Project Canterbury

Life and Writings of Charles Leslie, M.A., Nonjuring Divine
by the Rev. R. J. Leslie, M.A.

London: Rivingtons, 1885.

Chapter III.


THE birth of a Prince of Wales afforded excellent opportunity to the king for extricating himself from his embarrassments and restoring contentment. But James had not the good sense to avail himself of it. Instead of seizing the occasion to terminate all differences between him and his people, he left them to fester in wounded hearts, and so mismanaged affairs connected with the queen's confinement, as to afford colour to calumnies industriously circulated of a supposititious heir being palmed off upon the nation. Never was any birth more clearly attested, but the air of mystification foolishly adopted upon the occasion gave credence to cruel statements of his enemies, while the indiscreet exultation of Romanists served further to increase suspicion of foul play. For their silly stories of miraculous interposition by the blessed Virgin to defeat the Princess of Orange's succession elicited naturally counter lampoons and pasquinades which obtained a much wider circulation; all poor doggerel verses, none worthy of remembrance, and some very indelicate, adapted to the most depraved taste of the populace.

At Dr. Burnet's suggestion William, Prince of Orange, husband of the Princess Mary, who had long had his eye upon the throne of England, seized upon the prevailing suspicion to make political capital for himself, by countermanding the prayers in her chapel for the Prince of Wales, which had been ordered and congratulations sent according to custom; notice also was given of an intended inquiry into the circumstances attending the birth. He had busily fomented dissatisfaction by secret emissaries to England with bribes and promises, under the guidance of Burnet with too much success among nobility and persons in public offices, including several of the highest Ministers of State for-rome time past. All the grievous mistakes of James's government completed by this last afforded William at length the much-desired pretext of interference for securing his wife's claim to the throne from being parried, and protecting the religion and liberties of the English people. Military and naval preparations had been carried on at the Hague, apparently intended against France; but the king there advised James of their real design, and offered assistance, He refused to believe it, returned an ungracious reply, and continued his blind confidence in William's professions of cordiality, and his traitorous minister's assurances of security, till the enemy was at his very gates. The mask-was laid aside soon as those preparations were completed, and the opportunity presented itself under a combination of follies almost unparalleled in the history of self-willed sovereigns. William now openly avowed his intention of invading England; the Assembly of the Dutch States were artfully managed to support him; though hitherto a powerful party had continually opposed his government as stadtholder. Continental powers, with the exception of France, looked favourably upon the proposed expedition; even Pope Innocent XI. concurred and aided it with funds, so vainly had James jeopardized his throne for his religion; and, worst of all, Englishmen professing patriotism and to be Nobles and Gentry, were ready to welcome his enemy on the ignominious plea of the English nation being unable to protect itself from a tyrannical sovereign. James's spiritless demeanour, on being convinced that an armament had actually set sail, showed how easily he might have been brought to his senses, and compelled to confine himself in future within the limits of the constitution.

He was stunned by the announcement and perusal of a specious declaration of William's objects composed by Dr. Burnet, and corrected by other traitors resident at the Hague. All his former inflexibility and capacity seemed to desert him at the moment when most imperatively they were needed; or else the emergency, great as it was, might have been successfully encountered. For, although the nobility were false to the Altar and the Throne, yet the people were true to their hearts' core, and the Church's loyalty had not been destroyed, if both had been justly grieved and offended. Indeed, it is an amazing subject for reflection, that a plot mainly conducted by such a man as Burnet could have ever reached the point of experiment. But when secrecy no longer was required, any blunders in execution, of which there were several, proved to be more than counterbalanced by want of concert for resistance. New levies of troops were ordered, commissions freely offered to volunteers, and the king himself prepared to take the field. Sunderland also at last was dismissed from office, and penalties denounced against publishers of libels and injurious reports. But such steps fell far below what the crisis demanded. When, therefore, William landed, after some delay by bad weather, then made on for London after other delays of various kinds, which had suggested serious doubt whether he had not miscalculated the amount of support awaiting him, he found everything prepared to his hand. From that day the Revolution was complete--conquest, though Parliament afterwards chafed at this word, had been achieved, not by arms, but panic and treason--the Stuart dynasty dethroned for ever, and a foreigner seated by a parliamentary title upon the throne of England. Intervening and accompanying incidents need not be recounted in detail--such as the desertion of army officers one after another, the heartless treachery of the Princess Anne under the guidance of Bishop Compton and the Churchills, James's double flight under threats of personal violence, the illegal assumptions of a self-constituted body of lords and commons under the name of Convention, Mary's arrival and indecent levity on obtaining possession of her father's palace. These fill a page in history which even descendants of Whigs may blush to read.

