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at his pleasure. Secondly, I wished that if his Majesty (who is under God our supreme Governor), were pleased to extend the clemency towards his subjects that were recusants, some order notwithstanding might be taken with them, that they should not give us public affronts, and take possession of our churches before our faces. And that it might appear that it was not without cause that I made this motion, I instanced in two particulars that had lately fallen out in mine own diocess: the one certified unto me by Mr. John Ankers, preacher of Athlone, a man well known unto your Lordship, who wrote unto me, that going to read prayers at Kilkenny in Westmeath he found an old priest and about forty with him in the church; who was so bold as to require him (the said Ankers) to depart, until he had done his business.' The other concerning the friars who not content to possess the house of Multifernan alone, whence your Lordship had dislodged them, went about to make collections for the re-edifying of another abbey near Mullingar, for the entertaining of another swarm of locusts. These things I touched only in general, not mentioning any circumstances of persons or places. Thirdly, I did entreat, that whatsoever connivance were used unto others, the laws might be strictly executed against such as revolted from us, that we might at least keep our own, and not suffer them without all fear to fall away from us. Lastly, I made a public protestation, that it was far from my mind to excite the magistrate unto any violent courses against them, as one that naturally did abhor cruel dealings, and wished that effusion of blood might be held rather the badge of the whore of Babylon, than of the Church of God." Such is the account which the Bishop gives of his sermon. It certainly was not received in any friendly spirit. The Roman Catholic priests persuaded their flocks that the preacher had told the Lord Deputy, that "the sword had rested too long in the sheath," and that the arm of persecution should be raised against all recusants. The censure was not confined to the Roman Catholics: the Primate, Hampton, wrote a very severe letter" to the Bishop, and

7 See Works, vol. xv. p. 183.

advised him "to give lenitives of his own accord for all which was conceived overharsh and sharp." He adds a recommendation to leave Dublin, and spend more time in his diocese. The result of all this clamour was, that the Bishop of Meath found it necessary to preach an explanatory sermona to appease the tumult, but further information is not afforded: Cox does not relate where the sermon was preached, or on what occasion, or whether the Lord Deputy was present. Dr. Parr and Dr. Bernard, who must have been acquainted with the whole transaction, preserve a most mysterious silence upon the subject, they never even mention the occurrence, which is the more remarkable as in the collection of letters published by Dr. Parr there is found not only the Bishop's letter to Lord Grandison, but also the Primate's severe reproof.

It appears however that the Government could not have been displeased with the Bishop's sermon, for within two months he was called upon to execute a very delicate and important office in the Privy Council". "Certain officers" had refused to take the oath of supremacy and were summoned before the Privy Council to be censured. On this occasion the Bishop of Meath was appointed to address the recusants: the object of his speech is thus stated by himself: "What the danger of the law is for refusing this oath hath been sufficiently opened by my Lords the Judges ; and the quality and quantity of that offence hath been aggravated to the full by those that have spoken after them. The part which is most proper for me to deal in, is the information of the conscience touching the truth and equity

a Cox's Hist. of Ireland, vol. ii. p. 39.

There is some difficulty in ascertaining the date of his appointment as a Privy Counsellor. In Dr. Parr's collection of letters there is one from Mr. H. Holcroft to the Bishop of Meath dated June 23, 1623, making an apology for not having sooner forwarded his letter of appointment to be a Privy Counsellor. As he certainly was a Privy Connsellor in November 1622, the date of this letter must be a mistake, and I suppose ought to have been June 1622.-See vol. xv. p. 189. King James had in November 1621 issued a King's letter granting to the Bishop a remittal of his First Fruits as a proof of his regard.

The speech is given at length, vol. ii. p. 459.

of the matters contained in the oath." The Bishop stated that there were two branches of the oath which required special consideration. "The one positive, acknowledging the supremacy of the Government of these realms, in all causes whatsoever, to rest in the King's highness only; the other negative, renouncing all jurisdictions and authorities. of any foreign prince or prelate within his Majesty's dominions." Dr. Leland states that the Bishop "enforced the lawfulness of the oath with powerful eloquence." I must differ from this excellent critic; indeed I can only account for his statement upon the supposition that he never read the speech, for there does not appear to me one eloquent passage in the whole argument. I should have said that any appearance of eloquence was studiously avoided, and the speech confined to mere quotations of authorities. However it is said to have produced an effectd. Dr. Parr states "that divers of the offenders being satisfied that they might lawfully take their oaths, did thereby avoid the sentence of præmunire, then ready to be pronounced against them." A copy of the Bishop's speech was sent to the King, who expressed in the most flattering terms his sense of the abi

d The correctness and authority of the interpretation was maintained many years after. In 1662 the Earl of Cassilis refused to take the oath of supremacy unless an explanation were made of the supremacy, as the words of the oath were large: and he stated that when the oath was enacted in England a clear explanation was given in one of the Articles of the Church of England, and more copiously afterwards in a discourse by Archbishop Ussher, published by King James' order.-See Burnet, Hist. of his own Times, vol. i. p. 144.


