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Title: The Condition of Catholics Under James I.
Author: Gerard, John, 1840-1912, Morris, John
Language: English
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                The Condition of Catholics Under James I.

             Father Gerard’s Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot

                        Edited, With His Life, By

                               John Morris,

                      Priest of the Society of Jesus

                      London: Longmans, Green, & Co.



The Life Of Father John Gerard
A Narrative Of The Gunpowder Plot.
   Jesus Maria. The Preface.
   Chapter II. [I.] The State Of Persecuted Catholics At The Queen’s Death
   And The King’s Entry, With Their Hopes Of Relaxation By Him, Whereof
   They Failed.
   Chapter III. [II.] The Increase Of Persecution And All Kind Of
   Molestations Unto Catholics, With Their Failing Of All Hopes, Procured
   By The Puritan Faction.
   Chapter III. How Upon These And The Like Motives Divers Gentlemen Did
   Conspire And Conclude Upon Some Violent Remedy.
   Chapter IV. How After They Had Begun Their Enterprise, They Fell Into
   Some Scruple, And Went About To Satisfy Their Conscience By Asking
   Questions Afar Off, Of Learned Men, Without Opening The Case.
   Chapter V. How Father Garnett Beginning To Suspect Somewhat By Certain
   Generalities He Understood Of The Gentlemen, Wrote Divers Letters To
   Rome For Prevention Of Rebellion.
   Chapter VI. How In The Mean Space, The Conspirators Proceeded In Their
   Purpose, And Drew In More Complices, And What They Were.
   Chapter VII. How, The Parliament Drawing Near, The Whole Plot Was
   Discovered, And That Which Ensued Thereupon.
   Chapter VIII. How Upon Examination Of The Prisoners It Was Apparent
   That No Other Catholics Could Be Touched With The Conspiracy. The Same
   Also Confirmed By His Majesty’s Own Words, To The Great Comfort Of
   Chapter IX. How The Fathers Of The Society Were By Industry Of The
   Heretics Drawn Into This Matter, To Incense The King Against Them, And
   For Them Against The Catholic Religion.
   Chapter X. How Father Garnett, The Superior, Was Discovered And Taken
   In Worcestershire And Brought Up To London: And Of His First Entreaty
   And Examination.
   Chapter XI. Of Father Garnett, His Carriage To The Tower And Subtle
   Usage There. Also Of The Usage Of Fr. Ouldcorne And Nicholas Owen,
   Ralph, And John Grisoll In The Same Place.
   Chapter XII. Of The Arraignment, Condemnation, And Execution Of The
   Conspirators, With The Full Clearing Of Some Of The Society Falsely
   Accused In This Arraignment.
   Chapter XIII. Of The Arraignment And Condemnation Of Father Garnett.
   Chapter XIV. Of The Arraignment And Execution Of Father Ouldcorne And
   Those That Suffered With Him, And Of The Occurrences There, With A
   Brief Relation Of His Life.
   Chapter XV. Of The Execution Of Father Garnett, With A Brief Relation
   Of His Life.
   Chapter XVI. Of The State Of Catholics After Father Garnett His
   Execution: How God Did Comfort Them With Some Miraculous Events, And
   How Their Zeal Increased, Notwithstanding The Increase Of Persecution.
   Chapter XVII. A Catalogue Of The Laws Against Catholics Made By Queen
   Elizabeth And Confirmed By This King, And Of Others Added By Himself.
Alphabetical Index.



The life and character of a witness are the grounds on which we base our
estimate of his credibility. That he should have spoken of himself at
great length and with many and minute details is a circumstance most
favourable to the formation of an accurate judgment respecting him. Such
is fortunately our position with regard to Father John Gerard, the author
of the Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot. He has left a full and most
interesting autobiography in Latin; and we have felt that we could not do
the reader a better service, or better establish the good fame of a man
who has been unjustly accused, than by prefixing to his Narrative
translations of large portions of his Autobiography. When the life of
Father Gerard is before the reader, we will address ourselves directly to
the subject of his veracity, and in conclusion, we will give what is known
of the history of the Autobiography, and of the autograph manuscript from
which the Narrative of the Powder Plot is printed.

John Gerard was the second son of Sir Thomas Gerard, of Bryn,(1)
Lancashire, Knight, and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Port, of Etwal,
Derbyshire, Knight. In the Narrative(2) of the Plot, when he has occasion
to speak of his elder brother Thomas, who received knighthood from King
James on his accession, he says “that was to him no advancement whose
ancestors had been so for sixteen or seventeen descents together.” This
Sir Thomas was made a baronet at the first creation of that dignity in

“I was born,” in 1564, “of Catholic parents, who never concealed their
profession, for which they suffered much from our heretic rulers; so much
so that, when a child of five years of age, I was forced, together with my
brother who was also a child, to dwell among heretics under another roof,
for that my father, with two other gentlemen, had been cast into the Tower
of London, for having conspired to restore the Scottish Queen to liberty
and to her kingdom. She was at that time confined in the county of Derby”
[at Tutbury(3)] “at two miles distance from us. Three years afterwards, my
father, having obtained his release by the payment of a large sum, brought
us home, free however from any taint of heresy, as he had maintained a
Catholic tutor over us.”

Sir Thomas Gerard was again in the Tower of London later on, and had been
there more than two years when his son landed in England as a Priest.(4) A
little before this imprisonment, he had been summoned by his kinsman,(5)
Sir Gilbert Gerard, the Master of the Rolls, to compound for his recusancy
by the “free offer” of a yearly sum to be paid to the Queen, “to be freed
from the penalty of the statute.” As it gives an excellent idea of the
exactions to which wealthy Catholics were continually subjected in those
days, we subjoin Sir Thomas’ “offer.” The original in the Public Record
Office(6) is signed by himself.

    “14 die Martii, 1585.

    “Sir Thomas Gerard saith that he is greatly in debt, by reason of
    his troubles and suretyship, and payeth large interest for the
    same; and hath sold much of his lands and departed with a large
    portion of the rest unto his sons; and hath two daughters to
    bestow, so that he is not able to offer any great sums unto Her
    Highness in this behalf [preparation to resist the Spanish
    invasion]. “Yet, nevertheless, he most humbly submitteth himself
    unto Her Majesty’s pleasure, offering his person to serve Her
    Highness in any place of the world. And if he shall not be
    admitted thereto, then he offereth, with very good will, 30_l._
    a-year, which is the fourth part of his small portion remaining,
    now left to maintain himself, his poor wife and children.”


The name of “Dame Elizabeth Gerard” heads the list of thirty-three
“Recusants sometimes resident about London and in Middlesex, but now
dispersed into other countries.”

With regard to the mention of property transferred by Sir Thomas Gerard to
his sons, it may be interesting to quote from the information of a spy,(7)
given just ten years later, the following details—

“_Item_, John Gerard the Jesuit hath certain houses in Lancashire, called
Brockehouse Row, near Ashton; he hath made leases, and one tenant hath not
paid all his fine: old John Southworth, dwelling thereabouts, is his
bailiff, who can show how else the land and title standeth.”

“At the age of fifteen,” the Autobiography resumes, “I was sent to Exeter
College, Oxford, where my tutor was a certain Mr. Leutner,(8) a good and
learned man, and a Catholic in mind and heart. There however I did not
stay more than a twelvemonth, as at Easter the heretics sought to force us
to attend their worship, and to partake of their counterfeit sacrament. I
returned then with my brother to my father’s house, whither Mr. Leutner
himself soon followed us, being resolved to live as a Catholic in very
deed, and not merely in desire. While there, he superintended our Latin
studies for the next two years, but afterwards going to Belgium, he lived
and died there most holily. As for Greek, we were at the same time placed
under the tuition of a good and pious Priest, William Sutton by name, to
whom this occupation served as an occasion for dwelling in our house
unmolested. He afterwards entered the Society, and was drowned on the
coast of Spain, whither Superiors had called him.

“At the age of nineteen I passed over to France, by permission, with the
object of learning the French tongue, and resided for three years at
Rhemes. While there, though yet a lad, and far from being solidly grounded
in my Humanities, I applied myself to the study of Sacred Scripture,
consulting the commentators for the sense of the more difficult passages,
and writing down with my own hand the explanations given publicly to the
theological students. Being my own master, I did not, as I ought to have
done, lay a sufficiently solid foundation. My own taste guided my choice
of authors, and I sedulously read the works of St. Bernard and St.
Bonaventure, and such other spiritual writers. About this time I made, by
God’s providence, the acquaintance of a saintly young man, who had been
admitted into the Society at Rome, but having for reasons of health been
sent out for a time, was then living at Rhemes. He gave me the details of
his past life; he told me (may the Lord reward him) how he had been
educated in the household of God; he taught me how good and wholesome it
was for a man to have borne the yoke from his youth. He taught me the
method of mental prayer; for which exercise we were wont to meet together
at stated hours, as we were not living in the College, but in different
lodgings in the town. It was there that, when about twenty years of age, I
heard the call of God’s infinite mercy and loving kindness inviting me
from the crooked ways of the world to the straight path, to the perfect
following of Christ in His holy Society.”

“After my three years’ residence at Rhemes, I went to Clermont College, at
Paris, to see more closely the manner of the Society’s life, and to be
more solidly grounded in Humanities and Philosophy. I had not been there
one year, when I fell dangerously ill. After my recovery, I accompanied
Father Thomas Darbyshire to Rouen, in order to see Father Persons, who had
arrived thither from England, and was staying incognito in that city, to
superintend the publication of his _Christian Directory_, a most useful
and happy work, which in my opinion has converted to God more souls than
it contains pages. The heretics themselves have known how to appreciate
it, as appears from a recent edition thereof published by one of their
ministers, who sought to claim the glory of so important a work. To Father
Persons then did I communicate my vocation, and my desire of joining the
Society. But as I was not yet strong, nor fit to continue my studies, and,
moreover, as I had some property to dispose of and arrangements to make in
England, he advised me to return thither, so as to recruit my health by
breathing my native air, and at the same time to free myself from every
obstacle which might prevent or delay me in my pursuit of perfection and
the Religious life. I accordingly went home, and after settling my
affairs, set out on my return, in about a year; this time, however,
without having asked for a license, for I had no hope of obtaining it, as
I did not venture to communicate my plans to my parents.

“I embarked then with some other Catholics, and after having been kept
five days at sea by contrary winds, we were forced to put in at the port
of Dover. On arriving thither, we were all seized by the Custom House
officers, and forwarded to London in custody. My companions were
imprisoned, on a warrant of the Queen’s Privy Council. For my own part,
though I declared myself a Catholic, and refused to attend their worship,
I escaped imprisonment at that time, as there were some of the Council
that were friendly to my family, and had procured me the license to travel
abroad on the former occasion. They entertained, it would seem, some hopes
of perverting me in course of time, so I was sent to my maternal uncle’s,
a Protestant, to be kept in his custody, and if possible, to be perverted.
He, after three months, sought to obtain my full liberty by praying or
paying;(9) but being asked whether I had _gone to church_, as they call
it, he was obliged to acknowledge that he could never bring me to do so.
Thereupon the Council sent me with a letter to the pseudo-Bishop of
London,(10) who having read it, asked whether I would allow him to confer
with me on religious matters. I replied, that as I doubted of nothing, I
had rather decline. ‘You must in that case,’ answered the Superintendent,
‘remain here in custody.’ I replied that in this I was obliged to
acquiesce, through force and the command of the Government. He treated me
with kindness, with a view perhaps of thus drawing me over. But he ordered
his chaplain’s bed to be brought into my chamber. At first I repeatedly
declared my determination not to enter into any dispute with this man on
matters of faith, as to which my mind was settled, nor to receive
religious instruction from him; but as he ceased not pouring forth abuse
and blasphemy against the Saints in Heaven, and against our Holy Mother
the Church, I was forced to defend the truth, and then almost the whole
night was spent in disputing. I soon discovered that in him at least God’s
truth had no very formidable adversary. After two days, as they saw my
case was hopeless, they sent me back to the Council with letters of
recommendation forsooth, for the so-called Bishop told me that he had
greatly striven in my favour, and that he had great hopes of my being set
at large. It was, however, a Uriah’s letter that I carried, for no sooner
had the Council read it, than they ordered me to be imprisoned until I had
learnt to be a loyal subject. For they hold him a bad subject who will not
subject himself to their heresies and their sacrilegious worship.

“Being committed to the Marshalsea prison, I found there numbers of
Catholics and some Priests(11) awaiting judgment of death with the
greatest joy. In this school of Christ I was detained from the beginning
of one Lent” [March 5, 1584] “to the end of the following, not without
abundant consolation of mind, and good opportunity for study.”

“Twice during this interval we were all dragged before the Courts, not to
be tried for our lives, but to be fined according to the law against
recusants. I was condemned to pay 2,000 florins [200_l._].(12) The Court
was held in the country, some six miles out of London....”(13)

“At times our cells were visited, and a strict search made for church
stuff, Agnus Dei, and relics. Once we were, almost all of us, betrayed by
a false brother, who had feigned to be a Catholic, and disclosed our
hidden stores to the authorities. On this occasion were seized quantities
of Catholic books and sacred objects, enough to fill a cart. In my cell
were found nearly all the requisites for saying Mass: for my next-door
neighbour was a good Priest, and we discovered a secret way of opening the
door between us so that we had Mass very early every morning. We
afterwards repaired our losses, nor could the malice of the devil again
deprive us of so great a consolation in our bonds.

“In the course of the following year, my liberty was obtained by the
importunities of my friends, who however were bound as sureties, to the
extent of a heavy sum of money, for my remaining in the kingdom. I was,
moreover, to present myself at the prison at the three months’ end. And
these sureties had to be renewed three or four times before I was able to
resume my project. At length the long-wished-for opportunity presented
itself. A very dear friend of mine offered himself as bail to meet
whatever demand might be made, if I was discovered to be missing after the
appointed time. After my departure, he forfeited not indeed his money, but
his life: for he was one of the most conspicuous of those fourteen
gentlemen who suffered in connection with the captive Queen of Scots, and
whose execution, as events soon showed, was but a prelude to taking off
the Queen herself.

“Being at length free, I went to Paris;(14) and finding Father William
Holt, who had just arrived from Scotland, ready to start for Rome with the
Provincial of France, I joined myself to their company. At Rome I was
advised to pursue my studies in the English College, and to take Priest’s
Orders before I entered the Society. I followed this advice, despite my
ardent desire of entering Religion, which I communicated to Father
Persons, and to Father Holt, the then Rector of the English College. But
as the Roman climate was not suited to my constitution, and I had an
extreme desire of going to England, it seemed good to the Fathers to put
me at the beginning of the year to casuistry and controversies; I went
therefore through a complete course of Positive Theology. Towards its
close, when the Spanish Armada was nearing the coasts of England, Cardinal
Allen thought fit to send me to England for various matters connected with
Catholic interests, but as I still wanted several months of the lawful age
for taking Priest’s Orders, a Papal dispensation was obtained. I was most
unwilling to depart unless I was first admitted into the Society, so
Father Persons, out of his singular charity towards me, obtained my
admission to the Novitiate, which I was to finish in England. There were
at that time in the English College some others who had the like vocation,
and we used to strive to conform ourselves as much as possible to the
Novices at St. Andrew’s, serving in the kitchen, and visiting hospitals.
On the Feast of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, 1588, our
Very Rev. Father General Aquaviva received Father Edward Ouldcorne of
blessed memory and my unworthy self into the Society of Jesus, and gave us
his blessing for the English Mission.


“I started then on my homeward journey,(15) in company with Father
Ouldcorne and two other Priests who had been students at the English
College.”... “As we passed through Rhemes, where there was an English
Seminary, and through Paris, we kept the strictest incognito.”

Father Gerard’s passing through Paris was not as little known as he
thought, and without being aware of it, he then fell into the gravest of
the perils that beset the poor Catholics of England, the “perils from
false brethren.” Gilbert Gifford, _alias_ Jacques Colerdin, “an English
Priest and Bachelor in Theology,” as he describes himself in his
petition(16) to the Archbishop of Paris for liberation from his prison in
Paris, was one of Sir Francis Walsyngham’s most copious correspondents. He
had been arrested for Babington’s conspiracy, and turned spy to save his
life. He had a pension(17) from Walsyngham of 100_l._ a-year for his
treachery, the suspicion of which caused his imprisonment. Apparently from
his prison, he found means to write a letter(18) to his employers, in
which the following sentence occurs: “There be 8 Priests over from Rome,
whereof John Gerard and Arthur Shefford a Priest, and his man, will be in
England within five days.”

In all unconsciousness Father Gerard proceeds: “At length we came to Eu,
where a College for English youths had been established, which was
afterwards abandoned on account of the wars, and another more extensive
establishment erected at St. Omers. Our Fathers at Eu, after conferring
with those who had the management of the College in that town, all
strongly opposed our venturing into England as circumstances then were,
for that the Spanish attempt had exasperated the public mind against
Catholics, and most rigid searches and domiciliary visits had been set on
foot; that guards were posted in every village along the roads and
streets; that the Earl of Leicester, then at the height of his favour, had
sworn not to leave a single Catholic alive at the close of the year, but
this man of blood did not live out half his days, for he was cut off in
that very same year. We were compelled then to stay there for a time,
until fresh instructions were sent us by Father Persons in the name of
Father General. They were to this effect, that the state of affairs had
indeed much changed since our departure from Rome, but that, as it was the
Lord’s business that we had to do, he left us free either to wait the
return of greater calm or to pursue the course we had entered upon. On
receiving this desirable message we did not long deliberate, but
immediately hired a ship to land us in the northern part of England, which
seemed to be less disturbed. Two Priests from Rhemes joined us, as our
former companions preferred to take time before they faced the dangers
which awaited them on the opposite shores.

“The ship then set sail with four Priests on board, a goodly cargo indeed,
had not my unworthiness deprived me of the crown, for all those other
three suffered martyrdom for the faith. The two Priests were soon taken,
and being in a short space made perfect, they fulfilled a long time. Their
names were Christopher Bales and George Beesley,(19) but my companion, the
blessed Father Ouldcorne, after having spent eighteen years of toil and
labour in the Lord’s vineyard, watered it at length with his blood.

“After crossing the Channel, as we were sailing along the English coast on
the third day, my companion and I, seeing a convenient spot in which the
ship’s boat might easily set us on shore, and considering that it were
dangerous if we were to land all together, recommended the matter to God
and took counsel with our companions. We then ordered the ship to anchor
until dark, and in the first watch we were put ashore in the boat and left
there, whereupon the ship immediately set sail and departed. We remained
there awhile commending ourselves in prayer to God’s providence; then we
sought out some path which might lead us further inland, at a greater
distance from the sea, before the day should dawn. But the night being
dark and cloudy we could not strike out any path that would lead us to the
open country, but every way we tried always brought us to some dwelling,
as we were made aware by the barking of the dogs. As this happened some
two or three times we began to fear lest we might rouse some of the
inhabitants, and be seized upon as thieves or burglars. We therefore
turned into a neighbouring wood, where we proposed to rest during the
night. But the rain and the cold (for it was about the end of October)
rendered sleep impossible, nor did we dare to speak aloud to one another,
as the wood was in the neighbourhood of a house, but we deliberated in
whispers whether to set out together for London or to part company, so
that if one were taken the other might escape. Having pondered the reasons
on both sides, we determined to set forth each by himself, and to take
different routes.

“At day-dawn, then, we cast lots who should first leave the wood, and the
lot fell on the good Father who was also the first to leave this world for
Heaven. We then made an equal division of what money we had, and after
embracing and receiving one from the other a blessing, the future martyr
went along the sea-shore to a neighbouring town, where he fell in with
some sailors who were thinking of going to London. Being prudent and
cautious, he strove by cheerfulness to accommodate himself to their
humours in indifferent things. But twice or thrice he could not withhold
from reproving their coarse and filthy language, though he imperilled
himself by so doing, as he afterwards told me.”... “Evil as they were, he
did not so displease them, but that, by their means, and the protection
they unwittingly afforded, he was enabled to reach London without
molestation; for the watchers, who were in almost every town through which
he passed, taking him to be one of the party, cared not to annoy those
whose appearance and carriage distinguished them so completely from those
for whom they were keeping watch.

“When my companion had departed, I too set out, but by a different road. I
had not gone far before I saw some country folks coming towards me. I went
up to them and inquired about a stray falcon, whether they had heard the
tinkling of his bells. For I wanted them to think that I had lost a
falcon, and was going through the country in search of it, as is usual
with those who have sustained such a loss, so that they might not wonder
why I was strange to the country and had to ask my way. They of course had
neither seen nor heard any such thing of late, and seemed sorry that they
could not direct my search. I then went with a disappointed air to examine
the neighbouring trees and hedges, as if to look for my bird. Thus I was
able, without awakening suspicion, to keep clear of the highway, and to
get further and further from the sea-shore by going across country.
Whenever I saw any one in a field I went up to him and put the same series
of questions about the falcon, concealing thereby my anxiety to keep out
of the public roads and villages, where I knew sentinels were posted with
power to examine every stranger. I thus managed to expend the best part of
that day, walking some eight or ten miles, not in a straight line, but by
doubling and returning frequently on my steps. At length, being quite
soaked with rain and exhausted with hunger and fatigue, for I had scarcely
been able to take any food or rest on board ship for the tossing of the
waves, I turned into a village inn which lay in my road, for those who go
to the inns are less liable to be questioned.

“There I refreshed myself well, and found mine host very agreeable,
especially as I wanted to buy a pony he had in his stable. I concluded the
bargain at a reasonable price, for the owner was not very rich, but I took
it as a means of more speedy and safer transit, for foot-passengers are
frequently looked upon as vagrants, and even in quiet times are liable to

“Next morning I mounted my pony and turned towards Norwich, the capital of
that county. I had scarcely ridden two miles when I fell in with the
watchers at the entrance of a village, who bade me halt and began to ask
me who I was and whence I came. I told them that I was the servant of a
certain lord who lived in a neighbouring county (with whom I was well
acquainted, though he was unknown to them), that my falcon had flown away,
and that I had come to this part of the country to recover him if he
should have been found. They found no flaw in my story, yet they would not
let me go, but said I must be brought before the constable and the
beadle,(20) who were both in church at the time, at their profane
heretical service. I saw that I could neither fly nor resist, nor could I
prevail with these men, so, yielding to necessity, I went with them as far
as the churchyard. One of the party entered the church and brought word
that the beadle wished me to come into the church, and that he would see
me when service was over. I replied that I would wait for him where I was.
‘No, no,’ said the messenger, ‘you must go into the church.’ ‘I shall stop
here,’ I returned, ‘I do not want to lose sight of my horse.’ ‘What!’ said
the man, ‘you won’t dismount to go and hear the Word of God! I can only
warn you that you will make no very favourable impression; as to your
horse, I myself will engage to get you a better one, if you are so anxious
about him.’ ‘Go and tell him,’ said I, ‘that if he wants me, either he
must come at once or I will wait here.’ As soon as my message was taken to
him, the beadle came out with some others to examine me. I could easily
see he was not best pleased. He began by demanding whence I came. I
answered by naming certain places which I had learnt were not far off. To
his questions as to my name, condition, dwelling, and business, I made the
same answers as above. He then asked whether I had any letters with me, on
which I offered to allow him to search my person. This he did not do, but
said he should be obliged to take me before the Justice of the Peace.(21)
I professed my readiness to go, should he deem it needful, but that I was
in a hurry to get back to my master after my long absence, so that if it
could be managed I should be better pleased to be allowed to go on. At
first he stood to his resolution, and I saw nothing for it but to go
before the Justice and to be committed to gaol, as doubtless would have
been the case. But suddenly looking at me with a calmer countenance, he
said, ‘You look like an honest man: go on in God’s name, I do not want to
trouble you any more.’ Nor did God’s providence abandon me in my further
journey. As I rode onward towards the town, I saw a young man on horseback
with a pack riding on before me. I wanted to come up with him, so as to
get information about the state of the town, and ask the fittest inn for
me to put up at, and he looked like one of whom I could make such
inquiries without exciting suspicion; but his horse being better than mine
I could not gain upon him, urge my pony how I would. After following him
at a distance for two or three miles, it chanced by God’s will that he
dropped his pack, and was obliged to dismount in order to pick it up and
strap it on. As I came up I found he was an unpolished youth, well fitted
for my purpose. From him I acquired information that would have been very
useful had any danger befallen, but, as it was, by his means the Lord so
guided me, that I escaped all danger. For I inquired about a good inn near
the city gate, that I might not weary my horse in going from street to
street in search of one. He told me there was such an inn on the other
side of the city; but that if I wanted to put up there I must go round the
town. Having learnt the way thereto and the sign of the house, I thanked
my informant, and left him to pursue his road, which led straight through
the town, the same way I should have followed had I not met with such a
guide, and in that case I should have run into certain danger, nor would
any of those things have befallen which afterwards came to pass for God’s
greater glory and the salvation of many souls.

“Following then the advice of the young man, I went round the skirts of
the city to the gate he had described, and as soon as I entered I saw my
inn. I had rested me but a little while there, when a man who seemed to be
an acquaintance of the people of the house came in. After greeting me
civilly, he sat down in the chimney corner, and dropped some words about
some Catholic gentlemen who were kept in gaol there; and he mentioned one
whose relative had been a companion of mine in the Marshalsea some seven
years since. I silently noted his words, and when he had gone out, I asked
who he might be. They answered that he was a very honest fellow in other
points, but a Papist. I inquired how they came to know that. They replied
that it was a well-known fact, as he had been many years imprisoned in the
Castle there (which was but a stone’s throw from where I was); that many
Catholic gentlemen were confined there, and that he had been but lately
let out. I asked whether he had abandoned the Faith in order to be at
large. ‘No indeed,’ said they, ‘nor is he likely to, for he is a most
obstinate man. But he has been set free under an engagement to come back
to prison, when called for. He has some business with a gentleman in the
prison, and he comes here pretty often, on that account.’ I held my
tongue, and awaited his return. As soon as he came back, and we were
alone, I told him I should wish to speak with him apart, that I had heard
that he was a Catholic, and for that reason I trusted him, as I also was a
Catholic: that I had come there by a sort of chance, but wanted to get on
to London: that it would be a good deed worthy of a Catholic, were he to
do me the favour of introducing me to some parties who might be going the
same road, and who were well known, so that I might be allowed to pass on
by favour of their company: that being able to pay my expenses, I should
be no burden to my companions. He replied that he knew not of any one who
was then going to London. I hereon inquired if he could hire a person who
would accompany me for a set price. He said he would look out some such
one, but that he knew of a gentleman then in the town, who might be able
to forward my business. He went to find him, and soon returning desired me
to accompany him. He took me into a shop, as if he were going to make some
purchase. The gentleman he had mentioned was there, having appointed the
place that he might see me before he made himself known. At length he
joined us, and told my companion in a whisper that he believed I was a
Priest. He led us therefore to the cathedral, and having put me many
questions, he at last urged me to say whether or no I was a Priest,
promising that he would assist me, at that time a most acceptable offer.
On my side, I inquired from my previous acquaintance the name and
condition of this party; and on learning it, as I saw God’s providence in
so ready an assistance, I told him I was a Priest of the Society, who had
come from Rome. He performed his promise, and procured for me a change of
clothes, and made me mount a good horse, and took me without delay into
the country to the house of a personal friend, leaving one of his servants
to bring on my little pony. The next day we arrived at his house, where he
and his family resided, together with a brother of his who was a heretic.
They had with them a widowed sister, also a heretic, who kept house for
them; so that I was obliged to be careful not to give any ground for them
to suspect my calling. The heretic brother at my first coming was somewhat
suspicious, seeing me arrive in his Catholic brother’s company unknown as
I was, and perceiving no reason why the latter should make so much of me.
But after a day or so, he quite abandoned all mistrust, as I spoke of
hunting and falconry with all the details that none but a practised person
could command. For many make sad blunders in attempting this, as Father
Southwell, who was afterwards my companion in many journeys, was wont to
complain. He frequently got me to instruct him in the technical terms of
sport, and used to complain of his bad memory for such things, for on many
occasions when he fell in with Protestant gentlemen, he found it necessary
to speak of these matters, which are the sole topics of their
conversation, save when they talk obscenity, or break out into blasphemies
and abuse of the Saints or the Catholic faith. In these cases it is of
course desirable to turn the conversation to other subjects, and to speak
of horses, of hounds, and such like. Thus it often happens that trifling
covers truth,(22) as it did with me on this occasion. After a short
sojourn of a few days, I proposed to my newly-found friend, the Catholic
brother, my intention of going to London, to meet my Superior. He
therefore provided me with a horse, and sent a servant along with me;
begging me at the same time to obtain leave to return to that county, and
to make his house my home, for he assured me that I should bring over many
to the faith, were I to converse with them publicly as he had seen me do.
I pledged myself to lay his offer before Father Garnett, and said that I
would willingly return if he should approve of it. So I departed, and
arrived in London without accident, having met with no obstacle on the
road. I have gone into these particulars, to show how God’s providence
guarded me on my first landing in England; for without knowing a single
soul in that county, where until then I had never set foot, as it was far
distant from my native place, on the very first day I found a friend who
not only saved me from present peril, but who afterwards, by introducing
me to the principal families in the county, furnished an opportunity for
many conversions; and from the acquaintance I then made, and the knowledge
the Catholics in those parts had of me in consequence, all that God chose
hereafter to do by my weakness took its origin, as will appear by the


“On my arrival in London, by the help of certain Catholics I discovered
Father Henry Garnett, who was then Superior. Besides him, the only others
of our Society then in England were Father Edmund Weston,(23) confined at
Wisbech (who, had he been at large, would have been Superior), Father
Robert Southwell, and we two new-comers.

“My companion, Father Ouldcorne, had already arrived, so the Superior was
rather anxious on my account, as nothing had been heard of me; but yet for
that very reason hopes were entertained of my safety. It was with
exceeding joy on both sides that we met at last. I stayed some time with
the Fathers, and we held frequent consultations as to our future
proceedings. The good Superior gave us excellent instructions as to the
method of helping and gaining souls, as did also Father Southwell, who
much excelled in that art, being at once prudent, pious, meek, and
exceedingly winning. As Christmas was nigh at hand, it was necessary to
separate, both for the consolation of the Faithful, and because the
dangers are always greater in the great solemnities.

“I was then sent back to my friend in the county where I was first set
ashore. This time the Superior provided me with clothes and other
necessaries, that I might not be a burden to my charitable host at the
outset. But afterwards, throughout the whole period of my missionary
labours, the fatherly providence of God supplied both for me and for some
others. My dress was of the same fashion as that of gentlemen of moderate
means. The necessity of this was shown by reason and subsequent events;
for, from my former position, I was more at ease in this costume, and
could maintain a less embarrassed bearing, than if I had assumed a
character to which I was unaccustomed. Then, too, I had to appear in
public and meet many Protestant gentlemen, with whom I could not have held
communication with a view to lead them on to a love of the Faith and a
desire of virtue, had I not adopted this garb. I found it helped me, not
only to speak more freely and with greater authority, but to remain with
greater safety, and for a longer interval of time, in any place or family
to which my host introduced me as his friend and acquaintance.

“Thus it happened that I remained for six or eight months, with some
profit to souls, in the family of my first friend and host; during which
time, he took me with him to nearly every gentleman’s house in the county.
Before the eight months were passed, I gained over and converted many to
the Church: among whom were my host’s brother, his brother-in-law, and his
two sisters; one of these, as I have before mentioned, was my friend’s
housekeeper, and had been all along a notable Calvinist.

“I reconciled, moreover, the sister of a Judge(24) who even now is the
most firm support of the Calvinist party. This lady, having been brought
up in his house, had been strongly imbued with this heresy. A very
remarkable thing had happened to her some time previously. Being very
anxious as to the state of her soul, she went to a certain Doctor of the
University of Cambridge, of the name of Perne,(25) who she knew had
changed his religion some three or four times under different sovereigns,
but yet was in high repute for learning. Going to this Dr. Perne, then,
who was an intimate friend of her family, she conjured him to tell her
honestly and undisguisedly what was the sound orthodox faith whereby she
might attain Heaven. The Doctor, finding himself thus earnestly appealed
to by a woman of discretion and good sense, replied: ‘I conjure you never
to disclose to another what I am going to say. Since, then, you have
pressed me to answer as if I had to give an account of your soul, I will
tell you, that you can, if you please, _live_ in the religion now
professed by the Queen and her whole kingdom, for so you will live more at
ease, and be exempt from all the vexations the Catholics have to undergo.
But by no means _die_ out of the faith and communion of the Catholic
Church, if you would save your soul.’ Such was the answer of this poor
man, but such was not his practice; for, putting off his conversion from
day to day, it fell out that, when he least expected, on his return home
from dining with the pseudo-Archbishop of Canterbury, he dropped down dead
as he was entering his apartment, without the least sign of repentance, or
of Christian hope of that eternal bliss which he had too easily promised
to himself and to others after a life of a contrary tendency. She to whom
he gave the above-mentioned advice was more fortunate than he, and though
she at first by no means accepted his estimate of the Catholic faith, yet
later on, having frequently heard from me that the Catholic faith alone
was true and holy, she began to have doubts, and in consequence brought me
an heretical work which had served to confirm her in her heresy, and
showed me the various arguments it contained. I, on the other hand,
pointed out to her the quibbles, the dishonest quotations from Scripture
and the Fathers, and the misstatement of facts which the book contained.
And so, by God’s grace, from the scorpion itself was drawn the remedy
against the scorpion’s sting, and she has lived ever since constant in her
profession of the Catholic faith to which she then returned.

“I must not omit mentioning an instance of the wonderful efficacy of the
Sacraments as shown in the case of the married sister of my host. She had
married a man of high rank, and being favourably inclined to the Church,
she had been so well prepared by her brother, that it cost me but little
labour to make her a child of the Catholic Church. After her conversion
she endured much from her husband when he found that she refused to join
in heretical worship, but her patience withstood and overcame all. It
happened on one occasion that she was so exhausted after a difficult and
dangerous labour, that her life was despaired of. A clever physician was
at once brought from Cambridge, who on seeing her said that he could
indeed give her medicine, but that he could give no hopes of her recovery;
and having prescribed some remedies, he left. I was at that time on a
visit to the house, having come, as was my wont, in company with her
brother. The master of the house was glad to see us, although he well knew
we were Catholics, and used in fact to confer with me on religious
subjects. I had nearly convinced his understanding and judgment, but the
will was rooted to the earth, ‘for he had great possessions.’ But being
anxious for his wife, whom he dearly loved, he allowed his brother to
persuade him, as there was no longer any hope for her present life, to
allow her all freedom to prepare for the one to come. With his permission,
then, we promised to bring in an old Priest on the following night: for
those Priests who were ordained before Elizabeth’s reign were not exposed
to such dangers and penalties as the others. We therefore made use of his
ministry, in order that this lady might receive all the rites of the
Church. Having made her confession and been anointed with great devotion,
she received the Holy Viaticum; and behold in half an hour’s time she so
far recovered, as to be wholly out of danger; the disease and its cause
had vanished, and she had only to recover her strength. The husband seeing
his wife thus snatched from the jaws of death, wished to know the reason.
We told him that it was one of the effects of the holy Sacrament of
Extreme Unction, that it restored bodily health when Divine Wisdom saw
that it was expedient for the good of the soul. This was the cause of his
conversion; for admiring the power and efficacy of the Sacraments of the
true Church, he allowed himself to be persuaded to seek in that Church the
health of his own soul. I, being eager to strike the iron while it was
hot, began without delay to prepare him for confession; but not wishing
just then that he should know me for a Priest, I said that I would
instruct him as I had been instructed by Priests in my time. He prepared
himself, and awaited the Priest’s arrival. His brother-in-law told him
that this must be at night time. So, having sent away the servants who
used to attend him to his chamber, he went into the library, where I left
him praying, telling him that I would return directly with the Priest. I
went downstairs and put on my soutane, and returned so changed in
appearance, that he, never dreaming of any such thing, was speechless with
amazement. My friend and I showed him that our conduct was necessary, not
so much in order to avoid danger, but in order to cheat the devil and to
snatch souls from his clutches. He well knew, I said, that I could in no
other way converse with him and his equals, and without conversation it
was impossible to bring round those who were so ill-disposed. The same
considerations served to dispel all anxieties as to the consequence of my
sojourn under his roof. I appealed to his own experience, and reminded
him, that though I had been in continual contact with him, he had not once
suspected my priestly character. He thus became a Catholic; and his lady,
grateful to God for this two-fold blessing, perseveres still in the Faith,
and has endured much since that time from the hands of heretics.

“Besides these, I reconciled to the Church, during the period of my
appearance in public, more than twenty fathers and mothers of families,
equal, and some even superior, in station to the above mentioned. For
prudence sake I omit their names. As for poor persons and servants, I
received a great many; the exact number I do not remember.” ...

“After some six or seven months, I received a visit from a Catholic
gentleman of another county, a relative of one of my spiritual children,
who was very desirous to make acquaintance with a Jesuit. He was a devout
young man, and heir to a pretty considerable estate, one half of which
came into his possession by his brother’s death, the other portion being
held for life by his mother, who was a good Catholic widow lady. Her son
lived with her, and they kept a Priest in the house. He had then sold a
portion of his estate, and devoted the proceeds to pious uses, for he was
fervent and full of charity. After the lapse of a few days, as I saw his
aspiration to a higher life and his desires of perfection wax stronger, I
told him that there were certain spiritual exercises, by means of which a
well-disposed person could discover a short road to perfection, and be
best prepared to make choice of a state of life. He most earnestly begged
to be allowed to make them. I acceded to his request, and he made great
spiritual profit thereby, not only in that he made the best choice, which
was that he would enter the Society of Jesus as soon as possible, but also
because he made the best and most proper arrangements to carry his purpose
into execution, and to preserve meanwhile his present fervour. After his
retreat he expressed the greatest wish that I should come and live with
him, and I had no rest until I promised to submit the matter to my
Superior. For my own part, I could not but reflect that my present public
mode of life, though in the beginning it had its advantages, could not be
long continued, because the more people I knew and the more I was known
to, the less became my safety, and the greater my distractions. Hence it
was not without acknowledging God’s special providence that I heard him
make me this invitation. So, after having consulted with my Superior, and
obtained his permission to accept the offer, I bade adieu to my old
friends, and stationed a Priest where they might conveniently have
recourse to his ministry. He still remains there, to the great profit of
souls, though in the endurance of many perils.

“In my new abode, I was able to live much more quietly and more to my
taste, inasmuch as nearly all the members of the house were Catholics; and
thus it was easier for me to conform to the manner of life of the Society,
both as regards dress and the arrangement of my time.... While in this
residence (and I was there all but two years) I gave much time to my
studies. At times I made missionary excursions, and not only did I
reconcile many, but I confirmed some Catholic families in the Faith, and
placed two Priests in stations where they might be useful to souls.”

Amongst those to whom Father Gerard gave the Spiritual Exercises while in
this residence, were two brothers of the name of Wiseman, who entered the
Novitiate of St. Andrew at Rome “under the names of Starkie and Standish,
which they assumed,” says Father Gerard, “as a remembrance of me; for
under these I passed in the first and second county where I took up my
residence.” The one died there, and the other at St. Omers, not long
after. Their eldest brother was William Wiseman, of Braddocks, or
Broadoaks, a family mansion(26) which stands in the fields two miles from
Wimbish Church, in Essex. “He had lately come to his estate on the death
of his father, and had made himself a large deer park in it. There he
lived like a little king, in ease and independence, surrounded by his
children, to whom, as well as to his wife, he was tenderly attached. As he
kept clear of Priests from the Seminaries, he lived unmolested, feeling
nothing of the burden and heat of the day; for the persecutors troubled
chiefly those who harboured the Seminarists, not caring to inquire after
those who kept the old Priests, that is, those who had taken Orders before
the reign of Elizabeth.... In his house there was living my host’s mother,
a most excellent widow lady, happy in her children, but still happier in
her private virtues. She had four sons and four daughters. These latter,
without exception, devoted their virginity to God. Two had already joined
the holy Order of St. Bridget before my arrival,” Ann and Barbara;(27)
“and one of these,” Barbara, “is even at this day Abbess in Lisbon. I sent
the two others,” Jane and Bridget “to Flanders, where they still serve God
in the Order of St. Augustine at Louvain. Her sons were all pious young
men; two,” Thomas and John, “died in the Society, as was related above;
the third,” Robert, “chose the army, and was lately slain in a battle with
the heretics in Belgium; he fell fighting when many around him had
surrendered; the fourth,” William,(28) who married Jane, daughter of Sir
Edmund Huddleston, Knight, “was the master of that house, who to his
mother’s great joy, had given himself up to every good work.”

Mrs. Wiseman, or “the Widow Wiseman,” as it seems more natural to call
her, had a house of her own at Northend in the parish of Great Waltham,
which had been in possession of the family since the time of Henry VI. On
Father Gerard’s recommendation she went to live there, and maintained a
Priest, “in order that so noble a soul, and one so ready for all good
deeds, might be a profit not only to herself but to many, as in fact she
became. Her house was a retreat and no small protection both to ours and
to other Priests.” This valiant Catholic woman and her brave son were in
bad repute with the persecuting authorities, and the Public Record Office
preserves many reports respecting them. In January, 1594, Justice Young
writes to Lord Keeper Puckering,(29) “Mrs. Jane Wiseman her house is the
only resort for these wicked persons. She was at Wisbech with the
Seminaries and Jesuits there, and she did repent that she had not gone
bare-footed thither, and she is a great reliever of them, and she made a
rich vestment and sent it them, as your Lordship doth remember as I think,
when you and my Lord of Buckhurst sent to Wisbech to search, for that I
had letters which did decypher all her doings.” She was condemned in 1598
to the _peine forte et dure_ for refusing to plead when indicted for
harbouring Father Jones, _alias_ Buckley, the Franciscan martyr. “However,
on account of her rank and the good name which she had, the Queen’s
councillors would not let such barbarity be practised in London. So they
transferred her after her condemnation to a more loathsome prison, and
kept her there. They wanted at the same time to seize her income for the
Queen. Now if she had been dead, this income would not have gone to the
Queen, but to the widow’s son, my host. The godly woman therefore lived in
this prison, reft of her goods but not of her life, of which she most
desired to be reft. She pined in a narrow and filthy cell till the
accession of King James, when, as is usual at the crowning of a new King,
she received a pardon, and returned home; where she now serves the
servants of God, and has two of ours with her in the house.”


While Braddocks was his head-quarters, “I found time,” he says, “both for
study and missionary excursions. I took care that all in the house should
approach the Sacraments frequently, which none before, save the good
widow, used to do oftener than four times a year. Now they come every
week. On feast-days, and often on Sundays, I preached in the chapel;
moreover, I showed those who had leisure the way to meditate by
themselves, and taught all how to examine their conscience. I also brought
in the custom of reading pious books, which we did even at meals, when
there were no strangers there; for at that time we Priests sat with the
rest, even with our gowns on. I had a soutane besides and a biretta, but
the Superior would not have us use these except in the chapel.

“In my excursions I almost always gained some to God. There is, however, a
great difference to be observed between these counties where I then was,
and other parts of England; for in some places, where many of the common
people are Catholics, and almost all lean towards the Catholic faith, it
is easy to bring many into the bosom of the Church, and to have many
hearers together at a sermon. I myself have seen in Lancashire two hundred
together at Mass and sermon; and as these easily come in, so also they
easily scatter when the storm of persecution draws near, and come back
again when the alarm has blown over. On the contrary, in those parts where
I was now staying there were very few Catholics, but these were of the
higher classes; scarcely any of the common people, for they cannot live in
peace, surrounded as they are by most violent heretics. The way of
managing in such cases, is first to gain the gentry, then the servants:
for Catholic masters cannot do without Catholic servants.

“About this time I gained to God and the Church my hostess’ brother, the
only son of a certain Knight,” Henry, son of Sir Edmund Huddleston, of
Sawston.(30) “I ever after found him a most faithful friend in all
circumstances. He afterwards took to wife a relative(31) in the third
degree of the most illustrious Spanish Duke of Feria,” Dorothy, daughter
of Robert first Lord Dormer, by his wife, Elizabeth Browne, daughter of
Anthony first Viscount Montague. “This pious pair are so attached to our
Priests, that now in these terrible times they always keep one in their
house, and often two or three.” ...

“Besides others of less standing whom my host’s mother, in her great zeal
for souls, brought me to be reconciled, she had nearly won over a certain
great lady, a neighbour of hers. Though this lady was the wife of the
richest(32) lord in the whole county, and sister to the Earl of Essex
(then most powerful with the Queen), and was wholly given to vanities,
nevertheless she brought her so far as to be quite willing to speak with a
Priest, if only he could come to her without being known. This the good
widow told me. I consequently went to her house openly, and addressed her
as though I had something to tell her from a certain great lady her
kinswoman, for so it had been agreed. I dined openly with her and all the
gentry in the house, and spent three hours at least in private talk with
her. I first satisfied her in all the doubts which she laid before me
about faith; next, I set myself to stir up her will, and before my
departure I so wrought upon her, that she asked for instructions how to
prepare herself for confession, and fixed a day for making it. Nay, she
afterwards wrote to me earnestly protesting that she desired nothing in
the world so much as to open to me the inmost recesses of her heart. But
the judgments of God are a deep abyss, and it is a dreadful thing to
expose oneself to the occasions of sin. Now there was a nobleman(33) in
London, who had loved her long and deeply; to him she disclosed her
purpose by letter, perchance to bid him farewell; but she roused a
sleeping adder. For he hastened to her, and began to dissuade her in every
kind of way; and being himself a heretic, and not wanting in learning, he
cunningly coaxed her to get him an answer to certain doubts of his from
the same guide that she herself followed; saying that if he was satisfied
in this, he too would become a Catholic. He implored her to take no step
in the meantime, if she did not wish for his death. So he filled two
sheets of paper about the Pope, the worship of Saints, and the like. She
sent them with a letter of her own, begging me to be so good as to answer
them, for it would be a great gain if such a soul could be won over. He
did not, however, write from a wish to learn, but rather with the
treacherous design of delaying her conversion. For he got an answer, a
full one I think, to which he made no reply. But meanwhile he endeavoured
to get her to London, and succeeded in making her first postpone, and
afterwards altogether neglect her resolution. By all this, however, he was
unwittingly bringing on his own ruin; for later on, returning from Ireland
laden with glory, on account of his successful administration, and his
victory over the Spanish forces that had landed there (on which occasion
he brought over with him the Earl of Tyrone, who had been the most
powerful opponent of heresy in that country, and most sturdy champion of
the ancient faith), he was created an Earl, and though conqueror of
others, he conquered not himself, but was kept a helpless captive by his
love of this lady. This madness of his caused him to commit such
extravagances that he became quite notorious, and was publicly disgraced.
Unable to endure this dishonour, and yet unwilling to renounce the cause
of it, he died of grief, invoking, alas! not God, but this goddess, ‘his
angel,’ as he called her, and leaving her heiress of all his property.
Such was his miserable end, in bad repute of all men. The lady, though now
very rich, often afterwards began to think of her former resolution, and
often spoke of me to a certain Catholic maid of honour that she had about
her. This latter coming into Belgium about three years back to become a
Nun, related this to me, and begged me to write to her and fan the yet
unquenched spark into a flame. But when I was setting about the letter, I
heard that she had been carried off by a fever, not, however, before she
had been reconciled to the Church by one of ours. I have set this forth at
some length, that the providence of God with regard to her whose
conversion was hindered, and His judgment upon him who was the cause of
the hindrance, may more clearly appear.

“I used also to make other missionary excursions at this time to more
distant counties towards the north. On the way I had to pass through my
native place, and through the midst of my kindred and acquaintance; but I
could not do much good there, though there were many who professed
themselves great friends of mine. I experienced in fact most fully the
truth of that saying of Truth Himself, that no prophet is received in his
own country; so that I felt little wish at any time to linger among them.
It happened once that I went to lodge on one of those journeys with a
Catholic kinsman.(34) I found him in hunter’s trim, ready to start for a
grand hunt, for which many of his friends had met together. He asked me to
go with him, and try to gain over a certain gentleman who had married a
cousin of his and mine. I answered that some other occasion would be more
fit. He disagreed with me, however, maintaining that unless I took this
chance of going with him, I should not be able to get near the person in
question. I went accordingly, and during the hunt joined company with him
for whose soul I myself was on the hunt. The hounds being at fault from
time to time, and ceasing to give tongue, while we were awaiting the
renewal of this hunters’ music, I took the opportunity of following my own
chase, and gave tongue myself in good earnest. Thus, beginning to speak of
the great pains that we took over chasing a poor animal, I brought the
conversation to the necessity of seeking an everlasting kingdom, and the
proper method of gaining it, to wit, by employing all manner of care and
industry; as the devil on his part never sleeps, but hunts after our souls
as hounds hunt after their prey. We said but little on disputed points of
faith, for he was rather a schismatic than a heretic, but to move his will
to act required a longer talk. This work was continued that day and the
day after; and on the fourth day he was spiritually born and made a
Catholic. He still remains one, and often supports Priests at home and
sends them to other people.”


“My journeys northwards were undertaken for the purpose of visiting, and
strengthening in the faith, certain persons who there afforded no small
aid to the common cause. Among them were two sisters of high nobility,
daughters of an Earl of very old family who had laid down his life for the
Catholic faith.(35) They lived together, and manifested a great desire to
have me not merely visit them sometimes, but rather stay altogether with
them. The elder, who had a family, became a pillar of support to that
portion of our afflicted Church. She kept two Priests with her at home,
and received all who came to her with great charity. There are numbers of
Priests in that part of the country, and many Catholics, mostly of the
poorer sort. Indeed, I was hardly ever there without our counting before
my departure six or seven Priests together in her house. Thus she gave
great help to religion in the whole district during her abode there, which
lasted till I was seized and thrown into prison; whereupon she was
constrained by her husband to change her abode and go to London, a
proceeding which did neither of them any good, and deprived the poor
Catholics of many advantages. Her sister was chosen by God for Himself. I
found her unmarried, humble and modest. Gradually she was fitted for
something higher. She learnt the practice of meditation; and profited so
well thereby, that the world soon grew vile in her eyes, and Heaven seemed
the only thing worthy of her love. I afterwards sent her to Father Holt,
in Belgium. He wrote to me on one occasion about her in these terms:
‘Never has there come into these parts a countrywoman of ours that has
given such good example, or done such honour to our nation.’ She had the
chief hand in the foundation of the present convent of English Benedictine
Nuns at Brussels,(36) where she still lives, and has arrived to a great
pitch of virtue and self-denial. She yearns for a more retired life, and
has often proposed to her director to allow her to live as a recluse, but
gives in to his reasons to the contrary.

“At first I used to carry with me on these journeys my altar furniture,
which was meagre but decent, and so contrived that it could be easily
carried, along with several other necessary articles, by him who acted as
my servant. In this way I used to say Mass in the morning in every place
where I lodged, not however before I had looked into every corner around,
that there might be no one peering in through the chinks. I brought my own
things mainly on account of certain Catholics, my entertainers, not having
yet what was necessary for the Holy Sacrifice. But after some years this
cause was removed; for in nearly every place that I came to they had got
ready the sacred vestments beforehand. Moreover, I had so many friends to
visit on the way, and these at such distances from one another, that it
was hardly ever necessary for me to lodge at an inn on a journey of one
hundred and fifty miles; and at last I hardly slept at an inn once in two

“I used to visit my Superior,” Father Garnett, “several times a year, when
I wished to consult him on matters of importance. Not only I, but all of
us used to resort to him twice a year to give our half-yearly account of
conscience and renew the offering of our vows to our Lord Jesus. I always
remarked that the others drew great profit from this holy custom of our
Society. As for myself, to speak my mind frankly, I never found anything
do me more good, or stir up my courage more to fulfil all the duties which
belong to our Institute, and are required of the workmen who till the
Lord’s vineyard in that country. Besides experiencing great spiritual joy
from the renewal itself, I found my interior strength recruited, and a new
zeal kindled within me afterwards in consequence; so that if I have not
done any good, it must have come from my carelessness and thanklessness,
and not from any fault of the Society, which afforded me such means and
helps to perfection.

“On one occasion we were all met together in the Superior’s house while he
yet resided in the country,” in Worcestershire, “and were employed in the
renovation of spirit. We had had several conferences, and the Superior had
given each of us some advice in private, when the question was started
what we should do if the Priest-hunters suddenly came upon us, seeing that
there were so many of us, and there were nothing like enough hiding-places
for all. We numbered then, I think, nine or ten of ours, besides other
Priests our friends, and some Catholics who would also have had to seek
concealment. The blessed(37) Father Garnett answered, ‘True, we ought not
all to meet together now that our number is daily increasing; however, as
we are here assembled for the greater glory of God, I will be answerable
for all till the renovation is over, but beyond that I will not promise.’
Accordingly, on the very day of the renovation, though he had been quite
unconcerned before, he earnestly warned every one to look to himself, and
not to tarry without necessity, adding, ‘I do not guarantee your safety
any longer.’ Some, hearing this, mounted their horses after dinner and
rode off. Five of ours and two Secular Priests stayed behind.

“Next morning, about five o’clock, when Father Southwell was beginning
Mass, and the others and myself were at meditation, I heard a bustle at
the house door. Directly after I heard cries and oaths poured forth
against the servant for refusing admittance. The fact was, that four
Priest-hunters, or pursuivants as they are called, with drawn swords were
trying to break down the door and force an entrance. The faithful servant
withstood them, otherwise we should have been all made prisoners. But by
this time Father Southwell had heard the uproar, and, guessing what it
meant, had at once taken off his vestments and stripped the altar; while
we strove to seek out everything belonging to us, so that there might be
nothing found to betray the presence of a Priest. We did not even wish to
leave boots and swords lying about, which would serve to show there had
been many guests though none of them appeared. Hence many of us were
anxious about our beds, which were still warm, and only covered, according
to custom, previous to being made. Some, therefore, went and turned their
beds, so that the colder part might deceive anybody who put his hand in to
feel. Thus, while the enemy was shouting and bawling outside, and our
servants were keeping the door, saying that the mistress of the house, a
widow, had not yet got up, but that she was coming directly and would give
them an answer, we profited by the delay to stow away ourselves and all
our baggage in a cleverly-contrived hiding-place.

“At last these four leopards were let in. They raged about the house,
looking everywhere, and prying into the darkest corners with candles. They
took four hours over the business; but failed in their search,(38) and
only brought out the forbearance of the Catholics in suffering, and their
own spite and obstinacy in seeking. At last they took themselves off,
after getting paid, forsooth, for their trouble. So pitiful is the lot of
the Catholics, that those who come with a warrant to annoy them in this or
in other way, have to be paid for so doing by the suffering party instead
of by the authorities who send them, as though it were not enough to
endure wrong, but they must also pay for their endurance of it. When they
were gone, and were now some way off, so that there was no fear of their
returning, as they sometimes do, a lady came and summoned out of the den,
not one, but many Daniels. The hiding-place was underground, covered with
water at the bottom, so that I was standing with my feet in water all the
time. We had there Father Garnett, Father Southwell, and Father Ouldcorne
(three future martyrs), Father Stanny, and myself, two Secular Priests,
and two or three lay gentlemen. Having thus escaped that day’s danger,
Father Southwell and I set off the next day together, as we had come.
Father Ouldcorne stayed, his dwelling or residence being” at Henlip House,
“not far off.”


But Father Gerard’s good works were now to be interfered with by the
treachery of a servant. This man’s name was John Frank, and his deposition
taken before Justice Young, May 12, 1594,(39) will illustrate Father
Gerard’s story. The Father introduces the traitor without naming him.

“There is a time for gathering stones together, and a time for scattering
them. The time had now come for trying the servants of God, my hosts, and
myself along with them. And that they might be more like in their
sufferings to their Lord for Whom they suffered, God allowed them to be
betrayed by their own servant, whom they loved. He was not a Catholic, nor
a servant of the house, but had been once in the service of the second
brother, who when he crossed the sea recommended him to his mother and
brother. He lived in London, but often used to visit them, and knew nearly
everything that happened in either of their houses. I had no reason for
suspecting one whom all trusted. Still I never let him see me acting as a
Priest, or dressed in such a way as to give him grounds to say that I was
one. However, as he acknowledged afterwards, he guessed what I was from
seeing his master treat me with such respect; for he nearly always set me
two or three miles on my journeys. Often too my host would bear me company
to London, where we used at that time to lodge in this servant’s house. I
had not yet found by experience, that the safest plan was to have a
lodging of my own. Such were the facts which, as the traitor afterwards
stated, gave rise to his suspicions. Feeling sure that he could get more
than three hundred pieces of silver for the sale of his master, he went to
the magistrates and bargained to betray him. They, it seems, sent him for
a while to spy out who were Priests, and how many there were of them
haunting the houses of the widow and her son.

