Humble Address of the Presbyterians, 1687

The following address was presented to King James II by Mr. Hurst, Mr. Chester, Mr. Slater, Mr. Cox, Mr. Roswell, Mr. Turner, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Deal, and Mr. Reynolds. The writing has been attributed to Vincent Alsop. The text was printed together with the King's response "for J.W. in the Year 1687." (Wing A2912).

May it please Your Most Sacred Majesty,

To believe the thankfulness of our hearts, beyond any expressions of our lips or pens, for your most gracious Declaration for Liberty for us in the worship of God, which we trust we shall ever value above our property, as that without which we could enjoy nothing which we could call our own, without the greatest uneasiness imaginable; but Your Majesty having in the same Declaration also secured that unto us, both by your royal word and act, what could Your Majesty have done more for us? Or what is left for us further to ask of the King? And forasmuch as it has pleased Your Most Excellent Majesty to give this safe port to your poor subjects so long tossed with tempests, and justly to believe that loyalty is not entailed to a party, as we hope we shall every justify the credit which Your Majesty's charity in that point has given us, so we shall not cease to low our knees to the God whom we serve, and by whom kings reign, beseeching him to recompense this royal favour to Your Majesty, with length of days, uninterrupted health, felicity in your royal relations, success in your great councils and affairs, and finally, with the most glorious liberty of the sons of God, heartily crying, as with one voice, Let the King live for ever.

Subscribed on the behalf of ourselves, and the rest of our persuasion.

The King's Answer


I have already found two good effects of my Declaration - the easing and pleasing my subjects you spake of, and my restoring to God the empire over conscience. It has been my judgment a long time, that none has or ought to have any power over the conscience but God. I understand there are some jealousies among my subjects, that I have done this in a design; but you look like gentlemen of too great ingenuity to entertain any such suspicion.

Gentlemen, I protest before God, and I desire you to tell all manner of people of all persuasions, as you have opportunity to converse with them, that I have no other design than that I have spoke of.

And Gentlemen, I hope to live to see the day when you shall as well have Magna Charta for the liberty of conscience, as you have had for your properties.

And now Gentlemen, do you so preach to your hearers as they may be good Christians, and then I do not question but they will be good subjects.

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