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A54581 The obligation resulting from the Oath of Supremacy to assist and defend the pre-eminence or prerogative of the dispensative power belonging to the King, his heirs and successors. In the asserting of that power various historical passages occurring in the usurpation after the year 1641. are occasionally mentioned; and an account is given at large of the progress of the power of dispensing as to acts of Parliament about religion since the reformation; and of divers judgments of Parliaments declaring their approbation of the exercise of such power, and particularly in what concerns the punishment of disability, or incapacity. Pett, Peter, Sir, 1630-1699. 1687 (1687) Wing P1884; ESTC R218916 193,183 151

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Disability of a whole third estate as to bearing secular Offices did not stand in the way of Prerogative I have read it in Fuller's Church-History that in the year 1350. the Lords and Commons in Parliament did find themselves aggrieved that the Clergy-men engrossed all secular Offices and thereupon presented the ensuing Petition to the King according to this effect insisting only in the substance thereof viz. And because that in this present Parliament it was declared to our Lord the King by all the Earls Barons and Commons of England that the Government of the Kingd●…m hath been performed a long time by the Men of Holy Church which are not justifyable in all Cases whereby great mischiefs and damages have happen'd in times past and more may happen in time to come in disheriting of the Crown and great prejudice of the Kingdom c. that it will please our said Lord the King that the Lay-men of the said Kingdom which are sufficient and able of Estates may be chosen for these and that no other Person be hereafter made Chancellor Treasurer Clark of the Privy-Seal Barons of the Exchequer Chamberlain of the Exchequer Comptroller and all other great Officers and Governors of the said Kingdom and that these things be now in such manner establish'd in form aforesaid that by no way it may be defeated or any thing done to the contrary in any time to come saving to our Lord the King the Election and removing of such Officers but that always they be Lay-men such as is abovesaid To this Petition the King return'd that he would ordain upon this point as it should best seem to him by the advice of his good Council In fine you see that tho the Clergy-men were thus disabled by the general Customs and Usage of the Realm and by lawful Canons and provincial Constitutions accounted by that Iudge beforemention'd to be tanta-mount to Acts of Parliament yet you ●…ee our Kings did frequently dispense with these Customs lawful Canons and Constitutions And tho the Office of Bishops renders them guardians of the Canons yet you see how tender they have been of the Regal power of Dispensing therein And as that saying of Wicliffe however censured in the Council of Constance may perhaps with a little help be reduced to Orthodoxy viz. That ●…ne should be Excommunicated by any Prelate unless he know him Excommunicated by God so with parity of reason it may be said that none should be totally disabled by any Prince from serving him unless he knew him really disabled by God and especially when he knew the contrary and that the Services of the great men of the Clergy had so often been successfully employ'd at the Helm of State and when for the honour of Clergy-mens Councel some of the most profound pieces of State-Policy our English Story hath in it are to be attributed to Clergy-mens officiating in their Princes Councels and as for Example when by the figure that Bishop Morton made at the Helm he did make up the dismal breach and united the two Houses of York and Lancaster in the Happy Marriage between Henry the 7th and the Lady Elizabeth a●… when Bishop Fox who was Lord Privy Seal did by his Advice lay the Foundation of a more happy Union between the Kingdoms of England and Scotland by the eldest Daughter of Hen●…y marrying Iames of Scotland and the younger matching into France that so on their ever coming to inherit Scotland might be annex'd to the Imperial Crown of England and England not be annex'd as a Province to France and for the Consequences of which Advice both Englishmen and English and French Protestants have so much cause to say We Praise thee O God c. And I am here minded of what Fuller tells us on A. 14. H. 4. viz. It was moved in Parliament that no Weishman Bishop or other shall be Iustice Chamberlain Chancellor Treasurer Sheriff Constable of a a Castle or Keeper of Records or Lieutenant in the said Office in any part of Wales or of Councel to any English Lord notwithstanding any Patent made