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tor, I have read all the pamphlets written by them on both sides of the question.' « Well,” said the queen, “ which of the two do you think to be in the right ?” The doctor answered, “I cannot say, madam, wbich of the two is in the right, but I think that both of them are in the wrong." She smiled, and said, “ Then what is your opinion of the text?” “ Madam,” said the doctor, “ it would take up more time than your majesty can spare at this drawing-room, for me to give my opinion and the reasons of it; but if your majesty should be pleased to lay your commands upon me, you shall know my sentiments of the inatter in the next sermon which I shall have the honour to preach before his majesty.” “ Pray do then,” said the queen, and he accordingly prepared a sermon on that text, but the queen died a month before his term of preaching came about, and before he was promoted to the deanry of Winchester. In 1744 the dean was elected prolocutor of the lower house of convocation for the province of Canterbury, the archbishop having signified to some of the members, that the choice of him would be agreeable
to his grace.
In 1748 dean Pearce was promoted to the see of Bangor, but the history of this and of his subsequent translation to Rochester, will be best related in his own words: “ In the year 1746,” says he, “ archbishop Potter being alone with dean Pearce one day at Lambeth, said to him, “Why do you not try to engage your friend lord Bath * to get you made a bishop?' My lord,' said the dean, I am extremely obliged to your grace for your good opinion of me, and for your kind intentions in my favour; but I have never spoken to him on that subject, nor ever thought of doing so, though I believe he would do what lies in his power; but I will tell your grace very frankly, that I have no thoughts of any bishopric. All that I have in view is this: I am now dean of Winchester; and that deanry is worth upwards of 600l. a year; my vicarage of St. Martin's is about 500l. a year, and this last I should be glad of an opportunity of resigning, on account of the great trouble and little leisure which so large a parish gives me; but if I should out-live my father, who is upwards of eighty years
* His acquaintance with Mr. Pulo improved into a friendship that lasted teney arose in 1724, at an interview very nearly forty years, and till the with him respecting the re-building of death of this statesman, who sat then St. Martin's church, and gradually in the house of lords as earl of Batho
old, I shall come to his estate, being bis eldest son, which will enable me to resign my vicarage; and the profits of the deanry alone, with my father's estate, will make me quite contented. The archbishop smiled, and said, “Well, if you will not help yourself, your friends must do it for you.' Accordingly he spoke to the earl of Bath, and they two agreed to try what they could do to make the dean of Winchester a bishop. “In 1748 the bishopric of Bangor became vacant.
The dean was then at Winchester, and received there a letter from Mr. Clark (afterwards sir Thomas, and master of the rolls) informing him, that lord chancellor Hardwicke wished to see dean Pearce thought of on that occasion, and that he hoped the dean would answer Mr. Clarke's letter in such a way, as when seen, might be approved of by the ministry. Dean Pearce answered the letter with ackvowledgment of the favour thought of for him; but assuring Mr. Clark, who, as he perceived, was to communicate the answer to lord Hardwicke, that he had long had no thoughts of desiring a bishopric, and that he was fully satisfied with his situation in the church ; and that as to the ministry, he was always used to think as favourably of them as they could wish him to do, having never opposed any of the public measures, nor designing so to do. In truth, the dean had then fixed upon a resolution to act no otherwise than as he had told the archbishop he should do, upon his father's death. The dean received no answer to this letter written to Mr. Clark, and he thouglit that there was an end of that matter.
“ About a fortnight after this, the dean went up to his parish in Westminster; but in his way thither, lay one night at his father's house, in Little Ealing, wear Brentford; where, the next morning early, a letter was brought to him from the duke of Newcastle by one of his grace's servants, signifying that his grace had his majesty's order to make the dean of Winchester an offer of the bishopric of Bangor, and desiring to see him at, the cockpit the next day at 12 o'clock. Accordingly he waited upon him, when, with many kind expressions to the dean, the duke signified the gracious offer of his majesty, which he had the order to make him. The dean asked his grace, whether he might be permitted to hold his deanry of Winchester in commendam with Bangor, to which the answer was,, No; but that he might hold the vicarage of St. Martin's with it. The dean said, that he was desirous to quit the living, which was troublesome to him, and would be more so as he was growing in years; but if that could not be indulged him, he rather chose to continue in his present situation. The duke used some arguments to persuade the dean to accept of the offer with a commendam to hold the living. He could not, however, prevail with the dean any farther, than that he would take three days' time to consider of it. During that time, the dean had brought his father and lord Bath to consent, that he might decline to accept of that bishopric without their displeasure ; but before the dean saw the duke a second time, lord Hardwicke, then chancellor, sent for him, and desired him to be, without fail, at his house, that evening. He went, and lord Hardwicke told him, that he found, by the duke of Newcastle, that he made difficulties about accepting the bishopric which was so graciously offered him. The dean gave his lordship an account of all that had passed between the duke and him; upon which his lordship used many arguments with the dean to induce him to accept the offer, as intended. Among other things, he said, "If clergymen of learning and merit will not accept of the bishoprics, how can the ministers of state be blamed, if they are forced to fill them with others less deserving? The dean was struck with that question, and had nothing ready in his thoughts to reply to it. He therefore promised lord Hardwicke to consent, the next day, when he was to see the duke of Newcastle. • Well then,' said lord Hardwicke, when you consent, do it with a good grace. The dean promised to do that too; and accordingly he declared to the duke, the next day, his ready acceptance of his majesty's offer, with such acknowledgments of the royal goodness as are proper on the occasion; and on Feb. 21, 1748, he was consecrated bishop of Bangor.