“The widow’s house was first searched. The Priest that usually dwelt there
was then at home, but escaped for that time by taking refuge in a
hiding-place. As for the pious widow, they forced her to go to London,
there to appear before the Judges who tried cases concerning Catholics. At
her appearance she answered with the greatest courage, more like a free
woman than a grievously persecuted prisoner. She was thrown into gaol.”
From Frank we learn that the search was made Dec. 26, 1593.

“He saith that one Brewster, a Priest, being a tall man with a white
flaxen beard, was at old Mrs. Wiseman’s house at Northend from Michaelmas
till Christmas last, and was in the house when the pursuivants were there
on Wednesday the 26th of December last, hid in a privy place in a chamber.
And William Suffield, Mr. William Wiseman’s man, came thither for him on
Thursday in the Christmas week, at five o’clock in the night, and carried
him to Mr. William Wiseman’s house at Braddocks (as this examinate heard).
And afterwards Suffield came again and rode with old Mrs. Wiseman to the
Lord Rich’s.” The seat of Lord Rich was at Lee Priory, not far from
Northend. The widow, therefore, was not arrested on this occasion.

Of the search, Justice Young made the following report to Lord Keeper
Puckering.(40) “Right honourable, my humble duty remembered, this is to
advertize your honour that the bearers hereof, Mr. Worsley and Mr.
Newall,” pursuivants who were Topcliffe’s chief aiders in the searches
made in the houses of Catholics, “hath been in Essex at Mrs. Wiseman’s
house, being a widow, and there they found a Mass a preparing, but the
Priest escaped, but they brought from thence Robert Wiseman her son,(41)
and William Clarke, a lawyer, and Henry Cranedge, a physician, and Robert
Foxe, who doth acknowledge themselves all to be recusants, and do deny to
take an oath to answer truly to such matters as shall touch the Queen’s
Majesty and the State, whereupon I have committed them close prisoners,
one from another. Also they found in the said house one Nicholas
Norffooke, Samuel Savage, and one Daniell, servants unto the said Mrs.
Wiseman, and one Mrs. Ann Wiseman, a widow, and Mary Wiseman her daughter,
and Elizabeth Cranedge, and Alice Jenings, wife of Richard Jenings, and
Mary Wiseman, daughter to Mr. George Wiseman, of Upminster, and is in
Commission of the Peace, and all these in the said house are recusants;
wherefore it may stand with your lordship’s good liking, I think it were
well that they were all sent for hither to be examined, for that, the said
Mrs. Jane Wiseman——” and then follows the remembrance of old Mrs.
Wiseman’s wish that her pilgrimage to the Priests at Wisbech had been
barefooted, that we have already given.

“_Item_, he saith, to return to Frank’s examination, “that Mr. Gerard,
_alias_ Tanfield, _alias_ Staunton, the Priest Jesuit, was at Mr. William
Wiseman’s house at Braddocks all the Christmas last, and Richard Fulwood
was his man attending on him, and was two years coming and going thither,
and was also with Mr. Wiseman in Lancashire a little before Michaelmas was
twelve months, as Ralph Willis, who then attended on Master Gerard, told
this examinate, and were at the Lady Gerard’s house, she being at home.”

“_Item_, he saith that he hath seen Mr. Gerard dine and sup ordinarily
with Mr. Wiseman at his own table in his house at Braddocks about twelve
months past, and that at Michaelmas was twelve months they were both
together in the examinate’s house,—Father Gerard has just told us that
they used to go there till he got a lodging of his own—“and Mr. Ormes, the
tailor of Fleet-street, was there with him, and did take measure of Mr.
Gerard by the name of Mr. Tanfield, to make him garments.”

“_Item_, he saith that the said Gerard lay one night at the Lady Mary’s in
Blackfriars (as he thinketh) a little before Easter last,(42) and Ralph
Willis, his servant, lay that night at this examinate’s house, and that
Richard Fulwood, since his imprisonment in Bridewell at Easter last, wrote
a letter and sent it from Bridewell to the Lady Mary’s, and there this
examinate received it and went down with it to Mr. Gerard, who was at Mr.
William Wiseman’s house at Braddocks all the Easter last, and hidden in
the house while the pursuivants were there, which letters aforesaid this
examinate did deliver to Ralph Willis, who carried them immediately to Mr.
Gerard. And this examinate saw the letters in Mr. Gerard’s hands, and
heard him read them. Wherein Fulwood wrote that he expected torture every
day, and Mr. Gerard wished that he might bear some of Fulwood’s
punishment.” ...

“_Item_, he saith that the satin doublet and velvet hose which were found
in Middleton’s house at the apprehension of Mr. Gerard were Mr. Wiseman’s,
and the ruffs were Mrs. Wiseman’s; and if they had not been taken, the
apparel should have been carried by this examinate the next day to Mr.
Wiseman in the Counter.

“_Item_, he saith that about three weeks before Michaelmas last or
thereabouts, this examinate was sent by old Mrs. Wiseman to Mr. Gerard,
from Northend to London, with Scudamore, _alias_ John Wiseman, the
Priest,(43) and a boy named Richard Cranishe, of the age of 16 years, son
of Robert Cranishe, and afterwards Mrs. Jane Wiseman(44) and Mrs. Bridget
Wiseman, sisters to Mr. William Wiseman, came up also; and William Savage,
tailor, servant to old Mrs. Wiseman, and Richard Fulwood, Mr. Gerard’s
man, attended on them, and John Jeppes came up at the same time; all of
which persons (saving Jeppes) lay at this examinate’s house a week. And
then Scudamore, the two gentlewomen, Cranishe, Savage, and this examinate,
embarked themselves at Gravesend in one Motte his bark, and went over to
Middleborough, and there lay at one Charles his house about a fortnight,
and then went to Antwerp, and this examinate returned back again, but
whether Mr. William Wiseman did know of their going over or no he cannot
tell.” ...

“_Item_, he saith that Nicholas Owen, who was taken in bed with Mr. Gerard
the Jesuit, was at Mr. Wiseman’s house at Christmas was twelve months, and
called by the name of Little John and Little Michael, and the cloak that
he wore was Mr. Wiseman’s cloak a year past, and was of sad green cloth
with sleeves, caped with tawny velvet and little gold strips turning on
the cape. And the said Owen was at Mr. Emerson’s at Felsted while Mrs.
Wiseman lay there.” ...

Such is Frank’s examination, taken in May, 1594, and it will throw much
light on the subsequent narrative. On the 14th of April, Justice Young
sent to Lord Keeper Puckering(45) “the names of them that were found in
Mr. Wiseman’s house: John Fulwood, Richard Fulwood, Richard Wallis,
William Wallis, William Suffield, Ralph Williamson, John Stratforde. These
men are all recusants, and will not take an oath to the Queen’s Majesty,
nor to answer to anything. One Thomas was apprehended when his master was
taken, and he fled away with his master’s best gelding and a handful of
gold that his master gave him. All these were servants(46) to Mr. William
Wiseman, who is a continual receiver of all Seminary Priests, and went to
Wisbech to visit the Priests and Jesuits there, and since his imprisonment
there was a Seminary Priest in his house which escaped away from the
Justices and pursuivants and left his apparel behind him.” This was, as we
shall see, Father Gerard himself, and later on he was made to try on the
clothes thus found, and “they were just a fit.” All this was to prove Mr.
Wiseman guilty of harbouring a Priest, “which,” Father Gerard says, “they
were never able to do.”

Father Garnett, in a letter(47) to Father Persons at Rome, dated Sept. 6,
1594, thus describes the capture of the servants. “The Friday night before
Passion Sunday” [March 15] “was such a hurly-burly in London as never was
seen in man’s memory; no, not when Wyatt was at the gates. A general
search in all London, the Justices and chief citizens going in person; all
unknown persons taken and put in churches till the next day. No Catholics
found, but one poor tailor’s house at Golding-lane end, which was esteemed
such a booty as never was got since this Queen’s days. The tailor and
divers others there taken lie yet in prison, and some of them have been
tortured. That mischance touched us near; they were our friends and
chiefest instruments. That very night had been there _Long John_ with the
little beard, once your pupil” [in the margin is written _John Gerard_],
“if I had not more importunately stayed him than ever before. But soon
after he was apprehended, being betrayed we know not how; he will be stout
I doubt not. He hath been very close, but now is removed from the Counter
to the Clink, where he may in time do much good. He was glad of Mr.
Homulus(48) his company, but he had been taken from him and carried to
Newgate, whence he hopeth to redeem him again.”

Father Gerard tells the story thus. “The hidden traitor, wholly unknown to
his master, was watching his chance of giving us up without betraying his
own treachery. At first he settled to have me seized in a house” in
Golding-lane “which had been lately hired in London to answer my own and
my friends’ purposes. From his master’s employing him in many affairs, he
could not help knowing the place which his master had hired for my use.
Consequently he promised the magistrates to tell them when I was coming,
so that they might surround the house during the night with their
officers, and cut off my escape. The plan would have succeeded, had not
God provided otherwise through an act of obedience.

“My Superior had lately come to live four or five miles from London.(49) I
had gone to see him, and had been with him a day or two, when, having
business in London, I wrote to those who kept the house to expect me on
such a night, and bring in certain friends whom I wanted to see. The
traitor, who was now often seen in the house, which belonged ostensibly to
his master, learnt the time, and got the Priest-hunters to come there at
midnight with their band.

“Just before mounting my horse to depart, I went to take leave of my
Superior. He would have me stay that night. I told him my business, and my
wish to keep my appointment with my friends; but the blessed Father would
not allow it, though, as he said afterwards, he knew no reason, nor was it
his wont to act in this manner. Without doubt he was guided by the
inspiration of God; for early next morning we heard that some Papists had
been seized in that house, and the story ran that a Priest was among them.
The fact was that my servant, Richard Fulwood, was caught trying to hide
himself in a dark place, there being as yet no regular hiding-places,
though I meant to make some. As he cut a good figure, and neither the
traitor nor any one else that knew him was there, he was taken for a
Priest. Three Catholics and one schismatic were seized and thrown into
prison. The latter was a Catholic at heart, but did not refuse to go to
the heretics’ churches. As he was a trusty man, I employed him as keeper
of the house, to manage any business in the neighbourhood. At their
examination they all showed themselves steadfast and true, and answered
nothing that could give the enemy any inkling that the house belonged to
me instead of to my host. It was well that it was so; for things would
have gone harder with the latter had it been otherwise. The magistrates
sent him a special summons, in the hope that my arrest would enable them
to make out a stronger case against him. As soon as he arrived in London
he went straight to the house, never dreaming what had happened there, in
order to treat with me as to the reason of his summons, and how he was to
answer it. So he came and knocked at the door. It was opened to him at
once; but, poor sheep of Christ, he fell into the clutches of wolves,
instead of the arms of his shepherd and friend. For the house had been
broken into the night before, and there were some ministers of Satan still
lingering there, to watch for any Catholics that might come, before all
got scent of the danger. Out came these men then; the good gentleman found
himself ensnared, and was led prisoner to the magistrates. ‘How many
Priests do you keep in your house?’ ‘Who are they?’ were the questions
poured in upon him on all sides. He made answer, that harbouring Priests
was a thing punishable with death, and so he had taken good care not to
run such a risk. On their still pressing him, he said that he was ready to
meet any accusation that could be brought against him on this head.
However, they would not hint anything about me, because though
disappointed this time, they still hoped to catch me later, as the traitor
was as yet unsuspected.

“My host had on hand a translation of a work of Father Jerome Platus, _On
the Happiness of a Religious State_. He had just finished the second part,
and had brought it with him to see me about it. When he was seized, these
papers were seized too. Being asked what they were, he said it was a book
of devotion. Now the heretics are wont to pry into any writings that they
find, because they are afraid of anything being published against
themselves and their false doctrine. Not having time to go on with the
whole case, they were very earnest about his being answerable for those
papers. He said that there was nothing contained in them against the State
or against sound teaching; and offered on the spot to prove the goodness
and holiness of everything that was there set down. In so doing, as he
told me afterwards, he felt great comfort at having to answer for so good
a book. He was thrown into prison, and kept in such close confinement that
only one of his servants was allowed to go near him, and that was the
traitor. Knowing that his master had no inkling of his bad faith, they
hoped by his means to find out my retreat, and seize my person much sooner
than they could otherwise have done.”

The following is Mr. Wiseman’s examination, taken before Sir Edward Coke
and others, in which will be found the defence of Father Jerome Platus,
which Father Gerard so accurately remembered, and embodied in his

“The examination(50) of William Wiseman, of Wymbyshe, in the county of
Essex, gentleman, taken the 19th day of March, in the thirty-sixth year of
Her Majesty’s reign [1594].

“He saith that he hath the murrey” [mulberry-coloured] “beads (showed unto
him upon his examination) of a gentlewoman and friend of his, and that he
will not tell her name, for that she is a Catholic, as he termeth her, and
saith that he hath had these beads about a year and a quarter, and
received the same at Wymbyshe aforesaid, at his house there, called
Broadoaks, and saith now, upon better advertisement, that his sister,
Bridget Wiseman, now being beyond sea, did get the said beads and string
the same for him, this examinate, but where she had them he cannot tell.
Being demanded whether he knew a book (showed to him upon his examination)
called _Breviarium Romanum_, he denieth that he knoweth the book or whose
it is. He supposeth that a letter showed unto him upon his examination,
beginning, ‘Dear son, this day,’ &c. &c., and ending with ‘Commendation to
all my friends,’ is his mother’s own handwriting, and sent unto him, this
examinate, to his house aforesaid to-morrow shall be a seven-night.

“And saith that a friend of his hath hired the house in Golding-lane,
where he was apprehended, but denieth to tell his name for charity sake,
but saith that his friend hired it of Mr. Tute, dwelling in the next house
unto it, and saith that he hired it the last term. And saith that his
friend did hire the said house for him, this examinate, and his mother,
and saith that he never was at the house before, but came to the said
house by such description as his friend made to him of it, and that this
examinate came thither on Saturday at night to lie there, and his man
(whose name _he will not tell_,(51) is Richard Fulwood) provided him by
his commandment and appointment a bed and furniture belonging to the same
in the said house, and knoweth not whether the bedding was in the house
before he, this examinate, hired the same house or no, but thinketh that
some of the bedding that now is there was in the house before.

“He saith that the said Richard Fulwood hath served him about Shrovetide
last was two years.

“And saith that since he, this examinate, was confined, he hath used John
Fulwood, brother to the said Richard Fulwood, in travelling about his

“And saith that his servant, Thomas Barker, after he was apprehended and
under arrest, was sent by this examinate to his inn, to return to him
again as he saith, and further saith that before the said Thomas Barker
went off out of the constable’s custody, he, this examinate, laid two
angels in the headborough’s hand, and to take them to his own use if his
servant did not return again. He thinketh he is gone to this examinate’s
house and denieth that he gave any message to the said Thomas Barker, save
only that he should signify to his housekeeper where he this examinate
was, and saith that Thomas Barker hath dwelt with him above a year past,
and was commended to him by a friend of his being a Catholic, and refuseth
to tell his name; and saith that both his said servants have been
recusants ever since they dwelt with him.

“And confesseth that a book intituled _Hieronymi Plati de Societate Jesu
de bono statu religionis_ is his own, and that he caused the same to be
bought at Cawood’s shop in Paul’s Churchyard, and saith that the book
containeth nothing but true doctrine, and that he translated it through
with his own hand—which was found and yet remaineth—the book; and that his
servant Richard Fulwood bought the same, and hath had it or the like by
the space of these two years and more, and saith that certain of his
friends(52) coming to him this examinate, he the said examinate commended
the same book to them to be a good book, and delivered the same book to
them, to be seen and read of, and saith within the said two years he this
examinate bought divers of the said book and hath sent of the same to some
of the examinate’s friends, as namely to the Priests at Wisbech, that is
to say, Father Edmonds, and to no other by name but to him, but generally
to the Priests, which is about a year past: and that the said Father
Edmonds returned thanks [in] answer to the examinate that he liked the
book very well, and this book he sent and received answer by his said
servant Thomas Barker, who was born in Norwich, and saith that this
examinate hath read over the first and half the second of the said book
unto the 12th chapter, and that he dare to take upon him to defend so much
to be sound and true: and saith that this examinate was with Father
Edmonds at Wisbech about Michaelmas last was twelve months, and there saw
and spake with him both privately and in company.


“Examined by



“On learning the seizure of our house at London,” Father Gerard continues,
“and my host’s imprisonment, I went down to his country house to settle
with his wife and friends what was to be done, and put all our effects in
safe keeping. As we wanted the altar furniture for the approaching Easter,
we sent very little of it to our friends. Of course I could not stay away
from my entertainers at so holy a time, especially as they were in sorrow
and trouble. In Holy Week the treacherous servant came from London with a
letter from his master, wherein the latter set forth all that had befallen
him, the questions that had been put to him, and his answers. This letter,
though seen, had been let pass for the credit of the bearer, to give him a
chance of seeing whether I was in the house at this solemn season. He
brought me another letter from my servant, whose capture I spoke of above.
When from the traitor’s information they knew him to be my servant, hoping
to wrest from him the disclosure of his friends and abettors, they kept
him in solitary confinement in the loathsome prison of Bridewell. The
purport of the letter was how he had denied everything,(53) what threats
had been held out to him, and what his sufferings were in prison. He had,
he said, hardly enough black bread to keep him from starving; his abode
was a narrow strongly-built cell, in which there was no bed, so that he
had to sleep sitting on the window-sill, and was months without taking off
his clothes. There was a little straw in the place, but it was so trodden
down and swarming with vermin that he could not lie on it. But what was
most intolerable to him was their leaving all that came from him in an
open vessel in that narrow den, so that he was continually distressed and
almost stifled by the smell. Besides all this, he was daily awaiting an
examination by torture.

“While reading the letter to my hostess in presence of the traitor, I
chanced to say at this last part, ‘I wish I could bear some of his
tortures, so that there might be less for him.’ It was these words of mine
that let us know later on who was the traitor, and author of all our woes.
For when I was taken and questioned, and declared I was quite unacquainted
with the family, those who were examining me forgot their secret, and
cried out, ‘What lies you tell!—did you not say so-and-so before such a
lady, as you read your servant’s letter?’ But I still denied it, giving
them good reasons, however, why, even if it had been true, I could and
ought to have denied it.(54) But to take up the thread of my story.

“The traitor on his return to London informed our enemies of everything.
Forthwith they sent two of their best messengers, or pursuivants as they
call them, to two gentlemen of the county, who were Justices of the Peace,
bidding them search the house carefully with their men. The traitor also
returned on Easter Sunday, on pretence of bringing a fresh letter from
London, but in reality to play into the hands of our enemies and acquaint
them with our plans. On Easter Monday” [April 1, 1594], “on account of the
dangers that threatened us, we rose before our usual hour, and were trying
to get ready for Mass before sunrise, when suddenly we heard the noise of
horses galloping, and of a multitude of men coming to surround the house
and cut off all escape. Seeing what was going to happen, we had the doors
kept fast. Meanwhile the ornaments were pulled off the altar, the
hiding-places thrown open, my books and papers carried into them, and an
effort was made to hide me and all my effects together. I wanted to get
into a hiding-place near the dining-room, as well to be further from the
chapel and the more suspicious part of the house, as because there was
store of provisions there, to wit, a bottle of wine, and certain light but
strengthening food, such as biscuit made to keep, &c. Moreover, I hoped to
hear our enemies talk, wherein there might be something, perchance, which
bore upon our interests. These reasons, then, moved me to choose that
place, and, in sooth, it was very fit and safe for hiding in. But God so
willed it, that the mistress of the house should in nowise agree. She
would have me go into a place near the chapel, where the altar furniture
could sooner be stowed with me. I yielded, though there was nothing there
for me to eat in case the search should last long. I went in, then, after
everything was safe that needed putting away.

“Scarcely had I done so, when the searchers broke down the door, and
forcing their way in, spread through the house with great noise and
racket. Their first step was to lock up the mistress of the house in her
own room with her maids; and the Catholic servants they kept locked up in
divers places in the same part of the house. They then took to themselves
the whole house, which was of a good size, and made a thorough search in
every part, not forgetting even to look under the tiles of the roof. The
darkest corners they examined with the help of candles. Finding nothing
whatever, they began to break down certain places that they suspected.
They measured the walls with long rods, so that if they did not tally,
they might pierce the part not accounted for. Thus they sounded the walls
and all the boards, to find out and break into any hollow places that
there might be.

“They spent two days in this work without finding anything. Thinking,
therefore, that I had gone on Easter Sunday, the two magistrates went away
on the second day, leaving the pursuivants to take the mistress of the
house, and all her Catholic servants of both sexes, to London, to be
examined and imprisoned. They meant to leave some who were not Catholics
to keep the house, the traitor being one of them. The good lady was
pleased at this, for she hoped that he would be the means of freeing me,
and rescuing me from death: for she knew that I had made up my mind to
suffer and die of starvation between two walls, rather than come forth and
save my own life at the expense of others. In fact, during those four days
that I lay hid, I had nothing to eat but a biscuit or two and a little
quince jelly, which my hostess had at hand and gave me as I was going in.
She did not look for any more, as she supposed that the search would not
last beyond a day. But now that two days were gone, and she was to be
carried off on the third with all her trusty servants, she began to be
afraid of my dying of sheer hunger. She bethought herself then of the
traitor, who she heard was to be left behind. He had made a great fuss and
show of eagerness in withstanding the searchers, when they first forced
their way in. For all that, she would not have let him know of the
hiding-places, had she not been in such straits. Thinking it better,
however, to rescue me from certain death, though it was at her own risk,
she charged him, when she was taken away, and every one had gone, to go
into a certain room, call me by my wonted name, and tell me that the
others had been taken to prison, but that he was left to deliver me. I
would then answer, she said, from behind the wainscot where I lay

“The traitor promised to obey faithfully, but was faithful only to the
faithless, for he unfolded the whole matter to the ruffians who had been
left behind. No sooner had they heard it, than they called back the
magistrates who had departed. These returned early in the morning, and
renewed the search. They measured and sounded everywhere, much more
carefully than before, especially in the chamber above mentioned, in order
to find out some hollow place. But finding nothing whatever during the
whole of the third day, they purposed on the morrow to strip off all the
wainscot of that room. Meanwhile they set guards in all the rooms about,
to watch all night lest I should escape. I heard from my hiding-place the
pass-word which the captain of the band gave to his soldiers, and I might
have got off by using it, were it not that they would have seen me issuing
from my retreat: for there were two on guard in the chapel where I got
into my hiding-place, and several also in the large wainscotted room which
had been pointed out to them.

“But mark the wonderful providence of God. Here was I in my hiding-place.
The way I got into it was by taking up the floor, made of wood and bricks,
under the fire-place. The place was so constructed that a fire could not
be lit in it without damaging the house; though we made a point of keeping
wood there, as if it were meant for a fire. Well, the men on the
night-watch lit a fire in this very grate, and began chatting together
close to it. Soon the bricks, which had not bricks but wood underneath
them, got loose, and nearly fell out of their places, as the wood gave
way. On noticing this and probing the bottom with a stick, they found that
the bottom was made of wood; whereupon they remarked that this was
something curious. I thought that they were going there and then to break
open the place and enter; but they made up their minds at last to put off
further examination till next day. Meanwhile, though nothing was further
from my thoughts than any chance of escaping, I besought the Lord
earnestly, that if it were for the glory of His Name, I might not be taken
in that house, and so endanger my entertainers; nor in any other house,
where others would share my disaster. My prayer was heard. I was preserved
in that house in a wonderful manner; and when, a few days after, I was
taken, it was without prejudice to any one, as shall be presently seen.

“Next morning, therefore, they renewed the search most carefully,
everywhere except in the top chamber which served as a chapel, and in
which the two watchmen had made a fire over my head, and had noticed the
strange make of the grate. God had blotted out of their memory all
remembrance of the thing. Nay, none of the searchers entered the place the
whole day, though it was the one that was most open to suspicion, and if
they had entered, they would have found me without any search; rather, I
should say, they would have seen me, for the fire had burnt a great hole
in my hiding-place, and had I not got a little out of the way, the hot
embers would have fallen on me. The searchers, forgetting or not caring
about this room, busied themselves in ransacking the rooms below, in one
of which I was said to be. In fact, they found the other hiding-place to
which I thought of going, as I mentioned before. It was not far off, so I
could hear their shouts of joy when they first found it. But after joy
comes grief; and so it was with them. The only thing that they found, was
a goodly store of provision laid up. Hence they may have thought that this
was the place that the mistress of the house meant; in fact, an answer
might have been given from it to the call of a person in the room
mentioned by her.

“They stuck to their purpose, however, of stripping off all the wainscot
of the other large room. So they set a man to work near the ceiling, close
to the place where I was: for the lower part of the walls was covered with
tapestry, not with wainscot. So they stripped off the wainscot all round,
till they came again to the very place where I lay, and there they lost
heart and gave up the search. My hiding-place was in a thick wall of the
chimney, behind a finely laid and carved mantel-piece. They could not well
take the carving down without risk of breaking it. Broken, however, it
would have been, and that into a thousand pieces, had they any conception
that I could be concealed behind it. But knowing that there were two
flues, they did not think that there could be room enough there for a man.
Nay, before this, on the second day of the search, they had gone into the
room above, and tried the fire-place through which I had got into my hole.
They then got into the chimney by a ladder to sound with their hammers.
One said to another in my hearing, ‘Might there not be a place here for a
person to get down into the wall of the chimney below, by lifting up this
hearth?’ ‘No,’ answered one of the pursuivants, whose voice I knew, ‘you
could not get down that way into the chimney underneath, but there might
easily be an entrance at the back of this chimney.’ So saying, he gave the
place a kick. I was afraid that he would hear the hollow sound of the hole
where I was. But God, Who set bounds to the sea, said also to their dogged
obstinacy, ‘Thus far shalt thou go, and no further;’ and He spared His
sorely-stricken children, and gave them not up into their persecutors’
hands, nor allowed utter ruin to light upon them for their great charity
towards me.

“Seeing that their toil availed them naught, they thought that I had
escaped somehow, and so they went away at the end of four days, leaving
the mistress and her servants free. The yet unbetrayed traitor stayed
after the searchers were gone. As soon as the doors of the house were made
fast, the mistress came to call me, another four-days-buried Lazarus, from
what would have been my tomb had the search continued a little longer. For
I was all wasted and weakened, as well with hunger, as with want of sleep,
and with having to sit so long in such a narrow place. The mistress of the
house, too, had eaten nothing whatever during the whole time, not only to
share my distress, and to try on herself how long I could live without
food, but chiefly to draw down the mercy of God on me, herself, and her
family, by this fasting and prayer. Indeed, her face was so changed when I
came out, that she seemed quite another woman, and I should not have known
her but for her voice and her dress. After coming out, I was seen by the
traitor, whose treachery was still unknown to us. He did nothing then, not
even send after the searchers, as he knew that I meant to be off before
they could be recalled.”


“As soon as I had taken a little refreshment and rest, I set out and went
to a friend’s house, where I kept still for a fortnight. Then knowing that
I had left my friends in great distress, I proceeded to London to aid and
comfort them. I got a safe lodging with a person of rank.(55) A year ago
it had been Father Southwell’s abode, before his seizure and imprisonment
in the Tower of London, where he now was. I wanted, however, to hire a
house where I might be safe and unknown, and be free to treat with my
friends; for I could not manage my business in a house that was not my
own, especially in such a one as I then dwelt in. I had recourse to a
servant of Father Garnett, named Little John,(56) an excellent man and one
well able to help me. He it was that used to make our hiding-places; in
fact, he made the one to which I owed my safety. Thanks to his endeavours,
I found a house well suited for my purpose, and settled with my landlord
about the rent. Till the house was furnished, I hired a room in my
landlord’s own house.(57) There I resolved to pass two or three nights in
arranging my affairs, getting letters from my friends in distress, and
writing back letters of comfort in return. Thus it was that the traitor
got sent to the place, which was only known to a small circle of friends.
It was God’s will that my hour should then come.

“One night, when Little John and I had to sleep in that room, the traitor
had to bring a letter that needed an answer, and he left with the answer
about ten o’clock. I had only come in about nine, sorely against the will
of the lady, my entertainer, who was uncommonly earnest that I should not
leave her house that night. Away went the traitor then, and gave
information to the Priest-hunters both when and where he had left me. They
got together a band, and came at midnight to the house, just as I had gone
to sleep. Little John and I were both awakened by the noise outside. I
guessed what it was, and told John to hide the letter received that night
in the ashes where the fire had been. No sooner had he done so and got
into bed again, than the noise which we had heard before seemed to travel
up to our room. Then some men began knocking at the chamber-door, ready to
break it in if it was not opened at once. There was no exit except by the
door where our foes were; so I bade John get up and open the door. The
room was at once filled with men, armed with swords and staves; and many
more stood outside, who were not able to enter. Among the rest stood two
pursuivants, one of whom knew me well, so there was no chance of my
passing unknown.

“I got up and dressed, as I was bid. All my effects were searched, but
without a single thing being found that could do harm to any man. My
companion and I were then taken off to prison. By God’s grace we did not
feel distressed, nor did we show any token of fear. What I was most afraid
of was, that they had seen me come out of that lady’s house, and had
tracked me to the room that I had hired; and so that the noble family that
had harboured me would suffer on my account. But this fear was unfounded;
for I learnt afterwards that the traitor had simply told them where he had
left me, and there it was that they found me.

“The pursuivant who knew me, kept me in his house two nights; either
because those who were to examine me were hindered from doing so on the
first day, or (as it struck me afterwards) because they wished first to
examine my companion, Little John. I noticed the first night, that the
room where I was locked up was not far from the ground; and that it would
be easy to let myself down from the window by tearing up the bedclothes
and making a rope of them. I should have done so that very night, had I
not heard some one stirring in the next room. I thought that he was put
there to watch me, and so it turned out. However, I meant to carry out my
plan the night after, if the watchman went away; but my keeper forestalled
me; for to save the expense of a guard, he put irons on my arms, which
prevented me from bringing my hands together and from separating them.
Then in truth I was more at ease in mind, though less in body; for the
thought of escape vanished, and there came in its place a feeling of joy
that I had been vouchsafed this suffering for the sake of Christ, and I
thanked the Lord for it as well as I could.

“Next day I was brought before the Commissioners, at the head of whom was
one who is now Lord Chancellor of the realm.(58) He had been a Catholic,
but went over to the other side, for he loved the things of this world.

“They first asked me my name and calling. I gave them the name I passed
by; whereupon one called me by my true name, and said that I was a Jesuit.
As I was aware that the pursuivant knew me, I answered that I would be
frank and open in everything that belonged to myself, but would say
nothing that could affect others. So I told them my name and calling, to
wit that, though most unworthy, I was a Priest of the Society of Jesus.

“ ‘Who sent you into England?’ they asked.

“ ‘The Superiors of the Society.’

“ ‘To what end?’

“ ‘To bring back stray souls to their Creator.’

“ ‘No, no,’ said they; ‘you were sent for matters of State; and to lure
people from the obedience of the Queen to the obedience of the Pope.’

“ ‘As for matters of State,’ I replied, ‘we are forbidden to have anything
to say to them, as they do not belong to our Institute. This prohibition,
indeed, extends to all the members of the Society; but on us Missioners it
is particularly enjoined in a special instruction. As for the obedience
due to the Queen and the Pope, each is to be obeyed in that wherein they
have jurisdiction; and one obedience does not clash with the other, as
England and all Christian realms have hitherto experienced.’

“ ‘How long have you been doing duty as a Priest in this country?’

“ ‘About six years.’

“ ‘How, and where, did you land, and where have you lived since your

“ ‘I cannot in conscience answer any of these questions,’ I replied,
‘especially the last, as it would bring mischief on others; so I crave
pardon for not satisfying your wishes.’

“ ‘Nay,’ said they, ‘it is just on these heads that we chiefly desire you
to satisfy us, and we bid you in the Queen’s name to do so.’

“ ‘I honour the Queen,’ said I, ‘and will obey her and you in all that is
lawful, but here you must hold me excused: for were I to mention any
person or place where I have been lodged, the innocent would have to
suffer, according to your laws, for the kind service they have done me.
Such behaviour on my part would be against all justice and charity, and
therefore I never will be guilty of it.’

“ ‘You shall do so by force, if not by goodwill.’

“ ‘I hope,’ I said, ‘by the grace of God, it shall not be as you say. I
beg you, therefore, to take this my answer: that neither now nor at any
other time will I disclose what you demand of me.’

“Thereupon they wrote a warrant for my imprisonment, and gave it to the
pursuivants, bidding them take me to prison. As we were leaving, he who is
now Chancellor said that I must be kept in close confinement, as in cases
of high treason. ‘But tell the gaolers,’ he added, ‘to treat him well on
account of his birth.’ It seems, however, that the head gaoler gave orders
at variance with this humane recommendation: for I was lodged in a
garret,(59) where there was nothing but a bed, and no room to stand up
straight, except just where the bed was. There was one window always open,
through which foul air entered and rain fell on to my bed. The room door
was so low, that I had to enter, not on my feet, but on my knees, and even
then I was forced to stoop. However, I reckoned this rather an advantage,
inasmuch as it helped to keep out the stench (certainly no small one) that
came from the privy close to my door, which was used by all the prisoners
in that part of the house. I was often kept awake, or woke up, by the bad

“In this place I passed two or three days of true repose. I felt no pain
or anxiety of mind, and enjoyed, by the blessing of God, that peace which
the world does not and cannot give.

“On the third or fourth day, I was taken for a second examination to the
house of a magistrate called Young. He it was who had the management of
all the searches and persecutions that the Catholics in the neighbourhood
of London had to endure; and it was to him that the traitor had given his
information. Along with him was another, who had for many years conducted
the examination by torture, Topcliffe by name. He was a man of cruelty,
athirst for the blood of the Catholics, and so crafty and cunning, that
all the wily wit of his companion seemed abashed into silence by his
presence; in fact, the Justice spoke very little during the whole
examination. I found the two of them alone: Young in a civilian’s dress,
Topcliffe with a sword by his side and in a Court dress. He was an old
man, grown grey in wickedness. Young began questioning me as to my place
of abode, and the Catholics that I knew. I answered that I neither could
nor would make disclosures that would get any one into trouble, for
reasons already stated. He turned then to Topcliffe and said, ‘I told you
how you would find him.’

“Topcliffe looked frowningly at me and said, ‘Do you know me? I am
Topcliffe, of whom I doubt not you have often heard.’

“He meant this to frighten me. To heighten the effect, he had laid his
sword on the table near his hand, as though he were ready to use it on
occasion. But he failed certainly, and caused me not the least alarm; and
whereas I was wont to answer with deference on other occasions, this time
I did quite the contrary, because I saw him making a show to scare me.
Finding that he could get no other manner of reply from me than what I had
given, he took a pen and wrote an artful and malicious form of

“ ‘Here,’ says he, ‘read this paper. I shall show it to the Privy Council,
that they may see what a traitor you are to the realm, and how manifestly

“The contents of the paper were as follows: ‘The examinate was sent by the
Pope and the Jesuit Persons, and coming through Belgium there had
interviews with the Jesuit Holt and Sir William Stanley; thence he came
into England, on a political errand, to beguile the Queen’s subjects, and
lure them from their obedience to their Sovereign. If, therefore, he will
not disclose the places and persons with whom he has lived, it is presumed
that he has done much mischief to the State,’ &c.

“On reading this, I saw that I could not meet so many falsehoods with one
single denial; and as I was desirous that he should show my way of
answering to the Council, I said that I also wished to answer in writing.
Hereat Topcliffe was overjoyed, and cried out, ‘Oh! now you are a
reasonable man;’ but he was disappointed. He had hoped to catch me in my
words, or at least to find out my handwriting, so that some of the papers
found in the houses of the Catholics might be proved to be mine. I foresaw
this, and therefore wrote in a feigned hand as follows: ‘I was sent by my
Superiors. I never was in Belgium. I have not seen Father Holt since the
time that I left Rome. I have not seen Sir William Stanley since he left
England with the Earl of Leicester. I am forbidden to meddle with matters
of State; I never have done, and never will do so. I have tried to bring
back souls to the knowledge and love of their Creator, and to make them
show obedience to the laws of God and man; and I hold this last point to
be a matter of conscience. I humbly crave that my refusal to answer
anything concerning the persons that I know, may not be set down to
contempt of authority; seeing that God’s commandment forces me to follow
this course, and to act otherwise would be against justice and charity.’

“While I was writing this, the old man waxed wroth. He shook with passion,
and would fain have snatched the paper from me.

“ ‘If you don’t want me to write the truth,’ said I, ‘I’ll not write at

“ ‘Nay,’ quoth he, ‘write so-and-so, and I’ll copy out what you have

“ ‘I shall write what _I_ please,’ I answered, ‘and not what _you_ please.
Show what I have written to the Council, for I shall add nothing but my

“This I signed so near the writing, that nothing could be put in between.
The hot-tempered man, seeing himself disappointed, broke out into threats
and blasphemies. ‘I’ll get you put into my power, and hang you in the air,
and show you no mercy; and then I shall see what God will rescue you out
of my hands.’

“From the abundance of his heart he poured forth these evil words; but by
this he raised my hopes, just the opposite effect to what he wanted.(60)
Neither then nor since have I ever reckoned aught of a blasphemer; and, in
sooth, I have found by experience, that God increases the confidence of
His servants, when He allows strife to rise up against them. I gave,
therefore, this short answer: ‘You will be able to do nothing without the
leave of God, Who never abandons those that hope in Him. The will of God
be done.’

“Thereupon Young called the gaoler who had brought me, to take me back to
prison. As he was leading me off, Topcliffe addressed him and bade him put
irons on my legs. Both then fell a-chiding him for having brought me by
himself, fearing perchance lest I should escape from his hands. When I had
crept back to my little closet, my legs were garnished according to order.
The man seemed grieved that put the fetters on. For my part, instead of
grief I felt very much joy, such is God’s goodness to the most unworthy of
His creatures. To pay the man for the kind turn that he had done me, I
gave him some money for his job; and told him it was no punishment to
suffer in so good a cause.”

Father Garnett described this act of faith and courage in the following
terms in a letter to the General of the Society, which we translate from
the Italian: “This Father has always been very courageous, and when he was
first taken, and the gaoler put very heavy irons on his legs, he gave him
some money. The following day, the gaoler, thinking that if he took off
the irons doubtless he would give him more, took them off, but got
nothing. After some days he came to put them on again, and received a
reward, and then taking them off did not get a farthing. They went on
playing thus with one another several times, but at last the gaoler,
seeing that he did not give him anything for taking off his irons, left
him for a long time in confinement, so that the great toe of one foot was
for almost two years in great danger of mortification. So your Reverence
sees that in these times the courage of true Christian soldiers is not
wanting. May our Lord give him perseverance, and to those who follow him
the grace to imitate him.”(61)


“Here I stayed upwards of three months. During the first month I made from
memory, as well as I could, the Spiritual Exercises; giving four and
sometimes five hours a day to meditation. God lavished His goodness on me
throughout, and I had proof that He opens His bounteous hands to His
servants most of all when He has closed up the sources of earthly comfort
to them.

“When I was quietly lodged in prison, without being brought out or
undergoing any further examination for many days, they examined and put to
the torture Richard Fulwood, whom the traitor had pointed out as my
servant, and Little John, who had been taken with me. Unable, either by
coaxing or bribery, to draw anything from them that would compromise
others, they had recourse to threats, and then to force: but the force of
the Holy Ghost in them was too great to be overcome by men. They were both
hung up for three hours together, having their arms fixed into iron rings,
and their bodies hanging in the air; a torture which causes frightful pain
and intolerable extension of the sinews. It was all to no purpose; no
disclosure could be wrested from them that was hurtful to others; no
rewards could entice, no threats or punishments force them, to discover
where I or any of ours had been harboured, or to name any of our
acquaintances or abettors.

“Here I ought not to pass over in silence God’s great goodness and mercy
to me, the most unworthy of all His servants. It was shown in this, that
there was not a single traitor, either among those that were then seized
in my house or in the house of the good gentleman, my entertainer; no, nor
even among those that, in the other persecutions which by God’s providence
afterwards befel me, were imprisoned, tortured, and treated with the
utmost cruelty. Not one of them, I say, ever yielded, but all, by the
grace of God, held steadfast through everything. Those who were my
companions, or the servants I intrusted with commissions to the gentlemen
of my acquaintance, as they necessarily knew all my friends, would have
been able to do very great mischief, and enrich themselves by ruining
others: yet not one of them ever caused any harm either by word or deed,
wittingly or unwittingly; nor, as far as I remember, did they ever give
one cause of complaint. On many of them God, in His goodness, poured the
choicest gifts of His Holy Spirit.

“John Lasnet, the first that I had, died in Spain a Lay-brother of the
Society. The second that I had for some little while was Michael Walpole,
who is now a Priest of the Society, and labouring in England. The third
was named [Ralph] Willis. He had a vocation, so I sent him to study in the
Seminary at Rhemes, where he went through his course of philosophy. His
behaviour there was orderly, but afterwards at Rome he joined a turbulent
party, thus returning evil for good. He was the only one of my helpmates
that walked at all awry. He was, however, made Priest, and sent into
England. There he was seized, and condemned to death for the Faith, and
answered unflinchingly before the tribunal; but instead of losing his
life, he was kept some time in prison; whence he effected his escape, and
is still labouring in England.

“After him I had a godly man of the name of John Sutton, the brother of
three Priests, one of whom was a martyr, and another died in the Society.
Father Garnett kept him in his house for many years, up to the time of his
own arrest.

“The next that I had was Richard Fulwood, of whom I have spoken above. He
managed to make his escape, and during my imprisonment was employed by
Father Garnett until that Father’s happy death. He managed nearly all his
master’s business with strangers, not without the knowledge of the
persecutors, who offered a handsome sum for his capture, and were still
more anxious about it after Father Garnett was taken. In fact, they gave
the poor man no peace until they drove him into banishment, where he yet
remains, doing good service to our mission notwithstanding.

“After him I had John Lilly, a man well known at Rome; he died lately in
England, a Lay-brother of the Society. Next came two other godly men, whom
I did not take to keep, but merely as makeshifts till I could get a man
every way suited to my wants, and endowed with a religious spirit. I found
one at length; and when I quitted England, I took him with me, and left
him at St. Omers. There he was well grounded in Greek and Latin, and
became a great favourite with all the Fathers, who sent him into Spain
with the highest recommendations. He still remains there, growing always
in virtue and learning. Not long ago I had a letter from the Father
Prefect of Studies, in which he tells me that he is the best student in
his course.

“Such were the mercies of God vouchsafed to His unworthy servant, in
answer to my constant prayers. Many gentlemen intrust themselves and their
interests to our servants’ good faith no less than to ours; so that there
could be no greater let or hindrance to our good work, than any treachery
on their part; indeed, the defection of such a one would be likely to
cause the most frightful ruin among Catholics. For if one servant, and he
neither a Catholic nor one of the household, like the traitor of whom I
have spoken, made such havoc in his master’s family, what mischief could a
Priest’s servant do to the many persons of high rank that had harboured
him and his master! God has hitherto kept me free from the like betrayal.

“To return to my story. They could wrest nothing out of Little John and
Fulwood; and none of my host’s Catholic servants would make any avowal, or
own that he knew me. Seeing that they could bring no witness against him,
they gradually lost the hope they had of seizing his chattels and revenue.

“Sometimes they would bring me up for examination, when they had anything
new against me. Once they called me to try on a suit of clothes, which had
been found in my host’s house, and which the traitor said were mine. I put
them on, and they were just a fit, for the truth was that they had been
made for me; however, I would not own them, nor admit them to be mine.
Hereupon Young flew into a passion, called me a headstrong and
unreasonable man. He was so barefaced as to add ‘How much more sensible is
Southwell, who after long wilfulness is now ready to conform, and wishes
to treat with some man of learning.’

“ ‘Nay,’ I answered, ‘I will never believe that Father Southwell wishes to
treat with any one from any wavering in his faith, or to learn what to
believe from a heretic; but he might perchance challenge any heretic to
dispute with him that dared, as Father Campion did, and as many others
would do if you would let them, and appoint proper umpires.’

“Then Young seized hold of the book, and kissing it, cried: ‘I swear upon
this book that Southwell has offered to treat, with a view of embracing
our religion.’

“ ‘I do not believe he ever did so,’ said I.

“ ‘What,’ said an officer of the Court, ‘do you not believe his oath?’

“ ‘No,’ was my reply, ‘I neither can nor will believe him; for I have a
better opinion of Father Southwell’s firmness than of his truthfulness;
since perhaps he thinks that he is allowed to make this statement to
beguile me.’

“ ‘No such thing,’ said Young; ‘but are you ready to conform if he has
done so?’ (To conform, in their sense, means to embrace their deformed

“ ‘Certainly not,’ I answered; ‘for if I keep myself free from heresy and
heretical meetings, it is not because he or any man on earth does the
same; but because to act otherwise would be to deny Christ, by denying His
faith, which may be done by deed as well as by word. This is what our Lord
forbade under pain of a heavier punishment than man can inflict, when He
said, “He that shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father
Who is in Heaven.” ’

“To this the heretic answered not a word, save that I was stiff-necked (a
name that was applicable rather to himself), and bade them take me back to

“Another time I was sent for to be confronted with three witnesses,
servants of a certain nobleman named Lord Henry Seymour, son of the Duke
of Somerset. They were heretics, and avouched that on a certain day I had
dined with their mistress and her sister, while they, among others, waited
at table. The two sisters were daughters of the Earl of Northumberland.
One of them was a devout Catholic, and had come to London a little before
my imprisonment to get my help in passing over to Belgium, there to
consecrate herself to God. She was staying at the house of her sister, the
wife of the aforesaid lord. She wanted to bring back this sister to the
Catholic faith, which the latter had abandoned after her good father’s
death. I dined with them on the day the witnesses mentioned. It was in
Lent; and they told how their mistress ate meat, while the Lady Mary and I
ate nothing but fish. Young flung this charge in my teeth with an air of
triumph, as though I could not help acknowledging it, and thereby
disclosing some of my acquaintances. I answered that I did not know the
men whom he had brought up.

“ ‘But we know you,’ said they, ‘to be the same that was at such a place
on such a day.’

“ ‘You wrong your mistress,’ said I, ‘in saying so. I, however, will not
so wrong her.’

“ ‘What a barefaced fellow you are!’ exclaimed Young.

“ ‘Doubtless,’ I answered, ‘were these men’s statements true. As for me, I
cannot in conscience speak positively in the matter, for reasons that I
have often alleged; let them look to the truth and justice of what they

“Young then, in a rage, remanded me to prison.

“After three months some of my friends made efforts to have me removed to
another more comfortable prison, seeing that nothing could be proved
against me except my Priesthood; and this they obtained by means of a
handsome bribe to Young. So they sent to my prison, which was called the
Counter, and took off my fetters. These were rusty when they were first
put on; but by wearing and moving about in them every day, I had rendered
them quite bright and shining. My cell was so small, that a man who had
his legs free, might take the whole length of it in three steps. I used to
shuffle from one end to the other, as well for exercise, as because the
people underneath used to sing lewd songs and Geneva psalms; and I wanted
to drown by the clanking of my chain a noise that struck still more
harshly on my ear. My fetters then being removed, and my expenses paid
(which were not great, as I had had little but butter and cheese to season
my bread withal), they brought me before Young, who, making a show of
anger, began to chide and upbraid me more than was his wont, and asked me
whether I was yet willing to acknowledge where and with whom I had lived.
I answered that I could not do so with a safe conscience, and therefore
would not.

“ ‘Well then,’ said he, ‘I will put you in closer confinement, where you
shall be safer lodged, and have iron bars before your window.’

“Forthwith he wrote a warrant, and sent me to the prison that is called
the Clink.(62) He made all this show, that he might not appear to have
taken money for what he did. The fact was, that the prison to which I was
now sent was far better than the other, and more comfortable for all
prisoners; but to me it afforded especial comfort, on account of the great
number of Catholics whom I found there.

“They could not now hinder me from approaching the Sacraments, and being
comforted in divers other ways, as I shall afterwards show; for when I had
been there a few months, the place was by God’s grace so improved, that as
for discharging all the duties of the Society, I should never wish to be
at large in England, provided I could always live in the like prison and
after the like fashion.(63) So my being shut up in the Clink seemed like a
change from Purgatory to Paradise. Instead of lewd songs and blasphemies,
the prayers of some Catholic neighbours in the next room met my ear. They
came to my door to cheer me up, and showed me a way by which we could open
a free communication. This was through a hole in the wall, which they had
covered with a picture, that it might not be seen. By means of it they
gave me on the morrow a letter from my friends; and at the same time
furnished me with materials for writing back. I wrote, therefore, to
Father Garnett, and told him the whole truth of what had happened to me,
and what manner of replies I had made, as I have set forth above.”

“I also confessed, and received the Most Holy Body of Christ, through that
same hole. But I had not to do this long, for the Catholics contrived to
fashion a key that would open my door; and then every morning, before the
gaoler got up, they brought me to another part of the prison, where I said
Mass, and administered the Sacraments to the prisoners lodged in that
quarter; for all of them had got keys of their cells.

“I had just such neighbours as I would have picked out had I had my
choice. My next-door neighbour was our Brother, Ralph Emerson, of whom
Father Campion, in a letter to Father General, makes mention in these
terms, ‘My little man and I.’ He was indeed small in body,(64) but in
steadfastness and endurance he was great. He had been already many long
years in bonds, ever keeping godly and devout, like a man of the Society:
and after my coming to the Clink, he remained six or seven years more. At
last he was sent off, with other confessors of Christ, to the Castle of
Wisbech, where he was attacked with palsy. One half of his body was
powerless, so that he could not move about or do the least thing for
himself. He lived, notwithstanding, to add by his patience fresh jewels to
the crown that awaited him. Being driven into banishment with the same
company, he came to St. Omers, and died a holy death there, to the great
edification of the by-standers. I found this good Brother my next
neighbour in the Clink; overhead I had John Lilly, whom God’s providence
had shut up there for his own good and mine. I had other godly men around
me, all true to their faith.

“These having the free run of the prison, any one might visit them without
danger. I arranged, therefore, that when any of my friends came to the
prison, they should ask to see one of these; and thus they got to have
talk with me without its being noticed. I did not, however, let them into
my room, but spoke to them through the aforesaid hole.

“So I passed some time in great comfort and repose; striving the while to
gather fruit of souls, by letter and by word of mouth. My first gaoler was
a sour-tempered man, who watched very closely to see that there were no
unlawful doings amongst us. This called for great wariness on our part, to
avoid discovery; but ere long God summoned him from the wardenship of the
prison, and from the prison of his body at the same time.

“His successor was a younger man of a milder turn. What with coaxing, and
what with bribes, I got him not to look into our doings too nicely, and
not to come when he was not called for, except at certain fixed times, at
which he always found me ready to receive him.

“I used the liberty thus granted me for my neighbour’s profit. I began to
hear many confessions, and reconciled many persons to the Catholic Church.
Some of them were heretics, but the greater number were only schismatics,
as I could deal more freely with these than with the others. It was only
after long acquaintance, and on the recommendation of trusty friends, that
I would let any heretics know how little restraint was put upon me. I do
not remember above eight or ten converts from heresy, of whom four entered
Religion. Two joined our Society, and the other two went into other
Orders. As for schismatics, I brought back a goodly number of them to the
bosom of the Church. Some became Religious: and others gave themselves to
good works in England during the persecution. Of these last was Mr. John
Rigby, afterwards martyred.”(65)


“During my stay in this prison, I found means to give the Spiritual
Exercises. The gaoler did as I wished him to do; he never came to me
without being called, and never went into my neighbours’ rooms at all. So
we fitted an upper chamber to serve as a chapel, where six or seven made
the Exercises, all of whom resolved to follow the counsels of Christ our
Lord, and not one of them flinched from his purpose.

“I found means also to provide for a very pressing need. Many Priests of
my acquaintance, being unable to meet with safe lodgings when they came to
London, used to put up at inns till they had settled the business that
brought them. Again, as my abode was fixed, and easy to find, the greater
part of the Priests that were sent from the Seminaries abroad had
instructions to apply to me, that through me they might be introduced to
their Superior, and might receive other assistance at my hands. Not having
always places prepared, nor houses of Catholics to which I could send
them, I rented a house and garden in a suitable spot, and furnished it, as
far as was wanted, by the help of my friends. Thither I used to send those
who brought letters of recommendation from our Fathers, and who I was
assured led a holy life and seemed well fitted for the mission. I
maintained them there till I had supplied them, through the aid of certain
friends, with clothes and necessaries, sometimes even with a residence, or
with a horse to go to their friends and kinsmen in the country. I covered
all the expenses of this house with the alms that were bestowed on me. I
did not receive alms from many persons, still less from all that came to
see me; indeed, both out of prison and in prison, I often refused such
offers. I was afraid that if I always accepted what was offered, I might
scare from me souls that wished to treat with me on the business of their
salvation; or receive gifts from those that could either ill afford it, or
would afterwards repent of it. I made it a rule, therefore, never to take
alms except from a small number of persons, whom I knew well. Most of what
I got was from those devoted friends, who offered me not only their money
but themselves, and looked upon it as a favour when I took their offer.

“I gave charge of this house to a very godly and discreet matron of good
birth, whom the Lord honoured with martyrdom.(66) Her maiden name was
Heigham, but she bore the name of Line from her deceased husband. Both she
and her husband were beloved by God, and had much to suffer for His sake.
This lady’s father was a Protestant, and when he heard of his daughter’s
becoming a Catholic, he withheld the dower which he had promised her. He
disinherited one of his sons for the same reason. This son, called William
Heigham, is now in Spain, a Lay-brother of the Society. It is twenty-six
years since I knew him. He was then a well-educated gentleman, finely
dressed like other high-born Londoners. He supported a Priest named
Thomson, whom I afterwards saw martyred. As soon as his father learned
that he, too, had become a Catholic, he went and sold his estate, the
rents of which were reckoned at 6,000 florins [600_l._] yearly, that it
might not pass to his son. The son was afterwards arrested for the Faith;
and he and his Priest together, if I mistake not, were thrown into the
prison of Bridewell, where vagrants are shut up and put to hard labour
under the lash. I paid him a visit there, and found him toiling at the
tread-mill, all covered with sweat. On recovering his freedom he hired
himself out as a servant to a gentleman, that had to wife a Catholic lady
whom I knew. She intrusted her son to his care: he taught the boy the
ground-work of the Latin tongue, besides giving him lessons on the harp,
which he himself touched admirably. I went to see him in this situation,
and had a long talk with him about his call to his present state.

“Mistress Line, his sister, married a good husband and a staunch Catholic.
He had been heir to a fine estate; but his father or uncle (for he was
heir to both) sent a message from his death-bed to young Line, then a
prisoner for the Faith, asking him to conform and go to some heretical
church for once; otherwise he would have to give up his inheritance to his
younger brother. ‘If I must either give up God or the world,’ was his
courageous answer, ‘I prefer to give up the world, for it is good to
cleave unto God.’ So both his father’s and his uncle’s estate went to his
younger brother. I saw this latter once in his elder brother’s room,
dressed in silk and other finery, while his brother had on plain and mean
clothes. This good man afterwards went into Belgium, where he obtained a
pension from the King of Spain, part of which he sent to his wife; and
thus they lived a poor and holy life. His death, which happened in
Belgium, left his widow friendless, so that she had to look to Providence
for her support. Before my imprisonment she had been charitably taken by
my entertainers into their own house. They furnished her with board and
lodging, and I made up the rest.

