The charges brought against Alexander Leighton.
On June 4th, 1630, an information was exhibited against Dr. Leighton, in the Star Chamber, by Attorney General Heath, wherein he was charged with having published and dispersed a scandalous book against the king, peers, and prelates, entitled, Sion’s Plea against Prelacy; in which, amongst other things, he sets forth these false and seditious assertions and positions:
1. That we do not read of greater persecution, or higher indignity being done to God’s people, in any nation professing the gospel, than has been exercised against them in this our own island, especially since the death of Queen Elizabeth.
2. That he terms the prelates of this realm men of blood, and enemies to God and the state: That the maintaining and establishing of bishops in this realm, is a main and master sin established by law: That ministers ought to have no voice in council, deliberative and decisive.
3. That he avows the prelacy of our church to be antichristian and satanical, and terms the bishops ravens and magpies that prey upon the state; and terms the canons, made in 1603, nonsense canons.
4. He disallows and contemns kneeling in receiving the sacrament; and alleges, that this spawn of the beast was brought forth by the prelates, to promote and perpetuate their own unlawful standing.
5. He affirms that the prelates have corrupted the king, forestalling his judgment against God and goodness, and most audaciously calleth his majesty’s royal consort, our gracious queen, the daughter of Beth. 7. He most impiously seems to commend him who committed the barbarous and bloody act of murder on the late Duke of Buckingbam, and to encourage others to second him in like atrocious, wicked, and desperate attempts to destroy others.
8. He lays a most seditious scandal upon the king, state, and kingdom, wickedly affirming, that all who pass by us spoil us, and that we, in our turn, spoil all who rely upon us; instancing, amongst other things, the black pining death of the famished Rochellers, who died to the amount of fifteen hundred in the space of four months. By which passages, and wicked assertions, he does every thing in his power to scandalize his majesty’s sacred person, his religious, wise, and just government, the person of his royal consort the queen, the persons of the lords and peers of the realm, and especially the reverend bishops.
9. That he not only endeavours to slander his majesty’s sacred person and government, but even to detract from his royal power, in making laws and canons for ecclesiastical government, by affirming, that the church hath all her laws from the scripture, and that no king has power to legislate for the church; for, if they had, the scriptures must be imperfect.
10. And, lastly, thinking to salve all with the expression of his sacred majesty, he says, what a pity it is, and what indelible dishonour it will be to you, the representatives of the people, that so ingenious and tractable a king should be so monstrously abused, to the undoing of himself and his subjects.