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Reign of James II. (Continued) page 3


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At this crisis comes in one more of the persevering calumnies of Macaulay on William Penn, which are the more remarkable from an historian whose grandfather was dismissed from the Society of Friends, and who was himself ejected from the representation of Edinburgh chiefly by the agency of members of that society. In noting this first instance of his animosity, we once for all are contented to state that, without following his continual attacks on the Society of Friends, we have examined them, and find them groundless. In this case Macaulay states that James engaged Penn to write a letter to the fellows, and afterwards to make them a visit, to persuade them to admit Parker. Macaulay declares that Penn never denied the writing of this letter - an assertion quite contrary to the fact; the copy of the proceedings still preserved at Magdalene bearing on this very letter this endorsement - "Mr. Penn disowned this." So far from Penn being engaged by the king, too, to persuade the fellows, they declare that they solicited his good offices; and a deputation of them even went from Oxford to Windsor to have an interview with him on the subject; and Dr. Hough himself, in a letter still preserved in the British Museum, says, " I thank God he did not so much as offer at any proposal by way of accommodation." These words themselves throw down the whole fabric of Macaulay's calumnious charges on this head; and with this, though often occurring, we may dismiss them.

On the 20th of October James sent down a special commission, consisting of Cartwright, bishop of Chester, Wright, chief justice of the King's Bench, and Jenner, a baron of the exchequer, attended by three troops of cavalry with drawn swords, to Oxford, to expel Hough and instal Parker. Parker was installed, but the fellows would not acknowledge him. James, therefore, ejected them altogether. In a few weeks Parker died, and then he proceeded to put the whole college into the hands of papists, appointing Gifford, one of the four vicars-apostolic, president: for now, in the regular progress of his system, James had admitted four vicars-apostolic here, instead of one, which had been the case before. It may be imagined what resentment this arbitrary proceeding occasioned, not only in the universities themselves, but amongst the clergy in every quarter of the kingdom, who now saw that nothing would deter the king from uprooting the deepest foundations of the church..

Still more daring and atrocious schemes were agitated by James and his popish cabal. Soon after his accession it had been proposed to set aside the claims of the princess of Orange, and make Anne heir-apparent on condition that she embraced popery. Anne utterly refused. It was then proposed to make over Ireland to Louis of France in case Mary of Orange could not be prevented succeeding to England; and Louis expressed his assent to the proposal, Tyrconnel was to make all necessary preparations for this traitorous transfer. But at this moment a new light broke on James, which quashed these unnatural and unnational projects: the queen was declared pregnant.

The news of this prospect was received by the public with equal incredulity and suspicion. The queen had had several children, who had died in their infancy; and there was nothing improbable in the expectation of another child, although five years had elapsed since her last confinement. But what excited the ridicule and the suspicion was the obvious interest of the king to have an heir who might be educated in popery, and the foolish prophecies and assertions of the Jesuit cabal about the court. The Jesuits had unfortunately only too notoriously in their writing sanctioned any fraud for gaining their ends, and it was now immediately believed that they had a scheme for foisting a false heir on the country. The queen's mother, the duchess of Modena, before her death, had sent rich offerings to our lady of Loretto, imploring a male heir for James; and this pious monarch himself, on his late progress, had visited St. Winifred's Well, and put up similar earnest petitions to that saint. The Jesuits and other catholics about court propagated the most extraordinary prophecies of a fine, healthy son who was to arrive, and not only of a son, but of twin sons, the second of whom was to be pope of Rome. The consequence was that the whole story was treated with the utmost ridicule by every class throughout the country. The princess of Orange, so far from betraying any alarm on the subject, joined in and encouraged the ridicule; and her sister Anne, the princess of Denmark, wrote letters so plain and even gross, that they cannot now be read without wonder. Anne contended that, if the queen was really pregnant, she would be glad to convince her by an actual personal examination, but that, on the contrary, she avoided letting her see her undress; and she declared that she would never believe the story unless she saw the child born.

