THE PETITION AND ARGVMENT OF Mr. Hotham, Fellow of Peter-Hous [...] in Cambridge, before the Committee for Reformation of the Universities, April 10. 1651. Against the Masters Negative Voice of that Colledge, and for a remedy t [...] be granted the Col­ledge against the usurpations of Doctor Seaman the present Master, agreeable to what was granted by Parliament to the City of London, An. Dom. 1648. for the better enabling them, in case of need, to act as a free Body, without their chief Officers con­currence.

Published for satisfaction to such of the University as may possi­bly be desirous of a true knowledge of that days proceedings.

London, Printed for Giles Calvert, and are to be sold at the Black-spred-Eagle at the West-end of Pauls. 1651.

To the Honourable, the Committee for Reformation of the Universities.

Right Worthy Senators,

THough by reason of a subrustick pudor and love of ease (the two Cardinal vices of my Constitution) I have been alwaies averse from action, never but by strong enforcement of duty appearing in publique view. And though I was never so well pleased with ought I could ever yet say or do, as to think it worth a rehearsall, much less of publication, especially in these Pamphlet­ing times, wherein the glut of Books hath rendred all mens Palats nauseous of what is not in its kind excellent and extraordinary: Yet have I been lately by a strong desire of removing those pressures our Colledge hath long groaned under, rouzed up out of my dearling rest, and native shamefast­ness, to appear a petitioner before you in some causes of our common con­cernment; in all which, though wearyed with the discouragement of con­tinuall frustrations (which put both all those engaged with me, and others that would have otherwise appeared, into a resolution of no more addresses) yet could not I sit still as despairing, till I had made this one assay more, and delivered my self of this last parturience.

This masculine birth was no sooner expos [...] to the light in your presence, but it was, as you may well remember, by Doctor Seaman, whose preroga­tive it was born to oppose, endeavoured to be stifled with a deluge of vulgar slanders, viz. Malignity to his person, ambitious desire of private promo­tion, enmity to the establisht Laws and Government of the Ʋniversity, from all which the Petition was I think before your selves sufficiently asserted; but those light aspersions being easilyer born away on the wings of common Fame, then that weight of reason I laid before you for its vindication, I held it convenient to send after them this particular memoriall of that dayes pro­ceedings, that so his Calumnies, and this Narrative being both heard speak together, the Ʋniversity, which I know never yet esteemed me an enemy to its Government, may be the better enabled to give a true judgement.

But above all, being convinced by some present at that debate, that what I then delivered before you, if published, might possibly prove both a ser­viceable light and incentive to some generous spirits, to the contribution of their endeavours to that good reformation by you rosolved upon, I could not, [Page](being a most devoted servant to that publique end) but give way to their Counsels, though putting my slow Pen to the great pennance of extorting from my weak memory, and transcribing into a form fit for the Press, that rude draught of materials, I had prepared for this work, together with an intersertion here and there of some few pertinencies in that tumultuary dispute, either omitted or forgotten.

I must confess I expected, that having the state of the Controversie, and great need then was of determining it, so clearly laid open before you.

  • 1. In Doctor Seamans great unwillingness so much as to answer whether he laid claim to a negative voice.
  • 2. In his open discovery, when more pressly urged to it, of his avowance and claim to it.
  • 3. In a full and satisfactory answer to all those Pleas he could produce in justification of this claim; That a Declaration of your senses against his negative voice, with some certain provision against the use of it for the future, would have been the narrowest result of that dayes consultation.

And I further hoped that some Gentlemen of worth would so far have espoused a Common wealth quarrel, as that, if the abolition of the Masters supremacy in calling of meetings, and proposing of questions at his own plea­sure were not in the Committees power, the matter being of a high and pub­lique concernment, should have been speedily reported to the house to pro­vide a remedy.

But I will not make any foolish expectation of mine, a rule whereby to judge of the resolutions of wis [...]r men.

That Order you were pleased to make that day, of having a view taken of the Statutes of the whole Ʋniversity, and every particular Colledge, was a noble and a generous Resolve; and to suffer your selves, from the represen­tation of a particular places grievances to be awakened into a positive acti­vity towards an universall reformation, was a thing becoming men of en­larged spirits, and that Archipoimenall power you are entrusted with. And in that subsequent Order of those Gentlemen of the Sub Committee, Dated April 25. I cannot but with all due reverence applaud their wise admit­tance of an intermixture of the experience of men best knowing in Colledge affairs with their own particular wisdoms in this Reformation: you gain­ing by this means a threefold advantage.

First, The due praise of your Honourable Condescent in not asserting us to our lost freedoms by an absolute power, till there first appear in our selves a dislike of our former Metamorphosis, and willingness to be restored.

Secondly, A true knowledge of the condition and temper of the Ʋniver­sity in the Genius of its particular members, and how it stands affected to the principles of freedom.

And thirdly, Many considerable discoveries, which your selves out of the bare Theory could never have made, of great subserviency to the clearing of your understandings, not only in this point of freedome, but in all the other parts of your intended Reformation.

Yet give me leave in my rough Northern Dialect to present before you some grand obstructions, which as to our Colledge (for I desire not to in­termeddle further) may possibly hinder such due concurrence as might justly be expected.

The first is the Master of the Colledges residing at London, who though at that distance from his Charge, he ought to be lookt at as a non signifi­cant Cypher, yet hath he thereby opportunity, by his great interest and ac­quaintance with many of your members, to cast the prejudices of a private and partial information against whatsoever we shal present, especially if intrenching upon his prerogative.

Secondly, Though himself should sit still and say nothing, yet his known Agent that grave Seigniour, who stands alwaies at your elbow, and hath been permitted more then once to intermeddle in our Colledge affairs, even in the time of your private debates, when we of the Colledge, who are most concerned were commanded to withdraw, and who, by the knowledge of your minds he thereupon pretends to, hath sometimes attempted to deprave your Orders from your sense, recorded by your publike Officer. This man still continuing in trust and respect with you, and I believe oft intruding his alley into the penning of your Orders [...] cannot but administer us great ground of jealousie, that our best endeavours are in danger to prove abor­tive.

I speak not this without good ground, for when we had once at the be­ginning of these troubles a Petition to present to you; a prudent man of our Society, whose judgement we knew concurred with us, did refuse to appear above-board upon this very ground: Our Petition he said was very just, and agreeable both to Reason, and the Colledge Statute, but the Tribe of Adoniram would be too strong for us.

A Gentleman being once to travel into France, took with him a raw Countrey-fellow to wait upon him; the Gentleman being arrived at Paris, and some daies after, going to see the Court, his man was very inquisitive of him to know which was the King: but being shewn him, would not be­lieve it was he, and gave this for his reason, That sure the French were not such fools, when they had among them as he knew well, a grave, able, and learned Councellour to make choice of (he meant a tall grim Switzer, with a great head, and a long beard, which he had observed waiting at the Kings [Page]Gate) to reject this wise man, and make choice of a young youth of not thirty year old to be their King.

All the application I make of it is but this one sober aviso, that you be­ware of too much depretiating your selves, and your authority; The being but thought to Philippise, was once a great dishonour to the famous Oracle.

This reverend Switzer is I assure you lookt at as a great man, is adored by many, and few I think appear before you but sacrifice to him, at least ne noceat, and the old Proverb of our Chronicle begins to be again re­membred;

He that will England win,
With Scotland must first begin.

I know not whether this plain language may displease some, but I hope some indulgence will be granted to a poor Northern man, who hath not yet learned to speak smooth English. And besides, it is more agreeable both to the rules of honesty and your interest, that these things should be declared to you, then whispered of you. But I forget my self.

That this mans finger (though your selves I am confident are not aware of it) hath not been wanting to the penning of this Order, I do a little sus­pect. Because first, Only those members of Colledges entrusted with the Government for the time being (which I think in most Colledges are only the Master and two Deans, and a Lecturer or two) are here called in to give their advice. Secondly, That masculine expression in your first Re­solve of reducing the Statutes to such a state as may render them most con­ducing to the advancement of the interest of a Common wealth, being in this latter Order left out, and instead thereof, they only commanded to con­sider what Statutes, &c. are prejudicial to the present Government: whereupon most men declining your intended sense (of which your first Re­solve is the best Expositor) will probably confine their understandings sole­ly to the Consideration of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, or something of that nature, as fit to be abolished.

Thirdly, In our Colledge, though the Master and Deans, with the Le­cturer (and Bursar in some cases) are solely intrusted with the executive part of the governing power, yet is every member of the society by our Sta­tute, equally intrusted with the Legislative.

Now there are lately five Fellows put in by Order of this Committee, who though none of them have yet attained the degree of Master of Arts, and so are not yet men in an Ʋniversity account, yet must they (being by your special Orders made compleat Fellows a year before their time) though utterly ignorant of our Statutes, unexperienced in Colledge affairs, and be­sides, all but one of them, by their several relations to the Master, most [Page]devoted to his interest, have equal Votes in this grand Transaction with us of ancientest standing and experience, which must needs produce vast obstructions, and perhaps returns of contradictory opinions before your Tri­bunal. And these young lads opinions, being in the most material points, sure to have the Masters, either private or publike abettance, according to whose private instructions they will assuredly act, 'tis not uneasie to judge by former successes what is like to be the event in this.

Fourthly, It being unlikely that you will finde in other Colledges, a num­ber considerable to the major part to declare for any considerable mutation, where no oppressive miscarriage of their chief Officer hath awakened them into a distaste of their present absolute Monarchy; its improbable our Col­ledge lying under such discouragements will adventure to be singular.

Fifthly, That whch is likely to prove the main obstruction of all, is mens jealousies of those hazards they may incur by a fruitless Declaration of their senses in points tending to the advancement of a Commonwealth in­terest, yourselves having not yet declared your own senses in favour of the cause of Liberty, which makes some fear, that their profession of some free principles may (though undoubtedly far from your honorable intentions) prove in the event, but an assembling themselves though honest men, to the fate of Baals Priests, I mean the rage of that Samaritan, whose corrupt interest they oppose.

But if your selves upon whose countenances all men will look as the magnetick Pole-stars of their motion, would but shew your selves so far propitious to the cause of Liberty, as to pass but by way of earnest, a previous Declaration of your senses against the prerogative of Peters Chair, whose root lies already bare and disfastned by reasons, axes and mattocks, and wants but one stroke of your authority to lay it level with the ground; this would indeed give some incouragement to our fainting resolutions.

But if the redress of our grievance must be deferr'd till a perfect new model of all those Statutes have waded through that infinitude of almost insuperable obstructions it will meet with: I cannot but look at our Cause as neer desperate, or at least shall of poor Peter-house take up my Proverb, and say Dum consulitur Romae, capitur Saguntum; while help from our friends of the Roman Republick is delaied, our Liberties are left as a prey; and those that appear'd for it, as ascorn to the insulting enemy, who now having obtain'd his will in your ejection of one elected by the President and Fellows; of which you have an account annext to the latter end of this Relation, and his own Sizer a Londoner put by you into that Fellowship, though design'd by our Founder for a Northren man; and having lastly [Page]got this desired advantage of having this great controversie left in statu quo, and drown'd in that unfathomable Ocean of the universal view, and Refor­mation of the great body of our Colledge and Ʋniversitie Statutes (like that souldier, who being told he must answer for some yards of cloth he had snatch't out of a Merchants shop, at the day of Judgement, merrily re­torted; that might he have so long a day given him, he would take the whole piece) puts the evil day afar off; and as I hear impotently boasts himself your onely Favorite, and the Society as a despised handful, not otherwise look't at then as a heap of dead stones, except when it shall please himself to animate us into a Fabrick.

This I can attribute to nothing so much as those his Punick Ambusca [...]ds where with he hath hitherto prevail'd against our more apert Roman Mili­tia; I mean those secret whisperings instill'd, I fear into their ears, whom he hath free access to, of his being the author of all their essences in Peter-house, who now lift up their heels against him, of a Faction, and I know not what plot, to make way for building up another mans promotion out of his ruins; which groundless▪ scandals, lying perhaps as a prepossession in many mens belief, cannot but prove a heavy obstruction in their way who have done, or shall further appear his adversaries.

But I hope you will in time consider how usual a stratagem it hath al­wayes been of tyrants, to defile those that appear'd for Reformation with such like slanders.

And when Truths Story comes to be told in to your other ear, which I hope is reserv'd empty for us the Fellows; these daughters of Falshood will hide their faces, and vanish into nothing. I could my self with a little more of your patience rectifie your judgements of those prejudices, were I sure there were need of it.

But I have detained you too long.

Be pleased to accept of these Remonstrances, which, lest the Publicati­on might be misinterpreted an appeal to others; I crave the boldness to De­dicate in all humility to your selves, not doubting, but that that candid and favourable attention of yours, which honor'd their first privater birth, will not deny its propitious influence upon this their more publick production.

And that you will every way approve your selves answerably to that honorable Stile you bear, The Committee for Reformation, is the confi­dence, And will alwayes be the Prayer of

Your meanest Servant, Ch. Hotham.

To my most dear and ever honoured friends, the Fellows of Peter-house in Cambridge.

Gentlemen of our ancient Society,

WHen I cast my eye upon your experienced great worth, and the unparallel'd happiness I have long enjoyed in my converses with you, I cannot but wish my self able to erect some lasting monument, whereon to engrave my deep sense of both to perpetuity.

But my short power sinking so infinitely beneath my own desire, and your desert, I am enforced ra­ther then be altogether unfruitfull, to present you with this barren Essay of my endeavours for our common freedom: which coming now to see the publike light, is (next to our generall Protectors, to whose Honourable inspection over us, we must needs say, we owe our preser­vation) devoted to your service and acceptance.

I know you will a little wonder at this opener appearance of this Petition and Argument, which I think you never looked I would have been so adventurous as to have suffered to see so much light as it did in your view before the Committee.

