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Meanwhile, the university was in a very great strait, and stood in need of all the judgment, prudence, and energy, of such a son as Dr. Hammond. The enemies of the church were inflamed to fresh efforts by their repeated successes, and at length brought about the famous Oxford Visitation.
In September 1646, parliament had sent down seven divines to advocate its cause from the university pulpit, and to preach against loyalty, episcopacy, and the liturgy. These preachers zealously executed their commission, and used all diligence in making all things ready for an ordinance for visiting the university; which was accordingly passed on the 1st of May 1647. This instrument appointed twenty-four visitors, and empowered them or any five of them to take cognizance of any crimes alleged against members of the university—to take evidence upon oath against such as refused to take the solemn league and covenant, had borne arms in favour of their king, or opposed the ordinances of parliament concerning discipline and the directory—and to "certify the vacancies of those who should be found guilty of any of the aforementioned offences" to a committee of about seventy-five members of the houses of parliament, whose decisions were to be final.
The visitors arrived on the third of June, but the university contrived by various ingenious expedients to delay the work of spoliation for some months. The authority of these inquisitors was denied, and their strings of questions returned unanswered. At length, however, they were enabled to begin in good earnest. On the fifth of October they deprived Dr. Fell* of the office of vicechancellor, and although he continued to discharge its functions for a few days,, yet his resistance was but of
• The father of Dr. Hammond's Biographer.
short duration, for on the 12th of that month he was sent in custody to London.
After this they proceeded to make other vacancies with unsparing hands. Dr. Hammond was called before them to answer their enquiries; but, as he declared that he could not recognise the authority by which they acted, and declined giving them satisfaction, he was summoned to appear before the higher court, which sat in London. Finding there that he might be represented by counsel, be returned to Oxford, where he soon resisted the visitors again, by refusing to publish Dr. Fell's ejectment.
A chaplain of the king's, showing such tokens of disaffection towards his sovereign's enemies, was not likely to escape their vengeance; and, on the 30th of March 1648, his name was found in a list of members of the university whom the London committee ordered to be forthwith expelled. The charges brought against him were, that he refused to submit to the visitors, that he was concerned in drawing up certain Reasons which were presented to the convocation against the authority of that visitation, and that he would not publish the visitor's orders for the expulsion of several members of Christ Church.
On the 1st of April, these instructions having arrived, the visitors marched to the hall of Christ Church, whence they sent a musketeer to the subdean's lodgings, to take Dr. Hammond into custody, which having done, they erased his name from the college books, and instead of their usual practice of sending expelled members out of Oxford by beat of drum, and so throwing them on the wide world, they kept him for many weeks in confinement.
The generosity exercised by the loyalist laity towards the suffering clergy is beyond all praise. It seems like one of those verdant spots which refresh the traveller's spirits in the waste and howling wilderness. While Dr. Hammond remained in this captivity, many pressing offers of pecuniary help were sent to him from different quarters, and one at least of these was from a gentleman wholly unknown to him, who happened to be passing through Oxford. But although his own past munificence must have left him at this time in very scanty circumstances, he accepted the assistance of only one of these friends.
Soon after his arrest, the visitors wished to remove him and Dr. Sheldon, the warden of All Souls, to Wallingford Castle, but colonel Evelyn, the governor, although no friend to the loyalist clergy, was moved by a sense of justice to declare that if they were brought to him he should treat them as friends and not as prisoners. They were therefore detained at Oxford; and notwithstanding the king's request, they were not permitted to attend him at the treaty of the Isle of Wight, which took place about that time. The king then desired to see a sermon which Dr. Hammond had preached before him about a year before, and this wish was cheerfully obeyed.
It was during this imprisonment that Dr. Hammond formed the design of writing his Annotations on the New Testament; a work over which he passed many hours of pleasant and improving occupation during the ensuing years of his life, and which is still often quoted, and mucli valued for its learning and piety.
After about ten weeks of confinement at Oxford, he was removed, through the interest of his brother-in-law, Sir John Temple, to the house of Sir Philip Warwick at Clapham in Bedfordshire; whence he forwarded an Address, dated Jan. 15, 1648$ to the general and council of officers, reprobating their design of bringing the king to trial; and where he afterwards heard with mingled anguish and indignation that his sovereign had fallen by the hand of an executioner. The sorrow occasioned by the violent death of one whom he so revered as a king and loved as a man made him seek more diligently the consolations of the gospel, with fasting and prayer. He also resumed his studies, which of late had been so much interrupted; made considerable progress in the Annotations; composed a treatise on the Reasonableness of the Christian Religion; and wrote his answer to Blonde], in Latin, in favour of Episcopacy, for which he obtained the warmest thanks and praises of his "loving friend and brother," archbishop Usher, as well as of many other persons of note and learning.
Amidst these pursuits, one more affliction befel him. He learned that his mother was dangerously ill; but he was neither permitted to soften her pillow by the consolations of religion, nor to close her eyes at the last. All royalists were banished from within twenty miles of London, where she resided at the time of her death. But it is happy for the disciples of Christ that their friendships and affections are not buried in the grave, and that the hope of meeting hereafter, and living together for ever in a better world, may soothe the anguish of the most distressing separations.
Towards the close of the year, Dr. Hammond was released from all restraint, and, taking leave of Clapham, he removed to Westwood in Worcestershire, the seat of sir John Pakington, an eminent loyalist.
In this Memoir, as well as that of archbishop Usher, we have made some reference to the general condition of the clergy from the time of their ejection to the Restoration ; and we propose to give, in the next chapter, a sketch of their distresses, and of the causes from which those calamities sprang, hoping thereby to evince the special goodness of God in providing so amply for the comfort of these excellent persons, as well as the occasion which existed for their active services in behalf of their brethren.
SUFFERINGS OF THE CLERGY.
The widow'd church to weep stood by;—
The overthrow of the church of England and the deep distresses of her clergy were mainly owing to the furious and misdirected zeal of a religious party, who, from professing to advocate a purer mode of worship than that which was then established, were commonly denominated puritans. Glancing at their early history, we find that the persecuting spirit of queen Mary compelled vast numbers of English protestants to seek refuge from her cruelties in foreign countries; and that many of these, forsaking the forms of public worship which they had used at home in the reign of king Edward the sixth, adopted the doctrine, discipline, and services, of Calvin and the church of Geneva. In too many instances, the exiled protestants, divided in opinion and practice, fell into hot contentions in many of the towns where they settled; and afterwards, at the accession of queen Elizabeth, bringing with them into England those unfriendly feelings towards each other, implanted that disunion