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taking arn^s by the king's authority againft the king's
authority, becaufc it ij nonfenfe, and not practicable.
And fo they had done little but confelled, that all-'
the clergy, and many other perfons, have been forced,
by Ibrnur aOts of this prelent parliament, to make
this declaration in other v^ords that now arc found
ib far fron^ being juililiable, that t>hvy arc directly con-
trary to \higna Charta, our properties, and the cflab- law aiui government of the nation.

The next thing in courfc was the oatii iifelf, againft
which the objedtlon lay fo plain and fo Hrong at the
tirl^ entrance,, viz. '1 hat there was no care taken of the


A Lei lev from a F erf on of ^lality. 227

dodlrinc, but only the difcipline of the church. The
papills need not Icruplc the taking this oath ; for epif-
copacy remains in its greatcfb kiftrc, though the popifli
religion was introduced ; but the king's fupremacy is
juftlcd aiide by this oath, and makes better room for
an cccleliaftical one. Infomuch that, with this and
much more, they were enforced to change their oath,
and the next day bring it in as follow eth:

'* I do fwear, that I will not endeavour to alter the
'' protefiant religion, or the government either of
*' church or (tate."

By this they thought they had falved all, and now
began to call their oath, '' A fecurity for the pro-
*' tcflant religion, and the only good dcfign to pre-
*' vent popery," if we fliould have a popifh prince.
But the country lords wondered at their confidence in
this, iince they had never thought of it before ; and
had been, but the lad preceding day of the debate,
by pure fliame, compelled to this addition. For it
was not unknov/n to them, that fome of the bifliops
themfelves had told fome of the roman catholic lords
of the houfe, that *' care had been taken that it might
'' be fuch an oath as might not bear upon them."
-But let it be whatever they would have it, yet the coun-
try lords thought the addition was unreafonable, and
of as dangerous confequence as the relt of the oath.
And it was not to be wondered at, if the addition of
the beft things, wanting the authority of an exprefs di-
vine inifitution, fliould make an oath not to endeavour
to alter, juft fo much worfe by the addition. For, as
the earl of Shaftfbury very well urged, that it is a far
different thing to believe, or to be fully perfuaded of
the truth of the dodtrine of our church, and to fwear
never to endeavour to alter; which lall mufi: be utterly
uulawful, unlefs you place an infallibility either in the
church or yourfelf; you being othervvife obliged toaker,
whenever a clearer or better light comes to you. And
he delired leave to alk, where are the bouadarie^, or

Qji where

2:8 A Letter frcm a Perfon 'jf !^ricr1ity.

uhcrc HiaII we find how much is meant by thcproCcflanf
ich'gron ?

The Tord-kfepfr, thinking he h:i(] now gor an ad-
vantage, \\ich hi-: vifual eloquence, dcfires, "that it
*' mi^^hr not be tc^Id in (Jath, nor puhliflicd in the flrcct:^
*' of Aikalon/* that a lord of l"o great parts and emi-
nence, andprofeirinirhimfclffor the church of England,
ihoiild not know m hat is meant by the protclhmt reli-
gion! I'hi^ \\a> fccondcd uich great pleafantnefs by
divers of the lords the bifliops. But the bifliop of
Wincheller, anil fomc others of them, were pica fed to
< ondefcend to inOruct that lord, that the protcfiant re-
ligion was comprehended in }vXXIX articles, the li-
turgy, the catechifm, the homiilics, and the canons.

To thi^ the earl of Shaftibury replied, that he begged
^o much charity of them to believe, that he knew the
protcllant religion fo well, and was To confirmai in it,
that he hoped he ihould burn for the wirnefs of it, if
providence lliould call him to it. But he might per-
haps think fome things not necelTary, that they accounted
cflential ; nay, he might think fonic thin.c;s not true, or
agreeable to the icripturc, that they miight call doc-
trines of the church. BefiJcs, when he wa^ to fwear
•' never to endeavour to alter," it uas certainly ncccf-
fary to know '* how tar the juil extent of this oath was.*'
But lince they had told him tl-.a: the protcflaTit religion
was in ihofe five tracts; he had flili to alk, whether
they meant thofc whole tracts were the proretlant reli-
gion ; or only that the [iroteflant religion was contained
in all thole, but that every part of thcfc was not the
protcf^ani religion ?

If they meant the former of thcfc, then he was ex-
rrcmcly in the dark to find the doclrine of predefH-
nation, in the lyrh and i Sth articles, to be o\\ ned b)
lb few great doctors of the church, i^nd to find the 19th
article to define ihc ( hnrch diredly, as the independents
do. Belidcs, the 20th articfe, dating the authority
of the church, is very dark ; and cither contrndiccs it-
felf, or fays nothing, or what is contrary to the know n
laws of the land. Bciidci fcvcral other things in the


A Letter from a P erf on of ^iality, 229

XXXIX articles have been preached and writ againll,
by men of great favour^ power, and prctcrmcnt* in the

Pie humbly conceived the liturgy v/as nor fo facrcJ,
being made by men the other day, and thought to be
iiiorc difvering from the difTenting proteflantb, and lefs
eafy to be complied with, upon the advantage of a pre-
tence well known unto us all, of making alterations as
might the better unite us ; inltcad whereof, there is
fcarce one alteration but widens the breach. And no
ordination allowed by it here, (as it now flands lail re-
formed in the ad of uniformity) but what is epifcopal ;
infomuch that a popiili prieil is capable, when con-
verted, of any church preferment, without re-ordina-
tion ; but no protedant minifter not epifcopaily ordained
but is required to be re-ordained ; as much as in us lies
unchiirching all the foreign protelianti that have not
bifliops; though the contrary was both allowed and
practifed, from the beginning of the reformation till
the time of that act, and feveral bifnops made of fuch
as were never ordained prieits by biiliops. Moreover,
the uncharitablenefs of it was fo much againfi the in-
terefl: of the crown and church of England, fcafting off
the dependency of the whole protellant party abroad)
that it would liave been bought by the pope and the
frcnch king at a vaft fum -of money; and it is difficult
to conceive fo great an advantage fell to them merely by
chance, and without their help. So that he thought
to endeavour to alter and reftore the liturgy to what it
was in queen Elizabeth's days, might couGft with hii
being a very good protcllant.

As to the catcchifm, he really thought it might e
imende j ; and durll declare to them, it was net well that
there was not a better made.

For the homilies, he thought there mi i;ht be a bet-
ter book made; and the third homily, of *' repairing
^* and keeping clean of churches," might be omit-

What is yet flranger than all this, the canons of
our church are directly the old popifn canons, whicri
are ftili in force, and no other; wh'w^i \\\\\ appear, if

Q.J you

230 A Letter from a Per/on of ^mllty,

you turn to the flat. 25 Henry VIII. cap. 19. confirmed
and received by i I'.li/. where all thofe canons are cflab-
liHicd, until an alteration lliould be made by the king,
in purfuancc of that ad; which thing was attempted
by Edward VI, but not perfected, and let alone ever
iincc; for what reafons, the lords the bifliops could befl:
tell. And it was very hard to be obliged by (^th '' not
*' to endeavour to alter either the engliih common-
*' pra\or-book, or the canon of the mals."

But if they meant the Lutcr, that the proteflant reli-
gion is contained in all thofe, but that every part of
thofe is not the proteflant religion ; then he appre-
hended it might be in the bifl.ops power to declare
*' ex poft fado," what is the proteftant religion or not,
or elfe they mufi leave it to every man to judge for
himfelf, what pnrts of thofe books are or are not; and
then their oath had been much better let alone.

Much of this nature was faid bv that lord and others ;
and the great ofiicers and biil:;ops w ere fo hard put to
it, that they feemed willing and convinced to admit of
an expedient.

