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broke the edict of Nantes, and was dragooning his Protestant subjects out of his kingdom. But the bishop suspects the king's sincerity in his declaration, from his promising to use no invincible necessity to force his subjects to change their religion, as if there was a reserve, and that some degrees of compulsion might be proper one time or other; which seems to have been a parallel case to the doctrine of the church concerning non-resistance. However, by another proclamation, the king granted full liberty to the Scots Presbyterians to set up conventicles in their own way, which they thankfully accepted; but when his majesty pressed them to dispose their friends to concur with him in taking off the test and penal laws, which they knew was only to serve the Papists, they answered only in cold and general terms.

In pursuance of these declarations, the dissenters of all sorts were not only set at liberty, but admitted to serve in all offices of profit and trust. November 6, the king sent an order to the lordmayor of London to dispense with the Quakers taking oaths*, or at least, not to fine them if they refused to serve, by which means a door was opened to the Roman Catholics, and to all others, to bear offices in the state without a legal qualification. Several addresses were presented to the king upon this occasion from the companies in the city of London, from the corporations in the country, and even from the clergy themselves, thanking his majesty for his declaration for liberty of conscience, and his promise to support the church of England as by law established, assuring him of their endeavours to choose such members for the next parliament as should give it a more legal sanction.

The several denominations of dissenters also were no less thankful for their liberty, and addressed his majesty in higher strains than some of their elder and more cautious ministers approved; Mr. Baxter, Mr. Stretton, and a great many others, refused to join in them; and bishop Burnet admits †, that few concurred in those addresses, and that the persons who presented them were

* Sewel informs us, that the king carried his condescension to the Quakers so far, that a countryman of that persuasion coming to him with his hat on his head, the king took off his own hat and held it under his arm which the other seeing, said, "The king needs not keep off his hat for me." To which his majesty replied, "You do not know the custom here, for that requires that but one hat must be on here." Sewel's History, p. 609.-ED.

+ Page 140.

Dr. Grey controverts the above assertions of bishop Burnet: he has given at length eight addresses from different bodies of dissenters, in different parts of the kingdom, as specimens of the courtly, not to say fulsome and flattering strains, which they on this occasion adopted: and he refers to the Gazettes of the times, as furnishing about seventy other compositions of the same kind; in which this oppressed body, emancipated from their sufferings, fears, and dangers, poured forth the sentiments of loyalty and gratitude. Mr. Stretton, mentioned above, who had been ejected from Petworth in Sussex, and afterward gathered a congregation in London, which assembled at Haberdasher's-hall, was a minister of great reputation and influence; an active and a useful character. He made use of the liberty granted by the king's proclamation, but never did nor would join in any address of thanks for it, lest he should seem to give countenance to the king's assuming a power above the law; and he was instrumental to prevent several addresses. Henry's Funeral Sermon for Stretton, p. 45. Grey's Examination, vol. 3. p. 410—416.—ED.

mean and inconsiderable. When there was a general meeting of the ministers to consider of their behaviour in this crisis, and two messengers from court waited to carry back the result of the debate, Mr. Howe delivered his opinion against the dispensing power, and against every thing that might contribute assistance to the Papists to enable them to subvert the Protestant religion *. Another minister stood up, and declared †, that he apprehended their late sufferings had been occasioned more by their firm adherence to the constitution, than their differing from the establishment; and therefore if the king expected they should give up the constitution and declare for the dispensing power, he had rather, for his part, lose his liberty, and return to his former bondage. In conclusion Mr. Howe, in summing up the whole debate, signified to the courtiers, that they were in general of the same opinion. Mr. Coke adds, that to his knowledge the dissenters did both dread and detest the dispensing power; and their steadiness in this crisis was a noble stand by a number of men who subsisted only by the royal favour, which ought not to have been so soon forgotten.

Though the court were a little disappointed in their expectations from the dissenters, they put the best face they could on the affair, and received such addresses as were presented with high commendation. The first who went up were the London Anabaptists, who say, that "the sense of this invaluable favour and benefit derived to us from your royal clemency, compels us to prostrate ourselves at your majesty's feet with the tender of our most humble thanks for that peace and liberty which both we, and all other dissenters from the national church, now enjoy §."

Next came the Presbyterians ||, "who acknowledge his majesty's

Gazette, No. 2234.

+ This gentleman was Dr. Daniel Williams, who pursued the argument with such clearness and strength, that all present rejected the motion, and the court-agents went away disappointed. There was a meeting at the same time of a considerable number of the city clergy, waiting the issue of their deliberations: who were greatly animated and encouraged by the bold and patriotic resolution of the dissenting ministers. Life of Dr. Williams, prefixed to his Practical Discourses, vol. 1. p. 10. -ED.

