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unnecessary in rendering any person capable of enjoying any office or employment. It was, however, rejected by a great majority in the house of lords. Apother clause for the same purpose, though in different terms, was proposed by the king's direction, and met with the same fate, though in both cases several noblemen entered a protest against the resolution of the house. These fruitless efforts, in favour of dissenters, augmented the prejudice of the churchmen against king William, who would have willingly compromised the difference, by excusing the clergy from the oaths, provided the dissenters might be exempted from the sacramental test: but this was deemed the chief bulwark of the church, and therefore the proposal was rejected. The church party in the house of lords moved, that instead of inserting a clause, obliging the clergy to take the oaths, the king should be empowered to tender them; and, in case of their refusal, they should incur the penalty, because deprivation, or the apprehensions of it, might make them desperate, and excite them to form designs against the government. This argument had no weight with the commons, who thought it was indispensably necessary to exact the oaths of the clergy, as their example influenced the kingdom in general, and the youth of the nation were formed under their instructions. After a long and warm debate, all the mitigation that could be obtained, was a clause empowering the king to indulge any twelve clergymen, deprived by virtue of this act, with a third part of their benefices during pleasure. Thus the ancient oaths of allegiance and supremacy were abrogated: the declaration of nonresistance in the act of uniformity was repealed: the new oath of allegiance was reduced to its primitive simplicity, and the coronation oath rendered more explicit. The clergy were enjoined to take the new oaths before the first day of August, on pain of being suspended from their office for six months, and of entire deprivation, in case they should not take them before the expiration of this term. They generally complied, though with such reservations and distinctions as were not much for the honour of their sincerity.
♡ VIII. The king, though baffled in his design against the sacramental test, resolved to indulge the dissenters with & toleration; and a bill for this purpose being prepared by the earl of Nottingham, was, after some debate, passed into a law, under the title of an act for exempting their majesties' protestant subjects dissenting from the church of England from the penalties of certain laws. It enacted, that none of the penal laws should be construed to extend to those dissenters who should take the oaths to the present government, and subscribe the declaration of the thirtieth year of the reign of Charles II. provided that they should hold no private assemblies or conventicles with the doors shut; that nothing should be construed to exempt them from the payment of tithes, or other parochial duties, that, in case of being chosen into the offices of constable, church warden, overseer, &c. and of scrupling to take the oaths annexed to such offices, they should be allowed to execute the employment by deputy ; that the preachers and teachers in congregations of dissenting protestants, who should take the oaths, subscribe the declaration, together with all the articles of religion, except the thirty-fourth and the two succeeding articles, and part of the twentieth, should be exempted from the penalties decreed against nonconformists, as well as from serving upon juries, or acting in parish offices : yet all justices of the peace were empowered to require sush dissenters to subscribe the declaration, and take the oaths; and in case of refusal, to commit them to prison, without bail or mainprize. The same indulgence was extended to anabaptists, and even to quakers, on their solemn promise, before God, to be faithful to the king and queen, and their assenting by profession and asseveration to those articles which the others ratified upon oath. They were likewise required to profess their belief in the trinity and the holy scriptures. Even the papists felt the benign influence of William's moderation in spiritual matters. He rejected the proposals of some zealots, who exhorted him to enact severe laws against popish recusants. Such a measure, he observed, would alienate all the papists of Europe from the interests of England, and might produce a new catholic league, which would render the war a religious quarrel; besides, he could not pretend to screen the protestants of Germany and Hungary, while he himself should persecute the catholics of England. He therefore resolved to treat them with lenity; and though they were not
comprehended in the act, they enjoyed the benefit of the toleration.
IX. We have observed, that, in consequence of the motion made by the bishops when they withdrew from parliament, a bill was brought into the house of lords for uniting their majesties' protestant subjects. This was extremely agreeable to the king, who had the scheme of comprehension very much at heart. In the progress of the bill a warm debate arose about the posture of kneeling at the sacrament, which was given up in favour of the dissenters. Another, no less violent, ensued upon the subsequent question, “ Whether there should be an addition of laity in the “commission to be given by the king to the bishops and “ others of the clergy, for preparing such a reformation of " ecclesiastical affairs as might be the means of healing di“visions, and correcting whatever might be erroneous or " defective in the constitution." A great number of the temporal lords insisted warmly on this addition, and when it was rejected, four peers entered a formal protest. Bishop Burnet was a warm stickler for the exclusion of the laity; and, in all probability, manifested this warmth in hopes of ingratiating himself with his brethren, among whom his character was very far from being popular. But the merit of this sacrifice was destroyed by the arguments he had used for dispensing with the posture of kneeling at the sacrament; and by his proposing in another proviso of the bill, that the subscribers, instead of expressing assent and consent, should only submit, with a promise of conformity.
