Juxon, William

Juxon, William, a celebrated English prelate, distinguished for his faithfulness to the unfortunate king Charles, was born at Chichester in 1582, and was educated at St. John's College, Oxford, where he obtained a fellowship in 1598. He first studied law, but afterwards altered his mind, took orders, and was presented in 1609 to the vicarage of St. Giles, Oxford, together with which, after 1614, he held the rectory of Somerton. In 1621 he was chosen president of his college, after which he rose rapidly, through the interest of archbishop Laud, being successively appointed dean of Worcester, clerk of the closet, bishop of Hereford, dean of the Chapel Royal, and, in 1633, bishop of London. The sweetness of his temper, the kindness and courtesy of his manners, and his uniform benevolence, made bishop Juxon a general favorite, and archbishop Laud fixed upon him as a fit person to hold a secular office under government. This was one of Laud's fatal errors. He did not perceive and make allowance for the change of public opinion. Bishops had, before the Reformation, become great men by holding secular appointments, and the archbishop thought to restore the order to its ancient importance in men's eyes by reverting to the exploded system. He forgot that bishops held secular offices formerly from the necessity of the case, and because there were not a sufficient number of the laity qualified, and that the fact itself, though necessary, was still an evil, since it interfered with their higher and spiritual duties. In Laud's own time the laity were better qualified than the clergy for office, and the appointment of the clergy was justly offensive, both as an insult to the laity, and as leading the people to suppose that the bishops had nothing to do in their dioceses. Under this false policy, in 1625 Juxon was appointed to the post of lord high treasurer, the highest office at that time in the kingdom, and next in precedence to that of the archbishop and to the great seal, which had not been held by a clergyman since the reign of Henry VII. In 1641 he resigned this office, which, it was admitted by all parties, he had held without reproach. The general harmlessness of his character enabled him to remain for the most part undisturbed at Fulham. Nevertheless, he remained firm to his principles, and steady in his loyalty to the king, by whom he was frequently consulted. He was in attendance upon the king at the treaty in the Isle of Wight, in 1648, and during the king's trial acted as his spiritual adviser. Bishop Juxon was also in attendance upon the king in his last hours upon the scaffold. Juxon continued in his position until the abolition of kingly government, by the House of Lords, and the establishment of a Commonwealth. He then retired to his own estate, the manor of Little Compton, in Gloucestershire, where he passed his days in a private and devout condition. At the Restoration, aged as he was, he was appointed, we might almost say by acclamation, archbishop of Canterbury in 1660. He was not able to exert himself much in his spiritual office, but he was a benefactor to the see, for during the short time he held the archbishopric he expended on the property fifteen thousand pounds; he moreover augmented the vicarages, the great tithes of which were appropriated to the see. He died June 4, 1663. By his last will, archbishop Juxon bequeathed £7000 to his alma mater. He left also £100 to the parish of St. Giles, of which he had been vicar; the same sum to four other parishes in Oxford, and sums for the repair of St. Paul's and Canterbury Cathedrals, and other charitable uses, in all to the amount of £5000. Wood tells us that he was a man of primitive sanctity, wisdom, piety, learning, patience, charity, and all apostolical virtues. Whitelock says of him that he was a comely person, of an active and lively disposition, of great parts and temper, full of ingenuity and meekness, not apt to give offense to any, and willing to do good to all; of great moderation, sincerity, and integrity, insomuch that he was the delight of his time. He wrote a Sermon on Luke 18:31: — a treatise, entitled Χάρις καὶ Εἰρήνη, or Some Considerations upon the Act of Uniformity (London, 1662, 4to). In this work he shows himself to be no friend to the scheme of a comprehension. A catalogue of books in England, alphabetically digested (Lond. 1658), bears his name. See Hook, Eccles. Biog. s.v. (J.H.W.)


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