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report of hundreds of most credible persons in our own ages, attesting the same, is to be questioned." We may observe, however, that even Tooker and Browne acknowledged that there were some who questioned the miracle, and it was admitted that the sick were not always cured and that the cures were not always lasting. The force of imagination to which the ceremony powerfully appealed doubtless effected much. Many impostors came for the purpose of obtaining the gold medal which was bestowed on the occasion in England, or the alms which were distributed in France, and the great political utility of the belief, as well as simple sycophancy, combined with honest credulity to sustain the delusion.2

What has been said will be sufficient to show the extent and the nature of the political influence the Anglican clergy at this time exercised in England. It will show that their theory of the nature of royalty was radically different from that of a constitutional government; that, but for the happy fact of the Catholicism of James II. and of his son, the whole stress of their influence would have been thrown into the scale of arbitrary government; and that, in spite of that Catholicism, they were accustomed to preach doctrines from the pulpit which could have no other legitimate or logical conclusion than the restoration of the Stuarts. They were, it is true, sincerely devoted to the reigning sovereign. It is true also that they looked forward with real alarm to a Catholic king, that they sometimes at least professed themselves attached to the Protestant succession, and that very few of them were prepared to make

3

Sermon on St. Paul's Thorn in the Flesh.

2 In addition to the older books I have cited, the reader may find much information on this curious subject in Wilson's Life of Defoe, ii. 15-21; Nichols' Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, ii. 495-504; Lathbury's Hist. of Convocation, pp. 428439; Bishop Douglas' Criterion, pp. 195-210; Tindal's Hist. of England, Book xxvi.

The ablest of the Tory clergy, writing with the object of repelling the charge of Jacobitism, says, 'The logick of the highest Tories is now that this was the Establishment they found as soon as they arrived at a capacity of judging, that they had no hand in turning out the late King, and, therefore, had no crime to answer for if it were any; that the inheritance to the crown is in pursuance of laws made ever since their remem

serious sacrifices for a restoration which might be injurious to the Church. Still, the natural issue of their teaching could not be mistaken. When the nation was called to choose between a sovereign whose title was lineal descent and a sovereign whose title rested upon a revolution and an Act of Parliament, there was not much doubt to which side the consistent adherent of the divine right of kings should incline. Had the Queen died during the excitement of the Sacheverell agitation, it is more than probable that the Pretender would have at once been summoned to the throne, and the strength of the Church party in England was the most serious danger which then menaced the parliamentary institutions of England. Monopolising, as it did, by its command of the universities, the higher education, and attracting by its great rewards a very large proportion of the talent of the country, its power in an age when there was very little serious scepticism among the educated, and no considerable rival organisation among the poor, appeared almost irresistible. The Church was the natural leader of the country gentry and peasants. Its influence ramified through all sections of society. Its pulpits were to thousands the sole vehicle of instruction.

Still, great as was its power, several influences had been at work undermining or restricting its authority. The Church had gained something at the Reformation in the increased credibility of its theology, and it had gained much more by purging away the taint of its foreign origin. In a country where the national sentiment was as strong and as insular as

brance, by which all Papists are excluded, and they have no other rule to go by; that they will no more dispute King William III.'s title than King William I.'s, since they must have recourse to history for both; that they have been instructed in the doctrines of passive obedience, non-resistance, and hereditary right, and find them all necessary for preserving the present Establishment in Church and State, and for continuing the succession in the House of Han

over, and must, in their own opinion, renounce all those doctrines by setting up any other title to the crown. This, I say, seemeth to be the political creed of all the high-principled I have for some time met with of forty years old and under.' Swift's Free Thoughts upon the Present State of Affairs. The language commonly used about Charles I. is quite sufficient to show that the clergy were not as unhistorical as was alleged.

