Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

be sworn, he challenged none of them, saying, that they were all equally strangers to him, and therefore, charity did not allow him to except against any one of them more than another.

The jury being sworn, Mr. Cook began to prove the heads of the indictment, that Mr. Southwell was an Englishman and a priest, by his own confession; and that his being so young, was a demonstration that he was made priest since the time mentioned in the statute, &c. The judge asked him, how old he was ? he replied, That he was about the same age as our Saviour, viz. 33. Topliffe, who was present, took occasion from this answer, to charge him with insupportable pride, in comparing himself to our Saviour. But father Southwell refuted the calumny, confessing himself to be a worm of the earth, and the work and creature of Christ, his maker. In fine, after Mr. Cook had declaimed, as long as he thought fit, against the servant of Christ, and Topliffe and lord chief justice Popham, had loaded him with reproaches and injuries, to which father Southwell opposed a Christian constancy and modesty, the jury went aside, to consult about the verdict, and, a short time after, brought him in guilty. He was asked, if he had any thing more to say for himself, why sentence should not be pronounced against him ? he said, nothing; But from my heart, I beg of Almighty God to forgive all who have been any ways accessory to my death. The judge, “ Popham,” exhorted him to provide for the welfare of his soul, whilst he had time. He thanked him, for this show of good-will; saying, that he had long since provided for that, and was conscious to himself of his own innocence. The judge having pronounced sentence according to the usual form, father Southwell made a very low bow, returning him most hearty thanks, as for an unspeakable favour. The judge offered him the help of a minister to prepare him to die. Father Southwell desired he would not trouble him upon that head ; that the grace of God would be more than sufficient for him. And so, being sent back to Newgate, through the streets, lined with people, he discovered all the way, the overflowing joy of his heart, in his eyes, in his whole countenance, and in every gesture and motion of his body. He was again put down into Limbo, at his return to Newgate, where he spent the following night, the last of his life, in prayer, full of the thoughts of the journey he was to take the next day, through the gate of martyrdom, into a happy eternity ; to enjoy for ever the sovereign object of his love. The next morning early, he was called to the combat, and, as we have seen above, gained a glorious victory.

Mr. Southwell's execution is mentioned by Mr. Stow, in his chronicle; February 20, “ 1594-5," says the historian, Southwell, a jesuit, that long time had laid prisoner, in the Tower of London, was arraigned at the King's-bench-bar. He was condemned and on the next morning drawn from Newgate to Tyburn, and there hanged, bowelled, and quartered.'

ALEXANDER RAWLINS, PRIEST.*

MR. RAWLINS, or Rawling, was a gentleman by birth, born in the confines of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, and brought up for some time in Oxford, as I conjecture from bishop Yepez, who, by a mistake, supposes him to have been a native of that city. Going abroad, he was received an alumnus in the English college then residing at Rhemes; and from thence was presented to holy orders, and ordained priest at Soissons, the 18th of March, 1590, at the same time with Mr. Genings, and with him was sent upon the English mission, the 9th of April, fol. lowing. He laboured for some years in those perilous times, keeping himself out of the hands of the persecutors, till God was pleased to reward his labours with the crown of martyrdom. He was apprehended somewhere in Yorkshire, about the time that Father Walpole was sent back from London to York, to take his trial And it was resolved that they should suffer together.

When Mr. Rawlins was brought to the bar, and asked, according to custom by whom he would be tried ? he boggled at the usual answer, by God and my country ; where, by the name of the country, are meant the twelve men of the jury, declaring that he looked upon them as no ways qualified, being ignorant laymen, to judge in his case; and that he was unwilling that his blood should lay at their doors : let the judges, “Beaumont, Hilliard, and Elvin," who know better, take it upon their own consciences. This exception put the judges to some stand, who adjourned the cause to the afternoon; but then proceeded to his condemnation. He was sentenced to die merely for being a seminary priest, ordained by the authority of the bishop of Rome, and for returning into England to exercise his priestly functions, and pervert, as they call it, her majesty's subjects. He received the sentence with unspeakable joy, which was pronounced upon him in the usual form on Saturday, the 5th of April, and prepared himself that night, and the following day, to die on Monday.

