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“ Church of England as it now is by law established,
against Popery or any other different or dissenting opinions, is not intended, and shall not be inter
preted, or construed to be any offence within the “ words or meaning of this act.”* It cannot escape the reader, that only such attacks upon Popery as were made in favour of the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, and no other, were protected by this proviso, and consequently that, if there were any real occasion for such a guard, all Protestant dissenters who should write or speak against the Roman superstition, were wholly unprotected by it, and remained exposed to the danger, whatever it might be, from which the church was so anxious to exempt her supporters.
This Bill passed the House of Commons, and was sent up to the House of Lords on the 30th of June. It was read a first time on that day, but the adjournment of both houses taking place on the 2d of July, it could not make any further progress at that time; and when the parliament met afterwards in autumn, there was no longer that passionate affection for the monarch, nor consequently that ardent zeal for servitude, which were necessary to make a law with such clauses and provisos, palatable or even endurable.
The Bill never passed.
* Vide Bill for the Preservation, &c. Appendix.
It is not to be considered as an exception to the general complaisance of Parliament, that the Speaker, when he presented the Revenue Bill, made use of some strong expressions, declaring the attachment of the Commons to the national religion.* Such sentiments could not be supposed to be displeasing to James, after the assurances he had given of his regard for the church of England. Upon this occasion his Majesty made the following speech :
“ MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
ing the Revenue
“ I thank you very heartily for the bill you have pre- Speech on pass“ sented me this day; and I assure you, the readiness Bill. " and cheerfulness that has attended the dispatch of it, “ is as acceptable to me as the bill itself.
“ After so happy a beginning, you may believe I “ would not call upon you unnecessarily for an extra
ordinary supply: but when I tell you, that the stores “ of the navy and ordinance are extremely exhausted ; “ that the anticipations upon several branches of the
* “ The Commons of England have here presented your Majesty with “the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, with all readiness and cheerfulness; " and that without any security for their religion, though it be dearer to " them than their lives, relying wholly on your royal word for the secu
rity of it; and humbly beseech your Majesty to accept this their offer," &c. Kennet, II. 427.
revenue are great and burthensome ; that the debts “ of the King my brother, to his servants and family,
are such as deserve compassion; that the rebellion in • Scotland, without putting more weight upon it than “ it really deserves, must oblige me to a considerable
expense extraordinary; I am sure, such considera“ tions will move you to give me an aid to provide for “ those things, wherein the security, the ease, and the
happiness of my government are so much concern“ ed. But above all, I must recommend to you the
care of the Navy, the strength and glory of this “ nation ; that you will put it into such a condition,
as may make us considered and respected abroad. “ I cannot express my concern, upon this occasion,
more suitable to my own thoughts of it, than by “ assuring you, I have a true English heart, as jea" lous of the honour of the nation as you can be; “ and I please myself with the hopes, that, by God's
blessing, and your assistance, I may carry the re
putation of it yet higher in the world, than ever it “ has been in the time of any of my ancestors ; and as “ I will not call upon you for supplies, but when they
are of publick use and advantage ; so I promise you, “ that what you give me upon such occasions, shall be '“ managed with good husbandry, and I will take care, “ it shall be employed to the uses for which I ask 66 them."
Rapin, Hume, and Ralph observe upon this speech, that neither the generosity of the Commons' grant, nor the confidence they expressed upon religious mat- Mistepresented ters, could extort a kind word in favour of their religion. But this observation, whether meant as a reproach to him for his want of gracious feeling to a generous Parliament, or as an oblique compliment to his sincerity, has no force in it. His Majesty's speech was spoken immediately upon passing the bills which the Speaker presented, and he could not therefore take notice of the Speaker's words, unless he had spoken extempore; for the custom is not, nor I believe ever was, for the Speaker to give, beforehand, copies of addresses of this nature. James would not certainly have scrupled to repeat the assurances which he had so lately made in favour of the Protestant religion, as he did not scruple to talk of his true English heart, honour of the nation, &c. at a time when he was engaged with France; but the speech was prepared for an answer to a money bill, not for a question of the Protestant religion and church, and the false professions in it are adapted to what was supposed to be the only subject of it.
The only matter in which the King's views were Reversal of Stafin any degree thwarted, was the reversal of Lord rejected. Stafford's attainder, which, having passed the House
CHAPTER of Lords, not without opposition, was lost in the House
of Commons ; a strong proof that the Popish plot
Parliament ad journed.
On the 2d of July, parliament was adjourned for the