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papal tyranny, which will remain the eternal and indelible blemish of his reign ; yet it must be owned, that the stand which he made against the court of Rome in the defence of the monarchy, was bold and generous, and such as deserved a better issue: and one may be allowed to say, that even his fatal miscarriage was chiefly owing to the bigotry of the English nation, and to the unhappy circumstances wherein he received the crown. And it is very hard to blame a prince for not maintaining the dignity of a crown, which descends to him in chains and fetters; or that he only should bear the dishonour which falls upon his country, when his people will not suffer him to defend it; and much more when they take part with the enemy, and choose to be instruments in their own undoing ;-and this was but too much the case at this time.

Besides, it should not be forgotten, that the last part of this prince's life was spent in the defence of the royal line of England; and all circumstances considered, it seems probable, that he owed his death to the same cause. And if the conduct of this prince in these instances be not enough to atone for his past miscarriages, they will at least deserve to be remembered by all that love their country and the monarchy, that have the least taste of liberty, or that have any sense of those miseries which the papal tyranny let in upon the church and kingdom.

However, the revolutions under this prince are very dishonourable to the English nation, and such as naturally lead one to a frightful idea of the reign under which they happened : and they who do not carefully attend to the springs by which these great turns were set into motion, are very apt to resolve them into the ill conduct of king John, rather than into those mischievous principles and the wicked artifices of that court which attempted to enslave all Christendom under pretences of religion, and into the great steps which they had made towards it in England before this prince came to the crown.

I shall now ask the reader's leave to repeat some things which I have observed before, and shall put an end to this work, with giving him a short view of the ancient and the present state of the English church and monarchy, and of the springs and causes, as well as of the effects and consequences of those changes, which make up the subject of the present history.


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The Britons had been converted in all probability before Christianity was settled in Rome, and the British church continued on the same foot on which it was originally founded, till the conquest by the English. And though that revolution forced the British people into a narrower compass, and put the English-Saxons in possession of the greatest and best parts of their country, yet a Christian church was still preserved together with the remains of the British nation. And this church was as free and independent' as the people ; who were so far from being influenced with the after-conversions of some of the English by the missionaries from Rome, that the rites which they received from thence set them at a greater distance from the English, added a new article of controversy, and made the breach wider. Their metropolitans never received a pall from Rome; their bishops were chosen and consecrated, and all ecclesiastical affairs determined finally within themselves, and their clergy generally married. In short, there

, is no mark of any dependence of the British church on that of Rome, nor any proof of a settled intercourse or communion betwixt them to be found, till the conquest of Wales by king Henry the first united the British to the English church, and did thereby expose it to the hard fate of that church, to which it was united.

The case of the English was different from that of the Britons. Some of them had received their conversion from Rome, and

i General recapitulation.] From Inett's Origines Anglicanæ, vol. ii. p. 488— 503.

Free and independent.] See above, p. 4–6; 18, 19, and note.

they who had been originally converted by the Scots from Ireland, had for some ages before the Norman revolution held communion with the church of Rome. And the better to preserve a friendship and give proof of the communion betwixt the English and the Roman church, the English archbishops did frequently go to Rome and receive palls' from thence, and a great deference was ever paid to the bishops thereof.

But whilst the English church thus maintained a communion with that of Rome, the authority and government thereof were continued on the same foot, on which the canons of the universal church had originally placed national churches.

The English metropolitans convened and presided in their provincial councils, and their authority therein was final, unless in such cases wherein appeals to the king were allowed : but as no canon of the English church before the conquest ever allowed any appeal to the bishops of Rome, the histories thereof afford no instance of a practice of that kind.

The English bishops had their proper diocesan synods, and all the clergy and religious as well as the laity within their several dioceses were the subjects of their care.

If there were any exemptions from their authority, they were owing to the secular power; and these, if I mistake not, never extended further than exempting some of the religious from the charges of receiving and providing for them in their visitations, rather than discharging their persons from the authority of their diocesans.

The bishops of England were nominated to those trusts by our kings, confirmed and consecrated by their proper metropolitans, subjected to no canons but such as were either received or formed with their own suffrage and consent. They convened and presided in their proper diocesan synods, and their authority therein was final, except in such cases wherein appeals lay to the courts of the archbishop of the province, or of the king.