“She was just the sort of person that I wanted as head of the house that I
have spoken of, to manage the money matters, take care of the guests, and
meet the inquiries of strangers. She had good store of charity and
wariness, and in great patience she possessed her soul. She was nearly
always ill from one or other of many divers diseases, which purified her
and made her ready for Heaven. She used often to say to me: ‘Though I
desire above all things to die for Christ, I dare not hope to die by the
hand of the executioner; but perhaps the Lord will let me be taken some
time in the same house with a Priest, and then be thrown into a chill and
filthy dungeon, where I shall not be able to last out long in this
wretched life.’ Her delight was in the Lord, and the Lord granted her the
desires of her heart.

“When I was rescued out of prison, she gave up the management of my house;
for then so many people knew who she was, that her being in a place was
enough to render it unsafe for me. So a room was hired for her in another
person’s house, where she often used to harbour Priests. One day (it was
the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin) she let in a great
many Catholics to hear Mass, a thing which she would never have done in my
house. Good soul, she was more careful of me than of herself. Some
neighbours noticed the throng, and called the constables. They went
upstairs into the room, which they found full of people. The celebrant was
Father Francis Page, S.J., who was afterwards martyred.(67) He had pulled
off his vestments before the Priest-hunters came in; so that they could
not readily make out which was the Priest. However, from the Father’s
grave and modest look, they thought that he must be their man.
Accordingly, they laid hold of him, and began questioning him and the
others also. No one would own that there was a Priest there; but as the
altar had been found ready for Mass, they acknowledged that they had been
waiting for a Priest to come. While the Catholics and their persecutors
were wrangling on this point, Father Francis Page, taking advantage of
some one’s opening the door, got away from those that held him and slipped
out, shutting the door behind him. He then went upstairs to a place that
he knew, where Mrs. Line had had a hiding-place made, and there he
ensconced himself. Search was made for him the whole house over, to no

“So they took Mrs. Line and the richer ones of the party to prison, and
let the others go on bail. God lengthened out the martyr’s life beyond her
expectation. It was some months before she was brought to trial, on a
charge of harbouring and supporting Priests. To the question of ‘guilty or
not guilty,’ she made no direct answer, but cried out in a loud voice, so
that all could hear her: ‘My lords, nothing grieves me, but that I could
not receive a thousand more.’(68) She listened to the sentence of death
with great show of joy and thanksgiving to the Lord God. She was so weak,
that she had to be carried to Court in a chair, and sat there during the
whole of the trial. After her return to prison, a little before her death,
she wrote to Father Page, who had escaped. The letter is in my hands at
present. She disposed therein of the few things that she had, leaving to
me a fine large cross of gold that had belonged to her husband. She
mentioned me thrice in the letter, calling me her Father. She also left
some few debts which she begged me to see paid. Afterwards she bequeathed
me her bed by word of mouth. I wanted to purchase it from the gaolers, who
had plundered everything found in her cell after her death; but I could
only get the coverlet, which I used ever after during my stay in London,
and reckoned it no small safeguard.

“Being arrived at the place of punishment, some preachers wanted to tease
her, as usual, with warnings to abandon her errors; but she cut them
short, saying, ‘Away! I have no dealings nor communion with you.’ Then,
kissing the gallows with great joy, she knelt down to pray, and kept on
praying till the hangman had done his duty. So she gave up her soul to
God, along with the martyr Father Filcock, S.J.,(69) who had often been
her confessor, and had always been her friend. Her martyrdom, however,
happened six or seven years after the time of which I am now speaking. She
managed my house for three years, and received therein many holy Priests.”

“I always had a Priest residing in this house, whom I used to send to
assist and console my friends, as I was unable, during my imprisonment, to
visit them myself. The first I had there was Father Jones, a Franciscan
Recollect, afterwards martyred,(70) but then newly arrived in England....
After him I received another Priest, lately arrived from Spain, and
formerly known to me, Robert Drury by name. He was of gentle birth and
well educated, and could consequently associate with gentlemen without
causing any suspicion. I introduced him, therefore, to my chief friends;
and he assisted them well and zealously for two years and more that he
tarried in my house. This good Priest also God chose to be His witness and

“In that house of mine, while I was in prison, there lived awhile one of
our Fathers, who was in ill health, Father John Curry. There also he died,
and there he lies buried in some secret corner. For those Priests who live
secretly on the mission, we are obliged also to bury secretly when they

“All this while my good host, who had been taken a little before me, was
kept imprisoned; and for the first four months so straitly, that neither
his wife nor any of his friends were allowed to have any access to him.
After this, however, the persecutors, seeing that they could not produce
any proof against him, because none of the Catholic servants would
acknowledge anything and the traitor had never seen me in Priest’s guise,
and was only one witness after all, by degrees relaxed a little of their
harshness, and permitted him to be visited and cared for, though they
still kept him in strict custody.

“While thus close shut up, he wrote a work by no means contemptible, which
he divided into three parts, and called ‘Three Farewells to the world, or
three deaths in different states of soul.’(71) In the first book he
described a man of moral life, and virtuous in the opinion of men, but
directing himself in all things by his own lights.... In the second book
he described a good and pious lady, who at first wished to be guided in
everything, but subsequently, deceived by the devil, determined in some
things to follow her own ideas.... In the third book he described the
death of a pious and devoted man, who, though living in the world and
possessed of riches, yet always sought and followed the counsels of his
spiritual Father, manifesting himself entirely for the purpose of being
directed by him to the greater glory of God.” ...

“It was written, not with ink, but merely with pencil, upon loose scraps
of paper, for at that time he was kept so close that he could get no ink.
As he finished each of the three parts, he sent it to me, that I might
correct anything I might find against sound doctrine. He gave as a reason
for writing the work, that he had himself found, as he thought, so immense
a benefit from giving himself thoroughly to the direction of his spiritual
guide, and had felt in consequence so undisturbed a peace of mind, even
when the malice of the persecutors was daily threatening him with death,
that he could not refrain from recommending the same course to others whom
he loved. He said, moreover, that he wrote the book, not for the public,
but principally for his own family, and secondly for his relations and
friends; for that, as he could not communicate with them by word of mouth,
he desired to show them in writing the most secure and meritorious way to
perfection while living in the world. For he endeavoured to prove that
perfection was even more necessary for those who lived in the world than
for Religious.

“Such were the sentiments of this good man. He noways regretted that he
had during four years given himself up to my direction, though he found
himself in consequence exposed to such extreme distresses, and saw his
family and fortune made a mark for the persecutors as a result of having
harboured me. Nay, it was not only that he bore all these trials
patiently, but he really thought it all joy to suffer thus for the good
cause. His wife, also, though she loved her husband most tenderly, and was
of a peculiarly sensitive mind, yet in this juncture bore everything with
a singular sweetness and patience. After I was transferred to the Clink,
where there was more chance of communicating with me either by word or
letter, she took a house in the immediate neighbourhood of my prison, in
order that she might consult me constantly, and provide me with everything
I needed. In this house she and her husband, who obtained his release
after a time by large payments of money, resided while I remained in that
prison. But after my escape from the Tower, they betook themselves back to
their country seat, in order that they might have me with them there


“In the meantime, I was so fully taken up in the prison with business, and
with the visits of Catholics, that in the next room, which was Brother
Emerson’s, there were often six or eight persons at once, waiting their
turn to see me. Nay, many of my most intimate and attached friends have
oft-times had to wait many hours at a stretch, and even then I have been
obliged to ask them to come another time....”

“While I remained in this prison, I sent over numbers of boys and young
men to Catholic Seminaries abroad. Some of these are, at this present,
Priests of the Society, and engaged on the English mission: others still
remain in the Seminaries, in positions of authority, to assist in training
labourers for the same field. On one occasion I had sent two boys on their
way to St. Omers, and had given them letters of recommendation, written
with lemon-juice, so that the writing was not visible on the paper. In the
paper itself I wrapped up a few collars, so that it might seem that its
only use was to keep the collars clean. The boys were taken, and on being
questioned, confessed that I had sent them. They let it out also that I
had given them this letter, and had told them, when they came to a certain
College of ours, on their way to St. Omers (for they had to pass by
Ostend, which is not the usual way, and thus they came to be taken), to
bid the Fathers steep the paper in water, and they would be able to read
what I had written. On this information, then, the paper was steeped by
the authorities, and two letters of mine were read, written on the same
paper. One was written in Latin to our Belgian Fathers; this I had
consequently signed with my own proper name. The other was addressed to
our English Fathers at St. Omers. The letters having been thus discovered,
I was sent for to be examined.

“Young, however, was no longer to be my examiner. He had died in his sins,
and that most miserably. As he lived, so he died:(72) he lived the devil’s
confessor, he died the devil’s martyr; for not only did he die in the
devil’s service, but he brought on his death through that very service. He
was accustomed to work night and day to increase the distress of the
Catholics, and to go forth frequently in inclement weather, at one or two
o’clock in the morning, to search their houses. By these labours he fell
into a consumption,(73) of which he died. He died, moreover, overwhelmed
with debt, so that it might be clear that he abandoned all things for the
devil’s service. Notwithstanding all the emoluments of his office, all the
plunder he took from the persecuted Catholics, and the large bribes they
were constantly giving him to buy off his malicious oppression, his debts
were said to amount to no less a sum than a hundred thousand florins
[10,000_l._]; and I have heard even a larger sum mentioned than this.
Perhaps he expected the Queen would pay his debts; but she did nothing of
the sort. All she did was once to send a gentleman from Court to visit
him, when he was confined to his bed, and near death; and this mark of
favour so delighted him, that he seemed ready to sing _Nunc dimittis_. But
it was a false peace, and the lifting up of the soul that goes before a
fall; and like another Aman, he was bidden not to a banquet, but to
execution, and that for ever. So with his mouth full of the Queen’s
praises, and his great obligations to Her Majesty, he died a miserable
death, and anguish took the place of his joy. The joy of the hypocrite is
but for an instant.

“This man’s successor in the office of persecuting and harassing the
servants of God, was William Wade, now Governor of the Tower of London,
but at that time Secretary to the Lords of the Council. For the members of
the Council choose always to have a man in their service to whose cruelty
anything particularly odious may be attributed, instead of its being
supposed to be done by their warrant. This Wade then sent for me, and
first of all showed me the blank paper that I had given to the boys, and
asked me if I recognized it. I answered, ‘No, I did not.’ And in fact I
did not recognize it, for I did not know the boys had been taken. Then he
dipped the paper in a basin of water, and showed me the writing, and my
name subscribed in full. When I saw it, I said: ‘I do not acknowledge the
writing. Any one may easily have counterfeited my handwriting and forged
my signature; and if such boys as you speak of have been taken, they may
perhaps in their terror say anything that their examiners want them to
say, to their own prejudice and that of their friends; a thing I will
never do. At the same time, I do not deny that it would be a good deed to
send such boys abroad to be better educated; and I would gladly do it if I
had the means; but closely confined as I am in prison, I cannot do
anything of the kind, though I should like to do it.’

“He replied to me with a torrent of abuse for denying my signature and
handwriting, and said: ‘In truth, you have far too much liberty; but you
shall not enjoy it long.’ Then he rated the gaoler soundly for letting me
have so much liberty.

“I was sent for on two or three other occasions, to be examined; and
whenever I came out of this prison, I always wore a Jesuit’s cassock and
cloak,(74) which I had had made as soon as I came among Catholic
fellow-prisoners. The sight of this dress raised mocks from the boys in
the streets, and put my persecutors in a rage. On the first occasion, they
said I was a hypocrite. I replied: ‘When I was arrested, you called me a
courtier, and said that I had dressed myself in that fashion in order to
disguise my real character, and to be able to deal with persons of rank in
safety, and without being recognized. I told you then, that I did not like
a layman’s dress, and would much rather wear my own. Well, now I am doing
so; and you are in a rage again. In fact, you are not satisfied with
either piping or mourning, but you seek excuses for inveighing against

“To this they answered: ‘Why did you not go about in this dress before,
instead of wearing a disguise, and taking a false name? A thing no good
man would do.’

“I replied: ‘I am aware you would like us not to do so, in order that we
might be arrested at once, and not be able to do any good in the work of
rescuing and gaining souls. But do you not know that St. Raphael
personated another, and took another name, in order that, not being known,
he might better accomplish God’s work for which he had been sent?’

“At another time I was examined before the Dean of Westminster, the
dignitary who has taken the place of the former Abbot of the great royal
monastery there. Topcliffe and some other Commissioners were present.
Their object was to confront me with the good widow, my host’s mother, of
whom I have before spoken, and who was confined at this time in a
prison(75) near the church at Westminster, for she was not yet condemned
to death; that happened later. They wanted to see if she recognized me. So
when I came into the room where they brought me, I found her already
there. When she saw me coming in with the gaolers, she almost jumped for
joy; but she controlled herself, and said to them: ‘Is that the person you
spoke of? I do not know him; but he looks like a Priest.’

“Upon this she made me a very low reverence, and I bowed in return. Then
they asked me if I did not recognize her?

“I answered: ‘I do not recognize her. At the same time, you know this is
my usual way of answering, and I will never mention any places, or give
the names of any persons that are known to me (which this lady, however,
is not); because to do so, as I have told you before, would be contrary
both to justice and charity.’

“Then Topcliffe said: ‘Tell the truth; have you reconciled any persons to
the Church of Rome?’

“I quite understood his bloodthirsty intention, that being a thing
expressly prohibited under penalty of high treason; but then I knew I was
already as much compromised on account of my Priesthood, and therefore I
answered boldly: ‘Yes, in truth, I have received some persons, and am
sorry that I have not done this good service to more.’

“ ‘Well,’ said Topcliffe, ‘how many would you like to have reconciled, if
you could? A thousand?’

“ ‘Certainly,’ I said, ‘a hundred thousand, and many more still, if I

“ ‘That would be enough,’ said Topcliffe, ‘to levy an army against the

“ ‘Those whom I reconciled,’ said I, ‘would not be against the Queen, but
all for her; for we hold that obedience to superiors is of obligation.’

“ ‘No such thing,’ said Topcliffe, ‘you teach rebellion. See, I have here
a Bull of the Pope, granted to Sanders(76) when he went to Ireland to stir
up the Queen’s subjects to rebellion. See, here it is. Read it.’

“I answered: ‘There is no need to read it. It is likely enough that the
Pontiff, if he sent him, gave him authority. But I have no power to meddle
at all in such matters. We are forbidden to have anything to do with such
things. I never have, and never will.’

“ ‘Take and read it,’ he said; ‘I will have you read it.’

“So I took it, and seeing the name of Jesus on the top, I reverently
kissed it.

“ ‘What,’ said Topcliffe, ‘you kiss a Bull of the Pope, do you?’

“ ‘I kissed,’ said I, ‘the name of Jesus, to which all love and honour are
due. But if it is a Bull of the Pope, as you say, I reverence it also on
that score.’

“And so saying, I kissed the printed paper again. Then Topcliffe, in a
furious passion, began to abuse me in indecent terms.... At this
insolence, to own the truth, I somewhat lost command of myself; and though
I knew that he had no grounds which seemed probable even to himself for
what he said, but had uttered it from pure malice, I exclaimed: ‘I call
the Great and Blessed God to witness, that all your insinuations are

“And, as I spoke, I laid my hand on the book that was open before me on
the table. It was a copy of the Holy Bible, but according to their corrupt
translation into the vulgar tongue. Then Topcliffe held his peace; but the
Dean took up the word. ‘Are you willing,’ said he, ‘to be sworn on our
Bible?’ The better instructed Catholics, who can show the dishonesty of
that translation, usually refuse this.

“I replied: ‘In truth, under the necessity of rebutting this man’s false
charges at once, I did not take notice what version this was. However,
there are some truths, as, for instance, the Incarnation and Passion of
Christ, that have not been corrupted by mistranslation; and by these I
call the truth of God to witness. There are many other things falsely
rendered, so as to involve heresies; and these I detest and anathematize.’

“So saying, I laid my hand again upon the book, and more firmly than
before. The old man was angry and said: ‘I will prove that you are a

“I replied: ‘You cannot prove it.’

“ ‘I will prove it,’ he said, ‘thus: Whoever denies Holy Scripture is a
heretic; you deny this to be Holy Scripture: _Ergo_.’

“I replied: ‘This is no true syllogism; it shifts from general to
particular, and so has four terms.’

“The old man answered: ‘I could make syllogisms before you were born.’

“ ‘Very likely,’ I said; ‘but the one you have just produced is not a true

“However, the good old man(77) would not try a new middle term, and made
no further attempt to prove me a heretic. But one urged one thing, and
another another, not in the way of argument, but after their usual plan,
asking me such questions as they knew very well I did not like to answer;
and then, in the end, they sent me back to prison.”


“On another occasion they examined me, and all the other Catholics that
were confined in the same prison with me, in a public place called
Guildhall, where Topcliffe and several other Commissioners were present.
When they had put their usual questions, and received from me the usual
answers, they came to the point, intending, I imagine, to sound us all as
to our feelings towards the State, or else to entrap us in some
expressions about the State that might be made matter of accusation. They
asked me, then, whether I acknowledged the Queen as the true Governor and
Queen of England.

“I answered: ‘I do acknowledge her as such.’

“ ‘What,’ said Topcliffe, ‘in spite of Pius V.’s excommunication?’

“I answered: ‘I acknowledge her as our Queen, notwithstanding I know there
is such an excommunication.’

“The fact was, I knew that the operation of that excommunication had been
suspended for all in England by a declaration of the Pontiff, till such
time as its execution became possible.

“Topcliffe proceeded: ‘What would you do in case the Pope sent an army
into England, asserting that the object was solely to bring back the
kingdom to the Catholic religion, and protesting that there was no other
way left of introducing the Catholic faith, and, moreover, commanding all
in virtue of his Apostolical authority to aid his cause? Whose side would
you then take, the Pope’s or the Queen’s?’

“I saw the malicious man’s cunning, and that his aim was, that whichever
way I answered I might injure myself, either in soul or body; and so I
worded my reply thus: ‘I am a true Catholic, and a true subject of the
Queen. If, then, this were to happen, which is unlikely, and which I think
will never be the case, I would act as became a true Catholic and a true

“ ‘Nay, nay,’ said he; ‘answer positively and to the point.’

“ ‘I have declared my mind,’ said I, ‘and no other answer will I make.’

“On this he flew into a most violent rage, and vomited out a torrent of
curses; and ended by saying: ‘You think you will creep to kiss the Cross
this year; but before the time comes, I will take good care you do no such

“He meant to intimate, in the abundance of his charity, that he would take
care I should go to Heaven by the rope before that time. But he had not
been admitted into the secrets of God’s sanctuary, and did not know my
great unworthiness. Though God had permitted him to execute his malice on
others, whom the Divine Wisdom knew to be worthy and well prepared, as on
Father Southwell and others, whom he pursued to the death, yet no such
great mercy of God came to me from his anger. Others indeed, for whom a
kingdom was prepared by the Father, were advanced to Heaven by our Lord
Jesus through his means; but this heavenly gift was too great for an angry
man to be allowed to bestow on me. However, he was really in some sort a
prophet in uttering these words, though he meant them differently from the
sense in which they were fulfilled.

“What I have mentioned happened about Christmas. In the following Lent, he
himself was thrown into prison for disrespect to the members of the
Queen’s Council, on an occasion, if I mistake not, when he had pleaded too
boldly in behalf of his only son, who had killed a man with his sword in
the great hall of the Court of Queen’s Bench. This took place about
Passion Sunday. We, then, who were in prison for the Faith, seeing our
enemy, Aman, about to be hanged on his own gibbet, began to lift up our
heads, and to use what liberty we had a little more freely, and we
admitted a greater number to the Sacraments, and to assist at the services
and holy rites of the Church. Thus it was that on Good Friday a large
number of us were together in the room over mine, in fact, all the
Catholics in the prison, and a number of others from without. I had gone
through all the service, and said all the prayers appointed for the day,
up to the point where the Priest has to lay aside his shoes. I had put
them off, and had knelt down, and was about to creep towards the Cross and
make the triple adoration of it; when, lo! just as I had moved two paces,
the head gaoler came and knocked at the door of my room underneath, and as
I did not answer from within, he began to batter violently at the door and
make a great noise. As soon as I heard it, I knew that the chief gaoler
was there, because no other would have ventured to behave in that way to
me: so I sent some one to say that I would come directly, and then,
instead of going on with the adoration of the material Cross, I hastened
to the spiritual cross that God presented to me, and taking off the sacred
vestments that I was wearing, I went down with speed, for fear the gaoler
might come up after me, and find a number of others, who would thus have
been brought into trouble. When he saw me, he said in a loud tone of
voice: ‘How comes it that I find you out of your room, when you ought to
be kept strictly confined to it?’

“As I knew the nature of the man, I pretended, in reply, to be angry, that
one who professed to be a friend should have come at such a time as that,
when, if ever, we were bound to be busy at our prayers.

“ ‘What,’ said he, ‘you were at Mass, were you? I will go and see.’

“ ‘No such thing,’ I said; ‘you seem to know very little of our ways.
There is not a single Mass said to-day throughout the whole Church. Go up
if you like; but understand that, if you do, neither I nor any one of the
Catholics will ever pay anything for our rooms. You may put us all, if you
like, in the common prison of the poor who do not pay. But you will be no
gainer by that; whereas, if you act in a friendly way with us, and do not
come upon us unawares in this manner, you will not find us ungrateful, as
you have not found us hitherto.’

“He softened down a little at this; and then I said: ‘What have you come
for now, I pray.’

“ ‘Surely,’ said he, ‘to greet you from Master Topcliffe.’

“ ‘From him?’ I said; ‘and how is it that he and I are such great friends?
Is he not in such a prison? He cannot do anything against me just now, I

“ ‘No,’ said the gaoler, ‘he cannot. But he really sends to greet you.
When I visited him to-day, he asked me how you were. I replied that you
were very well. “But he does not bear his imprisonment,” said Master
Topcliffe, “as patiently as I do mine. I would have you greet him, then,
in my name, and tell him what I have said.” So I have come now for the
purpose of repeating his message to you.’

“ ‘Very well,’ I replied. ‘Now tell him from me, that by the grace of God
I willingly bear my imprisonment for the cause of the Faith, and I could
wish his cause were the same.’

“Thereupon the gaoler went away, rating his servant, however, for not
having kept me more closely confined. And thus Topcliffe really
accomplished what he had promised, having checked me in the very act of
adoration, although without thinking of what he said, and with another
intent at the time. Thus was Saul among the prophets. However, he did not
prevent my going up again and completing what I had begun.

“The man who had charge of my room would not do anything in our rooms
without my leave. And after my first gaoler, who soon died, the others who
succeeded were well disposed to oblige me. One of them, who had the
gaolership by inheritance, I made a Catholic. He immediately gave up his
post and sold the right of succession, and became the attendant of a
Catholic gentleman, a friend of mine, and afterwards accompanied his son
to Italy, and got a vocation to the Religious state. At present he is a
prisoner in the very prison where he had been my gaoler. The next who had
the charge of me after him, being a married man with children, was kept by
fear of poverty from becoming a Catholic; but yet he was afterwards so
attached to myself and all our friends, that he received us into his own
house, and sometimes concealed there such Catholics as were more sorely
pressed than others by the persecution. And when I was to be got out of
the Tower of London, with serious risk to all who aided the enterprise, he
himself in person was one of the three who exposed themselves to such
great danger. And although he was nearly drowned the first night of the
attempt, he rowed the boat the next night as before, as I shall hereafter
relate. For not long after what I just now mentioned, I was removed from
that prison to the Tower of London; the occasion of which was the


“There was in the prison with me a certain Priest,(78) to whom I had done
many good services. When he first came to England, I had lodged him in an
excellent house with some of my best friends; I had made Catholics of his
mother and only brother; I had secured him a number of friends when he was
thrown into prison, and had made him considerable presents. I had always
shown him affection, although, perceiving that he was not firm and steady
in spirit, but rather hankered too much after freedom, I did not deal
confidently with him, as with others in the prison, especially Brother
Emerson and John Lilly. Nevertheless, this good man, from some motive or
other, procured my removal; whether in the desire and expectation that, if
I were gone, all whom he saw come to me would thenceforth come to him, or
in order to curry favour with our enemies, and obtain liberty or some such
boon for himself, is not certain. Be that as it may, he reported to our
enemies that he was standing by when I handed a packet of letters dated
from Rome and Brussels to a servant of Father Garnett’s, of the name of
Little John, about whom I have before spoken. This latter, after having
been arrested in my company, as I have related, and subjected to various
examinations, but without disclosing anything, had been released for a sum
of money which some Catholic gentlemen had paid. For his services were
indispensable to them and many others, as he was a first-rate hand at
contriving Priests’ hiding-places. The Priest then reported that I had
given this man letters, and that I was in the habit of receiving letters
from beyond the sea addressed both to my Superior and to myself.

“Acting on this information, the persecutors sent a Justice of the Peace
to me one day, with two Queen’s messengers, or pursuivants as they call
them. These came up to my room on a sudden with the head gaoler; but by
God’s providence they found no one with me at the time except two boys,
whom I was instructing with intention to send them abroad; one of whom, if
I remember right, escaped, the other they imprisoned for a time. But they
found nothing else in my room that I was afraid of being seen; for I was
accustomed to keep all my manuscripts and other articles of importance in
some holes made to hide things. All these holes were known to Brother
Emerson; and so after my removal he took out everything, and among the
rest a reliquary that I have with me now, and a store of money that I had
in hand for the expenses of my house in town, of which I have before
spoken, to the amount of thirteen hundred florins [130_l._]. This money he
sent to my Superior, who took charge of the house from that time till I
was got out of prison.

“When these officials came in they began to question me; and when the
examination was over, which it soon was, as they could get nothing from me
of what they wanted to know, they began to search the room all over, to
find letters or something else, that might serve their turn and injure me.
While the Justice of the Peace was rummaging my books, one of the
pursuivants searched my person, and opening my doublet, he discovered my
hairshirt. At first he did not know what it was, and said: ‘What is this?’

“ ‘A shirt,’ I replied.

“ ‘Ho, ho!’ said he, ‘it is a hairshirt.’ And he caught hold of it, and
wanted to drag it off my body by force.

“This insolence of the varlet, to confess my imperfection honestly,
excited me more than anything that I have ever had to endure from my
enemies, and I was within a little of thrusting him violently back; but I
checked myself by God’s grace, and claimed the Justice’s protection, who
immediately made him give over. So they sought, but found nothing in my
room that they sought for except myself; and me they took at once, and
went straight to the Tower of London with me, and there handed me to the
Governor, whose title is King’s Lieutenant. He was a Knight of the name of
Barkley. He conducted me at once to a large high tower of three stories,
with a separate lock-up place in each, one of a number of different towers
contained within the whole inclosure. He left me for the night in the
lowest part, and committed the custody of my person to a servant in whom
he placed great confidence. The servant brought a little straw at once,
and throwing it down on the ground, went away, fastening the door of my
prison, and securing the upper door both with a great bolt and with iron
bars. I recommended myself therefore to God, Who is wont to go down with
His people into the pit, and Who never abandoned me in my bondage, as well
as to the most Blessed Virgin, the Mother of Mercy, and to my Patron
Saints and Guardian Angel; and after prayer I lay down with a calm mind on
the straw, and slept very well that night.

“The next day I examined the place, for there was some light, though dim;
and I found the name of Father Henry Walpole, of blessed memory,(79) cut
with a knife on the wall, and not far from there I found his oratory,
which was a space where there had been a narrow window, now blocked up
with stones. There he had written on either side with chalk the names of
the different choirs of Angels, and on the top, above the Cherubim and
Seraphim, the name of Mary Mother of God, and over that the name of Jesus,
and over that again, in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, the name of GOD. It was
truly a great consolation to me to find myself in this place, hallowed by
the presence of so great and so devoted a martyr, the place, too, in which
he was frequently tortured, to the number, as I have heard, of fourteen
times. Probably they were unwilling to torture him in public and in the
ordinary place, because they did it oftener than they would have it known.
And I can well believe that he was racked that number of times, for he
lost through it the proper use of his fingers. This I can vouch for from
the following circumstance. He was carried back to York, to be executed in
the place where he was taken on his first landing in England, and while in
prison there he had a discussion with some ministers which he wrote out
with his own hand.(80) A part of this writing was given to me, together
with some meditations on the Passion of Christ, which he had written in
prison before his own passion. These writings, however, I could scarcely
read at all, not because they were written hastily, but because the hand
of the writer could not form the letters. It seemed more like the first
attempts of a child, than the handwriting of a scholar and a gentleman,
such as he was. Yet he used to be at Court before the death of Father
Campion, in whose honour he also wrote some beautiful verses in the
English tongue, declaring that he and many others had received the warmth
of life from that blessed martyr’s blood,(81) and had been animated by it
to follow the more perfect counsels of Christ.

“When, therefore, I found myself in Father Walpole’s cell I rejoiced
exceedingly thereat; but I was not worthy to be the successor of such a
man in his place of suffering. For on the day following my gaoler, either
because he thought to do me a favour, or in consequence of his master’s
orders, brought me into the upper room, which was sufficiently large and
commodious for a prisoner. I told him that I preferred to stay in the
lower dungeon, and mentioned the reason, but as he showed himself opposed
to this, I asked him to allow me sometimes to go there and pray. This he
promised me, and in fact frequently permitted. Then he inquired of me if
he could go for me anywhere to any friends of mine who would be willing to
send me a bed. For it is the custom in this prison that a bed should not
be provided, but that a prisoner should provide himself a bed and other
furniture, which afterwards goes to the Lieutenant of the Tower, even
though the prisoner should be liberated. I replied that I had no friends
to whom I could send, except such as I left in the prison from which I had
been brought;(82) these, perhaps, if he would call there, would give me a
plain bed by way of alms. The gaoler therefore went to the Catholics
detained in the Clink, who immediately sent me a bed such as they knew I
wished for; that is, a mattrass stuffed with wool and feathers after the
Italian fashion. They sent also a cloak and some linen for me; and asked
him always to come there for anything I wanted, and promised to give money
or anything else, provided he brought a note signed by me of things I
needed. They also gave him money at that time for himself, and besought
him to treat me kindly.”


“On the third day, immediately after dinner, came my gaoler to me, and
with sorrowful mien told me the Lords Commissioners had come, and with
them the Queen’s Attorney General, and that I must go down to them.

“ ‘I am ready,’ I replied. ‘I only ask you to allow me to say a _Pater_
and _Ave_ in the lower dungeon.’

“This he allowed; and then we went together to the house of the
Lieutenant, which was within the Tower walls. There I found five men, none
of whom had before examined me except Wade, who was there for the purpose
of accusing me on all points.

“The Queen’s Attorney General then took a sheet of paper, and began to
write a solemn form of juridical examination.”

The examination of Father Gerard on this occasion is preserved in the
Public Record Office.(83) The Commissioners were Sir Richard Barkley,
Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir Edward Coke, then Attorney General, Thomas
Fleming, a Privy Councillor, Sir Francis Bacon, afterwards Lord
Chancellor, and William Wade, or Waad, afterwards Lieutenant of the Tower.


“The examination of John Gerard, Priest, taken this 14th day of April,

“Being demanded whether he received any letters from the parts beyond the
seas or no, confesseth that within these four or five days he received(84)
from Antwerp (as he supposeth) letters inclosed and sealed up. But how
many letters were inclosed therein he knoweth not, and saith that the said
letters were directed to him by the name of Standish; and being demanded
from whom those letters were sent,(85) saith that he knoweth not from whom
the same were sent, and denieth that he read them or that he knoweth the
contents of the same, and at the first he said that he burnt them, but
afterwards retracted that and confesseth that he sent them over to whom
the same appertained, but(86) refuseth to declare to whom the same were
delivered over, and refuseth also to declare who brought the same to him,
or by whom he conveyed them over. He confesseth that he received within
this year past other letters from the parts beyond the seas, and two or
three of them he confesseth he did read, and saith that those letters
contained matter concerning maintenance of scholars beyond sea, but
refuseth to declare who sent those letters or by whom the same were
brought, and saith that some of those letters were sent from St. Omers;
and two or three other letters which he received from the parts beyond the
seas he conveyed over to some other within this realm, but denieth that he
knew the contents of those letters, and refuseth to tell who sent or
brought the same or to whom the same were conveyed, but saith that the
same were sent over to him to whom the said last letters which he received
were conveyed unto. And being demanded whether he sent not those letters
to Garnett, his Superior, saith that he will name no name; but saith that
those letters came to him because he had more opportunity to receive them
and to convey them over. And confesseth that the party to whom he sent
those letters is a Priest, and being demanded how it is possible that he
should know to whom the said last letters appertained, considering that he
saith that he neither knoweth from whom the same were sent, nor knoweth
the contents of the same, especially the said letters being directed to
himself by the name of Standish, saith that he(87) thinketh that some
within this realm have greater(88) care and authority to provide for such
scholars as be beyond sea than he, and saith that he sent those last
letters as he had done other to that person, taking the same to contain no
other matter but only concerning(89) maintenance of scholars and such as
be sent from hence for the like matters. And being demanded whether he
opened not the outermost sealed of those last letters, confesseth that he
did; and being also demanded to whom the letters within inclosed were
directed, saith that he remembereth not(90) the name, but saith that he
thinketh it was to the said former person, and saith that there was
nothing written within the outermost paper, and thinketh, that there were
two letters within that which he conveyed over. And saith that the letters
within were not directed as the outermost was, but saith that he
remembereth not(91) by what name the same were directed.

“_I refuse not for any disloyal mind, I protest as I look to be saved, but
for that I take these things not to have concerned any matter of State,
with which I would not have dealt, nor any other but matters of devotion
as before._

“And being demanded whether this subscription is his usual manner of
writing, saith that he useth the same in his subscriptions to his
examinations, and saith that the cause thereof is that he would bring no
man to trouble and that he will not acknowledge his own hand, and saith
that he never wrote any letter to any man in this hand, saving once to Mr.
Topcliffe. And being demanded what was the cause that moved him to have
escaped out of prison of late, saith that the cause was that he might have
more opportunity to have won souls. And being demanded who procured the
counterfeit keys for him, by means whereof he should have escaped,
refuseth to tell who it was, for that, as he saith, he will not discover
anything against any other that may bring them to trouble.


“Examined by us,”
W. WAAD.”(93)


We now return to the impression that remained on Father Gerard’s memory of
this examination, when he wrote his life some twelve years afterwards.
“They did not ask anything at that time about private Catholics, but only
about matters of State, to which I answered as before in general terms;
namely, that all such things were strictly forbidden to us of the Society,
that I had consequently never mixed myself up with political matters,
sufficient proof whereof, I said, was to be found in the fact that, though
they had had me in custody for three years and had constantly examined me,
they had never been able to produce a single line of my writing, nor a
single trustworthy witness, to show that I had ever injured the State in a
single point.

“They then inquired what letters I had lately received from our Fathers
abroad. Here it was I first divined the reason of my being transferred to
the Tower. I answered, however, that if I had ever received any letters
from abroad, they never had any connection with matters of State, but
related solely to the money matters of certain Catholics who were living
beyond seas.

“ ‘Did not you,’ said Wade, ‘receive lately a packet of letters; and did
you not deliver them to such a one for Henry Garnett?’

“ ‘If I have received any such,’ I answered, ‘and delivered them as you
say, I only did my duty. But I never received nor delivered any but what
related to the private money matters of certain Religious or students who
are pursuing their studies beyond seas, as I have before said.’

“ ‘Well,’ said they, ‘where is he to be found to whom you delivered the
letters, and how is he called?’

“ ‘I do not know,’ I answered; ‘and if I did know, I neither could nor
would tell you.’ And then I alleged the usual reasons.

“ ‘You tell us,’ said the Attorney General, ‘that you do not wish to
offend against the State. Tell us, then, where this Garnett is; for he is
an enemy of the State, and you are bound to give information of such

“ ‘He is no enemy of the State,’ I replied; ‘but, on the contrary, I am
sure that he would be ready to lay down his life for the Queen and the
State. However, I do not know where he is, and if I did know I would not
tell you.’

“ ‘But you shall tell us,’ said they, ‘before we leave this place.’

“ ‘Please God,’ said I, ‘that shall never be.’

“They then produced the warrant which they had for putting me to the
torture, and gave it me to read; for it is not allowed in this prison to
put any one to the torture without express warrant. I saw the document was
duly signed, so I said: ‘By the help of God, I will never do what is
against God, against justice, and against the Catholic faith. You have me
in your power; do what God permits you, for you certainly cannot go

“Then they began to entreat me not to force them to do what they were
loath to do; and told me they were bound not to desist from putting me to
the torture day after day, as long as my life lasted, until I gave the
information they sought from me.

“ ‘I trust in God’s goodness,’ I answered, ‘that He will never allow me to
do so base an act as to bring innocent persons to harm. Nor, indeed, do I
fear what you can do to me, since all of us are in God’s hands.’

“Such was the purport of my replies, as far as I can remember.

“Then we proceeded to the place appointed for the torture. We went in a
sort of solemn procession; the attendants preceding us with lighted
candles, because the place was underground and very dark, especially about
the entrance. It was a place of immense extent, and in it were ranged
divers sorts of racks, and other instruments of torture. Some of these
they displayed before me, and told me I should have to taste them every
one. Then again they asked me if I was willing to satisfy them on the
points on which they had questioned me. ‘It is out of my power to satisfy
you,’ I answered; and throwing myself on my knees, I said a prayer or two.

“Then they led me to a great upright beam, or pillar of wood, which was
one of the supports of this vast crypt. At the summit of this column were
fixed certain iron staples for supporting weights. Here they placed on my
wrists manacles of iron, and ordered me to mount upon two or three wicker
steps;(94) then raising my arms, they inserted an iron bar through the
rings of the manacles, and then through the staples in the pillar, putting
a pin through the bar so that it could not slip. My arms being thus fixed
above my head, they withdrew those wicker steps I spoke of, one by one,
from beneath my feet, so that I hung by my hands and arms. The tips of my
toes, however, still touched the ground;(95) so they dug away the ground
beneath, as they could not raise me higher, for they had suspended me from
the topmost staples in the pillar.

“Thus hanging by my wrists, I began to pray, while those gentlemen
standing round asked me again if I was willing to confess. I replied, ‘I
neither can nor will.’ But so terrible a pain began to oppress me, that I
was scarce able to speak the words. The worst pain was in my breast and
belly, my arms and hands. It seemed to me that all the blood in my body
rushed up my arms into my hands; and I was under the impression at the
time that the blood actually burst forth from my fingers and at the back
of my hands. This was, however, a mistake; the sensation was caused by the
swelling of the flesh over the iron that bound it.

“I felt now such intense pain (and the effect was probably heightened by
an interior temptation), that it seemed to me impossible to continue
enduring it. It did not, however, go so far as to make me feel any
inclination or real disposition to give the information they wanted. For
as the eyes of our merciful Lord had seen my imperfection, He did ‘not
suffer me to be tempted above what I was able, but with the temptation
made also a way of escape.’ Seeing me therefore in this agony of pain and
this interior distress, His infinite mercy sent me this thought: ‘The very
furthest and utmost they can do is to take away thy life; and often hast
thou desired to give thy life for God: thou art in God’s hands, Who
knoweth well what thou sufferest, and is all-powerful to sustain thee.’
With this thought our good God gave me also out of His immense bounty the
grace to resign myself, and offer myself utterly to His good pleasure,
together with some hope and desire of dying for His sake. From that moment
I felt no more trouble in my soul, and even the bodily pain seemed to be
more bearable than before, although I doubt not that it really increased,
from the continued strain that was exercised on every part of my body.

“Hereupon those gentlemen, seeing that I gave them no further answer,
departed to the Lieutenant’s house; and there they waited, sending now and
then to know how things were going on in the crypt. There were left with
me three or four strong men, to superintend my torture. My gaoler also
remained, I fully believe out of kindness to me, and kept wiping away with
a handkerchief the sweat that ran down from my face the whole time, as,
indeed, it did from my whole body. So far, indeed, he did me a service;
but by his words, he rather added to my distress, for he never stopped
beseeching and entreating me to have pity on myself, and tell these
gentlemen what they wanted to know; and so many human reasons did he
allege, that I verily believe he was either instigated directly by the
devil under pretence of affection for me, or had been left there purposely
by the persecutors to influence me by his show of sympathy. In any case,
these shafts of the enemy seemed to be spent before they reached me, for
though annoying, they did me no real hurt, nor did they seem to touch my
soul, or move it in the least. I said, therefore, to him, ‘I pray, you to
say no more on that point, for I am not minded to lose my soul for the
sake of my body, and you pain me by what you say.’ Yet I could not prevail
with him to be silent. The others also who stood by said: ‘He will be a
cripple all his life, if he lives through it; but he will have to be
tortured daily till he confesses.’ But I kept praying in a low voice, and
continually uttered the holy names of Jesus and Mary.

“I had hung in this way till after one of the clock, as I think, when I
fainted. How long I was in the faint I know not; perhaps not long; for the
men who stood by lifted me up, or replaced those wicker steps under my
feet, until I came to myself; and immediately they heard me praying, they
let me down again. This they did over and over again when the faint came
on, eight or nine times before five of the clock. Somewhat before five
came Wade again, and drawing near said, ‘Will you yet obey the commands of
the Queen and the Council?’

“ ‘No,’ said I, ‘what you ask is unlawful, therefore I will never do it.’

“ ‘At least then,’ said Wade, ‘say that you would like to speak to
Secretary Cecil.’

“ ‘I have nothing to say to him,’ I replied, ‘more than I have said
already; and if I were to ask to speak to him, scandal would be caused,
for people would imagine that I was yielding at length, and wished to give

“Upon this Wade suddenly turned his back in a rage, and departed, saying
in a loud and angry tone, ‘Hang there, then, till you rot!’

“So he went away, and I think all the Commissioners then left the Tower;
for at five of the clock the great bell of the Tower sounds, as a signal
for all to leave who do not wish to be locked in all night. Soon after
this they took me down from my cross, and though neither foot nor leg was
injured, yet I could hardly stand.”


“I was helped back to my cell by the gaoler, and meeting on the way some
of the prisoners who had the range of the Tower, I addressed the gaoler in
their hearing, saying I wondered how those gentlemen could insist so on my
telling them where Father Garnett was, since every one must acknowledge it
to be a sin to betray an innocent man, a thing I would never do, though I
should die for it. This I said out loud, on purpose that the authorities
might not have it in their power to publish a report about me that I had
made a confession, as they often did in such cases. I had also another
reason, which was that word might reach Father Garnett, through these
persons spreading abroad what they heard me say, that it was about him I
was chiefly examined, in order that he might look to himself. I noticed
that my gaoler was very unwilling that I should speak thus before the
others, but I did not stint for that. My gaoler appeared sincerely to
compassionate my state, and when he reached my cell he laid me a fire, and
brought me some food, as supper-time had nearly come. I scarcely tasted
anything, but laid myself on my bed, and remained quiet there till the
next morning.

“Early next morning, however, soon after the Tower gates were opened, my
gaoler came up to the cell and told me that Master Wade had arrived, and
that I must go down to him. I went down, therefore, that time in a sort of
cloak with wide sleeves, for my hands were so swollen that they would not
have passed through ordinary sleeves. When I had come to the Lieutenant’s
house, Wade addressed me thus: ‘I am sent to you on the part of the Queen
and of Master Secretary Cecil, the first of whom assures you on the word
of a Sovereign, the other on his word of honour, that they know for
certain that Garnett is in the habit of meddling in political matters, and
that he is an enemy of the State. Consequently, unless you mean to
contradict them flatly, you ought to submit your judgment, and produce

“ ‘They cannot possibly know this,’ I replied, ‘by their own experience
and of certain knowledge, since they have no personal knowledge of the
man. Now, I have lived with him and know him well, and I know him to be no
such character as you say.’

“ ‘Well then,’ returned he, ‘you will not acknowledge it, nor tell us what
we ask?’

“ ‘No, certainly not,’ said I; ‘I neither can nor will.’

“ ‘It would be better for you if you did,’ he replied. And thereupon he
summoned from the next room a gentleman who had been there waiting, a tall
and commanding figure, whom he called the Superintendent of Torture. I
knew there was such an officer, but this man was not really in that
charge, as I heard afterwards, but was Master of the Artillery in the
Tower. However, Wade called him by that name to strike the greater terror
into me, and said to him, ‘In the name of the Queen, and of the Lords of
her Council, I deliver this man into your hands. You are to rack him twice
to-day, and twice daily until such time as he chooses to confess.’ The
officer then took charge of me, and Wade departed.

“Thereupon we descended with the same solemnity as before into the place
appointed for torture, and again they put the manacles on the same part of
my arms as before; indeed, they could not be put on in any other part, for
the flesh had so risen on both sides that there were two hills of flesh
with a valley between, and the manacles would not meet anywhere but in the
valley. Here then were they put on, not without causing me much pain. Our
good Lord, however, helped me, and I cheerfully offered Him my hands and
my heart. So I was hung up again as I before described; and in my hands I
felt a great deal more pain than on the previous day, but not so much in
my breast and belly, perhaps because this day I had eaten nothing.

“While thus hanging I prayed, sometimes silently, sometimes aloud,
recommending myself to our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother. I hung much
longer this time without fainting, but at length I fainted so thoroughly
that they could not bring me to, and they thought that I either was dead
or soon would be. So they called the Lieutenant, but how long he was there
I know not, nor how long I remained in the faint. When I came round,
however, I found myself no longer hanging by my hands, but supported
sitting on a bench, with many people round me, who had opened my teeth
with some iron instrument, and were pouring warm water down my throat. Now
when the Lieutenant saw I could speak, he said: ‘Do you not see how much
better it is for you to yield to the wishes of the Queen than to lose your
life this way?’

“By God’s help I answered him with more spirit than I had ever before
felt, ‘No, certainly I do not see it. I would rather die a thousand times
than do what they require of me.’

“ ‘You will not, then,’ he repeated.

“ ‘No, indeed I will not,’ I answered, ‘while a breath remains in my

“ ‘Well then,’ said he, and he seemed to say it sorrowfully, as if
reluctant to carry out his orders, ‘we must hang you up again now, and
after dinner too.’

“ ‘Let us go, then, in the name of God,’ I said; ‘I have but one life, and
if I had more I would offer them all for this cause.’ And with this I
attempted to rise in order to go to the pillar, but they were obliged to
support me, as I was very weak in body from the torture. And if there was
any strength in my soul it was the gift of God, and given, I am convinced,
because I was a member of the Society, though a most unworthy one. I was
suspended, therefore, a third time, and hung there in very great pain of
body, but not without great consolation of soul, which seemed to me to
arise from the prospect of dying. Whether it was from a true love of
suffering for Christ, or from a sort of selfish desire to be with Christ,
God knows best; but I certainly thought that I should die, and felt great
joy in committing myself to the will and good pleasure of my God, and
contemning entirely the will of men. Oh, that God would grant me always to
have that same spirit (though I doubt not that it wanted much of true
perfection in His eyes), for a longer life remains to me than I then
thought, and He granted me time to prepare myself better for His holy

“After awhile the Lieutenant, seeing that he made no way with me by
continuing the torture, or because the dinner-hour was near at hand, or
perhaps through a natural feeling of compassion, ordered me to be taken
down. I think I hung not quite an hour this third time. I am rather
inclined to think that the Lieutenant released me from compassion; for,
some time after my escape, a gentleman of quality told me he had it from
Sir Richard Barkley himself (who was this very Lieutenant of whom I
speak), that he had of his own accord resigned the office he held, because
he would no longer be an instrument in torturing innocent men so cruelly.
And, in fact, he gave up the post after holding it but three or four
months, and another Knight was appointed in his stead, in whose time it
was that I made my escape.

“So I was brought back to my room by my gaoler, who seemed to have his
eyes full of tears, and he assured me that his wife had been weeping and
praying for me the whole time, though I had never seen the good woman in
all my life. Then he brought me some food, of which I could eat but
little, and that little he was obliged to cut for me and put into my
mouth. I could not hold a knife in my hands for many days after, much less
now when I was not even able to move my fingers, nor help myself in
anything, so that he was obliged to do everything for me. However, by
order of the authorities he took away my knife, scissors, and razors, lest
I should kill myself, I believe; for they always do this in the Tower as
long as the prisoner is under warrant for torture. I expected, therefore,
daily to be sent for again to the torture-chamber, according to order; but
our merciful God, while to other stronger champions, such as Father
Walpole and Father Southwell, He gave a sharp struggle that they might
overcome, gave His weak soldier but a short trial that he might not be
overcome. They indeed, being perfected in a short time, fulfilled a long
space; but I, unworthy of so great a good, was left to run out my days,
and so supply for my defects by washing my soul with my tears, since I
deserved not to wash it with my blood. God so ordained it, and may that be
done which is good in His eyes.”

Father Garnett, in his letters, mentions Father Gerard’s torture for the
first time when writing to Father Persons at Rome, April 23, 1597:(96)
“John Gerard hath been sore tortured in the Tower: it is thought it was
for some letters directed to him out of Spain.” Between this date and the
next, some details had reached Father Garnett, for on the 7th of May,
1597, he wrote to the General (we translate from the Italian):(97) “Of
John Gerard I have already written to you where he is. He hath been twice
hanged up by the hands, with great cruelty of others, and not less
suffering of his own. The inquisitors here say that he is very obstinate,
and that he has a great alliance with God or the devil, as they cannot
draw the least word out of his mouth, except that in torment he cries
‘Jesus.’ They took him lately to the rack, and the torturers and examiners
were there ready, but he suddenly, when he entered the place, knelt down,
and with a loud voice prayed to our Lord that, as He had given grace and
strength to some of His Saints to bear with Christian patience being torn
to pieces by horses for His love, so He would be pleased to give him grace
and courage, rather to be dragged into a thousand pieces than to say
anything that might injure any person or the Divine glory. And so they
left him without tormenting him, seeing him so resolved.” On June 13, 1597
(in the copy it is _Jan. 10_, evidently a mistake), he writes:(98) “I
wrote unto you heretofore of the remove of Mr. Gerard to the Tower: he
hath been thrice hanged up by the hands, every time until he was almost
dead, and that in one day twice. The cause was (as now I understand
perfectly) for to tell where his Superior was, and by whom he had sent him
letters which were delivered him from Father Persons, and he was
discovered by one of his fellow-prisoners. The Earl of Essex saith he must
needs honour him for his constancy.” Again, a letter of Father Garnett to
the General, in Latin, dated June 11, 1597, runs thus:(99) “I have written
to you more than once of our Mr. John Gerard, that he has been thrice
tortured, but that he has borne all with invincible courage. We have also
lately heard for certain that the Earl of Essex praised his constancy,
declaring that he could not help honouring and admiring the man. A
secretary of the Royal Council denies that the Queen wishes to have him
executed. To John this will be a great trouble.”


“I remained therefore in my cell, spending my time principally in prayer.
And now again I made the Spiritual Exercises, as I had done at the
beginning of my imprisonment, giving four or five hours a day to
meditation for a whole month. I had a breviary with me, so that I was able
to say my Office; and every day I said a dry Mass (such as is said by
those who are practising Mass before the Priesthood), and that with great
reverence and desire of communicating, especially at that part where I
should have communicated if the Sacrifice had been real. And these
practices consoled me in my tribulation.

“At the end of three weeks, as far as I can remember, I was able to move
my fingers, and help myself a little, and even hold a knife. So when I had
finished my retreat, I asked leave to have some books, but they only
allowed me a Bible, which I obtained from my friends in my former prison.
I sent to them for some money, by which means I saw that I should be able
to enlist the sympathies of my gaoler, and induce him to allow me things,
and even to bring me some books. My friends sent me by him all that I
asked for. I got my gaoler to buy some large oranges, a fruit of which he
was very fond. But besides gratifying him with a present of them, I
meditated making another use of them in time.

“I now began to exercise my hands a little after dinner. Supper I never
took, though it was always allowed; indeed, there was no stint of food in
the prison, all being furnished at the Queen’s expense; for there were
given me daily six small rolls of very good bread. There are different
scales of diet fixed in the prison, according to the rank of the prisoner;
the religious state, indeed, they take no account of, but only human rank,
thus making most of what ought to be esteemed the least. Well, the
exercise which I gave my hands was to cut the peel of these oranges into
the form of crosses, and sew them two and two together. I made many of
these crosses, and many rosaries also strung on silken cord. Then I asked
my gaoler if he would carry some of these crosses and rosaries to my
friends in my old prison? He, seeing nothing in this to compromise him,
readily undertook to do so. In the meanwhile, I put some of the
orange-juice in a small jug. I was now in want of a pen, but I dared not
openly ask for one; nay, even if I had asked, and obtained my request, I
could at this time scarcely have written, or but very badly; for though I
could hold a pen, I could hardly feel that I had anything in my fingers.
The sense of touch was not recovered for five months, and even then not
fully, for I was never without a certain numbness in my hands up to the
time of my escape, which was more than six months after the torture. So I
begged for a quill to make myself a toothpick, which he readily brought
me. I made this into a pen fit for writing, then cutting off a short piece
of the pointed end, I fixed it on a small stick. With the rest of the
quill I made a toothpick, so long that nothing appeared to have been cut
off, and this I afterwards showed my gaoler. Then I begged for some paper
to wrap up my rosaries and crosses, and obtained his leave also to write a
line or two with pencil on the paper, asking my friends to pray for me.
All this he allowed, not suspecting that he was carrying anything but what
he knew. But I had managed to write on the paper with some orange-juice,
telling my friends to write back to me in the same way, but sparingly at
first; asking them also to give the bearer a little money, and promise him
some as often as he should bring any crosses or rosaries from me, with a
few words of my writing to assure them that I was well.

“When they received the paper and the rosaries, knowing that I should if
possible have written something with orange-juice, as I used to do with
them, they immediately retired to their room, and held the paper to a
fire. Thus they read all I had written, and wrote back to me in the same
way, sending me some comfits or dried sweetmeats wrapped up in the paper
on which they had written. We continued this method of communication for
about half a year; but we soon proceeded with much greater confidence when
we found that the man never failed to deliver our missives faithfully. For
full three months, however, he had no idea that he was conveying letters
to and fro. But after three months I began to ask him to allow me to write
with a pencil at greater length, which he permitted. I always gave him
these letters open, that he might see what I wrote, and I wrote nothing
but spiritual matters that he could see, but on the blank part of the
paper I had written with orange-juice directions and particular advice for
my different friends, about which he knew nothing.

“As it happened, indeed, I need not have been so circumspect; for the man,
as I found out after some time, could not read. He pretended, however,
that he was able, and used to stand and look over my shoulder while I read
to him what I had written with pencil. At length it occurred to me that
possibly he could not read; so in order to make the trial, while he was
looking over the paper, I read it altogether in a different way from what
I had written. After doing this on two or three occasions without his
taking any notice, I said openly to him, with a smile, that he need not
look over my shoulder any more. He acknowledged, indeed, that he could not
read, but said that he took great pleasure in hearing what I read to him.
After this he let me write what I would, and carried everything as
faithfully as ever. He even provided me with ink, and carried closed
letters to and fro between my friends and me. For seeing that I had to do
with very few, and those discreet and trustworthy people, and thinking
that neither I nor they were likely to betray him, he did just what we
asked him for a consideration, for he always received a stipulated
payment. He begged me, however, not to require him to go so often to the
Clink prison, lest suspicion should arise from these frequent visits,
which might cause harm not only to him, but to me; he proposed, therefore,
that some friend of mine should meet him near the Tower and deliver the
letters to him. But I was loath to risk the safety of any one by putting
him thus in the man’s power. It made no difference to those already in
custody; they could, without much additional danger, hold correspondence
with me, and send me anything for my support by way of alms. Besides, I
knew that my messenger would not be likely to speak of the letter he
carried, as he was quite conscious that this would be as dangerous for
himself as for those to whom he carried them.

