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UK law on assisted suicide is stuck in a cycle: courts uphold its illegality and defer to parliaments to enact change, but parliaments are reluctant to cross that threshold. This chapter deconstructs the case law on maintaining the status quo and constitutionally deferring to the legislature. It also considers reasons why legislators have declined to enact legal reform – autonomy issues, safeguards, palliative alternatives and the slippery slope. It looks at three jurisdictions in which this matter is overtly constitutional, and finds similarities among the criminal provisions that litigants sought to overturn and the rights on the basis of which they were overturned, leading to legislative change. The contested criminal provisions reflect the Suicide Act 1961 and the constitutional provisions against which they were considered to mirror the Human Rights Act. Currently, the only evidence of escape from liminality is a de facto policy of non-prosecution. With the UK Supreme Court poised to declare incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights, the ground has been laid for a constitutional answer that forces the legislature’s hand and enables a move beyond liminality.
This chapter explores the high hopes for Irish commerce that were aroused by the American Revolution, and their complex interactions with British attempts to reform and consolidate the remnants of its mercantile empire following its American debacle. Irish campaigns for ‘free trade’ and ‘legislative independence’ were animated by the hope that the liberation of the Kingdom’s foreign trade would enable it to chart its own course in a more peaceful Europe. This vision clashed fundamentally with a rival, British reform agenda, embodied in William Pitt the Younger’s unsuccessful Irish Commercial Propositions of 1785, which balanced an extension of imperial trading privileges to Ireland with its closer integration into the British market. The rejection of Pitt’s proposals by the Irish parliament, after their heavy modification by British slaving and manufacturing interests, produced an unstable equilibrium, dominated by patronage and executive power, that was ripe for criticism by the more radical forces that would take up the fallen mantle of Irish ‘patriotism’ in the 1790s.
Arguments for the 1801 Union of the British and Irish parliaments drew on the intellectual resources of the later British Enlightenment to implement a new system of economic and political regulation of Irish society. Proponents of Union articulated a renewed belief in the ability of commercial integration with Britain to act as a solvent to the confessional and ethnic tensions laid bare by the United Irish rising and attempted French invasions of 1796-8. The 'diffusion' of British capital to Ireland would give Ireland’s shattered Anglican aristocracy the opportunity to re-establish its political legitimacy, while forcing them to share power with a rising Catholic mercantile and professional class. The case for Union was interpreted in a broad European context of state competition and reform. The leading continental defender of British policy, the Prussian diplomat and publicist Friedrich von Gentz, hailed the legislative unification of the British Empire as a model for a necessary consolidation of the European states-system in the wake of French revolutionary violence.
It has recently been suggested that the Grafton edition of 1559 was not only the first of that year, but that it was printed even before Parliament sat. But the book not only quotes the Act of Supremacy accurately but its preliminaries also include the whole Act of Uniformity verbatim—and there are several other improbabilities and mistakes in that argument. This chapter also reveals that although every sheet of the 1552 book was duly reprinted in 1559 with the required revisions (each of which is discussed), Grafton had kept a large number of unused sheets from his last edition of 1552. Each of the surviving copies of his Elizabethan edition contains between one and twenty-three sheets recycled from his last Edwardian edition.
The second Edwardian Act of Uniformity required an ordinal (a booklet containing the services for ordaining priests and bishops) to be bound with each folio edition of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. No ordinal was mentioned in the 1559 Act, but the authorities evidently provided the printers with revisions for it, and each team of printers produced one. Only one copy of Grafton’s survives, and none of the extant copies of the ‘Jugge and Cawood’ ordinal is bound with their first edition of the prayer book. Moreover, unlike the 1552 contents lists, those of 1559 make no mention of an ordinal. The evidence suggests that it was withdrawn at the last minute, to be sold only as a separate item. Curiously, fewer than half the copies include the original sheet BB5:6. One simply lacks it; three have cancels printed in the 1580s by two different printers.
The story I have tried to tell in this book is complex in many ways: in the politics of the authorizing Acts of Parliament, in the evolution of the text itself, and in the rivalries and collaborations between the printers of the successive versions of the prayer book. It has therefore often been been necessary to depart from a strict chronological order. In this final chapter I have therefore tried to recapitulate the overall story, and the numerous separate conclusions, as a more continuous narrative.
The Edwardian Reformation was quickly overturned when Mary Tudor succeeded her half-brother and began returning the English Church to Rome. The printers of the Edwardian prayer books had their businesses placed under Catholic managers, and all Edwardian prayer books were called in to be burnt. When Mary died and was succeeded by Elizabeth, the influence of Catholic bishops and abbots in the House of Lords was a major obstacle to any revival of the Reformation. Eventually, however, the passage of an Act of Supremacy made Elizabeth Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and a new Act of Uniformity prescribed a Book of Common Prayer that largely revived the 1552 book but with a few significant revisions. Two editions were put in hand, one supervised by the two new Queen’s Printers (Richard Jugge and John Cawood) and the other by Richard Grafton (who had taken back control of his printing house).