How did the bishops of the Church of England act? Not very honourably as a body. A majority hedged out of sight and maintained an equivocal and suspicious silence concerning the matters which convulsed the rest of the nation. A few responded to a summons from the king for counsel, but instead of this offered him reproaches for his previous treatment of their Order. William had presumed to affirm in his Declaration that he had come by invitation of Spiritual as well as Temporal lords. This was honestly denied by those present, except Compton, who escaped under a disingenuous quibble characteristic of him, but which any man of honour would have scorned to employ. The clergy were almost unanimously in favour of hereditary right, theoretically, though late experience had not tended to enliven their zeal in the cause; and they were, as now, an unwieldy, unorganized body, without that unity of action and combination which are necessary to any powerful influence upon society. They inclined to let things drift till beyond remedy, and were bewildered for want of leadership. Erastianism had not become so prevalent or unblushing as it soon did. They, nevertheless, were generally too willing to be persuaded that duty required them to cling to their benefices if possible--that "whatever is, is right,"--and therefore the Powers that be are of Divine ordinance, whether they have come by might or right.

William and Mary were, by the authority of a Convention of nobles and commoners, entitled king and queen of England, and Bishop Compton was among the foremost to present himself before the newly patented sovereignty; though he had doffed the purple velvet uniform, jack-boots, and sword wherein he had escorted the Princess Anne in her flight to Nottinghamshire. He could not persuade the clergy of London to accompany him, so was fain to rest content with a posse of dissenting ministers. Other prelates had a little more self-respect than thus at once to trail their lawn in the mire, if they wanted courage to avow their convictions or resist the proposal for a Form of public Thanksgiving to be used in churches for this successful usurpation; for then before them lay a letter from the king, to whom they had sworn allegiance, complaining of the violence and threats which had driven him from the kingdom. William issued also another proclamation, attributing the Revolution to the Almighty; and the Archbishop of Canterbury's name, without his consent, was ostentatiously exhibited in a list of the new Privy Council.

So transparent an artifice did not beguile him from his integrity. He had never concurred in the invitation for the Prince of Orange's arrival, though this has been sometimes stated; now, therefore, he withheld his sanction from rebellion against his rightful sovereign.

A new Parliament, called without royal authority, and notoriously elected under an extensive system of bribery, had no more proper legality than the Convention. Nothing was said about the promised inquiry, or the purposes specified in the Declaration. If then the archbishop could have nerved himself and his brethren on the Episcopal Bench to repeat the noble part which they had lately played, there is little doubt the tide of revolution might have been rolled back on its authors, and the discrowned monarch's inheritance restored with safeguards and guarantees against fresh violation of the pledges given at the commencement of his reign.

A mitre at Salisbury falling vacant was bestowed, as was to be expected, upon Burner.. His Grace refused to consecrate him, but issued a commission empowering others to do so in his absence, which deprived his refusal of the credit of acting upon principle, and betrayed a vacillation which did not fail to encourage his enemies to bolder steps. Burnet's triumphant tone upon the occasion tempted the archbishop to another action, which with more dignity he would have omitted, if it be true that afterwards "with his own hands he destroyed the warrant for consecration."

Only two members of the House of Commons refused to take the oaths of allegiance to the new sovereignty, but in the House of Lords no less than eight bishops. [Burnet's "History of his Own Times."]

Accordingly a bill was introduced to compel all persons in official situations to comply by a fixed date at six months' distance, March, 1689.

