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of his soul! and what a heavenly conceit had he of his dear brother's felicity! He imagined he saw him; he thought he heard him. In this ecstasy of mind, he made a vow upon the spot, as he lay prostrate on the ground, to forsake kindred and country, to find out the true knowledge of his brother's faith. Which vow, he soon after performed, and departed England without advertising any one of his friends, and went beyond the seas to execute his promise.'
This Mr. John Genings became afterwards an alumnus of Donay college, where he was made priest in 1607, and was from thence sent upon the mission, in 1608. After some time he entered into the holy order of St. Francis, and was the happy instrument of procuring aeonvent for his Order at Douay, in 1617, and of restoring the English Franciscan province, of which he was the first provincial; which has since furnished the mission with many zealous apostolical labourers and holy martyrs.
SWITHIN WELLS, GENTLEMAN.*
He was the sixth son of Thomas Wells, Esq., of Brambridge, near Winchester, and brother to that worthy confessor, Gilbert Wells, Esq., renowned for his immoveable constancy amongst many, and great persecutions which he suffered under queen Elizabeth for the catholic religion. Mr. Swithin was virtuously educated from his infancy, and carefully instructed in all manner of learning fitting his age and condition. He was good natured, pleasant in conversation, courteous, generous, courageous, and every way a gentleman in his comportment. He took to wife a virtuous gentlewoman, who, as we have seen, was condemned with him, but did not die with him, being reserved to suffer a longer and more lingering martyrdom in prison.
1 As Mr. Wells grew more mature in age. so he did in virtues. And although he was much delighted in hawking, hunting, and other such like gentleman's diversions, yet he so soberly governed his affections therein, as to be content to deprive himself of a good part of those pleasures, and retire to a more profitable employment of training up young gentlemen in virtue and learning, with such success, says my author, that his school hath been, as it were, a fruitful seminary to many worthy members of the catholic church, whereof one hath already gained the crown of martyrdom; others yet remain, some industrious and painful workmen in the happy harvest of souls, and some strong and immoveable pillars to support the catholic cause against so many grievous storms and tempests as are daily raised against it.'
We have already seen in what manner Mr. Wells was apprehended, imprisoned, and condemned to die; and how he refused to save his life
* From Mr. John Genings's relation of the life and death of Mr. Wells, and from Dr. Champney's manuscript hiitory.
by renouncing his religion. The following letter, which he wrote to his brother-in-law, Mr. Gerard Morin, (a constant professor of, and sufferer for the catholic faith,) whilst he was in prison, before his condemnation, as it excellently expresses the interior dispositions of his soul, deserves particularly to be here recorded.
'The comforts which captivity bringeth, are so manifold, that I have rather cause to thank God highly for his fatherly correction, than to , complain of any worldly misery whatsoever. Dominus de cxlo in' terram aspexit ut audiret gemitus compeditorum, &c. Potius mihi habetur affligi pro Christo, quam honorari a Christo. These, and the like, cannot but comfort a good christian, and cause him to esteem his captivity to be a principal freedom, his prison a heavenly harbour, and his irons an ornament. These will plead for him, and the prison will protect him. God send me, withal, the prayers of all good folks to obtain some end of all miseries, such as to his holy will and pleasure shall be most agreeable. I have been long time in durance, and endured much pain; but the many future rewards in the heavenly payment, make all pains seem to me a pleasure: and truly custom hath caused, that it is now no grief to me at all to be debarred from company, desiring nothing more than solitariness; but rather rejoice, that thereby I have the better occasion, with prayer, to prepare myself to that happy end for which I was created and placed here by God, assuring myself always of this one thing, that how few soever I see, yet am I not alone, Solus non est cui Christus comes est. "He is not alone who has Christ in his company." When I pray, I talk with God, when I read, he talketh to me, so that I am never alone. He is my chiefest companion, and only comfort. Cum ipso sum in tribulatione.
