THE PRIVILEGES OF THE University of OXFORD, In point of VISITATION: Cleerly evidenced by LETTER To an Honourable Personage. TOGETHER WITH The Vniversities ANSWER to the Summons of the Visitors.

ANNO MDCXLVII.

THE PRIVILEGES OF The University of OXFORD, In point of Visitation, &c.

Honoured Sir,

HOw violently active the resentments of Liberty and Freedome are in the minds of men there needs no other evidence then this late War, wherein the most earthy soules, with earnest zeale, have sacrificed their blood unto the name and empty shadow of it. And if the bare shape, and apparition could actuate those Icie spirits; I cannot but wonder you should thinke, that the more Free and Aeriall ones, whose industry, en­deavours, to restore the Soul to its native Priviledge and Birthright, should be senselesse of their just interest, especially where Religion adds his Title unto Right; and private Liberty, built upon publick Priviledge, in its fall engages his Foundation, and renders the neglect of a single safety, a desertion to the Generall, and Treason to Succession. But since you take no knowledge of these so [Page 2] high engagements; and seeme pre-possest with the speci­ous designe of reforming of Errours, and the Authori­tative name of a Visitation: I shall endeavour to De­monstrate the proposition I glanced upon in my last Letter, and you so much startle at, that the right of Vi­siting the University of Oxford is onely in the Kings Ma­jesty: and that it is exempt from all other jurisdiction, both by reason of its foundation, in regard that all Soci­eties whereof the King or his Predecessors were Founders, are onely Visitable by the King, by the Common Law of this Realme. 6 Hen. 7. fo. 14. 2 Hen. 5. And secondly, by reason of severall grants of Exemption: Malmesbur. de Antiq. Glaston. Auth. Annal. de Monast. de Hide, [...]o: Rossus de Regibus. Literae Hen. 4. [...]d Papam Johannem: ex fund. Regis. First, That the Uni­versity of Oxford wholly refers to the King as its Original and Founder, is cleere, in that almost 800. yeers since King Alured founded not only Pub­lique Schooles of Arts and Lectures, but their Privi­leges and Immunities, having got them confirmed by the then Pope, Martin. 2. and although the bounty of inferiour Benefactors added to the bulk and magnifience of the Foundation, yet the King stil assumed the Title, as being the totall founder of the Designe; and his immunities deriving and communicating themselves to the whole; and those more particular founders were also in a lower ranck acknowleged by the University, who ever both submitted and sheltred themselves under the title of the Kings Foundation, Instrum. Univer. Ox­ [...]n. ad Ric. [...]cundum: Vestrae Fundationis & Patronatus. Hare memor. Univer. Oxon. [...]ol. 92. Vetus Epistolarum Lib. pag. 51. & 56. Ad Regem Hen. 6. pag. 90. & [...]08. Antiqu. Oxon. Lib. 2. à pag. 182. ad pag. 202. and as yet doe; (the power of the Chancellour being immediately, and only derived from [Page 3] the Edvar. Potestatē r [...]giam per no [...] & progenito­res nostros i [...] concess [...]m. Hare, memo [...] Univ. Oxo [...] in Edvar. 3. fo. 65. The v [...]olation of h [...] Privileges, i [...] particular that of not obeying his Citation, is called, Laesio Coronae, &c. ex Ro [...] claus [...]de an. 34. reg. Edv. [...]. in dors. memb. 27. Tur. Lond. Rot. patent. de an. 3 [...] parte 2. memb. 44. in dors. in Tur. Lond. Rot. patent. de an. 18. parte 2. memb [...] 31. Tur. Lond. King) and are obliged to doe so; unlesse that Logick whick makes Protection and Subjection Relatives, dispute us out of submission to the Kings onely jurisdiction, be­cause He is disabled from the maintenance of our Privi­leges; and will not let Him be our Visitor, because He can­not be our Defender. And here you may please to consi­der, that the Foundation of the University, being the Kings and His Predecessors Personal act, His interest lies not within the reach of that beaten evasion of a publique or politique capacity.

