AN HVMBLE SVPPLICATION TO HER MA­IESTIE.

Printed, Anno Do. 1595.

AN HVM­BLE SVPPLICA­TION TO HER MAIESTIE.

MOST MIGHTIE and most merci­full, most feared, and best beloued Princes, they are at the bottome of a help­lesse miserie, whome both a condemned e­state maketh common obiects of abuse, and an vnpittied oppression barreth from dis­couering their griefes to those, that onelie are able to afford them remedy. Euery one trampleth vpon theyr ruine, whom a Prin­ces disgrace hath once ouerthrowne. Soue­raigne fauours being the best foundations of Subiects fortunes, and theyr dislikes the steepest downe-falles to all vnhappinesse. Yet a Prince supplying the roome, and re­sembling the person of Almightie GOD, should be so indifferent an arbitrator in all causes, that neyther any greatnesse should [Page 2] beare downe Iustice, nor any meanes be excluded from mercie; and therefore an humble confidence in your Maiestes goodnesse, (perfect in all Princely duties, & the only shot anker of our iust hopes) induced vs to lay open our manifold extremities, which heretofore (as it seemeth) hath bin scarcelie heard, lesse beleeued, and nothing regarded. And though our condition be so desolate, that wee can neyther be freed from outward miserie, but by becomming inwardly more miserable, nor complaine of our troubles, but our very complaints are punished: yet an infamed life, being to free mindes more irkesome then an innocent death, we had rather put our vttermost ha­zards to your highnes clemencie, thē seeme with our silence to giue credit to our ob­liques: to which if wee doe not, it may be i­magined we cannot answere.

There hath beene of late published to our vndeserued reproch, so straunge a pro­clamation, that it hath made your most af­fied Subiects doubtfull vvhat to beleeue: sith they see so apparent and vncurable truthes, countenanced with so Reuerende authoritie, & warranted with the most Sa­cred sight of theyr most honored Queene: [Page 3] the due respect that euery one carrieth to your gratious person, acquiteth you in their knowledge, frō any meaning to haue false­hood masked vnder the veile of your Ma­iestie: yet when they see your Soueraigne stile so abased, to the authorizing of ficti­ons, that the Magistrates of the vvhole realme, most generally sooth thinges so di­rectly disproued by common scence, and contrarie to their own, and all mens know­ledge, it cannot be but a torment to theyr Christian mindes: yea, and it must make them of force iustlie to scorne that anie Subiect should dare in so high a degree, to blemmish both his Princes, and her officers credits, as to draw them to auerre his plaine and inexcusable lesings: for what can they thinke, but this to be either a racking of publike authoritie to priuate pusposes, who being yet ripe to reueale their owne dan­gerous grounds, are forced to borrow these deluding shadowes, or an open condemna­tion of your Maiesties actions, as though they bare themselues vppon so vniust and lawles motiues as could not able them for righteous, but by begging releefe of these counterfet illusions.

Wee verily presume that none of your [Page 4] Maiesties Honorable Councell, would ey­ther shew so little accquaintance with the Princes stile, as to deliuer in your name a discourse so full farced with contumelious tearmes, as better suted a declamorous tongue, then your highnes penne, or be so lightly affected to the regard of your Ho­nor, as to defile it with the touch of so ma­ny false assertions: yet all men iustly mar­ueile that any Inditor durst aduenture to disgorge their priuate ill will, rather then to obserue decencie in so publike a thing: yea they lament their own case, when these abuses make vncertaine what to credit in serious points, importing their Countrie, & their owne safeties, when they see in this (which seemeth to be but a Prologue to future Tragedies) the strongest foundati­on to humane beleefe, applyed in all mens mindes to support meere improbabilites. And though the iniurie offered to your Maiestie, and meerely concerning your Realme, might in equitie challenge al mens pennes to warne you of so perilous courses: yet sith Priestes and Catholikes, are the markes chieflie shot at, wee aske humblie leaue of your Maiestie and Councell, to shew how chollericke the humor was to­wardes [Page 5] vs, that cared not though the arrow hit your Highnes Honour in the way, so the head therof might enter into our harts. It is an easie thing to be a true Prophet, in foreseeing how this necessarie clearing will be aggrauated to your Maiestie with hei­nous words, sith those that would dislodge vs out of all good opinions, will doubtlesse endeuour to fulfil any such Prophecie: but now we humble our Petitions to your care of innocencie, that it may arme your eares against such partiall appeachers, and incline you to measure your censure with equitie.

To make therefore our entrie vvith the vnfauorable tearmes, wherein we are often and generally called vnnaturall Subiectes, wee desire to haue it decided by your Ma­iesties owne arbitrement, whether we haue iustly deserued to weare so base a liuerie: if wee liue at home as Catholikes professing our name, and refusing to professe a contra­rie Religion, we can neyther keepe our pla­ces in the Innes of Court, but wee are im­prisoned for Recusancie, impouerished, troubled, & defamed. And yet if we leaue all and seeke free vse of our conscience, de­part the Realme taking such helpes as the Charity of other countries affordeth vs, we [Page 6] are strait rekoned for vnnaturall Subiects.

It is rather an vnnaturall thing to diso­bey the author of nature for any creature, in forsaking the faith by which wee hope only to be saued, and yet we must doe this to the wilfull murdering of our soules: or if we refuse it, be we at home or abroad, by these hard censures we are proclaimed vn­natural. All bonds both of nature & grace inuite vs to loue God, and our Countrie more then our liues, and our neighbours as our selues: which if we obserue in the high­est degree, we hope what other title soeuer we deserue, we shall at the least be deemed not to swarue from the rules of Natiue curtesie: we are in so mightie & warranta­ble proofes assured by all Antiquitie, that our Catholike Faith is the onely truth, (to which all that haue bin, or shall be saued, must owe their fidelitie) that we thinke it a worthy purchase, for the perseuerance in the same to forfet our best fortunes, & en­gage our liues to the great cruelties, thē by reuolting from it, to enter league with er­ror, & to make our soules the price of in­fernal paine, if thē we esteeme it at a higher rate then our liues, beleeuing that out of it, neyther God can be truelie serued, nor any [Page 7] soule saued: so if wee seeke with our dee­pest perrills to plant it in our Realme, and to winne soules from misbeleefe vnto it, we thinke that we owe a most sincere, and naturall loue to our Countrie: for euen by Christs owne testimonie, no mans Charitie reacheth to any higher point, then to yeeld his life for the benefit of his friend. And if others that so deepely touch vs for vnnatu­ral creatures, would with as much diligence haue searched out the truth by an indiffe­rent triall, betweene the learned on both sides, as they haue with violence martyred, and oppressed vs, they vvould happilie thinke themselues more vnnaturall, for ha­uing misledde infinite soules into endlesse perdition, then vs that with the sweat of our dearest blood, seeke to gleane a few scat­tered eares, the sillie reliques of their infor­tunate haruest. And if our due care of our Countrie be such, that to reare the least fal­len soule amongst your Maiesties Subiects from a fatall lapse, we are contented to pay our liues for the ransome, how much better should wee thinke them bestowed, if so high a penny-worth as your GRACIOVS SELFE, or the whole Realme might be the gaynes of our dearest purchase.

[Page 8]But though they that hunt this fault in vs, might best be their owne pray (faith being the strongest of true and naturall fidelitie: yet must we be accounted vnnaturall, be­ing ballanced in their affections, that draw all causes of compassion to motiues of cru­eltie, and make theyr condemning reports, the contraries of our dutiful meanings with the like spirit, still breathing more ill will, then truth: He tearmeth the Right Hono­rable the Lord Cardinall Archbishop Al­len, and Father Parsons (both learned & re­uerent men) two seditious heads, looking happily through such eyes, as iudge all men by theyr owne colours, & what cause haue they giuen to this slaunderer, vnlesse it be coūted sedition to gather the ruins of Gods afflicted Church, and to haue prouided Sanctuaries, for persecuted & succourlesse soules: which forced at home, either to liue with a goared conscience, or to lie open to continuall vexations, rather choose to leaue theyr countrie then their Catholike Religion. It was no sedition for many in Queene Maries time, to be harboured in Geneua, maintained thē by those that now enuie against vs. It is no sedition to admit such multitudes of straungers, as for theyr [Page 9] faith swarme into England, out of all coun­tries. It is thought Charity to aid the Stats of Flaunders in the behalfe of Religion. It is extolled in your Maiestie as an Honora­ble fauour to protect the Portingall, and S. Horatio Palanisine: but if wee (whose case at home) in respect of our faith is more mise­rable then any Protestantes in any other Countries, haue chosen two venerable men to procure vs some refuge, from our dome­sticall scourges, where wee may follow our studies, and exercise Pietie, strait your Ma­iestie (though induced to practise the same curtesie to others) is informed against them as seditious heades. So true it is, the same thing is not it selfe in diuers persons, & yet as God almightie and the world is our wit­nesse, nothing in those Seminaries, is either intended, or practised, but the releefe and good education of such forsaken men, as from the storme of our English shoare, flie thether for a calme roade, that perfited in the course of learning & vertue, they may returne to offer theyr blood for the reco­uerie of soules: As for the basenes of theyr birthes, which among other like pointes▪ is interlaced vvith as impertinent, as scorne­full a parenthesis, as a fitter noate for the [Page 10] penners, than for your maiesties obseruatiō.

I meane not to dwel long vpon it, for the thing neither importeth any offence to God, not crime against your Maiesty, nor greatly abaseth them, whom excellent ver­tue, the onely true measure of worthinesse hath ennobled. Yet this without disparage­ment to any may truely be auoided, that the Cardinalls grace, is of as good & ancient a house, & euery way as worshipfully allied as some of the highest Counselours were in their meaner fortunes, till your Maiesties fauors, and their rare abilities, made them steppes to clime into their present honours. And whether he might of likelihood haue carried as high a sail if the time had equally secunded him with fauorable gales, I leaue to their iudgementes who are priuy to his present estate, greater than England can af­ford to any cleargy man. For your Maiesty being as able to know, & we lesse willing to vse the excellēcy of your subiects, thā other Princes, it may be iustly presumed, that he might as well haue entred into credite at home, if his Faith had not drawen his foote from the first step, as with strangers in a for­raine country, wher nether familiarity with the Peers, nor acquaintāce with the Prince but the only fame of his worthines, sent an admiration & loue of him into thir harts, & whosoeuer considereth the manner of his [Page 11] aduancement, being created Cardinal alone, out of the ordinary times, (a prerogatiue seldom yeelded but to special persons, who marketh his wisdome to haue bin in such reuerence, that in Pope Greg. the 14. his sicke­nes, he was thought fitest among the Cardi­nals, to be vizgerent in spiritual causes: who is ignorāt of the smal cause of our country, by laws, libels, & other meanes, seeeking to vndermine the Popes Sea (hath giuen him to reward her subiects, with so high promoti­ons: who finally weyeth the aduentures of our Councel, to hinder his preferment, and darken his vertues with hard information, shal easly beleeue the mā to be of rare per­fectiōs, that hauing no other wings to beare his credite, but learning and vertue, could reach to so high points of fauour, notwith­stāding so mighty lets. As for Father Parsons he hauing placed the vttermost of his ambition, in cōtempt of honor, & the highest of his wealth in voluntary pouerty: will easlie acknowledge his birth to haue bin of more honest thē great parents: yet were they not so meane, but that they were able to afford him such education, as might haue made his good parts a way to no small prefermēt. And albeit his credit be great with the K. of Spaine, yet did hee neuer Vsurpe the Title of the KINGES CONFESSOVR, as [Page 12] as this inditor would perswade your Maie­stie, though some of the simple sort of our English souldiers, in the Gallies, vpon error and ignorance, muttered some such spee­ches amongst them selues. As for other Priestes how many of them are Knights & Esquires sonnes, as otherwise both to wor­shipfull and noble houses alleyed, & heires to faire reuenewes, let their owne friendes and Parents dispersed through the whole Realme beare witnesse. This onely vvee may say in answere of our obiected base­nes, that in the small number of the Ca­tholike Priestes of our Nation, (vvhich reacheth not to the tenth of the Protestant Ministrie) there are very neare as many, yea happily more Gentlemen, then in all the other Cleargie of the whole Realme.

Now whereas we are most vncourteous­lie called a multitude of disolute young­men, wee desire no other euidence to dis­proue this accusation, then an indifferent censure: For first before our departure out of the Realme, we must resolue to abandon our Countrie friendes, and all such com­forts, as naturally all men seeke and finde in theyr natiue Countrie. Wee must relin­quish all possibilities of fauour, riches, and [Page 13] credit. We must limite our mindes to the restrained and seuere course of the SOCI­ETY OF IESVS, or the Seminaries, where the place is in exile, the rules strickt, the go­uernement austere, our willes broken, the least fault chastised, & a most absolute ver­tue exacted. And who can imagine those to be so desolute humors, who this deter­mine to abridge themselues of all actions, of disolutenes, and to imprison their affec­tions within the presinct of a reguler and straight order, and lest happily it may be imagined that wee say more then in proofe we finde, it is knowne to thousandes, and daylie seene, and witnessed by trauellers, that we are there tide to so prezise tearmes in diet, apparell, exercise, & all other things, that wee are much more shortned of our scope, then in any Colledge of our English Vniuersities. I omit the prayer, fasting, haire-cloth, and other chastisements of the body, vvhich being voluntary, yet vsuall; are to any if not more then partiall Iudges, inuincible groundes against this slaunder, of being dissolute: but let our intertainmēt at our returne, be a finall ouerthrow of this false imposition: for who can thinke them dissolute, that being by the Lawes, by ex­amples [Page 14] by commō experience taught, with what bloody conflictes they are heere to encounter, & howe many feares, daingers, and agonies, both in life; and death, they vndoubtedly expect, (are notwithstanding contented) for reclaiming of soules vnto Gods folde, willing to yeelde their bodies to the hasard of al those miseries foreseene, and foreknowne, and aduisedly chosen be­fore all worldly contentments.

But it may be that some, vnaquainted with our states, will measure our mindes, by our apparell, (beeing as we confesse) more agreeable oftentimes, to the com­mon fashion, than to the graue attire that seemeth our calling, neither is our habit, or behauiour so ruffian-like, or disordered, (as this inditor, euer forgetting trueth, when he remembreth vs, would willingly haue it imagined) but in this we must yeeld our reason, (sith we cannot reforme the in­conuenience) till your Maiesty thinke it good to licence vs without daunger, to ex­ercise our functions, much-more mighty is the saluation of our soules, than the exter­nall decency of our apparell, which though it be necessary in time and place, yet is it not so essentiall a point, as for the care [Page 15] thereof, to neglect the charge of Gods flocke, & the safetie of our owne liues: Da­uid vpon iust cause fained him mad, but his madnes was an effect of perfect wisedome, and reason the guide of his seeming follie. Iudith laying aside her hairecloth, and wid­dowes weed, disguised her selfe in such or­naments, as were fitter to allure laciuious eies, thē to beare witnes of her sober mind. And if God added grace & beautie to her youthful dresses, to further her iust reuenge vpō her enimies, much more may we hope he will allow a lesse disguisage in vs, to re­uiue the soules of our dearest friends. It is no sure argument of inward beautie, to be vaine in shew, seeing a modest and an hum­ble minde, may be shadowed vnder the glorious & courtly robes of a vertuous He­ster. And if angels for the benefit of bodyes haue suted their shapes, to the requestes of their Ministers: now appearing like souldi­ers, as to Iosua: now like trauailers, as to To­bie: now like gratious youths, as to Lot: yea if Christ as the occasion required, seemed to the two Disciples a Pilgrime, & to Saint Marie Magdalene a Gardiner, why may not we for the winning of soules, (which as God is our witnes is the onely cause of our [Page 16] comming) frame our behauiour and attyre, to the necessity of our daies, as we read the auncient bishops did, in the persecution of the Vandalls, this therfore cānot be estemed a iust presumption of a dissolute minde in vs, whom not any will to such finenesse, but a desire of safety enforceth vs to weare the liueries of the time.

Nowe whereas the heauy aduersaries of our good names, hath abused your Maie­sties eares with a truethlesse surmise, that we shoulde auoide the Realme for lacke of liuing, we humbly resigne his folly, to the correction of your Highnesse wisedome, for to whom can it seeme probable, that we flie for lacke of liuing, of whom many haue vowed all, willingly acepted a voluntary pouerty, leauing that we had, without ei­ther hope, or care of getting more, our wealth beeing nowe in well-doing, and our passions, our best possessions, is it like that for wante of liuing any woulde enter into a course, wherin without possibility of pre­ferment they were in apparant hazarde to loose their liues: are anie sledde for such pouerty, that at the least they coulde not haue liued in seruice, with more ease and lesse labour, than they tie themselues vn­to, [Page 17] in a most streight life, where they doe more by a willing obedience than they should haue beene put vnto in a hired sub­iection, or are they of such qualitie, and of so manie pleasing partes, that they can in these seuere times winne men with pe­rill of their Liues, Landes, and Posteri­ties, to entertaine and comforte them, and could they not haue found without plung­ing themselues in the Sea of daungers, some more easie meanes for a competent main­tenance, then to beg it out of so manie ex­egents, and to wring it through so grieuous oppressions, and why should these feares of wantes pinch them more then infinite o­thers, whom they left behind them? They are men of as pregnant wittes, as deliuered tongues, as mature iudgements, as most of the Innes of Court, or Vniuersities where they liued: yea, they were already stepped so far into promotion, that they needed not to haue doubted, nothing lesse then lacke of liuing, diuers of them hauing bin Proc­tors of Vniuersity, Fellowes & Officers of Colledges, and likely to [...] rise [...] to [...] higher preheminencie. To [...]omitte those that hau [...]. Reuennewes, and Annuities of they owne, besides the allowance and [Page 18] kinred, vvith rich & most wealthy families. It pleaseth further this vnfriendly informer (who seemeth best pleased with displeasing vs) to deriue our departure from a consci­ence guilty, of crimes committed, being stil himselfe in the likenesse of his speeches, as voide of veritie, as full of ill will: for if Priestes at theyr arraignement, be in man­ner charged with Originall sinne, many of them hauing bin scarcely borne, at the ri­sing in the North, which is alwaies a com­mon place to declaime against them. If all the notorious faults, that may any way cō ­cerne Catholikes, are made ordinarie in­ditements, to condemne those that neuer heard of them, till they come to the barre: how much would any fault of their own be obiected, yea and multiplied in the vrging, if any such could haue bin found: but yet none was euer touched for any thing com­mitted before his departure, as all testimo­nies may depose, and the verie recordes te­stifie in our behalfe, and to preuent any inst groundes of this oblique, the superiours (not ignorant how many eyes are busied in watching for the least aduantage against vs) make diligent scrutenie, for the perfect notice of theyr vertue, whome they admit [Page 19] to Priesthood, who being for the most part among many of theyr owne houses, or stan­ding in the Vniuersities, could not cloake any great enormitie from notice: yea the very age of the greater part (they going e­uer very young) is a warrant to quite them from any such offence, as should force them to flie their Countrie. And as for the rest, which are of riper yeares, they haue bin so notified for theyr morrall life, that they haue made common report theyr harbin­ger, to take vp their due roomes, in euerie mans good opinion. In sume this being an approued accusation, deliuered by one that in the same discourse, hath empanalled an enquest of vntruths, to finde out him in this also guilty of falsehood, it needeth no other answere, but a wise censure of the Reader: But now most mercifull Princesse licence our too much wronged innocencie, to re­late the sharpest doubt of this vnkinde ad­uersarie, ioyned vvith those three odious tearmes of fugitiues, rebels, and traytours, & dipped as deep in the bitternes of gaule, as hee would haue it enter into our dearest blood: And first wee craue most humblie but the right of Christians beleefe of our oath, which is the only Certificat to make [Page 20] our thoughtes vndoubted; vppon hope whereof we oppose our guiltlesse hartes a­gainst these tiles, as our best armour of proofe, protesting vpon our soules and sal­uation, and calling Almightie God and his Angels to witnesse, that as we hope to haue any benefit by the most precious woundes, and death of our Lord IESVS CHRIST: the whole and onely intent of our com­ming into this Realme, is no other; but to labour for the saluation of soules, and in peaceable and quiet sort, to confirme them in the ancient Catholike faith, in the which theyr forefathers liued & died, these thou­sand foure hundred yeares, out of which we vndoubtedly beleeue it is impossible that any soule should be saued.

This from the sincerest of our thoughts, before the throne of God, wee must truelie professe, intending if no other remedie may be had, to let your Maiestie seale it vvith the best blood that our faithfull, & faultles harts can afford. And if any be so hardened in a set incredulitie, as rather to condemne vs to periurie, thē to cleare vs vpon so deep an oath, we will make reason his guide into our intentions, by which if he think vs not as much perished in our wittes, as he suppo­seth [Page 21] vs to be in our fidelitie, he shall easilie see the truth of our protestation: for first, treason being an offence that carrieth with it selfe a staine of infamie, as can neuer be taken out, and maketh them that commit it dead, & vnpardonable persons. Who cā imagine any so foolish, desperate, as to in­curre so reprochfull a crime full of certaine perils hauing no other possible marke for his hope, but the vttermost of worldlie e­uils. And if any one should chaunce to be so farre distracted from his sence, and to throw himselfe into so bottomles a destruc­tion: Yet that so many, and so learned, & so graue men, as dayly suffer for their cōming in Priestes, would cast away their labours, liues and credittes, for nothing but a cru­ell and eternall reproch; our bitterest eni­mie would neuer deeme it likelie, and what other inticement shuld allure vs to be trai­tors, not any perswation that our selues can compasse so great an exploit, (there being scarce 300. Catholik priests of our nation in the whole world; a sillie armie to subdue so great a Monarchie) not any confidence in Catholik assistance, whō none is so mad to think able to doe such an enterprise, being few in nūber, dispuruied of munitō, narowly [Page 22] watched by Officers, restrained in their li­berties, impouirished in their goods, & dis­abled in all prouisions. Not the imaginati­on to be aduaunced by forraine power: for then we would rather expect the conquest, till the time and oppertunitie were ripe, for vs to enter vpon our hopes, then so vente­rously to presse vpon the swordes of our e­nimies, and hazard not only our future ex­pectations, but our present safeties, wee would rather liue abroad, though it vvere with as hard shifts, as those that now possesse honorable romes did once at Ceneua: then leopard our welfare, to so many so knowne and vneuitable harmes, which we are more likely soone to feele, then so long to eschue. And if wee were to come as rebels into the Realme, our education in Colledges should be aunswerable to the qualities, we should be trained in martiall exercises, busied in publike and ciuell affaires, hardened to the field, & made to the weapō: whereas 1000. eares and eyes are witnesses, that our stu­dies are nothing els but Philosophie & di­uinity, our teachers religious men, acquain­ted with no other knowledge but learning and vertue, all our warlike preparations, the wresting for our wils, the mortifying of our [Page 23] bodies, and a continuall warfare with Na­ture, to get the victorie ouer our selues: and for other schoolepoints of sedition, where­in this our hard friend findeth vs to be in­structed, Almighty God is our witnes, that wee neyther learne nor teach any, hauing only had in our studies, the common end that all men shot at, namely to attaine such knowledge, that might be an ornament to our functions, a help to our conuersations, & a benefit to our countrie. But if by these Schoolepoints of sedition be meant that re­ligion which there we are taught: and here wee professe this meaning aunswereth it selfe: For this cannot be any way treasona­ble to your Maiesties estate, vnles that it be esteemed offensiue, which was the faith of all your royal auncestors, these 1400 yeres, is the faith of the greatest part of Christen­dome, and for the defence whereof your Maiesties most worthy father, attained the glorious title of defender of the Faith. But vvhatsoeuer this informer meant by his schoolepoints of seditiō, we hope that your Highnes censure, wil free vs from the thing it selfe, sith neyther likelihood to effectu­ate any hope at home, nor any likenesse of our education abroad, can in your vvise­dome [Page 24] seeme to argue vs guiltie of anie rebellious intentions. Let this further be an assured proofe to the contrary, that sith we are so religiously addicted to the end of our comming, that for the atchiuing there­of, we recount our torments, triumphes, & our deathes a glorie: If this end were the ouerthrow of your Maiestie: or if your dis­pleasing had bin the point, that with so ma­ny bleeding woundes, wee haue witnessed to be so deare vnto vs, wee would with the losse of fewer liues, haue perfitted our pur­poses, and long ere this haue brought the cards to an vnfortunate shufling: for who­soeuer hath content̄ed his own life, is Mai­ster of anothers: and he that is resolute to spend his blood, will rather seeke to sell it for the intended price, then with a fruitles affection cast it away for nothing.

No no, most Gratious SOVERAIGNE, Heauen and Earth shall vvitnesse vvith vs in the dreadfull day of doome, that our breastes neuer harboured such horrible treasons, and that the end of our comming is the saluation of soules, not the murthe­ring of bodies, wee beeing rather willing to die, then to contribute the least haire of our head to the latter, and not so wil­ling [Page 25] to liue, as to shed the best blood in our bodies: for the first, giue then (O most gra­tious Queene) wise men leaue to see, that they shew themselues no lesse disloyall to your Maiestie, thē enuious to vs: that durst diuulge these Fables vnder the name of your Highnes, making their Prince the pa­tronesse of theyr fayned, and deuised false­hood.

Now with what shadow or likelie-hood, can it sincke into any sound beleefe? that we come with ample authority, to perswade your Maiesties Subiects to renounce theyr duties, and to bind them with othes & Sa­craments, to forsweare their naturall alle­gence to their Princess highnes, & to yeeld all their powers to the Spanish Princes for­ces: for to say we doe it vppon hope, to be inriched with those possessions that others now enjoy, hath but smal semblance of pro­babilities, considering how much likelier wee are to inherite your RACKES, and possesse your place of EXECVTION, then to suruiue the present incombences of spi­rituall liuinges, or to liue to see any dig­nities at the KING of SPAINE his dis­position, and sith both the daylie Martyr­domes of manie before our eyes, and [Page 26] our own euident and hourely daungers, can not but kill in vs all such aspiring fantasies, if any minde were so m [...]dd [...], as to sell his soule at so base a rate.

Let it be scanned with equitie, how little seeming of truth it carrieth, that so manie should vpon so improbable and vncertaine expectations, offer their liues to most pro­bable and certaine shipwracks. And can a­ny imagine vs to be so simple, that we can­not see how impossible it is for Catholikes to do the king any good, though they were as much bent that vvay as their accusers would haue it thought: doe we not see that they are scattered one among thousandes, and at all such accurrants so well watched, and so ill prouided: that to vvish them to stirre in the Kinges behalfe, were to traine them to their vndoing, & to expose them to a generall massacer by domesticall furie, and what better aduocate can plead for vs in this case, then your Maiesties own expe­rience, who in the last attempt of the king, found none more forward to doe all duties, and liberally to stretch theyr abilities, then Catholikes were in your highnes defence, and though they were ceassed for men and money, farre aboue their reuennewes, [Page 27] and so fleeced of theyr armour and wea­pons, that they were left vnfurnished, for their owne sauegards: yet were they so far from mutining, or touch of disloyaltie, that they willingly yeelded more, then any other of their qualitie, vvhich doubtlesse if Priests had sworne them with othes, or bound them with Sacraments, to the con­trarie they would neuer haue done: sith they venture both liues and liberties, for o­ther charitable works of farre lesse weight, then the auoyding of the damnable sinnes, of periurie and sacriledge. It is also vvell knowne euen vnto the Coyners of these vntrue surmises, that if the King should come so slenderly prouided, as to need the handfull of Catholikes helps, (who neyther haue conntenance, charge, nor authoritie in the common wealth) your Maiestie neede not greatly feare, sith it were impossible he should be strong, to whome so weake, and bootles a succour should be necessarie. And to what effect should wee then perswade Catholikes to leaue theyr obedience to your Highnes, sith it can neyther benefit vs, nor auaile them: but rather draw vpon vs, both a manifest subuersion: yea did we not rather strengthen them in their duties, [Page 28] and so confirme them in patience, that with conscience and religious feare they restrai­ned nature. It were imposible for fleshe & blood to disgest the vnmercifull vsage that they suffer by such persons, whose basenes dubleth the iniury of their abuse: for who, if it were not more than the feare of man that hath helde them, would not rather die vp­on the enimies that sought their blood, (as for men of ill mind it were no hard matter) than to liue to continuall death, & to leaue the authors of their euills behinde them, to triumph ouer their ruines, and to send after them more of their deerest friendes. What gentleman coulde indure the peremtory & insolent imperiousnes of a company of gre­dy & manerlesse mates, which stil are pray­ing vpon Catholickes, as if they were com­mon booties, & ransack them day & night, brauing them vnder their own roofes, with such surlinesse, as if euery cast-away were allowed to be vnto thē an absolute Prince. But happily because we desire to recouer the lapsed, & confirme the standing in the ancient faith of their forefathers, it may be presumed that this is a with-drawing from your Maiesties obedience. But if indiffe­rēcy may be one of the Iury, disloialty shal [Page 29] neuer be found the sequell of any article of our Religion, which more than any other, tyeth vs to a most exact submission to your Temporall authority, and to all pointes of alleageance, that either now in Catholicks Countries, or euer before in Catholickes times were acknowledged to be due to any Christian Prince: doe not nowe Catholicks gouerned by the Princip [...]les of their faith, yeelde in respecte thereof with a knowen mildnesse, their goods, liberties, landes, & liues, and doe they not with a most reso­lute patience obay a scourging, and afflict­ing hande.

Then howe much more woulde they bee willing to double their duties and in­crease their seruiceable affections to your Highnesse, if they sounde but the like cle­mencie that other subiectes enioye, and were not made (as nowe they are) com­mon steeles for euerie mercilesse and flint-harted, to strike out vpon them the sparkes of their fury.

It is a point of the Catholike faith, (defē ­ded by vs against Sectaries of these daies) like subiects are bounde in conscience vn­der paine of forfeting their right, in Hea­uen, and in incurring the guilte of eternall [Page 30] torments, to obay the iust Lawes of their Princes, which both the Protestantes and Puritanes deny, with their father and ma­ster Caluin. And therefore if we were not pressed to that, which by the generall ver­dit of allegeance, was iudged breach of the Lawe of God: we shoulde neuer giue your Maiesty the least cause of displeasure, for (excepting these points) which if vnpartial audience were allowed, we coulde proue to imploy the endlesse misery & damnation of our soules, in all other ciuill and tempo­rall respectes, we are so submitted and pli­able, as any of your Maiesties best beloued subiectes. If then your highnesse woulde vouchsafe to behold our case, with an [...] eie, and not to viewe vs in the mir­ror of a misse-informed minde, we woulde not doubte, but that your excellent wise­dome woulde finde more groundes euen in pollicy, and in the due care of your safetie, to incline your gratious fauour towards vs, stil inthralled in our present vnhappinesse. But it may be, that some more willing to rip vp olde faults, than to admit any clear­ing of them, when in their hearts they haue already condemned vs to all punishments, will heere bring in Ballards, and Babingtons, [Page 31] matters against vs, as a Golias to ouerthrowe all other proofes of our good meanings. To this first we aunswere, that it were a harde course to reproue all Prophets for one Saule, all Protestantes for one Wyat, all Priestes and Catholickes for one Ballard and Babington.

Your Maiesties sister reigned not the sixt part of your time, & yet sundrie rebellions were attempted by the Protestant faction against her, in that short space, as euerie Chronicle can witnes: whereas in this your Maiesties prosperouse raigne of 35. yeares in all England, the Catholikes neuer rose but once in open field to haue wonne the freedome of conscience, which the Prote­stants in those few yeares laboured vvith so many mutinies: for as for Parrie, hee neuer professed in like, nor action to be a Catho­like: yea, and he tooke it offenciuely vvith signification of his minde, in hoat wordes, that some vpon surmise, had so named him, and therefore howsoeuer hee might by as­piring thoughts, or mercinarie mutinies, be by any forraine enimie vsed to euill practi­ses, it cannot iustly be layed against vs, whō neyther priuitie nor consent to his intenti­ons, can any way touch: and as for the acti­on of Babington, that was rather a snare to [Page 32] intrap them, then any deuise of their owne, sith it was both plotted, furthered, and fini­shed, by S. Frauncis Walsingham, & his other complices, who laied & hatched al the par­ticulers thereof, as they thought it would best fall out to the discredit of Catholiks, & cutting of the Queene of Scots: for first it is to be known to all, that Poolie being Sir F. Walsinghams man, and throughly seasoned to his Maisters tooth, was the chiefe instru­ment to contriue and prosecute the matter, to draw into the net such greene wittes, as (fearing the generall oppression, and partly angled with golden hookes) might easilie be ouer wrought by M Secr. subtile & sist­ing wit: for Poolie masking his secret inten­tions vnder the face of Religion, and abu­sing with irreligious Hypocrisie all Rites & Sacraments, to borrow the false opinion of a Catholike, still feeding the poore gentle­men with his masters baits, and he holding the line in his hand, suffered them like silly fishes to play themselues vppon the hooke, till they were throughly fastned, that then he might strike at his own pleasure, and be sure to drawe thē to a certaine destruction. And though none were so deepe in the ve­ry bottome of that conspiracy as Poolie him­selfe, [Page 33] yet was hee not so much as indited of any crime, but after a little large imprison­ment (more for pollicy thē for any punish­ment) set at liberty, & in more credit then euer he was before: for it being a set match, & he hauing so well performed his euil part (though to please Babes.) A stroke was giuē to beat him, yet doubtlesse he was largely fed in priuie pay, as so Christian pollicy did best deserue. It is also known by Phillips the deciphers letters to his party practisioner, G. Gifford, in whose chest and chamber they were taken at Parris, & by G. Giffords owne examination, that these Gentlemen were bought and sold, being drawen blindfolde, to be workers of their ouerthrow, and car­rie with silly Isaac the fire, in which they thē selues were to be sacrificed. And sure it is, that all the letters that fed them with for­raine hopes, all the deuises that wrought them into home-bred imaginations, sprung all out of the Fountaine of Sir FRAVNCIS WALSINGHAMS fine head: for GIL­BERT GIFFORD hauing some yeares be­fore beene Maister Secretaries intelligen­cer, (as the date of Phillippes Letter vnto him discouered) when the matter was once on foote in England, was made the meane [Page 34] to followe it in Fraunce among certaine of the Scottish Queenes friendes, more apt to enter, then able to go through great dis­signements, where he knowing of the let­ters, and the course how they were conuey­ed, discouered all to M. Secretarie, to whō also he brought diuers of the like tennor, written partly to the Queene, partly to Ba­bington, at his owne comming into England: wheras more thē 3. months before, the coū ­cell would seeme to know these intentions: and when by often resort to Sir Frauncis Walsinghams house, in priuate sort hee had taken of him priuie directions, to make his course the more plausible for his proceed­ings in Fraunce, he practised here with the French Embassadours Mounsieur Catanense, whom then he knew to be verie well affe­cted both to the Scottish Queene, & to the Duke of Guyes, & though he were a man of more then ordinarie discourse: yet with so forsworne an hipocrisie, and so deep per­iuries, did Gifford ouer reach him, that when the traine was discouered, some of the Gentlemen inraged with so great impietie, said that though it were a great part of the Gospel that an English man would be true, they should hardly beleeue it, for that Di­uell [Page 35] Giffordes sake, as in their passion they tearmed him: But so it was that Gilberts wit farre too good for so bad an owner, & new­ly refined by M. Secretaries forge, wonne so much credit, that he being commended and beleeued, as his desire was, he went o­uer to intreate by meanes with the Duke of Guyse, and such others as were thought fit to be taken in, as stales to countenance the matter, and to put the Gentlemen in vaine expectations, till the thred vvere spunne to the intended length. And so far was this vnfortunate wretch giuen ouer to desperate malice, that first to possesse him more of M. Secretaries good opinion, and to shew his aptnesse to be vsed in such ex­ploits, he dedicated to him, a booke of hys owne compiling, breathing such Infamies, and Atheismes, as best became the spirit of so periured and Apostata: and on the other side, to shun the suspition of being M. Se­cretaries bad instrument in this vnchristian pollicie, he was himselfe confessed, purpose­ly Graduated, and as it is thought made Priest: so impious were the meanes to wrest the poore Gentlemen from their duties, to theyr confusion. Phillips also, who was M. Secretaries right hand, held correspondent [Page 36] with Gilbert Gifford, stil keeping the ice from breaking, till they were all vpon it, whome they meant to drowne in the same destru­ction. And to draw the Queene of Scottes into the better opinion of this designemēt, vvhome experience had taught to suspect so daungerous motions. The matter vvas with continuall and secret meetinges verie seriouslie vrged with her agents in Fraunce, in whome it is feared they relyed too much affiance: but vvhether for loue to theyr Maister, they were apt to entertaine anie hope of her deliuerie, or for league vvith M. Secretary, too ready to build vpon his foundations, they induced the Queene to like of their good will, that were willing to aduenture their states and liues to doe her seruice, and as things were by these inuen­tions, ripening in Fraunce: so Poolie no lesse diligently plied the matter at home, conti­nually conuersing with Ballard, & the gen­tlemen, & laboring to draw more conies in to the hey. It is strange to marke with what cunning the graue and wiser sort of Catho­likes, were sounded a far off, not by reuea­ling any direct intention: but so nicely glā ­cing at generall pointes, with iffes & andes, that they neuer vnderstood the language, [Page 37] till effects did consture these roauing spea­ches: yet when so much of their disposition was known, by their vnwillingnes to heare, & peremtorines in cutting off the Officers of such discourses, there was no lesse care v­sed to conceale these purposes from them, then there had bin cūning to serch out how they would deeme of thē: for it was feared, their wisedome would haue found out the fraud, & vntimely haue launced an vnripe impostume. It is further knowen that the coppie of that letter which Babbington sent to the Queene of Scots, was brought ready penned by Poolie, from M. Secretary: the answere whereof, was the principal grounds of the Queenes condemnation. There was also found in Sir Frauncis Walsinghams ac­countes after his decease, a note of 7000. pounds bestowed vpon Nato & Curlie, who being the Queenes Secretaries, framed such an answere as might best serue for a bloody time, & fit his intentiō that rewarded them with so liberall a fee. This made Phillippes so bold to aduise Gifford by his Letters, that if he came in any suspition of detecting the Queene, he should lay it eyther to Nato, or Curlie, whose shoulders being bolstred with so large bagges, he thought vvould be best [Page 38] able to beare the burden away: It is also certaine that Barnard ( [...] M. Secretaries vndoubted agent) went ouer into Fraunce about this practise, there free passages be­ing warranted with all securitie: when they had beene there so long, that Barnard might looke into these proceedings, that in those Countries were actors in the matter, he re­turned againe with Ballard, and hauing a large Commission from Sir Frauncis Wal­singham, to take what manner of horses hee would, out of anie Gentlemans Parke, or Pasture, and of other vnusuall liberties, he went with Ballard into the North, there he sought with what sleights he could, to haue wonne diuers Gentlemen, making Ballards credit his countenance, and drawing the poore men vnwittingly to be the occasion of his own and others ruine. In the end ha­uing cusoned another to get a Letter of commendations to the Lord Prior of Scot­land: he sifted out of him what he could, & taking vvith him a Letter touching this matter, hee brought it vvith all the intelli­gence and successe of his malicious Pilgri­mage, to the Councell. And though hee were thus inward and conuersant with Bal­lard, carrying him to sundrie Gentlemen of [Page 39] account, to feele & tempt them about this action, and to drawe them into the desired compasse: yea though himselfe were a mo­tion to some, to enter into it, pretending that he had ouer reached M. Secretarie, in getting that Commission: yet was hee ne­uer called to the barre, but hired to stay a time in restraint, with such a recompence for his seruice, as might be well perceaued to be large, by his liberal spending, & plen­ty in prison, hee being otherwise a hungrie and needy marchant, without eyther trade or liuing to maintaine such expences: and how priuie S. Frau. was to the whole course of the Gentlemens actions, and to the cer­taine period of the time, wherein all his in­deuours would come to the full point, may be gethered by this, that being by a Priest that was to be banished sued vnto for 20. dayes respite to dispatch his busines: first repeating the number, and pausing a while with him selfe. No saith he, you shall haue but 14. for if I should grant you any more, it would be to your hinderance, as you shal heare hereafter: wherein he said true, for much about that time, was publike notice taken of Babbingtons matter, all waies vvere watched, infinite houses searched, hewes & [Page 40] cries raised, frights bruted in the peoples eares, and all mens eies filled with a smoke, as though the whole Realme had beene on fire, whereas in trueth, that was but the hissing of a fewe greene twigs, of their own building, which they might without any such vprore haue quenched with a handful of water, but that made not so much for their purpose as this buggish terible shows: and thought they were so well acquainted with all the Gentlemens hearts, that they might euery houre in the daye or night, haue drawen them in the nette like a couie of partridges. Yet forsooth, must some of them be suffred purposely to flee that they might haue the better colour to make those generall demonstrations of a needles feare. Iohn Sauage likewise when he came to the Courte, was so wel knowen to be a chicken of that feather, that two Pentioners were charged to haue an eie vnto him, and to watche so long as he stayed there, and yet was he suffered to goe vp and downe, and vsually to haunt the presence, till all irons were hotte that were laide in the fire, to feare the credite of poore Catholickes, and to giue the Queene of Scottes her deathes wounde: it was also noted, that after Bal­lard [Page 41] was inchaunted with Poolies charmes, he became a stainger to all Iesuites and o­ther Priestes, beeing limited by the poli­ticke rules of his promptor, to such compa­ny as Master Secretary knewe to be of di­uine sights, to see through so many mistes, as he by his instrumentes had alreadie cast before their eies, the Gentelmen were al­so throughlye charmed, to keepe their councells from the wiser and mature sort of Catholickes, whome there was no hope to make them parties. Of which Iohn Char­nocke at the barre saide the reason to be be­cause the older, the colder, yet the true grounde was a speciall promise of Master Secretary to keepe the threede out of their handes that woulde soone haue vnwounde it to the bottome, for what man that had but knowne the first sillable of pollicye, woulde thinke it a likelye course for them, to alter the whole state of so great a king­dome to quite contrarye Religion and go­uernmente, that neither hadde power to backe them, (as then there was none rea­die, nor helpes at home to support them) being al but priuate gentelmen, (neither of wealth, nor sufficient credit for such a mat­ter) to carry with them any great numbers, [Page 42] who would not haue pittied their indiscre­tion, that intending so great an alteration, thought it a fit way to goe pickeing here & there one, as if such plots in so many young tongues could lie hidden so long, as to giue them respite to gleane a sufficient army. And for men that pleadged their heades in so daungerous attempts, to be so credulous, as to rest their hopes vpon so fliting & faire promises of forraine helps, without the cer­tainty of such preparation of shippes & mē, as might come in due time to followe their beginnings, was a most childishe sight. And therefore for any man of experience that had looked to it, there would haue offered it selfe a iust suspition, that the plotte was rather a traine to entrappe the actors in it, than a meane to effect that intended by it. For though they had cut off some of the Councell: yea, and dismantled the realme of your sacred maiesty, (which Gods good­nesse neither woulde, nor we hope wil per­mit) yet had their purpose beene farre from any semblance of their desired issue, for then they must haue proclaimed either the Queene of Scotts, or at least by some means haue sought her deliuery, & consequentlie haue notified to the worlde that for her ri­sing [Page 43] was your Maiesties going downe. And what a tide of resistance would this notice haue done, none can be so seely but he must needs see. For first by the oath of associatiō, al the Nobility had bin bound, to persist hir to death, which many without an oth would otherwise haue beene apte enough to doe. The crowne also beeing lefte without anie declared owner, a faire goale for them that runne first at it, no doubte but diuerse com­petitors woulde haue hindered her course, to haue made her hopes-way to so faire an aime. Then the act of PARLIAMENT excluding straingers from the Crowne, (as she by diuerse meanes was diuoulged to be) woulde also haue added dainger to her claime, especially considering the auncient & deepe rooted dislike, betweene the Scot­tishe and the Englishe, no small motiue to a popular mutiny: but most of all her vehe­mency in the Catholicke religion, (against which both the Nobility, Cleargy, & com­mons were most violently bent) woulde haue made them ready in that respecte, to take heed of the least of these lettes, to ex­clude her from the Crowne, and to trans­late the title to some other more suteable, to their beleefe. All which impedimentes [Page 45] meeting so full with euery eie, that did but loke towards them, must needs haue made any in reason to conclude it an impossibili­ty for these gentlemen to haue compassed their drifte, which also they might easily haue discerned, had they not bin bewit­ched with master secretaties fine deuises, & deluded with his spies, cosoning letters and messages from forraine partes, for the Spa­nishe fleete was not ready in two yeers after, and in Fraunce, (more than a fewe that in Gascoine were imploied against the Hugonits) there was no kinde of prouision by sea, nor lande, yea the king was then knowen to be so sure a friend to England, and so sharpe an enimy to the Guisian partie, in which the Queenes affiance was only fastined, that he woulde neuer haue suffered her hopes to haue had [...] by any French assistants. And from Scotland they neuer looked for a­ny aide, knowing that if they were not eue­ry way blinde, howe the king was wholly carried a way with an English byas, and so setled in the possession of the Crowne, and in the bent of the contrary faith, that what soeuer he might haue attempted for him­selfe, it was neuer likely he woulde haue followed their designement, of which the [Page 44] principall scope was the alteration of Reli­gion. And he that in respecte of his beleefe, refused with the Infant of Spaine, the present possessiō of the Lowe-Countries assistance for the chalenging of his other titles, and promised to be proclamed heire, if the Spa­nishe king should faile, was doubtlesse much better armed against their slender perswa­tions which could neuer haue tempted him with such glorious offers. Finally the weak­nesse of their beginning was an apparant proofe that it was conceaued and bred by them that woulde be sure to bring it to an abortion, and neuer suffer it to preuaile to any other purpose, but to make vs more hatefull, and to bereaue your Maiesty of your more infamed than faulty Cosen.

