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The providences of God, observed through several ages, towards this nation, in introducing the true religion and then, in the defence of that, preserving the people in their rights and liberties, whilst other kingdoms are ravished of theirs, as our counsellors designed for us.
Bethel, Slingsby, 1617-1697.
Wing B2074; ESTC R18802
Queen Elizabeth to proceed upon which had he lived would in all probability have been more perfect he seeming to have been inspired with an Holy Spirit for Reformation in purging the Church from all the fulsom Dregs and Rubbish of Popish Superstition and Idolatry and the cutting so early the Thread of his Life before he had accomplished his Design gives us great cause to reckon it a Judgment of God upon this Nation for their Sins and we have the more reason to believe his pious Intentions because Dr. Heilin a late Champion for the Church of England established by Law and Bishop Laud's great Creature tells us in his Preface to his Church-History at least to this Effect That it was a great Mercy to the Church that he was taken away otherwise he had surely reduced Episcopacy to Primitive Institution c. and since the Doctor could not be ignorant that the Papists were violently suspected to be the Authors of his Death we may by this observe the Doctor and his Patrons Inclinations Queen Elizabeth's Preservation in the Tower in the time of her Imprisonment is a remarkable Providence not to be forgot that when her bloody Sister had designed her Death she should be preserved by King Philip Queen Maries Husband who had not at that time besides his Queen his Fellow in Christendom for Cruelty and Persecution of the Reformed and was moved to the same not by Bowels of Compassion but upon a Politick account That should Queen Mary dye Childless as it seems he feared Queen Elizabeth being out of the way the Queen of Scots a Papist would come to the Crown who being inseparably joyned in League with France they both might be too hard for Spain and that his Lenity towards Queen Elizabeth could be upon no other score appears by putting his Eldest Son to death for no other cause than being too mercifully inclined towards the Protestants in the Netherlands And thus the Lord wrought for us when we could not help our selves in bringing her to the Crown and preserving her thorough her whole Reign against the perpetual Plots and Endeavours of the Papists for destroying her Queen Elizabeth having in her Fathers and Sisters Times tho averse to the gross Idolatry of Rome imbibed too great a liking of the gaudy Splendor of the Church insomuch that the pious Reformers of that Age could not bring her to that height of Reformation they desired as appears by Dr. Burnet's now Bishop of Salisbury's Letter from Zurick in Switzerland had it not pleased God in his Providence to furnish her with wise and moderate Counsellors as Sir Thomas Smith Sir Nicholas Bacon Lord Burley Sir Francis Walsingham Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Rawleigh c. she might have proved more severe against the then Dissenters than she was but having had a true Love to the People of England and particularly to the City of London which scarce any of her four Successors have since had she reigned moderately some of those Acts of Parliament made in her time and since wrested against Dissenters being intended only against Papists Piety was by her and her Counsellors encouraged all Debauchery Blasphemy Atheism and Profaness discountenanced Honours places of Profit or Pensions never bestowed otherwise than for Merit by which all sorts being provoked to the study of Vertue and generous Actions Gentlemen were in that time in higher esteem and of greater Interest than many Noblemen at this day the benefit of which we found in a Blessing upon all our Undertakings the Nation not suffering the least dishonour in any of their Actions during her Reign tho ingaged in war upon the account of Religion with all her Neighbours with Spain in defence of the Protestants in the Netherlands with Scotland in the behalf of the Reformation there and with France in the assistance of the Reformed in that Kingdom in Ireland against the Rebels there and at home in suppressing the perpetual Plots of the Papists And having prevailed in all places with a small but well managed Revenue extravagant Sallaries Fraud and Cousenage unnecessary Pensions multiplying Offices and Officers to gratifie a Party for Popery and Arbitrary Government not being then known her and her Peoples interest being reckoned one and not separated as our Courtiers have since done she became glorious through the World so far as the Name of England was heard of insomuch that in honour of her the Emperor of Muscovia did voluntarily bestow extraordinary Immunities upon the English Nation When this Queen died the Renown of England seems to have died with her for since her time we have gon backward in Honour and Reputation having received many Eclipses None of our four suceeding Kings nor even Cromwel in his almost five years Usurpation having any one glorious Action to boast of save the concern the last had for the Protestants Liberty in Piemont which I confess ought not to be forgot tho his War with Spain and joyning with France is his Reproach James the 1st was a Scholar qualified for an University to make Harangues in the Schools but had nothing besides to brag of save Dissimulation which he called King-Craft but was really his blemish in that by it he so far lost all Reputation except that of a Pedant that no Princes or States could confide in him and for all his boasted Cunning was ever worsted in Foreign Treaties as in that with Spain about the Infanta with the Emperor about the Palatinate with Holland about the cautionary Towns not in delivering them up for that was but Justice but in the sum due to us for them and as a proof of his great Wisdom he spent that in fruitless Embassies which good Queen Elizabeth did in glorious Atchievements And therefore our flattering Clergy for their own ends stiling him a Solomon was groundless none ever having deserved it less his Diversions wherein he spent his time not being the Care of his People according to the duty of his Calling but in Hunting Masking and Drinking and to please the Ecclesiasticks by making their Sabbath-days-work easie in promoting the Profanation of that day in inviting the People by a Declaration to Sports and Games when they should have been either at Church or at home better employed as if the way to fit a People for Arbitrary Government was first to make them godless which Maxim hath been since improved This King was no sooner removed to England than forgetting the Methods of Church and State he had been bred to in Scotland aspired as much to Arbitrary Government as if he had never heard of any other Principles as appears by his hectoring Speeches in Parliament But it was the happiness of the People that his Bravery lay only in his Tongue and that the Nation was not then overrun with the Leprosie of Luxury and Lincentiousness nor the Ecclesiasticks and Judges corrupted as they have been since so that tho no means or tricks were neglected for compassing his Ends through Providence
