LITERAE ILLUSTR: DOMINI FAGEL, HOLLANDIAE PENSIONARII, AD DOMINUM JACOBUM STEUART Advocatū, Hoc codem, quo jam prodeunt, idiomate exaratae. In quibus quae sit Serenissimorum Principum Auriacorum de Testae Legumque poenalium contra Pontisicios in BRITAN­NIA Irtarum abolitione sententia, declaratur.

Vir Nobilissime & Amplissime.

Doleo vehementer valetudinem quâ usus sum minus prosperâ, causam fuisse me non potuisse citius respondere epistolis, quibus petis & efflagitas, ut certiorem te facere ve­lim, quid Serenissimi Principes sen­tiant de Legibus Paenalibus & nomi­natim de eâ quae vulgô Testa appel­latur abolendis. Persuasissimum ha­beas rogo, me hac in re apertissimè & absque omni omnino circuitione recum aucturum, maximè cum scri­bas, literas quas misisti sciente & approbante Rege exaratas esse. Affir­mate & significate igitur tibi debeo Serenissimos Principes saepius decla­rasse [Page 2]& quidem ipsi Domino Marchio­ni d' Abbiville Ablegato Majestatis suae ad Foederati Belgii Ordines Extraordi­nario, & etiam nunc in ea esse sen­tentiâ;

Neminem Christianorum perse­quendum aut molestiis afficiendum ob id tantùm, quod à publica aut prae­dominante, uti loqui amant, religione dissentiat, & omnino pati posse quod Pontificiis in Anglia Scotia, Hyber­nia permittatur profiteri religionem suam ea cum libertate, eoque modo, quibus in illa harum provinciarum fruuntur, in quâ quam maximâ gau­dent indulgentiâ.

Serenissimos praeterea Principes non tantùm non adversari, sed quam maximè probare, Eis, quos Dissen­tientes nominant, concedi omnimo­dam libertatem & facultatem reli­gionem suam exercendi absque ullis omnino impedimentis aut obstacu­lis, ita ut nemo eis eam ob causam molestus, gravis, iniquus aut incom­modus esse debeat aut possit.

Adhaec Serenissimos Principes, si id majestati suae placeat, quam libentis­simè acturos & annisuros sedulò, ut ejusmodi libertas stabiliatur & in­concussa reddatur, imo sponsuros ta­lem se libertatem defensuros, prote­cturos, & Guarantiâ (uti loquimur) suâ confirmaturos, de qua tu in literis tuis locutus es: Quin & si Majestas [Page 3]sua id desiderat, omnem operam ad­hibituros, ut Leges Poenales abrogen­tur, ita tamen, ut ea Legum Capita, quae Pontificiis ad Parlamenta aliaque munera & Officia publica, Ecclesiasti­ca, Civium, publici Regiminis, Ju­stitiae, aut Militiae spectantia aditum negant, sarta tecta maneant, ut & ea capita quae in Securitatem & Tran­quillitatem Religionis Reformatae, & ne quid in eam Pontificii moliantur, sancitasunt.

Serenissimos autem Principes cum Majestate suâ non convenire neque assensum suum praebere posse ut Te­sta quae dicitur, aut modo laudata Legum poenalium capita abrogen­tur, quibus nihil aliud agitur quam ne Pontificii aut ad Parliamenta aut ad praedicta munera aut officia publica vocentur, aut ut sua Religioni Refor­matae securitas conslet, & ne quid ad tranquillitatem ejus turbandam Pontificii moliantur; quoniam ita dicta Testa & ea Legum poenalium pars nullam Pontificiis aut poenam aut mulctam imponunt, sed aliud ni­hil statuunt quam ut ad Parliamenta & praedicta munera & officia publica ii tantum habiles reddantur qui Deo & hominibus coram declarare & te­stari possunt & volunt se esse Reforma­tae & non Pontificiae Religionis; Et ut sedulo provideatur ne Religio Re­formata à Pontificiis quicquam de­trimenti [Page 4]capiat. Serenissimos Principes censuisse & adhuc censere plura aut ampliora ab iis jure exigi aut expe­ctari non posse: Pontificiis & eorum posteris hac via in perpetuum consu­li, securis ne qua deinceps molestia personis, bonis, aut etiam exercitio religionis eorum inferatur; contentos itaque eos esse, nec tranquillitatem regni turbare debere, quia non etiam ad Parliamenta & alia munera publi­ca vocantur, & quod non simul ab­rogetur id omne quod iis in Legibus tantum securitatem Religionis Re­formatae spectat, & impedimento est, ne quid Pontificii in ea turbatum eant.

