Morton, Thomas

, a learned English bishop in the seventeenth century, was of the same family with cardinal | Morton, and was the sixth son of nineteen children of Mr. Richard Morton, an eminent mercer and alderman of York, by Elizabeth Leedale his wife. He was born at York, March 20, 1564, and was 6rst educated there under Mr. Pullen, and afterwards at Halifax under Mr. Maud. In 1582 he was sent to St. John’s college in Cambridge, and placed under the tuition of Mr. Anthony Higgon, afterwards dean of Rippon, who left him to the care of Mr. Henry Nelson, afterwards rector of Hougham ia Lincolnshire, who lived to see his pupil bishop of Durham, and many years after. In the beginning of November 1584, he was chosen to a scholarship of Constable’s foundation, peculiar to his native county of York; and in 1586 took the degree of bachelor of arts, and in 1590 that of master, having performed the exercises requisite to each degree with great applause. He continued his studies at his father’s charge until March 17, 1592, when he was admitted fellow, of the foundation of Dr. Keyson, merely on account of his merit, against eight competitors for the place. About the same time he was chosen logic lecturer of the university, which, office he discharged with ^reat skill and diligence, as appeared from his lectures found among his papers. The same year he was ordained deacon, and the year following priest by Richard Rowland, bishop of Peterborough. He continued five years after this in the college, pursuing his private studies, and instructing pupils. In 1598 he took the degree of bachelor of divinity; and ahout the same year was presented to the rectory of Long Marston four miles from York. He was afterwards made chaplain to the earl of Huntingdon, lord president of the North, who selected him for his zeal and acuteness in disputing with the Romish recusants. It was queen Elizabeth’s command to his lordship, to prefer arguments to force with these people: and this she expressed, as the earl used to say, in the words of scripture, “Nolo mortem peccatoris.” Afterwards, when lord Huntingdon was dead, and lord Sheffield was appointed lord president, Morton held a public conference before his lordship and the council, at the manor-, house at York, with two popish recusants, then prisoners in the castle. In 1602, when the plague raged in that city, he behaved with the greatest charity and resolution. The year following, the lord Eure being appointed ambassador-extraordinary to the emperor of Germany, and king of Denmark, Morton attended him as chaplain, along with | Mr. Richard Crakenthorp, and took this opportunity * to make a valuable collection of books, as well as to visit the universities of Germany. At his return he became chapJain to Roger earl of Rutland, and was afterwards presented by archbishop Matthews to a prebend in the cathedral of York. In 1606 he took the degree of doctor of divinity; and about the same time was sworn chaplain in ordinary to king James I. and preferred to the deanery of Gloucester, June 22, 1607. While he was dean there, the lord Eure above mentioned, then lord president of Wales, appointed him one of his majesty’s council for the marches. In 1609, he was removed to the deanery of Winchester; and while there, the bishop (Bilson) collated him to the rectory of Alesford. In the same year, Dr. Sutcliff, dean of Exeter, founding a college at Chelsea, for divines to be employed in defending the protestant religion against the papists, he was appointed one of the fellows. About this time, he became acquainted with Isaac Casaubon. In 1615, he was advanced to the see of Chester and, in 1618, to that of Lichfield and Coventry about which time he became acquainted with Antonio de Dominis, abp. of Spalato, whom he endeavoured to dissuade from returning to Rome. The archbishop’s pretence for going thither was, to attempt an unity between the church of Rome and that of England, upon those terms which he had laid down in his book entitled “De Repnblica Christiana.

While Morton sat in the see of Coventry and Lichfield, which was above fourteen years, he educated, ordained, and presented to a living, a youth of excellent talents and memory, who was born blind .

