A LETTER FROM MY Lord HOWARD OF ESCRICK, To his FRIEND.
TOGETHER With his PROTESTATION, at his Receiving the Blessed Communion in the TOWER, on July the Third, 1681.

I Have not without very great amazement observed some passages rela­ting to the Tryal and Execution of Mr. Fitz-Harris. There are two times in which my Charity does oblige me to think men (especially such who stile themselves Christians) dare not speak any thing in the least deviating from truth; to wit, When they are near their appear­ance before the Tribunal of the great Judg of Heaven and Earth: Or at their approach to Gods Holy Table.

Upon the first Account I have laboured much with my self to give Credit to what some Gentlemen of the Romish Perswasion have asserted of their Innocency in the very Article of Death. But on the other side, when I con­sider the Principles of men under that Character, which allow nothing to be sin that is for the good of Holy Church; and withall am morally certain of a Conformity in practise to such principles: I hope they will not be of­fended if I declare my self to be still under the Temptation of Infidelity, man­ger [Page 2] all their round and daring self-justifications. I have known Highway­men under sentence in Newgate, confessing then their Crimes, and seemingly penitent under their guilt; yet on a sudden with the Halter about their necks, have, to the surprisal of the by-standers (who have been privy to their Con­fessions) affirmed themselves wholly guiltless as to the matters for which they suffer'd; and yet they dyed in the Roman Catholick Religion. Which also was the Case of a Woman lately Burnt in Smithfield for Coyning. Such Instan­ces as these render all that they say of little validity with me. On the other hand, I reckon my self very much obliged to the belief of a Sacramental Oath or Protestation, when made by one whose Principles will not allow the least grain of Equivocation either with God or man, and whose Honour and Qua­lity, whose Behaviour and Conversation strongly do assert the Credibility of their Testimony. And this I take to be the Case of this Honourable Peer, who in many particulars, to my own knowledge, has been falsly and slander­ously misrepresented to the undistinguishing and Credulous Multitude.

In order to my further satisfaction, having heard that his late partaking at the Holy Table of God, was attended with some notable Declaration, I pro­cured a friend present at the Administration, (whose memory would not reach to such a particular Account as both he and I could wish) to write to my Lord, desiring him to communicate what he there so solemnly asserted. The following Letter and Protestation was sent for the satisfaction of his friend, who has been pleased to make it known to some others. And I beg his Lordships pardon if without his privity or leave, I take a course to make it more known, as Really judging it to be highly serviceable to the Protestant Interest.

SIR,

I Have great reason to thank you for your Christian Endeavours, to deliver the world (so many of them as do yet continue under a de­ception) from those mistakes which some publick proceedings may (perhaps) have begot in the minds of divers, concerning that Libel for which Fitz-Harris lately suffered. I have always thought, and have every day more and more cause to think, that those who seem to be most possest with a jealousie of me, in relation to that scurrilous, as well as Treasonable Pamphlet, have the least need of any Arguments ei­ther Religious or Rational, to convince them of the contrary. It is not to them therefore that I direct this Protestation; but I very well know that there may be some (I hope they are very few) who by false repre­sentations and bold assertions, may have been surprised into some belief of what has been so impudently sworn by those two persons: these may (perhaps) upon good reasons be as willing to lay down their prejudice. To such, I confess, I would be willing to give all the satisfaction I can, [Page 3] and if this Protestation made so solemnly under such sacred tyes of Reli­gion, of which you were an Eye and Ear-Witness, may in any degree con­duce to that end, I should be glad it might be improved by you (as far as it will prevail) to that purpose. I have therefore here sent it inclosed, and can assure you, that although I dare not undertake to avow this to be literally the same which I made upon that solemn occasion; yet I will avow it to be the same in substance, and as near to the words as my memory can retain, or recollect a thing of this nature, which was ne­ver (in my own thoughts) brought into any premeditated form. I re­sign it up to you to do what you please with it, being well assured that you will do that, and nothing but that, which may best answer a de­sign both of Religion and Prudence. I am in great sincerity,

Your very Faithful, Affectionate Friend to Serve you, HOWARD.

A Protestation made by the Lord Howard, immediately be­fore his Receiving the Sacrament, on Sunday July the Third, 1681.

KNowing what Surmises and Discourses there have been of late, concerning my being the principal Author, or (at least) an Accessory to that Treasonable Libel, for which Mr. Fitz-Harris was lately Condemned and Executed (which I have several times denied with great solemnity both in publick and in private): And being now (through the goodness of God) approaching to this holy Ordinance, I think it a necessary piece of Justice, which I owe not only to my self, but to the Religion I profess, to make this Protestation, viz.

I had neither directly nor indirectly, mediately or immediately, by my self nor by any other, any hand, or was (in any way) [Page 4] privy or consenting to, or knowing of the said Libel, or any part thereof; or had any notice, conjecture, suspicion, or imagination, that the said Fitz-Harris, or any other person, did purpose or intend to make, frame, or compose the said Libel or any part thereof, or any other Libel whatsoever, in defamation of the King, his Royal Ancestors or Government, until such time as I heard that the said Fitz-Harris was apprehended, and committed to Prison for the same. And I further protest, that I never saw nor heard the said Libel or any part thereof read, or recited, or did know the con­nexion of any two words of it, before I heard the same read by the Kings Attorney General in the House of Lords, in the Parliament Conven'd at Oxford. And Lastly, I do protest, That I never was in that House in Shandois-Street, where the said Fitz-Harris was ta­ken, and where his Wife was soon after brought to Bed, save on­ly once in the Company of a Lady (whom I desir'd to go along with me) at the earnest request of the said Mrs. Fitz-Harris, ex­prest in a Letter brought to me at my own House, whilst I was at Dinner, which (in point of time) was a week or more after the said Fitz-Harris was in Prison for the said Libel.

According to the truth or falshood of which Protestation, and of every part of it (in its natural and genuine Construction) I do desire to be made partaker or not partaker of the benefit of my bles­sed Saviours death, which I am now about to commemorate in this Holy Sacrament.

If any person question the Truth of this Protestation, I am in­formed, that the Minister before whom it was made, was a Reverend Divine of this City, viz. Mr. Timothy Hall, Minister of Allhal­lows-Staining in Mark-Lane, who I believe will attest the Truth of it to any enquiring person.

LONDON: Printed by Robert Roberts. 1681.

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