Page images

“ witnes the act of queene Mary and her catho

lique subjects, cancelling the forged will of her

father, extreamly prejudiciall to your right to “ this crowne, disproving it in parliament, and

deposing the usurping queene Jane, sett up by protestants to the disinheriting of queene Mary and his * eldest sister's issue, in whose

right the crowne descended to your ancestors “ and you, by the law of God, nature, and nations. “ We may add to this motive, that Hales his dis

loyal invective against your majestie's title in “the beginning of queene Elizabeth's reigne was

fully answered and confuted by sir Anthony “ Browne, one of the justices of the Common Pleas, “ and Mr. Edmund Plowden, two famous catholique lawyers, and gentlemen of good qualitie. “ A sixth and last motive,-is, from our constant fidelitie, obedience, and affection towards

your “ father of blessed memorie in all his late troubles,

sufferings, and afflictions, as also to your own royall

person, by zealously contributing to your mira“ culous preservations and deliveries out of the “ hands of bloody and rebell enemies. What have “ we not beene readie to doe and suffer to the utter“ most of our abilities for preserving your majestie's

person, rights, and dignities?—Whose life or “ fortune hath been spared ?-What one knowne

catholique of note in your three nations hath ever “ borne armes against you ?-Which of them hath “ ever betrayed the trust reposed in them? Wee “ have beene ever constant to your just claim to the

* i.e. The issue of the eldest sister of Henry VIII.

[blocks in formation]

“ succession of this crowne; not ebbing or flowing “ in our affections, (like some others), according to " the vicissitudes of your good or evil fortune, but “alwayes resolute to live and dye with your majesty: “nor did your father's or your majestie's declared “ zeale to the protestant religion, any way diminish “ the loyaltie of our hearts or hinder the perform“ance of our duties : than which what greater or “ more convincing testimonies of our fidelitie and allegiance can be given to you?

“ These things being so,-most royall soveraigne, “ we cannot doubt but your majestie will, in your

princely wisdome, clemency, and justice, allow

us to be now restored to that condition, which “ nature intended us, and is confirmed on us, as “ free borne Englishmen, by the great chartres of

your royall ancestors, of which the violent passion “ of one prince, the apprehended title of another “ to the crowne, and the wicked attempt of a few “ seduced

persons, have so unluckily and so long “ deprived us. Permit us, therefore, most gratious “soveraigne, to exercise securely that religion, in “ which your pious and most famous ancestors have “ so long flourished. your petitioners shall


" And


LXV. 2.

Proceedings in Parliament upon the Catholic Addresses.

In consequence of these addresses, a committee of the house was appointed, to examine and report all the penal statutes, which reached to the taking away of the life of any catholic for his religion.The committee met several times, but finally discontinued their sittings, without making a report. The writer has spared no pains to procure a full and accurate account of them, but without effect: The best information respecting them, which he has been able to procure, is given by lord Clarendon, in his Historical Memoirs of his own Life:-we shall transcribe the passage at length :-it is both interesting and ill-natured.

“ Because we have mentioned the gracious purposes the king had to his roman-catholic subjects, « of which afterwards much use was made to his “ dis-service, to which the vanity and presumption " of many of that profession contributed very

much; it may not be unseasonable in this place “ to mention the ground of that his majesty's “ goodness, and the reasons, why that purpose of “ him was not prosecuted to the purpose it was “ intended, after so fair a rise towards it by the

appointment of that committee in the house of " peers, which is remembered above.

“ It is not to be wondered at, that the king, at “ the age he was of when the troubles began in

England, and when he came out of England, “ knew very little of the laws which had been long “ since made, and were still in force, against ro

man-catholics, and less of the grounds and mo" tives which had introduced those laws. And “ from the time that he was first beyond the seas; “ he could not be without hearing very much “ spoken against the protestant religion, and more

[ocr errors]

“ for extolling and magnifying the religion of the “ church of Rome; neither of which discourses “made any impression upon him. And after the “ defeat at Worcester, and his escape from thence “ into France, the queen his mother, -(who had “ very punctually complied with the king her “ husband's injunctions, in not suffering anybody “ to endeavour to pervert the prince her son in his

religion, and when he came afterwards into “ France after he was king, continued the same

reservation), -- used much more sharpness in her “ discourse against the protestants, than she had “ been accustomed to. The liberty that his ma

jesty formerly had in the Louvre, to have a place “ set aside for the exercise of his religion, was “ taken away: and continual discourses were “ made by the queen in his presence, that he had “ now no hope ever to be restored to his domi

nions, but by the help of the catholics; and “ therefore that he must apply himself to them in “such a way, as might induce them to help him.

“ About this time there was a short collection “and abridgment made of all the penal laws, “ which had been made, and which were still in “ force in England, against the roman-catholics;

that all priests for saying mass were to be put to death;' the great penalties which they were to “ undergo, who entertained or harboured a priest “ in their house, or were present at mass, and “the like; with all other envious clauses, which “ were in any acts of parliament that had been “ enacted upon several treasons and conspiracies of

" the

" the roman-catholics, in the reigns of queen Eliza“ beth and king James. And this collection they “caused to be translated into French and into

Latin, aud scattered it abroad in all places ; “ after they had caused copies of it to be presented “ to the queen mother of France, and to the “ cardinal : so that the king came into no place " where those papers were not showed to him, and “where he was not seriously asked, whether it “ was a true collection of the laws of England,' and “whether it was possible that any

christian king“ dom could exercise so much tyranny against the "catholic religion.' The king, who had never “ heard of these particulars, did really believe that

paper was forged, and answered, he did not “ believe that there were such laws:' and when “ he came to his lodgings, he gave the chancellor “the paper, and bade him read it, and tell him “ whether such laws were in force in England. “ He had heard before of the scattering of those papers,

and knew well who had made the collec“tion; who had been a lawyer, and was a protes

tant, but had too good an opinion of the roman" catholics, and desired too much to be grateful to " them.

" The chancellor found an opportunity the next day to enlarge upon the paper to his majesty, and “ informed him of the reasons in which, and the “ occasions and provocations uponwhich, those laws " had been made; of the frequent treasons and

conspiracies which had been entered into by some " roman-catholics, always with the privity and ap

« PreviousContinue »