Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

92 INTRODUCTION. Ireland.". It was subscribed by bothhouses of parliament, the Scots commissioners, and the assembly of divines, in St. Margaret's church, Westminster ; and afterwards required to be subscribed by all persons above the age of eighteen years. In addition to the committees already mentioned, the parliament appointed country committees, in the different parts of the kingdom ; and afterwards the committee of sequestrations. They were empowered to examine, and sequester, upon sufficient witness, such clergymen as were scandalous in their lives, ill-affected to the parliament, or fomenters of the unnatural war betwixt the king and parlia- ment. Multitudes of the conformable clergy were cited before these committees, and such as were found guilty of notorious immorality, or an avowed hostility to the parlia- ment, were deprived of their livings. Though it cannot be supposedin such times, that no innocent personunjustly suffered; yet, " many" says Fuller, "were cast out for their misdemeanours, and some of their offences were so foul, it is a shame to report them, crying to justice for punishment."+ And, says Mr. Baxter, " in all the countries where he was " acquainted, six to one at least, if not many more, that " were sequestered by the committees, were by the oaths of " witnesses proved insufficient or scandalous, or especially " guilty of drunkenness and swearing. This I know," says lie, 4, will displease the party, but 1 am sure it is true."$ In the year 1644, Archbishop Laud was brought to trial by the two houses of parliament, and being found guilty of high treason, was beheaded on Tower-hill. He was a prelate of imperious and bigotted principles, and rash and furious in his conduct, especially towards the puritans. His councilswere high and arbitrary, tending to the ruin of the king and constitution. He obtained the ascendancy over his majesty's conscience and councils.4 Though he was no papist, he was much inclined to the popish imposi- tions and superstitious rites, and to meet the church of Rome half way. While it was Laud's " chief object to maintain the outward splendour of the church, by daily increasing the number of pompous ceremonies and scan- * Clarendon's Hist. vol. ii. p. 287. , Fuller's Church Hist. b. xi. p. 207. Sylvester's Life of Baxter, part i. p. 74. § " Some of his majesty'sministersdrove so fast," saysWelwood, "that it was nowonder both the wheelsand chariot were broken. And it was owing in a greatpart to the indiscreet zeal of a mitred head, (meaning Laud) who had got anascendant over his master's conscience and councils, that both the- snottarchy and hierarchyowed afterwards their fall."--Memoirs, p. 37.