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No. 7. ' Printed and Published by W., E. ANDREWS, 3, Chapter. Price 3d.
house-court, St. Paul's Churchyard, London.
EXPLANATION OF THE ENGRAVING.–The editors of the modern Book of Martyrs have furnished several modes of torture practised on the primitive Christians; but we do not recotlect to have seen any so barbarous as the one above represented, enforced by “ Protestant-ascendency,” on Margaret, the wife of a rich citizen of York, named Clitheroe, for the heinous crime of harbouring a Catholic priest. The place of execution was the tolbooth, six or seven yards from the prison, at York, on the 25th of March, 1586.--- An eye witness gives the following account of this cruel and unparalleleil scene :- After she had prayed, Fawcet (one of ihe sheriffs) commanded them to put off her apparral, when she, with the four women, requested him on her knees, thut, for the honour of womanhood, this might be dispensed with, but they would not grant it. Then she requested that the women might unparrel her, and that they would turn their faces from her during that time. The women took off her clothes and put upon her the long linen hahit. Then very quietly she laied her down upon the ground, her face covered with a handkerchief, and most part of her body with the habit. The dore was laied upon her; her hands she joined towards her face. Then the sheriff said, Naie, ye must have your hands bound. Then two
sergeants parted her hands, and bound them to two posts, in the same manner as the feet hud previously been fix'd. After this they laied weigḥt upon her, which when she first felt, she said Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, have mercye upon mce, which were the last words she was heard to speake. She was in dying about one quarter of an hower. A sharpe stone, as big as a man's fist, had been put under her back; upon her was laid to the quuntitie of seven or eight hundred weight, which hreaking her ribs, caused them to burst forth of the skinne.”—Lingard's History of England. Note FF.
CONTINUATION OF THE REVIEW. tolerant as that of “Protestant-ascendency" towards the Catholics. The latter have ever been governed by the same sentirnents as the Theban legion expressed to their emperor: they profess to be faithful sub jects to the state, in all that is not contrary to the law of God; they have always been ready to shed their blood in the cause of their country; they have always said that were they tó violate their duty to God, there could be no security that they would be faithful to the state ; they have submitted to persecution for justice sake with patience, and seen their priests executed for no other crime than that of exercising their sacred functions; they have declared that no power on earth could make them raise their hands against their sovereign; they confess themselves to be Catholics, and therefore cannot violate their conscience, by taking oaths contrary to their faith; yet, notwithstanding these professions, which we think sufficient to satisfy any reasonable man or party of men, so bloated and mercenary is the spirit of “ Protestant-ascendency,” that in the face of these professions of the Catholics, constantly repeated, and invariably confirmed by their conduct, the bigotted disciples of Protestantism are incessantly calumniating and vilifying their Catholic neighbours, and calling upon " Ascendency" to keep them proscribed and chained in slavery, while, through the medium of the press, they are endeavouring, by a series of lies and falsehoods, “to excite a hatred and abhorrence of the (supposed) cor
ruptions and crimes of Popery and its professors." Reader, these Faets are undeniable ; and we use the words of the editors of this Book of Martyrs in proof of the unchristian feelings they are trying to excite among Protestants towards their Catholic neighbours.
We now come to the account given by Fox of “ Alban, the first “ British martyr.” This account we shall give in the words of the Protestant martyrologist, before we proceed with our comments. He says,
" Alban, from whom. St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, received its name, was the first British martyr. He was originally a pagan, and tjeing of a very humane disposition, he sheltered a Christian ecclesi
astic, named Amphibalus, who was pursued on account of his reli“gion. The pious example, and edifying discourses of the refugee, " made a great impression on the mind of Alban ; he longed to become
a member of a religion which charmed him; the fugitive minister,
happy in the opportunity, took great pains to instruct him; and be“ fore his discovery, perfected Alban's conversion. Alban now took a "firm resolution to preserve the sentiments of a Christian, or to die “ the death of a martyr. The enemies of Amphibalus having intelli
gence where he was secreted, came to the house of Alban, in oriler “ to apprehend him. The noble host, desirous of protecting his guest,
changed clothes with him in order to facilitate his escape; and when the soldiers came, offered himself up as the person for whom they were seeking. Being accordingly carried before the governor,
the " deceit was immediately discovered; and Amphibalus being absent, " that officer determined to wreak his vengeance upon Alban: with this “ view he commanded the prisoner to advance to the altar, and sacri“ fice to the pagan deities. The brave Alban, however, refused to “ comply with the idolatrous injunction, and boldly professed himself 66 to be a Christian. The governor therefore ordered him to be scourg***ed, which punishment he bore with great fortitude, seeming to ac
quire new resolution from his sufferings : he was then beheaded. i T'he venerable Bede states, that, upon this occasion, the executioner
a suddenly became a convert to Christianity, and entreated permissioa 66 either to die for Alban or with him. Obtaining the latter request,
they were beheaded by a soldier, who voluntarily undertook the task. “This happened on the 23d of June, A. D. 287, at Verulam, now St. “ Alban's, in Hertfordshire where a magnificent church was erected " to his memory about the time of Constantine the great. This edifice
was destroyed in the Saxon wars, but was rebuilt by Offa, king of Mercia, and a monastery erected adjoining it, some remains of which are still visible."
In this account there are many points to notice, as they will clearly shew that this protomartyr of England was Catholic saint, and not a Protestant one. It is not a little singular besides, that the imputed offence for which Mrs. Clitheroe suffered under “ Protestant-ascendency,” a representation of whose death prefaces this number, is the same as that for which St. Alban was martyred under Pagan ascendency, namely, having " sheltered a Christian ecclesiastic." And what adds still more to the singularity of this coincidence is, that as St. Alban was the first martyr in England under Pagan ascendency, so was Mrs. Clitheroe the first martyr for the Catholic faith under the remorseless and unprincipled Elizabeth, on her commencing to persecute that religion which she swore at her coronation to protect and follow. Thus then, if Alban be worthy of the rank of a martyr, and John Fox has recorded him as such, Mrs. Clitheroe, is entitled to the same rank, since both were Catholics; both humanely protected a persecuted fugitive for conscience sake ; and both refused to violate their consciences, when called upon to do so by their judges. Alban was desired to sacrifice to Pagan deities, which he refused; and Mrs. Clitheroe, when placed at the bar, refused to plead guilty, because she knew that no sufficient proof could be brought against her; or not guilty, because she knew such a plea was equivalent to a falsehood. The only difference between the two cases is, as we have before said, that Alban was a martyr to the intolerance of Pagan ascendency; and Mrs. Clitheroe felt the cruel hand of “Protestant-ascendency." The one was a man, whose sufferings were mild and merciful, compared to the other, a woman, whose death was as barbarous as it was before unheard of.
We have noticed, page 58, that Christianity was introduced into this country by Catholic missionaries, regularly sent by pope Eleutherius, at the request of King Lucius, somewhere about the year 182. The former pagan persecutions, however, seem not to have reached this island, probably from its isolated situation, and its distance from the Roman colonies. Fox places the martyrdom of St. Alban in 287, but most authors say that he suffered in 303, when Dioclesian began his cruel and general persecution against the Christians. Alban was a native of Verulam, which, for many ages, was one of the strongest and most populous cities in Britain, till it was reduced to decay by suffering under the sieges of the Saxons. The present town of St. Alban's rose up close to its ruins. The saint travelled to Rome for improvement, and on his return to Britain he settled at Verulam, where he appears to have been one of its principal citizens, as the husband of Mrs. Clitheroe was one of the chief citizens of York. The account given by Fox as above is nearly.correct, as far as it goes, but there are
many circumstances connected with the history of this saint, which he might have noticed with much greater propriety, because better authenticated, than many of the stories he has entertained his readers with, and which we have exposed. For example, he relates, that a young lady, named Eugenia, performed many miracles while she was playing the impostor, by dressing herself up in men's clothes ; and this statement is made upon no authority whatever ; nay, in the face of improbability. But the miracles recorded by Gildas, Bede, aud others, as occurring at the martyrdom of this saint, are passed over by Fox. Indeed, his manner of relation is so confused, that no one can understand what he means. He writes, “Tbe governor therefore ordered “him (Alban) to be scourged, which punishment he bore with great
fortitude, seeming to acquire new resolution from his sufferings; he
was then beheaded. The venerable Bede states that upon this oc“casion the executioner suddenly became a convert to Christianity, and “ entreated permission either to die for Alban or with him. Obtaining “ the latter request, they were beheaded by a soldier, who voluntarily “ undertook the task.”
Now, from this account we are led to suppose that the occasion alluded to by Bede, was the execution of the martyr; and yet this could not be the case, because then the intended executioner could not have requested “either to die for Alban or with him. On referring, however, to the authority given, we find venerable Bede relating a strikingly different occasion for the sudden conversion of the executioner first appointed. Bede says, that the saint being led to the place of execution, he came to a river, which they had to cross on their way to the spot selected. Here the bridge was so occupied by the immense concourse of people crowding from curiosity to see the saint suffer, that it was found impracticable to pass it that evening.
6 St. Alban " therefore," observes the venerable historian, “whose mind was filled “ with an anxious desire to arrive quickly at his martyrdom, approached
to the stream, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, addressed his prayer “ to the Almighty, when, behold, he saw the water recede, and leave " the bed of the river dry for them to pass over. The executioner, “ who was to have beheaded him, amongst the rest, hastened to meet “ him at the place of execution, and, being moved, by divire inspiration, “ threw down the sword whieh he carried, desiring that he might “ rather suffer death with or for the martyr, than be constrained to “ take away the life of so holy a man." This extraordinary occurrence, and not the beheading of the martyr, was the occasion then of the sudden conversion of the executioner. And why was not this fact stated by Fox, in preference to the pretended miracles wrought by a female in disguise ? Bede mentions also two other - miracles that occurred at the execution of St. Alban. After crossing the river, they had to ascend a hill, which was the spot fixed upon to execute the sentence. “ When St. Alban,” relates Bede,“ had reached the summit of “this hill, he prayed to God to give him water; and immediately, an “ ever-flowing spring rose at his feet, the course. being confined; so
that every one might perceive that the river had been before obedi“ ent to the martyr. For it could not be supposed (adds the venera“ ble writer) that he could ask for water at the top of the hill, who
"had not left it in the river below, unless he had been convinced that it was
expedient for the GLORY OF GOD that he should do so.” Bede further states, that the real executioner miraculously lost his eyes at the moment he severed the saint's head from his body.
There are many individuals who deride and disbelieve these relations of venerable Bede, though, as we have before stated, they are authenticated by other writers of unimpeachable credit. And yet many of these would-be-thought acute sceptics do not hesitate to believe facts not so well substantiated, and other relations much more improbable. Amongst others, Hume has laboured hard to discredit the miraculous powers of the true church; forgetting that the very same arguments which he uses against the existence of miracles may likewise be adduced to disprove every tittle that he has written in his History of England. How much more conformable to common sense is the conduct of Mr. Collier in his Ecclesiastical History. This learned Protestant author, speaking of the miracles above related, says, “ As for St.
Alban's miracles, being attested by authors of such credit, I do not see why they should be questioned. That miracles were wrought in “the church at that time of day, is clear from the writings of the an
cients. To imagine that God should exert his omnipotence, and appear supernaturally for his servants, in no age since the apostles, is
an unreasonable fancy. For since the world was not all converted by " the apostles, why should we not believe that God should honour his
servants with the most undisputed credentials. Why then should St. “Alban's miracles be disbelieved, the occasion being great enough for “ so extraordinary an interposition."
Before we take leave of this martyr, we must notice another admisşion made by John Fox. He says, the saint's martyrdom took place at Verulam, now St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, where a magnificent church was erected to his memory about the time of Constantine the
great. This edifice was destroyed in the Saxon wars, but was re“ built by Offa, king of Mercia, and a MONASTERY erected adjoin
ing to it, some remains of which (he says) are still visible.” He should have added, a sad memorial of the devastating spirit that directed the pretended evangelical reformers of religion in the sixteenth century. However, let it not be forgotten that Fox here allows that the memories of the saints and martyrs were honoured by the primitive Christians in Constantine's time, as they are now by the Catholics, and the Catholics only, if we except the Greek church. It is also admitted by him that the Saxon kings, who were the first to receive the Christian faith, on the second conversion of the island by St. Augustin, erected monasteries as well as churches to promote the interests of religion ; whereas the reformers of the sixteenth century demolished and destroyed them to put the revenues into their own pockets. Consequently these Christian martyrs and kings, the one suffering for conscience sake, and the other honouring the memories of those who thus suffered, could not have been Protestants, but must have been Catho. lics; therefore if they were orthodox, and Fox says they were, the Catholics of this day must be orthodox too; and then what can we think of the modern disciples of Fox, whose professed purport is to excite a "hatred and abhorrence of the (supposed) corruptions and