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being this year very busy in Convocation with the passage of the new Canons; in 1605-1606, at all but three out of seventy-nine sittings; in 1606-1607, he sat seventy out of eighty-eight days, and in 1610, was present fifty-three times and absent forty-five times, chiefly because of illness. Such constant attendance in Parliament was remarkable for a man so active in the High Commission, in the Privy Council, and in his diocesan and archiepiscopal duties. He must have suffered a great deal, during these later years of his life, from his old enemies, the ague and the stone; and nothing attests his great physical strength so well as does his continued energy and vigour.

During the spring of 1606, while Parliament was in session and during the summer while it was prorogued, the Puritan ministers continued to write, publish, and preach in a fashion which confirmed the royal and episcopal belief that they still were eager to establish the Discipline; and were now urging the case of the deprived ministers less to reinstate them in their benefices, than to censure the bishops for having deprived them; and to secure from Parliament a distinct affirmation that the ecclesiastical procedure was illegal.

At this juncture, Henry Jacobs published a tract, which had been circulating for some time in manuscript, entitled, A Christian and Modest Offer of a most indifferent conference or Disputation about the maine and princypall controversies betwist the Prelates and the late silenced and deprived ministers. He proposed to argue and defend these propositions: “Everie trew visible Churche of Christ is suche a spiritualle bodie politik as is speciallie institut by Christ or his Apostles in the new Testament. There is no trew visible church of Christ but a particular ordinary congregation onely. Everie trew visible Churche of Christ or ordinarie assemblie of the faithfull hath by Christ's ordonance power in itself imediate under Christ to elect and ordaine depryve and depose their ministers and to exercent all other ecclesiasticall censures. “The office and calling of Provinciall and Diocesan Prelats is contrarie to the word of God.” “The ceremonies in controversie ar not indifferent, but contrarie to the word of God. The ministers refusing the

1 There is a manuscript copy in book, which could be bought for a Lambeth MSS. 933, f. 24 without few pence, should have been copied date. It is in a good clerkly hand out carefully by hand. and it seems unlikely that a printed

conformitie and subscription requyred ar therein nether schismaticks, Seditious persons, Enemmies to the Kings Supremacie or annie way undewtifull to King or State."

He declared that he spoke for the whole party; he had been and was still one of its leaders, was a man well known to bishops and statesmen alike; and although his views were now more radical than those of the majority of his old friends, he had been spokesman so long that no one would believe he had not still a large following. There could be no doubt that he aimed here at parity, he spoke of the “Presbytery” desired; he declared the bishops unlawful and he exonerated the ministers of all blame. Yet the House of Commons had but just declared that they desired neither parity nor Presbytery, but simply mercy! Jacobs really disavowed the protestations made in Parliament, and injured his party beyond estimation. How could the bishops publicly debate whether or not their own offices were contrary to Scripture and sustain any view except the affirmative? How could they debate the question of the deprivation of the ministers and conclude that the ministers were innocent! The Puritans seemed to expect them voluntarily to come forward and convict themselves, by their own statements, of cruelty, oppression, and illegal conduct. Other tracts came forth in favour of the Church, notably Feilde's Of the Church Four Bookes, which he dedicated to Bancroft. When the Parliament met, therefore, in November for the session of 1606-7, the situation was no less strained than it had been at the prorogation in May.

The conduct of the lower House was not calculated to restore confidence and harmony. It began by considering the Bill against Canons not confirmed by Parliament; proceeded to read and pass a bill attacking the procedure of the ecclesiastical courts; and so read and passed most of the radical bills of the previous session. Then, in May, came the usual petition of grievances, which was reported from the committee on June 16. It was based upon

the petition of 1606 and was to serve, in its turn, as precedent for the mammoth bill of ecclesiastical grievances of 1610. Just as the Puritan demands at the Hampton Court Conference, the Canons of 1604, and the Oath of Allegiance were the outgrowth of previous experience, so, too, the petitions of Parliament and the proposed Puritan legislation were developed little by little from session to session by debate, discussion, and the inevitable revision. The new

