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in whose houses, what days and times, we say or hear mass: how many we have reconciled; what we have heard in confession; who resort to our preachings; who harbour catholics and priests; where such a Jesuit, or such a priest is to be found; where catholic books are printed, fyc, which things being demanded of evil intent, and to the annoyance of the catholic cause, of God's priests, and of innocent men; no man may, by the law of God and nature, disclose, &c.
'Yet, these were the interrogatories for which the famous confessor, Mr. Briant, was tormented with needles thrust under his nails; racked, also, otherwise in cruel sort, and especially punished by two whole days and nights famine, 'fcc. The like demands were put to the blessed martyrs, Campion, Sherwine, and others, upon the torture; and, of this latter, was asked, where Father Parsons and Campion were; and whether he had said mass in Mr. Roscarock's chamber; and what money he had given him. Mr. Thomson, a venerable and learned priest, was put to torments, only to get out of him, to what end he kept certain portable altars, and where he intended to bestow them. And the young man, Carter, was examined upon the rack; upon what gentleman, or catholic ladies, he had bestowed, or intended to bestow, certain books of prayers, and spiritual exercises, and meditations, which he had in his custody ; which may suffice to refute the adversaries' asseveration; that none have been tormented for other matter than treason.
'But the words of Mr. Thomas Cottam, uttered in sense, at the bar, and thus, verbatim, left in writing, discover the case more plainly, &c.
'Thus, therefore, he spoke, and avouched openly, in the presence of the rack-masters; indeed, quoth he, you are searchers of secrets; for you would needs know of me, what penance I was enjoined by my ghostly father, for my sins committed; and I acknowledge my frailty, that, to avoid the intolerable torment of the rack, I confessed, God forgive me, what they demanded therein. But, when they further urged me to utter also what my sins were, for which that penance was enjoined me : I then answered, that I would not disclose my offences, saving to God, and to my ghostly father alone. Whereupon, they sore tormented me, and still pressed me with the same demand; and I persisted, that it was a most barbarous and inhuman question; and that I would not answer, though they tormented me to death.
'Thus spoke Mr. Cottam at his arraignment, wherewith the enemies being ashamed, the lieutenant of the Tower, there present, began to deny the whole: whereunto, Mr. Cottam replied again thus; and is not this true? Here is present, Dr. Hammond, with the rest of the commissioners that were at my racking; to whose consciences I appeal, God is my witness, that it is most true ; and you know, that Sir George Garie did ask me those unnatural questions; deny it if you
'As for the moderation, which, by your libel, you would have the world believe, her majesty's ministers have ever used in giving the torment to the persons aforesaid, and to other catholics: the poor innocents, have felt it, and our Lord God knoweth the contrary, &c. Look in your records, what suspicion of treasons, or great matters, you could have in young Sherwood, who was the first in our memory, that was put to the rack for matters of conscience, when no man dreamed of any of these new-feigned conspiracies.
• How often have you, by famine, and filthy dungeons, tormented the happy young confessor, Mr. John Hart; which could not now be, after his condemnation, for any thing else, but for his religion; and because he would not yield to one Remolds, a minister, with whom you appointed him to confer? For what other cause did you threaten the torture to Mr. Osburne, but to make him confess that he had said mass before the true noble confessors of Christ, my lord Vaux, and Sir Thomas Tresham? &c. We speak nothing of the pitiful extremities you have brought divers unto, by horrible fetters, stocks, dungeons, famine, "Thomson, Borschoe, Henslow, Clifton," or of the death of well near twenty happy catholics, at once infected and pestered in York prison, &c. Of all which inhuman dealing we will not impeach the superior magistrate, much less the sovereign: but surely the inferior ministers of that pretended justice cannot be excused of most cruel and sacrilegious dealing towards God's priests, and other innocent persons.
And as for the particular handling of Father Campion and Mr. Briant, (whom the libellers make example of their mild and gentle entertainment upon the torture,) we refpr all indifferent readers to the said Briant's own Latin epistle of that matter: and for the other, "Father Campion," they say true, indeed, that after his first racking, and the time of the protestants' disputes with him in the Tower, he was not so bereaved of his hands, but he might, with pain, write or subscribe his name: but afterwards, upon his second or third racking, he was so benumbed, that he could neither take the cup and lift it to his month, nor draw off his cuff at the bar, &c., nor many days following, had he any feeling or use of his limbs, &c. The like we could prove of Mr. Paine's, the priest, tormenting, and divers others.' So far the cardinal.
