Page images
PDF
EPUB

lives, so the king has given us an illustrious example in his own person that excites us to it: for while he was a suBJECT, he gave Çæsar his tribute, and now She is a CÆSAR, he gives GOD his due, viz. “ the " sovereignty over consciences.” “It were a great shame, then, for any Englishman (that professes Christianity) not to give God his due. By this grace he has relieved his distressed subjects from their cruel sufferings, and raised to himself a new and lasting empire, by adding their affections to their duty: and we pray God to continue the king in this noble resolution ; for he is now upon a principle

that has good-nature, Christianity, and the good of i civil society on its side; a security to him beyond the little arts of government.

I would not that any should think, that we came hither with design to fill the Gazette with our thanks; but as our sufferings would have moved stones to

compassion, so we should be HARDER, if we were not 'moved to GRATITUDE.

Now since the king's mercy and goodness have reached to us throughout the kingdom of England, rand principality of Wales, our general assembly from

all those parts, met at London about our church affairs, has appointed us to wait upon the king with

our hụmble thanks, and me to deliver them; which "I do, by this ADDRESS, with all the affection and re"spect of a dutiful subject.'

The A D D R E S S. 'To King JAMES the Second, over ENGLAND, &c.' * The Humble and Grateful Acknowledgment of his

Peaceable Subjects called QUAKERS, in this

Kingdom. From their usual YEARLY-Meeting in LONDON, the

Nineteenth Day of the Third Month, vulgarly

called May, 1687. U TE cannot but bless and praise the name of Almighty God, who hath the hearts of G 2

"princes

< princes in his hand, that he hath inclined the king i to hear the cries of his suffering subjects for con( science fake: and we rejoice that instead of troubling

him with complaints of our sufferings, he hath given ( us so eminent an occasion to present him with our • thanks : and since it hath pleased the king; out of ( his great compassion, thus to commiserate our af6 Aicted condition, which hath so particularly appeared

by his gracious proclamation, and warrants last year, ( whereby twelve hundred prisoners were released from

their severe imprisonments, and many others from ( spoil and ruin in their estates and properties; and

his princely speech in council, and Christian decla(ration for liberty of conscience, in which he doth

not only express his aversion to all force upon con<science, and grant all his dissenting subjects an am(ple liberty to worship God, in the way they are per< suaded is moft agreeable to his will, but gives them « his kingly word the same shall CONTINUE during his r reign; we do (as our friends of this city have al

ready done) render the king our humble, Christian, cand thankful acknowledgments, not only in behalf < of ourselves, but with respect to our friends throughcout England and Wales: and pray God, with all ( our hearts, to bless and preserve thee, O king, and ( those under thee, in so good a work: and as we can rassure the king it is well accepted in the several ( counties from whence we came, so we hope the good

effects thereof, for the peace, trade, and prosperity c of the kingdom, will produce such a concurrence < from the parliament, as may secure it to our pofte(rity in after-times: and while we live, it shall be < our endeavour (through God's grace) to demean

ourselves, as, in conscience to God, and duty to the • King, we are obliged,

· His Peceable, Loving, and Faithful Subjects.'

The

The KIN G's Answer,

I GENTLEMEN, " Thank you heartily for your address: some of

I ' you know (I am sure you do, Mr. Penn) that it was always my principle, « That conscience ought « not to be forced; and that all men ought to have " the LIBERTY of their consciences ;” and what I

have promised in my declaration, I will continue to i perform as long as I live: and I hope, before I die, " to settle it fo, that after-ages shall have no reason to

alter it.'