The prospect of an heir, however, true or false, drove James on further and more desperate projects. Should a son be born, and live, which none of the queen's children had done hitherto, the popish heir would be exposed to the danger of a long minority. James might be called away before the son had been firmly rooted in the catholic faith, and the protestant bishops and nobles would surround him with protestant instructors, and most likely ruin all James's plans of perpetuating popery. To obviate this, he determined to have an act of parliament, settling the form of the child's guardianship and education, and vesting all the necessary powers in catholic hands. Any prudent man would at least have Waited to see the birth and probable life of the child before rushing on so desperate a scheme; for, to have an act, he must call a parliament; and to call a parliament under the present feeling of the nation was to bring together one of the most determinedly-protestant assemblies of men that had ever been seen. But James was of that mole-eyed, bigot character which goes headlong on the most perilous issues. He determined to pack a parliament by means which none but a madman would have attempted. Whether from county or borough, he could expect nothing but a most obstinate and universal demonstration in favour of the church and constitution. His brother Charles, for his own purposes, had deprived the towns of their charters, because they were whig, and often nonconformist, and had given them others, which put them into the hands of the tories and churchmen; and these were the very men who now would resist James's plans to the death. The country were equally church and tory, but all this did not daunt James. He determined to remodel the corporations, and to change every magistrate in the counties that were not ready to carry out his views. He appointed a board of regulators at Whitehall, to examine into the state of the corporations, and introduce new rules and new men as they thought fit. These regulators were seven in number, and all catholics and Jesuits, except the king's incarnate devil, Jeffreys. These men appointed deputations of chosen tools to visit the different corporations, and report to them; and James issued a proclamation, announcing his intention to revise the commissions of the peace, and of the lieutenancy of counties. In fact, James' proceeded like a man who was satisfied that he could do just as he pleased with the constitution of a country which, through all ages, had shown itself more jealous of its constitution than any other in the world.

He sent for the lords-lieutenants, and delivered to them a paper of instructions, with which they were each to proceed to their several counties. They were to summon all the magistrates, and tell them what his majesty expected from them on the ensuing election of parliament, and to send him up their individual answers, along with the list of all the catholic and dissenting gentlemen who might take the place of those who should dare to object to the king's plans, on the bench or in the militia. The proposal was so audacious, that the greater proportion of the lords-lieutenants peremptorily refused to undertake any such commission; these included the noblest names in the peerage, and they were at once dismissed. The sweeping measure of turning out the duke of Somerset, the viscounts Newport and Falconberg, the earls of Derby, Dorset, Shrewsbury, Oxford, Pembroke, Rutland, Bridgewater, Thanet, Abingdon, Northampton, Scarsdale, Gainsborough, and many others, showed how far James was gone in his madness. As the king could not get any noblemen to take the places of the dismissed, he filled them up as he could, and even made his butcher, Jeffreys, lord-lieutenant of two counties. But all was in vain; he soon received answers from every quarter that the whole nation, town and country, absolutely refused to obey the king's injunctions. Even those who had gone most zealously to work were obliged to return with most disconsolate reports, and to assure the king that, if he turned out every magistrate and militia officer, the next would still vote against popery. Catholics and nonconformists, though glad of indulgence, would not consent to attempt measures which could only end in defeat and confusion. The nonconformists would not never a finger to endanger protestantism. It was the same in the corporations. Some of these James could deprive of their charters, for the new ones frequently contained a power of revocation; but when he had done this he found himself no forwarder, for the new ministers upon the points that he had at heart were as sturdy as the old. Other towns from which he demanded the surrender of their charters, refused. Wherever James could eject the church members of corporations he did, from London to the remotest borough, and put in presbyterians, independents, and baptists. It was perfectly useless; they were as protestant as the church. Even where he obtained a few truckling officials, they found it impossible to make the people vote as they wished; and in the counties the catholic or dissenting sheriffs were equally indisposed to press the government views, or unable to obtain them if they did. He changed the borough magistrates in some cases two or three times, but in vain. Some of the people in the towns did not content themselves with mere passive resistance; they loudly declared their indignation, and the tyrant marched soldiers in upon them; but only to hear them exclaim that James was imitating his dear brother of France, and dragonading the protestants.

