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THE COUNCIL ESTABLISHED AT PLYMOUTH.
liberties of those who might become inhabitants of CHAP the colony; they were to be ruled, without their own consent, by the corporation in England. The patent 1620 favored only the cupidity of the proprietors, and possessed all the worst features of a commercial monopoly. A royal proclamation was soon issued, enforcing its provisions; and a revenue was already considered certain from an onerous duty on all tonnage employed in the American fisheries. The results which grew out of the concession of this charter, form a new proof, if any were wanting, of that mysterious connection of events by which Providence leads to ends that human councils had not conceived. The patent left the emigrants at the mercy of the unrestrained power of the corporation; and it was under concessions from that plenary power, confirmed, indeed, by the English monarch, that institutions the most favorable to colonial liberty were established. The patent yielded every thing to the avarice of the corporation; the very extent of the grant rendered it of little value. The jealousy of the English nation, incensed at the concession of vast monopolies by the exercise of the royal prerogative, immediately prompted the house of commons to question the validity of 1621
April the grant; ? and the French nation, whose traders had been annually sending home rich freights of furs, while the English were disputing about charters and commissions, derided the tardy action of the British monarch in bestowing lands and privileges, which their own sovereign, seventeen years before, had appropriated. The patent was designed to hasten plantations,
1 Sinith, in iii. Mass. Hist. Coll. mentary Debates, 1620–1, i. 260. iii. 32. Smith, ii. 263.
318, 319. 2 Chalmers, 100—102. Parlia- 3 üi. Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 20. VOL. I.
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CHAP. in the belief that men would eagerly throng to the
coast, and put themselves under the protection of the council; and, in fact, adventurers were delayed, through fear of infringing the rights of a powerful company.' While the English monopolists were wrangling about their exclusive privileges, the first permanent colony on the soil of New England was established without the knowledge of the corporation, and without the aid of King James.
The Reformation in England—an event which had been long and gradually prepared among the people by the opinions and followers of Wickliffe, and in the government by increasing and successful resistance to the usurpations of ecclesiastical jurisdiction—was at length abruptly established during the reign and in conformity with the passions of a despotic monarch. The acknowledgment of the right of private judgment,o far from being the cause of the separation from Rome, was one of its latest fruits.
Luther was more dogmatical than his opponents; though the deep philosophy with which his mind was imbued, repelled
the use of violence to effect conversion in religion. 1522. He was wont to protest against propagating reform by
persecution and massacres; and, with wise moderation, an admirable knowledge of human nature, a familiar and almost ludicrous quaintness of expression, he would deduce from his great principle of justifica
tion by faith alone the sublime doctrine of the freedom 1553. of conscience. Yet Calvin, many years after, anxious
1 ji. Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 32. 3 Nollem vi et cede pro evanSmith, ii. 263.
gelio certari. Compare the pas2 Under Edward VI. intolerance sages from Luther's Seven Sermons, sanctioned by law. See Rymer, delivered in March, 1522, at Witxv. 182. 250, under Elizabeth. Ry- tenberg, quoted in Planck's Gesmer, xv. 740 and 741. Compare chichte des Protestantischen LehrLingard, vii. 286, 287; Hallam's begriffs, ii. 68—72. Summa summaEnglard, i. 130, 131, 132, 133. rum! Predigen will ichs, sagen will ichs, schreiben will ichs, aber Statutes, iii. 460—471. 26 Henry zwingen, dringen mit Gewalt will VIII., c. i. iii. xiii. Statutes, iii. ich niemand; denn der Glaube will 492, 493—499. 508, 509. Lingard, willig, ungenöthigt und ohne Zwang iv. 266—270, and vi. 281–283. angenommen werden. I have quo- 2 Henry, xii. 53. Turner, ii. 349 ted these words, which are in har- 353. Mackintosh, ii
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ly engaged in dispelling ancient superstitions, was still chap fearful of the results of skeptical reform, and, in his opinions on heresy and its punishment, shared the unhappy error of his time.