“Nay, even if he had wished he could not have done much injury either to
me or my friends, because I took good care never to name any of them in my
letters: but before I was in prison, and after, I invariably used
pseudonyms which were understood by those to whom I wrote. Thus, I called
one ‘Brother,’ another ‘Son,’ another ‘Nephew,’ or ‘Friend,’ and so of
their wives, calling this one ‘Sister,’ that one ‘Niece,’ or ‘Daughter.’
In this way no one not in the secret could possibly tell whom I meant,
even if the letters had been intercepted, which they never were. I may add
that even if the letters had been betrayed and read, they could never have
been made further use of by the enemy, in allowing them to be carried to
their destination to lure the correspondents on till they should
compromise themselves, as was sometimes done. For I never wrote now with
lemon-juice, as I once did in the Clink; which letter was betrayed to the
persecutor Wade, as I before related. The reason of my doing so then was
because there were two letters there, which had to be read in one place,
and then carried to another. Now lemon-juice has this property, that what
is written in it can be read in water quite as well as by fire, and when
the paper is dried the writing disappears again till it is steeped afresh,
or again held to the fire. But anything written with orange-juice is at
once washed out by water, and cannot be read at all in that way; and if
held to the fire, though the characters are thus made to appear, and can
be read, they will not disappear; so that a letter of this sort, once
read, can never be delivered to any one as if it had not been read. The
party will see at once that it has been read, and will certainly refuse
and disown it, if it should contain anything dangerous. It was in this way
I knew that my letters always reached my friends, and that theirs reached
me in safety. And so our correspondence continued, I obtaining sure
information of all my friends, and they receiving at my hands the
consolation they sought.

“In order, however, that matters might go on still more securely, I
managed, through some of my friends, that John Lilly’s release should be
purchased; and from that time I always got him to bring to my gaoler
everything that reached me from the outside. It was through his means too,
a little later, that I escaped from the Tower, although nothing certainly
was farther from my thoughts when I thus secured his services. All I had
in view was to be able to increase my correspondence with safety. This
went on for about four months, and after the first month I gave a good
time to study by means of books secretly procured. But at this time an
event occurred which caused me great anxiety.

“Master Francis Page, of whom I have before spoken, was now living with my
former host,” Mr. Wiseman, “who had been released from prison. After my
removal to the Tower, he got to learn in what part of it I was confined;
and out of regard for me used to come daily to a spot from whence he could
see my window, in order to get the chance some day of seeing me there. At
last it so happened that going one day to the window (it was a warm day in
summer), I noticed a gentleman at some distance pull off his hat as if to
me; then he walked to and fro, and frequently stopped and made pretence of
arranging his hair, in order to have the opportunity of doffing his hat to
me without attracting the attention of others. At last I recognized him by
the clothes that he was accustomed to wear, and made him a sign of
recognition, and giving him my blessing, I withdrew at once from the
window, lest others should see me, and have suspicion of him. But the good
man was not content with this; daily did he come for my blessing, and
stopped some time, walking to and fro, and ever as he turned he doffed his
hat, though I frequently made signals to him not to do so. At length he
was noticed doing this, and one day as I was looking I saw him, to my
great grief, seized and led away. He was brought to the Lieutenant of the
Tower, who examined him about me and my friends. But he denied everything,
and said that he simply walked there for his amusement, it being a fine
open space close to the river Thames. So they kept him a prisoner for some
days, and meanwhile by inquiry found that he was living with my former
host. This increased their suspicion that he had been sent there to give
me some sign. But as he constantly denied everything, they at last had
recourse to me, and sent for me to be examined. Now, as I was going to the
examination, Master Page was walking up and down with my gaoler in the
hall, through which I was taken to the chamber where the authorities
awaited me. Immediately I was introduced, the examiners said to me: ‘There
is a young man here named Francis Page, who says he knows you and desires
to speak with you.’

“ ‘He can do so if he wishes,’ I replied; ‘but who is this Francis Page? I
know no such person.’

“ ‘Not know him?’ said they; ‘he at any rate knows you so well that he can
recognize you at a distance, and has come daily to salute you.’

“I, however, maintained I knew no such man. So when they found they could
twist nothing out of me either by wiles or threats, they sent me back. But
as I passed again through the hall where Master Page was with the others,
I looked all round, and said with a loud voice, ‘Is there any one here of
the name of Francis Page, who says he knows me well, and has often come
before my window to see me? Which of all these is he? I know no such
person, and I wonder that any one should be willing to injure himself by
saying such things.’

“All this while the gaoler was trying to prevent my speaking, but was
unable. I said this, not because I had any idea that he had acknowledged
that he knew me, but for fear they might afterwards tell him of me what
they had told me of him. And so it turned out. For they had told him
already that I had acknowledged I knew him, and they had only sent for me
then that he might see me go in, intending to tell him I had confirmed all
I said before. But now they could not so impose on him. For when he was
summoned, he immediately told them what I had said publicly in the hall as
I passed through. The men, in their disappointment, stormed against the
gaoler and me, but being thus baffled, could not carry out their

“A little later they released Master Page for money, who soon crossed the
sea, and, after going through his studies in Belgium, was made Priest.
Thence he returned afterwards to England and remained mostly in London,
where he was much beloved, and useful to many souls. One of his penitents
was that Mistress Line whose martyrdom I have above related. In her house
he was once taken, as I said, but that time he escaped. A little after he
obtained his desire of being admitted into the Society, but before he
could be sent over to Belgium for his noviceship, he was again taken, and
being tried like gold in the furnace, and accepted as the victim of a
holocaust, he washed his robe in the blood of the Lamb, and is now in the
possession of his reward. And he sees me now no longer detained in the
Tower while he is walking by the water of the Thames, but rather he
beholds me on the waters, still tossed by the various winds and storms,
while he is secure of his own eternal happiness, and solicitous, as I
hope, for mine. Before all this, however, he used to say that he was much
encouraged and amused by hearing what I said as I passed through the hall,
as it enabled him to detect and avoid the snares of the enemy.

“During the time I was detained at the Tower, no one was allowed to visit
me, so that I could afford no help to souls by my words; by letter,
however, I did what I could with those to whom I could venture to trust
the secret of how they might correspond with me. Once, however, after John
Lilly’s release, as he was walking in London streets, two ladies, mother
and daughter, accosted him, and begged him if it was by any means possible
to bring them where they could see me. He, knowing the extreme danger of
such an attempt, endeavoured to dissuade them, but they gave him no peace
till he promised to open the matter to the gaoler, and try to get him to
admit them, as if they were relations of his. Gained over by large
promises, the man consented; the ladies had also made a present of a new
gown to his wife. They therefore, dressing themselves as simple London
citizens, the fashion of whose garments is very different from that of
ladies of quality, came with John Lilly under pretence of visiting the
gaoler’s wife, and seeing the lions that are kept in the Tower, and the
other animals there which the curious are in the habit of coming to see.
After they had seen all the sights, the gaoler led them within the walls
of the Tower, and when he found a good opportunity, introduced them and
John Lilly into my room, exposing himself to a great danger for a small
gain. When they saw me they could not restrain themselves from running and
kissing my feet, and even strove with one another who should first kiss
them. For my part, I could not deny them what they had bought so dear, and
then begged for so earnestly, but I only allowed them to offer this homage
to me as to the prisoner of Christ, not as to the sinner that I am. We
conversed a little, then leaving with me what they had brought for my use,
they returned in safety much consoled, but not without tears, for they
thought they should never see my face again, inasmuch as they had heard in
the city that I was to be brought to trial and executed.”


“Once also Father Garnett, my Superior, sent me similar happy news,
warning me in a letter full of consolation to prepare myself for death.
And, indeed, I cannot deny that I rejoiced at the things that were said to
me; but my great unworthiness prevented me from going into the House of
the Lord. In fact, the good Father, though he knew it not, was to obtain
this mercy before me; and God grant that I may be able to follow him even
at a distance to the Cross which he so much loved and honoured. God gave
him the desire of his heart; for it was on the Feast of the Invention of
the Holy Cross that he found Him Whom his soul loved. On this same Feast
of the Holy Cross on which this holy Father found his crown, I received,
by his intercession I fully believe, two great favours, of which I will
speak further at the close of this narration; to which close, indeed, it
behoves me to hasten, for I am conscious that I have already been more
diffuse than such small matters warranted.

“What good Father Garnett warned me of by letter, the enemy threatened
also by words and acts about that time. For those who had come before with
authority to put me to the torture, now came again, but with another
object, to wit, to take my formal examination in preparation for my trial.
So the Queen’s Attorney General questioned me on all points, and wrote
everything down in that order which he meant to observe in prosecuting me
at the assizes, as he told me. He asked me, therefore, about my
Priesthood, and about my coming to England as a Priest and a Jesuit, and
inquired whether I had dealt with any to reconcile them to the Pope, and
draw them away from the faith and religious profession which was approved
in England. All these things I freely confessed that I had done; answers
which furnished quite sufficient matter for my condemnation according to
their laws. When they asked, however, with whom I had communicated in
political matters, I replied that I had never meddled with such things.
But they urged the point, and said it was impossible that I, who so much
desired the conversion of England, should not have tried these means also,
as being very well adapted to the end. To this I replied, as far as I
recollect, in the following way: ‘I will tell you my mind candidly in this
matter, and about the State, in order that you may have no doubt about my
intent, nor question me any more on the subject; and in what I say, lo!
before God and His holy Angels I lie not, nor do I add aught to the true
feeling of my heart. I wish, indeed, that the whole of England should be
converted to the Catholic and Roman faith; that the Queen, too, should be
converted, and all the Privy Council; yourselves also, and all the
magistrates of the realm: but so that the Queen and you all without a
single exception should continue to hold the same powers and dignities
that you do at present, and that not a single hair of your head should
perish, that so you may be happy both in this life and the next. Do not
think, however, that I desire this conversion for my own sake, in order to
regain my liberty and follow my vocation in freedom. No; I call God to
witness that I would gladly consent to be hanged to-morrow if all this
could be brought about by that means. This is my mind and my desire:
consequently I am no enemy of the Queen’s nor of yours, nor have I ever
been so.’

“Hereupon Mr. Attorney kept silence for a time, and then he began afresh
to ask me what Catholics I knew; did I know such-and-such? I answered, ‘I
do not know them.’ And I added the usual reasons why I should still make
the same answer even if I did know them. Upon this, he digressed to the
question of equivocation, and began to inveigh against Father Southwell,”
whose conduct I defended by several arguments.(100)

“They made no reply to me; but the Attorney General wrote everything down,
and said he should use it against me at my trial in a short time. But he
did not keep his word: for I was not worthy to enter under God’s roof,
where nothing denied can enter. I have, therefore, still to be purified by
a prolonged sojourn in exile, and so at length, if God please, be saved as
by fire.

“This my last examination was in Trinity term, as they call it. They have
four terms in the year, during which many come up to London to have their
causes tried, for these are times that the law courts are open. It is
during these terms, on account of the great confluence of people, that
they bring those Priests to trial whom they have determined to prosecute;
and probably this was what they proposed to do in my case: but man
proposes and God disposes, and He had disposed otherwise. When this time,
therefore, had passed away, there was no longer any probability that they
would proceed against me publicly. I turned my attention consequently to
study in this time of enforced leisure, as I thought they had now
determined only to prevent my communication with others, and that this was
the reason they had transferred me to my present prison, as being more
strict and more secure.”


“I thus endeavoured to conform myself to the decrees of God and the
tyranny of man; when lo! on the last day of July [1597], the anniversary
of our holy Father Ignatius’ departure from this life, while I was in
meditation and was entertaining a vehement desire of an opportunity for
saying Mass, it came into my head that this really might be accomplished
in the cell of a certain Catholic gentleman, which lay opposite mine on
the other side of a small garden within the Tower. This gentleman(101) had
been detained ten years in prison. He had been, indeed, condemned to
death, but the sentence was not carried out. He was in the habit of going
up daily on the leads of the building in which he was confined, which he
was allowed to use as a place of exercise. Here he would salute me, and
wait for my blessing on bended knees.

“On examining this idea of mine more at leisure, I concluded that the
matter was feasible, if I could prevail on my gaoler to allow me to visit
this gentleman. For he had a wife who had obtained permission to visit him
at fixed times, and bring him changes of linen and other little comforts
in a basket; and as this had now gone on many years, the officers had come
to be not so particular in examining the basket as they were at first. I
hoped, therefore, that there would be a possibility of introducing
gradually by means of this lady all things necessary for the celebration
of Mass, which my friends would supply. Resolving to make the trial, I
made a sign to the gentleman to attend to what I was going to indicate to
him. I then took pen and paper and made as if I was writing somewhat;
then, after holding the paper to the fire, I made a show of reading it,
and lastly I wrapped up one of my crosses in it, and made a sign of
sending it over to him. I dared not speak to him across the garden, as
what I said would easily have been heard by others. Then I began treating
with my gaoler to convey a cross or a rosary for me to my fellow-prisoner,
for the same man had charge of both of us, as we were near neighbours. At
first he refused, saying that he durst not venture, as he had had no proof
of the other prisoner’s fidelity in keeping a secret. ‘For if,’ said he,
‘the gentleman’s wife were to talk of this, and it should become known I
had done such a thing, it would be all over with me.’ I reassured him,
however, and convinced him that such a result was not likely, and, as I
added a little bribe, I prevailed upon him as usual to gratify me. He took
my letter, and the other received what I sent; but he wrote me nothing
back as I had requested him to do. Next morning when he made his
appearance on the leads he thanked me by signs, and showed the cross I had
sent him.

“After three days, as I got no answer from him, I began to suspect the
real reason, namely, that he had not read my letter. So I called his
attention again, and went through the whole process in greater detail.
Thus, I took an orange and squeezed the juice into a little cup, then I
took a pen and wrote with the orange-juice, and holding the paper some
time before the fire, that the writing might be visible, I perused it
before him, trying to make him understand that this was what he should do
with my next paper. This time he fathomed my meaning, and thus read the
next letter I sent him. He soon sent me a reply, saying that he thought
the first time I wanted him to burn the paper, as I had written a few
visible words on it with pencil; therefore he had done so. To my proposal,
moreover, he answered, that the thing could be done, if my gaoler would
allow me to visit him in the evening and remain with him the next day; and
that his wife would bring all the furniture that should be given her for
the purpose.

“As a next step, I sounded the gaoler about allowing me to visit my
fellow-prisoner, and proposed he should let me go just once and dine with
him, and that he, the gaoler, should have his share in the feast. He
refused absolutely, and showed great fear of the possibility of my being
seen as I crossed the garden, or lest the Lieutenant might take it into
his head to pay me a visit that very day. But as he was never in the habit
of visiting me, I argued that it was very improbable that the thing should
happen as he feared. After this, the golden arguments I adduced proved
completely successful, for I promised him a crown for his kindness; and he
acceded to my request. So I fixed on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin;
and in the meanwhile I told my neighbour to let his wife call at such a
place in London, having previously sent word to John Lilly what he should
give her to bring. I told him, moreover, to send a pyx and a number of
small hosts, that I might be able to reserve the Blessed Sacrament. He
provided all I told him, and the good lady got them safely to her
husband’s cell. So on the appointed day I went over with my gaoler, and
stayed with my fellow-prisoner that night and the next day; but the gaoler
exacted a promise that not a word of this should be said to the
gentleman’s wife. The next morning, then, said I Mass, to my great
consolation; and that confessor of Christ communicated, after having been
so many years deprived of that favour. In this Mass I consecrated also
two-and-twenty particles, which I reserved in the pyx with a corporal;
these I took back with me to my cell, and for many days renewed the divine
banquet with ever fresh delight and consolation.”


“Now while we were together that day, I—though nothing was less in my
thoughts when I came over than any idea of escape (for I sought only our
true deliverer, Jesus Christ, as He was prefigured in the little ash-baked
loaf of Elias, that I might with more strength and courage travel the rest
of my way even to the Mount of God),—seeing how close this part of the
Tower was to the moat by which it was surrounded, began to think with
myself that it were a possible thing for a man to descend by a rope from
the top of the building to the other side of the moat. I asked my
companion, therefore, what he thought about it, and whether it seemed
possible to him. ‘Certainly,’ said he, ‘it could be done, if a man had
some real and true friends to assist him, who would not shrink from
exposing themselves to danger to rescue one they loved.’

“ ‘There is no want of such friends,’ I replied, ‘if only the thing is
feasible and worth while trying,’

“ ‘For my part,’ said he, ‘I should only be too glad to make the attempt;
since it would be far better for me to live even in hiding, where I could
enjoy the Sacraments and the company of good men, than to spend my life
here in solitude between four walls.’

“ ‘Well, then,’ I answered, ‘let us commend the matter to God in prayer;
in the meanwhile I will write to my Superior, and what he thinks best we
will do.’

“While we remained together, we took counsel on all the details that would
have to be carried out, if the plan were adopted. I returned that night to
my cell, and wrote a letter to Father Garnett by John Lilly, putting all
the circumstances before him. He answered me that the thing should be
attempted by all means, if I thought it could be done without danger to my
life in the descent.

“Upon this I wrote to” Mr. Wiseman, “my former host, telling him that an
escape in this way could be managed, but that the matter must be
communicated to as few as possible, lest it should get noised about and
stopped. I appointed, moreover, John Lilly and Richard Fulwood, the latter
of whom was at that time serving Father Garnett, if they were willing to
expose themselves to the peril, to come on such a night to the outer bank
of the moat opposite the little tower in which my friend was kept, and
near the place where Master Page was apprehended, as I described before.
They were to bring with them a rope, one end of which they were to tie to
a stake; then we, from the leads on the top of the tower, would throw over
to them a ball of lead with a stout string attached, such as men use for
sewing up bales of goods. This they would find in the dark by the noise it
would make in falling, and would attach the string to the free end of
their rope, so that we, who retained one end of the string, would thus be
able to pull the rope up. I ordered, moreover, that they should have on
their breasts a white paper or handkerchief, that we might recognize them
as friends before throwing out our string, and that they should come
provided with a boat in which we might quickly make our escape.

“When these arrangements had been made and a night fixed, yet my host
wished that a less hazardous attempt should first be made, by trying
whether my gaoler could be bribed to let me out, which he could easily do
by permitting a disguise. John Lilly therefore offered him, on the part of
a friend of mine, a thousand florins [100_l._] on the spot, and a hundred
florins [10_l._] yearly for his life, if he would agree to favour my
escape. The man would not listen to anything of the kind, saying he should
have to live an outcast if he did so, and should be sure to be hanged if
ever he was caught. Nothing, therefore, could be done with him in this
line. So we went on with our preparations according to our previous plan;
and the matter was commended to God with many prayers by all those to whom
the secret was committed. One gentleman, indeed, heir to a large estate,
made a vow to fast once a week during his life if I escaped safely. When
the appointed night came, I prevailed on the gaoler, by entreaties and
bribes, to allow me to visit my friend. So he locked us both in together
with bolts and bars of iron as usual, and departed. But as he had also
locked the inside door that led to the roof, we had to loosen the stone
into which the bolt shot with our knives, or otherwise we could not get
out. This we succeeded in doing at length, and mounted the leads softly
and without a light, for a sentinel was placed in the garden every night,
so that we durst not even speak to each other but in a very low whisper.

“About midnight we saw the boat coming with our friends, namely, John
Lilly, Richard Fulwood, and another, who had been my gaoler in the former
prison, through whom they procured the boat, and who steered the boat
himself. They neared the shore; but just as they were about to land, some
one came out of one of the poor cottages thereabouts, and seeing their
boat making for the shore, hailed them, taking them for fishermen. The man
indeed returned to his bed without suspecting anything, but our boatmen
durst not venture to land till they thought the man had gone to sleep
again. They paddled about so long, however, that the time slipped away,
and it became impossible to accomplish anything that night; so they
returned by London Bridge. But the tide was now flowing so strongly, that
their boat was forced against some piles there fixed to break the force of
the water, so that they could neither get on nor get back. Meanwhile, the
tide was still rising, and now came so violently on the boat that it
seemed as if it would be upset at every wave. Being in these straits, they
commended themselves to God by prayers, and called for help from men by
their cries.

“All this while we on the top of the tower heard them shouting, and saw
men coming out on the bank of the river with candles, running up and
getting into their boats to rescue those in danger. Many boats approached
them, but none durst go up to them, fearing the force of the current.(102)
So they stood there in a sort of circle round them, spectators of their
peril, but not daring to assist. I recognized Richard Fulwood’s voice in
the shouts, and said, ‘I know it is our friends who are in danger.’ My
companion indeed did not believe I could distinguish any one’s voice at
that great distance;(103) but I knew it well, and groaned inwardly to
think that such devoted men were in peril of their lives for my sake. We
prayed fervently, therefore, for them, for we saw that they were not yet
saved, though many had gone to assist them. Then we saw a light let down
from the bridge,(104) and a sort of basket attached to a rope, by which
they might be drawn up, if they could reach it. This it seems they were
not able to do. But God had regard to the peril of His servants, and at
last there came a strong sea-boat with six sailors, who worked bravely,
and bringing their boat up to the one in danger, took out Lilly and
Fulwood. Immediately they had got out, the boat they had left capsized
before the third could be rescued, as if it had only kept right for the
sake of the two who were Catholics. However, by God’s mercy, the one who
was thrown into the river caught a rope that was let down from the bridge,
and was so dragged up and saved. So they were all rescued and got back to
their homes.”


“On the following day(105) John Lilly wrote me by the gaoler as usual.
What could I expect him to say but this: ‘We see, and have proved it by
our peril, that it is not God’s will we should proceed any further in this
business.’ But I found him saying just the contrary. For he began his
letter as follows: ‘It was not the will of God that we should accomplish
our desire last night; still He rescued us from a great danger, that we
might succeed better the next time. What is put off is not cut off:(106)
so we mean to come again to-night, with God’s help.’

“My companion, on seeing such constancy joined with such strong and at the
same time pious affection, was greatly consoled, and did not doubt
success. But I had great ado to obtain leave from the gaoler to remain
another night out of my cell; and had misgivings that he would discover
the loosening of the stone when he locked the door again. He, however,
remarked nothing of it.

“In the meantime I had written three letters to be left behind. One was to
the gaoler, justifying myself for taking this step without a word to him;
I told him I was but exercising my right, since I was detained in prison
without any crime, and added that I would always remember him in my
prayers, if I could not help him in any other way. I wrote this letter
with the hope that if the man were taken into custody for my escape, it
might help to show that he was not to blame. The second letter was to the
Lieutenant, in which I still further exonerated the gaoler, protesting
before God that he knew nothing whatever about my escape, which was, of
course, perfectly true, and that he certainly would not have allowed it if
he had suspected anything. This I confirmed by repeating the very tempting
offer which had been made him and which he had refused. As to his having
allowed me to go to another prisoner’s cell, I said I had extorted it from
him with the greatest difficulty by repeated importunities, and therefore
it would not be right that he should suffer death for it. The third letter
was to the Lords of the Council, in which I stated first the causes which
moved me to the recovery of my liberty, of which I had been unjustly
deprived. It was not so much the mere love of freedom, I said, as the love
of souls which were daily perishing in England that led me to attempt the
escape, in order that I might assist in bringing them back from sin and
heresy. As for matters of State, as they had hitherto found me averse to
meddling with them, so they might be sure that I should continue the same.
Besides this, I exonerated the Lieutenant and gaoler from all consent to,
or connivance at, my escape, assuring them that I had recovered my liberty
entirely by my own and my friends’ exertions. I prepared another letter
also, which would be taken next morning to my gaoler, not, however, by
John Lilly, but by another, as I shall narrate presently.

“At the proper hour we mounted again on the leads. The boat arrived and
put to shore without any interruption. The schismatic, my former gaoler,
remained with the boat, and the two Catholics came with the rope. It was a
new rope, for they had lost the former one in the river on occasion of
their disaster. They fastened the rope to a stake, as I had told them;
they found the leaden ball which we threw, and tied the string to the
rope. We had great difficulty, however, in pulling up the rope, for it was
of considerable thickness, and double too. In fact, Father Garnett ordered
this arrangement, fearing lest, otherwise, the rope might break by the
weight of my body. But now another element of danger showed itself, which
we had not reckoned on: for the distance was so great between the tower
and the stake to which the rope was attached, that it seemed to stretch
horizontally rather than slopingly; so that we could not get along it
merely by our weight, but would have to propel ourselves by some exertion
of our own. We proved this first by a bundle we had made of books and some
other things wrapped up in my cloak. This bundle we placed on the double
rope to see if it would slide down of itself, but it stuck at once. And it
was well it did; for if it had gone out of our reach before it stuck, we
should never have got down ourselves. So we took the bundle back and left
it behind.

“My companion, who had before spoken of the descent as a thing of the
greatest ease, now changed his mind, and confessed it to be very difficult
and full of danger. ‘However,’ said he, ‘I shall most certainly be hanged
if I remain now, for we cannot throw the rope back without its falling
into the water, and so betraying us both and our friends. I will therefore
descend, please God, preferring to expose myself to danger with the hope
of freedom, rather than to remain here with good certainty of being
hanged.’ So he said a prayer, and took to the rope. He descended fairly
enough, for he was strong and vigorous, and the rope was then taut: his
weight, however, slackened it considerably, which made the danger for me
greater, and though I did not then notice this, yet I found it out
afterwards when I came to make the trial.

“So commending myself to God, to our Lord Jesus, to the Blessed Virgin, to
my Guardian Angel, and all my Patrons, particularly to Father Southwell,
who had been imprisoned near this place for nearly three years before his
martyrdom, to Father Walpole, and to all our Saints, I took the rope in my
right hand and held it also with my left arm; then I twisted my legs about
it, to prevent falling, in such a way that the rope passed between my
shins. I descended some three or four yards face downwards, when suddenly
my body swung round by its own weight and hung under the rope. The shock
was so great that I nearly lost my hold, for I was still but weak,
especially in the hands and arms. In fact, with the rope so slack and my
body hanging beneath it, I could hardly get on at all. At length, I made a
shift to get on as far as the middle of the rope, and there I stuck, my
breath and my strength failing me, neither of which were very copious to
begin with. After a little time, the Saints assisting me, and my good
friends below drawing me to them by their prayers, I got on a little
further and stuck again, thinking I should never be able to accomplish it.
Yet I was loath to drop into the water as long as I could possibly hold
on. After another rest, therefore, I summoned what remained of my
strength, and helping myself with legs and arms as well as I could, I got
as far as the wall on the other side of the moat. But my feet only touched
the top of the wall, and my whole body hung horizontally, my head being no
higher than my feet, so slack was the rope. In such a position, and
exhausted as I was, it was hopeless to expect to get over the wall by my
own unaided strength. So John Lilly got on to the wall somehow or other
(for, as he afterwards asserted, he never knew how he got there), took
hold of my feet, and by them pulled me to him, and got me over the wall on
to the ground. But I was quite unable to stand, so they gave me some
cordial waters and restoratives, which they had brought on purpose. By the
help of these I managed to walk to the boat, into which we all entered.
They had, however, before leaving the wall, untied the rope from the stake
and cut off a part of it, so that it hung down the wall of the tower. We
had previously, indeed, determined to pull it away altogether, and had
with this object passed it round a great gun on the tower without knotting
it. But God so willed it that we were not able by any exertion to get it
away; and if we had succeeded, it would certainly have made a loud splash
in the water, and perhaps have brought us into a worse danger.

“On entering the boat we gave hearty thanks to God, Who had delivered us
from the hand of the persecutor and from all the expectation of the
people; we returned our best thanks also to those who had exposed
themselves to such labours and perils for our sakes. We went some
considerable distance in the boat before landing. After we had landed I
sent the gentleman, my companion, with John Lilly, to my house, of which I
have before spoken, which was managed by that saintly widow, Mistress
Line. I myself, however, with Richard Fulwood, went to a house which
Father Garnett had in the suburbs; and there Little John and I, a little
before daylight, mounted our horses, which he had ready there for the
purpose, and rode straight off to Father Garnett, who was then living a
short distance in the country.(107) We got there by dinner-time, and great
rejoicing there was on my arrival, and much thanksgiving to God at my
having thus escaped from the hands of my enemies in the name of the Lord.

“In the meanwhile I had sent Richard Fulwood with a couple of horses to a
certain spot, that he might be ready to ride off with my gaoler, if he
wished to consult his immediate safety. For I had a letter written, of
which I made previous mention, which was to be taken to him early in the
morning at the place where he was accustomed to meet John Lilly. Lilly,
however, did not carry the letter, for I had bidden him remain quiet
within doors until such time as the storm which was to be expected had
blown over. So another, who also knew the gaoler, took the letter, and
gave it to him at the usual meeting-place. He was indeed surprised at
another’s coming, but took the letter without remark, and was about to
depart with the intention of delivering it to me as usual; but the other
stopped him, saying, ‘The letter is for you, and not for any one else.’

“ ‘For me?’ said the gaoler, ‘from whom then does it come?’

“ ‘From a friend of yours,’ replied the other; ‘but who he is I don’t

“The gaoler was still more astonished at this, and said, ‘I cannot myself
read; if, then, it is a matter which requires immediate attention, pray
read it for me.’

“So the man that brought the letter read it for him. It was to the effect
that I had made my escape from prison; and here I added a few words on the
reasons of my conduct, for the purpose of calming his mind. Then I told
him, that though I was nowise bound to protect him from the consequences,
as I had but used my just right, yet, as I had found him faithful in the
things which I had intrusted him with, I was loath to leave him in the
lurch. If, therefore, he was inclined to provide for his own safety
immediately, there was a horse waiting for him with a guide who would
bring him to a place of safety, sufficiently distant from London, where I
would maintain him for life, allowing him two hundred florins [20_l._]
yearly, which would support him comfortably. I added that if he thought of
accepting this offer, he had better settle his affairs as quickly as
possible, and betake himself to the place which the bearer of the letter
would show him.

“The poor man was, as may well be supposed, in a great fright, and
accepted the offer; but, as he was about to return to the Tower to settle
matters and get his wife away, a mate of his met him, and said, ‘Be off
with you as quick as you can; for your prisoners have escaped from the
little tower, and Master Lieutenant is looking for you everywhere. Woe to
you if he finds you!’ So, returning all in a tremble to the bearer of the
letter, he besought him for the love of God to take him at once to where
the horse was waiting for him. He took him, therefore, and handed him over
to Richard Fulwood, who was to be his guide. Fulwood took him to the house
of a friend of mine residing at the distance of a hundred miles from
London, to whom I had written, asking him, if such a person should come,
to take him in and provide for him. I warned him, however, not to put
confidence in him, nor to acknowledge any acquaintance with me. I told him
that Richard Fulwood would reimburse him for all the expenses, but that he
must never listen to the man if at any time he began to talk about me or
about himself.

“Everything was done as I had arranged; my friend received no damage, and
the gaoler remained there out of danger. After a year he went into another
county, and, becoming a Catholic, lived there comfortably for some five
years with his family on the annuity which I sent him regularly according
to promise. He died at the end of those five years, having been through
that trouble rescued by God from the occasions of sin, and, as I hope,
brought to Heaven. I had frequently in the prison sounded him in matters
of religion; and though his reason was perfectly convinced, I was never
able to move his will. My temporal escape, then, I trust, was by the sweet
disposition of God’s merciful providence the occasion of his eternal

“The Lieutenant of the Tower, when he could not find either his prisoners
or their gaoler, hastened to the Lords of the Council with the letters
which he had found. They wondered greatly that I should have been able to
escape in such a way; but one of the chief members of the Council, as I
afterwards heard, said to a gentleman who was in attendance that he was
exceedingly glad I had got off. And when the Lieutenant demanded authority
and assistance to search all London for me, and any suspected places in
the neighbourhood, they all told him it would be of no use. ‘You cannot
hope to find him,’ said they; ‘for if he had such determined friends as to
accomplish what they have, depend upon it they will have made further
arrangements, and provided horses and hiding-places to keep him quite out
of your reach.’ They made search, however, in one or two places, but no
one of any mark was taken that I could ever hear of.

“For my part, I remained quietly with Father Garnett for a few days, both
to recruit myself and to allow the talk about my escape to subside. Then
my former hosts, who had proved themselves such devoted friends, urged my
return to them, first to their London house close to the Clink prison,
where they were as yet residing. So I went to them, and remained there in
secrecy, admitting but very few visitors; nor did I ever leave the house
except at night, a practice I always observed when in London, though at
this time I did even this very sparingly, and visited only a few of my
chief friends.

“At this time I also visited my house, which was then under the care of
Mistress Line, afterwards martyred. Another future martyr was then
residing there of whom I have previously spoken, namely, Mr. Robert Drury,
Priest. In this house about this time I received a certain parson who had
been chaplain to the Earl of Essex in his expedition against the Spanish
King, when he took Cadiz. He was an eloquent man and learned in languages;
and when converted to the Catholic faith he had abandoned divers great
preferments, nay, had likewise endured imprisonment for his religion.
Hearing that he had an opportunity of making his escape, I offered that he
should come to my house. There I maintained him for two or three months,
during which time I gave him the Spiritual Exercises. In the course of his
retreat, he came to the determination of offering himself to the Society;
upon which I asked him to tell me candidly how he, who had been bred up in
Calvin’s bosom as it were, had been accustomed to military life, and had
learnt in heresy and had long been accustomed to prefer his own will to
other people’s, could bring himself to enter the Society, where he knew,
or certainly should know, that the very opposite principles prevailed. To
this he replied, ‘There are three things, in fact, which have especially
induced me to take this step. First, because I see that heretics and evil
livers hold the Society in far greater detestation than they do any other
Religious Order; from which I judge that it has the Spirit of God in an
especial degree, which the spirit of the devil cannot endure, and that it
has been ordained by God to destroy heresy, and wage war against sin in
general. Secondly, because all ecclesiastical dignities are excluded by
its Constitutions, whence it follows that there is in it a greater
certainty of a pure intention; and as its more eminent members are not
taken from it for the Episcopate, it is more likely to retain its first
fervour and its high estimation for virtue and learning. Thirdly, because
in it obedience is cultivated with particular care, a virtue for which I
have the greatest veneration, not only on account of the excellent effects
produced thereby in the soul, but also because all things must needs go on
well in a body where the wills of the members are bound together, and all
are directed by God.’

“These were his reasons; so I sent him into Belgium, that he might be
forwarded to the College at Rome by Father Holt, giving him three hundred
florins [30_l._] for his expenses. I gave the Spiritual Exercises also to
some others in that house before I gave it up, among whom was a pious and
good Priest named Woodward, who also found a vocation to the Society, and
afterwards passed into Belgium with the intention of entering it; but as
there was a great want of English Priests in the army at the time, he was
appointed to that work, and died in it, greatly loved and reverenced by

“I did not, however, keep that house long after the recovery of my
liberty, because it was now known to a large number of persons, and was
frequented during my imprisonment by many more than I should have
permitted if I had been free. My principal reason, however, for giving it
up was because it was known to the person who had been the cause of my
being sent to the Tower. He had indeed expressed sorrow for his act, and
had written to me to beg my pardon, which I freely gave him; yet, as he
was released from prison soon after my escape, and I found that those
among whom he had lived had no very good opinion of his character, I did
not think it well that a thing involving the safety of many should remain
within his knowledge. Mistress Line, also, a woman of singular prudence
and virtue, was of the same mind. So I determined to make other
arrangements as soon as possible....”

“It seemed best, therefore, that Mistress Line should lodge for a space by
herself in a hired room of a private house; while I, who did not wish to
be without a place in London where I could safely admit some of my
principal friends, and perhaps house a Priest from time to time, joined
with a prudent and pious gentleman, who had a wife of similar character,
in renting a large and spacious house between us. Half the house was to be
for their use and the other half for mine, in which I had a fair chapel
well provided and ornamented. Hither I resorted when I came to London, and
here also I sent from time to time those I would, paying a certain sum for
their board. In this way I expended scarce half the amount I did formerly
under the other arrangement, when I was obliged to maintain a household
whether there were any guests in the house or not; though indeed it was
seldom that the house was empty of guests.

“I made this new provision for my own and my friends’ accommodation just
in good time; for most certainly had I remained in my former house I
should have been taken again. The thing happened in this wise. The Priest
who, as I have related, got me promoted from a more obscure prison to a
nobler one, began to importune me with continual letters that I would
grant him an interview. Partly by delaying to answer him, partly by
excusing myself on the score of occupation, I put him off for about half a
year. At length he urged his request very pressingly, and complained to me
by letter that I showed contempt of him. I sent him no answer, but on a
convenient occasion, knowing where he lodged, I despatched a friend to him
to tell him that if he wished to see me, he must come at once with the
messenger. I warned the messenger, however, not to permit any delay, nor
to allow him to write anything nor address any one on the way if he wished
to have an interview with me. I arranged, moreover, that he should be
brought not to any house, but to a certain field near one of the Inns of
Court, which was a common promenade, and that the messenger should walk
there alone with him till I came. It was at night, and there was a bright
moon. I came there with a couple of friends, in case any attempt should be
made against me, and making a half circuit outside (that he might not know
in what part of London I lived), I happened to enter the field near the
house of a Catholic which adjoined it; and our good friend catching first
sight of me near this house, thought perhaps that I came out of it, and in
fact the Archpriest was lodging in it at the time. However that may be, I
found him there walking and waiting for me, and when I had heard all he
had to say, I saw that there was nothing which he had not already said in
his letters, and to which he had not had my answer. My suspicion was
therefore increased, and certainly not without reason. For within a day or
two that corner house near which he saw me enter the field, and my old
house which I had lately left (though he knew not that I had left it),
were both of them surrounded and strictly searched on the same night and
at the same hour. The Archpriest was all but caught in the one; he had
just time to get into a hiding-place, and so escaped.(108) The search
lasted two whole days in the other house, which the Priest knew me to have
occupied at one time. The Lieutenant of the Tower and the Knight
Marshal(109) conducted the searches in person, a task they never undertake
unless one of their prisoners has escaped. From these circumstances it is
sufficiently clear, both of whom they were in search and from whom they
got their information.

“But when they found me not (nor indeed did they find the Priest who was
then in the house, living with a Catholic to whom I had let it), they sent
pursuivants on the next day to the house of my host, who had by this time
returned to his country seat, but by God’s mercy they did not find me
there either. It was well, therefore, that I acted cautiously with the
above-mentioned Priest, and also that I had so opportunely changed my
residence in London.”


“I saw also that it would soon be necessary for me to give up my present
residence in the country, and betake myself elsewhere; otherwise those
good and faithful friends of mine,” the Wisemans, “would always be
suffering some annoyance for my sake. I proposed the matter, therefore, to
them, but they refused to listen to me in this point, though in all other
things they were most obedient. But I thought more of their peace than of
their wishes, however pious these wishes were; and therefore I laid the
matter before my Superior,(110) who approved my views. So I obtained from
Father Garnett another of ours, a pious and learned man, whom I had known
at Rome, and who at that time was companion to Father Ouldcorne, of
blessed memory; this was Father Richard Banks, now professed of four vows.
I took him to live with me for a time, that I might by degrees introduce
him into the family in my place; and in the meantime I made more frequent
excursions than usual.

“In one of these excursions I visited a noble family, by whom I had long
been invited and often expected, but I had never yet been able to visit
them on account of my pressing occupations. Here I found the lady of the
house, a widow, very pious and devout, but at this present overwhelmed
with grief at the loss of her husband. She had, indeed, been so affected
by this loss that for a whole year she scarce stirred out of her chamber,
and for the next three years which had intervened before my visit, had
never brought herself to go to that part of the mansion in which her
husband had died. To this grief and trouble were added certain anxieties
about the bringing up of her son, who was yet a child under his mother’s
care. He was one of the first Barons of the realm; but his parents had
suffered so much for the Faith, and had mortgaged so much of their
property to meet the constant exactions of an heretical Government, that
the remaining income was scarcely sufficient for their proper maintenance.
But a wise woman builds up her house and is proved in it....”

This lady was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Roper, who was raised to the
peerage in 1616 as Lord Teynham. In 1590(111) she married George, the
second son of William, Lord Vaux of Harrowden, but her husband died in
1594, during the lifetime of his father. When in the following year her
father-in-law also died, she was left in charge of her infant son, Edward
fourth Baron Vaux.

As she wished me to reside in her house, “on my return to London I
proposed the matter to Father Garnett, who was much rejoiced at the offer,
knowing the place to be one where much good might be done both directly
and indirectly. He said, too, that the offer had occurred most
opportunely, for that there were some Catholics in another county more to
the north, where Catholics were more numerous and there was no Priest of
the Society, who had been long petitioning for the Father at present
stationed at that house, and who would much rejoice at the prospect of
having him among them. To this I urged that the place was large enough for
two, and that I very much desired to have a companion of the Society with
me, and I requested that he would assign me Father John Percy, with whom I
had become acquainted during my imprisonment, not indeed personally, but
by frequent interchange of letters. This Father had been brought prisoner
from Flanders to Holland,(112) where he was recognized and tortured; he
was afterwards thrown into the foul gaol of Bridewell, and after remaining
there some time made a shift to escape from a window with another Priest,
letting himself down with a rope. Mistress Line made him welcome in my
house, where he tarried for a time; but soon after went down into the
county of York, and dwelt there with a pious Catholic. In this part he
made himself so dear to every one, that though I had Father Garnett’s
consent, it was a full year before I could get him away from them.

“Since now to the desire of this noble widow was added the approval of
Father Garnett, I so settled my affairs as to provide amply for the
security and advantage of my former hosts. For I left with them Father
Banks, a most superior man in every respect; and although at first my old
friends did not value him so much, yet, as they became better acquainted,
they found that the good account I had given them was no more than the
truth, and soon came to esteem him as a father. I often afterwards visited
their house, where I had found so great faith and piety.

“When I was domiciled in my new residence, I began by degrees to wean my
hostess’ mind from that excessive grief; showing how that we ought to
mourn moderately only over our dead, and not to grieve like those who have
no hope. I added that as her husband had become a Catholic before his
death, one little prayer would do him more good than many tears; that our
tears should be reserved for our own and others’ sins, for our own souls
stood in need of floods of that cleansing water, and it was to the
concerns of our own souls that all our thoughts and labours should be
turned. I then taught her the use of meditation, finding her quite capable
of profiting by it, for her mental powers were of a very high order. I
thus gradually brought her first to change that old style of grief for a
more worthy one; then to give eternal concerns the preference over worldly
matters; and to consider how she might transform her life, which before
was good and holy, into better and holier, by endeavouring as much as she
could to imitate the life of our Lord and of His Saints.

“She was ready to set up her residence wherever I judged it best for the
good of religion, whether in London,(113) or in the most remote part of
the island, as she often protested to me. I considered, however, that
though a residence in or near London would be better for the gaining of
souls, yet that it was not at present very safe for me; nor, indeed, could
she remain there in private, since she was well known for a Catholic, and
the Lords of the Council demanded from her frequent accounts of her son,
the Baron, where and how he was educated. Moreover, as she had the
management of her son’s estate while he was a minor, stewards and
bailiffs, and other such persons, must have constant communication with
her; so that it was quite out of the question her living near London under
an assumed name; yet this was absolutely necessary if a person wished to
carry on the good work in that neighbourhood. It was thus those ladies did
with whom Father Garnett lived so long, who were in fact sisters of this
lady’s deceased husband, one unmarried, the other a widow.(114) I saw,
therefore, no fitter place for her to fix her residence than where she was
among her own people, where she had the chief people of the county
connected with her and her son, either by blood or friendship.

“The only difficulty which remained was about the exact spot. The house in
which she was actually living was not only old, but antiquated. It had
been the residence of her husband’s father, who had married a wife who was
a better hand at spending than at gathering, and consequently the house
was very poorly appointed for a family of their dignity. There was another
and larger house of theirs at” Great Harrowden, “a distance of about three
miles, which had been the old family seat. This had also been neglected,
so that it was in some part quite ruinous, and not fit for our purpose,
namely, to receive the Catholic gentry who might come to visit me. In
addition to this, it was not well adapted for defence against any sudden
intrusions of the heretics, and consequently we should not be able to be
as free there as my hostess wished. Her desire was to have a house where
we might as nearly as possible conform ourselves to the manner of life
followed in our Colleges; and this in the end she brought about.

“She sought everywhere for such a house, and we looked at many houses in
the county; but something or other was always wanting to her wishes. At
last we found a house which had been built by the late Chancellor of
England,(115) who had died childless, and was now to be let for a term of
years. It was truly a princely place, large and well built, surrounded by
gardens and orchards, and so far removed from other houses that no one
could notice our coming in or going out. This house she took on payment of
fifteen thousand florins [1,500_l._], and began to fit it up for our
accommodation. She wished to finish the alterations before we removed
thither; but man proposes, and God disposes as He wills, though always for
the best, and for the true good of His elect.

“When I came to the lady’s house, she had a great number of servants, some
heretics, others indeed Catholics, but allowing themselves too much
liberty. By degrees things got into better order; some became Catholics;
others, through public and private exhortations, became by the grace of
God more fervent; and some, of whom there did not appear any hope of
amendment, were dismissed. There was one who brought great trouble on us.
For on one occasion when we were in London, either from thoughtlessness or
loquacity, or because the yoke of a stricter discipline, now begun in the
family, sat uneasily upon him, he said to a false brother that I had
lately come to live at his lady’s house, and had carried on such and such
doings there; and that I was then in London at such a house, naming the
house of which I rented half, as I have before said; he told him also that
he himself had gone to that house with his lady at a time when she and I
were in town on business connected with her son, and that he had seen the
master and mistress of that house when they called on his lady, as they
had often done. My hostess had now returned into the country with this
servant, leaving me for a short time in town. But the man had left this
tale behind him, which soon came to the ears of the Council, how that I
had my residence with such a lady, and was at this moment at such a house
in London. They instantly, therefore, commissioned two Justices of the
Peace to search the house.

“I, who had no inkling of such a danger, had remained in town for certain
business, and was giving a retreat to three gentlemen in the house before
mentioned. One of these three gentlemen was Master Roger Lee, now Minister
in the English College of St. Omers. He was a gentleman of high family,
and of so noble a character and such winning manners that he was a
universal favourite, especially with the nobility, in whose company he
constantly was, being greatly given to hunting, hawking, and all other
noble sports. He was, indeed, excellent at everything, but he was withal a
Catholic, and so bent on the study of virtue that he was meditating a
retreat from the world and a more immediate following of Christ. He used
frequently to visit me when I was in the Clink prison, and I clearly saw
that he was called to greater things than catching birds of the air, and
that he was meant rather to be a catcher of men. I had now, therefore,
fixed a time with this gentleman and good friend of mine, in which he
should seek out, by means of the Spiritual Exercises, the strait path that
leads to life, under the guidance of Him Who is Himself the Way and the

“But while he and the others were engaged privately in their chambers in
the study of this heroic philosophy, suddenly the storm burst upon us. I,
too, in fact, after finishing my business in town, had taken the
opportunity of a little quiet to begin my own retreat, giving out that I
had returned into the country. I was now in the fourth or fifth day of the
retreat, when about three o’clock in the afternoon John Lilly hurried to
my room, and without knocking, entered with his sword drawn.

“Surprised at this sudden intrusion, I asked what was the matter.

“ ‘It is a matter of searching the house,’ he replied.

“ ‘What house?’

“ ‘This very house: and they are in it already!’

“In fact, they had been cunning enough to knock gently, as friends were
wont to do, and the servant opened readily to them, without the least
suspicion until he saw them rush in and scatter themselves in all

“While John was telling me this, up came the searching party, together
with the mistress of the house, to the very room in which we were. Now,
just opposite to my room was the chapel, so that from the passage the door
of the chapel opened on the one hand, and that of my room on the other.
The magistrates, then, seeing the door of the chapel open, went in, and
found there an altar richly adorned, and the priestly vestments laid out
close by, so handsome as to cause expressions of admiration from the
heretics themselves. In the meanwhile I, in the room opposite, was quite
at my wit’s end what to do; for there was no hiding-place in the room, nor
any means of exit except by the open passage were the enemy were. However,
I changed the soutane which I was wearing for a secular coat, but my books
and manuscript meditations, which I had there in considerable quantities,
I was quite unable to conceal.

“We stood there with our ears close to the chink of the door, listening to
catch what they said: and I heard one exclaim from the chapel, ‘Good God!
what have we found here? I had no thoughts of coming to this house
to-day!’ From this I concluded that it was a mere chance search, and that
they had no special warrant. Probably, therefore, I thought they had but
few men with them. So we began to consult together whether it were not
better to rush out with drawn swords, seize the keys from the searching
party, and so escape; for we should have Master Lee and the master of the
house to help us, besides two or three men-servants. Moreover, I
considered that if we should be taken in the house, the master would
certainly be visited with a far greater punishment than what the law
prescribes for resistance to a magistrate’s search.

“While we were thus deliberating, the searchers came to the door of my
room and knocked. We made no answer, but pressed the latch hard down, for
the door had no bolt or lock. As they continued knocking, the mistress of
the house said, ‘Perhaps the man-servant who sleeps in that room may have
taken away the key. I will go and look for him.’

“ ‘No, no,’ said they, ‘you go nowhere without us, or you will be hiding
away something.’

“And so they went with her, not staying to examine whether the door had a
lock or not. Thus did God blind the eyes of the Assyrians, that they
should not find the place, nor the means of hurting His servants, nor know
where they were going.

“When they had got below-stairs, the mistress of the house, who had great
presence of mind, took them into a room in which some ladies were, the
sister, namely, of my hostess in the country, and Mistress Line; and while
the magistrates were questioning these ladies, she ran up to us, saying,
‘Quick, quick! get into the hiding-place!’ She had scarce said this and
run down again, before the searchers had missed her and were for
remounting the stairs. But she stood in their way on the bottom step, so
that they immediately suspected what the case was, and were eager to get
past. This, however, they could not do without laying forcible hands on
the lady, a thing which, as gentlemen, they shrank from doing. One of
them, however, as she stood there purposely occupying the whole width of
the stair-way, thrust his head past her, in hopes of seeing what was going
on above-stairs. And indeed he almost caught sight of me as I passed along
to the hiding-place. For as soon as I heard the lady’s words of warning, I
opened the door, and with the least possible noise mounted from a stool to
the hiding-place, which was arranged in a secret gable of the roof. When I
had myself mounted, I bade John Lilly come up also, but he, more careful
of me than of himself, refused to follow me, saying: ‘No, Father; I shall
not come. There must be some one to own the books and papers in your room;
otherwise, upon finding them, they will never rest till they have found
you too: only pray for me.’

“So spoke this truly faithful and prudent servant, so full of charity as
to offer his life for his friend. There was no time for further words. I
acquiesced reluctantly and closed the small trap-door by which I had
entered, but I could not open the door of the inner hiding-place, so that
I should infallibly have been taken if they had not found John Lilly, and
mistaking him for a Priest ceased from any further search. For this was
what happened, God so disposing it, and John’s prudence and intrepidity
helping thereto.

“For scarcely had he removed the stool by which I mounted, and had gone
back to the room and shut the door, when the two chiefs of the searching
party again came upstairs and knocked violently at the door, ready to
break it open if the key were not found. Then the intrepid soldier of
Christ threw open the door and presented himself undaunted to the

“ ‘Who are you?’ they asked.

“ ‘A man, as you see,’ he replied.

“ ‘But what are you? Are you a Priest?’

“ ‘I do not say I am a Priest,’ replied John; ‘that is for you to prove.
But I am a Catholic certainly.’

“Then they found there on the table all my meditations, my breviary, and
many Catholic books, and what grieved me most of all to lose, my
manuscript sermons and notes for sermons, which I had been writing or
compiling for the last ten years, and which I made more account of,
perhaps, than they did of all their money. After examining all these they
asked whose they were.

“ ‘They are mine,’ said John.

“ ‘Then there can be no doubt you are a Priest. And this cassock, whose is

“ ‘That is a dressing-gown, to be used for convenience now and then.’

“Convinced now that they had caught a Priest, they carefully locked up all
the books and papers in a box, to be taken away with them. Then they
locked the chapel door and put their seal upon it, and taking John by the
arm they led him downstairs, and delivered him into the custody of their
officers. Now when he entered with his captors into the room where the
ladies were, he, who at other times was always wont to conduct himself
with humility and stand uncovered in such company, now, on the contrary,
after saluting them, covered his head and sat down. Nay, assuming a sort
of authority, he said to the magistrates: ‘These are noble ladies; it is
your duty to treat them with consideration. I do not, indeed, know them,
but it is quite evident that they are entitled to the greatest respect.’

“I should have mentioned that there was a second Priest in the house with
me, Father Pullen,(116) an old man, who had quite lately made his
noviceship at Rome. He luckily had a hiding-place in his room, and had got
into it at the first alarm.

“The ladies, therefore, now perceiving that I was safe, and that the other
Priest had also escaped, and seeing also John’s assumed dignity, could
scarce refrain from showing their joy. They made no account now of the
loss of property, or the annoyance they should have to undergo from the
suspicion of having had a Priest in the house. They wondered indeed and
rejoiced, and almost laughed to see John playing the Priest, for so well
did he do it as to deceive those deceivers, and divert them from any
further search.”


“The magistrates who had searched the house took away John Lilly with
them, and the master of the house also with his two men-servants, under
the idea that all his property would be confiscated for harbouring a
Priest.(117) The ladies, however, represented that they had merely come to
pay an after-dinner visit to the mistress of the house, without knowing
anything about a Priest being there; so they were let off on giving bail
to appear when summoned. The same favour was ultimately shown to Master
Roger Lee, though it was with greater difficulty the magistrates could be
persuaded that he was only a visitor. At last, then, they departed well
satisfied, and locked up their prisoners for the night to wait their
morrow’s examination.

“Immediately on their departure, the mistress of the house and those other
ladies came with great joy to give me notice; and we all joined in giving
thanks to God, Who had delivered us all from such imminent danger by the
prudence and fidelity of one. Father Pullen and I removed that very night
to another place, lest the searchers should find out their error and

“The next day I made a long journey to my hostess’ house in the country,
and caused much fear, and then much joy, as I related all that God had
done for us. Then we all heartily commended John Lilly to God in prayer.
And, indeed, there was reason enough to do so. For the magistrates, making
full inquiries the next day, found that John had been an apothecary in
London for seven years, and then had been imprisoned in the Clink for
eight or nine more, and that he had been the person who had communicated
with me in the Tower, for the gaoler’s wife had been apprehended after her
husband’s flight, and had confessed so much. They saw, therefore, clearly
that they had been tricked, and that John was not a Priest, but a Priest’s
servant; and they now began to have a shrewd suspicion, though rather too
late, that I had been hidden at the time in the same house where they
caught him, especially as they found so many books and writings which they
did not doubt were mine. They sent, therefore, to search the house again,
but they found only an empty nest, for the birds were flown.

“John was carried to the Tower and confined there in chains. Then they
examined him about my escape, and about all the places he had been to with
me since. He, seeing that his dealings with the gaoler were already known
to them, and desirous (if God would grant him such a favour), to lay down
his life for Christ, freely confessed that it was he who had compassed my
deliverance, and that he took great pleasure in the thought of having done
so; he added that he was in the mind to do the same again if occasion
required and opportunity offered. The gaoler, however, he exonerated, and
protested that he was not privy to the escape. With regard to the places
where he had been with me, he answered (as he had been often taught to do)
that he would bring no one into trouble, and that he would not name a
single place, for to do so would be a sin against charity and justice.
Upon this they said they would not press him any further in words, but
would convince him by deeds that he must tell them all they wanted. John
replied: ‘It is a thing that, with the help of God, I will never do. You
have me in your power; do what God permits you.’

“Then they took him to the torture-chamber, and hung him up in the way I
have before described, and tortured him cruelly for the space of three
hours. But nothing could they wring from him that they could use either
against me or against others, so that from that time they gave up all hope
of obtaining anything against any one from him either by force or fear.
Consequently they tortured him no more, but kept him in the closest
custody for about four months to try and tire him into compliance. Failing
also in this, and seeing that their pains availed them nothing, they sent
him to another prison, where prisoners are usually sent who are awaiting
execution, and probably it was their intention to deal that way with him,
but God otherwise determined. For after a long detention here, and having
been allowed a little communication with other Catholic prisoners, he was
asked by a certain Priest to assist him in making his escape. Turning his
attention, therefore, to the matter, he found a way by which he delivered
both the Priest and himself from captivity.

“I ought not, however, to omit an incident that happened during his
detention in the Tower, since it is in such things that the dealings of
God’s providence are often to be very plainly recognized. While he was
under examination about me and others of the Society, Wade, who was at
that time the chief persecutor, asked him if he knew Garnett. John said he
did not.

