An Account of the Late PROPOSALS of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with some other Bishops, to his Majesty: In a LETTER to M. B. Esq


I Am much surprized at the ill Constructions some people make of the Actions of those Bishops, who have lately wait­ed upon the King; especially considering that most of Them are the very Men, who not many months ago ap­peared so publickly and so courageously, even to the hazard of all the Interests they had in this World, in defence of our Prote­stant Religion, and the Laws of the Land.

In order to the removing all groundless Jealousies, and unreason­able Surmises, in an Affair of so great consequence, which our Po­pish Enemies will, I am sure, be very ready to foment and keep up, I have here sent you the Heads of those matters which were propo­sed by them to the King.

They waited upon Him no [...] as a Party separate either from the Nobility or Gentry, whom they could (I believe) have wished his Majesty would rather have called for at this Juncture; or from the rest of the Bishops or Clergy of England: but as persons whom the King was pleased, upon Reasons known only to his Royal Breast, to command to attend upon him.

The Heads which I send you, are not taken from any Copy of the Paper which my Lords the Bishops presented to the King. I under­stand that all their Lordships have been extreamly careful to prevent the publishing of any Copies, and that they still refuse to communi­cate any, though they now lie under no Obligations to the contra­ry. However, I do assure you with all faithfulness, that these Heads which I am now sending you, are true Contents obtain'd by another method, which in prudence you will imagine nor fit for me to dis­close.

You have already been told from me, that every one of these Bi­shops were sent for up out of their Diocesses by Expresses from his Majesty, whom they first waited on in a Body, on Friday the 28th of September. I cannot, upon the strictest inquiry, find that any thing passed betwixt the King and Them, at that first attendance upon him, besides general Expressions of Favour and Protection from his [Page 2] Majesty, and general returns of Duty and Loyalty from the Bishops. This was matter of admiration to us all here, who could not believe but that the King had other Intentions of a nearer, and more parti­cular concern, when he first resolved to send so far for some of these Bishops: but these Alterations in Councils are things not fit for you or I to meddle with.

However, my Lords the Bishops were not satisfied herewith, con­cluding (as I suppose) that his Majesty would not have sent for them so far, if he had not intended to have advised with them in this Juncture, and to give them the liberty of offering him such Counsels as they thought necessary at this time; and therefore when his Grace my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury waited on the King a­lone the first time, on Sunday morning, Sept. 30th. being indisposed when the other Bishops attended on Friday, their Lordships did, by my Lord of Canterbury, intimate their thoughts about that Affair, and their readiness to the King; who was pleased not only to per­mit them to give him the best and most particular Advices, but to encourage them to do it with all the freedom that was necessary for the present occasion.

Upon this Royal Invitation their Lordships assembled together next day at my Lord of Canterbury's Palace, and prepared, upon the most mature deliberation, such Matters as they judged necessary for his Majesty's knowledge and consideration: and on the Wednesday after waited on the King in a Body, when his Grace in his own, and in the name of the rest of the Bishops then present, did in a most excellent Speech represent to his Majesty such things as were thought by them absolutely necessary to the Settlement of the Nation, a­midst the present Distractions, and to the publick Interest of Church and State.

I am assured that his Grace deliver'd himself upon this Critical Occasion, as with all dutifulness to his Majesty, so with all the rea­diness and the courage that did become such an Apostolical Archbi­shop as God hath blest our Church of England with at this time.

You must not expect here his excellent Words, but an Abridg­ment of them, according to my Talent, in a meaner stile.

I. First, the Bishops thought fit to represent in general to his Majesty, That it was necessary for Him to restore all things to the state in which He found them when He came to the Crown, by committing all Offices and Places of Trust in the Government, to such of the Nobility and Gen­try, [Page 3] as were qualified for them, according to the Laws of this Kingdom; and by Redressing and Removing such Grievances as were generally com­plain'd of.

II. Particularly, That His Majesty would Dissolve the Ecclesiastical Commission, and promise to His People never to Erect any such Court for the future.

III. That He would not only put an effectual stop to the issuing forth of any Dispensations, but would Call in, and Cancel all those which had since his coming to the Crown been obtained from Him.

IV. That he would Restore the Vniversities to their Legal State, and to their Statutes and Customs, and would particularly Restore the Master of Magdalen Colledge in Cambridge, to the Profits of his Mastership, which he had been so long Deprived of, by an Illegal Suspension; and the Ejected President and Fellows of Magdalen Colledge in Oxford, to their Properties in that Colledge: And, That He would not permit any Per­sons to enjoy any of the Preferments in either Vniversity, but such as are qualified by the Statutes of the Vniversities, the particular Statutes of their several Foundations, and the Laws of the Land.

V. That He would suppress the Iesuits Schools opened in this City, or elsewhere, and grant no more Licenses for such Schools as are apparently against the Laws of this Nation, and His Majesty's True Interest.

VI. That He would send Inhibitions after those Four Romish Bishops, who under the Title of Apostolick Vicars, did presume to Exercise with­in this Kingdom such Iurisdictions as are by the Laws of the Land In­vested in the Bishops of the Church of England, and ought not to be Violated or Attempted by them.

VII. That He would suffer no more Quo Warranto's to be issued out against any Corporations, but would restore to those Corporations which had been already disturbed, their ancient Charters, Priviledges, Grants, and Immunities, and Condemn all those late Illegal Regulations of Cor­porations, by putting them into their late Flourishing Condition, and Legal Establishment.

VIII. That He would fill up all the Vacant Bishopricks in England and Ireland, with Persons duly qualified according to the Laws: and would especially take into His Consideration the See of York, whose want of an Archbishop is very prejudicial to that whole Province.

IX. That He would Act no more upon a Dispensing Power, nor insist upon it; but permit that Affair at the first Session of a Parliament to be fairly Stated and Debated, and Settled by Act of Parliament.

[Page 4]X. That upon the Restoration of Corporations to their Antient Char­ters, and Burroughs to their Prescriptive Rights, He would Order Writs to be issued out for a fair and free Parliament, and suffer it to Sit to Re­dress all Grievances, to Settle Matters in Church and State upon just and solid Foundations, and to Establish a due Liberty of Conscience.

XI. Lastly, and above all, That His Majesty would permit some of His Bishops, to lay such Motives and Arguments before him, as might by the Blessing of GOD, bring back His Majesty unto the Communion of Our Holy Church of England, into whose Catholick Faith. He had been Baptized, in which He had been Educated, and to which it was their earnest and daily Prayer to Almighty GOD, that His Majesty might be re-united.

All these Councels were concluded with a Prayer to GOD, in whose Hands the Hearts of Kings are, for a good Effect upon them; especially the last, about bringing the King back to the Protestant Religion.

And now, Sir, I cannot but ask you, What grounds there are for any Mens Jealousies of the Bishops Proceedings? Pray shew this Letter to all your Friends, that some may lay down their Fears, and others may have this Antidote against taking any up. I do as­sure you, and I am certain, I have the best grounds in the World for my assurance, That the Bishops will never stir one Jot from their PETITION; but that they will, whenever that happy Oppor­tunity shall offer itself, let the Protestant Dissenters find that they will be better than their Word given in their Famous PETITION.

In the mean time let You and I, Commend the Prudence of these Excellent Bishops, Admire their Courage, and Celebrate their just Praises, and never forget to offer up most fervent Thanks to GOD, for his Adorning the Church of England, at this Juncture, with such Eminent Apostolical Bishops. I am with all Respect

Yours, N. N.

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