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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Decreased in the year 1603 to L300


This

sovereign assumed a similar attitude towards the Catholics of England as well. He could not vouchsafe to them a real toleration; but a few months after his arrival in England he actually carried out what he had already promised, an alleviation of those burdens which weighed most heavily on them. The most grievous was the fine collected every month from those who refused to take part in the Protestant service. James declared to an assemblage of leading Catholics, that he would not enforce this fine so long as they behaved quietly, and did not show contempt towards himself and the State. The Catholics reminded him that their absence from the service of the Church might be interpreted as contempt. He assured them that he would not regard it in this light. The fines, which in late years had amounted to more than L10,000, decreased in the year 1603 to L300, and in 1604 to L200. The King, like his predecessor, would not tolerate Jesuits and Seminarists, but he was content with their banishment; it would have been contrary to his temper to have had them executed. He sought to avoid all the consequences that must have been provoked by the hostility of this element which was still so powerful in the world at large and among his own subjects.

But even within the domain of Protestantism he was now encountered by a similar problem.

The investigation of the influence which the Scots and English have exercised on one another

in the last few centuries would be a task of essential importance for the history of intellectual life; for in the development of the prevailing spirit of the nation the Scots as well as the English have had a large share. Even under Elizabeth these relations had begun to exist. The growth of English Puritanism especially, which had already given the Queen much trouble, must be regarded as but the dissemination of the forms and ideas that had arisen in the Church of Scotland. But how much stronger must the action of this cause have become now that a Scottish king had ascended the English throne! The union between two populations which so nearly resembled one another in their original composition, and in the direction taken by their religious development, could not be a merely territorial union: it must lead to the closest relation between the spirit of the two peoples.

It was natural from the state of the case, that on the accession of a Scottish king in England the English clergy who leaned to the Scottish system should embrace the hope of being emancipated to some extent from that strict subordination to their bishops which they endured with reluctance. On the first arrival of James, whilst he was still on his way to London, they laid before him an address signed by eight hundred of the clergy, in which they besought him, in accordance with God's word, to lighten the rigour of this jurisdiction and of their condition in general, and in the first place to allow them to set before him the feasibility of the alteration. They had nourished the hope that the King might be prevailed on to reduce the English episcopate to the level of the Scottish, in the shape in which he had just restored it.[320]

But the tendencies which the King brought with him out of Scotland ran in an altogether different direction. He had often been personally affronted by the Presbyterians: he hated their system; for in his opinion equality in the Church necessarily led to equality in the State. His intention was rather by degrees to develop further on the English model those beginnings of episcopacy which he had introduced into Scotland. In December 1603 he convened, as the Puritans wished, an assembly of the Church at Hampton Court, to which he also invited the leading men among the opponents of uniformity. But


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