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CHAPTER V. - Sir James Mackintosh, The Miscellaneous Works 
The Miscellaneous Works. Three Volumes, complete in One. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1871).
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Rupture with the Protestant Tories.—Increased decision of the King’s designs.—Encroachments on the Church establishment.—Charter-House.—Oxford, University College.—Christ Church.—Exeter College, Cambridge.—Oxford, Magdalen College.—Declaration of liberty of conscience.—Similar attempts of Charles.—Proclamation at Edinburgh.—Resistance of the Church.—Attempt to conciliate the Nonconformists.—Review of their sufferings.—Baxter.—Bunyan.—Presbyterians.—Independents.—Baptists.—Quakers.—Address of thanks for the declaration.
In the beginning of the year 1687 the rupture of James with the powerful party who were ready to sacrifice all but the Church to his pleasure appeared to be irreparable. He had apparently destined Scotland to set the example of unbounded submission, under the forms of the constitution; and he undoubtedly hoped that the revolution in Ireland would supply him with the means of securing the obedience of his English subjects by intimidation or force. The failure of his project in the most Protestant part of his dominious, and its alarming success in the most Catholic, alike tended to widen the breach between parties in England. The Tories were alienated from the Crown by the example of their friends in Scotland, as well as by their dread of the Irish. An unreserved compliance with the King’s designs became notoriously the condition by which office was to be obtained or preserved; and, except a very few instances of personal friendship, the public profession of the Catholic faith was required as the only security for that compliance. The royal confidence and the direction of public affairs were transferred from the Protestant Tories, in spite of their services and sufferings during half a century, into the hands of a faction, who, as their title to power was zeal for the advancement of Popery, must be called “Papists;” though some of them professed the Protest ant religion, and though their maxims of policy, both in Church and State, were dreaded and resisted by the most considerable of the English Catholics.
It is hard to determine,—perhaps it might have been impossible for James himself to say,—how far his designs for the advancement of the Roman Catholic Church extended at the period of his accession to the throne. It is agreeable to the nature of such projects that he should not, at first, have dared to avow to himself any intention beyond that of obtaining relief for his religion, and of placing it in a condition of safety and honour; but it is altogether improbable that he had even then steadily fixed on a secure toleration as the utmost limit of his endeavours. His schemes were probably vague and fluctuating, assuming a greater distinctness with respect to the removal of grievous penalties and disabilities, but always ready to seek as much advantage for his Church as the progress of circumstances should render attainable;—sometimes drawn back to toleration by prudence or fear, and on other occasions impelled to more daring counsels by the pride of success, or by anger at resistance. In this state of fluctuation it is no altogether irreconcilable with the irregularities of human nature that he might have sometimes yielded a faint and transient assent to those principles of religious liberty which he professed in his public acts; though even this superficial sincerity is hard to be reconciled with his share in the secret treaty of 1670,—with his administration of Scotland, where he carried his passion for intolerance so far as to be the leader of one sect of hereties in the bloody persecution of another,—and with his language to Barillon, to whom, at the very moment of his professed toleration, he declared his approbation of the cruelties of Louis XIV. against his own Protestant subjects.* It would be extravagant to expect that the liberal maxims which adorned his public declarations had taken such a hold on his mind as to withhold him from endeavouring to establish his own religion as soon as his sanguine zeal should lead him to think it practicable; or that he should not in process of time go on to guard it by that code of disabilities and penalties which was then enforced by every state in Europe except Holland, and deemed indispensable security for their religion by every Christian community, except the obnoxious sects of the Socinians, Independents, Anabaptists, and Quakers. Whether he meditated a violent change of the Established religion from the beginning, or only entered on a course of measures which must terminate in its subversion, is rather a philosophical than a political question. In both cases, apprehension and resistance were alike reasonable; and in neither could an appeal to arms be warranted until every other means of self-defence had proved manifestly hopeless.
Whatever opinions may be formed of his intentions at an earlier period, it is evident that in the year 1687 his resolution was taken; though still no doubt influenced by the misgivings and fluctuations incident to vast and perilous projects, especially when they are entertained by those whose character is not so daring as their designs. All the measures of his internal government, during the eighteen months which ensued, were directed to the overthrow of the Established Church,—an object which was to be attained by assuming a power above law, and could only be preserved by a force sufficient to bid defiance to the repugnance of the nation. An absolute monarchy, if not the first instrument of his purpose, must have been the last result of that series of victories over the people which the success of his design required. Such, indeed, were his conscientious opinions of the constitution, that he thought the Habeas Corpus Act inconsistent with it; and so strong was his conviction of the necessity of military force to his designs at that time, that in his dying advice to his son, written long afterwards, in secrecy and solitude, after a review of his own government, his injunction to the Prince is,—“Keep up a considerable body of Catholic troops, without which you cannot be safe.”* The liberty of the people, and even the civil constitution, were as much the objects of his hostility as the religion of the great majority, and were their best security against ultimate persecution.
The measures of the King’s domestic policy, indeed, consisted rather in encroachments on the Church than in measures of relief to the Catholics. He had, in May, 1686, granted dispensations to the curate of Putney, a convert to the Church of Rome, enabling him to hold his benefices, and relieving him from the performance of all the acts inconsistent with his new religion, which a long series of statutes had required clergymen of the Church of England to perform.† By following this precedent, the King might have silently transferred to ecclesiastics of his own communion many benefices in every diocese in which the bishop had not the courage to resist the dispensing power. The converted incumbents would preserve their livings under the protection of that prerogative, and Catholic priests might be presented to benefices without any new ordination; for the Church of England,—although she treats the ministers of any other Protestant communion as being only in pretended holy orders,—recognises the ordination of the Church of Rome, which she sometimes calls “idolatrous,” in order to maintain, even through such idolatrous predecessors, that unbroken connection with the apostles which she deems essential to the power of conferring the sacerdotal character. This obscure encroachment, however, escaped general observation.
The first attack on the laws to which resistance was made was a royal recommendation of Andrew Popham, a Catholic, to the Governors of the Charter House (a hospital school, founded by a merchant of London, named Sutton, on the site of a Carthusian monastery), to be received by them as a pensioner on their opulent establishment, without taking the oaths required both by the general law and by a private statute passed for the government of that foundation.‡ Among the Governors were persons of the highest distinction in Church and State. The Chancellor, at their first meeting, intimated the necessity of immediate compliance with the King’s mandate. Thomas Burnet, the Master, a man justly celebrated for genius, eloquence, and learning, had the courage to maintain the authority of the laws against an opponent so formidable. He was supported by the aged Duke of Ormonde, and Jeffreys’ motion was negatived. A second letter to the same effect was addressed to the Governors, which they persevered in resisting, assigning their reasons in an answer to one of the Secretaries of State, which was subscribed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, Ormonde, Halifax, Nottingham, and Danby. This courageous resistance by a single clergyman, countenanced by such weighty names, induced the Court to pause till experiments were tried in other places, where politicians so important could not directly interfere. The attack on the Charter House was suspended and never afterwards resumed. To Burnet, who thus threw himself alone into the breach, much of the merit of the stand which followed justly belongs. He was requited like other public benefactors; his friends forgot the service, and his enemies were excited by the remembrance of it to defeat his promotion, on the pretext of his free exercise of reason in the interpretation of the Scriptures,—which the Established Clergy zealously maintained in vindication of their own separation from the Roman Church, but treated with little tenderness in those who dissented from their own creed.
Measures of a bolder nature were resorted to on a more conspicuous stage. The two great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the most opulent and splendid literary institutions of Europe, were from their foundation under the government of the clergy,—the only body of men who then possessed sufficient learning to conduct education. Their constitution had not been much altered at the Reformation: the same reverence which spared their monastic regulations happily preserved their rich endowments from rapine; and though many of their members suffered at the close of the Civil War from their adherence to the vanquished party, the corporate property was undisturbed, and their studies flourished both under the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. Their fame as seats of learning, their station as the ecclesiastical capitals of the kingdom, and their ascendant over the susceptible minds of all youth of family and fortune, now rendered them the chief scene of the decisive contest between James and the Established Church. Obadiah Walker, Master of University College, Oxford, a man of no small note for ability and learning, and long a concealed Catholic, now obtained for himself, and two of his fellows, a dispensation from all those acts of participation in the Protestant worship which the laws since the Reformation required, together with a license for the publication of books of Catholic theology.* He established a printing press, and a Catholic chapel in his college, which was henceforth regarded as having fallen into the hands of the Catholics. Both these exertions of the prerogative had preceded the determination of the judges, which was supposed by the King to establish its legality.
Animated by that determination, he (contrary to the advice of Sunderland, who thought it safer to choose a well-affected Protestant,) proceeded to appoint one Massey, a Catholic, who appears to have been a layman, to the high station of Dean of Christ Church, by which he became a dignitary of the Church as well as the ruler of the greatest college in the University. A dispensation and pardon had been granted to him on the 16th of December, 1686, dispensing with the numerous statutes standing in the way of his promotion, one of which was the Act of Uniformity,—the only foundation of the legal establishment of the Church.† His refusal of the oath of supremacy was recorded; but he was, notwithstanding, installed in the deanery without resistance or even remonstrance, by Aldrich, the Sub-Dean, an eminent divine of the High Church party, who, on the part of the College, accepted the dispensation as a substitute for the oaths required by law. Massey appears to have attended the chapter officially on several occasions, and to have presided at the election of a Bishop of Oxford near two years afterwards. Thus did that celebrated society, overawed by power, or still misled by their extravagant principle of unlimited obedience, or, perhaps, not yet aware of the extent of the King’s designs, recognise the legality of his usurped power by the surrender of an academical office of ecclesiastical dignity into hands which the laws had disabled from holding it. It was no wonder, that the unprecedented vacancy of the archbishopric of York for two years and a half was generally imputed to the King’s intending it for Father Petre;—a supposition countenanced by his frequent application to Rome to obtain a bishopric and a cardinal’s hat for that Jesuit:‡ for if he had been a Catholic bishop, and if the chapter of York were as submissive as that of Christ Church, the royal dispensation would have seated him on the archiepiscopal throne. The Jesuits were bound by a vow§ not to accept bishoprics unless compelled by a precept from the Pope, so that his interference was necessary to open the gates of the English Church to Petre.
