Summary: An appeal to religious leaders to take interest in the effort to repeal the Test Acts, a set of penal laws blocking non-Anglicans from taking public office.

Controversy in the Church

Section Three

A short discourse concerning the reading His Majesties late declaration in the churches.

Herbert Croft 1603-1691.
London: Printed for Charles Harper

Herbert Croft, Bishop of Hereford offers an argument in response to controversy over the 1687 Declaration of Indulgence which is both diplomatic and equivocal.  Croft on the one hand offers the position that there is no fundamental harm in the reading of the Declaration in churches, as the king had ordered, and that in fact there was an obligation to the monarchy to do so; by contrast, Croft also stresses that “Bretheren who refuse the dispersing of these Declarations, are very far from having any evil intention in it; but will as readily Obey the King as my self, in what is as agreeable to their consciences” (pg. 13-14).  Concluding with an entreaty that the king excuse those bishops who refused to comply with the edict to read the declaration in churches, Croft muses ominously, “it comes now too late for this; yet by the Grace of God it [Croft’s pamphlet] may prevent some future evil accidents” (pg. 14). 

The proceedings and tryal in the case of the Most Reverend Father in God William Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Right Reverend Fathers in God, William Lord Bishop of St. Asaph, Francis Lord Bishop of Ely, John Lord Bishop of Chichester, Thomas Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells, Thomas Lord Bishop of Peterborough, and Jonathan Lord Bishop of Bristol: in the Court of the Kings-bench at Westminster, in Trinity-term in the fourth year of the reign of King James the Second, annoque Dom. 1688.

William Sancroft 1617-1693.; England and Wales. Court of King's Bench.
London: Printed for Thomas Basset ... and Thomas Fox; 1689

This illustrated folio presents what is almost certainly the most authoritative account of the infamous trial of the seven bishops, among whom was William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1677-1690.  The acquittal of the bishops resulted in high celebration in London and dealt a blow to King James’ authority, exposing him as not only partisan where he claimed tolerance but ineffectual in terms of controlling the justice system he was attempting to manipulate in calling for the bishops to be tried. The printers Thomas Basset and Thomas Fox offer a dedication to William of Orange in the text’s front matter, proclaiming “How deeply the Design was laid, and with what Violence by those who lately Steer’d the Helm of his State . . . to have extinguish’d the Brightest Luminaries of the English Church, that the benighted People might be more easily . . . misled into the Pitfalls of Superstition” (Sig. a).  This book was a centerpiece of the literature in support of William’s ascension and the construct of the recent revolution as “Glorious.”