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shall die, at least not for the present, until I know the king's further pleasure.
I was not, I thank God for it, says father Wall in his narrative, p. 12, troubled with any disturbing thoughts, either against the judge for his sentence, or the jury that gave in such a verdict, or against any of the witnesses ; for I was then of the same mind as by God's grace I ever shall be, esteeming them all the best friends to me, in all they did or said, that ever I had in my life. And I was, I thank God, so present with myself, whilst the judge pronounced the sentence, that without any concern for any thing in this world, I did actually at the same time offer myself and the world to God.'
The holy man goes on in his narrative, • After the judge was gone from the bench, several protestant gentlemen and others, who had heard my trial, came to me, though strangers, and told me how sorry they were for me. To whom with thanks I replied, that I was troubled they should grieve for me or my condition, who was joyful for it myself : for I told them, I had professed this faith and religion all my life-time, which I was as sure to be true, as I was sure of the truth of God's word, on which it was grounded ; and therefore in it I deposed my soul, and eternal life and happiness; and therefore should I fear to lose my temporal life for this faith, whereon my eternal lise depends, I should be worse than an infidel; and whosoever should prefer the life of their bodies before their faith, their religion or conscience, they were worse than heathens. For my own part, I told them, I was as ready, by God's grace, to die to-morrow, as I had been to receive the sentence of death to-day, and as willingly, as if I had a grant of the greatest dukedom.'
Father Wall was returned to prison, and after some time was sent for up to London, as were also several other priests, who were under condemnation for their character. What passed here, we learn from the following letter which he wrote after his return to the country, July 18, to Mr. Charles Trinder, counsellor, afterwards serjeant at law.
• With my service I return you thanks for the twenty shillings. lam safe returned from London, whither I was sent to be examined by Mr. Oates and Bedloe, Dugdale, and Prance, to see if any of them had any thing against me, as guilty of, concerning these great disturbances of the times. I was very strictly examined by all four, several times over, in that month I stayed at London ; and thanks be to God, I was, after the last examination, publicly declared inhocent and free of all plots whatever, by Mr. Bedloe, who examined me last; and he was so kind to me, that he told me publicly, that if I would but comply in matter of religion, that he would pawn his life for me, that for all I was condemned, yet I should not die. I was also offered the same after my first examination, though I should have been never so guilty, if I would have done what was against my conscience. But I told then, I would not buy my life at so dear a rate, as to wrong my conscience. How God will please to dispose of all us that are condemned, none know. Some think it is concluded we must all die ; and yet because it will not appear grate
ful in the eyes of rational and moral men, to see us die merely for conscience sake, I have been several times informed from London, since I came down, that, if possible, some will do their best to bring some of us, one way or other into a plot, though we have all at London been declared innocent after strict examination. God's will be done. The greater the injury and injustice done against us by men to take away our lives, the greater our glory in eternal life before God. This is the last persecution that will be in England; therefore I hope God will give all his holy grace to make the best use of it. All these things have been sufficiently prophecied long since ; and I do no way question the truth ; though it is like some will suffer first, of whom I have a strong imagination I shall be one. God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and in mercy bring me happy thither.' I subscribe, Sir, your faithful servant,
FRANCIS WEBB. At the bottom of this letter Serjeant Trinder has added what follows: • This holy priest, sometimes called Mr. Johnson, whose true name was Wall, was martyred at Worcester, &c. He was equally courageous and cheerful at his apprehension, during his imprisonment, at his trial, and to his very death. A true account of all which, might deservedly fill a volume, &c.' So he.
