An Account of the Cambridge case & all the proceedings therein.

On the 9th day of Febr. being Ashwednesday, came a Letter under his Majestys Signet Manual dated the 7th of the same month; the substance whereof was; that hearing much in commendation of one Alban ffrancis a Benedictine, the King was pleased to command the Vniversity, that they should admitt him to the Degree of Master of Arts without administring to him any oath or Oaths; whatsoever any law or Statute to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding which his Majestie was pleas'd graciously to dispence in behalf of the said Alban ffrancis.

On Munday the 21th the Vice Chancellor having summon'd a congregation read his Majesties letter purporting as before & superscrib'd To our Trusty & welbeloved the ViceChancellor of the Vniversity of Cambridge to be communicated to the Senate there upon the reading hereof the Senate who had made the best advantage they could of the Vice Chancellors delay in order to getting advice resolv'd to testifie their common & almost unanimous sence of the thing & in a matter of such consequence & novell practice to interpose accordingly there was (as 'tis commonly term'd) a Grace, the very original paper whereof I have seen, drawn up in order to be put to the vote of the house after the ordinary & usuall way, but the constitution of the body being such that this must first of necessity have been propos'd to what we call the Heads which consists of 6 persons each of which hath an Arbitrary voice & power upon dislike to stop any proceeding finally & hinder it from being put to the house at all, this method was laid aside as impracticable upon that occasion. Because Master Basset a declar'd Roman Catholick & one that had openly asserted Master ffrancis his cause happened to be one of the six who composed the Head for this year. It was therefore presum'd with great appearance of Reason that he would put a bar to the proceedings & so the Grace not being sufferd to be offerd to the House the Senates sence could never have been fully & particularly known thereupon.

This Consideration constraind them to the use of another course which was without the formality of a suffrage voluntarily to testifie their concurrance with Master Vice Chancellor & advise him to forbear the admitting Master ffrancis till the King had been petitioned to revoke his Mandate. As soon as the Letter came to Town the Vice Chancellor wrote away to the Duke of Albemarle our Chancellor to beg his intercession with the King which he returnd word was tryed with no effect. But possibly such a body as the Vniversity concurring & signing a petition if that should be admitted might prove better & more successfull. Now because if every single man present to the number perhaps of 150 or 200 should advise in person to the Vice Chancellor this might look tumultuary it was thought the more quiet decent & respectfull way to send up their sence by Messenger from each House. To this purpose Dr. Smoult Professor of Casuisticall Divinity was made choice of by the Non Regents & Master Norris Fellow of Trinity Colledge by the Regents. The substance of what they deliver'd was that the House thought the Admission of Master ffrancis without the usuall oaths to be illegall & unsafe & for that reason advisd the King might be petition'd to revoke his Mandate in the doing which they were ready to joyn & make it their Act. The opinions were given to these two Messengers freely in each House & the thing was so unanimously approv'd that the only persons taken notice of to be against it amongst so many were 3 Papists & one or two besides. Afterwards there was a Gentleman admitted Dr. of Physick by virtue of a Mandate having first taken the oaths & the Esquire Beedle & Register were sent to let Master ffrancis know that the Senate were ready to admitt him provided he would swear as the Laws appointed. But he refusd insisting upon the Kings dispensa{tion} & this was the business of the first meeting about this matter.


Immediately upon the Congregation's breaking up Master ffrancis took horse for London to represent at Whitehall what had been done & the same Afternoon the Heads met in Consistory to Consult what Letters should be sent & to whom they agreed upon one to the Duke of Albemarle & another to the Earle of Sunderland He being the Secretarie of State thro' whose hands the Mandate passed. An Esquire Beadle was dispatcht that night who after having waited on the Duke of Albamarle endeavourd severall times to gett access to the Lord Sunderland but could not at last having sent in his Letter (The main whereof was a most humble submission to his Majestie with very solemn & unfeigned Protestation that what was now done proceeded not from any Principle of Disobedience & stubborness but a conscientious sence of our obligation to Laws & Oaths & a respectfull intimation that we were ready to petition the King if it might be admitted, but not daring to approach him without some significations that it would be acceptable we applyed our selvs to his Lord desiring him to doe the Vniversity the favour to mediate for them &c.) He was dismisst without any particular answer.

Within a few days came a second Letter dated Feb 24 which by reason of the Assises & some other publick business intervening was not read in the Senate till Friday March 11. The Vniversity & Vice Chancellor in the mean time had receiv'd a great deal of satisfaction by the opinion of some eminent Lawyers who confirmed them in the Approbation of what was already done, & for the future declard they could advise no other cause than humbly to represent the case to his Majestie & entreat him not to think amiss of so loyall a body as the Vniversity had always shown themselvs. The Second Letter being read the day beforesaid which was exactly the same as the former excepting only the addition of a Clause to do it at our perill. The Senate proceeded as before to advise the Vice Chancellor to some expedient form representing the case fully & clearly to the King as well with the respect to the illegality of such admission, as the many ill consequences that were like to attend it. This the Non regent House did by Master Billers ffellow of St Iohns College the publick orator & Master Newton ffellow of Trinity College Mathematick Professor The Regent House by Master Henry ffinch Son to the late Lord Chancellor Master Burton of St Iohns College & Master William Bowles ffellow of Kings College all which was done without the least hurry or irregularity without so much as asking an opinion but every man went & gave it quietly of his own Accord. So that no manner of inducement was put upon any one to declare himself in the business but what proceeded meerly from his own Conscience & a due sence of the things.

