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how my brethren have behaved themselves in this case, that have gone before me; and, for myself, I yield me wholly to obedience to you in that blessed society and number in the castle ; and desire, in all points, to live in discipline and order, and as the common live, and what I have, or shall have, it shall be in common. And therefore I pray you direct me in all things, both for my apparel and diet, and every thing; and as my brethren have gone before me, so would I follow in the humblest sort.' So far the letter.
As to other particulars relating to Mr. Osbaldeston, I have found none; but only that being brought upon his trial he was condemned to die, as in cases of high treason, on account of his priestly character and functions; and suffered at York the 16th of November, 1594.
ROBERT SOUTHWELL, PRIEST, S. J.-1595.*
Robert SOUTHWELL was of a family of good repute, born at St. Faith's, in Norfolk, and was sent over, young, to Douay, where he was, for some time, alumnus of the English college, or seminary in that university. From thence he went to Rome, and there was received into the society of Jesus, when he was but sixteen years of age. Having finished his noviceship, and gone through his course of philosophy and divinity with great satisfaction of his superiors, he was made prefect of the studies in the English college of Rome, and took that opportunity of applying himself to the study of his native language, in which he proved no small proficient, as the elegant pieces, both in prose and verse, which he has published in print, abundantly demonstrate.
In 1584 he was sent upon the English mission, and there laboured with great fruit in the conversion of many souls, and amongst them of several persons of distinction, till the year 1592, when he was betrayed and apprehended in a gentleman's house, at Uxenden, in Middlesex, within seven miles of London, and was then committed to a dungeon in the Tower, so noisome and filthy, that when he was brought out at the end of the month, to be examined, his clothes were quite covered with vermin. Upon this, his father presented a petition to the queen, humbly begging, that if his son had committed any thing, for which, by the laws he deserved death, he might suffer death; if not, as he was a gentleman, he hoped her Majesty would be pleased to order that he should be treated as a gentleman, and not be confined any longer to that filthy hole. The queen was pleased to have regard to this petition, and to order Mr. Southwell a better lodging; and to give leave to his father to supply him with clothes, and other necessaries, and, amongst the
From Dr. Champney's manuscript, the bishop of Chalcedon's catalogue, and the bishop of Tarrasona's history of the persecution, 1: 5, c. 6, who has transcribed the account of his martyrdom, from a letter of father Garnet's, written the 4th of March following, who declares that he had his information from eye-witnesses.
rest, with the books which he asked for, which were only the holy bible, and the works of St. Bernard.
He was kept in prison three years, and, at ten several times, was most cruelly racked, till, at length, a resolution was taken on a sudden in the council to have him executed. Some days before his execution, he was removed from the Tower to Newgate, and there put down into the hole called Limbo, from whence he was brought out to suffer on account of his priesthood, the 21st of February, 1594-5, having been condemned but the day before. Care was taken not to let the people know beforehand the day he was to die, to hinder their concourse on that occasion; and a famous highwayman was ordered to be executed at the same time, in another place, to divert the crowd from the sight of the last conflict of the servant of Christ: but these precautions availed nothing, great numbers, and amongst them, many persons of distinction, flocked to Tyburn, to be witnesses of his glorious martyrdom. Hither Mr. Southwell was drawn on a sled, through the streets, and when he was come to the place, getting up into the cart, he made the sign of the cross in the best manner that he could, his hands being pinioned, and began to speak to the people these words of the apostle, Rom. xiv. Whether we live, we live to the Lord, or whether we die, we die to the Lord : therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Here the sheriff would have interrupted him, but he begged leave that he might go on, assuring him, that he would utter nothing that should give offence. Then he spoke as follows: •I am come to this place to finish my course, and to pass out of this miserable life; and I beg of my Lord Jesus Christ, in whose most precious passion and blood ! place my hope of salvation, that he would have mercy on my soul. I confess I am a catholic priest of the holy Roman church, and a religious man of the Society of Jesus; on which account, I owe eternal thanks and praises to my God and Saviour.' Here he was interrupted by a minister telling him, that if he understood what he had said in the sense of the council of Trent, it was damnable doctrine. But the minister was silenced by the standers by, and Mr. Southwell went on, saying, “Sir, I beg of you not to be troublesome to me for this short time that I have to live : I am a catholic, and in whatever manner you may please to interpret my words, I hope for salvation by the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. And as to the queen, I never attempted, nor contrived, or imagined any evil against her ; but have always prayed for her to our Lord; and for this short time of my life still pray, that, in his infinite mercy, he would be pleased to give her all such gifts and graces, which he sees, in his divine wisdom, to be most expedient for the welfare, both of her soul and body, in this life and in the next. I recommend, in like manner, to the same mercy of God, my poor country, and I implore the divine bounty to favour it with his light, and the knowledge of his truth, to the greater advancement of the salvation of souls, and the eternal glory of his divine Majesty. In fine, I beg of the Almighty and everlasting God, that this, my death, may be for my own and for my country's good, and the comfort of the catholics, my brethren.'
