19 NOVEMBER 1881, Page 8


IT was impossible in an editorial note to deal exhaustively with the letter from Mr. Llewelyn Davies which we published last week. We return, therefore, to the subject. Succinctly stated, Mr. Davies's argument, as we understand it, is as follows :—(1.) The fact of an ecclesiastical vestment being found in an inventory of Church goods is no proof that such vestment was either used or legal. " Churchwardens," he says, " were expressly ordered to take care of the costly vest- ments which were no longer to be used in divine service, and not allow them to be spoiled, embezzled, or sold." (2.) All the evidence produced by Mr. MacColl was before the Court in the Ridsdale case, and there has been no fresh evidence since, except that furnished by Church inventories, which, for the reason given in (1), is irrelevant. (3.) Both Mr. MacColl and the Spectator have misunderstood the quotation from Bishop Horn, and therefore their piece de resistance tumbles to the ground. This is Mr. Davies's case. Let us examine it in order.

1. According to the Ridsdale judgment, certain vestments were strictly forbidden, and others peremptorily enjoined, by law, in the beginning of the summer of 1566. But in the inventory of the Church of All Saints', Derby, some of these presumably for- bidden vestments figure for a decade after the alleged legal abolition. That fact, in Mr. Davies's opinion, does not prove that they were used. We reply, that the onus probandi of that assertion lies on Mr. Davies. Several of the articles mentioned in the All Saints' inventory were undoubtedly used. What right has Mr. Davies to make an arbitrary selection, and say, "But these were not used I" The presumption is all the other way. And what is Mr. Davies's authority for saying that " Churchwardens were expressly ordered to take care of the costly vestments which were no longer to be used in divine service, and not to allow them to be spoiled, embezzled, or sold ?" When he has produced any such order it will be time enough to discuss its relevancy. But the inventory of All Saints', Derby, supplies another piece of evidence against Mr. Davies. The church is collegiate, and therefore, according to the Ridsdale judgment, not only did albs and chasubles cease to be legal in it after the Advertisements, but the use of the cope was from that date obligatory. But the fact is, that the vestment which we are asked to believe was illegal remained for a full decade after the Advertisements, while that which was made obligatory disappeared for ever within two years after the publication of the Advertisements. This is one out of a multitude of proofs that the disappearance of the vest- ments had nothing to do with their illegality. We are willing, however, to give Mr. Davies additional proof that our inter- pretation of the contents of church inventories, and not his, is the correct one. If he will consult Sir John Maclean's "Parochial and Family History of the Deanery of Trig Minor, in the County of Cornwall," Part IL, p. 343, he will find an inventory of church goods, subsequent to the publication of the Advertisements, as to the authoritative use of which there can be no possible doubt. The two churchwardens of the parish of Bodmin testify that they have " received into 'their hands and keeping, of the said Nicholas Cory, Mayor, and of all the whole parish aforesaid, to be used and occupied to the honour of God, in the same church, from .the day and year aforesaid [i.e., the eighth of Elizabeth] forward all such goods and ornaments as followeth, and loth taken, upon them and their successors to yield a true reckoning -of all the same goods and ornaments and deliver thereof, to make without delay to the said Nicholas Coq and his successors, for the time being _Mayor, and to all the whole parish of Bodmin afore- said, this time twelvemonth." Now, among these ornaments, " to be used and occupied to the honour of God, in the same parish church, from the day and year aforesaid forward," are several sets of chasubles, albs, and copes, the use of which, according to the Ridsdale judgment, was at the time illegal and highly penal. Does Mr. Davies seriously believe that not only the clergy, but the whole parish and the Mayor of the borough, were entirely ignofant of the law, or contemplated its open violation, " from the day and year aforesaid forward ?" Surely Mr. Davies will admit that there are limits to credulity. Yet we will furnish him with two more proofs of the fallacy of his reasoning under this head. The will of a certain Somerset-

shire Justice of the Peace, by name Humphrey Coles, was written subsequent to the publication of the Advertisements, and proved before Archbishop Parker in the year 1571,—that is, four years after the Advertisements. One of the executors was the Solicitor-General of the day, and the will says, among other things, " I will to the Churchwardens of the Parish Church of Corff, in the county of Somerset, to the use of the same church and maintenance of divine service there, the cope [which, according to the Ridsdale judgment, was illegal in parish churches] of velvet, embroidered, that my wife lent to the parishioners there, and all vestments and other furniture of mine whatsoever the Churchwardens have, meet for the main- tenance of divine service there." Moreover, if Mr. Davies will consult Kennet's "Register" (p. 537), he will find that one of the now forbidden vestments was used on a public occasion in Chester, in the presence of the Bishop, in September, 1661,— that is, after the last revision of the Ornaments Rubric.