Another large Letter being prepard for the Duke of Albamarle wherein was every thing almost that could be thought on to prevail with his Majestie & one likewise shorter & less particular to the Earl of Sunderland. That very afternoon Master Prudock ffellow of Catherine Hall & Master Stanhop ffellow of Kings College were desir'd by the Vice Chancellor to go to London with these Letters & other instructions to apply themselvs to several persons of Honour & Charecter that they would all joyn forces & think it a common cause for so addressing to the King the success would be more probable & the Honour done to the Vniversity greater. Sunday March 13th the two Gentlemen waited on their Chancellor the Duke of Albemarle who received them with all the goodness {in the} world with Assurances that notwithstanding He had waited on the King before {he kn}ew his inclinations nay <2r> tho hehad been receiv'd with something of displeasure yet considering the relation He bore to us He would make another attempt & thought himself oblig'd to omitt no Endeavours for the Vniversitys safety & advantage. Monday the 14th in the evening the Duke of Albamarl waited on the King & in his passage towards the Bedchamber took the two Gentlemen into the Antichamber that they might be introduct if occasion were. The King upon the Dukes acquainting him with the affair told him he had not then leasure to talk but commanded the Letter which the Vice Chancellor sent to the Duke of Albamarl with which in his hand he passt thro the rooms & making that evening a visitt to the Queen Dowager gave the Duke no further opportunity of knowing his pleasure at that time. At the Dukes return from the inner room the Gentlemen desir'd him to give leave that they might use his name to procure them easie admittance to the Earl of Sunderland for that they resolv'd to deliver their Letter to no other hand but his own if that might be. The Duke immediately sent his Gentleman of the Horse to one of the Lord Sunderlands Secretaries making it his desire that Master Bradack & Master Stanhop might see the Earl who accordingly appointed them to the Lord Sunderlands bedside who took the Letter & after some further applications made to him by word of mouth He promist them to acquaint his Majestie & tell them his pleasure on Thursday at which time Master Bradock {with} his Companion came all the Account they receivd was only this, That the King had seen the Vice Chancellors Letter, that he was offended at the Vniversitys proceedings & would take care very shortly to give a farther Answer.

Saturday the 19 of Apr. Master Atterbury came down with a summons from the Ecclesiasticall Commissioners to this effect. That whereas complaint had been made to them against the Vice Chancellor & Senate of the Vniversity of Cambridge for having refusd to comply with his Majestys Royall Letters in behalf of Master ffrancis they were therefore commanded to appear the Vice Chancellor in person & the Senate by themselvs & their Deputies before the Lords Commissioners in the Councell Chamber the 21st of Apr. to answer such things as should be objected against them in his Majestys behalf upon the premises &c. Monday Apr 11th a Senate was called & 8 persons nominated to represent the Vniversity together with the Vice Chancellor all which being unanimously approv'd by the Senate they empower'd them by an instrument under their common seal to answer in their behalf, & to be their full Actors Attorneys & Proctors as to what would arise from the Commission Court upon the late Summons And Master Atterbury having receivd private instructions to stay & cite every man that was chosen personally; He came accordingly into the Senate House & summond as many as were present waiting upon the rest at a conveniant time. The Persons deputed by the Senate to represent & act for them were these.

Dr Iohn Peachell Vice ChancellorMaster Iohn Billers ffellow of St Iohns College & publick Orator of the Vniversity
Dr Humphrey Babington fellow of Trinity CollegeMaster. Isaac Newton ffellow of Trinity College & Professor of the Mathematicks
Dr. Iohn Eachard Master of Catharine HallMaster. Iames Smith ffellow of Queens College &
Dr. Thomas Smoult ffellow of St. Iohns & Professor of Practicall DivinityMaster George Stanhop ffellow of Kings College
Dr. William Cook Dr of Civil Law & ffellow of Iesus College

Thursday Apr. 21 Councill Chamber

Lord Chancellor IefferiesLord Bishop of Durham
Commissioners presentLord President SunderlandLord Bishop of Rochester
Lord MulgraveLord Chief Iustice Herbert
Earl of Huntington

Lord Chancellor          Is Master Vice Chancellor here? Which is He?

He standing over against the Lord Chancellor bow'd & show'd himselfe.

Lord Chancellor          Is there any body come from the Senate to attend him?

M. Stanhope          Yes my Lord we are 8 of us here deputed by the Senate to answer what shall be objected against them according to your Lordships summons

The noise & crowd being very great Master Bridgman was forc't to repeat that over again to the Lord Chancellor

Lord Chancellor          Read the Summons (which was done).

Lord Chancellor          Now Master Vice Chancellor what have you to say that you did not obey his Majesties Commands in behalf of that Gentleman mentioned there

Master Vice Chancellor          My Lord you enquire of me why I did not admitt Master ffrancis according to the Kings Letters

Lord Chancellor          Yes that is the Question I ask you

Master Vice Chancellor My Lords it is but a little while since our meeting all in Town, & this is a Question of great concern I am not prepar'd to answer it all on a sudden

Lord Chancellor          Why Master Vice Chancellor my Lords specified in the summons the thing that would be Questiond on purpose that you should not come unprepar'd but it may be Master Vice Chancellor did not attend sufficiently to that part o'the summons therefore let it be read to him once again (which was done)

Lord Chancellor          Now Sir you hear what you are charged with t'is for refusing to comply with his Majesties Commands.

