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“ nation of it, there appeared to me many reasons why I should not take it: 1st, I objected to the clause, which expresses that princes cannot be deposed by the pope : now, the word 'princes,

standing singly, means all' princes, which can“ not be sworn to by me, as I am not ignorant that “ some princes in Italy hold their principalities “from the pope, and may therefore be deprived of “ them by him, for just causes. 2dly, In the last

article, it is said, that neither the pope, nor any “other person can absolve the party taking it from “ the oath ; which I said I could not affirm upon “ oath; for, (to say nothing of his holiness), the

king, to whom the oath is taken, may unques

tionably absolve me from it. The archbishop of “ Canterbury argued, in his usual manner, against “ my objections: he said that the framers of the oath “had not the intention, which I ascribed to them; “ and that the words bore another meaning: I an

swered, that there was a clause in the oath, which said, that the words were to be taken in their

plain and obvious meaning, and not otherwise ; ".wherefore no person, who took the oath, could “ rely upon any other interpretation of the words.?”

It is wonderful that such objections to the oath could be gravely urged: the word "princes,” could only mean princes, civilly independent of the pope; the word “ absolve," could not be meant to include the absolution of those, who were entitled to the performance of the obligation, and to whom, therefore, it must always be competent to absolve from that obligation. It is observable that

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the oath prescribed to the English roman-catholics, by the act of the eighteenth year of his late majesty, contains both the positions to which Dr. Bishop objected: the catholics who take it, renounce, upon oath, the opinion that “princes,” excommunicated by the pope, may be deposed; and they declare, upon oath, that they cannot be absolved of it, though the

pope or any other person,” should dispense with it.

But, whatever may be thethoughtof the groundlessness of the objections to the oath,still, as they proceeded from feelings of conscience, the refusal of the oath did honour to those who made the objection. We may say of them, what we have said of the priests, who refused to subscribe to the denial of the pope's deposing power, expressed in the six articles tendered to them by the ministers of queen Elizabeth* :--it was an error-a lamentable error---but it was a triumph of conscience over persecution. It reflected honour on the whole catholic body: the page of history does not produce higher proof of a general conviction of the sacred obligation of an oath. When the want of this conviction is objected, but what gentleman now objects it?), --to a catholic, he may confidently appeal to these two facts, as an unanswerable refutation of the charge; he

may

ask confidently, what stronger refutation of such a charge, hath been, or can be produced ?

* Ch. xxiv. s. 2.

*

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CHAP. XLIX.

THE EXAMINATION OF MR. BLACKWELL, THE

ARCHPRIEST, BEFORE HIS MAJESTY'S ECCLE-
SIASTICAL COMMISSIONERS.

THE most important doctrine in the history of this controversy, is, “The large Examination, taken “at Lambeth, according to his Majesty's direction, point by point, of Mr. George Blackwell,-made archpriest of England by pope Clement the

eighth-upon occasion of an Answer of his, “without the privity of the State, to a Letter lately “ sent to him by cardinall Bellarmine, blaming him “ for taking the Oath of Allegiance. Together with “ the Cardinall's Letter, and Mr. Blackwell's Letter, “ to the Romish-catholicks in England, as well “ ecclesiastical as lay. Imprinted at London by “ Robert Barker, Printer to the King's most excel“ lent Majesty, 1607."

The commissioners at this examination were the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of London, the bishop of Chichester, Mr. James Montague, Mr. Edward Stanhope, Mr. J. Bennett, Mr. R. Swate, Mr. Richard Neyle, Mr. J. King, and Mr. William Ferrand. :. It would be difficult to produce an instance of a legal discussion, or even of a literary investigation, in which the inquiry has been conducted with so much method,-in which the point under consideration has been so completely cleared of extra-. neous matter, -or in which, by a regular series of

of the pope.

inquiries --beginning with the most easy, and arising to the most difficult,--a question singularly complicate and delicate, has been so completely brought to a decisive issue.

The examination began by Mr. Blackwell's propounding, - with the leave of the court -his own system on the spiritual and temporal power

He did this at some length, in perspicuous and measured language, but in terms too general to satisfy the commissioners. They therefore called on him for explanations, and received them from him.

1. He is first asked, whether, in virtue of the alleged cessions of Henry the second, and of king John, to the popes,—the kingdoms of England and Ireland, or either of them, were parts of the temporal dominions of the pope ?

To this the archpriest answers, in the words of sir Thomas More, “ Rome never could show such

a grant; and, if she could, it were nothing worth."

2. The commissioners then observe, that several canonists, –among whom they particularly notice cardinal Baronius,-affirm that “the pope is as "directly lord of the whole world in temporals, as he is head of the universal church in spirituals ; " and that he hath directly a sovereign authority, in

respect of such his worldly dominion, over all

emperors, kings, and princes, to dispose of them " and their kingdoms, when occasion shall require, as he hath, in regard of the spiritual supremacy,

* Supplication of Soules, p. 296.

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over all bishops and clergymen, to advance and

deprive them, when he thinketh it convenient, and " that they do deserve it.

The archpriest replies--that, “ in his answer " to Bellarmine, he had sworn,—that the bishop "of Rome had no imperial or civil power to dis

pose, at his pleasure, of the king's majesty. That, " as he had sworn, so did he then constantly affirm, " that he holdeth the opinion before spoken o “ concerning the pope's direct dominion and su

preme authority over all the world in temporals, to be untrue.” -3. Advancing in the inquiry, the commissioners notice to him.--"another kind of authority as"cribed to the pope, and tending to the same end, " ---that, in order to things spiritual, and indirectly, all kings and princes, with their kingdoms and " countries, are subordinate to the

pope,

insomuch “ if he see cause, and that kings and princes will

not be advised by him, he may not only excom*municate them, but, proceeding by degrees,

depose them, absolve their subjects from their “ caths of allegiance, and rightfully command “ them, if need be, to bear arms against them.”

The. “ communication can produce no such effect as “ deposition, eradication, absolution of subjects “ from their oath of allegiance, nor any sufficient “ warrant, either to rebel, or lay violent hands

upon the king.”—He admits that some canonists have held the affirmative of this proposition " but what private men write, should not,” he

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