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replied, That possibly he might find twelve Judges of 1686.
his Opinion, but would scarce find twelve Lawyers to
be so. Not long after * Sir Thon vs Jon?s, Lord * April
Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas; William Monta. 21, 1686.
gue, Efq; Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer ; Sir
Job Charleton, one of the Justices of int Cummon-
Pleas, and Sir Edward Nevil, one of the Barous of
the Exchequer.nad their Quietus for refusing to com-
ply with the Court ; and Sir Henry Bedin zeld, Sir
Edward Atkins, Sir Edward Lutwyche, and Richard
Heath, Esq; were preferr'd to their respective Places.

The Toleration which King James delign’d to
grant to all his Subjects, and of which the Papists
were chiefly to reap the Benefit ; this Toleration,
I lay, could not sublist, being contrary to the

Wel establish'd Laws of the Realm, unless a inore ille- wood'sMe

moirs. gal Innovation was introduc'd to support it under the Name of a Dispensing Power; therefore King &c. printed James affum'd this Power to himself, as his Prero- in 1700. gative and Right, whereby he invaded the very Essence of the English Constitution, by which the Legislature is lodg'd in Kings, Lords and Commons; and every one of them has a Nigative upon the other two. Charles II. was the firit King of England that ever aim'd at any thing like a Dispenling Power. In the Year 1652. he was preyaild upon, for some Reasons of State, to issue out a Proclamation, dispensing with some few things that related to the Act of Uniformity, but without the leaft Regard to Roman Catholicks. And tho' in Attempts his Speech to the Parliament upon that Occasion, towards a he did in a manner acknowledge, that he had 120 Dispensing such Power, in saying: That if the Diffenters Power. would demean themselves peaceably and modejily, be could heartily wish he had such a Power of Indulgence to use upon Occafion ; yet the Parliament was to Jealous of this Innovation, that they presented the King with an Address against the Proclamation and plainly told him, That he had no Power to dispence with the Laws, without an Act of Parliament. Notwithstanding this Remonftrance, King Charles made another Attempt in the Year 1672. and in a Speech to both Houses, did meirtion his Declara

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1686. tion of Indulgence, and acquainted them with the

Reasons that induc'd him to it ; telling them withal, how little the Roman Catholicks would be the better for it. Upon which the House of Commons made an Address to his Maj-fty for recalling this Declaration; wherein they told him: Thit in claiming a Power to dispence with Penal Laws, His Majesty bad been very much mil-inform'd, since no such Power was ever claim'd or exercis’d by any of bis Predeceffors; and if it should be admitted, might tend to the interrupting of the free Course of the Laws, and altering the Legislative Powira nhich has alrv ays been acknowledg’d to reside in His Majisty and his twvo Houses of Parliament, King Charles was so far satisfied in the Matter contained in this Address, that he immediately cancelld his Declaration of Indulgence, tore off the Seal himself, and acquainted both Houses that he had done so) ; with this further Declaration, which was enter'd upon Record in the House of Lords; Thut it should never be drawn into Example or Confiquence.

Such a Dispensing Power King James arrogated to himself, though of a far larger Extent: And how any thing that look'd that way was relish'd by the House of Commons, appears by their Address againt the Popish Oficers. Neither was it enough for King James to assume the Right and Exercise of this Power ; but such was the Misery of England, that the Party about him would have the Nation made to believe, That a Power in the King to dispence with Law, was Law. To maintain this monttrous Pofition, there were not only mercenary Pens set at Work, but a set of Judges found out, that to their Eternal Reproach, did all was pollible for them to Compliment the King with the Liberty of their Country. For these Gentlemen gave it for a general Rule in Law, upon a particular Military Case of Sir Edward Hales : First, That the Laws of England are the King's Laws. Secondly, That therefore it is an incident, inseparable Prerogative of the Kingo of England, as of all other Sovereign Printesy to dispence with all Penal Laws in parti

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cular Cases, and upon particular necessary Rea- 1686. sons. Thirdly, That of those Reasons and Necessities the King is the sole fudge; and which is a Consequence thereupon, Fourthly, That this is not a Trust invested in, or granted to the King, but the ancient Real mains of the Soveraign Power of the Kings of England, which 'never was yet taken from them, nor can be. Thus it signified little to the Nation, that the Majority of their Law-makers remain'd firm and unThaken, whilst those Men, whose Office it was to keep the Laws uncorrupted, proliituted them to the ambitious Luit of the Prince. And now this mighty Point being gain'd, the Papists were not wanting in improving it to their own. Advantage. The free and open Exercise of their Religion was fet up everywhere; and Jefuit Schools and Semina- Growth of ries erected not only in London, but also in the Popery. most considerable Towns. The Church of England had now but a precarious Title to the National Church, and began to see the impending Dangers, which the flavilh Complaisance of some few of her Members had drawn upon the whole Body. Romilh Candidates had swallow'd up Ecclefiastick Preferments and Dignities already in their Hopes; Four Roman Catholick Bishops were publickly Consecrated in the Royal Chappel, and dispatch'd down, under the Title of Vicars Apostolical, to exercise their Episcopal Functions in their respective Diocesses; their Pastoral Letters, directed to the Lay-Catholicks of England, were openly dispers’d up and down, and printed by the King's own Printer, with publick License; the Regular Clergy appear'd in their Habits at White-Hall, and St. James's, and made no Scruple to tell the Proteftants, They hop'd in a little time to walk in Procefion through Cheapside. A mighty Harvest of new Converts was now expected ; and that Labourers might not be wanting, Shoals of Priests and Regulars were fent over from beyond Sea to reap it. In short, the only Step to Preferment was to be of the King's Religion, since all important Affairs were manag'd in the Privy.Council by the Earl of Powis, the Lords Arundel, Bellasis and Do