But again their show of resolution was shorn of half its proper influence by the fact that some of them were issuing patents to their Chancellors for the institution of Clergy into fresh cures upon condition of taking those same oaths. When the'day arrived for final determination, about four hundred clergy in England and these eight prelates stood firm: sacrificed everything rather than forswear themselves, and formally transfer allegiance pledged to one king to another usurping his throne, though willing to give assurance of no active efforts to disturb his government. The requirement extended to Ireland, and therefore involved the Chancellor of Connor with a few more persons, the most distinguished being Dr. Sheridan, Bishop of Kilmore. Leslie gave no uncertain sound. Neither as deputy and agent for another, nor on his own account, could he act with duplicity. He could not conscientiously admit persons into office upon any other principle than that which himself, having sworn to observe, intended to maintain at any cost or sacrifice.

Thus vanished at a stroke the single glory which ever belonged to the Chapter of the diocese of Connor, and the one prospect it ever for a moment possessed of becoming useful or ornamental to the Irish Church. No traditional memories rescued it from oblivion in the past, and a constantly shifting succession of tenants have continued to hold the office down to the present day. A Mr. Charlton swallowed the oaths when Leslie retired, of whom no more is known, and the solitary gleam of distinction which had been associated with this post was scarcely kindled before extinction. Since then Ichabod has been legibly stamped upon Connor, where even the Roman communion, so eager generally after old titles and dignities, has not cared to establish a claim. The loss to Leslie himself of his office was very small directly and immediately. The "preferments and emoluments" spoken of by some writers must be confessed of little value or consequence in themselves, nor even had the prospects resigned been of much greater account under the Vice-royalty of Tyrconnel. What proved of serious concern was the necessary removal of himself and family from Glaslough, involving severance of family intercourse and affection which he prized most dearly, as well as of friendship and good will among poor and rich in two or three counties. He felt the prospect of such separations far beyond the loss of any gain or advancement. Even more, he declared, was the pain of being debarred from the public exercise of his Ministerial Office; and it could not be otherwise in the case of one so earnest and capable in its discharge. He had not made interest to secure a benefice when within his reach, therefore would not have deplored the loss of one very bitterly; but to be forbidden performance of sacred duties was a trial which none can adequately appreciate but sufferers under any providential circumstances. Then, moreover, the sharpest sting lay in the cause of these misfortunes, which made his no isolated case of injustice, but identified it with that of all the honourable men in England henceforth to be known as Nonjurors, and the interests of the Church at large. It was a most perilous crisis in her history, the ultimate consequences of which none on any side could predict. Ecclesiastical and civil affairs were then much more closely intertwined than now; by far the greater part of the nation professedly belonged to her communion, and the highest classes almost entirely. Though the persons who in both houses of Parliament undertook unauthorized to represent her interests were singularly ill qualified, ever since she has borne the blame of a persecuting policy which more properly should be ascribed to them, whether directed against Romanists or Dissenters. It was of no use that bishops and clergy advocated toleration, when Parliament, under pretence of defending the Church, insisted upon persecution. Again, religion was the one subject which continually occupied the attention of all classes when no great variety of other interests existed; nor had commerce, manufactures, colonial affairs, or even agriculture itself, still less public education, much place in any one's thoughts. Every political question or movement was proposed and examined in the light of its influence upon the Church, by which, however, nothing was less meant than a Spiritual kingdom, a Divine Corporation for the amelioration of mankind, only an Establishment directed by the State for domineering over conscience, and keeping the people in subjection to the Government. When, therefore, rulers themselves effaced the constitution, swept away an hereditary Monarchy, and removed the basis upon which union between Church and State had existed hitherto, none could tell how far the dissolution of that union would proceed. A disruption, which arrayed the most learned and pious of the Episcopal Bench and Clergy on one side, against a larger but less respectable body on the other, whom even the laity, while uniting with them, suspected of hypocrisy and selfish motives, and who themselves generally looked ashamed of their conduct, presented a very serious and sad consideration to Charles Leslie. Conscience afforded no loophole of escape from that decision, which he had soon to act upon; but, in boldly throwing in his lot with the little party of principle, he showed himself acutely sensible of all its perils and responsibilities. His conduct has been diligently misrepresented by contemporary partisans, who carefully concealed the authorship of their calumnies till he was no longer alive to answer them, which again have been copied and repeated in biographies, encyclopaedias, and histories, without the slightest inquiry into their truth or accuracy.1

But these can all be clearly traced back to a single source, and that proved unworthy of credit. The modern repetitions have been taken verbatim from Noble's biography, which in the same way came from Burnet's "History of his Own Times," not published till after his death. His account, with that of his poor satellite, Bishop Lloyd, admittedly proceeded from information furnished by Archbishop King. There is the fans et origo mali, and his statement can be proved, beyond a possibility of doubt, both inconsistent in itself and contrary to facts.

