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English men, and ask from royal favour what was not their due, they would peril all they had acquired. He felt sure they would not be so senseless. At the same time he told his visitors that he thought it unfair and unwise in them to attempt to close the national Universities to any class; others besides Churchmen wished to give their children a learned education. To this free counsel Hough-a very high Churchman -made demur. Penn ceased to urge this point. Though he could not well agree with their politics, he said he was willing to be of use to them. Hough suggested that he could promote their interests by laying a true statement of the case before their sovereign. They produced some papers, which he read; these papers he promised to read again to the King, unless peremptorily forbidden. And so the deputation left him.
James was not to be stirred from his purpose. A commission was sent down to Oxford, and the uncompromising champions of Church prerogative were all ejected from the college. Yet they lost little by their temporary removal. His self-love being gratified, the King soon afterwards restored the Fellows to their honours and emoluments; and after the revolution Hough was rewarded for his resistance with a bisphoric.
Affairs were now hastening to a crisis. When Dissenters and Commonwealth-men were the only parties likely to fall under the frowns of authority, Oxford could issue precepts of unconditional obedience; but when its own rights and privileges were placed in peril, it was the first and the most obstinate in resisting. A cynic would have smiled at this conversion; but Penn remembered how that precept had clouded the last days of Sydney and he longed to break away from a scene so full of cor
ruption to the freedom of his own virgin forests. In the very height of his courtly greatness, he wrote to his friends in Philadelphia. The Lord only,' he said, “knew the sorrow the expense, the hazard of his absence, from the colony; but his prayers were poured out fervently and with a prostrate soul to Him for aid to return to that beloved country where he was anxious to live and die. The King entreated him to stay in England. He declared himself resolved to establish toleration and to abolish the Test Act; in which good work, he said, he should have to rely on Penn's help and counsel. Though his own affairs were getting daily more and more confused by his absence from Pennsylvania Penn could not desert the headstrong reformer in his hour of need.
Not satisfied with private mediation, such as he had exerted in the Oxford affair, he took up his pen and wrote the elaborate pamphlet, “Good Advice to the Church of England, the Roman Catholic and Protestant Dissenters'-in which he showed the wisdom and policy, as well as Christian duty, of repealing the Test Act and all other laws against opinion. He admitted frankly, as he had done to the Magdalen delegates that if he had to choose a state church he would prefer the one that was by law established to either a Catholic, a Presbyterian or any other. But he rejected the idea of a supreme and intolerant church. Opinion ought to be free; though at the same time he thought a proper respect should be paid by small bodies of sectaries to the national feeling. Therefore he urged the Catholics, seeing how few they were and how powerful the feeling was against them to be content with toleration. His fear was that the King under ill advice, would take some dangerous step against the Church, and ruin all. To counteract the rashness of James's temper he procured letters from influential persons, which he read to him in private, without telling him from whom they came. He took with him several Churchmen to the royal closet, to undeceive the King, as to that passive obedience on which he counted for impunity in his attacks. but James would not believe; he knew the spirit of the English Church; for had not Oxford pledged the body to observe obedience to the royal will, as though it were the voice of God? Lawton almost laughed in the King's face. “What,' he said, 'does any man live up to the doctrines he professes? The Churchmen may believe that resistance is a sin; but they believe that swearing and drunkenness are sins also-yet many of them drink very hard and swear very often.' 'Ha l' replied James, smiling disdainfully, you don't know the loyalty of the Church as well as I do,'-and the bold expostulator bowed his head.
In April (1688) James renewed the Declaration of Liberty of Conscience; and commanded all his clergy to read this document in their churches. Penn was much alarmed. He thought the King was mad. To force the clergy was to violate that very Liberty of Conscience which the King conferred upon his people. Many of the Churchmen could not in their consciences comply with such an order. Penn entreated James to pause; to let the Declaration make its way in peace; to summon parliament, and get this liberty secured by law. The King soon found that Penn was right; his clergy, though professing blind obedience to his will, would not allow his edict to be read: and James, on the suggestion of Jeffreys, sent the seven Bishops who had signed the paper of remon. strance and refusal to the Tower.
By word and act, Penn strove to save these prelates from arrest, and after their commitment to the Tower, he strained his utmost power with James to get a pardon and release for them. When baby James, the Prince of Wales, was born, Penn waited on the King, and pressed him very warmly to perform an act of royal grace. “On such a happy day,' said Penn, everybody ought to rejoice, and everybody would rejoice, if the Bishops were let out, and it was known that a general pardon would be issued soon.' He therefore urged the King to send his order for Sir Edward Hales, Lieutenant of the Tower, to set his prisoners free; and also to let the public understand that a council would be ca'led, and a general pardon issued as soon as it could pass the Seal.
More intimate advisers swayed the royal mind; and long before the parliament was to meet, the King was housed on foreign soil.
The King's flight became the signal for a rush. The tools, the favourites, the friends, the ministers of James, thought proper to retire from public notice. Curious were the means of escape and ludicrous the incidents attending it. The redoubtable Jeffreys tried to escape in the dress of a common sailor; the subtle and intriguing Sunderland quitted his country in his wife's cap and petticoat. Of the men who had been near the throne for the last three years and a half, Penn was almost the only one who remained in London. Knowing no offence, he turned a deaf ear to every entreaty of his friends to fly. They urged—that he had been too intimate with the King to escape suspicion, and that if he would not follow James he had a refuge open to him in America, where he might remain in peace until the heat of party vengeance passed away. He would not change his course. He would not change his lodgings; he would not keep in the shade. The Council who assumed the management of affairs sent to him as he was taking his usual walk and being told that they were sitting, he at once obeyed the summons to attend. He told them that he loved his country and the Protestant faith and had ever done his best to serve them. James he said had been his friend, and his father's friend, and therefore, though he no longer owed him allegiance as a subject, he retained for him the old respect which he had paid him as a man. He had done nothing.