For, to appear against the interest of a man so generally befriended, by some upon point of ancient acquaintance, & opinion of his holiness; by others upon his high merit in the secession from his former princi­ples and party he was a head of, to an absolute complyance with the strongest sword, even to a preaching up the present powers Authority, [Page]out of the very same Texts and Principles which were formerly made use of by the Regal-Parasites, to establish that blind obedience we all declared and fought against; for a meer servant of principles to contend against a server of times, such a good loyall subject, and perfect tool of State, that hath like the complying Knight of old, confest even Boots and Spurs and all, and resolved all his former stiffe principles into that one of a supple, servile obedience to the strongest sword, was, I know both you and all men else will say, a desperate attempt, and more smel­ing of juvenile heat, then a sedate wisdom.

I confess, if my love of Justice, and honourable esteem of our Judges integrity had not been much stronger then any humane hopes of suc­cess, I had never imployed my endeavours upon so improbable an ad­venture.

But you know my profest principle hath alwaies been, that a true Christians motions should be guided by that one single internall princi­ple of righteousness, that where duty cals to action, there our work is simply to contribute an endeavour, leaving successes to him that is Lord of all: That that man is not worthy the name of a Christian, nor fit to be an instrument of any remarkable good, that will not prodigally ad­venture the loss of his repute, as well as labour in miscarriages, for the possible accomplishment of a righteous end.

Whereupon some of you may possibly remember, that when we were upon that first attempt of petitioning the Committee against the Masters man, being made Fellow of our Colledge, and the intrusion of young Lads into the Colledge-government, though I both owned and cordi­ally joyned with you in those (I think) just requests, yet I alwaies said we were thus far comparatively unjust, in that we unbecomingly spent our pains in hewing at a few excrementitious branches, and did not ra­ther lay the Ax to the root of the tree, viz. the Master himself, and his usurped prerogative, who by denying us our right of elections, had been the true originall of all those mischiefs.

For as for those youngsters, they having no trust upon them to the contrary, if they did a little over▪ eagerly seek their own promotion, it was but a private error, a sin of their age, rather then judgement.

But for Doctor Seaman, a Patriarchiall pretender to Religion, and en­trusted with the Patronage of the Colledge rights, to betray them and us to his own corrupt design of new modelling the Colledge, and mold­ing up a party devoted to his own ends, was in him an unpardonable [Page]transgression, and in us especially, who had appeared against lesser of­fenders, not altogether excusable to suffer it without endeavouring a remedy.

Dat veniam Corvis, vexat censura Columbas.

But you perhaps not thinking fit to engage against an interest appa­rently too strong for us, or desisting upon other reasons best known to your wisdoms, I thought fit however to acquit my self from the blame of my own Conscience by my single engagement against that destructive prerogative, which I was the rather willing to do upon my own single adventure, because if I prevailed, the Community would be a gainer; if not, the loss of labour, and the disrepute was only my own.

Besides, I was sure you were all throughly perswaded of my souls candor in the attempt, and that none of those by-respects our Malig­nant and ungodly Master charged me with, but only the publike good was my sole and sincere aym, both in this and other transactions, where­in I have appeared cross to his designs. And so whatever error I might commit in the management of this affair, I promised my self from you, whose censure I only valued, an easie pardon.

Yet in all this prosecution of our cause of liberty, you see I have hi­therto acted with such tenderness to him I opposed, as to aym only at the removall of his hurtfull prerogative, not his person: but seeing he hath to his former miscarriages added this Capitall transgression, of seeking to cast a publike disgrace upon the President and whole Socie­ty, whose honour and immunities he was bound to defend, I hope it will not be thought injustice if that personall charge against him (which if produced before, would have come in only as a needless supernume­rary motive to the enforcement of my Petition) being reserved as yet intire, be in its due time, when some formalities yet wanting shall be ready, produced against him to his amotion.

And if it should ever be our good hap to discharge our selves of so unnecessary a burthen, I see for my own part no reason why the Kingly Office in Peter-House may not well be abolished, and he who shall a [...] President be elected yearly to supply the place, content himself for his pains with the stipend allowed by the Founder, and so the State become exonerated of the charge of that augmentation.

Nor do I see why we should distrust that Government in our Corpo­ration, of which all the Corporations throughout the whole Nation [Page]have such ample experience, especially we having found by a more then six years experience of our own, that all the good ends of Government have been attained with us by a President and Fellows in the Masters absence, much better then in his presence.

Yet I speak not this at all in relation to other Colledges, whose Constitution may be different from ours, and who have perhaps found great benefit redounding to their Communities from their severall Masters vigilancy and faithfulness to the common interest.

But I hope the Master of our Colledge will be so wise in his genera­tion, as to cut off the Clue from these remote designs, by making use of that old Statute, de promotis, together with that present interest he hath in many members of the honourable Committee, to rid me first out of his way, a thing most of you know he hath oft threatned me with, but could never yet by such means get me to bate him one Ace of my open opposition to his designs, where my judgement engaged me to it.

I know moreover what obstructions he is able to lay in my way (without once being seen in it himself) whensoever I shall come to lay claim to my Lancashire inheritance, but it is my resolution, God willing, to go on as justice shall call, straight forward, without looking aside either to the right hand, or to the left.

Nor shall the hazard either of my fellowship, or five or six hundred pounds a year to boot, deter me from doing ought wherein I may ad­vance a publike good, with respect to that worthy Society, to whom I shall, while I enjoy life, endeavour to approve my self.

A most affectionate and faithfull Servant, Ch. Hotham.

Vicesimo Octavo Februarii. 1648. An Act of the Commons of England in Parliament assembled, for removing Ob­structions in the proceedings of the Common-Councel of the City of London.

THe Commons of England in Parliament assembled, do enact and ordain, and be it enacted and ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that in all times to come, the Lord Maior of the said City of London, so often, and at such time as any ten or more of the Common-Councel men do by writing under their hands, request or desire him thereunto, shall summon, assemble, and hold a Common-Councel. And if at any time, being so required or desired, he shall sail therein, then the ten persons, or more, making such request or desire, shall have power, and are hereby authorized by writing under their hand to summon, or cause to be summoned to the said Councel, the members belonging thereunto, in as ample manner as the Lord Maior himself usually hath done. And that the members appearing upon the same summons, being of the number of forty, or more, shall become a Common-Councel. And that each Officer, whose duty it shall be to warn in, and summon the members of the said Councel, shall perform the same from time to time, upon the Warrant or Command of ten persons or more so, so authorized as aforesaid. And it is further enacted and ordained by Authority aforesaid, that in every Common-Councel hereafter to be assembled, the Lord Maior of the said City for the time being, or in his absence such Locum tenens as he shall appoint, and in default thereof, the eldest Alderman present, if any be, and for want of such Alderman, or in case of his neg­lect, or refusal therein, then any other person, member of the said Councel, whom the Commons present in the said Councel shall chuse, shall be from time to time President or Chair-man of the said Councel, and shall cause and suffer all things offered to, or proposed in the said Councel, to be fairly and orderly debated, put to the Question, Voted and determined in and by the same Councel, as the maior part [Page]of the members present in the said Councel shall desire, or think fit: and in every Vote which shall pass, and in the other proceedings of the said Councel, neither the Lord Maior nor Aldermen, ioynt or sepe­rate, shall have any negative or distinct Voyce or Vote, otherwise then with and among, and as part of the rest of the members of the said Councel; and in the same manner as the other members have: And that the absence and withdrawing of the Lord Maior or Aldermen from the said Councel, shal not stop or preiudice the procéedings of the said Councel. And that every Common-Councel which shall be held in the City of London shall sit and continue so long as the maior part of the Councel shall think fit, and shall not be dissolved or adiourned, but by, and according to the order or consent of the maior part of the same Councel. And that all the Votes and Acts of the said Common-Councel, which was held 13. Januarii last, after the departure of the Lord Maior from the same Counsel. And also all Votes and Act [...] of every Common-Councel hereafter to be held, shall be from time to time duly Registred as the Votes and Acts of the said Councel have used to be done in time past. And be it further enacted and ordained by the authority aforesaid, that every Officer which shall sit in the said Councel, shall be from time to time chosen by the said Councel, and shall have such reasonable allowance or salary for his pains and ser­vice therein, as the Councel shall think fit. And that every such Of­ficer shall attend the said Common-Councel: And that all Acts and Records, & Register-Books belonging to the said City, shall be extant to be perused and searched into by every Citizen of the said City, in the presence of the Officer who shall have the charge of kéeping thereof, who is hereby required to attend for the same purpose.

Hen. Scobel Cler. Parliament.


Preface to the Committee, page 1. line ult. read resolv'd. p. 2. l. 16. r. And I further, &c. p. 3. l. 23. r alloy. Book. p. 3. l. 26. r. some time. l 33. r. inconveniences. l. 34. r. Master. p. 5. l. 16. r. pausing. p. 8. l. 3. r. particulars. p. 11. l. 3. r. the only sound. &c. p. 12. l. 2. r. liking. and l. 15. r. be so understood. p. 13. l. 23. r. or Proctors. p. 14. l. 25. r. in aliquo. p. 19. l. 26. r. an equivocal brood out of corrupt manners. p. 21. l. 2. r. arduis. and l. 6. dele now. p. 22. l. 4. dele. when. l. 11 r. system'd up, &c. p. 23. l. 5. r. Societies. p. 24. l. 10. r. conjunctim. p. 25. l. 2. r. so much. p. 27. l. 3. r. obstinacy.

To the Honorable, the Committee for Reformation of the UNIVERSITIES. The Humble Petition of Charls Hotham, Fellow of Peter-House in Cambridge.


THat whereas in all Societies of men incorporate, great evils do usually arise from the too exorbitant power of their chief Officer, not annually elected to his Trust; the sad experience whereof our Colledge hath of late felt, the Master assuming to himself, or his President (if present) the sole power of Con­vocating and dissolving of publike Meetings, and proposing of Questions at his own pleasure; and sometimes refusing to act according to the determination of the major part; and all this onely for want of our Founders sufficiently expressing his minde in a Statute of our Colledge; wherein he Wills, that the Master should in the Arduous affairs of the Colledge, consult with the Fellows in Common, and stand to the determination of the Major and sounder part, but hath through the uncertainty of the last expression, left a gap open to the exercise of an Arbitrary power; and besides, constituted no penalty to the Master at any time, upon sinister ends, refusing to do his duty in that kind, nor provides the Colledge of any way for calling of Meetings, or making of Acts in form valid, without his, or his Presidents concurrence.

And seeing the Parliament hath always adjudged this unlimitted power in the supream Officer of the Nation, of a dangerous and destructive na­ture to the Weal Publike, and hath further proceeded so far, as to restrain the same in the City of London, where yet the danger is not so great, as in our smaller Corporation, their chief Officer being annually changeable, and new elected to his Trust: but ours, one and the same during the whole term of his life.

May it therefore please this Honorable Committee, for prevention of future mischiefs, and for Caution that this root of Corruption left in one of the ancientest Fountains of youths education do not spread out its pernitious branches to gangrene the whole Nation, To Ordain, That from henceforth the Master shall not assume to himself, or his [Page 2]President, such an exorbitant power, but that he or his President, or the Senior Fellow of those present at home, shall at any time, upon the desire of two of the seven Senior Fellows, left with him in writing under their hands, call a meeting at some seasonable time, within 48. hours after their desire so signified; and shall at that, and all other meetings propose to the Society such questions as the Major part shall think fit, and not dissolve a­ny meeting without consent of the major part; And lastly, shall not assume to himself any Negative or distinct voyce, otherwise then as one member of the Assembly, and in the same manner as other members have, but shall accord­ing to the duty of his place, duly and without delay put in execution the de­termination of the said Major part, and all this to be establisht under a suf­ficient penalty; the want of which is the greatest encouragement to mortal men to offend: And that in case the Master or his President, or Senior Fel­low then present, shall refuse upon such desire of two of the Seniors, as above-said, to call a meeting, then they themselves to be authorised to call a meet­ing; and such of the Fellows as shal meet upon their summons, if there be a­bove seven then at home, to be impowred to chuse a President for that time, and to be a Colledge Assembly to all intents and purposes; And what shall pass in such Assembly so Convocated by the Senior Fellow of those present at home, or the two Seniors above-said, to be reputed an Act of the Colledge, as valid as if the same meeting had been convocated by the Master or his President: And because great inconvenience may oft insue by the Master and his President, being both absent together, our Statutes having in such case provided the Colledge of no Governor in chief. Your Petitioner doth further pray. That it may be ordained,

That in case the Master and his President, shall be both absent, That then the Senior-Fellow of those present at home, may, till the Masters, or his Presidents return, be impowred as President, to all intents and purposes, as if he were by the Master nominated, and appointed to that Office.

And your Petitioner, with the whole Colledge, delivered from the oppressions and usurpations of an Arbitrary power, by the wisdom and justice of this Honorable Committee, Shall ever pray, &c.

This Petition was first presented and read before the Commit­tee March 27. at which time Doctor Seaman urg'd that this con­troversie would concern the whole University, and therfore was unfit to be singled out alone, but rather should fall in with the consideration of the whole bulk of the Colledge and University Statutes now under consideration of the Committee of Visitors at Cambridge; but the Committee then looking at this as a di­latory subterfuge accepted of the Petition, assign'd a day for ta­king it into further consideration, granting me summons for such of the Society as I desir'd for Witnesses in case of need. The Ma­ster having the like liberty to nominate whom he pleas'd, but pitch'd upon none. This was the Order.

ORdered, that the Petition of M. Charles Hotham Fellow of Pe­ter-House in the Ʋniversity of Cambridge, this day presented to this Committee, be taken into consideration on this day fortnight, & that Dr. Francius, M. Clerk, M. Brock, and M. Sams senior, Fel­lowes of the said House, do in person attend this Committee, to in­form this Committee of what they know concerning the matter of the said Petition, and that in the mean time the Master and Fellowes of the said House have a copie of the said Petition if they think sit.

