Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/168

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Morton
Morton
162

which James based his subsequent declaration (Wilkins, Concilia, iv. 483), were calculated to promote a peace in the church. But the king's rash publication of the 'Book of Sports ' in the following year led to new disturbances. Morton's dealings with his non- conformist clergy were marked by fatherly moderation, and in friendly conference he sought to meet by argument their objections to the ceremonies. In 1619 he published 'a relation of the conference ' under the title of 'A Defence of the Innocenceof the three Ceremonies of the Surplice, the Cross in Baptism, and Kneeling at the Blessed Sacrament.' dedicated to George Villiers, marquis of Buckingham. In 1618, on his friend Overall's translation to Norwich, he was removed to Lichfield and Coventry, on the recommendation of Bishop Andrewes [q. v.], 'who was never known to do the like for any other.' With the bishopric he held the living of Clifton Camville in commendam. Here he continued his endeavours to win over both non-conformists and recusants. In 1621 he served on the commission for granting a dispensation to Archbishop Abbot for the casual homicide of a keeper in Bramshill Park (Collier, Eccl. Hist. vii. 418). In 1623 a curious correspondence took place between him and Lord Conway about a horse named ; Captain,' which on Lord Gerard's death the bishop had taken as a heriot. Gerard had bequeathed his two choicest horses to Prince Charles, then absent in Spain. Conway requested Morton in the king's name to forego his right ; this he declined to do, but he obtained permission to present 'Captain' to the prince on his return (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1623). In February 1626 he took a leading part in the conference on Bishop Montague's incriminated books held at the Duke of Buckingham's house, and with Dr. Preston, the puritan master of Emmanuel, did his best to impugn the statements contained in them on predestination and freewill (Birch, Court of Charles I, i. 86 ; cf. Church Hist, v. 449 ; see also Addit. MS. Brit. Mus. 5724, pp. 57 ff.) The high esteem felt for Morton by James was continued by Charles I, and in June 1632 Morton was translated to the rich and important palatinate see of Durham, which he held by canonical right until his death in 1659, : although parliament claimed to deprive him of it in 1647. His administration of the diocese, with its large secular jurisdiction and its princely revenues, fully justified his reputation. No complaints were made against him to the House of Commons during the civil wars, except by his scurrilous and wrong-headed prebendary, Peter Smart [q. v.] He showed great forbearance in claiming the undoubted rights of the palatinate in wardships, wrecks, and forfeitures for suicide. He was systematic and liberal in almsgiving, and maintained many poor scholars at the universities. He did all in his power to augment the poor benefices of his diocese, and exhibited extreme conscientiousness both in admission to holy orders and in the exercise of his patronage. His hospitality was profuse. On his journey to Scotland in 1633 Charles I and his suite were received by Morton, both at Auckland and at Durham, in such princely style that one day's entertainment is reported to have cost 1,500l. On Sunday, 2 June, on the occasion of the king's attending service in the cathedral, the bishop preached on the cursing of the fig-tree. Six years later, in. May 1639, he again entertained Charles at the beginning of 'the First Bishops' War.' The next year, in the month of August, the Scots crossed the Tweed, and pushed on to Durham. The cathedral clergy fled, Morton himself retiring into Yorkshire. It is probable that he never again permanently resided in his bishopric.

Early in 1641 he was in London attending to his parliamentary duties, and was nominated a member of the sub-committee to prepare matters for the consideration of the abortive committee of the lords appointed on 1 March the day of Laud's committal to the Tower to take cognisance of innovations in religion (Fuller, Church Hist. vi. 188). In the following December an unruly mob threatened to drag him out of his coach, when on his way to the House of Lords (Barwick, Life, p. 103). Morton never took his seat in the lords again. Two days later, 29 Dec., he joined in Williams's ill-advised protest against the legality of all acts done in the enforced absence of the spiritual lords. For this he and his eleven associates were next day impeached of high treason ou Prynne's motion, and the same night they were all committed to the Tower, with the exception of Morton and Wright, bishop of Lichfield, who, on account of their advanced age, were allowed to remain in the house of the usher of the black rod a doubtful privilege, for the charges were far greater. After four months' imprisonment Morton was released without a trial, and remained unmolested at Durham House, in the Strand, till April 1645, when he was again brought before the bar of the House of Commons on the double charge of baptising the infant daughter of the Earl of Rutland according to the rites of the church of England, and of refusing to surrender the seal of the county palatine of Durham. He was committed to the custody of the sergeant-