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Engraved by . Freeman
Published by Archd Fullarton & Co Glasgow.
the mitre, and represented to the queen that the Doctor had preached a funeral sermon for Eleanor Gwynn, Charles's mistress, in which he had spoken more than charitably of that poor woman :-" I have heard as much,” her majesty calmly replied, “ and it is to me a proof that the poor creature died a penitent at last; for if I can read a man's heart through his looks, I feel persuaded that had Nell Gwyne not made a good end, the Doctor never could have been induced to speak of her as he did." In 1693, upon the death of Dr Marsh, Tenison was offered the archbishopric of Dublin; but he declined it on account of some difficulties which stood in the way of the restitution of certain church impropriations wbich had been forfeited to the crown, but which he thought ought to be restored to the respective churches. In the following year, however, upon the death of Dr Tillotson, the bishop of Lincoln was elevated to the primacy.
Dr Kennet observes of this elevation, that it was “the solicitous care of the court to fill up the see of Canterbury. The first person that seemed to be offered to the eye of the world was Dr Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester; but his great abilities had raised some envy and some jealousy of him; and indeed his body would not have borne the fatigues of such a station. Even the bishop of Bristol, Dr John Hall, master of Pembroke college, Oxford, was recommended by a great party of men who had an opinion of his great piety and moderation. But the person most esteemed by their majesties, and most universally approved by the ministry, and the clergy, and the people, was Dr Tenison, bishop of Lincoln, who had been exemplary in every station of his life,-had restored a neglected large diocese to some discipline and good order,—and had before, in the office of a parochial minister, done as much good as perhaps was possible for any one man to do.” Soon after his elevation to the archiepiscopal see, the queen being seized with the disease which proved fatal to her, at her particular desire was attended on her death-bed by Dr Tenison. He also preached her majesty's funeral sermon. Soon after, Dr Ken, the deprived bishop of Bath and Wells, addressed a letter to his grace, in which he charged him with gross neglect of duty, in not representing to her majesty “the great guilt she lay under by her conduct at the Revolution,” and endeavouring to awake her to a proper sense of penitence. The archbishop took no notice of Ken's letter; but he did what Ken himselfhad he been in his situation—would probably have shrunk from,—he charged the king with gross misconduct in the matter of Lady Villiers, with whom, it was well-known, he had been long too familiar; and so boldly and warmly did he follow up his remonstrances, that the king took them in good part, and solemnly pledged himself never again to visit Lady Villiers. He continued in favour at court notwithstanding of his integrity, and was in constant attendance on King William during his last illness.
As primate, Dr Tenison officiated at the coronation of Queen Anne; his steady opposition, however, to several of her worst measures, and particularly the bill against occasional conformity, lost him her majesty's favour. The following sentiments which occur in a speech made by his grace against this bill in 1704, deserve to be 'quoted :—“ I think the practice of occasional conformity, as used by the dissenters, is so far from deserving the title of a vile hypocrisy, that it is the duty of all
moderate dissenters, upon their own principles, to do it. The employing persons of a different religion from the established has been practised in all countries where liberty of conscience has been allowed. We have gone further already in excluding dissenters than any
other country has done. Whatever reasons there were to apprehend our religion in danger from the papists, when the test-act was made, yet ere do not seem the least danger to it from the dissenters now. On the other hand, I can see very plain inconveniences from this bill at present. As it is brought in, this last time, indeed, they have added a preamble, which, though it was in the first edition of the bill, was left out in the second; namely, that the act of toleration should be always kept inviolable; but the toleration act being to take away all the penalties that a man might incur by going to a separate congregation, and the occasional bill being to lay new penalties upon those that do it, how they can say that this is not in itself a violation of the other, I cannot easily comprehend. I doubt it will put people in mind of what passed in France, where every edict against the protestants began with a protestation, that the edict of Nantes ought always to be preserved inviolable, till that very edict was in express words repealed. At a time that all Europe is engaged in a bloody and expensive war; that this nation has not only such considerable foreign enemies to deal withal, but has a party in her own bowels ready upon all occasions to bring in a popish pretender, and involve us all in the same or rather worse calamities than those from which, with so much blood and treasure, we have been freed ;-at a time that the protestant dissenters, (however they may be in the wrong by separating from us, yet) are heartily united with us against the common foes to our religion and government; what advantage those who are in earnest for defending these things can have, by lessening the number of such as are firmly united in this common cause, I cannot, for my life, imagine; therefore, I am for throwing out the bill without giving it another reading."? The good archbishop further rendered himself obnoxious to her majesty by the zeal he manifested for securing a protestant succession. He even ventured to enter into a correspondence with the electress Sophia, on the subject of the Hanoverian succession. In April, 1706, he was nominated first commissioner for effecting the union with Scotland. In this same year he warmly supported the resolution of the ajority of the peers, that “the church of England, as by law established, is in a most safe and flourishing condition, and whosoever goes about to suggest and insinuate
? In Lord Dartmouth's notes on Burnet's ' History of his own Time,' we find the following curious passage regarding the archbishop: " I was ordered by the queen to go to Lambeth and acquaint the archbishop that she thought it necessary that some censure should pass upon Whiston and his book, which gave great offence. He said it was a bad book, and there were a great many, but the worst of all came from abroad, and wished there might be some stop put to that. I told him there were bad books everywhere, but which did his grace mean? He said there was one Bayle had wrote a naughty book about a comet that did a great deal of harm. I told him I had read it, and did not think there was much in it; the chief design being to prove that idolatry was worse than atheism, and that false worship was more offensive to God than none. He said, indeed, he had not read it, and I found by his discourse that he had not read Whiston's; which, I told him, struck at the essentials of the Christian religion. He said there were some difficulties and disputes about prosecuting men for their opinions, and I never could prevail with him to tell me plainly, whether he would do what the queen desired of him, or no. But he afterwards sent me a very unintelligible letter, that concluded with excusing his not having wrote with his own hand, because he had the gout in both his feet."