James Chaloner.

On the day appointed, being April 10. being desirous to have the cause heard at as full a Committee as might be, I attended sometime in the Hall with this following Petition for a revivall of the businesse.

To the honourable Committee for Reformation of the Ʋniversities, The humble Petition of Charles Hotham Fellow of Peter-House,


THat whereas your Petitioner on the 27. of March last past ha­ving represented to this honourable Committee the great inonveniencies redounding to that Colledge, of which he is a member, from the too exorbitant power exercised by the Mr of the said Colledge, for want of our Founders sufficient declarati­on of his mind in a Statute, wherein he willeth that the Master [Page 4]shall in arduis Collegii, consult the Fellows in common, and stand to the judgment of the major and sounder part: For the more full and certain execution of which Statutes, your Petitioner did humbly pray, That such remedies as were in that Petition specifi­ed, might be ordained by the wisdom of this Honourable Com­mittee.

Upon which desire of your Petitioner, it was then ordered, that the said Petition should be taken into consideration on that day fornight, and that Dr. Fransticus, Mr. Clerk, Mr. Brock, and Mr. Sams, Fellowes of the said Colledge, should be required to at­tend here in person, to inform this Honourable Committee what should be thought requisite concerning the matter of the said Pe­tition.

Now therefore your Petitioner doth humbly pray, that this being the day appointed for the said hearing (and the Fellows of the Colledge which were summon'd being here in person, ready to attend the pleasure of this Ho­nourable Committee) that the said Petition may be again read, and your Petitioner may be heard to make good his Petition, by such proofs of reason, or witness, as the na­ture of the thing shall require; and your Petitioner, as in duty bound, shall in all humility await such sentence, as shall upon full hearing of all parties concerned be a­warded by the wisdom and justice of this Honourable Committee.

And shall ever pray, &c.

But this short Petition prov'd useless; for my former large Petition was resum'd without any motion of mine, and much sooner then my expectation.

But after the first clause of the Petition was scarce read, Doctor Seaman interpos'd a motion, that the further reading of it might be suspended, till a private business, which he said was the true original of all these commotions, were first heard. So the Petition was at his motion laid aside, and the private business first brought upon the stage: the issue of which, falling out strangely to his content, the Committee was made believe this was the substance of the whole controversie, there needed now no farther hearing of the publick Petition.

Now as for that private business, seeing he hath christened it with the name of publick, I have at the latter end of this Narra­tive made it publick for his sake.

But nothing discourag'd with this unexpected event of that dispute, I went in again to the Committee, inform'd a noble Gen­tleman there present, I had a Petition there of great concern­ment, which I desired might be read, and my self heard speak to it. So at his motion the Petition was resum'd.

After 'twas read, Dr. Seaman, I think, first spake something to it; but to what effect, I have utterly forgotten, and shall be glad to be remembred of it by himself.

When he had done speaking, I mov'd the Committee that for laying a clear foundation, whereupon to ground the debate, he might be askt the question, Whether he laid claim to a negative voyce, or not.

His answer was, first, that he did not desire to answer to any question, till commanded to it by the Committee; but pawsing a while, and perceiving by a general silence of all the members, that a more full answer was expected, He still subtilly declining an an­swer to the question, tells them we had many sorts of Colledge-meetings; that the Master was sometimes to consult with the Deans onely, sometimes with 5 or 6 of the Seniors; but in the arduous affairs of the Colledge, he was to consult with the Fel­lows in common, and to stand to the judgment of the major part. This now seem'd, at first view, a clear acknowledgment of his be­ing bound up in the major part, in meetings of the whole Society present.

And any man, not acquainted with his methods, would have thought the controversie had been at an end, and that the Doctor was scandal'd in my so much as intimating that he had laid claim to a negative voyce.

But as 'twill appear he meant nothing less For first, though he acknowledged himself bound in arduis to consult the Fellows in common, yet nothing appear'd, but that he still reserv'd the judg­ment of that arduity as a prerogative within his own breast; so that the Society for meetings, though never so much needed, must depend upon his royall pleasure, which was one of the chief grie­vances, against which a remedy was petition'd for.

Secondly, notwithstanding his seeming acknowledgment of being tied by the major part; yet being further urg'd to declare whether he did not from that additional expression in our Sta­tute of the sounder part, challenge to himself a decisive judgment which was the sounder part, so as that he might judge the lesser part the sounder, and be thereupon absolv'd from standing to the judgment of the major part, he could then keep himself in the darkness no longer, but produc't two Statutes for his negative voyce. The one, extending onely to the proof of his negative voyce over the two Deans, was an interpretation made a hundred and fifty years, or more, after the first compiling of our Statutes. In these words, Item si aliquid ex Statuto sit determinandum per Magistrum, & Decanos concernens eorum officia, si Magister Collegii, & unus Decanorum aliquid decreverint, stabit pro rato, & si duo Decani decreverint, & Magister Collegii non concesserit, pro nullo habeatur.

But this prov'd not at all a negative voyce over the major part of the Fellows assembled in a meeting.

The other (being the main pillar of his cause) was the Universi­ty Statute, which he read to the Committee in these words.

In omnibus & singulis electionibus tam Sociorum, Discipulorum, Schola [...]ium, Officiariorum, Lectorum, reliquorúm (que) membrorum cu­jus (que) Collegii, quàm in omnibus & singulis locationibus, & concessi­onibus quibuscun (que), necessariò requirendus est Magistri sive Prae­positi illius Collegii assensus & consensus. Et quod bene licebit Magistris sive Praepositis Collegiorum, in suis Collegiis, si quando illis necessarium videbitur, omnes illas poenas exercere in delinquen­tes, qua [...] aliquis Officiariorum illius Collegii per Statuta ejusdem Collegii imponere possit.

These Statutes he said (but proved it not) were confirm'd by Act of Parliament: To which 'twas answer'd, That it's true, the University Charters were confirm'd by Act of Parliament, but as I believ'd, not the Statutes; no further confirmation that I know of appearing, more then by the same Commissioners, who re­view'd our Colledg-Statutes; which as far as I knew, there was as good ground to believe were confirm'd by Parliament, as those of the University.

He further added, that that which I charg'd as a fault upon [Page 7]him, viz. the relying upon his own wisdom, I was chiefly guilty of it my self, in preferring a Petition of my own head, without first asking the advice and consent of the Fellows, who did not appear any way to own it: to all which allegations of his, my answer, directed to the Chairman of the Committee, was as followes.


I acknowledg it may to this grave Assembly seem strange, & per­haps something smelling of presumption, that in a business wherein the good of the whole Colledg is pretended to, one man onely should appear to own it, & he neither the first nor second Senior of the Colledge, nor yet publickly employed by the So­ciety for the making of such attempt: But I hope if the high consequence of the matter presented, and greatness of the per­son, or rather interest to be opposed, and how unwilling men of prudent and suffering spirits have always been to engage them­selves in high contests, and how loath modest men are to ask that which they think may probably be denied them, be well conside­red, this wonder will soon cease. And to take away the impu­tation of presumption, I have onely this to say, that had I known of any man that would have taken upon him this task, I should most willingly, according to that mans directions, either have sit­ten still, or seconded him in the meanest of services tending to the advancement of this cause. But I knew of none, and besides, had, above the rest of the Society, these speciall engagements ob­liging me to this endeavour.

1. First at the time of my presenting the Petition, I was one of the Deans of the Colledge, an Officer intrusted by the Found­er, not onely as an assistant to the Master in the Colledge-Go­vernment, but likewise as one of the Ephori of Sparta, a Supervisor and Censor of his actions in some cases, to admonish him, if need were, and in case of his obstinate standing out against admoniti­ons, to complain of him to a Superiour Justice.

Secondly, our Colledge-statute requires every member of the Colledge, even after his departure, (much more during his abode) that in way of a grateful acknowledgment of that much good he hath received there, he should endeavour the preservation of the Colledge-rights to the utmost of his power.

Now there having been one of my own name, and Family, the third, or fourth successour to the Bishop of Ely that founded the Colledge, a great Benefactor to it (though the particulas where­in, appear not) and my self coming now in a more peculiar man­ner, and by a strange cast of providence, to partake of the good fruits of his bounty; I held it a double obligation upon me to a performance of this clause of our Statute, by endeavouring some­what which posterity might reap the benefit of; which being at present not in a capacity to do, by gift of Lands, or any consider­able sum of Money, all I had left within my power, was [...]ly to appear here as the Colledges servant, in the vindication of our common-liberties, then which, ingenuous spirits know not a more precious treasure upon Earth.

Thirdly, 'Tis a thing well known to all I have ever converst with, that I have ever since the first beginning of these civill wars, and that in the most hazardous times, when the generality even of the Parliaments party stood inclinable to a defection, been to my poor ability, and in my narrow sphere, a zealous assertor of the Nations liberty, against the prerogative of the supreme Offi­cer of State, then in War against us: And therefore, if upon the same principle I now shew my self more then ordinarily forward in asserting the liberties of our particular Common-wealth, a­gainst a parallel tyranny; I hope my boldness will find the easier pardon.

This I have been necessitated to premise, in answer to those e­vill surmises which you hear have been rais'd, and objected, as of great consequence against the title of the Petition, and more might be added; but seeing this Committee hath been so just and honourable, as waving all respect of persons, to take the matter it self into your grave considerations, I shall now wholly apply my self to the matter in hand.

The Petition is large, but may, in summe, be reduc't to these two heads.

First, a Preamble consisting of a Concatenation of divers mo­tives for enforcement of the Petition.

Secondly, The Prayer of the Petition it self.

The Motives are many, and of great weight.

You have in them,

First, a generall Proposition of those great mischiefs which the common experience of all ages, places, and Nations, teaches us do arise from the chief Officer of any Corporations being intrusted with a power distinct from, and superior to that of the commu­nity. 'Tis both the true characteristicall badge of slavery, and the chief fomenter of jealousies and contentions: For wheresoever 'tis so, there's alwayes a particular interest of the governing pow­er set up distinct from, and most what contrary to, that of the publike, then which nothing can be more destructive to the wel­fare of any Community: the truth of which Maxime we have had a feeling proof in the sad series of those evills which have lately sprung up in this Nation from the claime and exercise of this power by the chief Officer of Englands great Corporation: 'Twas that which had like first to have plung'd us into the depth of slavery, and did afterwards ingage us in a bloudy war, the ju­stice of which war can never be solidly maintained by the assert­ers of a Negative Voice. For my own part, this was to me the great convincing argument of the Scots apostasie from their first principles, and from the cause they were with using ag'd in, when I saw them in their Manifesto plead so openly for the upholding of this great branch, or rather stock, and bulk it self of the royall Prerogative.

2. You have for confirmation of this truth the judgment of the whole Representative of England, and those that have most cordially appear'd with them in this cause, especially of the now governing power, which hath always declared this power in the King of a most dangerous and destructive nature to the weale publike, and inconsistent with the Nations freedom: And the Ar­my in particular, when we were not yet attained to that wise and generous resolution of removing the Kingly Office as well as his Person, did in their grand Remonstrance propound it as a neces­sary caution for the securement of our Liberties, that whosoever should, upon the removall of the late King, be admitted, though but by election, to succeed him, should before his admission dis­avow all claim to a Negative Voice.

3. You have presented to your view a more particular decla­ration of this present Parliaments judgment in this point, in re­ference to a particular Corporation: Those evills which the [Page 10]whole Nation had formerly groan'd under, there was a criticall time when the City of London felt the same pangs of the same disease arising from the same fountain of corruption: the chief governour of that city exercising that power in his own Corpo­ration, which himself with others had declar'd and fought against in the supreme Officer of the Nation; wherupon this Parliament was pleas'd to remove that prerogative, and provide them this very way now petition'd for, of acting as a free Body in case of need, without the chief Officers concurrence.

4. The fourth motive humbly propounded to your conside­ration is the great mischiefs which have redounded to our small Corporation from the exercise of this arbitrary power by our chief Officer: But of this theme, because 'tis very large, and will need much interlacing of proofs and examination of Wit­nesses, I shall treat, if need be, in the last place.

5. The fifth, and that the most generally convincing motive of all, is from our locall Statute which I read to you, when I was here last before this Committee, which runs in these words.

Quia quod à pluribus quaeritur, faciliùs invenitur, et consu­lendo dicit Sapiens, Omnia cum consilio fac, & minimè poenitebit: statuimus injungendo, nè cùm ardua domus emerserint negotia, Ma­gister capitosè suae prudentiae imitatur, sed omnes Scholares convo­cet, & emersa [...]egotia exponat eisdem, & super illis quaerat consili­um singulorum, nedum seniorum, sed juvenum, cùm donet juniori Deus aliquoties quod non seniori: sed si in unam conveniant sen­tentiam, bene quidem sin autem, numero stetur majori, etiam & saniori.

Here you see our Lawgiver expresly declares his will, that the Master shall not prefer his private wisdom before the wisdom of the whole or major part of the Society: and brands such proceed­ings of his with an imputation of headinesse and rashnesse: One­ly supposing the conscience of that Oath which the Master was to take at his admission would bee a sufficient tie to a strict performance of his will, thought it needlesse to establish his law by any penalty, or to point us out a way of acting without him, which is the defect we now desire a supply of.