On which day, being the 7th of April, 1595, he was brought out to the hurdle, on which he and father Walpole were to be drawn to the place of execution, without the city of York, and laid himself down on the left side of the hurdle, saying, That he left the more honourable place for his betters; and here he waited for two whole hours, before his fellow confessor was brought out to him, spending his time in prayer to God, and in speaking things of edification to the people. He was overjoyed to see him come, for the delay had given him some pain. They tenderly embraced each other ; but to prevent as much as could be their pious communications, father Walpole was ordered to lie down with his head towards the horse's tail, by the feet of Mr. Rawlins. When they were arrived at the gallows, Mr. Rawlins was first ordered up the

* From the Douay diary, the bishop of Chalcedon's catalogue, and bishop Yepez, 1.5, c. 9. sect. 9 and 10.

ladder, who cheerfully obeyed, and kissed first the gallows, then the ladder and afterwards the rope, as the happy instruments which were to send him to heaven. He was not allowed to speak in a manner at all, but was quickly turned off, having the sweet name of Jesus in his mouth, and so, happily finished his course; father Walpole being ordered to look on whilst the butchery was performed, in hopes of his being terrified by that scene of barbarity. · He suffered at York, April 7th, 1595.

HENRY WALPOLE, PRIEST, S. J.*

Henry WALPOLE was born of pious and catholic parents of an ancient family in Norfolk, and was the eldest of many sons, with whom God had blessed them. He was educated partly in Oxford and partly in Cambridge, and then was sent up to London by his father, to apply himself to the study of the laws, and took chambers in Gray's-ian for that purpose. In the mean time, he was a great reader of books of controversy, by which he was not only confirmed in his religion, but was also enabled to maintain it against all opponents, and even to gain many proselytes to it; to which the sweetness and agreeableness of his temper did not a little contribute. In fine, having by this means incurred the displeasure of the government, and being withal desirous to consecrate himself more closely to the service of God, and of his neighbours, he went abroad to the college then residing at Rhemes, the common refuge of those who left England for their religion. Here he arrived on the 7th of July, 1582, as appears by the Douay journal, where, at his first coming, he has this eulogium, 7o. die Julij ex Anglia ad nos venit D. Henricus Walpole vir discretus, gravis & pius. On the 7th of July, Mr. Henry Walpole came to us out of England, a discreet, grave, and pious man. Here he remained till the following year, when, with four others, he was sent to the college of Rome, where, not long after, (viz. anno 1584, he entered into the Society of Jesus. Three of his brothers, some time after, followed his example: and a fourth going abroad, also to secure his conscience, became an officer in the Spanish service, in the Netherlands.

After some years, spent in Italy, that climate not agreeing with father Walpole's health, he was sent by his superiors to Pont a Mousson, in Lorrain; and from thence, into Flanders; where, travelling on foot, he fell into the hands of a party of the Calvinists, then in arms against the king of Spain ; and was, by them, carried into Fleshing, in Zealand, where he suffered much in prison, for the space of a whole

* From his life, published by the bishop of Tarrasona, in his history of the persecution, 1.5. c. 9 and from the Douay diary. . .

year. At the end of which time, one of his brothers procured his liberty. But his suffering on this occasion, so far from diminishing his courage, served only as a fresh spur to excite in him a new and more ardent desire of being sent over into England, for the conversion of souls; a happiness after which he had long aspired, hoping here to meet with the crown of martyrdom. But his superiors would not as yet consent to this proposition ; but sent him into Spain, where two English seminaries had been lately established, the one, at Seville, the other, at Valladolid. He was for some time in both these houses, but longer in the latter, where he had the charge of minister, or vice-rector. From hence, he was sent back again into Flanders, with a commission of the king of Spain to the council there, in favour of anothe' seminary, for training up English youths in piety and learning, late erected at St. Omers.

At length, having happily discharged his commission, he had leave from his superiors, to go upon the English mission. He landed at Flamborough Head, in Yorkshire, being set ashore in the night, the 4th of December, 1593; but had not been above twenty-four hours at land, before he was apprehended, with his lwo companions, in a place called Killam, and three days after was carried prisoner to York.

He was examined by the earl of Huntington, then lord president of the north, and by the council ; and freely owned himself to be what he was : upon which, he was committed close prisoner to York jail, till the 25th of February following, when he was, by orders from the privy council, sent for up to London, and there committed to the Tower, where he remained for the space of a year; where, besides other hardships, he suffered the torture, according to the custom of that arbitrary reign, no less than fourteen times, as he himself declared a little before his death.

The various examinations that he underwent, and his answers, the conferences that he had with the protestant ministers, the letters he wrote, the particulars of his trial, the endeavours that were used to bring him to a conformity to the religion, by law, established, and the constancy with which he refused to be rescued out of prison, by some friends that would have attempted it, are set down at large by the bishop of Tarrasona, in twenty leaves in quarto, but are too long to be inserted in these memoirs. The conclusion was, that having been sent back to York, to take his trial, he was there sentenced to die, as in cases of high treason, on account of his priesthood. He was brought in guilty, by his jury, on Thursday, the third of April, and received sentence on the Saturday following, and was ordered to prepare himself to die on the Monday, the 7th of the same month. He received the sentence with alacrity and thanksgiving, and was visited by many during the time which was allowed him to prepare for death, who were astonished to see the joy and comfort with which he looked for that happy hour. On the Monday morning he was drawn, as we have seen, to the place of execution, with Mr. Alexander Rawlins, who was appointed to suffer first; and when Mr. Rawlins was in quartering, they showed him to father Walpole, bidding him to be more wise than to follow his example; and offering him his life, if he would conform ; which offer he

generously rejecting, went up the ladder ; and there, being asked what he thought of the queen's spiritual supremacy? freely declared against it. They told him this was treason ; yet they hoped he would die in peace, and join in prayer with them; he answered, that, by the grace of God, he was in peace with all the world, and prayed God for all, particularly for those that were the cause of his death ; but as they were not of his religion, he ought not to join in prayer with them; yet he heartily prayed for them, that God would enlighten thern with his truth, bring them back to his church, and dispose them for his mercy. Then begging the prayers of all catholics, he lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and recited aloud the Lord's prayer, and after it began the angelical salutation; which the persecutors had not the patience to hear, and therefore turned him off the ladder, and quickly cut the rope : and so dismembered, bowelled, and quartered him : a spectacle which drew tears from the eyes of a great part of the beholders, and served not a little to advance the glory of God, and the propagation of his church, in those northern parts of the kingdom.

Father Walpole was executed at York, the 7th of April, 1595. The earl of Huntington, the great persecutor of the northern catholics, did not survive the year. Bishop Yepez relates, in his history of the persecution, 1. 2. c. 9. numb. 4, that he died in great anguish of mind, calling often for his brother, the honourable Walter Hastings, who was a catholic, and expressing a most anxious desire of seeing him : but whatever his motive might be for desiring to see his brother, he died without seeing him, in all appearance, in the same state in which he lived.

A copy of a letter of Father Walpole, after his apprehension, to Father Richard, a

missioner of the society in Yorkshire, from a manuscript at St. Omers.

• Although your reverence has subscribed no name to your letter, I plainly understand it is from a friend, and from a fellow-soldier ; which gives me a very great comfort. I should be overjoyed if I could confer with your reverence by word of mouth, about certain concerns of mine. In the mean time, most dear father, I recommend myself to your holy prayers, and those of the rest of our brethren and friends in Christ Jesus our Lord. I know not as yet what will become of me; but whatever shall happen, by the grace of God, it shall be welcome; for in every place, north or south, east or west, he is at hand, and the wings of his protection and government are stretched forth to every place where they are who truly serve and worship him, and study to promote the glory and honour of his most holy and most precious name. I trust that he will be glorified in me, whether in life or death ; qui cæpit perficiet: mihi vivere Christus est et mori lucrum. Some come to dispute with me, but with clamours and empty words, more than with solid arguments. I cannot go on, custos adest. I recommend your reverence to our guardian angel, and to the whole court of heaven, and above all) to our Lord Jesus Christ. Memento mei.'

« AnteriorContinua »