in England it would be difficult to overrate the accession of strength thus acquired. Italian intervention had been for centuries a source of perpetual irritation to the national sentiment, while the Church that was founded at the Reformation was of all institutions the most intensely and most distinctively English. Occasionally, indeed, great outbursts of political sycophancy or of sacerdotal extravagance within its borders have brought it into collision with the broad stream of English thought, but considered as a whole and in most periods of its history it may justly claim to have been eminently national. Its love of compromise, its dislike to pushing principles to extreme consequences, its decorum, its social aspects, its instinctive aversion to abstract speculation, to fanatical action, to vehement, spontaneous, mystical, or ascetic forms of devotion, its admirable skill in strengthening the orderly and philanthropic elements of society, in moderating and regulating character, and blending with the various phases of national life, all reflected with singular fidelity English modes of thought and feeling, the strength and the weakness of the English character. But on the other hand ecclesiastical influence in England was seriously reduced at the Reformation, not only by the creation of the new doctrine of the royal supremacy, and by the abolition of some of the doctrines most favourable to ecclesiastical despotism, but also more directly by the expulsion of twenty-seven mitred abbots from the House of Lords, and the proportion of spiritual to lay peers has since then been continually diminishing by the increase of the latter. Before the abolition of the monasteries the spiritual peers formed a majority of the Upper House. Even after the removal of the abbots and priors they were about one-third; at present they are less than one-fifteenth.1

Accompanying this change there was a great revolution in the social position of the clergy. An enormous proportion of the revenues of the Church had been swept away by the con

VOL. 1.

'Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation, i. 381.

77

isations under Bay L. mi at the very time when the insolite ir domina, ne mes of de ter vere dus immensely enced the great mix of Amerian gut vas lowering the wine. r in ther wris de purchasing power, of money more anidly and more sezony in my her recorded period. Besutes thus the bolton of the me if ibacy, while it teprived the tier of much of the gry that belongs to a separate taste greatly nerased their usual wants. The force of these three canses ineed the great body of the parochial dergy to extreme festination. In the time of Elizabeth they were often timen to become icemakers or tallers in order to earn their bread, and several generacions passed before there was much perceptible improvement. The revenues of the English Church, and a writer in the latter half of the seventeenth century, are generally very smal and insuficient, so that a shopkeeper or common artisan would hardly change their conditions with ordinary pastors of the Church. This is the great reproach and shame of the English Reformation, and will one day prove the ruin of Church and State. The clergy

are accounted by many as the dross and refuse of the nation. Men think it a stain to their blood to place their sons in that function, and women are ashamed to marry with any of them." Another writer, who wrote nearly at the same time, tells us that many hundreds of the parochial clergy lived on incomes of not more than 20l. to 30%. a-year. He describes the impoverished clergyman driven to fill the dung-cart or to heat the oven, and he notices especially the discredit reflected on the order by the fact that sons of clergymen were found holding horses or waiting on tapsters on a count of the utter inability of their parents to provide for them. At the time when Queen Anne's Bounty was granted, Burnet assures us there were still some hundreds of cures that had not a certain provision of 20l. a-year, and some

'Bee Perry's Hist. of the Church 3rd ed. (1669), pp. 367-369. of England, i. 7. Eachard's Contempt of the Clergy.

*Chamberlayne's Anglia Notitia,

2

thousands that had not 50%. Swift, in a tract published a few years later, maintains that the position of the rural clergyman in England was better than that of the same class in Ireland, but his description of the English country clergyman amply corroborates all that has been said of his low social position. He liveth like an honest plain farmer, as his wife is dressed but little better than Goody. He is sometimes graciously invited by the squire, where he sitteth at humble distance. If he gets the love of his people they often make him little useful presents. He is happy by being born to no higher expectation, for he is usually the son of some ordinary tradesman or middling farmer. His learning is much of a size with his birth and education, no more of either than what a poor hungry servitor can be expected to bring with him from his college.' The position of such a curate was by no means the worst. The system of pluralities, which had been necessary under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, partly on account of the small value of many benefices, and still more on account of the difficulty of finding a sufficient number of Reformed clergymen to officiate over England, had been much aggravated during the period that immediately followed the Act of Uniformity, and it produced a class of clergymen of the lowest type. The cheapest curates,' wrote Archbishop Tennison to Queen Anne in 1713, are, notwithstanding the care of the bishops, too often chosen, especially by lay impropriators, some of whom have sometimes allowed but 5l. or 6l. a-year for the service of the Church, and such having no fixed place of abode, and a poor and precarious maintenance, are powerfully tempted to a kind of vagrant and dishonourable life, wandering for better subsistence from parish to parish, even from north to south. Some clergymen were hired by laymen to read prayers at their houses for 108. a month, and many others lived as private chaplains either with noblemen or with country gentle

1 Burnet's Hist. of his Own Times, ii. 370.

2 Considerations on Two Bills relating to the Clergy of Ireland (1731).

See a remarkable MSS. letter about pluralities, by the Archbishop, in the Domestic Papers at the Recordoffice, Jan. 1712-13.

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