Howe's Life, p. 134.

§ Gazette, No. 2234.

This address had about thirty hands to it; it was presented by Mr. Hurst, Mr. Chester, Mr. Slatter, Mr. Cox, Mr. Roswell, Mr. Turner, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Deal, and Mr. Reynolds. It is preserved at length, with the king's answer, in the Biographia Britannica, vol. 1, article Alsop. It was supposed to have been drawn up by Mr. Alsop; whose feelings and gratitude, on the free pardon which the king had given to his son convicted of treasonable practices, may be reckoned to have had great influence in dictating and promoting it. After the spirited resolution mentioned above had been carried, some of the ministers were privately closeted with king James, and some few received particular and personal favours: by these fascinating arts they were brought over. And their conduct had its weight in producing similar addresses from the country. Part of the king's answer deserves to be recorded as a monument of his insincerity, and a warning, that kings can degrade themselves by recourse to duplicity and falsehood. "Gentlemen (said James), I protest before God, and I desire you to tell all manner of people, of all persuasions,-that I have no other design than I have spoken of. And, gentlemen, I hope to live to see the day, when you shall as well have magna charta for the liberty of conscience, as you have had for your properties." The ministers went away satisfied with the welcome which they had received from the

princely compassion in rescuing them from their long sufferings, in restoring to God the empire over conscience, and publishing to the world his royal Christian judgment, that conscience may not be forced; and his resolution that such force should not be attempted in his reign, which they pray may be long." Then followed the Independents: "Sir, the great calamity we have been a long time under, through the severe execution of the penal laws in matters of religion, has made us deeply sensible of your majesty's princely clemency towards us your dissenting subjects, especially since in the indulgence vouchsafed there are no limitations hindering the enjoyment of it with a good conscience, and that your majesty publisheth to the world that it has been your constant sense and opinion, that conscience ought not to be constrained, nor people forced in matters of mere religion*." About the same time was published the humble and thankful address of the London Quakers †, to this purpose," May it please the king! Though we are not the first in this way, yet we hope we are not the least sensible of the great favours we are come to present the king our humble, open, and hearty thanks for. We rejoice to see the day that a king of England should, from his royal seat, so universally assert this royal principle, that conscience ought not to be restrained, nor people forced for matters of religion." The several addresses above mentioned express their humble dependance on his majesty's royal promise to secure their rights and properties, and that he will endeavour to engage his two houses of parliament to concur with him in this good work. Here are no flights of expression, nor promises of obedience without reserve, but purely a sense of gratitude for the restoration of liberty §. pleasant countenances of the courtiers, and the courteous words, looks, and behaviour, of his majesty." Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, vol. 2. p. 13.—Ed. Gazette, No. 2238. + Sewel, p. 606.

There are, it has been justly observed to the editor, some errors in the above extract viz. the word royal instead of glorious, before principle; and the omission of mere before religion.-ED.

§ Though Mr. Neal's character of the addresses which he quotes be admitted as just, it will not apply to all which the dissenters presented on this occasion: "Some of them (Dr. Calamy observes) ran high." But for the strong language in which they were expressed, or for the numbers to which they amounted, an apology may be drawn from the excess of joy with which the royal indulgence, though an insidious measure, naturally inspired those who, for many years, had groaned under the rod of persecution. It should also be considered, that but very few, comparatively, think deeply or look far. Present, pleasing appearances mislead and captivate the generality. There is also a propensity in mankind to follow those who take the lead, and a readiness to credit and flatter royalty and greatness. The dissenters, however, not without reason, incurred censure for " a vast crowd of congratulatory addresses, complimenting the king in the highest manner, and protesting what mighty returns of loyalty they would make :" and were called" the pope's journeymen to carry on his work." But these censures came with an ill grace, as Dr. Calamy remarks, " from the church-party, who had set them the pattern;" who in a most luxuriant manner had thanked king Charles for dissolving one of the best parliaments; who were mighty forward in the surrender of charters; and who, in their fulsome addresses, made no other claim to their liberties and civil rights than as concessions from the crown, telling the king, "every one of his commands was stamped with God's authority." The university of Oxford, in particular, promised king James to obey him without limitations or restrictions. Dr. Grey and Calamy's Life of Howe, p. 137, 138.—E».

And though it must be allowed that some few dissenters, from an excess of joy, or it may be from a strong resentment against their late persecutors, published some severe pamphlets, and gave too much countenance to the measures of the court, as Mr. Lobb, Alsop, and Penn the Quaker, yet the body of them kept at a distance, and, "as thankful as they were for their liberty (says lord Halifax), they were fearful of the issue; neither can any member of consideration among them be charged with hazarding the public safety, by falling in with the measures of the court, of which they had as great a dread as their neighbours *." And the lords, in a conference with the house of commons upon the occasional bill, in the first year of queen Anne, say," that in the last and greatest danger the church was exposed to, the dissenters joined with her, with all imaginable zeal and sincerity, against the Papists their common enemies, shewing no prejudice to the church, but the utmost respect to the bishops when sent to the Tower."

