The Seven Bishops

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Although James was an avowed Papist, the oaths he had taken to maintain the Church of the kingdom lulled every one into a security that the King would respect them. But events soon showed in what light the King regarded them.

The most memorable event was the trial and acquittal of the Seven Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Ely, Chichester, St. Asaph, Bristol, Peterborough, and Bath and Wells.

They were refused bail, against the privilege of their peerage, and were committed to the Tower. Never had the river seen such an extraordinary sight. They were taken from Westminster in a barge, and the news having spread, the river was covered with spectators, and their progress was more like a triumphal procession than a committal.

Everyone's sympathies were with the bishops, and on arrival at the Tower, they were received with every mark of honour and respect; crowds on their knees begging their blessing and praying for them. Two days afterwards bells were ringing and the Tower ordnance firing for the birth of a Prince at St. James's Palace. This was on the 10th of June, 1688, on the 15th the trial of the Bishops began, and on the 29th they were formally acquitted.

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