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1686. ver, the Earls of Tyrconnel, Caftelmain and Peterbe

rough, who all profets d the Komish Perswasion, and oy Edward Petre, Clerk of the Closet, and

Father-Confeffor to His Majesty. The King's Belides the Difpenfing Power, another Project was Letter to set foot to advance the Romilh Cause, which was the Bishops. an Order by way of Letter directed to the Proteftant

Bihops, ti discharge all their inferiour Clergy from Preaching upon controucrted Points in Divinity, and which ineflect was forbidding them to defend their Religion in the Pulpit, when it was at the same time attach'd by the Romih Prients, with all the

Vzour they were capable of ; and their Serinons and Order

other Discourses printed by Authority. This Order

was taken from a Precedent in Queen Mary's time; Preachers.

for the firit Step the mide to restore Popery, (notwithAtanding her Promits to the Gentlemen of Safolk and Norfolk to the contrary, upon their appearing first of any for her Interest) was to issue out a Proclamation, forbidding the Preaching upon controverted Points of Rcligion ; for fear, it was said, of railing Animolitics among the People. But this ensnaring Letter of King James was so far from being rey-rded, that the major and foundest part of the Proteitant Clergy, redoubled now their pious Efforts to vindicate the Orthodoxy of the Church of England, and to expose the Errors of Rom', both in their Sermons and Writings, with such Foice of Reasoning, and in such a

Perswalive Stile, as are only peculiar to Truth. The Eccle. To itop the Progress of these Apoftolical ChamSiaftical pions of the Church of England, King James Commission, granted a Commission of Ecclesiastical Affiirs, which Aug, 3. yet was not open'd till the 3d of Augat, 1686. 1686.

tho'it had been leald some Months before. It was directed to the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Jefferies, Lord Chancellor of England, the Earl of Rochester, the Earl of Sunderland, the Bishops of Durham and Richter, and the Lord Chief Juttiee Herbert, or any Three of them, whereof the Lord Chancellor was always to be one; devolving the whole Care of Spiritual Affairs upon


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them, in the largest Extent that ever had been 1686.
known in England. By it they had Power to re-
gulate all Matters, and correct and punish all A-
buses. To make new Laws, to reform or abolith any
ancient Conftitution, notwithstanding any Privi-
ledges, Exemptionsá Rights or Customs whatsoe-
ver; and all the Acts were to pass under a peculiar
Seal, in the Custody of Mr. Bridgeman their Secre-
tary, with this Inscription, Sigillum Regiæ Majesta-
tis ad Caufus Ecclesiasticus, The Royal Seal for Eccle.
fiastical Causes. The Archbishop of Canterbury re-
fus’d to act in it from the beginning; and the Bi-
Thop of Rochester, tho' a great Courtier, excus'd
himself assoon as he came to understand that it
was levelld against the Protestant Religion.

That the World may know upon what Foun- Foundation
dation, or rather Pretence, this Ecclefiaftical Court of the Ec-
was erected, it must be observ'd, that before an clefiaftical
Act made in the first Year of Queen Elizabeth's Commission.
Reign, all Ordinaries and Ecclefiaftical Judges ought
to have proceeded according to the Censures of the
Church, and could not in any Case have punish'd
any Delinquent, by Fines or Iimprisonment, with-
out Parliainentary Authority. But by virtue of a
Branch of the said Act, which restor’d to the
Crown the ancient Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction,
Queen Elizabeth, to restrain the Growth of Popery,
and to countenance the Church of England, let
up a High-Commision-Court. Now because the
Commiflioners did proceed in all Cases to Fine,
Imprison, and Oppress, not only Popish Recusants,
but also other Dissenters ; therefore for Repressing

See The

Vindicati and Preventing of the aforesaid Abusés, Mischief's

on of the and Inconveniencies, the Parliament in the Seven- Ecclefiateenth Year of Charles I. repeald the said Branch, TricalComforbidding all Ecclefiaftical Judges to proceed to Fine missioners, or Imprison the King's Subjects, or tender the Oath printed in ex Oficio,

: The High-Commision-Court being thus put down,
it was concluded by the Papists and Disenters,
that all ordinary Jurisdiction was taken from the
Archbifhops, Bithops, Vicar-Generals, or any other


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