Morton, Thomas

Morton, Thomas an English prelate noted for his learning and prudence, was born at York in 1564. He was a relative of cardinal Morton, but a Protestant. In 1582 he was sent to St. John's College, Cambridge University, and after graduation was chosen a fellow (in 1592). He lectured for a while at his alma mater on logic, and about 1599 became chaplain to the earl of Huntingdon, and made himself conspicuous in attempts for the recalling of such of the Protestants as had become recusants during the reign of bloody Mary. During the plague of 1602 also Morton distinguished himself by great charity and resolution. In 1603 he went abroad as chaplain to, lord Eure, ambassador to Germany and Denmark, and while in those countries availed himself of the valuable literary advantages brought within his reach. In 1606 he was made chaplain to king James I, and given the preferment of the deanery of Winchester. He was also at this time made a fellow of the newly-established college at Chelsea, whose aim was to defend Protestantism from the assaults of the Romanists. In 1615 Morton was elevated to the episcopate, and given the see of Chester; was transferred to that of Lichfield and Coventry in 1618, and in 1632 to that of Durham, which he held with great reputation until the opening of the Long Parliament, when the strong prejudices against the episcopate vented themselves also against Morton, and he had to endure many annoyances and trials. He was finally deposed from his office when the bishoprics were dissolved, but was granted a pension of £800, which he never enjoyed. He removed to the house of the earl of Rutland, and later to the seat of Sir Henry Yelverton, at Easton Mauduit, in Northamptonshire, and there he died, September 22. 1659. His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. John Barwick, afterwards dean of St. Paul's, and printed at London in 1660, under the title ΙΕΡΟΝΙΚΣ, or the Fight, Victory, and Triumph of St. Paul, accommodated to the Right Rev. Father in God, Thomas, late Lord Bishop of Ducresme. Morton was a man of very great learning, piety, hospitality, charity, liberality, temperance and moderation. He converted several persons of learning and distinction from the Romish religion. He published several works, chiefly controversial, and written against the papists, from 1603 to 1653. Among these, the best are Apologia Catholica (Lond. 1605- 6, 2 parts, 4to): — An exact Discovery of Romish Doctrine in the Case of Conspiracy and Rebellion (ibid. 1605, 4to); deals with the Powder Plot conspiracy: — A Catholicke Appeale for Protestants out of the Confessions of the Romane Doctrines (ibid. 1610, fol.): — Causa regia

(1620, 4to); this is a refutation of Bellarmine's treatise, De offcio principis Christiani: Of the Institution of the Sacrament by some called the Mass (1631 and 1635, fol.): — Confessions and Proofs of Protestant Divines (Oxf. 1644, 4to): — Ezekiel's Wheels (1653, 8vo). He had an intimate acquaintance and correspondence with most of the learned men of his time, and was a great friend and patron of the noted Swiss savant Casaubon, who spent some time in England under king James. Shortly before his death, the bishop was engaged in a lively controversy on his position regarding the episcopal succession. In 1657 there had been published a book at Rome, entitled A Treatise of the Nature of Catholic Faith and Heresy, in which it was asserted that "in the beginning of the Long Parliament, when some Presbyterian lords presented to the upper house a certain book to prove that the Protestant bishops had no succession nor consecration, therefore were no bishops, and had no right to sit in Parliament; bishop Morton replied against the book in behalf of himself and his brethren, and endeavored to prove succession from the last Roman Catholic bishops, who ordained the first Protestant bishops at the Nag's Head, in Cheapside." The bishop took decided exception to such a version, and insisted that he had no faith in the verity of the Nag's Head consecration, and preferred not to endorse it. See Life of Thomas, bishop of Durham, by Dr. John Barwick (1660, 4to); also Richard Baddily and John Naylor, Life of Thomas Marton (1669, 8vo); Biogr. Brit. s.v.; Genesis Biogr. Dict. s.v.; Soamtes, Ch. Hist. Elizabethan Period; Perry, Ch. Hist. (see Index in volume 3). (J.H.W.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.