WILLIAM LLOYD belonged to an ancient Welsh family; he was the grandson, of David Lloyd, Esq., of Henblas, Isle of Anglesea--his father was Richard Lloyd, B.D., and rector of Tilehurst and Sunning, in Berkshire. William was born at the rectory, August 18, 1628. He had no other tutor but his father, who made him an infant prodigy of learning. His progress at eleven years old in Latin and Greek, and even Hebrew, was something marvellous. His father had him entered as student at Oriel College, Oxford, in the Lent term, 1639; the year following he obtained a scholarship at Jesus College, that resort of Welsh students, when be had only attained the age of twelve years. He rivalled the fame of Wolsey as boy-bachelor, for he was admitted as Bachelor of Arts at Jesus, October 25, 1642, when he had only just entered his fourteenth year.
Scarcely had William Lloyd snatched his early degree when troublesome times ensued. Oxford was garrisoned for King Charles I. Many a young graduate threw off cap and gown, and fought for King, for Church, and Alma Mater. "We used to relieve the king's night-watch by bands volunteered among the students and graduates when the royalist soldiery were o'er-wearied. Many a winter's night have I passed in the trenches," says Dr. Arthur Bury, Rector of Exeter College, when some years afterwards there was an insurrection in his college against the visitation of Bishop Jonathan Trelawny.
William Lloyd was neither old enough or loyal enough to care for any of these things. He renewed his study of Oriental languages with his father, and soon after became tutor to the children of William Backhouse, Esq., of Swallowfield, a celebrated judicial astrologer and alchemist.
When the Presbyterians and Independents had got their own way at Oxford, young William Lloyd returned to his college. He took, in 1646, the degree of Master of Arts, and was ordained by Dr. Skinner, Bishop of Oxford, a very loyal divine. Yet he accepted the rectory of Bradfield, when Dr. Pordage was expelled from that living by the Presbyterian committee sitting at Oxford. Lloyd gave their "triers," as they were called, complete satisfaction, and was presented to the living by his friend, Elias Ashmole, Esq. But as disputes were raised regarding the right of Ashmole to the patronage, young Lloyd thought it most prudent to resign the preferment.
Ashmole was subsequently respectably connected with literature, as author of the ' History of the Order of the Garter,' but at this period chiefly noted for his magical, astrological, and alchemical pursuits.
His intimacy with the learned young orientalist of Jesus College had more influence over the mystical bias of that person's mind than has hitherto been noticed.
One fact is certain, that Lloyd contrived to foresee very well all that was most profitable for his own interest. While he remained on excellent terms with the Calvinists, he received priest's orders from Dr. Brownrigg, the deprived Bishop of Exeter, in 1656. The same year he went to Wadham College as governor to John Backhouse, Esq., the eldest of his young pupils, who was entered there as a gentleman commoner. And at Wadham the Restoration found William Lloyd.
Then commenced that extraordinary shower of preferments which continued to fall on him for forty years. The first was the prebend of Ripon; then the prebends of Woodford and Willsford, in the cathedral of Salisbury, and the presidentiary of Sarum followed. He wrote at this period some remarkable tracts against Popery. He became Dean of Bangor, Vicar of St. Mary's, Beading, Archdeacon of Merioneth, and chaplain in ordinary to the king.
Lloyd next published a book in defence of the Church of England Catholic; or rather, to use Sir Allan Apsley's actual words, of those of her sons reproachfully termed "Church Catholics"--Lancelot Andrews, Usher, Jeremy Taylor, besides the eminent Christians who are commemorated in Izaak Walton's inimitable biographies. One would have thought such men, ornaments of that century, required little championizing.
The design of Dr. Lloyd's book is to distinguish between English Church Catholics and Roman Catholics. He had the rare good fortune to please not only the most distinguished churchmen of the day, but even the Duke of York, who crossed the House of Lords one day to congratulate Dr. Lamplugh on his promotion to the see of Exeter, and inquired who was his successor to the living of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields?
"Dr. Lloyd," replied the bishop. On which his Royal Highness said, "Dr. Lloyd is a learned and worthy man, and has lately written a very excellent book." Lamplugh was surprised that the duke, who had never spoken to him before, should do it then, only to praise Dr. Lloyd and his book.
The principal transaction preserved of Dr. Lloyd, as rector of this now densely-populated parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, was his negotiation with Richard Baxter for his meeting-house. Some curious traits of the times are revealed by it. Oxenden Street was then building, and Richard Baxter erected there a place of worship for the use of his sect, but found the speculation disastrous, for Mr. Secretary Coventry instigated the guards of Charles II. to come under the windows and flourish their trumpets and beat their drums whenever Richard preached. Finding that not a word he said could be beard, and that remonstrating with these gentry was dangerous, Baxter sought to dispose of the building. Dr. Lloyd kindly introduced the affair to the vestry of St. Martin's. By his mediation poor Baxter obtained the handsome rental of £40 per annum for the building from the vestry, and it was forthwith consecrated as a "Tabernacle" to St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. [Evidently meant as a Chapel-of-Ease.]
The death of the Duke of York's infant son, in 1677, directed the attention of the nation and of the Church of England to the Lady Mary of York, lately married to William, Prince of Orange, her cousin. The princess, both by inclination and education, had been attached to the Church of England Catholic when she left her native country. There was great anxiety regarding the bias she was likely to take when left to her own guidance in Holland, where the prevalent worship was opposed to all she had been accustomed to venerate. Unfortunately Dr. Lloyd was appointed, by the influence of her late preceptor, Compton, Bishop of London, as the chief of her chaplains. Lloyd, to the great vexation of the orthodox divines of the Church of England, induced the princess to attend several times the services in a place of worship called the English Congregationists, where the tenets of the fanatic fatalists called on this account, the popularity of his book supported him, and he was welcomed on his return to England as one of the warmest champions of the Church. [Lake's Diary.]
When Titus Oates brought forward his marvellously expanding budget of contradictory perjuries, denouncing a "Popish plot for the destruction of all good Protestants," Lloyd not only maintained its credibility, but blew up popular fury to its fiercest flames by his funeral sermon on Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, the supposed victim of the Roman Catholics. To give effect to this able piece of oratory, which was delivered to an overflowing congregation by Dr. Lloyd in his own church, St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, two tall able-bodied clergymen mounted guard on either side of his pulpit, as his personal defenders, in case the Popish armies, his friend Titus Gates had sworn were making their way under ground, should effect an eruption, and suddenly work upwards into the church, and demolish the preacher before the face of that congregation.
Dr. Lloyd was greatly censured for refusing the sacrament to Berry, the porter of Somerset House, one of the victims of Titus Gates. Berry declared himself a Protestant, and passionately entreated to be allowed to communicate, according to the rites of the Church of England, before he suffered, solemnly affirming at the same time his innocence of the crime for which he had been condemned to death. The countenance Lloyd bestowed on Turbeville, one of the false witnesses, whose perjured evidence brought the venerable Lord Stafford to the block, was also considered highly disgraceful. Indeed through the whole of that agitating period he made himself very busy, till Charles II., in the hope of getting him out of the way, made him Bishop of St. Asaph. He was consecrated at Lambeth, October, 1680.
In due time the Popish Plot went out of fashion, and even Lloyd felt mortified at being identified with the party that had encouraged and patronised its authors; and he wrote an uneasy letter to Sancroft on the subject, partly attributing his countenancing their incredible inventions to fear.
"I have received," he says, "two letters from Sir Roger L'Estrange concerning Prance, who, it seems, is now in custody; and I have written him all that I know and can think of on that subject. He also asked me some things concerning Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, which I have answered truly, I am sure I know not how satisfactorily. The reason I ha\e to doubt is, because I frankly told him, concerning that gentleman's death, I am still of the same opinion that I was when I preached at his funeral. I confess I am not able to answer the arguments that I used then, nor I have not yet seen anything to alter my opinion but the informations of Gates, Bedlow, and Prance, which I could never reconcile with what I knew of that story. And their tales, which I durst not contradict, 1 did never countenance or encourage. I write this to your grace, because I was told last night by a gentleman of my neighbourhood that the Roman Catholics of this country have got a story among them of a letter that Gates has written to me. to thank me for the maintenance I have given him in prison, which they say has been lately intercepted. They that hide can find. If there be any such thing it would be sport for Gates to hear that they believed it, and much more to see me treated as they would have me that were the authors of that letter. But perhaps there is nothing in all this but fiction. I let it pass for such. But I acquaint your grace with it, that you may not He surprised if you should hear of any such story.
"I heartily lament the death of our good friend, my lord of York. He was very useful to the king and the Church in that province. God direct his Majesty in the filling of that see. It is some comfort to me to hear it said that Dr. Jeffreys is like to come into the order upon occasion of this vacancy, though I have not heard in what see. He is a right worthy good man, and the likeliest to keep an ill man out of the order, and therefore I cannot but wish well to his promotion. And what I think I write to your grace, according to the freedom you have given me. With the same freedom I make bold to acquaint your grace that my friend, Dr. Reynell, of Corpus Christi, in Oxford, has told me that without doubt it would be either Dr. Jeffreys, or your grace's chaplain, Dr. Maurice, or Dr. Humfreys, the Dean of Bangor. The first of these has the best interest, but I believe he would not make use of it for this nor perhaps for any bishopric. The second has by much the best parts of all the three. The third is a singular good man, and of all others best knows the diocese, and would be the most acceptable of all men to the clergy and people that live in it.
"This I say to your grace perfectly out of duty, for I know not whether any of these three, if they knew it, would thank me for saying what I do. But there is another thing wherein I humbly crave leave to speak for my friend; though I trust I shall never do that, but when it may be for the service of the Church, in my opinion, which I hold always with submission. I speak now for Mr. Jonathan Blagrave, who having married my sister, and buried her without any child, went afterward to serve the Princess of Orange. He served her Highness five years, in the place of second chaplain, with great acceptance, and would scarce have had leave to come away but that Mrs. Langford had a son that was ready to come into the place. Both while he was there, and since his coming away, her Royal Highness has written several letters in his behalf to the Bishop of London, to my Lady Clarendon, and to the Earl of Rochester. Last summer his Majesty was pleased to take notice of his service, and to promise that he would be kind to him. God be thanked he is not in want, for he has two livings that he got by evicting the incumbents of 'simony, and they are both of them near Oxford, and within ten miles of one another. But he would be glad to have something on her Highness's account, and particularly desires to have a prebend of Worcester, because the living on which he resides is within a little day's journey of that place. I would not ask this for him, but that I know he is a worthy man, and will well become the place, and has a fair pretension to it by the things that I have written. Knowing this, I make bold to beg your grace's favour to him, and what assistance you shall think fit to give in such a matter.
"I beseech God to preserve your grace's health, now especially while it is so needful to the Church, and to direct and bless all your counsels and endeavours. I humbly crave your blessing and take leave.
"Your grace's most obedient son and servant,
"W. ASAPH." [Tanner, xxx. 24.]
It was probably through the instrumentality of this brother-in-law that Lloyd carried on his unsuspected correspondence with the Prince of Orange so long and secretly. He had, however, plenty of hard and difficult work in his obscure Welsh diocese, especially to find clergymen who could preach in the language understood by the people. He makes the following statement to Sancroft, of one among the many dilemmas in which he found himself involved in the conduct of his see:--
"May 4, 1683.
"There is," writes he, "a nephew of my predecessor, one Mr. Thomas Clopton, whom his uncle preferred as well as he could in this diocese from the time of his entering into orders, which was but three or four years before his uncle's death; that is, he gave him a prebend of about 20l. per annum, two sinecures worth each of them about 60l. per annum, and a rectory with cure of souls of about 100l. per annum.
"This rectory is called Castle, which lies in Montgomeryshire, not far out of England, and yet not a third part of the people understands any English; and though Mr. Clopton, to qualify himself for it, made his uncle believe he had learned Welsh (and he did indeed learn so far as to read a Welsh sermon once in a parish church, that he might be able to say he had preached in Welsh; but he read it so that none that heard him could understand anything in it no more than himself), he came thither, and still continues unable to perform any Church-office in the Welsh language. The people were very much discontented at this, as they had cause; and they sent me their complaint of it at my first coming into the diocese. Thereupon I desired him, as soon as I saw him, to learn their language, and to make himself useful in his cure. He promised he would do what he could; but said he found it so difficult, that he would take it for a very great favour if I would save him the trouble, by finding him a living of 200l. a year or better in England; for which, with many thanks, he would resign all he had in this diocese. I promised him I would endeavour to do it; and lately it has pleased God to give me an opportunity beyond his or my expectation.