X. The bill was with difficulty passed in the house of lords : but the commons treated it with neglect. By this time, a great number of malcontent members, who had retired from parliament, were returned, with a view to thwart the administration, though they could not prevent the settlement. Instead of proceeding with the bill, they presented an address to the king, thanking him for his gracious declaration, and repeated assurances, that he would maintain the church of England as by law established; a church whose doctrine and practice had evinced its loyalty beyond all contradiction. They likewise humbly besought his majesty to issue writs for calling a convocation of the clergy, to be consulted in ecclesiastical matters, according to the
ancient usage of parliaments; and they declared they would forthwith take into consideration proper methods for giving ease to protestant dissenters. Though the king was displeased at this address, in which the lords also had concurred, he returned a civil answer, by the mouth of the earl of Nottingham, professing his regard for the church of England, which should always be his peculiar care, recommending the dissenters to their protection, and promising to summon a convocation as soon as such a measure should be convenient. This message produced no effect in favour of the bill, which lay neglected on the table. Those who moved for it, had no other view than that of displaying their moderation; and now they excited their friends to oppose it with all their interest. Others were afraid of espousing it, lest they should be stigmatized as enemies to the church; and a great number of the most eminent presbyterians were averse to a scheme of comprehension, which diminished their strength, and weakened the importance of the party. Being, therefore, violently opposed on one hand, and but faintly supported on the other, no wonder it miscarried. The king, however, was so bent upon the execution of his design, that it was next session revived in another form, though with no better success.
♡ XI. The next object that engrossed the attention of the parliament, was the settlement of a revenue for the support of the government. Hitherto there had been no distinction of what was allotted for the king's use, and what was, assigned for the service of the public; so that the sovereign was entirely master of the whole supply. As the revenue in the late reigns had been often embezzled and misapplied, it was now resolved that a certain sum should be set apart for the maintenance of the king's household, and the support of his dignity; and that the rest of the public money should be employed under the inspection of parliament. Accordingly, since this period, the commons have appropriated the yearly supplies to certain specified services; and an account of the application has been constantly submitted to both houses at the next session. At this juncture, the
preIvailing party, or the whigs, determined that the revenue
should be granted from year to year, or at least for a small térm of years; that the king might find himself dependent
upon the parliament, and merit a renewal of the grant by a just and popular administration. In pursuance of this maxim, when the revenue fell under consideration, they, on pretence of charges and anticipations which they had not time to examine, granted it by a provisional act for one year only. The civil list was settled at six hundred thousand pounds, chargeable with the appointments of the queen dowager, the prince and princess of Denmark, the judges, and mareschal Schomberg, to whom the parliament had already granted one hundred thousand pounds, in consideration of his important services to the nation. The commons also voted, that a constant revenue of twelve hundred thousand pounds should be established for the support of the crown in time of peace.
s XI. The king took umbrage at these restraints laid upon the application of the public money, which were the most salutary fruits of the revolution. He considered them as marks of diffidence, by which he was distinguished from his predecessors; and thought them an ungrateful return for the services he had done the nation. The tories perceived his disgust, and did not fail to foment his jealousy against their adversaries, which was confirmed by a fresh effort of the whigs, in relation to a militia.
A bill was brought into the house, for regulating it in such a manner as would have rendered it in a great measure independent both of the king, and the lords lieutenants of counties; these being generally peers. The bill was suffered to lie neglected on the table ; but the attempt confirmed the suspicion of the king, who began to think himself in danger of being enslaved by a republican party. The tories had, by the channel of Nottingham, made proffers of service to his majesty: but complained at the same time, that as they were in danger of being prosecuted for their lives and fortunes, they could not, without an act of indemnity, exert themselves a favour of the crown, lest they should incur a persecution from their implacable enemies.
♡ XIII. These remonstrances made such impression on the king, that he sent a message to the house by Mr. Hambden, recommending a bill of indemnity as the most effectual means for putting an end to all controversies, distinctions, and occasions of discord.
He desired it might VOL. I.