Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Morley, George
MORLEY, GEORGE (1597–1684), bishop of Winchester, son of Francis Morley, esq., and Sarah, sister to Sir John Denham [q. v.], judge, was born in Cheapside, London, on 27 Feb. 1597. Both his parents died by the time that he was twelve, and his father having before his death fallen into difficulties by becoming surety for others, left him unprovided for. When he was about fourteen he was admitted king's scholar at Westminster, and in 1615 was elected to Christ Church, Oxford (Welsh, Alumni Westmonasterienses, p. 83). He graduated B.A. in 1618, and proceeded M.A. in 1621, and D.D. in 1642. Remaining at Oxford, he made many friends, among whom were Henry Hammond [q. v.], Robert Sanderson [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Lincoln, William Chillingworth [q. v.], Gilbert Sheldon [q. v.], afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, Lucius Gary, afterwards second viscount Falkland [q. v.], at whose house at Great Tew, Oxfordshire, he was a frequent guest, and, above all, of Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon. His remarkably cultured mind, his witty conversation, and his high moral character won him the regard and admiration of men of taste and learning. It is related that Edmund Waller the poet, when one day sitting with Chillingworth. Falkland, and others, heard that some one was arrested in the street below, found that it was 'one of Jonson's sons,' George Morley, and at once paid the debt of 100l., on condition that Morley would stay with him. Morley constantly visited him at his house in Buckinghamshire, and Waller used to declare that it was from him that he learned to love the ancient poets (Life of Waller, pp. 8, 9, affixed to Works). Morley's arrest must probably have arisen out of the debts which his father had incurred. He was a Calvinist, though at the same time a thorough churchman. Being once asked, apparently about 1635, what the Arminians held, he answered that they held all the best bishoprics and deaneries in England. Neither his opinions nor his wit pleased Laud, who had a prejudice against him, and his friendship with John Hampden (1594-1643) [q. v.], Arthur Goodwin [q. v.], and others of the same views, made some suspect that he was no true friend to the church (Clarendon, Life, i. 50). He was for a time chaplain to Robert Dormer, earl of Carnarvon [q. v.], and was in 1640 presented to the sinecure rectory of Hartfield, Sussex. His friend Hyde evidently forwarded his interests, and in 1641 [see under Hyde for significance of date] he was made a canon of Christ Church, having previously been appointed one of the king's chaplains, gave his first year's stipend to help the king in his war [see under Charles I], and exchanged his sinecure for the rectory, with cure, of Mildenhall, Wiltshire.
He was appointed in 1642 to preach before the House of Commons, but his sermon was so little to the members' liking that they refrained from paying him the usual compliment of requesting him to print it (Wood). Nevertheless he was appointed by both houses one of the assembly of divines, but he never attended any of its meetings, and served the king by all means in his power. In obedience to the king's direction he took a prominent part in the resistance of the university of Oxford to the parliamentary visitation of 1647, and served on the delegacy appointed by convocation to manage the opposition (Burrows, Visitors' Register, Pref. lxiii ; Wood). When in the autumn the second attempt at visitation was resisted, and the heads of houses were summoned to appear before the committee of the two houses, Morley was selected to instruct counsel on their behalf. He was deprived of his canonry and his rectoiy. He resisted, and was finally ejected in the spring of 1648. In a letter to Whitelocke, which appears in Whitelocke's 'Memorials' under May 1647, he speaks of his canonry as all his subsistence (Memorials, ii. 150). It is said that he might have avoided ejectment if he would have promised to abstain from opposition to the visitors, and that he suffered a short imprisonment on account of it (Wood ; Walker). In the summer of 1647 he attended the king as one of his chaplains at Newmarket (Clarendon, History, x. 93). and is said to have taken part in the Newport negotiations in the autumn of 1648 (Wood). In March 1649 he attended his friend, Arthur Capel, lord Capel [q. v.], after his sentence, and accompanied him to the foot of the scaffold (ib. xi. 264).
Morley then left England, went to the court of Charles II at St. Germains, and while in Paris officiated in the chapel of Sir Richard Browne (1605-1683) [q. v.] (Evelyn, Diary, i. 254, 271 n.) Having accompanied the king to Breda, he preached before him on the eve of Charles's departure for Scotland in 1650. Hyde wrote to Lady Morton [see under Douglas, William, seventh or eighth Earl of Morton], speaking of the comfort that Morley would be to her (Col. of Clarendon Papers, ii. 21). At first the royalists at the Hague, where he remained after the king's departure, seem to have looked upon him with some coldness, believing that he had presbyterian leanings, and Hyde wrote again to Lady Morton to correct this impression (ib. p. 65). Some of them, however, immediately recognised his value, Lady Elizabeth Thynne being one of 'his elect ladies;' he read prayers twice a day, and performed the other offices of the church for the English royalists in every place at which he stayed during his exile, and was soon regarded as their most prominent and useful clergyman, being referred to somewhat later in correspondence as 'the honest doctor' (ib. passim ; Nicholas Papers, i. 208 ; Wood). He gratuitously acted as chaplain to Elizabeth, queen of Bohemia, and also served Lady Frances Hyde in the same capacity at Antwerp, where he was entertained by Sir Charles Cotterell [q. v.] He was in Antwerp for some time in 1653, where he formed a high opinion of Henry, duke of Gloucester, and had much conversation with Colonel Joseph Bampfield [q. v.], about which he wrote to Sir Edward Nicholas (Nicholas Papers, ii. 21). He was at Düsseldorf in October 1654, when the Duke of Neuburg entertained the king there. A malicious story, afterwards proved to be false, was set abroad about his indiscreet behaviour at the duke's table (ib. pp. 154, 170). He also visited Breda, where 'he was gallantly entertained,' and did not return to the Hague until April 1655 (ib. pp. 244, 251; Cal. of Clarendon Papers, ii. 333). Shortly before the Restoration he was sent over to England by Hyde to prepare the presbyterians to forward the king's return, and specially to contradict the report that Charles was a Roman catholic. He had great success, for he let his Calvinistic opinions be known, and spoke of his hopes of peace and union (Wood; Calamy, Abridgment, p. 569). He proposed to meet the presbyterians' demands with reference to the negative power of the presbyters and the validity of their orders, either by silence, or in the case of the latter demand, by a hypothetical re-ordination (Clarendon State Papers, pp. 727, 738).
At the Restoration Morley regained his canonry, and in July was made dean of Christ Church. When his former pupil, Anne Hyde, duchess of York [q. v.], was delivered of a son on 22 Oct. 1660 he was sent for, and put questions to her establishing the legitimacy of the child (Clarendon, Life, i. 333). On the 28th he was consecrated to the see of Worcester. He preached the sermon at the coronation on 23 April 1661, being then dean of the chapel royal. At the Savoy conference in May he was 'prime manager,' and the chief speaker of the bishops (Calamy, Abridgment, pp. 154, 171). In September he visited Oxford with the Earl of Clarendon, the new chancellor of the university (Wood, Life and Times, i.411). Having refused to allow Richard Baxter [q. v.] to resume his ministry at Kidderminster, he went thither himself, and preached against presbyterianism. Baxter replied by publishing his 'Mischief of Self-ignorance.' In 1662 he was translated to the see of Winchester. Rich as that bishopric was, Charles, who knew Morley 's munificence, declared that he would never be the richer for it. Besides giving away large sums, he was extremely hospitable. Among his guests was Isaac Walton [q. v.], who appears to have been much under his roof. The king and the Duke of York rather abused his hospitality, for Farnham Castle was conveniently situated for their hunting, and for the king to overlook the progress of his building at Winchester, and the bishop is said once to have asked Charles whether he meant to make his house an inn (Prideaux, Letters, p. 141). At Winchester he was brought into close relations with Thomas Ken [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells. On the Christmas day following his translation he preached at Whitehall, and 'reprehending the common jollity of the court . . . particularized concerning their excess in plays and gaming.' Pepys thought he made but a poor sermon, and others laughed in the chapel at his rebuke (Diary, ii. 84, 85). He was appointed a governor of the Charterhouse in May 1663 (information received from the master of the Charterhouse). In 1664 he visited the five Oxford colleges of which he was ex officio visitor, finding apparently no trouble except at Corpus Christi, where he ' bound some to their behaviour,' and had to punish a gross case of contempt of his authority (Wood, Life and Times, ii. 16-19). When an impeachment was drawn up against Clarendon in November 1667, Morley was sent to him by the Duke of York to signify the king's wish that he should leave the country (Clarendon, Life, ii. 484). Clarendon's fall for a time brought Morley into disgrace at court. Pepys heard that both he and the Bishop of Rochester, John Dolben [q. v.], afterwards archbishop of York, and some other great prelates were 'suspended,' and noted that the business would be a heavy blow to the clergy (Diary, iv. 297). Morley certainly withdrew from court for a season. In common with some other bishops, he was consulted by the ministers in 1674 with reference to measures to be taken against popery (Burnet, History, ii. 53). Some reflections were made upon him in a letter published in the 'Histoire du Calvinisme' of a Roman catholic priest named Maimburg, with reference to the cause of the conversion to Roman Catholicism of Anne, late duchess of York, whose spiritual adviser he had been. By way of vindicating himself, he published in 1681 a letter that he had written to the duchess in 1670 on her neglect of the sacrament (see under Anne, Duchess of York; Evelyn, Correspondence, iii. 255, 257; Burnet, History, i. 537, 538). Not long before his death he is said to have sent a message to the Duke of York (James II) that 'if ever he depended on the doctrine of non-resistance he would find himself deceived' (ib. ii. 428 n.) He died at Farnham Castle on 29 Oct. 1684, in his eighty-eighth year, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
He was, Clarendon says, a man 'of eminent parts in all polite learning, of great wit, readiness, and subtlety in disputation, and of remarkable temper and prudence in conversation' (Life, i. 46). According to Burnet he was too easily provoked, and when angry exercised too little restraint over himself. There is no reason to doubt that while he was good-natured, he was also irascible. Pious and high-minded, he was in the eyes of Clarendon 'the best man alive' (Cal. of Clarendon Papers, ii. 271). He retained his Calvinistic opinions through life ; but while he was always a good churchman, he seems to have been brought by persecution to hold stronger church views than in his earlier days. He was, however, always moderate, and was courteous towards dissenters. He was a loyal subject and a faithful friend, and both in word and deed utterly fearless. He was hospitable and extremely liberal, his benefactions while bishop of Winchester amounting, it is said, to 40,000l. He rebuilt the episcopal palace at Wolvesey, repaired Farnham Castle, and purchased for the see Winchester House, Chelsea, for 4,000l; he was a large contributor to the rebuilding of St. Paul's, gave 2,200 to Christ Church, Oxford, founded five scholarships at Pembroke College for natives of Jersey and Guernsey (now consolidated into one scholarship of 80l a year), and built and endowed the 'college for matrons' on the north side of the churchyard of Winchester Cathedral for the widows of the clergy of the dioceses of Worcester and Winchester. Moreover by his will he left 500l. to the Military Hospital at Chelsea. In his habits he was active and ascetic, rising at five A.M. all the year round, sitting on winter mornings without a fire, and only making one meal a day. He retained a large amount of bodily and mental vigour in old age.
Though Morley was studious, he wrote little. His works, mostly short and polemical, are, omitting sermons: 1. 'A Letter concerning the Death of Lord Capel,' 4to, 1654; 2. 'A Vindication of himself from . . . Reflexion by Mr. Richard Baxter,' 4to (see above), to which Baxter replied. 3. 'Epistola Apologetica ad theologium quendam,' 4to, written at Breda in 1659, published in London in 1663 as 'Epistola ad virum clarissimum D.Cornelium Triglandium, an Answer to those who suspected Charles II of Popery.' 4. A volume (4to, 1683) containing seven pieces, viz. 'Sum of a Short Conference between Father Darcey and Dr. Morley at Brussels,' 'An Argument against Transubstantiation,' 'Vindication of an Argument,' 'Answer to Father Creasy's Letter,' 'Answer to a Letter,' 'Letter to Anne, Duchess of York' (see above), ' Ad . . . Janum Ulilium epistolæ duse ' the last was translated in 1707, probably by Hilkiah Bedford [q. v.] with a commendatory letter by Dr. George Hickes [q.v.] (Hearne, Collections, ii. 12). 'A Letter to the Earl of Anglesey,' concerning measures against popery, 4to, 1683. is at the end of 'Proceedings between the Duke of Ormonde and the Earl of Anglesey ' [see under Butler, James, twelfth Earl and first Duke of Ormonde]; and an 'Epitaph for James I,' at end of Spotiswood's 'History of the Church of Scotland' (Bliss). He drew up 'Injunctions for Magdalen College, Oxford,' as visitor, and appears to have been dissatisfied with the 'restless and unquiet' spirit of the college (Magdalen College and James II, pp. 55, 186). Besides these there are assigned to him 'A Modest Advertisement concerning Church Government,' 4to, 1641, and a character of Charles II (Bliss).
Morley's portrait was painted by Lely. Clarendon had a portrait of him in his palace in London (Evelyn, Correspondence, iii. 301), and other portraits of him are at Farnham Castle, at Christ Church, at Oriel and Pembroke Colleges, Oxford, and the Charterhouse. In that at Pembroke College Morley wears the mantle of the order of the Garter, of which as bishop of Winchester he was ex officio prelate. The Oriel picture at one time belonged to Walton. According to the portraits Morley's face was oval, and his nose long and straight. He wore a slight moustache and closely cut beard. Engravings from the pictures have been executed by Vertue and Thompson (Cassan, Bishops of Winchester, ii. 185; Granger, Biog. Hist. iii. 235). A drawing in coloured chalks by E. Lutterel is in the National Portrait Gallery, London.