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formed him that he had been misled by his advisers, that the power of suspending statutes in matters eccle. siastical had never been claimed or exercised by his ancestors; and that his faithful commons prayed from his goodness a more full and satisfactory reply to their
petition Feb. By Charles this second address was received as an 27. insult. He declared that he would dissolve the parlia
ment rather than submit to the dictation of his opponents. Shaftesbury, Clifford, Buckingham, and Lauderdale applauded his spirit; and the duke of York, though he differed from them on most subjects, concurred with them in this. Concession, it was argued, had been the ruin of the father, it would prove the ruin of the son ; to bend in one instance would only lead to additional de mands. Let him assume a determined and authoritative tone ; let him show that he would never resign a single right of the crown : the opposition would then melt away, and the proudest of his opponents would learn to crouch at the feet of the sovereign. Animated by their discourse, Charles gave himself credit for a degree of resolution which he did not possess; and, when Arlington conjured him to yield, scornfully rejected the advice of his timid and time-serving counsellor. It was determined
to oppose one house to the other. In a short speech to Mar. the lords, the king complained of the encroachments of 1. the commons, ordered their addresses and his answers to
be laid on the table, and solicited the advice of the peers, the hereditary counsellors of the crown. Clifford spoke with his accustomed boldness; but Shaftesbury, who began to doubt of the result, betrayed a disposition to court popularity. His individual opinion was, he said, in favour of the prerogative; but he would not venture to place it in the balance against the authority of so august a body as the house of commons. After a long A.D. 1678.] KING CANCELS THE DECLARATION. 25 debate, the lords resolved, without a division, that the Mar.
* C. Joorn. Feb. 14, 24. 26. L. Journ. xii. 540. Parl, Hist. iv. 51834.
4. king's proposal to settle the question in a parliamentary way was a good and gracious answer*.
The public had watched with intense interest these proceedings in parliament, and many thought that they discovered in them the certain prognostics of a second civil war. By the States the hope of a dissolution was cherished: thus the aid of 1,260,0001. would be intercepted, and the king be compelled to conclude a peace, or to adopt the defensive system wbich had been attended with indelible disgrace in the late war. The sagacity of Louis suggested to him the apprehension of similar results. By this order Colbert waited on the king, re- y. presented to him the disastrous consequences of a breach between him and the parliament, exhorted him to yield for the moment, and promised, on the return of peace, to aid him with men and money for the purpose of recovering the rights, which he might be induced to surrender. The resolution of Charles was already exhausted by its previous efforts : he willingly listened to the counsels of the ambassador; and the promise of money, always welcome to his indigence, was gratefully accepted; but as far as regarded military aid, that, he said, should never be solicited by him against his subjects, unless he were reduced to the last extremity by another rebellion. The same evening, sending for the declaration, he cancelled it in the presence of the ministers, and the next morning 8. forwarded a solemn promise to the lords and commons, that “what had been done with respect to the suspension of the penal laws should never be drawn into consequence.” The two houses testified their joy by acclama- i tion; and in the evening numerous bonfires illuminated the streets of the metropolis +.
• L. Journals, xii. 539. 543. Dalrymple, ii. 89. Orleans, 240. Burnet, ii. 7, 8. There is, however, in Burnet's narrative, so much unquestionably false, that it is difficult to judge what may be probably true. But his account of Shaftesbury's speech is confirmed by the lord keeper Guildford. Dalrymple, ii. 90.
Dalrymple, ii. 93–6. L. Journ. xii, 549.
