Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ demned as wicked by catholic writers there, and “ of other countries also : besides, it cannot be " thought they were murthered for being protes“ tants, since 'twas their powerful rebellion (let “their faith have been what it would) that drew " them into that ill machinated destruction.

May it not be as well said in the next catholic king's reign, that the duke of Guise and cardinal “ heads of the league, were killed for their reli،،

gion also ? Now nobody is ignorant, but 'twas “ their factious authority which made that jealous

prince design their deaths, though by unwar“ rantable means.

If it were for doctrine that Hugonots suffered “ in France, this haughty monarch would soon “ destroy them now, having neither force nor town “ to resist his might and puissance. They yet “ live free enough, being even members of par“ liament, and may convert the king's brother too, “ if he think fit to be so. Thus

you see how well protestants may live in a popish country, under

a popish king: nor was Charlemain more catho“ lic than this; for though he contends something “ with the pope, 'tis not of faith, but about Gallican

privileges, which perchance he may very lawfully

“ do.

“ Judge, then, worthy patriots, who are the best

used, and consider our hardship here in England, “ where it is not only a fine for hearing mass, but “death to the master for having a priest in his “ house; and so far we are from preferment, that by “ law we cannot come within ten miles of London;

66

' "all which we know your great mercy will never

permit you to exact. "It hath often been urged, that our misde

meanors in queen Elizabeth's days, and king " James's time, were the cause of our punishment.

“ We earnestly wish that the party had more patience under that princess. But pray consider “ (though we excuse not their faults) whether it

was not a question harder than that of York and “ Lancaster, the cause of a war of such length, and "“ death of so many princes,-who had most right,

queen Elizabeth or Mary Stuart; for since the “ whole kingdom had crowned and sworn allegi"ance to queen Mary, they had owned her legi"timate daughter to Henry the eighth ; and there“fore it was thought necessarily to follow by

many, that if Mary was the true child, Elizabeth “ was the natural, which must then needs give way to the thrice noble queen of Scots.

“ 'Twas for the royal house of Scotland that " they suffered in those days; and 'tis for the same “ illustrious family we are ready to hazard all on " any occasion.

“ Nor can the consequence of the former pro“ cedure be but ill, if a Henry the eighth, (whom “sir W. Raleigh, and my lord Cherbury, two “ famous protestants, have so homely characterized) “should, after twenty years cohabitation, turn away “ his wife, and this out of scruple of conscience * (as he said); when as history declares, that he " never spared woman in his lust, nor man in his

“ fury.

“ Now for the fifth of November; with hands “ lifted up to heaven we abominate and detest.

“ And from the bottom of our hearts say, that may they fall into irrecoverable perdition, who

propagate that faith by the blood of kings, which “ is to be planted in truth and meekness only.

“ Bút let it not displease you, men, brethren, “ and fathers, if we ask whether Ulysses * be no “ better known? or who have forgot the plots “ Cromwell framed in his closet; not only to de“stroy many faithful cavaliers, but also to put a “ lustre upon his intelligence, as if nothing could " be done without his knowledge. Even so did “ the then great minister, who drew some few desperadoes into this conjuration, and then “ discovered it by a miracle.

“ This will easily appear, viz. how little the ca“tholic party understood the design, seeing there

was not a score of guilty found, though all ima

ginable industry was used by the commons, lords, “and privy council too.

“ But suppose, my lords and gentlemen, (which

never can be granted), that all the papists of " that age were consenting, will you be so severe, “then, to still punish the children for the father's “ faults?

“ Nay such children that so unanimously joined “ with you in that glorious quarrel, when you and

we underwent such sufferings, that needs we “must have all sunk, had not our mutual love “ assisted.

* Cecil, the earl of Salisbury, is here alluded to.

" What have we done that we should now deserve your anger? Has the indiscretion of some " few incensed you? 'Tis true, that is the thing “ objected.

“Do not you know an enemy may easily mistake " a mass-bell for that which calls to dinner?

“ Ora sequestrator be glad to be affronted, being “ constable? when 'twas the hatred to his person, “ and not present office, which perchance egged a

a rash man to folly.

“We dare with submission say, let a public in“ vitation be put up against any party whatsoever;

nay, against the reverend bishops themselves, and “some malicious informer or other will allege that, “ which may be far better to conceal.

“ Yet all mankind, by a manifesto on the house “ door, are encouraged to accuse us; nor are they

upon oath, though your enemies and ours take “ all for granted and true.

“ It cannot be imagined, where there are so many “ men of heat and youth (overjoyed with the happy “ restoration of their prince), and remembering the “ insolencies of their grandees, that they should “ all at all times prudently carry

themselves;

for " this would be to be more than men. And truly “ we esteem it as a particular blessing, that God “ hath not suffered many, through vanity or frailty, “ to fall into greater faults, than are yet, as we “ understand, laid to our charge.

“ Can we choose but be dismayed (when all " things fail) that extravagant crimes are fathered “It is wemust be the authors (some say) of firing “ the city, even we that have lost so vastly by it;

upon

us?

yet in this, our ingenuity is great, since we think “ it no plot, though our enemy, an Hugonot pro“ testant, acknowledged the fact, and was justly “ executed for his vain confession. Again, if a “ merchant of the church of England buy knives “ for the business of his trade, this also is a papist “contrivance to destroy the well affected.

“ We must a little complain, finding it, by expe“ rience, that by reason you discountenance us, “ the people rage: and again, because they rage, we are the more forsaken by you.

“ Assured we are, that our conversation is affa“ble, and our houses so many hospitable receipts " to our neighbours. Our acquaintance, therefore,

we fear at no time; but it is the stranger we “ dread: that (taking all on hearsay), zealously "wounds, and then examines the business when it " is too late, or is perchance confirmed by another, " that knows no more of us than he himself.

“ 'Tis to you we must make our applications; beseeching you (as subjects tender of our king) “ to intercede for us in the execution, and weigh “ the dilemma, which doubtless he is in, either to “ deny so good a parliament their requests, or else “ run counter to his royal inclinations, when he punishes the weak and harmless.

Why may we not, noble countrymen, hope for “ favour from you, as well as French protestants “ find from theirs ? A greater duty than ours none “could express, we are sure; or why should the

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »