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for making a difference betweene the ciuilly obedient Papists and the peruerse disciples of the Powder Treason." The oath of allegiance of 1606 was therefore no innovation. All its ideas had long been familiar, and had appeared and reappeared in various guises ever since 1597. Far from being a piece of intentional and unexampled severity, it was really a compromise.
The effect of the Gunpowder treason, moreover, far from provoking a persecution of the Catholics, and far from rupturing all the relations so carefully fostered by Bancroft, consummated the alliance of the Government and the seculars, by influencing the priests to accept the minimum demands of the State. Instead of being the signal for new oppression, the oath of allegiance was to be the open sesame to toleration, the test of loyalty, the sieve that should winnow the wheat from the chaff. To take it was to be admitted to membership in the new sodality of Catholic Englishmen, a secular organisation of loyal Catholics in pursuit of purely spiritual ends, to be administered in the furtherance of domestic peace and of mutual trust between men of different creeds.
But there still stood on the statute book the penal laws of Elizabeth, and the Parliament of 1606 added others which were even more stringent. Here came into play the Puritan horror of Catholicism, the Anti-Spanish, Anti-Jesuit feeling inherited from the Armada times. In Parliament, this party was in the majority and passed the new laws and reaffirmed the old with a determination to crush the Papists at last, and either to exterminate them or expel them from the new Canaan. It was the spirit of conformity, or, as we call it to-day, the spirit of persecution. When the Puritan demanded the banishment of the Catholic, he was guilty of
1 Works of James I, (1616) 263, there a separation and distinction 264, 265, 269. On page 292 James made between that sort of papists declared that he had forced the House and the other pernicious sort. (Tierof Commons to strike out of the oath ney, IV, clxxxvii.) The Venetian a clause stating that the Pope had no
January 28, 1607
Ambassador reported, power to excommunicate him. The
February 7. 1608 proclamation of 1610 stated that
that James “professes himself amazed "howsoever odious it was to the Pope.
that this oath should be prohibited yet was it only devised as an act of
when it is really so much milder than great favour and clemency towards
the oath exacted by his predecessors. so many of our subjects, who, though
Thus one party is trying to make the blinded with the superstition of pop
archpriest recede from his position,
and the other to confirm him in it.' ery, yet carried a dutiful heart towards our obedience: for hereby was
Venetian Calendar, XI, no. 168.
that same intolerance, and that same persecution of which he complained so bitterly, when the Church deprived him of his benefice for his own nonconformity. According to our standards the one is as worthy of reprobation as is the other. Certainly the record of episcopal “persecution” is far shorter, far less fierce, and far less merciless, than the long and unbroken series of Puritan demands in and out of Parliament, for the extirpation of the Catholics.
The new laws provided that the recusants should not only attend church, but receive the communion yearly according to the Anglican rite. Where the act of 1587 had allowed the Crown to seize two-thirds of the offenders' lands when the fine of £20 was not paid, the King might now take the two-thirds at will. The punishment of death for conversion to Romanism was extended to the convert as well as to the agent of his relapse from grace. The other Act of this same year offered large rewards for information of recusancy: banished all Papists from the Court and from the city of London, except under special conditions; excluded them from the medical and legal professions, from the army and navy, from all minor public offices and from trustee- or guardianship. All the property of recusants educated abroad devolved at once upon the Protestant next to kin; arms and munitions of war, in the possession of the Catholics, were at once to be confiscated; and the right to search their houses for popish relics and books was freely accorded to the justices of the peace. Catholic wives of Protestant husbands were severely penalized.
These exceedingly harsh provisions were probably never put into full execution; and it is probable, though not certain, that the Government never expected or intended that they should be. It was well to enact them to satisfy and silence the Protestant fanatics by a pious show of zeal. It was equally well to have them on the statute books to use if the situation should, at any time, demand rigorous measures. In fact, during the whole reign of James, the penal laws were used to threaten and coerce the refractory, who refused the oath of allegiance and were not amenable to persuasion. Those Catholics who would take the oath of allegiance and accept the leadership of the secular priests, need not
1“Yet so farre hath both my heart haue euer yet bene put in execution.” and gouernment bene from any bit These words were written in 1609. ternes, as almost neuer one of those Works of James I, (1616), 292. sharpe additions to the former Lawes
be troubled with fines and penalties, but all the Jesuits and their supporters, all foreign plotters and their books and letters, all those who stiftly refused the governmental overtures, these might well feel the weight of the law, from time to time, not so much to exterminate them, as to coerce them into the acceptance of the new compromise. Just so long as every priest in England was liable to death at the pleasure of the State, just so long as the whole Catholic organisation existed on suffrance without legal right, so long would the leaders be compelled to take the Bishop of London, or some other high official, into their confidence, reveal to him their plans, secure his consent and assistance to their consummation, and, through him, obtain redress for their grievances. The existence of the penal laws, not their execution, was the guarantee for the loyalty of the secular Catholics to the State.
The new settlement of 1606 was, therefore, Janus-like: the Judges would go down to the assizes, bearing in one hand the oath of allegiance, and in the other the sword of the new penalties, and the Catholics should choose. But before we attempt to trace the further history of this new compact between Bancroft and the seculars against Rome and the Jesuits, it will be necessary for us to turn our attention to certain other proceedings in this Parliament and in the Convocation which met at the same time.
PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION TO ECCLESIASTICAL REFORM
The manifesto issued by the Puritan leaders in August, 1604, after the prorogation of Parliament, urged all Puritans to refuse the bishops' demands on the ground that “To subscribe weare iniuriously to discourage and reproache the religious knightes and gentlemen of the parliament, who uppon good grownde haue labored to remoue it. It would prevent them of the good which they may doe in this behalf the next Session of the Parliament. It would animate the Busshopps to enforme the Kinge that it was but a fancy of his lower house to stand soe much uppon subscription, for the ministers themselues haue yealded sauing a verie fewe.” 1 Yet, despite their efforts, many had conformed and subscribed, a number had been deprived, more had been suspended and admonished, and now, as the Parliament assembled for its next session, on that memorable fifth of November, 1605, the Puritan clergy and laity eagerly awaited “the good” it should do for the cause, and the demonstration to King and bishops that the House of Commons was stirred by deeper motives than "fancy" and "singularitie.” With a somewhat different sort of eagerness, Bancroft also looked forward to the session. He anticipated an attempt to call the bishops to account for their conduct during the past year and a half, and he expected to find the House ready to interfere in ecclesiastical affairs, and to initiate legislation on religious topics in the face of the royal prohibition and the vote of Convocation in the previous session. Its attitude would indicate, he felt, the opinions of the real supporters of the Puritan movement, of the men whose adherence kept the schemes for the installation of the Discipline alive, and whose money and encouragement maintained the nonconforming ministers. As he knew very well, the pressure of poverty and of public opinion would very soon have compelled the vast majority of the Puritans to capitulate, had they not been 1 Additional MSS. 28571, f. 205. 2 See Book II, Chapter III.
able to take refuge, with their families, at the houses of the gentry, where hunger, cold, and the Archbishop's pursuivants ceased to exert "their wholesome pressure," as he would have phrased it. Bancroft had conquered the underlings, and now the virtual leaders themselves had come forward to carry on the battle of the Presbytery against Episcopacy.
The situation in November, 1605, differed somewhat from that of the preceding year, but, in nearly every instance, succeeding events had only served still more to embitter the contending parties. The Knightleys, Mountagus, and the Northamptonshire gentlemen, had not improved their previous bad reputation at Court by the presentation of their petition of February, 1604-5 in favour of the deprived ministers. Sir Edwin Sandys had also attained such notoriety that his books were burnt by order of the High Commission in Paul's Churchyard, shortly before the opening of Parlia
Kingsmill, Wroth, Rich, Fuller, and the rest, had not been backward in abetting the Puritan preachers of their own districts in their resistance to the Church, and the opposition, which they, one and all, had shown in 1604, on constitutional and legal grounds, to the King and his prerogative, had sown discord and suspicion between them and the royal government. The suspicion and wrath were mutual, for the Puritan gentry suspected James and Bancroft of schemes to aggrandise the Church at the expense of the laity.
The events, which had transpired since the prorogation of the last Parliament, increased the Puritan resentment. The Canons, despite the protests of the House of Commons, had been ratified by the King; the ministers had been deprived in the face of petitions and remonstrances, and it counted for nothing that the number, who had actually been deprived, were few, their learning small, and their conduct reprehensible; the administration of the Church had been remodelled and made more efficient than ever before. Worst of all, the Gunpowder Plot had resulted, not in a severe persecution of the Papists, but in an even more intimate understanding between the Government and the secular priests. Instead of being hanged, the priests were conferring with the Bishop of London; instead of being fined, the recusants were practically tolerated;
1 S. P. Dom. Jac. I, XVI, no. 23. 2 A great landowner in Hampshire, November 7, 1605.
the patron of Dr. Feilde and others.