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[34] well in hand up to the accession of Charles I. During the long disputes between Charles and the Parliament, the rising party of Presbyterians was organizing its forces to break the rule of the bishops, and the early years of Parliamentary sovereignty marked the culmination of the middle period, dominated by the Presbyterian ideal. But no sooner was the ruthless hand of tory absolutism struck down than the long gathering forces of social discontent came to a head and broke with the moderate party of Presbyterian reformers; whereupon there followed the real Puritan revolution which had been preparing since the days of Wyclif. The Separatists seized control of Parliament and set about the work of erecting a government that should be a commonwealth of free citizens; the voice of the democratic underling, for the first time in English history, was listened to in the national councils, and the army of the democrat stood ready to enforce his demands with the sword. But unfortunately the strong wine went to the head; unbalanced schismatics endeavoured to set up impossible Utopias; zeal outran wisdom; and the Puritan movement broke at last into a thousand sects and went to pieces. But not before its real work was done; not before the political principles, which hitherto had been obscurely entangled in theological disputation, were set free and held up to the view of Englishmen; not before the new democratic philosophy had clarified its fundamental principle, namely, that the individual both as Christian and citizen derives from nature certain inalienable rights which every church and every government is bound to respect.

It was during the decade of the thirties, at the moment when Presbyterianism was in the ascendancy, that the Puritan migration to New England took place; and the leaders of that notable movement were effectively Presbyterian in sympathies and policies. Possessed of ample means and of good social position, they were liberals rather than radicals, and they shared the common Presbyterian hope of capturing the ecclesiastical establishment as a whole instead of separating from it. But they had been preceded to America by the Plymouth congregation, a body of low-born Separatists, who had set up a church upon frankly democratic principles. In an unfortunate moment for Presbyterianism, the pioneer church at Salem came under the influence of the Plymouth example, and the following

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