This change in sympathy, again, has gained a hearing from modern historians, who tend more and more to discredit the wholesale defamation of the dissolution period.
Danby therefore ordered a return from every diocese of the numbers of dissenters, both Romanist and Protestant, in order by a proof of their insignificance to remove the royal scruples.3 In December 1676 he issued a proclamation for the suppression of coffee-houses because of the "defamation of His Majesty's Government" which took place in them, but this was soon withdrawn.
"No stronger proof," says Mark Pattison, "can be given of the inpressions produced by this powerful philippic, dedicated to the defamation of an individual, than that it has been the source from which the biography of Scaliger, as it now stands in our biographical collections, has mainly flowed."
They have in a similar manner been relieved of their jurisdiction in testamentary matters, and in matters of defamation and of brawling in churches; and the only jurisdiction which they continue to exercise over the general laity is with regard to their use of the churches and churchyards.
1 3Xaa477uLa, profane language, slander, probably derived from root of Ovi rrEt y, to injure, and 017µr7, speech), literally, defamation or evil speaking, but more peculiarly restricted to an indignity offered to the Deity by words or writing.