At length, after four months had passed from his condemnation, the confessor was ordered to be executed. Father William Levison, who visited him in prison, has given the following account of him, in a letter preserved by the English Franciscans, of which I have a copy;
Of late, says he, I was desired, and willingly went, to visit our friend, Mr. Webb, “ father Wall," prisoner at Worcester, whose execution drew near at hand. I came to him two days before it, and found him a cheerful sufferer of his present imprisonment, and ravished, as it were, with joy, with the future hopes of dying for so good a cause. I found, contrary to both his and my expectation, the favour of being with him alone ; and the day before his execution, I enjoyed that privilege for the space of four or five hours together; during which time I heard his confession, and communicated him to his great joy and satisfaction. I ventured likewise, through his desire, to be present at his execution, and placed myself boldly next to the under-sheriff, near the gallows, where I had the opportunity of giving him the last absolution, just as he was turned off the ladder. During his imprisonment, he carried himself like a true servant and disciple of his crucified master, thirsting after nothing more than the shedding of his blood for the love of his God; which he performed with a courage and cheerfulness becoming a valiant soldier of Christ, to the great edification of all catholics, and admiration of all protestants, the rational and moderate part especially, who showed a great sense of sorrow for his death ; decrying the cruelty of putting men to death for priesthood and religion. He is the first that ever suffered at Worcester since the catholic religion entered into this nation, which he seemed with joy to tell me before his execution. He was quartered, and his head separated from his body, according to his sentence. His body was permitted to be buried, and was accompanied by the catholics
of the town, to St. Oswald's church-yard, where he lies interred. His head I got privately, and conveyed it to Mr. Randolph, who will be careful to keep it iill opportunity serves to transport it to Douay, &c. The miseries we here lie under, are great, and I hope our brothers in safety will be mindful of our condition, in their best thoughts, and beg of God we may cheerfully bear our crosses, and if it be his holy will, courageously sacrifice our lives in defence of our religion, which is the earnest desire of, &c., William Levison, August 25, 1679.'
Father Wall suffered at Worcester, August the 22d, being the Octave day of the assumption of the blessed virgin. His head is kept in the cloister of the English friars at Douay; and it was remarked, for some time after, that his grave, where his body lies at Worcester, appeared green, whereas the rest of the church-yard was all bare, it being a constant thoroughfare.
The confessor, before his death, composed a long speech, which he delivered to a friend to be printed; in which he declares his faith, hope, and charity, and strongly recommends these divine virtues ; he professes his abhorrence, and that of the catholic church, of all plots and conspiracies, or the concealing any such conspiracies, &c., he implores God's mercy for himself, for the whole church, for the king and kingdom, and for his persecutors, whom he forgives from his heart, and asks pardon of all whom he had any way offended : and finally offers up his death to God, and commends his soul into his hands.
Father Levison, or Lewson, in his letter above quoted, makes mention also of the sufferings of his brother, Francis Levison, a priest of the same order, called in religion, father Ignatius a S. Clara. My. poor brother, says he, continues still a close prisoner, and complains much of want. The justice who committed him, has endeavoured to bribe witnesses to swear against him, but as yet, cannot prevail with any ; what will be the event of these proceedings only God knows,' &c. After fourteen inonths close confinement, he died in prison, a confessor of Christ, February 11, 1679–80. Ætatis 34, religionis 16.
JOHN KEMBLE, OR KIMBLE, PRIEST.* On the same day as father Wall was executed at Worcester for his priestly character and his religion, Mr. Kemble, a priest of the secular clergy, suffered at Hereford, for the same cause. He was eighty years old, according to a short printed account I have of him, and had been a priest and a missioner, in a great variety of times, four and fifty years. I find in the diary of Douay college, anno 1625, John Kimble, of the diocese of Hereford, ordained priest the 23d of February, singing his first mass, the 2d of March, and sent upon the English mission, the 4th of June, where his residence was in his native country of Herefordshire. In the mission, he was always esteemed a very pious and zealous labourer. The following account of him, was sent me from a
* From Mr. Kemble's printed speech; the Douay diary; and the testimonies of those that knew him.
worthy prelate in that part of the kingdom, taken from the informations of those that had known him.
• I have made all the inquiry I could about Mr. Kemble ; what I could learn from those who particularly knew him, is as follows :-He was taken at Pembridge castle, in the parish of Welsh-Newton, in Herefordshire, by captain Scudamore, of Kentchurch: he was apprized of some being coming to take him; but replied, that according to the course of nature, he had but few years to live ; and that it would be an advantage to him to suffer for his religion ; and therefore, he would not abscond. He was committed to Hereford jail ; whence, after some time, he was ordered up to London, and thence remitted back again, to take his trial at Hereford. In that journey, he suffered more than a martyrdom, on account of a great indisposition he had, which would not permit him to ride, but sidewards ; and it was on horseback, he was compelled to perform the journey, at least great part of the way. After his return to Hereford jail, he was frequently visited by captain Scudamore's children, whom he treated with whatever he had that was good, sent him by his friends; and being asked, why he gave all that to them? he made answer, because their father was the best friend he had in the world.