Satisfieri etiam desideriis eorum quos Dissentientes nominant, cum in perpetuum eximantur omni metu & suspicione, ne in libero Religio­nis eorum exercitio unquam aliquid molestiae, incommodi aut obstacu­li creari, evenire aut obrepere possit.

Mihi igitur videtur ex hac decla­ratione Serenissimorum Principum manifestum fieri eos nihil minus ani­mo agitare, quàm impedire ut Dis­sentientes quos nominant à dictis Le­gibus poenalibus liberentur, cum parati sint omni opera niti ut haec ita constituantur & firmentur, nec etiam ullo modo id agere, ut Pontificiis ne­getur exercitium Religionis eorum, [Page 5]modo illud modestè, & absque ulla publica ostentatione peragatur.

Me quidem quod attinet, sum & fui semper alienissimus ab iis qui Christianum persequendum cense­rint ob eam solam causam, quod à publica & praedominante, uti ajunt, religione dissentiat, & spero favente Deo eandem mihi in perpetuum fo­re sententiam. Nam cum lumen quod in cordibus nostris. Religio ac­cendit, adscribendum plane sit, ut mihi quidem videtur, misericordiae divinae; nostrarum partium esse arbi­tror Deo eo nomine gratias agere quam maximas, misereri sortis eo­rum. qui etiam nunc errant, que­madmodum Deus nostri misertus est, & ab eo ardentissimis precibus petere, ut errantes in viam reducere velit, nobis satagentibus, ut eam iis placide & amice monstrare possi­mus. Lubens tamen fateor me nun­quam capere potuisse, cuiquam qui exercitio religionis suae quietè & sine ulla molestia frui potest, & qui se Christianum profitetur, fas esse sta­tum cujuscunque Regni aut Reipu­blicae turbare aut immutare velle, ut ad munera & honores publicos eve­hatur, aut ne Religioni publicae & praedominanti, ut ajunt, inconcussa maneat sua vel securitas vel tran­quillitas.

Video autem Religionem Refor­matam [Page 6]Dei Gratia tam in Anglia, Scotia, quam Hybernia esse publi­cam, & ut ajunt praedominantem, video leges ibi latas & sancitas à Rege & Parliamentis, id est, omni populo, quae ad muniá Parliamenta­ria, munera & officia Publica eos tantum vocant, qui sunt & publicè profitentur & testantur se esse Religio­nis Reformatae, & non Pontificiae, & quae cavent conservationi Religionis Reformatae, & ne quid in eam Ponti­ficii moliantur, non quod eae Leges se­verius quid statuunt in Bona au Perso­nas eorum, qui nolunt profiteri aut te­stari se non esse Pontificios, sed quae salvis eorum religione, persona, bo­nis, eos tantum non recipiunt ad re­gendam Rempublicam aut alia mu­nera & honores publicos, quamdiu ex animo se esse Reformatae & non Pontificiae Religonis, profiteri & te­stari nequeunt, & quae prohibent, ne quâ reformatos molestiâ afficiant, Serenissimis Principibus, uti dixi, pa­ratis in id cum Majestate sua eniti, ut ea Legum poenalium capita abrogentur, quae alias poenas vel mulctas indicunt.

Constat igitur nullam circa abo­litionem Legum poenalium super­esse differentiam, nisi quod nonnulli Pontificios ad capessenda munia, of­ficia & honores publicos recipere, & quicquid de iis Legibus in securita­tem & tranquillitatem Reformatae [Page 7]Religionis, & ne quid in eam mo­liri possit, cautum est, abrogatum ve­lint, aliis contra tendentibus, ut ea legum poenalium capita firma & sa­cra, & haec Religionis publicae & praedominantis, ut ajunt, id est Re­formatae praerogativa immota ma­neat.

