He was never disposed to show them
favor; but a decent respect for the party to which he had belonged, joined to a desire of displaying his talents for theological debate, induced him to appoint a conference at Hampton Court
The conference, held in January, 1604, was dis-
tinguished on the part of the king by a strenuous vindication of the church of England.
Refusing to discuss the question of its power in things indifferent, he substituted authority for argument, and where he could not produce conviction, demanded obedience: ‘I will have none of that liberty as to ceremonies; I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one religion in substance and in ceremony.
Never speak more to that point, how far you are bound to obey.’
The Puritans desired permission occasionally to assemble, and at their meetings to have the liberty of free discussions; but the king interrupted their petition: ‘You are aiming at a Scot's presbytery, which agrees with monarchy as well as God and the devil.
, and Tom, and Will, and Dick
, shall meet, and at their pleasure censure me and my council, and all our proceedings.
Then Will shall stand up and say, It must be thus: then Dick
shall reply and say, Nay, marry, but we will have it thus; and therefore, here I must once more reiterate my former speech, and say: the king forbids.’
Turning to the bishops, he avowed his belief that the hierarchy was the firmest supporter of the throne.
Of the Puritans he added: ‘I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of the land, or else worse,’ ‘only hang them; that's all.’
On the last day of the conference, the king defended the necessity of subscription, concluding that