And as this right and title of Visiting is the Kings Prerogative as Founder, so the privilege of being by him onely Visited, is our lawfull inheritance, which we claim by prescription, Indult. Dom. Papae Bonif. 8. con­firm. privile [...] Regal. ipsam (que) Vniversitatē eximens ab omni Iurisd. Archiep. Episcop. &c. & à Vi [...]tatione: adding, that they had had these privileges à tempore cujus contrarii mem [...]riâ non existit: Hare, li. de Priv. Vniv. Ox. Lib. Vet. Statut. Ox. p. 95. Lib. Vet. Se [...]nior. procur. p. 4. the same ratified and confirm'd by Sixtus 4. Lib. Epist. Vniv. Ox [...] in Hen. 3. Act of Parl. 25 H. 8. c. 21. fo. 556. all power of Visitation is given onel [...] to such as shal have immediate authority by the Kings Commission under th [...] Great Seale of England, in places formerly exempted, as Colleges, &c. A [...] Letters Patents heretofore made by the Kings Progenitours, in behalf of th [...] Universities, are confirmed by Act of Parliament, 13. Elizab. And in 19. El [...]zab. part 12. in dors. rot. the Privileges of the University are confirm'd in the v [...]ry words of Bonif. 8. acknowledged they had them by Prescription: the imm [...]diate subjection of the University to the authority & jurisdiction of the Princ [...] and all their other exemptions ratified; and these acknowleged to be swo [...] to, in the Oath taken by every Graduate, ad observ. Statut. Privil. Co [...]suet, &c. allowed and confirm'd by Char­ters from several Kings, both by themselves and in Indult. Dom. Papae Bonif. 8. con­firm. privile [...] Regal. ipsam (que) Vniversitatē eximens ab omni Iurisd. Archiep. Episcop. &c. & à Vi [...]tatione: adding, that they had had these privileges à tempore cujus contrarii mem [...]riâ non existit: Hare, li. de Priv. Vniv. Ox. Lib. Vet. Statut. Ox. p. 95. Lib. Vet. Se [...]nior. procur. p. 4. the same ratified and confirm'd by Sixtus 4. Lib. Epist. Vniv. Ox [...] in Hen. 3. Act of Parl. 25 H. 8. c. 21. fo. 556. all power of Visitation is given onel [...] to such as shal have immediate authority by the Kings Commission under th [...] Great Seale of England, in places formerly exempted, as Colleges, &c. A [...] Letters Patents heretofore made by the Kings Progenitours, in behalf of th [...] Universities, are confirmed by Act of Parliament, 13. Elizab. And in 19. El [...]zab. part 12. in dors. rot. the Privileges of the University are confirm'd in the v [...]ry words of Bonif. 8. acknowledged they had them by Prescription: the imm [...]diate subjection of the University to the authority & jurisdiction of the Princ [...] and all their other exemptions ratified; and these acknowleged to be swo [...] to, in the Oath taken by every Graduate, ad observ. Statut. Privil. Co [...]suet, &c. Parliaments; and whatsoever free Royall grant was [Page 4] before the Reformation, confirm'd unto us by the Pope, (that being then thought necessary) was (after that the Royal Authority had asserted to its Prerogative the Ecclesiastical Iurisdiction) by the succeeding Princes in the Indult. Dom. Papae Bonif. 8. con­firm. privile [...] Regal. ipsam (que) Vniversitatē eximens ab omni Iurisd. Archiep. Episcop. &c. & à Vi [...]tatione: adding, that they had had these privileges à tempore cujus contrarii mem [...]riâ non existit: Hare, li. de Priv. Vniv. Ox. Lib. Vet. Statut. Ox. p. 95. Lib. Vet. Se [...]nior. procur. p. 4. the same ratified and confirm'd by Sixtus 4. Lib. Epist. Vniv. Ox [...] in Hen. 3. Act of Parl. 25 H. 8. c. 21. fo. 556. all power of Visitation is given onel [...] to such as shal have immediate authority by the Kings Commission under th [...] Great Seale of England, in places formerly exempted, as Colleges, &c. A [...] Letters Patents heretofore made by the Kings Progenitours, in behalf of th [...] Universities, are confirmed by Act of Parliament, 13. Elizab. And in 19. El [...]zab. part 12. in dors. rot. the Privileges of the University are confirm'd in the v [...]ry words of Bonif. 8. acknowledged they had them by Prescription: the imm [...]diate subjection of the University to the authority & jurisdiction of the Princ [...] and all their other exemptions ratified; and these acknowleged to be swo [...] to, in the Oath taken by every Graduate, ad observ. Statut. Privil. Co [...]suet, &c. same words establish't: Nor did the practise of Visitations dissent, for all those that happen'd in the re­mainder of Hen. 8 time, Foure Visitations since the Re­formation, all by the Kings Com­mission, ex­cept in Q. Maries time, when the Ecclesiasticall jurisdiction was again retur­ned to the Pope, then Cardinall Pool visited, as Legatus à latere, which is Equi­valent. Citat. Cardin. Poli. ad Vnivers. Ed: 6. Q. Mary, Q. Eliz. were held by the respective Princes Authority, and the Persons Visiting were onely their Representatives, and whosoe­ver sate, the King Visited.