Both parties in Ireland, Protestants and Papists, remained in deadly array against each other ever since intelligence had arrived of William's invasion, equally afraid to strike a final blow for mastery, though Tyrconncl continued to act and talk much in the same frenzied style-as before. Predatory bands also roamed through the kingdom, carrying on a sort of guerilla warfare, with his contrivance if not always direct authority, against Protestants, who were left to their own protection. This was part of William's policy, that a general rebellion might seem to render his stay and services more indispensable for England. Irish clergy, who had determinately resisted James, eagerly presumed that the usurper would bid high for their support, but finding themselves mistaken, began to make overtures for reconciliation to their rightful sovereign, which were very ungraciously rejected. Leslie was not among this number. The charges afterwards made against him were these: i. That he first so far opposed James and accepted William as to take part in a public proclamation of him as king. 2. That he engaged in some conflicts against the former's adherents, and was "the first to shed blood" in Ireland at the Revolution. 3. That notwithstanding this, he in a short time turned round again to his previous standpoint. Now, no places or dates were assigned in corroboration of these statements, which ought to have been done, especially when levelled by bishops against a clergyman of high standing and character; but that was impossible, because they were utterly without foundation. I. He never took part in, nor was present at, any proclamation of William at all. 2. Some skirmishes took place between Protestants and Romanists before and at the Revolution, in which one or two persons were killed at Glaslough and Drumbanagher, but he never participated in them. The blood shed on those occasions was in defence of houses which had been wantonly and deliberately attacked by marauders belonging to Tyrconnel's army; therefore no blame could be justly attributed to Protestants on this account. 3. Leslie, never having renounced allegiance to his rightful sovereign, however strongly he had resisted unlawful proceedings in his name, could not have changed sides a second time. The fact is, he was not in Ireland when these occurrences took place, but in the Isle of Wight with his wife and the Keightlcys. [Clarendon's Diary.] His brother may have been present at some proclamation of William, because he accepted the Revolution, and did very properly defend Glaslough when attacked. Such are the circumstances which have been misrepresented to Charles's prejudice because he had been accustomed to reside there. It is not so very easy to acquit King as his brother prelates for putting the story in circulation, inasmuch as he was well acquainted with both brothers, had received kindness from their father, and professed friendship to the family. If he did not know of Charles's absence on the occasions referred to, nothing would have been easier than to ascertain the fact; and it was his plain duty to do so before committing himself, for Glaslough was only sixty miles distant from Dublin, and his very story betrayed some misgivings on the point.

But when he whispered it to Burnet and Lloyd for circulation, he was writhing under the exposure of his own tergiversation and burning for revenge, and those two men shared his animosity. The latter even wrote, twelve years after, for "an account of the matter which he might publish without saying where he got his information." [Ware's History and Hist. MSS. Reports, vol. ii.] It is not the only instance on record of prelates combining to ruin the reputation of an opponent by a fabrication; but perhaps there never was one more discreditable to the authors and so easy to disprove from independent sources of information. Leslie had gone to the Isle of Wight partly on account of his own health, which had been much impaired, and partly for the purpose of recreation with Mr. and Lady Frances Keightley, returning with them to London, not to Ireland. Accordingly his absence explains the confusion made between him and his brother, though it does not exculpate Archbishop King. If he had remained at home, and doubtless would have endeavoured to do so had the invasion of England by the Dutch with its consequences been anticipated, it is impossible to say now how he would have acted, or what effect his influence might have produced in altering the current of affairs at Glaslough. His was the stronger mind, and he took the lead in all public affairs. John, the Dean of Dromore, was not, indeed, deficient in ability--rather above the average, and very competent in estimating the value of most things. His character was as spotless and honourable as that of his brother, and his convictions and prepossessions ran in the same direction; while a long residence together very unusual between brothers in the upper classes had strengthened the ties of affection subsisting between them. But John had tasted more of the miseries of civil war than his brother. For the first twenty years of his life he had seen little else; and burnt in upon his remembrance by painful experience was the horrible wickedness which the Church of Rome allowed to be perpetrated in her name; and now he saw a revival of similar scenes avowedly under the same authority. His own house had been attacked without any provocation; several neighbours and friends had been subjected to outrages; he seemed to know what allegiance to James meant; he did not know what William might be, and he had a large property at stake. That even a good and conscientious man under such circumstances should have given his adhesion to the cause which promised best for security and peace is at least very intelligible. Whether any alteration would have resulted if Charles had been present at that time it is almost needless to speculate, but probabilities point the other way. Men are generally much more influenced by their temporal interests than themselves are conscious of; and John, as the immediate heir and successor to the estate of Glaslough, had a vested interest at stake of the greatest importance. Moreover, no change of attitude on the part of either brother would have: prevented the unfortunate loss of a few lives there, because the attack in which it occurred was directed, not against them personally, but Protestantism and property, nor had any immediate connection with the Revolution at all.