Master Vice Chancellor          My Lords I beg time to answer you, My Lords I am a plain man, not usd to appear before so honourable an Assembly, & if I should answer hastily it may be I might say something indecent or unsafe which I should afterwards be sorry for, Therefore I beg leave my Lord to have time allowd us for giving in such an Answer as may be both for our safety & your Lordships Honour.

Lord Chancellor smiling)      Why Master Vice Chancellor as for your own safety my Lords are willing you should take all the care you can, but for what concerns our Honour doe not you trouble your self we are able to consult without any interposition of yours.

Master Vice Chancellor          My Lord I beg your pardon if I have said any thing unbecoming, I meant only the Honour that is due to your Lordships quality My Lord & therefore being to Answer before Persons of such Quality, I beg leave to doe it by councell & in writing.

Lord Chancellor          Well withdraw a little & my Lords will consider of your request


Then all the company withdrew & about 3 quarters of an hour after the Vice Chancellor was sent for into an Antichamber where Master Bridgman told him that the Lords Commissioners had given him time till Wednesday next at 4 in the afternoon & leave to put in his Answer in writing & with Councell & by what Councell he would. When the Councell heard what the; Commissioners had granted they were something surprized and loath to move in the thing without a Rule of Court, therefore on friday morning Dr. Eacherd & Master Stanhop went to Master Bridgmans office to desire such an order or at least a copy of what he had said to Master Vice Chancellor but he told them he had no power to give either only he repeated the words over again for the satisfaction of them & the Councell which was the same that the Vice Chancellor had related from his mouth before.

Wednesday Apr. 27

In the Councill Chamber

All the Commissioners present

About a quarter of an hour before the Lords met Master Bridgman came to the Vice Chancellor & desird to know of him whither he gave in his Answer in writing only or whither any Councell would appear to argue it. To which the Vice Chancellor replied that his Answer was drawn out in writing & that he did not expect any Councell there that day, Master Bridgman replied that the Lords had commanded him to ask those questions and wou'd expect so much before they began to proceed when the Delegates were called in the Lord Chancellor said.

Lord Chancellor          Master Vice Chancellor the last time you were here you desired time to put in your Answer in writing. My Lords have indulg'd you so far now where is your Answer?

Master Vice Chancellor         My Lord here it is (& gave it Master Bridgman)

After a whisper round about the Table

Lord Chancellor          Read it

Here follows the Plea

The Answer of the Vice Chancellor & Vniversity of Cambridge to the Question why they did not admit Alban ffrancis to the degree of Master of Arts in the same Vniversity according to his Majesties Mandatory Letters with his sign manuall.

The said Vice Chancellor & Senate for & in behalf of themselvs & the said Vniversity say that by the statute made 1o Eliz intituled an Act to restore to the Crown the Ancient Iurisdictions over the Estate Ecclesiasticall & spirituall & abolishing foreigne power repugnant to the same. It is enacted amongst other things that every Person that shall be promoted to any degree of Learning in any Vniversity within this Kingdome before he shall receive or take any degree shall before the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor in that Vniversity take the oath in the Statute mentioned & appointed purporting that he doth thereby testifie & declare in his Conscience that his Majestie is the only supreame governour in this Realme as well in all spirituall & Ecclesiasticall things & causes as temporall That no forreigne Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Iurisdiction, Superiority or Authority Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realm, & that therefore he doth renounce & forsake all foreign Iurisdictions and Authoritys & promise to bear faith & allegiance to the King his heirs & successors & to his power assist & defend all jurisdictions & Authorities granted, united, annexed or belonging to his Majesties Imperial Crown of England.


That by the Statute made by his Majesties Royall Grandfather King Iames the 1st in the 3d yeare of his reigne intituled an Act for the better discovering & repressing of Popish recusants another Oath is prescribd commonly called the oath of         by which oath the Person that takes it amongst other things is enjoyned to swear that his Majestie is the lawfull & rightfull King of this Realm & of all other his dominions & Countries & that neither the Pope of himself or by any other means has power & Authority to depose his Majestie or dispose of any of his Kingdomes & dominions or to authorize any forreigne Prince to invade them or to discharge his subjects from their obedience or allegiance to his Majesty & him will defend it to the utmost of his power. And afterwards by the Statute made in the 7th year of the reign of his Majesties Royall Grandfather intituled an Act for the administring the oath of allegiance it is enacted that the said mentioned oath shall by the Vice Chancellor & Principalls of Houses in the Vniversity be publickly taken in the Convocation before the Senior Masters & by every other person that shall be promoted to any degree in School before the Vice Chancellor for the time being in the Convocation House. That the Vice Chancellor & every member of the Senate has taken the said oaths & the Vice Chancellor & Senate are the persons intrusted to put the said laws in execution in the Vniversity. That the Vice Chancellor by oath of office hath also sworn duly to execute his office according to the Laws & cannot admitt to any degree without the Senate.

That the said Statutes were made for the preservation of the Religion & doctrine professd by the Church of England & establisht by the laws of this Kingdome & of the Prerogative & rightfull powers of his Majestie.

