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discharged by exorbitant and oppressive distraints ! I– When, in 1680, the quakers were maliciously represented as concerned in the popish plot, George Fox published a declaration, addressed to the parliament, in defence of himself and friends, to remove such suspicions, professing it to be their principle and testimony to deny and renounce all plots and plotters against the king or any of his subjects; that in tenderness of conscience they could not swear or tight, but that they would use every endeavor in their power to save the king and his subjects, by discovering all plots and plotters that should come to their knowledge : and praying not to be put on doing those things, which they had suffered so much and so long for pot doing.”+
When in the same year a bill was brought into parliament to exempt his majesty's protestant subjects, dissenting from the church of England, from the penalties of the act of the 35th of Elizabeth, the quakers, with a laudable attention to their own ease, and from a generous sympathy with tbeir friends under persecution, improved the favorable opportunity for promoting liberty of conscience. Divers of them attended the committee, when the bill was committed, early and late, in order to solicit the insertion of such clauses as might give ease to the tender consciences of their friends, whose religious dissent was scrup lous in some matters beyond other dissenters; and they obtained a clause to be inserted for accepting a declaration of fidelity instead of the oath of allegiance. Although this design failed, by the bill being lost, yet a foundation was laid for reviving and completing it in the succeeding reign of King William III. But in the following year an event took place, which must be considered as giving a turn to the fortunes of this society, and advancing them, in the event, to a peculiar degree of respectability and influ
Sir William Penn had, at the time of his death, a considerable debt due to him from the crown, either for arrears or advances made to government in the sundry expeditions in which he was engaged, while he was employed as an admiral, both under Oliver Cromwell and king Charles tbe second. To discharge this debt the king, by letiers patent bearing date the 4th of March 1680-1, grantId. p. 460-470.
+ Gougb, vol, ii. p. 506.
ed to his son William Penn, and his heirs, that province lying on the west of the river of Delaware, in NorthAmerica, formerly belonging to the Dutch, and then called the New Netherlands. This grant, by which Penn and his heirs were made governors and absolute proprietors of that tract of land, was owing to the influence of the duke of York, with whom admiral Penn was a peculiar favarite. In the summer of 1682, Penn took possession of this province, and he formed a government in it on the most liberal principles, with respect to the rights of conscience. The leading article of his new constitution was this: “That all persons living in this province, who confess and acknowledge the one Almighty and eternal God, to be the creator, upholder, and ruler of the world, and that hold themselves obliged in conscience to live peaceably and justly in civil society, sball in no wise be molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion or practice in matters of faith and worship; nor shall they be compelled at any time to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever.” This settlement, in the first instance, afforded an asylum to many of his friends, who were glad to remove to a government formed on principles of humanity, and with a religious regard to justice and equity.* When the system of legislation was matured and compleated it, excited the admiration of the universe. This oppressed society, in a few years, had the happiness and honor of seeing its tenets fixed on the other side of the Atlantic in security and peace, and itselfextending through a wide territory, which enlarged the domains of their native country, and made a principal figure in the new world. The wisdom and virtues of the founder of this government, the excellent principles on which it was formed, and the prosperity to which it rose, reflected credit on the quakers, and gave them weight in the political scale. Civil society bas felt its obligations to them. And from this time their religious profession became more and more secure and respectable. The prognostications of William Penn, it hath been observed, have been remarkably verified. “ If friends here keep to God, and in the justice, mercy, equity, and fear of the Lord, their enemies will be their footstool."
* Gough, vol. ii. p. 515, and vol. iii. p. 131-147.
From the Death of King Charles II. to King James II's
Declaration for Liberty of Conscience.
WHEN the news of king Charles's decease was spread over the city, a pensive sadness was visible in most countenances for the fate of the kingdom.f His brother James, who succeeded him, told the privy council at his first meeting them, that " as he would never depart from any branch of the prerogative, so he would not invade any man's property, but would preserve the government as by law established in church and state.”[ Which gratified the clergy so much, that the pulpits throughout England resounded with thanksgivings; and a numerous set of addresses flattered his majesty in the strongest expressions, with assarances of uoshaken loyalty and obedience, without limitation
* In the Author's edition this is chap. XI. of the 4th volume : and in Dr. Toulmin's edition it is chap. I. of the 5th volume.
+ Bp. Burnet says, that the proclamation of the king " was a heavy solemnity: few tears were shed for the former, nor were there any shouts of joy for the present king.” It appears that the bishop, who was then abroad, was misinformed in this matter : for Dr. Calamy, who heard tlie king proclaimed, assures us, that his heart ached within him at the acclamations made upon the occasion; which, as far as he could ohserve, were very general : though he never saw so universal a concern as was visible in all men's countenances at that time : for great numbers had very terrifying apprehensions of what was to be expected. The doctor observes, that it however very sensibly discovered the changeableness of this world, that king James should so quietly succeed his brother without any thing like a dispute or contest ; when, but five years before, a majority of three houses of commons were so bent upon excluding him, that nothing could satisfy them, if this were not compassed. Calamny's historical Account of his own Life, vol.i. p. 95. MSS. Ed.