An attempt was made on specious grounds to take possession of another college by a suit before the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in which private individuals were the apparent parties. The noble family of Petre (of whom Father Edward Petre was one), in January, 1687, claimed the right of nomination to seven fellowships in Exeter College, which had been founded there by Sir William Petre, in the reign of Elizabeth. It was acknowledged on the part of the College, that Sir William and his son had exercised that power, though the latter, as they contended, had nominated only by sufferance. The Bishop of Exeter, the Visitor, had, in the reign of James I., pronounced an opinion against the founder’s descendants; and a judgment had been obtained against them in the Court of Common Pleas about the same time. Under the sanction of these authorities, the College had for seventy years nominated without disturbance to these fellowships. Allibone, the Catholic lawyer, contended, that this long usage, which would otherwise have been conclusive, deserved little consideration in a period of such iniquity towards Catholics that they were deterred from asserting their civil rights. Lord Chief Justice Herbert observed, that the question turned upon the agreement between Sir William Petre and Exeter College, under which that body received the fellows on his foundation. Jeffreys, perhaps, fearful of violent measures at so early a stage, and taking advantage of the non-appearance of the Crown as an ostensible party, declared his concurrence with the Chief Justice; and the Court determined that the suit was a civil case, dependent on the interpretation of a contract, and therefore not within their jurisdiction as Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Causes. Sprat afterwards took some merit to himself for having contributed to save Exeter College from the hands of the enemy: but the concurrence of the Chancellor and Chief Justice, and the technical ground of the determination, render the vigour and value of his resistance very doubtful.*
The honour of opposing the illegal power of the Crown devolved on Cambridge, second to Oxford in rank and magnificence, but then more distinguished by zeal for liberty;—a distinction probably originating in the long residence of Charles I. at Oxford, and in the prevalence of the Parliamentary party at the same period, in the country around Cambridge. The experiment was made now on the whole University; but it was of a cautious and timid nature, and related to a case important in nothing but the principle which it would have established. Early in February, of this year, the King had recommended Alban Francis, a Benedictine monk (said to have been a missionary employed to convert the young scholars to the Church of Rome, on whom an academical honour could hardly have been conferred without some appearance of countenancing his mission) to be admitted a master of arts,—which was a common act of kingly authority; and had granted him a dispensation from the oaths appointed by law to be taken on such an admission.* Peachell, the Vice-Chancellor, declared, that he could not tell what to do,—to decline his Majesty’s letter or his laws. Men of more wisdom and courage persuaded him to choose the better part: and he refused the degree without the legal condition.† On the complaint of Francis he was summoned before the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to answer for his disobedience, and (though vigorously supported by the University, who appointed deputies to attend him to the bar of the hostile tribunal), after several hearings was deprived of his Vice-Chancellorship, and suspended from his office of Master of Magdalen College. Among those deputies at the bar, and probably undistinguished from the rest by the ignorant and arrogant Chancellor, who looked down upon them all with the like scorn, stood Isaac Newton, Professor of Mathematics in the University, then employed in the publication of a work which will perish only with the world, but who showed on that, as on every other fit opportunity in his life, that the most sublime contemplations and the most glorious discoveries could not withdraw him from the defence of the liberties of his country.
But the attack on Oxford, which immediately ensued, was the most memorable of all. The Presidency of Magdalen College, one of the most richly endowed communities of the English Universities, had become vacant at the end of March, which gave occasion to immediate attempts to obtain from the King a nomination to that desirable office. Smith, one of the fellows, paid his court, with this view, to Parker, the treacherous Bishop of Oxford, who, after having sounded his friends at Court, warned him “that the King expected the person to be recommended should be favourable to his religion.” Smith answered by general expressions of loyalty, which Parker assured him “would not do.” A few days afterwards, Sancroft anxiously asked Smith who was to be the President; to which he answered, “Not I; I never will comply with the conditions.” Some rumours of the projects of James having probably induced the fellows to appoint the election for the 13th of April, on the 5th of that month the King issued his letter mandatory, commanding them to make choice of Anthony Farmer,* —not a member of the College, and a recent convert to the Church of Rome, “any statute or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.” On the 9th, the fellows agreed to a petition to the King, which was delivered the next day to Lord Sunderland, to be laid before his Majesty, in which they alleged that Farmer was legally incapable of holding the office, and prayed either that they might be left to make a free election, or that the King would recommend some person fit to be preferred. On the 11th, the mandate arrived, and on the 13th the election was postponed to the 15th,—the last day on which it could by the statutes be held,—to allow time for receiving an answer to the petition. On that day they were informed that the King “expected to be obeyed.” A small number of the senior fellows proposed a second petition; but the larger and younger part rejected the proposal with indignation, and proceeded to the election of Mr. Hough, after a discussion more agreeable to the natural feelings of injured men than to the principles of passive obedience recently promulgated by the University.† The fellows were summoned, in June, before the Ecclesiastical Commission, to answer for their contempt of his Majesty’s commands. On their appearance, Fairfax, one of their body, having desired to know the commission by which the Court sat, Jeffreys said to him, “What commission have you to be so impudent in court? This man ought to be kept in a dark room. Why do you suffer him without a guardian?”‡ On the 22d of the same month, Hough’s election was pronounced to be void, and the Vice-President, with two of the fellows, were suspended. But proofs of such notorious and vulgar profligacy had been produced against Farmer, that it was thought necessary to withdraw him in August; and the fellows were directed by a new mandate to admit Parker, Bishop of Oxford, to the presidency. This man was as much disabled by the statutes of the College as Farmer; but as servility and treachery, though immoralities often of a deeper dye than debauchery, are neither so capable of proof nor so easily stripped of their disguises, the fellows were by this recommendation driven to the necessity of denying the dispensing power. Their inducements, however, to resist him, were strengthened by the impossibility of representing them to the King. Parker, originally a fanatical Puritan, became a bigoted Churchman at the Restoration, and disgraced abilities not inconsiderable by the zeal with which he defended the persecution of his late brethren, and by the unbridled ribaldry with which he reviled the most virtuous men among them. His labours for the Church of England were no sooner rewarded by the bishopric of Oxford, than he transferred his services, if not his faith, to the Church of Rome, which then began to be openly patronised by the Court, and seems to have retained his station in the Protestant hierarchy in order to contribute more effectually to its destruction. The zeal of those who are more anxious to recommend themselves than to promote their cause is often too eager: and the convivial enjoyments of Parker often betrayed him into very imprudent and unseemly language.* Against such an intruder the College had the most powerful motives to make a vigorous resistance. They were summoned into the presence of the King, when he arrived at Oxford in September, and was received by the body of the University with such demonstrations of loyalty as to be boasted of in the Gazette. “The King chid them very much for their disobedience,” says one of his attendants, “and with a much greater appearance of anger than ever I perceived in his Majesty; who bade them go away and choose the Bishop of Oxford, or else they should certainly feel the weight of their Sovereign’s displeasure.”† They answered respectfully, but persevered. They further received private warnings, that it was better to acquiesce in the choice of a head of suspected religion, such as the Bishop, than to expose themselves to be destroyed by the subservient judges, in proceedings of quo warranto (for which the inevitable breaches of their innumerable statutes would supply a fairer pretext than was sufficient in the other corporations), or to subject themselves to innovations in their religious worship which might be imposed by the King in virtue of his undefined supremacy over the Church.‡
These insinuations proving vain, the King issued a commission to Cartwright, Bishop of Chester, Chief Justice Wright, and Baron Jenner, to examine the state of the College, with full power to alter the statutes and frame new ones, in execution of the authority which the King claimed as supreme visitor of cathedrals and colleges, and which was held to supersede the powers of their ordinary visitors. The commissioners accordingly arrived at Oxford on the 20th of October, for the purpose of this royal visitation; and the object of it was opened by Cartwright in a speech full of anger and menace. Hough maintained his own rights and those of his College with equal decorum and firmness. On being asked whether he submitted to the visitation, he answered, “We submit to it as far as it is consistent with the laws of the land and the statutes of the College, but no farther. There neither is nor can be a President as long as I live and obey the statutes.” The Court cited five cases of nomination to the Presidency by the Crown since the Reformation, of which he appears to have disputed only one. But he was unshaken: he refused to give up possession of his house to Parker; and when, on the second day they deprived him of the Presidency, and struck his name off the books, he came into the hall, and protested “against all they had done in prejudice of his right, as illegal, unjust, and null.” The strangers and young scholars loudly applauded his courage, which so incensed the Court, that the Chief Justice bound him to appear in the King’s Bench in a thousand pounds. Parker having been put into possession by force, a majority of the fellows were prevailed on to submit, “as far as was lawful and agreeable to the statutes of the College.” The appearance of compromise, to which every man feared that his companion might be tempted to yield, shook their firmness for a moment. Fortunately the imprudence of the King set them again at liberty. The answer with which the commissioners were willing to be content did not satisfy him. He required a written submission, in which the fellows should acknowledge their disobedience, and express their sorrow for it. On this proposition they withdrew their former submission, and gave in a writing in which they finally declared “that they could not acknowledge themselves to have done any thing amiss.” The Bishop of Chester, on the 16th of November, pronounced the judgment of the Court; by which, on their refusal to subscribe a humble acknowledgment of their errors, they were deprived and expelled from their fellowships. Cartwright, like Parker, had originally been a Puritan, and was made a Churchman by the Restoration; and running the same race, though with less vigorous powers, he had been made Bishop of Chester for a sermon, inculcating the doctrine, that the promises of kings were not binding.* Within a few months after these services at Oxford, he was rebuked by the King, for saying in his cups that Jeffreys and Sunderland would deceive him.† Suspected as he was of more opprobious vices, the merit of being useful in an odious project was sufficient to cancel all private guilt; and a design was even entertained of promoting him to the see of London, as soon as the contemplated deprivation of Compton should be carried into execution.*
Early in December, the recusant fellows were incapacitated from holding any benefice or preferment in the Church by a decree of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which passed that body, however, only by a majority of one;—the minority consisting of Lord Mulgrave, Lord Chief Justice Herbert, Baron Jenner, and Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, who boasts, that he laboured to make the Commission, which he countenanced by his presence, as little mischievous as he could.† This rigorous measure was probably adopted from the knowledge, that many of the nobility and gentry intended to bestow livings on many of the ejected fellows.‡ The King told Sir Edward Seymour, that he had heard that he and others intended to take some of them into their houses, and added that he should look on it as a combination against himself.§ But in spite of these threats considerable collections were made for them; and when the particulars of the transaction were made known in Holland, the Princess of Orange contributed two hundred pounds to their relief.∥ It was probably by these same threats that a person so prudent as well as mild was so transported beyond her usual meekness as to say to D’Abbeville, James’ minister at the Hague, that if she ever became Queen, she would signalise her zeal for the Church more than Elizabeth.
