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ful, as well as the most barbarous persecution that ever was known. From all which it will naturally result, that it is the interest of England to save, if possible, the remnant of the Protestants in France, by some effectual interposition.
If we look a little farther into the state of the Protestants of the vallies of Piedmont, we shall find that antient church almost totally ruined and dispersed. If we turn our eyes towards Hungary, Transilvania, and Poland, the reformed interest is almost quite exterminated in those countries, as it is totally ruined in Bobemia. Wbat danger it is liable to in the neighbouring country of Saxony, is known to every one, since that country, whose prince was the first that embraced the Reformation, is now under a popish goveriment; and, if we come nearer home, to the Palatinate, there we shall also find a Protestant church, once the most flourishing, and best reformed in all Germany, under an unreasonable and cruel persecution. If we consider ibe treaty of Ryswick, by that we shall find the German Protestants despoiled of eight or nine hundred churches: the once famous Protestant city of Strasburgh delivered in prey to the church of Rome; and the Protestants in Alsace, and the neighbouring principalities on each side, as the duchy of Montbelliard, county of Veldents, &c. subject to popish incroachments. In a word, if we look throughout the whole empire, and take a view of the dyet at Ratisbon, we shall find the popish interest every where rampant, and incroaching upon the Reformation, contrary to the fundamental laws, and most solemn treaties of the empire. If we cast an eye upon Swisserland, the little republick of Geneva, and the principality of Neufchatel, there also we shall find the Protestant interest threatened and languish. ing.
If we look northward, there we find the Protestant kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark ready to engage in a war with one another, and that the quarrels betwixt them are fomented by those who carry on an interest, which is destructive both to the Protestant religion and the civil liberties of Europe. This is sufficient to discover the bad state of the Protestant interest abroad.
If we consider the posture of affairs at home, it is evident from a late printed letter, said to be wrote by a worthy bishop, and dedicated to a member of Parliament, that popery comes in upon us like a flood. It is not to be denied that there is a party in the three nations, who favour the title of an abdicated popish prince, and bis pretended succession, against the present government, and the succession established by law. It is not to be forgot, that their interest was so strong as to advance a popish king to our throne; and though they could not keep him there, because he dismounted himself by a furious career, yet they have endangered us since by repeated plots against bis present Majesty's life, and endeavouring to bring in a French invasion upon us. It is also known, that there are mighty discontents fomented and nourished in all the three nations, in relation to trade, parties, and different pretensions; and that this gives the popish clergy an opportunity of adding fuel to our flames, which makes it likewise evident that the Protestant interest is in danger at home.
This is further demonstrable from the trouble the Papists have from time to time given, and continue to give our government and parliaments : what is the meaning else of those proclainations formerly and lately emitted, commanding Papists to retire from London? &c. What else is the meaning of those bills brought in to prevent their disinheriting their Protestant heirs, and to hinder their sending children abroad to foreign seminaries, to be bred up in idolatry, or made priests, monks, and nuns? This, besides the danger that accrues thereby to our religion and liberties, takes vast sums of money out of the kingdom yearly. They likewise give trouble to our parliaments, by bringing in bills for discovering estates and money given to superstitious uses, which is every way mighty prejudicial to the kingdom, and enables the Papists to breed vipers in our bowels, in order to rend us in pieces.
Then, since it is undeniable that we are in danger from the Papists, whether we consider the state of affairs at home or abroad, and that the laws hitherto enacted have nol been able to prevent the recourse of Popish priests, &c. nor the growth of popery in this kingdom; what should hinder us from trying new methods, and particularly this law of castration?
It would certainly be a punishment very proper for them, and might make them read their sin in their judgment; since it is evident, that by their own personal villainy, and their loose doctrine of pardons, &c. which encourages people in licentiousness, they make more proselytes than by any other method.
Those, who perhaps would scruple to be any ways instrumental in taking these priests, wlien the penalty inflicted upon them by law is death, would not have reason to be so scrupulous to take and discover them, when the punishment is only castration, and therefore would be more diligent to put the laws in execution upon them.