In those times, when a pla [...]n, honest, and conscientious simpli­city bore sway in mens hearts, and wickednesse was not so inge­nious [Page 11]as it hath since proved in our times, a few rules sufficed to preserve righteousness and peace amongst men: The Laws were then (as the Mosaical Law) like those wide-window'd Nets our national Statutes prescribe for hindering the destruction of the young fry of fish: but afterwards the corruption of mans nature spinning out it self to such a subtilty as to find easie Evasion through those spacious grates, 'twas found necessary in every age to make an intertexture of new threds, and cross bars for the in­tangling of those subtiller Offenders: Now therefore this which is propounded unto you being of this nature, not purely a new Law, but only a new way laid down (agreeable to what the wis­dom of Parliament had prescrib'd in a parallel case) for the more sure and effectual execution of the old established Law of our Founder, ought in reason to find the easier admittance.

Only there is one Objection or two of some weight which I, must crave the patience of this honourable Assembly, to give me leave to discuss, for the fuller clearing of all doubts, which may perplex the question.

The first is, that our Founder where he saith the Master must numero stare majori, adds [etiam & saniori,] whence some may perhaps infer, that 'tis left to the Master to judg which is the sounder part, and so if he relinquish the major part, and follow their advice whom he judgeth the sounder part, he transgresseth not. But that this was an exposition far from our Lawgivers intention, I shall demonstrate by these Reasons.

First, It's apparent the Founder intended this Statute mainly as a provision against the Masters self-wisdom, upon which he saies, he shall not rely. Now therefore if the Master refuse the major, and adhere to the minor part, only because in his judgment the sounder, he does in effect rely upon his own prudence, which is the thing our Founder forbids.

Secondly, If the judgment of the sounder part be left to the Master, the word majori may as oft as he pleases be made a meer non-significant Cipher. If the Master propound a business to the whole number of Fellows, which is fourteen, & can get but two or three (then which nothing is more easie) to side with him, he may cal those few men the onl syound men of the Society, all the other eleven or twelve shall be esteemed as factions or frantick, because of their advice not suiting with his ends; and so that obscure [Page 12]word [sani [...]ri] shall, like one of Pharaohs lean Kine, swallow up the word majori, though fairer and better likin [...], into its insati­able stomack. So shall the Master contrary to the Founders will be made by his own estimate the Solus sapiens, and supream Lord. The fellows, they are flattered with a specious shew of liberty and co-partnership in the Government, but are indeed like meer School-boys (such would the King have made the whole Parlia­ment) called together to a posing, not voycing, in which they must either comply with the Masters will, or have their advice re­jected with scorn, and themselves dismissed with infamy, as crack­brain'd and unsound men.

Therefore this being an interpretation so full of contradiction and inconsistency both to the general current of this Statute, and particular, contexture of the sentence it self, the word saniori cannot be understood, but is either a meer word of formality, or to say the most, was added only as a Proviso, where 'twas impossible to determine which was the major part, as where the num­ber of Fellows on both sides was equally divided, that there the Master might encline to that part which he should judg the sounder.

But that by the word saniori is not meant at all a reference to the Masters judgment, but that 'twas rather a meer word of form affected by the solemn gravity of those times, will appear several ways, As,

First, From our eighteenth Statute, where our Founder, treat­ting of license to be given to two of our Fellows to travel, shuf­fles the Master and Fellows all into one pack, and says that they (the Master and Fellows, or the major and sounder part of them, shall have power to give this license. His words are these, Nos principatitor hoc attente, dictis Magistre, & Scholuribus potosta­tem & licentiam impartimur: quod ipsi vel saltem major pars, & sanior corundem, si hoc Domini & Scholaribus expedire viderint, unum vol duos Scholares domûs hoc p [...]t [...]ntes, si ad hoc suo judicio fuerint habiles licentiare valeant.

Here you see the Master is cleerly levell'd as one man with the rest of the Society: The expression runs not, as in some Statutes, Magister & maior ac sanior pars Scholarium, but maior & sanior pars Magistri & Scholarium, the greater and sounder part of the Master and Fellowes put together: so the Master being here made [Page 13]a party in the Scrutiny, is incapable of being a Judge in the same: and therefore in all probability the word saniori is, as I said, put in by the Founder only as a word of course, a meer synonima, an expression affected by the gravity of those times in which he lived.

And further, that this is no bare conjecture of mine, but ra­ther a truth evidenced with us by experience of all times, the first of all the University Statutes entituled De modo statuendi, which I have here copied out of the Proctors book, will make it very e­vident.

That De modo statuendi runs thus:

Authoritate totius Ʋniversitatis Cantabrigiensis tam Regen­tium quàm non Regentium, ordinatum est, quòd in statuendis rebus & negotiis utilitatem communem dictae Vniversitatis concernenti­bus solum illud pro Statuto habeatur, quod de consensu maioris & sanioris partis dictorum Regentium, & de consensu non Regentium fuerit decretum per Statutum.

And I have here ready to produce, if need be, a sufficient number of presidents shewing the observation of this Statute in severall sanctions from time to time, all which bear the stile of the major and sounder part of Regents and Non-Regents: yet the con­stant tenour of our University proceedings witnesses that the ma­jor and sounder part were never look'd at as two distinct noti­ons, and left to the Vicechancellors and Proctors discretion to determine of; but that the major part was alwayes (and as I can prove by another Statute ought to be) adjudged the sounder, and whatsoever was decreed by the major number of voices, past al­wayes for an act of the University without exception. And for the truth of this assertion, I appeal not only to those of our So­ciety, men of great standing, here present, but to all that e­ver have long resided as Masters of Art in the University: yea and to Doctor Seaman himself, if he has seen so many Congre­gations as to make him a competent witnesse in this matter.

So the advantage of that expression for the assumption of a negative voice being now I hope cleary remov'd, I shall procced to the last objection urg'd, and chiefly relied upon by the Master, which is, that the University Statute allowes all Masters of Col­ledges a negative voice.

The Statute for your memories sake I shall again rehearse.

In omnibus & singulis electionibus tam Sociorum, Discipulorum, Scholarium, Officiariorum, Lectorum, reliquorum (que) membrorum cuiusque Collegii, quàm in omuibus & singulis locationibus, & concessionibus quibuscunque necessarsò requirendus est Magistri fi­ve Praepositi illius Collegii assensus & consensus.

This is as much of the Statute as concerns the question in hand.

This Statute will, I know, to al that read it at first sight seem an Argument invincible.

But I shall notwithstanding orave leave to say somewhat in answer to it, not doubting but before I have done I shall make it appear as contemptible, as now it seems formidable. As,

1. First, That every Colledg being a distinct Corporation by it self, and Laws prescribed for its Government by him that found­ed or endowed it, it may well be questioned whether those Laws of any of them can be taken away or superseded by any general Statute of the University. And this I do the rather question, because the University hath in former Statutes shown it self very tender of the infringement of the particular Statutes of Customs of private Colledges; as appears by the last clause of a Statute de expulsis in ali a Collegium non recipiendis, which Statute though in it self most rational, and fit to have a binding power over all, yet did not the University think fit to pass it without this additional Salvo, Ne (que) intendimus per praesens Statutum, Statutis, Constitutionibus, Compositionibus cateris (que) Colligiorum, in aliud derogdre: Nor is it our meaning by this present Statute to de­rogate ought from the Statutes, Constitutions, and other Com­positions of particular Colledges.’

Besides, it hath formerly been the declared Opinion of some of the wisest of our University, that the Vice-chancellor, who is our chief Officer in the Government of the University, cannot exercise his Jurisdiction within the walls of a private Colledg.

Now it seems irrational to think that the University Statutes should claim a Power paramount to the local Statutes of those places, where yet the chief Officer entrusted with the execution of those Laws that lay claim to this supremacy, can find no en­trance.

2. Our Colledg Statute is of a far ancienter standing then this University Statute; and therefore though this of the University seems to thwart it, yet being made without any clause of a non obstante, the Colledg Statute lies unrepealed, and therefore in full force, especially our Colledg Statutes being revis'd and con­firmed at the same time with the University Statutes, and by the same Visitors, as I shall, if it be thought needful, make it ap­pear.

3. This Statute is none of our ancient Statutes of the Univer­sity, but one of very late standing, no ancienter then the tenth year of Queen Elizabeths Raign, for in all our Statutes till that time (as I am well able to say, having lately searched the Proctors book to that purpose) there appears no footstep of it; nay not in the first new model of our Statutes which, was made primo Eli­zabethae. For our Reformers being then but newly come out of the furnace of the Marian persecution, were not yet mounted to that height of ambition: but about ten years after growing warmer and fatter in their great preferments, the Heads of Colledges did its likely upon plea, that our University-statutes were not e­nough refin'd from Popery, & that new Diseases stood in need of new Remedies, got a revivall of the commission granted formerly primo Elizabethae for another new modelling of them, in which though for pomps sake the Commissioners appointed for that work were some of them, as Cecil, Cook, and Haddon of the Queens privy Councel; yet the rest of them being Doctors of Law, Physick, and Divinity, and two of them Divinity Professors of the University, no man that is not blind, and knows not how little leisure those greater Statesmen had to labyrinth their brains with all the tedious anfractus of that Theory, but will say that the main Engines, and the very both prima & secunda mobilia in this last new Model were the Heads of Colledges alone; and they having now gotten this ample power into their own hands, did, together with the publick Reformation, cunningly interweave their own private advancement; and in purging us of Popery, did, like those Medicamenta maledicta, emunge the body of the University of some of their most essentiall and fundamentall pri­viledges;

As for example.

The choice of a Vice-Chancellor, which was before in the whole body of Regents, they got in this Reformation a Mono­poly of it to themselves, so as the body of the University hath only left them a bare superficies of election, but the substance they got into their own hands; for by this new Reformation, they got themselves the nomination of two, one of which the University is necessitated to elect, and if they doubted of him, whom they desir'd to have elected, 'twas but nominating some one distasted or contemn'd man for a stale, and then they were sure to carry it for such one of those two nominated, as they should think fittest.

2. Another great priviledge, whereof they depriv'd the Body of the University, was the interpretation of Statutes, which be­fore except in a few cases, was as well as the making of Statutes in the body of the University; but in this new Modell, the heads got a Monopoly of it intitely to themselves.

And if I mistake not that strange Statute of the Caput Senatus, consisting of the Vice-Chancellor, and five others chosen by the heads of Colledges, and the two Scrutators out of fifteen persons nominated by the Vice-Chancellor, and Proctors, and all this without the least advice or privity of either of the two Houses, and these five men entrusted, every one with more then a Nega­tive voice (for nothing, be it never so just or necessary to the com­mon good, or of particular persons, can be so much as propoun­ded to the Houses, till every single man of these hath given his positive consent) is of the same date. If but one of these deny, though giving no reason, the concurring voices of the Vice-Chancellor, and the other four are of no force, the motion is stiffed in the very cradle, a thing of not care practise among us; Now this Stature, if considered in its full latitude, will, I think, be found of no longer standing then that new model. Something there was of a like nature before, but if compared with this, will be found vastly different; For that had for its object onely tempus & formam, but this, Concessions of all natures: in that the nega­tive was in three, here in any one.

And lastly, to fill up the measure of their iniquity, they did like­wise as much as in them lay, defraud those Societies, where the Founders had inricht them with that unvaluable treasure, of their [Page 17]precious liberties; and with their spoyls, sacrific'd to their own ambition, made every Master of a Colledge and absolute Monarch, and the Societies their Vassals.

Thus miserably were the poor Fellows of Colledges deluded and oppressed; but to complain was no boot.

These mens potency at Court was such, and such was the re­verend esteem had of them there, that to have spoken ought in derogation of them, or their proceedings, would have been deem­ed blasphemy, but especialy for one of no higher condition, then a Fellow of a Colledge to have appear'd in publick in his Russet-Coat against these grand silken Rabbies, had been to have expos'd himself only to laughter or ruine.

But the Court-prerogative, the root of all these oppressions be­ing now dig'd up, these excrementitious branches will, I hope, be thought fit to be removed with it: besides nature teaches us, than each evill is best cured by its contrary: therefore it having been laid open clearly before you, how the Monarchs connivence at the fraud and corruption of its Representatives was the cause of this distemper'd mutation. We hope for cure from the vigilant sincerity of our true Republical-Magistrates, by the anulment, if need be, of that Statute, and restauration of each Colledge to at least that ancient wholesome Crasis of Liberty it was created in by its first Founder.

I speak not this to cast any the least prejudice upon that good work of Reformation in Religion, for which I cannot but say the Nation owes much thanks to the endeavours of all those Re­verend Divines, that were so happy instruments in it. But we see the experience of that proverbial sentence, Nullum magnum in­genium sine mixturâ insaniae. The best of men are but men. This whole World, and the heart of every man in it, is nought else but a Champaigne, where good and evill, light and darkness, contend for victory; and so where God hath his Church, the Devill will erect his Chappel as a Fort to lay battery against it. So in all Re­formations the greatest instruments in it will alwayes (if they be not by themselves, or others narrowly look't to) carry on some design of their own private, an attendant at least, if not corrivall to that of the publick. Besides we know how the people of God, [Page 18]who immediatly upon their deliverance from Pharaoh, and the Red-Sea, did nothing, but in humility of heart, worship and sing praises to God their Deliverer, were observ'd afterwards upon a little prosperity to have forgotten God; to have waxen fat and kick'd. And of our Reformers, about that Decade, it may justly be question'd. Whether thein zeal in preserving the Reformation begun, were more to be commended, or their ambition in obstru­cting its further progress and perfection to be condemn'd.

But above all I desire to be understood, not to intend any the least reflection of blame upon those reverend Gentlemen and Mi­nisters, the present Heads of Colledges in our University, for as they had no hand in procuring of those incroachments, so neither that I know of, have they ever made ill use of that power vvhich their Predecessors ambition had purchas'd to their hands: For though they have, by the last Statute I told you of, the full power of interpretation of Statutes within themselves, and there was a time, when they might have used it with applause, in that excel­lent interpretation of our University Oaths, whereby mens con­sciences, indanger'd to perjury upon every penal statute, were much eas'd, yet to my best remembrance, they did not assume to themselves, but yielded to the whole body of the University the honour of alleviating this grievance.

