Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

of my sins, with his precious blood, one drop of which, is sufficient to wash away the sins of the whole world. I am not, as yet, condemned, nor, to 'my knowledge, my blessed brother, "Mr. Bost," of whose security, temporal, 1 have no hope. As for my own part, I am, altogether in the same estate I was in before my departure; and, I take God to witness, that I have neither named house, man, woman, or child, in time of, or before my torments. I look for my trial on Thursday, and consequently for my death, to God's honour. Pray for me earnestly.'

In the latter, he writes thus: 'My dear concaptives, if the vessel of election St. Paul vouchsafed, not only by way of paper, to comfort oftentimes the christians of the primitive times, but also, to give his temporal benefactors a sweet surrender of thanks; it will fit me to imitate him in like matter and manner: first, to ascertain you, that in my pained body, my spirit is not pained, nor in any disaster, distress, or durance. For St. Paul testifies, that The passions of this time are not condign of the future glory which shall be revealed in us. And, for my part, I have long since imprinted in my heart, not to fear those that kill the body, but cannot destroy the soul. But rather to remember those golden sentences, which have issued out of the mouth of all verity. He that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it for life everlasting. And, he that confesses me before men, I will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven. And although, in my native country, I have taken great pains in God's vineyard, yet, I doubt not, if God will strengthen me, through yours and my patron's prayers, I shall purchase for our Babylonic soil, more favour by my death. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. To those that made that bountiful offer of a thousand crowns, for my life, as my lord chamberlain, in my presence, imparted, I return a thousand thanks, in sign of gratitude, meaning, (if God will give to a miscreant, and wretched sinner, constancy, forgiveness of my sins, and grace to die for his glory, and his spouse's consolation,) to make the return of my bloody sacrifice, for their oblation. To all my spiritual children, wheresoever they are now sorrowing, I most heartily send greeting; with humble request to God for their constancy in the true way of salvation. My carnal friends, I salute, and wish, as to my own soul, conversion from impiety, and irreligiosity to virtue, and St. Peter's sheepfold. I love them most entirely, but my Creator, in a far higher degree: for he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, saith our Saviour Christ, I send this, my last, written in haste: for I fear I shall have no means hereafter. Therefore, I desire God Almighty to protect you all, and bless and establish you to suffer persecution for justice sake. Thus, in post haste, in visceribus Christi. Adieu.

Mr. Ingram was tried and condemned at the same time with Mr. Bost, and for the same cause: that is, for his character and functions only, and not for any other treason.

He suffered, with great constancy, at Newcastle, July 25, 1594.

GEORGE SWALLOWELL. *

Gkohoe Swallowell was born in the bishopric of Durham, and brought up in the proteslant religion; and for some time officiated in the double capacity of reader and of school-master, at Houghton Spring, in the same bishopric. Going one day, to visit a catholic gentleman, imprisoned for his recusancy, and falling in discourse on the subject of religion, he was so close pressed by the gentleman upon the article of his mission, and that of his prelates, that he was forced, by way of a last shift, to shelter himself under the queen's spiritual supremacy, and to derive their commissions from her authority. The gentleman exposed to him, the absurdity of makinga woman, whom St. Paul did not allow to speak in the church, the head of the church, and the fountain of ecclesiastical jurisdiction ; and treated so well, both this and other points of controversy, that Mr. Swallowell, who was none of those who are resolved to be rebels to the light, yielded to the strength of his arguments. And not content privately to embrace the truth, he, not long after publicly professed, from the pulpit, that he had hitherto been in an error, but was convinced, that they had no true mission in their church, and therefore he would no longer officiate there.

Upon this he was apprehended, and committed to Durham jail, and, after a year's imprisonment, was brought to the bar, at the same time with Mr. Host and Mr. Ingram, priests, and stood between them. At first through fear of that cruel death to which he was condemned, he yielded to go to the church, and to conform to what the judges required of him. Whereupon, Mr. Bost, looking at him, said, George Swallowell, what hast thou done? At these words of the confessor of Christ, 'he was struck with a great damp and confusion, and desired the judge, and the lord president,(who at that time was the Earl of Huntington,} for God's sake to let him have his word again. To which the judge replied, Swallowell, look well what thou doest; for, although thou be condemned, yet the queen is merciful. But still he craved to have his desire granted. Then the judge answered, if thou be so earnest, thou (halt have thy word again; say what thou wilt. Then presently he recalled what he had formerly yielded unto, and courageously said, that in that faith wherein those two priests did die, he would also die; and that the same faith which they professed, he did also profess. With that, Mr. Bost looked at him again, and said, hold thee there, Swallowell, and my soul for thine; and with these words, he laid his hand upon his head. Then the lord president said, away with Bost, for he is reconciling him. Upon this, his judgment was pronounced, which was, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, at Darlington.'

Upon the day designed for execution, he was brought two miles off the place on foot, and then was put into a cart, where he lay on his

• From a manuscript in my hands, and from bishop Ycpez's history of the persecution*, I. 5, c. 5, who had his information from letters sent over from England, two months after Mr. Swallowell's execution.

back, with his hands and eyes up to heaven, and so was drawn to the gallows. To terrify him the more, they led him by two great fires, the one made for burning his bowels, the other for boiling his quarters; and withal, four ministers attended him to strive to bring him over to their way of thinking; but he would not give ear to them, or stay with them, but went presently to the ladder, and there fell down upon his knees, and continued for some time id prayer: then making the sign of the cross, he went up the ladder: and having leave of the sheriff to speak, he said, I renounce all heresy; and spoke some other words which were not well heard by the people; with which the sheriff- being offended, struck him with his rod, and told him, that if he had no more to say, he should go up further; for the rope should be put about his neck: which being done, Mr. Swallowell desired, if there were any catholics there, they would say three paters, three aves, and the creed for him: and so making the sign of the cross upon himself, he was turned off the ladder. After he had hung awhile, they cut the rope and let him fall; and the hangman, who was but a boy, drew him along by the rope yet alive, and there, dismembered and bowelled him, and cast his bowels into the fire. At the taking out of his heart, he lifted up his left hand to his head, which the hangman laid down again; and when the heart was cast into the fire, the same hand laid itself over the open body. Then the hangman cut off his head, and held it up, saying, behold the head of a traitor. His quarters, after they were boiled in the cauldron, were buried in the baker's dunghill.

He suffered at Darlington, vulgo Darnton, July 26, 1594.

EDWARD OSBALDESTON, PRIEST.*

This gentleman was of the family of the Osbaldestons of Osbaldeston, in the parish of Blackburn, in the county palatine of Lancaster. He had his education in Douay college, during its residence at Rhemes. Here he was made priest, in 1585; and from hence was sent upon the English mission, April 27,1589. After labouring here some years, he was apprehended by the means of one Clark, a fallen priest, at Towlerton in Yorkshire, on the 30th of September, 1594, and committed to York castle. His letter to his fellow prisoners gives an account of his apprehension, and the dispositions he was then in, and therefore deserves to be here inserted.

'I was apprehended at Towlerton by Thomas Clark, the apostate priest, upon St. Hierome's day, at night: a thing much more to my comfort, than at any other time; for that I had such a special patron to

* From the Douay manuscript, and the copy of a letter written by Mr. Osbaldeston, which I have in my hand.

commend myself to, and such a stout champion under Christ; and, besides, it pleased God, much to my comfort, to let this sign of his love fall unto me that day above all others; for that it was God's great goodness to call me to the honour of priesthood; and that, upon St. Hierome's day, I said my first mass, and consecrated the blessed body and blood of my Saviour Jesus Christ, and received him with great reverence and devotion, and ever since, have honoured St. Hierome. And the morning before I came forth, I made my prayer to blessed St. Hierome; and, in his merits, I offered myself a sacrifice to God, and recommended myself to him, to direct me to his will and pleasure, and that I might walk aright in my vocation, and follow St. Hierome, as long as God should see it expedient for his church, and most for his honour and glory: and if it pleased him still to preserve me, as he had done before, 1 never would refuse to labour, or murmur at any pain or travail; and if it should please his majesty to suffer me to fall into the persecutors' hands, that then it would please his infinite goodness to protect me to the end; which I have no doubt but he will, after so many and so great goodnesses and gifts, as he hath bestowed on me over all my life, which are without number and inexplicable: wherefore my hope and trust is much helped, that now he will be most sure unto me, since this is the weightiest matter that I ever was about in my life: and so considering this, and infinite others, such like, I find great comfort, and fully trust in God's goodness, and distrust only in myself; but in him that comforteth me, I can do all things. And this actual oblation of myself that morning, and this that ensueth, maketh me very comfortable, and bringeth me into many good and heavenly cogitations, feeling his strength so much as I have done in lesser matters, and further off from him than this is; therefore I nothing doubt, by his grace, but he will grant me to finish that which was for him, and by him, begun; which 1 pray God I may worthily do when his good will and pleasure is, and not before; and that I may not wish or desire any thing in this life but what may best please him and honour him, and our blessed lady his mother, and all the court of heaven, the most, and edify the people, and strengthen them in the way to Jesus, the king of bliss.

* The manner of my apprehension' was thus: Abraham Sayre and I came to the inn a little before Mr. Clarke, and we all came before night; I knew him not fully, for I thought he had been in the south: hut at supper I looked earnestly at him, and I thought it was he, and yet I still persuaded myself that he knew me not, and if he should know me, he would do me no harm, which fell out otherwise; God forgive him for it. For when we were going to bed, he went and called the curate and constable, and apprehended us, and watched us that night, and came with us to York, and stood by when I was examined before the council, but said nothing then that I feared; and he was present afterwards when I was called again, and since I have been no» thing said unto; what will follow, God knoweth; but 1 will not be partial to myself, but prepare me for death, and what else may befal unto me. Now I pray you, for God's sake, what you hear or learn let me know; and what is the best course for me to take in all points, and how my brethren hare 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 Chalcednn'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.

k

« AnteriorContinua »