It must also be reckoned a deserved punishment, since, under the seal of confession, they commit uncleanness with those they have the trust of as ghostly fathers, so that it is a sort of spiritual incest, and a destroying people with arms that make no report; both which crimes are capital in all well governed states, and therefore the punishment of castration, in such a case, must needs be accounted mild.
If it be objected, that, though some of the Romish clergy be guilty of incontinence, yet all of them are not so, and therefore such only are to be punished in that manner as are convicted of the crime: it is easy to answer, that it is equally true, that all of them are not guilty of conspiring against the government, nor is it possible to convict all of them of perverting the subjects; yet the 27th of Elisabeth makes it treason for any Popish priest, bred up be. yond sea, to be here, or to return into England, without submitting to the government, and taking the oath of supremacy. And indeed it is but reasonable it should be so, for their being here
supposes their design; and therefore there is as much reason to punish then, though we cannot prove the overt acts upon them, as there is to punish thieves for coming into our houses in an illegal manner, though we cannot prove that they have robbed us, or stole any thing. If we find a wolf, or other beast of prey, among our flocks, we take their design of destroying them for granted, and treat them accordingly, though we do not see the limbs of our cattle in their mouths. And therefore, since the practices and principles of the Romish clergy are so well known, their being found in the nation ought to be sufficient conviction.
It still remains a question, how they shall be discovered? But the answer is at hand. Let a competent and certain reward be proposed for such as shall do it, and the like reward, and a pardon to any of their own number that shall discover the rest; or let provision be made for some of every English seminary beyond sea ihat turn Protestants, and plant some of them in the several ports of the kingdom; and let some of eacb of those seminaries be likewise constantly in London to assist in searches, and view those that are taken up on suspicion : and, at the same time, let provision be made for such as will inform of all the Popish clergy that hauut the great families of that opinion in England, and we need not doubt of an effectual discovery in a little time: for, besides the influence that the hopes of a reward will have, those goatish fellows, the Romish clergy, do many times disoblige families of their own way, by attempting to debauch their wives, children, or servants, some of whom have so much virtue as to reject the temptation, and to hate the tempters; and many times their blind zeal occasions them likewise to take indiscreet methods to pervert Protestant servants, who would not be wanting, in case of such provision, as above mentioned, to discover those dangerous fellows.
To inflict this punishment of castration upon them, is so much the less to be thought cruel or unreasonable, since it is so ordinary in Italy, and other Popish countries, for the meaner sort of people to geld their own sons, that they make the better market of them for singing boys, and musicians, or to be catamites to cardinals, and other dignitaries of the Romish church. In those hot countries the Roman clergy are much addicted to that damnable and unnatural crime; and such of them, as are not, keep lewd women almost avowedly; they are indeed more upon the reserve, and live according to the maxim of Cautè, though not Castè, in such countries where the government is reformed, or where the Protestants are numerous ; but then they are under the greater temptation to perpetrate their villainies, on the pretext of confessing women; therefore there is the more reason to enact a law of castration against them in this kingdom.
We have the more ground to think, that such a law duly executed would have a good effect, because the lust of the flesh is so bewitching and natural to the greatest part of mankind, and continues to have a predominancy in them for so great a part of their lives, that it hath occasioned, and does occasion more disorders,
and is apter to engage men, over whom it obtains the ascendant, in more desperate undertakings than any other passion whatever. Histories are full of examples of princes and great men, that have ruined themselves and their countries in the pursuit of their irregular amours. We have no need to turn over foreign stories, or to go out of our own nation for proofs of this. It is not so long ago to be forgot, since we had the chief affairs of state managed, and parliaments dissolved, &c. at the beck of courtesans. The interest of popery and tyranny, in the late reigns, was chiefly advanced by such.