Thus much Gratious Soueraigne, is your Highnes drawen by these indirect courses, to vse your vnwilling sword, against your lesse fauoured, then faithfull Subiects, and put in vngrounded feares of theyr disloy­altie, who are of themselues so farre from defiling theyr hartes with any treasonable thoughts, that theyr heauie enimies had no other wayes to dismount them from theyr best deseruing, buy by violenting them too euill; by these sinester inuentions wee [Page 46] know your Maiesties minde to be, from yeelding your Royall assent to so vglie shifts, you euer binding your desires to the limits of vertue, and measuring your Rega­litie, more by will to saue, then by power to kill. Yet it cannot but afflict vs, to see your Highnes eares so gaurded against our com­plaints, and possessed with theyr perswati­ons, that most maligne vs, that we can haue no other orators for your gratious fauours, then the tongues that cannot afford vs any fauourable word. It hath bin alwaies the pollicie of our aduersaries, to keepe vs a­loofe from reuealing our vniust oppressi­ons, lest they should incline your mercie to pitty vs, and they so arme your Highnesse with so hard informations against vs, that they make our very sute for lenity seeme an offensiue motion: yet sith wee must ey­ther speake or dye, seeing so many slightes are put in vre to burie vs quicke in all mi­series, we hope God will make our petitions weigh into your hart, and winne your cle­mency to consider our distresse. Notwith­standing the slaunders that are published against vs: and if we may make our bene­fit of that which others haue vsed to our greatest harmes, we thinke that very act of [Page 47] Babington, may insure your Highnesse of the impossibility of Catholickes to bee drawen to rebellion, for when our oppressions were heauiest, our deathes ordinary, and so fine wittes busied to drawe vs into the foyle, yet was there not in all England in so long time founde out aboue one Priest, and he one of the meanest, and fewe more than a dozen Lay-men, that coulde be wonne to stoope to these odious lures. Let not there­fore this more preiudice vs than so open threats, and direct menacings of the whole state, haue endamaged others, sith of our side, there followed no effecte, & our num­bers were lesse likely to hurt (not ariuing to a scoare) than these that dared your Maie­sties Scepter with many thousands, but be­cause we like God-Almighties fooles, (as some scornefully call vs) lay our shoulders vnder euery loade, and are contented to make patience the onely salue for all sores: many that see, are willing to vse the awe of conscience, for the warrant to treade vs downe, whereas they presume not to med­dle with others, although more fatall to your Highnesse estate, knowing that if they shoulde make them partners, but of halfe our afflictions, they woulde seeme to be­wray [Page 46] [...] [Page 47] [...] [Page 48] more impatient stomackes, for if the working of their spirites bee so vehe­ment, as with so little feare and so much solemnity to proclaime a newe Christ and king of the earth, adding the creast of an vsurped Messias to countenance, the cha­lenge of humane soueraignty. If being so freely permitted to vse their consciences to themselues, and to enioie their honours, offices, and fauours in the common wealth, without any taste of your scourges, they notwithstanding sparkle not such tokens of a concealed flame, it can not choose but bee seene and knowne, howe much more cause there is, to loke into their acti­ons, and to feare their attempts, than to wreake so much anger vpon vs, that were neuer chargeable with so huge enormities. And yet the death of one man shut vp in a silent obliuion, that open offer of vprore, & most blasphemous impietie against God and your Maiestie, though it be generallie knowne that there were more fauorers and [...] of that parti than coulde be euer charged with Babingtons offence.

We speake not this to incense your Ma­iestie against others, being so well acquain­ted with the smarte of our owne punishe­mentes, [Page 49] to wishe any Christian to be per­taker of our paines. Our onely intent is, most humbly to intreat, that if so impati­ent a zeale, accompanied with seditious wordes and actions, was so easilie finished and remitted in the chastisement of one, your Highnesse in clemencye, woulde not suffer so many innocent Priests & Catho­likes, to be so cruelly and continually mar­tyred, who neuer incurred so enormous crimes. And sith we daylie in our liues, & alwaies at our executions vnfeinedly praie for your Maiesty, sith at our deathes wee alwaies protest vpon our souls our clearnes from treason, & our dutiful & loyal minds, subscribing our protestation, with our dea­rest blood. Let vs not most mercifull So­ueraine be thus daily plunged deeper into newe disgraces, and still proclaimed and murthered for traitours. Let vs not be so esteemed for Godlesse and desperate mon­sters, as to spende our last breath in boot­lesse periuries, or at our greatest neede of Gods fauour, to sacrifice to the diuell our finall vowes, what reason then can moue vs so damnably to dissemble, when our expi­red date cutteth off all hopes, our deathe the ende of euills, hath in this worlde no [Page 50] after feares, and a resolute contempt of our own liues, excludeth al thoughts of meaner liues, yea if any hope, feare, or loue carry a­ny swaye, (as doubtlesse there doth in all Christian minds) it is a hope to be saued, a feare to be damned, aloue to God, to his trueth, & our endlesse wel-doing, al which in that dreadfull moment, (whereupon de­pendeth our whole eternity) can neuer be motiues vnto vs, to sende our forsworne soules headlong to hell-fire. But let vs pro­ceede in our necessary defence, as the in­ditor doth in his false accusations, (we are charged for the easiar [...] of vnna­turall people, weake of vnderstanding to yeeld to our perswations) to haue brought Bulles, & Indulgences pretending to pro­mise Heauen, or cursing damnation to hel. It was but a forraine supply for want of true factes, to fasten vpon this fonde conclusi­on being so farre from trueth, and so full of incongruity, that euery nouice in our faith, can reproue it for error. I omitte the re­prochfull termes of vnnaturall and weake vnderstanding, most iniuriously fathered vppon such a Princes pen, whome a Roy­all minde hath taught, not to staine her pa­per, or blemishe her stile, with those and [Page 51] so many other base and reuiling wordes, as are pestered together in this proclama­tion. I reporte all men to their eies, and eares for aunswere to these slaunders, whe­ther (the soule-rightes excepted) in all temporall duties, Catholikes be not as na­turall to their Prince, as beneficial to their neighbours, as reguler in themselues, as a­ny other subiectes, yeelding the vttermost of all that is exacted in Subsidies, Persons, Men, and Munition, besides the patient losse of our Goods and Landes for their Recusansie.

Let it be read in letters of experience, whether Catholikes be of shallowe braine, or of so weake vnderstanding, that they woulde be carried away with these imagi­nary Bulles, promising heauen, and threat­ning hell, of which Catholikes eares neuer hearde before.

This worlde can witnesse, that in Diui­nitie, Lawe, and Phisicke, and all other faculties and functions, either of Piety, or pollicy, all Englande, I may say all Christen­dome, scarce knoweth any men more re­noumed than our ENGLISHE Catho­likes, (without vanity be it spoken in a iust defence) but though they were not such [Page 52] Sallomons for wisedome, as some others take themselues to bee, yet they bee allowed ordinary sence and intendment, which if it be but so much, as may serue them to tell ouer the Articles of their Creede, it is enough to be knowen that no Bulle can promise Heauen, or threaten Hell, but for keeping or breaking Gods Commaunde­mentes.

Iudge then, (most Soueraigne LADIE) whether that it be not too great an indig­nation to see the sacred name of our Noble QVEENE, which next to Gods worde shoulde be honoured among the most im­pregnable testimonies of trueth, to be with vndeserued abuse by any subiecte subscri­bed to these most vaine, and so impossible fictions.

Who likewise (but meaning to make his PRINCES paine a spring of vntruethes) woulde against the certaine knowledge of so many and so infinite people, as well seers as hearers, euen as from your MAIESTY: that no PRIEST in Indited, Arreined, or Executed for Religion: sith it is so often, and in euerie Sessions seene, that vnlesse we our selues shoulde confesse manifestly that wee were PRIESTES, no other [Page 53] treasonable crime, coulde bee iustly pro­ued against vs, and for this (howe farre it is from deseruing this odious title) your Maiesty may easilye gather, for that all Christendome hath these fifteene hundred yeeres honoured for Pastours and gouer­nours of their soules, those that nowe are more than vnfauourably termed Traytors, yea if to be a Priest made by the authoritie of the See of Rome, & present within your highnesse dominions, be a iust title of trea­son. If they that harbour, reliue, or receiue any such, be worthy to bee deemed fellons: then all the glorious Saintes of this Lande whose Doctrine and vertue God Almigh­tie confirmed with many miracles, were no better than traitours, and their a-bet­tours fellons. Then DAMIANVS and FVGATIVS, that first brought Christi­anity in King LVCIVS his time, 1400. yeers past: then Saint AVGVSTINE & his companions that conuerted our Realme in Saint GREGORIES time were, who in the compasse of treason, sith theyr fun­ctions and ours were all one equally deui­ded from the Sea of Rome, from whence they were directly by the Popes Elutherius and Gregorie sent into this kingdome being [Page 54] Priests, and Religious men, as all antiquity doth witnes, yea all the Churches and pla­ces of pietie, (chiefe ornaments of this No­ble Realme) all the Charters and Indow­ments bestowed vpon Priests & Religious persons, & yet registred in the ancient laws are but monuments of felonie, & fauourers of treason. And if it should please God to a­lot the day of generall resurrection in your Maiesties time, (a thing not impossible as vncertaine) what would so many Millions of Prelates, Pastours, and Religious people thinke, that both honored and blessed this kingdome with the holines of their life, and excellencie of their learning: much vvould they rest amazed, to see their Relikes bur­ned, their memories defaced, and all theyr Monasteries dedicated once to pietie, prai­er, and chastitie: now either buried in their ruines, or prophaned by vnfitting vses: but more would they muse to find their Priest­hood reckoned for treason, and the releefe of Priests condemned for felonie; these be­ing the two principall testimonies of deuo­tion, that theyr ages were acquainted with: yea, what would your Maiesties Predices­sors, and Fathers, with the Peeres & people of your Realme thinke, when they should [Page 55] see themselues in tearmes of felonie by the censure of your lawes, for erecting Bishop­rikes, and endowing Churches, founding Colledges, and some other like places, for the honoring and maintaining of Priests, & Religious men: yea and for giuing theyr Ghostly Father in way of releefe, but a cup of cold water, though it were at the verie point of death when they needed spirituall comfort, being to abandon their mortall bodies: and though the Priests at that time were not made since the first yeare of your Maiesties raigne, which is the onely point which excludeth them from the statute, yet were they all such Priestes, or Abbetors of them, as were consecrated by authority de­riued from the Sea of Rome, (as al registers doe record) and present within your Ma­iesties realme, which are the only materiall points, for which we haue bin, or can be cō ­demned: for the Sea of Rome remayning in the selfe-same state, still indued with the same authoritie, and neither the manner of our creation, or Priest-hood it selfe, is any thing altered from that it was. Why should it be more treasonable to be made Priestes, in the midsomer day of your first yeare, thē the next day before, or the last of Queene [Page 56] Maries Reigne, for neyther doth the Pope, nor any other Bishop by making vs Priests claime or get any more authority in our Realme, then they of Basill or Geneua, by making Protestants Ministers, nor wee by receauing our orders frō him, acknowledge in him a mite worthy of authoritie, more then euery lay-mā doth through all Chri­stendome: & as for othes & promises in re­ceauing Holy Orders, we neyther take nor plight any but one common to the Priests of all Nations, vvhich is a solemne vow of perpetuall Chastitie, a thing rather plea­sing then offensiue to a vertuous Queene, who hath for her selfe made choise of a sin­gle life. And who then can finde any cul­lourable pretence to verifie this slaunder more grieuous to vs then death it selfe, that wee are not condemned and executed for Religion, but for treason: we being alwaies arraigned & cast vpon this statute of com­ming into England, being since the first of your Maiesties Raigne, made Priests by the authority of the Sea of Rome: for what can be meant by Religion, if it be not a point, yea and a chiefe point thereof to re­ceaue a Sacrament of the CATHOLIKE CHVRCH (as wee acknowledge Priest­hood [Page 57] to be) of the chiefe PASTOVR and PRELATE thereof, from vvhence vvee can proue all lawfull Priest-hood to haue descended this fifteene hundred yeares, & to auouch vs Traitors for comming into England, or remayning here is an iniurie without ground, sith in this respect, the sta­tute could not touch vs (setting priesthood aside) many comming and going at theyr pleasure, without such supposall of treason: But it is our comming in as Priests, that is so highly condemned, & therefore our Priest­hood and nothing els punished by this law: And howbeit the chiefe deuisers of this, & all the like decrees (euer seeking to attayne their drifts, against religion vnder some o­ther pretence) exempted the QVEENE MARIE Priestes, from the compasse of this Statute, by a limitation of time: yet vvas that but a colour to inueagle such eies, as either through carelesnesse woulde not loke, or through weakenesse could not reach to their finall intentions, and little re­garded that a few old & feble men, whom neither age, by course of nature, or they by any other acts might sone cut off, so the seed might be extinguished & a new supply of posterity preuented, which by this Lawe [Page 58] (though in vaine) they purposed to doe. Be it therfore neuer so much mistitled with the vndeserued name of treasō, the [...] re­proch cannot couer the truth frō your Ma­iesties best deseruing insight, which by this cannot but apparantly see, that it is, it vvas, and euer will be religion, for which wee ex­pose our blood to the hazard of these laws, & for the benefit of souls, yeeld our bodies to all extremities. It may be also easily ga­thered by the weakest wits, what huge trea­sons they be, for which we be condemned, sith at all our araignements and deaths, we are offred, that once going to church, shuld wipe away the heinousnes of this treason: a curtesie neuer mētioned to true traitors, & a sufficient proofe it was a religious faulte, that is so easily clered by a religious action: yet we must with iust complaint of most vniust proceeding acknowledge, that at the bar many things, (whereof not so much as our thoughts were euer guiltie) are besides our Priesthood, partly by inditement, part­ly by some in office laid to our charge, and yet so naked of proofs, or of any likely con­iectures, that we can neuer be condemned of any thing, but our owne confession of Priest-hood: and hereof the last araigne­ment [Page 59] of three Priestes at Westminster, euen since the Proclamatiō, gaue such an ample notice, as the Lord chiefe Iustice said; that though many thinges had bin vrged, yet was hee to pronounce sentence of death a­gainst them, only vpon the statute of com­ming into England, being made Priests af­ter the Romaine order, since the first of her Maiesties raigne: yet it hath bin some time obiected against Priestes, that they should pretend to kil your sacred Maiesty: a thing so contrary to their calling, so far from their thoughts, so wide of all pollicy, that who­soeuer will afford reason her right, cannot with reason thinke them so foolish to wish, muchlesse to worke such a thing, euery way odious, no way beneficiall. Wee come to shed our owne blood, and not to seeke the effusion of others blood. The weapons of our warrefare are Spirituall not offensiue, and vvee carrie our desires, so high lifted aboue sauage and brutish purposes, that we rather hope to make our owne Martyr­dome, steppes to a glorious eternitie, then our deathes, our purchase of eternall dis­honour. And who but men vnwilling to haue vs thought owners of our right wittes, vvould abuse your Maiesties authoritie, [Page 60] to sooth vpp so great vnlikelie-hoodes, sith none can be so ignorant, how pernicious it vvere for PRIESTES & CATHOLIKS, to loose the protection of your Maiesties Highnesse, and to forgoe present suerties, for vncertaine chaunges. For if any would bequeath his blood to so brutish a fact: if hee were not as much enimy to all men, as to him-selfe, hee vvould at the least haue some apparance of benefite, that might be supposed to ensewe to those, for whose good, hee vvould be thought to haue cast away his life: but none that looketh but a steppe before him, into future accidentes, can thinke it any vvaie auaileable vnto vs, to be bereaued of your Maiestie: sith that our hopes are now bent, not vppon anie [...]pected happinesse, but onelie vppon a more intollerable miserie. And although our cause at this present be so hard, that it is the next degree to extremetie: yet vvee see thinges hang in so doubtfull tearmes, that the death of your Maiestie vvould be an alarum [...] to infinite vprores, and like­lier to breed all men to a generall calami­tie, then CATHOLIKES anie cause of comfort: and therefore vs to seeke it, were not onelie an impietie to our Countrie, but [Page 61] a tyrranie to our selues, vvho of all others vvere surest to finde the fiercest encoun­ters of the popular peoples furie, & though vvee could, (as then no man possible can) finde a priuie or secret harbour from the common stormes:) yet whome should vve look vpō that may promise vs any hope or comfort of bettering our fortunes, sith the likeliest to succeede, are further from our Religion, then your Maiestie euer vvas, and likelier to charge vs vvith a heauier hand, then to lighten the burthen, vvhere­vvith vvee are alreadie brused, and both your Maiesties Sex inclined to pietie, and the mildenesse of your owne disposition, rather vvrested by others, then proone of it selfe, too angrie resolution, maketh vs more vvilling to languish in this quartane of our lingring cumbers, then to hazarde our selues to those extreame fittes, that might happilie be caused by the heate of men, more vvar-like and lesse pitty­ing mindes: for nowe our dispairefull e­state is much like vnto a vveake and ten­der Castell, beseeged vvith manie eni­mies, and continually battered and beaten with shotte, in vvhich though the aboade be amongst manie accounted most daun­gerous [Page 62] and distresseful, yet without it there is nothing but certaine miseries, rest you therefore assured (most Gratious Soue­raigne) sith we are deuoted to so harde a destiny, that we neither dare hope for any cause of contentment, or ende of vnhappi­nesse, we had rather trust to the softnesse of your mercifull hand, (and next to God) to rest to the hight of your possibilities, in your fauor and clemency, than by any vn­naturall violen [...] against Gods annointed to seeke the ruine of your Realme, and drawe vpon our selues the extreamest of worldly harmes, in this only we craue ad­mittance of our [...] requests, that euill informers rob not our wordes of due be­leefe, nor drawe your wisedome to their friuolous feares, wholly grounded in meere fictions, and purposely deuised to our igno­minie. Nowe whereas he imposeth on some to haue saide, that they woulde take part with the Armie of the Pope, against our Realme, it is a most vnlikely thing, vnlesse it were proceeded out of some fraile toung by force of torture, that was rather willing to say what they seemed to require, than to abide the hel of their intolerable torments, for such is nowe our forlorne estate, that we [Page 63] are not onely prisoners, at euery promoters pleasure, and common steps for euerie one to tread vpon: but mē so neglected by our Superiours, and so left to the rage of pitti­les persons, that contrary to the course of all Christian lawes, wee are by extreamest tormēts forced to [...] our very thoughts. It is not enough to confesse that wee are Priests: (for it is seldome denyed) but wee must be vrged vpon the torture with other odious interogations, farre from our know­ledge, much further from our action. We are compelled to accuse those whome our conscience assureth to be innocent, and to cause their ouerthrow by our confessions, to whose souls we [...] Pastors, and they the fosterers of our bodies. And if we doe not, because without vntruthes and iniuries we cannot answere, we are so vnmercifuly tor­mented, that our deathes, (though as full of pangs as hanging, drawing, and vnbowel­ling vs quicke can make them) are vnto vs rather remedies, thē further reuenges, more releasing then incresing our miseries. Some are hanged by the handes eight or nine houres, yea twelue houres together, till not only their wits, but euen their senses fayle them, & when the soule (weary of so paine­full [Page 64] an harbour, is ready to depart, then ap­ply the cruell comforts & reuiue vs, only to martyr vs with more deaths, for est soones they hang vs in the same maner, trying our eares with such questions, which either we cannot, because we knowe not, or without damning of our soules we may not [...]; some are whipped naked so long, and with such excesse, that our enimies vnwilling to giue constancy the right name, said that no man without the helpe of the diuell, coulde with such vndauntednesse suffer so much. Some besides their tormentes haue beene forced to be continually bo [...]ed & clothed many weekes together, pyned in their [...]y­et, consumed with varmine, and almost sti­feled with stench, and kept from sleepe, till they were past the vse of reason, and then examined vpon the aduantage, when they coulde scarce giue an account of their owne names. Some haue beene tortured in those partes, that it is almost a torture to Christian eares to heare it, let it then bee iudged, what it was to Chaste and Modest men to indure it, the shame beeing no lesse offensiue to their minde, than the paine, though most excessiue to their bodies; di­uerse haue beene throwne into vnsauorie [Page 65] and darke dungeons, and brought so neere staruing, that some for famine haue licked the verye moisture of the walles. Some haue beene so farre consumed, that they were hardly recouered of life. What vn­sufferable agonies we haue beene put vn­to vpon the Racke, it is not possible to ex­presse, the feeling so farre exceedeth all speech. Some with instruments haue beene rouled vp together like a balle, and so cru­shed that the blood sprouted out at diuerse partes of their bodies.

To omitte diuerse other cruelties, bet­ter knowne by their particular names, to the Racke-Miasters, and Executioners, then to vs, though too wel acquainted with the experience of their smartes. It is not possible to keepe any reckoning of the or­dinary punishments of BRIDEWELL, nowe made the common Purgatorye of PRIESTES and CATHOLIKES, as grinding in the Mille, beeing beaten like slaues, and other outragious vsages: for to these we are most cruelly enforced at the discreation of such, as beeing to all other despised, vnderlings, take their onely feli­citie in laying their greedye commaunde­ments, & shewing their authority vpon vs, [Page 66] to whome euery warder, Iaylor, and Por­ter, is an vnresisted Lord.

Thus (most excellēt Princes) are we vsed, yea thus are we vnhumanely abused, for being Priestes, & of our forefathers faith, and of purpose to wring out of vs some o­dious speeches, which might serue at our arraignments for stales to the people, to make them imagine greater matters than can be proued: whereas neither euill mea­ning, nor trueth, but torture onely was guide to the toung that spake them, within so hard conflictes of fleshe & bloode, with so bitter conuulsions, is apte to vtter anie thing to abridge the sharpenesse and seue­rity of the paine. Such vndoubtedly were the wordes alleaged of taking part with the armie of the Popes, against our Realme, if they euer issued out of Priestes mouthes, or else they were spoken by some vnskilfull Lay-man, that knowing not howe to aun­swere such captious questions, and for re­uerence of the chiefe Pastour of GODS Church, not daring to say that he woulde not take part against him, had rather ven­ture his life, by saying too much, than ha­zard his conscience in not aunswering suf­ficient. But the ignorance of one must not [Page 67] measure the meanings of all, whom know­ledge of our deathes teaches aunswers far different from his, and maketh vs ready to defend our Realme, as the Catholike sub­iectes, of you Maiesties auncestours, or any other Princes were, or euer shall bee. For did we carry so traiterous mindes as our e­nimies giue out, we coulde not possible bee so cowardly or foolish, as to suffer these ty­rannies for nothing, beeing otherwise re­solued to dye, and knowing the heads and handes from whence these cruelties pro­ceede, without your Maiesties priuities. But as with patience and mildenesse we hi­therto haue, and hereafter meane to indure our scourges, hauing no way deserued thē, but by seeking the saluation of soules, and praying for their good that torment vs, so in aunswere of this point, do we assure your Maiesty, that what armie soeuer shoulde come against you, we will rather yeeld our breastes to bee broached by our enimies swordes, than vse our swordes to the effu­sion of our Country blood. But let vs now come to the confusion of some that woulde auouch Cardinall Allen to be Pope, and Fa­ther Parsons to the king of Spaine, to haue shewed certaine scroles of the names of ca­tholikes, [Page 88] and to haue tempted him to renue the war, by promising many thousands that shoulde be in England ready to aide them, concerning which there needeth no more to be said, but that the penitents that made the confession, knew wel enough that they were not with their right ghostly father, or else they woulde neuer haue committed such a sacriledge, abusing the Sacramentes with such vntrueths. For we are assured by their notice, who were more internal & cō ­uersant with them both, than the authors of this confession euer coulde be, that they are sufficiently enformed of the estates of Catholikes, the one by experience, the o­ther by continuall reports of those that goe ouer. And therefore neither in pollicy, in which they are noe punies, nor honesty on which their creeit doth lye, would they de­liuer such follies into Princes eares, which all protestantes hearing by so many attur­neies, (as all protestants doe) were able to disproue them of falsehood, for neither are the restraints, and number of Catholikes so secret, nor the course to suppresse them so vnknown, but euery Prince seeth it an im­possibility for them to doe any thing, being as before is shewed, so naked and needy, & [Page 69] euery way so vnprouided. Neither woulde they in discreation, (if they were as they are not) the motioners of the Kings com­ming, feede them with a vaine hope of thē, whom they at least knewe to be a kinde of broken reeds, sith the more helpe he expe­cteth,, the lesse he would bring, & happilie builde a maimed plotte vppon a false supposall, to his second ouerthrowe: and if this preparation be greater than euer, why shuld he thē trust to our lesse ability, & the Laws daily weakening our strength, & time hourely encreaseth his more than he did at the first assault, whē not any Priest nor Ca­tholike in Englande, was acquainted with his cōming, nor sure of his intent, til the cōmon voice bruted it, & our prouisions ascertai­ned his purposes, & vnlesse they were our enimies they would not in cōmon wisdome shewe scrolles of our names, or promise our assistance, sith they knewe not howe ready our aduersaries at home would be vpō lesse matters to seeke our subuersion, yea though they shuld as we are sure they wil not (passe so fond promises) yet could not Catholikes but hazarde all their estates in their vncer­taineties of forraine war, seeing specially his last ouerthrow, & knowing the enterprise to [Page 70] be such, that eyther the King must stand vpon the strength of his owne force, or the sorrie addition of theyr impotent succour, which can neuer inable him to contriue his endeuours. Finally, both Cardinal Allen, and Father Parsons, are knowne generally to be men of excellent gifts, and no such nouices in the knowledge of Princes intelligencers, as in the weighty pointes of alteration of States, & inuasion of Kingdomes, to pre­sume to delude them with impudent asser­tions, knowen to themselues to be false, as the informer acknowledgeth this to bee. And if effects, the most infallible testimo­nies of intentions, may beare the deserued credit against naked & vnprouided words of this partiall Inditor, Father Parsons hath by euident demonstrations of a loyal mind, sufficiently cleared himselfe from such vn­due suspitions: for hauing by his wisedome & rare parts, purchased more then ordina­ry credit with the King of Spaine. All that haue bin eye witnesses of his proceedinges, can auouch, that he hath vsed the kings fa­uour euery way to the benefit, but no vvay to the preiudice of your Maiesties subiects. The souldiers that in your seruice lost their liberties, and expected no other entertain­ment, [Page 71] but the customarie pay of professed hostility, was by his meanes an intercessi­on, not only pardoned their liues, but with new apparrell & monie in theyr purses, en­franchised to their full liberties, eyther to stay in the Countrie, if they so fancied, or to returne to their owne, if they were so better pleased; yea whereas by long continued breaches, betweene Spaine and England, the name of an English-man was in most parts of those kingdomes, farre lesse loued then knowne: he hath vsed such meanes for the mittigation of theyr enmity towardes vs, that now wee are no lesse welcome a­mongst them, and more charitably vsed, then in most other Nations: whereof not only the quiet of Marchaunts, the admit­tance of our Studentes, euen in the hart of our Realme, (both things vnusual in so iea­lous and suspitious times) but the singuler curtesie towards theyr professed & known enymies, who are actually taken in a vio­lent enterprise against them, gaue proofe to your Maiestie, witnessing how much Fa­ther Parsons hath quallified the dislikes, that wars bringeth forth: for euen the Athalan­tado or cheefe Gouernour of the Galleyes of spaine, to make manifest that neither the [Page 72] king, nor his Nobles had in the heate of their Martiall broyles, lost the feeling of theyr auncient League with our Countrie, sent into the Gallies of our English Cap­taines, the plate and meate from their owne table, that the world by these friendlinesse know, how much better they can vse theyr enimies, then some of your Maiesties vn­worthy Maiestrates, your naturall subiects, and loyall friendes. And though it rest not in a priuate mans power, to stay the ende­uours of so mightie a Prince, in so generall, and important an enterprise, as is war with England. Yet this vvithout presumption may be truely said, that if euer hee should preuaile in that designement, (as the casu­alties of warre are most vncertaine, and on­ly ouer ruled by God) Father PARSONS assisted vvith Cardinall ALLENS autho­ritie, hath done that in our Countries be­halfe, for which his most bitter enimies, & generally all your Maiesties Subiects, shall haue cause to thanke him for his seruicea­ble endeuours; so farre hath hee inclined furie to clemencie, and rage to compassion. The confi [...]ent therfore that gaue out these confessions, did it but to sooth vp such cre­dulous auditors as they knewe verie apt to [Page 73] entertaine any rumors against the credit of Catholiks, hoping of likelihood to sell them these fables for some benefite of more im­portance.

