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Bishops Voting

In Case of


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F all the things that were started to hinder

the succets of the last Parliament, and is like to be so great a stumbling-block in the next, That of the Bishops Voting in Case of Blood was and will be the chief Now they that deny that the Bishops have right to Vote in Case of Blood, do labour under two great difficulties; first, because this is a new thing, at least it is very long since the like Cafe has come into debate: And next, because they are put to prove a negative, which is a great disadvantage. But Truth will appear from under all the falle gloffes, and umbrages that men may draw over it. And I doubt not to make it evident that the Bishops have no right to Vote in Case of Blood, at least I hope I shall

not be guilty of obstiracy if I do not alter my opinion till what I have to say be answered.


It is strange the Bishops are so jealous of their Cause as not to adventure it on their great Diana the Canon Law; by which they are exprefly forbidden to meddle in case of Blood. Perhaps they would do by the Canon Law, as it is said by the Idolaters in the Old Teftament, that part of the timber they made a god and fell down and worshipped it, the rest of it they either burnt in the fire or cast it to the dunghil: For, they tell you that the Canon Law was abolisht by the Reformation, and that none but Papists yeild obedience to it; and therefore now they are not tyed up by the Canon Law, but may fit and Vote in case of Blood if they please. I should be very glad if they were as averse to Fopery in every thing else, and particularly that they would leave Ceremonies indiffe. rent, and not contend so highly for them, whereby they make the breach wider,and heighten the differences among Protestants; in the doing of which they do the Pope's work most effectually. I wish they would consent to have a new Book of Canons ; for those that are now extant are the old Popish Canons. I like Bishops very well ; but I wish that Bishops were reduced to their primitive Institution ; for I fear whilst there is in England a Lord Bishop the Church will not stand very steddily. But I will leave this (though I need say no more) and proceed to other thingsthat are very clear as I conceive.

My Lord Cook in the Second Part of his Institutes, the first chapter, treating of Magna Charta, when he reckons up the Priviledges of the Church, he tells us, that Clergy-men shall not be elected or have to do in secular Office; and therefore he tells us, that they are discharged of such and such burdens that Lay persons were subject to; and good


reason it should be so, that they might with greater ease and security attend the business of their Function, that is, to govern and instruct the Church : But whether they had these Immunities granted them, that they might study the Pleas of the Crown and Law Cases, or else that they might apply themselves to the work of the Ministry, let any Man judge ; for faith he, Nemo milit ans Deo implicet se negotiis secularibus : And if to fit and judge in case of Blood be not a fecular Matter I have no more to say; and I hope my Lord Cook's Authority will be allowed.

And because as 1 conceive that my Lord Cook's Authority may pass Muster in this point; I will offer some things out of him, that will make it evident that the Bishops are only Lords of Parliament, and not Peers, and if so, it is against the Law of England for them to fit and judge upon any Peer for his Life; for the Law says, that eve. ry Man shall be tried by his Peers.

In the Second Part of his Institutes, the first Chapter, he tells us, that every Arch-Bishop that holds of the King per Baroniam, and called by Writ to Parliament, is a Lord of Parliament": But in the 14th. Chapter, when he reckons up who are Pares in the Lords House, he says not a word of the Bishops, but repeats all the other Degrees of Lords, as Dukes, óc. And without doubt he would not have made fo great an omission if the Bishops ought to have been taken into the number,

Besides this, if the Bishops be Pares, how comes it to pass that an Act of Parliament shall be good to which their confent is not had, passed by the King, Lords Temporal, and Commons ? But it was never allowed for an Act of Parliament where


but they

the Lords Temporal had not given their Vote: And for proof hereof see my Lord Cook in his Chap. De Bsportatis Religioforum, where he gives you several Instances of acts of Parliament that passed and the Bishops absent.

But then in the Third Part of his Institutes he there puts the matter out of all controversie, and shews that Bishops are to be tried by Commoners; for says he, in the second Chap. treating of Petty Treason, None shall be tried by his Peers, but only such as sit there ratione Nobilitatis, as Dukes, &c. and reckons the several Degrees; and not such as are Lords of Parliament ratione Baroniarum, quas tenent in Jure Ecclefiz, as Arch-Bishops, and BiShops, and formerly Abbots and Priors (faith he) shall be tryed by the Country, that is by the Free-holders, for that they are not of the Degree of Nobility. So that with submission this is as clear as any thing in the World.

If the point be so clear that the Bishops may Vote in case of Blood, it would do well that some Presidents were produced, by which it might appear that they have ever done it, at least that they have made use of it in such times when the Nation was in quiet, and matters were carried fairly; for Instances from Times of Confusion or Rebellion, help rather to pull down than support a Cause: But my Lord Cook in his Chap. (that I mentioned even now) De Asportatis Religiosorum, gives you several Presidents where the Bishops when Capital Matters were to be debated in the Lords House withdrew themselves, particularly 2 of Rich. II. the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury made a folemn protestation in the Parliament for himself and the Clergy of his Provinse, for that Matters of Trea


fon were to be entreated of, whereat by the Canonical Law they ought not to be present; they therefore absented themselves.

But in regard I have hitherto voucht my Lord Cook for what I have said, I desire that it may be observed that he wrote since the Reformation, and what was Law when he wrote is Law at this day, unless it be changed by some Act of Parliament made since; and therefore he that denies my Lord Cook to have written Law must produce some Act of Parliament whereby it does appear that the Law is altered since his time. Besides this, the Bishops and other Clergy were called to Parliament very uncertainly, sometimes more, fometimes fewer, and sometimes none at all, as it was in Edw. I. time.

Therefore seeing the cafe to be thus, That the Bishops are not Peers but only Lords of Parliament, That an Act of Parliament is good though they be absent, That they are to be tried by Commoners, And that when Capital Matters were to be debated, they have withdrawn themselves, declaring at the lame time that they ought not to have to do in such things, and also, ihat they have not fo absolute a Right to sit and Vote in the House as the Temporal Lords have, because they are called to Parliament so uncertainly; I shall be glad to hear what can be faid to make their Right unquestionable : But if all this were set aside, yet it remains on their part to prove that they have fate in Judgment upon the Peers. I am apt to believe, they will be hardly put to it to produce any President out of good Times, when the Nation was in quier, and the Law had its course; Nay, I think they can scarcey find any, that the Proceeds of


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