"Dr. Pell, the mathematician, had the next advowson of Malpas given him by the Lord Brereton, who was the patron of it; and hearing of the death of Mr. Bridge, the last incumbent, the Doctor sent me an earnest request that I would find him a sinecure of 100l. a year or better, that he might have in exchange for the living of Malpas, which is worth above 300l. I presently acquainted Mr. Clopton with it, who gladly embraced the condition, and desired me to bring it to effect. I told him that when he parted with his sinecures to Dr. Pell, he must not think to make a sinecure of Castle. He was content to part with that also, and desired to keep nothing but his prebend, which I willingly allowed.
"Thereupon I got him Dr. Pell's presentation, which he has now in his hands. But since I hear, and have reason to suspect, that he intends privately to get a dispensation, and so to hold Castle with Malpas. Such would be a great dishonesty in him, and a defeating of my design, which is truly for the service of the Church. I therefore write this to prevent him, and make it my humble suit to your grace that he may have no dispensation. If your grace will be pleased to lay aside this letter for him, in case he should come for a dispensation, I humbly desire that this may be given him for his answer."
At a later period of his episcopate Lloyd writes earnestly, in reply to Sancroft's injunction that undergraduates should not be ordained for holding livings in the Church, in Wales. There seems both truth and reason in the poor bishop's observations on the difficulty of supplying the ministry. His communication is very instructive as to the state of the Church in Wales.
"I must crave leave," he writes, "to remind your grace that I excepted against the restraint from ordaining them that are not graduates in the university, as being not practicable in our Welsh diocese. We have a great many more cures of souls than we have graduates in this country; and as most of the people understand nothing but Welsh, we cannot supply the cures with any other but Welshmen. But yet of those whom I have ordained, the graduates have not been always the best scholars. I have more than once seen them shamefully outdone by men that never saw the university. And I never ordained any but them that could perform the exercise required by the 34th Canon of the Synod in 1603.
"For the state of the Church in North Wales, I bless God I do not know any reason we have to complain. I am well assured that in these six counties there are not six persons fewer in the communion of our Church than there were in the beginning of his Majesty's reign. And for them that are in. the Church communion, who are the generality of our people, I thank God I do not find that they grow worse. I hope they rather grow better; and that which is my greatest comfort, I do not know of one scandalous churchman in this diocese. All seem to be very sensible of the great blessing we have in our primate; and promise themselves that as he had no hand in the breach that has been made in our Church, so he will do all that is possible for him to do toward the repairing of it, and that meanwhile toward the preventing of those hurtful effects that it threatens.
"I beseech God long to continue this blessing to us, and to make it more and more beneficial to His Church.
"I humbly crave your blessing, and remain, "Your grace's most obliged, and
"Most obedient son and servant,
Lloyd had now time and leisure for completing his great ecclesiastical work--the 'History of the Government of the Church in Great Britain and Ireland when they first received Christianity.'
He was busily engaged in writing and printing at the same time, when unseasonably interrupted, first by a summons from Lord Clarendon to attend to ecclesiastical affairs in town, and then by a request to undertake the Lent preaching at Whitehall for Sancroft, Mrs. Lloyd being dangerously ill at the same time. Under these circumstances he writes the following letter and excuse to Sancroft:--
"MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,
"If it had not pleased God to stay me here, by putting my wife's life in danger for some time, and keeping her ever since in so great uneasiness that I thought my presence with her necessary, otherwise I should have been at London ten days ago, to attend a business of my Lord Clarendon's, in which the Bishop of Ely is concerned with me; and therefore he might very well inform your grace, as lie did, that I am to be shortly at London.
"I thank God at present I do not apprehend my wife to be in danger of her life; and though she is still in a very low condition, yet, being used to affliction, she is the better able to endure it. I do therefore intend, if matters continue as they are, or be not worse, with God's leave, to go for London on Monday next; and when my business is over, for which I presume a few hours will suffice, I hope on Thursday to wait on your grace at Lambeth. On Friday I intend to return, being obliged to make all the haste I can, that the press may not stand idle in my absence, and a further delay be put to the work, which has lain too long already on my hands. I shall, as your grace is pleased to require, bring the printed sheets along with me, by which it will appear that I have not been idle, and that it is not nothing which I stuck at, though indeed I do not think it worth the time I spent about it.
"God be blessed, there remains no other difficulty that I know of, and I am sure there cannot arise any other stop, except from God or his Majesty. The press has not stayed an hour for me these two months; but I cannot hope to be so much beforehand in my work as to have another week to spare after this that I have promised my Lord Clarendon. Therefore 1 must entreat your grace to excuse me from preaching at Whitehall. That would take up two weeks at least of my time, one for study, and another for the journey. And though I would throw away my work rather than your grace's health should be exposed to the hazard, as I know it must be in preaching at Whitehall (I know not what I would not suffer rather than this); yet since there is no necessity of it, if I should not come, my good brother my lord of Ely being so near at hand and ready to help; or if no bishop could be had, your grace's chaplains being so very sufficient, I must beseech your grace to order the supply to be made by one of these, or some other whom you shall judge fit. I fear the post is going, and therefore I make haste to crave your blessing and take leave."
Early in James II.'s reign Lloyd's book appeared, which, although as might have been expected from an author of his imaginative temperament and strong political bias was replete with erroneous statements, was greatly admired by a very strong party, and procured great popularity for the right reverend author, although the work was vehemently answered by the celebrated George Mackenzie, who pointed out all its blunders and misrepresentations with unsparing severity. This mattered not; the book was in great public favour, and Lloyd's zeal against Popery, and ardent expressions of affection for the Church of England, obtained for him the full confidence of Archbishop Sancroft and the rest of the hierarchy, and he received another request from the primate to preach for him at Whitehall, from which duty he excused himself on account of his attendance by the sick bed of the Bishop of Chester. The following particulars are very interesting:--
"Dec. 27, 1685.
"MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,
"I have received your order to preach at Whitehall on the 21st of February next, which order I am most willing to obey, and shall do it, with God's permission, if the parliament meet on the 10th of February, or soon after that time. But if there should be a longer prorogation, I must humbly beg your grace's excuse, that I may not be put to that expense of money and time which so long a journey requires, on no other account but only to preach a Lent-sermon. But this, I presume, was your grace's intention in laying this duty upon me, and therefore I am in no fear of being put to the trouble of an unnecessary journey to London. I put in that last word with reflection upon a journey that I made on Christmas Eve as far as Chester without any necessity, but, as I thought, to take leave of my Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. By the best information I could get, his excellency was to go from thence immediately to Dublin. But I had the satisfaction to know, when I came thither, that he intends to go by land to Holyhead, and in his way thither to honour my house with his company on Monday next. Besides this, I had the satisfaction at Chester to see the good bishop, and to find him much better than he was when I saw him in October last. Then, as I acquainted your grace, he considered himself as now dying, and desired me to present his duty to your grace, with his suit in behalf of his chaplain, Mr. Allen, for whom he has been able to do nothing toward his settlement in all the ten years that he had lived with him; and now he humbly begged your grace would take him into your care. This, which seemed to be his dying request, and which I knew was made for one of great merit, I took upon me to recommend to your grace, which he took very thankfully, but he could not express it, though he laboured for words, nor could I make him understand what I said more. Now at this visit I found him in his bed, very sensible, and very well able to express himself.
"The first thing he asked me was concerning your grace, how you did, and whether you remembered him. When I answered him according to his desire he was sensibly revived with it, and spoke with great warmth of affection, how happy we were in such a primate, and he in such a friend. And when I told him what your grace was pleased to say upon his request for Mr. Allen, he said it gave him great ease in that which was the greatest pain to his mind, and desired me to mind your grace of it when there should be occasion.
"I think I told your grace what a sermon I happened to hear from Mr. Allen when I was last before this at Chester. He preaches there often, without any obligation, for he has nothing in the world but his fellowship; and yet, though he preaches extraordinary well, it is not much more his study than his business. While the Bishop of Chester was well and could study, it was Mr. Allen's business to read for him and to study with him. When he fell into his present disability he committed all his papers of all sorts (which are in many kinds very considerable) to Mr. Allen's care, with allowance to publish what he thought fit. Ever since his great illness he has taken no physic but out of his hand, and is ruled by Mr. Allen as a child is by its nurse, and regards not what is said by any other, so that the poor man cannot be spared from his attendance one day, nor many hours of it together. I write this to show your grace that at present he cannot take a cure of souls, though he is very fit for it. But if your grace could find anything else for him, that would consist with his attendance, the news of it I believe would be the best cordial the bishop could take. I judge so by what I saw of the operation it had when I told him he was in your thoughts. I had besides a great deal of discourse with him concerning other things, but nothing of learning; and to everything he spoke very pertinently, and wanted not words. But I was fain to speak so loud, because of his deafness on one side of his head and great difficulty of hearing on the other, that after half-an-hour I was forced to give over for weariness. His physicians think he may continue thus for some years, but they have little hope that' he will ever be able to go on with his work; only for the things that ask no great thought he does them sufficiently.
"I have here enclosed sent your grace an account of my ordinations at the last of the four times. You will see all things else according to your grace's injunctions, except the ordination of one Mr. Maesmore, an undergraduate, whom I ordained deacon about three years ago, and now priest. He is exceedingly improved in learning and knowledge within this time, and a pious, sober man, but so poor that he had not wherewith to pay his ordinary fees. I preferred him from Mwyn Clawdd chapel, in Wrexham parish, where he had 7l. ill paid, to Meliden, where now he will have 10l. a year. But he must do half-a-year's service before he will receive anything. And there has not been a sacrament there since Whitsuntide last for want of a priest in that cure, nor would have been now at Christmas if I had not ordained him. But I was fain to ordain him without your grace's dispensation, for though I would have been at the charge of sending for it, I had not time. The poor man did not offer himself to be ordained because he could not be at the charge. But when I heard that that church wanted sacraments, and I knew that there was not a priest to spare in the diocese, I sent for him to be examined when it was too late to send for a dispensation. I beg your grace's pardon for this; for though what I did was not against any law, it was against an article which, upon your grace's proposal, I agreed to, though I had before objected to it, as being likely to perplex the Welsh bishops, and those others that are far distant from London and have very poor cures to provide for. I humbly propose, for their sakes, that your grace would be pleased to interpret the word dispensation, that it may be in writing under your hand, without the affixing of any seal, that it may be the sooner dispatched, and without charge to the persons concerned in it.
"I did not intend to have written so much as I have done, but I had not time to think what I had to write, that I might have brought it into a less compass.
"I beseech God to add many more years to this, which is near an end, and many more blessings to every year that we enjoy of your grace's truly fatherly government over us. And I beg your grace's blessing on your most obliged and most obedient son and servant,
In his next letter Lloyd gives a more favourable account of the Bishop of Chester to Sancroft, but reports the dangerous illness of the Bishop of Bangor. He says:--
"Of my neighbours, I hear the Bishop of Chester gathers strength, and is hoped to be in a fair way of recovery; but the Bishop of Bangor is lately fallen very ill, and keeps his bed. There is reason to fear he may not be long-lived, because he has been very infirm ever since his last London journey.
"Upon this occasion, and on all of this kind, I hold it my duty to speak freely to your grace, and to give you my opinion of things in which the Church is concerned, entirely submitting it to your grace's judgment, if this see should be void the fittest man to fill it."
It is almost amusing to observe how vigilant and unremitting Lloyd is in his observations on the declining health of other prelates, especially those who were in possession of richer sees than his own poor Welsh benefice. In July, 1686, he has at last the satisfaction of announcing to the primate the departure of two of these worthy prelates, with suitable lamentations:--
"And now I am come upon a subject that makes my heart ache to think of it. Before my letter comes your grace will have heard of the death of that most pious, learned, useful man, the Bishop of Oxford, who died on Saturday, the 10th instant; and of that most excellent Bishop of Chester, who died, as I am told, the Thursday following. What wounds are these to the poor Church in her sorrow and weakness! What breaches in the holy order, and when and how to be filled up?
"What fresh loads of cares must this bring upon your grace, that are so much overladen already! God in mercy support you, that His Church may not sink in your arms. If those also should be taken away, how or by whom can she subsist? God knows. But if it be His gracious will to preserve her, He will do it by such ways and means as He sees best: and oftentimes He raises up those which men see not till He shows them in His work.
