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mation, and declared him to be capable of the entire authority of a Primate.
After this however, though completely restored, in consequence of his increasing infirmities he seldom assisted at the council-board. Yet he occasionally, it appears, communicated his sentiments to the King on public measures with his usual integrity; for in a letter preserved by Rushworth, after having condemned a design (then set on foot) of granting a toleration to Papists, he censures his Majesty for his imprudence in having permitted Prince Charles to go to Spain without the consent of the Council, or the approbation of the people: sensibly reminding him, that though he had an interest in that Prince as his son, the people had a still greater as the son of the kingdom; upon whom, next after himself, their eyes were fixed and their welfare depended.' And with a prophetic spirit he foretells, that those who drew him into an action so dangerous to himself, so desperate to the nation, would not pass unquestioned or unpunished.' As these were his sentiments, it is no wonder that he had Buckingham † for his enemy: but that favourite in vain attempted his disgrace. The King so highly venerated his character, that in his last illness he requested his attendance, and
* Some doubts, it ought to be added, are entertained of it's genuineness.
+ This nobleman he had originally, through the Queen, assisted to introduce to the royal favour; and he had at first received from him in return the appellation of Father,' and the most vehement professions of eternal gratitude. He had speedily, however, occasion to conclude with the Roman historian, that benefits surpassing requital become occasions of hatred.'
scarcely suffered him to stir from his chamber till he expired.
The infatuated Charles, however, was no sooner seated on his throne, than he countenanced Buckingham's unmanly resentment: and a convenient opportunity speedily offered itself for the execution of their paltry revenge.
One Dr. Sibthorpe having preached a sermon at the Lent Assizes at Northampton in 1627, in which he maintained that the King might levy taxes without consent of parliament, and that the people were bound in conscience to acquiesce;' his Majesty ordered the sermon to be printed, and sent his directions to the Archbishop to license it. This his Grace (having perused the discourse, and being now more enlightened than he had been in the early part of his life upon the subject of civil liberty) absolutely refused to do, at the same time assigning his reasons. The Bishop of London was more compliant; and the Secretary of State, Lord Conway, soon afterward personally signified to the Primate the royal pleasure, that he should retire to Canterbury. Having at that time, however, a law-suit depending against the corporation, he requested leave to withdraw. to Ford, about five miles beyond Canterbury, which was granted: and in the month of October in the same year, the King issued a commission to the Bishops of London, Durham, Rochester, Oxford, and Bath and Wells, empowering them to execute the archiepiscopal office. But the policy of the court would not suffer the Arch
* Even by him, however, it was not licensed, till some eminently exceptionable passages had been erased.
bishop, beloved as he was by the country, to remain long in this state of sequestration. Charles being in want of money, and finding it necessary to call a parliament, restored his Grace, on account of his interest with the representatives of the people, to the full possession of his authority. He returned to his post with the same notions of constitutional rights, and the same firmness in maintaining them. To the Petition of Right he gave his decided support: and when Dr. Mainwaring was brought to the bar of the House of Lords for having taken up Dr. Sibthorpe's doctrines, he officially reprimanded him, declaring that he abhorred his principles.' The influence of Laud however, then Bishop of Bath and Wells, had acquired such an ascendency at court, that the Primate totally withdrew from it, perceiving himself to be an unwelcome guest. His final contest with his rivals in royal-favour was upon the following
Laud had drawn up some high-church regulations, which were transmitted to the Archbishop under the pompous title of His Majesty's Instructions to the most Reverend Father in God, George Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,' containing certain orders to be put in execution by the several Prelates in his province... These his Grace communicated to his suffragan Bishops, at the same time endeavouring in various respects to soften their rigour. He does not appear, however, in any instance to have neglected his clerical duty, or to have betrayed the interests of the church over which he presided. One of his last official actions was, his ordering the parishioners of Crayford in Kent to receive the sacrament kneeling at the steps of the Communion-Table.
In consequence of his conduct with regard to the 'Instructions,' his Majesty, on the birth of his son Charles, consigned the honour of baptizing him to Laud. After this we hear little more of the Primate till 1633, when worn out with cares and infirmities, he died at Croydon. His remains were buried in the church dedicated to the Holy Trinity at Guildford, where a stately monument was erected to his memory.
In most of the circumstances of his life, he showed himself a man of great moderation toward all parties ; desirous that the clergy should rather attract esteem by the sanctity of their manners, than claim it by the authority of their function. His principles and conduct, however, not suiting the dispositions of some writers, they have thought proper to make severe reflexions upon both. Fuller, in his ChurchHistory,' says, "that he forsook the birds of his own feather to fly with others, generally favouring the laity more than the clergy, in causes that were brought before him." Aubrey, having transcribed the inscription upon his monument, adds, "Notwithstanding this most noble character transmitted to posterity, he was (though a benefactor to this place) no friend to the church of England whereof he was head, but scandalously permitted that poisonous spirit of Puritanism to spread over the whole nation by his indolence at least, if not connivance and encouragement, which some years after broke out, and laid a flourishing church and state in the most miserable ruins; and which gave birth to those principles which, unless rooted out, will ever make this nation unhappy." The Earl of Clarendon has drawn the following picture of him: "Abbot considered the
Christian Religion no otherwise than as it abhorred and reviled Popery, and valued those men most who did that most furiously. For the strict observation of the discipline of the Church, or the conformity to the Articles or Canons established, he made little inquiry, and took less care: and having himself made a very little progress in the ancient and solid study of divinity, he adhered only to the doctrine of Calvin; and for his sake did not think so ill of the Discipline, as he ought to have done. But if men prudently forbore a public reviling and railing at the hierarchy and ecclesiastical government, let their opinions and private judgement be what it would, they were not only secure from any inquisition of his, but acceptable to him and at least equally preferred by him: and though many other Bishops plainly discerned the mischiefs, which daily broke in to the prejudice of religion by his defects and remissness, and prevented it in their own dioceses as much as they could, and gave all their countenance to men of other parts and other principles; and though the Bishop of London (Dr. Laud) from the time of his authority and credit with the King, had applied all the remedies he could to those defections, and from the time of his being Chancellor of Oxford had much discountenanced and almost suppressed that spirit by encouraging another kind of learning and practice in that University; yet that temper in the Archbishop, whose house was a sanctuary to the most eminent of that factious party, and who li
* And yet Abbot observes, "Grotius might have let his Majesty know, how factious a generation these contradicters (the Remonstrants) are; how they are like to our Puritans in England; how refractory they are to the authority of the civil