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Rochester, presented to North Kilworth in Leicestershire, and created D. D. He preached his first sermon before the King, at Theobalds, in 1609; and giving up his Leicestershire living for that of WestTilbury in Essex, was the year following presented by his Right Reverend patron to the Rectory of Cuckstone in Kent. Finding the air of this latter place, however, prejudicial to his health, he exchanged it for the benefice of Norton in the same county.
About the end of the year 1610, Dr. Buckeridge being promoted to the see of Rochester on the translation of Neale to that of Litchfield and Coventry, Abbot, who had recently become Primate, preferred a complaint against Laud to the Lord Chancellor Ellesmere (who was, also, Chancellor of the University) alleging that he was a Papist in his heart. This was done, though without success, in order to prevent his succeeding Dr. Buckeridge in the presidency of his College. In 1611, he was sworn one of the King's Chaplains. In 1614 Neale, then Bishop of Lincoln, bestowed upon him the prebend of Bugden, and soon afterward the archdeaconry of Huntingdon. In 1616, he was advanced to the deanery of Gloucester; a dignity, which though it was of no great value, * established his reputation as a rising man in the church, after he had been long deemed one, whom the King was disinclined to favour. His Majesty, on this appointment, desired Laud to set in order whatever he should find amiss in the cathedral;' upon which, he
immediately ordered the whole edifice to be repaired and beautified; and calling a chapter, removed the Communion-Table, then standing in the middle of the church, to the east-end of the choir. He, likewise, strongly recommended to the cathedral-clergy that they should bow, in token of reverence to God, not only at their first entrance into the choir, but likewise on their approach to the Holy Table. These alterations gave great offence to many, particularly to Dr. Miles Smith, Bishop of the see, who after the transfer recommended never entered the church.
As a farther testimony of royal favour, he was ordered to attend his Majesty in his journey to Scotland, in 1617. He, likewise, procured instructions to be sent to Oxford, for the better government of that University. The design of the northern progress was, to bring the Kirk of Scotland to an uniformity with the English Church; a favourite scheme with Laud, and some other divines. But “ the Scots were Scots,” as Dr. Heylin observes, “ and resolved to go on in their own way, whatever came of it;” so that neither the King, nor his clerical companion, gained any credit by their expensive journey.
Upon his return from Scotland, he again exchanged preferments, receiving in' return for Norton the rectory of Ibstock in Leicestershire: and in 1620, he was installed Prebendary of Westminster, in cona formity to a promise made ten years before by his Majesty to Bishop Neale. In 1621, the King nominated him to the bishopric of St. David's. With this he was permitted to hold his prebend in commendam, through the interest of the Lord Keeper Williams, who, to increase his small income, gave him a benefice of 150l. per ann. in his new diocese. In the following year, James farther bestowed upon him the rectory of Creeke in Northamptonshire.
About this time, his Majesty issued some directions concerning preachers and preaching, in which he prohibited the discussion of the doctrines of predestination, election, irresistibility of divine grace, &c. These directions were levelled against the Puritans, and as Laud was suspected of having superintended at least, if not suggested, their composition, he provoked against himself a new host of enemies among persons of that description.
The same year, likewise, he held his celebrated Conference with Fisher the Jesuit in the presence of the Marquis of Buckingham and his mother, in order to confirm their wavering judgement in the Protestant Faith; and he gained his object. This Conference afforded a striking proof of the superiority of his genius and learning; and it's immediate consequence was, an intimacy with the Marquis, to whom (it is said) he became subsequently too subservient.*
But the patronage of that nobleman, who during his absence in Spain had left him his agent at court, and regularly corresponded with him, excited the jealousy of the Lord Keeper, and from a warm friend converted him into a bitter enemy.t Archbishop Abbot likewise,
* Roger Coke calls him Vicegerent to Buckingham,' with whom (while in France) he is said to have corresponded on the subject of the Princess Henrietta Maria; and adds, that “these two stopped up both the King's cars from any other doctrine in church or state, but what was infused by themselves.
† Laud, it appears, reported to his principal, that. Williams could not suppress his discontent at that ill-advised journey.' having resolved to check his aspiring disposition, left him out of the list of members constituting the HighCommission Court, a tribunal instituted to take cognisance of all ecclesiastical matters: but, Laud complaining of this indignity to Buckingham, his name was inserted in 1624.
His credit with the minister was now firmly rooted; and he began to show it, by acts of authority, on the accession of Charles I. For that Monarch wishing to regulate the number of his Chaplains, and to appoint those only whose religious principles he could fully approve, requested Laud to draw out a catalogue of the most eminent divines in the kingdom, placing opposite to each name the letter O for Orthodox, or P for Puritan. The latter mark being considered as a barrier against promotion, Laud was thus virtually invested with the entire power of recommending the inferior clergy to the royal notice.
Ingratitude was assuredly of the number of his vices, for he lent his assistance to accomplish the dismission of the Lord Keeper from his office; though he had received from him at his outset, as above stated, most important marks of favour.* In 1626,
This circumstance, to which the Lord Keeper attributed his subsequent disgrace, brought on a settled hostility between the two Prelates; Williams but too justly accusing Laud of unpar. donable ingratitude, and Laud feeling all the rancour too often connected with the consciousness of having inflicted an injury, which prompted Tacitus? Odisse quem læseris.
* Among other insults offered to his early patron, Laud pre. vailed upon Buckingham to procure for him the honour of officiating at the coronation of Charles, in the room of Williams, whose office it was as Dean of Westminster to administer the coronation-oath. Upon this occasion, he has been charged (but without sufficient evidence) with having altered the terms of that
he was translated to the see of Bath and Wells, made a Privy Councillor, and appointed Dean of the Chapel Royal. He was, likewise, appointed one of the Commissioners for exercising archiepiscopal jurisdiction upon Abbot's sequestration in the year 1627, and by his advice the King was now almost entirely governed in the disposal of ecclesiastical preferments.
In the third parliament of Charles' reign, he was voted to be one of the favourers of Arminianism, and specified by name, in the remonstrance of the Commons, as suspected of holding unsound opinions.' He was charged, also, with having framed the royal speeches, and Buckingham's answer to the articles of impeachment preferred against him; and in consequence became so unpopular, that his life was menaced, in anonymous papers thrown into the court- . yard of his house in London, Yet this had no effect upon his advancement; for, in 1628, he was translated to the see of London. He was, likewise, appointed a Commissioner for levying money by certain inland duties, called by the Commons an excise. This nomination increased the fury of the populace against him; though the plan was never carried into execution. Upon the assassination of Buckingham his grief was so immoderate, that he even threatened Felton with the rack, in order to extort from him a confession of his accomplices : and though Felton sensibly ob
oath. The accusation probably took it's rise from his having introduced, in the course of the ceremony, an artful address to the King in behalf of the clergy, exhorting his Majesty to
show more favour to that order than to the rest of his subjects, because they place the crown upon his head, and approach nearer to the altar than others!'