A LETTER TO A Person OF Honour IN LONDON, From an Old CAVALIER in YORKSHIRE, concerning the Papists.

LONDON, Printed in the Year MDCLXIII.

A LETTER TO A PERSON of HONOƲR IN LONDON, From an Old Cavalier in York­shire.

SIR,

HAd you told me of the late storm of Thunder and Lightning that kill'd a Shepherd or the wonderful inundation of waters, that endan­ger'd a little Child, you had not fri hted me half so much, as this new and unexpected A­larum against the Papists: You tell me His Majesty (upon the Petition of those who were not like to be denyed▪ has banished all their Priests: You tell me a Bill has been read in the House of Commons and is committed, to renew against [Page 4] the Layity all the former penal Lawes, and adde more, even to the taking away their Children, &c.

Why, what evil have they done? they fought daily with us in the field, and none laid hands on them but the King­doms enemies; they kill'd indeed, in a just and honou­rable War, some that call'd themselves Saints, but none but such as we call Rebels. Whence then should all this anger come? 'tis not from jealousie, nor interest, nor policy, nor all these together; but from some strange unhappy conjuncture, which I know not how to name; and therefore without in­sisting on an event so wholly unlike the causes that were laid for it, I shall seldom look backwards to what the Papists have done and suffer in these late calamiies; a thing so evident, it need not be mentioned, nor can be denyed; but chiefly consider what they now are in reference to hereafter. I see the noise of their complaints is not heard in the streets, but generally they take their mischances with silence; which as I esteem for a generous and manly vertue where e're I find it, so I cannot but freely expresse to you my thoughts in so singular and pressing an occasion.

We fear, say you, the growth of Popery, and to that fear you ascribe the proceeding against the Papists; but must we therefore absolutely ruine them? Is there no difference be­twixt checking a Tree that is spread not too far, and utterly extirpating it root and branch? Is it not enough to see them in a shade of the private life, and deny them the fruitful showers of rich Offices, but we must suck the sap out of their hearts, and leave them to wither away by degrees, and dye?

Besides, when the grounds of such a suspition are tho­rowly examined, they will certainly be found too week to sustain so heavy a severity: For to omit the pious Argu­ments, That we are secure enough by the nature of our Cause, and the protection of our God; we have sensible and humane Reasons, (which many sooner believe) de­riv'd from plain and evident experience.

[Page 5] Are not the Papists tolerated in divers parts of Germany, where the Reformation is Master▪ and yet they grow not? Is not the Reformation it self, which has so many advantages o­ver Popery, tolerated in France, and yet it grows not? In Holland, in Switzerland, and generally in all Countries where they live mingled together, they stand as it were at a certain mark, and seldom overflow; but like the Sea, if they gain on one side, they lose as much on another.

I know what soyl your Countrey is made of, but as I think we love our Religion as well as our Neighbours, so I'm confident our Reformation is so much more rational then Theirs, that we have far lesse cause to apprehend any change or defection than they: They fear it not in their Laws, they find it not in their practices; why should we alone enter into unnecessary suspitions, to the discredit both of our Religion, while we declare by our proceedings that it needs the prop of force to support it; and of our Policy, while by chasing some from home, and discouraging others abroad, we diminish the wealth and prosperity of our Coun­try. Let us open our eyes, and look on the wisest of our Neighbours, and see how moderately they proceed in matters of Conscience, and how notably they thrive and improve by their moderation.

Possibly at first, when Liberty is newly given, some num­ber▪ who now conceal, may discover themselves▪ but after the first Run, the rest will stand firm and be more unchange­able▪ and this, when all's considered, may prove the safer course, to separate such as dissemble from among the cordial Professors: However, 'tis time enough to prevent the in­crease, when we see the increase grow really dange­rous.

In the present state of our affairs, the Roman Catholicks seem so far from dangerous, that they rather are particu­larly useful. The Nation we see is divided into four Parties, Protestant, Roman Catholick, Presbyterian and Fanatick. And were there now a War to begin, we might easily guess which of these four would likelyest agree, by remembring which of them agreed in the War that's ended. If we think the [Page 6] Roman Catholicks would again assist the right way, why do we so terrible discourage them? If we beleive them loyal (as we have found them by the best Argument, Experience) why should we so diminish them, that we make them incon­siderable▪ Were it not more suitable to our true interest, so far to suffer them as they are necessary to counterballance one sort of our discontented Neighbours, and then we should easilier secure our selves against the other? Can we forget a Trick so lately passed upon us? First, they cried out against the Papists, as if they were Traytors, till they had disabled them: Then, against the Protestants, as if they were Papists, till they had mastered them: Then, against every one that would not rebel, till they had ruin'd all.

'Twas a shrewd word, and very true, in our Country, of him that said, I have observ'd few of the fighting Cavaliers speak against the Papists. I'm sure we (of my Noble Lord of Newcastles Army) know well enough their constant Fide­lity; we fought and fell together, we freely ventured our lives for one another, and in all occasions, that might any way conduce to our Princes service, we perfectly agreed, and little thought, if it had pleased God to have given us success, to exclude them wholly from sharing in the benefit.

Were we all one in Religion, 'twere certainly best for peace, but if such Union be once become impossible, then let the Master-Religion be establisht; and for the Rest, the more sorts of them there are, the more safely they are govern'd: Should now the Papist and Fanatick be supprest; the Civil Interest would be more endanger'd, un­lesse we overcom the Presbyterian too, which will be a harder task, when by the disbanding of others, they are grown more numerous. Two Factions in a Common-wealth are desperately dangerous, but twenty not at all; unlesse they conspire into Two, which is not so easily done, as they who originally are no more. However, that evidently is the dangerous number, since none else is dangerous till they come to that.

If the present Papists be too few to be fear'd, what need we punish those who now are Papists, lest they should grow [Page 7] hereafter so many as to be fear'd? Is it not enough to lay penalties on such as shall turn to them for the future? If to preserve the peace be our intention, and that cannot be molested by those of the Roman communion, as now it stands, let us but shut the door that no more enter in, and we are safe, without pulling down the House on the heads of those that are there already.

I cannot deny but I'm thus far Popishly affected, that I willingly converse with a Papist, if he be a Cavalier, and heartily love a Cavalier, though he be a Papist: this is my character, and I'm not a jot asham'd to own it. Shew me a Papist that took the Covenant; or fought against the King, and I'le hate him worse then a Presbyterian, so much care I for their Religion: but when I find many of them civil and inge­nious, and well-bread persons, why should I decline their Company? When I find all of them true, and earnest, and constant Cavaliers, why should I hate their Persons? All this I see may easily be done, without either approving their Re­ligion, or diminishing my own: Especially since the most eminent Divines of England allow the Church of Rome to be a true Church, from whence they acknowledge to derive their Orders; wherein they agree that both salvation may be had, and all fundamentals are profest; which I believe they will not say of any other Dissenters in this Nation; I'me sure, if they say it, they cannot maintain it, till they have answered this Argument.

No true Church without true Pastors: No true Pastors without true Ordination: No true Ordination without true Bishops: Therefore, where there are no Bishops, there's nei­ther Ordination, nor Pastors, nor Church.

Thus clearly to my eye, Protestants differ from Presbyte­rians and the rest, not in circumstantials onely, but in es­sentials; they differ as Church and no Church; which is a far grater distance then between Protestant and Papist. This single consideration has often made me wonder why we should so violently persecute the Papist with the uncouth names of Idolatrous and Antichristian; and, which is worse, with the churlish actions of Sequestration and Death, hang­ing [Page 8] and quartering them only for taking Orders from the same Church from whence we derive our own: And all this while we kindly call our other Neighbours Brethren and pray for our Sister-Churches beyond the Seas; who yet are so far from having One Mother with us, that our selves say they have None at all?

