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for it, but herself; but since she was pleased to write this paper, to satisfy her friends, and it is thought fit to be published for general satisfaction, all readers have a right to judge of the strength of them; and those of the church of England, an obligation to vindicate the honour of it, so far as it may be thought to suffer by them.

I am sensible how nice and tender a thing it is, to meddle in a matter wherein the memory of so great a lady is so nearly concerned, and wherein such circumstances are mentioned which cannot fully be cleared, the parties themselves having been many years dead; but I shall endeavour to keep within due bounds, and consider this paper with respect to the main design of it, and take notice of other particulars, so far as they are subservient to it.

The way of her satisfaction must needs appear very extraordinary; for, towards the conclusion, she confesses she was not able, nor would she enter into disputes with any body. Now, where the difference between the two churches lies wholly in matters of dispute, how any one could be truly satisfied as to the grounds of leaving one church and going to the other, without entering into matter of dispute with any body, is hard to understand. If persons be resolved beforehand what to do, and therefore will hear nothing said against it, there is no such way as to declare they will enter into no dispute about it. But what satisfaction is to be had in this manner of proceeding? How could one, bred

up in the church of England, and so well instructed in the doctrines of it, ever satisfy herself in forsaking the communion of it, without enquiring into, and comparing the doctrines and practices of both churches? It is possible for persons of learning, who will take the pains of examining things themselves, to do that without entering into disputes with any body; but this was not to be presumed of a person of her condition: For many things must fall in her way, which she could neither have the leisure to examine, nor the capacity to judge of, without the assistance of such who have made it their business to search into them. Had she no divines of the church of England about her, to have proposed her scruples to ? None able and willing to give her their utmost assistance in a matter of such importance, before she took up a resolution of forsaking our church? This cannot be imagined, considering not only her great quality but that just esteem they had for her, whilst she continued so zealous and devout in the communion of our church.

But we have more than this to say. One of the bishops, * who had nearest relation to her for many years, and who owns in print, † that he bred her up in the principles of the church of England, was both able and willing to have removed any doubts and scruples with respect to our church, if she would have been pleased to have communicated

* This prelate was Dr George Morley, who, during the time of the usurpation, was domestic chaplain to Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards Lord Clarendon; and educated his daughter, Anne Hyde, in the faith of the church of England. See page 189. Upon the Restoration, Morley was made successively bishop of Worcester and Winchester. “ He was,” says Burnet, “ a pious, charitable man, of an exemplary life, but extremely passionate and obstinate.” This prelate, who was deeply and justly afflicted with the Duchess's change of religion, vindicated himself from the suspicion of having neglected his duty towards her, by publishing, in 1683, a collection of tracts, with an apologetical preface already quoted, and a letter which he had written to the Duchess in 1670-1, some months before her death, upon hearing a rumour that she was shaken in her adherence to the Protestant faith, + Preface to his Treatise, p. 5.


them to him. And however she endeavoured to conceal her scruples, he tells her in his letter * to her, which he since printed for his own vindication, " that he had heard much discourse concerning her wavering in religion, and that he had acquainted her highness with it, the Lent before the date of this paper ;" and was so much concerned at it, that he obtained a promise from her, that if any writing were put into her hands by those of the church of Rome, that she would send it either to him, or to the then bishop of Oxford, whom he left in attendance upon her. † After which, he saith, “ she was many days with him at Farnham; in all which time she spake not one word to him of any doubt she had about her religion.” And yet this paper bears date, August 20th, that year, wherein she declares

* Letter to her Royal Highness, p. 3, 4.

+" And this I am the rather obliged to believe, because, the last time I had any discourse with your Highness of things of this nature, you did seriously affirm to me, that never any priest of the church of Rome had ever been so bold as to enter into


discourse of religion with you. Whereupon, when I humbly besought your Highness, that if any of them should be so bold at any time afterwards, and you should think fit to hear what they could say, either for their own church, or against ours; your Highness would be pleased to command them to give it you in writing, and that you would be pleased to show me, or my lord of Oxford, any such papers, or paper, they should give you to consider of, and to reply to the which, because you were pleased to promise me you would do, and have never as yet done, (not to me I am sure, nor to him either for aught I know,) I cannot believe that any thing of that kind hath been as yet said to you, at least, not so as to make any impression on you, and much less to gain an absolute belief from you, that there is no salvation to be had but in the church of Rome only, and consequently, that if ever you mean to be saved, you must of necessity quit our communion, and embrace theirs." ---Letter to the Duchess.

herself changed in her religion; so that it is evident he did not make use of the ordinary means for her own satisfaction, at least as to those bishops who had known her longest.

But she saith,“ that she spoke severally to two of the best bishops * we have in England, who both told her, there were many things in the Roman church, which it were much to be wished we had kept; as confession, which was no doubt commanded of God; that praying for the dead, was one of the ancient things in Christianity; that, for their parts, they did it daily, though they would not own it. And afterwards, pressing one of them very much

upon the other points, he told her, that if he had been bred a Catholic, he would not change his religion ; but that being of another church, wherein he was sure were all things necessary to salvation, he thought it very ill to give that scandal, as to leave that church wherein he received his baptism. Which discourses,” she said, “ did but add more to the desire she had to be a Catholic." This, I confess, seems to be to the purpose;

if there were not some circumstances and expressions very much mistaken in the representation of it: but yet suppose the utmost to be allowed, there could be no argument from hence drawn fór leaving the communion of our church, if this bishop's authority or example did signify any thing with her. For supposing he did say,

" that if he had been bred in the communion of the church of Rome, he would not change his religion;" yet he added, "that being of another church, wherein were

* Sheldon, and Blandford. The former, as already mentioned, was bishop of London, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury; the latter bishop of Oxford, afterwards of Worcester.

† Blandford.

all things necessary to salvation, he thought it very ill to give that scandal, as to leave that church wherein he had received his baptism.” Now, why should not the last words have greater force to have kept her in the communion of our church, than the former to have drawn her from it? For why should any person forsake the communion of our church, unless it appears necessary to salvation so to do; and yet this yielding bishop did affirm,“ that all things necessary to salvation were certainly in our church; and that it was an ill thing to leave it." How could this “add to her desire of leaving our church?” unless there were some other motive to draw her thither, and then such small inducements would serve to inflame such a desire. But it is evident from her own words afterwards, that these concessions of the bishop could have no influence upon her; for she declares, and calls God to witness, “that she would never have changed her religion, if she had thought it possible to save her soul otherwise.” Now what could the bishop's words signify towards her turning, when he declares just contrary, viz. not only that it was possible for her to be saved without turning, “but that he was sure we had all things necessary to salvation; and that it was a very ill thing to leave our church?” There must therefore have been some more secret reason, which encreased her desire to be a Catholic after these discourses; unless the advantage were taken from the bishop's calling the church of Rome the Catholic religion ; “if he had been bred a Catholic, he would not have changed his religion.” But if we take these words so strictly, he must have contradicted himself; for how could he be sure we had all things necessary to salvation, if we were out of the Catholic church? Was a bishop of our church, and one of the best bishops of our church,

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