Friday, February 14.
Mr Powle reports the Petition and Address to the King upon
the above vote, as follows:
"Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most loyal and
faithful subjects, the Commons assembled in Parliament, do, in
the first place, as in all duty bound, return your Majesty our most
humble and hearty thanks for the many gracious promises and
assurances which your Majesty hath, several times, during this
present Parliament, given to us, that your Majesty would secure
and maintain unto us the true reformed Protestant Religion, our
Liberties and Properties; which most gracious assurances your
Majesty hath, out of your great goodness, been pleased to renew
unto us more particularly, at the opening of this present Session
"And farther we crave leave humbly to represent, that we
have, with all duty and expedition, taken into our consideration
several parts of your Majesty's last Speech to us, and withal the
Declaration therein mentioned, for indulgence to Dissenters, dated the 15th of March last; and we find ourselves bound in duty
to inform your Majesty, that penal Statutes, in matters ecclesiastical, cannot be suspended but by Act of Parliament.
"We, therefore, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, of
your Majesty's House of Commons, do most humbly beseech
your Majesty, that the said Laws may have their free force, untill it shall be otherwise provided for by Act of Parliament; and
that your Majesty would graciously be pleased to give such directions herein, that no apprehensions or jealousies may remain in
the hearts of your Majesty's good and faithful subjects."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Several motions were made at
the Committee for an Address to the King "for ease of
tender consciences." When we say this vote, we ought
to do the other; but the Committee would not agree to
it—Moves now for a Committee to draw such a Bill, and
that the Address may be re-committed.
Mr Swynfin.] Thinks you rightly moved by Littleton.
Your sense was to go no farther than to secure the
Law, and preserve the true strength of the Statute-Law.
Nay, farther, it seemed to all mens sense, that some consideration should be had of the indulgence; great reasons
were given for the matter of it, as the war, trade, &c.
as far as might be for the safety of Religion; but the
Committee could not originally express it, having no authority from you, therefore no haste, it being to be sent
to the Lords—We have had so ill experience of those
Laws, that he hopes we shall consider them—If the Kings
of France and Spain should draw their subjects to prison,
and persecute them, they could not preserve unity—Sees
nothing in the Declaration but you may well dispense
with, but the preservation of the Laws. If you shall go
so far as a Law for the Declaration, it will be no difference, only the Declaration turned into a Law, and so
you have your end in it—Moves to appoint a Committee to prepare a Bill to that end, which cannot but appear well, both to King and people.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Is one of those that think "ease
fit for tender consciences," in the words of Breda Declaration, "for union of the Protestant subjects;" but how
shall we proceed? No Committee can do it, that is
numerous—Three men of a Committee better to draw
a Bill, than twelve upon the subject-matter of a vote—Would appoint to-morrow for this end, that no jealousy
may be objected—Knows how matters will go when money is passed Would not have this Debate stop the Address to the King.
Sir William Hickman.] The other day, there did appear
a general inclination "for uniting Protestant subjects."
It is a thing much to be thought of, and would have
Mr Cheney.] Would have persons withdraw, to add a
few words to the Address, of uniting his Majesty's Protestant subjects.
Sir John Monson (fn. 1) .] Thinks it not proper to add any
thing to the Address, 'till we have passed this Address
by vote—Moves for to-morrow at ten of the clock, to
take this business into consideration.
Mr Crouch.] The Question is, "Agree, or not, with the
Committee;" adding to the Address is but to distract
things; and if you agree not with the Committee, then
it is irregular to debate adding.
Mr Garroway.] It would have looked so like bargaining, if the Committee had put it in, that they waved adding any thing to it.
Sir Richard Temple.] The Committee left out the addition, because they expected some previous vote from
you. Though the manner was not concluded in your
Debate, yet every man agreed to the matter of the Declaration—Will it not be an abrupt Address to the King
to find fault with the Declaration, and not say any way
you would have the thing remedied in the matter?
What difficulty do you put upon the King?—Would it
not be proper for you now to speak it, that you have it
under consideration to provide for relief of dissenting
brethren?—Would have a vote passed, to take Dissenters
into consideration, and have it put into your Address.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have you informed by the
Chairman of the Committee, whether ever it was debated
to have it part of your Address.
Mr Powle.] No sense of your Committee that it should
be part of your Address.
Mr Vaughan.] Denies that it was the sense of the Committee—They thought it unparliamentary to inform the King
of any such thing, and they had no ground for it; for
untill you had voted the thing, they could add nothing
Sir Robert Howard.] You must first put the Question
of "agreeing with the Committee" before you can add any
Colonel Birch.] Does not agree with those gentlemen.