No no most GRATIOVS Soueraigne, it is not the authoritie of two priuate men, that can carrie away Princes, so readie to imploy the manie forces, if they haue not motiues of greater consequence: and who­soeuer considereth our surprising of the Kinges Townes in Flaunders, or inuading his Countries in Spaine, and Portingale, our assisting his enimies against his daugh­ters right in Brittaine, our continnall inter­cepting his treasure, warring with his fleets, and annoying▪ his Indies: shall finde other causes of his comming, euen since his last repulse, then the slender hope of a fewe beggerlie Catholickes, or the fainte per­swation of two banished men. It is also no small iniurie that is offered to your High­nesse, in making your SACRED hand, guided by such thoughts as scorne to haue vntruthes the patrone of your actions, to seeme the Authour of this Sentence: That manye men of wealth professing in your realme a contrary religiō, are knowne not to be empeached for the same, either in [Page 74] their liues, landes, goods, or liberties, but only by paying a pecuniary summe, as a pe­nalty for the time, that ther refuse to come to Churches. If this be as truely, as confi­dentlye spoken, why were the venerable Prelates, and other Priestes, and Gentle­men depriued of their Liuings, and pyned in Wisbiche: why are all the principall Ca­tholikes committed to Elye, knowne to the ministers, then to Banbury, afterwardes to their owne houses with a short compasse about them, beeing nowe only let loose to verifie a part of this proclamation, and to be easlyer ensnared in the perills thereof, to which euery child may see, they are more subiecte at home, than they woulde be in prison, and if they chance not to be so wary not to be entrapped, effectes will soone proue, (if your Maiesties fauor preuent not the intention of others, that this libertie was) for a purpose, iust at the comming forth of the proclamation graunted, sith order will soone be taken, that they shall not surfet of being so long free, and if this saying be true, that none are troubled for religiō, what keepeth at this houre at Lon­don, Yorke, and other places, great num­bers of manie poore Catholikes in prison, [Page 75] some of them languishing a-way with the commodities of their inclosure, haue by a patient death obtained the best liberty, o­thers yet after many yeeres indurance, for no other cause but for Religion, beeing of­fered liberty if they would goe to Church. Pining still in painefull restraint, witnesseth to the worlde, with their lingring miseries, the manifest falsenes of this assertion Was it not punishment for Religion, when a cō ­panie of Honorable & Worshipful Ladies and Gentlewomen were most vnciuilly led through Cheapside, with their Priests be­fore them, only for hearing MASSE, and that before Priesthood was enacted to be Treason. Is not that very statute a most heauy oppression, now when the most of these Queene MARIES Fathers that are left, are become so oulde and impotent, that they can not possibly supply Catho­liks speciall necessities, to make it by Law fellony to receiue young Priests. Are not Catholiks shortned by this means frō such helps to which their conscience and Reli­gion bindeth them, a torment to vertuous minds, more afflictiue than any outward punishment? Are they not by this tied to this wounding and bitter choise, either to [Page 76] liue like Heathens vvithout the Rites of Christian and necessarie SACRAMENTS, for theyr soules health, or to purchase them at the rigorous price of hazarding theyr Liberties, Liues, Landes, and Posterities, as in case of fellonie. In points also of our credit, hovv deepely vvee are incurred in respecte of our Religion, hovv many ex­periences make it most manifest? Wee are made the common Theame of euery ray­ling declaymer, abused vvithout meanes or hope of remedie, by euerie wretch with most infamous names: no tongue so for­sworne, but it is of credit against vs: none so true, but it is thought false in our de­fence; our slaunders are common workes for idle presses, and our credits are day­lie sould at the Stationers staules, euerie Libeller repayring his vvantes, vvith im­payring our honours, being sure that vvhen all other matters faile, any Pamphlets a­gainst vs shall euer be vvelcomed, vvith seene, as allowed. If vvee keepe Hospi­talitie vvee are censured to be too popular: if vvee forbeare, vvee hoarde vppe monie for secret purposes: if vvee be merrie, vve are [...]de vvith forraine hopes: if sad, vvee are [...]-content vvith the state at home: [Page 77] If vvee subscribe to Articles, it must be called Hipocrisie: if vve refuse disloyaltie, in some wee are measured by the eyes and tongues, of such vvhome wee can no vvaie please, but by being miserable: yea, the verie name of a Catholike, as they in theyr new Testament terme it a Papiste, is so knowne a vantage for euerie one, that ei­ther oweth them monie, or offereth them iniurie, that they can neyther claime their right, nor right theyr vvronges: but their aduersaries straight leauing the maine­pointe, pleadeth against them for theyr Recusancie. And thus trauersing theyr suites, often causeth theyr persons to be committed to prison. If any displeasing ac­cident fall out, whereof the authors are ey­ther vnknowne or ashamed, Catholikes are made common Fathers to such infamous Orphanes, as though none vvere so fit slu­ces as they, to let out of euerie mans sinke, these vnsauorie reproches: not so much but the casuall fires that sometimes happen in London, the late vprores betweene Gen­tlemē & aprentises, were laid to our charge, thogh the occasioners of both were known so wel that the report against vs, could not but issue from an vndeserued malice: yea Hacket [Page 78] a man so far from our Faith, as Infidelitie it selfe, and a little before so notorious a Pu­ritane, that he was of cheefe reckoning a­mong them; when hys blasphemies grew so great, hys articles so impious, that they made Christians eares to glow, and his ad­herents to blush: then was hee posted ouer to vs for a Papist, and so named to vulgar sort; so common a practise it is to bestowe vpon vs, the infamies of all offenders. I o­mitte the vniformed shame and contempt, that the very lawes lay vpon vs, condem­ning the chiefe function of our Religion, partly for treasonable, partly for punisha­ble faultes: And pretending an auncient faith honoured in all former ages, to be so detestable a thing, that it should by a so­lemne Statute be thought necessarie to make it treason, to perswade any vnto it. I leaue the slaunders forged against Priests, after theyr Executions, purposely reserued till the parties were past answering, & then deuulged to make them hatefull. It vvere infinite to lay before your Maiesties eyes, all the crosses that in this world wee beare: which to men, whom eyther gentry or no­bility maketh tender ouer theyr honours, cannot be but most bitter corrisiues: for they [Page 79] neither dare reuenge their own quarrels for fear of double offence to god & your high­nesse, nor hope to haue redresse in ordinary course, so far hath disfauor excluded them, from all needfull remedies: yet must your Maiesty be informed, (so vncharitable are our enimies) that we suffer nothing for Re­ligion, whom onely in respecte of Religion these neglected miseries haue made most contemptible euery one doing vs wrong, to please our superiours, whom they see care­lesse in yeelding vs any right. Nowe howe vndutifull an impeachment it was to the credit of your Maiesties words & writings, to publish vnder your Soueraigne title, that Catholikes for Religion are not impeached in their goods or lands, I leaue to effects to proue. And what is our recusancie, or re­fusall, to be present at their protestants ser­uice, but a meere matter of conscience, for as there is none so knowne, or vsuall a way to distinguishe any religion from other, as the externall rites and Sacraments peculiar to euery one, so can none more effectually denie his owne than by making open con­fession of a contrary speech by his assistance & present at the solemnities & seruice pro­per to it. For not onely he that denieth [Page 80] Christ in his heart, but he also that denieth or is ashamed of him, shall in the latter day be denied of him before his Angells. And seeing men iudge best of our minds, by our actions, we cannot possibly giue any grea­ter profe vnto them, that we are no Catho­likes, than if we ioine with Protestantes, in their Churches & seruice, by which, as then most certaine and speciall markes, they thē selues are knowne to be of that opiniō. We therfore, not gainesaid by Caluin, Melancihō, or any other learned Protestant, in this e­steeme of voluntary presents, of any in or at the seruice of a contrary sect, a denial of his faith before men which being by Christ ex­pressely prohibited cannot but be iudged a meere matter of conscience, & religion, & as such a one as is by vs refused, sith nei­ther pleasure nor pollicie could otherwaies witholde vs, our refusall redounding to our so great trouble and disaduantage, for first ther are twenty pounds by the moneth ex­acted of such as are to pay it after thirteene moneths by the yere, an account vnusuall in all other causes, as the lawes commonlye read Printed and practised witnesseth, and multitudes of the vnabler sort of catholikes daily feele, that al their goods, & third part of their lands are ceased on, for their Recu­sancie [Page 81] that cannot yeerly pay thirteenscore pounds for the same. And this is so perscri­bed, & performed with such rigor, that it is in the leases of Protestants hands by a spe­cial prouiso, ordained that recusants should not be so much as tenantes to their owne landes, so seuerely is their religion punished in that behalfe: yea & this lawe hath bin so seuerely executed, that whereas poore far­mers and husbandmen, had but one Cowe for themselues, & many children to liue vp­on it, that for their Recusancie hath bin ta­ken from them, & wher both kine & cattle were wanting, they haue taken their couer­lets, sheets, & blankets frō their bedds, their victualls & pore prouision frō their houses, not sparing so much as the very glasse from their windowes, when they founde nothing else to serue their turnes withal, which most pittiful abuses pore souls both in the North & other countries, haue bin continually cū ­bred, no cōplaints taking place, where these outrages were, rather commēded for good seruices, than rebuked for misdemeanours. So irreuocably are we condemned to a ser­uile bondage. And if your Maiesty did but knowe what other extreame penury & de­solation, they ordinarily feel, your merciful [Page 82] hart, neuer hardned to see lamētable spoiles would rather haue the lawes repealed, than the execution so intollerable. It is not pos­sible to expresse in words the continual hel we suffer by the merciles searching & stor­ming of purseuants & such needy officers, that care not by whose fall they rise, not ha­uing any deserts or other degrees, to clime to the hight of their ambition, but by the punishment & paines of poore Catholikes. They water their foūtains with the showres of our tenderest vaines, & builde their hou­ses with the ruines of ours, tempering the morter of their foundations, with our inno­cent blod: our liuings are but snares for the owners liues, commonly made the fee of e­ry mercenary mouth, that can by sounding our disgraces into credulous eares, procure themselues warrants to seaze vpon our sub­stance. They make our willes before we be sicke, bequeathing to their owne vses, what share they like, & by displāting our ofspring adopt thēselues to be heirs of our lands, beging & broking for thē, as if we were either condēned for fooles, or in perpetuall mino­rity, & not contented with our wealth, they persecute our liues, neuer thinking their possessiō sure, til the assurance be seasoned [Page 83] with our death. So easie it is for our enimies to quench their angry thirste in our blood: yea we are made so common forage for all hungry cattell, that euen the theeues with scutchins & counterfait warrants, haue vn­der the pretence of purseuants spoiled vs in our houses, hauing the officers to assiste thē in their robberies, so ready they are at eue­ry ones call, to practise their autority to our vexation, and so well knowne it is to euery way beater howe openly Catholikes lye to the pray. And though some very fewe finde more fauor being able to follow it with gol­den petitions, yet al the rest, whose meaner estates cānot reach the charge of such cost­ly friends, are made common blottes, open to euery chance of the dice, to giue entry to their aduersaries, by their displeasing their owne seruantes & tennantes crowing ouer them, and vaunting that euerie pawne may giue their mate to their highest fortune: for be he neuer so base that playeth with them, with the least aduantage, he is sure that ma­ny will backe him in it, and haue the tricke with a sure help, thogh it be the son that ta­keth against his father, or any faulty drudge that for feare of correction accuseth his ma­ster. It were infinite to set downe the labo­rinth [Page 84] of our afflictions, in which, what way soeuer we go, it is but a loosing of our selues & a vvinding of vs further into an endles course of calamities. Let this suffice, that now so heauie is the hand of our superiours against vs, that we generally are accounted men, whō it is a credit to pursue, a disgrace to protect, a commodity to spoile, againe to torture, & a glory to kill. We presume that your Maiesty seldome or neuer heareth the truth of our persecutions, your lenitie and tendernes being knowne to be so professed an enimy to these cruelties, that you would neuer permit their countenance, if they were but expressed to your highnes as they are practised vpon vs: yet sith we can bring the ruine of our houses, the consumption of our goods, the pouerty of our estates, & the weeping eyes of our desolate families, for palpable witnesses of the truth of these cō ­plaints. Let vs not be so farre exiled out of the limets of all compassions, as besides all other euils to haue it confirmed with your Maiesties hand, that wee suffer no punish­ment for religion, suffering in proofe all pu­nishments, for nothing els: we haue beene long enough cut from all comforts, & stin­ted by an endlesse taske of sorrowes grow­ing [Page 85] in griefes, as we grow in yeares, one mi­sery oretaketh another, as thogh euery one were but in earnest of a harder paiment; we haue some small hope that our continued patience, and quiet effusion of our bloodat your Maiesties feete, would haue kindled some sparke of remorse towards vs: but still we see that wee are not yet at the depth of our misfortunes, we must yet tread the rest­les maze of new agreeuance, sith wee per­ceaue by this Proclamation, that our cause is too farre for being pittied, that it is not so much as knowne, where it can only be re­dressed: yet sith help neuer commeth too late, to so helples creatures, who dayly are drawen neerely to the brinke of a generall distruction, vvhich some that giue ayme to your Maiesty, seeme willing that you shuld discharge vpō vs: we are forced to deuulge our petitions by many mouthes to opē vn­to your Highnes our humble suits: for nei­ther our selues to present thē in person (be­ing terrified by the president of imprison­ment, that last attempted it) nor hauing the fauour of any such patron, as would be wil­ling to make himselfe our mediator to your Maiestie: we are forced to commit it to the multitude, hoping that amōg so many, that [Page 86] shall peruse this short & true relation of our troubles, GOD will touch some mercifull hart, to let your highnes vnderstand the ex­tremitie of thē, which if we were once sure to haue beene effectually performed, wee might either set vp our rest, [...]n an vnflexa­ble sentence of misery, which we hope shall neuer proceed from so easie and gratious a Iudge, as your sacred selfe, or either expect some lenity to allay the anger of our smart, a thing more incident vnto the milde tem­per of so excellent a minde. In the meane season, we humbly craue pardō of this for­ced defence, & necessary supplicatiō, which was extorted from vs by open & vnsuppor­table vntruthes, no lesse needfull for your maiesty to know, thē for vs to disproue; im­ploying the vndeserued touch of your Ma­iesties word, & playning the direct path, to our intended subuersion; Accept it there­fore (most mercifull Princesse) and all our humble duties & faithes with it, which with most loyall thoughts, & seruiceable resolu­lutions, are vnfainedlie betrothed to your Maiesties defence. God of his infinite goodnes prosper and preserue you to his glorie, your subiects comfort, and your own, both temporall and eternall happinesse. Decem­ber 14. Anno. 1595. FINIS.

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