Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tious, that nothing would please them which came from their superiors." If all the acts of their superiors were like the forcing Mr. Newman upon them, their resistance was highly meritorious, and reflects great credit upon their disinterestedness and courage.

The next year was remarkable for two events closely connected with the future life of the Archbishop, the arrival of Lord Strafford in Ireland, and the appointment of Bishop Laud to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. The first request of Bishop Laud to the Lord Deputy respecting the Church, was to assist the Primate in his efforts to recover the impropriations for the Church: "Ik humbly pray your Lordship, that in the great cause of the impropriations which are yet remaining in his Majestys gift and which he is most graciously willing to give back to God and his service, you will do whatsoever may justly be done for the honour and service of our two great masters, God and the King, that you would countenance and assist the Lord Primate of Armagh in all things belonging to this great service: and particularly for the procuring of a true and just valuation of them, that the King may know what he gives the Church. I pray, my Lord, be hearty in this, for I shall think myself very happy, if God be pleased to spare my life to see this business ended."-" I further pray your Lordship to take notice by the Lord Primate of Armagh, of the readiness of the Lord Chief Justice' of Ireland to set forward the maintenance of the ministers in that kingdom, and to encourage him to advance the same. As also to move the Lord Chief Justice for his opinion, what legal course he shall think fittest may be held for the present means of Curates out of the impropriationsm in Ireland; which I am credibly in

* Strafford's Letters, vol. i. pag. 82.

Sir George Shurley, Knt.

The first person who appears to have considered the state of the impropriations was Lord Chancellor Weston. He drew out a plan for restoring them to their proper use, which he intended to have presented to Queen Elizabeth, but death prevented him, and the manuscript was lost. In the year 1620 Dr. Ryves dedicated to King James a work called “The poore Vicars Plea," in which he proves clearly, that by the ecclesiastical laws which were in force at the time of the dissolution of abbeys in the reign

formed his Lordship is very able and willing to give." The exertions of the Archbishop in the case of Sir John Bathe have already been mentioned, and he procured "a grant" of a patent from his Majesty to be passed in his own name, although for the use of the Church, of such impropriations belonging to the Crown as were then leased out, as soon as they should fall; which though it did not succeed, being too much neglected by those who were concerned more immediately, yet it sufficiently shews my Lord's pious intentions in this matter." The Presbyterian writers are most anxious to show that the affairs of the Irish Church were carried on by Lord Strafford and Bishop Laud, in direct opposition to the wishes of Archbishop Ussher. It is only necessary, however, to read the letters which passed between these distinguished individuals, in order to ascertain that the utmost cordiality existed between them. Strafford and Bishop Laud certainly expressed their regret that firmness of character was not to be found in Archbishop Ussher, but in one of his earliest letters Lord Strafford says: "To° my Lord Primate (as I take it) I have given so good satisfaction, as his Lordship is well informed in his Majesty's purposes and ways concerning matters of religion, and tells me, it is shame for them when Ezekias and Josias call upon them for the performance of these duties." And the Primate, in a letter to Archbishop Laud, says: "Upon the arrival of the Lord Deputy, I found him very honorably affected toward me and very ready to further me, as in other things that concerned the Church, so particularly in that which did concern the settlement of the lands belonging to the archbishoprick of Armagh."

Lord

The Primate, taking advantage of the favorable disposi

of Henry VIII., the bishops had full power, within their several dioceses, to allot so much of the tithes as would serve for the maintenance of a minister, and that the same laws stand in full force, uncontrolled by any Statute of either kingdom. However impropriations still remain; in some parishes there is no allowance whatever for the vicar, in many others an allowance of £5.

n Parr's Life, pag. 41.

• Strafford's Letters, vol. i. pag. 173.

P Letter 184, Works, vol. xv. pag. 572.

tion which the Lord Deputy had evinced towards him, obtained a commission for inquiring into the lands belonging to the see, and "took his journey (though in an unseasonable time of the year) into the northern parts of the kingdom." Such is the mode in which he describes proceeding from Dublin to Armagh in the month of September. He took advantage of his residence at Armagh to solemnize the translation of the Bishop of Raphoe', and to consecrate the Bishop of Ardaghs in the cathedral church of Armagh, "where no such act had been performed within the memory of any man living." These circumstances the Primate states, in a letter to Archbishop Laud, as an excuse for not sooner congratulating him on his promotion, which he does with all the warmth of a sincere friend and admirer. The high opinion which he entertained of Archbishop Laud induced him to exert all the interest he possessed, to have him appointed to the Chancellorship of the University of Dublin, vacant by the death of Archbishop Abbot. He says: "I advised them to pitch upon none other but yourself, which they did with all readiness and alacrity." Archbishop Laud did not wish to hold the office, and wrote to Lord Strafford: "Ast for the College I am very sorry they have chosen me Chancellor, and if they will follow the directions I have given them by my Lord Primate, I hope they will send me a resignation, that I may give it over

John Lesley, Bishop of the Isles, was translated to Raphoe in the year 1633. This distinguished prelate evinced his loyalty to his Sovereign in the most remarkable manner. His castle at Raphoe was the last which held out against Oliver Cromwell. Nor was his zeal for the Church less distinguished. He exercised his pastoral functions during the Commonwealth, and, though prosecuted by the ruling powers, persevered in holding occasional confirmations and ordinations in Dublin. He lived to see the Restoration, and such was his anxiety to welcome his monarch, that, though very far advanced in years, he rode from Chester to London in twenty-four hours. He was in 1661 translated to Clogher, and when he died in 1671, was said to be the oldest bishop in the world, having been consecrated fifty years before. This prelate was father of the celebrated Charles Lesley.

