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"with them in treasonable courses against their ❝ sovereign; whereby all quietly-minded papists were put out of despair, and I gave a good proof, "that I intended no persecution against them, for "conscience or cause; but only desired to be "secured of them, for civil obedience, which, for "conscience cause, they were bound to perform.”
In several other parts of his writings on the oath, the king expresses the same sentiments. He declares, that, “he never did, nor would, presume "to make an article of faith:"-that, "the oath was ordained only for making a true distinction "between papists of quiet disposition, and, in all "other things, good subjects; and such other papists, as, in their hearts, maintained the like "bloody maxims that the powder traitors did;"― that it was his care, that the oath should con"tain nothing, but matter of civil and temporal "obedience, due by subjects to their sovereign power." As a proof of his care, he mentions the following remarkable fact:" The lower house of parliament," to use his own words, " at the first "framing of the oath, made it to contain, that the
pope had no power to excommunicate me; which "I caused them to reform,-only making it to con"clude, that no excommunication of the pope could "warrant my subjects to practise against my person "and state; denying the deposition of kings to be "in the pope's lawful power; as, indeed, I take
any such temporal violence to be far without the "limits of such a spiritual censure, as excommuni"cation is. So careful was I, that nothing should
“ be contained in this oath, except the profession " of natural allegiance, and civil and temporal “ obedience, with a promise to resist to all con
trary civil violence.” A more exact description of the different natures of spiritual and temporal power cannot be produced.
2. On perusing these, and many other passages of the same spirit, which are to be found in the writings of the royal author, it seems impossible to contend, that the monarch's views were not both kind and salutary. Other views are, however, attributed to his advisers. It is said, that “ the “ the wording of the oath was drawn up in such “ambiguous terms, that a tender conscience, -(the “ best disposed towards paying civil allegiance), “ could not digest it;"—that the “ wording of it
“ " was chiefly committed to archbishop Bancroft *, “ who, with the assistance of Christopher Perkins, "a renegado jesuit, so calculated the whole to the
designs of the ministry, that they met with their “ desired effect; which was, first, to divide the
, “ catholics about the lawfulness of the oath ; se
condly, to expose them to daily persecutions, in “ case of refusal; and in consequence of this, to
misrepresent them, as disaffected persons, and of “ unsound principles, in regard of government. Such is the statement given of this circumstance, by Dodd t.
On this subject, Dodd's authority is certainly entitled to great respect; and his statement receives
* See More, p. 28. + Church History, vol. ii. part 5, art 4
some confirmation from a passage in the Athenæ Oxonienses*, where, on the authority of a manuscript Review of the Court of king James, by Goodman, bishop of Gloucester, Mr. Wood mentions, that "sir Christopher Perkins,"-(for the jesuit had been created a knight)," had a hand in contriving "and drawing up the oath of allegiance, while "he was intimate with Dr. Bancroftt." It receives a further confirmation, from a passage in cardinal Bentivoglio's Relationi delle Provincie, in which, as he is translated in the Answer to the Memoirs of Panzani §, his eminence,-alluding to the oath of allegiance, says, that, "in contriving "this new machine against the catholic religion, "the authors had principally two things in view: "one was, to furnish the king an opportunity of proceeding with an increase of rigour against "the persons and property of catholics; it being "easily foreseen, that many of them would refuse "the oath, in which heretical terms were used to
deny all authority of the Roman pontiffs, under "whatsoever interpretation and form, in temporal "affairs of princes ||:-the other was, to give new
* Vol. i. p. 22.
+ That Bancroft was concerned in framing the oath, and intended it should occasion a disunion among the catholics, is confirmed by a passage in Osborne's Secret History of the Court of James the First. Ballantyne's edition, page 61.
* Page 215.
§ Page 159.
A remarkable expression :-it shows that the main objection of the pope and his adherents to the oath, was its rejection of the pope's deposing power, and not merely to the terms in which the doctrine asserting it was described.
“occasion to the discontents among the catholic
clergy; it being held for certain, that several of "them, either through dread of punishment, or
through tepidity in religion would be induced "to swallow the oath; and to advise others to 6 s follow their example*."--It is probable that some, at least, of his majesty's ministers were not so favourably disposed towards the catholics as their royal master. But that James's own views in the framing of this oath, were most benign, the writer has not discovered any just reason to doubt. In the controversy respecting the lawfulness of the use of the Chinese rites by the converts to christianity, the jesuits contended that they were merely civil, and on that account unobjectionable. In confirmation of their opinion, they appealed to the testimony of the emperor and his council ; it was favourable to them, and they justly thought it entitled to the greatest weight. Nothing can be more preposterous than the attempts of the jansenists to criminate the jesuits for their appealing to the Chinese for the meaning in which they themselves understood the controverted word. It was the same with James's oath: whether the meaning of it was orthodox, was a point of theology, and belonged to the 'cognizance of the church. but what the meaning of James was when he framed it, was best known to James himself.
Insupport of the allegation respecting the sinister views of the framers of the oath, intentional obscu
• In a future page, we shall transcribe a further extract from this work.
rity and objectionable language were imputed to some of its clauses; and the words "impious," "heretical," and "damnable," used in describing the imposing doctrine, were severely condemned*. It must be admitted, that each of these words was singularly improper.
The great objection, however, to the oath, was its absolute denial of the pope's deposing power. This," says the rev. Roger Widdrington, the learned and able benedictine advocate of the oath ‡, "was the rock of scandal, the stone of offence, on "which the bulk of the learned and the unlearned "of those times generally stumbled."-Even the illustrious Bellarmine, (for that epithet is justly due to his virtues, his learning, and his talents)‡, maintains, that "the assertion, that the pope, as pope, "and by divine right, has no temporal power, and "cannot, in any manner, command secular persons, "or deprive them of their kingdoms and sovereignty, though they deserve to be deprived of "them, is not so much an opinion as a heresy." This was the burthen of many a page, which the cardinal and his collaborators published, in support of the briefs, which, as will be seen immediately, Paul the fifth issued against the oath. This, therefore, to repeat Widdrington's words, was, the petra scandali, the lapis offensionis. Had the parties
* See Ecclesiastical Democracy Detected; by the Rev. John Milner, 1793, 8vo.
+ Disputatio Theologica de juramento Fidelitatis, ch. iii,
De Romano Pontifice, lib. iii. c. 1.