This youth, whose name was George Canoer, was born in Lanca-. shire, and maintained at the grammarschool at Chester by bi*hop Morton, while he was bishop of that see, and afterwards sent to St. John’s college in Cambridge by that prelate, who supported the young man and his uncle, who had the care of him. After Mr. Cauner had taken the degree of B. A. the bishop took him into his own family, and there instructed him in the whole body of divinity, and ordained him, and placed him in the parishchurch of Clifton Canvile in Staffordshire, where he discharged the duties of his function with great success, being a very good preacher, and able to repeat the whole Common-Prayer by heart; and with regard to the lessons

He also acquired no little

Clark, in his life of the celebrated Hebraist Broughton, informs us that when Broughton was at Men‘.z, Morton paid him many visits, and listened with much eagerness to his conversation. A love for instruction inducing Morton to be sometimes more inquisitive than Broughton liked, the latter would lose his temper, and call him dull and unlearned; but Morton on one occasion brought him into perfect good humour, by saying, “I pray you, whatsoever dolts or dullards I am to be called, call me so before wu begin, that your discourse and my attention be not interrupted

| reputation by detecting the imposture of the famous boy of Bilson in Staffordshire, who pretended to be possessed with a devil; but who, in reality, was only suborned by some Romish priests, to assume the appearance of possession, according to the common notions of it, for the sake of promoting their own private purposes. In 1632, he was translated to the bishopric of Durham, which he held with great reputation till the opening of the Long-parliament, when he met with great insults from the common people, and was once in extreme hazard of his life at Westminster, some crying, “Pirll him out of his coach” others, “Nay, he is a good man” others, “But for all that he is a bishop.” He used often to say that he believed he should not have escaped alive, if a ringleader among the rabble had not cried out, “let him go and hang himself.” He was then committed to the custody of the usher of the black rod; and, as Whitlocke tells us, “April 1645, was brought before the Commons for christening a child in the old way, and signing it with the sign of the cross, contrary to the directory; and, because he refused to deliver up the seal of the county-palatine of Durham, he was committed to the Tower.” Here he continued six months, and then returned to his lodgings at Durham-house; the parliament, upon the dissolution of the bishoprics, voted him an annuity. Whitlocke informs us, that, in May 1649, an ordinance passed for 800l. per annum to bishop Morton; but Barwick observes, that, while he^vas able to subsist without it, he never troubled himself with looking after it; and, at last, when he had no alternative but to claim this, or be burthcnsome to his friends, he determined upon the former, and procured a copy of the vote, but found it to contain no more than that such a sum should be paid, but no mention either by whom or whence. And before he could obtain an explanation of the order to make the pension payable out of the revenues of his own bishopric, all the lands and revenues of it were sold or divided among members of parliament themselves. Only by the importunity of his friends he procured an order to have a thousand pounds out of their treasury at Goldsmitbs’-hall, with which he paid his debts, and purchased to himself an annuity of 200l. per annum, during life; which annuity was

out of the Old and New Testament, he over to him. He died at about twentycotnmitted them perfectly to memory, six years of a$e, iipon his uncle’s twice reading them | granted at first by the lady Saville, in the minority of her son sir George, and afterwards confirmed by himself when he came to be of age. At last he was obliged to quit Durham-yard, by the soldiers who came to garrison it, a little before the death of Charles I.; and then went to Exeter-house in the Strand, at the invitation of the earl of Rutland, where he continued but a short time. After several removals, he took up his abode with sir Henry Yelverton, at Easton Mauduit in Northamptonshire, where he died Sept. 22, 1659, in his ninety-fifth year. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. John Barwick, afterwards dean of St. Paul’s, and printed at London, in 1660, under this title, “Ιερονικησ: or, The Fight, Victory, and Triumph, of St. Paul, accommodated to the Right Rev. Father in God, Thomas, late Lord Bishop of Duresme.

Bishop Morton was of low stature, but of an excellent constitution, which he preserved to the last. Dr. Barwick represents him as a man of extensive learning, great piety, hospitality, and charity, and of great temperance and moderation in matters of controversy. He carried on an extensive correspondence with the learned men of his time, and was himself distinguished for his liberal patronage of such. He was particularly the friend and patron of the celebrated Dr. Donne. On one occasion he gave Donne a sum of money, saying, “Here Mr. Donne, take this, gold is restorative:” Donne replied, “Sir, I doubt I shall never restore it back again.Bishop Morton! s greatest blemish seems to have been his acceding to, or, in truth, in some measure drawing up, king James’s declaration, usually called the "Book of Sports/’ allowing and enjoining public amusements on Sunday, by way of counteracting the endeavours of the popish party, who countenanced such amusements in order to draw the people from the church, By this declaration, the appearing at church was made a qualification for the sports, an absurdity so gross, as to be equalled only by the injustice of compelling clergymen to proclaim it in the pulpit. The readers will find this curious law in the note*, and we are sorry to add, on the

* 1. " That all unlawful games coming: to church or divine service,

should be prohibited on Sundays, as shall be barred from this benefit and

bear and bull-baiting, interludes, and liberty; they being therefore unworthy

bowling at all times by law prohibited of any lawful recreation after the said

to the meaner sort of people." 2. service, that will not first conie to

*'That all such known recusants, either church and serve God.“3.” All thaty

tpaen or women, as abstained from though conformists in religion, are not | uthority of Dr. Barwick, that all the articles but one, which he thinks was the first, were originally drawn up by bishop Morton.