2. Mr. Davies assumes that all the evidence published by Mr. MacColl must have been before the Court in the Ridsdale case, because Mr. MacColl's book was published before that trial. How does Mr. Davies reconcile that assumption with the following fact ? The Parches judgment had boldly asserted that the order to wear a surplice precluded of necessity the simultaneous use of the alb or chasuble. Mr. MacColl proved, on the contrary, that the use of either alb or surplice, and sometimes of both together, under the chasuble or cope, was the prescribed rule, both before and after the Reformation. Among other evidence, Mr. MacColl quoted two rubrics from the First Prayer-book of Edward VI.,—the book, that is, to which the Ornaments Rubric ex- pressly refers. The first rubric orders the use of " a white alb, plain, with a vestment or cope." The second rubric says :- " The priest shall put upon him a plain alb or surplice, with a cope." The Ridsdale judgment, on the other hand, argues as follows :—" It was not seriously contended that albs or chasubles could, in any reasonable or practical sense, or according to any known usage, be worn, or could be meant to be worn, concur- rently with the surplice. If, therefore, the use of the sur- plice at the administration of the Holy Communion was rendered lawful and obligatory by these Advertisements,' the use of albs or chasubles at that administration was thereby rendered unlawful." To believe that the Court committed itself to this astounding misstatement, in face of the evidence to the contrary in Mr. MacColl's book, is in fact to accuse the Court of a deliberate perversion of the truth ; and that is an accusation which we are sure that Mr. Davies would repudiate as heartily as we do. Another important piece of evidence in Mr. MacColl's book, which nowhere appears in the Ridsdale trial, is the formal abolition of the disputed vestments by Act of Parliament in the year 1644. We put it to Mr. Davies's candour, whether he thinks that an Act of Parliament would have been needed in 1644 to abolish vest- ments which had been legally abolished in 1566. Let him emancipate himself from a too superstitious deference to legal authorities, and let him apply to the Ridsdale judgment that process of " free handling " which the writers of " Essays and Reviews " claimed the right of applying to the Bible, and we feel confident that his clear and strong intelligence will lead him inevitably to our conclusion. Mr. Davies, will, of course, understand that it is impossible, within the limits of a short article, to give him more than a few samples of the evidence to which he has challenged us. With one more specimen of evidence which did not come out in the Ridsdale case, we will pass to Mr. Davies's fancied demolition of what he somewhat inaccurately calls our piece de resistance. In a book called "A Plea for the Nonconformists," pub- lished in the eighteenth century, the author makes an elaborate attack on the Book of Common Prayer ; and one of his accusations is that the Prayer-book enjoins on the clergy the use of " particular vestments for their holy ministrations, such as albs, surplices, chasubles, =ices, gowns, copes, maniples, zones, &c.,"—in fact, all the vestments in use in the second year of Edward VI. The author was tried, fined, and imprisoned, for making false accusations against the Prayer-book, and the particulars of his calumny are carefully enumerated in the indictment against him. His charge that the condemned vestments were still sanctioned by law is not included in the indictment, for the obvious reason that the charge was true.

3. We now come to the testimony of Bishop Horn. In a letter, written after the Advertisements were drawn up, with his assistance, Horn refers to the Act of Uniformity as having passed before the return of himself and his fellow-Puritans from abroad, and says, referring to the year 1559: " Although the other rubbish was taken away, the wearing of caps and sur- plices was continued to the clergy This Act cannot be repealed, except by the agreement and consent of all the Estates of the Kingdom, by whose concurrence it was enacted.

We certainly hope to repeal this clause of the Act next Session,"—the clause, that is, which sanctioned the Ornaments Rubric, and under which the surplice (but not the other legal vestments) was enforced. It is quite plain that Horn is not thinking of any " other order " to be taken under the Act. What he says is that under the authority of the Act as it stood the surplice and square cap were enforced, and had been enforced ever since Elizabeth's accession, though the other requirements of the Act were left in abeyance. In other words, years before the Advertisements were thought of, and when the use of the chasuble was beyond all question legal, the surplice alone was enforced on the recalcitrant Puritans. Two inferences are inevitable from Horn's letter : first, that it never occurred to him to imagine that the Advertisements were intended to do anything more than help to enforce a minimum of the requirements of the existing law ; secondly, that he believed that the law of the Ornaments Rubric could not be modified except by a fresh Act of Parlia- ment. The idea that the Uniformity Act of Elizabeth con- templated any " other order " in the direction of a relaxation of ceremonial is a modern fiction. Contemporaneous evidence is unanimous and overwhelming in showing that the " other order" pointed to the imposition of additional ceremonies. There is, however, a letter from Archbishop Grindal, which places our interpretation of Horn's letter beyond a doubt. Writing to a foreign correspondent on the Vestment question and the Ornaments Rubric, five years after the publication of the Advertisements, Grindal, whose signature, like Horn's, is attached to the Advertisements, says :—" Nothing, however, of the law [as to the vestments] is either altered or dimin- ished." How does Mr. Davies reconcile this explicit declara- tion of one of the authors of the Advertisements with the theory that the Advertisements did materially " alter or diminish " the requirements of the law ? The only plausible arguments against the forbidden vestments are (1) that they were occasionally condemned by individual Bishops ; (2), that they gradually disappeared. But, as to the first point, Puritan Bishops—Grindal, for example—condemned not only vestments which they knew to be legal, but crosses, candlesticks, and all chalices "heretofore used at Mass," the legality of which nobody questions. (Grindal was suspended from his functions and deprived of his personal liberty, for his lawless administra- tion of his diocese.) The second argument proves too much, for altar vestments and copes, which are admitted to be legal, dis- appeared at the same time as the chasuble. Mr. Davies " knows of no other solution which, on the whole, deals with the his- torical problem so successfully" as does the Ridsdale judgment. We feel bound to say, on the contrary, that we know of no solution which is so hopelessly inconsistent with all the facts of the case. In truth, the question is an extremely simple one, and the " difficulties" to which Mr. Davies refers are not at all in" the historical problem," but in the prepossessed minds of able men who have made a hurried raid into a tract of history of which their knowledge is extremely superficial and fragmentary. Mr. Davies is well aware that this journal—and, for that matter, Mr. MacColl, as we understand him—has never defended the Ritual vestments from any superstitious regard for ecclesiastical apparel. But law is law, and history is history, and we do not love perversions of either.