Extra omnem dubitandi aleam est nullibi dari Regnum, Rempubicam, quinimo corpus aut collegium lici­tum, in quo non reperiantur leges quae inserviunt ejus securitati & ob­viam eunt illicitis aliorum conatibus, & simul praescribunt quibus dotibus ornati, cujus conditionis esse debeant, qui ad obeunda munia & officia in Regnis, Rebuspublicis aut Collegiis istis admittentur, neque injuriam ul­lam fieri iis quorum nomina ex hac regula non recipiuntur.

Negari etiam non potest inter Reformatam & Pontificiam Reli­gionem quam maximum esse discri­men; Pontificios enim non modo ex­cludere Reformatos ab omnibus mu­neribus & officiis publicis, verume­tiam iis interdicere omne Religionis suae exercitium, imo eos quam ac errimè persequi omnibus in regioni­bus & locis, ubi & quamprimum id tuto & absquè periculo fieri pos [...] credunt; atque utinam hoc ipso, quo vivimus, tempore tam tristia, tam de ploranda, tam multis in locis hac [Page 8]de re exempla oculis nostris non ob­versarentur.

Vellem itaque vel unicam mihi dari rationem, qua Reformatus Deum timens & de Religione sua sollicitus moveri possit ad dissolven­das leges cum consensu Regum & Parliamentorum conditas, quatenus eae Leges tantum prospiciunt secu­ritati Reformatorum, & repagulis quibusdam Pontificiorum in illos conatus coercent, nec poenam nec mulctam infligunt, nec aliud exi­gunt quam ne Pontificii regimini aut muneribus publicis admovean­tur, atque eâ viâ cavere volunt ne Pontificii incrementum eamque ac­quirant vim & authoritatem, quae Religioni Reformatae for midolosa & quam maximo detrimento esse pos­set, quod quotidie evenire videmus, quando qui ad munera & officia pu­blica vocantur, aut Pontificiis aut Reformatis plus minus addicti sunt.

Et quisquam mihi aut alteri autor foret ad Principes, quos Deus tam Illustri Nutritiorum Ecclesiae suae titulo exornat, inducendos aut pre­movendos, ut probarent, laudarent Reformatae Religioni, quinimo quieti & tranquillitati publicae extra omnem controversiam tam pericu­losa tam noxia. Neque enim, pace quod flat tuâ, ullus concedere pos­sum, nihil inde, quod tu arbitraris, [Page 9]damni Religionem Resormatam ac­cepturam.

Fateor vulgo dici Pontificios in Anglia & Scotia non esse magno numero, & non nisi exiguam partem munerum & officiorum publico­rum penes eos esse, (quanquam in Hybernia res plane aliter se habet) sed id mihi largiri necesse est, si nu­merus, ut dicitur, Pontificiorum est tam exiguus, hunc numerum non debere turbare tranquillitatem regni maxime cum tam ingens benefi­cium liberam scilicet exercendae Religionis suae facultatem acciperet: Quod si numerus corum sit major, eum tantò magis metuendum. Plu­rimos quidem credo hoc rerum sta­tu Pontificios non admodum fore a­vidos munerum aut officiorum pu­blicorum, neque quicquam in Re­formatos molituros, quod id Legi­bus prohibitum sciant, & vereantur, ne id quandoque maximum personis & bonis eorum dispendium afferre posset; sed remotis iis repagulis, videbimus eos regimini ad motos, & quam maximam munerum & officiorum publicorum partem ab iis exornari, neque Majestati suae, ut ut forti est animo, integrum erit resi­stere [Page 10]iis qui quotidie & sine ulla inter­missione hoc urgebunt, & ut obtine­ant, conscientiam & religionem Majestatis suae appellabunt: quid au­tem Reformatis hoc legum auxilio destitutis ab ejusmodi Magistratu fo­ret exspectandum, & quantum emo­lumenti Pontificiis, iis Legum vin­culis solutis accederet, clarius est, quam ut demonstratione aut proba­tione egeat.

In dubium vocare nec debeo nec volo sinceram Majestatis suae inten­tionem, nec aliud ei esse propositum, quam ut subditi sui aequo jure & ae­quali libertate vivant, agant; verum ratio ipsa & omnium temporum etiam hujus experientia evincunt, impossibile esse, quod Pontificii & Reformati regimini, muneribus, of­ficiis publicis simul admoti, placidè & quieté ea administrabunt, nec al­ter alteri suspectus sit, cum in principiis & fundamentis ipsis adeo sibi invicem oppositi & contrarii reperiuntur; nec meo quidem judi­cio in ulius Regis aut Principis pote­state erit, simultates & aemulationes inde semper repullulaturas tollere.

Quod autem vereris ne ii quos Dissentientes nominant, eam quam [Page 11]diximus libertatem adipiscantur per abolitionem legum paenalium, nisi eae in totum, ut & Testa quam appel­lant, abrogentur, maximum qui­dem esset Infortunium, sed unicè adscribendum Pontificiis, qui se & posteros. suos legibus paenalibus ad­strictos, & totius populi odio expo­sitos mallent quam prohiberi, ne quid contra securitatem & traquil­litatem Religionis Reformatae mo­liantur, & carere hoc parvo commo­do, si quod est, quod in administra­tione Reipublicae, & in obeundis muneribus & officiis publicis consi­stere posset, cum tamen haec sem­per & ubique fuerit, praerogativa publicae & praedominantis, uti ajunt, Religionis. Reformatis certe hi Pontificiorum conatus, tanto magis suspecti & praecavendi essent, si vi­derint eos adhuc paenalibus legibus obnoxios, id tamen agere, ut Ma­estas sua autor fieret, velint nolint Re­formati, ne sua religioni reforma­tae Legibus jam firmata securitas con­stet, & ut Pontificiis aditus ad re­gimen, munera & officia publica pa­teat, quippe quibus tunc auxilii ni­hil superesset, quam quod à magi­stratu Pontificio expectandum fo­ret. [Page 12]Injuriam sane maximam Sere­nissimis Principibus facerent, qui quid hac in re incommodi eveniret iis ascriberent, cum animi sui sen­tentiam tam apertè testati sint, ea­que in tantum ipsorum Pontificio­rum commodum cedat, idque ob eam solam causam, quod permoveri non potuerint, ut consentirent Le­gibus ante latis tam contrariis & re­ligioni reformatae tam periculosis tam noxiis, qualia sunt Pontificios ad regimen, ad officia & munera pu­blica admittere, & abrogare leges, quae unicè securitati & tranquillitati religionis reformatae, & ne quid in eam Pontificii moliantur, inser­viunt.

Scribis Pontificios his in provin­ciis ab officiis & muneribus publicis non excludi, sed in eo falleris. Le­gibus in id latis Pontificiis nomina­tim interdictum est, fungi ullis mu­neribus sive administrationem Rei­publicae, sive Politiam, sive justitiam spectent. A militaribus muniis, quantum quidem ego scio, exclusi non sunt, & duriusculum fuisset cum in initiis Reipublicae nostrae arma ad defendendam publicam libertatem etiam ipsi sumserint, strenuamque [Page 13]operam navaverint; eos etiam à militaribus officiis remotos habere, maxime cum salus publica nullum inde detrimentum acciperet, tum ob exiguum eorum numerum, tum quod Ordines, nascentibus omnibus motibus & molitionibus facile ob­viam ire potuerint, quod utique tam promptè fieri non potuisset, si Pon­tificii etiam regimini, muneribus & officiis publicis admoti fuissent.

Certus sum & liquidò testari pos­sum Serenissimis Principibus nihil ae­què in votis esse, quam ut Majestas sua regnet, & qui illi parent, vi­vant sibi invicem quam maxime confisi, ut populus eam observet, colat, veneretur, omni studio, obe­dientia & obsequio, persuasissimus sit de Paterno Majestatis suae in eum animo & affectu: sed credere sese & conscientia sua convictos esse Religi­onem Reformatam certissimo pericu­so, Regnum vero quam plurimis ma­lis exponi, si aut abrogationem Te­stae, uti appellant, aut aliam legum paenalium abolitionem, quam de qua mentionem saepius jam feci, promo­veant, aut cum Majestate sua id co­nentur, [Page 14]se iis conscientiae vinculis teneri, scientes quam severam Deus ab iis rationem exigeret, si propter perituras hujus saeculi utilitates ope­ram suam contulissent in ea quae ex­conscientia animi sui tam periculosa tam noxia religioni reformatae exi­stimant.

