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Art. VII.-Memoir of the Life and Writings of Thomas Cartwright, B.D.,
the distinguished Puritan Reformer: including the principal ecclesiastical movements in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. By the Rev. B. Brook, Author of the · Lives of the Puritans, London : Snow,
1845. DISSENTERS are much indebted to Mr. Brook for this new proof of his attachment to the memory of Cartwright. The thirty pages which he gave us several years ago in his ‘Lives of the Puritans,' are now expanded into a handsome, well-filled volume, of near five hundred pages. Pleasant as it always is, to see a unity of purpose and affection pervading a long life, our pleasure is much heightened, when, as in the instance before us, this concentration attaches itself to a worthy subject, which demands the sympathy and admiration of mankind at large. That the lives and labours of the Puritans belong to this class needs no new evidence. Their services in respect to both our civil and religious liberties have extorted the commendation of even Hume, the most partial as well as specious of all the advocates of the House of Stuart. That the life and labour of their distinguished leader Thomas Cartwright, are entitled to special distinction even among them, no one will lightly question; nor can any real friend of truth and liberty, we imagine, fail to acknowledge his transcendent merits and services, when he shall have read the volume to which we now call his attention,
Mr. Brook has divided his biography into eleven chapters exclusive of the introduction. These chapters treat consecutively of Cartwright's birth and early history-his expulsion from the University of Cambridge—his writings in controversy with Whitgift-his exile, return, imprisonment and release, -his refutation of the Rhemish translation of the New Testament, his subsequent appearances before Freke, Bishop of Worcester, and the High-Commission Court, and Court of Star Chamber,his continued hardships till released from prison-his death, character, and writings. Interspersed with these occur other interesting topics relating to the period, among which may be mentioned some efforts relating to ecclesiastical reform, pp. 240—253, and the controversy with the Brownists, pp. 299– 307.
Cartwright was born in the county of Hertford about the 1535. In his fifteenth year, he matriculated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was greatly distinguished for his devotion to study. During a portion of Queen Mary's reign he found it necessary to retire from the university, and engaged
himself as a barrister's clerk. On Elizabeth's accession he returned to his college, of which he became fellow in 1560. Three years afterwards "he removed to Trinity College, where, for his attainments in piety and literature, he was elected one of the senior fellows. At this time an event occurred which has been represented by the enemies of Cartwright and his principles, as having exercised a sinister influence upon his subsequent career.
• In the year 1564, Queen Elizabeth honoured the university with a royal visit, when magnificent preparations were adopted for her entertainment, and the principal scholars were selected for the public disputations in the presence of her Majesty. The queen was entertained during the day with scholastic exercises in philosophy, physic, and divinity; and, at night, diverted with comedies and tragedies. Among the disputants selected on this occasion was Mr Cartwright, who, in the royal presence, discovered those distinguished abilities which gave entire satisfaction to her Majesty and other auditors. The story of Mr. Cartwright having made suit to be one of the disputants before her Majesty is scarcely worthy of a passing notice, seeing the fact on record is, that he was chosen to this service by those who had the appointment; and it is observed, on the authority of Mr. Strype, that the ripest and most learned men were selected for the disputants, and Mr Cartwright, being one of that number, appears to have greatly distinguished himself on this occasion. He took a leading part in the philosophy act, on the third day of the royal visit, when these two political questions were discussed: Is monarchy the most eligible kind of government ?' 'Is the fiequent change of laws dangerous ?' The learned opponents were, first Mr. Cartwright, then Dr. Chadderton, Dr. Preston, and Mr. Clerk.
Her Majesty on this occasion took her leave of the university, by the delivery of a Latin oration, addressed to the learned collegians. This was an exhibition never witnessed in that seat of learning before nor since: a virgin queen before a body of venerable scholars and divines, addressing them in the language of a scholar, but with the tone of a sovereign. She said, among other things:- PRINCIPUM Dicta LEGUM AUCTORITATEM APUD SUBDITOS RETINENT.' The words of Princes have the authority of laws with their subjects !
• This was an occurrence not to be forgotten in the university ; and certain authors have observed that, while the other disputants were applauded and rewarded by the royal visitor, Mr. Cartwright was slighted and neglected; and that Preston, by comely gesture and a pleasing pronunciation, was both esteemed and rewarded by her Majesty: but that our scholar received neither reward nor commendation; also that he was presumptuous of his learning, and ungraceful in his elocution. One author affirms, that he was ‘unbewn and awkward both in his person and manners;' and another, who styles him the great father of puritanism,' a person of 'some emi
nence' but 'great ambition,' that the queen more critically approved of the lighter elegances in which the grave Cartwright was deficient.' It was to be expected that those who did not relish his principles would represent him as exceedingly disconcerted and mortified by the supposed slight cast upon him ; and they even affirmed that he began immediately to wade into divers opinions concerning church discipline, and to despise the government of the Established Church, growing conceited of his learning and holiness, and a great contemner of those who differed from him!'-(pp. 40–42.)
Mr. Brook disposes without much difficulty, of this calumnious misrepresentation, the first of not a few to which his hero has been subjected by the high church party. Mr. Hanbury, also, in the sketch of his life, which he prefixed to his edition of Hooker, has noticed very pertinently, that the slight which it is pretended that Cartwright received is effectually discredited by his subsequent promotion to the Margaret Professorship of Divinity, which took place in 1569, two years after he had taken his degree of B.D. The readers of the present volume will also find, in pp. 44 and 45, a sufficient refutation of the calumny, first vented by Paul and Heylin, and picked up from them by the elder D’Israeli, that Cartwright retired at this time to Geneva in disgust, and there, during an expatriation of several years as they represent the matter— matured his system of malignant opposition to the church of his native land. Not only is there no mention of any visit to Geneva at this time in Clark's biography of Cartwright, but the facts relating to his university career, which are matters of diplomatic evidence, show that such a visit, was on his part, at that period, in the highest degree improbable.
