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with the French. The Commons could obtain no more than a promise, that they should not be recniited. In the debate, Sir T. Lyttleton said, "The King ought not to be in such a mediation as may leave the King of France a terror to all the world."
Soon after the meeting, Lord Russell accused the Earl of Danby of mismanagement at the Treasury, and of having said at the Council Board, that a new proclamation was better than an old law. He concluded by moving an address to remove him from the King's presence, and that articles of impeachment should be drawn up against him. In the. course of the debate, Sir C. Harboard expressed his surprise, that so young a man, and a country gentleman, should pretend to understand the treasury. The articles of impeachment were delivered the next day by Sir Samuel Barnadiston; but, upon a division, they were all rejected. Marvel says the Earl got off by high bribing. The articles contained charges of very different degrees of importance; the Earl being accused, in one, of the high crime of using the power of general warrants, to intimidate a witness in a suit at law; and in the next, of the trivial offence of having obtained an office in Ireland, the duties of which he had not time to perform.
A bill for voiding the ^election of members of parliament who accept offices, was at this time brought into the Commons, but was rejected. A bill for making it treason to levy money without consent of Parliament, and another to secure the personal liberty of the subject, were also introduced. But the grand affair of this session was the non-resisting Test Bill, which, although it was never in the House of Commons, yet being of paramount importance, deserves some notice in- this work. It may serve as an excuse for the insertion that Lord Bedford was "so brave in it, that he joined in three of the protests." * It is also worth relating, as a specimen of the manner in which a bill, unfavourable to liberty, is resisted in its progress through an English House of Parliament. According to Mr. Locke, who published under the direction of Lord Shaftesbury the history of these debates, the Church and Cavalier party were determined, this session, to carry a law which should place their adversaries at their feet, "and as the topstone of the whole fabric,'* he says, "a pretence shall be taken from the jealousies they themselves have raised, and a real necessity, from the smallness of their party,
* Locke. See Cobbett's Pari. Hist. vol. iv. Appendix.
to increase and keep up a standing army; and then-, in due time, the cavalier and churchman will be made greater fools, but as arrant slaves as the rest of the nation." The oath which was now brought into the House of Lords had been introduced as a restraint upon the dissenting ministers in the Five Mile Act, some years before, and the penalty was by 17 Car. II. increased to 401.; yet very few submitted to take it. * It had been afterwards proposed as a general test for members of parliament and placemen, but rejected in the House of Commons. It was in these terms:
"I, A. B., do declare that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms against the King; and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those that are commissioned by him in pursuance of such commission: and I do swear, that I will not endeavour, at any time, the alteration of the government in church or state. So help me God."
The former part of this oath, down to the word "commission," is to be found in the Corporation Act. t
. * §ee Memorial of God's last Twenty-nine YearsWonders in England, in 1689, by Sheriff Bethel. f 13 Car. 2. st.2. c. 1.
The Lords in opposition allowed* the bill to be read a second time, but when it was to be committed, they raised a debate which lasted five days; and in the course of this time they signed two protests.
When the bill came into a committee, every part of the proposed engagement was opposed. It was-divided logically into a declaration, and an oath, or the declaratory and promissory parts. Of the declaration, it was said that it was an idle question at best to ask if arms can in any case be taken up against a lawful prince, because it necessarily raises a question in every man's mind; how there can then be a distinction left between absolute and bounded monarchies, if limited kings have only the fear of God and no fear of human resistance to restrain them? To the next clause, namely, "I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person," it was objected, that it could only be intended to revive old jealousies, and repeal the Act of Oblivion; for, excepting the case of the Long Parliament, those who had used the King's name against his person, had generally been his friends, as in the reign of Henry the Sixth. And the old Bishop of Winchester replying, "that to take arms in such cases was not against, but for the person of the King," he was told, that he had better have left it upon the old oath of allegiance, than have made such a wide gap in his new declaration. Upon the words, "or against those that are commissioned by him," it was said, that if they were to become law, the King might authorise the soldiers to enter a man's house, and distrain for illegal taxes, whilst the subject would be deprived of his right of defence. Hereupon were inserted, the words " commissioned by him according to law, in the time of rebellion or war." Next came the promise, of which the first part was, «* not to endeavour any alteration in the government of either church or state." It was objected, that an oath to maintain the government of the church did away the King's supremacy. To which the Bishops answered, that priesthood, and the powers thereof, and the authorities belonging thereunto, were derived immediately from Christ: but the licence of exercising that authority and power, from the civil magistrate. And being asked by the Lord Wharton, whether they did not claim a power of excommunicating their prince, they at first evaded the question, and then said they never had done it. Upon the part which forbade any endeavour to make any alterations in the government, arguments of such force were urged, that the supporters of the bill were obliged to save the rights of Parliament by a Vol. i. c