convocation of the clergy under Elizabeth,
though the square cap and the surplice found in the queen a resolute friend, and though there were in the assembly many, who, at heart, preferred the old religion, the proposition to abolish a part of the ceremonies was lost in the lower house by the majority of a single vote.1
Nearly nine years passed away, before the thirty-nine articles, which were then adopted, were confirmed by parliament; and the act,
by which they were finally established, required assent to those articles only, which concern the confession of faith and the doctrine of the sacraments2
— a limitation which the Puritans interpreted in their favor.
The house of commons often displayed an earnest zeal for a further reformation;3
and its active
interference was prevented only by the authority of the queen.
When rigorous orders for enforcing conformity were first issued,4
the Puritans were rather excited to defiance than intimidated.
Of the London
ministers, about thirty refused subscription,5
and men began to speak openly of a secession from the church.6
At length, a separate congregation was formed; im-
mediately the government was alarmed; and the