In England, so far was the freedom of private inquiry from being recognized as a right, the means of 1534. forming a judgment on religious subjects was denied. The act of supremacy, which effectually severed the Nov. English nation from the Roman see, contained no clause favorable to religious liberty. It was but a vindication of the sovereign franchise of the English monarch against foreign interference; it did not aim at enfranchising the English church, far less the English people, or the English mind. The king of England became the pope in his own dominions; and heresy was still accounted the greatest of all crimes. The right of correcting errors of religious faith became, by the suffrage of parliament, a branch of the royal prerogative; and, as active minds among the people were continually proposing new schemes of doctrine, a statute, alike arrogant in its pretensions and vindictive in its menaces, was, after great opposition in parliament, enacted "for abolishing diversity of opinions.” 4 1539 All the Roman Catholic doctrines were asserted, except the supremacy of Rome. The pope could praise Henry VIII. for orthodoxy, while he excommunicated
. 147—150. mony with Luther's doctrines and
3 Strype's Memorials, i. 352. his works, as a reply to those, who, 4 31 Henry VIII., c. xiv. Statlike Turner, in his History, iii. 135, utes, iii. 739_743. Lingard, vi. erroneously charge the great Ger- 380—386. Bossuet, Hist. des Vaman reformer with favoring perse- riations, l. vii. c. xxiv.-xl. Henry, cution.
xii. 84. 1 25 Henry VIII., c. xix. XX. xxi.
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CHAP. him for disobedience. He commended to the waver
ing emperor the English sovereign as a model for soundness of belief, and anathematized him only for contumacy. It was Henry's pride to defy the authority of the Roman bishop, and yet to enforce the doctrines of the Roman church. He was as tenacious of his reputation for Catholic orthodoxy, as of his claim to spiritual dominion. He disdained submission, and detested heresy.
Nor was Henry VIII. slow to sustain his new prerogatives. He rejected the advice of the commons, as of “ brutes and inexpert folks,” of men as unfit to advise him as “ blind men are to judge of colors.” ? According to ancient usage, no sentence of death, awarded by the ecclesiastical courts, could be carried into effect, until a writ had been obtained from the king. The regulation had been adopted in a spirit of mercy, securing to the temporal authorities the power of restraining persecution. The heretic might appeal from the atrocity of the priest to the mercy of the sovereign. But now, what hope could remain, when the two authorities were united; and the law, which had been enacted as a protection of the subject, was become the powerful instrument of tyranny ! The establishment of the English church under the king, was inexorably sustained. No virtue, no eminence, conferred security. Not the forms of worship merely, but the minds of men, were declared subordinate to the government; faith, not less than ceremony, was to vary with the acts of parliament. Death was denounced against the Catholic who denied the king's supremacy, and the Protestant who doubted his creed.
1 Fra Paolo, i. 82.
2 Herbert's Heniy VIII., 418, 419. 3 Neal's Puritans, i. 55.
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Had Luther been an Englishman, he might have per- CHAP. ished by fire. In the latter part of his life, Henry revoked the general permission of reading the Scriptures, and limited the privilege to merchants and nobles. He always adhered to his old religion ;? he believed its most extravagant doctrines to the last, and died in the Roman, rather than in the Protestant faith.3 But the awakening intelligence of a great nation could not be terrified into a passive lethargy. The environs of the court displayed no resistance to the capricious monarch; a subservient parliament yielded him absolute authority in religion ;' but the advancing genius of the age, even though it sometimes faltered in its progress along untried paths, steadily demanded the emancipation of the public mind.
The accession of Edward VI. led the way to the 1547 establishment of Protestantism in England, and, at the same time, gave life to the germs of the difference which was eventually to divide the English. A change in the reformation had already been effected among the Swiss, and especially at Geneva. Luther had based his reform upon the sublime but simple truth which lies at the basis of morals—the paramount value of character and purity of conscience; the superiority of right dispositions over ceremonial exactness; or, as he expressed it, justification by faith alone. But he hesitated to deny the real presence, and was indifferent to the observance of external ceremonies. Calvin, with sterner dialectics, sanctioned by the influence of the purest life, and by his power as the ablest writer of his age, attacked the Roman doctrines
1 Turner's England, iii. 140. Henry's Great Britain, xii. p. 107. 2 Ibid. ii. 352.
4 37 Henry VIII., c. xvii. Stat3 Bossuet, Hist. des Variations, utes, iii. 1009. i. viii. c. iii. iv. and xxiv.—xl.