After briefly noticing, page 45, the first important public step which Cartwright, in common with his future adversary Whitgift and several others of the seniors of the college, took in reforming college abuses,—we refer to the memorial on the subject of the election of scholars which was presented by them to Sir William Cecil, the chancellor of the university-our author proceeds to what may be regarded as the opening of Cart. wright's peculiar labours in the field of ecclesiastical reform, and to the causes of the long and angry controversy between him and Whitgift. The concluding paragraph of the next extract not only gives an idea of the great numbers of consciences that were forced by the arbitrary measures of Elizabeth, and her favourite primate, Parker, but also supplies a sample, of the specious misrepresentations, by which, in all ages, the impositions of human authority in matters of conscience have been palliated and approved.
• The heads of houses, one of whom was Dr. Whatgift, were less successful on another important occasion. Instead of the Reformation being carried to full maturity, the heads were filled with alarm. ing apprehensions for the purity of religion and the freedom of the university by a return to popish customs and the enforcement of the popish habits; they, therefore, presented their united petition to the chancellor, dated November, 26, 1565, earnestly soliciting him, if possible, to stay the proceeding, which, in their opinion, would be most prejudicial to the university.
"A report has reached us, that for the future all scholars of this university will be forced to return to the old popish habits. This is daily mentioned to us by a great multitude of pious and learned men, who affirm in their consciences that they think every ornament of this kind is unlawful; and is the intended proclamation is enforced, they will be brought into the greatest danger. Lest our university should be forsaken, we think it is one of our first duties to acquaint you of this condition of ourselves and our brethren. And by these letters we most humbly beg, as well from your wisdom as 'from your credit and favour with the queen's Majesty, that you would intercede with her to withhold a proclamation of this kind. For, as far as we can see, there can be no danger or inconvenience in exempting us from this burden; but, on the contrary, we very much fear that it will prove a hindrance to the preaching of the gospel and to litera. ture. By your successful application to this, you will no doubt con-' fer a great benefit not only on us, but on the nation at large.'
• This unpropitious effort gave so great offence at court that it was instantly "quashed ;' and Dr. Whitgift, then a zealous reformer, who took an active part in promoting it, was presently induced to repent of what he had done, and renounce his reform principles. Having become an apt scholar in the science of courtiers, he not only turned about, and made an humiliating apology' for this inauspicious petition, but also found far more powerful attractions in hoods and surplices than he had previously conceived ; nor did he stop here, but henceforth he became a violent persecutor of the cause which he had so openly espoused and patronized !
The enforcement of conformity was also prompt and decisive in the metropolis. Archbishop Parker, having sought the assistance of the council, and convened the London ministers at Lambeth, sternly demanding conformity, sixty-one promised to conform, but thirty-seven refused, who, his grace observed, were the best of them. These were immediately suspended from their ministry, and, baving the fruits sequestered, were threatened to be deprived of their benefices, if they did not conform in three months; yet, said the archbishop, 'they behaved with 'great modesty and quietness.' The venerable primate had previously anticipated that very many churches would be deprived of their pastors, and that many would forsake their livings,' as the unhappy consequence of these severe measures. Great was the sorrow and lamentation of these holy sufferers, who exclaimed, “We are killed in our souls by this pollution : we cannot perform our ministry in the singleness of our
we find said, in refehat if Cartitage in tempe
hearts. Under these extreme hardships, some betook themselves to secular occupations, and others were cast into prison ; yet the archbishop had no doubt that they were moved by conscience !' Notwithstanding these facts, the late Dr. Southey declares that Elizabeth's government carried on no war against conscience,' but was conducted on the principle, “that conscience is not to be constrained, but won by the force of truth, with the aid of time, and use of all good means of persuasion !' We shall not attempt to reconcile the Primate and the Poet Laureate.''-pp. 46–48.
We cannot follow our author into all the details which his volume furnishes, respecting the open feud between Cartwright and Whitgift, previous to the expulsion of the former from the university; or even into those belonging to their subsequent memorable book-warfare. The latter, by their great multifariousness, * defy compression without the sacrifice of nearly all their interest. But we must find room for one morsel, which is too true and too pithy to be spared. Dr. Whitgift, it is said, answered Mr. Cartwright's sermous from the pulpit, with very great strength of argument. “If he did,' observes Mr. Brook, he employed stronger arguments in preaching than in writing.' This remark must surely have suggested itself to our veteran biographer, after he had been pasturing on Fuller, from whom indeed we find an extract in the sequel of the paragraph. Fuller had as pithily said, in reference to the same contest, . The result of their difference was, that if Cartwright had the better of it in learning, Whitgift had the advantage in temper; and he had more power to back, if fewer people to follow him.'
Referring then to our author for the history of this important controversy, let us notice briefly the result on Cartwright's future life. To avoid the threatening storm 'he sought and found an asylum in a foreign land,' p. 215. He first spent some time—about two years—as minister to the English merchants at Antwerp, where he was much beloved. From Antwerp, he removed to Middleburgh, in the island of Walcheren, where, as Mr. Hanbury tells us, he remained about three years. At the end of this time he returned to his native land, but only to be driven forth again by the cruel arm of power for a longer term of banishment. His exile was, however, greatly solaced and sweetened by the sympathy and respect of the most distinguished foreign protestant divines; and it was at Antwerp that he re. ceived from James VI. of Scotland the flattering invitation to the theological chair of the University of St. Andrew's, which he respectfully declined. During his second exile he also visited
• They relate to the election of ministers, the officers of Christian churches, clerical habits, the authority of princes in ecclesiastical affairs, confirmation, and various other kindred matters.