Serenissimi Principes maximâ semper veneratione prosequuti sunt & etiamnum prosequuntur Majesta­tem suam, persuasi id officii sui esse, tam ex Legis divinae quam natura­lis praescripto; sed percipere neuti­quam possunt (cum sic agatur non de ferendis, sed de abolendis in to­tum Legibus cum consensu Regis & populi latis) ab illis exigi posse, ut consentiant tali abrogationi, à qua animus eorum tam alienus est, & quae adversatur omnibus totius orbis Christiani tam Pontificii quam Re­formati Legibus & consuetudinibus quae non alios ad regimen, munera & officia publica admittunt, quam qui profitentur religionem publicam & praedominantem, uti ajunt, & quae sollicitè satis praecaverunt, ne ea Re­ligio turbetur aut detrimenti aliquid accipiat.

[Page 15] Necesse non puto ut multis ad­struam quâm Serenissimi Principes Majestati suae devoti sint, cum reipsa id tam publicis documentis, quae quicquid verborum effingi potest, longe superant, testati, Et parati sint eadem adhuc pari, aut si fieri possit, majori studio & zelo repe­tere.

Te vero, ut haec quae tantâ cum li­bertate ad te scripsi, eodem quo scri­pta sunt animo accipias, vehementer rogat.

Vir Nobilissime ac Amplissime tibi addictissimus. GASP: FAGEL.

A LETTER, Writ by Mijn Heer FAGEL, PENSIONER of HOLLAND, TO Mr. IAMES STEWART, Advocate; Giving an Account of the PRINCE and PRINCESS Of ORANGE's Thoughts concerning the Repeal of the TEST, and the PENAL LAWS.

SIR.

I Am extrem sorry, that my ill health hath so long [...] hin­dred me from Answering those Let­ters, in which you so earnestly de­sired to know of me, what Their Highnesses thoughts are, concerning the Repeal of the Penal Laws, and more particularly of that concerning the Test: I beg you to assure your self, that I will deal very plainsy with you in this matter, and wit­hout Reserve, since you say that your Letters were writ by the King's knowledg and allowance. I must then first of all assure you very positi­vely, that Their Highnsses have oft en declared, as They did it more par­ticularly to the Marquis of Albeville, [Page 2]His Majesties Envoy Extraordinary to the States, that it is Their Opi­nion, that no Christian ought to be persecuted for his Conscience, or be ill used because he differs from the publick and established Religion; Tnd there­fore, They can consent, that the Papists in Engeland Scotland and Ire­land be suffered te continue in their Religion, with as much Liberty as is allowed them by the States in the­se Provinces; in which it cannot be denied, that they enjoy a full Liber­ty of Conscience. And as for the Dissenters, Their Highnesses do not only consent, but do heartily approve of their having an entire Liberty, for the full exercise of their Religion, without any trouble or hindrance; so that none may be able to give them the least disturbance upon that account.

And Their Highnesses are very ready, in case His Majesty shall think fit to desireit, to declare their wel­lingness to concur in the setling, and confirming this Liberty, and as far as it lies in them, they will protect and defend it, and according to the Language of Treaties, They will confirm it with their Guaranty, of which you made mention in yours.

And if his Majesty shall think fit further to desire Their concurrence in the Repealing of the Penal Laws, They are ready to give it; provided always that those Laws remain still in [Page 3]their full vigour, by which the R. Ca­tholicks are shut out of both Houses of Parliament, and out of all publick Em­ployments, Ecclesiastical, Civil and Military: as likewise all those other Laws, which confirm the Protestant Religion, and which secures it against all the attempts of the Roman Ca­tholicks.

But Their Highnesses cannot agree to the Repeal of the Test: or of those othor penal Laws last mentioned, that tend to the security of the Pro­testant Religion; since the R. Catho­licks receive no other prejudice from these then the being excluded from Parliaments, or from bublick Em­ployments: And that by them the Protestant Religion is covered from all the Designs of the R. Catholicks against it, or against the publick tafety; And neither the Test nor these other Laws can besaid to carry in them any severity against the Ro­man Catholicks upon account of their Consciences: They are only Provisi­ons qualifying men to be Members of Parliament, or to be capable of bea­ring Office; by which they must De­clare befort God and men, that they are for the Protestant Religion. So hat indeed, all this amounts to no more than a securing the Protestant Religion from any Prejudices that it may receive from the R. Catholicks.