That upon the receipt of his Majesties Letters mandatory the same were by the Vice Chancellor communicated to the said Senate & in order to the admitting the said Alban ffrancis to the degree of Master of Arts the said oaths were offer'd to be adminstred to the said Alban ffrancis if he would take the same which he refused.

That the admitting him without taking the said oaths had been contrary to the said Statutes & a breach of the Trust in the Vice Chancellor & Senate repos'd & a violation of their Oath Therefore they could not admitt the said Alban ffrancis to the said degree & by their humble Applications to his sacred Majestie represented & again humbly desire your Lordships to represent this their case to his Matie that they may not be under his Majesties displeasure upon any misapprehensions thereof. But whether their Lordships will as a Court take cognizance of this matter they humbly pray their Lordships consideration since taking the degree of Master of Arts in the Vniversity or the admitting or refusing to admitt to such degree is not any cause or matter Ecclesiasticall or spirituall but of lay & temporall Cognizance, & they farther humbly offer to their Lordships that by the Statute made in the 16th year of his Majesties most Royall father King Charles 1st entituled an Act for repeal of the branch of a Statute 1o Eliz concerning Commissioners for causes Ecclesiasticall & whereby the said branch is repeald it is enacted that no new Court shall be erected ordaind or appointed within this Realm which shall or may have like power jurisdiction & Authority as the High Commission'd Court then had or pretended to have but that all & every such Commissions & grants & all powers & authorities granted or pretended to be granted thereby shall be void & of no effect as in & by the Statutes more fully appear.

Which being read Lord Chancellor said Is it sign'd?


Master Bridgman         Yes my Lord the Vice Chancellor & 8 more

Lord Chancellor          Read their names which was done.

Lord Chancellor          Well have you any more to say

Vice Chancellor          No my Lord not at this time

Lord Chancellor          Then withdraw.

All the Company withdrew & about an hour & half after the court rose & afterwards Master Bridgman desird to speak with the Vice Chancellor & delegates in the Councell Chamber to whom he said that their Lordships had commanded him to tell them they had put off all farther consideration of this matter till Saturday come sevennight & then they expected their Attendance again. Master Vice Chancellor askt him if Councell could be expected then to plead upon their Answer, He replied their Lordships had given him no Commission to say any thing to that & so they all withdrew.

Saturday May 7th

This day it was publickly discoursd throughout the Town that the Lords had received a new Commission & immediately Lawyers were consulted whether it were proper to urge that at his appearance what could be gathered thereupon was to this effect That that were a good plea if it could be well prov'd for that the receiving a new Commission in the midst of a Process especially if there be any alteration in it as to the extent of their Power would at least be a good pretence to begin the whole cause again & gain time. But that it was by no menas safe to alledge the things for a flying report is no evidence & if that report were fals it might be a great prejudice to them & their cause.

Councill Chamber

Lord ChancellorLord Bishop of Durham
Commissioners presentLord President SunderlandLord Bishop of Rochester
Earl MulgraveLord Chief Iustice Herbert.
Earl of Huntington

Lord Chancellor          Master Vice Chancellor the last time you were here you gave in a Paper to my Lords signed by your self & many others coming from the Vniversity – consists of severall parts, but there is one thing I must crave leave from my Lords to discourse you upon which concerns your self the Lords took notice you alledg'd an Oath & that Oath it seems hindred you from obeying the Kings Commands. Pray what was that oath?

Master Vice Chancellor          My Lord this is a new Question which you were not pleas'd to put before & I beg leave & time to answer it.

Lord Chancellor         Why Master Vice Chancellor? This requires no time. My Lords I tell you took notice of an Oath which you pleaded for your self & now desire to know what the oath is

Master Vice Chancellor         My Lord I beg I may not Answer happily but that your Lordship will let me know what questions you will ask & let me answer them in writing & by Councell.

Lord Chancellor          Why did you consult Councill when you took your oath? I am really concern'd for the Vniversity of Cambridge whereof I was once a member my self that the Vice Chancellor who is the Head & representative of so Learned a Body <4v> shou'd come before the Kings Commissioners & not be able to give an Account of the Oath that he has acted by all this while but desires time & Councell to tell him what this oath is

Lord Mulgrave          Why cannot you tell us what your oath is.

Dr Cook          My Lord if your Lordship; pleases I think I remember the words of the oath

Lord Chancellor         Nay good Dr How came you who never were Vice Chancellor & so never took this oath to understand it better than one {who} is Vice Chancellor & has taken it.

Master Vice Chancellor          My Lord I cannot call to mind the very words but the substance of the oath is that I should well & faithfully præstare or administrare munus or officium Procancellarij

Lord Chancellor         Aye munus or officium & what then?

Vice Chancellor          And my Lord this Office I take to be stated by the Statutes of the Vniversity & laws of the Land

Lord Chancellor          Well & how long has this been the Vice Chancellors oath?

Vice Chancellor          Indeed my Lord I am not able to tell you exactly.

Lord Chancellor          How long do you think I will not tye you up to a time Vice Chancellor.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord ever since I knew what belongd to it ever since I was head of a College

Lord Chancellor          How long have you been head of a College

Vice Chancellor          Six or 7 yeares my Lord

Lord Chancellor          Have not other Vice Chancellors admitted to degree without oaths who had taken the same obligatory oath that you had done

Vice Chancellor          Indeed my Lord I cannot remember every thing particularly that has been done

Lord Chancellor          Well, because we will keep close to the question, do not you remember any Master of Arts made without Oaths

Dr. Cook          My Lord not under the Quality of University noblemen

Lord Chancellor          Nay good Dr you was never Vice Chancellor yet when you are we may consider you

Vice Chancellor          My Lord the Answer to your Question will depend upon our university books & records if you will give us time to consult them we will give your Lordships an account

Lord Chancellor          No look you Master Vice Chancellor you have given an Answer in writing already & because there is something in it my Lords wou'd be farther satisfied in they have left it to me to ask you here some Questions extempore I ask you therefore if you never remember any who have been admitted heretofore without these oaths

Vice Chancellor          My Lord I cannot say that I remember any

Lord Chancellor          Did you never hear of one Dr Lightfoot

Vice Chancellor          I think I have heard of such a one my Lord

Dr Cook          My Lord I beg leave to speak a few words

Lord Chancellor          Well what ist you have to say

Dr Cook          My Lord Dr Lightfoot did subscribe

Lord Chancellor          What subscription do you mean

Dr. Cook          To the 3 Articles the 1st of which is the Kings supremacy

Lord Chancellor          Subscribing is no swearing Dr. But Master Vice Chancellor how many have you admitted by Mandate


Vice Chancellor          Never but one my Lord since I came to the office & he took the Oath

Lord Chancellor          Do you never admitt any without Oaths who have not such particular L{etters} patents from the King.

Master Stanhope          Never my Lord & as for Dr Lightfoot they were aware before of this partticular persons being objected & therefore had provided a full Answer for Master Stanhope undertook it because the Book & university Papers had been committed to his inspection & care. In answer had he been permitted to speak he had this to offer that the Register of Subscribers was then in Court in his hands redy to be product where Lightfoot subscribd with his own hand the 3 Articles the 1st whereof is the Kings supremacy & that he cou'd refuse upon a Principle because the same must in all reason have hindred his subscription & as a farther proofe that he did swear they were ready to offer this that 2 other Gentlemen Roman Catholick Servants to the Queen Dowager did by virtue of the same Letters from the King at the time of his comming to Cambridge desire their Master of Arts degree their names were Pereira & Stephens. These Gentlemen were proposd & granted but upon refusall to swear not admitted. Of this they cou'd have product, 1st a Testimony upon Oath from a Gentleman then in Court & besides that the Vniversity papers & Graces which show these Gentlemens Names among the persons past in the House but wanting in the list of subscribers & Commencers. After which they wou'd have refer'd it to the Court whether it was probable that the Vniversity shou'd admitt one of the Queens Servants without Oaths & yet refuse two more who had the same title but the Chancellor wou'd not hear them.

Lord Chancellor          Nay look you that young Gentleman expects to be Vice Chancellor too, when you are Sir you may speak till then it will more become you to forbear. But Master Vice Chancellor. when was it pray that you receivd the Kings Letters the 1st Letters I mean.

Vice Chancellor          I do not perfectly remember my Lord I cannot call to mind the day of the Month

Lord Chancellor          When were they dated do you know (To Master Bridgman)

Mr Bridgman          My Lord (pausing)

Vice Chancellor          My Lord I remember 'twas upon Ashwednesday

Lord Chancellor          And when was it these Letters were publisht in the Senate

Vice Chancellor          My Lord it was the Monday night after

Lord Chancellor          And what was the meaning of that delay Master Vice Chancellor the Kings business uses to have quicker dispatch.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord it was a novell thing & I was willing to give my self & others time to consider of it.

Lord Chancellor          It was an unusuall thing demanded by them you say & required some time to consider of it. Vice Chancellor yes my Lord.

Lord Chancellor          Well but when you had read the Letters why was not the Gentleman admitted.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord the Senate sent to me to desire I shou'd forbear admitting Master ffrancis till I had petitiond the King to revoke his Mandate

Lord Chancellor          Why does the Kings Mandate use to be disputed, did you ever see a Mandate valid in the Senate house whether it should be obeyed or no

Vice Chancellor          No my Lord usually they are not, but then the House sent to me to forbear for they had not any of this nature before

Lord Chancellor          Did you ever know any Mandate of the Kings refus'd by the university before

Vice Chancellor         (After some pause) Yes my Lord severall

Lord Chancellor          Pray give us some instance. Vice Chancellor my Lord one Tatwell


Lord Chancellor          Ay when pray how long was that agoe

Vice Chancellor          My Lord I cannot recollect the time but it was in his late Majesties reigne I beleive about 14 or 16 years agoe

Lord Chancellor          How was that

Vice Chancellor          My Lord the Mandate was given to one Tatwell a Nonconformist & he refus'd to subscribe & take the Oaths thereupon my Lord the Vniversity petitiond the King & represented the matter to him & the King was pleased to recall his Mandate

Lord Chancellor          But Master Vice Chancellor had not you another Mandate for another Gentleman at the same time as this which you refusd?

Vice Chancellor          Yes my Lord 'twas to make a Gentleman Dr of Physick. Lord ChancellorAnd he was admitted upon it was he not? Vice Chancellor Yes my Lord

Lord Chancellor          Why shou'd they interpose in the one & not in the others? Vice Chancellor My Lord that had no dispensation for the oaths in it.

Lord Chancellor          But however if they did not vote it nor doe any other of the Kings Letters how do you know they consent?

Vice Chancellor          My Lord that is presumd by their silence, & offering nothing to the contrary

Lord Chancellor          Ay for that you know we have a Proverb Master Vice Chancellor Silence gives consent. But it seems he was not admitted immediately was it not before you cou'd tell whether they consented to both or no?

Vice Chancellor          No my Lord He was not admitted till after the House had desir'd me to forbear in Master ffrancis his case.

Lord Chancellor          But as to the Business of the Senate desiring you my Lords I hope you will indulge me to speak a little of that for having been formerly a member of the Vniversity my Self I think I have some small remembrance of the manner of proceeding there Pray Master Vice Chancellor how was it that you knew their minds in that business.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord the House sent me up their opinions

Lord Chancellor          How pray? by whom?

Vice Chancellor          The non Regent house by Dr Smoult the 1st day & by Master Billers the Orator & Master Newton the Mathematick Professor the 2d day.

Lord Chancellor          By whom do you say the 1st day.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord by Dr Smoult from the Non Regent House & Master Norris from the Regent House.

Lord Chancellor          Well & what said these to you?

Vice Chancellor          My Lord I do not know the very words but it was to this effect that I woud forbear admitting Master ffrancis till the King were petitiond.

Lord Chancellor          Is that Dr Smoult in the Court?

Vice Chancellor          Yes my Lord he is here then He shewd himself.

Lord Chancellor         Come Sir what ist I pray that you told Master Vice Chancellor

Dr Smoult          My Lord I have forgot the very words but it was to the same purpose the Vice Chancellor told you just now that the House desired me to acquaint Him they were for petitioning the Mandate might be recall'd.

Lord Chancellor          And pray Sir what are you that you should be thought fit to represent a whole House? Why shou'd they choose you rather then any body else?

Dr. Smoult          My Lord I suppose because I was one of the Seniors.

Lord Chancellor But if you go to that why was not the very Senior chosen?

Dr Smoult          My Lord I cannot tell they came to me.


Vice Chancellor          My Lord He is one of our Professors.

Lord Chancellor          Nay when I ask you Questions they prompt you & now you prompt {them.} But I must tell you Master Vice Chancellor you ought to take an Account of what is done in the House your self & not from others.

Vice Chancellor          My Lord my place is above at a great distance from the Non Regent House & I cou'd not see what was done there.

Lord Chancellor          Why shou'd you take the sence of a House from one Man?

Vice Chancellor          My Lord He came & told me the House was of that opinion & I thought I had no reason to question what he said.

Lord Chancellor          How loud did he speak when he told you this.

Vice Chancellor          Pretty loud my Lord. Lord Chancellor was it so loud that all the House might heare Vice Chancellor No my Lord Lord Chancellor Did you send afterward to enquire whether he had told you their opinion faithfully or no: Vice Chancellor No my Lord I confess I did not Lord Chancellor But how came this new way of giving opinions are not the Proctors usually the Men that bring the sence of the House to the Vice Chancellor

Vice Chancellor          Not of the Non Regent House my Lord they are not admitted into that House my Lord nor have any thing at all to doe there.

Lord Chancellor          Well have you any thing else to offer to my Lords.

Vice Chancellor          No my Lord

Dr Cook          My Lord if our Answer that we gave in the last be not satisfactory we desire to have time allowd us to make a farther defence & do it with Councell.

Lord Chancellor          Have you anything to say besides Vice Chancellor no my Lord.

Nor you Gentlemen – Then withdraw

After the Vice Chancellor & 3 or 4 of the Delegates were gone of & the crowd was retird Master Billers being a person engag'd in carrying up the sence of the House wou'd have informd the Court who seemd under a mistake more particularly of the Senates proceedings & how it comes to pass that the usuall way of suffrage was impracticable at that time.

Master Billers          My Lord I beg leave to speak one word

Lord Chancellor          Who are you Sir?

      Master Billers My Lord it is one of the Gentlemen that sign'd the paper & one whom the Vice Chancellor told your Lordship carried up the sence of the House the 2d day.

Lord Chancellor          Nay hold Master Billers give me leave to compare your memory with Master Vice Chancellors a little. Master Vice Chancellor tells me that Dr Smoult & Master Billers went up both of a day, then comes Master Billers & says Dr Smoult & he went up two severall days

Master Billers          My Lord Dr Smoult & I did not goe up from the House both of a day.

Lord Chancellor          The Vice Chancellor said you did & that Dr Smoult went up from the Non Regent house & you from the Regent house.

Master Billers          My Lord I could not possibly go up from the Regents I do not belong to that house my Lord

Lord Chancellor          Indeed he said so Sir. Indeed he did my Lords did not he (to Master Bridgman) Master Bridgman Yes my Lord


(Mr Stanhop behind the Bishop of Rochester) My Lord under your favour my Lord Chancellor was mistaken the Person that the Vice Chancellor told you went up from the Regent house the same day with Master Smoult was Master Norris.

Bishop of Rochester          My Lord I think your Lordship forgets it was Master Norris that went up from the House with Dr Smoult.

Lord Chancellor          Well Sir what ist you would say.

Master Billers          I was just acquainting your Lordship what was done & that there was no other way – The thing Master Billers intended to urge was that the usuall way of suffrage cou'd not be practis'd at that time & so this other way was taken.

