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Earl of Not. I fear you cannot be so, for there is much business to be this afternoon, both at the great council and the committee: but I will send you word to the deanery, if you can be called this evening. In the meantime you have your full liberty to go where you please.
Thus I went home ; but having no notice from my lord that night, the next day, being June the 10th, about ten of the clock, I came to his lordship's office, where were met the same lords as before ; only I think the Earl of Portland was not there, and the Earl of Pembroke, lord privy seal, was.
When I was called in, besides the privy councellors that sat about the table, there was standing against the wall a very ill-favoured man, who afterwards proved to be Blackbead; with whom I strait perceived I was sent for to be confronted.
For, as soon as I was in the room, my Lord Nottingham said, My lord, do you know that person?
Bishop of Roch. My lord, I have seen this man's face, but I cannot immediately recollect where.
Earl of Not. I pray view him well. Has he never brought you any letters from one Mr. Young?
Bishop of Roch. I do call to mind, he has brought me a letter. I cannot in a moment remember from whom it was.
Earl of Not. He says it was from one Young.
Bishop of Roch. I think it was at my house at Bromley, that he delivered it me; but I verily believe it was not from any of the name of Young.
Blackliead. I was with the Bishop of Rochester at Bromley: I brought him a letter from Mr. Young, and I received an answer to Mr. Young back again from the bishop.
Thus far, during the beginning of this examination, I stood with my face against the window, and my eyes being so very tender and feeble as they are, I had not a perfect view of Blackhead; but be so confidently affirming, that he had of late carried letters between me and one Young, I changed my station, and got the light on my back; and then immediately, having a true sight of his very remarkable countenance and habit, and whole person, and being also much assisted by his voice, which is very loud and rude, I did, by God's blessing, perfectly call him to mind; and said, now, my lords, by the advantage of this light, I do exactly remember this fellow, and part of his business with me at Bromley. What he says of Young cannot be true. I know not for what purpose he affirms this; but, upon my reputation, it is utterly false, that he ever brought me a letter from one Young.
Earl of Not. My lord, he says particularly, it was upon a fastday.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, I do remember this fellow was with me at Bromley on a fast-day: by the same token, I told him he should stay till after evening-prayers, and must expect only a fasting kind of meal. But then I would return an answer to his business.
Blackhead. It was upon a fast-day. I did eat with the bishop's servants; and I received an answer from his own hand to the letter I brought him from Mr. Young.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, this that he says of Young is a wicked lye. All my correspondencies are so innocent (as I hope your lordships can testify) that, if I had received a letter from any Mr. Young, I should have no reason so positively to deny it. I beseech you, examine this fellow throughly, and I doubt not but you will discover some impudent knavery. I stand to it ; I am sure there is no person, whose name is Young, with whom I have „of late years maintained any intercourse by letters.
Earl of Devon. My lord, is there no person of the name of Young, a clergyman, with whom you are acquainted ?
Bishop of Roch. Oh! my lord, there are two excellent persons of the name of Young, both clergymen, to whom I have the good fortune to be very well known : the one was your brother Ossery's chaplain, and is now prebendary of Winchester; the other was canon of Windsor, when I was a member of that church, and is there still. But I suppose neither of these are the Youngs, whose correspondence this man objects to me. I should take it for an honour to correspond with them. But in truth it has so happened, that I have neither written to, nor received one letter from either of them these many years, to the best of my knowledge.
Blackhead. The bishop, if he please, may remember it was Robert Young from whom I brought a letter.
Earl of Not. How long ago say you it was?
Bishop of Roch. I have indeed, my lords, some obscure remembrance, that, some years ago, there was one writ to me out of Newgate, under the name of Robert Young, pretending to be a clergyman; and I recal something of the contents of this letter. Il was to tell me, that he and his wife lay in prison there upon a false accusation, of which he hoped they should be speedily cleared. In the mean time he desired me to recollect, that he had officiated some weeks for the chaplain at Bromley college, and had preached once or twice in the parish church there. He intreated me to give him a certificate of this, because it would stand him in much stead in order to his justification: and witbal, that I would send him something out of my charity, for his and his wife's relief in their great distress.
This, my lords, I dare say was the whole substance of that letter, and this was two or three years ago at least.
To that letter I am sure I made no reply in writing. Only, having not the least remembrance of him myself, I inquired in the neighbourhood, and among the widows in the college; intending to have sent him some alms suitable to his condition and mine, had I found bim worthy.
But, upon inquiry, I received from all hands so very ill a character both of this Young and his wife, that I resolved to give him no
answer at all; and I have never heard any thing more of him to this day.
But now, I beseech your lordships, to give me leave to speak to this person myself: and they intimating I should do as I thought best, I said to him :
I conjure you, in the presence of these noble lords, and especially of the great Lord of heaven and earth, that you will declare the truth of what I am going to ask you.
When you came to my house at Bromley, upon a fast-day it was, I think the first fast of this year; did not you desire to speak with me, as having a letter for me? When I came to you into my hall, did not you first kneel down, and ask me blessing ? Did you not then deliver me a letter, affirming it was from a country minister, a doctor of divinity? Did not you tell me you were bis servant, or bailiff? And that your master had sent you on purpose many miles, to receive an answer yourself to that letter from my own hand?
Blackhead. I never brought a letter to the Bishop of Rochester from a country minister; I know no such doctor of divinity: nor ever was servant to any : I only brought a letter to the bishop from Mr. Young.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, what I say is most certainly true. This man had never any other business with me, but in relation to that letter, pretended by him (for now I find it was but a pretence) to be written to me by an eminent country divine, in Buckinghamshire, a person of a considerable estate, as he told me. My lords, I cannot yet call to mind the doctor's name; but the business of the letter I am, in great part, master of; and it was to this purpose :
That there was a person (naming him) who had applied to him to be his curate; but that he had reason to suspect he had counter, feited my hand and seal for holy orders; therefore he desired me to send him word, under my own hand, by the bearer, his man, whe. ther I had ordained such a one, in such or such years: that if I had, he would encourage and entertain him; if not, he would take care he should be punished for his forgery.