I have thus farre as much as may be expected from one, not us'd to such encounters, nor advantag'd by any of the Vniversity writings and muniments, (they ha­ving been of late At the beginning of this Parl. the University Writings were requi­red, and ever since are de­tained. withheld from us) discover'd our Privileges in point of Visitation; being put to this une­qual Combate, to engage with persons arm'd with pow­er and our own weapons too, onely shielded by naked Truth.

But should I wave the former debate of Interest, and onely look upon the tye of Honour, I cannot but with wonder and just scorn resent the mean opinion we are now faln into, who for almost 800 years the care and strife of Alured [...]imself visits [...]n. 886. Ex Asser. Me­ [...]eu. Epis. Reg. Alured. Scrib. Ex edit. Cambd. Edvar. 3. & Rich. 2. themselves decided controversies, that a­ [...]ose in the University. The late Visitations performed by Commissioners, the [...]hief Nobility of the Kingdome: and His Majesty that now is, visited Christ-Church personally with 8. Lords of the Counsell. Princes, are made now the prize and spoil of our fellow-subjects; and what speakes more dishonour submitted to the strict Tribunal of our own members, who having Iur. in admis. ad gradus. sworn the observation of our Statutes, liber­ties, and customes, cannot appear as Iudges over us, with­out [Page 5] a violation of their oaths so often and solemnly taken; nor yet without a manifest opposition of Nature, where parts judge the whole; and the Lawes of justice too; e­specially if we consider the Interests and ingagements, nay often professions of the most active instruments of this work.

But to go a step farther, and rest satisfied both in the Visitation and Visitors, it is evident that neither the one or the other can concern us, till by some Legal way their Power is manifested. It is true, about three months since, a Citation was publiquely set up to summon our appearance, but the force of that being lapst, we are to expect a new one, not onely by the common rules of Iu­stice, but their own also, who conceiv'd a Citation at first necessary, and know the former to have been voyded by their own default. Now let the world be Iudge, what obligation can lie on any man to leave his occasions and affairs, to appear, and that under the penalty of impri­sonment, before those men he knows not, or at least is not Legally suppos'd to know, to have any Authority over him?

But should we be willing to sacrifice our Honour to a more Christian virtue of humility, and our freedome un­to patient sufferance (as in most cases we may lawfully recede from our strict rights:) Yet would there a grea­ter stop to our desires then any yet mentioned interpose it selfe, the severe law of Conscience; from whose com­mands neither hope may lead, nor danger force us.Protest. M [...] 5. 1641. We are all engag'd by solemn prostestation before Almighty God to defend and maintain our Lawful Rights and privi­leges, (in the number of which I am confident I have shew'd our exemption from this Visitation to be:) and hereby our adversaries are themselves bound to protect and defend us in whatsoever we shal do, in pursuance of [Page 6] them: But if this be not of force to us, as it is not con­ceived to be by them, we have yet a more strict and par­ticular obligation, being sworn by our respective statutes, to allow or submit to no Visitation, but from those who are nominated by our founders, and enabled by the Kings grant and Patent, confirmed by Act of Parliament, and so enlivened to the strength of Lawes.