John Richardson was consecrated Bishop of Ardagh on the resignation of Bishop Bedell.

Strafford's Letters, vol. i. pag. 213.

and your Lordship be chosen, being upon the place and able to do them much good." Archbishop Ussher wrote a second letter" to Archbishop Laud, urging upon him the necessity of his taking the office of Chancellor, in order to preserve the College, and gives a lamentable account of the disorders then prevalent. He speaks of the factious spirit of the Fellows, and states that nothing will restore order except the removal of the Provost, "who is of too soft and gentle a disposition to rule so heady a company," and the enactment of new Statutes', which would confer increased powers upon the Provost. It must have been very painful to the Archbishop to advise the removal of Provost Ussher, as he was not only his relative, but had been recommended expressly by himself for the situation. Both the recommendations of Archbishop Ussher were carried into effect. Some years elapsed before the new Statutes were given to Trinity

"This and the former letter are dated in Dr. Parr's collection 1632, but this is evidently a mistake. I have changed their place, and placed them between those of August and December, 1633, as Lord Strafford landed in Dublin on the 25th of July, 1633, and Archbishop Laud was translated to Canterbury in the following September.

Dr. Reid, in his History of the Presbyterians, vol. i. pag. 167, has represented the removal of Provost Ussher, and the enactment of new Statutes for Trinity College, as a deliberate plan arranged between Archbishop Laud and Lord Strafford, for the purpose of establishing Arminianism in Ireland. He says, in allusion to Lord Strafford's complaints of the state of the College: "This disorderliness, it is more than probable, consisted solely in the leaven of puritanism which had existed in this seminary from its foundation." The Provost "was related to the Primate and entertained the same sentiments with his predecessors and his illustrious kinsman on the doctrinal points on which the Church was divided. The College thus governed had of course exercised considerable influence in forming the minds of the Irish clergy and rendering them averse to the innovations of Laud. Until this influence should be entrusted to other hands it was evidently impossible to effect any extensive or permanent alteration of the national faith. A change, therefore, both in the Provost and the Statutes, became necessarily a part of Wentworth's plan of reformation." Now this gross misstatement was not the result of ignorance. Dr. Reid had before him the documents which proved every insinuation false. Archbishop Ussher's statement of "the disorderli ness" of the College is much stronger than Lord Strafford's, and he is so convinced of the unfitness of his kinsman, that he recommends the removal of the man whom he had actually himself placed in the Provostship. As

College, but the Provostship was almost immediately vacated, by the removal of Dr. Ussher to the archdeaconry of Meath. He was subsequently promoted to the bishopric of Kildare. The person recommended by Archbishop Laud to Lord Strafford was William Chappell, Dean of Cashel, and the Lord Deputy took effectual means to secure his election. He thus describes them: "I went to the College myself, recommended the Dean to the place, told them I must direct them to chuse the Dean, or else to stay until they should understand his Majesty's pleasure, and in no case to chuse any other. They are all willing, so as on Thursday next he will be Provost, and your Grace shall not need to trouble the King about it." The election of Mr. Chappell was certainly disagreeable to Archbishop Ussher, and, whether by his interference" or not, several months elapsed before the new Provost was sworn into office.

to the Statutes, the defects of the existing Statutes had been pointed out many years before by Archbishop Abbot; see Letter 11, vol. xv. pag. 72. Bishop Bedell drew up a new code of Statutes while he was Provost, which received indeed the consent of the Fellows, but was rendered incomplete by the original charter of Queen Elizabeth. And Archbishop Ussher, in his letter requesting Archbishop Laud to accept the office of Chancellor, when he uses the strong language, "miserere domus labentis," mentions, as the first step to amendment in the College, the revision of the Statutes. Thus unfounded is the charge, that the alteration was a plan to get rid of puritanical Statutes. The new Statutes subsequently drawn up by the Chancellor are modelled upon those arranged by Bishop Bedell, and it would be difficult indeed to discover in the alterations any leaning towards Popery. I have already been obliged to notice the misstatements of Dr. Reid, and regret to say further occasions will hereafter occur. A fair history of Presbyterianism is still a desideratum. Dr. Reid's history must take its place beside Neal's History of the Puritans, and seems deserving of equal credit with its precursor. Dr. Reid states, that "while sectarian bigotry is the offspring of pride and ignorance, true wisdom and genuine piety are ever characterized by candour and charity." It is not very difficult to answer the question, whether his account of the conduct of Strafford and Laud to the University of Dublin, be characterized by candor and charity or by sectarian bigotry.

W

Chappell himself attributed it to Ussher. He has left an account of his own life in Latin verse (published by Hearne, in the fifth vol. of Leland's Collectanea), and in this he plainly intimates the cause:

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »