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proceed to contrast their own loyalty, with the contrary conduct of their accusers; they conclude by assuring his majesty, that nothing could or ever should divide them from subjection and dutiful affection to him.
To this address a short “ letter of the banished “ priests, to the lords of the privy council,” is added, “ beseeching their honours will conceive of
them, as of men that have the fear and grace of “ God before their eyes, and the sincere love of their prince and their country in their hearts *.”
But soon after James ascended the throne, circumstances took place, which induced the catholics to believe that there was no reason to expect from him any mitigation of the penal laws, under which they suffered. In the February after his accession to the throne, he convened his council, and assured them, that “he never had an intention of granting “ toleration to the papists ;” that, “ if he thought “ his son would condescend to any such course, “ he would wish the kingdom translated to his daughter;" that, “ the mitigation of the pay
An answer to this address was published under the title of “ A Supplication of certain Masse Priests, falsely called « Catholicks. Directed to the king's most excellent majesty, now this time of parliament, but scattered in corners,
malcontents to mutinie. Published with a marginall glosse, and an answer to the libellers reasons, againe re"newed and augmented, and by sections applied to the several
parts of the supplicatory defamation. James iv. Petitis et “non accepitis, eo quod male petitis. Yee supplicate, and u do not obtain; because yee ask lewdlie. 2 Cor. vi. What
agreement has the temple of God with idols ? London, im“ printed for Wm. Aspley, 1604."
“ ments of the recusant catholics *, was in con“ sideration that not any one of them had lifted up “ his hand against him, at his coming in; and so " he gave them a year of probation to conform “ themselves : which, seeing it had not wrought “ that effect, he had fortified all the laws that were
against them, and made them stronger, (saving “ from blood, from which he had a natural aver
sion), and commanded that they should be put “ into execution to the uttermost."- His intentions
. in this respect were signified publicly by the lords in the star-chamber, and by the recorder to the lord mayor and city of London f. The arrears of the fines due for recusancy, were immediately collected with great rigour.
He afterwards issued a proclamation ; in which, after adverting to the disputes between the established church and the dissenters, and intimating his hopes of a speedy and satisfactory settlement of these, he announced, that “ a greater contagion “ to the national religion than could proceed from “ those light differences, was imminent, by persons, “common enemies to them both ;-namely, the
great number of priests, both seminarists and jesuits, abounding in the realm ;-partly upon "a vain confidence of some innovation in matter “ of religion, to be done by him, which he never “ intended, nor gave any man cause to expect.” He therefore commanded all manner of jesuits,
* That is,-of the forfeitures which they had incurred for recusancy:
+ Winwood, vol. ii. p. 49.
seminarists, and other priests whatsoever, to depart from the realm, and never to return, upon pain of being left to the penalty of the law, without hope of favour or remission.
His majesty then sent for the judges, and gave them a strict charge to be diligent and severe in their circuits against recusants, and to execute the laws against them, particularly those laws, which ordered their banishment or confinement : “ Yet,” writes sir Henry Neville, in a letter giving this information to his majesty's minister at Madrid, “ it “ is generally feared that there will be none of the
priests executed; without which, I doubt,” says sir Henry, “ all the other provisions will be fruit" less; yet, they are the root and foundation of all “ the mischief. It seems the rule is here forgotten, “ d'être tout bon ou tout mauvais; this via di mezzo “ is always the worst*.”
It was known to the catholics that similar counsels had been pressed on his majesty from other quarters.
But nothing alarmed them more than an expression imputed to Dr. Bancroft, who had recently
* Winwood, vol. ii. p. 77,78.--This minister was succeeded by sir Charles Cornwallis : many letters of sir Charles are inserted in Winwood's Memoirs; they show his vigilance over every movement of the Spanish party; he describes the persons, the dress, and even the hair of suspected individuals, who passed from Spain into England.-In one of his letters, he informs his majesty's ministers, that, in a particular barrel in the cellar of a wine merchant in London, whom he names, they would find an instrument for framing and imprinting the bread wafers, intended to be consecrated for the service of the altar.
been translated from the see of London to that of Canterbury. Some catholics having waited upon him, and represented to him their distressed situation, and implored his exertions to procure a repeal of the severer part of the laws, which had been passed against them, Bancroft sternly told them, that “ the measures of Elizabeth, which they
thought severe, would be found mild, indeed, in “ comparison with those, which were soon to be
passed and executed in earnest against them;" that, “ in the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, “ it had been thought advisable to pursue a middle
course in their regard, inclining rather to mild“ness than severity, not amounting to absolute
impunity, nor yet to punishment equal to their “ merits ;" that “ this conduct had been adopted “ by her majesty's ministers, because they could not “ foresee what would take place at her decease;"
" that “ if the wrath of heaven should then place a
popish king on the throne, he might retaliate on “ the protestants, that persecution, which they had “ inflicted on the catholics during the reign of “ her majesty; in like manner as they had revenged “ the sufferings of the catholics, in the reign of “ Edward the sixth, upon the protestant subjects “ of Mary : but, thanks to God!” bishop “ these apprehensions are at an end : the " king is firmly seated on his throne, and is blessed “ with issue, who are our security for the future. “ Thus the time is come, when we may act against
, “ the catholics without dissimulation or mercy,
that " is, exterminate them *."
says the arch
Bartol. Ist. lib. iv. c. 3.
The proclamation of James, was speedily followed by a statute*, which enacted, that the laws of queen Elizabeth against jesuits and seminary priests should be put into execution. Two third parts of the real estates of every offender were directed to be seized for recusancy, and all who had been, or were educated in seminaries, were rendered incapable of taking landed property by descent ‡.
At the solicitation of the English catholics, the emperor and the kings of France, Spain, and Poland, interceded with James, for some relaxation of the penal laws enacted against them. When the constable of Castile came into England to ratify the peace, which had been concluded between the monarchs, he particularly pressed this measure on James. It is said that Cecil dissuaded him from listening to these solicitations, by suggesting to him, that, "whatever favour might be shown to the "catholics, it was evidently for the interest and "honour of the British sovereign, that these should "not be considered by them to be owing to the "exertions of any foreign potentate, but to pro"ceed entirely from his majesty's spontaneous feelings." Care, therefore, was taken to make it publicly known, that the peace was signed between
* 1 Jac. I. c. 4.
+ Father Juvenci assigns, for these several enactments, a cause which certainly did not exist: "The catholics," says the good father, were in the habit of submitting their "differences to the arbitrement of priests. To see themselves "deprived of the source of gain, afflicted the lawyers, who
are supported by quarrels and dissentions, as physicians are "by sicknesses and deaths." Hist. Soc. Jesu, lib. xiii. p. 42.