"If there be upon this or any other occasion any service that I can do for the Church, I am ready to receive your grace's commands, and to do what I can, without reckoning the cost of any kind, though literally cost is the thing that I am most unable to bear. And therefore I have spared myself in the subscription for the French Protestants, and subscribed only a promise that what I do already I will do as long as I am Bishop of St. Asaph, that is, to allow one of their distressed ministers his board and a pension of 20l. a year. The whole subscription of this small diocese amounts to little more than 350l. My secretary is now from home. As soon as he returns I will send your grace the whole account of the collection in this diocese. I humbly crave your blessing, and remain,
"My most honoured lord,
"Your grace's most obliged and
"Most honoured servant,
Neither of the two fat sees, whose vacation he announced in the above letter, fell to Lloyd's share; and all the compliments with which he was accustomed to season his letters to the primate were wasted. Lloyd was undoubtedly a very able letter-writer, and never omitted an opportunity of writing agreeable things to his superiors. In one of his letters to Sancroft he says, "The good God that has raised you to that place for public good, long continue you in it, and prosper all your endeavours for His glory." A happy sentence, and without flattery, which renders it the more pleasing.
He testifies much sympathy for the troubles of the Vicar of Croydon, an unlucky and very poor Welshman, in whose behalf he writes to interest Sancroft, in the hope of getting him removed from so troublesome and expensive a place (where he had been sorely persecuted with vexatious suits by Dr. Clavers) to some other, "where," continues Lloyd, "he may live quietly, and lick himself whole of the hurts he has got in these wars. I know, for his own part, he would rather be banished into his own country than continue where he is, but his wife is not well made for the rough air of our country; and, besides, there are very few places in my gift where he can ever hope to recover the charge that he must be at in removing.
"I have a scurvy quality of delaying things till it is almost too late to set about them, that makes me now in danger of losing the post. I crave your blessing and take leave."
Lloyd also solicits Sancroft in favour of Monsieur Allix, one of the refugee French ministers, who had at his own desire been admitted into Church of England orders, and was a candidate for an English living; to which Sancroft had very properly objected, because he could not preach intelligibly in English, and had not been naturalized. Lloyd considered these matters of no importance, and thus vehemently urges Sancroft on the subject:--
"Shall such a man as this is--the learnedest man that they had beyond the seas, and the best as far as I am able to judge, the best affected to our Church without controversy, when, having declined all foreign invitations, he has thrown himself into the arms of our Church, and taken her orders, and thereby made himself more hers, and her more his mother than his own--shall he and all his family be suffered to want necessaries in her bosom? But who can help it? If I could I should not have troubled your grace with this request. But I have in my family a minister and a scholar of the refugees. They are my sole charge. I had another minister, whom I have maintained till of late that he is taken off my hands by the Bishop of Ely. I cannot do anything more that is considerable; nor, if I could, he would not receive it in the way of eleemosynary charity. And for livings in my diocese, there is not any worth his accepting, nor scarce any sinecure, but of these I have promised the next that shall fall. The next after that he shall have if I live and the law has its course. I should add, if it falls within these three harvests; for after the third I lay my life he will have no need of it. The meanwhile, that this next harvest may yield him bread it is in your grace's power, and that is it which I humbly propose. I have proposed it twice, I will not do it a third time, for fear your grace should be angry with me, as indeed you have cause when I am importunate with you in a thing which, as far as it is of private concernment, is wholly yours; and as it is of public concernment, which God knows 1 only consider, yet, so I cannot deny it is much more your grace's concernment than mine. I would add nothing more on this subject, but for an objection or two that were moved on this occasion. One was, as I remember, that he was not naturalized. That has not been a bar to others against coming into Church livings, and it ought not to be a bar to him, for he is denizened by his Majesty, which is as much as can be done for him in that behalf, without an Act of Parliament. The other objection was, that he has not the English tongue. I confess he does not pronounce it well, nor speak it without Frenchisms. But this objection lies against one that should be obliged to reside there, and not against one that shall be dispensed with for non-residence, as all rectors have been hitherto, except one that was born in that or as bad an air. What I say now is from the Bishop of Rochester, who said it by chance upon some discourse that happened about Dr. Stradling, without any knowledge of my suit to your grace for Monsieur Allix. Whom having named a second time, I do (as the Friar says, in the 'Conformities,' one ought to do upon every mention of the name of St. Francis) lick my lips, and so humbly leave this matter to your grace's consideration."
A more agreeable notice follows:--
"On Friday morning I had the honour to kiss his Majesty's hand, and to receive some gracious expressions, of which your grace will have an account from my Lord of Ely. I pray with a most ardent affection for your grace's good health and long life."
Assuredly Sancroft must have been weary of Lloyd's perpetual importunity in behalf of one person or other. In the spring of 1688 he writes to solicit a place for a man who, when he was the rector of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, had never missed prayers. He says:--
"I confess it does me good to see your grace's hand now and then, especially when I have no other way to be informed that you are well. But I would Hot have that satisfaction to myself on those terms that your grace should be uneasy for it one moment, as I judge by myself that every one must be, when he is writing unnecessary letters.
"I write now at the request of one Mr. Prince, a mercer (as I think) in Paternoster Row, who has married the widow of Mr. Godfrey that was formerly known to your grace. He desires to succeed Mr. Godfrey in the same place that he had in your grace's favour. And truly I think he is very capable of it. He is that man that scarce ever missed prayers, but never a sacrament, while I lived at St. Martin's. His piety was a great ornament to the Church. It was a jewel set in a ring of all other virtues, which made it shine very much in the esteem of all that knew him. Dr. Tenison, I doubt not, will give him the same testimony for the time that he lived with him in that parish. But I believe this is more than his matter requires. It is more, I am sure, than his modesty would allow, if he knew what I had written." [Tanner, xxviii. 15.]
So entirely had Lloyd won the confidence and esteem of Archbishop Sancroft, that on the memorable occasion of the bishops presenting the petition to the king, praying to be excused from reading or causing the Act for Liberty of Conscience to be read in their respective dioceses, he acted as the substitute of the aged primate, whose severe cough incapacitated him from exposing himself to the night air in crossing the river from Lambeth to Whitehall.