The case of the lower clergy was much the same with that of the bishops. They were subject to no ecclesiastic authority but that of their proper ordinaries: the canons were the measures of their duty, and the laws of their country the standard of their secular rights and of their subjection to the civil power.

1 Receive palls.] See Inett, vol.ii. p. 17--20; Twisden's Vindication, p. 41—7 (a very elaborate discussion); and Salmasius's learned edition of Tertullian's Treatise De Pallio, Lug. Bat. 1656.

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The revenues of the church were subject only to the same laws and to the same authority by which the clergy and religious were governed: but as they were originally derived from the bounty of the kings of England, or the charity and munificence of the English nation, they were also subject to the laws of their country, and in cases of necessity contributed to the support thereof. In short, there is not any canon, any law, or any standing allowed practice to be found, which carries the least mark of any vassalage or subjection to a foreign power; but by all that appears, the English church had preserved and was in full possession of a free, entire, and independent authority, at the time of the Norman revolution: in other words, the English church was as absolute, free, and independent on any foreign ecclesiastic power, as the monarchy and nation were on any secular authority. +

But if we look a little forward, the English church has another face, and appears so unlike itself, that one can hardly say whether the change was more surprising, or the effects thereof more pitiable and to be lamented.

William the first, to serve the Norman interest, called in the papal power, and made use of the legates of pope Alexander to cover his violence to the English bishops : but when he had served his purpose, he laid by his tools, and left the church and the monarchy in the same state wherein he found them, the change which the Norman revolution produced only excepted.

Such too was the state of the church during the reign of William the second: but the struggle for the patronage of the church, or the dispute about the right of investitures' which began in his reign, was, by the address of the court of Rome, gained from his successor king Henry the first, and unhappily surrendered by that prince in the year one thousand one hundred and seven.

This was the first shock to the authority of the English church, and which opened the way to all the ensuing usurpations. For by yielding up to the bishops of Rome a power to put the archbishops and bishops of England into the possession of their bishoprics, they were made judges of their sufficiency and personal abilities: and thus the bishops of England, who had never been subjected to any authority but that of their metropolitans

1 Of investitures.] See above, p. 33, and n. or Index, under Bishops, their investiture.

and the government under which they lived, and our metropolitans who had had no superiors but the kings of England, were involved in the same common fate, and by that one unhappy concession were made subjects to a foreign power. And the bishops of Rome having thus thrust out the kings of England, easily advanced themselves to the reputation of being the supreme ordinaries, and having first prepared their way by desiring assistance from the clergy, in the reigns of king Stephen, Henry the second, and king Richard, under the colour of the Holy War; in the succeeding reign of king John, pope Innocent did by his own authority lay several impositions on the clergy and religious, and in time the bishops of Rome pretended to the sole right to lay taxes' upon the clergy and religious, and actually laid the heaviest impositions upon them; and this, too, not to serve the purposes of religion, but to carry on their wars against the emperors and other Christian princes, to oblige them to become their tributaries and vassals, to enlarge their own dominions and secular power, to reduce the Greek church to their obedience by force of arms, to extirpate and give away the countries of all those who opposed their usurpation, and who were for that reason called heretics. In short, they made use of the power which they gained over the revenues of the English church, to serve all the purposes of ambition, wantonness, and folly.

But to set this particular in a just light, I must ask the reader's leave to look a little forward to the next reign, that of Henry the third, where the aforesaid concession was carried so far before the death of that prince, that the court of Rome at one time demanded, that benefices should be provided for three hundred Italians a ; at another time, that two prebends in each cathedral church, and the provision for two monks in every monastery, should be annexed to the papacyb. They disposed and made void at pleasure the bishoprics and ecclesiastical promotions of England, overturned all the rights of patronage and elections, and gave so many preferments to Italians?, that in the letter of the nobility

1 To lay taxes.] For an elaborate enquiry into the origin and progress of the papal pecuniary exactions from the clergy of England, see Twisden's Historical Vindication of the Church of England, p. 74–92. See also Inett, vol. ii. p. 383—7.

* Matth. Paris, ann. 1240. p. 532. n. 40. Ejusd. ann. 1226. p. 328. n. 10.



* Preferments to Italians.) See index, under Benefices in the hands of y

Foreigners. See also Twisden's Historical Vindication, p. 60—2.

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