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A45188 An argument for the bishops right in judging capital causes in parliament for their right unalterable to that place in the government that they now enjoy : with several observations upon the change of our English government since the Conquest : to which is added a postscript, being a letter to a friend, for vindicating the clergy and rectifying some mistakes that are mischievous and dangerous to our government and religion / by Tho. Hunt ... Hunt, Thomas, 1627?-1688. 1682 (1682) Wing H3749; ESTC R31657 178,256 388

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continue them great The contempt of the Bishops and Clergy the great cause of our evil State at present out of which we cannot recover but by an excellent Clergy and a high esteem of them with the people The Postscript ERRATA PAge 13. Line 18. read they p. 15. l. 15. r. Taxeotam Buleutam p. 19. l. 9. r. Blaesensis p. 23. l. 4. r. can p. 44. l. ult dele as p. 51. l. 22. to but add not l. ult to usage add other p. 57. l. 29. r. hucusque p. 130. dele in p. 165. l. 8. r. here p. 167. r. interpolatis p. 180. l. 3. dele them to r. send l. 29. to fit add to mention p. 206. l. 29. r. injurious p 240. l. ult dele near POSTSCRIPT P. 32. l. 1. r. he made his natural Sons first noble l. 7. r. Eufame p. 34. l. 1. r. is not subject p. 42. l. 25. r. decedents p. 45. l. 30. r. he p. 46. l. 8. r. more cruel p. 58. l. 18. r. futility p. 59. l 26. r. being What else is escaped the Reader is desired to correct by reason of the Authors absence from the Press The Argument CHAP. I. IN this question the Constitution of the Government is concerned and the Right of a most principal constituent part and that in a matter of the highest Trust which if truly a Right can be no more relinquished as the Nature of this Right is than a trust can be betrayed a duty and a Right denyed to be paid and performed or the Constitution of the Government changed For of such a Nature doth appear to be the Right in pretence and Controversy of the Lords the Bishops to have judgment in the House of Lords in Capital Causes For by their being made Barons they owed their judgments in such Causes as a service to the King at first by their Tenures in Baronage for though since they are become Barones Rescriptitii or Barons by Writ their duty is not abated And besides the Cognisance of such Causes become their own Right being a part of and belonging to the dignity and office of a Baron And it likewise became an appointment in the Government in which the whole Community have their Interest for that is principally provided for and procured in all Governments whose greatest concern it is to have Justice done against all Criminals and to have great and wise just and good men in the Administrations of Justice and other great offices of the Government The people of England did anciently understand the benefit of this Constitution when nothing but the Baronage of England the Lords Spiritual and Temporal could resist the Torrent of Arbitrary Government And it may be easily understood too that nothing but the Baronage of England is able to support the Throne For that Monarchy unless so supported is the weakest and most precarious and dependent Government in the World except it be supported with an Army and turned into a Tyranny That the Throne should be established by Natural and gentle provisions and the Government fixed is every mans greatest interest If the Lords Temporal have more under command and a larger Potestas jubendi yet the Lords Spiritual out-did them Authoritate suadendi and had more voluntary obedience The Lords Spiritual have several Advantages as they are Novi homines men chosen out of Thousands for an excellent Character and Spirit and need not want any accomplishments if duely chosen and preferred for the discharge of the greatest Provinces that are to be managed by wisdome and integrity and therefore they cannot be well wanted in any Ministries in the Government to which they are bespoken and have a legal designation Since this Authority by the very opening of the Cause doth appear probably belonging to the Bishops and if so that it cannot without breach of their duty that they owe to all the parts of the Government and the whole Community depart from it it may surely be insisted upon disputed and maintained by them without blame or imputation But so unhappily it falls out that the very disputing and contending of this Matter by reason of the unseasonableness of the dispute and the delays that were thereby given to the most important business of the Nation to the great hazard as some think of the summ of Affairs was very mischievous to the publick And now both parties are charging one another with all the mischiefs and the delays that this Controversy hath given to publick proceeding or can with any probability be thought to have occasioned And there are not men wanting on either side within doors and without that are forward enough to charge all those mischiefs as deserved by their oppoposite party which may eventually happen hereupon Who sees not how fatal this Controversy is like to prove to one or other of the Litigants and to the Government in consequence if this Cause cannot be duely heard and considered and be determined upon its own Merits without undue Censures and Reflections on either side Since at last the contenders themselves must be the Judges and give judgment in the Cause or it can never be quieted and have an end I am sure passion is no equal Judge and Arbiter and men angred and provoked have not the same sentiments of the same things as when calm and serene And because there is no common Judicature it ought to be considered by both parties with all equality of judgment and an exact pondering and weighing of the reasons offered on either side for that otherwise it can never be fairly decided but must for ever remain a Controversy to the immediate overthrow and destruction of the Government or over-ruled by the force and Power of a most dangerous consequence in the course of time to the Government and will be a laying of the Axe to the very root of the Tree and will put the Government it self into a State of War between the several constituent parts of it and given an occasion for one part to usurp upon another until the tone and frame of Goverment become changed and at last fall into ruine I am very well aware of the gravity of the Question and its importance the high honour and regard that is due to the House of Commons in Parliament what commendations are due to them in their persons for their zeal and endeavour by all means if it be possible to save the Nation Religion and Government And what a great Capacity that House in its very constitution in the first designation of the Government and by their mighty growth in power and interest in the Course of time have in procuring the publick good and that they cannot have any interest divided from the common Weal I must do them right and with the greatest clearness and satisfaction I determine with my self that their zeal for public Justice against unpardonable offences in their judgment and a prejudicate opinion they had conceived of the Spiritual Lords unindifferency how duely will appear by
the King for that office the best of those they know which are many times most unfit But this may be remedied when his Majesty shall please to give leave to the Clergy of the Diocess to choose their own Diocesan their Choice notwithstanding submitted to the Kings approbation and Confirmation which was permitted by Justinian the Emperor and was in use in several of the best Ages of the Church or by some other method which may be advised by his great Council whereby the greatest assurance may be given that the best and fittest persons be preferred to Bishopricks for the Common people are envious and suspicious and what ever may be done by bad means they always think is so But if Bishops were promoted to their Sees with the gratulations and applauses of the whole body of the Clergy of the respective Diocesses all that passeth under their advice and consent would likely meet with the general satisfactions of the people as it would well deserve as long as the Clergy can have any Authority with them That is as long as the Nation continues Christian But the general Corruption of Manners and decay of Piety is the great and truest cause why the Bishops unenvied enjoy no part of that honour that our Ancestors Wisdome and Piety conferred upon their order conformably to all other the Ancient Christian Governments But when Virtue and Piety shall recover their esteem the reverence of the Clergy will return We are not like long to expect this happy Change for Vice is now arrived to a Plethora and like to burst by its own excesses And we well hope that the mischiefs which we suffer will cure that evil from whence they spring and prevent the greater Calamities that it further threatens However it becomes all good men to assist to support the present Government which is the cheapest the surest and the next way to arrive at a happy constitution of things This was the design of the Author of the Grand Question After the publication of that Book I laid by all thoughts of publishing this Treatise But perceiving that notwithstanding what he hath said the Right yet remains controverted and a Book is since printed wherein several things are objected in prejudice of this Right and more is expected I did review these Papers wherein I found I had prevented those objections and with a little application they would appear insignificant I did resolve to make this publick And besides that I apprehended some things material to the Question were omitted by the Grand Question that a several way of speaking things to the same purpose hath its advantage Our great Courts affect to have several arguments on the same side in great Causes and our Reporters publish them Besides herein several things are occasionally discourst of which makes it of further usefulness to the publick Our adversaries also were treated too kindly by him and had deserved sharper reflections than he makes upon them for their false and perverse Reasonings and ought to lose that reputation which they abuse to the hurt of the Government And further I thought