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perfectly settled. The bishop of Winchester affirmed in this debate, several times, that there was no christian church before Calvin, that had not bishops; to which he was answered, that the Albigenses, a very numerous people, and the only visible known church of true believers, of some ages, had no bishops. It is very true what the bishop of Winchester replied, that they had some amongst them who alone had power to ordain; but that was only to commit that power to the wisest and gravest men amongst them, and to secure ill and unfit men from being admitted into the ministry; but they exercised no jurisdiction over the others.

And it was said by divers of the lords, that they thought episcopal government best for the church, and most suitable for the monarchy; but they must say, with the lord of Southampton, upon the occasion of this oath in the parliament of Oxford, "I will not be sworn not to take away episcopacy;" there being nothing that is not of divine precept, but such circumstances may come in human affairs, as may render it not eligible by the best of men. And it was also said, that if episcopacy be to be received as by divine precept, the king's supremacy is overthrown; and so is also the opinion of the parliaments both in Edward the VIth, and queen Elizabeth's time; and the constitution of our church ought to be altered, as hath been showed. But the church of Rome itself hath contradicted that opinion, when she hath made such vast tracts of ground, and great numbers of men, exempt from episcopal jurisdiction.

The lord Wharton, upon the bishop's claim to a divine right, asked a very hard question, viz. "whether they then did not claim withal a power of excommunicating their prince ?" which they evading to answer, and being pressed by some other lords, said, "they never had done it." Upon which the lord Hallifax told them, that that might well be; for since the reformation they had hitherto had too great a dependence on the crown, to venture on that or any other offence to it.

And so the debate passed on to the third clause, which had the same exceptions against it with the two

former, of being unbounded, how far any man might meddle, and how far not; and is of that extent, that it overthrew all parliaments, and left them capable of nothing but giving money. For what is the business of parliaments, but the alteration, either by adding, or taking away, some part of the government, either in church or state? And every new act of parliament is an alteration; and what kind of government in church or state must that be, which I must swear, upon no alteration of time, emergency of affairs, nor variation of human things, never to endeavour to alter? Would it not be requisite that such a government should be given by God himself; and that with all the ceremony of thunder and lightning, and visible appearance to the whole people, which God vouchsafed to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai? And yet you shall nowhere read that they were sworn to it by any oath like this; nay, on the contrary, the princes and the rulers, even those recorded for the best of them, did make several variations.

The Lord Stafford, a nobleman of great honour and candour, but who had been all along for the bill, yet was so far convinced with the debate, that he freely declared, there ought to be an addition to the oath, for preserving the freedom of debates in parliament. This was strongly urged by the never to be forgotten earl of Bridgewater, who gave reputation and strength to this cause of England; as did also those worthy earls, Denbigh, Clarendon, and Ailsbury, men of great worth and honour. To salve all that was said by these and the other lords, the lord-keeper and the bishops urged, that there was a proviso, which fully preserved the privileges of parliament; and, upon farther inquiry, there appearing no such, but only a previous vote, as is beforementioned, they allowed that that previous vote should be drawn into a proviso, and added to the bill; and then, in their opinion, the exception to the oath for this cause was perfectly removed. But on the other side it was offered, that a positive absolute oath being taken, a proviso in the act could not dispense with it, without some reference in the body of the oath unto that proviso. But this also was utterly denied, until the next day, the debate going on upon other matters; the lord

treasurer, whose authority easily obtained with the major-vote, re-assumed what was mentioned in the debates of the preceding days, and allowed a reference to the proviso; so that it then passed in these words:

"I A. B. do swear, that I will not endeavour to alter the protestant religion now by law established in the church of England; nor the government of this kingdom in church or state, as it is now by law established; and I do take this oath according to the meaning of this act, and the proviso contained in the same. So help me, God."

There was a passage of the greatest observation in the whole debate, and which with most clearness showed what the great men and bishops aimed at; and should in order have come in before, but that it deserved so particular a consideration, that I thought best to place it here by itself; which was, that upon passing of the proviso for preserving the rights and privileges of parliaments, made out of the previous votes, it was excellently observed by the earl of Bolingbroke, a man of great ability and learning in the laws of the land, and perfectly stedfast in all good English principles; that though that proviso did preserve the freedom of debates and votes in parliaments, yet the oath remained, notwithstanding that proviso, upon all men, that shall take it as a prohibition, either by speech or writing, or address, to "endeavour any alteration in religion, church, or state:" nay, also upon the members of both houses otherwise than as they speak and vote in open parliaments or committees. For this oath takes away all private converse upon any such affairs even with one another. This was seconded by the Lord De La Mer, whose name is well known, as also his worth, piety, and learning; I should mention his merits too, but I know not whether that be lawful, they lying yet unrewarded.

The lord Shaftsbury presently drew up some words for preserving the same rights, privileges, and freedoms, which men now enjoy by the laws established; so that by a side-wind we might not be deprived of the great liberty we enjoy as Englishmen; and desired those

words might be inserted in that proviso before it passed. This was seconded by many of the fore-mentioned lords; and pressed upon those terms, that they desired not to countenance, or make in the least degree any thing lawful, that was not already so; but that they might not be deprived, by this dark way of proceeding, of that liberty, which was necessary to them as men, and without which parliaments would be rendered useless.

Upon this all the great officers showed themselves; nay, the duke of Lauderdale himself, though under the load of two addresses*, opened his mouth, and, together with the lord-keeper, and the lord treasurer, told the committee in plain terms, that they intended, and designed to prevent caballing and conspiracies against the government; that they knew no reason why any of the king's officers should consult with parliament-men about parliament-business; and particularly mentioned those of the army, treasury, and navy. And when it was objected to them, that the greatest part of the most knowing gentry were either justices of the peace, or of the militia; and that this took away all converse, or discourse of any alteration, which was in truth of any business, in parliament; and that the officers of the navy and treasury might be best able to advise what should be fit in many cases; and that withal none of their lordships did offer any thing to salve the inconvenience of parliament-men being deprived of discoursing one with another, upon the matters that were before them; besides it must be again remembered, that nothing was herein desired to be countenanced, or made lawful, but to preserve that which is already law, and avowedly justified by it; for, without this addition to the proviso, the oath rendered parliaments but a snare, not a security, to the people; yet to all this was answered, sometimes with passion and high words, sometimes with jests and raillery, (the best they had) and at the last the major vote answered all objections, and laid aside the addition tendered.

The house of commons addressed the king to remove the duke of Lauderdale from his employments, and from his majesty's presence and councils, for ever; as a man of arbitrary principles, and a person obnoxious and dangerous to the government.

There was another thing before the finishing of the oath, which I shall here also mention, which was an additional oath, tendered by the marquis of Winchester; who ought to have been mentioned in the first and chiefest place, for his conduct and support in the whole debate, being an expert parliament-man, and one, whose quality, parts, and fortune, and owning of good principles, concur to give him one of the greatest places in the esteem of good men. The additional oath tendered was as followeth:

"I do swear that I will never by threats, injunctions, promises, advantages, or invitation, by or from any person whatsoever, nor from the hopes or prospect of any gift, place, office, or benefit whatsoever; give my vote other than according to my opinion and conscience, as I shall be truly and really persuaded upon the debate of any business in parliament. So help me, God."

This oath was offered upon the occasion of swearing members of parliament; and upon this score only, that if any new oath was thought fit (which that noble lord declared his own judgment perfectly against) this certainly was (all considerations and circumstances taken in) most necessary to be a part; and the nature of it was not so strange, if they considered the judges' oath, which was not much different from this. To this the lord-keeper seemed very averse, and declared in a very fine speech, that it was an useless oath; for all gifts, places, and offices were likeliest to come from the king; and no member of parliament in either house could do too much for the king, or be too much of his side; and that men might lawfully and worthily have in their prospect such offices or benefits from him. With this the lords against the bill were in no terms satisfied, but plainly spoke out, that men had been, might, and were likely to be, in either house, too much for the king, as they called it; and that whoever did endeavour to give more power to the king than the law and constitution of the government had given, especially if it tended to the introducing an absolute and arbitrary government;

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