petition was, in the main, only the rephrasing of the arguments and complaints which had been already delivered to the bishops in person during the conferences of the preceding session. The Speaker informed the House that the King in person had told him there was no need of presenting it, for he was already aware of its contents; and had done all that could be done towards redressing the grievances complained of. The general opinion, however, favoured proceeding with the petition, whereupon the Speaker said that there were many precedents of similar orders from the Crown upon religious subjects during the reign of Elizabeth and her predecessors. The House doubted his word and appointed a committee to look for those precedents. In due time, the committee reported through Sir Robert Cotton, the noted antiquarian, that the Speaker was right: “I must be resolved that since, uppon view of presidents, the King may by his ancient and iust prerogative limit the comons theyr bills and petitions both for tyme, person and matter, it canne be no wrong to the liberty of the House,” to obey this particular command. After reading from the Parliamentary Roll of Henry VI, Richard II, and Henry IV, he concluded by reading a citation from the Roll of 13 Edward III, "commaunding the howse of parliament to entertayne no causes in consultation but those which were delivered to them in expresse charge.”i Similar precedents for the reigns of the Tudors were produced by the Attorney General. The House was far from appreciating the admirable honesty displayed by its committee, and for a time, it seemed as if a majority were in favour of refusing to obey the royal command, precedent or no precedent. Finally, on June 18, as a compromise, the petition was read in the House and a vote secured that it should "sleep.

A few days later, sundry Particulars touching the exhorbitant Power and Practice of the High Commission (were) read and opened out of a paper to the House," and, next day, appeared in Fuller's hands a bill to reform the Commission on the ground that it was illegal. The reason for this sudden attack upon that court lay in the fact that Nicholas Fuller had some days earlier argued in King's Bench that the ordinary procedure of the High Commission was flatly contrary to the Act of 1 Elizabeth c. 1, upon

which the Commission rested, and was therefore illegal. But the pro

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rogation of Parliament sent the battle of the Puritans and the bishops outside the walls of the House of Commons, and we now approach the important and exciting attempt to save the ministers and weaken the organisation of the Church, by robbing the High Commission of its most necessary powers through the action of the common law courts.

CHAPTER V

ATTACK UPON THE HIGH COMMISSION, 1607

The use of the temporal courts as a weapon against the Church was in 1607 no new device. It had been employed during the reign of Elizabeth in several notable instances, and, from the moment early in 1604 when the deprivation of the ministers became a probability, the Puritans had given a great deal of attention to the possibilities of legal obstruction. The manifesto issued by the leaders in August, 1604, had counselled the men threatened to use every legal means they could to retain possession of their benefices; and Jewell had been sent to London in November expressly to inquire of the lawyers, "what may bee done by appeale notwithstandinge the Canons ? What may be done by prohibicon either from the King's bench or from the Chancery or Common Pleas?” 2 The ministers had not been slow to act. Travers had appealed at once to the Archiepiscopal Courts from the sentence of the Bishop of Norwich, and the faithful in all parts of England had taken up contributions to enable him to procure the best of counsel.3 One of the Exeter Puritans no sooner learned that he was suspended than he set out for London, post-haste, and demanded a prohibition from the King's Bench to forbid the bishop to proceed further against him ;* Alexander Cooke of Lowth procured an inhibition from the Chancery for the same purpose ;5 but neither of these writs was sustained. Chope, who had just been presented by Lord Rich to the rectory of South Shoebury in Essex was refused induction by the Bishop, and, inasmuch as it was an excellent test case

for the Puritans themselves had to admit that the statute of Elizabeth and the new Thirty-sixth Canon completely covered ithe carried it by some writ or other to the common law courts where the decision went against the Bishop. There was great jubi

1 Additional MSS. 28571, f. 205. 1604-5. 2 S. P. Dom. Jac. I, X, no. 81.

5 Hatfield MSS. 103, f. 139. 3 Papers found on Jewell.

6 Survey of the Booke of Common 4 Proclamation of February 18, Prayer, 1610.

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