“ ‘No?’ said Wade, with a sour smile; ‘and you don’t know his house in the
Spital(118) either, I dare say! I don’t mind letting you know,’ he
continued, ‘now that I have you safe, that I am acquainted with his
residence, and that we are sure of having him here in a day or two to keep
you company. For when he comes to London he puts up at that house, and
then we shall catch him.’

“John knew well that the house named was Father Garnett’s resort, and was
in great distress to find that the secret had been betrayed to the enemy;
and, though kept as close as possible, yet he managed in a few days by
God’s good providence to get an opportunity of sending some little article
_wrapped up in blank paper_ to a friend in London. His friend on receiving
it carefully smoothed out the paper and held it to the fire, knowing that
John would be likely to communicate by the means of orange-juice if he had
the opportunity, and there he found it written that this residence of
Father Garnett’s had been betrayed, and that Father Garnett must be warned
of it. This was instantly done, and in this way the Father was saved, for
otherwise he would assuredly, as Wade had said, have betaken himself to
that house in a day or two. Now, however, he not only did not go, but took
all his things away, so that when the house was searched they found
nothing. Had it not been for this providential warning from our greatest
enemy, they would have found plenty; they would have found him, his books,
altar furniture, and other things of a similar nature. Father Garnett,
then, escaped this time by John’s good help, as I had done previously.

“After his escape John came to me, but though I desired much to keep him,
it was out of the question, for he was now so marked a man that his
presence would have been a continual danger for me and all my friends. For
I was wont in the country to go openly to the houses of Catholic
gentlemen, and it might well happen that John might come across persons
that knew him, and would know me through him. Whereas but very few of the
enemy knew me, for I was always detained in close custody, and none but
Catholics saw me in prison, nay, such Catholics only as I knew to be
specially trustworthy. I had, indeed, been examined publicly in London
several times, but the persons concerned in the examinations very seldom
left town, and if they had done so I should have been warned of it
instantly, and should have taken good care never to trust myself in their
neighbourhood. So I put John with Father Garnett, to stay in quiet hiding
for a time; and when opportunity offered sent him over to Father Persons,
that he might obtain, what he had long hoped for, admission to the
Society. He was admitted at Rome,(119) and lived there for six or seven
years as a Lay-brother, much esteemed, I believe, by everybody. I can on
my part testify about him to the greater glory of God, and that the more
allowably because I believe he has died in England before this present
writing, whither he returned with a consumption on him: I can, I say,
testify that for nearly six years that he was with me in England, and had
his hands full of business for me, though he had to do with all sorts of
men in all sorts of places (for while I was engaged upstairs with the
gentry and nobility, he was associating downstairs with the servants,
often very indifferent characters), yet the whole of this time he so
guarded his heart and his soul that I never found him to have been even in
danger of mortal sin. Truly his was an innocent soul, and endowed with
great prudence and cleverness.

“But now that I have brought the history of John Lilly to its close, it is
time to return to myself, who, having just escaped one danger, had like to
have fallen into a second and still greater one, had not God again
interposed His hand.”


“I mentioned just now that one of my hostess’ servants told a friend of
his, but an enemy of ours, that I habitually resided at his mistress’
house, and that at that particular time I was at such a house in London.
How this house was searched, and how they seized my companion and my
manuscripts, but missed me, I have related. The Council, therefore, now
knowing my residence in the country, issued a commission to some Justices
of the Peace in that county to search this lady’s house for a Priest. It
had, in fact, began to be talked of in the county that she had taken this
grand house in order that she might harbour Priests there in larger
numbers and with greater freedom, because it was more private; and in this
people were not far wrong.”

“Now at this time, that is, soon after my return from London, we had
driven over to the new house to make arrangements for our removal thither,
and with the special object of determining where to construct
hiding-places. To this end we had Little John with us, whom I have before
mentioned as very clever at constructing these places, and whom Father
Garnett had lent to us for a time for this purpose. Having made all the
necessary arrangements we left Little John behind, and Hugh Sheldon also
to help him, who is now at Rome with Father Persons in the room of John
Lilly. These two, whom we had always found most faithful, were to
construct the hiding-places, and to be the only ones beside ourselves to
know anything about them. The rest of us, however, returned the same day
to our hostess’ own house, and by the advice of one of the servants, God
so disposing it, we came back a different way, as being easier for the
carriage. Had we returned by the way we went, the searchers would have
come early to the house where we were, and most probably catching us
entirely unprepared, would have found what they came to seek. The fact was
that the road by which we went to the new house ran through a town, where
some of the enemy were on the watch and had seen us pass, but not seeing
us return they concluded that we were spending the night at the new house,
and went there the first thing in the morning to search.

“But the house was so large that, although they had a numerous body of
followers, they were not able to surround it entirely, nor to watch all
the outlets so narrowly, but what Little John managed to make off safely.
Hugh Sheldon they caught, but could get nothing out of him, so they sent
him afterwards to prison at Wisbech, and from thence later to some other
prison in company with many Priests, and at last in the same good company
into exile.

“When, however, the Justices found that they were wrong, and that the lady
had returned home the previous day, they retraced their steps and came as
fast as their horses could carry them to the old house. They arrived at
our dinner-hour, and being admitted by the carelessness of the porter, got
into the hall before we had any warning. Now as the lady of the house was
a little indisposed that morning, we were going to take our dinner in my
room, that is, Father Percy, myself, and Master Roger Lee, who had come
down from London to finish his retreat which had been so rudely
interrupted before. So when I heard who had come, that they were in the
great hall, and that his lordship himself, who was indeed but a boy at
that time, could not prevent them from intruding into his room, though he
was also unwell, I made a pretty shrewd guess what they had come about,
and snatching up such things as wanted hiding I made the best of my way to
the hiding-place, together with Father Percy and Master Roger Lee. For it
would not do for this latter to have been found here, especially as he had
already been found in the house in London where I was known to have been,
and would therefore have given good reason to think that I was here also.
But we had to pass by the door of the room in which the enemy were as yet
waiting, and exclaiming that they would wait no longer. Nay, one of the
pursuivants opened the door and looked out; and some of the servants said
that he must have seen me as I passed. But God certainly interposed, for
it was surely not to be expected from natural causes that men who had come
eager to search the house at once, and were loudly declaring they would do
so, should stay in a room where they were not locked in, just as long as
was necessary for us to hide ourselves, and then come forth as if they had
been let loose, intrude upon the lady of the house, and course through all
the rooms like bloodhounds after their prey. I cannot but think that this
was the finger of God, Who would not that the good intentions of this lady
should be so soon frustrated, but rather wished by so evident a display of
His providence to confirm her in her determinations, and preserve her for
many more good works.

“The authorities searched the house thoroughly the whole day, but found
nothing. At last they retired disappointed, and wrote to the Council what
they had done. We soon discovered who had done the mischief (for he had
not done it secretly) and discharged him, but without unkindness. I gave
out also that I should quit the place altogether, and for a time we
practised particular caution in all points.

“In consequence of this mishap it became impossible for us to remove to
the new house. For those same Justices, who were pestilent heretics, and
several others in the same county, Puritans, declared they would never
suffer her ladyship to live at peace if she came there, as her only object
was to harbour Priests. Being deterred, therefore, from that place, but
not from her design, she set about fitting up her own present residence
for that same purpose, and built us separate quarters close to the old
chapel, which had been erected anciently by former Barons of the family to
hear Mass in when the weather might make it unpleasant to go to the parish
church. Here, then, she built a little wing of three stories for Father
Percy and me. The place was exceedingly convenient, and so free from
observation that from our rooms we could step out into the private garden,
and thence through spacious walks into the fields, where we could mount
our horses and ride whither we would.

“As we lived here safely and quietly, I frequently left Father Percy at
home, and made excursions to see if I could establish similar centres of
operation among other families; and in this Father Roger Lee (to give him
his present title) helped me not a little. He first took me to the house
of a relation of his, who lived in princely splendour, and whose father
was one of the Queen’s Council. This young nobleman was a schismatic, that
is, a Catholic by conviction, but conforming externally to the State
religion; and there seemed no hope of getting him any further, for he
contented himself with _velleities_, and was fearful of offending his
father. His wife, however, who was a heretic, had begun to listen with
interest to Catholic doctrine, so that there was hope she might in time be
brought into the Church. Their house was full of heretic servants, and
there was a constant coming and going of heretic gentry either on business
or on visit; it was therefore imperatively necessary that, as I could only
go there publicly, I should well conceal my purpose.

“We paid a visit, then, to this house, and were made very welcome, Master
Lee for his own sake, as being much beloved, and I for his. On the first
day I looked in vain for an opportunity of a conversation with the lady of
the house, for there was always some one by. We were obliged to play at
cards to pass the time, as those are wont to do who know not the eternal
value of time, or at least care not for it. On the next day, however, as
the lady of the house stept aside once to the window to set her watch, I
joined her there, and after talking a little about the watch, passed on to
matters which I had more in view, saying I wished we took as much pains to
set our souls in order as we did our watches. She looked up at me in pure
surprise to hear such things from my lips; and as I saw I might never get
a better opportunity than the present, I began to open a little further,
and told her that I had come there with Master Lee specially for her sake,
hearing from him that she took interest in matters of religion, and that I
was ready to explain the Catholic doctrine to her, and satisfy all the
doubts she could possibly have; moreover, that I could point out the way
to a height of virtue which she had hitherto never dreamt of, for that in
heresy she could neither find that way, nor any who made account of it.
She was struck with what I said, and promised to find some opportunity for
further conversation, when we might speak more fully on the matter. I gave
her this hint of a higher virtue, because she had been represented to me,
as she really was, as a lady of most earnest and conscientious character.

“She found the time according to her promise; all her difficulties were
removed, and she became a Catholic. After reconciling her to the Church, I
made some other converts in the same house; then I recommended her a
Catholic maid, and suggested that she should keep a Priest always in the
house, to which she gladly assented. This was a thing that might easily be
managed, not indeed as it was in our house, where the whole household was
Catholic, and knew us to be Priests; but a Priest could well live in the
upper part of the house, from which all heretics might be kept away,
especially now that some of the servants were Catholics. And, indeed, the
accommodation was such that I do not know any place in England where a
Priest who wished to be private could live more conveniently. For he could
have, in the first place, a fine room to himself, opening on a spacious
corridor of some eighty paces, which looked on a garden, the laying out of
which had cost, as I was told, ten thousand florins [1,000_l._]; in this
corridor, moreover, was a separate room, which would serve excellently as
a chapel, and another for his meals, with fire-places and every
convenience. It was a pity, I said, that such a place had not a resident
Priest, where the mistress was a devout Catholic, and the master no enemy
to religion. Her husband, indeed, made no difficulty of receiving Priests;
nay, he sometimes came to hear me preach, and at last went so far as to be
fond of dressing the altar with his own hands, and of saying the breviary:
yet with all this he still remains outside the ark, liable to be swept off
by the waters of the deluge when they break forth, for he presumes too
much on an opportunity of doing penance before death.

“The lady then readily fell in with my suggestion of having a Priest in
her house; so I brought thither Father Antony Hoskins, a man of great
ability, who had lately come over from Spain, where he had spent ten years
in the Society with remarkable success in his studies. Being placed there,
he did a great deal of good on all sides, and remained with them almost up
to the present time, when at length he has been removed and put to greater
things. He did not, however, stay constantly at home, for he is a man
whom, when once known, many would wish to confer with, so that he was
forced to go about at times. At present there is another Father in the
house, a most devoted man. But the lady directs herself chiefly by Father
Percy, who this very week addressed me a letter in the following
words:—‘Such a one’ (meaning this lady of whom I have been speaking) ‘is
going on very well. She has put her whole house under the protection of
our Blessed Lady of Loretto, and offers her heart to her, to serve her and
her Son for ever, with all that she possesses; and in token of this she
has had made a beautiful heart of gold, which she wishes to send to
Loretto by the first opportunity. We desire, therefore, to hear from you
by whom she can send this offering.’ Thus he writes about this lady. In
this way then, by the grace of God, was this house, with its domestic
church, established and confirmed in the Faith.

“Master Roger also introduced me to some neighbours of his; among others
to a gentleman of the Queen’s Court,”(120) Sir Everard Digby, “who had
inherited a large estate, and had married a lady who was sole heiress to
all her father’s property,” Mary Mulshaw, of Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire.
“Not one of this family was a Catholic, nor even inclined to the Catholic
faith. The wife’s father, who was the head of the house, was a thorough
heretic, and had his thoughts entirely occupied in hoarding money for his
daughter, and increasing her revenues. His son-in-law devoted himself
wholly to juvenile sports. When in London, he attended at Court, being one
of the Queen’s gentlemen pensioners; but in the country he spent almost
his whole time in hunting and hawking. Hence it happened that Master Roger
Lee, who was a neighbour of his, and fond of similar sports, often joined
him on such occasions, and brought his falcons to hawk in company. We two,
therefore, took advantage of this acquaintanceship, and I was introduced
to this gentleman’s house as a friend and intimate of Master Lee’s. We
made frequent visits there, and took every opportunity of speaking of
Catholic doctrine and practice. I took care, however, that Master Lee
should always speak more frequently and more earnestly than I, that no
suspicion might arise about my real character. Indeed, so far was this
gentleman from having the least suspicion about me, that he seriously
asked Master Lee whether he thought I was a good match for his sister,
whom he wished to see married well, and to a Catholic, for he looked on
Catholics as good and honourable men.

“We had, therefore, as I said, frequent converse on matters of salvation;
and the wife was the first to listen with any fruit, at a time when she
was living in the country but her husband was up in town. Her parents were
now dead, and she was mistress of the house, so that we were able to deal
more directly with her. At last she came to the point of wishing to be a
Catholic, and told me she should be glad to speak with a Priest. I could
scarce forbear a smile at this. I answered, however, that the thing might
be managed, and that I would speak with Master Lee on the subject. ‘In the
meantime,’ I added, ‘I can teach you the way to examine your conscience,
as I myself was taught to do it by an experienced Priest.’ So I told
Master Roger that as she was now determined and prepared, he might inform
her of my being a Priest. This he did, but she for some time refused to
believe it, saying, ‘How is it possible he can be a Priest? Has he not
lived among us rather as a courtier? Has he not played at cards with my
husband, and played well too, which is impossible for those not accustomed
to the game? Has he not gone out hunting with my husband, and frequently
in my hearing spoken of the hunt and of the hawks in proper terms, without
tripping, which no one could but one who has been trained to it?’

“Many other things she adduced to show I could not be a Priest: to all of
which Master Lee replied, ‘It is true that he said and did what you say;
and unless he had done so, how could he have gained entrance here, and
conversed with you, and by his conversation brought you to the Faith? For
if he had presented himself as a Priest (which he would much prefer, were
it feasible), how would your father, who was then living, have allowed his
introduction, or you yourselves?’

“She could not but admit the truth of this; yet she found it hard to
believe that it was so. ‘I pray you,’ she said, ‘not to be angry with me,
if I ask further whether any other Catholic knows him to be a Priest but
you. Does so-and-so know him?’

“ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘and goes to confession to him.’

“Then she mentioned other names, and at last that of my hostess, who lived
in the neighbourhood, but ten miles off.

“ ‘Does she, too, know him as a Priest, and deal with him as such?’

“ ‘Why,’ said Master Lee, ‘she not only knows him as a Priest, but has
given herself, and all her household, and all that she has, to be directed
by him, and takes no other guide but him.’

“Then at length she confessed herself satisfied.

“ ‘You will find him, however,’ added Master Lee, ‘quite a different man
when he has put off his present character.’

“This she acknowledged the next day, when she saw me in my soutane and
other priestly garments, such as she had never before seen. She made a
most careful confession, and came to have so great an opinion of my poor
powers, that she gave herself entirely to my direction, meditated great
things, which, indeed, she carried out, and carries out still.

“When this matter was thus happily terminated, we all three consulted
together, how we could induce her husband to enter also into St. Peter’s
net. Now, it so happened that he had fallen sick in London, and his wife
on hearing it determined to go and nurse him. We, however, went up before
her, and, travelling more expeditiously, had time to deal with him before
she came. I spoke to him of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of
misery, not only in this life, but especially in the next, unless we
provided against it: and I showed him that we have here no abiding city,
but must look for one to come. As affliction oftentimes brings sense, so
it happened in his case; for we found but little difficulty in gaining his
goodwill. And as he was a man of solid sense and excellent heart, he laid
a firm foundation from the beginning. He prepared himself well for
confession, after being taught the way; and when he learnt that I was a
Priest, he felt no such difficulty in believing as his wife had done,
because he had known similar cases; but he rather rejoiced at having found
a confessor who had experience among persons of his rank of life, and with
whom he could deal at all times without danger of its being known that he
was dealing with a Priest. After his reconciliation, he began on his part
to be anxious about his wife, and wished to consult with us how best to
bring her to the Catholic religion. We both smiled at this, but said
nothing at that time, determining to wait till his wife came up to town,
that we might witness how each loving soul would strive to win the other.

“Certainly they were a favoured pair. Both gave themselves wholly to God’s
service, and the husband afterwards sacrificed all his property, his
liberty, nay, even his life, for God’s Church, as I shall relate
hereafter. For this was that Sir Everard Digby, Knight, of whom later on I
should have had to say many things, if so much had not been already
written and published about him and his companions. But never in any of
these writings has justice been done to the sincerity of his intention,
nor the circumstances properly set forth which would put his conduct in
its true light.

“After this they both came to see me at my residence in the country. But
while there he was again taken ill, and that so violently and dangerously,
that all the Oxford doctors despaired of his life. As, therefore, in all
likelihood he had not long to live, he began to prepare himself earnestly
for a good death, and his wife to think of a more perfect way of life. For
some days she gave herself to learn the method of meditation, and to find
out God’s will with regard to her future life, how she might best direct
it to His glory. To be brief, she came to this determination, that if her
husband should die, she would devote herself entirely to good works,
observe perpetual chastity and exact obedience; that as for her property,
which would be very extensive as they were without children, she would
spend it all in pious uses according to my direction; she would herself
live where and in what style I judged best for the advancement of God’s
honour and the good of her own soul; and she added that her desire was to
wear poor clothing wherever she might be, and observe all the rules of
poverty. All this was to be while the persecution might last in England.
If, however, it should cease, and England should become Catholic, then she
would give her house (a very large and fine one), and all the property her
father left her, for the foundation of a College of the Society: and this
would have been amply sufficient for a first-rate foundation.

“This was her resolution, but God had otherwise arranged, and for that
time happily. For when all the Oxford doctors gave up Sir Everard’s case
as hopeless, I, who loved him much, did not lose heart, but without his
knowledge I sent for a certain Cambridge doctor, a Catholic, and a man of
much learning and experience, whom I had known to cure cases abandoned by
other physicians. On his arrival at our house, where Sir Everard Digby
then was with his wife, after telling him all about the patient, I got him
to examine the sick man himself, and learn from him all about his habit of
body and general constitution. Then I asked him if he thought there was
any hope. He answered, ‘If Sir Everard will venture to put himself
entirely in my hands, I have good hopes, with the help of God, of bringing
him round.’

“The patient on hearing this said to me, ‘Since this doctor is known to
your Reverence, and is chosen by you, I give myself willingly into his

“By this doctor, then, he was cured beyond all expectation, and so
completely restored to perfect health that there was not a more robust or
stalwart man in a thousand. He was a most devoted friend to me, just as if
he had been my twin-brother. And this name of brother we always used in
writing to each other. How greatly he was attached me, may be seen from
the following incident. Once when I had gone to a certain house to assist
a soul in agony, he got to learn that I was in great danger there: upon
this he at first expressed a terrible distress, and then immediately said
to his wife that if I should be taken, he was resolved to watch the roads
by which I should be carried prisoner to London, and take with him a
sufficient number of friends and servants to rescue me by force from those
who had me in custody; and if he should miss me on the road, he would
accomplish my release one way or another, even though he should spend his
whole fortune in the venture. Such, then, was his attachment to me at that
time, and this he retained always in the same—nay, rather in an
increased—degree to the end of his life; as he showed by the way he spoke
of me when pleading for his life before the public court. At this time,
however, as I said, he was restored to health; and he and his wife got
together a little domestic church after the pattern of that in our own
house, and built a chapel with a sacristy, furnishing it with costly and
beautiful vestments, and obtained a Priest of the Society for their
chaplain, who remained with them to Sir Everard’s death.

“What was done by this family was done by others also. For many of the
Catholic gentry coming to our house, and seeing the arrangements and
manner of life, followed the example themselves, establishing a sort of
congregation in each of their houses, providing handsome altar furniture,
making convenient arrangements for the residence of Priests, and showing
especial respect and reverence to them.

“Among those who came to this determination was a certain lady resident
near Oxford, whose husband was indeed a Catholic, but overmuch devoted to
worldly pursuits. She, however, gave herself to be directed by me as far
as she could, having such a husband. I often visited them, and was always
welcomed by both; and there I established one of our Fathers, Edward
Walpole, whom I mentioned at an early part of this narrative as having
left a large patrimony for the sake of following Christ our Lord, in the
first year of my residence in England.

“There was another lady also who had a similar wish: she was a relative of
my hostess, and she also resided in the county of Oxford. Her husband was
a Knight of very large property, who hoped to be created a Baron, and
still hopes for it. This lady came on a visit to our house, and wished to
learn the way of meditating, which I taught her; but as her husband was a
heretic, it was impossible for her to have a Priest in her house, as she
greatly wished. She took, however, the resolution of supporting a Priest,
who should come to her at convenient times. She resolved, also, to make a
meditation every day, and to give one or two hours daily to spiritual
reading, when she had no guests in the house. On her coming to me every
six months, I found that she had never omitted her meditation, nor her
daily examination of conscience, except on one occasion when her husband
insisted on her staying with the guests. Yet she had a large and busy
household to superintend, and a continual coming and going of guests.

“It happened on one occasion when I was in this lady’s house, and was
sitting with her after dinner, the servants having gone down to get their
own dinner, that suddenly a guest was shown up who had just arrived. This
was an Oxford Doctor of Divinity, a heretic of some note and a persecutor
of Catholics; his name was Dr. Abbot.(121) He had just before this
published a book against Father Southwell, who had been executed, and
Father Gerard, who had escaped from the Tower, because these two had
defended the doctrine of equivocation, which he chose to impugn. After
this publication, the good man had been made Dean of Winchester, a post
which brought him in a yearly income of eight thousand florins [800_l._].
This man then, as I said, was shown up, and entered the dining-room,
dressed in a sort of silk soutane coming down to his knees, as is the
manner of their chief ministers. We were in appearance sitting at cards,
though when the servants had all left the room we had laid the cards down
to attend to better things. Hearing, however, this gentleman announced, we
resumed our game, so that he found us playing, with a good sum of money on
the table.

“I may here mention, that when I played thus with Catholics, with the view
of maintaining among a mixed company the character in which I appeared, I
always agreed that each one should have his money back afterwards, but
should say an _Ave Maria_ for each piece that was returned to him. It was
on these terms that I frequently played with my brother Digby and other
Catholics, where it appeared necessary, so that the by-standers thought we
were playing for money, and were in hot earnest over it.

“So also this minister never conceived the slightest suspicion of me, but
after the first courtesies began to talk at a pretty pace: for this is the
only thing those chattering ministers can do, who possess no solid
knowledge, but by the persuasive words of human wisdom lead souls astray,
and subvert houses, teaching things that are not convenient. So he, after
much frivolous talk, began to tell us the latest news from London; how a
certain Puritan had thrown himself down from the steeple of a church,
having left it in writing that he knew himself to be secure of his eternal
salvation. About this writing, however, the learned Doctor said nothing,
but I had heard the particulars myself from another quarter.

“ ‘Wretched man!’ said I; ‘what could induce him thus to destroy body and
soul by one and the same act!’

“ ‘Sir,’ said the Doctor, learnedly enough and magisterially, ‘we must not
judge any man.’

“ ‘True,’ I replied; ‘it is just possible that, as he was falling, he
repented of his sin: _inter pontem et fontem_, as they say. But this is
extremely improbable; since the last act of the man of which we have any
means of judging was a mortal sin and deserving of damnation.’

“ ‘But,’ said the Doctor, ‘we cannot know whether this was such a sin.’

“ ‘Nay,’ I replied, ‘this is not left to our judgment; it is God’s own
verdict, when He forbids us under pain of hell to kill any one: a
prohibition which applies especially to the killing of ourselves, for
charity begins from oneself.’

“The good Doctor being here caught, said no more on this point, but turned
the subject, and said, smiling, ‘Gentlemen must not dispute on theological

“ ‘True,’ said I, ‘we do not make profession of knowing theology; but at
least we ought to know the law of God, though our profession is to play at

“The lady with whom I was playing, hearing him speak to me in this way,
could scarce keep her countenance, thinking within herself what he would
have said if he had known who it was he was answering. The Doctor,
however, did not stay much longer. Whether he departed sooner than he at
first intended, I know not; but I know that we much preferred his room to
his company.”


“I must now return to London, and relate what happened after John Lilly
was taken, and the gentleman imprisoned with whom I rented my London
house. This house being now closed to me, I sought out another, but on a
different plan. I did not now join in partnership with any one, because I
was unwilling to be in the house of one known to be a Catholic. I managed
that this new house should be hired by a nephew of Master Roger Lee, whom
with his wife I had reconciled to the Catholic Church; and, as he was not
known to be a Catholic, the house was entirely free from all suspicion. I
had the use of this house for three years, and during that time it was not
once searched; nor even before the Queen’s death, though there were many
general searches made, and the prisons were choked with Catholics, did
they ever come to this house.

“I had a man to keep the house who was a schismatic, but otherwise an
honest and upright person. When I was in residence, this man provided me
with necessaries; and when I was away, he managed any business for me
according to my written directions. In all appearance he was the servant
of the gentleman who owned the house, and so he was esteemed and called by
the neighbours; and since, as a schismatic, he frequented their churches,
they entertained no suspicion of him, nor of the house.

“For myself, when I came to town, I always entered the house after dark,
and in summer time scarce ever went out while I remained there. But my
friends would come to visit me by ones and twos on different days, that no
special attention might be drawn to the house from the number of visitors.
Nor did they ever bring any servants with them, though some were of very
high rank, and usually went about with a large number of attendants. By
these means I provided better for them and for myself, and was able to
continue longer in this way of life....”

“When I was in London I did not allow every one to come to my house whose
desire to converse with me I was willing to gratify; but I would
sometimes, especially after dark in winter time, go myself to their
houses. On one occasion I was asked by a certain lady to her house to hear
the confession of a young nobleman attached to the Court, who was a dear
friend of her husband’s. Her husband was also a Catholic and well known to
me: though quite a young man, he had been one of the principal captains in
the Irish war. And the young nobleman just mentioned was a Baron, and son
to an Irish Earl, and at this present writing he has himself succeeded to
the earldom on his father’s death.(122) This young Baron, then,” Lord
Dunkellin, “wished to make his confession to me. As I had not known him
before, I put a few questions to him, according to my wont, beforehand. I
asked him, therefore, if he was prepared at once. He answered that he was.
I then asked how often in the year he was accustomed to go to the
Sacraments. ‘Twice or thrice in the year,’ he said.

“ ‘It would be better,’ said I, ‘to come more frequently, and then less
preparation would be necessary. As it is, I should advise you to take a
few days for the exact and diligent examination of your conscience,
according to the method that I will show you; then you will come with
greater fruit, and with greater satisfaction to yourself and to me. And
for the future I would recommend a more frequent use of the holy
Sacraments.’ And I brought some reasons for my advice.

“He listened to me very patiently, and when I had finished he replied, ‘I
will do in future what you recommend, and I would willingly follow your
counsel at present, if it were possible; it is, however, impossible to put
off my present confession.’

“ ‘Why is it impossible?’ I asked.

“ ‘Because,’ he replied, ‘to-morrow I shall be in circumstances of danger,
and I desire to prepare myself by confession to-day.’

“ ‘What danger is this,’ I asked again, ‘to which you will be exposed?’

“ ‘There is a gentleman at Court,’ he said, ‘who has grievously insulted
me, so that I was compelled in defence of my honour to challenge him to
single combat, and we meet to-morrow at an appointed spot at some distance
from town.’

“ ‘My lord,’ I exclaimed, ‘to approach the Sacrament in such a frame of
mind is not to prepare yourself for danger, nor to cleanse your soul
(though I doubt not it was with a good intention you proposed it), but
rather to sully your soul more than ever, to affront God still further,
and render Him still more your enemy. For to come to confession with a
determination of taking vengeance is to put an obstacle to the grace of
the Sacrament; and, moreover, this particular action on which you are
resolved is not only a sin, but is visited with excommunication. I urge
you, therefore, to give up this intention; you will be able to preserve
your honour by some other way. Nay, the honour you think to preserve by
this is not real honour, but merely the estimation of bad men founded on
bad principles: men who exalt their own worldly ideas above the law and
honour of God.’

“ ‘It is impossible to withdraw now,’ he said, ‘for the thing is known to
many, and has been taken even to the Queen, who has expressly forbidden us
to pursue the matter any further.’

“ ‘Well then,’ said I, ‘you have the best possible reason for laying aside
the quarrel, namely, obedience to the Queen’s behest. Moreover, you must
remember that you are known for the intimate friend of the Earl of Essex,
and that, if you overcome your adversary, the Queen (if it be only to
spite the Earl) will certainly visit you with some heavy punishment for
having disregarded her commands; but if you should kill him,
unquestionably she will take your life. On the other hand, if you should
be vanquished, what becomes of the honour you wish to defend, and if you
should be slain in that state of soul in which you go to the fight, you go
straight to eternal fire and everlasting shame, for while you are
defending your body from your adversary’s sword, you forget to parry the
mortal thrust that the devil is aiming at your soul.’

“But spite of all I could say, the fear of the world, which is fatally
powerful with men of this rank, prevailed, and his reply was, ‘I implore
you, Father, to pray for me, and to hear my confession if you possibly

“ ‘Certainly I cannot hear you,’ I said, ‘for that honour which you
worship is not necessary to you, in the sense in which it is to those who
are obliged to take their part in a war. Besides, you are the challenger,
and you took this unlawful course when it was possible for you to follow
some other method of vindicating yourself, and so whatever necessity there
is for pursuing the matter has been created by yourself. But this is what
I will do; I will give you from my reliquary a particle of the Holy Cross,
inclosed with an Agnus Dei, and you shall wear it upon you. Perhaps God
may have mercy upon you for the sake of this, and afford you time for
penance. Understand, however, I do not give it you in order to encourage
you in your bad purpose, but that you may wear it with all reverence and
respect, so that, should you come into danger (which certainly I do not
desire), God may be moved to preserve your life, in the consideration of
the good will you have of honouring His Cross.’

“He took my gift very thankfully and reverentially, and had it sewed
inside his shirt over his heart, for it was arranged that they should
fight in their shirts without cuirass. It happened, God so allowing it,
that his adversary made a lunge at his heart and pierced his shirt, but
did not touch his skin. He on his side wounded and prostrated his enemy,
then gave him his life and came off victorious. He then came to me in high
spirits, and told me how he had been preserved by the power of the Holy
Cross; then he thanked me very earnestly, and promised to be more on his
guard in future. The Queen soon after took a fancy to this young nobleman,
and kept him close to her at Court for a time. But tiring soon of this
sort of life, at his father’s death he married the widow of the Earl of
Essex. She was a heretic when he married her, but he soon made her a
Catholic, and they both live now as Catholics in Ireland, as I hear.

“That Knight, moreover, who introduced this young Baron to me, followed my
counsel at that time, and after devoting several days to a diligent
examination of conscience, made a general confession of his whole life,
with a view of reforming it for the future. A little later he was desirous
of returning to the Irish wars, but as I was in doubt whether this was
lawful in conscience, he promised me to resign his appointment and return
to England, if the Priests there, to whom I referred him as living on the
spot, and therefore having a closer knowledge of the circumstances,
decided that it was unlawful. Soon after his arrival in Ireland, in a
certain fight, while he was bravely mounting a wall and animating his men
to follow, he was struck dead by a musket-ball. He had, however, before
the fight, carefully written me a letter and sent it off, informing me
that he had consulted the Priests in the country, and had received this
answer, that it was lawful to fight against the Catholic party, because it
was not clear to all why they had taken up arms.

“After his death a remarkable incident occurred, which I will relate. His
wife, pious soul, who never had the least idea of her husband’s death,
about that time heard every night some one knocking at her chamber door,
and that so loudly as to wake her. Her maids heard it too, but on opening
the door there was no one to be seen. She therefore got a Priest to stay
with her and her maids till the usual time of the knocking, and when the
same noise and knocking at the door were heard, the Priest himself went to
the door, but found no one. This knocking went on till such time as news
of her husband’s death reached her, as if it had been a warning from his
Angel to pray for his soul....”

“Having held this house for three years, I let it to a Catholic friend,
and took another house near the principal street in London, called the
Strand. Since most of my friends lived in that street, they were thus able
to visit me more easily, and I them. After my removal I discovered how
entirely free from suspicion was the house which I had left, and in which
I had dwelt for three years; for the servant who kept my house sent for a
gardener with whom he had been acquainted in the other house (for the
garden of the new house needed to be put in order), and the gardener
remarked to him, ‘Some Papists have come to live in your old house:’ as
though they who had previously dwelt there had been good Protestants.

“This new house was very suitable and convenient, and had private
entrances on both sides, and I had contrived in it some most excellent
hiding-places; and there I should long have remained, free from all peril
or even suspicion, if some friends of mine, while I was absent from
London, had not availed themselves of the house rather rashly. It
remained, however, in the same state up to the time of the great and
terrible disturbance of the Powder Plot, as I shall hereafter shortly

“Meantime my friends brought me another who was heir to a barony, and is
himself now a peer, and by God’s grace I persuaded him to take on his
shoulders the yoke of the law of Christ and of the Catholic faith, and
made him a member of the Church. Another whom I had previously known in
the world, and had seen to be wholly devoted to every kind of vanity, fell
sick. He had abounded with riches and pleasures, and passed his days in
jollity, destined, however, to fall from thence in a moment, had not God
patiently waited, and in a suitable time led him to penance. He then was
lying sick of a grievous illness, but yet had not begun to think of death.
I heard that he was sick, and obtained an entry into his chamber at eleven
o’clock at night, after the departure of his friends. He recognized me,
and was pleased at my visit. I explained why I had come, and warned him to
think seriously of the state of his soul, and, instead of a Judge, render
God a Friend and most loving Father, however much he might have wasted all
his substance. So then weakness of body opened the ears of his heart, and
in an acceptable time God heard us, and in the day of salvation helped us;
insomuch that he offered himself as at once ready to make his confession.
I, however, said I would return on the following night, and advised him
meantime to procure that there should be read to him, by a friend whom I
named, Father Lewis of Grenada’s _Explanation of the Commandments_: that
after each Commandment he should occupy some little time in reflection,
and call to mind how, and how often, he had offended against that
Commandment; that he should then make an act of sorrow regarding each, and
so go on to the next. He promised that he would do so, and I promised that
I would return on the following night. This I did, and heard his
confession; I gave him all the assistance I could, for the time had been
short, especially for a sick man, to prepare for such a confession, but he
dared no longer defer it, although he still seemed tolerably strong. I
advised him to use the utmost care in discharging all his debts, which
were great, through the extravagant expenditure in which he had indulged;
I also exhorted him to redeem his sins by alms. He did both by the will he
made the following day, and bequeathed a large sum for pious uses, which,
as I heard, was honestly paid.

“I also bade him prepare for the Holy Communion and Extreme Unction
against the following night, and to have some pious book read to him
meantime. He not only did what I advised, but exhorted all that came to
visit him on the following day, to repent at once of their former life,
and not defer their amendment as he had done: ‘Do not,’ he said, ‘look for
the mercy which I have found, for this is to be presumptuous and to
irritate God; for I have deserved hell a thousand times on this account.’
And much more to the same effect did he speak, with so much earnestness
and freedom, that all marvelled at so sudden a change. They asked him to
hide the cross which he had hanging from his neck (for I had lent him my
own cross full of relics to kiss, and exercise acts of reverence and
love); but he answered, ‘Hide it! Nay, I would not hide it, even if the
most bitter heretics were here. Too long have I refrained from profession
of the Catholic faith, and now, if God gave me life, I would publicly
profess myself a Catholic:’ so that all marvelled and were much edified
and moved at his words. He spoke thus to all the peers and great men that
visited him. His conversion thus became publicly known, and many of the
courtiers afterwards spoke of it. On the third night of my visiting him
according to my promise, he again made his confession with great
expressions of sorrow, and begged for the Sacrament of Extreme Unction,
and when he received it, himself arranged for me more conveniently to
reach the different parts of his body, just as though he had been a
Catholic many years. Seeing him in such good disposition, I asked him
whether he did not put all his trust in the merits of Christ and in the
mercy of God. ‘Surely!’ said he; ‘did I not do so, and did not that mercy
give me salvation, I should have been condemned to the pit of hell; in
myself I find no ground of hope, but rather of trembling. But I feel great
hope in the mercy and goodness of God, Who has so long waited for me, and
now has called me when I deserved, aye, and thought of, anything but
this!’ Then he took my hand and said, ‘Father, I cannot express how much I
am indebted to you, for you were sent by God to give me this happiness.’ I
found, moreover, that he had no temptation against faith, but most firmly
believed and confessed every point, and I saw most clearly that God had
poured into his soul the habits of many virtues. Then I erected an altar
in his chamber with the ornaments which I had brought, and I said Mass,
while he assisted with great devotion and comfort. I afterwards gave him
the Viaticum, which he received with the utmost reverence. When I had
finished everything, I gave him some advice that would be useful should he
fall into his agony before my return, and I left him full of consolation.
Now, see the providence of God: but a few hours after my departure, as he
was persevering in petitions for mercy, and in acts of thanksgiving for
the mercy he had received, he rendered up his soul to God. But before his
death, he asked the by-standers whether certain purple and red robes could
be applied to the use of the altar, which he had received from the King
when he was created a Knight of the Order of the Bath. The investiture of
this order takes place only at the coronation of the King, and the Knights
enjoy precedence before all other Knights except those of the most noble
Order of the Garter, almost all of whom are Earls or other peers. He,
however, was a Knight of the Bath, and he wished that the robes with which
he had been invested at the coronation should be devoted to the use of the
altar; for he said that he had derived great comfort from seeing my
vestments, which were merely light and portable, but yet handsome, of red
silk embroidered with silver lace. So after his death they gave me his
suit of the peculiar robes of that order, and out of them I made sets of
vestments of two colours, one of which the College of St. Omers still
possesses. Thus is the pious desire of the deceased fulfilled, in whose
conversion I could not fail to see God’s great goodness and providence.

“About the same time I received into the Church a lady, the wife of a
certain Knight, who is at the present day a very good and useful friend of
our Fathers. Her husband was at this time a heretic, but his brother had
been brought by me, through the Spiritual Exercises, to despise the world
and follow the counsels of Christ. He introduced me to his sister, and
after one or two interviews she embraced the Catholic faith, although she
was well assured that she would incur great losses as soon as it should
become known to her husband, as in truth it came to pass. For he first
tried caresses, then threats, and left no means unemployed to shake her
resolution, insomuch that for a long time she had nothing to expect or
hope but to be separated from her husband, and stripped of all the goods
of the world, that so in patience she might possess her soul. When her
husband was on her account deprived of the public employment which he
held, she bore it with great fortitude, and remained ever constant and
even in mind. At length, by her virtue and her patience, she rendered her
husband a friend to Catholics, and afterwards himself a Catholic. He was
reconciled by the ministry of Father Walpole, to whom I had recommended
her on my leaving England.

“There were many other conversions, which I cannot mention separately, for
I have already carried to too great length the narrative of these events,
which are truly very insignificant if they are compared with the actions
of others.”


“One case more I cannot pass over, which gave me especial pleasure for the
sake of the person concerned; for I do not know that any one was ever more
dear to me.

“Sir Everard Digby, of whom I have spoken above, had a friend for whom he
felt a peculiar affection. He had often recommended him to me, and was
anxious to give me an opportunity of making his acquaintance and gaining
him over, if it possibly might be; but because he held an office in the
Court, requiring daily attendance about the King’s person, so that he
could not be absent for long together, our desire was long delayed.

“At last Sir Everard met his friend, while we were both together in
London; and he took an opportunity of asking him to come at a certain time
to his chamber, to play at cards, for these are the books gentlemen in
London study both night and day. He promised to come, and on his arrival
he did not find a party at play, but only us two sitting and conversing
very seriously; so Sir Everard asked him to sit down a little, until the
rest should arrive. Then, in an interval of silence, Sir Everard said, ‘We
two were engaged in a very serious conversation, in fact, concerning
religion. You know,’ he said, addressing the visitor, ‘that I am friendly
to Catholics and to the Catholic faith; I was, nevertheless, disputing
with this gentleman, who is a friend of mine, against the Catholic faith,
in order to see what defence he could make; for he is an earnest Catholic,
as I do not hesitate to tell you.’ Then, turning to me, he begged me not
to be vexed that he betrayed me to a stranger. ‘And I must say,’ he
continued, ‘he so well defended the Catholic faith that I could not answer
him, and I am glad that you have come to help me.’

“The visitor was young and confident, and trusting in his own great
abilities, expected to carry everything before him, so good was his cause
and so lightly did he esteem me, as he afterwards confessed. So he began
to allege many objections to the arguments before used. I waited with
patience until he ceased speaking, and then answered in few words. He
urged his points, and so we argued one against the other for a short
hour’s space. Afterwards I began to explain my view more fully, and to
confirm it with texts of Holy Scripture and passages from the Fathers, and
with such reasons as came to my mind. And I felt, as I often did, God
supplying me words as I spoke on His behalf in great might, not for the
sake of me that spoke, nor for any desert of mine, but just as He gives
milk to a mother when she has an infant who needs to be fed with milk. My
young friend was of a docile nature, and could no way bear to speak
against the truth when he saw it; so that he listened in silence, and God
was meantime speaking to his heart with a voice far more powerful and
efficacious. God, too, gave him ears to hear, so that the word fell not
upon stony ground, nor among thorns, but into good soil, yea, very good,
that yielded by God’s grace a hundred-fold in its season. So before he
left, he was fully resolved to become a Catholic, and took with him a book
to assist him in preparing for a good confession, which he made before a
week had passed. And from that time it was not enough for him to walk in
the ordinary path of God’s commandments, but God prepared him for higher
things; and whatever counsels I gave him he received with eagerness, and
retained not only in a faithful memory, but in a most ready will. He began
to use the daily examination of conscience, and even learned the method of
meditation, and made a meditation every day. He was forced to rise very
early to do this before he went to the King, which in summer was at break
of day, for the King went hunting every day, and he, by duty of his
office, was necessarily present at the royal breakfast. He would,
moreover, so with his whole soul devour pious books, that he always had
one in his pocket; and in the King’s Court and in the Presence-chamber,
while courtiers and ladies were standing around, you might see him turn
himself to a window, and there read a chapter of Thomas à Kempis’
_Imitation of Christ_, a book with which he was most intimate; and after
he had read it, you might see him turn in body, but not in mind, towards
the others, for there he would stand rapt in thought, while the rest
perhaps were supposing that he was admiring the beauty of some lady, or
thinking over the means to climb to great honours. In truth, he had no
need to take particular pains about this, for, in the first place, he was
son and brother to an Earl, and, moreover, the place and office which he
filled were very honourable, giving him the ear of the King every day. His
wit could not fail to distinguish favourable opportunities for gaining his
requests, and, in fact, the King had given him an office which he
afterwards sold, but which, had he kept it, would have brought him in more
than ten thousand florins [1,000_l._] a year. In short, such was his
position that he would undoubtedly have soon risen to great honours; for
he made himself acceptable to all, and was not a little beloved, insomuch
that after he had left the Court and given up all hope of worldly honour,
I heard it said by some persons of the greatest eminence and experience in
the ways of the Court, that they had never in forty years’ space known any
one so highly valued and beloved in every quarter.

“But, what is far more important, he was beloved in the Court of the King
of Kings, and inspired to desire and seek after greater and more abiding
blessings. So he conceived the wish of trying the Spiritual Exercises, in
the course of which he determined to desert the Court, and devote himself
to those pursuits which would render him most pleasing to God and most
profitable to his neighbour; so with as little delay as possible he made
such a disposition of his goods as would enable him freely to make his
escape from England. He then, to the surprise of all, asked and obtained
the King’s leave to go to Italy, where he still resides, and he is so well
known to our Fathers that there is no need to write anything more
concerning him; but this I can say, that wherever I have known him to have
been, he has left men filled with great esteem for him, and expectation of
yet greater things....”

“The conversions which took place in the country were not few, and some
were cases of heads of families; but I have already gone to great length,
and I will here recount one only, the beginning and end of which I saw to
be good.

“There was a lady, a kinswoman of my hostess, whose husband had now many
years been a Catholic, yet neither her husband, nor any of her friends,
nor my hostess herself, who loved her as a sister, could ever lead her to
become a Catholic. She did not object to listen to Catholics, even to
Priests, and was fond of earnest argument with them; but she would believe
no one but herself, and indeed her talents were greater than I have often
met with in a woman. My hostess often mourned over this lady, and grieved
that no remedy could be found; she wished that I should once see her. She
spoke highly in praise of her talents and amiable disposition, and of her
life and behaviour in all respects, with the one solitary exception of her
being an obstinate heretic. I asked my hostess, therefore, to invite her
to pay us a visit, although she lived in a distant county. She came
according to the invitation, and we took care that she should find me
showing myself in public, and dressed as though I had been a guest just
arrived from London. On the first two days we did but little, for we knew
that she would have plenty of time afterwards, and I wished to remove all
timidity from her; for though she had been accustomed to meet Priests at
that house, yet they had kept mostly to their chambers. But as soon as I
judged her to be convinced that I was a Catholic, but not a Priest, I
began slowly to turn my conversation with her often upon religion. At
first I spoke little, but to such purpose that she could not answer me;
and so I left her, not urging her, but rather leaving her with a desire to
hear more. At length, after a few days, I judged her thoroughly prepared,
and I arranged that my hostess should begin to talk seriously upon these
topics, and that when she saw me enter into the conversation and carry it
on, she should leave us in company with one or two of the lady’s
daughters, for she had brought three with her. This having been done, we
began the combat with, as it seemed to her, various success, for one or
two hours; and then she listened to me as I spoke without interruption for
two or three hours more. She spoke little in answer, and did not like on
the spot to acknowledge herself vanquished, but she thanked me heartily,
and went away quite red and flushed in the face. She was truly moved, or,
rather, changed interiorly, and straightway she ran to my hostess and
said, ‘Oh, cousin, what have you done?’

“ ‘What have I done?’ replied the other.

“ ‘Oh, who is it,’ she rejoined, ‘that you introduced me to? Is he such a
one as you represented to me? At any rate, he is,’ ... and she spoke in
much higher terms of my learning and language than I deserved, and she
added that she could not resist what I urged, nor answer it.

“On the following day God confirmed what He had wrought in her, and she
surrendered at discretion, and accepted a book to help her to prepare for
confession. Meantime, with the mother’s consent and assistance, I
instructed her three daughters, and when they had learned the catechism, I
heard their confessions. The mother, however, during the time of her
preparation, began to be filled with trouble and sorrow, not on account of
leaving her heresy, but through fear of confession. I, on the contrary,
encouraged her to persevere, and adduced arguments against her timidity,
but I could not rid her of it, and so, seeing that she was ready as far as
examination was concerned, but nevertheless put the matter off from day to
day, and begged a little more time to prepare, I would not consent. I told
her that this came from the enemy, who grieved to leave his habitation,
and at length she saw and acknowledged this. For as soon as out of
obedience she had made her confession, she felt relieved of a great
burden, and filled with consolation; and she told me that now she was glad
not to have delayed longer.

“I have often found this, that some souls experience great trouble when
first they make confession on being reconciled to the Church of God. Some
persons even fall sick and faint, so as to be forced to cease speaking for
a time and sit down, until they have recovered a little and are able to
continue; and this has happened even when at their first coming they were
in sound health, and ready to confess. And then when they recommenced,
they again fell ill, and this happened two or three times in the course of
their first confession. But when the confession was finished, they not
only felt no sickness, but having received absolution, they went away full
of joy and consolation. Some, in fact, have remarked to me, that did men
but know what consolation is gained in confession, they would never be
deprived of so great a happiness.

“Among these was to be reckoned this lady, who came forth from confession
full of consolation, and gave most hearty thanks to her cousin, for that
by her means she had been admitted to share in so great a happiness. So
great was God’s mercy towards her, that thenceforth she gave herself
wholly up to devotion. On her return home she devoted herself to making
handsome vestments, and, whenever she was able, she procured the company
of Priests. And not content with this, she was anxious to return wholly to
our house, and to dwell with us, in order to have more frequent access to
the Sacraments, and the opportunity of hearing the public and private
exhortations that we had every Sunday and Festival-day. She stayed with us
about two years, and all that time she gave herself up to devotion and the
constant reading of pious books. She was clearly led to this course of
life by the special mercy and providence of God; for at the end of the
period I have mentioned, although she seemed stout and strong, she was
suddenly attacked with disease, by which, within a few days, she was so
weakened, that no skill of the physicians could restore her strength. She
was warned to prepare for the life to come, and she repeated a good and
careful confession of her whole life.

“At length, finding herself in her last agony, she wished to write a
letter to her brother, who was a heretic, and almost the greatest enemy
the Catholics had in the county in which he dwelt. To him, then, she
wished to send a letter, written by her daughter’s hand, but subscribed
with her own, to the following effect: That he knew she had long been a
strenuous upholder of this new religion, so that he might be the more
convinced that she would not have changed it without good grounds, and
that she had certain and unanswerable authorities for the faith which she
had adopted; wherefore she protested to him that ever since the time when
she embraced the faith she had lived in peace of conscience, and that
never before that time had she enjoyed true internal consolation; finally,
she begged him to have a care of his soul, and proceeded thus: ‘I, your
sister, now at the point of death, by these my last words, beg and beseech
you to embrace the Catholic and ancient faith; and I protest that there is
no other in which you can be saved.’ These were her sentiments when almost
come into her last agony, from which I perceived that she was wholly
converted from heresy, and full of charity towards her neighbour; so
having asked her a few questions, and found that she was not troubled with
any temptations of presumption or of despair, I gave her as much help as I
could in forming and uttering acts of the opposite virtues. After which,
when she was on the point of death, I offered her a picture of the Passion
of Christ, and she embraced and kissed it with the greatest affection. I
put also a blessed medal into her hands, and reminded her to invoke the
name of Jesus in her heart at least, in order to gain the indulgences,
although she could not speak. I then asked her to give some sign to show
that she did thus from her heart, whereupon she caught hold of the medal
and kissed it, repeating this action several times. Observing she made
answer to me by signs, I bade her conceive a great sorrow for ever having
offended God, Who was so good in Himself, and had shown so great mercy to
her, and to give a sign of it by raising her hand: she did so with great
earnestness; then to conceive sorrow that she had ever been in heresy, and
had resisted God and the Church, of which also she gave a sign; then to
conceive the wish that all heretics might be converted, and that she
willingly offered her life for their conversion, and she again made the
signal with great earnestness, and also took my hand within her own, which
were already chill, and held it firmly, repeating the signs that she was
pleased with the suggestions I made to her. And I continued up to her last
gasp, encouraging her, and exhorting her to praise God in her heart, to
desire that all creatures should praise and serve Him, and to offer her
life for this end. And she gave me answer to everything, now raising, now
lowering her hand; just as I asked her to do in assent to what I
suggested. All the by-standers, who were numerous, and a Priest also who
was among them, were in great admiration, and declared that they never
witnessed such a death as this. For she continued, as I have said,
responding to my suggestions up to the very last breath, raising her hand
slightly when she could no longer raise it much. In these interior acts
she gave up her soul, without any trouble of mind or convulsion of body,
but like one going off to sleep, she went to rest in peace.

“Her youngest daughter had already died holily in our house before her
mother. The second daughter married a rich man, and brought him to me from
a considerable distance to be made a Catholic. The eldest still lives in
the same house, to be espoused not to man but to God, for she has a
vocation to the Religious state. In the meantime she lives there
religiously, and devotes herself to the service of Religious, as the lady
of the house always did, and does still....”

“I gave the Spiritual Exercises in this house to many others, as well to
those who formed part of the family as to others; and in each case the
fruit which I hoped for was produced....”

“But suddenly all things were upset for a time, and all good hindered by
the Powder Plot, as it is called. And if proof were wanting that I knew
nothing of this affair, this alone would be sufficient, that at that very
time I had sent several from England across the sea into these parts. One
was a lady, who was going to be a Nun in the Benedictine Convent at
Brussels, whither I had sent two others not long before, who are now in
high authority there. Another had been an heretical minister, whom I had
brought to the Faith and instructed. He was the last that I received into
the Church before these disturbances. When these persons, with certain
others, were on the point of crossing the Channel, orders were sent to
allow no ships to leave; they were, consequently, all taken and thrown
into prison, from which they were released two years ago. He who had been
a minister is at present studying in the Roman College; and the lady of
whom I spoke is now professed in the convent whither she was going when
she was taken. Only one other minister besides the one just mentioned did
I convert in England, and he is now a Priest and is working in that
vineyard. I also sent over many youths to the Seminaries while I was in
this last residence of mine, who will, by God’s help, give fruit in due

“But if we have received good things from God’s hands, why should we not
also bear with evil things?—if those things can be truly called evil which
are sent from Him, and therefore sent that He may draw good from them, for
those who receive them well, and humbly recognize and adore His
providence, both when He gives and when He takes away. He had, indeed,
given me many and great consolations in this residence; interior
consolations chiefly, from conversions and from the signal progress in
virtue of many souls; but exterior consolations were not wanting. For in
external matters everything was well and abundantly supplied me. I had
several excellent horses for my missionary journeys, and all that I could
wish for to carry on the work I had in hand. Then, in the house itself,
the arrangements were made in the best way both for our health and our
convenience. And for companion I had Father Strange, who is now in the
Tower(123) (for Master Digby had obtained Father Percy from the Superior),
and another Priest who resided a long time with us. We had, moreover, good
store of useful books, which were kept in a library without any
concealment, because they had the appearance of belonging to the young
Baron, and of having been left him by his uncle,(124) who was a very
learned and studious nobleman, and was well known for his piety. He had,
in fact, resigned the right and title of the barony to his younger
brother, the father of the present lord, in order that he might more
entirely and securely devote himself to God and his studies. If he had
lived a little longer, he would assuredly have been a member of our
Society, for on his death-bed this was the only thing that caused him
regret, namely, that he could not then be admitted into the Society, a
thing he desired most earnestly.

“Our vestments and altar furniture were both plentiful and costly. We had
two sets for each colour which the Church uses; one for ordinary use, the
other for Feast-days: some of these latter were embroidered with gold and
pearls, and figured by well-skilled hands. We had six massive silver
candlesticks on the altar, besides those at the sides for the Elevation;
the cruets were of silver also, as were the basin for the lavabo, the
bell, and the thurible. There were, moreover, lamps hanging from silver
chains, and a silver crucifix on the altar. For greater Festivals,
however, I had a crucifix of gold, a foot in height, on the top of which
was represented a pelican, while on the right arm of the cross was an
eagle with expanded wings carrying on its back its young ones, who were
also attempting to fly; on the left arm a phœnix expiring in flames that
it might leave an offspring after it; and at the foot was a hen with her
chickens, gathering them under her wings. All this was made of wrought
gold by a celebrated artist....”

“But I, who was not sufficiently grateful to God for these benefits which
I have mentioned, and many others, was compelled to leave them to others
who could use them better and to greater advantage.

