Billeder på siden

William the third *, remarks, that "what was "proved against the lords Cobham and Grey, "Watson and Clarke, does not appear; or how "their trials were managed.—He declares it to be plain, that, in his day, sir Walter Raleigh's was thought a sham plot.—“ Aquæ turbatæ sunt,” says Wilson, the biographer of James, "et nemo "turbavit."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Whatever may have been the part of Watson or Clarke in this transaction, the catholics have never placed them among the sufferers on account of religion, or thought them entitled to particular commiseration.

It is observable, that both Watson and Clarke were strenuously opposed to the Spanish party, and that each had written with great vehemence against the jesuits, as its active partisans. Both, on the scaffold, acknowledged, and asked pardon of the society for, the intemperance of their writings. "It was very fit," says Dodd, in his account of Watson," that he should make a disclaim of his "passion, and several groundless aspersions, which "he had uttered ‡.”

* Reply to sir Bart. Shower's "Magistracy and Government "of England vindicated," p. 32; and see Winwood's Mem. vol. ii. p. 8, 11.

+ Life of James I.

+ Vol. ii, p. 380.




THAT the disposition of James the first, when he ascended the throne of England, was favourable to the roman-catholics, was certainly, at that time, universally believed. His mother, the unfortunate queen of Scots, and George Darnley, his father, were catholics, and James was baptised by a catholic priest, and confirmed by a catholic prelate. He was known to be fond of the solemnity of the religious service of the catholics. Their hierarchy, the general habits of obedience, which they show to their pastors, and which the inferior clergy show to the superior, accorded with his notions of subordination, and seemed to him, as they certainly are, excellently calculated to dispose the mass of the body to general order and regularity. On the other hand, he was disgusted with the total absence of gradation of rank in the presbyterian ministry, with their gloomy devotions, and levelling doctrines. Their frequent disturbances of the government, and the personal insults, which they had offered both to his mother and himself, increased this disgust. He could not but recollect that the catholics had been steadily attached to his mother' under all her afflictions, while the presbyterians had been their principal cause. When, therefore, he acceded to the English throne, it was generally expected that some degree of favour would be shown to the catholics. They hoped for a repeal of the sanguinary part of the laws enacted against them, and that the exercise of their religious worship, under certain gentle restraints, would be allowed them.

These just and rational hopes were strengthened by declarations in their favour, which the monarch had made to several individuals. It was even said that secretary Cecil, in a conversation with some catholics of distinction, had assured them that the king would not frustrate their expectations *. It may be added, that from every part of his conduct the king appears to have had much more liberal notions of religious toleration than the generality of his contemporaries.

Neither were the catholics wanting to themselves: immediately after the accession of James, the catholic gentlemen of England signed an address to his majesty, dutifully and loyally expressed, and praying for a toleration of their religion : it was presented in July 1604t. It is written with great perspi


* See a curious passage in Winwood (Mem. vol.ii. p. 136);sir Everard Digby, on his trial, charged Cecil, publicly, with having made this promise.

7. The draft of it was printed with the following title : “A “ Supplication to the King's most excellent Majestie, wherein “ several reasons of state and religion are briefly touched: not “ unworthy to be read, and pondered by the lords, knights, “ and burgesses of the present parliament, and other of all “ estates. Prostrated at his highness feete by true affected sub

[ocr errors]

cuity and force, but in the language of moderation and respect. The subscribers explain the reason of their former silence, and of their actual address. They observe that queen Elizabeth always professed to punish none for religion: they expressly mention that the first twelve years of her reign, “ as

they were free from blood and persecution, so

they were fraught with all kind of worldly pros“ perity.”—They attribute the sanguinary laws, afterwards enacted by her, to the jealousy which she entertained of the Scottish queen, to the sentence of the catholic church on the invalidity of Henry's divorce, and to the excommunications promulgated against her : they state succinctly the reasons of their adherence to the catholic religion; and dwell with great force on the proofs which the catholics had given of their loyalty :—they observe that, when the armada threatened the coast,“ the " catholics beseeched, they importuned to be em

ployed in the service, with their sons, their ser“vants, and their tenants, at their own charge ; to « jects. Nos credimus propter quod et loquimur. 2 Cor. iv. 13. We believe, for the which cause we speak also. 1604, 8vo.” It was afterwards enlarged; and, so enlarged, was signed and presented. It was then printed with the following title: A Petition Apologeticall, presented to the Kinge's most “ excellent Majesty by the Lay Catholics of England, in July “ last. In eo quod detractent de vobis tanquam de malefac“ toribus, ex bonis operibus vos considerantes glorificent Deum “ in die visitationis. And wherein they misreport of you as “ malefactors, by the good works considering you they may “ glorify God in the day of his visitation. 1 Pet. iii. 12. Printed “ at Douay, by John Mogar, at the sign of the Compass, * 1604."

[ocr errors]

"be placed in the first front of the battle; to be "placed unarmed in their shirts before the foremost "ranks of the battles, to receive in their bodies the "first volley of the enemy's shot, to leave an un"doubted testimony, by that their death, to stop "the mouths of the serpentine maligners, of their "unspotted integrity, and true English loyalty."

They mention that, after the dispersion of the armada, a protestation of duty and allegiance was sent to Wisbeach castle, and tendered to be signed by the roman-catholics imprisoned there for their religion; that it was read to each individually; that they were not permitted to confer upon it, but that each was desired to write his own profession of allegiance. "This," they say, "was performed "in that ample manner, by the prisoners, that the "commissioners, singularly extolling and greatly preferring the same, before the said original, "accepted thereof," and sent it to the lords of the privy council, "to whom the said protestation being "sent, and by them perused, they received such a "full approbation, that after that time, never any "odious imputations against the fidelity of the "catholics prevailed." They dwell on the loyal conduct of the Irish catholics when the Spaniards landed at Kinsale in 1600: "The argument of our "former behaviour," they say, "and of our obe"dience under the severity of the late queen, may, "in all reason, assure your majestie, that, in matter "of our loyalty, we are like pure gold, fined and "refined in the fire of many years probation, and "therein not to be in anywise stained."-They

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »