« PreviousContinue »
MEMOIR OF SIR WILLIAM MORICE,
SECRETARY OF STATE TO CHARLES II. It is not to be doubted, that the ing, or succeeding ages. It was intellectual character of man is equally apparent in the higher influenced equally by time as by rank of private gentlemen of that place, and that each age has its period, amongst whom there gene. peculiar features, as well as each rally prevailed a more exact, and climate, Nor need we wonder at more laborious, investigation into this, if we consider how naturally, the nature, both of the doctrines though perhaps insensibly, our and discipline of religion, than habits, nay, our very principles, either the priestly jealousy of forconform themselves to those of mer times had permitted, or than our associates. It is easily con- the indifference and lukewarmceivable, that a few master-spirits, ness, of any following years have men of that commanding genius, prompted them to exercise. Did we which enables them to turn even think that our assertion required the opposition with which their more proof than the memory of opinions are met, into the very ourintelligent readers will immediimpetus by which their career is ately furnish, we would readily add urged, may so dictate to the un- to the names of Sir Charles Wolsederstandings, and prejudices, of ley, Lord Brooke, Sir Edward those within the circle of their in- Dering, Sir Thomas Widrington, Auence, as continually to become Robert Boyle, Edward Polhill, Sir in society, what the key-note is in William Morice, &c. so many, and music, that from which all the rest such respectable vouchers, that are harmonized, according to their we might sooner encumber our several distances, and by which pages, and weary our readers, than alone the other and more subser- exhaust our stock of evidence. In vient tones receive their determi. this class, Sir William Morice held nate character and value.
a very honourable station, and In no period of our history was though we are ready to concede this identity of character more dis- that he was surpassed by some of played than in the seventeenth his compeers, in those qualities century, an era, of which it may which make excellency conspibe said, as it was originally of Sir cuous, we fear not to challenge Walter Raleigh, one of its orna- for him a very considerable porments, that it was consecrated tion of those solid, and really es"lam morti quam mercurio.” It timable, endowments, which, while might be successfully traced they require investigation, that through all the religious chivalry their value may be known, will of the times of the civil war, es- also endure it, without any hazard pecially in the character of the of being found superficial. Parliamentarian generals, a species Sir William Moricc was born in of soldiery unknown to any preced- Exeter, in the year 1602. His Cono. Mag. No. 73.
father, Dr. Evan, or John Morice, sions of the state, which now comchancellor of the diocese of Ex- menced, though it is highly proeter, descended from an ancient bable that he was a moderate equestrian family, in Caernarvon- royalist in sentiment, and though shire. His mother was of the fa- he could not be ignorant of those mily of Castle, in Devonshire. Dr. encroachments on the subject's liMorice dying, in 1606, his widow berty which were then practised married Sir Nicholas Prideaux. under the pretence of the prerogaAfter the preliminary course of tive, nor indifferent to them, yet he education, Mr. Morice, in 1620, inclined to more lenient remedies was entered of Exeter College, than the Parliamentarians thought Oxford, where he had for tutor fit to apply. We find that, in the learned Nathaniel Carpenter. 1645, his reputation stood so high, Such was the diligence manifested that, though unsolicited on his by Mr. Morice, at this early age, part, the honor of' representing his that Dr. (afterwards Bishop) Pric native county in Parliament was deaux, used to say of him," that conferred on him, by the general though he was but little in sta- voice of his countrymen; but he ture, * yet, in time, he would come refused to sit in that house, till to be great in the state." Having the members, secluded by the commenced Bachelor of Arts, he arıy-faction, were restored by retired to his paternal estate, where Monk, afterwards Duke of Albehe prosecuted his studies with un- marle, his relation by marriage. remitting attention, as we may In 1651, he was appointed high readily infer from his publications, sheriff for the county of Devon. which bear the most ample testi-. On the return of Monk to Engmony that they proceed from a land, and the restoration of the mind, not only vigorous by na- secluded members, Mr. Morice ture, but enriched by a very ex- took his seat in the house, where tensive and judicious course of he was in high estimation for reading, and matured, by severe his learning, and, in the words of discipline, to the closest and most Anthony Wood, on this account subtle reasoning. Prince, in his “ being esteemed a Presbyterian" “ Worthies of Devon,” says, that, the great masters at Westminin his younger years, he was ster being mostly of that per“ very much addicted to poetry, suasion.
suasion. This favourable opinion and apothegmatical learning." In of Mr. Morice was owing printhis interval, between the com- cipally to the publication of his pletion of his academical studies, work, entitled "Coena quasi couvn,” and the commencement of his in which he had very learnedly public life, he married a grand- defended a more general admission daughter of Sir Nicholas Prideaux. to the Lord's supper than was He took no part in those convul- practised by the Independents of
those days, and in particular had * Clarendon says, in some part of his history, that this period (that of the civil opposed the opinions of Mr. Huma war) was remarkable for the number of phry Sanders, an Independent migreat characters it produced, who were nister at Holdsworthy, in Devonsmall in stature. We have particularly shire, who answered Mr. Morice noticed, in the course of our reading, in a piece, called “ Antidiatribe, that Laud, Chillingworth, Lord Falkland, Blake, Clement Walker, Milton, and Sir or an Apology for Administering William Morice, come under the force of the Lord's Supper to a Select this remark. Of Blake, in particular, it Company." 8vo. 1655. As we is recorded, that he was refused admis- shall have occasion to make a more sion into Merton College, Oxford, being under five feet six inches, the height re
distinct reference to Mr. Morice's quired by the college statute !
work in the course of this article, we shall waive any remarks upon most emphatical sense a good man. it at present. About this time He may be considered as one of Mr. Morice received a letter from the last of the lay puritans, a chaCharles II. by the hands of Sir racter that almost ceased with the John Grenville, urging him to use Act of Uniformity.
That act all his influence towards the effect- obliging those who had, in the ing the Restoration, a request former times of episcopacy, been which was not only answered by moderate in their views, and, with promises on his part, but by the some dislike to a few ceremonies, most strenuous efforts, as we are yet retained so much affection to assured by Clarendon's History; the establishment as to dislike in which we are told, that Mr. M. separation still more, now to act was one of the principal agents a more decided part; a stronger in accomplishing that event. It line was henceforward drawn beis generally agreed that Mr. tween the episcopalians and the Morice was the only person in nonconformists; a line which has Monk's confidence as to his real continued to this day, and which intentions in the period between still acts as a barrier between the Richard's abdication and Charles's two parties. No one can read his arrival. To render his co-opera- great polemical work without pertion more effective, Charles ap- ceiving in every page the most pointed Mr. Morice his Secretary decided marks of a spiritual and of State, and Monk made him truly pious mind; one anxiously colonel of a regiment of infantry, bent to improve all opportunities and governor of Plymouth. Mr. M. to the honour of religion. Prince was one of those gentlemen who says, “ In his life-time he erected welcomed his restored majesty to and endowed an alms-house for Dover, where he received from six poor people, in the parish of him the honour of knighthood, Sutcombe; where each of them and shortly after, the dignity of hath two fair rooms in his or a privy-counsellor. After having her apartment, and two shillings honourably filled the office of a-week duly paid them.-- There Secretary of State for more than was one thing singular in this seven years Sir William retired, in honourable gentleman, that al1668, to his estate at Werington, though he kept a domestic chapin Devonshire, where,” says lain in his family, yet, (when prePrince, to whom we are indebted sent) he was always his own chapfor most of the facts of Sir Willain' at his table, notwithstanding liam's life," he erected a fair several divines were there." In library, valued at £12,000. being his doctrinal sentiments Sir Wilchoice books, richly bound: for liam was a moderate Calvinist. the encrease whereof he had a We scarcely know how to degreat advantage by virtue of his nominate his views on churchoffice, having most of the books government. He was not an episthen publisher presented to him; copalian. “ Concerning episcoin the study and perusal whereof, pacy, though I dare not stand in was his principal divertisement, any direct opposition to those which yielded him the most sen- great and venerable luminaries sible pleasure that he took, during which have cast so much light the last years of his life.” In this upon this subject, but shall toretirement Sir William deceased wards them be rather like the 1676, leaving a large family. His planets to the sun, not only stoop eldest son William was created a and turne aside when they come baronet by Charles II. in 1661. near lest they clash with him, but Sir William Morice was in the also hide themselves and vanish
when he ariseth and appears ; yet upon, nor will own any subjection nevertheless I shall humbly pro- to superiors.” pp. 147, 148. Perfess that my understanding can- haps we may rightly call him an not resist those strong convictions Erastian. “ A wise and learned which it suffers from plain evi- man tells us, that ignorance hath dence, that in scripture a bishop set philosophy, physic, and divinity and presbyter are synonymous, in the pillory, and written over the and several names of the same first, contra negantem principia ; office, though this be set in so over the second virtus specifica ; clear a light beaming from sundry over the third Romana ecclesia , texts, that non triuin tantum Phoe- to which we may add the fourth, borum sit jubar, yet my infirm (though set there more by interest eyes seem most clearly to read it, and faction than ignorance) even by the light of that one place in discipline, and superscribe jure Titus i. ordain elders in every <divino; for my part 1 shall ingecity--if any be blameless-for a nuously confesse, that my weak bishop must be blameless." Coena : understanding cannot discern that quasi kolun, p. 149. He was not the word of God particularly dea Presbyterian. “Since the Sun termines, or absolutely prescribes of Righteousness arose to make the anyone intire form of churchnight to pass and the shadows to government; butonely holdes forth vanish, there never was a purity general rules for the constitution amongst the despensers of holy and exercise thereof as may suit things; the church was founded with order and decency, and conand elemented in an impurity- duce to edification in godlinesse when those lights of the world, and advance of truth and peace." the apostles, had run to the end of pp. 146, 147. We presume from their course they delivered over several parts of his work that an their lamps to the bishops, &c." episcopacy modified according to p. 147. Still less was he an the plan of Archbishop Usher was Independent. “ The Independent that system of church-government hath crumbled the whole church under which Sir William would into sand, where no particular have preferred to live. As it was, church, nor the pastor thereof, he in all probability conformed at hath continuity with or subordi- the restoration, though he remained nation to other; but like the liberal in his sentiments. He apbooks of Sybil, every one is worth pears to have been on the most as much as all; and though intimate terms with many of the they have in this an emulation to Dissenting ministers. No doubt be like angels, whereof the schools his extensive judgment on all say that every one constitutes a points connected with religion distinct species, yet they have an made him rank high in their ambition above angels, where are esteem. Dr, Owen dedicated to orders one superior to another ; but him the fourth volume of his comthese have neither dependency mentary on the Hebrews.