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the capital, and every one seemed glad that Liberty of Conscience was withdrawn.
Hardly were these fires extinguished ere the Test Act, hurried through the Commons with indecent haste, was sent up to the Peers, and in less than ten days one of the most disgraceful laws ever passed in England was added to the book of statutes. Its authors professed to strike only at the Papists; and to prove their sincerity they introduced another bill for the relief of Nonconforming Protestants; but delay followed delay; the debates were adjourned from time to time; one clause after another was amended or struck out; and prorogation overtook them before their work was finished, and the whole body of Dissenters was left at the mercy of any one who might be moved to rake the old penal statutes up against them.
Foremost of these sufferers were the Quakers. At this juncture Penn produced his work on 'England's present Interest.' Every line of this production seems written with indignant hand— 'There is no law under heaven, which has its rise from nature or grace, that forbids men to deal honestly and plainly with the greatest'—thus he begins; and addressing himself to those in authority, he proceeds to show how the old charters of liberty have been violated, adducing specific instances of each. He goes at great length into the origin of English liberties; with a view to show that they are - older in date than our religious feuds. 'We were a free people/ he says, 'by the creation of God and by the careful provision of our never-to-be-forgotten ancestors; so that our claim to these English privileges, rising higher than Protestantism, can never justly be invalidated on account of nonconformity to any tenet or fashion it may prescribe. This would be to lose by the Reformation.'—His concluding advice to the ruling power is—1. To conserve all the ancient rights and liberties of the people; 2. To grant entire freedom to opinion in matters of faith; and, 3. To endeavour to promote the growth of true and practical piety.
Though the composition of this work kept Penn at home a good part of the year, his attention was continually diverted to special cases of oppression; and the letters written by him to magistrates, sheriffs, lieutenants of counties and others in behalf of individual sufferers, would fill a volume.
Justice Fleming had been an old friend of the Springetts, and years before this date had been very kind to Guli when she paid a visit at his house in Westmoreland. Penn's letter of remonstrance to Fleming, written on receipt of some complaints of his harshness towards the Quakers in his magisterial capacity, is concluded in language of much courtliness and beauty. One can fancy Guli looking over Penn's shoulder as he wrote these words— 'However differing I am from other men circa sacra, and that world which, respecting men, may be said to begin when this ends, I know no religion that destroys courtesy, civility, and kindness.'
Penn had been five years absent from court; but the arrest of George Fox, his spiritual chief, by the Worcester justices, and his imprisonment in Worcester Castle on a charge of refusing to take the oaths—George 'would not swear at all'— induced him to appear once more in that familiar scene. Penn went with Captain Mead to Sackville, who advised that they should see the Duke of York, as being the only man with power enough to help them. If the Duke would back their cause, then he, Charles Sackville, would assist them also; but he could not move in such a work alone. They went to the Duke's palace, and by means of the Duchess's secretary, tried to gain admission; but they found the house Sd full of people and the Duke so busy, that the secretary could not obtain admission for himself. They were going away very sadly, when Colonel Aston, of the Duke's bed-chamber, seeing his old friend Penn, whom he had lost for a long time, asked him into the drawing-room. Aston went into the Duke's closet; and James, on hearing who was there, at once came out, saying how glad he was to see his ward again. James listened to the request about Fox with much courtesy, and said he was against all persecution for religion's sake. In his youth, he confessed, he had been warm against sectaries, because he thought they used their conscience only as a pretext to disturb the government; but he now thought better of them, and was willing to do to others as he hoped to be done by. He wished all men were of that opinion; for he was sure no man was willing to be persecuted for his own belief. He would use his influence with the King. But where had Penn been all these years, and why had he not called before? He had promised the
Admiral to look after his son; but that son had never shown himself at court. James told his ward to come whenever he had any business; he should always be pleased to see him; and would do his best to fulfil towards him the duties of a guardian.
HOLY EXPERIMENT (1673-1676).
Love of country was one of the most powerful sentiments of a Puritan. But he had other inspirations. Love of personal freedom—claim to the free utterance of his thoughts—determination to bend his knee only at the shrine which his conscience owned —these things were stronger than the love of country, even than the love of life. Not lightly, not hastily, did the founders of the New World turn their backs on the land which had given them birth. Years of wrong and insult were required to loosen their tenacious hold of the soil which had been ploughed and reaped by their Saxon fathers. When endurance was at length exhausted, they departed more in sorrow than in anger; quitting the ports they were never more to behold again with blessings on their lips, and with their faces like their hearts still turned towards dear old England . In the days of peace and concord, now and then recurring in the most unsettled times, the tide of emigration ebbed; but when the act of indulgence had been cancelled by the King, and the fury of persecution began to