The lord Wharton, an old and expert parliament-man,
of eminent piety and abilities, befides a great friend
to the proteflant religion, and interefl: of England, ofTercd,
as a cure to the whole oath, and what might make
it pafs in all the three parts of it, without any farther
debate ; the addition of thefe words, at the latter end
of the oath, viz. *' as the fame is, or fliall be ellablilhed
•* by act of parliament. *' But this was not endured at
all ; when the lord Grey of Rolfton, a worthy and true
cnglifh lord, offered another expedient ; which was the
addition of thefe words, *' by force or fraud," to the
beginning of the oath ; and then it would run thus,
*' I do fwear not to endeavour, by force or fraud, to
*' alter.** This was alio a cure that would have pafied
the whole oath, and feemed as if it would have carried
the whole houfe ; the duke of York, and billiop of Ro-
chefler, both fcconding it; but the lord-treafurer, who
bad privately before confcnted to it, fpeaking againil
ir, gave the word and fign to that party ; and it being
put to the qutflion, the major vote anfwered all ar-^


A Letter from a Per/on of ^lality. 231

giuncnts, and the lord Grey's propofition was laid

Having thus carried the quefi-ion, relying upon their
fh-rength of votes, tailing advantage that thole expedi-
eiats that had been offered, extended to the whole oath,
though hut one of the three claaies in the oarh had been
debaied, the other two not mentioned at all ; they at-
tempted flrongly, at nine of the clock at nighty to have
the whole oath put to the quellion ; and though it was
refolutely oppofed by the lord Mohun, a lord o^ great
courage and refolution in the public intcrcft, and one
Avhofe own perfonal merits, as well as his father's, gave
him a jufb title to the beft favours of the court; yet
they were not diverted, but by as great a diu)rder as
ever was feeii in that houfe, proceeding from the rage
thofe unreafonabie proceedings had caufed in the coun-
try lords ; they ftanding up together, and crying out
with fo loud a continued voice, adjourn, that when
filence was obtained, fear did what reafon could not do,
caufe the queflion to be put only upon the firft claufc,
concerning the protefbant religion, to which the biHiops
defired might be added, *' as it is now eftablillied.'*
And one of the cminentcH: of thofe who were for the
bill, added the words, '* by Iav%-." So that, as it was
pafTed, it ran, ** I A. B.dofvvear, that I will notendea-
*' vour to alter the proteflant religion, now by law eftab-
^' lithed in the church of England.*'

And here obferve the words, '^ by law," do directly
take in the canons, though the bifliops had never men-
tioned them.

And now comes the confideration of the latter part
of the oath, which comprehends thefe tv/o claufes, viz.
*' nor the government cither in church or ftate,"
wherein the church came full to be conlidered. And
it was objected by the lords againfb the bill, that it was
not agreeable to the king's crow n and dignity, to have his
fubjects fworn to the government of the church equally
as to himfelf ; that for the kings of England to Iwear
to maintain the church, was a different thing from en-
joining all his officers, and both his houfes of parliament,
Xfi fvvear to them,- it v/ould be v/cll underflood, before

Q.4 the


2^2 A Letter from a Terjon of ^laliiy.

the bill pafled, uhat the ** govcrnnK-nt of the church*'
(wc arc to fucar to) is, and what the boundaries of it;
whether it derives no poucr nor authority, nor the ex-
crciie of any power, authority, or function, but from
the king, as head of the church, and from God, as
through him, as all his other othcers do.

For no church or religion can jullify itfelf to the go-
vernment, but the ftatc religion, that owes an entire de-
pendency on, and is but a branch of it ; or the inde-
pendent congregations, w hilll they claim no other power,
but the cxclulion of their own members from their
particular conuiiunion -, and endeavour not to fet up
a kingdom of Chrid to their own ufe, in this world,
uhilll our Saviour hath told us, that ** his kingdom is
** not of it." lor otherwife there fliould be ** impe-
" rium in imperio," and two dillinct fupreme powers
inconfiftent with each other, in the fame place, and
oVcr the fame perfons. I'he bifr.ops alleged that
riefthood, and the power thereof, and the authorities
elonging thereunto, were derived inmiediately from
Chrilt, but that the licence of exerciling that authority
and power in any country, is derived from the civil
ir.agidrntc. I'o which was replied, that it was a dan-
gerous thing to fecure, by oath and act of parliament,
thofe in the cxercifc of an authority and power in the
king's country, and over his fubjeds, which being re-
ceived from Chrift himfelf, cannot be altered, or li-
mited, by the king's lav\ s ; and that this was diredly to
fet the mitre above the crow n. And it was farther of-
fered, that this oath was the greatelt attempt that had
been made again (1 the king's fuprcmacy fmce the re-
formation ; for the king, in parliament, may aiter, di-
minilh, enlarge, or tike away, any bifhopric ; he may
take any part of a diocefe, or a w hole dioccfc, and put
them under deans, or other perfons. For if this be not
lawful, but that epifcopacy lliould be ** jure divino,**
the maintaining the government, as it is now, is unlaw-
ful ; lince the deans of Hereford and Salilbury ha\e
very large tracts under their jurifdidion; and feveral
parfons of pariflus have epilcopal jurifdiction ; lo that
at bell tliat government waru^ alteration, that is fo im-

A Letter from a P erf on of ^lalliy. ^-^y

pcrfedlly fettled. The bifhop of Winchcftcr aflirnicd
in this debate, feveral times, that there was no chridinri
church before Calvin, that had not bifliops ; to which he
was anfwcred, that the Albigenfes, a very nunierous
people, and the only vifible known church of true be-
lievers, of fome ages, had no biiliops. It is vcrv true
what the billiop of WincheR-er replied, that they had
fome amongll them who alone had power to ordain ;
but that was only to conimit that power to the wifclt
and graveft men amongfl: them, and to fecure ill and unfit
men from being admitted into the miniury ; but they
exercifed no jurifdiclion over the others.

And it was fi\id by divers of the lords, that they
thought epifcopal government beft for the church, and
moil fuitable for the monarchy ; but they mufl fiy, with
the lord of Southampton, upon the occa'iion of this oath
in the parliament of Oxford, *' I will not be fworn not
*' to take away cpifcopacy ;'* there being nothing that
is not of divine precept, but fuch circumflanccs may
come in human affairs, as may render it not eligible by
the befl of men. And it was alfo faid, that'if epif-
copacy be to be received as by divine precept, the
king's fupremacy is overthrown ; and fo is alfo the opi-
nion of the parliaments both in Edward the VI th, and
queen Elizabeth's time; and the conllitution of our
church ought to be altered, as hath been fliowed. But
the church of Rome itfelf hath concradided that opi-
nion, when fhe hath made fuch vafi: tracts of ground,
and great numbers of mcn^ exempt from epifcopal

The lord Wharton, upon the bifliop's claim to a di-
vine right, alked a very hard quelfion, viz. '' whether
** they then did not claim withal a power of excommu-.
" nicating their prince?'' which they evading to an-
fvver, and being prelfed by fome other lords, faid, *' they
*' never had done it." Upon v. hich the lord Hallifax
told them, that that might well be; for fince the re-
formation they had hitherto had too great a depen-
dence on the crown, to venture on that or any other of-
fence to it.


224- ^ Letter Jrom a Per/on of .^tality.

And fo the debate palfcd on to the third claufc, which
"had the fame exceptions againll it with the two former,
<)4' hcini; unbounded, how far any man might meddle,
and how far not ; and is of that extent, that it over-
threw all parliament-s, and left them capable of nothini^
but giving nmnev. Vor what is the bufmefs of parlia-
ments, but the alteration, cither by adding, or taking
away, fome part of the government, either in church or
f^atc ? And every new act of parliament is an alteration;
and what kind of government in church or ftate mud
that be, which I mud fwear, upon lu) alteration of time,
emergency of affairs, nor variation of human things,
never to endeavour to alter? Would it not be requifitc
that fuch a government fhould be given by God himfelf ;
and that with all the ceremony of thunder and lightning,
and vifible appearance to the whole people, which God
vouchfafcd to the children of Ifracl at Mount Sinai?
And yet vou lliall no^whcrc read that they were fworn
'o it by any oath like this; nay, on the contrary, the
princes and the rulers, even thofc recorded for the bcft
of them, did make ieveral variations.

The lord Stafford a nobleman of great honour and
( .mdour, but who had been all along for the bill, yet
was fo far convin-^cd with the debate, that he freely de-
clared, there ought to be an addition to the oath, for
prcferving the freedon-i of debates in parliament. This
uas llrongly urged by the never to be forgotten earl of
Hridgewatcr, who gave reputation and ftrength to this
ciiufcof luigland ; as did alio thofc worthy earls, Den-
bigh, Clarenilon, and Aillbury, men of great worth and
honour. To falVc all that was faid by thefeand the other
lords, the lord-keeper and the bifliops urged, that there
wa."? a provifo, which fully prei'erved the privileges of
parjiament ; and, upon farther inquiry, there appearing
no fuch, but only a previous vote, as is before-menti-
oned, they allowed that that j^'evious vote Ihould be
drawn into a provifo, and added to the bill ; and then,
in their opinion, the exception to the oath for this caulc
was perfectly removed. But on the other fide it was
offered, that a pofuivc abfolute oath being taken, a pro-

A Letter from a Terfon of ^lality, 235

vifo in the act could not difpenfe with it, without fome
reference in the body of the oath unto that provifo.
But this alfo was utterly denied, until the next day, the
debate going on upon other matters ; the lord-trcalurer,
whofe authority eafily obtained with the major- vote, re-
aflumcd what was mentioned in the debates of the pre-
ceding days, and allowed a reference to the provifo ; lo
that it then pafTed in thefc words :

*' I A. B. do fwear, that I will not endeavour to alter
*' the proteflant religion nowby lawellabliflied in the
"^^ church of England; nor the government of thi.'v
*' kingdom in church or flate, as it js now by law
'' eftabliihcd; and I do take this oath according
*' to the meaning of this act, and the provifo con-r
*' tained in the fame. So help me God."

. There was a paffage of the grcateft obfervation in the
whole debate, and which with mofl clearncfs fliowed
what the great men and bifliops aimed at ; and fliould
in order have come in before, but that it defervcd fo
particular a confideration, that I tjhought bed to place
it here by itfelf ; which was, that upon paiTing of the
provifo for preferving the rights and privileges of par-
liaments, made out of the previous votes, it was excel-
lently obfcrved by the earl of Bolingbrokc, a man of
great ability and learning in the laws of the land, and
perfecUy ftedfaft m all good Ei^liili principles; that
though that provifo did preferve the freedom of debates
and votes in parliaments, yet the oath remained, not-
wdthflandingthat provifo, upon all men, that fliall take
it as a prohibition, either by fpeech or writing, or ad-
drefs, to " endeavour any alteration in religion, church,
or ftate:" nay, alfo upon the members of both houfes
ctherwife than as they fpeak and vote in open parlia-
ments or committees. For this oath takes away all
private converfe upon any fuch affairs even with one
another. This was fcconded by the lord De La Mcr,
whofe name is well known, as alfo his worth, piety,
and learning ; I Jhould mention his rnerits too, but I


