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“ articles of subscription, and consequently of faith, they thought proper. Though all other spiritual
courts were subject, since the reformation, to “ inhibitions from the supreme courts of law, the “ ecclesiastical commissioners were exempted from “ that legal jurisdiction, and were liable to no “ control. And the more to enlarge their authority
they were empowered to punish all incests, adul“ teries, fornications; all outrages, misbehaviours,
, “ and disorders in marriage: and the punishments “ which they might inflict, were according to their “wisdom, conscience, and discretion. In a word, “ this court was a real inquisition, attended with “ all the iniquities, as well as cruelties, inseparable “ from that tribunal. And as the jurisdiction of 66 the ecclesiastical court was destructive of all law, - so its erection was deemed by many a meré
usurpation of this imperious princess, and had no 66 other foundation than a clause of a statute, re“ storing the supremacy to the crown, and em
powering the sovereign to appoint commissioners “ for exercising that prerogative. But, preroga“ “ tive in general, especially the supremacy, was supposed, in that age, to involve powers, which
, “ no law, precedent, or reason, could limit and a determine."
The Conference at Hampton Court. DURING the whole of the reign of Elizabeth, the contest between the established church and the puritans, was on the increase; and many whole
some severities, to use the language of persecution, were inflicted on the puritans.—At first, they seemed to be favoured by her successor. pressed a laudable desire to accommodate matters between the contending parties. With this view, he appointed the conference at Hampton Court; it was attended by nine bishops, and as many dignitaries on the one side; and by four puritans on the other. James himself took a great part in it: and had the satisfaction to hear from Whitgift, the archbishop of Canterbury, that, “ undoubtedly his
majesty spoke by the special assistance of God's
spirit;" and, from Bancroft, the bishop of London, that, “ the Almighty, of his singular mercy, “had given such a king, as from Christ's time “ there had not been.” “Whereupon,” says Strype*, " the lords, with one voice, yielded a very
affec" tionate acclamation." His majesty was highly delighted with his own display of talent at this extraordinary exhibition. In a letter preserved by Strype, (N. xlvi.) the royal theologian writes to one of his friends, that “he had kept a rével “ with the puritans for two days, the like of which
was never seen; and that he had peppered them, as he, (to whom he was writing) had done the papists: and that he was forced to say, at last,
that, if any of them had been in a college, dis“ puting with other scholars, and that any of their “ disciples had answered them in that sort, they " themselves would have snatched him up, in place of a reply, with a rod.” * Life and Acts of archbishop Whitgift, b. iv. c. xxxi.
THE PERSECUTION OF THE ENGLISH CATHOLICS
DURING THE REIGN OF CHARLES THE FIRST.
WE must now lead our readers from the pleasing though unsuccessful attempts at conciliation, which we detailed in a preceding chapter, to the disgusting view of increased severities. In one respect, the persecution, which we have now to relate, bore a new character. Those, which the catholics suffered in the reigns of Henry the eighth, Edward the sixth, and Elizabeth, originated with the monarchs themselves, or with their ministers ; that, which they suffered under Charles, was forced from him by the adversaries of his crown. In another respect, also, it differed from the former: in the reign of Elizabeth, the cause of the catholics was connected, in the opinion both of the queen and her ministers, with the rival pretensions of Mary, with the sentence of excommunication and deposition pronounced by St. Pius the fifth, and attempted to be executed by Philip the second; and with the intrigues of some of the English exiles in Spain. All these causes continued, though in a fainter degree, to operate on the public mind throughout the reign of James. On the accession of Charles they subsided altogether; but soon after his accession, events took place, which, unfortunately for the catholics, connected them, in the minds of many, with circumstances very unfavourable to them. The attachment of the monarch to his catholic queen, and the deference, which he was known to pay to her counsels, made the catholics general objects both of jealousy and alarm; while their acknowledged principles of loyalty irritated the popular party and its leaders against them. The prejudices to which this subjected them, increased in proportion to the increase of the popular ferment. This - rose at length to frenzy: meanwhile, the monarch, though both by nature and principle averse from measures of cruelty or oppression, was often too easily persuaded to sacrifice the catholics, whenever his interest appeared to require it, to the fury of their enemies. This made their condition, during the greater part of his reign, truly deplorable: we shall consider it in this chapter.
Even in the first year of the reign of Charles, the parliament showed an active zeal against the catholic religion, by a complaint, which the commons made against a Dr. Montague, who had published a book, which occasionally made honourable mention of some doctrines of the catholic church, and even ventured so far as to assert, that the pope was not Antichrist* : they also showed it, by a petition, which was presented by both houses of parliament to his majesty, praying for the due execution of the
* It was intituled “ An Appeal to Cæsar.” The author of it had before incurred the displeasure of the archbishop of Canterbury and some other divines, by a work intituled “A “ nice Gag for an old Goose,” in answer to a catholic work intituled “ A Gag for the New Gospel."-See Parliamentary History, vol. vi. p. 323. VOL. II.
laws against the catholics. This, the king, in his answer, generally promised*; and by a proclamation, which immediately followed, he ordered to England, all the children of catholic recusants, who had been sent abroad for foreign education, or on any other account; and enjoined the archbishops of both provinces to proceed strictly against such recusants by excommunication, and the other censures of the church. The arms of the catholics were taken from thems, and they were commanded not to stir above five miles from their own houses I.
In the following year, the commons presented a petition against the catholics, expressed in the strongest language; it mentioned, among other grievances, the names of several persons, in places of government or authority, who, they affirm, were popish recusants, or suspected of being suchý:the king dissolved the parliament without returning any answer to the petition.
The alarm increasing, a conference was held between the lords and commons; and they joined in a petition to the king, for putting the laws, which * Parl. Hist. vol. vi.
380. + Rushworth, vol. i. p. 195, mentions the orders of council to the marquis of Winchester, lord St. John his son, lord viscount Montague, lord viscount Colchester, lord Petre, the earl of Castlehaven, lord Morley, lord Vaux, lord Eures, lord Arundell of Wardour, lord Teynham, lord Herbert, and lord Windor, requiring them “ to render their arms and the “ furniture thereunto belonging, together with all their habi6 liments of war." † Rushworth, vol. i. p. 406. Parl. Hist. vol. vii.