The King represented to Barillon the apparently triumphant progress which he had just made through the South and West of England, as a satisfactory proof of the popularity of his person and government.¶ But that experienced statesman, not deceived by these outward shows, began from that moment to see more clearly the dangers which James had to encounter. An attack on the most opulent establishment for education of the kingdom, the expulsion of a body of learned men from their private property without any trial known to the laws, and for no other offence than obstinate adherence to their oaths, and the transfer of their great endowments to the clergy of the King’s persuasion, who were legally unable to hold them, even if he had justly acquired the power of bestowing them, were measures of bigotry and rapine,—odious and alarming without being terrible,—by which the King lost the attachment of many friends, without inspiring his opponents with much fear. The members of Magdalen College were so much the objects of general sympathy and respect, that though they justly obtained the honours of martyrdom, they experienced little of its sufferings. It is hard to imagine a more unskilful attempt to persecute, than that which thus inflicted sufferings most easily relieved on men who were most generally respected. In corporations so great as the University the wrongs of every member were quickly felt and resented by the whole body, and the prevalent feeling was speedily spread over the kingdom, every part of which received from thence preceptors in learning and teachers of religion,—a circumstance of peculiar importance at a period when publication still continued to be slow and imperfect. A contest for a corporate right has the advantage of seeming more generous than that for individual interest; and corporate spirit itself is one of the most steady and inflexible principles of human action. An invasion of the legal possessions of the Universities was an attack on the strong holds as well as palaces of the Church, where she was guarded by the magnificence of art, and the dignity and antiquity of learning, as well as by respect for religion. It was made on principles which tended directly to subject the whole property of the Church to the pleasure of the Crown; and as soon as, in a conspicuous and extensive instance, the sacredness of legal possession is intentionally violated, the security of all property is endangered. Whether such proceedings were reconcilable to law, and could be justified by the ordinary authorities and arguments of lawyers, was a question of very subordinate importance.
At an early stage of the proceedings against the Universities, the King, not content with releasing individuals from obedience to the law by dispensations in particular cases, must have resolved on altogether suspending the operation of penal laws relating to religion by one general measure. He had accordingly issued, on the 4th of April, “A Declaration for Liberty of Conscience;” which, after the statement of those principles of equity and policy on which religious liberty is founded, proceeds to make provisions in their own natures so wise and just that they want nothing but lawful authority and pure intention to render them worthy of admiration. It suspends the execution of all penal laws for nonconformity, and of all laws which require certain acts of conformity, as qualifications for civil or military office; it gives leave to all men to meet and serve God after their own manner, publicly and privately; it denounces the royal displeasure and the vengeance of the land against all who should disturb any religious worship; and, finally, “in order that his loving subjects may be discharged from all penalties, forfeitures, and disabilities, which they may have incurred, it grants them a free pardon for all crimes by them committed against the said penal laws.” This Declaration, founded on the supposed power of suspending laws, was, in several respects, of more extensive operation than the exercise of the power to dispense with them. The laws of disqualification only became penal when the Nonconformist was a candidate for office, and not necessarily implying immorality in the person disqualified, might, according to the doctrine then received, be the proper object of a dispensation. But some acts of nonconformity, which might be committed by all men, and which did not of necessity involve a conscrentious dissent, were regarded as in themselves immoral, and to them it was acknowledged that the dispensing power did not extend. Dispensations, however multiplied, are presumed to be grounded on the special circumstances of each case. But every exercise of the power of indefinitely suspending a whole class of laws which must be grounded on general reasons of policy, without any consideration of the circumstances of particular individuals, is evidently a more undisguised assumption of legislative authority. There were practical differences of considerable importance. No dispensation could prevent a legal proceeding from being commenced and carried on as far as the point where it was regular to appeal to the dispensation as a defence. But the declaration which suspended the laws stopped the prosecutor on the threshold, and in the case of disqualification it seemed to preclude the necessity of all subsequent dispensations to individuals. The dispensing power might remove disabilities, and protect from punishment; but the exemption from expense, and the security against vexation, were completed only by this exercise of the suspending power.
Acts of a similar nature had been twice attempted by Charles II. The first was the Declaration in Ecclesiastical Affairs, in the year of his restoration; in which, after many concessions to Dissenters, which might be considered as provisional, and binding only till the negotiation for a general union in religion should be closed, he adds, “We hereby renew what we promised in our Declaration from Breda, that no man should be disquieted for difference of opinion in matters of religion, which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom.”* On the faith of that promise the English Nonconformists had concurred in the Restoration; yet the Convention Parliament itself, in which the Presbyterians were powerful, if not predominant, refused, though by a small majority, to pass a bill to render this tolerant Declaration effectual.† But the next Parliament, elected under the prevalence of a different spirit, broke the public faith by the Act of Uniformity, which prohibited all public worship and religious instruction, except such as were conformable to the Established Church.* The zeal of that assembly had, indeed, at its opening, been stimulated by Clarendon, the deepest stain on whose administration was the renewal of intolerance.† Charles, whether most actuated by love of quiet, or by indifference to religion, or by a desire to open the gates to Dissenters, that Catholics might enter, made an attempt to preserve the public faith, which he had himself pledged, by the exercise of his dispensing power. In the end of 1662 he had published another Declaration,‡ in which he assured peaceable Dissenters, who were only desirous modestly to perform their devotions in their own way, that he would make it his special care to incline the wisdom of Parliament to concur with him in making some act which, he adds, “may enable us to exercise, with a more universal satisfaction, the dispensing power which we conceive to be inherent in us.” In the speech with which he opened the next session, he only ventured to say, “I could heartily wish I had such a power of indulgence.” The Commous, however, better royalists or more zealous Churchmen than the King, resolved “that it be represented to his Majesty, as the humble advice of this House, that no indulgence be granted to Dissenters from the Act of Uniformity,”§ and an address to that effect was presented to him, which had been drawn up by Sir Heneage Finch, his own Solicitor-General. The King, counteracted by his ministers, almost silently acquiesced; and the Parliament proceeded, in the years which immediately followed, to enact that series of persecuting laws which disgrace their memory, and dishonour an administration otherwise not without claims on our praise. It was not till the beginning of the second Dutch war, that “a Declaration for indulging Nonconformists in matters ecclesiastical” was advised by Sir Thomas Clifford, for the sake of Catholics, and embraced by Shaftesbury for the general interests of religious liberty.∥ A considerable debate on this Declaration took place in the House of Commons, in which Waller alone had the boldness and liberality to contend for the toleration of the Catholics; but the principle of freedom of conscience, and the desire to gratify the King, yielded to the dread of prerogative and the enmity to the Church of Rome. An address was presented to the King, “to inform him that penal statutes in matters ecclesiastical cannot be suspended but by Act of Parliament,” to which the King returned an evasive answer. The House presented another address, declaring “that the King was very much misinformed, no such power having been claimed or recognised by any of his predecessors, and if admitted, might tend to altering the legislature, which has always been acknowledged to be in your Majesty and your two Houses of Parliament;”—in answer to which the King said, “If any scruple remains concerning the suspension of the penal laws, I hereby faithfully promise that what hath been done in that particular shall not be drawn either into consequence or example.” The Chancellor and Secretary Coventry, by command of the King, acquainted both Houses separately, on the same day, that he had caused the Declaration to be cancelled in his presence; on which both Houses immediately voted, and presented in a body, an unanimous address of thanks to his Majesty, “for his gracious, full and satisfactory answer.”* The whole of this transaction undoubtedly amounted to a solemn and final condemnation of the pretension to a suspending power by the King in Parliament: it was in substance not distinguishable from a declaratory law; and the forms of a statute seem to have been dispensed with only to avoid the appearance of distrust or discourtesy towards Charles. We can discover, in the very imperfect accounts which are preserved of the debates of 1673, that the advocates of the Crown had laid main stress on the King’s ecclesiastical supremacy, it being, as they reasoned, evident that the head of the Church should be left to judge when it was wise to execute or suspend the laws intended for its protection. They relied also on the undisputed right of the Crown to stop the progress of each single prosecution which seemed to justify, by analogy, a more general exertion of the same power.
James, in his Declaration of Indulgence, disdaining any appeals to analogy or to supremacy, chose to take a wider and higher ground, and concluded the preamble in the tone of a master:—“We have tnought fit, by virtue of our royal prerogative, to issue forth this our Declaration of Indulgence, making no doubt of the concurrence of our two Houses of Parliament, when we shall think it convenient for them to meet.” His Declaration was issued in manifest defiance of the parliamentary condemnation pronounced on that of his brother, and it was introduced in language of more undefined and alarming extent. On the other hand, his measure was countenanced by the determination of the judges, and seemed to be only a more compendious and convenient manner of effecting what these perfidious magistrates had declared he might lawfully do. Their iniquitous decision might excuse many of those who were ignorant of the means by which it was obtained; but the King himself, who had removed judges too honest to concur in it, and had neither continued nor appointed any whose subserviency he had not first ascertained, could plead no such authority in mitigation. He had dictated the oracle which he affected to obey. It is very observable that he himself, or rather his biographer (for it is not just to impute this base excuse to himself), while he claims the protecting authority of the adjudication, is prudently silent on the unrighteous practices by which that show of authority was purchased.*
The way had been paved for the English Declaration by a Proclamation† issued at Edinburgh, on the 12th of February, couched in loftier language than was about to be hazarded in England:—“We, by our sovereign authority, prerogative royal, and absolute power, do hereby give and grant our royal toleration. We allow and tolerate the moderate. Presbyterians to meet in their private houses, and to hear such ministers as have been or are willing to accept of our indulgence; but they are not to build meeting-houses, but to exercise in houses. We tolerate Quakers to meet in their form in any place or places appointed for their worship. We, by our sovereign authority, &c. suspend, stop, and disable, all laws or Acts of Parliament made or executed against any of our Roman Catholic subjects, so that they shall be free to exercise their religion and to enjoy all; but they are to exercise in houses or chapels. And we cass, annul, and discharge all oaths by which our subjects are disabled from holding offices.” He concludes by confirming the proprietors of Church lands in their possession, which seemed to be wholly unnecessary while the Protestant establishment endured; and adds an assurance more likely to disquiet than to satisfy, “that he will not use force against any man for the Protestant religion.” In a short time afterwards he had extended this indulgence to those Presbyterians who scrupled to take the Test or any other oath; and in a few months more, on the 5th of July, all restrictions on toleration had been removed, by the permission granted to all to serve God in their own manner, whether in private houses or chapels, or houses built or hired for the purpose;* or, in other words, he had established, by his own sole authority, the most unbounded liberty of worship and religious instruction in a country where the laws treated every act of dissent as one of the most heinous crimes. There is no other example, perhaps, of so excellent an object being pursued by means so culpable, or for purposes in which evil was so much blended with good.
