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A Layman Proposes Protestant Union: Robert Hales and the Helvetic Churches, 1700–1705

  • William A. Bultmann (a1)


In the early years of the eighteenth century the fear of French power fused into alliance nations and individuals who under other circumstances would have stood suspiciously apart. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713) the Protestant Circle of Princes fought for and with a Roman Catholic emperor; England recognized a would-be king of Spain, Charles III, and repudiated the would-be king of England, James III; Dutchmen and Englishmen accepted one another's aid, gracelessly, but to some purpose. Monarchs at the time, and historians later on, insisted that the war was not one of religion; nevertheless, a vast number of men then living viewed it as such.



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1. “Copy of the Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, prepared by the Royal Commissioners for the revision of the Liturgy in 1689,” Parliamentary Papers, 1854, Vol. L (Accounts and Papers, vol. 12), published by order of the House of Commons (London: 1854).

2. On Bishop Lloyd's plan see Hart, A. Tindal, William Lloyd, 1626–1717, Bishop, Politician, Author and Prophet (London: S.P.C.K., 1952), pp. 179181; see also Lambeth MSS 1029 (109); DrHart, describes Archbishop Sharp's attitude in his Life and Times of John Sharp, Archbishop of York (London: S.P.C.K., 1949), pp. 271277.

3. Clark, T. E. S. and Foxcroft, H. C., A Life of Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907), p. 397.

4. The Liturgy used in the Churches… of Neufchatel… to which is added the form of prayer lately introduced into the Church of Geneva (London: 1712); Ostervald, Jean-Frederic to Jean Alphonse Turrettini, Neufchâtel, 06 16, 1703, in Lettres Inedites adressées de 1686 à 1737 à J.-A. Turrettini, Theologien Genevois (de Budé, E., editor, Paris and Geneva: 1887), III, pp. 1617; Werndly, John Conrad, Liturgia Tigurina… (London: 1693).

5. Chamberlayne, John to Robert Harley, Westminster, 08 18, 1704, Duke of Portland MSS 29/191 (Harley Papers, General series, vol. xxi, fols. 196197), British Museum; hereinafter cited Portland MSS.

6. The standard account of the S.P.C.K. is Allen, W.O.B. and McClure, Edmund, Two Hundred Years: The History of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1698–1898 (London: S.P.C.K., 1898).

7. Borgeaud, Charles, Histoire de l'Université de Geneve: L'Academie de Calvin, 1559–1798… (Geneva: 1900), p. 539; for an excellent account of this movement see Sykes, Norman, William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1657–1787 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957), II, pp. 2728.

8. Borgeaud, op. cit., pp. 538–539; Sykes, op. cit., II, pp. 27–30.

9. Minutes of the Society for October 24, and November 7 and 14, 1700, printed in McClure, Edmund, A Chapter in English Church History: being the Minutes of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for the Years 1698–1704… (London: S.P.C.K., 1888), pp. 86, 89, 91; this publication hereinafter cited McClure, Chapter.

10. Chamberlayne to Scherer, Westminster, November 12, 1700, McClure, , Chapter, p. 88; same to Hales, December 3, 1700, S.P.C.K. MSS CS. 3/1 (Wanley letter-book, fols. 71–73), the Society's archives, London.

11. Scherer to the Society, St. Gall, Janaury 24, 1701, McClure, , Chapter, p. 318.

12. Hales to the Society, Schaffhausen, Janaury 12, 1701, Ibid., pp. 317–318.

13. Same to Mr. Hodges, Lindau, February 8, 1701, Ibid., pp. 323–324.

14. Same to same, St. Gall, April 11, 1701, Ibid., pp. 330–331.

15. Scherer to Mr. Chamberlayne, St. Gall, February 18, 1701, Ibid., p. 324.

16. S.P.C.K. MSS CS. 3/1 (Wanley letterbook, fol. 96).

17. Hales to Hodges, Lindau, February 8, 1701, cited supra, n. 8.

18. On Henry Compton's relations with the European Protestants see Carpenter, Edward, The Protestant Bishop, being the life of Henry Compton, 1632–1713, Bishop of London (London, New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1956), pp. 322364.

19. Such a man was Henry Aldrich, who, as dean of Christ Church, Oxford, sat in every convocation during this period and also served on the Commission for revision of the liturgy in 1689; in both places he fought strenuously all moves toward comprehension; a good recent study of the convocation controversies is found in Bennett, G. V., White Kennett, 1660–1728, Bishop of Peterborough (London. S.P.C.K., 1957), pp. 2655; see also A True and Exact List of the Members of both Houses of this present Convocation… [of 1689] (London: 1689), and A True and Exact List of the Members of both Houses of this present Convocation… [of 1702] (London: 1702).

20. Hales to Chamberlayne, St. Gall, May 19, 1701, McClure, , Chapter, pp. 339340.

21. Hales to Hodges, St. Gall, April 11, 1701, cited supra, n. 9.

22. Minutes of the Society meeting, June 9, 1701, McClure, , Chapter, p. 137.

23. Scherer to the S.P.C.K. secretary, St. Gall, September 30, 1701, Ibid., pp. 355–356.

24. Much of Ostervald's correspondence on this subject has been preserved in the MSS of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; see especially S.P.G. MSS X 129, the Society's archives, London; Ostervald's renowned catechism, published in 1702, was translated into English by Wanley, Humphrey and Stanhope, George (The Grounds and Principles of the Christian Religion, London: 1704), and distributed throughout the American colonies between 1704 and 1713 by the S.P.G.

25. Several Letters from the Pastors of the Church of Geneva, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and the University of Oxford, With their Answers to them (London: 1707); see also Carpenter, op. cit., pp. 347–349.

26. Charter of Incorporation of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel… (London: [1708]); see also Thompson, H. P., Thomas Bray (London: S.P.C.K., 1954), pp. 7279.

27. A True and Faithful Representation of the Miserable State of the Church of Christ in the Country of the Grisons; and the imminent Dangers to which they are exposed from Rome (London: 1704).

28. Minutes of the Society for August 17 and 24, 1704, S.P.C.K. MSS, “Minutes of the S.P.C.K. 1703–1705.”

29. August 18, 1704, Portland MSS 29/191, fols. 196–197.

30. Minutes of the Society for August 14, 1704, S.P.C.K. MSS, “Minutes of the S.P.C.K. 1703–1705;” see also Chamberlayne to Robert Harley, Westminster, September 16, 1704, Portland MSS 29/129.

31. Hales to the S.P.G. secretary, Berlin, September 29 [1704?], S.P.G. MSS X 129; on Jablonski's project concerning the liturgy in Prussia see Sykes, Norman, Daniel Ernst Jablonski and the Church of England, Albrecht Stumpff Memorial Lecture, 1950 (London: S.P.C.K., 1950).

32. December 3, 1704, S.P.G. MSS X 129.

33. Leonhard to the S.P.G., Tesamnie, December 29, 1704, S.P.G. MSS X 129.

34. Hales to [John Hodges?], Hamburg, May 5, 1705, Portland MSS 29/192, fols. 141–144.

35. Leonhard to the S.P.G. secretary, Coire, August 22, 1705, S.P.G. MSS X 129.

36. Tosana in the Grisons, August 24, 1705, S.P.G. MSS X 129.

37. Horn, D. B., ed., British Diplomatic Representatives, 1689–1789, Camden Third Series, Vol XLVI (London: Royal Historical Society, 1932), p. 146.

38. Leonhard, John, An Account of the Grisons: or, A Description of the Free and Independent Common-Wealth of the Three Rhaetish Leagues (London: 1711), pp. 3134.

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Church History
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