4°. It may excite surprise that the dissenters did not rally round the throne, in defence of a measure, in which their interests were so deeply concerned. But it was an age in which religious antipathies exercised an ‘unbounded influence over the judgments of men. The knowledge that the duchess of York had died a catholic, the suspicion that the duke of York, the presumptive heir to the crown, had embraced the catholic faith, and the fact of the alliance with France, a catholic power, against the Dutch, a protestant state, were confidently brought forward to prove the existence of a most dangerous conspiracy against all the reformed churches; the declaration of indulgence to tender consciences was represented as the first of the measures devised by the conspirators for the accomplishment of their unholy purpose ; and the dissenters were exhorted and solicited to surrender the advantages which it promised them, for more secure, though, perhaps, less extensive relief to be granted by act of parliament. These arguments had weight with numbers: their jealousies and apprehensions were awakened ; they consented to sacrifice their per. sonal interest to the general good, and joined in the popular cry, which demanded additional securities for the reformed faith *. Of these securities, the first regarded the small force lately raised to be employed on the continent. It was remarked that Fitzgerald, the majorgeneral, and a few other officers, were catholics, and that Schomberg, the commander-in-chief, though a calvinist, was not only a foreigner, but also held high rank in the French army. Why, it was asked, were such men selected for the command ? Did there not exist an intention of employing them, at the conclusion of the war, to establish popery and arbitrary power ? To remove these fears, an address was voted, requesting the king to discharge from the army every officer and soldier who should refuse to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and receive the sacrament after the rite of the
Guildford apud Dalrymple, ii. 91.
THE TEST ACT INTRODUCED.
A.D. 1673.] church of England; and to admit no man, thereafter, into the service, who did not take the oaths before the first, and the sacrament before the second, muster. Charles returned a satisfactory answer* ; and the anti-catholics, elate with their victory, proceeded to urge the exclusion of those who were the objects of their jealousy from civil as well as military offices. The suggestion of a test for this purpose came to them from a quarter whence it was not to have been expected,-from Arlington, the reputed papist. But to Arlington it presented several advantages. It would remove from him the suspicion of catholicity; it would enable him to gratify his resentment against Clifford ; it would bring once more within his reach the treasurer's staff, the great object of his ambition; and it would serve to screen him from danger, by creating in his favour an interest among the popular leaders. By them the proposal was gratefully accepted, under the expectation that such a test would solve the question of the duke of York's religion, and, by stripping him of office, exhibit him to the people in a state of political weakness and degradation. Neither did the chiefs of the court party prove more hostile than their opponents to a measure, which opened to them the prospect of power and emolument from the resignations and removals which it would inevitably occasion. Even the king himself was brought to give his consent. The passing of the test was represented to him as the only condition on which he could hope to obtain the liberal supply that had been voted; and to a prince, with whom, as it was observed, “ logic, built upon money, håd more " powerful charms than any other sort of reasoning,” this consideration proved a convincing argument. If he felt at all for his brother, he probably strove to persuade himself that James would never sacrifice the possession of office to the profession of his religion 4.
• L. Journ. xii. 547,8, 9.
+ The French ambassador supplies the information respecting Arlington and his object (Dalrymple, il. App. p. 90); Marvell respecting the motivos Feb.
In conformity with the suggestion of Arlington, the 28. house of commons had resolved, that every individual
refusing to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, " and to receive the sacrament according to the rites of "the church of England, should be incapable of public
employment, military or civil ;” and a bill was introduced requiring, not only that the oaths should be taken, and the sacrament received, but also that a declaration against transubstantiation should be subscribed by all persons holding office, under the penalty of a fine of 5001. and of being disabled to sue in any court of law as equity, to be guardian to any child, or executor to iliy
person, or to take any legacy or deed of gift, or to bear Mar.
any public office. In the lower house, a feeble opposition 12.
was offered to the clause imposing the declaration, on the ground that, to make the disavowal of a speculative opinion the qualification for civil office was contrary to the nature of a civil test, and calculated to render men hypocrites or atheists. In the upper house the principal novelty in the debate was furnished by the earl of Bristol,
who, though a catholic, argued in support of the test. 15. That considerable alarm existed could not, he said, be
denied. It mattered little whether it was well founded or not. The more groundless the panic was, the more rapidly it would spread. If, then, the bill tended to lull the apprehensions of the people, it deserved the approbation of the house. It did not enact new, it did not enforce even the old, penalties against the catholic worship. It went merely to remove a few individuals from offices which they could not exercise without scruple and dissimulation. For himself, he was no wherryman in religion, to look one way and row another. He was a catholic, attached to the church, but not to the court of of the king, and the leaders of the opposite parties. Marvell, i. 494, 5. Neal attributes the test act to an omission on the part of the king, whom he represents as returning no answer to the petition of the two houses for the removal of Catholics from office. (Neal, ii. 693.) But their petition did not ask for any such removal, and it was posterior in time to the resolution for a test. The petition was presented March 7; but the resolution was passed Feb. 28: See Journals on those days.