James was equally astonished and incensed at the resistance of the Church of England. Their warm professions of loyalty, their acquiescence in measures directed only against civil liberty, their solemn condemnation of forcible resistance to oppression (the lawfulness of which constitutes the main strength of every opposition to misgovernment), had persuaded him that they would look patiently on the demolition of all the bulwarks of their own wealth, and greatness, and power, and submit in silence to measures which, after stripping the Protestant religion of all its temporal aid, might at length leave it exposed to persecution. He did not distinguish between legal opposition and violent resistance. He believed in the adherence of multitudes to professions poured forth in a moment of enthusiasm; and he was so ignorant of human nature as to imagine, that speculative opinions of a very extravagant sort, even if they could be stable, were sufficient to supersede interest and habits, to bend the pride of high establishments, and to stem the passions of a nation in a state of intense excitement. Yet James had been admonished by the highest authority to beware of this delusion. Morley, Bishop of Winchester, a veteran royalist and Episcopalian, whose fidelity had been tried, but whose judgment had been informed in the Civil War, almost with his dying breath desired Lord Dartmouth to warn the King, that if ever he depended on the doctrine of Nonresistance he would find himself deceived; for that most of the Church would contradict it in their practice, though not in terms. It was to no purpose that Dartmouth frequently reminded James of Morley’s last message; for he answered, “that the Bishop was a good man, but grown old and timid.”†
It must be owned, on the other hand, that there were not wanting considerations which excuse the expectation and explain the disappointment of James. Wiser men than he have been the dupes of that natural prejudice, which leads us to look for the same consistency between the different parts of conduct which is in some degree found to prevail among the different reasonings and opinions of every man of sound mind. It cannot be denied that the Church had done much to delude him. For they did not content themselves with never controverting, nor even confine themselves to calmly preaching the doctrine of Nonresistance (which might be justified and perhaps commended); but it was constantly and vehemently inculcated. The more furious preachers treated all who doubted it with the fiercest scurrility,* and the most pure and gentle were ready to introduce it harshly and unreasonably;† and they all boasted of it, perhaps with reason, as a peculiar characteristic which distinguished the Church of England from other Christian communities. Nay, if a solemn declaration from an authority second only to the Church, assembled in a national council, could have been a security for their conduct, the judgment of the University of Oxford, in their Convocation in 1683, may seem to warrant the utmost expectations of the King. For among other positions condemned by that learned body, one was, “that if lawful governors become tyrants, or govern otherwise than by the laws of God or man they ought to do, they forfeit the right they had unto their government.‡ Now, it is manifest, that, according to this determination, if the King had abolished Parliaments, shut the courts of justice, and changed the laws according to his pleasure, he would nevertheless retain the same rights as before over all his subjects; that any part of them who resisted him would still contract the full guilt of rebellion; and that the co-operation of the sounder portion to repress the revolt would be a moral duty and a lawful service. How, then, could it be reasonable to withstand him in far less important assaults on his subjects, and to turn against him laws which owed their continuance solely to his good pleasure? Whether this last mode of reasoning be proof against all objections or not, it was at least specious enough to satisfy the King, when it agreed with his passions and supposed interest. Under the influence of these natural delusions, we find him filled with astonishment at the prevalence of the ordinary motives of human conduct over an extravagant dogma, and beyond measure amazed that the Church should oppose the Crown after the King had become the enemy of the Church. “Is this your Church of England loyalty?” he cried to the fellows of Magdalen College; while in his confidential conversations he now spoke with the utmost indignation of this inconsistent and mutinous Church. Against it, he told the Nuncio, that he had by his Declaration struck a blow which would resound through the country;—ascribing their unexpected resistance to a consciousness that, in a general liberty of conscience, “the Anglican religion would be the first to decline.”* Sunderland, in speaking of the Church to the same minister, exclaimed, “Where is now their boasted fidelity? The Declaration has mortified those who have resisted the King’s pious and benevolent designs. The Anglicans are a ridiculous sect, who affect a sort of moderation in heresy, by a compound and jumble of all other persuasions; and who, notwithstanding the attachment which they boast of having maintained to the monarchy and the royal family, have proved on this occasion the most insolent and contumacious of men.”† After the refusal to comply with his designs, on the ground of conscience, by Admiral Herbert, a man of loose life, loaded with the favours of the Crown, and supposed to be as sensible of the obligations of honour as he was negligent of those of religion and morality, James declared to Barillon, that he never could put confidence in any man, however attached to him, who affected the character of a zealous Protestant.‡
The Declaration of Indulgence, however, had one important purpose beyond the assertion of prerogative, the advancement of the Catholic religion, or the gratification of anger against the unexpected resistance of the Church: it was intended to divide Protestants, and to obtain the support of the Nonconformists. The same policy had, indeed, failed in the preceding reign; but it was not unreasonably hoped by the Court, that the sufferings of twenty years had irreconcilably inflamed the dissenting sects against the Establishment, and had at length taught them to prefer their own personal and religious liberty to vague and speculative opposition to the Papacy,—the only bond of union between the discordant communities who were called Protestants. It was natural enough to suppose, that they would show no warm interest in universities from which they were excluded, or for prelates who had excited persecution against them; and that they would thankfully accept the blessings of safety and repose, without anxiously examining whether the grant of these advantages was consistent with the principles of a constitution which treated them as unworthy of all trust or employment. Certainly the penal law from which the Declaration tendered relief, was not such as to dispose them to be very jealous of the mode of its removal.
An Act in the latter years of Elizabeth* had made refusal to attend the established worship, or presence at that of Dissenters, punishable by imprisonment, and, unless atoned for by conformity within three months, by perpetual banishment,† enforced by death if the offender should return. Within three years after the solemn promise of liberty of conscience from Breda, this barbarous law, which had been supposed to be dormant, was declared to be in force, by an Act‡ which subjected every one attending any but the established worship, where more than five were present, on the third offence, to transportation for seven years to any of the colonies (except New England and Virginia,—the only ones where they might have been consoled by their fellow-religionists, and where labour in the fields was not fatal to an European); and which doomed them in case of their return,—an event not very probable, after having laboured for seven years as the slaves of their enemies under the sun of Barbadoes,—to death. Almost every officer, civil or military, was empowered and encouraged to disperse their congregations as unlawful assemblies, and to arrest their ring-leaders. A conviction before two magistrates, and in some cases before one, without any right of appeal or publicity of proceeding, was sufficient to expose a helpless or obnoxious Nonconformist to these tremendous consequences. By a refinement in persecution, the jailer was instigated to disturb the devotions of his prisoners; being subject to a fine if he allowed any one who was at large to join them in their religious worship. The pretext for this statute, which was however only temporary, consisted in some riots and tumults in Ireland and in Yorkshire, evidently viewed by the ministers themselves with more scorn than fear.§ A permanent law, equally tyrannical, was passed in the next session.∥ By it every dissenting clergyman was forbidden from coming within five miles of his former congregation, or of any corporate town or parliamentary borough, under a penalty of forty pounds, unless he should take the following oath:—“I swear that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms against the King, or those commissioned by him, and that I will not at any time endeavour any alteration of government in Church or State.” In vain did Lord Southampton raise his dying voice against this tyrannical act, though it was almost the last exercise of the ministerial power of his friend and colleague Clarendon,:—vehemently condemning the oath, which, royalist as he was, he declared that neither he nor any honest man could take.* A faint and transient gleam of indulgence followed the downfall of Clarendon. But, in the year 1670, another Act was passed, reviving that of 1664, with some mitigations of punishment, and with amendments in the form of proceeding;† but with several provisions of a most unusual nature, which, by their manifest tendency to stimulate the bigotry of magistrates, rendered it a sharper instrument of persecution. Of this nature was the declaration, that the statute was to be construed most favourably for the suppression of conventicles, and for the encouragement of those engaged in carrying it into effect; the malignity of which must be measured by its effect in exciting all public officers, especially the lowest, to constant vexation and frequent cruelty towards the poorer Nonconformists, marked by such language as the objects of the fear and hatred of the legislature.
After the defeat of Charles’ attempt to relieve all Dissenters by his usurped prerogative, the alarms of the House of Commons had begun to be confined to the Catholics; and they had conceived designs of union with the more moderate of their Protestant brethren, as well as of indulgence towards those whose dissent was irreconcilable. But these designs proved abortive: the Court resumed its animosity against the Dissenters, when it became no longer possible to employ them as a shelter for the Catholics. The laws were already sufficient for all practical purposes of intolerance, and their execution was in the hands of bitter enemies, from the Lord Chief Justice to the pettiest constable. The temper of the Established clergy was such, that even the more liberal of them gravely reproved the victims of such laws for complaining of persecution.‡ The inferior gentry, who constituted the magistracy,—ignorant, intemperate, and tyrannical,—treated dissent as rebellion, and in their conduct to Puritans were actuated by no principles but a furious hatred of those whom they thought the enemies of the monarchy. The whole jurisdiction, in cases of Nonconformity, was so vested in that body, as to release them in its exercise from the greater part of the restraints of fear and shame. With the sanction of the legislature, and the countenance of the Government, what indeed could they fear from a proscribed party, consisting chiefly of the humblest and poorest men? From shame they were effectually secured, since that which is not public cannot be made shameful. The particulars of the conviction of a Dissenter might be unknown beyond his village; the evidence against him, if any, might be confined to the room where he was convicted: and in that age of slow communication, few men would incur the trouble or obloquy of conveying to their correspondents the hardships inflicted, with the apparent sanction of law, in remote and ignorant districts, on men at once obscure and odious, and often provoked by their sufferings into intemperance and extravagance.
Imprisonment is, of all punishments, the most quiet and convenient mode of persecution. The prisoner is silently hid from the public eye; his sufferings, being unseen, speedily cease to excite pity or indignation: he is soon doomed to oblivion. As it is always the safest punishment for an oppressor to inflict, so it was in that age, in England, perhaps the most cruel. Some estimate of the suffering from cold, hunger, and nakedness, in the dark and noisome dungeons, then called prisons, may be formed from the remains of such buildings, which industrious benevolence has not yet every where demolished. Being subject to no regulation, and without means for the regular sustenance of the prisoners, they were at once the scene of debauchery and famine. The Puritans, the most severely moral men of any age, were crowded in cells with the profligate and ferocious criminals with whom the kingdom then abounded. We learn from the testimony of the legislature itself, that “needy persons committed to jail many times perished before their trial.”* We are told by Thomas Ellwood, the Quaker, a friend of Milton, that when a prisoner in Newgate for his religion, he saw the heads and quarters of men who had been executed for treason kept for some time close to the cells, and the heads tossed about in sport by the hangman and the more hardened malefactors;† and the description given by George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, of his own treatment when a prisoner at Launceston, too clearly exhibits the unbounded power of his jailers, and its most cruel exercise.‡ It was no wonder that, when prisoners were brought to trial at the assizes, the contagion of jail fever should often rush forth with them from these abodes of all that was loathsome and hideous, and sweep away judges, and jurors, and advocates, with its pestilential blast. The mortality of such prisons must have surpassed the imaginations of more civilized times; and death, if it could be separated from the long sufferings which led to it, might perhaps be considered as the most merciful part of the prison discipline of that age. It would be exceedingly hard to estimate the amount of this mortality, even if the difficulty were not enhanced by the prejudices which led either to its extenuation or aggravation. Prisoners were then so forgotten, that a record of it was not to be expected; and the very nature of the atrocious wickedness which employs imprisonment as the instrument of murder, would, in many cases, render it impossible distinctly and palpably to show the process by which cold and hunger beget mortal disease. But computations have been attempted, and, as was natural, chiefly by the sufferers. William Penn, a man of such virtue as to make his testimony weighty, even when borne to the sufferings of his own party, publicly affirmed at the time, that since the Restoration “more than five thousand persons had died in bonds for matters of mere conscience to God.”* Twelve hundred Quakers were enlarged by James.† The calculations of Neale, the historian of the Nonconformists, would carry the numbers still farther; and he does not appear, on this point, to be contradicted by his zealous and unwearied antagonist.‡ But if we reduce the number of deaths to one half of Penn’s estimate, and suppose that number to be the tenth of the prisoners, it will afford a dreadful measure of the sufferings of twenty-five thousand prisoners; and the misery within the jails will too plainly indicate the beggary,§ banishment, disquiet, vexation, fear, and horror, which were spread among the whole body of Dissenters.
The sufferings of two memorable men among them, differing from each other still more widely in opinions and disposition than in station and acquirement, may be selected as proofs that no character was too high to be beyond the reach of this persecution, and no condition too humble to be beneath its notice. Richard Baxter, one of the most acute and learned as well as pious and exemplary men of his age, was the most celebrated divine of the Presbyterian persuasion. He had been so well known for his moderation as well as his general merit, that at the Restoration he had been made chaplain to the King, and a bishopric had been offered to him, which he declined, not because he deemed it unlawful, but because it might engage him in severities against the conscientious, and because he was unwilling to give scandal to his brethren by accepting preferment in the hour of their affliction.∥ He joined in the public worship of the Church of England, but himself preached to a small congregation at Acton, where he soon became the friend of his neighbour, Sir Matthew Hale, who, though then a magistrate of great dignity, avoided the society of those who might be supposed to influence him, and from his jealous regard to independence, chose a privacy as simple and frugal as that of the pastor of a persecuted flock. Their retired leisure was often employed in high reasoning on those sublime subjects of metaphysical philosophy to which both had been conducted by their theological studies, and which, indeed, few contemplative men of elevated thought have been deterred by the fate of their forerunners from aspiring to comprehend. Honoured as he was by such a friendship, esteemed by the most distinguished persons of all persuasions, and consulted by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in every project of reconciliation and harmony, Baxter was five times in fifteen years dragged from his retirement, and thrown into prison as a malefacter. In 1669 two subservient magistrates, one of whom was the steward of the Archbishop of Canterbury, summoned him before them for preaching at a conventicle; at hearing of which, Hale, too surely foreknowing the event, could scarcely refrain from tears. He was committed to prison for six months; but, after the unavailing intercession of his friends with the King, was at length enlarged in consequence of informalities in the commitment.* Twice afterwards he escaped by irregularities into which the precipitate zeal of ignorant persecutors had betrayed them; and once, when his physician made path that imprisonment would be dangerous to his life, he owed his enlargement to the pity or prudence of Charles II. At last, in the year 1685, he was brought to trial for some supposed libels, before Jeffreys, in the Court of King’s Bench, in which his venerable friend had once presided,—where two Chief Justices, within ten years, had exemplified the extremities of human excellence and depravity, and where he, whose misfortunes had almost drawn tears down the aged cheeks of Hale was doomed to undergo the most brutal indignities from Jeffreys.
The history and genius of Bunyan were as much more extraordinary than those of Baxter as his station and attainments were inferior. He is probably at the head of unlettered men of genius; and perhaps there is no other instance of any man reaching fame from so abject an origin. For other extraordinary men who have become famous without education, though they were without what is called “learning,” have had much reading and knowledge; and though they were repressed by poverty, were not, like him, sullied by a vagrant and disreputable occupation. By his trade of a travelling tinker, he had been from his earliest years placed in the midst of profligacy, and on the verge of dishonesty. He was for a time a private in the parliamentary army,—the only military service which was likely to elevate his sentiments and amend his life. Having embraced the opinions of the Baptists, he was soon admitted to preach in a community which did not recognise the distinction between the clergy and the laity.* Even under the Protectorate he had been harassed by some busy magistrates, who took advantage of a parliamentary ordinance, excluding from toleration those who maintained the unlawfulness of infant baptism.† But this officiousness was checked by the spirit of the government; and it was not till the return of intolerance with Charles II. that the sufferings of Bunyan began. Within five months after the Restoration, he was apprehended under the statute 35th of Elizabeth, and was thrown into a prison, or rather dungeon, at Bedford, where he remained for twelve years. The narratives of his life exhibit remarkable specimens of the acuteness and fortitude with which he with stood the threats and snares of the magistrates, and clergymen, and attorneys, who beset him,—foiling them in every contest of argument, especially in that which relates to the independence of religion on civil authority, which he expounded with clearness and exactness; for it was a subject on which his naturally vigorous mind was better educated by his habitual meditations than it could have been by the most skilful instructor. In the year after his apprehension, he had made some informal applications for release to the judges of assize, in a petition presented by his wife, who was treated by one of them, Twisden, with brutal insolence. His colleague, Sir Mathew Hale, listened to her with patience and goodness, and with consolatory compassion pointed out to her the only legal means of obtaining redress. It is a singular gratification thus to find a human character, which, if it be met in the most obscure recess of the history of a bad time, is sure to display some new excellence. The conduct of Hale on this occasion can be ascribed only to strong and pure benevolence; for he was unconscious of Bunyan’s genius, he disliked preaching mechanics, and he partook the general prejudice against Anabaptists. In the long years which followed, the time of Bunyan was divided between the manufacture of lace, which he learned in order to support his family, and the composition of those works which have given celebrity to his sufferings. He was at length released, in 1672, by Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, but not till the timid prelate had received an injunction from the Lord Chancellor* to that effect. He availed himself of the Indulgence of James II. without trusting it, and died unmolested in the last year of that prince’s government. His Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegorical representation of the Calvinistic theology, at first found readers only among those of that persuasion, but, gradually emerging from this narrow circle, by the natural power of imagination over the uncorrupted feelings of the majority of mankind, has at length rivalled Robinson Crusoe in popularity. The bigots and persecutors have sank into oblivion; the scoffs of wits† and worldlings have been unavailing; while, after the lapse of a century, the object of their cruelty and scorn has touched the poetical sympathy, as well as the piety, of Cowper; his genius has subdued the opposite prejudices of Johnson and of Franklin; and his name has been uttered in the same breath with those of Spenser and Dante. It should seem, from this statement, that Lord Castlemaine, himself a zealous Catholic, had some colour for asserting, that the persecution of Protestants by Protestants, after the Restoration, was more violent than that of Protestants by Catholics under Mary; and that the persecution then raging against the Presbyterians in Scotland was not so much more cruel, as it was more bloody, than that which silently consumed the bowels of England.
Since the differences between Churchmen and Dissenters, as such, have given way to other Controversies, a recital of them can have no other tendency than that of disposing men to pardon each other’s intolerance, and to abhor the fatal error itself, which all communions have practised, and of which some malignant roots still lurk among all. Without it, the policy of the King, in his attempt to form an alliance with the latter, could not be understood. The general body of Nonconformists were divided into four parties, on whom the Court acted through different channels, and who were variously affected by its advances.
The Presbyterians, the more wealthy and educated sect, were the descendants of the ancient Puritans, who had been rather desirous of reforming the Church of England than of separating from it; and though the breach was widened by the Civil War, they might have been reunited at the Restoration by moderate concession in the form of worship, and by limiting the episcopal authority agreeably to the project of the learned Usher, and to the system of superintendency established among the Lutherans. Gradually, indeed, they learned to prefer the perfect equality of the Calvinistic clergy; but they did not profess that exclusive zeal for it which actuated their Scottish brethren, who had received their Reformation from Geneva. Like men of other communions, they had originally deemed it the duty of the magistrate to establish true religion, and to punish the crime of rejecting it. In Scotland they continued to be sternly intolerant; while in England they reluctantly acquiesced in imperfect toleration. Their object was now what was called a “comprehension,” or such an enlargement of the terms of communion as might enable them to unite with the Church;—a measure which would have broken the strength of the Dissenters, as a body, to the eminent hazard of civil liberty. From them the King had the least hopes. They were undoubtedly much more hostile to the Establishment after twenty-five years’ persecution; but they were still connected with the tolerant clergy; and as they continued to aim at something besides mere toleration, they considered the royal Declaration, even if honestly meant, as only a temporary advantage.