it not for the honour of our faculty that never fails to supply the worst cause with Advocates That a question of this Nature wherein both Church and State Religion and our Civil Policy is concerned and the Right thereof not only clear and evident in it self but also useful to the State should have not one of the Robe to plead for it The friends of the Cause will not grudge to read two Books for the Right as well as several against it and the Adversaries of our Cause ought to suffer the like trouble themselves which they occasion to others These Considerations did induce me to publish this Treatise I am well pleased that I am ingaged in a good Cause that was suited to one of my slender Abilities Right is so strong an Argument for it self that it wants only light to discover it Whereas an unrighteous cause stands in need of disguisings and shadowings and all the Artifices and fetches of the Wit of abler men to give that a Colour at least which is destitute of Law and Right THE CONTENTS CHAP. I. THe Nature of the Right the obligation to use it the obvious indications of it and the benefit which may be reasonably expected in the exercise of it How it came to be drawn into question and how it can be fairly determined how it hath been opposed and upon what Reasons and Evidence the Right doth rely Chap. II. The general prejudice against this Right from an Opinion conceived that the Clergy ought not to intermeddle in Secular Affairs remov'd That Bishops have been employed in the greatest trusts by Emperors not hindred by the Church but this hath been envy'd to them by the Pope Chap. III. The Precedents that are produc'd from the Parliament Rolls against this Right are considered They prove not pertinent at most but bare Neglects not Argumentative or concluding against the Right Chap. IV. This Right cannot be prejudic'd by non user The Nature of Prescription that the Right in question is not prescriptible The Original of this Right that it is incident to Baronage The Bishops when made Barons and for what reason That all Offices whether by Tenure or Creation are Indivisable Chap. V. Bishops never pretended the Assise of Clarendon when said to be absent Bishops sat in Judgment upon Becket and his Crime and Charge Treason by which it is demonstrated that the Assise of Clarendon only put them at liberty but not under restraint from using their Right of Judging in Capital Causes Chap. VI. Bishops sat in Judgment upon John Earl of Moreton after King John the Bishop of Coventry c. for Treason Chap. VII An Opinion prevail'd and continued long that no Judgment in Parliament where the Bishops were absent was good and their absence assigned for Error to reverse Judgment in Treason in Parliament prov'd by the Petition of the Commons 21 R. 2. upon their protestation made 11 R. 2. And by that protestation it is evident they had a Right and that they saved it by that protestation They pretended they could not attend the matters then treated of by reason of the Canon But alledged no Law for their absence Chap. VIII Of Canons Canon law What effect Canons can have upon a Civil Right The Canons prohibiting the use proves the Right Chap. IX Bishops made their Proxies in Capital Causes which proves their Right and their thereby being virtually present and the lawfulness of making Proxies and such as they made Chap. X. A Repeal of the Parliament 21 R. 2. No prejudice to what the Bishops did in making their Proxies The Opinion of Bishops presence being necessary in Parliament continued in time of H. 5. Chap. XI Bishops actually exercised this Authority in 28 H. 6. in the Case of William de la Pool Duke of Suffolk Opinion of the Judges that Bishops ought to make Proxies in the Tryal of a
redigerent Quod cum factum fuisset praecepit Rex Archiepiscopis Episcopis ut sigilla sua apponerent scripto illi cum caeteri proni essent ad faciendum Archiepiscopus Cantuariensis juravit quod nunquam scripto illi sigillum suum apponeret nec leges illas confirmaret If this was not an encroaching Royall power there was never any such fault when he was grown so great that the King himself must supplicate that the great men of that time though passionataly interceding on the behalf of the King could obtain no peace for the King That an Ambassadour from the Pope and Cardinals must be sent to command him to be reconciled to the King That he did make a shew of being the Kings friend and did promise to be at peace with the King and keep his Laws at the Popes Command But of this too he soon repented and said he would sin no more Was not this man a Traytor at Common Law before the 25 of Ed. 3. doth not the reason of the Government declare and pronounce him so And doth the Octavo Author think that a Parliament would not use the declarative power by that Statute reserved to declare such offences as these Treason If the like case should happen would not he himself be the likelyest man to be formost in the impeachment But Gervasius Dorobernensis goes on and tells us that afterwards Becket did voluntary penance for the aforesaid promise made to the King and of his submission to his Laws and stood out in disobedience That the