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• A curious proof is afforded by this speech of the Bishop of Meath that the Irish Articles never were fully sanctioned. He refers for an explanation of his position that the power of the civil sword only is meant by that Government," to the Book of Articles agreed upon in the Convocation holden in London in 1562, and quotes at length the thirty-seventh Article. He then proceeds: If it be here objected that the authority of Convocation is not a sufficient ground for the exposition of that which was enacted in Parliament; I answer that these Articles stand confirmed, not only by the Royal assent of the Prince (for the establishing of whose supremacy the oath was framed) but also by a special Act of Parliament, 13 Eliz. c. 12." Now he might have quoted the very same words from the Irish Articles, and it would have been more suited to his subject to have done so, if he had not been impeded by the want of sanction to the Irish Articles which the English possessed,

lity with which the arguments had been brought forward. His letter was as follows:


"Right Reverend Father in God and Right truly and well beloved Councellor, we greet you well. You have not deceived our expectations, nor the gracious opinion we ever conceived of your abilities in learning, and of your faithfulness to us and our service. Whereof as we have received sundry testimonies both from our precedent Deputies, as likewise from our Right trusty and well beloved Cousin and Counsellor, the Viscount Falkland, our present Deputy of that realm: so have we now of late, in one particular, had a further evidence of your duty and affection well expressed by your late carriage in our Castle Chamber there, at the censure of those disobedient magistrates, who refused to take the oath of supremacy. Wherein your zeal to the maintenance of our just and lawful power, defended with so much learning and reason, deserves our princely and gracious thanks; which we do by this our letter unto you, and so bid you farewell. farewell. Given under our signet at our Court at Whitehall, the eleventh of January 1622. In the twentieth year of our reign of Great Britain, France and Ireland. "To the Right Reverend Father in God and our Right trusty and well beloved Councellor, the Bishop of Meath."

No particulars have been transmitted to us of the manner in which the Bishop of Meath managed his diocese, nor of the measures he adopted to improve the wretched state of his clergy and their churches, which are so fully described in the report made in the first year of his consecration to the Regal visitation. That he made considerable efforts to convert the Roman Catholics by preaching to them has been already mentioned, and that the Roman Catholics took offence at his measures may be collected from a letter of Sir Henry Bourgchier dated April 1622, in which he says, "I hear much murmurings among the Papists

See Letter 1. Works, vol. xv. p. 174.

here, especially those of our country against some new persecutions (you know their phrase) lately raised in Ireland, and particularly against some courses of your Lordship's in the diocese of Meath; as namely in the case of clandestine christenings, &c. beyond all others of your rank." Yet the severe remark in Archbishop Hampton's letter before alluded to confirms what a mere inspection of the dates of his visits to England must have suggested to every one, that his private studies occupied too much of his time. Even before he was Bishop of Meath we may well wonder how he could have discharged the duties of the Professorship of Divinity, when he was two years absent in England, from September 1619 to July 1621. We now find him obtaining a King's letter from James ordering the Lord Deputy and Council to grant him leave of absence for an indefinite time. The letter was as follows:


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Right trusty and well beloved Cousins and Councellors, we greet you well. Whereas we have heretofore in our princely judgment made choice of the Right Reverend Father in God Dr. James Ussher Lord Bishop of Meath, to employ him in collecting the Antiquities of the British Church before and since the Christian faith was received by the English nation. And whereas we are already given to understand, that the said Bishop hath already taken pains in divers things in that kind, which being published might tend to the furtherance of religion and good learning: Our pleasure therefore is, that so soon as the said Bishop hath settled the necessary affairs of his bishoprick there, he should repair into England and to one of the Universities here, to enable himself by the helps to be had there to proceed the better to the finishing of the said work, Requiring you hereby to cause our Licence to be passed unto him the said Lord Bishop of Meath, under our great seal, or otherwise as he shall desire it, and unto you shall be thought fit, for his repairing unto this kingdom for our service, and for his continuance here, so long time as he shall have occasion to stay about the perfecting of those works undertaken

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