Having finished these words, and looking for the cart to be immediately drove away, he again blessed himself, and, with his eyes raised up to heaven, repeated, with great calmness of mind and countenance, those words of the psalmist, in manus tuas, Sc. Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit, with other short ejaculations, till the cart was drawn off. The unskilful hangman had not applied the noose of the rope to the proper place, so that he several times made the sign of the cross whilst he was hanging, and was some time before he was strangled; which some perceiving, drew him by the legs to put an end to his pain: and when the executioner was for cutting the rope, before he was dead, the gentlemen and people that were present, cried out three several times, hold, hold : for the behaviour of the servant of God was so edifying in these his last moments, that even the protestants, who were present at the execution, were much affected with the sight. After he was dead, he was cut down, bowelled, and quartered.
Two Letters of Father Southwell
, written before his apprehension, to a friend of his at Rome.— Translated from the Bishop of Tarrasona's History, p. 647.
THE FIRST LETTER.
1. “As yet we are alive and well, being unworthy, it seems, of pri
We have oftener sent, than received, letters from your parts, though they are not sent without difficulty; and some, we know, have been lost.
2. • The condition of catholic recusants here, is the same as usual, deplorable, and full of fears and dangers, more especially since our adversaries have looked for wars. As many of ours as are in chains, rejoice, and are comforted in their prisons; and they that are at liberty set not their hearts upon it, nor expect it to be of long continuance. All, by the great goodness and mercy of God, arm themselves to suffer any thing that can come, how hard soever it may be, as it shall please our Lord; for whose greater glory, and the salvation of their souls, they are more concerned than for any temporal losses.
3. • A little while ago, they apprehended two priests, who have suffered such cruel usages in the prison of Bridewell, as can scarce be believed. What was given them to eat, was so little in quantity, and withal, so filthy and nauseous, that the very sight of it was enough to turn their stomachs. The labours which they obliged them were continual and immoderate ; and no less in sickness than in health ; for, with hard blows and stripes, they forced them to accomplish their task, how weak soever they were. Their beds were dirty straw, and their prison most filthy.
4. “Some are there hung up, for whole days, by the hands, in such manner that they can but just touch the ground with the tips of their toes. In fine, they that are kept in that prison, truly live in lacu miseriæ and in luto fæcis, psalm xxxix. This purgatory we are looking for every hour, in which Topliffe and Young, the two executioners of the catholics, exercise all kinds of torments. But come what pleaseth God, we hope we shall be able to bear all in him that strengthens us. In the mean time, we pray, that they may be put to confusion who work
iniquity : and that the Lord may speak peace to his people, psalm xxiv. and lxxxiv., that, as the royal prophet says, his glory may dwell in our land. I most humbly recommend myself to the holy sacrifices of your reverence, and of all our friends, January 16, 1590.'
THE SECOND LETTER.
1. We have written many letters, but, it seems, few have come to your hands. We sail in the midst of these stormy waves, with no small danger; from which, nevertheless, it has pleased our Lord hitherto to deliver us.
2. “We have altogether, with much comfort, renewed the vows of the society, according to our custom, spending some days in exhortations and spiritual conferences. Aperuimus ora, and attraximus spiritum. It seems to me that I see the beginnings of a religious life set on foot in England, of which we now sow the seeds with tears, that others hereafter may, with joy, carry in the sheaves to the heavenly granaries.
