Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

INTRODUCTION. 71 are unparalleled. The two former were become courts of law, to determine matters of right; andcourts of revenue, to bring money into the treasury. The council-table, by pro- clamations, enjoined upon the people what was not enjoined by law ; and the star-chamber punished the disobedience of, those proclamations by heavy fines and imprisonment. The exorbitances of this court were such, that there were very few persons of quality who did not suffer more or less, by the weight of its censures and judgments. And the high commission became justly odious, not only by meddling with things not within its cognizance, but by extending its sentences and judgments to a degree that was unjustifiable, and by treating the common law, and the professors of it, with great contempt. From an ecclesiastical court for the reformation of manners, it became a court of revenue, im- posing heavy fines upon the subjects.. These courts made strange havoc among the puritans, detaining them long in prison, without bringing them to trial, or acquainting them with the cause of their commit. ment, Their proceedings were, in some respects, worse than the Romish Inquisition; because they suspended, degraded, excommunicated, and imprisoned multitudes of learned and pious ministers, without the breach of any established law. While the heaviest penalties were inflicted upon the protestant nonconformists, the papists lived without molestation. Indeed, the king gave express orders " To forbear all manner of proceedings against Roman catholics, and that all pains and penalties to which they were liable, should cease. 't The Arminian tenets, warmly supported by BishopLaud and his brethren, now began rapidly to gain ground. The points of controversy became so much the subject of public discussion, that the king issued his royal proclamation, threatening to proceed against allwho should maintain any new opinions, contrary to the doctrines as by law esta- blished. Though this proclamation appeared to be in favour of the Calvinists, the execution of it being in the hands of Laud andhis brethren, it was turned against them, andmade use of to silence them ; while it gave an uncon- trouled liberty to the tongues and pens of the Arminians.t Many were, indeed, of opinion, that Bishops Laud, and Neile procured this injunction on purpose to oppress the Clarendpn's History, vol. i. p. 68, 69, 222, 283. Rushworth's Collections; vol. i. p. 173. Ibid. p. 416, 417.