The Independents, or Congregationalists, were so called from their adoption of the opinion, that every congregation or assembly for worship was a church perfectly independent of all others, choosing and changing their own ministers, maintaining with others a fraternal intercourse, but acknowledging no authority in all the other churches of Christendom to interfere with its internal concerns. Their churches were merely voluntary associations, in which the office of teacher might be conferred and withdrawn by the suffrages of the members. These members were equal, and the government was perfectly democratical; if the term “government” may be applied to assemblies which endured only as long as the members agreed in judgment, and which, leaving all coercive power to the civil magistrate, exercised no authority but that of admonition, censure, and exclusion. They disclaimed the qualification of “national” as repugnant to the nature of a “church.”* The religion of the Independents, therefore, could not, without destroying its nature, be established by law. They never could aspire to more than religious liberty; and they accordingly have the honour of having been the first, and long the only, Christian community who collectively adopted that sacred principle.† It is true, that in the beginning they adopted the pernicious and inconsistent doctrine of limited toleration; excluding Catholics, as idolaters, and in New England (where the great majority were of their persuasion), punishing, even capitally, dissenters from what they accounted as fundamental opinions.* But, as intolerance could promote no interest of theirs, real or imaginary, their true principles finally worked out the stain of these dishonourable exceptions. The government of Cromwell, more influenced by them than by any other persuasion, made as near approaches to general toleration as public prejudice would endure; and Sir Henry Vane, an Independent, was probably the first who laid down, with perfect precision, the inviolable rights of conscience, and the exemption of religion from all civil authority. Actuated by these principles, and preferring the freedom of their worship even to political liberty, it is not wonderful that many of this persuasion gratefully accepted the deliverance from persecution which was proffered by the King.
Similar causes produced the like disposisitions among the Baptists,—a simple and pious body of men, generally unlettered, obnoxious to all other sects for their rejection of infant baptism, as neither enjoined by the New Testament nor consonant to reason, and in some degree, also, from being called by the same name with the fierce fanatics who had convulsed Lower Germany in the first age of the Reformation. Under Edward VI. and Elizabeth many had suffered death for their religion. At the Restoration they had been distinguished from other Nonconformists by a brand in the provision of a statute,† which excluded every clergyman who had opposed infant baptism from re-establishment in his benefice; and they had during Charles’ reign suffered more than any other persuasion. Publicly professing the principles of religious liberty,‡ and, like the Independents, espousing the cause of republicanism, they appear to have adopted also the congregational system of ecclesiastical polity. More incapable of union with the Established Church, and having less reason to hope for toleration from its adherents than the Independents themselves,—many, perhaps at first most of them, eagerly embraced the Indulgence. Thus, the sects who maintained the purest principles of religious liberty, and had supported the most popular systems of government, were the most disposed to favour a measure which would have finally buried toleration under the ruins of political freedom.
But of all sects, those who needed the royal Indulgence most, and who could accept it most consistently with their religious principles, were the Quakers. Seeking perfection, by renouncing pleasures, of which the social nature promotes kindness, and by converting self-denial, a means of moral discipline, into one of the ends of life,—it was their more peculiar and honourable error, that by a literal interpretation of that affectionate and ardent language in which the Christian religion inculcates the pursuit of peace and the practice of beneficence, they struggled to extend the sphere of these most admirable virtues beyond the boundaries of nature. They adopted a peculiarity of language, and a uniformity of dress, indicative of humility and equality, of brotherly love—the sole bond of their pacific union, and of the serious minds of men who lived only for the performance of duty,—taking no part in strife, renouncing even defensive arms, and utterly condemning the punishment of death.
George Fox had, during the Civil War, founded this extraordinary community. At a time when personal revelation was generally believed, it was a pardonable self-delusion that he should imagine himself to be commissioned by the Deity to preach a system which could only be objected to as too pure to be practised by man.* This belief, and an ardent temperament, led him and some of his followers into unseasonable attempts to convert their neighbours, and into unseemly intrusions into places of worship for that purpose, which excited general hostility against them, and exposed them to frequent and severe punishments. One or two of them, in the general fermentation of men’s minds at that time, had uttered what all other sects considered as blasphemous opinions; and these peaceable men became the objects of general abhorrence. Their rejection of most religious rites, their refusal to sanction testimony by a judicial oath, or to defend their country in the utmost danger, gave plausible pretexts for representing them as alike enemies to religion and the commonwealth; and the fantastic peculiarities of their language and dress seemed to be the badge of a sullen and morose secession from human society. Proscribed as they were by law and prejudice, the Quakers gladly received the boon held out by the King. They indeed were the only consistent professors of passive obedience: as they resisted no wrong, and never sought to disarm hostility otherwise than by benevolence, they naturally yielded with unresisting submission to the injustice of tyrants. Another circumstance also contributed, still more perhaps than these general causes, to throw them into the arms of James. Although their sect, like most other sects, had sprung from among the humbler classes of society,—who, from their numbers and simplicity, are alone susceptible of those sudden and simultaneous emotions which change opinions and institutions,—they had early been joined by a few persons of superior rank and education, who, in a period of mutation in government and religion, had long contemplated their benevolent visions with indulgent complacency, and had at length persuaded themselves that this pure system of peace and charity might be realised, if not among all, at least among a few of the wisest and best of men. Such a hope would gradually teach the latter to tolerate, and in time to adopt, the peculiarities of their simpler brethren, and to give the most rational interpretation to the language and pretensions of their founders;—consulting reason in their doctrines, and indulging enthusiasm only in their hopes and affections.* Of the first who thus systematised, and perhaps insensibly softened, their creed, was Barclay; whose Apology for the Quakers—a masterpiece of ingenions reasoning, and a model of argumentative composition—extorted praise from Bayle, one of the most acute and least fanatical of men.†
But the most distinguished of their converts was William Penn, whose father, Admiral Sir William Penn, had been a personal friend of the King, and one of his instructors in naval affairs. This admirable person had employed his great abilities in support of civil as well as religious liberty, and had both acted and suffered for them under Charles II. Even if he had not founded the commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an everlasting memorial of his love of freedom, his actions and writings in England would have been enough to absolve him from the charge of intending to betray the rights of his countrymen. But though, as the friend of Algernon Sidney, he had never ceased to intercede, through his friends at Court, for the persecuted,‡ still an absence of two years in America, and the consequent distraction of his mind, had probably loosened his connection with English politicians and rendered him less acquainted with the principles of the government. On the accession of James he was received by that prince with favour; and hopes of indulgence to his suffering brethren were early held out to him. He was soon admitted to terms of apparent intimacy, and was believed to possess such influence that two hundred suppliants were often seen at his gates, imploring his intercession with the King. That it really was great, appears from his obtaining a promise of pardon for his friend Mr. Locke, which that illustrious man declined, because he thought that the acceptance of it would have been a confession of criminality.§ Penn appears in 1679, through his influence with James when in Scotland, to have obtained the release of all the Quakers who were imprisoned there,* and he subsequently obtained the release of many hundred English ones,† as well as procured letters to be addressed by Lord Sunderland to the various Lord Lieutenants in England in favour of his persuasion,‡ several months before the Declaration of Indulgence. It was no wonder that he should have been gained over by this power of doing good. The very occupations in which he was engaged brought daily before his mind the general evils of intolerance, and the sufferings of his own unfortunate brethren. Though well stored with useful and ornamental knowledge, he was unpractised in the wiles of courts; and his education had not trained him to dread the violation of principle so much as to pity the infliction of suffering. It cannot be doubted that he believed the King’s object to be universal liberty in religion, and nothing further: and as his own sincere piety taught him to consider religious liberty as unspeakably the highest of human privileges, he was too just not to be desirous of bestowing on all other men that which he most earnestly sought for himself. One who refused to employ force in the most just defence, must have felt a singular abhorrence of its exertion to prevent good men from following the dictates of their conscience. Such seem to have been the motives which induced this excellent man to lend himself to the measures of the King. Compassion, friendship, liberality, and toleration, led him to suppoit a system the success of which would have undone his country; and he afforded a remarkable proof that, in the complicated combinations of political morality, a virtue misplaced may produce as much immediate mischief as a vice. The Dutch minister represents “the arch-quaker” as travelling over the kingdom to gain proselytes to the dispensing power,§ while Duncombe, a banker in London, and (it must in justice, though in sorrow, be added) Penn, are stated to have been the two Protestant counsellors of Lord Sunderland.∥ Henceforward, it became necessary for the friends of liberty to deal with him as with an enemy,—to be resisted when his associates possessed, and watched after they had lost power.
Among the Presbyterians, the King’s chief agent was Alsop, a preacher at Westminster, who was grateful to him for having spared the life of a son convicted of treason. Baxter, their venerable patriarch, and Howe, one of their most eminent divines, refused any active concurrence in the King’s projects. But Lobb, one of the most able of the Independent divines, warmly supported the measures of James: he was favourably received at Court, and is said to have been an adviser as well as an advocate of the King.* An elaborate defence of the dispensing power, by Philip Nye, a still more eminent teacher of the same persuasion, who had been disabled from accepting office at the Restoration, written on occasion of Charles’ Declaration of Indulgence in 1672, was now republished by his son, with a dedication to James.† Kiffin, the pastor of the chief congregation of the Baptists, and at the same time an opulent merchant in London, who, with his pastoral office, had held civil and military stations under the Parliament, withstood the prevalent disposition of his communion towards compliance. The few fragments of his life that have reached us illustrate the character of the calamitous times in which he lived. Soon after the Restoration, he had obtained a pardon for twelve persons of his persuasion, who were condemned to death at the same assize at Aylesbury, under the atrocious statute of the 35th of Elizabeth, for refusing either to abjure the realm or to conform to the Church of England.‡ Attempts were made to ensnare him into treason by anonymous letters, inviting him to take a share in plots which had no existence; and he was harassed by false accusations, some of which made him personally known to Charles II. and also to Clarendon. The King applied to him personally for the loan of 40,000l.: this he declined, offering the gift of 10,000l., and on its being accepted, congratulated himself on having saved 30,000l. Two of his grandsons, although he had offered 3000l. for their preservation, suffered death for being engaged in Monmouth’s revolt; and Jeffreys, on the trial of one of them, had declared, that had their grandfather been also at the bar, he would have equally deserved death. James, at one of their interviews, persuaded him, partly through his fear of incurring a ruinous fine in case of refusal, in spite of his pleading his inability through age (he was then seventy years old, and could not speak of his grandsons without tears) to accept the office of an alderman under the protection of the dispensing and suspending power.
Every means were employed to excite the Nonconformists to thank the King for his Indulgence. He himself assured D’Adda that it would be of the utmost service to trade and population, by recalling the numerous emigrants “who had been driven from their country by the persecution of the Anglicans;”* and his common conversation now turned on the cruelty of the Church of England towards the Dissenters, which he declared that he would have closed sooner, had he not been restrained by those who promised favour to his own religion, if they were still suffered to vex the latter.† This last declaration was contradicted by the parties whom he named; and their denial might be credited with less reserve, had not one of the principal leaders of the Episcopal party in Scotland owned that his friends would have been contented if they could have been assured of retaining the power to persecute Presbyterians.‡ The King even ordered an inquiry to be instituted into the suits against Dissenters in ecclesiastical courts, and the compositions which they paid, in order to make a scandalous disclosure of the extortion and venality practised under cover of the penal laws,§ —assuring (as did also Lord Sunderland) the Nuncio, that the Established clergy traded in such compositions.∥ The most just principles of unbounded freedom in religion were now the received creed at St. James’. Even Sir Roger L’Estrange endeavoured to save his consistency by declaring, that though he had for twenty years resisted religious liberty as a right of the people, he acquiesced in it as a boon from the King.
