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of the king, were so horrified at this sentence, that Jefferies was forced to respite Alice Lisle for a few days, and in the meantime they laboured hard to obtain a pardon for her; but the utmost that James would do was to change the sentence from burning to beheading. He did not show even this mercy to another poor woman, who was accused of having relieved one of the rebels, three years before, when he was in danger of being arrested for having taken part in the Rye-house plot. Her name was Elizabeth Gaunt, and she was chiefly known by her works of charity; but she was condemned now to be burnt alive, and suffered this terrible death, at Tyburn, with serene courage. "My fault," said she, "was one which a prince might well have forgiven; I did but relieve a poor family, and lo, I must die for it!"



(From 1685 to 1688.)

AFTER the rebellion of Monmouth had been crushed, James thought himself so firmly seated on the throne that he might venture to set aside the laws which forbade him to place papists in high office. It must be remembered that in the reign of Charles the Second, the Act called the Test Act had been passed, chiefly for the sake of keeping the papists out of office. During the alarm excited by the first news of Monmouth's rebellion, the king had greatly increased the standing army, and had placed several Roman Catholic officers

over the new regiments; but this breach of the law was thought quite excusable at a time of sudden fear and danger. He now hoped that the parliament would alter the law to please him, and when he found that they were not in the least inclined to do so, he took upon himself to dispense with the laws.

He raised papists to high offices in the state, as well as in the army, and set popish governors over the finest colleges in Oxford. He even forbade the English clergy to preach about those doctrines in which our church differs from that of Rome; and when he found that they chose to obey God rather than man, and diligently taught the truth to their flocks, he set up a new Court of High Commission, with the Chancellor Jefferies at its head, to prosecute all the bishops and clergy who offended him. Compton, Bishop of London, who had been the tutor of his daughters, was the first on whom his wrath fell; he was forbidden to exercise any longer his office of bishop; and many honest men were turned out of their homes and livings because they would not break the laws of God and their country.

In order to overawe the city of London, James established a camp on Hounslow Heath, and stationed there thirteen thousand men with twenty-six pieces of cannon; but the Londoners made it a place of holiday amusement, went in crowds to visit the soldiers, and became so friendly with them, that the soldiers became as discontented with the king's unlawful proceedings as the citizens were.

When the king found that churchmen would give no encouragement to his schemes for the advancement of popery, he sought help from the nonconformists, and



pretended that he was very desirous to grant them full liberty to worship as they thought proper. He then issued what is called a Declaration of Indulgence, in which, by his own sole authority, he annulled not only the Test Act, but several others, and set aside all laws against Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters. This was really the same thing as if the king had taken on himself to make laws without the authority of the parliament, and the wisest of the dissenters saw that James was acting unlawfully in issuing such a declaration. Nor did they feel much confidence in his good will; they saw that he was trying to join the Roman Catholics and the dissenters in a league to crush the Church of England, and that if he succeeded in ruining the church, his next step would be to destroy the dissenters.

The scheme by which the king had hoped to reduce the country into a state of absolute submission to his will, proved, on the contrary, a means of deliverance to England, and of ruin to himself. He commanded all the bishops and clergy to publish the Declaration of Indulgence in church, during the hours of divine service. The ministers of the church were thus called upon to choose once for all whether they would obey the king's will or the laws of the land; it is to their honour that not one clergyman in fifty all over England chose to disobey the laws. Seven of the bishops presented to the king a loyal and respectful petition, in which they reminded him that the declaration was contrary to the laws of the kingdom, and said they could not, in conscience, publish an unlawful declaration, in the house of God, and during the hours of divine service.

When the appointed Sunday came, the declaration was read in four only of the London churches, and in more than one of these, the whole congregation rose up and walked out, directly the minister began it. The king was furious; and most of all against the bishops who had presented the petition to him. He declared it to be a false, malicious, and seditious libel, and imprisoned them in the Tower till they could be tried for their offence. Their names wereSancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury; Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Turner, of Ely; Lloyd, of St. Asaph; White, of Peterborough; Lake, of Chichester; Trelawny, of Bristol. The people were greatly moved on behalf of these just men; the very soldiers who guarded them asked for their blessing. It was the hour of evening service when they arrived at the Tower; they hastened to the chapel, and were greatly comforted by these words in the lesson for the day (the 8th June): "In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments," &c.

On the day of their trial, the 29th June, Westminster Hall, and every street leading to it, were thronged with people, high and low, rich and poor, waiting in extreme anxiety to know the result. On behalf of the bishops, it was pleaded that their petition was not false, for every fact which it set forth had been proved to be true; it was not malicious, for they had not sought an occasion to provoke the king, but he had placed them in such a position that they must either oppose his will or commit a great wrong; and it was not seditious, or a libel, for they had not scattered



complaints among the people, but delivered to the king, in private, a paper most humbly and respectfully worded.

The trial lasted all day, and the jury were shut up for the night to consider of their verdict. The next morning, when the judges met again, breathless expectation stilled all the court.

"Not guilty," said the foreman of the jury. As the words passed his lips, one of the peers who was present sprang up and waved his hat, and at that signal all the spectators gave a shout of joy. "In a moment, ten thousand persons who crowded the great Hall replied with a still louder shout, and in another moment, the innumerable throng without set up a third huzza, which was heard at Temple Bar. The boats which covered the Thames gave an answering cheer. A peal of gunpowder was heard on the water, and another, and another, and so, in a few moments," the joyful news flew from Westminster to the Tower and to the forest of masts below. As the tidings spread, streets and squares, market-places and coffeehouses, broke forth into acclamations mixed with tears; men wept for very joy. "God bless you, and your families!" said the crowd who pressed round the jury, to thank them and shake hands with them— "you have saved us all to-day."

It was the sense of this that made every one so glad; for if it had been decided that the king had a right to act contrary to one of the laws, and to order the bishops and clergy to do so, it would have been just the same thing as saying that he had a right to set aside any law, or all the laws, if he chose-and then the nation would have been at his mercy. All

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