Outlines Henry VIII’s attempt to impose uniformity on the English liturgy after breaking with Rome, the early careers of the printers Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch, and the progress through Parliament of the 1549 Act of Uniformity. Closely examines the printing of their first two 1549 editions of Thomas Cranmer’s Book of the Common Prayer, in which various irregularities show that changes and additions were made to the text while those editions were being printed. Concludes that the accepted assignment of priority to the Whitchurch edition known as STC 16267 is mistaken, and that the only extant copies of the real first edition are a few copies supposedly ‘made up’ and incomplete. Explains the evolution of the official limits on the retail price, and how each printer subcontracted parts of his reprints to other printers.
Briefly recounts the parliamentary history of the 1552 Act of Uniformity, the revision of the communion service, and some common misconceptions about the so-called ‘Black Rubric’. Shows that this time it was Edward Whitchurch who began printing from the manuscript copy while Richard Grafton reprinted the text from Whitchurch’s sheets. Explains that each printer once again subcontracted parts of some of his subsequent editions to other printers, and how each reduced the size of his reprints to reduce his costs once the official limits had been imposed on the retail price.
Bibliographers have been notoriously 'hesitant to deal with liturgies', and this volume bridges an important gap with its authoritative examination of how the Book of Common Prayer came into being. The first edition of 1549, the first Grafton edition of 1552 and the first quarto edition of 1559 are now correctly identified, while Peter W. M. Blayney shows that the first two editions of 1559 were probably finished on the same day. Through relentless scrutiny of the evidence, he reveals that the contents of the 1549 version continued to evolve both during and after the printing of the first edition, and that changes were still being made to the Elizabethan revision weeks after the Act of Uniformity was passed. His bold reconstruction is transformative for the early Anglican liturgy, and thus for the wider history of the Church of England. This major, revisionist work is a remarkable book about a remarkable book.
Chapter 5 reads Carl Schmitt’s Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy as an account of a rhetorical crisis. Schmitt characterizes twentieth-century parliamentary speech as an empty ritual and proposes a turn toward effective rituals of speech that might supplant it. Schmitt’s assimilation of rhetoric and ritual is an important insight. But his rhetorical theory takes a troubling, authoritarian turn in its understanding of the conditions under which ritual becomes meaningful. For Schmitt, “eloquence is only possible against the background of an imposing authority,” and ritual must actively shape the political world. But with a richer understanding of ritual, we can retain what is of value in Schmitt’s account without following him to his authoritarian conclusions. Just such a richer understanding of ritual is available in the work of Adam Seligman et al. For them, ritual is action in the “subjunctive” mood, “the creation of an order as if it were truly the case.” Ritual is not an effort to shape the world, but a response to the world’s perceived brokenness. In this light, what the rhetorical tradition has to offer us is not a way of resolving the tension between speech and action, but a way of living in that tension.
Chapter 3 addresses Edmund Burke’s role in the eighteenth-century reception of classical eloquence, investigating his provocative claim that disruptive, injudicious speech can act as a spur to sound political judgment and institutional health. While Cicero’s rhetoric and his model of public life celebrated risky spontaneity and was only loosely rule-governed, a range of Burke’s contemporaries argued that the rule-bound governance of the modern era demanded a complementary style of rule-bound speech: a discourse that was factual, restrained, dispassionate, and even happily mediocre. Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful made an important break with this line of thought, celebrating the sublime’s power to disrupt custom and ordinary time. His speeches and political writings built on this conceptual foundation, developing an account of the pain of judging and the allegedly defective deliberation that often serves to evade that pain, substituting rules and maxims for engagement with circumstantial complexities. Burke consistently argued that such deliberation is ultimately self-defeating and marked by a fatal lack of what I call “imaginative judgment.” Yet he also suggested that the rhetorical sublime – which might be excessive and even uncanny – was necessary to provoke the exercise of such judgment.
‘We will open up parliament like a can of tuna fish’.1 This is what Grillo said before the general election of 2013, when the Five Star Movement obtained its first representatives in the parliament. In the rhetoric of the movement, direct democracy is frequently understood as inevitably enriched by the use of new technology and in the long run, according to the Five Star Movement, this will reduce the centrality of parliaments.
Chapter 4 focuses on the ‘abortive reformation’ – a series of measures proposed and in some cases implemented in the years 1640-41 which aimed at the reform rather than the abolition of episcopacy and the Prayer Book. It initially surveys how Laudian ideas and policies were systematically rejected by senior clergy, not least by the advisory sub-committee under Bishop Williams established by the House of Lords committee investigating religious innovations. De-Laudianization in itself re-formulated the Church of England, but was combined with a readiness to contemplate significant reforms of church government, liturgy and ceremonies. The chapter analyses these reforms proposed by a range of protagonists including the Williams Committee, which addressed some of the objections raised in the puritan Ministers’ Petition and Remonstrance. Episcopal reforms – most notably in the shape of ‘reduced episcopacy’ – show conformists ready to contemplate significant changes to the established church. It is argued that Parliament played a key role in all the envisaged reforms and was already seizing de facto power over the existing ecclesiastical system. Despite the failure of these reforms to be implemented, both sides at the outbreak of war were theoretically committed to this ‘abortive reformation’ in their competition for the ideological middle ground.