On the other hand, exertions were made to warn the Dissenters of the snare which was laid for them; while the Church began to make tardy efforts to conciliate them, especially the Presbyterians. The King was agitated by this canvass, and frequently trusted the Nuncio¶ with his alternate hopes and fears about it. Burnet, then at the Hague, published a letter of warning, in which he owns and deplores “the persecution,” acknowledging “the temptation under which the Nonconformists are to receive every thing which gives them present ease with a little too much kindness,” blaming more severely the members of the Church who applauded the Declaration, but entreating the former not to promote the designs of the common enemy.* The residence and connections of the writer bestowed on this publication the important character of an admonition from the Prince of Orange. He had been employed by some leaders of the Church party to procure the Prince’s interference with the Dissenting body;† and Dykveldt, the Dutch minister, assured both of his master’s resolution to promote union between them, and to maintain the common interest of Protestants. Lord Halifax also published, on the same occasion, a Letter to a Dissenter,—the most perfect model, perhaps, of a political tract,—which, although its whole argument, unbroken by diversion to general topics, is brought exclusively to bear with concentrated force upon the question, the parties, and the moment, cannot be read, after an interval of a century and a half, without admiration at its acuteness, address, terseness, and poignancy.‡
The Nonconformists were thus acted upon by powerful inducements and dissuasives. The preservation of civil liberty, the interest of the Protestant religion, the secure enjoyment of freedom in their own worship, were irresistible reasons against compliance. Gratitude for present relief, remembrance of recent wrongs, and a strong sense of the obligation to prefer the exercise of religion to every other consideration, were very strong temptations to a different conduct. Many of them owed their lives to the King, and the lives of others were still in his hands. The remembrance of Jeffreys’ campaign was so fresh as perhaps still rather to produce fear than the indignation and distrust which appear in a more advanced stage of recovery from the wounds inflicted by tyranny. The private relief granted to some of their ministers by the Court on former occasions afforded a facility for exercising adverse influence through these persons,—the more dangerous because it might be partly concealed from themselves under the disguise of gratitude. The result of the action of these conflicting motives seems to have been, that the far greater part of all denominations of Dissenters availed themselves of the Declaration so far as to resume their public worship;§ that the most distinguished of their clergy, and the majority of the Presbyterians, resisted the solicitations of the Court to sanction the dispensing power by addresses of thanks for this exertion of it; and that all the Quakers, the greater part of the Baptists, and perhaps also of the Independents, did not scruple to give this perilous token of their misguided gratitude, though many of them confined themselves to thanks for toleration, and solemn assurances that they would not abuse it.
About a hundred and eighty of these addresses were presented within a period of ten months, of which there are only seventy-seven exclusively and avowedly from Nonconformists. If to these be added a fair proportion of such as were at first secretly and at last openly corporators and grand jurors, and a larger share of those who addressed under very general descriptions, it seems probable that the numbers were almost equally divided between the Dissenting communions and the Established Church.* We have a specimen of these last mentioned by Evelyn, in the address of the Churchmen and dissenters of Coventry,† and of a small congregation in the Isle of Ely, called the “Family of Love.” His complaint‡ that the Declaration had thinned his own parish church of Deptford, and had sent a great concourse of people to the meeting-house, throws light on the extent of the previous persecution, and the joyful eagerness to profit by their deliverance.
The Dissenters were led astray not only by the lights of the Church, but by the pretended guardians of the laws. Five bishops, Crew, of Durham, with his chapter, Cartwright of Chester, with his chapter, Barlow, of Lincoln, Wood, of Lichfield, and Watson, of St. David’s, with the clergy of their dioceses, together with the Dean and Chapter of Ripon, addressed the King, in terms which were indeed limited to his assurance of continued protection to the Church, but at a time which rendered their addresses a sanction of the dispensing power; Croft, of Hereford, though not an addresser, was a zealous partisan of the measures of the Court; while the profligate Parker was unable to prevail on the Chapter or clergy of Oxford to join him, and the accomplished Sprat was still a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission, in which character he held a high command in the adverse ranks:—so that a third of the episcopal order refused to concur in the coalition which the Church was about to form with public liberty. A bold attempt was made to obtain the appearance of a general concurrence of lawyers also in approving the usurpations of the Crown. From two of the four societies, called “Inns of Court,” who have the exclusive privilege of admitting advocates to practise at the bar, the Middle and Inner Temple, addresses of approbation were published; though, from recent examination of the records of these bodies, they do not appear to have been ever voted by either. That of the former, eminent above the others for fulsome servility, is traditionally said to have been the clandestine production of three of the benchers, of whom Chauncy, the historian of Hertfordshire, was one. That of the Inner Temple purports to have been the act of certain students and the “comptroller,”—an office of whose existence no traces are discoverable. As Roger North had been Treasurer of the Middle Temple three years before, and as the crown lawyers were members of these societies, it is scarcely possible that the Government should not have been apprised of the imposture which they countenanced by their official publication of these addresses.* The necessity of recurring to such a fraud, and the silence of the other law societies, may be allowed to afford some proof that the independence of the Bar was not yet utterly extinguished. The subserviency of the Bench was so abject as to tempt the Government to interfere with private suits, which is one of the last and rarest errors of statesmen under absolute monarchies. An official letter is still extant† from Lord Sunderland, as Secretary of State, to Sir Francis Watkins, a judge of assize, recommending him to show all the favour to Lady Shaftesbury, in the despatch of her suit, to be tried at Salisbury, which the justice of her cause should deserve:—so deeply degraded were the judges in the eyes of the ministers themselves.
[* ] “J’ai dit au Roi que V. M. n’avoit plus au cœur que de voir prospérer les soins qu’il prends ici pour y établir la religion Catholique. S. M. B. me dit en me quittan., ‘Vous voyez que je n’omêts rien de ce qui est en mon pouvoir. J’espère que le Roi votre maître m’aidera et que nous ferons de concert des grandes choses pour la religion!” Barillon, 12th May, 1687.—Fox MSS.
[* ] Life of James II., vol. ii. p. 621.
[† ] Gutch, Collectanea Curiosa, vol. i. p. 290, and Reresby, p. 233. Sclater publicly recanted the Romish religion on the 5th of May, 1689,—a pretty rapid retreat,—Account of E. Sclater’s Return to the Church of England, by Dr. Horneck. London, 1689. It is remarkable that Sancroft so far exercised his archiepiscopal jurisdiction as to authorise Sclater’s admission to the Protestant communion on condition of public recantation, at which Burnet preached: yet the pious Horneck owns that the juncture of time tempted him to smile.
[‡ ] Relation of the Proceedings at the Charter House, London, 1689.—Carte, Life of Ormonde, vol. ii. p. 246.
[* ] Gutch, Collectanea Cunosa, vol. i. p. 287. Athenæ Oxoniensis, vol. iv. p. 438. Dodd, Church History, vol. iii. p. 454.
[† ] Gutch, vol. ii. p. 294. The dispensation to Massey contained an ostentatious enumeration of the laws which it sets at defiance.
[‡ ] Dodd, vol. iii. p. 511. D’Adda MSS.
[§ ] Imposed by Ignatius, at the suggestion of Claude Le Jay, an original member of the order, who wished to avoid a bishopric, probably from humility; but the regulation afterwards prevented the Jesuits from looking for advancement anywhere but to Rome.
[* ] Sprat’s Letter to Lord Dorset, p. 12. This case is now published from the Records of Exeter College, for the first time, through the kind permission of Dr. Jones, the present  Rector of that society.
[* ] State Trials, vol. xi. p. 1350. Narcissus Luttrell, April and May, 1687.—MS.
[† ] Pepys, Memoirs, vol. ii. Correspondence, p. 79. He consistently pursued the doctrine of passive obedience. “If,” says he, “his Majesty, in his wisdom, and according to his supreme power, contrive other methods to satisfy himself. I shall be no murmurer or complainer, but can be no abettor.”—Ibid., p. 81.
[* ] State Trials, vol. xii. p. 1.
[† ] “Hot debates arose about the King’s letter, and horrible rude reflections were made upon his authority, that he had nothing to do in our affair, and things of a far worse nature and consequence. I told one of them that the spirit of Ferguson had got into him.”—Smith’s Diary, State Trials, vol. xii. p. 58.
[‡ ] In Narcissus Luttrell’s Diary, Jeffreys is made to say of Fairfax, “He is fitter to be in a madhouse.”
[* ] Athenæ Oxonienses, vol. ii. p. 814. It appears that he refused on his death-bed to declare himself a Catholic, which Evelyn justly thinks strange.—Memoirs, vol. i. p. 605.
[† ] Blathwayt, Secretary of War, Pepys, vol. ii. Correspondence, p. 86.
[‡ ] State Trials, vol. xii. p. 19.
[* ] The King hath, indeed, promised to govern by law; but the safety of the people (of which he is judge) is an exception implied in every monarchial promise.”—Sermon at Ripon, 6th February, 1686. See also his sermon on the 30th January, 1682, at Holyrood House, before the Lady Anne.
[† ] Narcissus Luttrell, February, 1688.—MS.
[* ] Johnstone (son of Warriston) to Burnet, 8th December, 1687.—Welbeck MS. Sprat, in his Letter to Lord Dorset, speaks of “farther proceedings” as being meditated against Compton.
[† ] Johnstone, ibid. He does not name the majority: they, probably, were Jeffreys, Sunderland, the Bishops of Chester and Durham, and Lord Chief Justice Wright.
[‡ ] Johnstone, 17th November.—MS.
[§ ] Id. 8th December.—MS.
[∥ ] Smith’s Diary, State Trials, vol. xii. p. 73.
[¶ ] Barillon, 23d—29th Sept.—Fox MSS.
[* ] Kennet, History, vol. iii. p. 242.
[† ] Commons’ Journals, 28th November, 1660 On the second reading the numbers were, ayes, 157; noes, 183. Sir G. Booth, a teller for the ayes, was a Presbyterian leader.
[* ] 14 Car. II. c. iv.