Earl of Sunderland          We heard that before Lord Chancellor we took notice both what was done & what was not done & therefore withdraw.

Then all the Company retird & after above an hour & an half attendance they were calld in again & the Lord Chancellor pronounced the sentence upon Master Vice Chancellor in the following manner:

Master Vice Chancellor My Lords have commanded me to tell you, that they have taken some time to consider the Answer & are at last come to a resolution upon it. My business is to tell you what that resolution is. My Lords consider you have been guilty of an act of great disobedience to the Kings commands & other crimes & contempts & such as you appear before us you have very little to say in the excuse thereof Therefore as a mark of his Majestys & their Lordships displeasure they have thought fit to appoint that you be from henceforth deprivd of the office of Vice Chancellor of Cambridge. They likewise order that you do not presume at any time hereafter to meddle with any of the publick business of the Vniversity. Likewise Master Vice Chancellor their Lordships consider that you have a headship of a College & because the example of so ill a Man may be of pernicious consequence to all under that government they have likewise thought fit that you be deprivd of that Headship both as to the Office & benefitt of it during his Majesties pleasure. But because they have a Tenderness for the College for which you all along have shewn but little regard my Lords have been pleasd to appoint that the revenues of the Headship shall go to the benefit of the Society. This is their Lordships pleasure & to this they require your obedience. There are likewise some other Gentlemen that have sign'd a paper here but my Lords expect their attendance when they sitt next which will be upon Thursday & then we shall take them into consideration.

On Munday Dr Peachell wrote to Master Bridgman by an Esquire Beadle who attended him to desire a copy of the sentence but answer was return'd that the sentence as yet was not committed to writing but verball only & so cou'd not have a copy but he repeated the Heads only with this Alteration that he was suspended from his Mastership & not deprivd which was an Error in the Chancellors delivering it.

The beginning of the next week was employd in making Enquiries after the new Commission the Hanaper. Six Clerks, Rolls & riding Clerks office know nothing of it nor any Court they could be directed too. Master Bridgman owned there was such a thing but did not instruct them how to come to a sight of it. Those that spoke best of the Commissioners proceedings urg'd the removall of the Lord Chief Iustice Herbert from the Kings bench to the Common Pleas as a thing that made a new Commission necessary

Lord President SunderlandLord Bishop of {Rochester}
Earl of MullgraveLord Chief Iustice {Herbert}
Earl of Huntington

The Delegates appeard without Dr Peachell.

Lord Chancellor          Gentlemen the last time you appeard here before us my Lords thought fit to sett a mark of their just displeasure upon the Vice Chancellor Gentlemen you cannot but be sensible & so must all the world how pernicious & obstinate the Vniversity have shewn themselves in refusing complyance with the Kings commands & such a Command as I must tell you You ought to have obeyed. There was a time & you may remember instances if you do not Ile turn you to one in the yeare 1667 when the late Kings Letters {were} so far from being disputed that they past for a law among you & do to this day continue recorded among the solemn Acts & publick statutes of the Vniversity. Gentlemen my Lords consider a difference to be made betwixt the Vice Chancellors case & yours & therefore did not conclude you who represent the Senate with him, but have requird your attendance at this time. They impute the miscarriage of that Body Cheifly to a disease in the Head tho neither are you without fault for {find}ing your selvs so much as uneasie under the Kings Commands. Gentlemen I must tell you that their Lordships understood very well the sly insinuation in the Paper & {have} commanded me to tell you they know very well by what Authority they sit {illeg} & from whom they derive, they know very well upon what grounds they {goe}, tho they do not think fit to descend to particulars, they know too very well how far that Authority extends not only to you of the Vniversity but {to all} Societies of this Kingdom. Gentlemen the best way will be by ready obedience to his Majesties Commands for the future & by giving a good example to {others} to make some amends for the ill example has been given you. Therefore I shall say to you what the Scripture says & the rather because I see most of you are divines Goe your way & sin no more least a worse thing {befall you}

As they were drawing off he called them & said

Lord Chancellor          Hold Gentlemen I have something further to say to you, my Lords {require} a testimony of the obedience that you who represent the Senate shou'd take care they have the Vniversity Statutes brought to lay before the {illeg}


No no send them by a proper Officer you are only to carry a message from us to Senate & tell them what we expect.

Dr Eachard         In what time dos your Lordship expect them

Lord Chancellor          In a convenient time we will not tie you up but if you be tardy my Lords will take care to quicken you by an intimation I mean only a Copy & not the originall Statutes You are now dischargd from any farther attendance here

The Delegates upon the Vice Chancellors deprivation being no longer capable of acting as publick persons nor consequently of deriving any inconvenience upon the Body they had represented thought they might venture their own persons a little more boldly, therefore to satisfy the world they were mighty desirous to bring about a second hearing of some points which before the Vice Chancellors sentence they were not sufferd to speak to & which the Vice Chancellor when askt had no opportunity of answering so very particularly too as they cou'd have wisht confining themsevs all the while to such questions as did not concern the Vice Chancellor solely & personally but affected the whole Senate joyntly with him, which order they had likewise observ'd in interposing at the Tryall. This answer they had ready to offer in writing if that wou'd be admitted, but if not resolvd to argue it by word of mouth, the substance of it may be reduct to two heads

1st The business of admitting others & particularly Dr Lightfoot without oath they said

As to Lightfoots case what they entended to have urged in Court you have seen already – As to others

1st That Peers are by the very Act of Parliament 5o Eliz: exempted from the oaths

2ly That all such as the Vniversity calls Noblemen have time out of mind enjoyd the Priviledge of Peers among them.