Do we not find, even in private persons of all ranks, that where that passion is not kept in due bounds, or cured by the proper remedies of a suitable match, honour, health, and estate, nay, life itself is many times sacrificed to the pleasure of the flesh; and therefore the Apostle had reason, as well as revelation on his side, when be ranked all, that is in the world, under the three beads of • the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,' and gave that of the flesh the preference. It is plain, from experience, that the other two are made generally subservient to it, as is visible every day from that excess in jewels, apparel, and houshold furniture, and the vast expence, which the gallants of both sexes put themselves to, in one or all of these, in order to obtain the favour of their paramours.
From all which we may make this inference, that, if the Romish clergy were niade incapable, by a law, of enjoying that which they account the greatest pleasure of life, they would avoid those countries, where such laws are put in execution, as they would avoid the plague. It would be happy, if, by this means, we could deliver our posterity from those conspiracies, civil wars, dreadful fires, massacres, assassinations of prioces, and other mischiefs, which these kingdoms have been liable to from the Papists, and against which all our other laws have hitherto signified but little to preserve us.
We have also found, by sad experience, that they have had so much influence, as to get the ascendant over some of our princes, by tempting them, as they have done the French king, with the hopes of an absolute sway, and we know not what visionary empires. By this means they prevailed with them to overthrow our laws, the recovery of which hath cost the nation so much blood and treasure, that after-ages are like to feel the smart of it; though they have run one of our princes off the stage, and have well nigh ruined their great champion beyond sea, as they did formerly the Spanish monarchy, by spurring on those princes to persecute Protestants, and establish despotical government. They will never give over that game, but inspire all princes, to whom they can have access, either by themselves or others, with one or both of those designs; and therefore it is the interest of England to use all possible means to secure the nation against those Romish clergymen, for wbich castration is humbly conceived to be the properest method, and is so far from being cruelty, that it may well be reckoned as great a piece of clemency to Romish priests, as transportation is, instead of the gallows, to other condemned criminals.
In short, it will be so far from being a real diskindness to the Popish laicks of this nation, that it will be the greatest piece of friendship to them imaginable. This, we hope, they will be the more readily convinced of, if their wives, daughters, and maidservants cry out against this law, for then, to be sure, they have some particular concern in the matter.
We hope, that our Popish laicks in England are men of as good observation as those in other countries, and particularly in France and Italy, where their very proverbs are sufficient to demonstrate, that they have no great opinion of their clergymen's chastity. It is not possible to expose those goatish fellows with more severity, and contempt, than the Italians do by saying " Fate Lui Coronna, by way of sarcasm, of a stallion, that they do not think performs his part; alluding to the priests shaven crowns, as if that sacerdotal character were sufficient even to invigorate a horse. Their other proverb of Fate lo Prete,' let us make him a priest, when they have any ungovernable wanton in a family, that over-runs all their females, is a-kin to the other; and their covering their stone-horses with a monk's frock, when they find them indifferent for a mare in season, is a scandalous reproof of those brutish clergymen. Answerable to these is the French proverb :
Qui veut tenir nette maison
Qu'l n'y souffre ni pretre ni moin ni pigeon. Comparing the Popish clergy to the pigeons, for their venereous inclinations; and may be Englished thus :
They, that would keep their houses chaste and deat,
From thence must priests, monks, nuns, and pigeons beat. As all proverbs of that sort are founded upon something universally known, or conceived to be true, it is not at all for the honour of the Popish clergy, that their chastity should be thus reflected upon, in countries where they are the sole directors of conscience, and have sheir religion established by law.
But that, which fixes it yet more upon them, is, that, in the Pope's chancery, the tax for eating eggs in Lent is greater than that for sodomy; and the penalty upon a priest, that marries, is greater, than upon those that commit that monstrous and unnatural villainy just now mentioned. From all which it is manifest, that they did not speak at random, who informed us, that the celibacy of such an innumerable multitude of Popish ecclesiasticks is the maximum arcanum dominationis Papalis, and that the priests testicles are the greatest promoters of the Pope's empire. This will appear yet more plain, that it is of the highest importance to them, since the church of Rome maintains, that marriage is a sacrament, and that all sacraments confer grace, and yet denies it to her clergy: 2