Chapter 5 analyses the different forces working against the ‘abortive reformation’ discussed in Chapter 4. It begins with the Scottish commissioners, seeing their significance less in propelling a Presbyterian agenda than in their more circumspect undermining of the calls for reduced episcopacy. The chapter then discusses the various parliamentary forces working against episcopacy, along with the role played by more radicalizing religious discourses beyond Parliament’s immediate control. To explain why more marginal ideas were able to gain traction in public discourse about religious change, attention turns to the prestige of anti-Laudian martyrs and the disproportionate public importance of prominent Congregationalists, the format and distribution of the tracts themselves, but also the ways in which the language of religious change was also developing in this period, which opened up areas of ambiguity in which radical solutions could flourish. Here discussion centres on the languages of reformation, anti-Laudianism, apocalypse, eschatology and covenant, with detailed attention to the role played by the 1641 Protestation in particular in polarizing religious opinion. Importance is also attached to the conservative backlash that this radicalization provoked, which undermined conformist support for further reform and empowered more conservative and even Laudian figures.
Challenging the assumption that the Elizabethan religious settlement was clear in its content and meaning to contemporaries, Chapter 1 explores the many areas of confusion and ambiguity surrounding the settlement’s formularies. It emphasizes the contested authority of a range of official and semi-official formularies and commentaries, and of past doctrinal and liturgical forms, which potentially pointed in very different theological and ecclesiastical directions. A number of unresolved issues are highlighted relating to church government, liturgy and ceremonies, doctrine, ministerial maintenance, and ecclesiastical law. As a result, the Church of England’s position was inevitably subject to continual negotiation and debate, and to countless proposals for further reform and clarification. It is argued that, as a result, a very broad range of English religious thinkers and activists – from militant high-churchmen to staunchly Calvinist and incipiently Presbyterian puritans – could in the ensuing years seize on some of these threads and claim with some legitimacy to be accomplishing the final clarification and consummation – and indeed the apotheosis – of the earlier Reformations. The Laudian movement would thus constitute just one contested reading of this haphazard corpus of ambiguous ecclesiastical and doctrinal formulations.
England's Second Reformation reassesses the religious upheavals of mid-seventeenth-century England, situating them within the broader history of the Church of England and its earlier Reformations. Rather than seeing the Civil War years as a destructive aberration, Anthony Milton demonstrates how they were integral to (and indeed the climax of) the Church of England's early history. All religious groups – parliamentarian and royalist alike – envisaged changes to the pre-war church, and all were forced to adapt their religious ideas and practices in response to the tumultuous events. Similarly, all saw themselves and their preferred reforms as standing in continuity with the Church's earlier history. By viewing this as a revolutionary 'second Reformation', which necessarily involved everyone and forced them to reconsider what the established church was and how its past should be understood, Milton presents a compelling case for rethinking England's religious history.
This chapter sets the social and ecclesiastical scene. It introduces the place of ecclesiastical law in the law of England. It explores the changing place of the Church of England in the life of the nation from the early nineteenth century, the role of the universities in educating future clergy and the significant place of the bishops in political as well as pastoral and spiritual leadership. It describes the need for more churches as the Industrial Revolution took a growing proportion of the population from the country into the towns. It introduces the challenge of the Dissenters with their rival chapels and the complexities of applying ecclesiastical law when there were controversies.
This chapter explores the history and extent of the jurisdiction of Parliament over the ecclesiastical law of the Church of England and the role of bishops sitting as members of the House of Lords, some of them prominent and controversial. Among the ecclesiastical lawyers were several who served as Members of Parliament. The nineteenth century saw the revival of Convocation, the Church’s own Parliament, and the chapter follows it in its efforts to re-establish itself. The Church owned a great deal of property, and lay property holders had opportunities to exploit their rights to the gift of clerical livings. There were accusations of simony. In both contexts there were property disputes. All this sharpened the long-standing question of the relationship between temporalities which were the proper business of secular law and the spiritualities which were not.
Throughout the nineteenth century the relationship between the State and the Established Church of England engaged Parliament, the Church, the courts and – to an increasing degree – the people. During this period, the spectre of Disestablishment periodically loomed over these debates, in the cause – as Trollope put it – of 'the renewal of inquiry as to the connection which exists between the Crown and the Mitre'. As our own twenty-first century gathers pace, Disestablishment has still not materialised: though a very different kind of dynamic between Church and State has anyway come into being in England. Professor Evans here tells the stories of the controversies which have made such change possible – including the revival of Convocation, the Church's own parliament – as well as the many memorable characters involved. The author's lively narrative includes much valuable material about key areas of ecclesiastical law that is of relevance to the future Church of England.