The works of this prelate were, 1. “Apologia Catholica,” parti. Lond. 1605, 4to, dedicated to Dr. Richard Bancroft, archbishop of Canterbury. 2. “An exact Discovery of Romish Doctrine in the case of Conspiracy and Rebellion or Romish Positions and Practices,” &c. Lond. 1605, 4to, occasioned by the discovery of the gunpowdertreason-plot. 3. “Apologia Catholica,” part II. Lond. 1606, 4to. 4. “A full Satisfaction concerning a double Romish Iniquitie, hainous Rebellion, and more than heathenish Æquivocation containing three parts. The two former belong to the Reply upon the Moderate Answer: the first for confirmation of the discovery in these two points, treason and equivocation; the second is a justification of protestants touching the same points. The third part is a large discourse confuting the reasons and grounds of other priests, both in the case of rebellion and ^equivocation: published by authoritie,” Lond. 1606, 4to. Father Robert Parsons, the Jesuit, undertook to vindicate his friend, the writer of the “Moderate Answer:” in a book published under the name of P. R. and entitled “ATreatise, tending to Mitigation towards Catholic subjects in England, against Tho. Morton,1607, 4to. To this our author returned an answer, entitled, 5. “A Preamble unto an Incounter with, P. R. the author of the deceitful Treatise of Mitigation,” Lond. 1608, 4to. To this book and some others of our

present at church at the service of at that time, as they were then wrought

God before their going to the sniJ re- upon by some emissaries of the Romish

creations," were also debarred that party, will easily see and grant, that

liberty. 4. " Ah such as, in abuse of this was in all probability the likeliest,

this liberty, should use these exercises course to bring them io church to serve

before the end of all divine services for God, and to be instructed out of his

that day, were to be presented and word; and consequently to stop the

sharply punished.“3.” That every current both of popery and prophaneperson should resort to his own parish- ness, by allowing them a small latitude

church to hear divine service." 6. for innocent recreations thus limited

"That each parish by itself should and bounded. . All the arguments

use the said recreation after divine ser- I could erer yet see urged against the

vice.“7.” That no offensive wea- lawfulness of what is permitted by this

pons should be carried or used in the declaration (taking it as it is still, and said times of recreation." Dr. Bar- ever was restrained by these limitawick, who shews as much want of tions and conditions), are grounded up.

judgment as the bishop, observes; on no other bottom for the most pait,

"that he that shall duly consider these tban the bare name of Sabbath, as it

restrictions, and compare them with is applied, or misapplied to the Lord’s

the temper of the people ia those parts Day| author, father Parsons having made a reply under the title ofA sober Reckoning with Mr. Tho. Morton,“printed in 160y, 4to; the latter wrote, 6.” The Encounter against Mr. Parsons,“Lond. 1609, 4to. 7.” An Answer to the scandalous Exceptions of Theophiltis Higgons,“London, 1609, 4to. 8.A Catholike Appeale for Protestants out of the Confessions of the Romane Doctors, particularly answering the misnamed Catholike Apologie for the Romane Faith out of the Protestants*, manifesting the antiquitie of our Religion, and satisfying all scrupulous objections, which have been urged against it,“Lond, 1610, fol. He was engaged in writing this work by archbishop Bancroft, as he observes in his dedication; and Dr. Thomas James took the pains to examine some of his quotations in the Bodleian library. It has never yet been answered. 9.A Defence of the Innocencie of the three Ceremonies of the Church of England, viz. the Surplice, Crosse after Baptisme, and Kneeling at the receiving of the blessed Sacrament. Divided into two parts. In the former whereof the generall arguments urged by the nonconformists, and in the latter part their particular accusations against these three ceremonies, are severally answered and refuted. Published by authority.“Second edit. London, 1619, in 4to. This was attacked by an anonymous author, generally supposed to be Mr. William Ames; which occasioned a Defence of it, written by Dr. John Burges of Sutton Colefield in Warwickshire, and printed at London in 1631, 4to, under the title of” An Answer to a Pamphlet entitled A Reply to Dr. Morton’s general Defence of three innocent Ceremonies.“10.” Causa Regia,“London, 1620, 4to, written against cardinal Be) tannin’s book,” De Officio Principis Christiani.“11.” The Grand Imposture of the now Church of Rome, concerning this Article of their Creed, The holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church.“The second edition enlarged was printed at London in 1628, 4to. There was an answer published to this, under the name of J. S. and entitled” Anti-Mortonns.“12.” Of the Institution of the Sacrament, &c. by some called the Mass,“&c. Lond. 1631, reprinted with additions in 1635, folio. As some strictures were published on the first edition by a Romish author, under the name of an English baron, Dr. Morton replied in, 13.A Discharge of five