Nay this I must needs say, to the honour of all those Heads of other Colledges, except our own, that I conceive 'tis nothing but their honest and prudent carriage in their several charges, which is the cause that none of the University (none having the like particular cause of complaint) appear as yet in this cause to de­sire those provisions against Tyranny, petition'd for in our Col­ledge, For 'tis not evils in posse, though of the nearest probability, but those in esse that stir up the generality of men to the inventi­on of remedies. In other Colledges where the Masters have by statute or custome a negative voyce, yet they have chosen rather to wave sometimes their own, not interest onely, but judgment too, then make use of it, and in the very propositions of questions to be swayed by the publick reason of their Societies.

And if our Head had behav'd himself with the like candor and moderation in his trust you had not I think been troubled with these tedious disputes at this day: but our Head though, as you have heard, denyed a negative voice by our Law-giver, will yet usurp it, propounding onely what he pleases himself, and after the vote past, following his own, not the common prudence of the Society, as shall be amply proved (if need be) in its proper place. Besides, we ha­ving in the general course of this mans Government, observ'd no­thing of a publike Spirit, ayming at the common good, but rather a constant tenor of close dissimulation and greedy intentiveness upon all advantages of not onely holding fast in every punctillo, but ad­vancing still further, the grand interest of his power and profit; and that as far as humane wit could guess of mans heart by its fruits, the two great poles of his whole revolution were dominion and cove­tousness (of which upon many sinister dealings of his, there's not three men of all our Society that have been the constant observers of his College-tranfactions this seaven years but have at one time or other exprest their deep resentment) this is that has occasion'd this extraordinary petition for a just restraint of this exorbitancy of an assum'd power within those bounds our Law-givers wisdom had prescribed to it, with some concurrent helps for the surer execution of his declared will: "Ex malis moribus ortae sunt bonae leges. 'Tis the greatest glory of good magistrates, that they can, in imitati­on of him whose image they bear, bring forth good out of evil, light out of darkness; and like the Sun in the Firmament, produce good Laws out of an equivocal brood of corrupt manners.

These things I thought it convenient by way of diversion to sug­gest, not that the cause stands in need of it, but onely to open your eys, that you might see how this Antichristian mystery of the nega­tive voice began its working betimes, even neer the Apostolick dayes of Reformation.

For to the very letter of the Statute as it stands, I am not without a very satisfactory answer.

For it says not positively, that all Concessions, Elections, &c. shall be Null which want the Prefects consent; but that in all Elections, Concessions, &c. the Prefects consent is necessarily to be required. Now we know that that word is of the same nature with Postulo in Latin, and so implies rather that the Prefects consent is to be required [Page 20]of him de jure, as a right, then begg'd as an act of grace, as if the Societies consent without his Le Roy le veult were of no force.

And this answer in these times wherein all Statutes ought to be in­terpreted in favour of liberty, as they were formerly in favour of Pre­rogative, might alone suffice. But I shall add another of more convincing evidence; Which is this.

That granting the intent of this Statute was to make the Masters consent a necessary ingredient to the composition of each Election or Concession, &c. yet it absolves them not from that obliging power which lies upon them by any of their local Statutes to consent to what is advis'd by the major part of their Societies, but that by refusal of such consent they incur the guilt of perjury and breach of trust or such other penalty as their Founders providence hath allotted for the establishment of that Law; and therefore this obligation to consent remaining still in full force, supposes in the major part the Prefects consent legally involv'd and included.

As to compare the greater with our smaller controversies, the Kings consent was always suppos'd to be legally included in the major vote even of the most petit Tribunal much more of the grand Judicatory of the whole Nation, though never so much personally dissenting: which principle hath been always esteem'd one of the main pillars of our cause upon which alone we might lay the whole stress of not one­ly the justice and lawfulness but even legality of our war. But this man who no doubt hath more then once with our once-Brethren of Scotland voted the King a man of blood, and guilty of all the blood­shed of this war, for endeavouring but to assert this power to him­self (though far more favoured by the the standing Laws of the Kingdom at that time, then with us by our Statute) yet hath not scru­pled to do the same thing himself, both in his particular practice in the Colledge, and by his appearance here with all his interest and wit to maintain this prerogative.

But to return to the point.

This point having been fully clear'd up to you out of our local Statute, that our Master is bound to consent to the vote of the ma­jor part, that expression of the University-Statute will now I hope create no prejudice.

And this answer may likewise satisfie another argument for the negative voice, which may possibly be drawn from our Statute of Elections, which requires Consensum Magistri, & major is part is [Page 21]sociorum, and some others running in the same strain. For the true sence of that Statute de ardius being now fully clear'd, makes it ap­parent, that in the consent of the major part of the Society, the Ma­sters consent always is or ought to be included.

And now having I hope removed all doubts and objections, I shall now desire leave to speak a word to my sixth motive for granting my Petition, viz. the danger lest this root of corruption left among us, should hence spread it self again to infect the whole Nation. This I confess may seem at first sight but a meer flourish of Rhetorick, or far-fetcht strain of melancholy; but I shall make it appear, there's much of reality in the assertion.

'Tis an humour you all know the most of mankind are much inci­dent, to, to labour the promotion and propagation of the forms, opi­nions, and customes of those places where they live, especially where they have been train'd up in their younger years; and therefore it was the policy of the contrivers of our former Government (as know­ing that that Government could never be durable which had not its image stampt upon the peoples affections) to set up the image of that universal Government of the State in every petty combination of men. Hence as a reflected image of the then-present Government by King and Councel, King and Lords, or King and Parliament, was set up that Government of Corporations by Maior and Aldermen, Dean & Chapter, Master and Fellows; and in Corporations, Masters and War­dens of particular Companies; all which were nothing but the general frame of the State-Government contracted as to the matter onely into a narrower compass; and this was that that fixt the love of Monar­chy so fast in the affections of most Corporations, that had it not been that the King had displeased some of the greatest of them by hard im­positions upon them in way of their Trade, and withall let loose his Bishops to exercise their tyranny in trampling upon the faces of their reverenc'd Ministers, they had never been brought off to draw sword against their Prototype; and after they had done it, its observable how prone the great ones among them were often to defection, and how zealous in shewing their distaste at the removall of that great Idol; of all which the King was very sagaciously sensible in the be­ginning of these wars, when in a proposal of his to part with the Mi­litia upon some provisoes, yet would by no means consent to take the Militia's of Corporations out of their own hands: yet were not the Chiefs of those Corporations such perfect images of Monarchy, as [Page 22]ours, either for power, or durance; those were indeed but shadows of it; but ours, in regard of their continuance in trust during the term of their lives, were its living images, wanting nothing but an establish­ment of it in their posterity, which yet they bid fair for too, when in that new Elizabeth-Reformation wherein they did in a positive inhibition of Fellows from Marriage handsomely imply a leave in­dulg'd to themselves.

But it may be some will look at this Argument as a great Mallet lifted up to kill a Fly: Our Corporations you will say are small, and inconsiderable, a meer Synedrion of young Youths, or handfulls of poor contemplative men systeem'd up for Orders sake into the form of a Corporation; what good or ill can redound from these to the whole Nation?

But I shall easily make this appear to be a misprision, and that there will be more and greater danger from neglect to remedy this evil in our smaller bodies, then from the most populous City of the whole Nation.

For our Corporations, though but small in bulk, are like those grains of Mustard-seed our Saviour speaks of, of a vast, comprehen­sive, and multiplying capacity. The members of those great Corpo­rations are men it's true of abler purses, and stronger bodies for the present State-service; but their abilities are confin'd all within the narrow bounds of their own territory; but ours are Seminaries of able wits which are sent to us from all parts of the Nation, in the very nick of their first emersion from the slavery of the Ferula into a state of liberty, at the first putting on of their considering caps, they being as yet abrase tabula, smooth tables, prepar'd to receive of us those tinctures of good or bad principles; with which impressions stampt upon them, they afterwards spread themselves into every corner and quarter, to leaven the whole Nation. No man educated among us, but goes away instructed for some publike trust but is in capacity, to be an Abraham, a Father of many Nations.

Therefore it concerns you very-deeply, who desire not by arms on­ly, but by principles, to root up Regality, and mold the Nation into a true Commonwealth-frame, to pull down (by taking away its de­structive power) this image of it in those Fountains of Youths educa­tion, lest the youth of the Nation coming in their souls choicest preg­nancy to drink of our waters, enamour'd of that idoll, conceive and [Page 23]bring forth its Antitype, as heir male to their strongest affections and endeavors, to be promoted again to its lost inheritance, when time and opportunity shall serve.

And for the same reason does it deeply concern you to take spe­cial care of the Society of Colledges, and not give away Fellowships, being you see places, though of small profit yet of high trust to every begger that comes to you with a formal Certificate, much less to con­fer these high trusts upon Samaritans and meer slavish compliers, but especially to tender their precious liberties as the apple of your eye, to which nothing can be more inconsistent, then a negative voyce plac'd in any one man; for let any of the Society approve himself never so active and industrious in promoting the Colledge good, and with his utmost pains and skill train up his Pupils to the most eminent pro­ficiency in piety and learning, yet if he will not flatter, and fawn, crowch and cringe, and comply with this one great Monarch, even to a betraying of the common Freedome to his corrupt ends of pride or covetousness, he lives an unserviceable man, and all those edu­cated under his charge are put into an impossibility of ever attaining that preferment their deserts shall make them capable of. Though the whole community, or far greater part, judge them worthy of it, one mans non placet shall blast all: and how great a temptation this will be even to some not dis-ingenuous men (being not willing to expose those under their trust to contempt and beggery) to worship the Image of that great beast, I leave to your wisdoms to judge; as likewise, whether such an impression of slavery fixt upon the spirits of Fellows of Colledges be not like to impress its counterfeit upon those educated under their trust, and by their means upon the greatest part of the Nation.

Another motive giue me leave to present you with, which though omitted in my Petition is of great consequence, being drawn from the principles of universal reason, which will say that every parti­cular mans interest of the Society being every way equal to that of the Master, nay in some respects far greater, (for the Master is but one single person; but every Fellow having pupils under his charge, is a kind of Corporation by himself) 'tis a thing contrary to common sense that his one voyce should be laid in the balance to oversway the ma­jor part of the Society.

There was once a custome in some Corporations (of which our selves have yet in our Colledge some shadows left) that not the War­den [Page 24]or Master onely but every single man of the Society had a nega­tive voyce, which upon this very ground, as contrary to the common Law of the Land, i.e. to common Reason, was taken away by an Act of Parliament, 33. H. 8. onely I conceive in tenderness to the Pre­rogatives of Monarchy, much favour'd throughout the whole body of our Laws, the Statute was so pen'd, that the Maior, Master or Warden had his Negative left him; but now we have no Monarchy, whose priviledges we ought to be tender of, and there's every way the same reason, nay far more, for devesting the single Warden of his Ne­gative, then for taking it away from so many members conjunctive, as may amount to neer the half of the Society.

One word more I desire to add as an inforcement of my Petition, that of all Masters of Colledges in the Town, there's least reason the Master of our Colledge should claim to himself this grand Preroga­tive of a Negative voyce; for the whole burden of the Colledge-go­vernment hath for all these seven years layed wholly upon the shoul­ders of the President and Fellows.

The Master hath held his place now for about seven years, yet he hath never once that I know of resided among us for six weeks, nay not one moneth, seldome above a fortnight together at one time; hath seldome or never visited us, but either when he was necessitated to it, either to supply his course in the University-Church, or to audit our Accounts, and receive his money: All his short visits put together for this whole seven years, will not mount to one years continu­ance.

For which prodigious absence of his from his charge, all he can say is onely his being Benefic'd in London, or an Assembly-man, or that he hath been employed in Colledge-affairs.

Now for Colledge-affairs, in those we have, it's true, made some small use of his being at London, but never impow'red him to reside at London for that purpose; nor was there need; for nothing was ever done by him, which a common Solliciter for a small fee would not have performed as well, or better, especially being sufficiently furnisht with his instructions or Letters to Councel at Law, or such great men as were to have addresses made to them in cases of need.

And for his Benefice and Assembly-man-ship, there's no reason ei­ther of them should be a protection to save him from an Arrest for that debt of Residence he owes the Colledge, from whence he has had so considerable subsistence; for one of them being a place (by com­mon [Page 25]fame) of one, if not two hundred pounds a year, the other of four shillings a day, it seems not very reasonable, that one so against Pluralities, should enjoy the revenue of all three places, and bear the burden but of two. For he hath all this time of his discontinuance laid in a manner the whole burden of his Colledge-Office upon the Presidents back, not allowing him for his pains so much as one peny.

Besides, it may be answered that all the other Masters of Colledges, who yet were many of them Assembly-men as well as he, have been far more constant continuers at their respective charges, and have some of them as I think relinquish't considerable Benefices they were possest of otherwhere, that they might the more solely attend their charges at Cambridge: And I'm sure ours hath not wanted all the encouragement we could give him to enable him to it, having out of our common poverty conniv'd ever since our coming to the Colledge at his taking a double portion of our Dividend though neither allow­ed him by our Statute nor any constant President beyond the second year of Doctor Cosens his time.

Now that this man who is apparently of no use to the Colledge, whose servant he should be by the constitution, but resides at London afar off, making use of the Colledge onely as a prey, and his title onely as a hook to draw power and profit to himself, knowing little but by hearsay of the sufficiency or insufficiency, good or ill behavi­our of each member of the Colledge should be thought fit to have a power superior to the Society, who to their great charge reside up­on the place, and bear the whole burden, 'tis a thing beyond the comprehension of a vulgar understanding.

I have now done with all my motives.

As to the Prayer of the Petition: having so amply express'd my mind in it. I need not add much by way of Exposition or Apology.

