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unless he made the expected discoveries. After a short time had elapsed, without his making any such communication, his hands were screwed into two iron rings, and by these, he was fastened to a column, at a height which did not allow his feet to touch the ground. He was kept in this excruciating torture during one hour : a block was then placed under his feet, and he remained in that state during five more hours. He was then removed. On the next day the same torture was inflicted on him. He fainted under it, and was recalled to sense by the pouring of vinegar down his throat; but the torture was continued. On the followiug day he was ordered to it, for the third time, but the governor of the Tower interfered and prevented it. He was then permitted to remain in quiet, and at the end of twenty days the use of his limbs began to be restored to him. With the connivance of some persons within the Tower, and the assistance of some of his friends without it, he made his escape. He then buried himself in obscurity ; still exercising, as far as he was able, his missionary duties; but finding himself in danger of being retaken, he crossed the seas. Twenty-six years after this time, a libel was published, accusing him of having boasted that he had taken an active part in the plot, and of his even having shown, with exultation, the handkerchief, with which he wiped the sweat from his brow, while he was working in the vault, in which the powder was deposited. Upon this, the general of the society of Jesus required of him, in the most solemn manner, to declare the truth. In obedience to this order, he affirmed, upon his oath, before God and his angels, that the story of his “working “ in the powder vault, or taking any other part in “ the conspiracy, was absolutely false.” A copy of this declaration was sent by the order of the general to Dr. Smith, bishop of Chalcedon in Asia, and then exercising, under delegation from the Roman see, episcopal functions in England; the prelate was requested to call upon the author of the report, to make good the charge; but the author never came forward to prove or even to avow it.
Father Oldcorn was racked five times, and once, with great severity, during several hours. His only legal guilt was, that, after the discovery of the plot, and before the proclamation for apprehending the offenders was issued, he received father Garnett into his house, and did not disclose the circumstance to government. There was not even the slightest evidence of his having been concerned in the plot, or acquainted with any circumstanoe connected with it. He was however tried, for misprision of treason, and found guilty: he was cut down alive, and embowelled.
It has been mentioned, that father Greenway escaped to the continent: he persisted to the last in declaring his innocence of the conspiracy, and that he had no other knowledge of it, than from Cateşby in the way of sacramental confession.
Observations on the Conduct of father Garnett.
The guilt of Garnett was a subject of great discussion : it gives rise to three distinct inquiries ; the first,—whether he knew of the conspiracy, further than in consequence of the communication which Greenway made to him, by the desire of Catesby ;-the second, whether he was justified in keeping secret the information, which he had received, and the suspicions, which, in consequence of it, and from other circumstances, he entertained of the turbulent designs of some catholics;—the third, whether he behaved, during his examination, and upon his trial, with due regard to truth and sincerity.
As to the first of these topics of inquiry :—it is an article of catholic belief, that the seal of sacramental confession is inviolable ; that the confessor is bound to observe the most absolute and unqualified secrecy on all that he hears from his penitent in his confession; and that a case cannot be supposed, in which it is lawful for the confessor to divulge it without the consent of the penitent. To use a strong expression of St. Augustine, “ a priest is considered
to know less of the things, which he hears in con“ fession, than of those, of which he is absolutely
ignorant.” Thus, the confessor is bound to his penitent; but the bond is not reciprocal : for the penitent is under no such sacramental obligation of secrecy, and may, without breach of it, disclose
whatever passes between him and his confessor. The penitent also may authorize the confessor to reveal what passes in the confession, to a third
person, either lay or ecclesiastic: still, the obligation of secrecy continues so far, that the penitent may direct the revelation to be made, under the sacramental obligation of secrecy; and, when it is made under this obligation, the party is bound to secrecy, in the same manner, and to the same extent, as the confessor. A breach of this secrecy is considered by catholics as a crime of the blackest dye : scarcely half-a-dozen instances of it are known to have existed. This, the catholics deem to be a remarkable intervention of Divine Providence ;-and, if weconsider the number of vicious priests, and particularly the number of those, who have deserted the catholic faith, and shown a total disregard to truth and honour; it must be confessed that the circumstance, which we have noticed, is not a little remarkable. . It has been mentioned, that Catesby revealed the design to Greenway in the tribunal of confession; that Greenway declared it to be a crime both against God and man, endeavoured to dissuade him from it; and, to gain time, desired and obtained his leave to mention it to Garnett, and consult him on its lawfulness :--that Garnett expressed himself in the same manner as Greenway had done, and, like him, in order to gain time, recommended a consultation with the pope: both Greenway and Garnett knew that the pope would reprobate the design; they hoped, therefore, that when his opinion was obtained, it would render the project abortive, and
that, in the mean time, its contrivers would remain in peace, and obtain a more christian spirit. It is not improbable that Catesby's communications to Greenway, and through him to Garnett, were made with a view of leading them to concur in the
. plot, or at least to sanction it by their approbation. To each, he enjoined sacramental secrecy, unless the plot became public; in that case, he authorized them to make any use, which they should think proper, of the communication. It appears, from the Letter of Casaubon, which we have mentioned, and from the Reply to it of Eudæmon-Johannes, that one of the consultations upon the conspiracy between Greenway and Garnett took place while they were walking : hence, their adversaries inferred, that this communication at least could not be sacramental, as in the sacrament of penance, the penitent, unless he is hindered by illness, is always upon his knees. Garnett admitted that this was generally the case, when the sacrament of penance was administered ; but observed, that it was not attended to in consultations, which, by the desire of the penitent, the confessor had with other
persons, in reference to the confession.--Every roman-catholic must allow, that, according to the established rules and practice of his church, the conduct of Garnett, admitting this to be a true representation of it, was, thus far at least, free from blame. Whether the rule and practice be just and wise, is another question. Garnett's was an extreme case; and every judicious and candid reader mus allow, that though, when a general principle