Are then the Calvinists no Church? are all the Refor­mers in France, Germany, Holland, and even Geneva it self, no Church? I refer you to the Argument; the Conclusion perhaps may be unwelcom; but the Premises, I doubt are unavoidable. If no Governors, there can be no Governed, and if neither of Those, there can be no Community; whe­ther we speak of spiritual or civil Communities. Only som­times when we would reckon up our numbers to cross-bite the Papists, (who for the same purpose will count the Greeks their Brethren) we let all sorts of Reformers passe the Muster for Protestants; a kind of pia fraus to sustain reputation, and bear up the hearts of the People, and have somwhat to say to an Adversary.

Whether upon this Reason, or some other, I know not, but I observe our gravest Preachers, and our learnedst Wri­ters generally affirm, that We punish the Papists not for Re­ligion, but for Treason. Sure we must not mean their Re­ligion is Treason, for then we plainly contradict our-selves, while we say we punish them for Treason, not Religion; if at the same time we make them but two Names for one Thing.

What is then their Treason? Either their Actions; and let all that are guilty dye without mercy, without so much as the least syllable of benefit by the Act of Oblivion; let them all be hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd, and none be found to pity them; onely let our Justice not be blind, and punish the Innocent with the Criminal; but the Soul that sins, let that dye. Or else their Opinions are Treasonable: And then let the Opinions be first singled out, and either publickly re­nounc't, or the Maintainers proceeded against with what pe­nalty you please. But, if their Religion (that is, their Faith, not their Opinions,) be clear from the charge of Treason, [Page 9] let us honestly stand to our Principles, and no longer, upon that account, punish them as Traitors.

Well, though they now have approved themselves good Subjects, yet time has been when they were not so. But shall we not cease to punish, when they cease to deserve it? Shall we not take off their Fetters when they do well, as willingly as we laid them on when they did ill? Nay, shall we charge them with new and heavier chains now they have given us such evidence of their constant Loyalty? even Bedlams them­selves are set at liberty, when we see they are returned to their wits. We know all have suffered long for the crimes of a few; Why may they not hope as well to be indulged now for the Loyalty of many. Time too has been, when others were no good Subjects, and that within the memory even of young men; but the gracious clemency of His Majesty has buried all in Oblivion; and may all treasonous Rebellions, of what Sect or Faction soever, be eternally buried, and ne­ver rise again to molest us, either in our duty to our King, or charity to one another.

But let the Lovers of Peace do what they can, some will be still delighting to rub over old sores: and immedi­ately they fall upon the Gunpowder-Treason, and the Spanish Invasion: As for the last, if we look into our own Histories, we shall see, our Nation had disoblig'd the Spaniard by a long course of sharp unkindnesses, of which he des [...]ng to be avenged, and finding no handsomer pretence then that of relieving the oppressed for Religion, he took it [...], and brought it along with him. But in all [...] the crime of the English Papists? Do not our own Historians say, they were ready with their service like true Englishmen, and desired to take their fortune with the common Soldiers? Do not our Authors expresly note that the Spaniards indeed perswaded themselves they should be seconded by the English Roman Ca­tholicks, but were utterly deceived? The truth is, a few Eng­lish Fugitives beyond Sea were guilty, and all at home were punish [...]. And for the other, it was indeed the most devilish and most foolish Plot that ever was devis'd. But how many were ge [...]ry Read the Proclamations immediately upon the [Page 10] Discovery, and you'l find the number of their chief Contri­vers to be about a dozen, and all the forces they could levy, say our Histories, were not full fourscore. Now if we re­flect on the multitude of Roman Catholicks who faithfully serv'd our Gracious King, and his Royal Father, we shall ea­sily see how far more apt they are to adhere to their Prince, then rebel against him. Read then the death even of those few desperate men, and you'l find they heartily repented, at least, most of them: Read all their History, the foulest that ever that Party was concern'd in, and I am confident, though you'l continue your just indignation against those who were Traytors, yet your anger will be allay'd towards the rest that were Innocent; at least, all Revenge will be satisfied, when you have considered how long, and how uni­versally that one crime of a few desperate men has been pu­nisht. Mistake me not, I would not have so great a Crime for­gotten, but I think it belongs to Christian charity, that the greatest should at last be forgiven. Can there be imagined a more detestable Treason then that against our late gracious Sovereign, in which, though Justice take care to conserve the memory, yet mercy already has pardoned the Offenders.

