Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

XX PREFACE. And because they sought, though in the most peaceable manner, to have the church of England purged of all its antichristian impurities, they were stigmatized with the odious name of Puritans, and many of them, on account of their nonconformity, were suspended, imprisoned, and persecuted even unto death. These volumes, therefore, present to the reader a particular detail of the arduous and painful struggle for religious freedom, during the arbitrary reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles I., to the restoration of King Charles II. The reader will here find a circumstantial account of the proceedings of the High Com- mission and the Star Chamber, the two terrible engines of cruelty and perSecution. The former of these tribunals assumed the power of administer- ing an oath ex officio, by which persons were con- strained to answer all questions proposed to them, though ever so prejudicial to themselves or others: if they refused the unnatural oath, they were cast into prison for contempt ; and if they took it, they were convicted upon their own confession. The tyrannical oppi-essions and shocking barbarities of these courts are 'without a parallel in any Pro- testant country, and nearly equal to the Romish inquisition. The' severe examinations, the nu- merous suspensions, the long and miserable im- prisonments, with 'otherbrutal usage, of pious and faithful ministers, for not wearing a white surplice, not baptizing with a cross, not kneeling at the rye