King James signalized his arrival in the Capital of Ireland with characteristic imprudence, by a series of Popish processions and pompous ceremonials in attendance at Mass, which provoked many well-disposed subjects to opposition. His next step was still further calculated to range them under William's banner--a Bill introduced into the Irish Parliament for repeal of an Act which had conferred estates forfeited at the Rebellion upon Protestants. Undoubtedly that Act had been enforced with cruelty and injustice against innocent persons, whose only offence was attachment to the Church of Rome, to whom, therefore, some compensation or redress was due. But such a mode at such a time was the last a sensible monarch would have sanctioned; and James admitted this, but had not moral courage to refuse. Even lands of temporary absentees were to be included in the new confiscation on presumption of the owners being adherents of the Prince of Orange, though closing of the ports had actually hindered some from returning who had been driven away by James's own supporters. Romanists also were authorized henceforth to transfer tithes from the clergy to the ministers of their own communion. The class upon whom these wrongs told with most severity was the one desirous of preserving their former allegiance, so that no policy ever was more suicidal. Leslie's condition was exactly analogous to that of non-jurors in England. Because he had resisted unconstitutional proceedings under James, he had incurred the hostility of the Tyrconnel party. On the other hand, because he would not therefore go further and unite with revolutionists, their animosity knew no bounds. He gave greater offence than those who had not stirred a finger in defence of the law, in proportion to the higher weight attributed to his opinion.

Such was the penalty incurred for the privilege of possessing a conscience, but it was paid with his eyes open; nor did he ever regret it, though his sufferings were lifelong and acute, and though a bishopric subsequently was dangled before him to induce him to revoke.

William went at length to Ireland to take command of his forces, and face his own father-in-law and uncle in battle, during whose absence a defeat of the English fleet by the French threw this country into a fresh panic. Nonjurors were at once the victims accused of plots against their own country. A Liturgy, containing one prayer for the discrowned monarch, which was Charles Leslie's composition, was hit upon as supporting this accusation; though Archbishop Sancroft and his brother prelates had not authorized its use. A fictitious letter to the King of France for assistance was artfully circulated for the same purpose of rendering Nonjurors odious, with the horrible suggestion of Dewitting them; that is, repeating such a murder as had been perpetrated in Holland upon unfortunate brothers who had ventured to oppose the imperious policy of William as Stadtholdcr there. It gave also, as Burnet said, "the king a great advantage in filling the vacant Sees." His own importunity was not wanting to this step; though, had he foreseen that his desire to be enthroned at Canterbury would not be gratified, he might not have been so eager. Directions were issued for ejection of Nonjuring prelates, and clergy, who though deprived had hitherto not actually been dispossessed. Tillotson was intruded at Lambeth, a personal friend of the new sovereign who had formerly recommendcd himself to favour by acts of courtesy when Dean of Canterbury, and been among the first to welcome the Revolution. He was a man of considerable popularity as a preacher, though his style would now be thought very artificial and pedantic; diligent in discharge of pastoral duties; but of no talents commensurate with his ambition, and strongly tainted with heresy. On this account he had been rejected as a candidate for the Prolocutorship of the Lower House of Convocation, when a scheme of comprehension, by which the doors of the Church were to be opened for admission of Dissenters into the Church at expense of her doctrines, was introduced, and supported by latitudinarian prelates, but happily defeated by resistance of the great body of the clergy. Dr. Sherlock was rewarded at the same time with the deanery of S. Paul's for recanting his former loyal professions under the influence of his wife, who for her masterful spirit earned the sobriquet of Xantippe. In wisdom he might be deemed a Socrates if not in integrity, far superior to the mass of beneficcd brethren who followed his example from similar domestic considerations; in marked contrast to whom the learned Beveridge, though he conformed, refused a mitre. In vain Whig historians and latitudinarians have laboured to conceal the iniquity and uncanonical character of these ejections, under pretence of State necessity and false precedents. That William and Mary should resolve upon them was a matter of course--" None has ever righteously exercised a dominion acquired by infamous means." But that so little resistance should have been offered to the sacrilegious proceedings by the Church of England at large, can never be remembered without a blush of indignation, and ought to be a warning against submission to Erastian encroachment again under any pretext whatever. Dr. Sherlock wrote in vindication of his conduct "The case of Allegiance and Obedience to the Present Government," which called forth many severe rejoinders that were keenly felt. A single passage of one will be enough to quote here, replying to Dr. Sherlock's appeal to Overall's convocation book as the immediate cause of his conversion, but which never produced such a profound impression until William's usurpation had become an established success. "Then it was that Bishop Overall's book gave you greater freedom and liberty. Egeria appeared to you on the banks of the Boyne, and inspired you with new and freer notions; showed you how your former reasoning contradicted the general sense of mankind, and revealed unto you a divine and safer principle upon which you might swear allegiance, without the imputation of apostasy, or renouncing the doctrine of the Church of England to Will. Nass. Ang. Scot. Hibern. A Deo datus Augustus, and also swear it back again to King James, if ever he should recover the throne in a recuperative war."

The original pamphlet has been attributed to Mr. Hill, but these words recur almost verbatim in another part of Leslie's undoubted writings. In any case they clearly describe the real character of Sherlock's change. Had he and several other clergy at the first espoused the cause of Revolution, their integrity might have remained unchallenged; but perusal of an old book being urged as the ground of recantation when this suited his interests, while a plank for safe return was kept in reserve if occasion should recur, was evidently a pretext of a very flimsy and disingenuous character. Of those eminent prelates who refused the new oaths, Dr. Lake and Dr. Cartwright died in the same year, 1689. Dr. Lake, one of the seven sent to the Tower by King James, before his death made a solemn profession, that "on reviewing his conduct he had much satisfaction." Another, Dr. Thomas, of Worcester, said upon his death-bed to a fellow-sufferer, the eminent Dr. Hickes, Dean of his Cathedral, "If my heart do not deceive me, and God's grace do not fail me, I think I could suffer at a stake rather than take the oaths." The proportion who had the courage of their convictions was not inconsiderable among beneficed clergy; but Leslie appropriately remarked on this point in reply to a sermon of Sherlock at the Temple Church after his apostasy, "There is not one but knows that this comparison of numbers proves nothing at all; that truth was never tried by counting and telling of noses; that numbers were never any evidence of a good cause. At this rate the Alcoran will vie with the Gospel, and Turkism will be not only better than Popery, but even than Christianity itself. This therefore, is nothing else but cheating and deluding the people, instead of informing and instructing them. And they are hard put to it surely, when, to save their own credit and blast others, they are forced so frequently to inculcate such an argument, which themselves in their own consciences (if they have any) know to be none at all." But perhaps Nonjurors made the mistake of a too easy submission to unconstitutional deprivation, which is one never made by Puritans or Erastians. Agitation, the ordinary weapon of these parties, might have better served their cause; for, not only did many more at heart agree with this noble minority of the clergy, but their silent suffering became a pretext for conformity on the part of feeble folk.