Their Highnesses have thought and dó still think, that more that this [Page 4]ought not to be askt, or expected form Them: since by this means, the Roman Catholicks and their Po­sterity wll be forever secured form all trouble in their Persons or Esta­tes, or in the Exercise of their Re­ligion; and that the Roman Catho­licks ought to be satisfied with this, and not to disquet the Kingdom be­cause they cannot be admitted to sit in Parlirment, orto be in Employ­ments; or because those Laws, in which the Security of the Protestant Religiou does chiefly consist, are not repealed, by which they may be put in a condition to overturn it.

Their Highnesses do also believe, that the Dissenters wil be fully satis­fied when tfiey shall be forever co­vered from all danger of being distur­bed, or punished for the free Exer­cise of their Religion, upon any sort of pretence what soever.

Their Highnesses having declared themselves so positive in these mat­ters, it seems very plain to me, that They are far from bring any hinde­rance to the Freeing Dissenters from the Severity of the Penal Laws; sin­ce They are ready to use their utmost ende avours for the establishing of it: nordo They at all press the den­ying to the R. Catholicks the exer­cise of their Religion, provided it be managed modestly, & with out Pomp or Ostentation. As for my own part, I ever was and stillam [Page 5]very much agaitnst all those, who would persecute any Christian be­cause he differs from the publick and established Religion: And I hope by the Grace of God to continue still in the same mind; for since that Light, with which Religion illum inates our minds, is according to my sense of things, purely an effect of the Mercy of God to us, we ought then, as I think, to render to God all possible Thanks for his Good­ness to us: and to have Pity for tho­se who are still shut up in Error, even as God has pitied us, and to put up most earnest prayers to God, for bringing those into the way of Truth, who stray from it, and to use all gentle and friendly methods for reducing them to it.

But I confess, I could neyer com­prehend how any that profess them­selves Christianus, and that may en­joy their Religion freely and witthout any disturbance, can judge it lawful for them to go about to disturb the Quiet of any Kingdom or State, or to verturn Constitutions, that so they themselves may be admitted to Employments, and that those Laws in which the Security and Quiet of the established Religion consists, should bae shaken.

It is plain, that the Reformed Re­ligion is by the Grace of God and by the Laws of the Land, enacted by both King and Parliament, the pku­blick [Page 6]and established Religion both in Engeland, Sccotland and Iresand; and that it is provided by those Laws, that none can be admitted either to a plac-in Parliament, or to any pu­plick Employmene, except those that do openly declare, that they are of the Protestant Religion, and not Roman Catholicks; and it is also provided by those Laws, that the Pro­testant Reeligion shall be in all time coming secured from the Designs of the Roman Catholicks against it: in all whnch I do not see, that these Laws contain any Severity, either against the Persons or Estates of tho­se who cannot take those Tests, that are contrary to the Roman Catholick Religion; all the inconveniences that can redound to them from thence, is, that their Persons, their Estates, and even the Exercise of their Reli­gion being assured to them, only they can have no share in the Go­vernement, nor in Officas of Trust, as long as their Consciences do not aliow them to take these Test: and they are not suffered to do any thing that is to the prejudice of the Refor­med Religion.

Since, as I have already told you, Their Highuesses are ready to concur with his Majesty for the Repeal of those Penal Laws, by which men are made liable to fines or other Punish­ments.

[Page 7] So I see there Remains no diffi­culty concerning the Repealing the Penal Laws, but only this, that some would have the Roman Catholicks render'd capable of all publick Trusts and Employments, and that by consequence, all those should be repealed that have secured the Prote­stant Religion against the designs of the Roman Catholicks, where others at the same time are not less earnest to have those Laws maintained in their full and due vigour; and think, that the chief Security of the esta­blished Religion consists in the pre­serving of them Sacred and unsha­ken.

It is certain, that there is no King­dom, Common-wealth, or any con­stituted Body or Assembly what soe­ver, in which there are not Laws made for the Safety thereof: and that provide against all Attempts what­soever, that disturb thelr peace, and that prescribe the Conditions and Qualities that they judg necessary for all that shall bear Employments in that Kingdom, State or Corpora­tion: and no man can pretend, that there is any Injury done him, that he is not admittid to Imployments when he doth not satisfie the Condi­tions and Qualities required.