It is not parliamentary to add (if you intend it) after
having voted the thing. The thing moved to be added,
could not appear to be true at the Committee—Would
always have the King thanked by Dissenters. The Committee could not do it, the House having not voted the
thing of indulgence—Desires it for the honour of the
King, that you make a vote for taking the thing into consideration, and then vote your Address.
Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee
in the Petition and Address.
Sir Thomas Meres.] What will you do with this Address? The Address must go to the King, and it is
usual to send to the King to know when he will command us to wait on him, by some of the Lords of the
Council of our House.
Mr Garroway.] Has seen many Laws passed, with
much zeal, against Nonconformists and Dissenters in this
House, and much hardship upon the people, but without effect—Would have all things done with sobriety and
tenderness, and for that end would have a vote from this
House, that you will declare so much to his Majesty in
this Message; we can make no other promise, but that
we have such a thing under consideration, though we
cannot see the effect upon Debate.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Usually the Lords concurrence
is asked, and hopes they will agree with you.
Mr Crouch.] Would know what this Bill should be
brought in for, upon what heads, what you would add,
or repeal? Seconds the motion for the Lords concurrence.
Mr Seymour.] Never thought it fit to persecute or
prosecute any person, that believes not as he believes;
it may have the power of the sword, but not the power
of godliness—When this Address is presented to the King,
would have it declared to the King, that this House has
it under consideration.
Sir William Coventry.] Is the same man in this to-day,
as he was the other day at the Debate of the Declaration.
That thing was knocked on the head at the Committee, because no order from you; and the Committee
thought it not fit to promise that which we were not certain to effect, and that was the great reason at the Committee. If we promise, we must perform, though to
our detriment—The Committee must have heads to work
upon—Some are for indulging Protestant subjects only,
and some for extending it to Catholic subjects. It may be,
those great promissory words may amount to more than
either you or the King means—Would have Monday
set apart for the matter of Dissenters to be taken into
consideration, though he believes men are, by the discourse of the thing, prepared in their opinions, though
not in their judgments.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Thinks it necessary that now you do
something, because possibly something in your Address
to the King may startle those kind of people, the Dissenters—To pass a general vote may be so construed, that
it may perhaps be too general; [such] a vote, perhaps,
never passed here before—Moves for a Bill for uniting
Protestant subjects. Here is ground for you, though
he would be glad to see a man so happy as to comprehend
all your senses in that Bill—Pass the vote, and I hope
something may be done this day.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Though the thing be of as
great importance and large extent as may be, if you intend to thrive in the Address to the King, you must prepare something of such a vote, as is mentioned, to the King
—Would have no Bill admitted, but upon your vote, and
reasons for it.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] "Tender conscience" is of large
extent; Turks, Jews, &c. have consciences—Would
have "uniting Protestant subjects" added to the Question.
Sir Robert Howard.] As you would confirm the minds
of some, so you would give terror to others. You must
do something to indulge as well as unite; it is not fair
to bind it up thus.
Sir Robert Carr.] Is pleased with Carew's motion. For
aught he thinks, he that pretends to be one thing, may
be a Turk in his heart, and therefore would have it general.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Does believe the word "ease" is
the business which is disputable, whether toleration or
comprehension. The words of his Majesty's Speech are,
"ease of Protestant subjects in matters of Religion."
Colonel Birch.] If you will give indulgence in an Act
of Parliament, your Question must be "for ease of Protestant subjects."—Moves for it.
Sir George Downing.] You intend this vote to be presented to the King; he should be loth you tell the King
what we shall not be able to do—Would, on Monday,
have the House in a Grand Committee, and stop the
Address in the mean time.
Sir John Duncombe.] Upon this Debate of tender consciences, every man is for himself, and excluding others.
He speaks of a tender conscience-man, such as has been
born in his Religion, and lives peaceably in it—Do what
is agreeable to Charity; lay not your foundation too
narrow; let all have the benefit of indulgence. Not
an universal ease, but you must qualify it. They all are
alike to him. He would consider none of them for indulgence as opposite to the Church of England—The
last Session, the motion for indulgence was diverted—Thinks no peace now without it—Would have the Debate be "for ease of tender consciences."
Sir Charles Harbord.] The King, in this business, is most
troubled of all men. Something must be done, we shall
else put the King upon some great necessity—Would
have a Bill "for ease of tender consciences in matters of
Religion," and that will be capacious enough—Has regard to the Church, as built upon the State, the Monarchy.