“For since it was my chief friends who were involved in that disaster of
the Powder Plot, the Council on this account believed me to be privy to
it, and from the first sought for me with great persistence and severity.
They sent certain magistrates to search our house most exactly, with
orders, if they found me not, to stay in the house till recalled, to post
guards all round the house every night, and to have men on the watch both
day and night at a distance of three miles from the house on every side,
who were to apprehend all whom they did not know and bring them before the
Justices. All this was done to the letter. But immediately the news
reached us of such a plot having been discovered, and we learnt that
certain of our friends had been killed and others taken, expecting that in
such a season we, too, should have something to suffer, we had made all
snug before they came, so that they found nothing. They continued
searching, however, for many days, till at last my hostess discovered to
the Justice in chief command one of the hiding-places in which a few books
had been stowed away, thinking that he would then desist from searching
any further, under the impression that if a Priest had been in the house
he would have been hidden there, yet they continued in the house for full
nine days; and I, meanwhile, remained shut up in a hole where I could sit,
but not stand upright. This time, however, I did not suffer from hunger,
for every night food was brought to me secretly; nay, after four or five
days, when the rigour of the search was somewhat relaxed, my friends even
took me out at night and warmed me at a fire, for it was wintry weather,
just before Christmas-tide. And when nine days had passed the searching
party withdrew, believing it impossible I could be there so long without
being discovered.

“In the meantime they had taken a Priest, who, knowing nothing of the
watch set about the place, was coming to our house for safety. This good
Priest (by name Thomas Laithwaite,(125) who is now of our Society, and is
labouring in England) had left us a few days before at my request, when we
heard of the Plot, in order to communicate with Father Garnett, and obtain
from him for me instructions how to act in the present crisis. Even on his
way thither he was taken, but escaped again for that time in the following
manner. His captors took him to an inn, intending to bring him up for
examination and committal the next day. On entering the inn he took off
his cloak and sword and laid them on a bench; then, on pretence of looking
after his horse and getting him taken to water, he went to the stable,
and, as there was a stream near the house, he bade the boy lead the horse
thither at once, and himself went along also. When they had come to the
stream and the horse was drinking, ‘Go,’ said he to the lad, ‘get ready
the hay and the straw for his bed, and I will bring him back when he has
drunk.’ The boy returned to the stable without further thought, and he,
mounting his horse, spurred him into the stream, and swam him to the
opposite bank. Those in the inn, seeing his cloak and sword still lying
there, had for some time no suspicion of his stratagem; but hearing from
the stable-boy what had happened, they saw they had been outwitted, and
immediately set off in pursuit. They were, however, too late, for the
fugitive, knowing the way well, got to the house of a Catholic before
night, and lay hid there for a few days. Then, finding that he could not
get to Father Garnett, and thinking all danger had passed in our
direction, he tried to return to me. But while avoiding Charybdis he fell
into the clutches of Scylla; for, as I said above, he was taken on his way
to our house, and dragged to London. They were not able, however, to prove
him a Priest, and his brother was allowed to buy him his freedom for a sum
of money.

“Two other Priests who were resident with me in that house (one of whom,
as I said before, was Father Strange), at the beginning of their troubles
wished to go to Father Garnett and remain with him. Both of them, however,
were taken prisoners on their way; one was thrown into Bridewell, and was
afterwards banished, together with other Priests, while Father Strange,
the other, was sent to the Tower, where he suffered much, as has been
before mentioned.”


“The history of the Plot, its causes and consequences, is but too well
known; since it has been written by both friends and enemies, though
perhaps by neither exactly as it ought to be. I myself, when I came from
England to Rome, was ordered to put in writing an account of the whole
affair, and did so as well as I could. There is no need, therefore, to
repeat here what I wrote at length on that occasion....”(126)

“I will now add a few words about myself before closing this narrative. I
have stated in the other treatise, of which I spoke, that a proclamation
was issued against three Jesuit Fathers, of whom I was one; and, though
the most unworthy, I was named first in the proclamation, whereas I was
the subject of one, and far inferior in all respects to the other. All
this, however, I solemnly protest, was utterly groundless; for I knew
absolutely nothing of the Plot from any one whatsoever, not even under the
seal of confession as the other two did; nor had I the slightest notion
that any such scheme was entertained by any Catholic gentleman, until by
public rumour news was brought us of its discovery, as it was to all
others dwelling in that part of the country.

“When I saw by that long search of nine days that I was sought after and
aimed at in particular, I wrote a public letter, as if to some friends, in
which, by many arguments, and by protestations beyond all cavil, I
maintained my entire innocence of the charges brought against me. Of this
letter I caused many copies to be taken, and to be dropped about the
London streets very early in the morning. These were found and read by
many persons, and a copy was shown to the King by one of the Lords of
Council, who was no enemy either of mine or of my cause. The King, as I
heard, was personally satisfied by this. Afterwards, however, when
information was given them of Father Garnett’s hiding-place, and they
conceived hopes of catching him, and of turning the whole charge on the
Society, they thought it necessary to publish the names of some of ours as
the principal contrivers of the Plot. So they put my name down, as well as
those of the other two Fathers, of whom they had heard from a certain
servant of Master Catesby. This man, however, before his death, repenting
of this injury he had done them, confessed that he had been induced to say
what he did of them against his conscience, by the fear of death on the
one hand, and by the hope of pardon, and by the persuasions and
suggestions of Secretary Cecil on the other. And it is possible that some
persons at that time had a real suspicion that I was privy to the thing,
because they knew that many of the gentlemen who had been taken were
friends of mine, and were in the habit of visiting me at my London house.
This, indeed, was acknowledged by one of them in his examination, though
at the same time he affirmed that I knew nothing of their scheme. Nor did
they ever get a single word against me from any of their examinations.
Master Digby, indeed, who was known to be most intimate with me, and for
that reason was most strictly examined about me, publicly protested in
open court that he never dare mention a syllable of it to me, because I
should never have permitted him to go on with it. When I heard of all
this, and, besides, had learnt several particulars concerning Father
Garnett, which proved that any knowledge he had was under seal of
confession, and imparted to him by the only Priest of the Society who knew
of it, and that also only in confession, it seemed to me that I was
sufficiently cleared of the charge; and in order to bring this fact into
notice, I prepared three letters to three Lords of the Council, a little
before the death of the condemned conspirators, in which I showed more at
full that I was completely ignorant of the whole matter, and pointed out
how they might satisfy themselves of the same while those gentlemen were
yet alive. Whether they did so or not, I do not know; but this much I
know, that in the whole process of Father Garnett’s trial, in which after
the receipt of these letters they tried their utmost to defame the whole
Society, and in particular to charge this Plot on the English mission,
they never once mentioned me. They spoke, indeed, of three Fathers as
guilty, but they named those two who had heard of it in confession, and
Father Ouldcorne, not as privy to the Plot beforehand, but as an
accomplice _post factum_.

“Nevertheless, I took the greatest precaution to remain hidden; and I lay
at a place in London known to no one. So by the protection of God I
continued safe, and if it had seemed good I could have remained so still
longer. I did not, therefore, leave England to avoid being taken, but as
in that great disturbance it was no time for labouring, but rather for
keeping quiet, I took a favourable opportunity that presented itself of
passing over into these parts and reposing a little, that after so long a
period of distracting work in all kinds of company, I might take breath
and recover strength for future labours. Why, even at that very time when
I was keeping so close, and when nearly all my friends were either in
prison, or so upset that they could scarcely help themselves, much less
me, though I had lost the house I had in London, through the fault of one
who disclosed it, as I have said, and though strict watch was kept
everywhere, and danger beset me on all sides; yet, before I had settled to
leave England, I managed to hire another house in London very fit for my
purpose, perhaps more so than the former. I managed also to furnish it
with everything necessary, and made some good hiding-places in it; and
there I remained in safety the whole of Lent before my departure. Besides
this house I also hired another, finer and larger than this, which I
intended should be in common between Father Antony Hoskins and me. This
house after my departure was used by the Superior of the mission for a
considerable time.

“The first of these last-mentioned houses I brought into some little
danger, about the end of Lent, in order to rescue one of our Fathers from
imminent danger. The thing happened in this wise. The good Father, by name
Thomas Everett, had gone to a gentleman’s house in London, where there
were some false brethren, or else some talkative ones; for the fact
reached the ears of the Council. And as he is something of my height, and
has black hair, Cecil thought it was I of whom notice was given him, and
said to a private friend of his, ‘Now we shall have him,’ naming me.
However, he had neither the one nor the other. For I, learning that the
Father had gone to this place, where he could not possibly remain hidden,
asked my friend, in whose house I had myself been concealed before I had
procured and furnished my new abode, to fetch him and keep him close in
his house for a time, which he did. Here he remained while the house he
had just left was undergoing a strict search. Now it so happened that,
after a few days, a search was also made in the very place to which he had
been brought, on account of some books of Father Garnett’s which had been
seen, and which this gentleman used to keep for him. After rifling the
place well and finding no one, for Father Everett had betaken himself to a
hiding-place, they carried off the master and mistress of the house, and
threw them into prison. Now when I heard this, and knew there was no
Catholic left in the house, fearing lest the Father should either perish
with hunger, or come forth to be taken, I sent persons from my own house,
to whom I described the position of his hiding-place. They went thither,
and called to him, and knocked at the place, for him to open it; he,
however, would neither open nor answer, though they said that I had sent
them for him. For, as he did not know their voices, he was afraid that
this was a trick of the searchers, who sometimes pretend to depart, and
then after a time return, and assuming a friendly tone, go about the
rooms, asking any who are hidden to come out, for that the searchers are
all gone. The good Father suspected that this was the case now, and
therefore made no answer. My messengers remained a long time trying to
reassure him, and at last were obliged to return, but so late, that they
fell into the hands of the watch. They were detained in custody that
night, and got off with some difficulty the next day. One of them,
however, was recognized as having formerly lived with a Catholic, and was
therefore believed to be a Catholic himself, and as it was now known that
he lived in the house that I had hired, this brought that house into
suspicion, though it had been ostensibly hired by a schismatic, who was
under no suspicion at all. The consequence was that some four days later
the chief magistrate of London, who is called the mayor, came with a
_posse_ of constables to search the house.

“In the meantime, hearing that Father Thomas would not answer, and knowing
well that he was there, to prevent his perishing from starvation, I sent
the next night another party with the man who had made the hiding-place
and knew how to open it. The place was thus opened, and the good Father
rescued from his perilous position. They brought him to my house, and
there he remained. I myself, however, before he arrived, had gone to a
friend’s house, a very secure place, for the purpose of staying there a
little, as I had some fears that the apprehension of my servants a day or
two back might bring the searchers to my house. My fears were well
founded: for on Holy Thursday, while Father Everett was saying Mass, and
had just finished the Offertory, there was a great tumult and noise at the
garden gate; and the mayor used such violence, and made such quick work of
it, as to have entered the garden, and the house, and to be now actually
mounting the stairs, just as the Father, all vested as he was, and with
all the altar furniture bundled up, had entered his hiding-place. So near
a matter was it, that the mayor and his company smelt the smoke of the
extinguished candles, so that they made sure a Priest had been there, and
were the more eager in their search. But of the three hiding-places in the
house they did not find one. So they departed, taking with them those men
whom they found in the house, and who acknowledged themselves to be
Catholics, and the schismatic also who passed for the house-holder. After
this, having again released Father Everett from his hiding-hole and
advised him to leave London, I determined not to use that house again for
some time. And seeing that the times were such as called us rather to
remain quiet, than to gird ourselves for work, I took the first
opportunity of crossing the sea and coming into these parts.(127)

“I recommended my friends to different Fathers, asking them to have
special care of them during my absence. As for my hostess,” Mrs. Vaux,
“she was brought to London after that long search for me, and strictly
examined about me by the Lords of the Council; but she answered to
everything so discreetly as to escape all blame. At last they produced a
letter of hers to a certain relative, asking for the release of Father
Strange and another, of whom I spoke before. This relative of hers was the
chief man in the county in which they had been taken, and she thought she
could by her intercession with him prevail for their release. But the
treacherous man, who had often enough, so far as words went, offered to
serve her in any way, proved the truth of our Lord’s prophecy: ‘A man’s
enemies shall be those of his own household;’ for he immediately sent up
her letter to the Council. They showed her, therefore, her own letter, and
said to her, ‘You see now that you are entirely at the King’s mercy for
life or death; so if you consent to tell us where Father Gerard is, you
shall have your life.’

“ ‘I do not know where he is,’ she answered; ‘and if I did know, I would
not tell you.’

“Then rose one of the lords who had been a former friend of hers, to
accompany her to the door out of courtesy, and on the way said to her
persuasively, ‘Have pity on yourself and on your children, and say what is
required of you, or otherwise you will certainly die.’

“To which she answered with a loud voice, ‘Then, my lord, I will die.’

“This was said when the door had been opened, so that her servants who
were waiting for her heard what she said, and all burst into weeping. But
the Council only said this to terrify her, for they did not commit her to
prison, but sent her to the house of a certain gentleman in the city, and
after being held here in custody for a time, she was released, but on
condition of remaining in London. And one of the principal Lords of the
Council acknowledged to a friend that he had nothing against her except
that she was a stout Papist, going ahead of others, and, as it were, a
leader in evil.

“Immediately she was released from custody, knowing that I was then in
London, quite forgetful of herself, she set about taking care of me, and
provided all the furniture and other things necessary for my new house.
Moreover, she sent me whole sheets daily, recounting everything that
occurred; and when she knew that I wished to cross the sea for a time, she
bid me not spare expense, so that I secured a safe passage, for that she
would pay everything, though it should cost five thousand florins; and, in
fact, she sent me at once a thousand florins [100_l._] for my journey. I
left her in the care of Father Percy, who had already, as my companion,
lived a long time at her house. There he still remains, and does much
good. I went straight to Rome, and being sent back thence to these parts,
was fixed at Louvain.

“I have received two signal benefits on the 3rd of May, through the
intercession, as I think, of blessed Father Garnett, who went to Heaven on
that day. The first was as follows: When I had come to the port where,
according to agreement, I was to embark with certain high personages, in
order to pass unchallenged out of England, they, out of fear, excused
themselves from performing their promise. And in this mind they continued
till the hour of the day fixed for embarking. Now just at that time Father
Garnett’s martyrdom was consummated in London, and he being received into
Heaven remembered me upon earth; for the minds of those lords were so
changed, that the Ambassadors themselves came to fetch me, and with their
own hands helped to dress me in Spanish costume, so that I might be taken
for one of their suite, and so pass free. All went well, and I do not
doubt that I owed it to Father Garnett’s prayers.

“The other and greater benefit is that three years later, on the same 3rd
of May, I was admitted into the body of the Society, by the four solemn
vows,(128) though most unworthy. This I look upon as the greatest and most
signal favour I have ever received, and it seems to me that God wished to
show me that I owed this also to the prayers of Father Garnett, from an
exact similarity in the circumstance of time between my profession and his
martyrdom. For the day originally fixed for both had been the 1st of May,
the Feast of the Holy Apostles SS. Philip and James, and in both cases
unforeseen delays postponed the event till the 3rd of May.

“God grant that I may truly love and worthily carry the Cross of Jesus,
that I may walk worthy of the vocation whereunto I am called. This one
thing I have asked of our Lord, and this will I continue to ask, that I
may dwell in the House of God all my days, until I begin to prove myself
grateful for so great a favour, and that though hitherto unfruitful, yet
by the fertility of the olive-tree in which I have been grafted, I may at
length begin to bear some fruit!”


Here the Autobiography of Father Gerard ends. Though he survived his
escape from England thirty-one years,(129) we have not much more to relate
of the events of his life. We have, however, first a few notes to record
on the concluding portion of the narrative.

First, with regard to the brave Elizabeth Vaux. She was re-arrested, long
after the liberation of which Father Gerard has told us, for in a letter
from Louvain to Father Aquaviva, the General of the Society, dated August
17, 1612, he gives the following account of her conduct, and that of her
son, Lord Vaux, in prison. We translate from the Latin original.(130)

“Lord Vaux remains in prison under condemnation, but by no means cast
down. He seems with invincible courage to trample on rather than to be
deprived of the world, and not so much to have lost as to have contemned
its goods. His praise certainly is in the mouths of all men. And his cause
is so honourable to him, and to the Catholic religion, and so disgraceful
to his enemies, that the King seemed to be ready to let the Baron go, and
to restore him all his goods, when, God so disposing it, and preserving
His servant for great things, some men making a more careful search than
usual, found out that the mother of the Baron, who was herself under
condemnation and in prison, but who retained all her fervour and devotion,
had received a Priest into her cell on the very Feast of St. John Baptist.
When the officers entered, they found a good Father who had just completed
the Holy Sacrifice, and was in the act of distributing the most holy Body
of Christ to those who were assisting. Mrs. Vaux herself, and two others,
had communicated. The Priest turned back to the altar, and quietly
received the remaining Hosts, lest they should fall into sacrilegious
hands. The first man who entered the room, seeing the altar well
appointed, and all of them kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, was
astounded; and forgetting the fierceness with which, under similar
circumstances, most people rush upon a Priest, only uttered these words:
‘Has not your ladyship suffered enough already for this sort of thing?’

“The wonder is of old standing on the part of those who do not understand
how blessed is the life that God will give to those who never change their
fidelity to Him, and who, fearing God more than the King, even though they
have but just escaped death, still wish to bury the dead. So our good
Father Cornforth was taken: a very holy man, whose life well deserves
recording. He was carried off to the pseudo-Prelate of Canterbury, and as
he could not conceal his Priesthood on account of those with whom he was
taken, so neither would he for his own safety’s sake, hide his Religious
state. So he was sent off to that prison from which they usually take
their victims when they want an offering for the god of heresy. Canterbury
then went to the King in all haste and fury, and putting fire to the
cotton to raise a flame, so inflamed the King’s mind against the Baron,
that he seems to have diverted him from his inclination to set him free to
the very reverse. But notwithstanding all this, as the Baron has those
counsellors for him who are most powerful with the King, we all hope that
the King will soon be pacified, and that all will end well for our friend,
especially if your Paternity and yours will help him with your holy

In the Public Record Office we have various papers which add a little to
what Father Gerard has here written. Letters(131) dated February 26 and
October 22, 1612, say that Mrs. Vaux, Lord Vaux’s mother, was condemned to
perpetual imprisonment for refusing to take the oath of allegiance, and
that Lord Vaux was transferred to the custody of the Dean of Westminster.
The Privy Councillor, who was their friend, was Henry Howard, Earl of
Northampton. There are three letters(132) extant from him to Viscount
Rochester in behalf of the Vauxes. In the first he says that Lord Vaux’s
sister [Katherine, wife of Henry Nevill, Lord Abergavenny] has presented a
petition that her brother and mother may, on account of the hot season, be
removed from their keeper’s house in town to that in the country; but they
being imprisoned for life on a _prœmunire_, the matter rests with the
King. And this, in the third letter, he says the Archbishop and Council
consented to, if they can still be under charge of their keeper. The
second letter thanks Lord Rochester for his intercession in behalf of Lord
Vaux and his mother, and adds that they expect but little mercy where the
Metropolitan [Archbishop Abbot] is mediator. Lastly, we have the
grant(133) to Lord Vaux of Harrowden of his lands, &c., at Harrowden and
elsewhere, in the counties of Essex, Bedford, Nottingham, Lincoln, and
Cambridge, which were forfeited to the King on his conviction in a
_prœmunire_ for refusing the oath of allegiance. Later on, May 4, 1625,
Charles I. granted him a special pardon(134) for “not repairing to the
Protestant church and forbearing the same,” which is recited to be “a
contempt of the King’s crown and dignity.”

The proclamation for the apprehension of the three Fathers gives a
description of Father Gerard.(135) “John Gerard, _alias_ Brooke, of
stature tall, and according thereunto well set; his complexion swart or
blackish; his face large; his cheeks sticking out, and somewhat hollow
underneath the cheeks; the hair of his head long if it be not cut off; his
beard cut close, saving little mustachoes, and a little tuft under his
lower lip; about forty years old.” To this we may add the description(136)
of Father Gerard given by the ruffian Topcliffe, whose spelling is
sufficiently “kewryoos” to be worth retaining. It is dated in the Calendar
of the Record Office, 1583, but this is evidently erroneous, as Father
Gerard escaped from the Tower in 1597.

    “Jhon Gerrarde ye Jhezewt preest that escaip out of the Tower and
    Richard Blount a Seamry preest of estymacion, and a thirde preest
    intend to passe our rather after then wth the Lo Imbass at Dovr
    Rye or thirabowtts upon yt coast.

    “They have provided for a Culler to passe wthout suspycion a Seale
    lyke a Seale of the Counsall table to bleare the Eyes of
    Seartchers and officers. Therefore it were not amysse That some
    order were lefte wth my Lorde Trasorr that he gyve order that the
    Lres do passe under such a Seale from yr Lls. But under & wth
    summe prevey mark upon the lres besides the seale. Then any
    passendgr that carryethe a lre wthowte suche a prevy mrk Is fytt
    to be stayed for a tyme Until hee bee knowen.

    “Jhon Gerrarde, ye Jhezewt is about 30 years oulde Of a good
    stature sumwhat higher then Sr Tho Layton & upright in his paysse
    and countenance sum what stayring in his look or Eyes Currilde
    heire by Nature & blackyshe & not apt to have much heire of his
    bearde. I thincke his noase sum what wide and turninge Upp
    Blubarde Lipps turninge outwards Especially the over Lipps most
    Uppwards toword the Noase Kewryoos in speetche If he do now
    contynewe his custome ... And in his speetche he flourrethe &
    smyles much & a falteringe or Lispinge, or dooblinge of his Tonge
    in his speeche.

    “Yor honors as you will comāde me.

    “RIC TOPCLYFFE alias.

    _Endorsed_—“Concerning Gerrard the Priest and others.”

What Sir Thomas Leighton’s height may have been we do not know, but in the
copy of this description sent by Cecil to Anne, Lady Markham,(137) a pen
has been passed through the words “Sir Thomas Leighton,” and the word
“ordinary” is written in its stead. The proclamation was nearer the truth
than Topcliffe as to Father Gerard’s age, which was then forty-two.

A correspondence between Cecil and Lady Markham betrays to us an offer
made by her “to deliver the person of Gerard into the hands of the State.”
Her object was to obtain the pardon and restoration of her husband, Sir
Griffin Markham, who was in banishment for having taken part in Watson’s
conspiracy. One of Cecil’s correspondents says,(138) of “certain lady of
Nottinghamshire, called the Lady Markham,” “this more I know, that there
is not the like pragmatical-headed lady in this part of England.”

Her letters(139) are interesting for the mention of her two servants, who
had gone to live with Father Gerard, but still more for the testimony she
bears to the general belief entertained by Catholics in Father Gerard’s
sanctity, and to the improbability in the judgment of all who knew him of
his being a party to the Plot.

    “Right Honourable,—Your lordship may think me slack in performing
    that which I so freely made promise of, but the death of my father
    hath so much appalled me as I am not fit to do as I would. I did
    hear Mr. Gerard was taken, which something stayed me. Moreover,
    your lordship hath Mr. Ha. Hurlston in hold, who may direct you
    the best concerning him of any I know, as also I take it Sir
    Everard Digby came for Mr. Walley” [Father Garnett]; “but thus it
    is I cannot learn where Mrs. Vaux is, neither if I knew durst I
    visit her. And this is most strange to me, neither of those which
    were my servants comes to me, which makes me think they remove
    with Mr. Gerard, or are imprisoned, but I rather think they are
    shifted out of the way, because their attendance will make their
    master more acceptable, one of them being an exquisite painter and
    the other a perfect good embroiderer. The painter is a black man,
    and taller than the embroiderer, whose hair is yellowish, and was
    called Christopher Parker by his true name. The painter was called
    Brian Hunston. I am bold to inform you thus largely of them
    because I verily suppose they attend their wandering friend and
    master, but where, till I either see them or hear some directions,
    I cannot imagine; but I protest to your lordship, if I could learn
    I am resolved he should speak with you, if by any means I could
    procure it, for I fear this most vile and hateful Plot hath taken
    deep and dangerous root, because I meet with many that will as
    easily be persuaded there was no gunpowder laid as that holy good
    man was an actor in the Plot; and surely the generality did ever
    so much admire him, that they were happy or blessed in hearing
    him, and their roof sanctified by his appearance in their house. I
    am to go shortly into the country. If it would please your
    lordship to give me leave to send a man to my husband I should be
    much bound to you, for I cannot tell till I hear from him how to
    determine of those businesses occasioned by my father’s death. I
    humbly beseech you commiserate my affliction and grant me this
    poor request, if it stand with your liking, and I shall ever pray
    for your increase of honour and happiness. So I humbly take my
    leave this 18th of November, 1605.

    “Your lordship’s most humble to command,

    _Endorsed_—“The Lady Markham to my Lord.”

    “Right Honourable,—Afore I came out of London I sent to know your
    lordship’s pleasure, but mine uncle could not meet with Mr.
    Lewnus, and indeed I did think my credit was so decayed with the
    Padre that I could not do as I would, employ my best endeavours to
    perform thereby to express my great desire of your lordship’s good
    opinion. Now I find either necessity of their part or my two
    servants’ credits hath given me so much power as I shall shortly
    see Mr. Gerard, but for the day or certain time they are too
    crafty to appoint, but whensoever I will do my best to keep him
    within my kenning till I hear from your lordship, and then, my
    credit preserved, which is dearer to me than life, your command
    shall be as truly obeyed as if your most trusty servant were
    commanded. I do perceive there are great business in hand, and
    your lordship is, next to His Majesty, most shot at, but what the
    project is I dare not be very inquisitive of, because it is not
    ripe, as by circumstance I perceive; and I labour to make myself
    in good estimation with them, which would not be if I covet to
    know more than they like. This, I protest to God, is only to do
    service to your lordship. There had been some of them with me ere
    this, but great occasion hath drawn them to haste into other
    places, whither I know not. If the watch had continued but two
    days longer, Mr. Gerard had been pined out at Harrowden. I hear
    Ric. the butler is close in the Gatehouse, yet your lordship knows
    that prisons are places of such corruption as money will help
    letters to their friends to tell what they have been examined of,
    so they will guess shrewdly how to shift. I have none that I do
    trust about me with my resolution to do my best endeavours to
    preserve your lordship, therefore I am enforced to be brief. I
    beseech you pardon it in me, that writes in fear, but if it please
    your honour to send your note or directions to mine Uncle Harvey,
    I will expect till that he send them, and ever pray God to protect
    you from these most dangerous conspirators. For the true trial of
    my devotion in that prayer I will most sincerely labour your
    preservation, so I humbly take my leave this 3rd of January.

    “Your lordship’s at command,

    “To the Right Honourable my very good lord the Earl of Salisbury.
    Haste this.”

    _Endorsed_—“3rd January, 1605[-6]. Lady Markham to my Lord.”

The following is Cecil’s answer.(140)

    “Madam,—Although I do confess my great mislike of the daily resort
    and residence of the Priests, and especially the Jesuits, whose
    end can be no other than of pernicious consequence to this estate,
    yet, being in hope that warnings would make them retire from
    further tempting of law, I have used no extraordinary course for
    their apprehension, being, I confess, full of tenderness in
    matters of blood. But having now discovered, by many confessions
    of the late conspirators, that some of these Jesuits have passed
    so far as to be persuaders and actors in this barbarous
    conspiracy, which excludeth almost all offices of humanity from
    men that have softest hearts, I have thought good to take your
    offer for His Majesty’s service, to deliver the person of Gerard
    (who is one of those) into the hands of the State. For which
    purpose, although your letter doth not well express what you would
    have done, whereby both the service may be effected and your name
    covered; yet I have procured a warrant, here inclosed, which will
    be sufficient to authorize and command any man to whom you shall
    direct it, which I have left to your own choice to put in, because
    I know not who they are which dwell thereabouts in whom you dare
    repose trust. And unless you have the warrant presently, and in
    the instant to execute, I know the inconvenience of the
    protraction. You shall therefore do very well to observe how the
    warrant is made, and thereby shall you perceive that the party to
    whomsoever you shall direct it is authorized sufficiently, and
    will receive this warrant from anybody’s hands whom you shall
    send; so as if you will choose any of your own to carry it to any
    such gentleman as you shall like, that third party need not say he
    comes from you, but from some other, and yet he may bring the
    gentleman that you shall name upon the back of the warrant to
    execute all things according to your direction. Lastly, madam,
    this I say unto you, that either your religion is very foul, or
    you will make no difficulty to discover such a pernicious
    creature, as differs so far from the rest of the society (as I am
    persuaded); wherein I will add thus much further, that you shall
    be an instrument of reflecting His Majesty’s good opinion to your
    husband, and confirm the conceit I have of you, that you would not
    trouble yourself and me in this kind unless you meant sincerely.
    And so I commit you to God. From the Court at Whitehall, this 15th
    of January, 1605[-6].

    “Your ladyship’s loving friend,

    “There are only three of your churchmen in this wicked
    predicament, Gerard, Father Walley, and Father Greeneway, so as it
    is indifferent to the State which of these be come by. This letter
    is sent according to your direction to Mr. Stringer, who shall
    receive it from the next post to him, and the packet to the post
    is signed by the postmaster’s hand, and not by mine, who knoweth
    not the contents nor anything of you, and yet his hand will make
    the less suspicion. I desire you to keep safe both this mine own
    letter and the warrant, because I may have both delivered again
    hereafter, if there be no cause continuing to use them hereafter,
    and I will do the like with your letter, which I reserve for you.”

    _Endorsed_—“To the Lady Markham.”

The “certain high personages” with whom he crossed the Channel were the
Ambassadors of Spain and Flanders.(141) The former was the Conde de Villa
Mediana, the latter Don Pedro de Zuniga. It is remarkable that, though
Topcliffe had said that Father Gerard intended “to pass over rather after
than with the Lord Ambassador,” his conspicuous person should have been
allowed to pass.

On reaching the Continent in safety, he went, as he tells us, straight to
Rome, whence, we learn from Father More,(142) he was sent to Tivoli for
awhile, for rest of mind and body. He was then appointed English
Penitentiary in the Basilica of St. Peter,(143) and this was his field of
work till the spring of 1611.(144)

We have a letter,(145) dated “this Simon and Jude’s daie, 1606,” from
Father Andrew Whyte, afterwards the Apostle of Maryland, addressed, “To
his especial good friende Mr. Garret geue these att Roome.” It was to ask
him to speak to Father Persons to get Richard Green received into the
Society, who had been sent to College by Father Gerard, and had been
imprisoned “about the time of this late commotion.” Green “was received
very kindly” by Father Walley [Garnett] “and provided for very charitably
in a manner as one of the Society, with a promise that the year following
he should be received without fail;” but now, as “few or none of Father
Walley’s writings or determinations were found, and Richard Fulwood gone
which should have given particular testimony,” Father Whyte begs that “he
may either be sent to the Novitiates of other countries with the license
of the General, or else may have a promise to be next that is received at


To this Novitiate at Louvain we now turn, as it was thither that Father
Gerard was next sent. It was the foundation of Donna Luisa de Carvajal,
who by her will(146) dated Valladolid, Dec. 22, 1604, left 12,000 ducats
for the establishment of an English Novitiate. The document is an
admirable specimen of true Spanish devotion and humility. After commending
her soul to God by the intercession of our Blessed Lady, she proceeds—“For
the love of God I humbly pray the Superiors of the Society of Jesus and
the Præpositus of the Professed House, as a favour, to grant me some
little place in their church where my body may be buried, in consideration
of the devotion I have ever entertained for their holy Religious Order: to
which Order, in the manner that I have thought would be most to the glory
of God, I offer, with the greatest affection, a gift which, though but
small, is all that I have. And if a burial-place be refused me in that
church, my executors will obtain for me a resting-place in some other
church of the Society: and if they are unable to obtain this, let me be
buried in some monastery in which, for the love of God, they may be
willing to give burial to a poor person like myself; and let my funeral be
conducted in accordance with this my poverty. As executors I name Father
Richard Walpole, the Vice-Prefect of the English Mission, and the
Confessor of the English College in this city, or their successors. After
them (and I have named them first from respect to their priestly dignity)
I name the Condessa de Miranda, Donna Maria de Zuniga, Donna Maria Gasca,
Don Frances de Contreras, Melchior de Molina, and Don Luis de Carrillo e
Toledo, Conde de Caracena. First of all I declare that many years ago,
when I was with my uncle, I made a vow to God to dedicate all my goods to
His glory and greatest service. Then His Divine Majesty gave me large
desires and vehement attraction to spend myself above all things for the
preservation and advancement of the English Fathers of the Society of
Jesus, who sustain that kingdom like strong columns, defend it from an
otherwise inevitable ruin, and supply efficacious means of salvation for
thousands and thousands of souls. Wherefore I offer them to the most holy
Virgin our Lady, I place them under her protection, and I name and leave
her universal heir of all my goods.... And I give possession of them
henceforward to the most glorious Virgin, and in her name and place to
Father Robert Persons, or failing him, to the Father who shall succeed him
as Superior of the Mission: but with this condition and obligation, that
such goods shall be applied to the founding of a Novitiate of English
Religious of the Society of Jesus, in whatever kingdom or part of the
world shall seem to Father Persons to be to the greater glory of God. But
in the case that England shall be brought back to the faith and obedience
of the Roman Church, my will is that the said revenue be transferred into
that kingdom, for the foundation of a Novitiate of the Society there,
unless it shall seem better to Father Persons, for reasons concerning the
Catholic religion, to leave the Novitiate beyond the kingdom.”

Time was not lost in carrying out the intentions of this pious
benefactress.(147) In 1606, Father Persons obtained possession of a large
house in Louvain, which had been inhabited by the Knights of Malta, and
thus came to be called St. John’s, though the church attached to it was
dedicated to St. Gregory the Apostle of England and other Saints. Father
More, who lived there with Father Gerard, tells us that it was on high
ground commanding the whole city; below was a walled garden, and on the
slope of the hill pleasant walks amongst the vines which were ranged in
terraces, and the whole, though within the city walls, as quiet and calm
as befitted a house of prayer.

We do not know exactly the date of Father Gerard’s arrival at Louvain, or
the office to which he was first appointed there. The letter of the 17th
August, 1612, to the General, from which we have already given a large
extract concerning Mrs. Vaux, is dated from Louvain. It proceeds with an
account of a miraculous cure at the intercession of Father Thomas Garnett,
the nephew of the Provincial, who was martyred at Tyburn on the 3rd of
June, 1608. This father was the first Novice of St. John’s, Louvain. That
Noviceship commenced in February, 1607, with six Priests, two Scholastics,
and five Lay-brothers, Novices, under Father Thomas Talbot as their Novice
Master. In 1614, St. John’s received students in philosophy and theology,
as well as Novices, when a house in the garden was fitted up for the
Novitiate and Father Henry Silisdon was installed in St. John’s as Rector
of the new College. This arrangement did not last long, for at the end of
the year the Novitiate was transferred to Liége. No less than fifteen
letters have come down to us written by Father Gerard in the year 1614,
addressed to the Prefect of the English Mission, Father Thomas Owen,
Rector of the English College at Rome. They treat chiefly of the purchase
of the new house at Liége, and the transfer of the Novitiate to that city.
Some extracts relating to Father Gerard himself will be found interesting.
Some of them are signed John Nelson and others John Tomson. In later years
he seems to have been known only by the name of Tomson.

The choice of Liége as a residence seems to have been mainly owing to the
disquiet caused to the Catholics in the Low Countries by the remonstrances
of the English Government. We have some specimens of it in the following
extracts, in which we find Father Gerard true to the natural fearlessness
of his character. “Concerning(148) my wariness in avoiding the eyes of
spies, I have been all this year more sparing in that kind than divers
friends here did think needful, although some one or two did think it
dangerous to go any journey, as doubting I might be killed by the way, but
this was but according to their accustomed fears with which I have been
long acquainted. But, indeed, Father, I am so far from desire to go many
journeys, that it is a pain to me to think of going anywhither, and the
reason why I never went to any of those places your Reverence mentioneth
in this year past (but only the last Lent to Maclin for Mr. Rouse) was not
that I thought it dangerous (being known so well to live here public that
it cannot be unknown to any spies), nor for that I wanted leave, for I had
the other Provincial’s particular and willing grant, without my own
asking, to go to any place of these countries; but it was because I had
rather be at home: and in the town of Lovaine itself, I go not abroad half
so much as I think were needful for the contentment of others. I was not
at the Teresians, where the Mother of the House (to whom I gave the
Exercise four years ago) and Father Scott’s(149) sister do much desire my
often coming, any more than once since the last Lent. At the Monastery of
St. Monica’s, my cousin Shurley hath requested my coming thither for these
three or four months, to bestow one afternoon upon her and some younger
Nuns whom she hath charge of, that they may altogether ask me what
spiritual questions they may like best, and I have never yet found a fit
time for it; and, indeed, I doubt I am to blame for it. The gentlemen in
the town(150) I doubt I visit not once in a quarter of a year, and I have
some reason to think that either they think me careless of them, or afraid
to be seen abroad, as though my case were very dangerous, which would also
make them or any other that should come to town more fearful to come into
my company, and consequently hinder the little good that I might do with
them. But I hope I shall be as wary as your Reverence wisheth, and if this
course go forwards of being Rector without the name of Rector, there will
be less inconvenience, whosoever see me seeing me still as a private man.”
In this he alludes to a plan of his own, that Father Blackfan should have
the title of Rector, although he himself had been appointed to the
Rectorship of the Novitiate.

The next letter is dated April 6, 1614.(151) “I have yours of the 15th
March, and see in that, as in all of yours, your fatherly care of me,
which, by the grace of God, I will labour to deserve. I am well satisfied
with Father General’s order, and shall endeavour to get this building
finished for the Novitiate as soon as I can, and then will settle to my
book as much as my health and letters will permit.... Having writ thus
far, I was called to go to Bruxels with Father Rector (by Father Blacfan’s
and Father Percy his advice) to speak with the Duke’s(152) Secretary, who
telling Father Percy the last week that the Agent did solicit against me,
and that he could not well answer him, unless he delivered him some
reasons in writing for my innocency, this writing was promised him by
Father Percy; but I being loath to have any such writing sent, as thinking
it the likeliest means to raise a new persecution against me, though for
the Secretary’s satisfaction we drew and delivered him a brief note of
four or five effectual proofs, yet both to the Secretary first, and
afterwards to the Nuncio, I told this day that if any such writing were
sent it would do me great harm, for Canterbury having such a writing would
doubtless show it at the Council table, and then those lords who secretly
do know me to be innocent, and wish me well, will be, as it were, forced
to speak against me, lest they should seem to favour me, and so the King
should be more incensed. The Nuncio did promise Father Rector and me that
he would seriously deal both with the Secretary and the Prince himself in
the cause.”

Writing under date April 18, 1614,(153) he shows that he thinks that too
much importance had been given to the Agent’s interference. “I think your
Reverence was made to believe by letters sent about Easter, that there was
some new troubles against me here, out of England, and consequently that
there was need of such information to the Nuncio and Father Provincial as
had been given. But when I heard of it, I said it was nothing but Trumbol
his own device, in hope to work upon the weakness of the Prince; and so
now it proves, for I am going to the Secretary himself with our Father
Rector, as I wrote from Bruxells, and giving him a paper of some few
points for my innocency, with the request he would not deliver it, but
show it if he would to the Agent. The Secretary answered he would
advertise me if it were needful; but since the note was showed unto
Trumbol, and he showed to be satisfied with it, and afterwards meeting the
Secretary told him that he took it to be only matter of religion; but that
being now made matter of State, he, being a servant employed in matter of
State, could not but seek to concur with them that employed him, as it
were granting that himself was satisfied, and yielding a reason why he had
moved the matter. And this being understood both by the Prince and the
Nuncio, they were very glad of it.... I write this from Maclin, whither
Sir William [Stanley] was desirous to have me come for his comfort now and
after the death and funeral of his lady.”

But such a man as Father Gerard was not likely to be left in peace in
those intriguing times. In the August following, Father Silisdon writes to
Father Owen.(154) “Even now I have advice that His Majesty of England hath
made two complaints to the Prince, and that the first is against Father
Gerard’s being in his dominions.” The consequence was that a transfer to
another territory became desirable, and Father Gerard set his heart on
migrating with his Novices to Liége. He writes from that city, under the
signature of John Nelson, Sept. 19, 1614.(155) “There be many causes to be
alleged why here, rather than in any place; as the commodity of dealing
with our English in the summer, the opportunity of keeping our Novices
unknown, the excellent seat far beyond Lovaine, and that bestowed on us,
the present helps sent for this beginning, with great likelihood of much
more; the great favour which is to be expected from this Prince and his
family, and is to be strengthened by my two cousins, Sir William and Mr.
Morton, and Sir William hath written to him that he doth much joy in his
cousin who is there to be Rector.” The two cousins of whom Father Gerard
here speaks were two very powerful friends. The one was Sir William
Stanley, who showed himself a kind friend to Father Gerard and his charge
by negotiating the purchase of the property at Liége in his own name, and
advancing the purchase money—at least, that portion of it which had to be
paid down(156)—probably (as Father Gerard speaks of the “seat being
bestowed upon us”) regarding it as a gift. Whatever else was requisite for
the purchase was provided by Brother William Browne, who, though(157)
grandson, brother, and uncle of Viscounts Montague,—his grandfather was
Queen Mary’s Ambassador to the Holy See—was himself content to spend his
life in the humble duties of a Jesuit Lay-brother.

The “Mr. Morton” was Sir George Talbot of Grafton, afterwards ninth Earl
of Shrewsbury. He was a scholar of some repute,(158) and an intimate
friend of Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria. As Ferdinand, the Prince-Bishop of
Liége, was Maximilian’s brother, it was no little help to Father Gerard to
be on “cousinly” terms with George Talbot. The Duke became a generous
benefactor to the new House at Liége. In 1618 he sent Father Gerard,
through Sir George Talbot, 5,000 florins for the Noviceship.(159) In a
letter dated Jan. 25, 1620, the Duke writes to Father Gerard, who had
promised to pray that he might have a son: “I bound myself once by vow to
your Blessed Ignatius, that if he would obtain this favour for me, I would
give my son the name of Ignatius, and would build and endow a College of
the Society wherever Father General might judge it most useful. What if
God should purpose thus to provide for you?”(160) In July of the same year
he wrote: “We have sent you a contribution of 1,300 German florins by
Father Mayer for a tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament, and for a niche
for an image of the Blessed Virgin.” Even after Father Gerard’s departure
from the House, Duke Maximilian’s liberality to it did not fail. Father
Silisdon, Father Gerard’s successor as Master of Novices, removed the
Novitiate to Watten,(161) and not long after the Duke settled a permanent
endowment upon the College of Liége, which was begun in the House that
Father Gerard had established.

Father Gerard’s Socius or “Compagnion,” as he calls him, was Father Henry
More, subsequently the historian of the Province. When discussing, before
his appointment, those Fathers who were fitted for that office, after
mentioning others, he says: “Father Nicholson is far short of either of
them for my turn, for he is no good Latinist, I think little better than
myself, though he be much better scholar; neither hath he any other
language but Spanish, of which I shall have small use. Father Henry More
hath French well, Dutch prettily, and Italian sufficiently, besides
Spanish very well, and Latin as I would wish him.”(162)

As to his first Novices, he had twelve, which made what he styled “a
pretty beginning.”(163) They were “the two that expect at Liége, the two
that are come from Rome, and four out of Spain, with Mr. Lewkner and Mr.
Whitmore, besides Grafton, when he comes, and a tailor now servant in this
house, who by all judgments here is as fit to be received as Brother
Silvester, the young tailor now in the Noviceship, is fit to be

Of the two that “expected at Liége,” a previous letter had said, “Here be
also Mr. Mansel and Mr. Owen Shelley, by the names of Mr. Griffin and Mr.
Titchborn: both expect, the first with some loathness to stay long, the
second is wholly resigned. The first is a pious man, and to those that
know his fashion will be profitable for some uses in the Society, but the
second will be practical and fit for anything, and in truth I think he
will do very well.”(165) This Father Owen Shelley was afterwards Rector of
the College of Liége, and justified Father Gerard’s judgment of his

Amongst the “four which are come out of Spain” were two that must have
constantly served to remind their Rector at Liége of the Gunpowder Plot,
as the remonstrances of King James’ Agent had managed to do at Louvain.
“One of them,” he says, “is akin to Father Garnett, and of his name,
though we call him Gilford, as he was called at St. Omers. William Ellis,
but we call him John Williams, for he was page(166) to Sir Everard Digby,
and taken with him, though he might have escaped, for his master offered
him horse and money to shift for himself, but the youth said he would live
and die with him; and so, being taken, was condemned at Stafford, and
should have been executed. He was offered to have his life if he would go
to their church, which he refused. In the end they saved him and some
others. He never [yielded] in the least point. He hath good friends near
Sir Everard Digby’s whom I know, and he is heir to 80_l._ a year, if his
father do him right.”(167)

At the close of this short notice of Father Gerard’s Rectorship it will be
but right to record an unfavourable judgment passed upon him, as it will
help us to form a true appreciation of his character. It is the only
instance that has come down to us of blame on the part of one of his own
brethren. “I see a general fear in all ours, those of best judgment, of
the success of Father Nelson’s government, and unless he hath a companion
that may moderate him, his zeal will, I fear, carry him too far; and I
fear it so much the more because I see him loath to have anybody with him
who is likely to propose anything to him contrary to his own zealous
desires.” This is in a confidential letter(168) from Father Silisdon to
Father Owen, dated Oct. 31, 1614, so that, as it was written before the
transfer to Liége, it was a misgiving lest he should be indiscreet as a
Rector, rather than a judgment on his actual conduct as a Superior.


During his residence at Liége, amongst Father Gerard’s correspondents were
two venerable servants of God, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, and Father Luis
de la Puente, better known by the Latinized form of his name, de Ponte. As
by a man’s friends we can obtain an insight into his character, we have
thought it desirable to give the few letters from these two holy men to
Father Gerard that have come down to us. Cardinal Bellarmine’s autograph
is preserved at Stonyhurst.(169) We translate the letter from the original

    “Very Rev. and beloved Father in Christ,—I have received your
    Reverence’s letter dated from Liége the 23rd November, with the
    little presents inclosed in it, an English knife, a little case
    (either bone or ivory, I do not know which), and three small
    toothpicks. I do not know whether these were sent me for use, or
    as having some special meaning. Whichever it be they were welcome,
    as a proof of friendship and brotherhood.

    “The memory of that excellent Mr. Oliver,(170) whose acquaintance
    I made very late, has brought me no little sadness, or rather
    grief, not on his account, who is translated from this world to
    the joys of Paradise, but for the sake of many whom without doubt
    he would have converted to a good life if Divine Providence had
    permitted him to live awhile longer. But the good pleasure of God
    must ever be fulfilled, and the very same, in order that it may be
    fulfilled, must ever be pleasing to us under all circumstances.

    “I was pleased to read what your Reverence relates in your letter
    of your journeys; of your office of Master of Novices; of the
    building which you have bought at Liége; of the visitation of His
    Serene Highness Ferdinand, the Prince-Bishop of Liége, and of the
    promise that the Priory, at its next vacancy, shall be applied to
    the College. If my assistance in carrying this out can be of any
    use to you with the Pope, it shall not be wanting.

    “Of Dr. Singleton I have heard much, and have defended him to the
    best of my power, as long as I could, but the party opposed to him
    has prevailed. Nor do I see how I can help him at so great a
    distance, and especially as I should be suspected, because I am a
    Jesuit. The devil is envious of the harmony between the English at
    Douay and the Fathers of the Society, for which the good Cardinal
    Allen cared so much; but all means must be tried to re-establish a
    true and sincere friendship, and agreement in teaching; otherwise
    a kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation.
    For many reasons I say freely that nothing can be done by me in
    his behalf; first, as I was just saying, because I should be under
    suspicion, being a Jesuit. Then because I am an old man of
    seven-and-seventy years of age, and I daily expect the dissolution
    of my tabernacle. Thirdly, because I cannot think of any manner in
    which I could help him. The common way of helping men of this sort
    is to give them ecclesiastical benefices, but here in Rome the
    multitude of those who aspire to and seek after such benefits is
    so great that their number is almost infinite. Nor are they only
    Italians, but Spaniards also, Frenchmen, Germans, who look for
    nothing but benefices at Rome. I myself, who was thought to have
    some influence with the Pope, have laboured for more than ten
    years for a Spaniard, an excellent man and a great friend of mine,
    to obtain for him a good benefice falling vacant in his own
    country. I could say the same of Flemish and German friends of
    mine. What then would be the case with English people, in whose
    country there are no ecclesiastical benefices for Catholics? But,
    since these temporal things are nothing when compared to eternal
    benefices, our friend Dr. Singleton must not be cast down if our
    Lord treats him now, as of old He treated His Apostles, who He
    willed should enter into the Kingdom of Heaven through many
    tribulations. But I must not be too lengthy, for I know that both
    he and your Reverence stand in no need of my exhortations. I know
    that your Reverence will have hard work to read my bad writing,
    but Father Coffin(171) would have it that I should write to you
    with my own hand.

    “With this I bid your Reverence farewell. Commend me to the
    prayers of Dr. Singleton, and of all your College; but your
    Reverence’s self especially, for our old friendship and
    brotherhood, must diligently commend me to the Lord our God.

    “From Rome, on Christmas Day, December 25, 1618.(172)

    “Your Reverence’s brother and servant in Christ,


    “To the Very Rev. Father John Tomson, S.J.,
    “Rector of the College of the English Novices at Liége.”

The two letters which have come down to us, addressed to Father Gerard by
the venerable Father Luis de la Puente, were written just as his
residence(173) at Liége was drawing to a close. We translate from Father
Grene’s transcript of the originals.(174)

    “I. H. S.


    “When I received your Reverence’s letters, I was unable to answer
    them at once, for I was suffering from extreme weakness, which
    usually afflicts me every year all through the winter. Blessed be
    our great God, from Whose providence come health and sickness,
    life and death, and whatever prosperity and adversity there is in
    this world. The height of felicity in this life is to be superior
    to all these things, seeking only God’s good pleasure in all
    things, for life in His will, and health, honour, happiness,
    spiritual progress, and all sanctity consist in the fulfilment of
    the will of God: and so every day I would that at every breath I
    could say, May Thy most holy and most sweet will be done in me,
    concerning me, and by me and about me, in all things and by all
    things, now and always and for ever. Amen.(175) God always pours
    His spirit of prayer into those who so submit their will to His;
    wherefore the Psalmist says—‘Be subject unto the Lord and pray to
    Him,’ for when any one with prompt obedience and entire
    resignation humbly submits himself to God, God Himself, Who does
    the will of those that fear Him, in a certain way is made subject
    to him, so that He does whatever is asked, God becoming obedient
    to the voice of a man—not of any man soever, but of the man who
    obeys God. Oh, wonderful power of prayer and of obedience! Let us
    pray, my Father, that we may be perfectly obedient, and let us
    obey, that we may be able to pray, and to speak worthily with God.

    “It will help wonderfully both one and the other, to meditate
    profoundly on these two things: to wit, Who God is in Himself, and
    what He is towards us, and then what we are of ourselves, and what
    towards God. For whilst I think of God, His Trinity and Unity,
    most beautiful, most wise, most holy, most full of love for me,
    immense and everywhere present, the fountain of all good things
    that are in me and beyond me, from Whom I myself depend, and all
    that is mine, and everything that I use and enjoy, how can I do
    otherwise than love Him with all my strength? How shall I not
    praise Him and thank Him constantly? How shall I not give my whole
    self to His service? And these affections become the more ardent
    as I ponder that I have nothing of myself; that I am nothing, and
    that I and all that is mine would be reduced to nothing unless I
    were preserved by Him. Now whilst, within this immensity of God, I
    consider what I have been and what I am towards Him, I am
    horrified and tremble as I ponder on my malice, my ingratitude, my
    slothfulness. Hence arise feelings of hatred of self, of
    humiliation and self-denial, and various acts and exercises of
    penance, which not only nourish humility by which a man, through a
    truthful knowledge of himself, becomes vile to himself, but they
    also arouse a most ardent charity by which he loves his Supreme
    Benefactor, Who has conferred and still confers so many and such
    great benefits on one who is ungrateful and unworthy. Thus the
    mind is elevated to perfect contemplation and union with God
    Himself, and, as it were forgetful of itself, is immersed in Him,
    or rather God hides it in the concealment of His countenance from
    all disturbance of men.

    “Here is a short epitome of my mystical theology, which I have put
    out at rather greater length in my book; but why should I teach
    these things to a doctor of others and my own master? Surely I
    have become foolish, but your letters compelled me. Would that you
    would help me by your prayers, that what I write in my letters I
    may perform in deed. Forgive my humble and poor style, for I know
    not any more elegant; but I am sure that you do not care for
    words, but for the sense that is in the words. I value very highly
    the cross which you have sent me, and I will always bear it with
    me. I hope, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, who
    appeared in that tree,(176) and who confers such benefits on those
    who are there and those who visit her, that I may be a partaker of
    those benefits, for though I am absent in the body I am present in

    “I humbly commend myself to the Holy Sacrifices of your Reverence.

    “Your Reverence’s unworthy servant in Christ,

    “[Cross] LUDOVICUS DE PONTE. [Cross]

    “Valladolid, March 23, 1621.

    _Postscript_—“By God’s help I have finished a great work. Its
    title is, _Expositio Moralis in Canticum Canticorum_, containing
    exhortations on all the mysteries and virtues of the Christian
    religion. It is divided into two volumes, and each volume into
    five books. The arrangement is new and singular, but not without
    foundation in the Sacred Text. The matter is grave in itself, and
    very copious, taken out of Holy Scripture and the holy Fathers.
    The style is humble, but clear and chaste, and not out of harmony
    with matter that is spiritual and sacred, and therefore elevated.
    It is printed at Paris, and will soon reach Germany and Belgium.
    Would that it may be to the glory of God, the edification of the
    Church, and of use to one’s neighbour.”

The other letter from the same Father was written in reply to one from
Father Gerard announcing that he was about to leave Belgium.

    “I. H. S.


    “May the Almighty and most pitiful Lord accompany you in the
    journey that you begin, for with such a Guide and Companion you
    will be everywhere safe and cheerful, and making true progress.
    Let Him ever dwell in your memory, understanding, and will, for
    His most sweet providence especially protects those who make their
    journeys from obedience to Superiors, as Jacob did, who at his
    father’s bidding journeyed through the desert into Mesopotamia,
    where he heard the voice of the Lord, which said to him, ‘I will
    be thy Keeper whithersoever thou goest.’ Trusting to this hope,
    and protected by this guardianship, you will happily fulfil what
    you have begun.

    “I commend myself to your Reverence’s Sacrifices and prayers, for
    my weakness oppresses me much; but may the will of God be done in
    me and about me in all things and by all things, to Whom
    concerning all things be glory for ever. Amen.

    “[Cross] LUDOVICUS DE LA PUENTE. [Cross]

    “Valladolid, Feb. 2, 1622.”

With these saintly words our materials for writing the life of Father John
Gerard abruptly fail us. Beyond what has been recorded we only know that
he was sent first to Spain, and then to Rome, which he reached Jan. 15,
1623.(177) He was Confessor to the English College till his death, July
27, 1637, at the ripe age of seventy-three, and upwards.


In this Autobiography Father Gerard has laid before us his life in all the
freedom and unreserve of a confidential communication with his Religious
brethren and Superiors. It is not possible, we are convinced, for any
impartial person to rise from its perusal without a deep conviction that
Father Gerard was a gentleman and a Christian, a man of honour and
religious principle; and in many cases this sense of his integrity will be
accompanied with some of that personal regard and affection with which he
inspired those who lived in intimacy with him. He bore too much for
principle, and made too great sacrifices, for us to think that he would
deliberately and perseveringly commit sin to free himself from blame. Yet
this is the supposition that is involved in an attack upon his veracity in
the compilation of his Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot.

It is quite true that he, and many others, considered themselves
justified, when their own lives or those of innocent persons were at
stake, in the use of assertions that were simple falsehoods in the
ordinary sense of the terms employed. These they called equivocations; and
we find no trace in the period of which we are writing of the modern sense
of the word, that is, of a true expression which is really beside the
point, though it is so employed that it is very unlikely to be seen to be
so by the person to whom it is addressed, who thus is said rather to be
suffered to deceive himself than to be deceived. Practically the
distinction is hard to draw, and it has the disadvantage of seeming to
make the morality of the expression depend on the quickness and readiness
of the person in danger, who may be able to think of phrases containing a
real ambiguity but which yet would throw the hearers off the right scent.