serve at this time and therefore rejected him as not for his turn Whereupon the Party that should have been his Ensign being by and hearing it moved with Indignation thereat rejected him for his Immoderation and denied to serve him and all this since the Act of Toleration But this Spirit reigns so violently in them that they are now feared to be more ready than formerly should they by Sheriffs like themselves be called upon Juries to murther and undo by false Verdicts all that shall be known to own King William and Queen Mary to be King and Queen de Jure as well as de Facto And now I leave Charles II. whose Council and Favourites left nothing undone which might perfect the Destruction of England save the Selling Tangier to the French which that they did not do is one of the Wonders of this Reign There needs no other Character of this King than his Answer to one who desiring him to have regard in his Deportment to his Memory after Death viz. That Let not Men speak ill of him whilst he lived and he cared not what they should say of him when he was dead How he was taken away is in the dark but vilely suspected His Successor may be said not to be so Godless as he tho not less cruel but from what Principle is not to be determined unless it was from being both equal as to Fear from whence Cruelty doth generally proceed I know all the ill things done by the eldest Brother is ordinarily laid to the Charge of the younger wherein I differ from that common Opinion believing that Charles II. was never imposed upon by James II. but the first having the Master-wit and with it great Cunning was willing his Brother should have the Name of any thing offensive to the People when even it was that himself desired most to have done And thus ends the Reign of Charles II. whose Practices for arriving at Arbitrary Power and Popery appear in some degrees over and above what is before mentioned by the Affidavits hereunto annexed with Captain Wilkinson's Information which shew the Subornation of Perjury to have been used by his Ministers for taking away the Lives of Innocent Men. James II. who succeeded his Brother Charles II. sending two Men to Amsterdam when Duke of York to burn their Ships in Harbour who being taken and at Execution confessing the Fact it sticks much upon him in that Country as do several other Actions in this which for the sake of his vertuous Successors ought to be forgot were it not necessary to give some Hints for the vindication of the present Government and justifying the late King's Abdication The Burning of London and the many Fires since at St. Katherines and Southwark c. belonged without doubt to the Popish Plot and how far the then Duke of York was concerned therein Coleman's Letters in print in some kind shew But to pass by all other things before his coming to the Crown he no sooner arrived at the Throne than he declared himself a Papist a Name in favour of that Religion out of fashion ever since the Restoration but being the Language of the Law I think fittest to be used At his first appearing in Council after his Brother's Death which was as quick as could be he promised to rule according to Law and yet in two or three Days after commanded by Proclamation the Payment of Customs before given by Parliament which is contrary to Law and from that time forward went on in the same way going publickly to Mass the first Lord's Day of which Religion the bigotted Church-men who will never believe any thing till it be too late would not before own him to be His Brother died on the Friday and Saturday-seven-nights after was in the Evening privately buried Before the Burial he knighted Sir Peter Rich and soon after did the same by Sir Roger L' Estrange and made Sir George Jeoffreys a Baron none of which three as may be observed would King Charles II. so far dignifie tho he had made them his Tools to serve the worst of Turns The now Sir Dudley North was knighted in his Sheriffalty and possibly for the sake of his Family for Sir Peter Rich his Partner who joyned with him in appointing the Jury that found my good Lord Russel guilty and brought him to Execution was passed by till James II. came to the Crown and judged him worthy of the Honour of Knighthood This King called immediately a Parliament and thought he had by his Influence so pack'd one that there were not thirty Members that would not do as they were bid They gave him great Supplies of Mony and were as severe against the Duke of Monmouth as himself was by his Instruments Kirk and Jeoffreys against all in the West supposed to be of his Party contrary to the Mercy of former Times when the Suffering of a few attoned for the rest But when Popery came upon the Stage this Parliament would not serve the turn which caused the Adjourning and Proroguing of it from time to time hoping in the Intervals to have moulded it to his purpose but that not succeeding at last he dissolved it and then betook himself to Popish Counsel Petre the Jesuit bing made one of his Council and of his Cabal not only contrary to Law but also to the practice of most if not all other Popish Princes For tho the Jesuits make it their Design to skrue themselves so far into the Favour of Princes as to become their Confessors that having Opportunity of infusing wicked Principles into them and by knowing their Secrets may have the greater Advantage of doing Mischief yet are seldom or never admitted Members of their Councils The wise Venetians banished them their Territories for their pernicious Principles until in requital of the Pope's assisting them in their Wars against the Turks they were received into the City of Venice Anno 1664. but are by the People who hate them very inviduously looked upon there Nay Rome is so jealous of their Immorality as may be presumed that they rarely admit of above two or three at most to be at one time of the Consistory the Pope's Council which consists of Seventy two Cardinals when all are there which is seldom or never These Men hurried this King into all Extravagances and the highest Invasion of the Rights and Liberties of the People that had ever been attempted The Corrupting of our Mercenary Judges to the making any thing Law he would have for taking away the Lives of innocent Men at his pleasure and giving him the Dispensing Power The setting up extrajudicially Ecclesiastical Commissioners to turn Men out of their Free-holds at their pleasure as at Magdalen-College in Oxford The erecting Popish Schools Chapels Convents and Seminaries all expresly against Law The Breach of his repeated Promises and Coronation-Oath These I say were all but Trifles compared to his personal Endeavours of overturning our Foundations in going from