[From Manx Soc vol 3 - part 1 Letter of James 7th Earl]

Chapter V.

1.–The Earl's advice to his son about choosing a good bishop. 2. –Improving the bishopric. 3.–Obliging the bishop to residence. 4.–The danger of a factious bishop. 5.–The Earl's design of a University in the Isle of Man.

No subject that I know hath so great royalty as this. And, lest it be thought too great, keep this rule, and you will more securely keep it. Fear God, and honour the King. Have this in your thoughts, first, to choose a reverend and holy man to your bishop, who may carefully see the whole clergy do their duties.

2. It hath been a custom heretofore that such persons have been chosen to the place who were already beneficed in England, to the end they might better be enabled to live with reputation and honour to the country. But I have considered a farther matter in it. For, by the law and custom here, the Lord and bishop agreeing might lease any part of the bishopric for twenty-one years, for lives, or farther time, &c.; which hath usually been done, and at this time it is so. Whereby, you see, few bishops have at any time enjoyed the full benefit, and have contented themselves to be called lords. But in a few years the leases will be expired, and then the bishopric shall be worth the having. And, considering the cheapness of the place, I know few bishops in England can live better than he, the whole being entire. Nevertheless, I would not lose the power hereof; but, to keep up my prerogative (unto which, of all things, have a most especial regard), you may give way to leasing some petty thing or other of little moment.

3. One of the chief things I herein consider is, that if the greatest part of the bishopric be leased, you will find few worthy men desirous of the place. And, if men be beneficed already, they will seldom live in the isle, which indeed I would have the whole clergy obliged unto; for so will they do God more service; they will relieve and instruct the poor people better

4. Have also great care that this bishop be not of a factious spirit. And let them be of your own choosing, rather than recommended to you; so will they have the only obligation to yourself, and have no dependency of another. For it may displease you if they talk too much of York, as some ill chosen heretofore have done.

5. I had a design, and God may enable me, to set up a university, without much charge (as I have contrived it), which may much oblige the nations round about us. It may get friends unto the country, and enrich this land (of which some share in time will come to the Lord's purse, as is most certain thereby will much credit). This certainly would please God and man. But of this I shall tell you more when [it] please [s] the Lord to settle me again in mine own.


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