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Archbishop to the Bishop of London, Dean of the Province, and by him to the rest of the Bifhops, and by them to their Deans and Chapters, and Archdeacons to chuse Proctors to appear at St. Paul's in Convocation. Before the Reforma. tion, sometimes Elections and Returns were made on both Writs, either by chusing the same Persons for both Purposes, or, on fome Occasions, different Persons. However, this is agreed, that Proctors chofe on either Writ, may serve the Ends of both. And that the Clergy of the Province of York, by meeting in that City, whither they are called by the Provincial Writ, are excused from coming to Westminster, to which Place they, as well as the Clergy of Canterbury, are fummon'd by the Premunientes.
And whereas by Stat. 8 Hen. Vl.c. 1. it is provided, That the Clergy called to Convocation by the King's Writ, together with their Ser. vants and Families, Mall fully use and enjoy such Liberty, or Defence, in coming, tarrying, and returning, as the great Men, or Commonalty of the Realm do, or ought to enjoy. This Ad has always been founderstood, That Prodors, chofe by the Provincial Writ, have been as fafe fromí Arreft, as if they had been chofen by Virtue of the Præmunientes.
The Reafon why the Clergy were thus doubly called was, to secure their Obedience, and the King's Authority. The prevailing Opinion among the Clergy then was, that they ought not to obey a Summons to Convocation from a Secular Person, tho” the King himself; therefore the Archbishop was, by the King, obliged to summons them, that they might seem to come
by by virtue of their Canonical Obedience, and that the Archbishop might not be deprived of his Right of calling them; and on the other fide, the King was willing to affert his own Power, of commanding them to appear, and therefore called them again by his Præmunientes, and perhaps some might be terrify'd into a Compliance, for fear of the King's Displeasure, who otherwise might have proved Refractory.
This is certain, the Clergy were drawn to Parliament against their own Inclinations, especially because the main End the King had in bringing them thither, was, not to give their Votes in making Laws or Matters of Civil Go. vernment, but to consent to the granting Subfidies, and the only advantage they had in com. ing, was to represent their Grievances, which sometimes they got redress’d.
Tho' the Lower Clergy were never let into a Share of the Ligislature in Parliament, (save that sometimes their Affent has been required in Matters concerning the settlingofthe Succeflion of the Crown, and to such Laws wherein their Rights have been particularly concerned : Rights of Conv. p. 62, 63, 376, &c.) but only had Conferences Occasionally with the Temporal Commoners, about adjusting and proportioning their Subsidies; yet they who allow the least to them, acknowledge that they were by degrees received into the Provincial Synod, which before consisted only of Bishops and Abo bots, and were permitted to give their Votes in all things that concern!d the Do&trine, Discipline, and Government of the Church, and have been for near 300 Years an essential part
of the Convocation. At first, they fat in one Room with the Lords Bishops, and when any Affair was in agitation, which did particularly concern them, they retir'd into fome place by themselves, and reported their Resolution to the Lords, by one or more Eminent Members. But Bishop Kennet doth allow, that by the beginning of the Fifteenth Century they began to be a diftin&t House, and to have a fettled Prolocutor regularly chosen at the beginning of Convocation : The first of whom (says he) was the famous Lyndwood.
But in the Province of York, the Bishops and other Clergy, do fill fit in the lame House : therefore I do not understand what the Author of the Additions to Cambden's Britannia means, when he says, that the Bishop of Man is al. low'd to fit uppermost in the Lower House of Convocation. Pag. 1070.
The first occasion of calling the lower Clergy to Convocation now ceases : For whereas to the Year 1663, the Clergy, for their Church Pre. ferments, and all the Lands which belongd to them before the Statute of Mortmain, were taxed by themselves only in Convocation, and their Grant down to Henry VIII's Reign, was confirm'd only by Royal Affent; (but since that Time, by the Authority of the Two Houses of Parliament, for the most part) : Yet now, and ever fince 1663, they have dropt the ancient Right of taxing themselves, and have had Taxes laid on thein by Parliament, as all other English Subjects. In the first Act, whereby the Clergy were taxed' by Parliament, Anno Domi 1664, there is an exprefs Salvo for the Rights of
the Clergy; from whence many do infer, that they are still at liberty to reassume this ancient Practice; but if they should do so, whether it will prove an Eafe, or a Grievance, a Privilege, or a Hardship, I will not pretend to determine. Since they have been Taxed by Parliament, they have been allow'd to vote in chafing Knights of the Shire, as other Freeholders, which in former Times they did not.
Only Parsons, Vicars, and perpetual Curates, are capable of giving their votes in chuling Proctors for the Diocesan Clergy.
In the Province of Canterbury there are only two Proctors return’d for each Diocese. In those Dioceses where there are several Archdeaconries, two are nominated by the Clergy of each Archdeaconry, and out of these, two are chosen by the Bishop to serve as Proctors for the whole Diocese Or the several Archdeaconries do by Turns chuse two Proctors. But in the Province of York, two Proctors are sent to Con. vocation froin every Archdeaconry, otherwise the Number would be so small, as scarce to deferve the Name of a Parochial Synod. By this means it comes to pass, that the Parochial Clergy have as great an Interest in Convo. cation there, as the Cathedral Clergy. Whereas, in the Province of Canterbury, the Lower House of Convocation consists of 22 Deans, (taking in Westminster and Windsor) 24 Prodors of the Chapters, 53 Archdeacons; to counterballance all which, there are but 44 Proctors for the Porochial Clergy, which do not make one third part of the whole Body : A very dif. proportionable Representation : So that the In
tumbents of this Province, who are the main Body of the Clergy, have, in effect, no Intereft at all in the Lower House of Convocation, if any Difpute arise there between them and the Cathedral Clergy : For what are 44 to 99?
Befides the Allemblies already mentioned in former Times, the Archdeacons had their Capitula, or Chapters, to which the Clergy within their Jurisdiétion were called ; not to make Canons or Orders, but to communicate such Directions to the Clergy as the Bishop thought proper, to confult of Church Matters, and to examine and instruct the Clergy. Prov. L. 1.
In former Ages, the Rural Deans did likewife hold their Chapters, which consisted of the Incumbents, and other Clergy within their feveral Diftries, every three weeks; and had likewise their principal Chapters once in three Months. See Lynd. in Gloff
. on Tit. Quia Incontinentia.
C H A P. XVII.
Of Vifitations and Procurations.
BEfore the Conquest, it does not appear, that
there were in England any Visitors but the Bishops, who were obliged annually to go about their Dioceses, to enquire after and corre& Mif. Carriages : And this was less difficult, when the