236 A letter from a Prrfon of ."^^uality.

know not whether that be lawful, they lying yet unre-

The lord Shaftlhury prefontly drew up fomc words
for j^rcfcrving the faiue rights, privilcc;cs, and freedoms,
which men now enjoy by the laws cliabliihed; fo that
l\v a lidc-wind we miprht not be deprived of the great
liberty wc enjoy as Kngliflinien -, and deiircd thofe
words might be inferted in that provifo before it palled.
This was Iccomied by many of the fore-mentioned lords;
and prcfRd upon thofe terms, that they defired not to
countenance, or make in the leall degree any thing law-
ful, that was not already fo ; but that they might not
t^c deprived, by this dark way of proceeding, of that
liberty, which was neceffarv to them as men, and with-
out which parliaments would be rendered ufelefs.

Upon this all the great officers fliowcd themfclves ;
nay, the duke of Lauderdale himfelf, though under the
load of two add relies *, opened his mouth, and, together
with the lord-keeper, and the lord treafurer, told the
rommirtec in plain terms ; that they intended, and dc-
ii,Li;ncd to prevent caballing and coufpiracies againlt the
j;overnmcnt ; that they knew no reafon why any of the
king's officers ffiould confult w ith parliament-men about
parliament-bufineO ; and particularly mentioned thofe
^'f the army, treafury, and navy. And when it was ob-
jected to them, that the grcateff part of the moff know-
ing gentry were cither juffices of the peace, or of the
militia; and that this took away all converfc, or dif-
^ourfe of any alteration, which was in truth of any bufi-
jRf>, in parliament; and that the officers of the navy
and treafury might be bell able to advife what fliould
be fit in many cafes ; and that withal none of their lord-
fliips did offer any thing to falvc the inconvenience of
parliament-men being deprived of difcourfing one with
another, upon the n^attcis that w ere bdbre^hcm ; be-
lides it mull be again remembered, that nothing was
herein dclired to be countenanced, or made lawful, but

* The houTc of commons atUirclTcil tlu; kin^ to remove the duke of
LnudcrJalr from his employments, and from his majert) "s prefencc and
councils, for ever; as a man of arbitrary principles, and a pcrfon ob-'
noxious aiid dangerous to the govcrnincni.


A Letter from a Fcrjon of SiuaUty. ^21

to prefcrvc that which is already law, and avowedly
juftified by it ; for, without this addition to the provifo,
the oath rendered parliaments but a fnare, notafecurity,
to the people ; yet to all this was anfvvered, foinetimes
with pailion and high words, fometimcs with jells and
raillery, (the bell they had) and at the laft the major
vote anfuercd all objecftions, and laid afide the addition

There was another thing before the finilhing of the
oath, which I Hiall here alfo mention, which was an ad-
ditional oath, tendered by the marquis of Winchefter;
who ought to have been mentioned in the firft and
chiefeii place, for his condud and fupport in the whole
debate, being an expert parliament-man, and one,
whofe (juality, parts, ixwA fortune, and owning of good
principles, concur to give him one of the grcarcil places
in the ellecm of good men. The additional oath ten-
dered was as foUovveth :

*' I do fwear that I will never by threats, injunc1:ions,
'' promifes, advantages, or invitation, by or from
" any perfon whatfoever, nor from the hopes or
*' profpecl of any gift, place, oflicc, or benclii-
'* whatfoever} give my vote other than according
'' to my opinion and confcience, as I Iball be truly
** and really perfuadcd upon the debate of any
•' bunnefs in parliament. So help me God.'*

This oath w^as offered upon the occafion of fwcarinc^
members of parliament ; and upon this fcore only, that
if any new oath v/as thought lit (which that noble lord
declared his ovv n judgment perfectly againllj this cer-
tainly was (all conliderationsand circumilances taken \\\)
moft ncceilary to be a part ; and the nature of it was
not fo firange, \i they confidered the judges oath, which
was not much different from this. To this the lord-
keeper feemcd very averfe, and declared in a very fme
fpeech, that it v, as an ufelefs oath ; for all gifts, places,

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