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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Cruel impositions on the conscience


conventicles as they called

them. Now having thus overturned the church-government, by introducing prelacy, to advance an absolute supremacy; the effects whereof were either the corruption, or persecution of all the ministry, encouragement of profanity and wickedness, the encrease and advancement of popery, superstition, and error, cruel impositions on the conscience, and oppressions for conscience sake, by the practices of cruel supra-Spanish inquisitions, and all manner of outcries of outragious violence and villany: the king proceeds in his design, to pervert and evert the well modelled and moderated constitution of the state government also, by introducing and advancing an arbitrary tyranny; the effects whereof were, an absolute mancipation of lives and liberties and estates unto his lust and pleasure, the utter subversion of laws, and absolute impoverishing of the people. For effectuating which, he first procures a lasting imposition of intollerable subsidies and taxations, to impoverish that he might the more easily enslave the nation; next a further recognizance of his prerogative, in a subjection of persons, fortunes, and whole strength of the kingdom to his absolute arbitrement, 'in a levy of militia of 20,000 footmen, and 2000 horsemen sufficiently armed with 40 days provision, to be ready upon the king's call to march to any part of his dominions, for opposing whatsoever invasion, or insurrection, or for any other service.' The first sproutings of tyranny were cherished, by the cheerful and stupid
submission generally yielded to these exorbitancies; under which they who suffered most were inwardly malecontents, but there was no opposition to them by word or action, but on the contrary, generally people did not so much as scruple sending out, or going out as militiamen: never adverting unto what this concurrence was designed, and demanded, and given for; nor what an accession it was, in the nature and influence of the mean itself, and in the sense and intention of the requirers, unto a confederacy for a compliance with, and a confirmation and strengthening of arbitrary tyranny. After the fundamental constitutions of both church and state are thus razed and rooted up, to confirm this absolute power, he contrived to frame all inferior magistrates according to his mould: And for this end appointed, that all persons in any public trust or office whatsoever should subscribe a declaration, renouncing and abjuring the covenants; whereby perjury was made the chief and indispensible qualification, and _conditio sine qua non_, of all that were capable of exercising any power or place in church or state. But finding this not yet sufficient security for this unsettled settlement; because he well understood, the people stood no ways obliged to acknowledge him but only according to the solemn covenants, being the fundamental conditions whereupon their allegiance was founded (as amongst all people, the articles mutually consented betwixt them and these whom they set over them, are the constituent fundamentals of government) and well knowing, that he and his associates, by violating these conditions, had loosed the people from all subjection to him, or any deriving power from him, whereby the people might justly plead, that since he had kept no condition they were not now obliged to him, he therefore contrived a new oath of allegiance to be imposed upon all in public trust both in church and state; wherein they are made to oblige themselves to that boundless breaker of all bonds sacred and civil, and his successors also, without any reciprocal obligation from him to them, or any reserved restriction, limitation, or qualification, as all human authority by God's ordinance must be bounded. Whereby the swearers have by oath homologated the overturning of the very basis of the government, making free


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