According to modern feeling, Father Gerard would have been quite justified
in examining the trees and hedges in search of a falcon(178) he had not
lost, and inquiring of all he met whether they had heard the tinkling of
the bird’s bells, although it was to make them think that he had lost a
falcon, in other words, to deceive them; but by the same modern feeling he
would be held to be guilty of a lie when he said that he was the servant
of a lord in a neighbouring county, though he might, without guilt, have
worn that lord’s livery as a disguise if he could have obtained it, which
would have been a more effectual deception than any words.

Again, according to modern judgment, John Lilly would be held guilty of a
lie when he said(179) of Gerard’s books and manuscripts, “They are mine;”
but quite guiltless when, with the same intention of making the
magistrates believe him to be a Priest when he was not, he said, “I do not
say I am a Priest, that is for you to prove.” Yet the latter expression
was far more likely to deceive than the former. It was more like what a
Priest, under the circumstances, would have said. Present feeling would
condemn him of a lie for saying simply, that the books were his, when it
would acquit him if he had thought of using far more deceptive
expressions, such as “I am not bound to compromise myself by saying whose
they are.”

The only difference between modern morality and that on which Father
Gerard acted was that now-a-days men say, “Have recourse to evasions.”
Then men said, “Say what you like, it is their fault if they think it
true.” It is evident that of the two courses of proceeding, the
plain-spoken old way is the least open to abuse. No one certainly would
have recourse to it excepting from a well-weighed plea of a sorrowful
necessity. Whereas, on the other hand, evasions are not startling, and the
conscience may lay but little stress on the presence or absence of
justifying circumstances. For it is most necessary to bear seriously in
mind that all Catholic divines then held, and now hold, that to make use
of equivocation excepting under those peculiar circumstances that make it
lawful, is in itself a sin, and thus no escape from the sin of lying. So
Father Garnett plainly said when on his trial,(180) “As I say it is never
lawful to equivocate in matters of faith, so also in matters of human
conversation, it may not be used promiscually or at our pleasure, as in
matters of contract, in matters of testimony, or before a competent judge,
or to the prejudice of any third person: in which cases we judge it
altogether unlawful.”

It is but fair that, in reading the narrative of times when many lives
hung on successful disguise and concealment, we should remember that the
modern sense of equivocation was then unknown. Protestant moralists have
spoken out their minds plainly enough on this subject.

“Great English authors, Jeremy Taylor, Milton, Paley, Johnson, men of very
distinct schools of thought, distinctly say that under certain extreme
circumstances it is allowable to tell a lie. Taylor says: ‘To tell a lie
for charity, to save a man’s life, the life of a friend, of a husband, of
a prince, of a useful and a public person, hath not only been done at all
times, but commended by great and wise and good men. Who would not save
his father’s life, at the charge of a harmless lie, from persecutors or
tyrants?’ Again, Milton says: ‘What man in his senses would deny that
there are those whom we have the best ground for considering that we ought
to deceive, as boys, madmen, the sick, the intoxicated, enemies, men in
error, thieves? I would ask, by which of the Commandments is lying
forbidden? You will say, by the ninth. If then my lie does not injure my
neighbour, certainly it is not forbidden by this Commandment.’ Paley says:
‘There are falsehoods which are not lies, that is, which are not
criminal.’ Johnson: ‘The general rule is, that truth should never be
violated; there must, however, be some exceptions. If, for instance, a
murderer should ask you which way a man is gone.’ ”(181)

This _language_ would not have been used by Catholics. With them the word
“lie” signified a simple falsehood; and an “equivocation” was a false
expression used under such circumstances that if they to whom it was
addressed were deceived by it, it was their own fault. They had then no
right to the truth, and even in some cases it would have been a sin to
tell them the truth.

In substance, however, though not in form, the doctrine of Gerard,
Southwell, and Garnett, was the same as that of Taylor, Milton, and
Johnson. But to confine ourselves to the practice of Father Gerard, this
doctrine is not necessary for his defence, and if his conduct be fairly
examined, he will be held, even from the modern point of view, to have
done no wrong. Protestant moralists, as we have seen, permit men under
certain circumstances to tell a lie with intent to deceive. And Catholic
moralists permit under such circumstances assertions which would lead the
hearers to deceive themselves by neglecting to advert to the limit of the
speaker’s obligation to tell the truth. But with regard to Father Gerard’s
legal interrogations, we may waive the question whether they are right or
wrong in their morality, for we see clearly that he so expressed himself
as to show that his words were not intended to be believed.

The real parallel to them, alleged by Gerard himself, as we shall shortly
see, is the prisoner’s usual plea of “Not guilty.” This is the only form
in which the _question_ is now put to a person accused. But in those days
the question was put over and over again, and in every variety of form. To
deny was really to plead “Not guilty,” and if this be lawful once, it was
lawful whenever they were forced to repeat it. Not only was it a capital
offence to be a Priest within the realm, but it was high treason to be
reconciled to the Church, or absolved by a Priest, or to harbour or
comfort one. Thus the interrogations addressed to prisoners were always
intended to make them criminate themselves or others; that is, in the one
case to cause them to plead guilty, so that they might be condemned to
death on their own confessions; or, in the other case, to force them to
become Queen’s evidence, and be accessory to the infliction upon others of
the extremest penalties enacted by an unjust law.

The first instance that occurs in Father Gerard’s Life, is that when,
after his apprehension, on being questioned he declared that he was quite
unacquainted with the family of the Wisemans, and those who were examining
him betrayed their informer by crying out, “What lies you tell! Did you
not say so-and-so before such a lady as you read your servant’s letter?”
Then he adds, “But I still denied it, _giving them good reasons however
why, even if it had been true, I could and ought to have denied it_.”(182)

Another time(183) he was confronted with three servants of Lord Henry
Seymour, who avouched that he had dined with their mistress and her
sister, the Lady Mary Percy, that it was in Lent, and they told how their
mistress ate meat, while Lady Mary and Father Gerard ate nothing but fish.
“Young flung this charge in my teeth with an air of triumph, as though I
could not help acknowledging it, and thereby disclosing some of my
acquaintances. I answered that I did not know the men whom he had brought

“ ‘But we know you,’ said they, ‘to be the same that was at such a place
on such a day.’

“ ‘You wrong your mistress,’ said I, ‘in saying so. I, however, will not
so wrong her.’

“ ‘What a barefaced fellow you are!’ exclaimed Young.

“ ‘Doubtless,’ I answered, ‘were these men’s statements true. _As for me,
I cannot in conscience speak positively in the matter, for reasons that I
have often alleged; let them look to the truth and justice of what they
say._’ ”

A third instance is the interview(184) between Father Gerard and the widow
Wiseman, in the presence of the Dean of Westminster, Topcliffe, and
others. “They wanted to see if she recognized me. So when I came into the
room where they brought me, I found her already there. When she saw me
coming in with the gaolers, she almost jumped for joy; but she controlled
herself, and said to them: ‘Is that the person you spoke of? I do not know
him; but he looks like a Priest.’

“Upon this she made me a very low reverence, and I bowed in return. Then
they asked me if I did not recognize her?

“I answered: ‘I do not recognize her. _At the same time, you know this is
my usual way of answering, and I will never mention any places, or give
the names of any persons that are known to me_ (which this lady, however,
is not); _because to do __ so, as I have told you before, would be
contrary both to justice and charity_.’ ”

Lastly, when examined(185) by the Attorney General, after having received
a letter from Father Garnett, warning him to prepare himself for death,
and after having freely confessed that he was a Priest and a Jesuit, and
that he had reconciled others to the Pope, and drawn them away from the
faith and religious profession which was approved in England, “answers,”
he says himself, “which furnished quite sufficient matter for my
condemnation, according to their laws,” and after having denied that he
had meddled in political matters; his examination proceeded as follows.

“Hereupon Mr. Attorney kept silence for a time, and then he began afresh
to ask me what Catholics I knew; did I know such-and-such? I answered, ‘I
do not know them.’ _And I added the usual reasons why I should still make
the same answer even if I did know them._(186) Upon this, he digressed to
the question of equivocation, and began to inveigh against Father
Southwell, because on his trial he denied that he knew the woman who was
brought forward to accuse him.(187) She swore that he had come to her
father’s house and was received there as a Priest; this he positively
denied, though he had been taken in that house and was found in a
hiding-place, having been betrayed by this wretched woman. (A dutiful
daughter truly, who thus betrayed to death both her spiritual and her
natural father! Christ our Lord, however, came not to send peace, but a
sword to divide between the good and the bad; and in this case he divided
the bad daughter from the good parents.) Good Father Southwell, then,
though he marvelled at the impudence of this miserable wench, yet denied
what she asserted, and _gave good reasons for his denial_, well knowing
and solidly proving that it was not lawful for him to do otherwise, lest
he should add to the injury of those who were already suffering for the
Faith, and for charity shown to him. Taking this occasion, therefore, he
showed very learnedly that it was lawful in some cases, nay, even
necessary perhaps, to use equivocation; which doctrine he established and
confirmed by strong arguments and copious authorities, drawn as well from
Holy Scripture as from the writings of the Doctors of the Church.

“The Attorney General inveighed much against this, and tried to make out
that this was to foster lying, and so destroy all reliable communications
between men, and, therefore, all bonds of society. I, on the other hand,
maintained that this was not falsehood, nor supposed an intention of
deceiving, which is necessary to constitute a lie, but merely a keeping
back of the truth, and that where one is not bound to declare it:
consequently there is no deception, because nothing is refused which the
other has a right to claim. I showed, moreover, that our doctrine did no
way involve a destruction of the bonds of society, because the use of
equivocation is never allowed in making contracts, since all are bound to
give their neighbour his due, and in making of contracts truth is due to
the party contracting. It should be remarked also, I said, that it is not
allowed to use equivocation in ordinary conversation to the detriment of
plain truth and Christian simplicity, much less in matters properly
falling under the cognizance of civil authority,(188) since it is not
lawful to deny even a capital crime if the accused is questioned
juridically. He asked me, therefore, what I considered a juridical
questioning. I answered that the questioners must be really superiors and
judges in the matter under examination; then, the matter itself must be
some crime hurtful to the common weal, in order that it may come under
their jurisdiction; for sins merely internal were reserved for God’s
judgment. Again, there must be some trustworthy testimony brought against
the accused; thus, it is the custom in England that all who are put on
their trial, when first asked by the Judge if they are guilty or not,
answer, ‘Not guilty,’ before any witness is brought against them, or any
verdict found by the jury; and though they answer the same way, whether
really guilty or not, yet no one accuses them of lying. Therefore I laid
down this general principle, that no one is allowed to use equivocation
except in the case when something is asked him, either actually or
virtually, which the questioner has no right to ask, and the declaration
of which will turn to his own hurt, if he answers according to the
intention of the questioner. I showed that this had been our Lord’s
practice, and that of the Saints. I showed that it was the practice of all
prudent men, and would certainly be followed by my interrogators
themselves in case they were asked about some secret sin, for example, or
were asked by robbers where their money was hid.

“They asked me, therefore, when our Lord ever made use of equivocations;
to which I replied, ‘When He told His Apostles that no one knew the Day of
Judgment, not even the Son of Man; and again, when He said that He was not
going up to the Festival at Jerusalem, and yet He went; yea, and He knew
that He should go when He said He would not.’

“Wade here interrupted me, saying, ‘Christ really did not know the Day of
Judgment, as Son of Man.’

“ ‘It cannot be,’ said I, ‘that the Word of God Incarnate, and with a
human nature hypostatically united to God, should be subject to ignorance;
nor that He Who was appointed Judge by God the Father should be ignorant
of those facts which belonged necessarily to His office; nor that He
should be of infinite wisdom, and yet not know what intimately concerned
Himself.’ In fact, these heretics do not practically admit what the
Apostle teaches (though they boast of following his doctrines), namely,
that all the fulness of the Divinity resided corporally in Christ, and
that in Him were all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. It
did not, however, occur to me at the moment to adduce this passage of St.

In every one of these instances words are carefully introduced to show
that the denials in question were uttered not with the intent of deceiving
the hearers (though even that, according to the grave Protestant
authorities recently quoted, would have been lawful), nor of allowing them
to deceive themselves if they did not choose to advert to the
circumstances in which the denials were made (as Catholic divines would
have permitted);(189) but avowedly in order that they might not be
available as legal evidence against the speaker or his friends.

To Father Gerard’s defence of himself it may be as well to add that of
Father Southwell,(190) who was assailed by Sir Edward Coke.

“The Father would have spoken further on this point [obedience to the
laws] had they not attacked him on another,” objecting to him a statement
of Anne Bellamy’s, who deposed that Father Robert had instructed her, that
if asked by searchers or persecutors if there was a Priest in the house,
she could say “No,” though she knew there was one: nay, that if asked on
oath, she could swear there was not. No sooner was this brought out than
the Judges and officers of the court showed themselves highly scandalized,
and were for stopping their ears:(191) as if, forsooth, the seeking for
Catholic Priests to put them to a traitor’s death, or force them to
apostatize, were a proceeding so clearly and so indubitably just, as to
make it as clearly and indubitably unjust to hide them from such an
ordeal, or to deny them to their pursuers: nor, indeed, would the harm be
confined to the cruel execution of the Priest, but with him the whole of
the family in whose house he was found would be liable to the same death
of traitors. Coke, therefore, the Attorney General, made the most he could
of this matter, insisting that such a pernicious doctrine tended to
destroy all truth, and all reliance of men in each other’s veracity, and
if allowed to prevail, would upset all good government. Topcliffe also
inveighed against it so exorbitantly, that Judge Popham silenced him.
Father Robert then, as soon as he was allowed to reply, explained briefly
what he had said to the witness, whose statement was not altogether exact,
and addressing the Judge, said:

“ ‘If you will have the patience to listen to me, I shall be able to prove
to you from the Holy Scriptures, from the Fathers, from theologians, and
from reason, that in case a demand is made against justice and with the
view of doing grievous harm to an innocent person, to give an answer not
according to the intent of the questioner is no offence against either the
divine law or the natural law. Nay, I will prove that this doctrine in no
wise threatens the good government of states and kingdoms: and that, where
the other necessary conditions of an oath are present, there is nothing
wrong in confirming such an answer in that manner. Now I ask you, Mr.
Attorney, Supposing the King of France (which God forbid) were to invade
this country successfully, and having obtained full possession of this
city, were to make search for Her Majesty the Queen, whom you knew to be
hidden in a secret apartment of the palace: supposing, moreover, that you
were seized in the palace and brought before the King, and that he asked
you where the Queen was, and would receive no profession of ignorance from
you except on oath: what would you do? To palter or hesitate is to show
that she is there: to refuse to swear is equivalent to a betrayal. What
would you answer? I suppose, forsooth, you would point out the place! Yet
who of all who now hear me would not cry out upon you for a traitor? You
would then, if you had any sense, swear at once, either that you knew not
where she was, or that you knew she was not in the palace, in order that
your knowledge might not become instrumental to her harm. Of this kind, in
fact, was the answer of Christ in the Gospel, when He said that concerning
the Day of Judgment no one had any knowledge, neither the Angels in
Heaven, nor the Son: that is, according to the interpretation of the
Fathers, such knowledge that He could communicate to others. Now this is
the condition of Catholics in England: they are in peril of their liberty,
their fortunes, and their lives, if they should have a Priest in their
houses. How can it be forbidden them to escape these evils by an equivocal
answer, and to confirm this answer, if necessary, by an oath? For in such
a case, three things must be remembered: first, that a wrong is done
unless you swear; secondly, that no one is obliged to answer everybody’s
questions about everything; thirdly, that an oath is always lawful, if
made with truth, with judgment, and with justice, all which are found in
this case.’(192)

“He went on to exemplify his position by supposed queries of robbers and
highwaymen; but he was interrupted by abuse.”

Father Garnett has defended himself at sufficient length in his speech on
his trial;(193) but as he there refers to his previous answers, we have
thought it best to give insertion here to an autograph paper of his
preserved in the Public Record Office.(194)

    “Concerning equivocation, which I seemed to condemn in moral
    things, my meaning was in moral and human conversation, in which
    the virtue of verity is required among friends, for otherwise it
    were injurious to all humanity. Neither is equivocation at all to
    be justified, but in case of necessary defence from injustice or
    wrong, or the obtaining some good of great importance, when there
    is no danger of harm to others, as in the case of Coventry,(195)
    wherein I suppose it is a great advantage to me for to be
    admitted, and no harm can ensue to the city. For the city seeketh
    nothing but to be free from the sickness, and if it were possible
    that the city knew me to be free of certainty, they would admit me
    presently, which is confirmed by the custom of places beyond
    [sea], where, though they know a man to come from a place
    infected, yet after they have kept him in some several place, with
    convenient diet, for forty days, they admit him.

    “As for Mr. Tresham’s equivocation, I am loath to judge; yet I
    think ignorance might excuse him, because he might think it lawful
    in that case to equivocate for the excuse of his friend, yet would
    I be loath to allow of it or practise it: he being not then urged,
    but voluntarily offering it himself, contrary to that which he had
    before set down, and especially being in case of manifest treason,
    as I will after explain. But in case a man be urged at the hour of
    his death, it is lawful for to equivocate, _with such due
    circumstances as are required in his life_. An example we may
    bring in another matter. For the divines hold that in some cases a
    man may be bound to conceal _something in his confession_, because
    of some great harm which may ensue of it. And as he may do so in
    his life, so may he at his death, if the danger of the harm
    continue still.

    “The case being propounded, supposing that I knew Gerard
    acquainted with this treason, and having been often demanded
    thereof, I still denying it, by way of equivocation, whether at
    the hour of my death, either natural or by course of justice, I
    may by equivocation seek to clear him again.

    “I answer, that in case I be not urged I may not, but I must leave
    the matter in case in which it stand; but if I be urged, then I
    may clear him by equivocation, whereas otherwise my silence would
    be accounted an accusation. But all this I understand when the
    case is such that I am bound to conceal Gerard’s treason, as if I
    had heard it in confession. For this is a general rule, that in
    cases of true and manifest treason,(196) a man is bound
    voluntarily in utter and very truth by no way to equivocate, if he
    know it not by way of confession, in which case also he is bound
    to seek all lawful ways to discover, _salvo sigillo_.


    “29° Martii.

    “All the Doctors that hold equivocation to be lawful do maintain
    that it is not lawful when the examinate is bound to tell the
    simple truth, that is, according to the civil law, when there is a
    competent judge, and the cause subject to his jurisdiction, and
    sufficient proofs. But in case of treason a man is bound to
    confess of another without any witness at all, yea, voluntarily to
    disclose it; not so of himself.

    “And how far the common law bindeth in cases that are not treason
    a man to confess of himself, I know not. In the civil law, it is
    sufficient to have _semiplenam probationem_, that is, _unum testem
    omni exceptione majorem_, or _manifesta indicia_.

    “Our law I take to be more mild, and that a man may put all to
    witnesses without confessing, except in cases of treason. For,
    according to our law, _non pervertitur judicium tacendo vel
    negando_, as in the civil law, where is required _reus confitens_.
    But generally, when a man is bound to confess, there is no place
    of equivocation. And when he is not bound to confess according to
    the laws of each country, then may he equivocate.”

In the last paper Father Garnett is not speaking of equivocation used in
defence of an innocent person, but of what we may call the persistent plea
of “Not guilty,” and he there draws an interesting distinction between the
Roman civil law and our own, which he calls “more mild,” in that it
professed to regard a prisoner as innocent till he is proved to be guilty.
Happily this is our practice now, as well as our profession, and our
quotations are needed to enable us to form judgments of conduct in times
that have happily passed away.

But with regard to the trustworthiness of Father John Gerard’s evidence,
as we have it before us in his Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot, even if
the lawfulness of his proceedings were not admitted, all that we are
concerned to show is, that untrue statements, made by a man under
circumstances which, rightly or wrongly, he considers to justify him in
making them, furnish no presumption whatever that, under other
circumstances, affording to his conscience no such justification, his word
cannot be trusted. It is an evident instance of the maxim that the
exception proves the rule. Restraining himself carefully within the limits
of what he held to be lawful under circumstances of extreme difficulty and
great personal danger, are we not rather to conclude that, under far less
pressure, he will as carefully confine himself to the laws imposed by his
conscience? Clearly there is nothing in Father Gerard’s practice under
examination to cause us to hesitate in placing implicit trust in his word
when he speaks as an historian; and, in addition, we are sure that no one
will rise from the perusal of the exculpatory letters which we propose to
subjoin, without a full conviction of his innocence and truthfulness.


But before we close this subject by producing these letters, we think it
desirable to answer in detail two particular accusations that have been
brought against Father Gerard’s veracity by a modern writer. Canon Tierney
says:(197) “To show how very little reliance can be placed on the
asseverations of Gerard when employed in his own vindication, it is only
right to observe that, referring to this transaction” [the Communion of
the conspirators after their oath of secresy] “in his manuscript
narrative, he first boldly and very properly asserts, on the authority of
Winter’s confession, that the Priest who administered the Sacrament was
not privy to the designs of the conspirators; and then ignorant of Faukes’
declaration which had not been published, and supposing that his name had
not transpired, as that of the Clergyman who had officiated upon the
occasion, he returns at once to the artifice which I have elsewhere
noticed, of substituting a third person as the narrator, and solemnly
protests on his salvation that he knows not the Priest from whom Catesby
and his associates received the Communion!”

Dr. Lingard also says simply that the Communion was received by the
conspirators “from the hand of the Jesuit missionary Father Gerard,”(198)
apparently unconscious that he had ever denied it.

We have little doubt that the house in which the oath of secrecy was taken
and holy Communion received, was really Father Gerard’s house. The “house
in the fields behind St. Clement’s Inn,” as Faulks calls it; “behind St.
Clement’s,” as it appears in Winter’s confession, seems to be the house
described by Father Gerard as that which he occupied up to the time of the
Powder Plot, “nearer the principal street in London, called the
Strand,”(199) in which street most of his friends lived. But he was not
the only Priest who lived in that house. At least two other Priests(200)
resided habitually with him. One was Father Strange, who was in the Tower
when the Autobiography was written; the other, whose name he does not
give, “was thrown into Bridewell, and was afterwards banished, together
with other Priests.” Then there was also Thomas Laithwaite,(201) who
afterwards became a Jesuit, who frequented the house if he did not live
there. Father Gerard says, “There I should long have remained, free from
all peril or even suspicion, if some friends of mine, while I was absent
from London, had not availed themselves of the house rather rashly.” What
meaning can this have but that Catholics were allowed, in Father Gerard’s
absence, to come to the house too freely to receive the Sacraments, so
that it became too widely known that it was his house?

Immediately after binding themselves by oath to secrecy, the minds of the
conspirators must have been preoccupied with the thoughts of the
tremendous undertaking to which they had just pledged themselves; and it
is very unlikely that mention should be made, in subsequent conversation
among them, of the name of the Priest, whom they had only seen at the
altar, especially as he “was not acquainted with their purpose.”(202) The
only two conspirators who mention Father Gerard’s name are Faulks and
Thomas Winter. Faulks was a stranger, who had “spent most of his time in
the wars of Flanders, which is the cause that he was less known here in
England.”(203) We have no trace of any personal intercourse between Thomas
Winter and Father Gerard. What can have been more natural than that they
should have been told to meet at Father Gerard’s house, and that those who
did not know him by sight should have concluded that it was Father
Gerard’s Mass that they heard? It surely is more probable that they should
have been mistaken in a name than that Father Gerard should have been
guilty of perjury in contradicting, from a place of safety, that which was
no accusation against him, but a harmless statement that, in ignorance of
the oath taken, he had given Communion to certain Catholics.

Faulks’ confession was extorted by torture. King James had given orders,
“The gentler tortours are to be first usid unto him, _et sic per gradus ad
ima tenditur_, and so God speede your goode work.”(204) Faulks was under
none of the “gentler tortures” when in a tremulous hand he wrote “Guido”
on that declaration. “The prisoner is supposed to have fainted before
completing”(205) the signature. Before the words exculpating Father Gerard
from all knowledge of the conspirators’ purpose, the word _Hucusque_
appears in the handwriting of Sir Edward Coke, who has underlined the
sentence in red. The ideas of justice of this great lawyer permitted him
to publish the mention there made of Father Gerard’s name, and to suppress
the statement of his innocence. There is also a red line drawn beneath the
following words in Thomas Winter’s examination: “But Gerard knew not of
the provision of the powder, to his knowledge.”(206)

The second accusation brought by the same writer,(207) is couched as
follows: “Relying upon the fidelity of Gerard, who declares _upon his
conscience_, that he has ‘set down Father Garnett’s words truly and
sincerely as they lie in his letter,’ Dr. Lingard has printed what is
given by that writer, and from it has argued, with Greenway, that Garnett
on the 4th of October, the date assigned to it both by Gerard and
Greenway, was still ignorant of the nature of the Plot. The truth,
however, is, that although the _letter_ was written on the _fourth_, the
_postcript_ was not added until the _twenty-first_ of October; that from
this postscript the two Jesuit writers have selected a sentence, which
they have transferred to the body of the letter; and then, concealing both
the existence of the postscript and the date of the 21st, have represented
the whole as written and dispatched on the 4th. The motive for this
proceeding, especially on the part of Greenway, is obvious. That writer’s
argument is, that the Parliament had been summoned to meet on the 3rd of
October, that Garnett had not heard of the intention to prorogue it to the
following month (this, to say the least, is very improbable); that, for
anything he could have known to the contrary, the great blow had already
been struck, at the very time when he was writing; and, consequently,
that, had he been acquainted with the intentions of Catesby and his
confederates, he would never, at such a moment, have thought of
proceeding, as he says he was about to proceed, towards London, and thus
exposing himself to the almost inevitable danger of falling into the hands
of his enemies.... Now the whole of this reasoning is founded on the
assumption that the letter bore only the single date of the 4th. On the
21st, the supposed danger of a journey to London no longer existed. At
that period, too, Garnett, instead of proceeding towards the metropolis,
had not only removed in the opposite direction, from Goathurst, in
Buckinghamshire, to Harrowden, the seat of Lord Vaux, in Northamptonshire,
but was also preparing to withdraw himself still further from the capital,
and by the end of the month, was actually at Coughton, in the
neighbourhood of Alcester. In fact, what was written on the 4th, he had
practically contradicted on the 21st, and to have allowed any part of the
letter, therefore, to carry this later date, would have been to supply the
refutation of the very argument which it was intended to support. Hence
the expedient to which this writer has had recourse. The postscript and
its date are carefully suppressed; and we are told that, looking at the
contents of the letter, Garnett, when he wrote it, could have known
nothing of the designs of the conspirators: ‘Quando scrisse questa
lettera, che fu alli quattro d’Ottobre, non sapeva niente del disegno di
questi gentilhuomini, altro che il sospetto che prima havea havuto’
(Greenway’s MS., 51b). Without stopping to notice the falsehood contained
in the concluding words of this sentence, and without intending to offer
an opinion here, as to the principal question of Garnett’s conduct, I may
still remark that even the friends of that Jesuit universally admit him to
have received the details of the plot from Greenway about the 21st; and
that this fact alone may be regarded as supplying another and a sufficient
motive both to the latter and to Gerard, for the suppression of that

This note by Canon Tierney produced its effect on Dr. Lingard, and that
historian, in the edition of his work published in 1849, remarks upon the
matter as follows.(208) “The object for which this letter was made up in
the shape which it thus assumes in Gerard’s MS., is plain from the
reasoning which both he and Greenway found upon it. They contend that, if
Garnett had been privy to the conspiracy, he must have believed on the 4th
that the explosion had already taken place on the 3rd, the day on which
the Parliament had been summoned to meet; though no reason is assigned why
he might not, as well as others, have been aware of the prorogation to the
5th of November, and they add that, under such belief, he would never have
resolved to encounter the dangers of making, as he proposed to do, a
journey to London, though in fact he made no such journey, but changed his
route, and was actually, at the time in which he wrote, on his way to the
meeting appointed at Dunchurch. Hence it became necessary to suppress the
postscript, because it was irreconcileable with such statements. There
was, moreover, this benefit in the suppression, that it kept the reader in
ignorance (1) of the real date of the letter, the 21st of October, the
very time when it is admitted that Greenway made to Garnett a full
disclosure of the Plot; and (2) that Garnett took that opportunity of
blotting out a most important passage in the letter written on the 4th,
with a promise to forward the same passage later in an epistle apart; two
facts which would furnish strong presumptions against the alleged
innocence of the Provincial.”

One word in passing, in reply to the “two facts which would furnish strong
presumptions against” Father Garnett’s innocence. 1. Dr. Lingard has
forgotten that “the full disclosure of the Plot” was made in confession,
and that Father Garnett could make no use of it in any way, until the
conjuncture arose when the penitent gave him leave. 2. It is true that a
passage, written to Father Persons on the 4th October, was erased by
Father Garnett on the 21st; but what presumption does this furnish? The
“promise to forward the same passage later in an epistle apart,” could not
mean that he would write him word of the Powder Plot when it was safe to
do so. Is it likely that a conspirator would have written to his friend,
with all the chances of a letter being intercepted, that they were
proposing to blow up the Houses of Parliament? What would he have gained
even had he but risked a phrase as oracular as that of the letter to Lord
Mounteagle? Such a supposition assumes that Father Garnett was not only
guilty of the Plot, but that he had lost all common sense and ordinary
caution; and that he was indebted to the accidental return of his letter
to his hands, seventeen days after he had written it, for an opportunity
of destroying proof under his own hand that he was guilty. If this
consideration is not conclusive, we have but to refer to the context, as
given from the original by Mr. Tierney himself,(209) and our sense of the
ridiculous must settle the question. Father Garnett must have been the
most erratic of letter-writers, if he could insert a reference to the
Gunpowder Treason, or to any other treason, between two such subjects as
the choice of Lay-brothers and his own want of money. The letter ends as

“ ‘I pray you send word how many Coadjutors’ ” [Jesuit Lay-brothers]
“ ‘you will have. I have one, a citizen of London, of very good
experience, which may benefit us, in buying and selling without taxes. But
he is fifty years old: and I think it not amiss to have, at the first,
some ancient men for such. Send your will herein.’

“_A short but separate paragraph of three lines is here carefully

“ ‘I am in wonderful distress, for want of the ordinary allowance from
Joseph’ ” [Creswell, the Superior in Spain]. “ ‘I pray you write for all
the arrearages, which, if it may all be gotten, I can spare you some.
Thus, with humble remembrance to Claud’ ” [Aquaviva, the General],
“ ‘Fabio, Perez, Duras, and the rest, I cease, 4o Octobris.’ ”

But let us address ourselves to the grave accusation made against Gerard
and Greenway. That Dr. Lingard should have made such a statement at all is
owing, first, to the fact that at the time when he was preparing the new
edition of his History, he had no longer access to the manuscript of
Father Gerard, of which he had had the use(210) when originally compiling
his work. The reader, who has Gerard’s Narrative now beneath his eyes, can
speedily convince himself of this fact. And, secondly, to a
misunderstanding of Canon Tierney’s note, for which that writer’s
expressions are to blame. If it had been true, as Dr. Lingard understood
Mr. Tierney to say, that Gerard and Greenway drew the same argument from
the date of Father Garnett’s letter, their conduct would have been
entirely indefensible, and they would have deserved the blame brought
against them.

The truth however is, and in this lies an ample defence for both of them,
that this is not so. Father Gerard quotes Father Garnett’s letter only and
solely to illustrate the state of the Catholics in England. For this
purpose, the date of the letter he was quoting was entirely unimportant.
Indeed, he originally quoted the letter without any date; and then he
interlined the date of Oct. 4th, but laying no more stress upon it than he
had laid on the dates of the other letters of July 24th and August 28th.
For the same reason it would not occur to him to note that the passage
respecting Ireland was taken from a postcript. It was enough for him that
he gave Father Garnett’s very words, as he declared “upon his conscience”
that he did; and that he had Father Garnett’s authority for the account
that he was giving of the condition and state of feeling of Catholics.
When he turned to the letter for a date, it was natural enough that he
should take that which was endorsed upon it by Father Persons, who, having
erased the date of the 21st which he had originally written upon it, had
substituted the 4th, and “in another corner of the paper also, where it
appears most likely to catch the eye, inscribed the same date thus, ‘4°
8bris.’ ”(211) As there is no ground for blaming Father Persons for thus
endorsing a single date on a letter which continued to bear two, so
neither is it reasonable to blame Father Gerard for quoting the letter
under one date only. It is clear, therefore, that there is no accusation
whatever against Father Gerard, and if Father Greenway had not drawn from
the date of the letter the argument regarding Father Garnett, none would
ever have been made. It is gravely to be regretted that Mr. Tierney should
have said that there was “a sufficient motive both to the latter _and to
Gerard_ for the suppression of that date.” This expression evidently
misled Dr. Lingard, and led him erroneously to speak of “the reasoning
which both he [Gerard] and Greenway found upon it.” Had Dr. Lingard not
trusted to Mr. Tierney, but referred to Gerard’s Narrative, he would have
said of the whole charge that which he has said(212) of the alterations of
names in the first part of the letter. Of this his expression is, “Had his
object been only to present the public with an account of the persecution
to which the English Catholics were at that moment subjected, there would
not have been great cause to complain.” This _was_ his only object,(213)
and therefore there was, in Dr. Lingard’s judgment, no great cause to

Father Greenway derived his information of the letter from Father Gerard’s
Narrative, of which he was translator. Whether the argument he has founded
on the date of the letter has any and what force is not here under
discussion, but it is evident that he propounded it in good faith. The
original letter was in existence to confute him. If he had seen it or
noticed the postscript and its date, he would never have exposed himself
to such a confutation. He was misled, innocently enough, but seriously, by
the manner in which the letter appeared in Father Gerard’s pages which he
was translating.

In a word, the accusation is this. Gerard and Greenway found an argument
on the fact that a letter of Garnett’s was dated the 4th of October, when
they knew that it was in his hands on the 21st. And the answer is this.
Gerard may have known, but had no need to notice, the fact of the double
date, as he founded no argument whatever upon it: Greenway, who did found
an argument on it, had no reason for suspecting the existence of a later
date on the letter.


Having thus vindicated the fair fame of these Fathers from the unmerited
imputations brought against them, it remains for us to produce the letters
which were written expressly to prove Father Gerard’s innocence of all
complicity with the conspiracy. We first take from the Public Record
Office(214) his letter to the Duke of Lenox, enclosing letters to the Earl
of Salisbury and Sir Everard Digby. These are the letters described by
Father Gerard himself in the twelfth chapter of his Narrative.(215)

    “Right Honourable,—Seeing all laws, both divine and human, do
    license the innocent to plead for himself, and the same laws do
    strictly require and highly commend an open ear in any of
    authority to give audience and equal trial to a plaintiff in such
    a case, my hope is that your Grace will excuse this my boldness in
    offering up by your hands my humble petition for trial of my
    innocence touching the late most impious treason, whereof I am
    wrongfully accused, by some lost companions, I assure me, who, to
    save themselves from deserved punishment, will not stick to accuse
    any innocent of any crime wherein their bare word may pass for
    proof. There is none so innocent but may be wrongfully accused,
    sith innocency itself in our Lord and Master was accused and
    condemned as an enemy to the State and no friend to Cæsar. The
    servant must not look to be more free from wrongs than his Master
    was. But happy is that man by whom the truth is tried in judgment
    and innocency cleared.

    “I durst not presume, being branded with the odious name of
    traitor, to offer my petition to my Sovereign (to whom, as God is
    witness, I wish long life and all happiness as to my own soul).
    But if by your Grace’s means (of whose piety and worthy
    disposition I have heard so much good) the humble suit of a
    distressed suppliant (prostrate at His Majesty’s feet) may be
    offered up, I hope it shall be found not unfit for your Grace to
    offer, and most fit and reasonable for so wise and righteous a
    Prince to grant.

    “My humble petition is only this. That, whereas I have protested
    before God and the world, I was not privy to that horrible Plot of
    destroying the King’s Majesty and his posterity, &c., by powder
    (wherewith I am now so publicly taxed in the proclamation), that
    full trial may be made, whether I be guilty therein or not. And if
    so it be proved, that then all shame and pain may light upon me;
    but if the truth appear on the contrary side, that then I may be
    cleared from this so grievous an infamation and punishment not
    deserved. Two kinds of proofs may be made in this cause, which I
    humbly beseech your Grace, for God’s cause, may be performed. One
    is, that all the principal conspirators (with whom I am said to
    have practised the foresaid Plot of Powder against the Parliament
    House) may be asked at their death, as they will answer at the
    dreadful tribunal unto which they are going, whether ever they did
    impart the matter to me, or I practise the same with them in the
    least degree, or whether they can but say of their knowledge that
    I did know of it. And I know it will then appear that no one of
    them will accuse me, if it be not apparent they do it in hope of
    life, but do give signs that they die in the fear of God and hope
    of their salvation.

    “And as by this trial it will appear (in this time most fit for
    saying truth) that there is not sufficient witness against me, so
    I humbly desire also trial may be made by examining a witness, who
    can, if he will, fully clear me, and I hope he will not deny me
    that right, especially being(216) ... the place of right and
    justice himself. Sir Everard Digby can testify for me, how
    ignorant I was of any such matter but two days before that
    unnatural parricide should have been practised. I have, for full
    trial thereof, enclosed a letter unto him, which I humbly beseech
    may be delivered before your Grace and the other two lords, whose
    favour and equity I have likewise humbly entreated by these
    letters unto them. All which I am bold to direct unto your Grace’s
    hands, presuming upon your gracious furtherance, not having other
    means, in this my distressed case, to have them severally
    delivered. God of His goodness will reward, I hope, in full
    measure, this your Grace’s favour and pity showed to an innocent
    wrongly accused, who would rather suffer any death than not to be
    found ever faithful to God and his Sovereign,


    “This 23rd of January.”

    _Addressed_—“To the Right Honourable the Duke of Lenox, these

    _Endorsed in Cecil’s hand_—“Gerard the Jesuit to the Duke of

    “Right Honourable,—Although I can expect no other from one in your
    place, but that you should permit the course of justice to proceed
    against any that are proved guilty of treason to His Majesty and
    the State, especially in so foul and unnatural a treason as was
    lately discovered, yet I cannot but hope where there is so much
    wisdom, and so vigilant a care for the preservation of this State,
    your lordship will also be pleased to hear, and forward to make
    trial, who may be wrongfully accused, knowing right well that it
    is as necessary in any Government to protect the innocent as to
    punish the offenders.

    “What proof there is of my accusation I know not, and therefore
    cannot answer it. But this I know: that none can truly produce the
    least proof that ever I was made privy to that treason of which I
    am accused, and much less a practiser with the principal
    conspirators in the same, as I am denounced to be. Therefore, sith
    I know not my accusers, God I hope will be judge between them and
    me, to Whom I refer my cause, and in Whom my trust is, and ever
    shall be, that He will right me.

    “In the meantime my humble request is, that your lordship, who
    have been so often seen to be pitiful towards any in distress, and
    a potent helper to those who were oppressed (a special ornament in
    so eminent a person, and much commended and rewarded by God
    Himself), will show your accustomed commiseration in my case, and
    afford me therein such audience as may be sufficient to make trial
    of my innocency. Wherein your lordship shall imitate the just
    proceeding of the highest Lord, from Whom both yourself, and all
    that govern, have all your power. For God Himself, although He
    know all things before He call us to account, yet, to give us the
    form of just proceeding, is said in Holy Scripture to be ever
    careful in hearing what the accused can say for himself before He
    proceeds to give sentence. So we read that God said to Abraham,
    ‘Clamor Sodomorum etc., multiplicatus est, etc., descendam et
    videbo utrum clamorem qui venit ad me opere compleverint, an non
    est ita, ut sciam.’ So again in the Gospel when He heard a
    complaint against His steward, He would not proceed against him
    without full audience, but called him and said, ‘Quid hæc audio de
    te? redde rationem villicationis tuae.’ These most high and worthy
    examples I trust your lordship will follow in my case, as you have
    been known to do with others. And then I doubt not but that shall
    appear true which I have most sincerely protested before God and
    the world.

    “My humble petition therefore is, that a witness may be asked his
    knowledge who is well able to clear me if he will, and I hope he
    will not be so unjust in this time of his own danger as to conceal
    so needful a proof being so demanded of him. Sir Everard Digby
    doth well know how far I was from knowledge of any such matter but
    two days before the treason was known to all men. I have therefore
    written a letter unto him, to require his testimony of that which
    passed between him and me at that time. Wherein, if I may have
    your lordship’s furtherance to have just trial made of the truth
    whilst yet he liveth, I shall ever esteem myself most deeply bound
    to pray for your lordship’s happiness both in this world and in
    the next. In which hope I will rest, your lordship’s prone and
    humble suppliant, never to be proved false to King and country,


    “This 23rd of January.”

    _Addressed_—“To the Right Honourable the Earl of Salisbury,
    Principal Secretary to His Majesty, these.”

    _Endorsed in Cecil’s hand_—“Gerard the Jesuit to my son.”

    “Sir Everard Digby,—I presume so much of your sincerity both to
    God and man, that I cannot fear you will be loath to utter your
    knowledge for the clearing of one that is innocent from a most
    unjust accusation, importing both loss of life to him that is
    accused, and of his good name also, which he much more esteemeth.

    “So it is that upon some false information (given, as I suppose,
    by some base fellows, desirous to save their lives by the loss of
    their honesty) there is come forth a proclamation against my
    Superior, and one other of the Society, and myself, as against
    three notorious practisers with divers of the principal
    conspirators in this late most odious treason of destroying the
    King’s Majesty and all in the Parliament House with powder. And
    myself am put in the first place, as the first or chiefest
    offender therein.

    “Now God I call to witness, Who must be my Judge, that I did never
    know of it before the rumour of the country brought it to the
    place where I was, after the treason was publicly discovered. And
    if this protestation be not sincerely true, without any
    equivocation, and the words thereof so understood by me, as they
    sound to others, I neither desire nor expect any favour at God’s
    hand when I shall stand before His tribunal. But because this
    protestation doth only clear me in their opinion who are so
    persuaded of my conscience that they think I would not condemn my
    soul to save my body (which I hope by God’s grace shall never be
    my mind): therefore, to give more full proof of my innocency to
    those also may doubt the truth of my words, I take witness to
    yourself whether you, upon your certain knowledge, cannot clear
    me. I wrote a letter before Christmas which I hoped would be
    sufficient to have cleared me; wherein, beside a most serious
    protestation (such as no honest man can use if he were guilty, as
    for my part my conscience doth persuade me), I alleged some other
    reasons which did make it more than probable, in my opinion, that
    I was neither to be charged with this late treason, nor chargeable
    with former dealing in State matters. But I did of purpose forbear
    this proof (which now I allege), although I did assure myself it
    would clear me from all just suspicion of being privy to that last
    and greatest treason; and I did forbear to set it down, in regard
    I would not take knowledge of any personal acquaintance with you,
    especially at your own house, not knowing how far you were to be
    touched for your life, and therefore would not add unto your
    danger. But now that it appears by your confession and trial in
    the country that you stand at the King’s mercy for greater matters
    than your acquaintance with a Priest, I hope you will not be loath
    I should publish that which cannot hurt you, and may help myself
    in a matter of such importance. And as I know you could never like
    to stoop to so base and unworthy a humour as to flatter or
    dissemble with any man, so much less can I fear that now (being in
    the case you are in) you can ever think it fit to dissemble with
    God, or not to utter your every knowledge, being required as from
    Him, and in the behalf of truth. Therefore I desire you will bear
    witness of the truth which followeth (if it be true that I affirm
    of my demand to you, growing upon my ignorance in the matter then
    in hand) as you expect truth and mercy at God’s hand hereafter.

    “First, I desire you to bear witness whether, coming to your house
    upon All Souls’ Day last, before dinner, with intention and hope
    to celebrate there, and finding all things hid out of the way and
    many of your household gone, you did not perceive me to be
    astonished at it, as a thing much contrary to my expectation.
    Whereupon I asked you what was become of them. And when you told
    me you had sent them into Warwickshire, and your hounds also, and
    yourself were going presently after, about a hunting match which
    you had made, though I seemed satisfied for the present because a
    stranger was there with you, yet whether I did not soon after
    (when I had compared many particulars together which seemed
    strange unto me) draw you into a chamber apart, and there urge you
    to tell me what was the reason both of that sudden alteration in
    your house and of divers other things which I had observed before,
    but did not until then reflect upon them so much, as, for example,
    the number of horses that you had not long before in your stable,
    the sums of money which I had been told you had made of your stock
    and grounds, which (said I) in one of your judgment and provident
    care of your estate, are not likely to be done without some great
    cause, and seemed to think you had something in hand for the
    Catholic cause. Your answer was, ‘No, there was nothing in hand
    that you knew of, or could tell me of.’ And when I replied that I
    had some fear of it by those signs, considering you would not hurt
    your estate so much in likelihood without some cause equivalent
    (for I knew very well you meant to pay the statute, and so stood
    not in fear of losing your stock), and therefore willed you to
    look well that you followed counsel in your proceedings, or else
    you might hurt both yourself and the cause, your answer was (which
    I have remembered often since), ‘That you respected the Catholic
    cause much more than your own commodity, as it should well appear
    whensoever you undertook anything.’ I asked you once again
    whether, then, there were anything to be done, and whether you
    expected any help by foreign power, whereunto you answered,
    holding up the end of your finger, that you would not adventure so
    much in hope thereof. Then I said, ‘I pray God you follow counsel
    in your doings. If there be any matter in hand, doth Mr. Walley
    know of it?’ You answered, ‘In truth, I think he doth not.’ Then I
    said further, ‘In truth, Sir Everard Digby, if there should be
    anything in hand, and that you retire yourself and company into
    Warwickshire, as into a place of most safety, I should think you
    did not perform the part of a friend to some of your neighbours
    not far off, and persons that, as you know, deserve every respect,
    and to whom you have professed much friendship, that they are left
    behind, and have not any warning to make so much provision for
    their own safety as were needful in such a time, but to defend
    themselves from rogues.’ Your answer was (as I will be sworn), ‘I
    warrant you it shall not need.’ And so you gave me assurance that,
    if there had been anything needful for them or me to know, you
    would assuredly have told me. So I rested satisfied and parted
    from you, and after that I never saw you nor any of the
    conspirators. These were my questions unto you. And thus clear I
    was from the knowledge of that Plot against the Parliament House,
    whereof, notwithstanding, I am accused and proclaimed to be a
    practiser with the principal conspirators. But I refer me to God
    and your conscience, who are able to clear me, and I challenge the
    conscience of any one that certainly expecteth death, and desireth
    to die in the fear of God and with hope of his salvation, to
    accuse me of it if he can. God, of His mercy, grant unto us all
    grace to see and do His will, and to live and die His servants,
    for they only are and shall be happy for ever.

    “Your companion in tribulation though not in the cause,


    _Postcript_—“I hope you will also witness with me that you have
    ever seen me much averted from such violent courses, and hopeful
    rather of help by favour than by force. And, indeed, if I had not
    now been satisfied by your assurance that there was nothing in
    hand, it should presently have appeared how much I had misliked
    any forcible attempts, the counsel of Christ and the commandment
    of our superiors requiring the contrary, and that in patience we
    should possess our souls.”

    _Addressed_—“To Sir Everard Digby, prisoner in the Tower.”

    _Endorsed in Cecil’s hand_—“Gerard the Priest to Sir Everard

From Father Bartoli(217) we take a letter written from Rome, twenty-five
years after the Powder Plot, addressed by Father Gerard to Dr. Smith,
Bishop of Chalcedon, and Vicar Apostolic of England. The translation from
Bartoli’s Italian version is a very old one; the date of the letter is
September 1, 1630.

    “My Lord,—Not long since I received information that a manuscript
    dissertation, with the title of _Brevis Inquisitio, &c._, had been
    circulated in your parts; in the course of which it is pretended
    that a certain person continues to glory, to the present day, that
    by working under ground in the mine of Mr. Catesby and other
    conspirators, by excavating and carrying out the soil with his own
    hands, he has often found his shirt wet through and dripping with
    sweat as copiously as if it had been dragged through a river; and
    that this person is no other than myself, according to the opinion
    expressed in the letter. I despised such an idle tale as
    undeserving of an answer, knowing it, as most others must know it,
    to be not only most false, but, moreover, most remote, from
    probability. I only begged of a good Priest, who was setting out
    for England, to make known to your lordship what I had heard
    concerning such a deed laid to my charge, so contrary to all truth
    and justice; and that I hoped you would not give credit to it, but
    rather on hearing it mentioned by any one, would show the
    falsehood as it is. But in the meantime, while the Priest is yet
    on his journey, I have learned from good authority that the book
    has been printed and published, curtailed indeed of that story,
    which is, however, circulated in manuscript through the hands of
    many, with every circumstance and embellishment; whence has arisen
    the general opinion that I am the person there spoken of, the
    testimony of a Priest being alleged, who says that he has heard me
    boast of it. Truly I cannot sufficiently express my astonishment
    on perceiving that there can be found a Catholic, and if a Priest
    so much the worse, who has so shameless a conscience as to dare
    assert what he must necessarily know to be false, and injurious to
    one who never did him any harm or injury whatever. This I can
    affirm of myself with respect to every Priest in England, to many
    of whom I have often afforded assistance, but, to my knowledge,
    have never offended one. Your lordship, moreover, must be aware
    how very improbable it is that I should boast of a crime so false,
    so horrible. Now, with all due reverence, I call God to witness
    that I had no more knowledge of the conspiracy than a new-born
    infant might have; that I never heard any one mention it; that I
    had not even a suspicion of the provision of gunpowder for the
    mine, excepting only when the Plot was detected, made public, and
    known to every one, and when the conspirators appeared openly in
    arms in the county of Warwick; then only did I hear of it for the
    first time, by a message brought to the place where I resided; and
    this place was so ill provided that of itself it proved I could
    have no knowledge of the conspiracy, either from the expressions
    of others or from my own suspicions; there being in that place
    neither men nor arms sufficient to defend us from the marauders,
    who on every occasion of similar commotions issue forth and unite
    in bodies for plunder. Neither did this happen for want of
    sufficient means to furnish and reinforce the house with men and
    arms, but solely because we had no suspicion of a commotion, much
    less any knowledge of a conspiracy. Besides this, the accomplices
    in the Plot were subjected to the most rigorous examination, and
    questioned concerning me; and although some of them under the
    torture named one or others of those who were privy to the
    conspiracy, nevertheless all constantly denied it of me. Sir
    Everard Digby, who of all the others, for many reasons, was most
    suspected of having possibly revealed the secret to me, protested
    in open court and declared that he had often been instigated to
    say I knew something of the Plot, but that he had always answered
    in the negative, alleging the reason why he had never dared to
    disclose it to me, because, he said, he feared lest I should
    dissuade him from it. Therefore the greater part of the Privy
    Councillors considered my innocence established, it being proved
    by the concurrent testimony of so many, and by a letter in which I
    defended and cleared myself from such a groundless suspicion. In
    that letter, besides the reasons therein produced in proof of my
    innocence, I protested before Heaven and earth that, so far from
    being engaged in the conspiracy, I was as ignorant of it as man
    could be. Being at that time in imminent danger of falling into
    the hands of the Privy Councillors, who with the most refined
    diligence sent in every direction in quest of me, I had thoughts
    of surrendering myself up to every torment imaginable, and what is
    more to be regarded, to the terrible and disgraceful charge of
    perjury, if having me in their power they could convict me, by
    legal proof, of being privy to the conspiracy. There was a time,
    when under Elizabeth they held me prisoner for something more than
    three years, during which period, many times and in as many ways
    as they chose, did they examine me, to discover in general if I
    had ever meddled in affairs of State. I challenged them to produce
    in proof a single character in my hand, a single word, or anything
    else sufficient to show it, and then to punish me when convicted
    with the most cruel death that could be inflicted. There never was
    brought forward the smallest trace or shadow of a proof. How much
    more improbable is it that I should consent to a Plot so inhuman,
    I who, from the natural disposition of my soul, independently of
    supernatural motives, hold in abhorrence everything that has the
    smallest appearance of cruelty. This I can affirm with truth, that
    from the time I first embraced the profession of life in which I
    am engaged, down to the present moment, I have never, by God’s
    mercy, desired the grievous harm, much less the death, of any man
    in the world, although he may have been my most inveterate enemy:
    how could I then have had any hand or part in the sudden,
    unexpected, and on that account tremendous death of so many
    personages of such high quality, for whom I have ever borne the
    greatest respect. A person was employed to scatter copies of my
    forementioned letter through various streets of London, and one in
    particular was delivered to the Earl of Northampton, and by him
    laid before the King, on whom my reasons so far prevailed to his
    satisfaction that he would have desisted from the rigorous search
    made after me, had not Cecil, for his own private ends, rendered
    him more violent than ever. For being persuaded that some of the
    conspirators had plotted against his life in particular, and
    knowing that most of them were my friends, he hoped if he could
    once lay hold of me, to find out from me how many and who were the
    conspirators. For this sole reason he never rested until he had
    again persuaded the King, as a thing evidently known to him and
    clearly demonstrated, that I was not only an accomplice but the
    ringleader in the Plot, and therefore to be the first named in the
    proclamation; which was so done. Perceiving from this that the
    persecution was not likely to abate, and that I might be
    discovered and arrested, I took the advice to withdraw myself for
    a time, and to ‘give place to wrath,’ and, after so many years of
    hard labour in England, with the Apostles ‘to come apart into a
    desert place and rest a little:’ nor was there any other principal
    motive of my leaving the kingdom. In fine, this is the simple
    naked truth; I was totally ignorant of the provision of gunpowder
    and of the mine; I was and I am as innocent of this and of every
    other conspiracy as your lordship or any other man living; and
    this I affirm and swear upon my soul, without any equivocation
    whatsoever; in such sort, that if the facts do not correspond
    truly to the meaning of the words, or if I had any information of
    the forementioned Plot before it was made public to the whole
    world, as I have before said, I own myself guilty of perjury
    before God and men; and as far as it is true that I had no
    knowledge of it, so far and no more do I ask mercy at the throne
    of God: and it is very probable that it will not be long before I
    must appear at the divine tribunal, considering my age and the
    present contagion in the neighbourhood; for if it should reach us
    it is hardly possible I can escape, on account of the assistance
    which it is my duty to render to this Community, whose souls are
    committed to my care.(218) Therefore I am induced to hope that
    your lordship will not consider me so careless and prodigal of my
    eternal salvation, after having spent so many years in no other
    employment than that of seeking to know and to accomplish the will
    of God, and of teaching the same to others, as to be now willing
    to burthen my conscience and risk the salvation of my soul by a
    protestation so solemn and spontaneous, if my conscience were not
    pure, my cause evident, and my words true in all sincerity. Now,
    as I doubt not that God, the Supreme Judge, Who sees and knows all
    things, will pass sentence on my cause according to its merits, so
    I hope that your lordship, now knowing me to be innocent, will not
    wish me to appear guilty, by permitting to stand against me
    without contradiction an accusation so false and of such enormous
    infamy. Since this accusation derives its greatest force from the
    authority of your lordship, who, it is publicly said, gives credit
    and support to it, I beseech you, by that love which you have for
    charity and justice, to oppose the falsity of the calumny by the
    truth of this my justification. With respect to the Priest,
    whoever he may be, by whose false allegation your lordship appears
    to have been deceived, I desire with all my heart he may meet with
    true repentance before he dies, so that we may all live together
    and love God in a blessed eternity.”