[† ] Speeches, 8th May, 1661, and 19th May, 1662. “The Lords Clarendon and Southampton, together with the Bishops, were the great opposers of the King’s intention to grant toleration to Dissenters, according to the promise at Breda.”—Life of James II. vol. i. p. 391. These, indeed, are not the words of the King; but for more than twelve years on this part of his Life, the compiler, Mr. Dicconson, does not quote James’ MSS.
[‡ ] Kennet, Register, p. 850.—The concluding paragraph, relating to Catholics, is a model of that stately ambiguity under which the style of Clarendon gave him peculiar facilities of cloaking an unpopular proposal.
[§ ] Journals, 25th Feb., 1663.
[∥ ] “We think ourselves obliged to make use of that supreme power in ecclesiastical matters which is inherent in us. We declare our will and pleasure, that the execution of all penal laws in matters ecclesiastical be suspended; and we shall allow a sufficient number of places of worship as they shall be desired, for the use of those who do not conform to the Church of England:—without allowing public worship to Roman Catholics.” Most English historians tell us that Sir Orlando Bridgman refused to put the Great Seal to this Declaration, and that Lord Shaftesbury was made Chancellor to seal it. The falsehood of this statement is proved by the mere inspection of the London Gazette, by which we see that the Declaration was issued on the 15th of March, 1672, when Lord Shaftesbury was not yet appointed—See Locke’s Letter from a Person of Quality, and the Life of Shaftesbury (unpublished), p. 247.
[* ] Journals, 8th March, 1673.
[* ] Life of James II., vol. ii. p. 81. “He,” says the biographer, “had no other oracle to apply to for exposition of difficult and intricate points.”
[† ] Wodrow, vol. ii. app.
[* ] Wodrow, vol. ii. app. Fountainhall, vol. i. p. 463.
[† ] Burnet, (Oxford, 1823), vol. ii. p. 428. Lord Dartmouth’s note.
[* ] South, passim.
[† ] Tillotson, On the Death of Lord Russell. About a year before the time to which the text alludes, in a visitation sermon preached before Sancroft by Kettlewell, an excellent man, in whom nothing was stern but this doctrine, it is inculcated to such an extent as, according to the usual interpretation of the passage in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (xiii. 2.), to prohibit resistance to Nero; “who,” says nevertheless the preacher, “invaded honest men’s estates to supply his own profusion, and embrued his hands in the blood of any he had a pique against, without any regard to law or justice.” The Homily, or exhortation to obedience, composed under Edward VI., in 1547, by Cranmer, and sanctioned by authority of the Church, asserts it to be “the calling of God’s people to render obedience to governors, although they be wicked or wrong-doers, and in no case to resist.”
[‡ ] Collier, Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. p. 902.
[* ] D’Adda, 21st March, 1687; “un colpo strepitoso.” “Perche la religióne Anglicana sarebbe stata la prima a declinare in questa mutazióne.”
[† ] D’Adda, 4th—18th April.
[‡ ] Barillon 24th March.—Fox MSS.
[* ] 35 Eliz. c. 1, (1593.)
[† ] A sort of exile, called, in our old law, “abjuring the realm,” in which the offender was to banish himself.
[‡ ] 16 Car. II. c. 4.
[§ ] Ralph, History of England, vol. ii. p. 97. “As these plots,” says that writer, “were contemptible or formidable, we must acquit or condemn this reign.”
[∥ ] 17 Car. II. c. 2.
[* ] Locke, Letter from a Person of Quality.
[† ] 22 Car. II. c. 1.
[‡ ] Stillingfleet, Sermon in the Mischief of Separation.
[* ] 18 & 19 Car. II. c. 9. Evidence more conclusive, from its being undesignedly dropped, of the frequency of such horrible occurrences in the jail of Newgate, transpires in a controversy between a Catholic and Protestant clergyman, about the religious sentiments of a dying criminal, and is preserved in a curious pamphlet, called “The Pharisee Unmasked,” published in 1687.
[† ] “This prison, where are so many, suffocateth the spirits of aged ministers.”—Life of Baxter (Calamy’s Abridgment), part iii. p. 200.
[‡ ] Journal, p. 186, where the description of the dungeon called “Doomsdale” surpasses all imagination.
[* ] Good Advice to the Church of England.
[† ] Address of the Quakers to James II.—Clarkson, Life of William Penn, vol. i. p. 492. London Gazette, 23d and 26th May, 1687.
[‡ ] Grey, Examination of Neale.
[§ ] “Fifteen thousand families ruined.”—Good Advice, &c. In this tract, very little is said of the dispensing power; the far greater part consisting of a noble defence of religious liberty applicable to all ages and communions.
[∥ ] Life of Baxter, part iii. p. 281.
[* ] Life of Baxter, part iii. pp. 47—51.
[* ] See Grace Abounding.
[† ] Scobell’s Ordinances, chap. 114. This exception is omitted in a subsequent Ordinance against blasphemous opinions, (9th August, 1650), directed chiefly against the Antinomians, who were charged with denying the obligation of morality,—the single case where the danger of nice distinction is the chief objection to the use of punishment against the promulgation of opinions. Religious liberty was afterwards carried much nearer to its just limits by the letter of Cromwells’ constitution, and probably to its full extent by its spirit.—See Humble Petition and Advice, sect. xi.
[* ] Probably Lord Shaftesbury, who received the Great Seal in November, 1672. The exact date of Bunyan’s complete liberation is not ascertained; but he was twelve years a prisoner, and had been apprehended in November, 1660. Ivimey (Life of Bunyan, p. 289) makes his enlargement to be about the close of 1672.
[† ] Hudibras, part i. canto ii. Grey’s notes.
[* ] “There is no true visible Church of Christ but a particular ordinary congregation only. Every ordinary assembly of the faithful hath power to elect and ordain, deprive and depose, their ministers. The pastor must have others joined with him by the congregation, to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction; neither ought he and they to perform any material act without the free consent of the congregation.”—Christian Offer of a Conference tendered to Archbishops, Bishops, &c. (London, 1606.)
[† ] An Humble Supplication for Toleration and Liberty to James I. (London, 1609):—a tract which affords a conspicuous specimen of the ability and learning of the ancient Independents, often described as unlettered fanatics.
[* ] The Way of the Churches in New England, by Mr. J. Cotton (London, 1645)l and the Way of Congregational Churches, by Mr. J. Cotton (London, 1648);—in answer to Principal Baillie.
[† ] 12 Car. II. c. 17.
[‡ ] Crosby, History of English Baptists, &c., vol. ii. pp. 100—144.
[* ] Journal of the Life of George Fox, by himself:—one of the most extraordinary and instructive narratives in the world, which no reader of competent judgment can peruse without revering the virtue of the writer, pardoning his self-defusion, and ceasing to smile at his peculiarities.
[* ] Mr. Swinton, a Scotch judge during the Protectorate, was one of the earliest of these converts.
[† ] Nouvelles de la République des Lettres, Avril, 1684.
[‡ ] Clarkson, Life of William Penn, vol. i. p. 248.
[§ ] Clarkson, vol. i. pp. 433, 438. Mr. Clarkson is among the few writers from whom I should venture to adopt a fact for which the original authority is not mentioned. By his own extraordinary services to mankind he has deserved to be the biographer of William Penn.
[* ] Address of Scotch Quakers, 1687.
[† ] George Fox, Journal, p. 550.
[‡ ] State Paper Office, November and December, 1686.
[§ ] Van Citters to the States General, 14th Oct. 1687.
[∥ ] Johnstone, 25th Nov. 1687.—MS. Johnstone’s connections afforded him considerable means of information. Mrs. Dawson, an attendant of the Queen, was an intimate friend of his sisters, Mrs. Baillie of Jerviswood: another of his sisters was the wife of General Drummond, who was deeply engaged in the persecution of the Scotch Presbyterians, and the Earl of Melfort’s son had married his niece. His letters were to of for Burnet, his cousin, and intended to be read by the Prince of Orange, to both of whom he had the strongest inducements to give accurate information. He had frequent and confidential intercourse with Halifax, Tillotson, and Stillingfleet.
[* ] Wilson, History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, &c.—(London, 1808), vol. iii. p. 436.
[† ] Wilson, vol. iii. p. 71. The Lawfulness of the Oath of Supremacy asserted, &c., by Philip Nye. (London, 1687.)
[‡ ] Orme, Life of Kiffin, p. 120. Crosbv, vol. ii. p. 181, &c.
[* ] D’Adda, 11th April, 1687.—MS.
[† ] Burnet, (Oxford, 1823), vol. iii. p. 175.
[‡ ] “If it had not been for the fears of encouraging by such a liberty the fanatics, then almost entirely ruined, few would have refused to comply with all your Majesty’s demands.”—Balcarras, Account of the Affairs of Scotland, p. 8.
[§ ] Burnet, suprà.
[∥ ] D’Adda, 18th April.—MS.—Ministri Anglicani che facevano mercanzia sopra le leggi fatti contro le Nonconformisti.
[¶ ] D’Adda, 2d May, 4th April.—MS.
[* ] State Tracts from Restoration to Revolution (London, 1689), vol. ii. p. 289.
[† ] Burnet, Reflections on a Book called “Rights, &c. of a Convocation,” p. 16.
[‡ ] Halifax. Miscellanies, p. 233.
[§ ] Bates’ Life of Philip Henry, in Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography, vol. vi. p. 290. “They rejoiced with trembling.” Henry refused to give in a return of the money levied on him in his sufferings, having, as he said, “long since from his heart forgiven all the agents in that matter.” “Mr. Banyan clearly saw through the designs of he Court, though he accepted the Indulgence with a holy fear.”—Ivimcy, Life of Bunyan. p. 297.
[* ] The addresses from bishops and their clergy were seven; those from corporations and grand juries seventy-five; those from inhabitants, &c., fourteen; two from Catholics, and two from the Middle and Inner Temple. If six addresses from Presbyterians and Quakers in Scotland, Ireland, and New England be deducted, as it seems that they ought to be, the proportion of Dissenting addresses was certainly less than one half. Some of them, we know, were the produce of a sort of personal canvass, when the King made his progress in the autumn of 1687, “to court the compliments of the people;” and one of them, in which Philip Henry joined, “was not to offer lives and fortunes to him, but to thank him for the liberty, and to promise to demean themselves quietly in the use of it.”—Wordsworth, vol. vi. p. 292. Address of Dissenters of Nantwich, Wem, and Whitchurch. London Gazette, 29th August.
[† ] Evelyn, vol. i. Diary, 16th June.
[‡ ] Ibid. 10th April.
[* ] London Gazette, June 9th.
[† ] 24th February.—State Paper Office.