« PreviousContinue »
Seventhly, To save trouble and expence to the clergy, they contrived that convocations should meet as seldom as possible; and, when they were suffered to assemble, would never allow them to meddle with any business ; because, they said, the office of a clergyman was enough to take
the whole man. For the same reason they were very
desirous to excuse the bishops from sitting in parliament, that they might be . at more leisure to stay at home and look after the inferior clergy.
I shall mention at present but one more instance of their pious zeal for the church. They had somewhere heard the maxim, that Sanguis martyrum est semen ecclefiae; therefore, in order to fow this seed, they began with impeaching a clergyman: and that it might be a true martyrdom in every circumstance, they proceeded as much as possible against common law; which the long-robe part of the managers knew, was in an hundred instances directly contrary to all their positions, and were sufficiently warned of it before hand; but their love of the church prevailed. Neither was this impeachment an affair taken up on a sudden;
for a certain great person (whose character hath been lately published by some stupid and lying writer) who very much distinguished himself by his zeal in forwarding this impeachment, had several years ago endeavoured to persuade the late king to give way to just such another attempt. He told his majesty, there was a certain clergyman, who preached very dangerous fermons, and that the only way to put a stop to such insolence was to impeach him in parliament. The king enquired the character of the man: O fir, faid my lord, the most violent, hot, positive fellow in England;
so extremely wilful, that I believe he would be heartily glad to be a martyr. The king answered, Is it fo? then I am resolved to disappoint him; and would never hear more of the matter; by which that hopeful project unhappily miscarried.
I have hitherto confined myself to those endeavours for the good of the church, which were common to all the leaders and principal men of our party ; but, if my paper were not drawing towards an end, I could produce several instances of particular persons, who by their exemplary
lives and actions have confirmed the character so justly due to the whole body. I shall at present mention only two, and illustrate the merits of each by a matter of fact.
That worthy patriot and true lover of the church, whom a late Examiner is fupposed to reflect on under the name of Verres, felt a pious impulse to be a benefactor to the cathedral of Gloucester; but how to do it in the most decent generous manner, was the question. At last he thought of an expedient: one morning, or night, he stole into the church, mounted upon the altar, and there did that, which in cleanly phrase is called disburthening of nature. He was discovered, prosecuted, and condemned to pay a thousand pounds; which fum was all employed to support the church, as no doubt the benefa&tor meant it.
There is another person, whom the same writer is thought to point at under the name of Will Bigamy. This gentleman, knowing that marriage fees were a considerable perquisite to the clergy, found out a way of improving them cent. per cent.
for the good of the church. His invention was to marry a second wife, while the first was alive, convincing her of the lawfulness by such arguments, as he did not doubt would make others follow the same example. These he had drawn up in writing, with intention to publish for the general good; and it is hoped, he may now have leisure to finish them.
N U M B E R XXIII.
Thursday, January 11, 1710.
Bellum ita suscipiatur, ut nihil aliud nifi pax quaefita videatur. IA AM satisfied, that no reasonable man
of either party can justly be offended at any thing, I said in one of my papers relating to the army. From the maxims I there laid down perhaps many persons may conclude, that I had a mind, the world should think there had been occafion given by some late abuses among men of that calling; and they conclude right: for my
intention is, that my hints be understood, and my quotations and alle
gories applied: and I am in some pain to think, that in the Orcades on one side, and the western coasts of Ireland on the other, the Examiner may want a key in several parts, which I wish I could furnish them with. As to the french king, I am under no concern at all: I hear he hath left off reading my papers, and by what he hath found in them, dislikes our proceedings more than ever; and intends, either to make great additions to his armies, or propose new terms for a peace. So false is that, which is commonly reported of his mighty satisfaction in our change of ministry. And I think it clear, that his late letter of thanks to the tories of Great Britain must either have been extorted from him, against his judgment; or was a cast of politicks to set the people against the present ministry; wherein it hath wonderfully succeeded.
But, though I have never heard, or never regarded any objections made against that paper, which mentions the army ;
I intended this as a sort of apology for it. And first I declare (because we live in a mistaken world) that in hinting at