And here I cannot but remember some passages among us, that keep alive our animosities, and certainly have more of humour in them, then ingenuity. We call the Papists Igno­rant, and yet fear their Subtilty: We cry out of the Foggy Mysts, and Egyptian darkness of Popery, and at the same time, rail against their Priests and Jesuits, as Crafty Foxes, that de­stroy the Vineyard of the Gospel. If they write openly, we say, they grow insolent: If privately, they seek to surprise us: If they say nothing at all, we suspect they are plotting to do the more. Even since the late Proclamation for ba­nishing Priests, a Friend of mine told me he heard this cap­tious Dilemma made use of. If many go away, then there were many here, and it was time to look to them: If few, then the more are left behind, and still we must have a care of them: If they complain they are afflicted, we say, they are Male-contents; if they take all with patience, we say they are well enough now, if they can be con­tented. [Page 11] Nay, so crosly we interpret one another, that, to my amazement, I have heard some zealous Discoursers affirm, the Papists were guilty of all our Divisions in Religion; be­cause they were striving still to shew that our Principles lead to Divsion. Which if it be true, is no Crime in them at all; If false, let us labour to disprove it; they who discover the consequences of inconvenient Maximes, are not too blame: but they who set up those Maximes. Therefore me­thinks our better play in this point is, first to prove the Pa­pists in an errour, and then the union and unchangeablenesse they so much boast of, will be the greatest Objection against them; since such union makes an errour apt to deceive; and such fixedness makes it impossible to be mended: Whereas our variety has this advantage, that some may be in the right, while others are in the wrong; and if to day we mi­stake, to morrow we may correct it.

Other accusations we too hastily impose on them, which none but Fools and Bedlams would be guilty of: As, that whoever is in power and prevails and rules, they still oppose him; And therefore, at first they were against the all-com­manding-long-half-lower-House; then against Oliver: then against the Rump: Now, against the King: Thus some among us still seek to make it be believed, the Papists are alwayes against the governing Powers, onely that the governing Powers may be alwayes against them. Sure, if all be true we say of them, our English Papists are a strange race of people, every kinde of Reformer suspects them to make Plots and Con­spiracies with his particular Adversary against him. In the beginning of the late times, they were charged to conspire with the Protestants against the Presbyterians: In the midst of these miseries, they were accused to conspire with the Presbyterian against the Fanaticks: Now, in the end, some are found to murmur up and down, that they conspire with the Presbyterians and Fanaticks too, against the Church of England. All, I can say to this case is, either we mistake them, or they are mad men, and have no more wit then a weather-cock, that where e're the wind is, still turns his face directly against it.

[Page 12] Though in all these Instances, I think, they are extream­ly misunderstood: yet is there one wherein I am not satis­fied my self; and that is, their acknowledging a Foreign Authority in prejudice of our Kings Supremacy. And at first sight I easily discern, the Controversie has, for a long time, been somwhat mistaken, at least misexprest. The Question, I conceive, is not whether the Supremacy in matters pure­ly Spiritual be in the King, or the Pope: but, whether in the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, or the Pope: I shall onely loosen the knot a little, and then 'twill unty it self. We know our graver and more learned Divines, distinguish between the inward power of the Keyes, and the outward jurisdicti­on by temporal penalties: This they assign to the King, in all Causes, and over all Persons: That they reserve to the Clergy, as neither deriv'd from the Civil Magistrate, nor de­pendant on Him. And thus much the Papists, unlesse I'm misinform'd, are ready to profess, onely they fasten the top­link of the pure-Spiritual chain to the Chair of Rome, and not to that of Canterbury. Which of these waies is the more convenient, I cannot judge, but plainly see, if one be incon­sistent with Monarchy, the other is: And if a Subject may be, in any consideration, Supream, without derogating from his Prince, a Stranger may be so too. Think on it well, and instruct me, if I erre.

