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Why the Confederacy Still Matters

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The Big Picture:  Federalism vs. Centralization

Texas Flags

by Paul A. Hughes

The path to the Confederacy, bred of republican Federalism, passed through Mexico to Texas, where the future of Federalism might still lie.

On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla stood on the steps of his church in Dolores, Mexico, and uttered the “Grito” (“cry”) of independence from colonial Spain.  Hidalgo was a Francophile, steeped in the same ideals of democratic freedom that helped inspire the American Revolution.  For too long, he had watched his native and mestizo parishioners neglected and abused by a far-off, centralized government that did not represent them or their interests.  Rather, the Spaniards and native-born criollos in central Mexico maintained the masses as a permanent under-class to serve their own interests.  A revolutionary army formed almost instantly behind Hidalgo which soon threatened Mexico City, but which was ultimately defeated by government troops in a series of setbacks and betrayals.  Hidalgo’s head and those of leaders Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and José Mariano Jiménez were displayed in cages hanging from the corners of a public building in Guanajuato for ten years, a reminder to passersby of the fruits of revolution.  Hidalgo’s cry is still echoed throughout Mexico each Independence Day.

El Grito de Independencia en 1810

El Grito de Independencia en 1810

Independence from Spain would not be realized until 1821.  Threatened by Napoleon, Spain had enacted a new, liberal Constitution in 1812 which granted New Spain (Mexico) seven representatives in government, plus Freedom of the Press and revocation of special privileges for Catholic clergy and the military.  However, the new Constitution was almost immediately set aside by the Spanish viceroy, Francisco Javier Venegas, on the premise that Hidalgo’s insurgency, which was being continued by José María Morelos, justified emergency measures.  Fernando VII of Spain, released from Napoleon’s custody in 1814, abolished the Spanish Constitution and enacted policies which caused such widespread reaction that he began to entertain forsaking Spain for a new empire in Mexico.  An apparent resurgence of liberalism in Spain encouraged conservative Centralists in Mexico to now consider the advantages of independence.  If they remained loyal to Fernando and the Church, they reasoned, there was no treason.  (Still Fernando never arrived.)  At this fortuitous juncture, Agustín de Iturbide, an ambitious army officer who had defeated Morelos, conspired with Vicente Guerrero, another of Hidalgo’s successors, in a coup d’état against the viceroy.  Supported by 6,000 troops under Gen. Anastasio Bustamante, Iturbide and Guerrero laid out the Iguala Plan, which led to the de facto independence of Mexico.

Unfortunately, Iturbide followed Napoleon’s example and set himself up to be Emperor; but soon he exhausted his personal capital with both government officials and the army, who were not getting paid.  Seizing this opportunity, Iturbide’s former protégé, Antonio López de Santa Anna, joined with yet another Hidalgo successor, Guadalupe Victoria, in a counter-coup, leading to Iturbide’s abdication and Santa Anna’s aggrandizement.

By 1823, sentiments of the upper classes swayed again toward republicanism.  The new government enacted the democratic Constitution of 1824, based largely on the principles of the U.S. Constitution.  It set up a federal system in which power was shared with 19 states and four territories.  The document, written by Don Miguel Ramos Arizpe, reflected his strong Federalist, self-rule sentiments and those of the northern states, including Texas.

Shortly before this time, Mexico’s northeastern frontier known as Texas remained an untamed wilderness, populated by Karankawa, Tonkawa, Attacapa, and Hasinai tribes near the coast, Caddos and Comanches inland, and Apaches in the Hill Country.  French traders, Spanish missionaries, and a few shipwrecked sailors had been the main points of contact by Europeans with these tribes (some rumored to be cannibals).  Spain had long sought to establish the region as a buffer zone between itself and French Louisiana, and later with the United States.  They had imported Canary Islanders into San Antonio, but were never truly successful at settling the region.

Spanish North America Map

Spanish North America

This void presented a window of opportunity, especially after Mexican independence.  Parts of the Alabama and Coushatta tribes from the east established themselves on the lower Trinity River, and by 1819 Virginia native Aaron Cherry had claimed land nearby for a plantation.  A contingent of Cherokee settled further north.  In 1821, Stephen F. Austin was granted an empresario contract to establish 300 farming families west of present-day Houston.  Irish immigrants, preferred by Mexico because they were also Catholic, established coastal colonies in San Patricio and the vicinity of Aransas Pass, while other colonies were placed further inland.  The Imperial colonization Act of 1823, enacted under Iturbide, granted 4,428 acres each to immigrant families with livestock, for a nominal fee.  Later, the National Colonization Act of 1827 continued these liberal policies but prohibited colonization within a buffer zone of 20 leagues (52 miles) of the U.S. border.  Soon plantations were staked out and land placed under cultivation all along the lower Trinity (known as the Atascosito administrative district, from the name of an early Spanish outpost near present-day Liberty).

American immigrants took great pains to present themselves as loyal citizens of Mexico.  They formally converted to Catholicism, as required, and kept the peace.  In 1826, citizens of Austin’s colony and settlers from Atascosito escorted Mexican political chief, Col. Mateo Ahumada, under arms, to put down the abortive Fredonian Rebellion in Nacogdoches.

However, settlers in Atascosito began to realize their need for organization in order to enforce the peace within their district.  Moreover, their land grants had yet to be confirmed by the Mexican government, as did the contracts of some empresarios down the coast.  According to law, settlers were entitled to have their land surveyed by the Mexican land commissioner, their titles confirmed, and a township established as their seat of government (ayuntamiento).  Juan Antonio Padilla, the secretary of state, was appointed general land commissioner for Texas.  He had just begun his work when he was accused of embezzlement and murder, and arrested (later exonerated), probably out of political retribution.  Padilla was replaced by José Francisco Madero (great-grandfather of future president Francisco Madero).

Military authorities, as an arm of the Centralist power structure, had become suspicious of Norteamericanos, and began to interfere with Federalist state authorities.  In 1828, Gen. Manuel de Mier y Terán was commissioned to assess the situation in Texas, and was alarmed by the vitality of the Anglo-Saxon settlers, the sajones, who had cultivated more land than Hispanic settlers, then numbering a scant three to four thousand, had in 300 years.  In 1829, then president Guerrero, himself part African, tried to discourage new settlement by outlawing slavery.  Gen. Bustamante seized the presidency in 1829 and enacted a strict new colonization law the next year, sending Gen. Terán with troops to enforce it.  Madero and his surveyor, José María Jesús Carbajal, were arrested by John Davis Bradburn.  The latter had been newly dispatched by Gen. Terán to establish a fort and garrison at Anahuac on Trinity Bay, and another at Velasco on the Brazos.  An Irishman born in Kentucky, Bradburn nevertheless served the interests of the Centralist military and president.

Map of Liberty County, 1895

Map of Liberty County, 1895

Interpreting Terán’s orders and the new law, Bradburn insisted that the citizens, and Madero, were in violation of the law, which prohibited new American settlement and gave all authority to act on land titles to himself.  Madero maintained that the new law did not apply to land or persons settled under previous laws.  An order to release the men was issued by the political chief at San Antonio, Antonio Elosúa.  Thereafter, Madero proceeded, during a brief period in 1831, to confirm up to 60 land titles and establish a town site straddling the Trinity River, near the crossroads at the old Atascosito outpost.  He named it, “Villa de la Santissima Trinidad de la Libertad.”  Madero laid out its streets and named them after heroes of democracy, including Socrates, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Cincinnatus, current Hispanic liberator Simón Bolívar, and recent revolutionary martyrs including Hidalgo, Morelos, Allende, and Jiménez.  (Now known simply as Liberty, the town later renamed many of its streets after heroes of the Texas Revolution, even including Santa Anna and his brother-in-law, Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos.  Liberty proudly remarked its streets with their original names for the Sesquicentennial of Texas Independence in 1986, which markers remain to this day.)

Liberty Street Markers, Sinsinato and Hidalgo

Liberty Street Markers, Sinsinato and Hidalgo

Gen. Terán ordered Bradburn to demolish the town, such as it was, though apparently this was never attempted.  The new law further placed high tariffs on imported goods.  A customs house was established on Galveston.  Authorities attempted to assess tariffs on ships already arrived within Brazos River ports, and captains complained bitterly about ex post facto laws.  Citizens were accused of smuggling.  Worse, citizens of various locales organized militias, prohibited under Mexican law, which were claimed by some to be meant merely to guard against Indian raids.  Bradburn arrested Patrick C. Jack and his law partner, William Barret Travis, Jack having been chosen captain of the Anahuac militia.  Militia groups from as far away as San Augustine and Austin’s colony mobilized to march upon the fort.  A group of militia from Austin’s colony, joined by several ready men from Liberty, purportedly numbering at least 130, made camp north of Anahuac, near Turtle Bayou.  Encountering cavalry dispatched by Bradburn as a show of force, they managed to capture and hold hostage all 19 troopers.  This action led to skirmishes at Anahuac and at Velasco, both Anglo victories.  At Velasco the first blood of what became the Texas Revolution was shed.

Meanwhile, a committee drafted a list of grievances, which reads like the Declaration of Independence and became known as the Turtle Bayou Resolutions.  These were further presented, in true Hispanic style, as a pronunciamento denouncing President Bustamante and declaring for the Constitution of 1824 and Santa Anna, who at that time was known as a liberator and Bustamante’s rival.  “This had the effect of taking their actions out of the realm of rebellion,” wrote one historian, “and placing themselves in the main stream of revolutionary activities going on throughout all of Mexico.”*  It was a master stroke.  An agreement was reached with Bradburn’s superior, Col. José de las Piedras, prisoners were released, and the settlers returned home in peace.  Gen. Terán, however, wrote to Lucas Alamán, “How could we expect to hold Texas when we do not even agree among ourselves?”  He concluded, “The revolution is about to break forth and Texas is lost.”  To add to his troubles, Mexican Federalists dealt a defeat to government forces in Matamoros.  Ill and despondent, on July 3, 1832, Terán donned his dress uniform, entered the church in Padilla, Tamaulipas, and fell on his sword.

Representatives from the various colonies and districts convened in October 1832, and again in January 1833, to discuss grievances and reforms.  The 1833 convention commissioned Stephen Austin to carry their proposals to the government in Mexico City.  Most objectionable to the Centralists was the proposal to separate Texas from Coahuila and form its own state government, which had heretofore been combined under the Constitution of 1824 (with Texas as a subordinate Department).  Unable to get results, Austin presently wrote a letter instructing local officials back home to go ahead and form a government.  This was intercepted, and Austin arrested.  He languished in a prison of the Inquisition for 18 months, without trial, before being released in a general amnesty, upon the ascension of Santa Anna to the presidency.  Austin’s health was never the same.

Stephen F. Austin with Dog

Stephen F. Austin with Dog

Soon Santa Anna issued his Plan of Cuernavaca, which repealed liberal reforms and enforced a Centralist government.  In April, 1835, a faction of the Coahuila government declared against the Plan.  Newly-elected governor, Agustín Viesca, called out the militia, intent on removing the capital to San Antonio.  Efforts to do so were hindered by troops under Gen. Cos, and Viesca was arrested.  Thus Federalism in Coahuila was stymied.

Events in Texas moved quickly.  In July 1834, Capt. Manuel Sabriego was dispatched from the old stone fort at Goliad to the town of Refugio, in the Aransas colony, with orders to displace settlers from the old Spanish mission and convert it to military barracks.  June 1835, Anahuac merchant Andrew Briscoe was arrested for violating tariff laws by bartering, prompting William Barret Travis to raise 25 volunteers and take the fort there, site of his previous confinement.  Its garrison was forced to agree to evacuate Texas.  Santa Anna sent Gen. Cos with several hundred troops to investigate, which landed on the coast south of Goliad in September.  Santa Anna’s brother-in-law had orders to arrest Travis and other instigators and discourage any settlers who arrived after the 1830 colonization law.  First stationing troops at San Antonio, Cos sent a detachment of cavalry to Gonzales, the most northwesterly Anglo settlement, to retrieve a small cannon previously granted to them for defense.  Indeed, the cannon was once used to frighten off a Comanche raiding party.  October 2, displaying a flag emblazoned with a cannon and the words, “Come and Take It,” the citizens of Gonzales forced the troopers to back down.  October 9, colonists from Matagorda and Victoria mobilized, along with 30 mounted rancheros, and captured the fort at Goliad by subterfuge.  November 4, colonists took Fort Lipantitlán, southwest of Goliad, inflicting 28 casualties without a loss of their own, and but one injury.  John Linn recognized a friend among the wounded, Lt. Marcelino Garcia, who denounced Santa Anna before he died.  The next morning, the same colonists encountered deposed governor Viesca, who had escaped confinement, headed to Goliad with an armed escort.

Meanwhile, Texans convened a Consultation at Columbia, many delegates still hoping to resolve differences with Mexico City.  Yet on November 7, the Consultation voted 33 to 14 to organize a government, under the stipulations of the Constitution of 1824.  At the same time, they declared Santa Anna to have already alienated any allegiance owed to him.

The Alamo in 1854

The Alamo in 1854

Several hundred Texan volunteers proceeded to San Antonio.  Their first skirmish took place at nearby Misión Concepción, in which the same Andrew Briscoe previously jailed in Anahuac, and freed by Travis, led a detachment of Liberty volunteers.  The Texans besieged Cos’s superior force for some weeks, finally fighting from house to house to capture the town, ultimately forcing the capitulation of the old mission known as San Antonio de Valero de los Alamos, the Alamo, on December 9.  From Gen. Cos was exacted the promise to march his remaining forces out of Texas, permanently.

By February 1836, Santa Anna crossed into Texas with his army.  He had come by way of Zacatecas, where he had defeated a well-armed Federalist militia of 3,000 and allowed his army to sack the town, raping and murdering, causing the deaths of 2,000 non-combatants.  A second army under Gen. José de Urrea, numbering 1,100, came by the coastal route, heading for Goliad by way of the Anglo settlements at San Patricio and Refugio.  The rest of the story is better known.  Santa Anna had learned from Bustamante the doctrine that all prisoners should be shot, and all combatants at the Alamo were slaughtered.  Santa Anna ordered Urrea to do the same with about 400 rebel prisoners at Goliad.  Afterward, Santa Anna led a “flying” force after Sam Houston’s army, to meet its fate at San Jacinto, while Urrea continued up the coast as far as Brazoria.

Goliad Fort and Chapel

Goliad Fort and Chapel

The public in the United States watched these events with increasing interest and enthusiasm.  The citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio, donated two matching cannon, dubbed thereafter the “Twin Sisters,” which were the two cannon used by Texans in their victory at San Jacinto on April 21.  One manufacturer of weapons, which produced a short model fighting sword for the U.S. military, provided a Texas version.  One of these was reported found on the San Jacinto battleground by a construction worker about 1936, and was more recently featured on the PBS program, “Antiques Roadshow.”

Historians and pundits have since speculated that some later-arriving settlers, namely Sam Houston, had come on a mission to steal Texas from Mexico and hand it over to the United States, perhaps on President Jackson’s secret orders.  Certainly there were those Anglos who longed for incorporation into their native country, if only for preservation of their accustomed rights as free citizens.  (Americans maintained a concept of basic citizenship rights, as had the American Founding Fathers, which harked back to 17th-Century England, see “Politics and Religious Liberty in 17th-Century England.”)  Certainly such desire to associate themselves with the United States seems to be reflected in the design of the flag of the Republic, adopted at the end of 1838, displaying one five-pointed star and one each of red and white stripes.  As we have seen, however, the evolution towards an independent Texas goes back to at least 1810 (some might point back further to Aaron Burr’s conspiracy), yet did not immediately presume U.S. statehood.

Texas was a republic for nearly ten years, then a U.S. state for barely 15 years when Secession took place.  Other causes of Secession are well-known and much-debated, but without doubt the independent, Federalist example of Texas was still fresh in the public consciousness.  The Southern states were not traitors against America, but states populated by Americans who wished to escape what they saw as the tyranny of an unresponsive and no longer representative, Centralist government and continue as American states under self-rule.  Unlike the North, the South did not raise an army to invade others’ territory with an eye to subjugating it.  The South raised an army in order to tell other states and the Centralist government to leave them alone.

There is to this day no stipulation in the U.S. Constitution that forbids states, once joined, to thereafter secede.  The matter was never settled by law, but by sheer force of arms and economic weight.  The Spanish forces opposing Hidalgo, and the armies that Santa Anna took to Texas, had done or attempted to do the same.  Same also were the palpable as well as existential violations of the inalienable rights of free and law-abiding citizens.

The same principle of Centralization is at work today, “in spades,” as special interests, a bureaucratic mentality, and socialistic, dictatorial politicians and legal activists attempt to force laws, speech, thought, and behaviors upon states (which the Constitution declares to be sovereign) and their citizens against their will—except today’s Liberals are the Centralists and Statists, and Conservative Southerners are those who wish to remain free to live as they choose, much as they have always lived, meaning no harm, but brooking little interference.  It remains to be seen when the “tipping point” will be reached, with what substantial reaction, and what form that reaction might take.

God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.
”   Listen

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886


*Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin, TX: The Pemberton Press, 1974), p. 89.


Copyright © 2015 Paul A. Hughes


Written by biblequestion

July 17, 2015 at 6:26 AM

Scriptures to Vote by: Voting Christian in a Secular World

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Compiled by Paul A. Hughes, M.Div

Note: This collection of scriptures was first published during the 1992 presidential election.  A few additions have been made.  If only these warnings from Scripture had been more heeded back then, and since, by Christians of all types who decided to vote their own preference instead of God’s!  Think, in particular, what better appointments would have been made to the Supreme Court, had truly Christian presidents and other leaders been elected.

As another crucial election approaches, it is important to emphasize the need for Christians to vote according to their Christian convictions.

Some Christians think it is somehow “unspiritual” to participate in molding and influencing our nation through politics.  Others have bought the secular line that Christians should keep their religion separate from their politics.

However, it is not only the right but the solemn responsibility of all Christians to exploit every means to influence the world, including electing men of truth, justice, and character to their government, calling all their leaders to accountability, and punishing those who violate the public trust.

Now I cannot tell anyone else for whom to vote [though perhaps I ought to have done so, in retrospect], but I would like to offer a selection of scriptures we should all ponder before we vote.  These scriptures speak for themselves [or so I had hoped].

Seek the Nation’s Welfare

“Seek the peace of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in its peace shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).

“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).

“I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Seek Freedom of Worship

“Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD. . . but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD” (Exodus 8:29).

“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem” (Ezra 9:9).

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Colossians 4:3).

The World is Ignorant of God’s Truth

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Choose God, Not Self-Interest

“No man can serve two masters . . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon (i.e., money)” (Matthew 6:24).

“If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served . . . or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

“See I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19).

“Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12:29-31).

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

Declare a Public Testimony

“Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:18).

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

“For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28).

“For a long time, then, they abode there, speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word . . . And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31).

“And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region” (Acts 13:49).

Do Not Aid Sinners in Their Cause

“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them who hate the Lord? Therefore, there is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:2).

“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 1:10-11).

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).

Stand Against Evil

“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

“Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).

“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15).

Beware of Deceivers

“Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, see also 4:14).

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Distrust Human Counsel

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the lord, who take counsel, but not of me; and who cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1).

“We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold, trouble!” (Jeremiah 8:15).

“They say still unto those who despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jeremiah 23:17, see also Ezekiel 13:10, 16).

Seek God for Guidance

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

©2015 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

June 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM

The Conservative “Social Gospel”

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Better than the Liberal model of Social Gospel as charity and wealth redistribution, leading to lifelong dependency, is the Conservative model of individual enablement, in which churches, Christians, and Conservatives of all types promote our Constitutional freedoms to work and do business with minimal restraints, to employ others or be employed, and to own property without prohibitive taxation — for lack of a better word, “Capitalism.”

Having been enabled by freedom of commerce and property, individuals can then support themselves, be a burden to no one, and support the genuinely needy as well as the work of the church.

Truly, it was the hard-won right to do business and own property that enabled Europe, as well as America, to escape serfdom and slavery, the tyranny of lords and Roman religion, which by the way led to the printing and dissemination of Bibles, the Protestant Reformation, freedom of worship, free speech, and freedom of the Press, among other things.

See my book introduction, “Politics and Religious Liberty in 17th Century England.”

None of these rights were granted by benevolent “caretaker” governments.

I think Paul the Apostle would heartily agree, since he himself worked as a “tentmaker” when necessary, forbade charity to widows under 60 and without sterling credentials, and also said, “Whoever does not work, does not eat.”

Copyright © 2013 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

December 7, 2013 at 2:36 AM

John Kerry’s America — Revisited

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Note:  Word has come of the death of Judge Robert Bork.  The following was written to recall the debacle which was his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, and compare the wild and unfounded accusations leveled at him by Sen. Edward Kennedy to those which could justly be leveled at then presidential candidate — now up for Obama’s Secretary of State — John Kerry.  A postscript was later added in regard to the retirement and replacement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

At the Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Robert Bork in 1991, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts made the following alarmist statement:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, robed police could break down citizen’s doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about Evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

The Bork hearings, one may recall, were made a public spectacle on broadcast television a la Watergate, and he was not confirmed by the Senate.

If Kennedy’s “vision” of the future is fair, then how might one envision the future under the leadership of John Kerry?

  • John Kerry’s America would be one in which a million or more healthy babies continue to be slaughtered each year for women’s rights, population control, and personal convenience.
  • Official discrimination favoring only select minorities will increase in the name of Affirmative Action and “Diversity.”
  • Following the lead of Sweden and other socialist countries, Christians and others who dare speak against homosexual marriage, abortion, and other approved causes will be tried for hate crimes, and religious institutions raided in the manner of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.
  • Schoolchildren will continue to be taught Evolution as established fact, and the mere mention of Creationism excluded from the classroom.
  • Reforms made to the National Endowment to the Arts will be undone, and so-called artists like Annie Sprinkle will be funded by the government.
  • Supreme Court justices William Renquist, Sandra Day O’Connor, and perhaps others, not to mention other federal judges, will retire and be replaced with liberal activist judges who will continue to undermine the fabric of American society, and purge from it all Christian influence.
  • The United States would look to the United Nations for permission to defend itself, and increasingly serve in the UN’s causes at the expense of American taxpayers and American lives.
  • Finally, taxes and social spending would rise, while funding for defense and intelligence would, as Kerry’s past voting record ably demonstrates, be gutted.

John Kerry is Ted Kennedy’s choice for president. The choice in 2004 is not between personalities but two very different visions for the future of the United States of America. It is a clear moral choice. Undecided voters who continue to “waffle” between poll results must either be negligently ignorant of the facts, or totally lacking in guiding principles.

© 2004 Paul A. Hughes

Now the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor has transpired, so we are in for a renewed skirmish in the “cultural wars.” Ted Kennedy has already declared his opposition to any non-Liberal nominee to the Supreme Court. Any nominee must brace him/herself for the same kind of rectal examination accorded Bork and Clarence Thomas.

With Thomas, there was no evidence of wrongdoing, only hearsay FBI interviews illegally “leaked” by a Democrat senator’s office. I well recall Sam Nunn and (I think) Chris Dodd (or some other partisan) telling the press that in spite of lack of evidence, they must question Thomas’s nomination “because of the seriousness of the charges. In short, Democrats have already proven that in the absence of evidence, they are willing enough to create some.

© 2005 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

December 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM

“I Didn’t Speak Up” – Updated 2011

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Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller

by Paul A. Hughes

Inspired by the famous warning by Martin Niemöller.*

In America, they first created the Welfare State and “Entitlements” — including Social Security, which they promised would be “temporary” — which have created generations of dependent masses.  But I didn’t speak up, because I wanted government benefits and security, too.

Then they created special government programs and rendered court decisions favoring select minorities, setting quotas and giving them advantages in education and jobs.  Then they added de facto amnesty for illegal aliens, who do not pay income tax and who use public services and unpaid medical care disproportionately.  But I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t want to be called a racist.

Then they declared that women were discriminated against because of childbearing, that a baby was “part of the mother” until delivery, and that a woman had the “choice” to abort her baby for any reason whatsoever.  But I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t want to be called a sexist.

Niemöller the U-Boat Captain in WWI

Niemöller as a U-Boat Captain in World War I

Then they made trade agreements that increased our trade deficit and exported American manufacturing jobs overseas, increasing unemployment, hopelessness, and poverty.  But I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t want to be associated with Protectionism, and I like cheap foreign goods, too.

Then they created special rights for certain deviant behaviors and lifestyles, enacting “hate crimes” laws that punish violence against certain persons more harshly — despite the fact that those laws violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment — and even punish speech.  But I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t want to be called a “hater” or a homophobe.

Then it became clear that our government had been infiltrated by Socialists, Communists, Statists, and radicals.  They went so far as to say that any opposition to a black president’s policies is inherently racist.  So I didn’t speak up, because I didn’t want to be associated with McCarthyism or the KKK.

Then they decided that the U.S. Constitution was outdated, and no longer applied to modern, “Progressive” America.  But there were too few people left to speak for my Constitutional rights, because they had all “sold out” to self-interest or surrendered to Political Correctness — all because people like me were too afraid that someone might call them a bad name.

* Niemöller was a Protestant pastor imprisoned by the Nazis from 1938 to 1945.  In a speech in Frankfurt in 1946 he said, “In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.  Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me.”

Copyright 2011 Paul A. Hughes

I Didn't Speak Up - Niemoller monument

Niemoller monument

Written by biblequestion

November 16, 2011 at 4:44 AM

What San Jacinto Day Means to All Americans – and Mexicans

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The Battle of San Jacinto by Henry Arthur McArdle, 1895

The Battle of San Jacinto by Henry Arthur McArdle, 1895

San Jacinto Day, April 21, 2011

On this day in 1836, eight hundred Texans marched across the open prairie to attack a superior force of the Mexican Army under dictator Santa Anna in broad daylight.  With them, they rolled two field cannon, the “Twin Sisters,” recently donated by the people of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Santa Anna apparently regarded the Texas Army as a cornered prey, having chased them from Gonzales in central Texas to the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou with Trinity Bay, and burning their capital, Harrisburg.

However, Santa Anna had the Texans right where Sam Houston wanted him.  Amid shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” the Texans exchanged several volleys of musket fire with the barricaded Mexican troops before charging.  Their commander, Sam Houston, had two horses shot from beneath him, while being wounded himself in the ankle.

In about 15 minutes, the Texas Army wreaked havoc upon an encamped, complacent enemy, chased in disarray into the adjacent coastal swamps.  A Mexican officer, appealing to Tejano commander Juan Seguin as a brother, was rebuffed as an oppressor.  Santa Anna, captured overnight near where the modern Washburn Tunnel crosses Buffalo Bayou, formally surrendered to Sam Houston and promised to withdraw from Texas.  As Houston was well aware, two other Mexican armies stood within the borders of Texas.

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886

Sadly, in the popular imagination, the Texas Revolution soon came to be seen as a victory of Americans over Mexicans — a misconception exacerbated by two Mexican invasions in 1842, and perpetuated in popular hero movies — but it was not that.  The Revolution was the fulfillment of the dream of Father Miguel Hidalgo, who in 1810 gave his life in a bid for democratic, republican freedom.  It was the dream of Jose Navarro, a native Tejano lawyer who participated in resistance movements in 1812-13 and represented the Mexican state of Coahuila-y-Texas in the Mexican Congress.  It was the intention of the democratic Constitution of 1824, under the banner of which, literally or figuratively, the Texans fought, and which Santa Anna had repeatedly violated.  It was also the dream of patriots in the Mexican states of Zacatecas and the Yucatan, who had been brutally suppressed by Santa Anna shortly before he turned his attention to Texas.

The victory led to the Mexican Cession, by which Texas independence was confirmed and lands reaching to the Pacific were acquired.  Whatever one’s thoughts about the rights of Mexicans, erstwhile Spaniards, who had never truly consolidated their “Wild North,” or Native Americans who had but sparsely populated and tenuously jockeyed for position in those lands, the Revolution led to a far different destiny for those lands and future occupants than the hinterland it would no doubt remain under the centralized control of Mexico City.  As it is, the North was spared the continual revolution that spanned well into the Twentieth Century, and served as a refuge for those who escaped the mix of dictatorship and lawlessness which has often prevailed.

To Americans, attitudes regarding the Revolution, and the Mexican War that followed, have ranged from pride to shame; yet there is no doubt the consequent expansion and growth west has helped make America great, by any definition, and provided a stable and peaceful domicile for millions of all ethnicities.  Texas is now the second largest American state, an agricultural, manufacturing, and oil-producing giant.

Of arguably greater importance, the idea of a democratic, republican government, in which people are equal in the eyes of the law, a law higher than self-interest and the whims of the moment:  an idea built upon the American Founding Fathers and confirmed in Texas independence, is surely the highest form of human government possible, and the key to freedom and opportunity to peoples wherever it may be adopted.

Copyright 2011 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

April 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Politics and Religious Liberty in 17th-Century England

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A Practical Discourse Concerning Death Covers

Front & Back Covers, A Practical Discourse Concerning Death

The Case of William Sherlock

By Paul A. Hughes

The following was originally written as an historical introduction to a new edition of the once popular but now nearly forgotten theological work, A Practical Discourse Concerning Death (1690) by Dr. William Sherlock.  The volume, in hardcover, is also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.  A paperback version has been made available, as well, from a single source.  The front cover features a portrait of John Donne (1572-1631) in his funeral shroud, which he commissioned before his death to remind him of his mortality.

William Sherlock was born in Southwark, a borough of London on the southern bank of the Thames, around 1641.  He was schooled at Eton and then Saint Peter’s College at Cambridge,[1] where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1660 and his master’s degree three years later.  In 1669 he became rector of St. George’s Church in Botolph Lane, then was elevated to Master of the Temple (1685) and finally Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral (1691).  In spite of becoming involved in several well-known controversies, Sherlock was considered one of the most popular theological writers of the century.

The 17th Century was a watershed in English history, which saw the evolution of parliamentary government and new restrictions on the monarchy; the foundations of union with Scotland and Ireland; and the development of the principles of free speech, press, religion, the right to bear arms, the right to due process, and freedom from the billeting of troops which were later written into the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.  Events of the century also influenced development of the presumption of “inalienable rights” later expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

The Tudors

The changes of the 17th Century were rooted in the Tudor reign.  Prior to Henry VII, Parliament served at the behest of the king in an advisory rôle, meeting only for short periods, and disbanded at the king’s will.  Henry expanded this rôle, using Parliament to create favorable legislation.  For instance, he had Parliament pass a law stating that it was not treason to obey a de facto ruler (which he was).  This approach was used to even more advantage by his son.  Henry VIII broke with the Roman Church for personal as well as political reasons, notably to secure the right to divorce.  In calling the Reformation Parliament of 1529, following the failure of Cardinal Wolsey to win his release from Catharine of Aragon,[2] the king sought legislative support from Parliament for his takeover of the English Church.  Through the Act of Supremacy, Henry had himself declared Supreme Head of the Church of England.

Thomas More, Archbishop of Canterbury, along with Cardinal Fisher, were beheaded for opposing control of the Church by the State and refusing to acknowledge Henry’s right.  In 1536, the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, protesting dissolution of the monasteries, were treacherously executed at the king’s order.

Henry and Thomas Cranmer, the new Archbishop, proceeded to create a new English Church.  The Ten Articles (1536) made Baptism, penance, and the Eucharist essential to salvation.  The so-called Bishop’s Book (1537) declared the statement of faith for the Church; and in 1539, the Six Articles mandated adherence to the Established Church.  When new English Bible translations such as Coverdale’s (1535) and Cranmer’s (1540) ignited public interest, however, Henry complained to Parliament that the Bible was being “disputed, rhymed, sung, and jangled in every alehouse and tavern.”[3]

With the death of Henry, nine-year-old Edward VI, son of Henry with Jane Seymour, assumed the throne.  Under the influence of his uncle, Somerset, government moved toward religious toleration.  Parliament repealed the Six Articles, along with various treason and heresy laws passed under Henry.

When Somerset was replaced by Northumberland, however, anti-Catholic activity resumed.  Cranmer designed a new communion service that denied Transubstantiation,[4] and issued a new Book of Common Prayer to which, in the First Act of Uniformity (1549) all clergy must conform.  Altars were removed from churches due to their association with Roman Catholicism.  1552 saw a Second Act of Uniformity and yet another Book of Common Prayer.  In his Forty-Two Articles (1553), Cranmer spelled out the official doctrine of the Church.

That year, Mary I, daughter of Henry and Catherine of Aragon, assumed the throne and attempted to re-establish the Catholic Church, with compulsory attendance to mass and enforcement of heresy laws.  Nearly three hundred Protestant “Dissenters” were burned at the stake during the reign of “Bloody Mary,” including Archbishop Cranmer, Bishop Nicholas Ridley, and scholarly reformer Hugh Latimer.  At his burning, Latimer said to Ridley, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

Cranmer, suffering two years in prison, recanted Protestantism, yet in the end publicly denounced the Pope.  At his execution, he held his “unworthy right hand,” which had signed the recantation, in the flames.  Many Protestants fled to the Netherlands and other regions to escape persecution.

Taking the throne in 1558, Elizabeth I again broke with Rome, but was named “Supreme Governor of the Church” rather than “Supreme Head,” to avoid offending Catholics because she was a woman.  Her Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity established the Ecclesiastical Commission, later called the Court of High Commission.  Under these acts, all clergy and officials were required to take the specified Oaths of Allegiance; those who did not conform were subject to a charge of treason.  Soon this requirement was extended to teachers, university graduates, lawyers, and Members of Parliament.  Clergy who dissented from this requirement were estimated at the time to number 177.[5]

Like her father, Elizabeth continued to keep Parliament on a short leash, insisting that members had no right to discuss any matter not on the royal agenda.

In 1563, the Convocations—assemblies of the higher clergy, with representatives from the lower clergy, in Canterbury and York, respectively—adopted the Thirty-Nine Articles, a revision of Cranmer’s original Forty-Two.  Some articles that were offensive to Puritans were pushed by Elizabeth against the wishes of Parliament.  Elizabeth further denied Parliament the latitude to legitimate Calvinism; religion, she asserted, was the province of Church and Crown, not Parliament.  For criticizing her policies, Peter Wentworth was detained in the Tower of London for a month.  Peter’s brother Paul, in combination with Sir Anthony Cope, attempted to debate replacing the Book of Common Prayer with the Geneva Prayer Book and Discipline.  They were both condemned to the Tower, where Paul Wentworth died.

After Elizabeth was excommunicated in 1570, the often lax enforcement of the religious code tightened.  Failure to attend Anglican services was punishable by a £20 fine.  Beginning in 1593, offenders were prohibited from traveling more than five miles from home.  Two hundred people were executed for treason during Elizabeth’s reign, and four were burned for heresy.

Meanwhile, the Court of High Commission instituted a sort of Inquisition, administering the Oath to anyone suspected of disloyalty, and probing for heresy, absenteeism, etc.  Later, under Charles I, the High Commission would be used to drive nonconforming clergy, especially Puritans, from their offices.

Puritans began to hold conventicles, secret religious meetings, according to their own faith, outside the Established Church.  Attending conventicles was made punishable by death.  “Adherence to the Church” came to be considered “a test of loyalty to the state.”[6] In 1599, “Martin Marprelate” (pen name of an anonymous author) attacked Anglican bishops in a widely-circulated series of pamphlets, precipitating an anti-Puritan reaction.

The Stuarts

Elizabeth designated James VI of Scotland, son of her cousin Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, heir to her throne.  After Elizabeth died in 1603, Robert Cecil arranged his accession as King James I of England.  The English Parliament should have expected trouble, for James had long dealt firmly with the Scottish Parliament, as did he with Presbyterians and Calvinists.  He had recently published True Law of Free Monarchies, in which he asserted, though the phrase was not yet coined, the Divine Right of Kings.  It did not bode well that while coming from Edinburgh, arriving at the town of Newark, he happened upon a thief who had just been caught, and ordered his summary execution.[7]

Meanwhile, a group of Puritans assembled the so-called Millenary Petition—claiming the support of a thousand clergy—asking for church reforms.  James instead arranged a debate at Hampton Court the next January, during which he also approved the production of a new Bible, hence the King James Version.  After several days, however, when James perceived a Presbyterian (in his word, “Scotch”) church structure being proposed, he stormed out of the room, declaring, “If this be all that they have to say, I shall make them conform themselves, or I will harry them out of the land, or else the worse,” thus ending the conference.[8]

In 1605, a group of Jesuits conspired to blow up the king and Parliament together at once, loading the cellar of the meeting house with casks of gunpowder.  The plot was leaked and one Guy Fawkes captured, who under torture revealed all he knew about the conspiracy.  The conspirators who were not killed resisting arrest were executed.

James had initiated an adversarial relationship with Parliament, which continued throughout his reign.  He had dictated to the Scottish Parliament, and he intended to do the same in England.  He scolded members of Parliament like disobedient children, which the members deeply resented.  James needed the legislative branch to raise taxes in order to meet his expenses, both Court and private, but Parliament was called just eight times in more than twenty years.  From 1614, the year of the “Addled Parliament,” so called on account of intransigence on the part of both king and Commons, there was no session at all for seven years.

The Stuarts were not known for intensive burning of heretics, but there was active religious persecution and political repression.  James persecuted religions other than strict Anglican, expelling Catholic priests and levying heavy fines for non-attendance to Anglican worship.  He reaffirmed the 39 Articles and Act of Uniformity, depriving two hundred clergy of their office.  In 1615, a clergyman named Peacham was examined by the Court of High Commission.  In his home were found notes to a sermon of Puritan sentiments which, though never delivered, was nevertheless deemed treasonous.  Moreover, when Spain demanded the head of Sir Walter Raleigh upon threat of war, James gave it to them.

Parliament itself was a battleground.  Sir Francis Bacon, one of its most famous members, was accused of corruption by the House of Commons and forced into retirement; and a Catholic known as Floyd was “fined, branded, pilloried, and imprisoned” for practicing free speech, even though Parliament had no legal right to discipline a non-member.[9]

James finally called a new session of Parliament in 1621.  To his chagrin, the Commons expressed their concern, respectfully, for the state of the country, foreign and domestic, the intended marriage of Prince Charles to Infanta Maria[10] in particular; and asked for his support of beleaguered Protestants on the Continent—for which he warned them of dire consequences of treading on his prerogative.  In what became know as the Great Protestation, the House of Commons proceeded to enter a formal protest against the king in their record, in which they asserted their right to free speech.  When James heard of this action, he sent for their book and tore the offending page from it.

James died in 1625, and Charles I began his reign intent on conducting a war with Spain, which then shifted to France.  He asked Parliament for a large endowment of money but would not disclose how it would be used.  Parliament refused to provide the funds if the king’s favorite, Buckingham, was in charge of it, by which they hoped to pressure the king to sack him.  Charles, angry that Parliament dared interfere with his choice of advisers, dismissed the session.  The new Stuart king was even less flexible than his father.

The next Parliament impeached Buckingham and was quickly dismissed, as well.  The third Parliament, in 1628, was concerned about successive military failures attributed to Buckingham, and even more with martial law, oppressive taxes, and the billeting of soldiers[11] precipitated by ill-conceived military excursions.  Parliament passed the Petition of Right, which Charles was compelled to sign, thereby acknowledging that his subjects had rights.

As Puritanism grew in the country, so did their power in the House of Commons, and disputes with Charles soon came to a head.  In 1629, the king, having prorogued Parliament for several weeks, i.e., ordered a hiatus, sent an order for a second prorogation.  As the Speaker, Sir John Finch, rose to announce the king’s proclamation, several members held him down in his chair until Sir John Eliot passed through several measures then in question.  Charles promptly dismissed Parliament for this defiance, and would not call it again for what became known as the Eleven Years Tyranny.  He consigned nine leaders of the House of Commons to the Tower for contempt (or according to some sources, “rioting”), including Eliot; where several remained after ten years, and Eliot died of tuberculosis.

Charles resolved to rule without Parliament, and used his High Courts to quash dissent.  A clergyman who did not precisely follow the prayer book might be hauled before the ecclesiastical Court of High Commission for discipline.  In 1630, the special court known as Star Chamber had a Scot named Leighton, who had criticized the bishops, flogged and his ears cut off.  William Prynne, a Puritan, was imprisoned, fined, pilloried, and his ears cut off for oblique comments taken as libel against the king and queen.  Likewise, John Lilburne, just 22 years old, arraigned before Star Chamber for illegally importing religious publications from the Netherlands, was flogged, pilloried, gagged, and imprisoned, all the while demanding his civil rights, earning him the popular nickname, “Freeborn John.”[12]

To raise money without Parliament, Charles broadened the application of certain fines and taxes.  Sir Charles Hampden, a Member of Parliament, refused on principle to pay a levy of twenty shillings.  He welcomed the “test case” which was tried in the Court of Exchequer in 1637; Hampden lost, but the vote of seven judges to five was so narrow that it handed the king a moral defeat.

The English Civil War actually began in Scotland, where Charles had himself crowned king in 1633.  He and his father had been gradually diluting Presbyterian power in Scotland by the appointment of bishops.  In 1637, he attempted to introduce a new prayer book:  when the Bishop of Edinburgh stood to read it at St. Giles Cathedral, an elderly woman threw a stool at him, and a riot ensued.  This event inspired the National Covenant, by which the vast majority of Scots swore to defend the Scots kirk.  Charles gathered a hasty army to invade Scotland but was readily defeated, and defeated again in 1640.  Desperate for money, Charles called the Short Parliament (so called because he dissolved it after three weeks) and finally the Long Parliament[13] later that same year.

Seizing the initiative, Parliament abolished the special High Courts and stripped the Privy Council of most of its power.  They executed the king’s adviser, Strafford, for high treason; and remanded Archbishop Laud, Charles’ ecclesiastical adviser, to the Tower, where he was executed in 1645.  Among other measures, the Commons appealed to the public in a document called the Grand Remonstrance, a list of grievances—plus a list of proposals—not unlike the future American Declaration of Independence.  Charles responded by personally leading five hundred troops to the Commons to arrest five of their leaders:  Pym, Hampden, Hazlerigg, Holles, and Strode, who had been forewarned and fled.  Soon the king thought it prudent to retreat north to Yorkshire; and the queen absconded with the Crown Jewels to her native France.

The Civil War began in earnest in 1642.  The Royal Navy sided with Parliament, as did the Scots by alliance.  On the king’s side, his nephew Rupert, trained in Europe, proved an able general; but was eclipsed by the genius of Oliver Cromwell, erstwhile Member of Parliament with no previous military experience.  Cromwell defeated the Royalist army in the North at Marston Moor (1644), and (with Sir Thomas Fairfax) broke the king’s last remaining army at Naseby (1645).

Afterward, Pym and Hampden having died,[14] Parliament withheld pay from the army and hedged on religious toleration.  Taking advantage of this dissention, Charles renewed the war.  This time the Scots sided with the king.  Cromwell defeated first the Scots, then the balance of the king’s forces.  Charles was imprisoned and, at the insistence of the army, finally executed at Whitehall in 1649.  England was declared a Commonwealth.

