THE lives of the seven bishops, whom James II. committed to the Tower in June, 1688, are now offered, to the historical reader, in one volume, including many valuable original letters and papers from the Bodleian library.
This series of episcopal biographies, commencing with the birth of Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1617, and closing with the death of Trelawny, Bishop of Winchester, in 1720, occupies upwards of a century--a century of the most stirring changes and remarkable events; a century marked with civil war, and the intrusion of military dictators in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The struggles of those distinguished ornaments of the Christian Church, Sancroft, Ken, Turner, Lake, and White, when inexorably driven forth by Cromwell's Ironsides from their colleges, are touching and instructive episodes in the domestic history of England during the Commonwealth. We trace the proceedings of these learned and zealous divines as parish priests after the Restoration, and their respective elevations to the hierarchy.
Their conscientious resistance to the unconstitutional attempt of James II. to abrogate the penal laws by his personal authority, their committal to the Tower, trial and acquittal, are clearly but briefly set forth from public records.
The refusal of Sancroft, Ken, White, Lake, and Turner to take the oaths to William and Mary, their consequent ejection from their bishoprics, and the close of their lives in virtuous poverty, are faithfully recorded, with much that is new to the general reader.
The biographies of Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph, and Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Bristol, who took the oaths to William and Mary, and rejoiced in a succession of rich sees, close the series. Lloyd and Trelawny survived to witness the accession of George I., and the sure establishment of the Protestant Religion in Great Britain.