'I have no cause to complain of the hardness of prison, considering the effects thereof, and the rather, because I fasten not my affection opon worldly vanities, whereof I have had my fill to my great grief and sorrow. 1 renounced the world before ever I tasted of imprisonment, even in my baptism; which being so, how little doth it import in what place I be in the world, since, by promise, I vowed once never to be of the world, which promise and profession, how slenderly soever I have kept heretofore, I purpose, for the time to come, God assisting me with grace in my commenced enterprise, to continue to my life's end. The world is crucified to me, and I to the world. God forbid that I should glory in any thing but in the cross of Christ. I utterly refuse all commodities, pleasures, pastimes, and delights, saving only the sweet service of God, in whom is the perfection of all true pleasures. Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas prater amare Deum. "Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity besides loving God." I am bound and charged with gyves, yet am I loose and unbound towards God; and far better I account it to have the body bound, than the soul to be in bondage. I am threatened hard with danger of death, but if it be no worse, I will not wish it to be better. God send me his grace, and then 1 weigh not what flesh and blood can do unto me. I have answered to many curious and dangerous questions, but I trust with good advisement, not offending my conscience. What will become of it God knows best, to whose protection I commit you.
E orcere et catenis ad rrgnuni,
Mr. Wells received the sentence of death with undaunted courage, and religiously prepared himself for it. The morning he was to die, his wife (who had also received the like sentence for the like guilt of harbouring priests,) was brought out of prison with him and Mr. Genings, in order, as it was supposed, for execution; but she was remanded back to prison by the sheriff, there to wait the queen's pleasure. That which would have afforded great joy to another, was grievously afflicting to this good lady, who lamented to see herself left behind, and not suffered to bear her husband and her ghostly father company in so glorious a death. She lived ten years a close prisoner in Newgate, exercising herself there in fasting, watching, and continual prayer, and died most holily, in 1602. Mr. Wells was carried to be executed, with Mr. Genings, in Gray's-inn-fields, over against his own door. In the way, seeing, by chance, an old friend of his, he could not forget his wonted mirth; but saluted him in these words, 'Farewell, dear friend; farewell all hawking, hunting, and old pastimes; I am now going a better way.' At the place of execution, he was first witness of the bloody butchery of Mr. Genings; but so far from being terrified by it, or desiring any respite or delay of execution, he rather expressed a desire to have his death hastened. 'Despatch, said he, Mr. Topliffe, despatch: are you not ashamed to suffer an old man to stand here so long in his shirt, in the cold. I pray God make you, of a Saul a Paul, of a persecutor a catholic professor.' And in these and other like sweet speeches, says my author, p. 109, full of Christian piety, charity, and magnanimity, he happily consummated his course, the 10th of December, 1591.
EUSTACHIUS WHITE, PRIEST.*
Eustachius White was born at Louth, in Lincolnshire. His father was an earnest protestant; who, upon his son's conversion, was so highly offended, as to lay his curse upon him; but God turned his curse into a blessing. Mr. Eustachius going abroad, became an alumnus, first of the college of Douay, then residing at Rhemes, and afterwards of that of Rome, where he was made priest. He returned to Rhemes in October, 1588; and from thence, in the November following, was sent upon the English mission. Mr. John Genings, in his life of his
* From Dr. Champncy's manuscript history, and other manuscripts in my hands, and from the bishop of Tarrasona's history of the persecution, p. 812, 813.
brother, reckons Mr. White in the number of those who were taken together in Mr. Well's house; and certain it is, that he suffered on the same day with Mr. Genings and Mr. Plasden; but except we suppose him to have been twice apprehended, I have some reason to think there may be a mistake in that particular of his being taken with Mr. Genings : for 1 have a manuscript in my hands, written by Mr. Stephen Barnes, priest, who was acquainted with Mr. White, which gives a very different account of his apprehension. For thus he writes to Mr. Barber, priest, then living in Douay college.