Mr Harwood.] Sees something at the brink of mens
lips that will not come out; our aim is to bring all dissenting men into the Protestant Church, and he that is
not willing to come into the Church should not have
ease. Many of these persons differ not but in discipline,
not in doctrine—Would have the Question "for Dissenters of the Protestant subjects only."
Mr Milward.] Is for debating this business in a Grand
Committee, that persons may reply one upon another.
They may be seemingly Protestants, yet not truly so—He has a great tenderness for such as have been brought
up in their religion—Would have a difference between
monarchical Dissenters and antimonarchical.
Sir Lancelot Lake.] Would spare tender consciences,
because so few make any consciences of their ways—Before we proceed, would have us agree in the definition
of "a tender conscience."
Mr Garroway.] In plain English, would not put Romanists in the Bill—Would give them some ease, but
would have them publickly in all their robes; and if you
might see them in all their frippery, believes you would
not have so many of them—If the Papists had arrived
at their end, you had not sat here now—Would have
them favoured, but not as trees to bear fruit, only as
pillars to be seen, they giving no such liberty in any
place of the world, they having inquisitions and persecutions.
Colonel Strangways.] Conceives that the Declaration,
issued out in the war, was to have peace at home—Would
not have it in any man's power to hurt the Church; first
consider the Protestant interest, and put that to the Question.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Hopes you will provide something that men may not be outlawed—A preliminary
vote cannot be brought in, for you are not resolved whether comprehension or toleration—Thinks it a thing of
the greatest consequence in the world to bind up yourselves, and not hear reasons first.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It was an insinuation from ill people, that the late King had an inclination to Popery—After Edgehill fight he did declare, "that the Papists in
the Parliament's army were equal, if not more, in number, than in his own"—He blamed much the remissness
of the Papists in that battle, that they did not their duty
—Will say nothing to their estates, but to be part of
this Bill will destroy all our Religion—'Till 11 Eliz. no difference in Religion; all went to Church, 'till Pius fifth's
Bull came forth, dissolving all allegiance of her subjects
to her. No Acts were made against the Papists 'till
22 Eliz.—In King James's time, the jealousies of that
Religion were much the cause of what followed—The Duke of Ormond made a treaty with that army in
Ireland, to the end he might preserve the King's person,
then in danger in England, and they were, by those articles, to have liberty of open profession of their Religion,
and equal numbers of officers in the army there. They
fell from this, and declared for the Pope, and so they
showed their loyalty; but the Parliament army, when
they were better informed, laid their arms at the King's
feet, under Gen. Monk—Molinos, Zuares, and many other
Jesuits, held it lawful to depose Kings. One has written
a book at Paris, which he is ready to publish when called
for, that proves the Jesuits were the authors of the King's
death. These people, out of an excellent good intention,
commit High Treason every day, going to jails to
convert people condemned; they get into our houses,
perverting people every day; surely his Majesty's good
intentions are abused.
Mr Waller.] Whether general words of inclusion?—Thinks rather general words, because he would not have
an Act of despair on Papists. There are but two ways
of changing Religion, by Act of Parliament, or by
force; by Parliament impossible, none coming in here
amongst us. If we were to make new Laws against them
again, we could not do it—Has a sense of kindness for
any persons that suffer. Our Saviour had some for him
that suffered with him—Hopes the Papists may be capable of some favour, as well as other Dissenters.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] We ought not to make the Address partial as to Dissenters—In the King's Speech the
Papists are not spoken of. It is better to reduce the Papist to something, for he is now always in fear, and yet
always escapes—Would have a full answer to the King's
Sir Thomas Meres.] What is it that makes us now
so zealous in this Question, but our fears of Popery?
And he hoped never to have occasion to speak to it here
—Let us take care that, whilst we dispute the indulging
the Protestant subjects, the third dog does not take the
bone from us both.
Mr Attorney Finch.] You are labouring to put a Question in terms exclusive. It is an unnatural way to exclude ease of persons—At a Committee you have lately
voted an Address to the King. The King may believe
that the manner, and not the matter, does displease you.