A nobler disputant than Sherlock, and whose apostasy from the nonjurors did not expose him to such obloquy, was Dr. Stillingfleet. His temporal interests coincided with, but did not so apparently suggest, recantation. In a pamphlet entitled "Unreasonableness of Separation," he put the argument in favour of compliance in a new light, making no pretence of right for the usurpation but "consent of the three Estates of the realm." Unfortunately for it, this consent had never been obtained; as Parliament had never been consulted on the matter, the House of Commons having been unconstitutionally elected, and the Spirituality notoriously overborne by Temporal peers; nor Convocation consulted at all, which is one of the three Estates. He did not improve his ground by saying, "So far as he could see that to a de facto king the law of England requires an allegiance, or else the whole nation was perjured in most of the reigns from the Conquest till Henry VIII." When such a man as Stillingfleet could justify revolution upon those grounds, it showed how far moral deterioration had gone, and what vile holds men were content to stay them on. This controversy continued for several years, but the where Nonjurors placed it.

Another point which immediately presented itself for consideration to those who chose with them the plain unsophisticated cause of hereditary right, was, whether attendance at public services in which the names of William and Mary were substituted for those of the real king and queen, involved a sinful compliance and condition of communion. Nonjurors were not unanimous, but a majority and the highest authorities decided in the affirmative.

Foremost among these was Dr. George Hickes, the lately deprived Dean of Westminster, who received his bishop's dying confession, and whose theological treatises have won the admiration of pious and learned persons ever since. None could compare with him in research upon a variety of subjects, while his vigour and activity equalled his learning. Unfortunately his manuscripts, confided to the care of a bank were destroyed for want of that care; but many of his best works are still extant, and a biography by a competent writer would be not only a tribute to his memory but form a very interesting volume. One remark which fell from the dean, in his apology for Nonjurors' separation, applied to none more appropriately than himself, though his habitual modesty precluded such an intention. "One Jacobite, could he turn to their Majesties upon his own principles, would be worth a hundred such subjects as you (Sherlock); and when Providence shall remove the obstacles which lie in the way of allegiance to them, they will have reason to value them as so many jewels of the Crown." This severe rebuke, with Leslie's, Sherlock denounced as libels, which elicited from the latter this retort at a later date: "These gentlemen had need talk of libels when they have taken such extraordinary pains to libel themselves. Their apostasies are libels and perpetual libels, and will remain everlasting monuments of their infamy, except they can persuade people to burn their books and forget their sermons. So that (to give these gentlemen their due), they have saved their adversaries all trouble on this point who have something else to do than be at so common and trite an argument as to trouble the world with any more libels, when they find so many made by the gentlemen themselves."

Next to Dr. Hickes among Nonjurors, and like him one of Leslie's most intimate and valued friends, was Henry Dodwell, an Irishman by birth, and Camdcnian professor a't Oxford. Some of his learning was unprofitably spent on strange speculations in theology; but he proved himself very capable of practically dealing with a subject when he came in contact with another antagonist of Nonjurors. This was Dr. Hody, who professed to have made a Providential discovery in the library at Oxford of an ancient manuscript, showing that intrusion of a new bishop into a See during the rightful owner's lifetime, could not justify separation from his Church, unless he were formally convicted of heresy. Dodwell pertinently pointed out that the date of the manuscript, being written in the thirteenth century, deprived it of any value as a testimony to the practice of the primitive Church. And his investigation revealed further the awkward fact that Hody, whether from oversight or intentionally, had omitted in his citation of its contents some Canons referred to which directly mitigated against the theory he advocated. However, the providential character of his discovery consisted in his own promotion speedily to high positions in the Church, and the manuscript was left to slumber again in its native dust.

Henry Dodwell was indeed "a true son of the Church, and a learned defender of it," as Leslie termed him, one of whose friendship any one might be justly proud. They had been early thrown together, long before a community of opinions and sufferings occurred to bring them into closer .sympathy, and the friendship thus cemented continued to the last. Macaulay in support of an ungenerous attack upon Dodwell has made a most groundless statement. He says that "when Leslie collected his own works for publication, he omitted a discourse upon 'Marriages in Different Communities,' originally printed as an appendage to a sermon by himself, probably because he was ashamed of it." Then, in a note, Macaulay admits his knowledge of facts upon which this presumption is based to be slight and second-hand. His statement and presumption are both the very reverse of the truth, but too characteristic of a Whig historian's method of dealing with Nonjurors; though it must be gratefully acknowledged his treatment of Leslie is more honest than that of Hallam. That discourse or rather treatise of Dodwell was in form of a letter originally, and only not included in republication with the sermon because not one of Leslie's own works. But so far from being ashamed of it, in his preface Leslie spoke of it in the highest terms, and as a recommendation from his learned and judicious friend, which would help to render his own sermon "more valuable to the public."