Whilst these things were going on all over the country, James was putting on the same insane pressure in every public department of government. The heads of departments were called on to pledge themselves to support the wishes of' the king, and to demand from their subordinates the same obedience. The refractory were dismissed, even to the highest law officers of the crown; and James demanded from the judges a declaration that even the Petition of Right could not bar the exercise of his prerogative; but the bench consulted in secret, and the result was never known. He even contemplated granting no licenses to inns, beer-houses or coffee-houses, without an engagement to support the king, spite of church or magistrate; but another of his measures now brought things to a crisis.

James determined to make his intentions known for fully restoring popery by a new declaration of indulgence, in which he reminded his subjects of his determined character, and of the numbers of public servants that he had already dismissed for opposing his will. This declaration he published on the 27th of April, 1688, and he ordered the clergy to read it from all pulpits in London on the 20th and 27th of May, and in the country on the 3rd and 10th of June. This was calling on the bishops and clergy to practice their doctrine of non-resistance to some purpose; it Was tantamount to demanding from them to co-operate in the overthrow of their own church. They were, as may be supposed, in an awful dilemma; and now was the time for the dissenters - whom they had so sharply persecuted and so soundly lectured on the duty of entire submission - to enjoy their embarrassment. But the dissenters were too generous, and had too much in common at stake. They met, and sent deputations to the clergy, and exhorted them to stand manfully for their faith, declaring that they would stand firmly by them. A meeting of the metropolitan clergy was called, at which were present Tillotson, Sherlock, Stillingfleet - great names - and others high in the church. They determined not to read the declaration on the 20th, and sent round a copy of the resolution through the city, where eighty-five incumbents immediately signed it.

The bishops meantime met at Lambeth, and discussed the same question. Cartwright and Chester, one of the king's most servile tools, and a member of the High Commission,' took care to be there, to inform the king of what passed; but during his stay nothing but a disposition to compliance appeared to prevail, and he hurried away to Whitehall with the news. No sooner, however, was he gone, than letters were secretly dispatched, summoning the bishops of the province of Canterbury; and another meeting took place on the 18th, or two days prior to the Sunday fixed for the further reading of the declaration. The bishops concluded not to read it, and six of them waited on the king with the written resolution. James was confounded, having assured himself they meant to comply. He used the most menacing language, and declared that they had set up the standard of rebellion; and ordered them from his presence to go at once and see that he was obeyed. To prevent the publication of the resolution, he detained it; but that very evening it was printed and hawked through the streets, where it was received with acclamations by the people. Any but a mad bigot, seeing the feelings of the public, would have instantly revoked the declaration; but James was not that man. Sunday arrived, and, out of all the hundred churches, the declaration - was only read in four, and with 'the effect of instantly clearing them, amid murmurs of indignation. Still it was not too late to recall the order in council; and even James himself, with all his folly and infatuation, was now staggered. It was strongly recommended in the council to abandon the declaration; but James listened to his evil genius, the brutal Jeffreys, and determined to bring the seven signing bishops to trial before the court of King's Bench, on a charge of seditious libel. The fatal counsel was adopted, and they were summoned to appear before the privy council on the 8th of June.

In the interval the bishops and clergy in all parts of England, with few exceptions, showed the same resolute spirit. The bishops of Gloucester, Norwich, Salisbury, Winchester, Exeter, and London, signed copies of the same petition. The bishop of Carlisle regretted that, not belonging to the province of Canterbury, he could not do the same. The bishop of Worcester refused to distribute the declaration amongst his clergy; and the same spirit showed itself amongst the parochial clergy, who almost to a man refused to read it.

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Pictures for Reign of James II. (Continued) page 3

The Earl of Shrewsbury
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Prince of Orange
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The seven bishops
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William of orange entering Exeter
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Queen of James II
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The flight of the Queen of James II
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Attack on James II
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The Princess Anne
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William of Orange
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