« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
hend the protestant dissenters within the pale of the church of England by concessions on both sides ; but the violence of the high-church prelates rendered his good offices ineffectual.
The origin of Tillotson's interest with the prince and princess of Orange, with the consequences of it in his advancement to the see of Canterbury, has been ascribed to an incident which is supposed to have happened in the year 1677, and is thus represented by Eachard, in his · History of England.' “ The match between that prince and princess being made upon political views, against the will of the duke of York, and not with the hearty liking of the king, the country-party, as they were then called, were exceedingly pleased and elated; and, after the lord-mayor's feast, a secret design was laid to invite the new married couple into the city, to a public and solemn entertainment to be made for them. To prevent this, the court hurried both the bride and bridegroom, as fast as they could, out of town, so that they departed with such precipitation that they had scarce time to make any provision for their journey. Their servants and baggage went by the way of Harwich, but the prince and princess by Canterbury road, where they were to stay till the wind was fair, and the yacht ready to sail with them. Being arrived at Canterbury, they repaired to an inn; and, no good care being taken in their haste to separate what was needful for their journey, they came very meanly provided thither. Monsieur Bentinck, who attended them, endeavoured to borrow some plate and money from the corporation for their accommodation ; but, upon grave deliberation, the mayor and body proved to be really afraid to lend them either. Dr Tillotson, dean of Canterbury, at that time in residence there, hearing of this, immediately got together all his own plate, and other that he borrowed, together with a good number of guineas, and all other necessaries for them, and went directly to the inn to Monsieur Bentinck, and offered him all that he had got, and withal complained that he did not come to the deanery, where the royal family used to lodge, and heartily invited them still to go thither, where they might be sure of a better accommodation. This last they declined, but the money, plate, and the rest were highly acceptable to them. Upon this the dean was carried to wait upon the prince and princess, and his great interest soon brought others to attend upon them. By this lucky accident, he began that acquaintance, and the correspondence with the prince and Monsieur Bentinck, which increased yearly till the Revolution, when Bentinck had great occasion for him and his friends, on his own account, as well as the prince himself, when he came to the crown. And this was the true secret ground on which the bishop of London whose qualities and services seemed to entitle him without a rival to the archbishopric—was set aside, and Dr Tillotson advanced over his head."
On the discovery of the popish plot, Tillotson was appointed to preach before the house of commons on the 5th of November. The discovery of the Rye-house plot, in 1683, opened a very melancholy scene, in which the dean had a large share of distress, on account both of his private friendships and his concern for the public weal. One of the principal objects of his solicitude and anxiety was Lord William Russell. After Lord Russell's condemnation, the dean and Dr Burnet were sent for by his lordship, and they both continued their attendance upon him till his death.
In 1685, when the persecution of the Huguenots, or protestant subjects in France, became so intolerant, by the impolitic revocation of the edict of Nantz, that thousands of families forsook their country, and fled for refuge to the protestant states of Europe, many of them came to England, and were encouraged by the dean to settle at Canterbury, where they amply repaid this country for the protection granted to them, by establishing the silk-weaving trade. The king having granted briefs to collect alms for their relief, the dean exerted himself in procuring contributions from his friends. Dr Beveridge, one of the prebendaries of his cathedral, having refused to read the briefs, as being contrary to the rubric, the dean is reported to have said to him, “Doctor, doctor, charity is above rubrics !”