But as the king and ministry carried all before them, the church-party were in despair, and almost at their wits' end; they saw themselves on the brink of ruin, imagining that they should be turned out of their freeholds for not reading the king's declaration, and that the Nonconformists would be admitted into their pulpits; as Dr. Sherlock, master of the Temple, acknowledged in conversation to Mr. Howe +; and that, as the Papists had already invaded the universities, they would in a little time overset the whole hierarchy. In this distress they turned their eyes all around them for relief: they applied to the dissenters,

"The churchmen on their side (says Dr. Warner), did all that lay in their power to establish a union, as the only possible means of their joint security. They published pamphlets from time to time, acknowledging their error in driving the Presbyterians to extremities; confessing that they were not enough upon their guard against the artifices of the court, and promising a very different behaviour on the re-establishment of their affairs. It must be owned, that this conduct was dexterous, and sensible, and just. It must be said, however (observes this author), that they had not attained this wisdom, till it was almost too late; at least, not during the space of twenty years, and till by their absurd principles of passive obedience, taught in their pulpits, and acts of parliament, they had enabled the king to become arbitrary and tyrannical. It is no less true, that an accusation lies against them of having forgotten this promise after the Revolution, as they did at the restoration of Charles II." Eccles. Hist. vol. 2. p. 639, 640.-ED.

"Who knows (said Dr. Sherlock), but Mr. Howe may be offered to be master of the Temple?" Mr. Howe replied, "that he should not balk an opportunity of more public service, if offered on terms he had no just reason to except against.” But then he added, "that he would not meddle with the emolument, otherwise than as a hand to convey it to the legal proprietor." Upon this the doctor, not a little transported with joy, rose up from his seat and embraced him; saying, "that he had always taken him for that ingenuous honest man that he now found him to be." Mr. Howe afterward told this passage to a dignitary of the church, to whom the doctor was well known signifying, how little he was prepared to reply to a supposition that had not so much as once entered into his thoughts before. The gentleman answered, "Sir, you say you had not once thought of the case, or so much as supposed any thing like it; but you must give me leave to tell you, if you had studied the case seven years together, you could not have said any thing more to the purpose, or more to the doctor's satisfaction." Calamy's Life of Howe, p. 141, 142.-ED.

giving them the strongest assurances of a comprehension and toleration in better times, if they would but assist in delivering them out of their present troubles. Bishop Burnet says, that the clergy here in England wrote to the prince of Orange, and desired him to send over some of the dissenting preachers, whom the violence of the former times had driven into Holland, and to prevail effectually with them to oppose any false brethren, whom the court might have gained over; and that they sent over very solemn assurances, which passed through his own hands, that in case they stood firm now to the common interest, they would in a better time come into a comprehension of such as could be brought into conjunction with the church, and to a toleration of the rest. Agreeably to these assurances, when the reverend Mr. Howe, Mr. Mead, and other refugee ministers, waited on the prince of Orange, to return him thanks for the protection of the country, and to take their leave, his highness made them some presents to pay their debts and defray their charges home; and having wished them a good voyage, he advised them to be very cautious in their addresses; and not to suffer themselves to be drawn into the measures of the court so far as to open a door for the introducing of Popery, by desiring the taking off the penal laws and test, as was intended *. He requested them also, to use their influence with their brethren to lay them under the same restraints. His highness sent orders likewise to monsieur Dykvelt, his resident, to press the dissenters to stand off from the court; and to assure them of a full toleration and comprehension if possible, when the crown should devolve on the princess of Orange. Agents were sent among the dissenters to soften their resentments against the church, and to assure them, that for the future they would treat them as brethren, as will be seen in the next chapter.

The dissenters had it now in their power to distress the church party, and it may be, to have made reprisals, if they would have given way to the revenge, and fallen heartily in with the king's measures. They were strongly solicited on both sides; the king preferred them to places of profit and trust, and gave them all manner of countenance and encouragement; and the churchmen loaded them with promises and assurances what great things they would do for them, as soon as it should be in their power. But, alas! no sooner was the danger over than the majority of them forgot their vows in distress; for when the convocation met the first time after the Revolution, they would not hear of a comprehension, nor so much as acknowledge the foreign churches for their brethren, seeming rather inclined to return to their old methods of persecution. So little dependence ought to be placed on high-church promises!

But in their present circumstances it was necessary to flatter

Calamy's Life of Howe, p. 132.

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