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number of the whole should not be too great; and the capacities and qualities of the most [should be] fit for business; that is, either for judgment and despatch ; or for one of them at least; and integrity above all.
This digression (much longer than was intended) will not appear very impertinent, when the great disservice shall appear, which befell unto the king by the swearing those lords formerly mentioned (I speak but of some of them) privy-counsellors. For, instead of exercising themselves in their new province, and endeavouring to preserve and vindicate that jurisdiction, they looked upon themselves as preferred thither, by their reputation in parliament, not [by the] kindness and estimation of the king; and so resolved to keep up principally the greatness of that place, to which they thought they owed their greatness. And therefore, when the king required the advice of his privy-council, in those matters of the highest importance which were then every day incumbent on him, the new privy-counsellors positively declared, “ that they might not “ (that was, that nobody might) give his majesty “ any advice in matters depending in the two “ houses, and not agreeable to the sense of the “ two houses; which (forsooth) was his great “ council, by whose wisdom he was entirely to “ guide himself.” And as this doctrine was most insipidly and perniciously urged by them ; so it was most supinely and stupidly submitted to by the rest : insomuch as the king in a moment found himself bereaved of any public assistance or advice, in a time when he needed it most; and his greatest, and, upon the matter, his only business, being pru
dently to weigh and consider what to consent to, and what to deny, of such things as should be proposed to him by the two houses, he was now told, “ that he was only to be advised by them;" which was as much as to ask, whether they had a mind he should do whatever they desired of him.
Whereas in truth, it is not only lawful for, but the duty of the privy-council, to give faithfully and freely their advice to the king upon all matters concluded in parliament, to which his royal consent is necessary, as well as upon any other subject whatsoever. Nay, as a counsellor, he is bound to dissuade the king to consent (from consenting] to that which is prejudicial to the crown ; at least to make that prejudice manifest to him; though as a private person he could wish the matter consented to. And therefore, by the constitution of the kingdom, and the constant practice of all times, all bills, after they are passed both houses, and engrossed, are delivered by the clerk of the parliament to the clerk of the crown; and by him brought to the attorney-general; who presented the same to his majesty sitting in council, and having read them, declares what alterations are made by those bills in former laws, and what benefit or detriment, in profit or jurisdiction, will accrue thereby to the crown: and then, upon a full and free debate by his counsellors, the king resolves, and accordingly doth mark the bills that are to be enacted into laws; and respites the other that he thinks not fit to consent to. And methinks as this hath been the known practice, so the reason is very visible; that the royal assent being a distinct and essential part towards the making a law, there should be as much
care taken to inform the understanding and conscience of the king upon those occasions, as theirs, who prepare the same for his royal stamp.
That it might appear that what was done within the houses was agreeable to those who were without, and that the same spirit reigned in parliament and people, all possible license was exercised in preaching, and printing any old scandalous pamphlets, and adding new to them against the church: petitions presented by many parishioners against their pastors, with articles of their misdemeanours and behaviours ; most whereof consisted, “ in their “ bowing at the name of Jesus, and obliging the “ communicants to come up to the altar,” (as they enviously called it,) that is, to the rails which enclosed the communion-table, “ to receive the sacra“ ment.” All which petitions were read with great delight, and presently referred to the committee for religion; where Mr. White, a grave lawyer, but notoriously disaffected to the church, sát in the chair; and then both petition and articles were suffered to be printed and published, (a license never practised before,) that the people might be inflamed against the clergy; who were quickly taught to call all those against whom such petitions and articles were exhibited (which were frequently done by a few of the rabble, and meanest of the people, against the sense and judgment of the parish) the scandalous clergy; which appellation was frequently applied to men of great gravity and learning, and the most unblemished lives.
There cannot be a better instance of the unruly and mutinous spirit of the city of London, which was the sink of all the ill humour of the kingdom, than the triumphant entry which some persons at that time made into London, who had been before seen upon pillories, and stigmatized as libellous and infamous offenders : of which classis of men scarce any age can afford the like.
There had been three persons of several professions some years before censured in [the] starchamber; William Pryn, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn; John Bastwick, a doctor of physic; and Henry Burton, a minister and lecturer in London.
The first, not unlearned in the profession of the law, as far as learning is acquired by the mere reading of books; but being a person of great industry, had spent more time in reading divinity; and, which marred that divinity, in the conversation of factious and hotheaded divines : and so, by a mixture of all three, with the rudeness and arrogance of his own nature, had contracted a proud and venomous dislike against the discipline of the church of England; and so by degrees (as the progress is very natural) an equal irreverence to the government of the state too; both which he vented in several absurd, petulant, and supercilious discourses in print.
The second, a half-witted, crack-brained fellow, unknown to either university, or the college of physicians; but one that had spent his time abroad, between the schools and the camp, (for he had been in, or passed through armies,) and had gotten a doctorship, and Latin ; with which, in a very flow, ing style, with some wit and much malice, he inveighed against the prelates of the church in a book which he printed in Holland, and industriously dispersed in London, and throughout the kingdom; having presumed (as their modesty is always equal to their obedience) to dedicate it to the sacred majesty of the king.
The third had formerly a kind of relation by service to the king; having, before he took orders, waited as closet-keeper, and so attended at canonical hours, with the books of devotion, upon his majesty when he was prince of Wales; and, a little before the death of king James, took orders : and so his highness coming shortly to be king, the vapours of ambition fuming into his head that he was still to keep his place, he would not think of less than being clerk of the closet to the new king, which place his majesty conferred upon, or rather continued in, the bishop of Durham, doctor Neyl, who had long served king James there. Mr. Burton thus disappointed, and, as he called it, despoiled of his rights, would not, in the greatness of his heart, sit down by the affront; but committed two or three such weak, saucy indiscretions, as caused an inhibition to be sent him, “ that he should not pre“sume to come any more to court :” and from that time (he) resolved to revenge himself of the bishop of Durham, upon the whole order; and so turned lecturer, and preached against them; being endued with malice and boldness, instead of learning and any tolerable parts.
These three persons having been, for several follies and libelling humours, first gently reprehended, and after, for their incorrigibleness, more severely censured and imprisoned, found some means in prison of correspondence, which was not before known to be between them; and to combine themselves in a more pestilent and seditious libel than they had ever before vented: in which the honour