The Protectorate

Parliament, having been purged of most of its members by force,[15] began to remake England into a Puritan state.  The Sabbath was enforced, adultery made a capital crime, and Christmas celebration discouraged.  The established church would be Puritan, diverse faiths tolerated, but Catholicism and Anglicanism suppressed.  Over the years, Parliament and Puritanism would become increasingly unpopular with the masses.  Moreover, Parliament was unpopular with the army, and the army was the real power in the land.

When the Long Parliament failed to dissolve itself, Cromwell acted, driving the members from the hall and locking the door.  A bard of the day wrote,

Brave Oliver came to the House like a sprite,
His fiery face struck the Speaker dumb;
”Begone,” said he, “you have sate long enough,
Do you think to sit here till Doomsday come?”[16]

The Protectorate was formed via a document entitled, The Instrument of Government, the only written constitution in the history of England.  For sake of stability, Cromwell took the title Lord Protector, but refused kingship when it was offered two years later.

Cromwell ruled as a well-meaning and scrupulous dictator until his death in 1658.  His power passed to his son Richard who, insufficient for the task, abdicated in less than a year.  The army called for the reconvening of the Long Parliament which, concluding its business, finally dissolved itself.  The new Parliament of 1660 immediately called for restoration of the monarchy.

The Restoration

The younger Charles, age 30, was soon recalled from refuge in the Netherlands upon agreeable terms.  It was made clear on both sides that the new king would harbor neither illusions nor aspirations toward ruling without consent of Parliament.  There were, however, recriminations, as those who were deemed “regicides”[17] suffered the traditional fate of traitors:  to be “half-hung, drawn, and quartered.”  The body of Cromwell was dug out of Westminster Abbey, hanged, and ignominiously dumped into a pit to join the desecrated remains of Pym and various others.  The religious questions remained unsettled.

The “Cavalier Parliament” of 1661, said to be “more royalist than the king and more Anglican than the bishops,”[18] entered with a high hand.  Due to general animosity toward Puritans, and in spite of the new sects which had taken root during the Interregnum—Quakers, Baptists, Unitarians, etc.—the Anglican Church was re-established as the state religion.  Parliament passed the Corporation Act requiring an oath and conformation to Anglican worship of all local government officials.  A new Act of Uniformity was passed the next year, requiring all clergy and schoolmasters to recognize the established Book of Prayer.  About two thousand Dissenters resigned in protest.  The Conventicle Act of 1664 punished those who attended nonconforming worship, soon followed by the Five Mile Act prohibiting ousted ministers from approaching within that radius of their former places of ministry.  Together, these four laws became known as the Clarendon Code.

Charles II, sympathetic to Catholics, issued a Declaration of Indulgence, by which he proclaimed that the laws disenfranchising Dissenters would not be enforced.  In response, Parliament pressured Charles to withdraw his declaration and passed the Test Act of 1673 requiring all holders of public office to deny Transubstantiation and receive Communion under Anglican auspices.

Meanwhile, three great disasters were visited upon England in quick succession.  The Plague swept through the country in 1665, but was worst in crowded London, with disposal wagons plying the streets to the lament, “Bring out your dead!”  The next year, the Great Fire of London claimed the heart of the city, including St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Just as Christians had been accused of burning Nero’s Rome, rumors spread that the city had been set ablaze by Papists.  Finally, in 1667, Dutch ships sailed up the Thames and destroyed or captured much of the English fleet at Medway dockyard.  Many of the warships were unmanned and at anchor, having been de-funded by Parliament, which had withheld support of the king’s enterprises.  A popular cry was raised about that time, “No popery or wooden shoes!”[19]

As Louis XIV of France expanded his power, anti-Catholic feeling swelled.  In 1678, one Titus Oates revealed an alleged “Popish Plot” in which Louis would land an army in England, Charles would be assassinated, and his younger brother James, a known Catholic, would be crowned king.  Hysteria gripped London, and one entrepreneur began marketing a special “Protestant flail” with which men on the street might defend themselves against attack.  Parliament responded by proposing an Exclusion Bill designed to prevent James, the heir apparent, from acceding to the throne.  For once, Charles withstood Parliament and dissolved the session before the bill could pass—a measure which he was to repeat on subsequent occasions.  Soon, however, fear of renewed civil war and of Parliament, plus the failed Rye House assassination plot (1683), turned the tide of public opinion, and the inventor of the Protestant flail was among those executed for allegedly bearing arms against the king.

Titus Oates, convicted of sedition and perjury during the reign of James II, was pilloried, whipped through the streets, and sentenced to life imprisonment.  In 1688, he was pardoned by William and Mary.

In the meantime, William Sherlock, already a popular writer and preacher, published his treatise, “Discourse Concerning the Knowledge of Christ, and Union with Him” (1674), in which he objected to the Puritan tenet of mystical union with Christ.  Sherlock wished to assert the individual’s need to honor Christ’s covenant with believers by offering up due love and obedience.  “We must not,” he wrote, “dream of fetching life from the person of Christ as we draw water out of a fountain, but if we would live for ever with Christ we must stedfastly believe and obey His gospel.”   Moreover, he argued against Puritan John Owen’s “Satisfaction Theory” (that God required the sacrifice of Jesus for forgiveness of sins) and the Calvinistic doctrine of Election.   Rather, he insisted that “God hath sent His Son into the world to make a plain and easy and perfect revelation of His will, to publish such a religion as may approve itself to our reason and captivate our affections by its natural charms and beauties, and there cannot be a greater injury to the Christian religion than to render it obscure and unintelligible.”[20]

Sherlock’s treatise raised a storm of protest from other points of view.  The printing press facilitated widespread dissemination of printed materials, and publication of sectarian pamphlets had escalated dramatically.  As one commentator expressed it, “The printing press had permitted the spread of Protestantism, and it permitted the divisions of Protestantism.”[21]

Two replies to Sherlock are worthy of note.  Robert Fergusson, a Presbyterian, wrote the essay, “The Interest of Reason in Religion,” in which he accused Sherlock of Pelagianism and Socinianism.[22] A particularly virulent attack was that leveled by Robert South, an Anglican with a popular following and Calvinist sentiments.  South wrote defending Calvinism in general and the doctrine of Satisfaction in particular, holding its orthodoxy.  Sherlock’s treatise, on the other hand, he considered so “fraught with vile and scandalous reflections upon God’s justice with reference to Christ’s satisfaction that it might pass for a blasphemous libel on both.”[23] Dr. South, however, was in one estimation “more a rhetorician than a philosopher, more of a wit than a Divine,” more destructive than constructive, and more intent on winning than the Truth.[24]

As the king lay dying in 1685, a Catholic priest was brought by James to hear his confession and grant absolution.  An anti-Catholic element in Parliament had already approached James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles but a Protestant, about taking the throne.  Monmouth raised a volunteer army of five thousand, many of them Dissenters of the common folk, but was defeated at Sedgemoor.  Prisoners were drawn and quartered, or hanged and tarred; and the Duke, when captured, was beheaded.

James afterwards became increasingly heavy-handed and intent upon imposing Roman Catholicism on the country, while those who had preached non-resistance to the monarch began to rethink their policy.  He reinstated the Court of High Commission, removed Henry Compton[25] from the bishopric of London, appointed Catholics as bishops and heads of colleges, and converted Magdalen College, Oxford, into a Catholic seminary.[26] John Sharp, Rector of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, who later became Archbishop of York, was suspended for expressing anti-Catholic sentiments.  Also among those disciplined for anti-Catholic rhetoric was William Sherlock, who in 1687 engaged in a public debate, via pamphlets, with Lewis Sabran, a Jesuit who was well-connected in the French court and royal chaplain to James.  Moreover, the king began to issue Declarations of Indulgence initially designed to foster Nonconformist support and, failing that, to undermine the Anglican Church.

In May 1688, James ordered that his second Declaration of Indulgence be read in every pulpit on a given Sunday.  Seven bishops, led by William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, and including Thomas Ken, John Lake, William Lloyd, Thomas White, Jonathan Trelawney, and Francis Turner, met at Lambeth to discuss a petition requesting withdrawal of the order.  When they presented the petition to James, who had been given by rumors to expect a different request, he replied, “This is a great surprise to me.  I did not expect this from your church; especially from some of you.  This is a standard of rebellion. . . .  God has given me the dispensing power and I will maintain it.”[27] The bishops were arrested on 8 June and held in the Tower pending trial.  Sherlock refused to read the Declaration,[28] which was estimated to have been read at two hundred churches, at most.[29] The Seven Bishops were acquitted by a jury on 30 June amid general celebration; while the king had suffered his first major defeat in court.  The papal nuncio wrote home, “the whole church espouses the cause of the bishops.  There is no reasonable expectation of a division among the Anglicans, and our hopes from the Nonconformists are vanished.”[30]

Public sentiment was turning against James.  He might have rejoiced at the birth of a male heir on 10 June by his Catholic wife, Mary of Modena; on the contrary, the birth helped seal his fate:  for surely, thought many, the child would be raised a Catholic and threaten the peace.  James Francis Edward Stuart would never rule England as James III.

