of
the Royal family, at the manifest signs of revived activity
in tliis island by the Jesuits, at the obvious alliance
between spiritual and political despotism, and at the then
suspected, and to us, well-known intrigues v/hicli were

' State Papers, Dam. Charles II., student will find a bundle of papers

1678, November i, December (with- bearing on the subject under date

out further date), and December 2S. 1678, and further papers on the

It would divert attention from the same subject under 1679, January

main current of this history to go to June,
fully iuto Oates' plot The historical


being carried on to overthrow the Protestantism of this
country, — and they were therefore prepared to be the dupes
of Protestant creduhty. An excitement of many years'
accumulation now existed, and rumours and lies of all sorts
were as sparks sprinkled over heaps of gunpowder. As
we criticize the evidence of the plot, it will not stand for
a single second. Yet, however we may at first smile or
sneer at the matter, on second thoughts, we shall see
that people only did what, probably, we should have done
under the influence of strong Protestant convictions,
sharpened by terrible memories, and goaded by equally
terrible apprehensions. It would be monstrous enough
for us now to behave as did our ancestors, but we must
judge of their character in that emergency by the stan-
dard of their own age, and according to the conditions of
their own circumstances.

Godfrey's death is one of those mysteries permitted by
Providence to baffle our investigation, and to remain
inscrutable secrets to the end of time, stimulating a belief
in the revelations and judgments of eternity. Whichever
hypothesis be adopted — that of murder or that of suicide
— grave exceptions to it may be taken. The supposition
of his having destroj^ed himself may be shown to be
ridiculous, and also no sufficient motive for a Papist to
murder him can be assigned : the argument, that the
drops of melted wax found on the clothes of the dead
man must have been dropped by Papists, because they
are so notorious for using wax candles, is ridiculous
enough ; yet, as in the case of the plot, so in the case of
the death brought into connection with it, we do not
wonder at the prevalent idea. All the circumstances
and antecedents of the time, the whole spirit of the age,
together with the tendencies of human nature, the readi-
ness of men under a pressing excitement to rush to con-

Chap. I.] POPISH PLOT. y

elusions, to interpret suspicious incidents as demonstra-
tions of guilt, must be taken into account as we reflect
upon the common opinion found at that period. Believ-
ing Gates' tale, and knowing both the Protestant zeal of
Godfrey, and the consequences to the Catholics of the
explosion of the plot, zealots of the day consistently
attributed the crime of murder to the same persons to
whom they attributed the crime of treason.^

After all, there w-as a plot, not indeed to murder the
King, but to restore Popery. Coleman's letters render
this a fact beyond all question, when we find him declar-
ing ''We have here a mighty work upon our hands, no
less than the conversion of three kingdoms, and by that
perhaps the subduing of a pestilent heresy, which has
domineered over great part of this northern world a
long time. There never was such hopes of success since
the death of Queen Mary, as now in our days."^ The
designs and intrigues brought to light in this correspon-
dence harmonize with the purpose and spirit of the treaty
between Charles and Louis ; and, therefore, we cannot
■wonder at the reluctance of Charles and his brother to
enter upon an inquiry into the business, since however
false might be the charge of contemplated regicide, they
knew too much, not to be aware that awkward facts

'Lord Keeper North "was of ^ Rapin, iii. 172. Evelyn says,
opinion that the fiction of the Popish " For my part I look on Gates as a
Plot did not arise from the accident vain insolent man. puffed np with the
of Tongue's and Gates' informations, favour of the Commons, for having
but from a preconcerted design." discovered something really true,
The reasons are given in a MS. of more especially as detecting the dan-
North's, printed in Dalnjmples gerous intrigue of Coleman, proved
Memoirs, ii. app. 320. That the out of his own letters, and of a
plot was invented by Shaftesbury general design which the Jesuited
there seems no sufficient ground for party of the Papists ever had and
believing. See CamiihelVs Lives of still have, to ruin the Church of
Lord Chancellors, iv. 197. England." — Diary, ii. 1^0.


respecting French, Papal, and Jesuit schemes could be
brought into broad daylight, by searching to the bottom of
this business. And it is not unlikely that Gates might
have heard at St. Omer's, and at other places, things
uttered by some disciples of Ignatius Loyola, indicating
dark designs upon English religion and upon English
liberty, which he exaggerated immensely, and dressed up
in the most frightful colours for purposes of his own.

Leaving this plot with its mysteries, falsehoods, and
alarms, and turning once more to the proceedings of
Parliament, we find that the sixteenth session opened on
the 2ist of October, just at the crisis when the storm
raised by Gates had reached its height. The King's
speech touched lightly on the subject. Lord Chancellor
Finch noticed it with guarded phraseology, but the House
of Commons at once resolved upon an address for remov-
ing Popish recusants from the Metropolis, and having
appointed a Committee to inquire into Godfrey's murder,
they also agreed with the Lords to request His Majesty
to proclaim a national fast.

Li 1673 an Act had been passed excluding Roman
Catholics from all places of profit and trust ; now a Bill
was introduced to exclude them from Parliament and
from the Councils of the Sovereign.^ By help of the
existing panic, the Bill made its way with ease; and what
is remarkable, in this measure the obligation to receive
the sacrament is not mentioned — an omission doubtless
intended for the benefit of Dissenters, whose sympathy
and assistance were just then valued by persons who had

' Commons' Journals, October z8. were legally capable of sitting in the

"The Oath of Supremacy was al- Lower House before the Act of 1679"

ready taken by the Commons, though (1678;. — Hallam's Const. Hist., ii.

not by the Lords ; and it is a great 121.
mistake to imagine that Catholics

Chap. I.] PARLIAMENT. 11

been accustomed before to treat them with violence — but
a strong declaration to the effect that Romish worship
is idolatrous was imposed, together with the Oaths of
Allegiance and Supremacy. When this Bill reached the
House of Lords, Gunning, Bishop of Ely, objected to the
description and treatment of Romish worship as idola-
trous ; yet his arguments on this point being met by
Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, Gunning — although he said

Online LibraryJohn StoughtonEcclesiastical history of England : from the opening of the long parliament to the death of Oliver Cromwell (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 46)