Your thinking his Declaration illegal cannot be grateful
to him. Vulgarly speaking, a Protestant is a negative,
viz. not a Papist, but, affirmatively, what, is difficult to
define. If a Protestant, according to the Church of
England, you exclude all persons that differ but in one
article. We cannot consider Religion in Parliament, but
as part of the Civil Government; its doctrine, God forbid we should—Does any man hope ever to see the time
that there shall be never a Papist in England? He may
hope never to see an error, and yet the Scripture says,
"there must be errors, that they that are approved may
be made perfect." In all times there were Roman Catholics,
though the Bull of Pius V. in Queen Elizabeth's time,
and the Powder Treason in King James's time, fired every man with indignation. Priests there will ever be.
Queen Elizabeth employed Lord Clanrickard, a Papist, in
highest trust. They may do good, when impossibility is
taken from them of doing harm—When you go and tell
the King he is mistaken, and that no temperament or relaxation, believes it will have no vote—We are masters of
our vote, but not of the interpretation of standers-by.
Hopes it will suit with all the ends of Piety and Christianity, if the vote be general, and it is for your honour to
have it so.
Sir William Coventry.] It has been said, the word "Protestant" excludes the Papists—Would have the word "Protestant" to stand, that they may know you use some other
manner of kindness, than to the Papists. The King has
restrained his favours to them; I would have you do so
too. Believes it is the intention of no man here to equalize them in his thoughts. [Here he stopped a while, and
desired leave a little for recollection, and then proceeded.]
He supposes the Declaration was to quiet persons in consideration of their numbers, so that the Papists have no
claim, if few, then not considerable. If so few as we apprehend and hope, they are not considerable in the war;
if many, it is time to look after them, and hinder the
growth, and would not mingle them therefore, but retain
the word "Protestant" in the Question.
Sir Robert Carr.] Likes neither the Papists nor Dissenters, but the Papists have fought for the King, the
others have not; therefore would have more kindness for
Mr Powle.] Never thought of extirpating the Papists,
but would not have them equal to us. Their insolence
is the complaint in every street. This has filled the minds
of the people with apprehensions. They have abused the
King's favour. There are some good and some bad among them. Would have the nation secured of our own
Religion, especially seeing that some of them have crept
into commands and employments—Would have the word
"Protestant" in the Question.
Sir Henry Herbert.] Is not for enlarging the Question,
for the Papists at this time enjoy liberties beyond us.
They are neither Sheriffs, Constables, nor Tything-men,
nor are any Laws put in execution against them. Knows
very well that at Edgehill battle, the late King complained
that they did not their duty, and during the war they lay
couchant at Worcester. Religion is to be preferred before
all considerations. The best foundation of the State is
Religion; it makes men more peaceable and better subjects. The Quaker and Anabaptist have no foundation.
He has greater apprehensions of the Papists than of any
others. Superfetations (fn. 2) of Religion are horrible. Has travelled, and (he thanks God) came home a better Protestant
than he went. Their wine is the better in France by being brought into England, but our Gentry worse by going into France. The Papists are wholly excluded out of
the Question; for they are not quiet and peaceable men,
as others are.
Resolved, nem. con. That a Bill be brought in for the Ease of
his Majesty's Protestant subjects (that are) Dissenters (in matters
of Religion) from the Church of England.
[Debate on desiring the concurrence of the Lords to the Petition and Address to be presented to his Majesty.]
Mr Swynfin.] If you had voted, upon a single vote,
what Laws to be suspended, and what not, you must have
gone to the Lords; but now it is involved with other
things, you cannot; your Message must have been singly
upon the vote. It is a matter in which the Lords cannot
agree with you, viz. You say you have taken the matter
of the Speech into consideration; if the Lords have not,
they cannot agree with you. For a single judgment uninvolved, you must go to them, and for an opinion in Law.
Sir Rich. Temple.] No precedent that ever we went single
to the King in things of this nature without the Lords.
You went to the King and offered him reasons for what
you could not concur with in his Speech. About relaxation
in the Petition of Right, you went to the Lords to join
with you in petitioning the King, that the Laws might
have their free course. This Address is to the same effect.
We never went alone in a public concern of the Kingdom
to the King. The matter of your Petition is a judgment
in Law. Hopes not for a good success if you go without
the Lords. If you take this course, the Lords may justly
object, that you declare Law without them; the King
may possibly say, he will have the advice of the Lords
before he gives an answer, and will think it unreasonable
to do it, without consulting the Lords and the Judges.
Mr Attorney Finch.] The former going without the
Lords, about the Declaration of Breda, was no Judgment
of Law. Did you ever desire a Proclamation against the
Papists, but by both Speakers, hand in hand? Do you
think this matter of less consequence? He granted this
indulgence to Peers as well as Commons. If they shall
differ from you, it lies at their doors, and you have discharged yourselves. Will not you acquaint the Lords in
an universal Judgment of Law? The King may deny it
because not Parliamentary. To send it to the Lords is
the way to make it more easily pass, and it is for your
honour to do so.
Sir William Coventry.] When you asked liberty of access to the King's person, it was for yourselves, not the
Lords. In the Petition of Right there was more need
than in this, for that had the force of a Law. We usually
go to the Lords when things are in doubt; but may we
not by ourselves claim our Laws, and that they may have
a free course? Some among the Lords may be distasted
with your vote. It may be, the Lords will have Conferences to delay. In all the Debates we have avoided
disputes of Prerogative and Liberties; the Committee
would not touch reasons for fear of offence. Will you
go from your former precedents, and put hazard of Conferences, which will put us upon arguing what we would
not argue here, and put ourselves upon that rock we
Mr Milward.] In your vote you have declared the
Law, and now you would avoid the Judgment of the
highest Judicature. The Petition of Right is de jure to
be granted, and therefore the Lords to be consulted. Before the Lords come to Addresses they will consider, and
Conferences are natural, and can never be avoided in any
transaction with the Lords.
The Question being put that the concurrence of the Lords be
desired, &c. it passed in the negative, 125 to 110.
[Saturday, February 15.
The Speaker, Sir Job Charlton, being much indisposed (fn. 3) , the
House adjourned to Tuesday, February 18; when the House being
met, and the Speaker's indisposition growing still more upon him,
that he was not able to attend the service of the House, and having, by letters, desired leave of his Majesty and the House to resign the place of Speaker, and retire into the country, Mr Edward Seymour, eldest son of Sir Edward Seymour, Bart. being
nominated and recommended, by Mr Secretary Coventry, as a fit
person, both in respect of his ability and experience, as also of his
constitution and health of body, for the Speaker; he was accordingly chosen, presented, and approved of by his Majesty.]
Wednesday, February 19.
Debate in a Grand Committee on the vote for granting Ease
to his Majesty's Protestant subjects, &c.
Sir Lancelot Lake.] Citing a passage in St. John of those
who called themselves Jews and were not, moves to have
the xxxix Articles read, and would have that the test.
Mr Hale.] Moves to know what the Gentlemen concerned in the King's Declaration would move you in, for
redress of their grievances.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Our Debate is from the late vote,
who you would have "eased." Would have the Question to "Subscribers to the Articles of the Church of
England," and thinks that a good test.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Would have the Church of England as strong as you can against the Church of Rome.
Would be loth to ask Toleration of them. Would take in
"those that dissent not in matters of Doctrine."
Sir John Birkenhead.] The Leveller will not have the
Minister have two Livings, nor the Gentleman two Manors, no Emperor, no King. Are such as these the
men you would ease? Before you consider what
Ease to give them, know from them what they would
have, for one thing will not please them all; but says
one, Who represents them? By Licences granted since the
Declaration you may know who represents them. And
made a large discourse of our Religion settled by Act of
Mr Garroway.] We are all beholden to Birkenhead for
telling us that the Parliament makes Religion, and the
Articles, valid. Consider your vote and your Address.
Dissenters are many, and not one vote can comprehend
them all—Would make your first steps to bring in the
better sort, and if you find the door too strait, make it
wider to bring it more. Moves, for the least, so many
"as will agree to the xxxix Articles, or as many of them
as relate to the Doctrine of the Church of England." We
have people that would come in—The Papists are under
an anathema, and cannot come in under pain of Excommunication.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It is a good motion, made to
see what those out of the Church do desire. A man would
give something to get something, but would not give
something to get nothing. We confess that things of Ceremony are in themselves indifferent, and therefore they keep
out, and may have the same arguments with the Papists
of salvation in their Church, and not in ours, &c. It is
confessed that never any Liturgy was like our Common
Prayer. We may suppose that all people here are for the
Common Prayer, because said in the House every day.
What do we mean by "taking in?" It may be to be Bishops, and bring the Covenant upon their backs. If we
take them so in, we leave ourselves out.
Mr Vaughan.] If any one asks, Who are these Dissenters
Representatives? We are their Representatives, as for other people, and we must judge what is fit for them. Put
some test upon them, and then we may know what to be
Mr Crouch.] "Ease" implies a burden of some weight.
Would any Physician advise with a Patient, without
knowing what he ails? Would know what it is would
satisfy these people, before we proceed any farther.
Sir William Coventry.] It is reasonable that you consider
them to whom you would "give ease." Did not know
that the Levellers, as many others, were religious, before
Birkenhead called them so. And another sort he mentioned, those who believed Christianity because settled by
Act of Parliament, knows not where that sort is. Moves
that the persons we shall take care of, may be those that
will subscribe to the Doctrine of the Church of England,
and will take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy.
Sir Thomas Doleman.] Would not have it extend to
such, as allow a Dispensation for such as take the Oaths
of Allegiance and Supremacy.
Sir William Coventry.] Does not rise to controvert what
Birkenhead said, but to rectify an error. Does doubt that
it may be apprehended that "such as will take the Oaths
of Allegiance and Supremacy" shall be capable of Preferment in the Church of England. The test that must be
put upon persons to make them capable of Preferment,
must be a farther thing.
Resolved, at the Committee, That Ease shall be given to his
Majesty's Protestant subjects that will subscribe to the Doctrine of
the Church of England, and take the Oaths of Allegiance and
Sir Philip Warwick.] That you may be able to do
something, moves that the Convocation may have the
business to consider of it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Thinks this "Ease," in order to
taking them into the Church, may be "a great Ease
to them." By this vote, they may comfortably follow their trades. Ceremonies are necessary for your
House, and for the Church, as your cloaths are for your
person. Would next have it taken into consideration,
what shall make them capable of Preferment in the
Mr Love (fn. 4) .] What would satisfy them, is a Question no
man here can answer, but for once desires leave to personate these people. Hopes that all, that shall reap the
fruits of this Bill, will demonstrate their gratitude to the
King and this House, by their quiet deportment. He confesses he has no kindness for them that desire so immodest
a thing as Preferment in the Church, unless they are conformable to the Laws. Nor do they desire to be exempted from all chargeable Offices, paying of Tythes, to
the Poor or Church, one Office excepted, viz. that of
Church-Warden only, and not without being willing to
pay a fine for the contempt. They desire that, after the
test, you will permit those that are Preachers to preach,
but not without the Magistrate's leave, the doors open
and in the public Churches, when no Divine Service is
there. (This latter motion he retracted, being generally decried.) He said he mentioned "in the Church" because
they could not be thought to plot in such a place. This
is the sense of most of the Dissenters, and will please them,
and, he hopes, this Committee also.
Colonel Strangways.] Whatever the Parliament shall
make to unite, he shall be for it, but never to set up Altar
against Altar. One fort of Dissenters you hope to gain,
another you never hope. Does value those Churches that
have Charity, and damn not all opinions different from
them. Would do this business as if he were immediately
to answer it to God. If [they were] things commanded,
or forbidden, by God, would not alter them. He puts no
value upon Ceremonies, which are alterable, according to
time and prudence. Would consider what you ordain,
that things may be obeyed. We may remember what
principles brought the King to the block. Those principles
were never grounded upon the Church of England. Do
what becomes good Christians and moderate men.
Would not have these Laws of Ease made perpetual;
would see how they behave themselves upon it.
Sir John Duncombe.] Hopes this House will well consider what they are about, before they make a Law—This
may sway the very Government so as to overbalance it.
Will never think it fit that those men should have "Ease,"
that, when the Church says, you must suffer or die; and
they say you must fight. Invite them to you, but never
form them into bodies; lose nothing yourselves. Their
principles are not consistent with honest people; let them
not set up a Government by themselves, for the Presbyterian will ever be for a Commonwealth. Would have
tryal of them for a year, by some Law, and no longer.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In 35 Eliz. there was something of
this nature—Would have the Act to be upon revival, not
perpetual, but to try them during this war.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Desires that those, that are in
the Church, may be clear in the Church. Is for a temporary Toleration. In Holland they have no leave for any public Religion but that of Calvin. The Law favours none else; the rest are by connivance. Would
have the indulgence here temporary.
Mr Powle.] To repeal all Laws from Queen Elizabeth's
time against Dissenters would be very dangerous. Would
only have the indulgence temporary. To the end of the
next Session of Parliament would have freedom from all
penal Laws, ecclesiastical or temporal, and then consider
of qualifications for Preferment.
Sir Robert Howard.] No Laws can be suspended, unless
named particularly. They bind not else. It will be a
strange thing, at one blow, to execute all the Laws since
Queen Elizabeth's time.
Col. Birch.] Their argument of things indifferent in Ceremonies we cannot well answer them. Till you have some
experience in the thing, would not have one stone taken
out of the building. If we must enumerate the Laws in
this, why not in every thing else? We may say "any Law,
Statute, &c. to the contrary, notwithstanding."
[In the Afternoon Mr Speaker report, That he had, according
to their direction, presented their humble Petition and Address to
his Majesty, who was pleased to return this answer, "That it was
of importance, and he would take it into his consideration."]
Thursday, February 20.
In a Grand Committee for preparing a Bill for granting Ease to
his Majesty's Protestant Dissenting subjects, &c. (fn. 5) .
Sir Lionel Jenkins. (fn. 6) ] As to receiving the Communion
twice a year in the Parish Churches for both lewd persons
and sectaries, some persons are of no Religion at all, and
may be known by being kept from the Communion till
they amend. Humbly moves that, whatever you would
do for these persons, you will support the Church; that
a new Altar may not be erected for these persons, and that
no new Law may erect them any new Churches for public worship.
Sir William Coventry.] Offers to consideration what we
may do to keep persons in the Church, and to bring in
such as are out; for when all is done, the preservation of
Religion must be in the Church of England established by
Law, and we must strengthen that, wherein our main
defence does lie, against Popery and Policy. Whereas
now the Dissenters have the disadvantage of their labours,
for want of Preferment, by coming in they may have the
benefit of them. Moves that what has been laid on
them, without the Convocations, may be taken off, as
those things laid on since the King came in, by Act of
Parliament, as Covenant, Assent and Consent, &c.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] As for removing the Covenant, if we are to increase our garrison, would not do it
with those that have the Plague. It was a brave vote the
burning the Covenant, and by dispensing with the renunciation of the Covenant, you may burn your vote with
the Covenant. This is a calling in other men in triumph
over the Church of England.
Mr Vaughan.] If the Covenant be a false Oath, there
is no need of Renunciation; taking the Oath of Allegiance
and Supremacy voids all that. If we say "no man shall
or can be, of the Church of England, that comes not up
to all the strictness of the Ceremonies," it is to make ours
as infallible as the Church of Rome makes hers.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] You have condemned the
Covenant to be burnt, and will you bring it in again?
Shall we be more merciful than God is, to bring in men
Mr Garroway.] The case is altered now; we are providing that the Church of England shall not be devoured
by the Papist. If we answer not our vote by an Act,
wonders not that now we must fence off the the thing.
Things are not so clear; we are not at the end of the war;
let us reconcile persons. Shall we leave the people in confusion? Now we will neither let them out, nor in. Shall
we put them out of the nation? It may be, we shall leave
few in. Though our medicine may seem empirical, yet,
in the danger we are in, we must make use of it. Moves
to take off the Oath of Assent and Consent, and the Renunciation of the Covenant.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Will you have them make
subscription to what they neither "assent" nor "consent" to? Let one of them be taken in, either "Assent"
Sir Lionel Jenkins.] Does not know what the Dissenters
mean by taking away the Oath of "Assent and Consent."
Who are these contended for? Not the Laymen; their
Ministers only. If they conform, they need not subscribe;
if not, they need not contend for it.
Sir John Duncombe.] If we knew what would ease
them, would willingly hear them; we know not what
pains them, and therefore not what will ease them. Does
to thus much agree, that he would leave the thing as you
found it. If we believed that the Covenant was the only
clog, would take that away, but would have the Declaration what it is.
Mr Garroway.] The Debate is mistaken. Would not
let them say what they would have; but this House is to
put the thing into a certain fund, that they may have the
same security the rest of his Majesty's subjects have.
Sir Robert Howard.] Your Debate is, that the Church
of England shall not be disrobed—This Assent and Consent is no part of the Church of England, and you may
take it away; you have kept the Church entire. The
Papist is the stand you make. You take off the penalty
from such Acts as you have made; no man comes in
without submitting to all the methods other men do.
Moves to have "Assent and Consent" suspended.
Sir William Coventry.] The "Assent and Consent" is
principally applied to Ceremonies, but he is not for leaving the use of the Liturgy.
Sir Philip Warwick.] Moves to have the words "other
persons" in the renunciation of the Covenant left, and
believes most of the Dissenters will not scruple the rest.
Mr Secr. Coventry.] Many will say they are not obliged
by it, because they have not taken it. Thinks we are not
to buy those persons off (that think themselves obliged by
the Covenant, that have taken it) at so dear a rate.
Mr Harwood.] We are not buying these persons, but
you are making an experiment but for twelve months—The Covenant will expire of itself in nine years, in regard
it is but temporary.—Would have the Question put.
