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between the Protestant and Romish interests upon the Episcopal bench, availed nothing against the active exertions of those hungry courtiers who plainly saw that this new spoliation was indispensable to the satisfying of their expectations. The bill, accordingly, passed the Lords in spite of the dissentients on the ecclesiastical side of the House. Opposition to it, however, did not cease on its arrival in the Lower House. Some members for boroughs represented, that should the crown seize upon the estates belonging to guilds and fraternities, it would be beyond the power of their constituents to support the churches, and other public works which formed the principal ornament of their respective towns. These representations weighed greatly with the House, and it was found necessary before the act could be passed, to silence some of the more active members by assurances that it was not intended by the government to seize upon the property of their guilds ". In the preamble to the statute it is asserted, that à great portion of the superstitions and errors, by which Christianity was debased, resulted from that imperfect estimate of the Saviour's propitiation, necessarily flowing from the number of establishments devoted to the celebration of masses satisfactory. Such establishments were, therefore, to be broken up, and their revenues, after a due provision made for existing interests, were to be surrendered to his Majesty, in order to furnish him
with additional means for the foundation of grammar schools, the augmentation of the Universities, and the more effectual relief of the necessitous. From the operation of this act were expressly exempted all foundations in the two Universities, the colleges of Winchester and Eton, all the Cathedrals, and the collegiate church of Windsor, Of the new property now vested in the crown some portion eventually was applied to the purposes recited in the act. Brief as was the earthly course allowed to the excellent young king, he was not gathered to his fathers before the esta. blishment of several grammar schools, and other eleemosynary foundations attested to posterity that he was worthy of the confidence reposed in him,
Besides the bills relating to religion passed in this session of Parliament, others were debated by the Legislature, which, although they failed, plainly discovered the temper of the times. In the House of Lords a motion was made to remove all res, traints upon the free use of Scripture, but that illustrious assembly was not found to be sufficiently ripe for this reasonable concession, and accordingly the bill never reached a second reading. A proposal was also made for the erection of a new court of chancery, to take cognizance of causes both ecclesiastical and civil. This was referred to a committee of spiritual and temporal peers; but the result of their deliberations never
came before the House. The Commons also discovered the earnest attention then universally directed to the Church, by passing two bills which the Lords rejected. One related to the regulation of benefices, and to the residence of incumbents. The other, which passed through the House with more than ordinary celerity, was intended to remove all doubts as to the legality of clerical marriages"When this politic and equitable bill was introduced into the Upper House, it was found likely to engender such protracted and keen debates as could not possibly be terminated before Christmas. At that time, however, it had been determined to release the members from their attendance, and accordingly, the Peers, after hearing the bill once read, postponed the consideration of it to an indefinite period'.
While so many matters peculiarly interesting to ecclesiastics were being agitated in Parliament, the Convocation was similarly engaged. On the third day of its session, which was on the 22nd of November, and which afforded the first opportunity for the dispatch of business ", it was determined to memorialise the Archbishop upon the following subjects. 1..“ That thirty-two per sons, or any other number agreeable to his Majesty, be appointed for the purpose of revising
* “ To this the Commons did so readily agree, that, it being put in on the 19th of December, and read then for the first time, it was read twice the next day, and sent up to the Lords on the 21 st." Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. 75. ' Ibid.
m Strype, Mem. Cranm. 220.
the canon law according to the statutatory provisions of the late reign. 2. That, according to the ancient custom of the realm, and the tenor of the King's writs for the summoning of the Parliament, which are now, and ever have been directed to the several bishops, the clergy of the Lower House of Convocation may be adjoined and associate with the Lower House of Parliament: or else, that all such statutes and ordinances as shall be made concerning all matters of religion, and causes ecclesiastical, may not pass without the sight and assent of the said clergy. 3. That, the results of the labours undertaken in the late reign by certain bishops and other learned men, for the compilation of a convenient and uniform service-book, be laid before the house for its perusal and approbation. 4. That, such allowance should be made from the first fruits of benefices as would allow those preferred to them the means of subsistence, and of meeting other charges during the first year of their incumbency." It does not appear whether any specific answer was ever returned to any one of these petitions. But arrangements were made soon afterwards for reforming the service-book, and eventually for remodelling the canon law. As for the grievance of first fruits, the clergy seem to have been left to struggle with it as they could. Happily the decreasing value of money gradually found them relief as to this matter, and the first year of a clergy
Burnet, Hist. Ref. Records, II. 164.
man's incumbency, though generally still, from the many charges upon him, very far from an easy year, became at length one in which he could commonly subsist without incurring serious pecuniary inconvenience. The desire of an incorporation with the House of Commons, expressed by the Lower House of Convocation, or at least of being allowed a negative in matters peculiarly affecting the ecclesiastical profession, arose from various proceedings in King's Henry's reign by which the clergy were pledged in honour, and bound under heavy penalties, not to make or promulge any canons without the royal authority°. For some modification of this restriction they were naturally anxious, now that so many measures were in agitation concerning themselves in an especial manner. Their requests, however, upon this subject appear to have been disregarded; but the grounds, upon which they were advanced, will scarcely allow a lover of English history to pass them over without farther notice.
Among our Anglo-Saxon ancestors the legislative powers were exercised by councils holden in the sovereign's presence, and consisting of the archbishops, bishops, abbots, and the chief of the laity". In these assemblies, matters purely ecclesiastical appear to have been determined by the clerical members present, and ratified by the King. Civil affairs were determined by the con
o Ibid. 165. P Abp. Wake's Authority of Christian Princes asserted, 161.