During the debates in parliament concerning the settlement of the crown on King William for life, the dean was advised with on that point by the Princess Anne of Denmark, who had at first refused to give her consent to it as prejudicial to her own right. Upon the accession of William and Mary, the dean was admitted into a high degree of favour and confidence at court, and was appointed clerk of the closet to the king. The refusal of Archbishop Sancroft to acknowledge the government or to take the oaths of allegiance, having occasioned that dignitary's suspension soon after, his majesty fixed upon Tillotson for the primacy. His reluetance to accept this first dignity in the church of England will be best represented in the dean's own words, in his letter to Lady Russell upon that subject :-“ But now begins my trouble. After I had kissed the king's hand for the deanery of St Paul's, I gave his majesty my most humble thanks, and told him that now he had set me at ease for the remainder of my life. He replied, “No such matter, I assure you;' and spoke plainly about a great place, which I dread to think of, and said, “ It was necessary for his service; and he must charge it upon my conscience.' Just as he had said this he was called to supper, and I had only time to say, “ That when his majesty was at leisure I did believe I could satisfy him, that it would be most for his service that I should continue in the station in which he had now placed me. This hath brought me into a real difficulty; for, on the one hand, it is hard to decline his majesty's commands, and much harder yet to stand out against so much goodness as his majesty is pleased to use toward me. On the other, I can neither bring my inclination nor my judgment to it. This I owe to the bishop of Salisbury,--Dr Burnet, one of the worst and best friends I know: best, for bis singular good opinion of me; and the worst, for directing the king to this method, which I know he did, as if his lordship and I had concocted the matter, how to finish this foolish piece of dissimulation, in running away from a bishopric to catch an archbishopric. This fine device hath thrown me so far into the briers, that, without his majesty's great goodness, I shall never get off without a scratched face. And now I will tell your ladyship the bottom of my heart :- I have, of a long time, I thank God for it, devoted myself to the public service, without any regard for myself; and to that end have done the best I could, in the best manner I was able. Of late God hath been pleased, by a very severe way,' but in great goodness to me, to wean me perfectly from the love of this world, so that worldly greatness is now not only undesirable, but distasteful to me; and I do verily believe that I shall be able to do as much, or more good, in my present station, than in a higher; and shall not have one jot less interest or influence upon any others to any good purpose; for the people naturally love a man that will take great pains and little preferment; but, on the other hand, if I could force my inclination to take this great place, I foresee that I shall sink under it, and grow melancholy, and good for nothing, and, after a little while die as a fool does."
The see of Canterbury, however, becoming vacant by the deprivation of Archbishop Sancroft, in 1690, the king continued to importune the dean to accept of it. In this situation he wrote another letter to Lady Russell, wherein he tells her:-“ On Sunday last the king commanded me to wait upon him the next morning at Kensington. I did so, and met with what I feared. His majesty renewed his former gracious offer in so pressing a manner, and with so much kindness, that I hardly knew how to resist it. I made the best acknowledgments I could of his undeserved grace and favour to me, and begged of him to consider all the consequences of this matter, being well assured that all that storm, which was raised in convocation the last year by those who will be the church of England, was upon my account, and that the bishop of London was at the bottom of it, out of a jealousy that I might be a hindrance to him in attaining what he desires, and what, I call God to witness, I would not have. And I told his majesty that I was still afraid that his kindness to me would be greatly to his prejudice, especially if he carried it so far as he was then pleased to speak; for I plainly saw they could not bear it, and that the effects of envy and illwill towards me would terminate upon him. To which he replied, • That if the thing were once done, and they saw no remedy, they would give over, and think of making the best of it; and, therefore, he must desire me to think seriously of it;' with other expressions not fit for me to repeat. To all which I answered, “That in obedience to his majesty's commands, I would consider of it again, though I was afraid I had already thought more of it than had done me good, and must break through one of the greatest resolutions of my life, and sacrifice at once all the ease and contentment of it; which yet I would force myself to do, were I really convinced that I was, in any measure, capable of doing his majesty and the public that service which he was pleased to think I was.' He smiled, and said, “You talk of trouble, I believe
will have much more ease in it than in the condition in which you now are.' Thinking not fit to say more, I humbly took leave."
The result of this affair is mentioned at large in his letter to Lady Russell :—“ I went to Kensington full of fear, but yet determined what was fit for me to do. I met the king coming out of his closet, and asking if his coach was ready. He took me aside, and I told him, * That, in obedience to his majesty's command, I had considered of the thing as well as I could, and came to give him my answer. I perceived
: The death of his only surviving child, Mary, the wife of James Chadwicke, Esq., is here alluded to: it happened in 1687.
his majesty was going out, and therefore desired him to appoint me another time, which he did, on the Saturday morning after. Then I came again, and he took me into his closet, where I told him that I could not but have a deep sense of his majesty's great grace and favour to me, not only to offer me the best thing he had to give, but to press it so earnestly upon me.' I said • I would not presume to argue the matter any further; but I hoped he would give me leave to be still his humble and earnest petitioner to spare me in that thing. He answered, • He would do so if he could; but he knew not what to do if I refused it.' Upon that I told him, " That I tendered my life to him, and did humbly devote it to be disposed of as he thought fit. He was graciously pleased to say, “ It was the best news had come to him this great while.' I did not kneel down to kiss his hand; for, without that, I doubt I am too sure of it; but requested of him that he would defer the declaration of it, and let it be a secret for some time. He said, • He thought it might not be amiss to defer it till the parliament was up.' I begged farther of him that he would not make me a wedge to drive out the present archbishop; that, some time before I was nominated, his majesty would be pleased to declare in council, that, since his lenity had not had any better effect, he would wait no more, but would dispose of his place. This, I told him, I humbly desired, that I might not be thought to do any thing harsh, or which might reflect upon me; for, now that his majesty had thought fit to advance me to this station, my reputation was become his interest. He said, "He was sensible of it, and thought it reasonable to do as I desired.'”