Sir Richard Temple.] He that does come into the
Church does materially renounce the Covenant—Men
will not make forcible confessions; it is voluntary that is
required. Many have said "that by renouncing the Covenant they shall lose their interest with all men." It is a
branch not essential to the Church; it is against the nature
of a renunciation to be forced. A man would ask forgiveness for an injury done if not forced to it.
Col. Strangways.] We argue the thing now, as a civil
consideration, among men of true reputation, not to do an
unjust thing. These men that have done odious and abominable things—Would have no man come in that
does not renounce, with his tongue and heart, this odious
Covenant. King's murder, Lands sequestered, and the
consequences of it.
Sir Thomas Osborne.] Would have as many Dissenters
brought in as may be—Does think this most unreasonable, and cannot consent to it; it is both to the King and
this House: To the King, because we should seem to encourage the wickedness of those men; to the House, because of the vote, &c. No man, he thinks, will ever
come in, and he would exclude them. It is a great scandal to bring them in by special Act of Parliament. The
nation groans under it, and he thinks they would return
Mr Streete.] Those that are still fond of the Covenant
supposes you intend them not. He supposes persons will
not renounce it for their reputation's fake. This K. James
calls, in Conference at Hampton-court, "a Scottish argument." There were then in England but forty-nine Dissenters. You will now gratify but a few in dispensing with it.
At the Savoy Debate they agreed not what they would have;
in the time of the war they made use of it as a snare to
such as had not taken it. They that are fond of this Idol,
let them keep it, but never let it come into the Church.
Sir William Coventry.] Thinks that dispensing with the
Covenant will strengthen you against such as will not
take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy, who hold
any thing lawful that the Pope commands, but would
not press it under the notion of a thing that may be of
scandal. They desire to speak and to swear only for
themselves, and not for others; therefore would have
them accept it to themselves, and not to others.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] These persons did take the
Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy. In keeping out the
Fox from the Flock, shall I let in the Wolf?
Mr Vaughan.] This which stands in your Act is a reproach to them that they have been traytors; if it has authority, the Declaration does lessen it already. Desires the
distinction only may be removed.
Col. Birch.] Rises up, because some persons here were
not old enough to see what was done formerly. After he
had the honour to come into this house, some intentions
were to renew the Covenant. Cromwell, Ireton, and the
rest, would not have it done. He said then, that these
men would alter the Government, and the House then
would have sent them to the Tower—He never saw such
mettle in this house; he had forty notes sent him, "Stick
to the Covenant, and you shall die." This was his greatest
inducement to stick to it—Not one of these men could be
brought to change the Government. Love lost his life for
it; the Presbyterian party declared against the King's murder. To the Restoration of the King all agreed. Had he
not engaged for the King, by the Covenant, he had prevented himself twenty-one imprisonments he has suffered.
When the King was restored, these were the men we only
durst trust—He had never gone to the King at Worcester,
but with sincere intentions. For the Engagement, he cannot find any of that persuasion that took it—It is a harder
matter to make a man renounce, repent, and confess
publickly, which is so much done in private confession.
Sir Robert Carr.] At the same time that the Covenant
was pressed in the House, damnable Heresy was coupled
with the Hierarchy—reflecting on Col. Birch.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is loth, as they were then coupled,
that now any Protestant should be joined with Popery.
But wonders, in all the arguments, that reputation should
be "a Scotch argument" and not an English one. The
House was of opinion, when the Act of Uniformity
passed, that it was a prejudice to the Kingdom that the renunciation of the Covenant should be perpetual. It is
but for a few years to come.
Sir Thomas Osborne.] If there be any one that thinks
himself under the obligation of this Covenant, he is no
good man. Mr Calamy discoursed and pressed the bringing in the King on conditions, when he came to him that
commanded next under Gen. Monk.
Mr Garroway.] Uses this as a counter-poison, and no
otherwise, against those that renounce the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy. A great many persons are not
concerned in the Covenant —A few old Gentlemen. Says
nothing of former things, but moves for the present pacification of England.
Mr Love.] Did hope to see yesterday some good issue.
Some men may possibly think what principles he is of,
which he is not ashamed to own and justify. Must
give his vote, that such as will renounce the Covenant, as
to their own obligation to it, without reference to others,
shall be left out of the exception? But this will amount
to little or no general Ease.—Moves for a general indulgence, by way of comprehension.
[To proceed on Saturday.]