Sheldon and Parliament

  • Victor D. Sutch
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idees / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH)


Sheldon’s success in protecting the Church’s monopoly against the king and that segment of the court and gentry who favored a lower, more comprehensive religious arrangement did not come easy. It could only have been achieved by a leader who was thoroughly familiar with the workings of parliament, in both its houses; who recognized the importance of, and knew how to mold, public opinion; and who was a shrewd, penetrating judge of people and their motives. Sheldon possessed all of these characteristics, plus an absolute dedication to the Church’s cause. This latter attribute permitted the archbishop a certain latitude in his selection of means — as long as the end was properly served — and resulted also in a ceaseless vigilance when it came to legislation, or any other action, which might affect his beloved Church of England.


Lower House Religious Matter Legislative Session Irish Cattle Fall Illness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See Lords’ Journals, XI, 354–587, for these numerous committee assignments.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Walter Simon, The Restoration Episcopate (New York, 1965), p. 69. It should be noted that episcopal votes were actually twenty-six. Sodor and Man sat in the Lords without a vote.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., p. 80, where Cosin is the chief speaker in favor of the Roos’ Divorce bill which the Sheldonians in a body voted against. There were one or two others, like Nathaniel Crewe later, who took the nonresistance doctrine seriously and voted against the Church interest in support of the throne.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cosin, Correspondence, II, 26, Sheldon to Cosin, Nov. 16, 1661.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Add. Mss. C. 302, bishop of Gloucester to Sheldon, Sept. 22, 1666.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tanner Ms. 45, Lichfield to Sheldon, Sept. 21, 1667.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Add. Mss. C. 308, Sheldon to Cosin, no date, where the archbishop excuses Cosin from attendance but discusses the necessity of a new proxy.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cosin, Correspondence, II, 137, Archbishop Sterne to Cosin, Sept. 18, 1665.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Add. Mss. C. 303, Clarendon to Sheldon, Sept. 18, 1665.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Simon, p. 73.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lords’Journals, XII, 311.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See Chapters V and VI.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    W. D. Whitley, repeats this charge in A History of British Baptists (London, 1923), p. 119.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Harl. Mss. 7377, Sheldon to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, April, 1667.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., Sheldon to Sparrow, Aug. 7, 1671.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Add. Mss. C. 308, Sheldon to Sir Martin Lister, Oct. 21, 1667.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ibid. Sheldon to the lord chancellor of Ireland, April 1, 1667.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid., Sheldon to Sir Thomas Master, Esq., Nov. 5, 1667.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid., Sheldon to Lord Maynard, March 15, 1666/7.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    For one of these, see Ibid., Sheldon to Dr. Bayley, president of St. Johns College, Dec. 10, 1666.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ibid., Sheldon to Ralph Bathurst, April 18, 1664.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    See Ibid., and also Harl. Mss. 7377, Sheldon to warden of All Souls, Nov. 7, 1674.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Parker, p. 44.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 43.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Evelyn reports dining with the archbishop in April of 1669 and noted gratefully that the primate “was infinitely civil to me.” See Diary, p. 528. Hooke was present at a Sheldon dinner on August 20, 1673, and he reported that Sheldon “made much of me.” See The Diary of Robert Hooke 1672–1680 (London, 1935), for that date. Pepys dined there on more than one occasion. See Pepys’ Diary, II, 1679, where he describes Sheldon’s table as the greatest cheer he had ever seen and “the Bishop mighty kind to me.” For John Milward, who was given a surprise birthday party at Lambeth, see The Diary of John Milward (Cambridge University Press, 1938), p. 33. Milward was vastly pleased at the honor.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Opinion of Bishop Gibson, quoted in T. Lathbury History of Convocations, (London, 1836), p. 260.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    See a letter to John Hacket and Hacket’s reply on this subject in Tanner Ms. 47, October, 1664.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ibid. Much of the material in this paragraph follows Hacket’s line of reasoning.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
  32. 32.
    Add. Mss. C. 308, Sheldon to Skinner, March 15, 1665/6.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    N. Sykes, Sheldon to Seeker (Cambridge, 1959), p. 43, describes this effect.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Stoughton, III, 324.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lathbury, p. 260.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Add. Mss. C. 308, Sheldon to the bishop of Oxford, March 15, 1665/6.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Harl. Mss. 7377, Sheldon to all bishops, August, 1669.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tanner Ms. 43, Sheldon to all bishops, no date, 1672.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Harl. Mss. 7377, Sheldon to the bishop of Bangor, Dec. 28, 1672.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    See Chapter V.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    See below, p. 145.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lords’ Journals, XI, 689.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    See Add. Mss. C. 303, for this interesting series of twelve to fifteen consecutive letters.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ibid., Clarendon to Sheldon, Aug. 29, 1665.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    For Sheldon’s draft of this act, see Add. Mss. C. 307.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Lord’s Journals, XI, 616.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Add. Mss. C. 305, Ward to Sheldon, Feb. 24 1665/6.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Harl. Mss. 7377, Sheldon to Peter Mewes, July 15, 1674.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Add. Mss. C. 303, Hyde to Sheldon, Sept. 16, 1665.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ibid., Sept. 5, 1665.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ibid., Sept. 26, 1665.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Whitley, p. 119, ascribes the Second Conventicles Act solely to Sheldon’s determined advocacy.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    The Act of Parliament (London, 1670), p. 5, — an anonymously published pamphlet.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor D. Sutch

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations