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‘ [297] Puritans are, that overrule the lower house.’ ‘The
Chap. VIII.} 1604.
will of man or angel cannot devise a pleasing answer to their propositions, except I should pull the crown not only from my own head, but also from the head of all those that shall succeed unto me, and lay it down at their feet.’ At the opening of the session, he had in vain pursued the policy of attempting a union between the old religion and the English church, and had offered ‘to meet the Catholics in the midway,’ while he added, that ‘the sect of Puritans is insufferable in any well-governed commonwealth.’ It was equally in vain that at the next session of parliament, he expressed himself with more vindictive decision; declaring the Roman Catholics to be faithful subjects, but expressing detestation of the Puritans, as worthy of fire for their opinions. The commons of England resolutely favored the sect which was their natural ally against despotism.

A far different spirit actuated the convocation of the clergy. They were very ready to decree against obstinate Puritans excommunication and all its consequences. Bancroft, the successor of Whitgift, required conformity with unrelenting rigor; King James issued a proclamation of equal severity; and it is asserted, perhaps with considerable exaggeration, yet by those who had opportunities of judging rightly, that in the year 1604 alone, three hundred Puritan ministers were silenced, imprisoned or exiled. But

1605.
the oppressed were neither intimidated nor weakened; the moderate men, who assented to external ceremonies as to things indifferent, were unwilling to enforce them by merciless cruelty; and they resisted not the square cap and the surplice, but their compulsory imposition. Yet the clergy proceeded with

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