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1. THOUGH a clergyman have no faults of his own, yet the faults of the whole tribe shall be laid upon him, so he shall be sure not to lack.
2. The clergy would have us believe them against our own reason; as the woman would have had her husband against his own eyes, when he took her with another man, which she stoutly denied: What! will
your own eyes before your own sweet wife?
3. The condition of the clergy towards the prince, and 10 the condition of the physician is all one: the physicians tell the prince they have agaric and rhubarb good for him and good for his subjects' bodies ; upon this he gives them leave to use it; but if it prove naught, then away with it, they shall use it no more; so the clergy tell the prince they have physic good for his soul, and good for the souls of his people; upon that he admits them: but when he finds by experience they both trouble him and his people, then away with them, he will have no more to do with them. What is that to them, or any body else, if a king will not go 20 to heaven ?
4. A clergyman goes not a dram further than this : you ought to obey your prince in general. If he does he is lost: how to obey him, you must be informed by those, whose profession it is to tell you. The parson of the Tower (a good discreet man) told Dr. Mosely (who was sent to me, and the rest of the gentlemen committed 3d Caroli, to persuade us to submit to the king) that they found no
1. 6. as the woman would have had &c.] This seems to refer either to the story told in the first of the Adolphi Fabulæ (quoted in the Aldine ed. of Chaucer, vol. i. 232, Introductory Remarks), or to Chaucer's adaptation of the story in the 'Merchant's Tale,' of January and May.
such words, as parliament, habeas corpus, return, tower, &c. neither in the fathers, nor in the schoolmen, nor in the text; and therefore, for his part, he believed they understood nothing of the business. A satire upon all those clergymen that meddle with matters they do not understand.
5.( All confess there never was a more learned clergy. No man taxes them with ignorance. But to talk of that, is like the fellow that was a great wencher; he wished God
would forgive him his lechery, and lay usury to his charge. 10 The clergy have worse faults.
6. The clergy and treaty together are never like to do
1. 11. The clergy and treaty] This is the clear reading of the three MSS. which I have examined. The printed editions have the clergy and laity,' which gives an easier sense for the line, but does not suit so well with the general drift of the section. Selden seems to be referring to some attempted arrangement between two parties, in which the interference of the clergy, on the one side and on the other, was likely in his judgment to do harm by mixing up matters which had better have been left out. There were several attempted arrangements of which this might have been said. There was, e.g., the attempted treaty for peace between the King and the Parliament in 1643, in which one of the proposals was 'that religion might be settled with the advice of a synod of divines in such a manner as his Majesty, with the consent of both Houses of Parliament, should appoint' (Clarendon, History, ii. 477). Again, there was the abortive treaty of Newport, discussed in September, 1648, between the King, with some divines among his advisers, and the Parliamentary commissioners, attended by a body of their divines. In the course of this, questions about the church came prominently forward, and it was mainly on these that the negotiations finally broke down (Clarendon, History, vol. iii. 324, 327, 338–9). The remark in the text, in whichever form it stands, must clearly be limited to some such instance as the above. It is not to be taken as condemning in every case the joint action of clergy and laity. In 'Synod Assembly,' sec. 3, Selden distinctly approves this, and indeed insists upon it as necessary. He was himself a lay member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, a mixed lay and clerical body, for which religious matters were the appointed business : so that the apothecary’was in place there, and his rhubarb and agaric were the proper ingredients of the
The reading, therefore,—the clergy and treaty'—though an awkward collocation of words, seems to give a sense best suited to
well. 'Tis as if a man were to make an excellent feast, and would have his apothecary and his physician should come into the kitchen: the cooks, if they were let alone, would make excellent meat; but then comes the apothecary, and he puts rhubarb into the sauce, and agaric into another sauce and so spoils all. Chain up the clergy on both sides.
Men cry out upon the high commission, as if only clergymen had to do in it; when I believe there are more laymen in commission there, than clergymen. If the laymen will 10 not come, whose fault is that? So of the star-chamber, the people think the bishops only censured Prynne, Burton, and Bastwick, when there were but two there, and one spoke not in his own cause.
the whole passage, and most in agreement with Selden's judgment elsewhere.