Nor can it be denied, that there is a great difference to be observed [Page 8]in the conduct of the Reformed Reli­gion, and of the Roman Catholicks towards one another: The Roman Catholicks not being satisfied to ex­clude the Reformed from all places of profit or of Trust, they do abso­lutely suppress the whole Exercise of that Religion, and severely perse­cute all that profess it; and this they do in all those places where it is safe and without danger, to carry on that rigour. And I am sorry that we have at this present so many deplorable Instances of this severity before our eyes, that is at the same time put in practice in so many different pla­ces.

I would therefore gladly see one single good reason to move a Prote­stant that fears God, and that is con­cerned for his Religion, to consent to the Repealing of those Laws that have been enacted by the Authority of King & Parliament, which have no other tendency but to the securi­ty of the Reformed Religion and to the restraining of the Roman Catho­licks from a capacity of overturning it; these Laws inflict neither Fines nor Punishments, and do only ex­clude the Roman Catholicks from a share in the Government, who by being in Employments must needs study to increase their Party, and to gain to it mort Credit and Power, which by what we see every day, we must conclude, will be extreamly [Page 9]dangerous to the Reformed Religion, and must turn to its great prejudice: since in all plases, those that are in publick Employments, do natural­ly Favour that Religion of which they are. either more or less. And who would go about to perswade me or agy man else to endeavour move Their Highnesses, whom God hath honoured so far as to make them the Protectors of his Church, to ap­prove of, or to consent to things so hurtful, both to the Reformed Religion and to the publick Safety. Nor can I, Sir, with your good leave, in any way grant what you apprehend, That no prejudice will thereby re­dound to the Reformed Religion.

I know it is commonly said, that the number of the Roman Catholicks in Engeland and Scotland is very in­considerable; and that they ari pos­sessed only of a very small number of the places of Trust: tho even as to this, the case is quite different in Ireland: yet this you must of necessi­ty grant me, that if their numbers are small, then it is not reasonable that the publick Peace should be di­sturbed on the account of so few persons, especially when so great a favour may be offered to them; such as the free Exercise of their Re­ligion would be: and if their num­bers are greater, then there is so much the more reason to be affraid of them; I do indeed believe that [Page 10] Roman Catholicks, as things at pre­sent stand, will not be very desirous to be in publick Offices and Im­ployments, nor that they will make any attempts upon the Reformed Re­ligion both because this is contrary to Law, and because of the great Inconveniences that this may bring at some other time both on their Persons, and their Estates: yet if the Restraints of the Law were once taken off, you would see them brought into the Government, and the chief Offices and Places of Trust would be put in their hands; nor will it be easy to his Majesty to resist them in this, how stedfast soever he may be; for they will certainly press him hard in it, and they will repre­sent this to the King, as a matter in which his Conscience will be con­cerned; and when they are possessed of the Publick Offices, what will be left for the Protestants to do, who will find no more the support of the Law, and can expect little Encouragement from such Magi­strates? and on the other hand, the Advantages that the Roman Catho­licks would find in being thus set loose from all Restrants, are so plain, that it were a loss of time to go about the proving it. I neither can nor will doubt of the sincerity of his Majesties intentions, and that he has no other design before him in this matter, but that all his Subjects [Page 11]may enjoy in all things the same Right and Freedoms.

But plain Reason, as well as the Experience of all Ages, the present as well as the past, shews, that it will be impossible for R. Catholicks and Protestants, when they are mi­xed together in places of Trust and publick Employments, to live to­gether peaceably, or to maintain a good Correspondence together. They will be certainly always jea­lous of one another; For the Prin­ciples and the Maxims of both Re­ligions are so opposite to one ano­ther, that in my opinion I do not see how it will be in the power of any Prince or King whatsoever, to keep down those Suspitions and A­nimosities, which will be apt to arise upon all occasions.