But you will Reply, if the Moderate on both sides so nearly agree in sense concerning the Kings Ecclesiastical Au­thority, why do the Papists refuse the Oath of Supremacy, and the Protestants admit it? shall I tell you freely my thought? I believe, if the Protestants understood that Oath as it sounds, they would never take it, for it gives the King more then they mean; and if the Papist could under­stand it to sound no more then the Protestants mean, they would never refuse it. How then shall this difference be re­conciled? Either let both sides be understood to mean as they speak, and then neither of them will take it; or to speak as they mean, and then neither of them will refuse it. The remedy, if heartily desired, is easie: There needs no more but fairly to frame the Words according to the sense: [Page 13] I mean all this while, as far as concerns the Royal Supremacy in Ecclesiastical affairs, not intermedling with the pure Spi­ritual part, which I leave to the discussion of pure Spiritual Persons.

And indeed, the Oath it self aims at no more then to assert these two Points; that the Supream power in Spirituals be­longs to the King; and that none of That Power belongs to any Forreigner, as is clear by the Words of the Oath, nor to any other, as may clearly be infer'd from the Form of Sub­mission made 35. Eliz. 1. where the Submitter is requir'd to testifie in his Conscience, that, No other Person hath, or ought to have any Power or Authority over his Majesty: Which I under­stand in matters belonging to the Church, for those were the Cases provided for by that Act.

I had almost forgot a principal consideration. The Papists, 'tis said solicited his Sacred Majesty to publish the late De­claration for tender Consciences; and did none solicit but they? Or must it be counted so unpardonable a Crime for Subjects to beg of their King the Performance of his Royal Word? At least thus much we must confesse in excuse of the Papists, they needed most their Princes Indulgence, because the Lawes were severest against them: They deserv'd it best, because, of all that needed it, they were most faithful to him. They moved in the fittest time, after the Common Ʋniformi­ty was Enacted, and before the Services they had done were forgotten? Yet for all this the general mercy was far more sparingly exprest to them, then to any of the rest. Sullen Presbyterian, that rather will starve himself, then endure a Papist to have a morsel of bread!

'Tis true, some withdrew themselves from the publick Ser­vice upon that Declaration: But, was there one Papist among them? Why must the Papist and none but he be whipt; when the Puritan, and none but he playes Truant? for the Papist went to another School before, and therefore though he still be absent from ours, yet cannot he properly be said to play Truant. Nor can the endeavour of procuring this Declaration be suspected (as our fashion is) for a Popish-plot, and that all the Papists conspired in it together; when I [Page 14] have Reasons to be extreamly confident few knew of it till 'twas cry'd in the streets. I know 'tis easie to be jealous but every one knows 'tis uncharitable too; unlesse we have a cause; we, that is, some peevish spirits among us, say, that all along the late times, their Priests and Jesuites were in the enemies army, and (under the disguises of Taylors and Weavers,) preach'd them into rebellion: But if never any one of these were discover'd, on what ground do we say they were there? and if they were discover'd, by what favour were they protected against the Law? sure nothing can be aid why they were not found guilty, but that they could not be found.

But 'tis time to conclude; for my part, let others do as they please, I'le strive to love my own▪ Religion, without hating another mans; much lesse will I hate another man for his Religion. I conceive him in an errour, and he thinks so of me; I have some marks of being in the right, and he believes he has as many as I: I reade the Bible, and so does he: And after all, our differences continue: What shall we do, but live peaceably together, till it please God to clear the truth among us; Onely this advantage I cannot deny to the Papists, that in temporal respects they are incompa­rably more tolerable, then either Presbyterian or Fanatick; In spiritual, though we charge them all with Errours, yet those of the Papists consists with the Being of our Church, the other destroy it. Excuse this long Letter, and believe me ever,

SIR,
Your most humble and
obliged Servant,
H. M.
FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.