Out of whom I shall add some few things more relating to the sufferings of the catholics in those days, cap. 3. p. 38. He complains of 'the infinite spoil of catholic men's goods, honours, and liberty, by robbing them for receiving priests, hearing mass, retaining catholic school-masters, keeping catholic servants, mulcting them by 20/. a month, (which, by their cruel account, they make thirteen score a year,) for not repairing to their service; by which a number of ancient gentlemen fall to extremity, &c.' He adds, 'the taking of their dear children from them by force, and placing them, for their seduction, with heretics, (which violence cannot be done, by the law of God, even to infidels,) the burning of priests in the ears, the whipping and cutting off the ears of others, carrying some in their sacred vestments through the streets, putting our chaste virgins into infamous places appointed for strumpets; and other unspeakable villainies, not inferior to any of the heathenish persecutions.
Page 39. 'They have pined,' says he, 'and smothered in their filthy prisons, above thirty famous prelates; above forty excellent and learned men; of nobles, gentlemen, and matrons, a number; whose martyrdom is before God, as glorious, as if they had, by a speedy violent death, been despatched. Every dungeon and filthy prison in England, is full of our priests and brethren; and all provinces and princes christian, are witnesses of our banishment, &c.
Page 54. 'And yet this good writer "of the Execution of Justice in England," to colour over their cruelty towards catholic gentlemen, setteth down the matter as if cases of conscience, of religion, or of the see apostolic, were but lightly punished, &c., when he and all the world knoweth, that they may, and do, by those wicked laws, disinherit, put to perpetual prison, and to death, divers of the laity. We refer them to the worshipful Mr. Tregian's case, who liveth in prison so many years of alms, after the spoil and rapine of so goodly possessions. We refer them to the laymen put to death of late at Winchester and Andover; to so many fled for religion, of the best nobility and gentry, wholly sacked and spoiled of all they possessed; and so many hundreds more, vexed, pillaged, and spoiled at home, so as not to have wherewithal to expel famine from themselves and families: and, which is yet more, we tell you, that there can never a catholic nobleman in the realm, (if by any show of religion, he gives the enemy the least suspicion in the world of his good affection that way,) be sure of life, lands, and state one day ; for by one false pretence and calumny or other, they will entrap him, imprison him; and, in fine, they will overthrow him and his whole family, and transfer all his honours, sometimes, to his chiefest enemies, &c.
In fine, page 1. 'We appeal, says he, to the conscience and knowledge of all the catholics and protestants within the realm, who of their equity, will never deny, that most prisons in England are full at this day, and have been for divers years, of honourable and honest persons, not to be touched with any treason or other offence in the world, other than their profession and faith.' So far he. All which points we find confirmed by many other testimonies; and this may suffice, by way of preface; which, it is hoped, will give no offence to our present governors, whose milder ways of proceeding with catholics, they will ever thankfully acknowledge.
N. B. That in these memoirs we have omitted James Leyburn Esq., who suffered at Lancaster, in 1583; because his case was different from that of all other catholics who suffered at those times: for both at his arraignment, and at his death, he denied the queen to be his lawful sovereign, as we learn from Cardinal Allen and other cotemporary writers.
Queen Mary being dead, her sister Elizabeth was immediately proclaimed queen, November 17, 1558. This princess, who had before professed herself a catholic, now took off the mask, and, by degrees, brought about a total change of the religion of the kingdom. In order to this, great industry was used to have a parliament returned that might come into the queen's measures; and she succeeded so far, that the pretended reformation was by law established, though not without great opposition, in both houses; and in the house of commons, only by the plurality of six voices, notwithstanding the queen was present to encourage her party.—See Howes upon Stow, in his preface to queen Elizabeth. . .
As for the clergy, all the bishops then sitting, opposed the change; and the whole convocation, which met at the same time with this queen's first parliament, declared against it, and drew up five memorable articles, touching the real presence; transubstantiation ; the sacrifice of the mass for the living and the dead; the supremacy of St. Peter, and his successors; and the authority of the pastors of the church, exclusive of the laity, in matters relating to faith and church discipline. Which articles they addressed to the bishops, to be by them laid before the lords in parliament; and both the universities sent a writing at the same time, declaring their concurrence in the same doctrine, so that the new religion was settled by this parliament, not only without the concurrence of the clergy, but, indeed, in opposition to the whole body of the clergy of the nation.—See Fuller, 1, 6, &c., and Dr. Heylin's Hist. Reform., p. 285, 286.
Religion being thus changed, and the common prayer established instead of the mass, the bishops, and as many of the clergy as could not be brought to acknowledge the queen's church headship, and receive the new liturgy, were deprived of their livings, and either cast into prison, or forced into banishment. Kitchin of Landaff was the only one among the prelates who complied; who, having changed with every turn, was resolved now, to be no changling; so that, what with the deprivation of great numbers of the catholic clergy, and the death of a great many more, carried off not long before by an epidemical distemper, the queen was put upon the necessity of having her new church supplied with an ignorant and illiterate clergy, as Dr. Heylin complains, whose learning went no further than the liturgy, or book of homilies.
The removal and imprisonment of the catholic clergy, joined to the precautions that were taken to exclude catholics from the universities,