3. We have sung the canticles of the Lord in a strange land, and, in this desert, we have sucked honey from the rock, and oil from the hard stone. But these our joys ended in sorrow, and sudden fears dispersed us into different places : but, in fine, we were more afraid than hurt, for we all escaped. I, with another of ours, seeking to avoid Scylla, had like to have fallen into Charybdis ; but, by the mercy of God, we passed betwixt them both, without being shipwrecked, and are now sailing in a safe harbour.
4. In another of mine, I gave an account of the late martyrdoms of Mr. Bayles and of Mr. Horner, and of the edification which the people received from their holy ends. With such dews as these, the church is watered, ut in stillicidiis hujusmodi lætetur germinans, psalm lxiv. We also look for the time, (if we are not unworthy of so great a glory) when our day, (like that of the hired servants) shall come. - In the mean while, I recommend myself very much to your reverence's prayers, that the father of lights may enlighten us, and confirm us with his principal spirit. Given March 8, 1590. '
An account of Father Southwell's trial, from a Latin manuscript kept in the ar
chives of the English college at St Omers. After father Southwell had been kept close prisoner for three years, in the Tower, he sent an epistle to Cecil, lord treasurer, humbly entreating his lordship, that he might either be brought upon his trial, to answer for himself, or at least, that his friends might have leave to come and see him. The treasurer answered, That if he was in so much haste to be hanged, he should quickly have his desire. Shortly after this, orders were given, that he should be removed from the Tower to Newgate : where he was put down into the dungeon called Limbo, and there kept for three days.
On the 22d of February, without any previous warning to prepare for his trial, he was taken out of his dark lodgings and hurried to Westminster, to hold up his hand there at the bar. The first news of this step towards his martyrdom, filled his heart with a joy which he could
not conceal. The judges, before whom he was to appear, were lord chief justice Popham, justice Owen, baron Evans, and Sergeant Daniel, As soon as father Southwell was brought in, the lord chief justice made a long and vehement speech against the jesuits and seminary priests, as the authors and contrivers of all the plots and treasons which he pretended had been hatched during that reign. Then was read the bill of indictment against father South well, drawn up by Cook, the queen's solicitor, to this effect :
Middlesex, • The jury present, on the part of our sovereign lady the queen, that Robert Southwell, late of London, clerk, born within this kingdom of England ; to wit, since the feast of St. John Baptist, in the first year of the reign of her majesty ; and before the first day of May, in the thirty-second year of the reign of our lady, the queen, aforesaid, made and ordained priest by authority derived and pretended from the see of Rome, not having the fear of God before his eyes, and slighting the laws and statutes of this realm of England, without any regard to the penalty therein contained, on the 20th day of June, the thirty-fourth year of the reign of our lady, the queen, at Uxenden, in the county of Middlesex, traitorously, and as a false traitor to our said lady, the queen, was, and remained, contrary to the form of the statute in such case set forth and provided, and contrary to the peace of our said lady, the queen, her crown and dignities.'
The grand jury having found the bill, father Southwell was ordered to come up to the bar : he readily obeyed, and bowing down his head, made a low reverence to his judges ; then modestly held up his hand, according to custom ; and being asked, whether he was guilty, or not guilty ? he answered, I confess that I was born in England, a subject to the queen's majesty ; and, that by authority derived from God, I have been promoted to the sacred order of priesthood in the Roman church ; for which, I return most hearty thanks to his divine Majesty. I confess, also, that I was at Uxenden, in Middlesex, at that time; when, being sent for thither by trick and deceit, I fell into your hands, as it is well known : but that I never entertained any designs or plots against the queen or kingdom, I call God to witness, the revenger of perjury ; neither had I any other design in returning home to my native country, than to administer the sacraments, according to the rite of the catholic church, to such as desired them.
Here the judge interrupted him, and told him, that he was to let all alone, and plead directly, guilty or not guilty. Upon which, he said, He was not guilty of any treason whatsoever. And being asked by whom he would be tried i' he said, By God, and by you. The judge told him, he was to answer, by God and his country; which, at first, he refused, alledging, that the laws of his country were disagreeble to the law of God; and that he was unwilling those poor harmless men of the jury, whom they obliged to represent the country, should have any share in their guilt, or any hand in his death, But, said he, If through your iniquity, it must be so, and I cannot help it, be it as you will, I am ready to be judged by God and my country. When the twelve were to