Onely this: 'Tis not, as some may perhaps suggest, a fancie or new Model of my own brain, but 'tis a Model approv'd of in a parallel case by the reason of the whole Nations Representative. It concerns every mem­ber of this honourable Assembly more then my self to make it good; for 'tis nothing else from point to point, but a Series of such particu­lars as the wisdom of the whole Parliament judg'd necessary for the circumstantiating that freedom which the City of London were de­barr'd of thorough the like want of provision in their Law: change bu [...] the name of London for Peter-house, ten of their numerous [Page 26]Common-Councel for two of our seaven Seniors, and their [at any time] for our within 48 hours, and this draught will prove wholly the same with that Act of Parliament.

Nor could less have been well desired for taking away that hurtful Prerogative I dispute against, which is not the bare name of a nega­tive voice, but the substance, viz. that supremacy of power, which our chief Officer claims above the whole or major part of the Commu­nity, which is of a Complex nature, and consists of these three pow­ers, viz.

  • Of calling of meetings.
  • 2. Of proposing of questions.
  • 3. Of acting the results of those meetings.

Any one of which three powers remaining in the chief Officer, makes him as absolute as if in­vested with all three; and therefore the Parliament saw well in the Ci­ty of Londons case, that for the removal of that great evil, an esta­blishment of all these particulars was of absolute necessity.

For to return to our former parallel, grant but to our once-chief Officer of State the sole power of calling Parliaments, and binding them up to those questions onely which he shall think fit to propose, hee'l not much desire or stand in need of a negative voice, seeing he is able by either of those two former powers, to crush in the egg any motion which he suspects may in the least infringe his prerogative, or other corruptions.

So in our lesser Commonwealth, though you should grant or de­clare in general terms that the Master shall have no negative voice, and leave him but this power (for want of provision to the contrary) that by delay of meetings when most necessary, or by making him­self judge of that necessity, or in those meetings by refusing such questions as he likes not, he can keep us from ever coming to a voicing, or if after voicing he may refuse or delay to act our determi­nations, and yet neither he liable to a sufficient penalty for any of those refusals, nor we through the defect in our Statute inabled to meet, debate, or act any thing without him, he is an absolute Monarch, and has a most firm possession of a negative in reality, however de­nyed him in words. And for this reason it was that I have been so bold in the prayer of my petitions to be so punctually particular.

Now if any man object that these things granted would be a cause of much tumult, and factious disorders in our Colledge: I answer; The experience of the same in the City of London shows the quite contrary, where 'tis apparent nothing but the sweetest streams of unity, freedom and peace have issued out of this fountain: [Page 27]For it lies onely as a dormant proviso, like the major excommunica­tio of the Presbytery, in terrorem, never like to be put into Act, ex­cept in cases of unheard-of obstinancie. Whereas on the contrary the want of this provision has been the original of all our divisions: nothing being the more natural fountain of contention amongst men or bodies politick, then the want of certain bounds assign'd to each man or bodies proprietie; which made the wise Law-giver Moses to denounce such a fearful curse upon the remover of Land-marks, and religious Numa to place Terminus the God of boundaries among his principal deities, and to erect him him a Temple, as I remember, next adjoyning to that of Concord.

As for the last clause, which concerns Masters and Presidents ab­sence, 'tis not onely almost the same with that in the Act for London, but was moreover a proviso fitted more especially to the present con­stitution of our Colledge, which hath oft: stood in great need of it, as I could instance in cases of Considerable consequence.

And besides that the making of some such provision is a thing most agreeable to our founders will, who says expresly that the Col­ledge should not defensore, & rectore carere, the thing I aym'd at in this proposal was the Presidents ease and the Colledges conve­nience: for as I told you before, the Master being almost a constant non-resident, and having power by Statute to make President whom he pleases (which president is charg'd with the whole burden of his office) it will oft happen that this President must either necessarily infer much prejudice in some affairs of his own requiring his presence otherwhere, or the Colledge suffer much detriment for want of power to act as a living body in cases of emergent need. For that our Colledge-debates should be packeted up to London to a man sitting there in his regalia, and looking at us afar oft, or that the life of our assemblies should be derived from the spirit sent from London in a cloth-bag, is a thing disagreeable to common equity, and a flat contradiction to our Founders declared will.

All I have to say further, is, that in this draught of my Petition, however displeasing to our Reverend Master, I have had no ayms at his prejudice further then was of absolute necessity to state our free­doms and vindicate them from his unjust usurpations. If I have here­in prejudic'd any, 'tis rather the Society, by allowing the Master so much as an affirmative voice, which some of us are of opinion that by our Statutes, if well understood, he cannot lay claim to. But be­ing desirous in this matter to walk in an indifferent way, giving each [Page 2]their reasonable due, and to follow close not mine own, but rather the publike wisdom of the Parliament for my pattern; I doubt not of finding from them an easie pardon of my error.

I have now done with the Petition.

There was one motive for its enforcement refer'd to the last place, which was by shewing how the Master of our Colledge for want of these provisions here petition'd for, had debar'd us of our manifest rights of treating in a Colledge-way about some affairs neerly con­cerning the common good, and of having our Resolves put into due execution: And how both particular members, and the whole Col­ledge had suffer'd much prejudice by those his usurpations, which be­cause I thought, he might possibly deny, 'twas for this cause chiefly, that I troubled these Gentlemen of our Society to make their appear­ance before you. These being they, who (except our President, and one of our Deans left at home for the necessary affairs of our Colledge) make up the whole number of those now resident, who having been present at all our former and later transactions, are best able to bear witness to those particulars I shall instance in.

Yet because I have I think already both overwearied your pati­ence, and laid before you reasons enough of far greater consequence for the enforcement of my Petition, my desire is that there may ra­ther be a perpetual Amnesty of all our forepast grievances, and that our liberties may be so setled for the future, as each part knowing their due bounds, a true Christian amity may be preserv'd among us, and this honourable Committee freed from further trouble. And therefore except this honourable Assembly, or our reverend Master for the Vindication of his own repute, shall impose that task upon me, I shall wave this Argument, and leave it to your wisdom to judge what has been already spoken.

Onely to his Argument for the negative voice in such particular cases wherein he is appointed to consult with the Deans onely, I can onely say, that 'twas not the prime Statute, but an interpretati­on of Statute made many years after by a single Bishop of Ely, which endowed the Master with this Prerogative. And it being besides against the principles of Common freedom that an Officer constituted for term of life should have this vast pre-eminence of two of the greatest Colledge-Officers annually Elected to their trusts I shall in this following Petition which I here present you with as an appen­dix to my former, crave the assistance of your authority for the solu­tion of this knot.

To the Honourable the Committee for the Reformation of the UNIVERSITIES. The humble Petition of Charles Hotham Fellow of Peter-House,


THat whereas by our Colledge-Statutes there are about twen­ty particular cases in which the judgement belongs not to the whole Society, but either to the Master and 5 or 6. Seniors, or to the Master and Deans alone, and that in all cases wherein the Master and Deans are solely trusted, being many of them cases of great concernment, the Master had by an interpretation made by a Bishop, of Ely betwixt one and two hundred years after the foundation, a Negative voice confer'd upon him, which however agreeable to the policy of those times, is contrary to the principles and grounds of our present Reformation, and establishment of this Nation in form of a Commonwealth, and much prejudicial to the good and welfare of the whole Colledge

Your Petitioner doth further pray that the Negative voice of one man in all our Assemblies may be taken away root and branch, and that in all Elections and consultations whatsoe­ver of the Master with the Fellows, Seniors, Deans, Rur­sars, or any other, the determination of the major part of those who have voices in that Election or consultation, may be acquiesced in, as the Act of that Assembly.

And your Petitioner, with the whole Colledge, shall ever pray, &c.

This last clause and Petition concerning the Master and Deans were, though here inserted, yet forgotten to be delivered to the Committee.

My Argument ended, the Master made a long reply, the punctual repetition of which I must leave to his own memory and pen. It touch'd nothing upon any material point of my Argument, But was rather a descant upon my Petition, with some recriminations consisting to my best remembrance of these heads.

That he had assum'd no power that was not his own by Statute: as was the calling of meetings, &c.

That he had never shown any aversness from meetings, nor ever dissolv'd any, but when the time itself dissolved them.

That 'its true he had propounded questions according to his own sence, but offer'd to others the same liberty of propounding questions in theirs.

That we must distinguish between the Major part of the whole Society, and the Major part of those present, which sometimes being but few in number, were not fit to make Acts obligatory to the whole Colledge.

That the Fellows were the onely men averse from Meetings, whom he could not easily get together, but when there was some Lease to be let, &c.

That the party Complainant was himself, though Deane, absent from the last anniversary meeting appointed for reading the Statutes.

That in the clause inserted in his Petition concerning the Senior Fellow's being President, he aym'd at his own promotion, being the next Senior him­self, and so desirous of this power that in his or the Presidents absence he might assemble the Fellows about the making of new Models of Government.

This was to my best memory the sum of his reply. To which it might easily have been answered.

That this suggestion of my seeking the Presidentship for my self, was a most groundless scandal, It never having hapned all this seaven years above twice that I know of, that my self was the Senior Fellow resident, which lasted but for a few days neither.

Besides, the Office being a vast burthen, and nothing in it desirable to such eye of ambition or covetousness as he (measuring others by himself) suppos'd in me, nor my self in any probability of intermed­ling with that Office, being (contrary to his allegation) neither the first nor second Senior of the Colledge, both which, with the Ma­ster, must be all three absent, before I could be in capacity to act, and that for some longer time then ever yet had been, else no danger of attempting, much less of perfecting any new Model, especially there being but two times a year, wherein the Colledge is enabled to make new, or interpret old Statutes.

For my absence. That 'twas not about any private pleasure or bu­siness of mine own, but was solely to seek a removal, and hinder the further progress of those evils brought upon the Colledge by his fraud and breach of trust, and those large opportunities he has had of acting those treacheries by his own constant residence at London, and his Proctor with the reverend Beard standing always at the Commit­tees elbows, and being admitted (when all others are with drawn) to their private debates, and to speak in some cases when those most concern'd cannot come in to answer, in which though by reason of those vast disadvantages I have been unsuccessful, yet I esteem'd both my expence of time and pains, and the double my Colledge-revenue well imployed in the endeavour.

That his distinction of the major part of the whole Society, and those present, was a piece of empty Sophistry, himself well knowing, there was never yet since our first coming to the Colledge (which is now almost seven years) a full meeting of the whole number of Ma­ster and Fellows together, nor can there well be, by reason of sickness, business, or travel allow'd of by Statute, perpetually occasioning some two or three mens absence; so that if he may be allowed this salvo for his Negative, he will never want one who shall be absent for his sake.

Besides, he always esteem'd the major part of those present, though not the whole, valid Society enough to bind the Colledge where him­self was present and consenting; an evident sign, 'tis his own onely con­sent, not the number of those absent or present he chiefly values.

That his accusation of the Fellows as slack in coming to meetings, except in cases of Leases, &c. was a groundless scandal, of which fault himself was onely guilty, having at those great semestrian meet­ings appointed for reading, and considering Statutes, been but twice, or at most, thrice present, during all the time of his Mastership, and parti­cularly in the last great meeting, to which he summon'd all the Fellows, he staid not the reading out of one third part of the Statutes; nor in­deed could ever be got from London to any Colledge-meeting, but when his quarterly course in preaching, or auditing the Accounts (be­ing alwayes suspicious of the denial of his double Dividend at those times) enforc'd his presence.

That he hath been sometimes, when there was great cause of mee­ting, neer a fourtnight together, not calling any meeting till just a day or two at most before his departure, whereby himself was eas'd, and the President wholly charg'd with the cares of such businesses as should have been then dispatcht by himself.

That in meeting it has been observably his custome when he had a mind to dispatch a business indeed, to sit him down, and call us for­mally to the table, and to cut out his work for the debate with all dexterity and expedition.

But when a business was to come on which he lik'd not, then to let us alone by the fire, or to leave his Chair, and us, to dispute at ran­dom, otherwhile to spin out the time with us in discourses of lesser af­faires; or if prest to come home to the main business, then to fall a shuffling, and cutting, and winding us from the point by some non­significant, or dividing questions, of which Artifices he hath oft shown himself a well-skill'd Architect.

And for propounding of questions, his duty is, after the laying open before us the businesses he hath to acquaint us with, not to lean upon his own prudence in proposing to us like School-boyes such questions as himself only shall think fit, but to be in that main point of the scrutiny rul'd by the advice of the whole or major part of the Society.

And therefore what be acknowledges, viz. that he did take upon him in the first place to propound questions of his own sence, was a great usurpation; but that he gave others the like liberty, is an Apo­logie nothing to the purpose; for our Statute appropriating it to the Masters Office, to ask the Fellows advice, if any other do it but he, it renders the whole vote of the Society a meer nullity: Now it's true, the Master once at a meeting, when one excepted against some litigi­ous questions of his propounding against the sence of the Society, pro­mised he would afterwards propound those questions he had nam'd, in terminis, but when it came to the point, told the party, he might now propound those questions himself, if he pleased, (which he knew well had been been a thing illegal and void) but refus'd utterly in pur­suance of his promise and duty to propound them himself.

These things I know will to a superficial view seem but inconside­rable brangles; but to men of piercing judgements, and well vers'd in Parliamentary debates, that see daily what a King the Speaker would be, if solely intrusted with this Prerogative above the Parlia­ment; and how great a weight of business is oft turn'd upon the binge of one small punctillo, in the stating of a question; these things cannot but appear of high concernment.

