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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

That whoever furthered Popery or Arminianism


The

King was incensed at the political, as well as at the religious attitude of the Lower House. A treatise in his own handwriting is extant, in which he expresses himself on the latter subject. 'You take to yourselfs,' he says, 'the interpretation of articles of religion, the deciding of which in doctrinal points only appartaines to the clergy and convocation.'[496] He added that His Majesty--for he loved to speak of himself in the third person--had a short time before announced his intention of maintaining the integrity of the religion of the English Church, and its unity, and that after much reflection, in agreement with the Privy Council and with the bishops: that as the Commons had the same object in view, he was surprised that they were not content with this announcement, and that they did not at all events state wherein the King's declaration did not content them: for that the King was the supreme governor of the English Church after God.

At this very time an order was issued to the Treasury, and to the collectors of customs at the ports that tonnage and poundage should be henceforth levied, just as it had been in the latter years of James I; and that every one who refused payment should be punished.

In this way the King embarked afresh on a course of the most unequivocal hostility towards his Parliament. But that body did not intend to give way. It would not be deterred from drawing up a fresh remonstrance,

in which it made use of the strongest expressions to give point to its claims. In this it was said, that whoever furthered Popery or Arminianism, whoever collected or helped to collect tonnage and poundage before it was granted, or who even paid it, the same was an enemy of the English realm and of English liberty. This was a strange combination of ecclesiastical and financial grievances and pretensions. But the course of the transactions had established an intimate relation between them. In regard to both the Commons again took up as hostile an attitude towards the ministers of that day, as they had formerly taken up towards the Duke of Buckingham. The Lord Treasurer Weston was the special object of their hatred on both accounts. For it was said that he was a rebellious Papist--nay even a Jesuit:--did not his nearest kinsmen belong to that order?--and that he was now giving the King pernicious advice, hostile to the rights of the country and the dignity of Parliament. Proceeding on the principle that the collection of tonnage and poundage was a breach of the constitution, preparations were made for calling to account the officers engaged in this process. Nor would men have been content to stop at the subordinates; they would have reached even the highest.

In this session the moderation which had been for some time exhibited in the former dropped out of sight: the contempt shown to the Petition of Right had called forth a spirit of bitter, violent, and unbounded opposition. When the King, in order to prevent the formal passing of the Remonstrance, proceeded in the first instance to have the session adjourned, a scene of tumult and violence was witnessed, to which the annals of former Parliaments offered no parallel.


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