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they gave no disturbance to the public peace; " and that they might not be molested by any
justice of peace, or other officer.” It was suspected both by the prelates and the dissenters, that this clause was introduced to bring roman-catholics and socinians within the projected toleration; both parties disapproved it for this reason ; a profound silence ensued ; but, after a short time, Baxter rose, and protested against the toleration of papists and socinians :-“ The presbyterians,” he said, s desired not favour to themselves alone; “and rigorous severity, they desired against none. “ As they humbly thanked his majesty for his in
dulgence to themselves, so they distinguished “ the tolerable parties from the intolerable: for the “ former, they humbly craved just lenity and favour; “ but for the latter, such as the papists and socinians, “ for their parts, they could not make their “ toleration their request.”
His majesty's declaration was then promulgated *: the language of it announced principles of moderation and comprehension. The king promised to provide suffragan bishops for the larger dioceses; that these should not confer ordination, or exercise any other act of jurisdiction, without the advice and assistance of presbyters, chosen by the diocese;that reasonable alterations should be made in the liturgy; that the church form of worship should not be forced on those who were unwilling to receive it; and that the surplice, the cross in baptism, or
25 October 1660. Collier has inserted it at length, vol. ii. p. 874.
the bow at the name of Jesus, should not be rigidly insisted upon.-His majesty closed the declaration, by solemnly recognizing the promise of religious indulgence, made by him at Breda.—It is a just observation of Hume*, that this declaration was made by the king as head of the church; and that he plainly assumed, in many parts of it, a legislative authority in ecclesiastical matters t.
It generally satisfied the dissenters. Baxter, as he himself declares, was overjoyed: he waited immediately on the chancellor, gave him
thanks for the concessions, and added, that, if the liturgy should be altered as the declaration promised, and the declaration itself made a law, he should think it a duty to encourage a general union I.
* Hist. c. lxiii. + Collier has a similar remark, vol. ii. p. 876. 1 “ The History of England during the reign of king William, queen Anne, and king George I, with an intro
ductory review of the reigns of the royal brothers Charles “ and James; in which are to be found the seeds of the revo“lution; by a Lover of Truth and Liberty, 2 vols. fol. 1744."
Mr. James Ralph, a political writer of eminence in his time, was the author of this history.—Mr. Chalmers thus speaks of it in his Biographical Dictionary “ This was “ always considered a very useful work. Ralph had read a “great deal, and was very conversant on the history and “ politics of the country. He applied himself, with great " industry, to the study of all writings upon party matters : “ and had collected a prodigious number of pamphlets reThe trials of the regicides soon followed this event; it appears, from what took place on them, that the feelings of the king, in their regard, were less vindictive than those of his parliament or his people. The trials were attended with one circumstance, which gave general disgust,--that several of the popular party sat as the judges of the criminals, and sentenced them to die for a rebellion, to which they themselves had excited them.
specting the contests of whig and tory, the essence of which “ he incorporated into his work, so as to make it a fund of “ curious information and opinions, of which more regular “ historians might afterwards avail themselves.”—Mr. Fox, in his late historical work, pronounces him to be " an
The civil dissensions of the kingdom appeared now to be effectually composed: but a further settlement of its religious agitation was obviously necessary: the roman-catholics, the anabaptists, and the quakers, would have been satisfied with toleration ; but prelacy and presbytery were striving for the ascendancy. An attempt to effect an amicable arrangement of their claims was made by a conference of twelve bishops and twelve dissenting ministers, which took place, under the royal authority, at the Savoyt. It was unsuccessful; and - historian of great acuteness, as well as diligence ; but who was immediately followed by the act, which was passed for restoring the bishops to their seats in parliament, from which an act sanctioned by Charles the first, immediately before the commencement of the civil war, had excluded them, a
falls sometimes into the common error of judging too much
from the event." -To be thus spoken of by Mr. Fox, argues no common merit. It appears to the writer of these pages, that an abridgment of this work, in which this historian's noble principles of whiggism should be allowed their place, with a continuation of it on the same plan, would be a useful and a popular work.
* Dalrymple's Memoirs, p. 21.
+ March 1661. All the papers relating to the conference at the Savoy, are collected in the “ History of Non-confor“ mity."-A clear view is given of them by Mr. Neale, in his History of the Puritans, vol. ji. c, vi.
The corporation act*, passed in the same year, was the commencement of hostilities against the protestant dissenters. Powers were given by it to commissioners, to be appointed by the king, to expel from corporations any officers they should think proper, and to place other persons in their room : it was further provided by it, that, for the future, no person should be appointed to any office or place relating to the government of corporations, boroughs, or the cinque ports, who had not, within the preceding twelve months, taken the sacrament of the Lord's supper, according to the rites of the church of England.
Hume gives the following account of the object of this act:“During the violence and jealous govern
ment of the parliament and of the protector, all “ magistrates liable to suspicions had been expelled “ the corporations, and none had been admitted,
who gave not proofs of affection to the ruling
powers, or who refused to subscribe the covenant. “ To leave all authority in such hands, seemed
dangerous; and therefore the parliament empowered the king to appoint commissioners for regulating the corporations, and expel such magis
+ 13 Car. II. st. 2, c. 1. (1661.) An act for the well governing and regulating of corporations.
“ trates as either had obtruded themselves by vio“ lence, or professed principles dangerous to the “ constitution, civil or ecclesiastical.” These expressions of Hume appear to justify an assertion of the protestant dissenters and the advocates of their cause, that, if the real object of the act was to be collected from a fair construction of the terms in which it is expressed, it was levelled against the çivil, not against the religious, principles of those, in whose regard it was designed to operate;against the evil spirits, mentioned in the preamble of the act to be still at work, and not against the presbyterians, whose actual loyalty was then admitted, and who were then acknowledged to have been particularly instrumental in placing his majesty on the throne.
It is also important to consider, that, at the time of the passing of this act, the negotiation for the comprehension was still in progress, and that great hopes of its success were still entertained. Hence the act only required the sacrament to be taken according to the rites, which should be established, when the terms of the comprehension, which it was expected would be agreeable to both parties, should be settled. It is certain that the corporation act was viewed by many dissenters in this light, and that several were reconciled to it by this circumstance : but events quickly followed, which demonstrated, that it really was aimed at the general body of dissenters, and that, though it was purposely expressed in such terms, as to give it an appearance