• He was executed on Wigmarsh, by Hereford. His head was cut off, his body was begged by his nephew, captain Richard Kemble, who put it into a coffin, carried it to Welsh-Newton, buried it in the church-yard there, and erected a tomb over it. Some time after, it happened that captain Scudamore's daughter had a violent sore throat, which was apprehended dangerous, and being advised by a devout catholic, who had preserved the cord in which Mr. Kemble was hanged, to put that cord to her neck, upon the application of it she was immediately cured. Some neighbouring catholics resort to his tomb, on the 22d of August, the day on which he suffered, to pay their devotions: once I myself being present, with three or four of the family of P-, and some others, Mrs. Catharine Scudamore, who for some time, had been extraordinary deaf, and at that time, was involved in some difficulties, of which she could not be made sensible, by reason of her deafness, stayed at her prayers by the tomb, after the rest of the company were retired for their refreshment to an inn, not far from the churchyard ; and when she came to them, she cried out, Lord ! I have recovered my hearing; and effectually, she heard as well as any one in the company. These are all the particulars I could learn, more than that he was always a pious and zealous good missioner.' right reverend correspondent. The following speech was published in print, not long after Mr. Kemble's execution.
So far my
The last speech of Mr. John Kemble, a clergyman, which he spoke in the cart, upon
Wigmarsh, by Hereford, August 22, 1679. • It will be expected I should say something; but as I am an old man, it cannot be much; not having any concern in the plot, neither indeed believing there is any. Oates and Bedloe not being able to charge me with any thing when I was brought up to London, though they were with me, makes it evident that I die only for professing the
old Roman catholic religion, which was the religion that first made this kingdom christian ; and whoever intends to be saved must die in that religion. I beg of all whom I have offended, either by thought, word, or deed, to forgive me; for I do heartily forgive all those that have been instrumental or desirous of my death.'
Then turning to the executioner, he took him by the hand, and calling him by his name, Honest Anthony, said he, my friend Anthony, be not afraid ; do thy office, I forgive thee with all my heart, thou wilt do me a greater kindness than discourtesy. Then he drew his cap over his eyes, and after a litile meditation upon his knees, and offering himself up to Almighty God, he told them, they might do their office when they pleased. In conclusion, aster he had thrice repeated, with great fervour, those words, In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit; the cart was drawn away, and he hanged at least half an hour before he was quite dead, the knot of the rope not being rightly applied ; though this, as it is believed, happened rather by accident than design. The protestants that were spectators of the exit, acknowledged, that they never saw one die so like a gentleman, and so like a christian.
CHARLES BAKER, ÁLIAS, DAVID LEWIS, PRIEST, S. J.*
CHARLES BAKER, commonly known upon the mission by the name of David Lewis, was born in Monmouthshire, in 1617, and brought up in the protestant religion till he was about nineteen years of age : when being a student of the law, he was reconciled to the catholic church, and after two years sent by his uncle, a priest of the society, to the English college of Rome, where he was received a convictor, November 6, 1638, Here he went through the course of his studies, having the character in the college diary of prudent and pious ; and being inade priest July 20, 1642, at the end of his divinity he entered into the society, anno 1645, and made his noviceship amongst the Italian jesuits, in their noviciate of St. Andrew's.
He was sent upon the English mission, anno 1648, where he officiated in South Wales for one and thirty years, being a zealous seeker after the lost sheep, fearless in dangers, patient in labours and sufferings, and so charitable to his indigent neighbours, as to be commonly called the father of the poor. He was apprehended on the 17th of November, 1678, being Sunday morning, a little before day, by six armed men, (sent by two neighbouring justices of peace,) in a little house in the parish of St. Michael Lantarnam, in Monmouthshire, and carried that day to Abergavenny, and the next day committed to Monmouth jail, where he was kept close confined in a room by himself, (for which he was obliged to pay 148. a week,) locked up at night, and barred up by day.
* From a printed relation of his imprisonment and trial, penned by himself; his printed speech; Florus Anglo-Bavaricus, p. 181; and the records of the noviciate of St. Andrew's, at Rome.