1. 8. as if only clergymen &c.] The Commissioners present in the High Commission Court on e. g. Nov. 17, 1631, were six clerics and four laymen; on Nov. 24 there were seven clerics and five laymen; on Jan. 26, 163), six clerics and four laymen; on Feb. 9 there were three clerics and eight laymen. See High Commission Cases (Camden Society), pp. 239, 245, 261, 264. On the popular dislike of the High Commission Court, and on the very good reasons for it, see Clarendon, Hist., vol. i. p. 439. His statement is, in effect, that it had come to meddle with things which did not properly concern it ; that it had extended its sentences and judgments, in matters tryable before it, beyond that degree which was justifiable, and had not only neglected prohibitions from the supreme courts of law, but had reprehended the judges for doing their duty in granting them. The growth of these abuses he ascribes to the great power of some bishops at court.'
1. 12. people think the bishops only &c.] They were tried, Clarendon says, “ in as full a court as ever I saw in that place.' The bishops present were only the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.' Hist. i. 310. The bishop who spoke was Laud, the arch
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
1. THERE be but two erroneous opinions in the House of Commons; that the Lords sit only for themselves ; when the truth is, they sit as well for the commonwealth. The knights and burgesses sit for themselves and others, some for more, some for fewer. And what is the reason? Be. cause the room will not hold all; the Lords being few, they all come; and imagine the room able to hold all the Com
mons of England, then the Knights and burgesses would 10 sit no otherwise than the Lords do. The second error is,
bishop. His speech is given at length in Laud's Works, vol. vi. p. 41 ff. The sentence was brutal, and it was carried out with brutal and unusual severity. “The report thereof,' says Rushworth, 'flew quickly into Scotland, and the discourse among the Scots were, that the bishops of England were the cause thereof.' Historical Collections, ii. 385. So Prynne, speaking from the pillory, ascribes the whole business to the vexation of the bishops as the subjects of the libels for which he and the others had been sentenced. Cobbett, State Trials, p. 747. His statement is borne out by Whitelock's account of the case.
'The King and Queen did nothing direct against him (Prynne) till Laud set Dr. Heylin (who bore a great malice to Prynne for confuting some of his doctrines) to peruse Prynne's book, &c. The archbishop went with these notes to Mr. Attorney Noy, and charged him to prosecute Prynne, which Noy afterwards did rigorously enough in the Star Chamber, and in the meantime the Bishops and Lords in the Star Chamber sent Prynne close prisoner to the Tower.' Whitelock, Memorials, p. 18.
The trial in the Star Chamber was in 1637. That court and the High Commission Court were abolished in 1640. Selden's remarks must therefore have been made at some time between the two dates.
1. 3. that the Lords sit only &c.] 'If they (sc. the bishops) vote for the clergy, then they are to be elected by the clergy, as the members of the Commons House now are ; but your Lordships, voting only for yourselves, need no electors.' Solicitor St. John's speech at a conference of the two Houses, 1641. Nalson's Collections, ii. 501.
So, too, in Baillie's Letters and Journals, we find it stated that the Lords represent none but themselves. Vol. i. 369.
The second error is &c.] That a money bill must originate with
that the House of Commons are to begin to give subsidies; yet if the Lords dissent, they can give no money.
2. The House of Commons is called the Lower House in twenty acts of parliament: but what are twenty acts of parliament amongst friends ?
3. The form of a charge runs thus, I accuse in the name of all the Commons of England. How then can any man be as a witness, when every man is made an accuser ?
That which is a competency for one man, is not enough to for another; no more than that which will keep one man warm will keep another man warm : one man can go in
the House of Commons is admitted on all hands. But whether the opinion, that if the Lords dissent the Commons can give no money, is, as Selden terms it, an error, is more than doubtful. It is true that the Bill of Subsidy is offered by the Commons only; but before that stage is reached, it is sent up to the Lords, is thrice read by them, and is then sent back to the Commons, and there it remaineth to be carried by the Speaker, when he shall present it.' See Orders and Proceedings of the Commons, ch. xy. Harleian MS. v. 266.
Sir Erskine May says expressly that “A grant from the Commons is not effectual, in law, without the ultimate assent of the Queen and of the House of Lords.' Law, &c., of Parliament, p. 638 (9th ed.).
Indeed, that the Commons in Selden's day had a less independent control over grants than they have gained since, appears from the fact that although their right to originate grants was unquestionable, yet bills of supply were, until 1671, liable to be amended by the Lords. Ibid. p. 641.
1. 6. The form of a charge &c.] See, Message to the Lords re Strafford, delivered by Mr. Pym at the command of the House : “My Lords .... I do here in the name of the Commons now assembled in Parliament, and in the name of all the Commons of England, accuse Thomas, Earl of Strafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of High Treason. Nalson, Collections, vol. ii. p. 7.
There are other instances given at p. 796, and passim.