As for that which you apprehend, that the Dissenters shall not be deli­vered from the Penal Laws, that are made against the, munless at the same time the Test be likewise re­pealed: this will be indeed a great un happiness to them; but the Roman Catholicks are only to blame for it, who will rather be content that they and their Posterity shouldl lie still under the weight of the Pena Laws, and exposed to the hatred of the whole Nation; than be still restrained from a capacity of attempting any thing against the Peace and the Se­curity of the Protestant Religion. [Page 12]And be deprived of that small ad­vantage (if it is at all to be recko­ned one) of having ashare in the Government and publick Employ­ments; since in all places of the World this has been always the pri­viledge of the Religion that is esta­blished by Law; and indeed these Attempts of the Roman Catholicks ought to be so much the more suspe­cted and guarded against by Prote­stants, in that they see that Roman Catholicks, even when liable to the Severity of Penal Laws, do yet en­deavour to per swade his Majesty, to make the Protestants, whether they will or not, dissolve that Secu­rity which they have for their Reli­gion: and to clear a way for brin­ging in the Roman Catholicks to the Government, and to publick Em­ployments. in which case there would remain no relief for them but what were to be expected from a Roman Catholick Government.

Such then will be very unjust to Their Highnesses, who shall blame them for any Inconveniency that may arise from thence; since they have declared themselves so freely on this subject, and that so much to the advantage even of the Roman Catholicks. And since the Settlement of matters sticks at this single point, that Their Highnesses cannot be brought to consent to things that are so contrary to Laws already in [Page 13]being, and that are so dangerous and so hurtful to the Protestant Re­ligion, as the admitting of Roman Catholicks to a share in the Gor­vernment, and to places of Trust, and the Repealing of those Laws, that can have noother effect but the Securing of the Protestant Religion from all the Attempts of the Roman Catholicks against it would be.

You write, That the Roman Ca­tholicks in these Provinces are not shut out from Employments and places of Trust; But in this you are much mi­staken. For our Laws are express, excluding them by name from all share in the Government, and from all Employments either of the Po­licy or Justice of our Country. It is true, I do not know of any express Law that shuts them out of Military Employments, that had indeed been hard, since in the first Formation of our State they jouned with us in de­fending our publick Liberty, and di­dus eminent service during the wars; therefore they were not shut out from those Military Employments; for the publick Safery was no way endanger'd by this, both because their numbers that served in our Troops were not great, and be­cause the States could easily prevent any Inconvenience that might arise out of that; which could not heve been done so easily, if the Roman Catholicks had been admitted to a [Page 14]Share in the Government, and in the Policy or Justice of our State.

I am very certain of this, of which I could give very good proofs, that there is nothing which Their Highnesses desire so much, as that his Majesty may Reign happily and in an intire Confidence with his Subjects; and that his subjects being persuaded of his Majestes fatherly affection to them, may be ready to make him all the returns of duty that are in their Power: But their High­nesses are convinced in their Consci­ences, that both the Protestant Re­ligion and the Safety of the Nation, would be exposed to most certain, Dangers, if either the Test, or those other Penal Laws, of which I have made frequent mention, should be Repealed; Therefore they cannot con­sent to this, nor concur with his Ma­jesty's Will; for they believe, they should have much to Answer for to God, if the consideration of any pre­sent advantages should carry them to consent and concur in things which they believe would be not only dange­rous but mischievous to the Protestant Religion.

Their Highnesses have ever pay'd a most prosound duty to His Maesty, which they will alwayes continue to do; for they consider themselves bound to it, both by the Laws of God and of nature; But since the matter that is now in hand, relates [Page 15]not to the making of new Laws, but to the total Repealing of those alrea­dy made both by King and Parlia­ment; they do not see how it can be expected of them, that they should consent to such a Repeal, to which they have so just an aversion, as being a thing that is contrary to the Laws and customs of all Chri­stian States whether Protestants, or Papists, who receive none to a share in the Government, or to publick Employments, but those who pro­fess the publick and established Re­ligion, and that take care to secure it against all attempts wharsoever.

I do not think it necessary to de­monstrate to you how much ther Highnesses are devoted to his Maje­sty of which they have given such real Evidences as are beyond all ver­bal ones; and they are Resolved still to continue in the same Duty, and Affection; or rather to encrease it, if that is possible. I am, SIR,

Yours, &c.
Nov. 4. 1687.

London printed in the Year 1688.

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