The men of his time had been harsh with them, and he thought he was doing well by tolerating her.
To some it seemed to illustrate the necessity of the state tolerating only one religion, but to others the necessity of the state tolerating all.
" I am not conscious," says he, " of having ever bought a book from a motive of ostentation; every volume, before it was deposited on the shelf, was either read or sufficiently examined "; he also mentions that he soon adopted the tolerating maxim of the elder Pliny, that no book is ever so bad as to be absolutely good for nothing.
Although the states-general issued an edict tolerating both parties and forbidding further dispute, the conflict continued, and the Remonstrants were assailed both by personal enemies and by the political weapons of Maurice of Orange, who executed and imprisoned their leaders for holding republican views.
The people, he contended, were no worse off under the old monarchy than they will be in the long run under assemblies that are bound by the necessity of feeding one part of the community at the grievous charge of other parts, as necessitous as those who are so fed; that are obliged to flatter those who have their lives at their disposal by tolerating acts of doubtful influence on commerce and agriculture, and for the sake of precarious relief to sow the seeds of lasting want; that will be driven to be the instruments of the violence of others from a sense of their own weakness, and, by want of authority to assess equal and proportioned charges upon all, will be compelled to lay a strong hand upon the possessions of a part.
His main work was now really done; for the parliament of 1567 made Moray regent, and Knox was only too glad to have his old friend back in power, though they seem to have differed on the question whether the queen should be allowed to pass into retirement without trial for her husband's death, as they had differed all along on the question of tolerating her private religion.