The two productions were indeed a testimony of the long and warm attachment between them. At the period of the sermon's delivery (in substance) at Chester Cathedral, they were staying in the same house, and it was their thorough accord of sentiment upon its main subject which led Leslie to refer back to Dodwell when preparing his works for republication. Upon another occasion, when Dodwell was violently attacked by Dissenters for his treatise concerning the immortality of the soul, Leslie defended him in the warmest manner. They did not take the same view on some of the proceedings of Nonjurors at a later stage, but this difference never interrupted their personal relations of amity and esteem in the slightest degree. They sometimes were accustomed to stay together at the house of a mutual friend, Mr. Francis Cherry, of Shottesbrook, in Berkshire. He was well known for his high character, urbanity, and boundless hospitality, proffered with a special kindness to Nonjurors, so that for some months he provided Leslie shelter and support, when his zeal for King James involved him in some trouble with the Government,1 Another pious and excellent friend, among the first with whom Leslie became acquainted early, was Robert Nelson. If he had never done more than write the "Festivals and Fasts of the Church," his name would deserve most grate-1 [Secretary's "Life of Nelson," referred to later on.]

fully to be remembered. But he did much more, being the prime mover or hearty supporter of all the best and greatest institutions in his day, and the friend and confidential adviser of more good people than perhaps any layman who has ever lived. His ample fortune and high connections afforded him that influence which piety and learning combined to turn to the most advantage on every occasion. Such influence in society was never more needed for its preservation in England than when the tide of corruption and infidelity introduced by the Revolution was at its height. Unconcealed attachment of such a person to the Nonjuring party, while not severing his connection with opponents, could not fail materially to benefit them in several ways.

John Kettlewell deserves mention among more eminent nonjurors, though his life has been well written so as to render it unnecessary to say much. He did not carry his objections so far as some on ecclesiastical grounds apart from political; but the beauty and sweetness of his character were an invaluable testimony to the excellence of any cause which he espoused. One instance of his wisdom and charity was a scheme devised for the relief of deprived clergy who had little or no private means. A vain pretence of leavening injustice with mercy had been made when the Deprivation Act was first introduced into Parliament, by allowing a portion from the livings for their support. It quickly disappeared, so soon as success of the measureseemed sure, for the clause had never been intended as a reality. Nor could adepts in the art of forswearing be expected to exhibit compassion to those whom they dispossessed. This proposal met, of course, with the cordial approbation of the true bishops of Bath and Wells, Ely, Gloucester, Norwich, and Peterborough, and a considerable amount of support among Christian people. Yet the Privy Council had the indecency to complain of it, and to hail before them the saintly Ken of Bath and Wells on a charge of "illegality and encouragement of immorality" for his assistance to Kettlewell's plan. This singular indictment was explained to consist in having given a donation to "a man who went about one day in a gown, and upon another in a blue silk waistcoat." No name was mentioned, and conjecture was left free to fix upon any Nonjuror the scantiness of whose wardrobe rendered such a change of apparel necessary. But the privy councillors omitted to remember what a much greater metamorphosis had been recently undergone in this way by one of their own chief supporters, Dr. Compton. However, the good bishop did not deem it consistent with his dignity to inquire to whom they particularly referred, and contented himself with a general remark that "to give even to an ill man knowingly was a duty, if that ill man wanted the necessaries of life," which reply caused the matter to drop.

Other names among Nonjurors eminent for their worth and attainments may occur in the further course of this narrative, but these which have been mentioned were among the first friends with whom Leslie was brought into any immediate acquaintance or connection upon his settlement in London. To have lived on terms of mutual friendship and regard with characters like these and others, is in itself no mean testimony to his own merits.

Now it is time to return to his personal history after the deprivation which, as has been seen, rendered necessary his removal from Ireland.

Project Canterbury