The president of this company was Dr. Dupont, then Master of Jesus College, and Prebendary of Ely. He was son of Thomas Dupont, Esquire; and was born at Shepshead, in Leicestershire. He was bred at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became Fellow, and afterwards Master, which latter office he exercised with great reputation for nearly thirty years. He was a liberal benefactor of the College. In 1580 he was Proctor in the University; and in the same year he was made Rector of Harlton in Cambridgeshire. He afterwards bestowed the perpetual advowsance of this rectory on his College. He was soon after Rector of Bosworth and Medborn, in his native County. In 1583, he was collated to the rectory of Fulham, in Middlesex, which was a sinecure. Such frequent change of parishes, in a clergy-man of the Anglican Church, is a sign of great prosperity; as they are always changes from a poorer benefice to a better, and are considered as ‘preferments.”
Almost every parish, whenever vacant, is in the gift of some man of wealth, or high officer in church, state, university, or other corporation: Hence frequence removals to more desirable parishes tend to shew that a clergyman has very influential friends or is in high esteem. Still this does not necessarily follow, inasmuch as a very great part of this business is mere matter of bargain and sale. The person who has the right of presenting a clergyman to be pastor of a vacant church is called the “patron;” and the right of presentation is called the “advowson.” These advowsons are bought, sold, bequeathed or inherited, like any other right or possession. They may be owned by heretics or infidels, who are under very little restraint as to their choice of ministers to fill the vacancies that occur. If the bishop should refuse to institute the person nominated, it would involve the prelate in great trouble, unless he could make out a very strong case against the fitness of the rejected presentee. Meanwhile the flocks, who pay the tithes which support the minister, have no voice in the matter, except in comparatively few parishes. They may be dearly loved for their flesh and fleece; but they must take the shepherd who is set over them. If they dislike his pasture, and jump the fence to feed elsewhere, they must pay tithes and offerings all the same to the convivial rector, fox-hunting vicar, or Puseyite priest, who has secured the “benefice” or “living.” It is astonishing, that, under such an ecclesiastical system, the Church of England is not more thoroughly corrupted. And it is astonishing, that such as system can be endured to the middle of such a century as this, by a nation whose loudest and proudest boast is of liberty.
While Dr. Dupont was rapidly rising in the scale of preferment, he retained his connection with Jesus College. After he was made Master in 1590, he was four times elected Vice-Chancellor, the highest resident officer, of the University. In 1585, he became Precentor of St. Paul’s, London; and in 1609, was made Prebendary of Ely. He married Rachel, daughter to Richard Cox, Bishop of Ely. There were very happy in their son James Dupont, D. D., a distinguished Greek p rofessor and divine. The father died about Christmas, in 1617, leaving a well-earned reputation as “a reverend man in his generation.” Let him also be reverend in this generation, for his agency in the final preparation of the Bible in English.