The Revolution of 1688

Plans were already underway to invite William of Orange, husband of James’s eldest daughter, Mary, and chief defender of Protestantism in Europe, to take the throne.  As William’s army approached London, James lost both heart and support, and fled to France.

These events placed the Anglican Church in a dilemma.  Archbishop Sancroft and William Sherlock were of the High Church party which, in spite of the institutional damage of James’s policies to the Anglican Church, had continued to preach “non-resistance,” i.e., passive obedience, of subjects to the legitimate monarch.  In 1684, Sherlock had advocated non-resistance in his treatise, “The Case of Resistance of the Supreme Powers Stated and Resolved according to the Holy Scripture.”  It is generally presumed that in this and other such cases, Sherlock was acting as the pen for Sancroft and his party.[31]

As the Convention Parliament met to arrange the Revolution Settlement, Sancroft gathered with associates to devise how James might regain the throne, with qualifications; but the meeting broke up without agreement.  At the end of January, 1689, Sherlock wrote the “Letter to a Member of the Convention,” arguing against installing William as king, and lamenting, “The Dissenter is very busie to undermine the Church, and the Commonwealth Man to subvert the Monarchy, and the Lord have Mercy upon us all.”[32]

Parliament in the end determined that William and Mary were to rule jointly, with the executive power vested in William.  From this time forward, moreover, the monarch would be limited to governing constitutionally, according to laws passed by Parliament.  The Settlement added a Declaration of Rights, from which derive many principles later found in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, including the possession of arms; unfortunately, full rights initially were applied only to Protestants who conformed to the established Church.

Upon settlement of the accession, all clergy and public officials were required to take an Oath of Allegiance to William and Mary by 1 August 1689, or face suspension.  The Toleration Act of 1689 further required Nonconformists to agree to thirty-four of the Thirty-Nine Articles.  There were some exceptions made for Baptists and Quakers, but not for Catholics and Unitarians.[33] William moreover decreed that no “preacher whatsoever, in his sermon or lecture, should presume to deliver any other doctrine concerning the Trinity than that defined in the Creeds and Articles.”[34]

Eight bishops, led by Sancroft, and including Ken, Lake, Lloyd, White, and Turner, as before, and adding Robert Frampton and William Thomas, refused to take the oaths.  In all, about four hundred clergy, including Sherlock, refused to swear allegiance.  These became known as the “Non-jurors” or “Non-swearers.”  The bishops amongst them were all put out of their seats; Turner was implicated with William Penn and other well-known personages in a conspiracy to reinstate James; and Sancroft, who afterward became an increasingly bitter old man, was replaced by John Tillotson.

Sherlock was likewise suspended as Master of the Temple.  During this period of enforced reflection, being uncertain whether he would ever resume his clerical duties, he applied himself to writing his Practical Discourse Concerning Death.  This was to become his most popular work, and to continue in print for more than a century.

The Controversies

During this retirement, Sherlock committed himself to study, as well, on the question at hand:  the duties of the clergy toward sovereigns.  In his earlier treatise, “The Case of Resistance,” he declared that “all power is of God”; his only scruple on the accession William and Mary had been the question of legitimacy.  In 1690, he read the Convocation Book written but never published by John Overall, Bishop of Norwich, in 1606, in support of the accession of James Stuart; which justified recognizing his government as “settled” and had been endorsed by the convocations of Canterbury and York.  The book had lately been published by Sancroft with the intent of supporting James’s claim to the throne; but it had the opposite effect, particularly the statement overlooked by Sancroft that “the authority either so unjustly gotten, or wrung by force from the true and lawful possessor, being always God’s authority, is ever to be reverenced and obeyed.”[35] Sherlock had a change of opinion and recanted his refusal to swear allegiance.  The complex list of his reasons, real or imagined, is thus:

  1. His publicly stated reason, the influence of John Overall’s Convocation Book.[36]
  2. He was overheard to say that he deprecated schism.[37]
  3. His wife’s influence.[38]
  4. He wanted to preserve his position.[39]
  5. He wanted to wait to see who won, which was finally settled upon James’s defeat at Boyne, 1 July 1690.[40]

Therefore, in his treatise, “The Case of the Allegiance due to Sovereign Powers Stated and Resolved According to Scripture and Reason and the Principles of the Church of England,” which explained his reasons for recanting, Sherlock declared that the government having been “settled,” so was the question.  William was the de facto king:  ergo, his subjects owed their allegiance.[41] He went on to describe a fatalistic, almost Calvinistic view of God’s purposes.  Critics replied that neither the Convocations nor Overall’s book represented the position of the Church of England.[42] In a tract entitled, “Sherlock against Sherlock,” its author demonstrated contradictions to Sherlock’s prior statements under the Stuarts.  Samuel Johnson criticized Sherlock for taking so long to make up his mind, in “Remarks upon Dr. Sherlock’s Book, intituled, The Case of the Allegiance due to Sovereign Princes, stated and resolved, &c.”  Sherlock was called, in one treatise, “The Trimming Court Divine,” and the author of “Sherlockianus Delineatus” coined the rhyme, “He that recants against his will, / Is of the same opinion still.”[43]

“Numerous allusions to Sherlock and his wife,” writes historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, “will be found in the ribald writings of Tom Brown, Tom Durfey, and Ned Ward.”  He proceeds to record some of the popular verse inspired by Sherlock’s recantation:

When Eve the fruit had tasted,
She to her husband hasted,
And chuck’d him on the chin-a.
Dear Bud, quoth she, come taste this fruit;
‘Twill finely with your palate suit,
To eat it is no sin-a.

As moody Job, in shirtless ease,
With collyflowers all o’er his face,
Did on the dunghill languish,
His spouse thus whispers in his ear,
Swear, husband, as you love me, swear,
‘Twill ease you of your anguish.

At first he had doubt, and therefore did pray
That heaven would instruct him in the right way,
Whether Jemmy or William he ought to obey,
Which nobody can deny,

The pass at the Boyne determin’d that case;
And precept to Providence then did give place;
To change his opinion he thought no disgrace;
Which nobody can deny.

But this with the Scripture can never agree,
As by Hosea the eighth and the fourth you may see;
“They have set up kings, but yet not by me,”
Which nobody can deny.”[44]

As another historian summed up the aftermath,

A terrible storm assailed him after this.  Argument, satire, and abuse, sometimes, in vulgar prose, sometimes in doggerel rhyme, descended in torrents upon his devoted head.  Nonjurors reviled him on the one side, Revolutionists on the other; and people who did not care for either side joined in the old English cry against turncoats and time-servers.”[45]

Such attacks had apparently cultivated the habit in Sherlock, when not fighting back, of shrugging it off.  After taking the oaths, Sherlock resumed his post as Master of the Temple.  Presently, as Tillotson was elevated to Archbishop of Canterbury, vacating his previous position as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sherlock was offered and accepted that position, as well.

During the same period, Sherlock took also a major rôle in the First Socinian (i.e., Unitarian) Controversy, which became the Trinitarian Controversy.  In 1687, Thomas Firmin had published “A Brief History of the Unitarians called also Socinians” by Stephen Nye, and other essays including “Brief Notes on the Athanasian Creed,” which in explicating the tenets of Unitarianism called into question the doctrine of the Trinity.  Sherlock replied with “A Vindication of the Holy and Ever Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation of the Son of God” (1690), in which he maintained the fact of the Trinity but denied human ability to understand it.  “I will not,” he wrote, “pretend to fathom such a mystery as this, but only to show that there is nothing absurd in it.”  The Trinity, he continued, is composed of three persons with “infinite minds.”  Sherlock defended the Athanasian Creed, declaring its orthodoxy and that it expressed the True Faith.[46]

Pamphlets began to fly off the presses from all directions.  Perhaps the bitterest attacks on Sherlock came from Robert South, his old nemesis.  In “Animadversions upon Dr. Sherlock’s book entitled ‘A Vindication of the Ever Blessed Trinity’” (1693, published anonymously), he challenged Sherlock’s reasoning.  Later, South accused Sherlock of teaching not the Trinity but Tritheism—“three Gods”—and convinced the heads of the colleges at Oxford to declare Sherlock a heretic.  Sherlock in reply deprecated the dubious Latin of the decree and questioned whether the “heads” were truly representative of Oxford; rather, “he would undertake, any day in the year, to procure a meeting of twice as many wise and learned men to censure their decree.”[47]

On a side note, John Wesley, seventy years later, being at some loss at how to handle his continuing debate with Bishop Warburton, apparently considered the Sherlock-South contest fair warning against meeting sarcasm with sarcasm:

I should never have suspected Dr. Sherlock of writing anything in a burlesque way.  He never aimed at it in his controversy with Dr. South, and seemed exceeding angry at his opponent for doing so. Probably he knew himself to be overmatched by the Doctor, and therefore did not care to engage him on his own ground.  ‘But why should you be angry,’ says Dr. South, ‘at wit?  It might have pleased God to make you a wit too.’