Some have objected against the Quakers, and other dissenters, for addressing King James upon the aforesaid declaration of indulgence, as though they had thereby countenanced the king's difpensing with the laws in general: let such observe their imputation, as to our author, and his friends the Quakers, sufficiently guarded against in that part of their address where they say, 'We hope the good effects thereof, for the peace, ' trade, and prosperity of the kingdorn, may produce , such a concurrence from the parliament, as will se

cure it to our pofterity, It is plain, therefore, they gratefully accepted of the suspension of the penal laws, by the king's prerogative, (as who, in their case, would not?) a thing in itself just and reasonable, in hopes of having the same afterward confirmed by the legislative authority; there being at that time much talk of an approaching parliament: and that their expectation centered not in the king's dispensing power, is evident, by our author's continuing his endeavours to shew the necessity of abolishing the PENAL LAWS; for soon after this he writ a large tract, called, “Good « Advice to the Church of England, Roman Catho« licks, and Protestant Diflenters;” in which he shews the disannulling of those laws to be their general interest,

G

3

Не He wrote also, presently after this, a book entitled, « The Great and Populár Objection against the Repeal “ of the Penal Laws, briefly stated and considered.”

On the 27th of the month called 'April, 1688, King James renewed his declaration for liberty of conscience, with an order of council for the reading of it in churches; against which seven bishops petitioning, were committed to the Tower..

i Our author labouring at this time under many jealousies and reflections as a countenancer of the court proceedings, a particular friend of his, William Popple, secretary to the plantation-office, sent him the following letter.

« To the Honourable WILLIAM Penn, Esq; Proprietor

" and Governor of Pennsylvania.

- HONOURED SIR,
THOUGH the friendship with which you are

pleased to honour me, doth afford me fufficient opportunities of discoursing with you upon any < subject, yet I chuse rather at this time to offer unto " you in writing, some reflections which have occurred { to my thoughts, in a matter of no common importa ? ance. The importance of it doth, primarily and

directly, respect yourself, and your own private con( cernments; but it also, consequentially and effec(tually, regards the king, his government, and even

the peace and settlement of this whole nation. I ? intreat you, therefore, to bear with me, if I endea< vour in this manner to give somewhat more weight (unto, my words than would be in a transient discourse, " and leave them with you, as a subject that requires < your retired consideration,

? You are not ignorant that the part you have been supposed to have had of late years in publick affairs, though without either the title, or honour, or pro

fit of any publick office, and that especially your .savowed endeavours to introduce amongst us a gene

ral

publick office title, or honourck affairs,

ral and inviolable liberty of conscience in matters of s mere religion, have occasioned the mistakes of some men, provoked the malice of others, and, in the end, have raised against you a multitude of enemies, who have unworthily defamed you with such imputations, as, I am sure, you abhor. This I know you have been fufficiently informed of, though I

doubt you have not made sufficient reflection upon cit: the consciousness of your own innocence seems

to me to have given you too great a contempt of such unjust and ill-grounded slanders : for however glorious it is, and reasonable, for a truly virtuous mind, whose inward peace is founded upon that rock

of innocence, to despise the empty noise of popular s reproach, yet even that sublimity of spirit may ( sometimes swell to a reproveable excess. To be < steady and immoveable in the prosecution of wise and honest resolutions, by all honest and prudent means, is indeed a duty that admits of no excep

tion: but nevertheless it ought not to hinder, that, " at the same time, there be also a due care taken of

preserving a fair reputation. « A good name,” says

the wise man, « is better than precious ointinent.” . It is a perfume that recommends the person whom iit accompanies, that procures him every-where an

easy acceptance, and that facilitates the success of I all his enterprizes: and for that reason, though there ( were no other, I intreat you observe, that " The « care of a man's reputation is an essential part of ~ that very same duty that engages him in the pursuit « of any worthy design.”

But I must not entertain you with a declamation upon this general theme. My business is to repre,

sent to you, more particularly, those very imputas itions which are cast upon yourself, together with

fome of their evident consequences; that, if poffi. ble, I may thereby move you to labour after a remedy. The source of all arises from the ordinary access you have unto the king, the credit you are fupposed to have with him, and the deep jealousy ; i G 4, . ,

that

« PreviousContinue »