The circumstance of Lloyd's secret league with the Prince of Orange, and his own intimate acquaintance with all the business of the press, renders it extremely probable that he was the party who caused the petition, together with a circumstantial detail of what passed between the bishops and their sovereign in the privacy of the royal closet, to be printed and hawked through the streets of London and Westminster at midnight, which so highly incensed the king, and mortified and perplexed the worthy primate and the other prelates who were not in the secret, and felt their honour compromised, that circumstance being in all probability the cause of their imprisonment.
Lloyd was at that time employed in preparing a political pamphlet to discredit the reality of the birth of the anticipated heir to the crown. The unwelcome infant was brought into the world two days after the committal of the seven bishops to the Tower, and Lloyd became so greatly excited at the idea of the Princess of Orange being superseded as presumptive heiress of the realm by a popish heir apparent that he determined to leave no stone unturned to invalidate the claims of her infant rival.
It is not difficult to trace the organization of all the indelicate scandals regarding the asserted impostures, which were published in his book, to the visits Lady Clarendon made to the Bishop of St. Asaph during his imprisonment in the Tower. Lady Clarendon was the wife of the Princess of Orange's uncle. She was a very lively Court gossip, in which accomplishment she was at least equalled by Bishop Lloyd of St. Asaph. The two met to discuss the most scandalous chronicles regarding the newborn Prince of Wales. Lady Clarendon feeling eager that her husband's nieces should be elevated to the throne, industriously collected a budget of marvellous stories tending to discredit the parentage of their infant brother. These Bishop Lloyd strung together in a pamphlet, which was peppered too highly even for the historical taste of Bishop Burnet, to whom it was shown.
Lloyd was much caressed by the populace after the trial and acquittal of the seven, but experienced great uneasiness when he learned King James's intention of summoning all the witnesses, both ladies and gentlemen, Protestants and Romanists, who had been present at the birth of the Prince of Wales, including the queen dowager, and making them depose to the reality of that event before the Privy Council. Sancroft's presence was especially required at that council, and Lloyd, in order to prevent him from attending, addressed the following artful letter to him, in the hope of deterring him from listening to the evidence:--
"Oct. 26, 1688.
"MY MOST HONOURED LORD,
"I was told the last night as a secret that his Majesty intends to send for all the lords that were present at the examination of witnesses concerning the prince's birth, and to require them to subsign the examinations. This is agreeable enough with that which is printed in the 'Gazette,' viz., that a full and particular relation of this matter will be made public. For the hands of all that were present will add very much to the authority of the relation. I need not say what it will seem to import. Your grace has that to say for yourself which perhaps few others can say that were present. You did not hear a great part of what the witnesses said. If that will pass for a sufficient excuse, your grace has no cause to complain of the badness of your hearing. But surely it will be better for the public if such an excuse can be found as will suffice for all that were present, and if all could agree to give the same excuse.
"It should seem by the calling of you thither, that either there is, or there is like to be, a dispute concerning the birth of this child; and whensoever that matter comes to be tried you are like to be judges. But if the judges are called to set their hands to an examination of witnesses ex parte, before the cause comes to be heard, it is a strange kind of preoccupation that will make all the world of the plaintiff's side, and be rather a prejudice than an advantage to the cause. I hope his Majesty will be aware of this, and will therefore spare you this unnecessary trouble. Howsoever I thought it a part of my duty to let your grace know what I have heard.
"With my daily prayers I humbly crave your blessing and take leave,
"My good lord, "Your grace's most obliged and
"Most obedient son and servant,
"I want Moses ben Hachman on 'Daniel,' and Levi ben Gerson on the same prophet. If your grace has them, I desire to borrow them for a fortnight."
Lloyd failed in his object of preventing Sancroft from attending the council. The archbishop was an honest and intrepid man. He knew it was his duty to attend the council and hear the evidence on the birth of the Prince of Wales. He did go, and was convinced by the testimony of the witnesses, both Roman Catholics and Protestants, that the attempt to dispute the reality of the event was the base fiction of political agitators, who scrupled not to violate both truth and probability in the absurd calumny they had invented to invalidate the rights of the unwelcome male heir of the crown.
We may imagine how indignant the conscientious Sancroft would have been could he have known how busy the right reverend writer of that letter had been in the collection and circulation of the disgraceful falsehoods that were prejudicing the public mind against the royal infant.
When the Revolution of 1688 was accomplished, the Bishop of St. Asaph became excessively busy in persuading his brothers of the episcopacy, who had shared the Tower imprisonment, likewise Queen Mary's uncles, Lords Clarendon and Rochester, to swear allegiance to William and Mary.
"He told me," says Clarendon, "that I was free from my oaths to King James;" adding, "that he could very well take the new oaths, and that as things were, he took himself to be quite free from any obligation. Strange doctrine, as I thought, from a bishop."
Lloyd spoke again to Clarendon, a month before the coronation, about the oaths, having himself taken them the week before. Clarendon told him "he had well considered the matter, and could not take them, and begged him not to mention them again." Clarendon asked "if he intended to assist at the coronation?" to which Lloyd hypocritically replied, "By no means; for, by the grace of God, he would have no hand in making kings and queens." "At which," observes Clarendon, "I could not but laugh. I then asked him ' if he thought he had done the Church service in making Burnet Bishop of Sarum?' At which, after a long pause, too habitual with him, he asked me, 'why I thought he had made him?' I told him 'that was answering me with another question; but since he did so, I would give him a direct answer, hoping he would do the like to me,' and go I told him, 'I had from good hands that when King William was spoken to about that bishopric, and put in mind that he had promised it both to Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Bristol, and Dr. Patrick, he said, 'Indeed he had promised it to Bristol, but that the Bishop of St. Asaph was so pressing upon him that he could have no quiet from his importunity till he had given it to Burnet.' To this Lloyd merely replied, after one of his pauses, ' that he could not tell what King William might say,' but did not deny it."
Notwithstanding his remarkable reply to Queen Mary's uncle, Clarendon, Bishop Lloyd made his appearance on the platform at Westminster Abbey as one of the few bishops who assisted at the coronation. Double work there was to do, and three-fourths of the bishops resolved not to assist in it. Lloyd performed the duty of the absent primate at the recognition, by presenting Queen Mary to the people.
A very animated sermon was preached by Lloyd on the anniversary of Gunpowder Treason and Plot, November 5th, 1690, before the king and queen and Court, commemorating the birthday and the lauding of the Prince of Orange at Torbay, which he treated as the climax of all the marvellous deliverances of the Church of England from popery.
He received, as the reward of his pains, either immediately before or soon after the coronation, the office of Lord Almoner to King William--a thorough sinecure, as connected with distributing the contents of the royal charity purse of that sovereign.
Nothing can be more contemptible than Lloyd's letter to Mr. Dodwell, dated November, 1695, relating to the events of the last years of James II., in which he defends the false pretences used by William in his declaration denouncing the spurious birth of the Prince of Wales.
"You ask," he says, "why that matter was not brought before the parliament. The reason is plain in the Act of the Succession. The present king does not pretend to an hereditary right. He had the right of conquest over King James, which, being confirmed by the consent of the nation, thus gives him a lawful right to the monarchy. But why did the Prince of Orange pretend that this should be examined in parliament? or where did he pretend it? Never but in his declaration. There, indeed, he did insist upon this, to have the witnesses examined, and that frightened them away. The queen and her midwife are gone. Did the Prince of Orange ever pretend to examine any other witnesses?"
When Pepys, who had been arrested for high treason in 1691, was liberated on bail, Bishop Lloyd ventured to enlighten him with writing to him one of his prophecies founded on the Apocalypse. Evelyn, thinking, it may be presumed, that he would prove a friend at court, wrote to Pepys the following rather sly letter:--
"John Evelyn to Samuel Pepys.
"This hasty script is to acquaint you that my lord Bishop of St. Asaph will take it for an honour to be thought able to give Mr. Pepys any light in those mysteries you and I have discoursed of. He would himself wait upon you, but I did not think it convenient for you to receive that compliment at first. 'To-morrow,' his lordship says, 'eating no dinner, he shall be alone, and ready to receive your commands if it be seasonable to you.' I suppose about three o'clock in the afternoon may be a convenient time to wait on you to the Bishop of St. Asaph, or what other sooner (earlier) hour you appoint.
"P.S.--The lords in the Tower, against whom there is no special matter chargeable, are to be freed upon bail. My Lord Clarendon is also within that qualification, as the Bishop of St. Asaph tells me."
Lloyd discontentedly accepted the bishopric of Lichfield and Coventry in 1699. The same year he published a 'Chronological Life of Pythagoras and other famous men, his contemporaries'--a very quaint whimsical production. Soon after this publication he was translated to the bishopric of Worcester, January 22nd, 1699 (old style).
Little quiet ensued either for himself or the flock over which he extended his crosier. Worcester, both city and shire, had continued passionately loyal, and Lloyd was sent there to alter and crush down all chivalrous feeling in the gentry, all lurking jacobitism lingering in the Church.
The last year of the seventeenth century was disturbed with rumours of insubordination among the powers of darkness. Witches were much given to misbecoming conduct, and the English prime minister found it requisite to call the bishops of several dioceses in England to account for the same. Worcestershire was pre-eminent among the disturbed districts, and as its diocesan made pretence to prophetic and other supernatural gifts beyond the claims of regular-going Church of England clergymen, the Duke of Shrewsbury charged his secretary, Vernon, to remonstrate with him on the turbulence of the witches. Here we have the report of a secretary of state's despatch to his principal, dated 1699, June 8:--
"I told the Bishop of Worcester that his diocese is infested with notions about witches," writes Vernon. "He told me that he intends his clergy shall rectify their mistakes in that particular. But he is far from controverting the power of devils in the Gentile world, and that some of their extraordinary operations may still take place where paganism is prevalent; yet he thinks the Gospel has destroyed the powers of the devil wheresoever it extends and is acknowledged. And that those mortals who have embraced the hope of grace can never be injured by internals neither in their own persons, those of their children, or their goods. And though a man may be so profligate 'as to give himself to the devil, yet he can receive no assistance from him to harm his Christian neighbour or anybody else in a supernatural way. I think," adds Vernon somewhat slyly, "we may assent to the latter part of his disquisition, and leave the pagans and the devil to settle their affairs their own way among themselves."
Still, Mr. Secretary Vernon, as one of William III.'s faithful officials, was now and then troubled with Satanic freaks, particularly at the witches choosing perversely to unsettle the constitutional law of evidence, and voluntarily declaring themselves "maleficient." Two days before he had the curious colloquy with the bishop he wrote to the Duke of Shrewsbury:--
"I have the honour of your grace's letter of June 3, 1699. I think the noise of witehes breaks out like the plague in several places at divers times. If these miserable creatures are in haste to die by other people's hands, and will confess, they certainly will be served as they are in Scotland, where the judges tell them they don't believe them, yet sentence them to be burnt."
They were burnt there long after the commencement of the eighteenth century.
Rather a stormy diocese was the Tory county and city of Worcester to Bishop Lloyd, and continual were his contests therein, but more with loyal cavaliers of High Church principles than with the witches of Worcester. Vernon soon after reports that the Bishop of Worcester was going to law, hard and fast, on a matter of libel. A pamphlet had made its appearance, reproaching him with his perpetual change of diocese for the purposes "of bettering himself." Bishop Lloyd was very desirous of catching and caging the pamphleteer. Mr. Secretary Vernon, however, manifested no sort of sympathy, because of a dispute pending between them; for it seems a canonry had fallen at Worcester, which this Mr. Secretary Vernon wanted for some other of the name of Vernon. The bishop pounced on it for one of his sons; and severe is the tirade which Mr. Secretary bestows on "Bishop Lloyd's avarice, nepotism, and self-seeking."
"The printer of the pamphlet against the Bishop of Worcester is ordered to be prosecuted," writes Secretary Vernon to his patron, June 15,1699. His accusation is founded on the pages wherein he declares "that frequent translations and removes of bishops are scandalous to the Church, disgraceful to the king, and that, as in Ireland, the lowest of the people have been graced with the highest preferments in the Church."
The accession of the Princess Anne of Denmark to the throne healed none of the feuds in Worcestershire.
Parnell, one of the knot of poets who brandished literary weapons of brightness and fine temper in defence of the Anglican Church, enumerates the new Bishop of Worcester among the junto that sat secretly to perplex the friends of Queen Anne. In the really elegant poem, 'Faction Displayed,' he draws this portrait of Lloyd; the verses were attributed to Swift, but have his vigour without his coarseness:--
"Then old Mysterio shook his silver hairs,
Loaded with learning, prophecy, and years,
Whom factious zeal to fierce unchristian strife
Had hurried--in the last extreme of life--
Strange dotage! thus to sacrifice his ease
When nature whispers man to spend his days
In sweet retirement and religious peace!