• This speech," bishop Burnet adds, " was magnified as a security far greater than any that laws could give.” The common phrase was, We have now the word of a King, and a word never yet broken. Or this Dr. Calamy gives a confirmation on the authority of a person of
or reserve. Among others was the humble address of the university of Oxford ; in which, after expressing their sorrow for the death of the late king, they add,t that they can never swerve from the principles of their institution, and their religion by law established, which indispensably binds them to bear faith and true obedionce to their sovereign, without any limitation or restriction, and that no consid. eration whatsoever should shake their loyalty and allegi. ance. And the university of Cambridge add, that loyalty [or unlimited obedience) is a duty flowing from the very principle of their religion, by which they have been enabled to breed up, as true and steady subjects as the world can shew, as well in doctrine as practice, from which they can never depart. The quakers' address was more simple and honest;f “ We are come (say they, 9) to testify our sorrow for the death of our good friend CHARLES, and our joy for thy being made our governor. We are told thou art not of the persuasion of the church of England, no more than we, therefore we hope thou wilt grant us the same liberty, which thou allowest thyself; which doing, we wish thee all manner of happiness."'||
The king began his reign with a frank and open profes. sion of his religion; for the first Sunday after his accession, he went publicly to mass, and obliged father Huddleston, who attended his brother in his last hours, to declare to the world that he died a Roman catholic. His majesty acted the part of an absolute sovereign from the very first, and though he had declared he would invade no man's property, yet he issued out a proclamation for collecting character and worth, who heard Dr. Sharpe, afterwards archbishop of York, as he was preaching at St. Lawrence Jewry at the time, when king James gave this assurance, break out into language to this effect: " As to our religion, we have the word of the king, which (with reverence be it spoken) is as sacred as my text." This high flight was much noticed then, and often recollected afterwards. 'The doctor had cause to reflect ou it with regret: when he was, for preaching against popery at his own parish church of St. Giles, the first of the clergy that fell under the king's displeasure, and felt the weight and pressure of his arbitary power. Historical Account, p, 96. Burnet, p. 620. Ed.
+ Gazette, No 2018. Sewel, p. 594. SEachard, p. 1051. • Mr. Neal refers, as one authority for giving this address of the quakers, to Sewel; but it is not to be found there. A modern historian, who
the duties of tonnage and poundage, &c. which were given to the late king only for life; and in his letters to the Scots parliament, wbich met March 28, he says, “ I am resolved to maintain my power in its greatest lustre, that I may be better able to defend your religion against fanatics."
Before the king bad been two months on his throne, he discovered serere resentments against the enemies of his religion, and of his succession to the crown.* Dr. Oates was brought out of prison, and tried for periury in the affair of the popish plot, for which he was sentenced to stand in the pillory several times, to be wbipt from Aldgate to Newgate, and from thence to Tyburn; which was exercised with a severity unknown to the English nation.tAnd Dangerfield, who had invented the meal-tub plot, for wbich he declared he bad received money from the duke of York, was indicted for a libel, and was fined five hundred pounds. He was also sentenced to be pillored, and whipped from Newgate to Tyburn, and in his return home was murdered in the coach by one Frances a barrister at law, who was afterwards hanged for it. The whigs, who went censures it for the “ uncoathness and blunt familiarity of expression, calls it “a fictitious address;" the members of this society, he observes, “ were not in the custom of paying complimentary addresses to any man:" if the sufferings of their friends impelled them to apply to their superiors for relief, their addresses, though expressed in their plain manner, were comprized in respectful terms ; void of flattery, but dot indeeent ; unceremonious, but not uncivil.” There is no account of their being in the number of the eongratulatory addressers on the aecession of James. Their first application to him was to recommend their soffering friends to his cleinency. At the death of Charles, notwithstanding that petition upon petition had been presented to him for relief, one thousand and five hundred of this society were in prison on various prosecutions." So that a people paying a strict regard to truth could hardly term bim their good friend." The above address was first published by Eachard, from whom it should seem Mr. Neal took it, trusting probably to the exactness of his reference ; if he did quote Sewel for it. Hume and others have since published it. Gough'sHistory of the Quakers, vol. iii. p. 160, 61. Ed.
* Burnet, vol, iii. p. 29, Edin. edition. Oates was whipped a second time, while his back was most miserably swelled with his first whipping, and looked as if it had been leada He was a man of undaunted resolution, and endured wbat would bave killed a great nany others. He was, in his religious profession, a mere Proteus, but appears to have been uniformly capable of villainy