Thus farre briefly of Privilege and Exemption, I am now to clear a part yet untoucht, but of no lesse concern­ment; that is, the necessity and want of Visitation. It being given out by the Out-cries and clamours of our Ad­versaries, that we are wholly corrupt and lost, and not to be redeemed to any thing that's good and virtuous, but by extirpation & ruine. To the malice of which imputa­tions, how uncharitable soever, I can observe no return but prayers and silence, finding in the general, breasts neither conscious of the crimes they are accused of, nor revengeful ones towards the persons of their Accusers, but cheerfully receiving their many injuries (having for whole years together, been publiquely slandered to their faces:) and burying in silence those dark Arts, and strangely false suggestions which have been used to pro­cure this Visitation, commit themselves to the protection of providence: assured either by clearing all Accusations, or by a Christian suffering of whatsoever shall be unjust­ly inflicted, to evidence to the world, they are not those monsters that their Enemies Character would speak them: Nor yet men altogether unworthy their Educati­on, or their founders munificence. For my particular, next to the testimony of Conscience, Ambition cannot name unto me a higher note of Innocence, then to be ac­knowledged as

Sir,
Your most humble Servant.

POST-SCRIPT.

SIR,

AS I was Sealing, there came to my hands, the Answer of the Vniversity, to the Visitors Summons, which I here pre­sent to your view; and doubt not but the Candour and Reason, backt by the Autho­rity of so great a Name, will adde some­thing of weight and moment to what hath been already said.

To the Right VVorshipfull, Sir Nathaniel Brent, and the rest of the Commissioners, sitting at Merton-Colledge.

WHereas by severall Citations, subscribed, Guiliel. New-house Reg. Com. the Vice-chancellour and Proctors (being the Magi­strates and publick Officers of this University) have been required respectively to appear before the said [Page 8] Commissioners, sitting in Merton College. They having imparted the same to us, the Delegates of the University, upon due Consideration and deliberate Examination of the Premises; We the said Delegates, together with the Vice-chancellour and Proctors, do in the name of the University, with all humble Reverence to the two Honorable Houses of Parliament; and all due respects to the Persons, and places of those that are imployed by them, Humbly Conceive, we cannot acknowlege any Visitor but the King, or such as are immediately sent by His Majesty; it being one of His Majesties undoubted Rights (all which we are bound to defend, as by many legall obligations, so by our late Protestation) and one of the chiefe Privileges of the University, (all which we are obliged by divers Statutes, and Oathes, to maintaine also) That His Majestie, and without Him, none other is to Visit this University. And therefore we cannot (as we conceive) without the manifest danger of incurring multiplyed Perjuries, submit to this Visitation, or ac­knowledge, those now sent by the Honourable Houses of Parliament to Visit us, to be our Visitors. And as we are perswaded, That if the weighty Affaires of the Kingdome, would have permitted the Two Honourable Houses to have taken this Obligation of ours into Con­sideration, they would not have thought fit to reduce us to this extremity, either of displeasing them, or do­ing violence to our owne Consciences; so we beleeve, and hope, that if it shall please those that are imployed by them, candidly and charitably to represent to them, this our Answer, with the Reasons thereof, (which we most earnestly desire them to doe) the Honourable [Page 9] Houses will be pleased to admit of this our Answer, and suffer us in the meane while to enjoy what by the Law of the Land (which is the Birth-right of the Subject) as well as by the Privileges of the University is due unto us; untill we shall be proved to have made a Legall forfeiture of it, before such as are our proper and competent Judges: Before whom we shall be alwaies ready to appeare, and to Answer whatsoever crimes or misdemeanours shall be laid to our charge.

FINIS.

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