to the contrary Cum clausulâ non obstante licet Wallicus natus and that it was answered that the King willeth it except the Bishops and for them and others which he hath found good loyal Lieges toward him out said Lord the King will be advised by the Advice of his Councel Ex Rot. Parliamentariis in turri Lond. in hoc Anno which Citation Fuller professeth to be taken out of the Authentick Records in the Tower. There passed an Act of Parliament in the 4th year of Henry the 4th by which it is Enacted That no Welshman shall be Iustice Chamberlain Sheriff Coroner nor other Officer in any part of Wales notwithstanding any Patent to the contrary with the Clause of Non-obstante and yet without Question saith my Lord Coke 12th Rep. the King might dispense with this Statute but you see how on the Parliaments resenting the Dispensations the Act had met with and particularly in Bishops having contrary to the tenor of the Act served the Crown in Secular Employments the King particularly adhered to the exercise of his Dispensative Power in their Case It was upon the ground of this Assertion viz. Of the Crown 's being entitled to Command the Services of all Subjects that some Papists were employ'd by Queen Elizabeth in Affairs of the State notwithstanding any disability incurr'd by not taking the Oath of Supremacy And Viscount Montacute tho a Roman Catholick was as Cambden tells you sent by her as her Embassadour to the King of Spain and employ'd too about the Business of the Scots and to do right to the Protestant Religion Sir Edward Carne likewise a Roman Catholick was sent by her as her Embassador to the Pope And as to the sense of many of that Queen's most renowned Ministers of State about the Deprivation of the Nonconformist Divines disabled eo Nomine from their Ministry being Penal to the People the Author of certain Considerations tending to promote peace and good will among Protestants hath mention'd it that Eight of that Queens Privy Councellors writ a Letter in their favour to the Bishops of Canterbury and London in the close whereof 't is said viz. Now therefore we for the Discharge of our Duties being by our Vocation under her Majesty bound to be careful that the Universal Realm may be well govern'd according to the Honor and Glory of God and to the discharge of her Majesty being the Principal GOVERNOR of ALL her SUBIECTS under Almighty God do most earnestly desire your Lordships to take some charitable Considerations of these Causes that the PEOPLE of THIS Realm may not be DEPRIVED of their Pastors being Diligent Learned and Zealous tho in some Points Ceremonial they may seem doubtful only of Conscience and not of wilfulness c. Tour Lordships loving Friends William Burghly George Shrewsbury A. ●…rwick R. Leic●…ster C. Howard J. Crofts Chr. Hatton
Religion being the same almost Verbatim with those formerly agreed on in the Spanish Treaty And he there refers to Rot. Tractationis Ratificationis Matrimon●… inter Dom. Carolum Regem Dom. Henret Mariam Sororem Regis Franc. 1 o Cat. in the Rolls and then in p. 71. saith Besides these general Articles of the Match these particular ones were concluded and agreed on in favour of the Roman-Catholicks the same in Substance with those of Spain and where he saith the Second is to this effect that the English Catholicks should be no more searched after or molested for their Religion But Mr. Prynne there particularly sets down only three short Articles and those comprised in about six lines and the words or mol●…ted in the second Article are Printed in a different Character from the others as if he thereby intended them as his own Explication of the word searched A. You just now mention'd King Iames his having in the year 1622. order'd all the Popish Recusants who were in Prison on the account of their Religion to be set at liberty and you told me how he tacitly dispens'd with the Disability that Popish Physicians and Lawyers had incurr'd by Act of Parliament Was that all the favour he shew'd Roman-Catholicks B. No He allow'd them to make a very Considerable figure in the Government as you may find if you consult the Iournals of Parliament as referr'd to by Mr. Prynne p. 66. Seq of that Book For he there mentions that in the year 1624. The Commons sent a Petition to the Lords desiring their Concurrence with them in presenting it to His Majesty for removing Popish Recusants and those whose Wives were Papists from Offices of Trust which by Law they were DISABLED to execute which the Lords took into their Consideration and which Mr. Prynne saith was enter'd in their Iournal in this manner Die Jovis viz. Vicessimo die Maii 1624. The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury reported that at the meeting this Day with the Commons they