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" sole sufferers, for their consciences, except, (not “ to be altogether wanting to themselves), some “ modest petitions, humbly addressed to the par“ liament, though such hath been their unhappi
more weighty affairs have still disappointed their being taken into consideration ;
else, were they admitted to clear themselves of “ the mistakes and scandals unjustly imputed to “ them, they would not doubt fully to satisfy all “ingenuous and dispassionate men, nay, even “ whomsoever that were but moderately prejudiced “ against them.”
It has been stated, that, during the reign of Charles the first, twenty-three priests were executed for the exercise of their sacerdotal functions. Two others suffered ; one before, and one in the first year of the protectorate. The latter, John Southworth *, was a man highly respected by the catholics. From the fatal cart he addressed the multitude in a very modest speech, and concluded it in the following terms :
My faith is my crime; the performance of my duty, the occasion of my condemnation.“' I confess I am a great sinner.–Against God “ I have offended; but I am innocent of any sin
against man ;-I mean the commonwealth and
present government. How justly then I die, let " them look to who have condemned me. It is 6 sufficient for me that it is God's will. I plead “not for myself, (I came hither to suffer,) but for
* Dr. Challoner's Memoirs of Missionary Priests, vol. ii. p. 354.
you poor persecuted catholics, whom I leave “ behind me. Heretofore, liberty of conscience
was pretended as a cause of war; and it was “ held a reasonable proposition, that all the natives “ should enjoy it, who should be found to behave " themselves as obedient and true subjects. This
being so, why should their conscientious acting, “and governing themselves according to the faith " received from their ancestors, involve them more “ than all the rest in an universal guilt?—which “ conscientiousness is the very reason that clears “ “ others, and renders them innocent. It has pleased “ God to take the sword out of the king's hand, “ and put it in the protector's.-Let him remember, “ that he is to administer justice indifferently, and “ without exception of persons; for there is no
exception of persons with God, whom we ought “ to resemble. If any catholics work against the
present government, let them suffer. But why “ should all the rest, who are guiltless (unless con“ science be their guilt), be made partakers in a “promiscuous punishment with the greatest male“ factors? The first rebellion was of the angels. “ The guilty were cast into hell ; the innocent re
; “mained partakers of the heavenly blessings.”
Here, being interrupted by some officers, desiring him to make haste,—" he requested all pre
“ sent, that were catholics, to pray for him and “ with him. Which done, with hands raised
up “ heaven, and eyes (after a short prayer in silence) “gently shut,—thus devoutly demeaned, he ex“pected the time of his execution, which imme
diately followed ; and which he suffered with “ unmoved quietness ; delivering his soul, most “ blessedly, into the hands of his most loving
God, who died for him; and for whose sake he < died.”
LOYALTY OF THE ENGLISH CATHOLICS DURING THE CIVIL WAR, AND THE USURPATION:
-NEW PROFESSION BY THEM OF ALLEGIANCE AND CIVIL PRINCIPLES CONDEMNED BY INNOCENT
THE history of the English catholics during the reign of Charles the first, affords a view at once pleasing and affecting, of the undeviating rectitude of their conduct towards their sovereign and the state, and of the persecutions which they suffered from all parties : it affords also a fresh instance of obstacles too successfully thrown in the way of their endeavours to obtain some relaxation of the penal code, by an unequivocal disclaimer of the pope's deposing power, and some other obnoxious tenets.
Loyalty of the English Catholics. From the commencement of the reign of Elizabeth, till the time, of which we are now writing, attempts were unceasingly made to fix on the English catholics the odious charge of disloyalty : Charles the first knew it to be wholly groundless, but too often acted as if he believed it. Undeviatingly, however, the catholics persevered in duty and loyalty.
Soon after the commencement of the contest between the monarch and his parliament, the latter obtained the command of the public money : from this time, the wants of the king were chiefly supplied from the private purses of his loyal subjects. The catholics contributed largely to them, by voluntary subscriptions, and, on several occasions, by advancing to him two or more years of their annual assessments or compositions for recusancy: and
no sooner was the standard of loyalty erected,” says Dr. Milner*, " and permission given for ca" tholics to serve under it, than the whole nobility “ of that communion, the Winchesters, the Wor
cesters, the Dunbars, the Bellamonts, the Carnarvons, the Powises, the Arundels, the Fauconbergs, the Molineuxes, the Cottingtons, the Mont
eagles, the Langdales, &c. with an equal propor" tion of catholic gentry and yeomanry, were seen
flocking round it, impatient to wash away, with “their blood, the stain of disloyalty, which they “ had been unjustly constrained to suffer, during “ the greater part of a century—that is, ever since “ the accession of Elizabeth. Those catholics, who “ were possessed of castles and strong holds, turned “ them into royal fortresses; and the rest of them “ raised what money their estates could afford, in
* Letters to a Prebendary, letter vii.
support of the king and constitution. We may
judge of their exertions in this cause by their “ sufferings in it.” Mr. Dodd * refers to a list before him, and it is confirmed by authentic documents),-of six lieutenant-generals, eighteen colonels, sixteen lieutenant-colonels, sixteen majors, sixty-nine captains, fourteen lieutenants, fivecornets, fifty gentlemen volunteers, all catholics, who lost their lives, fighting in the field for the royal cause. The whole amount of the noblemen and gentlemen, who thus perished on the side of the king, was estimated at five hundred; thus nearly two-fifths of them were catholics ;-and this considerably exceeded the proportion, which the number of the catholics were at this time to that of the protestants of the same rank in society.
Several contemporary writers among the protestants did justice to the conduct of the catholics. “ It is a truth beyond all question,” says Dr. Stanhopet,“ that there were a great many noble, brave, " and loyal spirits of the roman-catholic persuasion, “ who did, with the greatest integrity, and without any
other design than satisfying conscience, ad“ venture their lives in the war for the king's ser“ vice;" and that “ several, if not all of these men, , " were of such souls, that the greatest temptation “ in the world could not have perverted or made “them desert their king in his greatest miseries."
* Hist. vol. iii. part vi. art. v.
* « The surest Establishment of the Royal Throne," p. 30, cited by Dodd, vol. iii. p. 31.