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sion of strength and reputation from the general tide of political opinions.

Of those two sects, the presbyterians were, for some time, the most powerful, and by their exertions, in conformity to their views of government, many regulations, calculated for securing a limited monarchy, were successively introduced. But the progress of the contest, by holding the minds of men in continual agitation, contributed to push the people to greater extremities, both in religion and politics; in religion, by overthrowing all religious establishments; and in politics, by the entire abolition of regal authority. Such was the aim of the independents, who at length became the ruling party, but who, falling under the direction of an extraordinary genius, utterly devoid of all principle, were made, in his hands, an instrument for the destruction of the monarchy, for the pur

purpose of introducing an odious species of despotism. Had Cromwell possessed less enterprise and abilities, the crown would have been preserved: had his ambition been better directed, England, which under his authority assumed the name of a commonwealth, might

have, in reality obtained a popular government.

The restoration of Charles the second, gave rise to new religious combinations. The church of England, having now recovered her former establishment, could not fail to entertain a violent jealousy of those dissenters by whom her power had been overturned ; and she was led, of course, to co-operate with the Roman Catholics, in promoting the arbitrary designs of the monarch. The cry of church and king, and the alarm that the church was in danger, were now sounded throughout the nation, and were employed on every critical emergency, to discredit all endeavours for securing the rights of the ple.

The barefaced attempt of the infatuated James the second, to re-establish the Roman Catholic religion in England, tended once more to break down these arrangements, and to produce a concert, between the leading men in the church and the Protestant dissenters, for the purpose of resisting the unconstitutional measures of the king. As this concert, however, had arisen from the imme

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diate fear of popery, it remained no longer than while that fear was kept alive ; and accordingly the revolution in 1688 was hardly completed, before these loyal ecclesiastics began to disclaim the part they had acted, and returned with fresh ardour to their congenial doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance.

CHAP. IV.

Progress of the Disputes between the King and

Parliament, during the Reigns of James the first and of Charles the first.

THE long contest between the king and parliament, under the two first princes of the Stuart family, forms a very interesting part of the English history; and its origin and consequences deserve the most attentive examination. The object in dispute was no less than to determine and establish the political constitution of a great nation; and the agitation produced by so important a controversy could not fail to rouse the passions of men, to call forth and display their most eminent characters, and to develope those combinations and occurrences which tended to facilitate or to obstruct the improvement of civil society. We are not, however, to imagine that, from the beginning to the end of this contest, the same line of conduct was invariably pursued

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by either of the parties. They were sometimes actuated by the feelings of the moment; changed their ground, according to the alteration of times and circumstances; and varied their measures, according to the character and views of those individuals by whom they were occasionally directed. To distinguish the most remarkable of these variations, the whole period under consideration may be divided into three branches: the first extending from the accession of James to the meeting of the long parliament, as it is called in the year 1640; the second, from the meeting of the long parliament to the commencement of the civil war; the third, from thence to the death of Charles the first.

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