Yet I had very many materials of a much higher nature to charge him with, which being provok'd by his challenge, I was then as I told the Committee, ready to produce, having for witnesses most of the senior Fellows then present before them to make them good. But as I was just entring upon that task, a worthy member of the Com­mittee propounded it as a question to be first debated by themselves, whether they should single out the point of Statute to be determined, as they should see just upon weighing the Arguments of both parties laid before them in theory, or take in with it the consideration of the practick, consisting of personal charge. Another Gentleman second­ing him, propounded likewise as fit to be considered, whether they would admit of recriminations, which are like to be endless (each party still deeming himself oblig'd to reply and answer at large to [Page 33]each others, though non-pertinent objections) or rather as the first Gentleman propounded, would fall singly upon the point of Theory. This motion the whole Assembly seem'd to assent to; so according to the custome of the Committee we were commanded to withdraw, and the doors shut. The product of the private debate was this.


That a view be taken of the several Statutes of the Universities, and the Colledges and Halls therein respectively, to the end that they may be redu­ced to such a State as may render them most conducing to the advance­ment of true piety, and the interest of a Commonwealth.


That Mr. Rous, Mr. Martin, Mr. Moyle, Sir Hen. Mildmay, Mr. Oldsworth, Mr: Thomas Chaloner, Mr. James Chaloner, Mr. Palmer, Mr. R. Darley, Mr. Love, Mr. Nevill, be a Sub-Committee for this purpose, and that any three or more of them do meet and consider thereof, and make Report to this Com­mittee from time to time concerning the same, as there shall be cause: and the care of this business is especially referred to Mr. Oldsworth.

In pursuance of which resolve, some of those Gentlemen Members of this Sub-Committee have since met, and past this following Order.

THe Parliament having resolved a thorow Reformation of the Universities, and the Committee appointed for that purpose in Order thereunto ha­ving taken the same into consideration, do hereby desire and require the re­spective Heads of Colledges, and those Fellows that are interested in the Government thereof for the time being, to send up to this Committee true transcripts of the Statutes of the said Colledges, examined and attested un­der their hands respectively; and they do specially recommend it to the care of the said Heads, Governours, and Officers, to consider what Statutes or any parties thereof are prejudicial to Religion, Learning, good Manners, or the present Government; and further, whether there be any defects in the same, and to propose their opinions concerning the supplying of the said defects; and that they give an account of the receipt hereof forthwith, and of their further proceedings concerning the same with all convenient speed.

  • James Chaloner,
  • F. Rous,
  • M. Oldsworth.

The private business upon which at Doctor Seaman's Motion the grand Petition was at first laid aside, though indeed it no­thing concerned it, yet is a story worth the reading, and therefore take it as follows.

WE had a Fellowship in our Colledge kept vacant for many years, as the Master pretended for the Colledge necessities, but as the Fellows well know, for the defrayment of his double Dividend; this Fellowship one Sr. Conyers Scholar of our Colledge observing the Committee had before in a parallel case, taken the disposal of such dormant vacancies into their own hands, petition'd to have confer'd upon upon him; whereupon the Com­mittee ordered the Master and Seniors, or any two of them, to certifie the true state of the case; which Order being read at a publike meeting, the Master was very urgent with the Society to certifie it as kept void for the Colledge-necessities; which the Fellows as not agreeable to truth, generally refused to do: so the Master (and one of the Society concurring with him so far) made onely this general return, that it had ever since our coming to the Colledge been kept vacant, but for just reasons. But the Master alone makes another return, specifying some particular reasons, as namely a debt of above one hundred pounds owing to him by the Colledge. Upon which Al­legations he made a large descant before the Committee; which ended,

I put in some exceptions in writing, detecting somewhat of his fraudulent dealing with the Colledge, and further added some inlargements as I remem­ber to this effect.

1. That the Fellowship had not been kept vacant by any publike vote, nor for those reasons he produc'd.

2. As to the debt, that once in a meeting, knowing our stock behind-hand, and we in an incapacity of disbursing money, he press'd hard upon us for this debt, and took the advantage to say, that if we did not presently pay, or clear him of it, he would be at liberty, if he pleas'd, to dispose of the Lands as himself should think good. And being answered, that the pre­sent Revenue of the Land would neer amount to the payment of moderate Interest for his money, and that for his security he should have the Colledge-Seal, upon which one of the Society had formerly lent the Colledge a hun­dred pounds; he slighted all, and nothing would content him, but either the money presently, or some of our particular Bonds, or the Land to be at his own dispose. So we being in this strait, my self, to give some breathing-time to the business, presently offered upon that very security, viz. the Col­ledge-Seal, which the Master had so unbecomingly slighted, to lend the Col­ledge fifty pounds for some moneths, till we might think of some better way; and another, (I think 'twas Mr. Quarles) seconding me, offered the loan of forty pounds; which ninety pounds, together with another income then men­tioned, would make up the whole debt. But the Master seeing his pretence of seising the Land to himself thus defeated, neither accepted our offer, nor spoke more of the business at that time.

And further, that this debt he now mentions as a plea for keeping void this Fellowship, was a meer pretence made use of for by-ends, might hence appear. That he had formerly in a Colledg-meeting twitted us again with this debt as a plea for keeping void another Fellowship against our common Consent, yet gave way to his own man to defeat the Colledg of that Fellowship, not once appearing (though acquainted with his mans intentions) by Petition or other­wise in behalf of the Colledg right, which to have done was both the duty of his place, and his solemn promise before the Society, as many can See two Let­ters annex'd to the later end of this Book. witness.

3ly. That the Bishop of Ely himself, in whose power the Com­mittee was to act as to this case, could not by our statute give way to the keeping vacant any Fellowship without the desire and Coun­sell of the Master and major part of the Fellowes; but here there appeared no desire of so much as one of the Fellowes to have it kept longer vacant. But the Master did it alone of his own head, contrary to the sense of the major part of the Society, and contra­ry to our expresse statute, which sayes the Master should not hea­dily rely upon his own wisdome, but stand to the discretion of the major part.

To these things the Master having replied what he thought fit, we were commanded to withdraw, and the Committee being, it seems, sensible that the Fellowship being void by death was not theirs, but the Colledges right to dispose of, made this following Order.

Upon Reading the Petition of Mr. Tobias Conyers Bachelor of Arts and Scholer of Peter house in the University of Cambridge, toge­ther with the testimonials of him hereunto annex'd, and likewise the return of the Master, and one of the Fellows of the said Colledg, concerning the vacancy of Mr. Hanscombs Fellowship, and upon hearing Doctor Seaman and Mr. Hotham before the Committee; It is Ordered upon debate of the matter, that the Master, or President and Fellowes of the said Colledg, do forthwith proceed to election of a godly and learned Person into the place of the said Mr. Hans­comb, and that they give an accompt thereof to this Committee on this day fortnight.

James Chaloner.

The Colledg having received this Order, proceeded according to their usuall form within eight daies, unto an election. The result of which was the election of Sr. Conyers into the said vacancy; to which election the President, and all the Fellowes were consenting excepting only three juniors brought in lately by the Masters interest at London, and who indeed according to our Colledg statutes being in their state of minority, and not out of their year of probation, should have had no voices in the election; yet these three not agree­ing, neither, in any one man for a competitor.

The reasons moving the Society to the election of Sr Conyers, were these.

First he was one in a speciall manner design'd out to us for that preferment by our Colledg statute both in regard of poverty, a thing generally favoured in al statutes, and likewise in regard of his Coun­try, our statute allowing two Fellowships for each County, and but one of them supplied with men of his qualification, and this Fellow­ship belonging to the Northern division, which we were bound in the first place to see supplied.

2ly. Our statute commands us to chuse the ablest man we know of or can find out. Now Sr. Conyers was known to be one of the greatest eminency for learning and parts in our whole Colledg, in­somuch, that though we had a generall order made some years ago for examination of such as should stand for Fellowships, yet was it u­nanimously agreed even by those that dissented from the election, that they were all so well satisfied of his learning and sufficiency, as that the former order for examination might well be suspended for that time, except some man should declare to the President his intent to stand as a Competitor against him, in which case there should be an examination; but no man adventured upon the triall.

3ly. He was well known to us for the generall course of his life to be one of a pious and vertuous conversation; Excepting onely that once growing a little elated by a sudden promotion, and falling ac­quainted with a malignant, he began to be a little seduced, in which time, (which was about two years ago,) 'twas his ill hap to be in the company of some Rakells of another Colledg, who drank the Kings health, and he with them: But for this fault with some con­curring circumstances, he did then receive most severe punishment every way answerable, if not greater then the offence. And for [Page 37]the malignant distemper, that held him not above two months; he was by his tutors and fathers Counsells soon reclaimed from it: and as his life had been before this one unhappy misdemeanor, so was it all the time of his abode in the Colledg after, which was for above a year, exemplarily pious and vertuous. And he had both to his Tutor, and to some honest Scholers of his acquaintance given that full evidence of his change of mind both in reference to piety, and good affection to the State (which he had likewise evidenced by that or­dinary way of taking the Engagement) that there could not be now left any scruple in any rational man's brest concerning either his pie­ty or good affection to the Common wealth. Besides all this, he had a most ample testimony both of his piety and good affection to the State, such as is not ordinarily given to any man, from some god­ly and well affected Gentlemen and Ministers in Norfolke, where he had lived the last year of his discontinuance from the Col­ledge.

Some buzzings there were of some Heterodoxe opinions which he was said to hold, but neither did the Master, nor any one of the Society, even of those that dessented from the election, lay any thing publickly to his charge, and the utmost that any of us could heare, so much as by rumour, was only of some innocuous, though unwary expressions uttered once at a hudling dispute in the Schools, and at an after-supper discourse at one of the Sophisters feasts; at which times all men know how ordinary it is, and how inof­fensive to maintain by way of dispute the greatest Paradoxes.

4ly. The order for election being made upon his petition, and sent down to us, with our owne and the Norfolk testimoniall annex'd, wee look'd at him as one recommended to us by the Committee, as the godly and learned person intended (though in tenderness to the liberty of our election, not nominated) by their order. This election thus made, upon those solid reasons, with a full accompt of all our proceedings in it, we did according to order make a return of to the Committee, not for confirmation, for the election (which, being every way full and legall, needed it not) but onely to show, that in obedience to their order, the Fellowship was forthwith sup­plied by election.

The form of our returne to the Committee containing the whole proceedings of our election, was as followes: To the honourable Committee for Reformation of the Ʋniversities.

VVHereas there hath been sent to the Colledge an order from this honourable Commitee dated March 27. 1651. re­quiring the Master or President and Fellowes of Peterhouse in Cam­bridge forthwith to proceed to election of a godly and learned per­son into the place of Mr. Hanscomb, and to give this honourable Committee an account thereof on this day, these are humbly to cer­tifie, that in obedience to the said order, Tobias Conyers Bachelor of Arts, & Scholar of the house of our Colledge, being one generally wel approved of amongst us for his piety, learning and good affection to the Common-wealth, was in a full meeting of the President and Fellowes elected and admitted into the said Fellowship, according to the statute and custome of our Colledge, April 5. 1651. as by these following copies of the order, and our proceedings thereupon will more fully appear.

UPon reading the Petition of Mr Tobias Conyers Bachelor of Arts and Scholar of Peterhouse in the University of Cambridg, together with the Testimonialls of him hereunto annex'd, and like­wise the return of the Master, and one of the Fellows of the said Colledge, concerning the vacancy of Mr. Hanscombs Fellowship, and upon hearing Doctor Seaman and Mr. Hotham before this Commit­tee, It is ordered upon debate of the matter, that the Master or President and Fellowes of the said Colledge do forthwith proceed to election of a godly and learned person into the place of the said Mr. Hanscomb, and that they give an account hereof to this Commit­tee on this day fortnight.

James Chaloner.

Agreed by the President and Fellowes then present, that in obedi­ence to the order from the Committee for Reformation of the Uni­versities [Page 39]dated March 27. 1651, this day be the first day of moni­tion according to the statute about election.

According to which agreement the first moni­tion for an election was publish'd the day and year above written by me Robert Quarles President.
  • Robert Quarles President.
  • James Clarke Dec. sen. dep.
  • Edward Sam's Dec. jun.

Agreed by the President and Fellowes then present, unanimously, that forasmuch as they are all well satisfied concerning the learning and sufficiency of Sir Conyers, there is no need of publick examina­tion of him in reference to the election, and that therefore it be at this time omitted; yet with this proviso, that if notice be given to the President of any that will stand in competition with him, there shall be a publick examination of all the candidates upon Friday and Saturday, according to a former order of the Socety, dated July 15. 1646. that so the most worthy persons may be elected.

  • Robert Quarles President.
  • James Clarke Dec. sen.
  • Charles Mildmay Dec. jun.

The second monition in reference to an election into the place of Mr. Hanscomb, was publish'd in full meeting according to the statute and custome of our Coledge by me

Robert Quarles President. Presentibus Sociis
  • John Francius.
  • Charles Hotham
  • James Clarke
  • Francis Brock
  • Edward Sam's
  • Charles Mildmay
  • James Goodall
  • Thomas Church
  • Ralph Heywood
  • William Sam's.

The election presently followed according to the schedule hereun­to annexed pagina sequenti.

This is a true extract out of the Colledg Diary, which with the fol­lowing Schedule is a full account of our whole proceedings concer­ning the aforesaid election. Ita testamur

  • Ro. Quarles Pres.
  • Ja. Clarke sen. Dec.
  • Ch. Mildmay Dec. jun.

EGo Johannes Francius eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem, in Artibus Baccalaureum, in locum Magistri Hanscomb supradi­ctum; sed in annum probationis tantùm.

Ego Carolus Hotham eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Ar­tibus Baccalaureum, in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probationis tantùm.

Ego Jacobus Clarke eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Arti­bus Baccalaureum, in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probationis tantùm.

Ego Franciscus Brock eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Ar­tibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probatio­nis tantùm.

Ego Edwardus Sam's eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Ar­tibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probatio­nis tantùm.

Ego Carolus Mildmay eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Artibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum proba­tionis tantùm.

