Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 141 the seventeenthof March, having provided for the election of a new parliament, to meet on the twenty-fifth of the ensuing month, they passed the act of their own ¡lissolution. The act for the electionof the new parliament had directed that none who had beet; in arms against the Long Parliament should be elected. Having put up this defense against . the cavaliers, the Presbyterians used their diligence to prevent the election of men of republican principles. This diligence of theirs was ill-timed ; it amalgamated them for the moment with their oldest, bitterest, and most irreconcilable enemies ; their own voices were drowned in the clamorwhich themselves had begun for the king, and against the commonwealth ; and the .result was that, in many places, the loyalty of the people broke over the barrier ofthe disabling clause, and elected old cavaliers to negotiate with the king about his res- toration and their own, and in many other places the members elected were equally unworthy to be trusted with the liberties of the nation. When Monk saw that the tide of popular feeling was turned for the king, he fell in with the current, and commenced a secret cor- respondencewith Charles, advising him to be in readiness for an immediate return. As soon as the new parliament came together, it was no longer doubtful that all things were ripe for restoration, and for a complete triumph of the old royalists. In a word, the king was recalled without any condition, and without any security for that civil and religious liberty which the people had wrested from his father in a painful conflict. A strange infatuation seized upon the nation; and if Charles had been restored by the bayonets of the French and Spanish monarchies, he could not have come in on terms more favorable to himself and his partisans. He arrived at London on the 29th of May, 1660. Baxter came fromKidderminster to London, in April, just before the assemblingofthe parliament. What hisbusiness was in coming to the metropolis at that time, he does not inform us. We may safely suppose, however, that he came tobe present with his Pres- byterian friends, and to aid by his counsels and activity in thegreat matter of the restoration. That the king should be restored, the Presbyterians were all agreed ; and their vain hope was that, by their forwardness in bringing him back, they might secure the es- tablishment of their ecclesiastical system, or at least of something so much like it, that they could live under it in peace. This ex- ceeding forwardness of theirs defeated, as we have already seen, its own object, and gave their bitterest enemies the greatest possible advantage over them. Many of them trembled at the turn which affairs were taking, and at the part which they themselves were