Still more serious an encroachment upon the constitution perhaps even than the institution of the major-generals was Cromwell's tampering with the municipal franchise by confiscating the charters, depriving the burgesses, now hostile to his government, of their parliamentary votes, and limiting the franchise to the corporation; thereby corrupting the national liberties at their very source, and introducing an evil precedent only too readily followed by Charles II.
More questionable was Josephs policy in closing and confiscating the property of 213 of the richer monasteries of the land.
There, on the 16th of December, he issued a decree (omitted from the official Correspondence) declaring le nomsne Stein an enemy of France and confiscating his property in the lands allied to France.
An Act of Attainder (repealed in 1819) was passed, confiscating his property; and his wife - against whom the government probably possessed sufficient evidence to secure a conviction for treason - was compelled to leave the country before her husband had actually expirbd.
The civil power, further, stepped in to aid the ecclesiastical, and denounced him as a rebel, imprisoning his person and confiscating his goods.
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