Now, my lords, upon the receipt of so friendly a lelter, by this very messenger, I bid him stay a little, and I would give his master satisfaction out of my books, whether I had ordained any man of that name, which I thought I had not. Accordingly my secretary and I did severally turn over all my papers relating to such affairs, as carefully as we could; and finding no such man's name in them, in which we could not easily be deceived, because I keep methodically (as no doubt every bishop does) all recommendations, subscriptions, testimonials, and titles of those I admit into orders; I wrote the supposed author of the letter as civil an answer as his seemed to deserve.
That I was extremely pleased and thankful, that a meer stranger to me should be so careful of my reputation; that my secretary and I had diligently examined all the books, where such things are recorded : and I could assure him I never had ordained any such person, either priest or deacon, within the space limited in his let. ter, or at any other time: that I should look upon it as a signal service done to the church in general, and a special favour to me in particular, if he would, as he promised, cause the counterfeit to be apprehended, so that the course of law might pass upon bim.
This letter, my lords, all written with my own hand, I delivered to the person here present: and he went away with it, asking me blessing again upon his knees, and promising I should speedily be made acquainted with the success. Earl of Devonsh. I pray, my lord, how was the letter
superscribed you sent back by this man?
Bishop of Roch. My lord, it was to the same person, with the same superscription as be subscribed himself, and directed to the same place where he said he was minister; though the name of place or minister I cannot yet recover. But let that letter of mine be produced, and it will put an end to this whole controversy.
Blackhead. The letter I received from the bishop was superscribed to Mr. Young, and to no other.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, this is a horrid falshood. I well remember now, this fellow was at my house a second time some weeks after the first. When he came, I was in the garden, with some gentlemen, my neighbours, where, first asking me blessing, he told me his master, the doctor, had taken up the person who had forged my orders: that the man stood upon his vindication ; but that his master was bringing him up to London ; and then I should hear farther from him: adding, that his master was a man of such a spirit, and such a plentiful estate, that, whenever he suspected a man to be a rogue or a cheat, he would spare no pains to discover him, nor think any cost too much to get him punished. These, my lords, I well remember, were the knave's very words: and I hope your lordships will likewise deal with him in the same manner. I took this second message still more kindly, and ordered my servants to entertain the messenger very civilly.
Blackhead. I brought no such message. All my business with the bishop was from Mr. Young, which I suppose was of another nature.
Bishop of Roch. What I say is so true, that I am confident several of my servants do remember the particulars. For this man stuck not io declare his business before them all; very much magnifying his master, and his housekeeping, and vapouring what an example he would make of the counterfeit priest, without putting une to any trouble, or expence.
Earl of Devonsh. Has your lordship none of those servants near at hand ?
Bishop of Roch. My lord, some of them are in town; and one, my secretary, Mr. Moore, by an accidental good fortune, came hither with me: he was without when I was called in. I doubt not but he will satisfy your lordships what was this man's errand to me: he is a young man of great honesty, and, I believe, would not tell a lie to save my life; I am sure I would not have him.
Whilst they were calling in Mr. Moore, I added, my lords, I ap
peal to the great God of heaven to judge between me and this wretch, touching the truth or falsbood of what we say, and to deal with us both accordingly at the last day of judgment: and I dare also appeal to your lordships to judge between us, by what appears to you; for did you ever see greater villany and consciousness of guilt in any man's countenance than in his ?
By this time Mr. Moore being come in, I said, Moore, apply yourself to my Lord Nottingham. I charge you do not, for any consideration of me, speak any thing which you cannot justify for truth.
Earl of Not. Mr. Moore, do you know that person there ? pointing to Blackhead.
Mr. Moore. My lord, I do know him so far, that I have seen him once or twice at my lord's house at Bromley.
Earl of Not. What business had be at Bromley ?
Mr. M. My lord, it was from a country minister in Buckinghamshire, a doctor of divinity, as he wrote himself; his name was Hooke.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, I now very well remember, that was the name, Hooke, or something very near it; there may be the difference of a letter, I will not stand upon that; nor can it be expected, I or my servant should be positive as to every letter of a name in so sudden a question.
Earl of Not. Mr. Moore, what was the business of that letter?
Mr.M. My lord, it was concerning one that offered himself to be the doctor's curate, whom he suspected to have counterfeited my lord's letters of orders. The doctor desired my lord to look joto his books, whether he had ordained any such person ; my lord and I did thereupon search all the places where the meniorials of such affairs are kept, and we found no such namc; and so my lord himself wrote back to the doctor, by this very man that stands here.
Earl of Not. Mr. Moore, will you take your oath of all this?
Mr. M. I am ready to take my oath of it, if you please to give it me.
Earl of Not What say you, Blackhead? You see here is a young man, the bishop's secretary, comes in by chance, and confirms punctually what the bishop had said before, concerning your message to his lord ; and he offers to take his oath of it: if
did bring a letter from one Doctor Hooke, why do you not confess it? It can do you no hurt.
Blackhead. I know of no such divine as Dr. Hooke, nor any thing concerning one that counterfeited the bishop's orders; the letter I brought was from Mr. Young.
Mr. M. My lord, this fellow cannot but know, that what he says is shamefully false; I assure you I have the original letter at home to produce, and doubt not, but divers of my lord's servants