Page images

received pensions from forraine princes, or to play booty, or deale treacherously in his imployments either at home or abroad: nor were honourable and gainfull offices during her abode at the helme given to men of no larger capacities then were meerly requisite to the execution of the place; but bestowed upon such publique spirits as were able to advise in the most crabbed affaires, by which the charge of their support was borne, and the common-weale served with men under a double capacity. Now, though we must yield to Solomon, that safety is to be found in a multitude of counsellors ; yet secrecy is commonly absent in all assemblies but where a few resolve; for which, and perfect intelligence from abroad (the light and director of the bark of prudence) if any age before, I am sure none since can be compared with the daies of Burghly and Walsingham in this particular; whose steps Archbishop Bancroft followed so close, as, by fomenting a difference between the jesuites and regulars, he made a breach in

their unity, the strongest argument they have to support the papacy ;' and, illuminated by so cleare a judgment, did, through their clashing, make so perfect an inspection into the secular practices of the consistory in Rome, as he prevented many dangers might have other waies fallen upon the nation ; for which Blackwell, the then popish metropolitan, lay under some suspicion from the contrary faction, how justly I know not., Yet have heard that no priest was landed any time in England, but the bishop had a perfect character of his temper and relations; the easier brought about

: Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeded Whitgift in 1601. He was a zealous supporter of the peculiar ceremonies of the church of England; but while he vigorously opposed the puritans, he was equally active in dividing and undermining the catholic interest. Partly for this purpose, and partly to encourage, the more loyal part of the English catholics, he furnished the secular priests of their clergy with the means of supporting their feud with the jesuits; and, in requital, a number of the seculars were induced to sign a declaration of their attachment to the reigning family, which they lodged in his hands. See COLLIER'S Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. p. 664.

by him that (in the estimation of the puritans) owned most of their tenents, being beside no rigid persecuter of any who had not in his composition the gall of treason mixed with religion : the regulars being then in a high esteeme, because their opposers the jesuits were about that time banished France, and their cells demolished, with a pyramid erected to their infamy, for an indeavour to assassinate Henry the Fourth. And from this indulgence of the archbishop grew more security then danger, because such priests as were connived at (the most of other orders) looked upon the jesuits as enemies, and all new-comers of their owne under a no milder aspect then intruders on their profit; and therefore the more inquisitive after their conditions, and, if found pragmaticall, it was no hard matter to purchase their remove by the mediation of one so neere the helme as the bishop was, who, besides the quality of secrecy remaining so constant to his promise, as it was more safety then danger for them to rely upon his word. And that some cunning seminaries did indeavour the monopolizing amongst themselves all the profit to be made by the English catholickes, I have a presumption of mine owne from a priest I met with on the other side the water, who told me he lived farre better during the tyranny (as he was pleased to call it) of Queene Elizabeth, then since the licence afforded under King James, by which diyers young schollars, of both the universities, were daily tempted into orders, and many (restrained before out of love to their safety) did now goe over in shoales, to the great detriment of the old standers. Yet, notwithstanding the incomparable diligence of this prelate, under two princes, for the preservation of peace and unity, he was abominated by the preciser sort, the heat of whose zeale appeares the more unnaturall, because their mouths were furred with bitter and unsavory invectives, which followed him after the hand of death had laid him out of the reach of all other favour but what is due to his desert from charity and gratitude. Therefore, to be strongly presumed, the worst malice could invent, and inserted by me, according to the mode of an historian, whose plow. (for the sake of posterity) I wish I were able to drive; however, I am no waies correspondent for the praise or blame due to any verses found here, such as these:

Here lyes my lords grace, at six, and at seaven,
And, if I do not lie, his soule is in heaven :
I wish with my heart it may be to his leeking,
Since all the world knowes it was never his seeking.


Bancroft was for plaies,
Leane Lent, and holy-daies,

But now under goes their doome:
Had English ladies store,
Yet kept open a back-dore

To let in the strumpet of Rome."

I confesse I have heard him charactered for . a joviall doctor, but very jealous of the cler

* To these effusions of puritanical satire, another libel may be added. Bancroft cancelled a will, in which he had bequeathed a considerable legacy to ecclesias- VOL. I.


« PreviousContinue »