At length his majesty's nomination in council of him to the archbishopric took place on the 23d of April, 1691. The congé d'elire being granted on the 1st of May, he was elected on the 16th, confirmed on the 28th, and, having retired to his house on Saturday the 30th, which he spent in fasting and prayer, was consecrated the day following, being Whitsunday, in the church of St Mary-le-Bow, by Dr Peter Mew, bishop of Winchester; Dr William Lloyd, bishop of St Asaph ; Dr Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Sarum ; Dr Edward Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester; Dr Gilbert Ironside, bishop of Bristol ; and Dr John Hough, bishop of Oxford. Four days after his consecration he was sworn of the privy-council ; and on the 11th of July he had a restitution of the temporalities of his see. All the profits of it from the Michaelmas preceding were likewise granted to him.
He did not long survive his advancement, for, on Sunday the 18th of November, 1694, he was seized with a sudden illness while at chapel in Whitehall. He was attended, the two last nights of his illness, by his friend Nelson, the author of • The Fasts and Festivals of the Church of England,' in whose arms he expired on the 10th of December, 1694, in the sixty-ninth year of his age.
The archbishop's theological works are still held in the highest repute, and have been frequently reprinted; many of his sermons have likewise been translated into foreign languages. To the last edition in folio is prefixed his life, by the editor, Dr Birch, from which the present memoir is chiefly extracted.
BORN A. D. 1637.-DIED A. D. 1692.
Thomas Ken, youngest son, by the first wife, of Thomas Ken of Furnival's Inn, was born at Little Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, in July 1637. It is not known where he received the first rudiments of his early education, but he was afterwards entered on William of Wykeham’s munificent foundation at Winchester, whence he was removed to New college, Oxford, of which he became a fellow-probationer in 1657. In 1666 he obtained a fellowship in the college near Winchester, and in 1699 was promoted to the dignity of a prebendal stall in the restored cathedral church of that place. For this advancement he was indebted to Bishop Morley, whose attachment to Ken seems to have been sincere and warm, and probably originated in the kindness which he had himself experienced, during his ejectment, from Ken's sister, and her husband, Isaac Walton, in their retirement near Stafford. Morley afterwards appointed Ken his domestic chaplain, and presented him to the rectory of Brixton, in the Isle of Wight. In 1674, Ken made a tour to Rome, and soon after his return he was appointed chaplain to the princess of Orange, whom he accompanied to Holland. His stay in the royal suite was rendered uncomfortable to him by the consequences of a too conscientious discharge of his duties; and in 1683, he accepted of Lord Dartmouth's chaplainry, and accompanied that nobleman on his expedition against Tangier. On his return he was appointed chaplain to the king ; but this mark of royal favour did not shake the high integrity of Ken, or render him more subservient to the royal pleasure in things unlawful. On the removal of the licentious monarch's court to Winchester, Ken's prebendal house was selected for the use of the infamous Nell Gwynn ; but the possessor boldly refused to receive such a character within his doors, and Mrs Gwynn was compelled to look about for some less scrupulous landlord. The king took a proper view, however, of his chaplain's conduct, and to the surprise of his courtiers, soon afterwards nominated him bishop of Bath and Wells. Ken repaid the generosity of the dissipated monarch by attending him with the most anxious solicitude when on his death-bed ; and Bishop Burnet declares that he expressed himself on that trying occasion “with great elevation of thought and expression, like a man inspired."
In 1685, Bishop Ken published an Exposition of the Church Catechism,' and in the same year a collection of Prayers for the use of the Bath. He did not take any immediate part in the popish controversy, which now began to be agitated with so much keenness ; but he was one of the famous seven bishops who openly opposed the reading of the declaration of indulgence, and was committed to the tower in consequence. He did not, however, see his way so clearly in the case of the oath of allegiance to King William, and on his refusal to take it was deprived of his bishopric in 169). He retired to Long-Leat, the hospitable seat of his early friend, Lord Weymouth, where he composed several devotional works, and some beautiful hymns. Queen