Ego Jacobus Goodall eligo Johannem Quarles Norfolciensem in Artibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probati­onis tantùm.

Ego Thomas Church eligo Gulielmum Stavely Leicestriensem in Artibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probati­onis tantùm.

Ego Radulphus Heywood eligo Gulielmum Stavely Leicestrien­sem in Artibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probationis tantùm.

Ego Gulielmus Sam's eligo Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Ar­tibus Baccalaureum in locum supradictum; id (que) in annum probationis tantùm.

Ego Robertus Quarles Praeses hujus Collegii, eligo, & electum à majori parte Sociorum pronuncio Tobiam Conyers Eboracensem in Artibus Baccalaureum in locum Matthaei Hanscomb supradictum, in annum probationis tantùm.

Formula admissionis eodem die post lectionem statutorum & juramenti praestationem.

Authoritate mihi commissâ, Ego Robertus Quarles Praeses hujus Collegii, Admitto te Tobiam Conyers in Socium hujus Collegii, ex antiqua fundatione, ad annum probationis & convictum.

Robert Quarles Praeses Collegii.

Vera Copia, & concordat cum Originali.

Ita testamur,
  • Robertus Quarles Praeses.
  • Ja. Clarke sen. Dec.
  • Cha. Mildmay Dec. jun.

But the Master, who would neither according to his duty come down to be present at the Election, nor so far own the Colledg, whose Rights he is by the fundamentall Statute to be a Patron of, as to acquaint us with any exceptions he had against the person in view: (onely as we hear, he sent some private Letters to the Presi­dent (without any communication to the Society, that Sir Conyers might not be elected; together with some other private instructions to a creature or two of his own) like an enemy, rather then Master of the Colledg, comes to accuse the person elected, bringing with him one of his own creatures, who being present at the Election, would not before the Society produce any exception against Sir Co­nyers, but it seems, according to the Masters instructions, reserved them to be produc'd as a scandall to the Colledg (who were the E­lectors) before the Committee.

The Masters exceptions were much to the same effect with those before mentioned.

First, that he had been a malignant, and had drunk the Kings health upon his knees, and for these misdemeanors had been pub­lickly corrected, and was sent away into the Country by his Tutor as incorrigible.

2. That he had been guilty of heresie and blasphemy, and upon that Accompt was refused at St. Johns Colledg, where he once stood for a Fellowship.

In answer to which, I being his Tutor, made before the Committee this summary relation of his life.

That he being recomended to me by his father, a godly Minister in York-shire, and one who had suffered much for the Parliament, I [Page 42]took him at his first admission into the Colledge about the age of sixteen years to be my poor scholer, in which service he demeaning himself with all faithfulness and diligence, and shewing himselfe in the quicke apprehension of what ever was laid before him, one of extraordinary parts and industry, that his further proficiency might not be hindred by those necessary diversions of service, I desired to promote him to the degree of a Pensioner; in which way he being not able to maintain himself without some concurrent helps, I was a suter to the Master to con­fer upon him the Chappel Clerks place then vacant. The Master, as I was told by a third person, who made the motion to him, was wil­ling to it, if I would have truck'd with him; i. e. if I would have re­ceived one of his recommendation to be my poor Scholer in his place; but I being otherwise engaged, could not do it, and so could not obtain the Masters consent; yet was dismiss'd with this intimation of hopes, That there would be ere long more vacancies of these pla­ces, which fell out accordingly; but he whom I had spoke for was never the neerer; for still one or other was promoted before him. Which observing, I took my opportunity, upon a vacancy that hap­ned, to represent the case to the President & Deans, who convinc'd of the poor lads deservings, elected him without the Masters concur­rence. This the Master resented so deeply, as at his return he did (as I have been certainly informed) call the President (a man of more standing and worth then himselfe) by such a foul name, as I am ashamed to mention. And in passion would, had not I with­stood him, under pretence of translation, have thrust this poor youth out of his place of eight or nine pounds a year, into a poor place of three or four pounds a year; and has ever since that time born him an implacable malice.

The poor youth being something elated with this sudden promo­tion, began a little to lay himself open to temptation, and as was before related, through the seducement of a malignant, whom he fell acquainted with, was somthing infected, and by chance a Rakell of Pembroke-Hall coming into our Butteries, and beginning the Kings health, 'twas his unhappiness (as of some other simple lads there present, who were no malignants) to pledg it, yet not upon his knees, as was alledged: hearing of this, I sent for him, and finding the original of this distemper to proceed from a chamber-fellow with whom without my privity he had associated himself, I comman­ded [Page 43]him back to his former chamber, but he refusing, that the ex­ample of his misdemeanor and disobedience might not further infect the Colledg by his impunity, I corrected him publickly before two or three of the scholers in my chamber; and because I conceived a fathers admonitions might be most powerfull with him, I sent him down to the Country with letters to his father, informing him how the case stood, that if a reall reformation should appear in him, he should be welcome to me again; if not, that he must dispose of him some other where, for I would own none such as he was in that pre­sent condition: so after some reasonable stay in the Country, his father returned him up to me again, as a reformed man, of which he gave good evidence by a whole years pious & religious conversation. And besides, better to satisfie my self, I enquired concerning him of some honest and religious lads, whom I durst trust, who professed to me, that he had divers times in their hearing testified his great sorrow for his former miscarriages; and that to them he then appeared, as much as could be, of a truly pious disposition. Hereupon the youth having taken his degree of Bachelor of Arts, I began to look out for some preferment for him, and knowing the Masters malice to him was such as 'twas impossible without higher contests then I was willing to engage in, to prefer him in our own Colledg, and hearing of a way open in St. Johns Colledg, I made a sute to some of that Colledg in his behalf, acquainting them fully with the worst of this which the Master now objects, and received from them good en­couragement.

But the day before their sitting I received a note from one of the Fellowes there, of a report they had heard of some Arminian tenent which he had maintained in the Schools, whereupon I sent for Sr. Conyers, and charg'd him with it; chid him for that he had, con­trary to my counsells, troubled his head in his unriper years with the study of the contentious part of Divinity, yet withall charg'd him with all severity that whatsoever opinion though never so heterodox, he was possessed of in his judgment, he should not deny it for any wordly preferment; but if those things which he was said to have dis­puted for in the schools were not his judgment, he should then expose himself to examination to clear himself of those aspersions: his answer to me was, that he had not maintain'd any thing that way as his judg­ment, and that he doubted not of giving satisfaction in any reasona­ble way that could be expected: Whereupon I writ to St. Johns [Page 44]Colledg, that I wondred any thing uttered by way of dispute in those tumultuary velitations, should be esteemed an argument of a mans judgement, and that Sir Conyers was ready to give satisfaction to ought could be alledged against him: But I was answered, that the time of election being now come, the suspicion that was con­ceived of him could not be removed in such an instant, and that therefore it was better to forbear sitting, which counsel of his was accordingly followed.

So the poor young man destitute of maintinance, was not able to continue longer in the Colledg, but retired to a poor employment into Norfolke, where he has liv'd neer the space of a whole yeare; during which time, what his behaviour hath been, and what opinion the religious and well affected of that place have of him, this testi­mony of men well known to some members of this Committee, which I desire may be rehearsed before you, will make it appear.

These are to certifie all whom it may concern, that Mr Tobias Cony­ers now resident in Hapton, hath, during his abode here, been blame­less in his life and conversation, usefull in teaching of children, and painfull and industrious in his calling and studies: And that from time to time he hath shewed good affections to the present Govern­ment, and setlement of the Common wealth; and hath been de­sirous after the best things, and expressed much longing after com­munion with God in holy duties, and ordinances; and hath la­boured to promote the cause of God to the utmost of his power, as he hath had opportunity; declaring much love to the truth, pre­ferring the society of the godly, and turning from such as are otherwise minded: All which things, we whose names are underwritten do very freely and heartily testifie this 11th of February 1650.

  • John Reymes.
  • Edward Waile Pastor of the Church at Hapton.
  • Nathaneel Brewster Minister of Neatshead
  • Michael Whitefoot.

So you see the man was no original malignant, nor was he ever any drunkard, or otherwise scandalous person, but only for a short time se­duced, and quickly cured of his distemper: as for a scandall which [Page 45]'twas his unhappiness to fall into, he received then condigne pu­nishment, & therefore ought not to be punished again for the same, especially his life both before and after being exemplarily vertuous; and besides, having voluntarily upon the first coming out of the Act of Parliament for that purpose subscribed the engagement, which in other cases has been adjudged alone sufficient to qualifie a man for keeping his old, or acquiring new preferment.

As for Blasphemy, 'tis by the Master only alledged, not proved; nor do I belleve he was ever guilty of it in the least. But with E­piscopall spirits every petty difference in opinion is a capitall crime: and not to say Amen (though without understanding) to each ar­ticle of their voluminous Creed, is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. They not considering, that the passage of religious spirits is, as through many tribulations into the Kingdom of God, so through many errours into the true knowledg of God.

Besides, it might have been considered, that his election was only as Probationer, during which time, being a whole year, he was to stand upon his good behaviour, and if in all that time he gave just cause of offence, was by our statute to be denied admittance into perpetuity of his possession. And therefore the danger of him, if there were any, was not considerable. But that we have one in our Colledg put in by this Committee, who since the date of this misdemeanor was so ma­lignant, as publickly, in the face of al the Colledg assembled together, to paralell the Parliament for their proceedings with the King, &c. with the Powder treason of the Jesuits and Papists, contrived and carried on under pretence of Religion. Now this man being made Fellow by this Committee, we did not in regard he was otherwise a man of good desert, oppose our selves against his admit­tance, onely in regard of his late disaffection, petitioned this Com­mitee, that he might according to our statute stand upon his good behaviour for one year before a finall settlement in his place: But in this case, the Master neither regarding the obligation upon him by our statute, nor by his engagement to be true and faithfull to the Common wealth of England, would either petition himselfe, nor joyn with us in that petition: whence 'tis apparant, that the great object of his distaste here was not the malignancy, but only the person, now clear enough from that disease.

Lastly, though I will not take upon me to enquire into the hid­den mysteries of a superior power, yet this I shall say, that that [Page 46]power which can eject a man out of his legall possession for a mis­demeanor of a date of neere two years old, committed and punished in the dayes of his minority, long before his entrance into that possession, must sure be very transcendent, and above that of any, either common Law or Chancery, that I have heard of.

The Committee having heard what they thought fit on both sides, we were commanded according to custome to withdraw, and the doores to be shut.

What was said pro, or con at the private debate, the man with the great beard only knows. But the result was as followeth.

FOrasmuch as it appears to this Committee, that Tobias Conyers e­lected by the Fellowes of Peterhouse into the Fellowship of Master Hanscomb, hath been guilty of scandall, and malignancy, therefore this Committee adjudg him unfit for this Fellowship.


That this Committee will chuse a Fellow into the place of Mr. Con­yers this day fortnight.

One who was the Masters Sizar, and who, for ought that yet appears, never subscribed the engagement, is now put into this Fel­lowship.

These things I have been inforc'd to publish for vindication of the Colledges repute from those scandals endeavuor'd to be throwne up­on it by our unworthy Master; in which (being little more then a bare historicall narrative of the proceedings) I doe not in the least take upon me to judg of the honourable Committees severity in this their censure upon Sir Conyers, only to make it appear, that the Pre­sident and Fellowes in their choice of him did nothing but what was agreeable to their trust, both as members of the Colledge and Com­mon-wealth.

A Letter from our President to one of the Society in London, up­on occasion of the Masters man being made Fellow of our Colledge.


I Marvel Master Becher neglected his place in this fashion, he did. For my part, I desired him much to the contrary. Sir Church is ad­mitted into it; after seven dayes (prefixed by the Fellowes) were expired. Sr. Heywood the under buttler did bring yesterday mor­ning an other order for Mr. Majors place; which we do much wonder at, seeing Dr. Seaman at his last being at Cambridg, did both give severall statutable reasons why this place ought to be kept voyd: as also did promise to do his best endeavours that it might be also. Being then, that D. Seaman and the major part of our Society are now at London, I thought good to make a stop of Sr Heywoods admission for seven days, till we hear what your mind is. I do not know where Mr. Hotham, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Brock have their lodgings at London, otherwise I had written to them also. I have acquainted Dr. Seaman to the selfesame purpose yesterday, being Tuesday, and the 24. of December, at the receipt of that Order. I sent my letter unto him with one Green a Cambridg letter Carrier, and delivered the letter my self unto him, upon Tuesday last be­fore he went. I pray present my best respects to your brother Do­ctor, and our Society now at London. With the wishes of a happy new year I rest; desiring to here of you this week.

I am yours, &c. I. H.

A Letter from one of our Society upon the same occasion, to ano­ther of our Fellowes then in London.


SInce your departure, there is another Mandamus come to sup­ply Mr. Majors Fellowship, Sr. Heywood hath got it and expects his admission daily; but Dr. Francius hath sent to the Master to know his resolution, as also the minds of the Fellows which are in London, determining to defer his admission til he hath received your answers, [Page 48]or be ascertain'd whether you will vindicate the Colledg from such a manifest violation, and intrusion, or not. Sr, there are a considerable part of our Society now in London, it much concerns you to act your utmost, to deliver your self and the Colledg from so great a detriment: You may press the Master with those protestations which he made the last time he was with us, whether they are not incompa­tible with Sr. Heywoods Mandate, or whether his vow which openly he exprest, to keep void that Fellowship, be consonant with the ob­taining an instrument to put in his own man. Sr, you know the manner of his proceedings better then I can inform you, only I thought it necessary to give you notice of it, lest the seven days should be expired before you were acquainted with it. I have no­thing else but my service to present unto yourself, Mr. Hotham, and all the Society with you, and to subscribe my self.

Yours, &c. C. M.
Decemb. [...]1.—50.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.