Archbishop showed no disposition to move. At length he received an order intimating to him the royal pleasure that he should quit the dwelling which had long ceased to be his own, and in which he was only a guest. He resented this order bitterly, and declared that he would not obey it. He would stay till he was pulled out by the Sheriff's officers. He would defend himself at law as long as he could do so without putting in any plea acknowledging the authority of the usurpers. The case was so clear that he could not, by any artifice of chicanery, obtain more than a short delay. When judgment had been given against him, he left the palace, but directed his steward to retain possession. The consequence was that the steward was taken into custody and heavily fined. Tillotson sent a kind message to assure his predecessor that the fine should not be exacted. But Sancroft was determined to have a grievance, and would pay the money.
From that time the great object of the narrowminded and peevish old man was to tear in pieces the Church of which he had been the chief minister. It was in vain that some of those nonjurors, whose virtue, ability and learning were the glory of their party, remonstrated against his design. "Our deprivation," — such was the reasoning of Ken, — "is, in the sight of God, a nullity. We are, and shall be, till we die or resign, the true Bishops of our sees. Those who assume our titles and functions will incur the guilt of schism. But with us, if we act as becomes us, the schism will die; and in the next generation the unity of the Church will be restored. On the other hand, if we consecrate Bishops to succeed us, the breach may last through ages, and we shall be justly held accountable, not indeed for its origin, but for its continuance." These considerations ought, on Sancroft's own principles, to have had decisive weight with him; but his angry passions prevailed. Ken quietly retired from the venerable palace of Wells. He had done, he said, with strife, and should henceforth vent his feelings not in disputes but in
- Wharton's Collectanea quoted in D'Oyly's Life of Sancroft; Narcissus Luttrell's Diary.
- The Lambeth MS. quoted in D'Oyly's Life of Sancroft; Narcissus Luttrell's Diary; Vernon to Wharton, June 9, 11, 1691.