PREFACE. xiii believed it. A spirit of intolerance and oppression ever deserves to be held up to universal abhor- rence. In allusion to this tragic scene, Sir William Blackstone very justly observes, " That our an- " cestors were mistaken in their plans of compul- " sion and intolerance. The sinof schism, as such, " is by no means the object of coercion and " punishment. All persecution for diversity of opinions, however ridiculous or absurd they " may be, is contrary to every principle of sound " policy and civil freedom. The names and sub- " ordination of the clergy, the posture of devo- " tion, the materials and colour of the minister's " garment, the joining in a known or unknown " form of prayer, and other matters of the same " kind, must be left to the opinion of every man's " private judgment. For, undoubtedly, all per- " secution and oppression of weak consciences, " on the score of religious persuasions, are highly unjustifiable upon every principle of natural " reason, civil liberty, or sound religion." Perhaps, no class of men ever suffered more re- proach than the Puritans. ArchbishopParker stig- matizes them as "schismatics, belly-gods, deceivers, flatterers, fools, having been unlearnedly brought up in profane occupations; being puffed up with arrogancy."-r His successor. Whitgift says, " that when they walked in the streets, they hung down their heads, and looked austerely ; and in cOm= Blackstone's Comment. vol. iv. p. 51-53. Edit. 1771. t Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 481.-Pairee's Vindication,part,i. p. 61.