• Amongst your priests martyred, there 'is one Mr. Eustachius White, who used in our country, whom I knew. He was taken at Blanford, in this manner: coming, as I think, from London, he light in company of a west-countryman, whose name I know not, but he was somewhat belonging to the law. Riding with him, Mr. White being a fine gentleman-like man, and of good discourse and conversation, passed his time very well with him: and to feel the man's disposition in religion, talked of matters beyond the seas, as having been a traveller; and finding the lawyer well affected, as he thought, in religion, spoke the more freely, but no ways discovering what he was. Their ways lying together to Blanford but no farther, Mr. White would have taken his leave there, but the lawyer urged him, that they might there breakfast together before they parted; to whose importunity he yielded; and having a little bag at his saddle, in which, amongst other things, was his breviary, took that into the chamber with him; but after breakfast, having taken leave of his companion, and gone out of the town, the lawyer informed the officers that he was a seminary priest; and telling them which way he was to go, they made after him. Mr. White, in the mean time, missing his breviary, which he had left in the inn, turned back. The officers met him; but not suspecting him coming towards the town, nor he them, about what they were going, came directly to the inn, where he was taken. And being much urged, whether he was not a priest, easily confessed it, when he might do it without danger to any other. Having confessed himself to be a priest, they sent immediately for the minister, one Dr. Houel, a tall man, and a great opinion there was of his learning. They conferred together; what their controversy was, 1 know not, but Mr. White alledged for himself a place of scripture, which the doctor denied. Mr. White avouched, that it was so in their own book, and the other still denied it. Mr. White wished him to come again the next day, and bring his book with him, and if he could not show it in his book, he would go to church with him: the other answered as resolutely, That if it were so, he would never go to church more, but be a papist. Thus, for the present they left their disputation. The next day (the rumor of this, being spread about,) great numbers came, expecting surely to have the priest to church with them. The doctor also came, and brought his book with him; but being come into the room, he laid the book on the table, and his elbow upon it, and began to talk of other matters; but Mr. White repeating openly, the conditions agreed on the night before, asked him, whether he had brought his book? he answered, Yes: but he held it fast under his elbow, and
would have entered into other disputes; but Mr. W hite urged they were not needful ; but that he should bring forth the book, and their conference would be ended: for so that either he must go to church, or the doctor be a papist. The doctor as yet, not offering to show the book, Mr. White endeavoured, with modesty, to take it from under his elbow; but he would not let it go : whereupon, Mr. White, turning to the audience, repeated the conditions again, and willed them to judge who had the right: and, withal, to consider well, with what false doctrine they were seduced ; and so would deal no more with Dr. Houel. The people were much moved ; and many, of whom 1 know some, that were very hot protestants before, became very calm: and the opinion of the common sort was, that there was not such a learned man again in England. He was detained there for some days, and afterwards sent for to London by a pursuivant, and there racked, as was said, seven times, and put to death. I heard, at that time, some of Blanford, say, that they hoped the town would join together, and put up a petition to the queen to beg him. This, I have heard from the mouths of some in Blanford, that were present, and told it me, while it was in every man's mouth: for I had occasion to come thither, very soon after.' So far, Mr Barnes.
The bishop of Tarrasona and Dr. Champney, confirm what is here said of Mr. White's being cruelly tortured in prison. And the former, in particular, relates, that Mr. White lying in Bridewell, at the mercy of the inhuman Topliffe, or Topcliffe, (for I find his name differently written), besides other cruel treatments, was once hung up for eight hours together, by the hands, in iron manacles, to oblige him to confess in whose houses he had said mass, or from whom he had received any relief, since his return into England; but though this torment was so grievous that the sweat which the violence of the pain forced from his body, passed all his garments and wet the very ground under him, as was attested by eye-witnesses ; yet nothing could be extorted from him, which might prejudice the persecuted catholics ; and under the greatest of his pains, he cried out,—Lord, more pain, if thou pleasest, and more patience! Though Mr. White had been thus inhumanly handled by the tyrant, he told him, with a great deal of meekness and humility, Mr. Topcliffe, I am not angry at you for all this, but shall pray to God for your welfare and salvation. Topcliffe replied in a passion,—That he wanted not the prayers of a traitor, and that he would have him hanged the next sessions. Then, said Mr. White, I will pray for you, sir, at least, at the foot of the gallows; for you have great need of prayers.
Mr. White was condemned merely on account of his priesthood; and was drawn to Tyburn, and there hanged, bowelled, and quartered, December 10, 1591.