King did cast about and study quomodo vel qua arte constantiam Archiepiscopi conterere valeret vel elidere virtutem Col. 1388. But see in what respectful terms their Author in the meantime speaks of this Becket We may be sure we can have nothing from them that is true if it makes the Cause of this contumacious rebellious man bad But at last the Kings patience is turned into Anger For Gervasius goes on Col. 1388. and saith Timens autem Rex Angliae ne impune manus ejus Cantuariensis Episcopus evaderet jam edoctus multiplici Cogitatione pravorum Eruditione quibus eum pravitatis laqueis innodaret Praecepit Praesules Proceres Regni apud Northamptonian unà cum Archiepiscopo ipso convenire qui cum tertia die convenissent Archiepiscopus in multis est accusatus And no man can believe his accusation was less than Treason that will believe what is said by all Historians of Beckets Rebellious behaviour against the King and the Kings anger conceived his threatning him with death and the convening of this Parliament lest he should escape unpunisht And especially that will observe the partiality of this Gervasius against the King and in favour of Becket For he said as is before observed and cited that now the King was edoctus multiplici cogitatione that now the King with much thought and the Advice of wicked men was instructed how he might ensnare him with evil Arts and for that purpose this Parliament was convened And yet in particular this Gervasius and Fitz-Stephen his faithful friend who accompanied Becket in his troubles mentions only two faults whereof he is accused viz. of injustice in the Case of John the Marshall and of his own Contumacy in not obeying the Kings Summons Fitz-Stephen Hoveden and Gervasius tell us that to the two particulars Becket made his defence Gervasius and Hoveden tells us what defence he made which the Octavo hath faithfully transcribed to do him right I wish he had observed the whole story then he would have saved me this trouble of bringing it into the view of the World The Article wherein he is charged for not doing Justice to John Marshall is answered by laying the fault upon Marshall himself for abusing the Court bringing veterum Cantuum Codicillum to swear upon refusing to swear sub Evangelium ut moris est The other Article he answered proving by two sufficient Witnesses that it was sickness hindred him and not any contempt Very sufficient Answers to those two Articles and certainly the Parliament that was called only for to punish Becket might have well acquitted him and returned home and a weighty cause this was to convene a Parliament But these were but two of those many things for multis est accusatus saith Gervasius and of the least offence besides that they were fully answered in any mans judgment that hath read the Story of Becket of which he stood accused By what I have here transcribed it appears that he was certainly guilty of Treason That the Parliament was called to punish him The King was enraged and that justly and therefore he was most certainly accused of Treason Gervasius goes on and tells us that his rationibus meaning that he offered in excuse of himself in the business of Marshall and his own contempt Archiepiscous excusari non potuit sed Curiali judicio Assensa Episcoporum condemnatus est ita ut omnia ejus bona in misericordia Regis ponerentur And yet the prosecution went on The Bishops are consulted with by Becket how he should behave himself Thus Gervasius tells us Coll. 1398. You may best understand the Nature of the prosecution and Beckets danger by the advice of some of his Suffragan Bishops The Bishop of London thus adviseth Si pater inquit recolis unde te Dominus Rex sustulit quid tibi contulit consideratâ temporum malitiâ quam Ruinam Ecclesiae nobis omnibus paraveris si in his Regi resistere volueris non solum Archiepscopatui Cantuariae sed in decuplo si tanti fuerit cedere deberes Could all this danger grow from less than Treason Could a bare neglect to answer a Summons where he excused his default sufficiently or refusing to proceed in the Case of Marshall for that he did presumptuously trifle with the Court and prophanely offered to be Sworn upon a Song-book put the whole Church and himself in danger big enough to be redeemed with ten times the value of the Bishoprick of Canterbury The Bishop of Lincoln speaks in Gervasius these Words Patet inquam vitam istius hominis sanguinem quaeri necessario alterum horum erit aut Archiepiscopatui aut vitae cedendum The Bishop of Exeter thus Palam est quoniam dies mali sunt si possumus sub dissimulationis umbrâ hujus tempestatis impetum pertransire illaesos And after he saith satis est unum Caput in parte periclitari quam totam Anglicanam Ecclesiam inevitabili exponere discrimini The Bishop of Worcester saith Gervasius being asked what he thought ita temperavit Responsum ut negando palam secerit quid animi haberet The Bishop of Ely was sick The Bishop of Norwich the same Author saith excused himself secreto asserens Eliensem foeliciter adeò defensum quod ipse vellet simili plagâ percelli for he had heard saith our Author quid Rex conceperat contra Cantuariensem Becket not