Page:William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (3rd ed, 1768, vol II).djvu/294

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Book II.
The Rights

In caſe the benefice becomes void by death, the ceſſion through plurality of benefices, there the patron is bound to take notice of the vacancy at his own peril; for theſe are matters of equal notoriety to the patron and ordinary: but in caſe of a vacancy by reſignation, or canonical deprivation, or if a clerk preſented be refuſed for inſufficiency, theſe being matters of which the biſhop alone is preſumed to be cognizant, here the law requires him to give notice thereof to the patron, otherwiſe he can take no advantage by way of lapſe[1]. Neither ſhall any lapſe thereby accrue to the metropolitan or to the king; for it is univerſally true, that neither the arch-biſhop or the king ſhall ever preſent by lapſe, but where the immediate ordinary might have collated by lapſe, within the ſix months, and hath exceeded his time: for the firſt ſtep or beginning faileth, et quod non habet principium, non habet finem[2]. If the biſhop refuſe or neglect to examine and admit the patron's clerk, without good reaſon aſſigned or notice given, he is ſtiled a diſturber by the law, and ſhall not have any title to preſent by lapſe; for no man ſhall take advantage of his own wrong[3]. Alſo if the right of preſentation be litigious or conteſted, and an action be brought againſt the biſhop to try the title, no lapſe ſhall incur till the queſtion of right be decided[4].

IV. By ſimony, the right of preſentation to a living is forfeited, and veſted pro hac vice in the crown. Simony is the corrupt preſentation of any one to an eccleſiaſtical benefice for money, gift, or reward. It is ſo called from the reſemblance it is ſaid to bear to the ſin of Simon Magus, though the purchaſing of holy orders ſeems to approach nearer to his offence. It was by the canon law a very grievous crime: and is ſo much the more odious, becauſe, as ſir Edward Coke obſerves[5], it is ever accompanied with perjury: for the preſentee is ſworn to have committed no ſimony. However it is not an offence puniſhable in a cri-
  1. 4 Rep. 75. 2 Inſt. 632.
  2. Co. Litt. 344, 345.
  3. 2 Roll. Abr. 369.
  4. Co. Litt. 344.
  5. 3 Inſt. 156.