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[396] against the intolerance of Louis XIV. the
Chap XVI.}
Protestant Penn, in England, was laboring to rescue the Roman Catholics from the jealousy of the English aristocracy. Claiming for the executive of the country the prerogative of employing every person, ‘according to his ability, and not according to his opinion,’ he labored to effect a repeal of every disfranchisement for opinion. Always a friend to liberty as established by law, ever ready to deepen the vestiges of British free dom, and vindicate the right of ‘the free Saxon people to be governed by laws of which they themselves were the makers,’1 his whole soul was bent on effecting this end by means of parliament during the reign of James II., well knowing that the prince of Orange was pledged to a less liberal policy. The political tracts of ‘the arch Quaker’ have the calm wisdom and the universality of Lord Bacon; in behalf of liberty of conscience, they beautifully connect the immutable principles of human nature and human rights with the character and origin of English freedom, and exhaust the question as a subject for English legislation. Penn resisted the tyrannical proceedings against Magdalen College, and yet desired that the universities might not be altogether shut against dissenters. No man in England was more opposed to Roman Catholic dominion; but, like an honest lover of truth, and well aware that he and George Fox could win more converts than James II. and the pope with all their patronage, he desired, in the controversy with the Roman church, nothing but equality. He knew that Popery was in England the party of the past, from causes that lay in the heart of society, incapable of restoration; and therefore he ridiculed the Popish panic as

1 Penn, III. 220, and 273, 274.

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