“ In the year 1755, the bishop of Bangor being with archbishop Herring at Croydon, and walking with him in his garden, he said, "My Lord, you know that the bishop of Rochester, Dr. Wilcocks, is very ill, and probably will not live long; will you accept of his bishopric and the deanry of Westminster, in exchange for yours of Bangor? The bishop excused himself, and told him plainly, that his father being dead, and his estate come to him, he had now nothing in view, but to beg his majesty's leave to resign the see of Bangor, and to retire to a private life in the year
1757; that so long, he was contented to continue in the possession of the bishopric of Bangor; but that then he designed to try if he could obtain leave to resign, and live upon his private fortune. The archbishop replied, "I doubt whether the king will grant it, or that it can be done.' A second time, at another visit there, he mentioned the same thing, and a second time the bishop gave him the same auswer. But in a short time after, upon another visit, when the archbishop mentioned it a third time, he added, My lord, if you will give me leave to try what I can do to procure you this exchange, I promise you not to take it amiss of you, if you refuse it, though I should obtain the offer for you.'
• This is very generous in your grace,' said the bishop, “and I cannot refuse to consent to what you propose to do.'
“ Sometime after, in the same year (the bishop of Rochester declining very fast), the duke of Newcastle sent to the bishop of Bangor, and desired to see him the next day. He went to him, and the duke informed him, that he was told, that the chancellorship of Bangor was then vacant, and he pressed the bishop so much to bestow it upon one whom he had to recommend, that the bishop consented to comply with his request. "Well, my lord,' said the duke,
now I have another favour to ask of you.' 'Pray, my lord duke,' said the bishop, what is that?" "Why,' said the duke, it is, that you will accept of the bishopric of Rochester, and deanry of Westminster, in exchange for Bangor, in case the present bishop of Rochester should die.' My lord,' said "the bishop, if I had thoughts of exchanging my bishopric, I should prefer what you mention before any other dignities.' "That is not,' said the duke, an answer to my question : will you accept them in exchange, if they are offered to you?" "Your grace offers them to me,' said the bishop, in so generous and friendly a manner, that I promise you to accept them.' Here the conversation ended ; and Dr. Wilcocks dying in the beginning of the year 1756, the bishop of Bangor was promoted to the bishopric of Rochester and deanry of Westminster.”
On the death of Dr. Sherlock, bishop of London, lord Bath spoke to the bishop of Rochester, and offered to use his endeavours with his majesty for appointing him to succeed that eminent prelate; bụt Dr. Pearce told him, that from the earliest time that he could remember himself to have considered about bishoprics, he had determined never VOL. XXIV.
to accept the bishoprie of London, or the archbishopric of Canterbury, and he begged his lordship not to make any application in his behalf for the vacant see of London.. Lord Bath repeated his offer on the death of Dr. Osbaldis-, ton in 1763, but Dr. Pearce again declined the proposal, and was indeed so far from desiring a higher bishopric, that he now meditated the resignation of what he possessed.: This is one of the most remarkable circumstances in the life of Dr. Pearce. Being now (1763) seventy-three years old, and finding himself less fit for the duties of bishop and dean, he informed his friend lord Bath of his intention to resign both, and to live in a retired manner upon his own private fortune; and after much discourse upon ; the subject at different times, he prevailed upon his lordship at last to acquaint bis majesty with his intention, and to desire, in the bishop's name, the honour of a private audience from bis majesty for that purpose. This being granted, Dr. Pearce stated his motives as he had done to lord Bath, adding that he was desirous to retire for the opportunity of spending more time in his devotions and studies; and that he was of the same way of thinking with a general officer of the emperor Charles V. who, when he desired a dismission from that monarch's service, told him, “ Sir, every wise man would, at the latter end of life, wish to have an interval between the fatigues of business and eternity.” The bishop then shewed the kings in a written paper, instances of its having been done several times, and concluded with telling his majesty, that he did not expect or desire an immediate answer to his request, but rather that his majesty would first consult some of his ministers as to the propriety and legality of it. This the king consented to do; and about two months after, he sent for the bishop and told him, that he had consulted with two of his lawyers, lord Mansfield and lord Northington, who saw no objection to the proposed resignation, and in consequence of their opinion, his majesty signified bis own consent. The interference, however, of lord Bath, in requesting that his majesty would give the bishopric and deanry to Dr. Newton, then bishop of Bristol, alarmed the ministry, who thought that no dignities in the church should be obtained from the crown, but through their hands. Lord Northington suggested to his majesty some doubts on the subject, and represented that the bishops in general disliked the design; and at length Dr. Pearce was told by his majesty, that he must think no more about resigning