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“ Gilbert paused for a while, and as he thus stood silent, it opened in his heart what he should say to the King; whereupon he told the Friends he was ready to go with them; and accordingly they went, and had admittance into the King's presence, there being only one other person present besides the King and his Friends. George Whitehead and William Penn having spoken what they had to say, the King was pleased to ask Gilbert, whether he had not something to say ; upon which he in a great deal of humility spake in the manner following: The mercy, favour, and kindness, which the King hath extended to us as a people in the time of our exercise and sore distress, we humbly acknowledge ; and I truly desire that God may show him mercy and favour in the time of his trouble and sore distress.' To which the King replied, I thank you; and so at that time they parted. But what was then spoken by Gilbert lived with the King; who, some time after, when he was in Ireland, desired a Friend to remember him to Gilbert. Tell him, said the King, the words he spake to me I shall never forget, adding that one part of them
had come true (the Revolution and sore distress thereby), and that he prayed to God that the other might come to pass. Upon this Gilbert caused it to be signified to him, that the second part of what he had said was also in a great measure come to pass, for that the Lord had given him his life” (alluding to the battle of the Boyne). I mention this as a curious anecdote of the constitution of the King's mind, he having viewed the words spoken by Gilbert Latey in a prophetic light.
In the month of April the King renewed his Declaration for liberty of conscience, with this addition, that he would adhere firmly to it, and that he would put none into public employments but such as would concur with him in maintaining it. He also promised that he would hold a Parliament in the November following. This was what William Penn desired. He wished the King to continue firm to his purpose ; but he knew that neither tests nor penalties could be legally removed without the consent of Parliament. He rejoiced therefore that the Parliament were to be consulted on the measure; for he indulged a hope, that
the substance of the Royal Declaration would be confirmed by both Houses, and thus pass into a law of the land.
At the time when this Declaration was renewed, an Order of Council came out, that it should be read in the churches within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the kingdom. Sancroft Archbishop of Canterbury, and six other Bishops, namely, St. Asaph, Ely, Bath and Wells, Peterborough, Chichester, and Bristol, presented a petition to the King in behalf of themselves and several other Bishops, and a great body of the Clergy; in which they laid before him the reasons why they had opposed the reading of the Declaration in the churches, as the Order in Council had prescribed. They intended, they said, no disrespect to His Majesty, nor did they breathe any spirit of hostility towards the Dissenters; but the Declaration being founded on a dispensing power, which had been declared illegal no less than three times in eight years, they could not become parties to it by giving it the extraordinary publicity required. The King having heard the petition, of which this was the substance, took time to deliberate upon it; after which the seven Bishops were sent to the Tower. In process of time they were brought to trial, and they were acquitted among the plaudits of the nation.
After this event William Penn became more unpopular than ever.
It had transpired, probably by means of Burnet, that he had been employed by the King on the embassy to the Hague to obtain the Prince of Orange's consent, not only to a Toleration, but to the removal of Tests. It had been suspected that he was the mover of the Royal Proclamation in 1686, and of the Declaration in 1687. It had become known, though he had concealed his name, that he was the author of " Good Advice to the Church of England, and Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters." It was therefore now taken for granted, that he had a hand in the imprisonment of the Bishops, though he had never any concern, on any occasion, in the recommendation of force. The consequence was, that he became very odious to the Church. The Dissenters too, whose very cause he had been pleading, turned against him. Considering his intimacy with James the Second, they judged him to be a
creature of the same stamp, and to have the like projects and pursuits. Now it happened that the King had made this year a more open acknowledgement of Popery than ever. He had permitted the Jesuits to erect a College in the Savoy in London, and suffered the Friars to go publicly in the dress of their monastical orders; which was a strange sight to Protestants. He had permitted also the Pope's Nuncio D'Ada to make his public entry into Windsor in great state. therefore most openly a Catholic. Hence they considered William Penn to be of the same religious persuasion. But they carried the matter still further; for, believing that the King, when he wished to establish a Toleration and to abolish Tests, had no other motive than that of protecting the Roman Catholic religion, and thus giving it an opportunity to flourish, they attached to William Penn the same motive in his furtherance and defence of the measure. From this time the names of Papist and Jesuit were revived with double fury. It was added, that he was disaffected to the free part of the Constitution, and a friend to arbitrary power. The clamour, indeed,