* The author of this was one Andertow, who assumed the name of Brerely.
| Imputations of Mis- allegations charged upon the bishop of Duresme by an English baron,“London, 1633, 8vo. 14.” Antidotum adversus Ecclesiae Romans de Merito ex: Condigno Venenum,“Cambridge, 1637, 4to. 15.Replica sive Refutatio Confutationis C. R.“Lond. 1638, 4to. This is an answer to a piece published by C. R. who was supposed to be the bishop of Chakedon, against the first part of our author’s Catholic Apology. 16. A Sermon preached before the king at Newcastle, upon Rom. xiii. 1. Lond. 1639, 4to. 17.” De Eucharistia Controversiae Decisio,“Cambridge, 1640, 4to. 18.A Sermon on the Resurrection,“preached at the Spittle in London April 26. Lond. 1641, 8vo. 1.9. A Sermon preached at St. Paul’s June 19, 1642, upon 1 Cor. xi. 16. and entitled” The Presentment of a Schismatic.!*,“” Lond. 1642, 4to. 20. “Confessions and Proofs of Protestant Divines,” &c. Oxford, 1644, 4to, published without his name or knowledge of it, and written in defence of episcopal government, and sent to archbishop Usher, who committed it to the press with some other excellent collections of his own upon the same subject. 21. “Ezekiel’s Wheels,” &c. Lond. 1653, in 8vo. The subject of this book is meditations upon God’s Providence. Besides these printed works, he left a considerable number of manuscripts, “some in my custody,” says Dr. Barwick, “which 1 found by him at his death; and some (that I hear of) in the hands of others: all of them once intended for the press, whereof some have lost their first perfection by the carelessness and negligence of some that should have kept them others want his last hand and eye to perfect them and others only a seasonable time to publish them. And he might and would have left many more, considering how vigorous his parts were even in his extreme old age, if the iniquity of the times had not deprived him of most of his notes and papers.” Among these unpublished Mss. were: 1. “Tractatus de externo Judice iniallibili ad Doctores Pontificios, imprimis vero ad Sacerdotes Wisbicenses.” 2. “Tractatus de Justificatione.” Two copies, both imperfect. 3. “Some Papers written upon the Controversy between bishop Montague and the Gagger.” 4. “A Latin edition of his book called the Grand Imposture.” Imperfect. 5. Another edition of both the parts of his book called “Apologia Catholica.” 6. “An Answer to J. S. his Anti-Mortonus.” Imperfect. 7. His treatise concerning Episcopacy above mentioned, revised | and enlarged. 8. A treatise concerning Prayer in art tinknown tongue. 9. A Defence of Infants 1 Baptism against Mr. Tombes and others. 10. Several Sermons. II. “A Kelation of the Conference held at York by our author, with Mr. Young and Mr. Stillington; and a further confutation of R. G. in defence of the Articles of the church of England.” Almost the last act of his life was to procure from the few remaining bishops in England, a refutation of the fable of the Nag’s Head ordination, which was revived by some of the popish persuasion in 1658. What he procured on the subject was afterwards published by bishop Uramhai. 1

Life by Barwick, 1660, 4to, aivl by R. B. and J. N. i. e. Richard Baddily and John Nay lor, 1669, 8vo. Biog. Brit.