Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/36

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did not hesitate to reprove Charles for his adultery and to refuse him the holy communion on that account (Burnet, i. 438). In 1667 his remonstrances are said to have cost him Charles's favour.

He was no less assiduous in the discharge of the spiritual duties of his office. His papers show him diligent in reproving bishops for neglect of duly, in encouraging the deserving, and in investigating all cases of hardship or scandal. During the plague he remained at Lambeth 'all the time of the greatest danger, and with his diffusive charity preserved great numbers alive that would have perished in their necessities; and by his affecting letters to all the bishops procured great sums to be returned out of all parts of his province' (Le Neve, as above, p. 183). He was equally urgent in collecting for the rebuilding of St. Paul's, giving himself over 4,000l. before and after the fire. In supervision of the work of the English church beyond the seas he showed a special activity; one of his last acts was to interest himself in provision for the spiritual needs of Maryland (Cal. State Papers, Colonial Ser., America and the West Indies, passim); and in Scotland and Ireland he was the strongest supporter of the episcopalian establishment (see the volume Bodleian MS. add. c 306), being constantly informed of the 'forward humour of our phanaticks' and the sad condition of 'the poor orthodox clergy' (see Letter from the Archbishop of Glasgow, 24 Aug. 1667 ib.) During the whole of his life he was extraordinarily generous, and it is stated that he gave to 'public pious uses, in acts of munificence and charity,' 72,000l. (Kennett, Case of Impropriations, 257). He died at Lambeth on 9 Nov. 1677, and was buried at Croydon, where he had chiefly resided during the last years of his life. A monument was erected to his memory in Croydon parish church by his nephew, Sir Joseph Sheldon (lord mayor of London in 1676). He was unmarried.

Sheldon was placed at the head of the English church at a very critical time, for the Restoration settlement affected all her future history. If he did nothing to minimise the differences between her and the protestant sects, he certainly confirmed her in the course which she had pursued since the Reformation. Characteristic of this position is the impetus which he gave to the preservation of the memory of Archbishop Laud (see Laud, Works, iii. 122; Wharton, Preface to the History of the Troubles and Trial).

Of his character contemporaries give very different judgments. He was no doubt a high tory of the school of Clarendon, and thus was never popular with the king's favorites or with the whigs. Burnet speaks of him as seeming 'not to have a deep sense of religion, if any at all,' and as speaking of it 'most commonly as of an engine of government and a. matter of policy.' But it must be remembered that he was the warm friend of Clarendon, Falkland. Sanderson, Hammond, and Juxon, the spiritual counsellor of Charles I, and the honest adviser of his son. His chaplain, Samuel Parker (1640-1688) [q. v.], describes him as a man of undoubted piety 'but though he was very assiduous at prayers, yet he did not set so great a value on them as others did, nor regard so much worship as the use of worship, placing the chief point of religion in the practice of a good life.' And he would say to the 'young noblemen' and gentlemen who by their parents' commands resorted daily to him, "Let it be your principal care to become honest men . . . no piety will be of any advantage to yourselves or anybody else unless you are honest and moral men."' Of his high practical ability there is no doubt; even Burnet speaks of him as 'very dexterous,' and of 'a great quickness of apprehension and a very true judgment.' Ecclesiastically he belonged to the school of Andrewes and Laud, 'holding fast the true orthodox profession of the catholique faith of Christ . . . being a true member of His catholique church within the communion of a living part thereof, the present church of England' (Will, in Codrington Library, All Souls' College, Oxford).

His only published work is a sermon preached before the king at Whitehall on 8 June 1660 (for his manuscript remains at Lambeth see Wood, Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 858). Several portraits of him exist, notably one in the hall of All Souls' College. Oxford, which represents him as a thin man with a high colour and small dark moustache. There are engravings by Loggan and Vertue.

[Much of the authority for the life of Sheldon in detail is still in manuscript, notably the Clarendon State Papers in the Bodleian, and the Sheldon Papers and Dolben Papers preserved in the same library. Of printed sources the most important are mentioned in the text. The most complete vindication based on manuscript evidence, is that of Professor Burrows's Worthies of All Souls'.]

W. H. H.


SHELDON, JOHN (1752–1808), anatomist, was born in London on 6 July 1752, and was apprenticed to Henry Watson, who was elected in 1766 the first professor of anatomy at the Surgeons' Company. Sheldon studied and taught anatomy at Watson's private museum in Tottenham Court Road, which was afterwards wrecked by a mob.