For knowledge struggled in his heaving breast
Ere he in these dark terms his mind express'd:
'The stars roll adverse and malignant shine
Some dire portent! some horror I divine;
That Anna to the Beast will be inclined,
I plainly in the Revelations find.
Howe'er, though she and all her senate frown,
I'll wage eternal war with Packington,
And venture life and see to pull him down.'"
The allusion to the name of Packington requires explanation. It refers to the violent and illegal opposition of the bishop and his son to the re-election of the cavalier baronet, Sir John Packington, as knight of the shire for Worcestershire. They published the most vituperant libellous papers against him, denouncing him "as a vicious fellow from a vicious stock," and exhorted the clergy to oppose him in every possible way.
The bishop scrupled not to threaten his own tenants, in case they presumed to vote for Sir John Packing-ton, that he would not renew their leases, and would even punish their children after them; with many other furious menaces peculiarly disgraceful from a prelate, and offensive to the county of Worcestershire; for Sir John Packington was the representative of a line of old English magnates peculiarly dear to their country, and Sir John was the gem of his race, the fine old cavalier from whom Addison drew the character of Sir Roger de Coverley. He was not a knight of the shire likely to be ousted from his seat by an oft-translated prelate new to Worcestershire, though an old political agitator. Sir John Packing-ton retained his seat, and the bishop lost his place as Royal Almoner, for the House of Commons debated on the proceedings of William, lord Bishop of Worcester, and his son and his agents, in order to hinder the election of a knight of the shire for the county of Worcestershire, and declared them "malicious, unchristian, and arbitrary, in high violation of the liberties and privileges of the Commons of England," and resolved that a humble address be presented to her Majesty that she will be pleased to remove the lord Bishop of Worcester from being Lord Almoner to her Majesty."
Queen Anne complied, nothing loth, with the prayer of her faithful Commons.
Unfortunately Hartlebury Castle, the country residence of the Bishop of Worcester, and Westwood Park, that of the Packingtons, are in too close vicinity for persons to abide in peace and quiet who are not amicably disposed to each other. Hartlebury, about nine miles from Worcester, was the chief abiding-place of Bishop Lloyd, and Westwood Park only four miles from Hartlebury.
Not feeling himself comfortable in the uncongenial diocese of Worcester, the bishop frequently deserted it for the Court, and, notwithstanding his dismissal from the office of Lord Almoner, "Old Mysterio" took every possible opportunity of pestering her Majesty with calling for audiences, in which he expounded all knotty points of unfulfilled prophecy, and communicated his prophetic inspirations on public events.
The Earl of Dartmouth, who was present, gives an amusing account of a scene which took place in the year 1712, when the old bishop told the queen "he thought it his duty to acquaint her that the Church of Rome would be utterly destroyed, and the city of Rome consumed by fire in less than four years, which he could prove beyond contradiction, if her Majesty would be graciously pleased to hear him upon the subject." The queen appointed him an audience the next morning. Lloyd came, accompanied by the Bishop of London, and called for a great Bible, which was all, he said, that would be wanting.
The queen had commanded the attendance of the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Earls of Oxford and Dartmouth, and Dr. Arbuthnot. The bishop, who was proud of the opportunity of exercising his gift of prophecy in such company, showed more knowledge than sound judgment of Scripture, and held forth at great length, till the Earl of Oxford offering to give another interpretation to one of his texts, he gave way to an irrepressible burst of passion, which rendering him forgetful of the ceremonials due to royalty, he turned to the queen and exclaimed, "So says your treasurer, but God says otherwise, whether he like it or no." The queen, seeing him so angry and rude, turned away, and asked if her dinner were not ready!
The bishop was too much excited to take the hint that her Majesty was weary of the discussion and hungry besides. He returned undauntedly to the charge, and told her that "if what he said was not truth he did not know any truth, and was a very unfit person to be trusted with explaining the gospel to the people, and offered to forfeit his bishopric if it did not prove true." In conclusion he said something to the queen in so low a voice that no one could hear what it was, but she afterwards told Lord Dartmouth that "it was an assurance that at the end of four years Christ would come to reign personally on the earth for a thousand years."
Swift, in his 'Journal to Stella,' gives the following version of the above scene, or one very similar:--
"Yesterday the old Bishop of Worcester, who pretends to be a prophet, went to Queen Anne, by appointment, to prove to her Majesty, out of Daniel and the Revelations, that five years hence (1716) there will be a war of religion, that the King of France would be a Protestant and fight on their side, and that the Popedom would be destroyed. The prophesying bishop, moreover, promised at the end of a lengthy harangue in this strain, that if it fell out otherwise he would be content to give up his bishopric.
"Lord Treasurer Harley, who stood by, entered into the controversy, and defeated the Hebraist prophet with his own learning--no great triumph, by-the-by, since the aged prelate was between eighty and ninety."
Lloyd was eminent all over Europe for his skill in chronology. Calamy, speaking of his prophetic genius, says:--"He foretold the return of the Vaudois to Piedmont, which fell out according to his words. But it stood solitary among many futile predictions which he was constantly uttering."
Two young men of the Vaudois had spent some time in England, where they were much petted and patronized by Bishop Lloyd. Before they returned to their native land the prophetic prelate vented another prediction, telling them that "if they lived to the year 1716 they would have the happiness of standing on the tops of their native mountains and enjoying the sight of Rome in flames. Nay, if they held out their hands they might warm them with the heat of her burnings." Such felicity, however, neither Bishop Lloyd or his proteges enjoyed, though they lived past the year 1716.
Bishop Lloyd survived his royal mistress, Queen Anne, upwards of three years. He died at Hartlebury Castle, August 30th, 1717, in the ninety-first year of his age, retaining all his faculties to the last. He was buried on the 10th of September, in the church of Fladbury, of which his son was rector.
A monument in the chancel sets forth that "he was an excellent pattern of virtue and learning, of a quick invention, firm memory, exquisite judgment, great candour, piety, and gravity, a faithful historian, accurate chronologer, and skilled in the knowledge of the Scriptures to a miracle, very charitable, and diligent and careful in the discharge of his episcopal office."