3ly That under that Quality they never admitt any without oaths

4ly That if at any time at entertaining a Prince or any such solemnity any one has slipt out in a crowd which they are not conscious of This is to be imputed to hurry & inadvertency & cannot be parallel to this case where the Senate acted with leasure & deliberation.

5 That even those Degrees given to Noblemen & Strangers are honorary & complimentall & so different from what the Statutes call degrees of learning which one may use, exercise & make a gain & Profession of.

6 That supposing never so many to have been admitted without oaths, this they acknowledge to be irregular & the Breach of a law in one can be no Precedent for another to follow

7. That however they are very fully & particularly assur'd that no man was ever admitted that positively refusd the Oaths which this Master ffrancis did.

To which was annexed

1 That every man who is a member of that or any other Senate hath as such a right to propose advize & debate & protest against any irregular proceedings in't.

2 That in a matter contrary to the Laws & so highly concerning the Vniversity & Religion as the opening such a gap for men of any persuasion to become members of their Body & Senate (which every Resident or r of Arts is) It had been the greatest Infidelity & negligence to have sat still.

3 That their suffrage being not askt the common way ought not to have been a barr because every member in his Matriculation oath obliges himself to be assisting to the Chancellor & Vice Chancellor of the Vniversity according to his power & capacity & this to doe ex suffragio & consilio, rogatus & non rogatus


4 The representing the whole Houses opinion by a few is a practice common to numerous assemblies, & usuall in this for any single man voluntarily to goe & address to the Vice Chancellor in behalfe of his whole College or otherwise.

5 That the late King had commanded by his Royall Letters that all addresses to the Vice Chancellor should be made in the most quiet decent & respectfull manner that could be & this was thought more conformable to that command than the hurry of every man applying himself personally.

6. That to give the better reputation to the thing & make it unexceptionable the Persons sent from the Senate to the Vice Chancellor were all men either of publick Charecter in the Body or the Seniors of their Houses or some way eminently known in the Vniversity. But they being dismist as you have seen on Thursday there was no opportunity at all of offring a dispute.


Thursday May 12

The late Kings Letters mentiond by my Lord Chancellor Anno 1667 concern the regulating some of the Publick exercizes in the Vniversity the meaning whereof is this. The King is their Visitor & whenever there is any thing belonging to the locall Statutes & Customes which they think ought to be alterd or any ill use shoud be rectified & redrest their way is to beg the Kings Royall injunction in the case which they keep upon Record & obey as a Statute. How good an argument this is against them for not obeying a private Mandate contrary to 4 known Laws of this land it is easily discern'd.

Saturday May 14 Master Atterbury came to Cambridge with two orders under the Common Seale one to the Proctors to proceed to the Choise of a new Vice Chancellor & the other to Magdalen College Fellow to each of which was annexed a Copy of the sentence to be fixt on the School doors & Magdalen College gates, & on Thursday May 17th Dr Bolderston Master of Emanuell College succeeded in the office of Vice Chancellor.

Animadversion upon
Wednesday Apr. 27

This day the Plea was given in & the only thing needfull to be remarkt, is the unusuall way of demurring to the Courts Iurisdiction which is commonly the only or the 1st Plea in such cases. But the Delegates lookt upon themselvs as obligd not only to defend their cause but to satisfy the world, therefore they were desirous all People shoud know what reasons they had for acting as they have done, & to this purpose they first insisted upon them which they did not at all doubt wou'd be particularly heard. Whereas if the Courts Iurisdiction had come first that wou'd in all probability have occasiond the whole Plea to be stifled & overruled.

A Copy of Dr Peachells Sentence as it was fixt upon the Public Schools & Magdalen Colledge Gates.

By his Majesties Commissioners for Ecclesiasticall causes & for the Visitation of the Vniversities & all & every Cathedrall & Collegiate Churches and Colledges Grammar School Hospitalls & other the like Incorporation {illeg} or Societies


Whereas Iohn Peachell Dr of Divinity Vice Chancellor of the Vniversity of Cambridge & Master of St Mary Magdalen College in the said Vniversity had been conven'd before us for his disobedience of his Majesties Royall Letters mandatory and other his contempts & the said Dr Iohn Peachell having been fully heard thereupon we have thought that the said Dr Iohn Peachell shall for the said disobedience & contempts be deprivd from being Vice Chancellor of the said Vniversity & from all powers of acting in the same, & also that he shall be suspended ab officio & Beneficio of his Mastership of the said College during his Majesties pleasure & accordingly we do by these presents deprive him the said Dr Iohn Peachell from being Vice Chancellor in the Vniversity & from all power of acting in the same & also suspend him ab Officio & Beneficio of his Mastership of the College Peremptorily admonishing & requiring him hereby to abstain from the function & execution of the office of Vice Chancellor & from acting in the Vniversity & also from his function as Master of the said College during the said suspension under pain of deprivation from his said Mastership. And we do further order & decree that the Profitts & Perquisitts belonging to his said Mastership shall during the said suspension be applyd to the use and benefit of the said College.

Given under our Seal the 7th day of May 1687.

© 2024 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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