Wesley concluded,

I think the danger in writing to Bishop Warburton is rather that of saying too much than too little.  The least said is the soonest amended, and leaves an ill-natured critic the least to take hold of.  I have therefore endeavored to say as little upon each head as possible.[48]

John Locke and Jonathan Edwards were among the luminaries who weighed in on the controversy, which lasted till 1708.  Another writer suggested that Sherlock’s Trinity came from Descartes and South’s from Aristotle.[49] Sherlock and another opponent in the fray, Thomas Burnet, Master of the Charterhouse, were featured in a musical parody to the tune of “A Soldier and a Sailor”:

A Dean and Prebendary
had once a new vagary,
and were at doubtful strife, sir,
Who led the better life, sir,
And was the better man,
And was the better man.

The Dean he said that truly,
Since Bluff was so unruly,
He’d prove it to his face, sir,
That he had the most grace, sir,
And so the fight began, etc.

When Preb replied like thunder,
And roared out ’twas no wonder,
Since gods the Dean had three, sir,
And more by two than he, sir,
For he had got but one, etc.

Now while these two were raging,
And in dispute engaging,
The Master of the Charter
Said both had caught a Tartar,
For gods, sir, there were none, etc.

That all the books of Moses
Were nothing but supposes;
That he deserved rebuke, sir,
Who wrote the Pentateuch, sir;
‘Twas nothing but a sham, etc.

That as for Father Adam,
With Mrs. Eve, his madam,
And what the serpent spoke, sir,
‘Twas nothing but a joke, sir,
And well-invented flam, etc.

Thus in the battle royal,
As none would take denial,
The dame for which they strove, sir,
Could neither of them love, sir,
Since all had given offence, etc.

She therefore, slily waiting,
Left all these fools a-prating,
And being in a fright, sir,
Religion took her flight, sir,
And ne’er was heard of since,
And ne’er was heard of since.[50]


Even in the midst of controversy, Sherlock was busy attending to his ministry.  He preached a sermon before Queen Mary at Whitehall in June of 1691, and another before the House of Commons on 30 January.  In 1694, he gave a memorable memorial sermon for the recently departed Mary II at the Temple Church.  Late in his life, he delivered the thanksgiving message before Queen Anne, upon the Duke of Marlborough’s great victory at Blenheim.

William Sherlock died in Hampstead in 1707.  About his private life, little is now known.  He and his wife had a son, Thomas; and possibly also a daughter, Mary, married to Second Baronet Thomas Gooch (d. 1754).  Thomas Sherlock (1678-1761), like his father, was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and served as Master of the Temple.  He later became bishop successively at Bangor, Salisbury, and London.  Upon the death of Archbishop Potter, Thomas was offered his position, but declined for an unidentified reason.  He is best known for the Bangorian Controversy, writing in opposition to Bishop Hoadly; and his most popular work, “The Tryal of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus” (1729), written in reply to Thomas Woolston.  A collection of his works was published by J. S. Hughes in 1830.

Of William Sherlock, Macaulay writes,

Among the divines who incurred suspension . . . the highest in popular estimation was without dispute Doctor William Sherlock.  Perhaps no simple presbyter of the Church of England has ever possessed a greater authority over his brethren than belonged to Sherlock at the time of the Revolution.  He was not of the first rank among his contemporaries as a scholar, as a preacher, as a writer on theology, or as a writer on politics:  but in all the four characters he had distinguished himself.  The perspicuity and liveliness of his style have been praised by Prior and Addison.  The facility and assiduity with which he wrote are sufficiently proved by the bulk and the dates of his works.  There were indeed among the clergy men of brighter genius and men of wider attainments:  but during a long period there was none who more completely represented the order, none who, on all subjects, spoke more precisely the sense of the Anglican priesthood . . . .[51]


[1] Also known as Peterhouse, Saint Peter’s was the original college at Cambridge, founded in 1284 by Hugh de Balsham, Bishop of Ely.

[2] Upon the refusal of Pope Clement VII to grant a divorce so that Henry could marry Anne Boleyn.

[3] Colin Rhys Lovell, English Constitutional and Legal History:  A Survey (NY: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 261.

[4] Ironically, the Six Articles had prescribed death for anyone who denied Transubstantiation.

[5] But perhaps as high as 2000.  Lovell, p. 266.

[6] Lovell, 270.

[7] George Macaulay Trevelyan, A Shortened History of England (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1942), 278.

[8] Edward P. Cheyney, A Short History of England (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1904), p. 389.

[9] Lovell, 304.

[10] Daughter of King Philip III of Spain, the latter of whom insisted that Charles convert to Catholicism.  The marriage never took place.

[11] I.e., forced quartering and boarding of soldiers in private homes; specifically proscribed in the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution.

[12] See, in part, Trevelyan, 289.

[13] Technically, the Long Parliament was not dissolved until 1660.  Members had passed a law against dissolution without its consent.

[14] John Pym died of disease, probably cancer, in 1643; John Hampden was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chalgrove Field the same year.

[15] Largely in Pride’s Purge, 1648.  The remainder became the Rump Parliament.

[16] Trevelyan, 311.

[17] I.e., murderers of the king.

[18] Quoted without attribution in Lovell, 367.

[19] Lovell, p. 379.

[20] John Hunt, Religious Thought in England:  From the Reformation to the End of Last Century, vol. 2 (London: Strahan & Co., 1873), 154-156.  John Calvin (1509-1564) is ranked with Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli as one of the great Protestant reformers.  Calvinist teaching, as it has been formulated, includes the doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election (Predestination), Limited Atonement (attributed to Theodore Beza), Irresistable Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints—often represented by the acrostic TULIP.

[21] Geoffrey F. Nuttall and Owen Chadwick, From Uniformity to Unity 1662-1962 (London: SPCK, 1962), 5.

[22] Hunt, 156, see also 218.  Pelagianism is named for British monk Pelagius (c. 360-c. 420), who taught absolute free will against the Augustinian doctrines of Predestination and Original Sin.  Socinianism stems from Italian teachers Laelius and Faustus Socinus, who taught against the Trinity and other orthodox dogma.  Their rationalistic views helped spawn Unitarianism and liberal Protestantism.

[23] Hunt, 210.

[24] John Stoughton, History of Religion in England:  From the Opening of the Long Parliament to 1850, 4th ed., vol. 5 & 6 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1901), 161, 162.

[25] Compton later performed the coronation of William and Mary.

[26] Trevelyan, 347.

[27] Nuttall, 239; Cheyney, 504.

[28] Charles F. Mullett, “A Case of Allegiance:  William Sherlock and the Revolution of 1688,” Huntington Library Quarterly 10 (November 1946), 86-87.

[29] Hunt, 59.

[30] Roger Thomas, “The Seven Bishops and their Petition, 18 May 1688,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 12 (1961), 69, translated from the Italian, in Nuttall, 240.

[31] Presumably because Sancroft was a poor writer, according to Thomas Babington Macaulay, History of England (NY: Harpers, n.d.), cited in Hunt, 68.

[32] Nuttal, 243.

[33] Lovell, 400; Hunt, 279.

[34] Stoughton, 165.

[35] Hunt, 61-2.

[36] Mullett, 85; Hunt, 61.

[37] Mullett, 85.

[38] His wife was compared by critics to the temptresses Xantippe, Delilah, and Eve (Stoughton, 125).

[39] Hunt, 60, 62; Mullett, 90.

[40] Mullett, 85; Hunt, 63.

[41] Mullett, 88.

[42] Hunt, 62-3.

[43] Mullett, 91, 92.  “Trimmer” described a moderate, midway between Whigs and Tories, perhaps used pejoratively as “compromiser.”

[44] Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, IV, Ch. XVII (1848), downloaded as text from  The poem quotes Hosea 8:4.

[45] Stoughton, 125.

[46] Hunt, 202-4.  In 1694, the government began to arrest Unitarians for publishing anti-Trinitarian tracts.

[47] Hunt, 221; and Ben Mordecai’s Letters, I. 70 (quoted in Toulmin, 182) in Stoughton, 164.

[48] Letter from John Wesley to Samuel Furly, December 20, 1762.

[49] Hunt, 212-13.

[50] Hunt, 222.

[51] Macaulay, History III, 361-62.

© 2007 Paul A. Hughes