Presented an humble Petition to the King desiring this House to joyn therein with them The which Petition was read in haec verba c. In short the Commons in their Petition take notice of the Growth of the Number of Popish Recusants in this Kingdom and of their insolency in all the Parts thereof and that many of them contrary to the Laws were g●…t into Offices and Places of Government and Authority under the King And the Prayer of the Petition is That the Lords and Gentlemen there undernamed may be removed from all His Majesty's Commissions of great Charge and Trust Commissions of Lieutenancy Oyer and Terminer and of the Peace and from all other Offices and Places of Trust. And they in their first Sched●…le there name 11 Lords and 18 Knights And in their second they name many Persons of Quality who were in Places of Charge and Trust in their several Counties and had marry'd Popish Wives and whose Children and Servants were bred up to Popery A. Doth any Act of Parliament disable a man from bearing Office because his Wife is a Papist or because his Children or Servants are bred up to be Papists B. Yes the Act of the Third of King Iames the First cap. 5. doth it as you will see if you consult it for 't is there Enacted That no Popish Recusant Convict nor any having a Wife being a Popish Recusant Convict shall at any time after this Session of Parliament or any Popish Recusant hereafter to be Convict or having a Wife which hereafter shall be a Recusant Convict at any time after his or her Conviction shall exercise any publick Office or Charge in the Common-wealth but shall be utterly DISABLED to exercise the same by himself or his Deputy except such Husband himself and his Children which shall be above the age of Nine years abiding with him and his Servants in Houshold shall once every Month in the least repair to some Church usual for Divine Service and there hear Divine Service and the said Husband and such his Children and Servants as are of meet Age receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and do bring up his said Children in true Religion A. Now have you set me a longing to know what the House of Lords did in the Case of that Petition about removing those disabled Persons from serving the King in those great Stations And since the Judgment of Parliament was always had in such great veneration I think if the result of the desire of the House of Commons was that the Lords had joyn'd with them in the Petition and had urged that the King could not dispense with that Act of Parliament and Pardon Disability it may make a notable President in the Case we have been discussing B. You will find that the Commons urged nothing to the prejudice of Prerogative in the Prayer of their Petition Their style there was We humbly beseech your Majesty graciously to vouchsafe that the said Lords and Gentlemen here under-named for this important Reason and for the greater Safety of your Majesty and of your Realm may be removed from all your Majesty's Commissions of great Charge and Trust Commissions of Lieutenancy c. And the important reason did refer to the great Countenance hereby given to Popery the great grief and offence to all his best affected and true loving Subjects by putting the Power of Arms into such mens hands as by former Acts of His Majesty's Councel are adjudged Persons justly to be suspected c. But to let you see what the House of Lords did hereupon Mr. Prynne tells you p. 69. That this Petition being read the House did defer the Debate thereof at this time for that the day was far spent And answer was given to the Commons who attended for the same in the Painted Chamber that the Lords will send them an Answer of this Petition hereafter when they are resolv'd thereof Whereupon Mr. Prynne concludes his account of this Transaction thus Whether any of these were displaced upon this Petition I find not in any Memorials it being certain some of them were not but continued still in these Offices of Trust. A. How have you here disappointed my Curiosity in making that ferment then in the Government about the Disability of the Papists being dispens'd with thus silently to go off through the House of Lords forbearing to joyn with the House of Commons in their Petition B. I shall here afford your Curiosity a recompence by observing it to you with allusion to some of the words of the Royal Martyr in his Answer to the 19 Propositions That the ancient equal happy well poysed and never enough commended Constitution of the Government of this Kingdom having made this Nation so famous and happy to a great degree of Envy c. and the Lords being trusted with a Iudicatory Power are an excellent Screen and Bank between the Prince and the People to assist each against any Encroachment of