Next, we find, in Father Henry More’s _History of the English Province
S.J._,(219) a letter from Father Thomas Fitzherbert, Rector of the English
College at Rome, of which house Father Gerard was then Confessor. It is
not necessary for us to translate it from his Latin version, as it exists
in English amongst the Stonyhurst MSS.(220) It is dated some months later
than the foregoing letter of Father Gerard, and was sent by Mutius
Vitelleschi, General of the Society, to the Bishop of Chalcedon, by the
hands of Fathers Henry Floyd and Thomas Bapthorpe, who were at the same
time bearers of a second letter from Father Gerard to Bishop Smith,
extracts from which we subjoin, translated from Bartoli.(221)

    “Right Rev. and my honorable good Lord,—Having understood that one
    of our Society hath been of late traduced, _tacito nomine_, in a
    printed book as to have bragged that he had sweat in working in
    the Powder Plot, and that your lordship have named him, and as it
    seemeth, dost believe him to be Father John Gerard, I think myself
    obliged to represent to your lordship’s consideration some things
    concerning him, and that matter, as well in respect of the common
    bond of our religion and his great merits, as also for that he is
    at this present under my charge (albeit I acknowledge myself
    unworthy to have such a subject), and lastly for the knowledge I
    have had many years of his innocency in that point ever since that
    slanderous calumny was first raised by the heretics against him,
    at which time I myself and many other of his friends and kinsmen
    did very diligently and curiously inform ourselves of the truth
    thereof, and found that he was fully cleared of it even by the
    public and solemn testimony of the delinquents themselves, namely
    of Sir Everard Digby (with whom he was known to be most familiar
    and confident), who publicly protested at his arraignment that he
    did never acquaint him with their design, being assured that he
    would not like of it, but dissuade him from it; and of this I can
    show good testimony by letters from London written hither at the
    same time, bearing date the 29th of January, in the year 1606.
    Therefore, to the end that your lordship may the better believe
    it, I have thought good to shew the same to some very credible
    persons, who are shortly to depart from hence, and do mean to
    present themselves to your lordship, of whom you may (if it please
    you) understand the truth of it. Besides that for your better
    satisfaction, I have also by our right reverend Father General’s
    express order and commission commanded him in their presence upon
    obedience (which commandment we hold by our Rule and Institute to
    bind, under pain of mortal sin) to declare the truth whether he
    had any knowledge of that Powder Plot or no, and he hath in their
    presence protested upon his salvation, that he had never any
    knowledge of it, either by Sir Everard Digby, or any other, until
    it was discovered, and that he came to know it by common fame;
    besides that alleged many pregnant proofs of his innocency therein
    which I omit to write, because he himself doth represent them to
    your lordship by a letter of his own; and of this also the
    witnesses aforesaid may inform your lordship if you be not
    otherways satisfied. In the meantime, I have only thought it my
    part to give this my testimony of his solemn protestation and
    oath, and withal to send to your lordship the enclosed copies of
    two clauses of letters from England and Flanders touching this
    matter, not doubting but that your lordship’s charity will move
    you to admit the same as sufficient to clear him of that calumny,
    seeing there was never any proof produced against him, nor yet any
    ground of that slander but the malicious conceit and suspicion of
    heretics, by reason of his acquaintance with some of the
    delinquents, in which case a solemn protestation and oath, as he
    hath freely and voluntarily made, may suffice both in conscience
    and law for a canonical purgation to clear him from all suspicion
    as well of that fact as of all collusion or double dealing in this
    his protestation, especially seeing he hath always been not only
    _integerrimæ famæ_, but also of singular estimation in England for
    his many years’ most zealous and fruitful labours there, and his
    constant suffering of imprisonment and torments for the Catholic
    faith. Besides that, he hath been ever since a worthily esteemed
    and principal member of our Society, and given sufficient proof of
    a most religious and sincere conscience, to the edification of us
    all. This being considered, I cannot but hope that your lordship
    will rest satisfied of his innocency in this point, and out of
    your charity procure also to satisfy others who may have, by any
    speech of your lordship’s, conceived worse of him than he hath
    deserved; for so your lordship shall provide as well for the
    reparation of his fame as for the discharge of your own
    conscience, being bound both by justice and charity to restitution
    in this case, as I make no doubt but that your lordship would
    judge if it were another man’s case; yea, and exact also of others
    if the like wrong had been done either to yourself, or to any
    kinsman, dear friend, or subject of yours, all which he is to me;
    and, therefore, I am the bolder, I will not say to expect this at
    your lordship’s hands (because it doth not become me), but humbly
    to crave it of you as a thing which I shall take for a favour, no
    less to myself than to the Society; and so this to no other end, I
    humbly take my leave, wishing to your lordship all true felicity,
    this 15th of March, 1631.

    “Your lordship’s humble servant,


    “Ex literis P. Ægidii Schondonchii Seminarii Audomarensis Rectoris
    1 Martii 1606:

    “ ‘Dum has scribo accepi literas recentissime datas a viro claro
    quibus significavit Dominum Everardum Digbæum, dum a Judicibus
    pronuntiaretur in eum mortis sententia, coram eisdem protestatum
    esse nullum penitus in Anglia Jesuitam hujus rei fuisse conscium,
    Nam, inquit, familiaris Patri Gerardo si quis alius, neque unquam
    ausus fui indicare tantillum, veritus ne conaretur frangere
    nostros conatus. Itaque sancte asseruit se id solo ex puro
    Catholicæ ac Romanæ Ecclesiæ zelo neque ullo alio humano respectu

    “Out of the letter of Father Michael Walpole written to Father
    Persons, the 29th of January, 1606:

    “ ‘Touching Gerard’s letter which I have seen, I can only say this
    much, that it seemeth to me to be so effectual, as nothing can be
    more, so that I am fully persuaded that the King’s Majestie
    himself and the whole Council remain satisfied of him [in] their
    own hearts, and his Majesty is reported for certain to have
    declared so much in words upon the sight of his letter.’

    “In the end, after his name, he writeth as followeth:

    “ ‘This letter is confirmed since by Sir Everard Digby’s speech at
    his arraignment, in which he cleared all Jesuits and Priests (to
    his knowledge) upon his salvation. And in particular, that though
    he was particularly acquainted with Gerard, yet he never durst
    mention this matter, being fully assured that he would be wholly
    against it, to which my Lord of Salisbury replied, affirming the
    contrary, and that he knew him to be guilty.’ ”

The first extract of the letter enclosed from Father Gerard runs thus:

    “It is known to all how those of any blood have loved and served
    King James. My father knew it to his cost, for he was twice
    imprisoned for attempting to set free the glorious Queen Mary, the
    King’s mother, and to secure the succession to her children: which
    intent of his own was so clear to the Ministers of State, that
    besides imprisonment, to purchase his life of them cost him some
    thousands of crowns, especially the first time when there were but
    three accused and he one of them, and of the other two, one lost
    his life. Of all which King James was mindful when he came from
    Scotland to be crowned King of England, and my brother at York
    offered him his service and that of all his house. ‘I am
    particularly bound,’ said he, ‘to love your blood, on account of
    the persecution that you have borne for me, and of that his love
    he there gave him the first pledge by making him a Knight.’ ”(222)

The remaining extract concludes our series of exculpatory letters:

    “I send your lordship a copy of the three letters that I wrote to
    three Councillors of State, that you may see in them how I trusted
    to my innocence, when I offered to put it to the proof in the two
    ways which I there proposed to them. Further than this, though the
    conspirators had been put to death, and I saw that the course
    proposed by me to the Councillors was not accepted, while the
    matter was fresh, and I yet in London, I requested of our Fathers
    that I might present myself in person to the Council of State,
    which I would have done had they but given me leave; and if the
    Council would have proceeded against me, not on the score of
    religion, but for the conspiracy only, which alone was in
    question, and for which, if they had found me guilty of it, they
    might have done to me their very worst. This request I can swear
    that I made and renewed several times to our Fathers, and there
    are some yet alive who can bear witness to it; but it did not seem
    good to them to consent to it.”

The matter does not seem to have rested here, unless there is some mistake
in a date, for Dr. Lingard(223) quotes from a MS. copy, dated April 17,
1631, an affidavit made by Anthony Smith, a Secular Priest, before the
Bishop of Chalcedon, “that in his hearing, Gerard had said in the
Novitiate at Liége, that he worked in the mine with the lay conspirators
till his clothes were as wet with perspiration as if they had been dipped
in water; and that the general condemnation of the Plot was chiefly owing
to its bad success, as had often happened to the attempts of unfortunate
generals in war.” It would seem as if this were a repetition of the
original accusation, in answer to which the letters given above were
written. Of the attack on Father Gerard, Dr. Lingard says, “For my own
part, upon having read what he wrote in his own vindication, I cannot
doubt his innocence, and suspect that Smith unintentionally attributed to
him what he had heard him say of some other person.”(224)


It remains for us only to give an account of the manuscripts that have
been used as well in the Narrative of the Powder Plot as in the
Autobiography of its author.

Father Christopher Grene, who was English Penitentiary at St. Peter’s,
died in Rome in 1697.(225) This Father was a most diligent collector of
all the documents that related to the history of the persecutions of
Catholics in England.(226) He copied volumes of such documents, several of
which are still extant. In one which is preserved at Stonyhurst, entitled
by him, _Miscellanea de Martyribus et Persecutione in Anglia signanda
lit._ M. ... _incept. anno 1690_, he informs us that there were various
books called _Collectanea_ in the Archives of the English College at Rome,
distinguished by the letters of the alphabet, of the contents of which he
gives us an account. At folio 51 we have: “Ex libro Collectaneorum in
folio signato lita _C_ in Archo Colli Angl. hoc die 24 Jan. 1689. A
relation of ye Gunpowder Treason and of Father Garnett’s araignmt and
martyrdome, &c., written by Father John Gerard: ’tis ye the original
written soon after ye sayd martyrdome. It contains 85 sheetes of paper,
and is an excellent work, and should be printed.” After a short analysis
of the book, the pages quoted agreeing with the Stonyhurst MS. of the
Narrative, we have, “A p. 176 in eod. libro Collectan. _C_ una relatione
del P. Filippo Bemondo(227) della sua Missione in Inghilta,” &c. The last
page of the Stonyhurst MS., bearing the endorsement, “A Relation of ye
Gunpowder Treason, ye execution, &c. Also of F. Garnett’s arrayment,” is
numbered 176. The first page bears in Father Grene’s handwriting the
inscription, “Of the Gunpowder Treason, written by F. John Gerard, _alias_
Tomson, it is the originall.” We are thus enabled to recognize our
manuscript as the commencement of Father Grene’s volume _C_. The
subsequent history of the MS. is related in the two following letters,
which Dr. Oliver appended to the copy that he made of the Narrative. It is
only necessary to add that the Rev. Marmaduke Stone, to whom the second
letter is addressed, transferred the Academy of Liége (as it was called
after the suppression of the Society), of which he was made President in
1790, to Stonyhurst, in 1794. In 1803 he was appointed Provincial in
England by the General of the Society in Russia. In all probability,
therefore, the MS. was given by Father Thorpe to Father Stone, at Liége,
and by him was brought to Stonyhurst, where it now is.


The following extract is taken from a letter addressed by the Rev. John
Thorpe from Rome, August 12, 1789, to Henry, eighth Lord Arundell.

    “The collection of ancient papers at the English College here
    consisted of two sorts. The first belonged to the Stuart family,
    and was deposited there only after the old Chevalier retired into
    Italy. Neither Rector nor any other person in the College knew
    anything of the contents, which were locked up in a strong
    chamber, of which the keys were kept in the Palace of SS.
    Apostoli, and everything was carefully removed to that palace
    several months before the oppression of the Society. The other
    collection related to ecclesiastical matters, from the time of
    Henry VIII. to the beginning of the present century; it had been a
    repository of all papers and letters of many indefatigable men in
    preserving a faithful remembrance of whatever was interesting to
    religion during that period. But different removals of these
    papers, which were very many, had thrown them into disorder.
    Father Booth can tell in what state he left them. I have before
    mentioned to your lordship a MS. relating to our British saints,
    written in the manner of a calendar, in which many curious
    passages of history frequently occurred. I do not think it had
    been seen either by Father Alford (who wrote the annals of our
    British Church up to the year 1180) or by Mr. Wilson, who digested
    the English Martyrology that was daily read at St. Omer. Other
    MSS. of this kind were also in the same place, while I lived in
    the College. Afterwards, when the storm began to blacken over us,
    divers attempts were made to put these papers into a place of
    security; but every means miscarried. They never belonged to the
    College, and among what are the College archives many very
    interesting papers remain belonging to the Jesuits. The papers
    above mentioned were finally destroyed by one accident or another,
    to prevent further fears of molestation in those days of arbitrary
    persecution. If anciently there had been any valuable MSS. in the
    old hospital, they were supposed to have been removed when it was
    converted to the purpose of a College, because scarce anything
    more than accounts of pilgrims, house expenses, and like articles,
    remained under that date, and even these in no regular order. Thus
    I apprehend that no material intelligence of remote historical
    facts can be gathered from hence.

    “I will now venture to tell your lordship of a curious MS. that a
    very unforeseen accident brought into my hands, at a considerable
    distance of time from the oppression of the Society, and from the
    total removal of the Jesuits from the College. It is a long
    account of the Gunpowder Plot, from beginning to the end in the
    original handwriting of Father John Gerard. It is a folio volume
    of about 300 pages, composed with an extensive knowledge of the
    persons concerned, and of whom several curious anecdotes are
    recounted. Father John Gerard suffered much on occasion of that
    Plot, wherein the prosecutors tried every means to involve him in
    one manner or another. During the plundering and ransacking of the
    Houses at the oppression, such an account was reported to have
    been found in the Novitiate by the notorious Alfani, and it
    immediately was sought for by our countrymen, and instructions
    were said to have come from our Court at London for obtaining it
    at any price. But on further examination that account contained no
    more than relations of the religious lives and edifying death of
    those Jesuits who suffered on that occasion. I have never heard
    what became of those papers, but suppose them to have been
    destroyed, with very many others of no less edification. I must
    find some good place wherein to deposit the relation above
    mentioned; it is very curious, though it contains no new
    intelligence of the fact described in it. It is written with a
    singular candour that distinguishes the good religious man, and
    with a politeness that marks the gentleman. Your lordship may
    signify all this with my best respects to Mr. More” [the last
    English Provincial before the suppression], “desiring his counsel
    on the manner of disposing of this valuable MS., every line of
    which may be esteemed a relic for the eminent sanctity of the

Lastly, we have an extract from a letter written from Rome, March 26,
1791, by the Rev. John Thorpe to the Rev. Marmaduke Stone, President of
the English Academy at Liége.

    “Among other things with me is one very singular piece, which I
    look upon as a kind of property of your House, at least in the
    light wherein it stood twenty years ago. It is an original folio
    MS. all in the handwriting of venerable Father John Gerard,
    wherein he gives an ample relation of the Gunpowder Plot; and it
    is, I believe, the only relation extant that was written by a
    person accused of being in any manner acquainted of it. This
    article demands your secrecy, and it is earnestly recommended to
    it; but your counsel is also asked, where and how this rare
    _depositum_ should be placed. Religion has nothing to fear from
    it. A summary of its contents was sent some time ago to England,
    and was in the hands of Lord Arundell. At the time of the
    Society’s suppression here, a commission came hither from England
    (supposed to be given by the Court) for purchasing at any rate, if
    any such relation should be found among the Jesuits’ archives. A
    long Latin account of Father Garnett’s sufferings was triumphantly
    seized among the papers of the Novitiate, and occasioned the
    vulgar mistake of what was sought being really found; but the
    contents, when understood, notoriously demonstrated the contrary.
    This is written in English, in that easy devout style for which
    everything of the writer is remarkable. It is a valuable relic.”

Though we cannot exactly determine the date of the MS., we can approximate
to it pretty nearly. First of all, it is clear from the mention of Sir
Thomas Gerard’s knighthood at p. 27, that the book was written before the
creation of baronets in 1611. At page 282, Father Southwell’s martyrdom is
said to have happened eleven years before. As he died in 1595, and Father
Gerard escaped from England in May, 1606, the Narrative would seem to have
been written in the latter part of that year. We have, besides, Father
Grene’s statement that it was “written soon after the martyrdom” of Father
Garnett, and Father Gerard’s own assertion in his Autobiography: “I
myself, when I came from England to Rome, was ordered to put in writing an
account of the whole affair, and did so as well as I could.”

The original MS. of the Autobiography no longer exists. Father Grene had
seen it; for an analysis of it, _transcript. ex autographo ipsius_, in his
hand is in the second volume of the MSS. kept at Stonyhurst under the name
of _Collectanea_, which we have quoted under the letter _P_. The MS. we
have used,(228) which belongs to Stonyhurst, bears the title, “Narratio
Patris Joannis Gerardi de rebus a se in Anglia gestis.” It purports to be
a copy from an original at the Novitiate of St. Andrew, in the hands of
Father Francis Sacchini, the historian. We have no means of knowing
whether it is the same copy as that which existed, according to Father
Grene,(229) in the volume of the _Collectanea_ called _D_, in the English
College at Rome. He mentions it under the title of “Narratio P. Joannis
Gerardi de tota vita sua. Copia.” The Autobiography was composed in 1609,
as is plain from the mention of Robert Drury’s martyrdom, which our author
says happened two years before the time when he was writing. This good
Priest suffered at Tyburn, Feb. 26, 1607.

We now leave Father John Gerard in the hands of the reader, parting from
him with sincere respect, and sharing good old Father Grene’s affection
for him, who in some notes, written in preparation, apparently, for an
English Menology, has set down as applicable to Father Gerard the phrases,
“Non ipse martyrio, sed ipsi martyrium defuit,” and, again, the Church’s
antiphon for St. Martin, “O beatum virum, qui totis visceribus diligebat
Christum! O sanctissima anima, quam etsi gladius persecutoris non
abstulit, palmam tamen martyrii non amisit.”

Additional Notes.

P. x. and p. 26.—Elizabeth, the mother of John Gerard, was the eldest of
the three daughters and co-heiresses of Sir John Port, and at her father’s
death, June 6, 1557, Etwall became the property of Sir Thomas Gerard. This
is the “dwelling-house within two miles of” Tutbury “Castle where” Mary
Queen of Scots “was kept,” where Father Gerard lived when a child for
three years. Sir John’s second daughter, Dorothy, took Dale Abbey in
Derbyshire to her husband, George Hastings fourth Earl of Huntingdon; and
Margaret, the third daughter, by her marriage conveyed Cubley in the same
county to Sir Thomas Stanhope, grandfather of the first Earl of

Father Gerard had three sisters, Mary, wife of John Jenison; Dorothy, wife
of Edmund Peckham; and Martha, wife of Michael Jenison. In the British
Museum (Harl. MSS. 6998, f. 197) there is a report, dated June 16, 1595,
from Edward Cokayne, evidently a Derbyshire magistrate, of assistance
given by him to William Newall, “one of the messengers of Her Majesty’s
Chamber,” in searches in that county. The following paragraph relates to
one of Father Gerard’s sisters: “The first house that we searched
according to his direction was the house of one Mr. Jenison, that married
one of my Lady Gerard’s daughters, she being a great recusant, and not her
husband: howsoever, it is reported that there is great resort of
strangers, but what they be, we cannot learn, neither at this time did we
find any there, but pictures in the chambers according to their
profession. Only one West that was a messenger between the seminaries was
fled six weeks before we came, and whither he is gone, as yet we cannot

P. xii.—It is not easy to reconcile the dates at this period of Father
Gerard’s life. He could not have been nineteen when he went to France, for
he lived at Rhemes three years, one at Clermont, and about a year in
England before he was committed to the Marshalsea; he was a full year in
that prison, and after his discharge his recognizances were renewed for
perhaps another year before leaving England for Rome, and he was in the
College about seventeen months before he was ordained Priest towards the
close of 1587, when he yet wanted several months of the canonical age for
the Priesthood, that is, twenty-five. From this we should gather that when
he first went to Rhemes he was under seventeen, which would have been in

On the other hand, it is equally difficult to understand the date given in
the Douay Diary, August or September, 1577, which would make him fourteen.
Perhaps this was a visit to the continent before going to Oxford, which he
says was when he was fifteen, spending a year there and two years
afterwards with Mr. Leutner as a tutor. The Douay Diary has the following
entry. “1577. Aug. 29 die, advenerunt ex Anglia Mr. Paschallus vir
nobilis, et quidam Aldrigius mercator: eodem etiam tempore adventavit Mr.
Gerrardus D. Tho. Gerrardi Equitis Aurati filius.”

P. xv.—The following is the entry respecting Father John Gerard in the
_Liber Annalium_ of the English College at Rome: “Joannes Gerardus Anglus
dioecesis Lichfeldiensis annum agens 23m, aptus ad theologiam positivam,
receptus fuit in hoc Anglorum Collegium inter alumnos SSmi. D. N. Sixti V.
a P. Gulielmo Holto hujus Collegii Rectore de mandato Illmi. Hippoliti
Cardis. Aldobrandini Viceprotectoris sub die 5o Aprilis Anno Dni. 1587,
cum fuisset antea Convictor per septem menses.

“Anno Dni. 1587 mense ... accepit ordines minores, et mense Augusto
Subdiaconatum, et Diaconatum 9o mense die 16.”

His name appears in the Pilgrims’ Register of the English College, as
having been there received Aug. 5, 1586 (Stonyhurst MSS., Father Grene’s
_Miscell. de Coll. Angl._, p. 19).

P. xvi.—The Douay Diary gives us the dates of Father Gerard’s arrival at
Rhemes and his departure thence, together with the names of his
fellow-travellers. It is clear that if they left Rhemes on the 26th of
September, and remained at Eu until they could receive an answer from
Rome, they could not possibly have landed in England so soon as the end of
October. “1588. Sept. 21 die, Roma ad nos venerunt D. Rodolphus Buckland,
D. Joannes Gerard filius D. Thomæ Gerard Equitis Aurati, D. Arthurus
Stratford” [whom Gifford, the spy, called Shefford], “D. Edouardus Oldcorn
presbyteri. Die 26 Angliam ituri discesserunt D. Jo. Gerard, D. Rodolphus
Buckland, D. Arthurus Stratford et D. Edouardus Oldcorn.”

P. xxx.—In the Public Record Office (_Domestic, Eliz._, vol. 244, n. 7)
are two forms of indictment of Richard Jackson, Priest, for saying Mass,
and of various members of the Wiseman family for being present at Mass, on
the 25th August and the 8th September, 34 Eliz., 1592. The endorsement is

P. xxxviii.—Line 22, for “Worcestershire” read “Warwickshire.” See p. 282.

Pp. xlv., lxx.—In his examination Brother Emerson frankly acknowledged
himself to be a Jesuit Lay-brother, and “sometime Campion’s boy.” A copy
of his examination is in the British Museum (Harleian MSS., 6998, f. 65).
It is dated April 17, 1593, and bears the marginal note “Ley Jesuite.”
“Ralph Emerson of the bishopric of Durham, scholar, of the age of
forty-two years or thereabouts, examined before Sir Owen Hopton, Knight,
Mr. Doctor Goodman, Dean of Westminster, Mr. Dale, Mr. Fuller, and Mr.
Young, who refuseth to be sworn, but saith first that he hath [been] in
prison these nine years—namely, three years and a quarter in the Counter
in the Poultry, and the rest of that time hath been in the Clink—committed
by Mr. Young for bringing over of books, called my Lord of Leicester’s
books as he saith, and hath been examined before Sir Francis Walsingham,
and before Mr. Young, and before others divers times, and was never
indicted to his knowledge.

“Item, he confesseth that he is a Lay Jesuit, and took that degree at Rome
fourteen years since, and was sometime Campion’s boy, and sayeth when he
took that Order he did vow chastity, poverty, and obedience to the
Superior of their House, and if he sent him to the Turk he must go.

“Item, being urged to take the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, refuseth
the same, and saith he may not take any oath.

“Item, he saith he hath neither lands, goods, nor other living, but will
not set down by whom he is maintained and now relieved.

“Item, he refuseth to be reformed, and to come to Church, affirming that
he will live and die in his faith.

“Item, being demanded whether if the Pope should send an army into this
realm, to establish that which he calleth the Catholic Romish religion, he
would in the like case fight for the Queen’s Majesty on her side against
the said army, or on the army’s side, saith that he will never fight
against Her Majesty, nor against the religion which he professeth.

“Concordat cum originali.—H. Fermor.”

P. xlvi.—Father Tesimond, in the Italian narrative already mentioned (p.
ccxlviii) as forming part of Father Grene’s volume _C_ (fol. 185), says
that, when he came to England in 1597, Father Garnett was living in a
house called Morecroftes, at Uxbridge, twelve or thirteen miles from
London. There may have been a friendly house at Brentford, for this was
their place of meeting on one occasion when they had suddenly to leave
Uxbridge on account of a search.

P. liii.—Dominam ipsam domus in suo cubiculo cum puellis suis clauserunt
(MS.) More probably “with her daughters” than “with her maids.” William
and Jane Wiseman had three children, Jane, Dorothea, and Winifred. John
who married Mary, daughter of Sir Rowland Rydgeley, had two daughters,
Lucy and Elizabeth, and an only son, Aurelius Piercy Wiseman, who was
killed in a duel in London in 1680. The following inscription on his
grave, in Wimbish Church, is given by Wright (_History of Essex_, vol.
ii., p. 134): “Here rest the sad remains of Aurelius Piercy Wiseman, of
Broad Oak, in this parish, Esq., the last of the name of that place, and
head and chief of that right worshipful and ancient family, who was
unfortunately killed in the flower of his age, December 11, 1680.”

P. lvii.—From the _Life of Anne Countess of Arundel_, published in 1857 by
the Duke of Norfolk (p. 308), we learn that, during the Earl’s
imprisonment, “she hired a little house at Acton, Middlesex, six miles
distant from London.”

P. cxl.—Father Tesimond relates a search some two years earlier than this,
in which Father Joseph Pollen escaped capture (Stonyhurst MSS., C, fol.

Pp. clxvi. and cciii.—Sir Oliver Manners wrote the following letter in
Italian to Father Aquaviva, General of the Society, from Turin, April 17,
1612, shortly before his eldest brother’s death (Stonyhurst MSS., _Angl.
A._, vol. vi.). “I cannot tell you what comfort I received from the
letters of your Paternity. The troubles I then had will tell it better
than I can, for, when I was seriously ill, my brother the Earl sent to say
that I was to expect no more help from England, as the King has entrusted
my houses and estates to him, and would not permit him to send me a penny.
Precisely at that moment the letters of your Paternity reached me, and
seemed to me sent by the Lord to make me touch with my hand how His Divine
Majesty never abandons those who hope in Him and suffer for His love; and
as at that time I had a great desire of suffering more and more, if so it
should please our Lord, so my strength returned to me far more rapidly
than I could have expected, and thus I assured myself that it was the
Divine will that I should reach my intended goal, there to do something
for His service, _sive per vitam sive per mortem_. And so I undertook my
journey, and have already reached Turin. To-morrow I start for Lyons. In
England I cannot expect anything better than that which has befallen the
Baron” [Vaux], “my companion, who is in prison by the King’s express
orders, and expects to lose all he has; for his mother is already
condemned to the punishment called _præmunire_, that is, the loss of all
temporalities and perpetual imprisonment, for refusing the oath of
allegiance, as they call it. The grace I ask from God is so to bear myself
that I may always show myself grateful for the many favours of your
Paternity, as becomes a disciple of the Society, and for this intention
with all humility I asked to be armed with your blessing, and I beg to be
partaker of the Holy Sacrifices and prayers of your Paternity and of all
the Society. In conclusion with all reverence I kiss your hand.”

P. clxxxiv.—The following is the confidential report made to the General
respecting Father Gerard, previous to his profession. By a singular chance
the paper in which it is contained is the only one of similar reports that
has come to our hands. It is amongst the Stonyhurst MSS. (_Angl. A._, vol.
vi.). Father Gerard’s name is the ninth on the paper. We translate from
the Latin: “Father John Gerard, English, forty-five years old, nineteen in
the Society, twenty-one on the English mission.” [The writer was not aware
of the true date of his admission into the Society.] “He studied at Rome
in the English College controversy and cases of conscience for four
years.” [These four years must include his three years residence at
Rhemes.] “He was admitted in England, where he made his noviceship. He is
a very spiritual man; he is endowed with an admirable power of gaining
souls; he has also more than middling talent for preaching; and he is held
to be not unfit for government. If these talents can supply the defect of
learning, taking also into account all that he has suffered for the
Catholic faith, then he is proposed for the four vows. It would be a
consolation both to himself and to the many Catholics of note, by whom he
is held in high esteem. But if not, then he is proposed for profession of
the three vows.”

P. cxc.—Among the papers of Sir Edward Phelips, preserved at Montacute
House, Somersetshire, of which a copy has been deposited in the Public
Record Office by the Historical MSS. Commission, we have the examinations
of two of Mrs. Vaux’ servants, one of whom is the “Ric. the butler” of
whom Lady Markham speaks.

“The examination of Francis Swetnam, servant to Mrs. Elizabeth Vaux, and
served her in the bakehouse, taken the third of December, 1605. Saith that
he hath been a recusant these two years, but will now come to the Church,
for that he had rather adventure his own soul than loosen his five
children, but cannot give any reason why he should adventure his soul by
coming to Church. Saith that he was taken in his mistress’ house and
brought up with her to London, but denieth that he was ever at any Mass,
or that he knoweth any Priest, and cannot deliver any other material thing
to be set down. The mark of Francis Swetnam, Jul. Cæsar, Rog.r Wilbraham,
E. Phelipps, Jo. Croke, George More, Walter Cope, Fr. Bacon, John
Doddridge” (f. 25).

“The examination of Richard Richardson, butler to Mrs. Vaux. He saith he
hath served his mistress about six years, and hath not come to Church
since he was eleven year old. Saith that since Midsummer last Catesby was
at Harwardds [Harrowden] only one time, which was about St. Luke’s Day;
and Sir Everard Digby was there only twice, the former time about the 6th
of August and the later time about St. Luke’s Day; and that Francis
Tresham was not there this twelvemonth; Mr. Rookwood these three years;
and that Winter, Grant, Percy, Morgan, were never there during his
service. And for matter of faith or revealing of Priests or Masses, he
desireth to be spared, because it concerneth his soul. Richard Richardson,
Jul. Cæsar, Rog.r Wilbraham, Jo. Croke, John Doddridge, Walter Cope,
George More, Fr. Bacon.” _Endorsed_—“6° December, 1605” (f. 32).

These papers (f. 58 et seq.) likewise contain Serjeant Phelips’ Brief for
the prosecution of Sir John Yorke for complicity with the Powder Plot,
about 1612. The first three of “five general heads” of accusation are: “1.
That Gerard was received by Sir John Yorke both before and after the
Powder Treason. 2. That secret passages and places were made for Gerard at
Golthwaite. 3. That a private diet was provided for him.” A few specimens
of the evidence will show that, whoever it was who frequented Sir John
Yorke’s house, at all events it was not Father Gerard, who never set foot
in England after May, 1606. Francis Brown: “He hath seen Gerard the Jesuit
at Sir John Yorke’s house called Golthwaite both before and after the
Powder Treason. He hath seen Gerard the Jesuit within this seven years at
least twenty times. The last time was at Audebroughe in Christmas last
[1610], when Gerard lay secret in the house all the Christmas. And once he
went up into the chamber where Gerard was sitting by the fire. And resteth
assured that Sir John Yorke knows where Gerard is. That there was no half
year passed since the Powder Treason but he saw him at one of Sir John
Yorke’s houses, and mentioneth four particular times.” The marginal note
is, “The servants to Sir John Yorke all deny the conveying of Gerard or
the knowledge of him, whereof Johnson was put to torture and denied it.”
William Browne the elder “names the place where he met him in North Wales,
soon after the Powder Treason and before the Proclamation.” William Browne
the younger: “On Martinmas Day was two years, in a Close called Burnings,
near Sir John Yorke’s house, near a ford, he met Johnson on foot, and a
man like to the person described by the Proclamation to be Gerard on a
mare of Sir John Yorke’s called White Friar.” Robert Joye: “As he was
working in the hall at Golthwaite in the summer before the Powder Treason,
about the later Lady Day in harvest, Marmaduke Lupton, the steward to Sir
John Yorke, came to him and told him it was my lady’s pleasure he should
remove out of the hall and work in the buttery. Whereupon he removed into
the buttery, and Lupton put the door to. Whereat he marvelling pulled open
the door a little, and saw Lupton bring in a reasonable broad man. And the
Lady Yorke came out of the parlour and met him in the entry that goeth to
the kitchen, and up the stairs to the garret she said, ’Welcome, Mr.
Gerard,’ which this examinate perfectly heard, for there was but an inch
board between. Mr. Gerard was carried up to the garret chamber, and
remained there a month, not coming openly down. Heard Lupton, Grange, and
Almond many times severally ask the cook secretly whether Mr. Gerard’s
meat were ready.” Sampson Baines: “The Lady Yorke did use to appoint what
meat he should dress for dinner, and what for the chamber, which was
commonly two dishes and no more.” The margin here has, Margaret Almond:
“She carried no meat at any time to any strangers, saving such as were her
master’s and lady’s friends. She made shift to carry up meat, though she
go with a crutch and have but one leg.”

P. cxciii.—From the following letter it appears plain that the names of
the Ambassadors are wrongly given. And a witness named Parsons, examined
Dec. 12, 1605, says that a “Priest named Tempest went over with the
Spanish Ambassador about Bartholomew-tide last” (Montacute Papers, f. 46).
So the Conde de Villa Mediana left England in the latter part of August,

    Father Baldwin from Brussels to Father Persons at Rome, May 20,
    1606. “Since my last, five days ago, arrived at —5 (St. Omers),
    469 (Father Gerard), where also is one” [Richard Fulwood] “whom
    456 (H. Garnett) was wont to use in all his chief business of
    passage, receiving and retaining of all things. I take it he be
    229 (Jesuit) also. They are yet 627 (secret), and so it is
    requisite for a time, especially in that the 194 225 (Marquis
    Ambassador) brought them, and by his dexterous and courteous
    manner had great care of them. The Marquis of St. Germain came
    hither two days ago, and both he and D. Blasco de Arragon came as
    well informed of our English matters as I could wish. They have
    made relation accordingly to the Nuncio, and this morning to me,
    who have been with them a long while. They praise the courage and
    constancy of Catholics marvellously, and have an apprehension of
    the daily increase of them, as also that the better sort in
    England are inclined Catholicly and such in profession. They speak
    much of the zeal of the Lady of Shrewsbury and of the indignation
    of the King, who, hearing of the manner of Father Ouldcorne’s
    death and requesting all Catholics to pray for him and say _De
    profundis_, there were found so many to say that aloud, as they
    were esteemed a great part of the number, and so many by signs and
    voices to have given show of Catholic profession, as all were
    amazed. Thus they report; and also that Father Garnett was to be
    executed the day which they came away, in Paul’s Churchyard,
    although another writing from St. Omers says that it was deferred
    the day following, for that the day first appointed was May Day,
    and Father Garnett, being advertised of his death, should answer,
    ‘What then, will you make a May-game of me?’ Howsoever, it is held
    for certain that he is dead, and that Marquis told the Nuncio that
    therefore he departed the sooner, as unwilling to be present at
    such a tragedy.... I think Father Gerard may live in these
    countries after that Mr. Owen is delivered (of whom the Archduke
    mindeth to have great care), yet he who is said to have had
    correspondence with him, one Philips the decipherer, is now
    committed to the Tower. And it were very necessary one of ours
    remain in Paris, for which place Father Keynes might serve for a
    time, at least in that he is not a man noted, and hath the French
    tongue, as having lived there. Father Schondonch is of my opinion,
    and Father Gerard will do well in his place after some month or
    two, if things alter not much, for he can hardly be in any other
    place in regard of his indisposition, if it be as I have heard. I
    shall soon know more thereof. Father Lee were good in England in
    my opinion, for the consolation of many of ours, and Father
    Gerard’s friends, all which I remit to your consideration.”

    The same to the same, July 3, 1606. “I have not as yet received
    from England from any of our Fathers; only John Powell, the
    interpreter of the Spanish Ambassador, relateth what passed at the
    execution of Father Garnett, upon the 13th May Stylo Novo and the
    3rd Stylo Vetere. He hath given exceeding satisfaction to all
    sorts, and much confounded our enemies of the one sort and other.
    He was drawn according to the usual manner to Paul’s Churchyard
    upon a hurdle and straw; his arms were not bound neither when he
    was executed. Such concourse of people as hath not been seen....
    The Spanish Ambassador would not remain in London that day; he
    hath got his shirt, and some of his blood is sent to Spain, which
    I have seen here, also his apparel is gotten, as I hear. Here now
    is Richard Fulwood, who telleth me that Father Gerard is very sick
    at St. Omers; that said you would have him come to Rome. I fear me
    that journey will kill him.”

Father Gerard quickly rallied from his sickness, for in less than a
fortnight after this he wrote from Brussels to Father Persons, under the
pseudonym of Fr. Harrison. The letter is so characteristic of the man
that, though long, we give it in full, from the original at Stonyhurst
(_Angl. A._, vol. vi).

    “July 15, 1606.

    “Jesus. Maria.

    “Pax C.ti.

    “Most dear and respected Father,

    “I have received your letters of the —— last, wherein you show
    your fatherly care and undeserved love unto me, as were sufficient
    to bind unto you any grateful heart, although he were not tied
    with former obligations. But I am so much and so many ways bound
    unto you before by favours of the highest kind, that these do only
    tie me unto you with new knots, though I was before so wholly
    yours and so firmly tied that sincerely I had rather not to be
    than be untied. I beseech you, sir, that you will be pleased to
    present my humble duty unto Father General, in whose favour though
    your good word do procure me that place which I can no ways
    deserve, yet this I hope you may promise for me, that I will now
    begin to do my best endeavours, that I may be framed in all things
    as is fit for a child of that most holy family whereof he hath the
    care, that both by my voice and hands he may acknowledge me for
    his child, the better to deserve the blessing of so great and good
    a father. I would now acknowledge my duty by letters, but that I
    am ashamed of my Latin, and loath to trouble with so rude lines,
    unless there were further occasion or that you thought it needful.
    But I hope to come and do my duty in person so soon that it will
    not be necessary to signify it by letters. I will stay as you
    appoint until I have your letters for my coming forward, and in
    the meantime will not be solicitous one whit, having no desire in
    the world whereof I would not most willingly leave the whole care
    unto you, and indeed desiring to have no other desires but yours
    so far as I may be able to discern them, after that I have
    expressed my reasons as I know you would have me to do, and after
    that you know me better and my many great wants, which, that they
    may be more exactly known unto you, makes me so desirous to be
    with you for some time, howsoever it may please you to dispose of
    me afterwards. And if the chief cause why you think it best for me
    to stay awhile in these parts be for that you would have me secret
    as yet, and especially not to be seen with you there whilst the
    appellants are negotiating their uncharitable accusations of their
    brethren, then I suppose you will think I may be fully as secret
    there as here, if I be first wary in my coming into the town and
    then be your prisoner for some time (which I most desire), and
    then go to St. Andrew’s, without visiting any holy places and
    being seen in the town until you think it convenient. And because,
    in my second and third letters, I expressed my earnest desire of
    this private course at my first coming, I suppose I shall hear
    from you in your next letter or the next but one, that you think
    best I come forward, unless you wish my stay for some other
    reasons than the desire of my being secret. I grant I might
    perform my desire of some time of recollection either in Louvain
    or in the new House if it go forwards, under Father Talbot; but I
    have many reasons why I desire first to be with you for some time,
    which I think you would allow of if you knew them. And I would be
    glad also if it might be to begin in St. Andrew’s, to draw there
    some lively water out of the chiefest fountain, and this rather in
    the winter than to come the next spring, because I much fear my
    health if I be there in the heats. But after I have been there for
    some time, for so long time as you shall think it convenient that
    I stay in that school, I shall be glad to be Father Talbot’s
    Minister here, or to have some office of action under him, if my
    health do require any exercise of body. I hear there is one
    prepared for Minister that is very fit, but I could have care of
    the Church, and then perhaps should get some stuff to furnish it
    from some friends of mine in England; or I could have care of the
    garden, for I am excellent at that (if you will permit me to
    praise myself), for that was much of my recreation in England, and
    I hope my brother will witness with me that he hath seen a good
    many plants of my setting and tasted the fruit of some of them.
    But indeed, dear Father, if it may stand with your liking, I would
    be very glad to see you and be with you for some days before I
    settle anywhere, how private soever my abode there be, either at
    the first or for the whole time of my stay, as yourself shall see
    it best. As for the settling of any with my friends, I have done
    it before my departure, leaving my old companion and dear friend,
    Father Percy, in the place where I was, who is so much esteemed
    and desired by them as none can be likely to be more profitable.
    Most of my other special friends I commended partly to Father
    Antony [Hoskins], and partly to him, both which are most grateful
    to all my friends and acquaintance, and indeed I know not any two
    there that, in my simple opinion, better deserve it. As concerning
    Father Roger Lee’s going into England, if you please that I write
    justly that I think, there be divers reasons for which I think it,
    at this time, very inconvenient. First, in that he is so
    profitable where he is, that it will not be easy to find another
    will do so much good in that place; and, in one word to express my
    opinion, for ought I see, the most good of the House, both for
    external discipline and for progress in spirit, dependeth upon his
    care and effectual industry, wherein I should think it more
    needful to provide him more helpers of like desires and practical
    endeavours (who would conspire with him and have talents to effect
    both with the good Rector and with the scholars, that which they
    should together find to be most expedient). The Fathers which be
    there do very well, but all are not of like apprehensions and
    proceedings, and I suppose if yourself did see all particulars,
    you would think Father Roger to be a strong helper to the good of
    that House, and that it would nourish much if it had some others
    of his like. I know not where to name one upon the sudden, unless
    it be Father Henry Flud [Floyd], whose zeal and practical
    proceedings I think would be very profitable for that House, if he
    may be spared, and truly in my opinion upon the good of that House
    dependeth much the good and quiet of the other Colleges, besides
    much edification to many, both friends and enemies, unto whom this
    is a continual spectacle.

    “But besides this reason (which alone I take to be sufficient) I
    wish Father Roger’s stay for the good he may hereafter do in
    England, which I do hope will be great, and therefore great pity
    it should now be lost before the fruit of so likely a tree can
    come to ripeness. For, sir, yourself can better judge that none
    can be much profitable in England until he have gotten
    acquaintance there, and until his acquaintance by their trial of
    him have gotten a great opinion and estimation of him, which then
    they will spread from one to another, and every one will bring his
    friend, who upon hearing will be desirous to try, but after trial
    will say unto the friend that brought him, ‘_Jam non propter
    sermonem tuum credimus sed ipsi_,’ &c. By this means one shall
    have, after some continuance, more acquaintances and devoted
    friends than he can satisfy, and more business in that kind than
    he can turn his hands unto; but this is supposing he may at the
    first go up and down to get this acquaintance, and to be so known
    unto many; and until he have means so to do, if he have never so
    good talents, yet he shall not do so much good as a meaner person
    that is better acquainted. Now in this time I do verily think, if
    the laws be put in execution, there will be no means at all to get
    acquaintance, but the best acquainted shall have difficulty to
    help his known friends, and to be helped by them with safe places
    of abode as [I have declared at] large in my last letters, and
    they must lie much still and private and do [good part of] their
    [work by means of le]tters. Therefore, although I know Father
    Roger would be as much esteemed of my special friends as any that
    could be sent (unless my brother [probably Sir Oliver Manners]
    “had served his apprenticeship and were made a journeyman, for of
    his skill and workmanship in framing the best wedding garment
    there is great and general hope conceived) yet, things staying as
    they do in England, and Father Roger so well acquainted now with
    the place where he is, and thereby also more profitable there than
    a stranger could be, although as fit for the place as himself
    (which truly I think will be hard to find) my friends also being
    already furnished in England: these reasons move me to think it
    neither needful nor best that Father Roger go thither as yet:
    which yet in a more quiet time I shall be bold to beg for, if I
    see the College where he is so furnished that without great loss
    it might want him. I find Father Roger desirous of England if it
    were thought best, but wholly desirous to do that which yourself
    do think most convenient, but when I urge him to speak his very
    thoughts whether he do not think the College would be at want, he
    cannot deny but that the College hath need rather of more than
    less help, and surely I think if it were another’s case of whom he
    might with humility acknowledge how profitable he is, I do think
    he would absolutely do his best to hinder it as I do.”

    “For the answer to your questions, though in my last long letters
    I did in part answer to most of them before I received yours, yet
    now I will briefly again set down my opinion to the several
    points, Father Baldwin having written of them in his last, I being
    at St. Omers; but now I am come to him, being advised by the
    physician there to go to the Spa for the drying up of my rheum,
    which here I shall take further counsel of, how far it is needful,
    and whether the great rains have not made the waters of less
    force. I am here private, and more private than I could be at St.
    Omers whilst the banished Priests are passing by. I think I shall
    hear within two or three posts your further pleasure; if not, I
    will return and then begin to talk with the youths there, or do
    any service I can as you appointed in your last. In the meantime,
    with many humble thanks for your many undeserved favours, I rest
    this 15th of July.

    “Your Rev. son and servant wholly to command,


    Address—“Al molto Rev. in Christo Padre, il Padre Roberto
    Parsonio, Rettore del Collegio delli Inglesi, Roma.”

To these we must add an extract from a letter of Father Persons dated
December 29, 1606, and evidently written while Father Gerard was at Tivoli
(Stonyhurst MSS., _P._, vol. ii., f. 447). “The man you name, to wit,
Ger[ard] passed this way some months gone, but made little or no abode,
lest offence might be taken thereat, only I can say that during the few
days which he remained he gave great edification for his behaviour and
sundry great testimonies of his rare virtue, but most of all of his
innocency concerning that crime whereof he was imputed in the
proclamation, about which himself procured that his General should
judicially examine in presence of divers witnesses, commanding him _in
virtute sanctæ obedientiæ_ to utter the truth therein to his Superior,
whereupon he swore and protested that he was wholly innocent therein,
which the rest of his behaviour doth easily make probable. I shall cause
him to be advertised by the first commodity of the note you write about
his friends.”

P. ccviii.—As Father Gerard certainly left Belgium in 1622, and therefore
could not have been in the Tertianship at Ghent in 1624, there must be a
mistake in the name of the Father who reconciled to the Church James, Lord
Maltravers, in the July of that year, as related in the _Life of Anne
Countess of Arundel_ (p. 232). It is there said that “before his death he
was so fortunate as to be visited by Father John Gerard, a Priest of the
Society, who, together with others, lived there” [at Ghent] “in the house
which his grandmother a little before had erected.... By that Father he
was in fine reconciled to the Holy Church.”

P. 240.—James Garney, servant to Sir Everard Digby, “confesseth the
journey to St. Winifred’s Well and the particular places where they lay,
and that Darcy [Father Garnett] and Fisher [Father Percy] were with them,
and the whole company thirty horse” (Montacute Papers, f. 52).

Pp. 240 and 254.—Father Ouldcorne in his letter to the Privy Council (P.
R. O., _Gunpowder Plot Book_, n. 214) says respecting the verse of the
hymn of All Saints: “Also he [Father Garnett] told me they charged him
with a prayer that he should pen or make against the beginning of this
Parliament: but he said that he denied that ever he penned or made any
such. ‘Perhaps’ (said he), ‘they have heard that sometimes this summer I
have wished Catholics to pray, for that we had cause to fear there would
be more severe laws made against us this Parliament than had been as yet.
Or else they have heard how sometimes upon occasions I have told how
Cardinal Allen had got an indulgence of Gregory XIII. for all those that
did devoutly for the conversion of England say that verse which is in the
hymn of All-Hallow Day, _Gentem auferte perfidam_, &c., and the Psalm
lxxviii., _Deus venerunt gentes_.’ ”

P. 306.—Father Garnett to Anne Vaux from the Tower (P. R. O., _Gunpowder
Plot Book_, n. 245). “Mr. Hall [Father Ouldcorne] dreamed that Father
General would have him and me professed. He said that I was professed
already. ‘Yea,’ quoth he, ‘but I will have him professed of ten or eleven
vows more.’ And there were provided two fair tabernacles or seats for us.
And so he awaked, and falling asleep again, had the same dream.” Anne Vaux
to Father Garnett (_ibid._, n. 246). “Mr. Hall his dream had been a great
comfort, if at the foot of the throne there had been a place for me. God
and you know my unworthiness. I beseech you help me with your prayers.”


Jesus Maria. The Preface.

The blessed Apostle, Master, and Teacher of us Gentiles, instructing the
Romans in the cause and means of their salvation, affirmeth, that God hath
ordained we must be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord and
Saviour Jesus, “Et quos præscivit (saith he) et prædestinavit conformes
fieri imaginis filii sui.”(230) Upon which place St. Jerome and other
Doctors do teach that it is the will of God, both in this life and in the
next, to frame and fashion us both in grace and glory unto that most
perfect pattern.

So that if we will reign with Christ, we must expect to suffer with Him in
the way unto His Kingdom, “si compatimur et conglorificabimur: si
commortui sumus et convivemus; si sustinebimus et conregnabimus.”(231)
Yea, with that condition we are accepted, and in that measure we must look
to be rewarded, ut “sicut socii passionum sumus, sic simus et

This, therefore, hath been the course and manner of proceeding of Almighty
God with His elected servants; even from the beginning, and will continue
unto the end of the world. So when there were but two men born upon the
earth, and those brethren, yet one did persecute the other, the wicked did
kill the innocent. The Patriarchs had all their several probations, and
lived but as pilgrims in the world; the Prophets sustained many
persecutions, and sundry of them were put to cruel deaths for avouching
the truth. The best and chosen part of God’s servants towards the end of
the Old Testament were proved and purged with many tribulations, they were
diversely tormented and slaughtered in such manner as that saying of the
Prophet David was justly applied unto them, “Carnes sanctorum tuorum et
sanguinem ipsorum effuderunt in circuitu Jerusalem, et non erat qui
sepeliret.”(233) And St. Paul doth reckon up in few words the many
pressures both of those and other Saints of the Old Testament, saying,
“Lapidati sunt, secti sunt, in occisione gladii mortui sunt, circuierunt
in melotis,” etc.(234)

So that this being the case and condition of the servants and Saints of
God even before the law of grace, much more may we expect, and it will be
expected at our hands, that seeing now our King and Captain, Christ Jesus,
doth go before us with a Cross, we should all, and each of us in
particular, both willingly and joyfully take up our crosses and follow
Him: seeing Truth Himself came down from Heaven to lead us by Himself this
way unto life everlasting, good reason we should follow Him in the same
path, “quia nemo venit ad Patrem nisi per eum.”(235) If Christ did confirm
it by many scriptures, “quod oportebat Christum pati, et sic intrare in
gloriam suam,”(236) much more must we contend to enter in at the same
gate, although it be narrow and strait, especially seeing we enter not
into our own but into His glory. And it were a monstrous thing that the
head should go in at one door, and the parts of the body in at another;
neither can it be so, unless the parts be divided from the head, and
consequently not quickened with the same spirit that giveth life to the
body, than which nothing in this world should be so dreadful.

This made the Apostles willingly to accept of that portion which Christ
did leave them, as it were, for an inheritance in this world, when he
said, “In mundo pressuram habebitis,” and again, “plorabitis et flebitis
vos, mundus autem gaudebit, vos autem contristabimini;”(237) that knowing
well, that His promise was most assured, and that their sorrow should be
turned in gladness, “et hoc gaudium nemo tolleret ab eis.”(238)

The same lesson have all the Saints of God learned and in all ages have
practised. The vineyard of Christ was watered for 300 years together with
continual showers of blood running abundantly out of the holy veins of
slaughtered martyrs, from whence, although there did rise a plentiful
harvest of famous conversions and gain of souls, and at the last succeeded
the peace and propagation of the Church, in so much that crowns and
sceptres of Kings and Emperors were submitted unto it, yet did not Peter’s
ship sail long with a prosperous gale, though Christ were in the ship, Who
would not suffer it to sink; for He did sleep again, and suffer the bark
to be tossed with many furious storms by Arians and other succeeding
heretics who rising in several ages did impugn the verity of our Christian
faith, as before the heathens had fought against the divinity of the
Father, so then the Arians against the divinity and equality of the Son,
and others in their times and turns against the several articles of the
Creed, until the Grecians raised war also against the third principal part
thereof, denying the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son; and
lastly, now, towards the end of the world, the heretics of our age, Luther
and his progeny, do perfect that imperfect work, and fight against God’s
truth in the last articles of the Creed with all their force. Wherein,
although the fury of their raging waves do beat in vain against the ship
of Christ, against which “nec portæ inferi prævalebunt,”(239) yet is the
ship in the meantime in the midst of the storm, “motus autem magnus factus
est in mari et navicula operitur fluctibus.”(240) And this much more in
our afflicted country of England for the present than in any other, which
now may justly be said to be that “stagnum in quod descendit procella
venti ita ut compleatur navis nostra fluctibus et periclitamur.”(241) So
that no marvel though His disciples be there troubled, though yet we
should not be terrified, having Him ever present with us, “qui imperat
ventis et mari et obediunt ei,” and of Whom it is truly said, “Ego dormio,
et cor meum vigilat.”(242) For although He seem to wink for the time, and
to dissemble the injuries that are done unto His servants, yet is His
Heart awake, and His will doth both watch to defend and ward us from evil
in the meantime, and He will in time, when He seeth it fit and best for
us, impose silence to our adversaries, and give peace to His tried

This is then the state of this present age, and this the course which God
hath ever continued from the first, to purge and perfect His Church by
oppositions, by tribulations and afflictions; that He may hew the stones
here hard by the quarry, which must afterwards be placed in their due
order and ranks in His heavenly temple, where no blows with the hatchet
must once be given, no sound of the hammer must be heard, that may hinder
the happiness or disturb the harmony of that heavenly city. Here in this
vale of misery all are beforehand fitted and prepared (as the Church doth
sing in a holy hymn speaking of the like matter)—

    Tunsionibus, pressuris,
      Expoliti lapides,
    Suis coaptantur locis
      Per manus artificis,
    Disponuntur permansuri
      Sacris ædificiis.(243)

And this being so, and so much to the advantage of those who are so
exercised and perfected by the same, so prepared by crosses to receive
crowns of everlasting glory, we may gather thereby both what mind they
should be of, that are in the battle, and what their thoughts and actions
that are lookers-on.

For the first, no doubt but remembering Whose cause it is we do sustain,
Whom we have for our King and Captain in the combat, and Who it is that
hath promised to assist us in our sufferings, and to reward and crown us
for our labours sustained and victories obtained in this spiritual battle.
[As(244) before hath been touched,] there(245) is no doubt but we should
think it most just and requisite to sustain all difficulties in the cause
of so great and good a Lord, most honourable to follow such a Captain, and
most comfortable and commodious to serve and suffer for such a
[Master](246) and so true and liberal a [rewarder]; and therefore grant
that we are bound by many titles with ready will and earnest desire, yea,
with true contentment and assured confidence to bear the poise of this

But it is no less apparent what in the meantime should be conceived of our
case, and what should be performed by those that are not in the present
labours which we poor men are forced to sustain, nor under the
[scourge](247) which God for the time doth suffer to be laid upon us. No
doubt but they also should humble themselves under the mighty hand of God,
considering that their time of temptation and trial may also come (as it
is an easy matter when one house is on fire for the next neighbours’
houses to [take the same fire](248)), and withal that they are to conceive
worthily and honourably of their brethren, whom they now see to be tried
and purified in the furnace of many tribulations by the heavenly
goldsmith, thereby the better to beat and fashion the metal of their
eternal crowns; with whom in the meantime they should concur and cooperate
by their charitable assistance in prayers and other helps.

This may well be thought to be their part, and so they may expect to be
partakers with us also in the retribution, which we expect at the hands of
God. So doth the Apostle counsel the Corinthians, touching corporal
assistance to their absent and afflicted brethren. Having praised the
Macedonians for the like, he saith, “Non enim ut aliis sit remissio, vobis
autem tribulatio, sed ex æqualitate. In præsenti tempore vestra abundantia
illorum inopiam suppleat, ut et illorum abundantia vestræ inopiæ sit
supplementum,” etc.(249) In like manner may we desire and expect help from
our neighbours, that they out of the abundance of their present peace and
power to do us good, will help in what they can, every one in that wherein
he most aboundeth: Princes with their power and authority, in being
mediators for us to our King for some mitigation of our afflictions;
courtiers, in often soliciting for this help at their Princes’ hands; the
Clergy, by often offering the Divine Sacrifice, and holding up their hands
with Moses unto God for us, that we may not faint in the battle;
preachers, by often commending our case unto the people; the Religious, by
applying their prayers and merit for the continuance and increase of our
constancy; and secular persons, in such several manners as they are best
able to perform; the wise, in commending and justifying our cause; the
rich, in opening their purse unto our present needs, and maintaining of
such scholars as are preparing in our seminaries to be workmen for the
harvest. Yea, the poorest and meanest sort of our Christian Catholic
brethren [abroad] may assist us much by their good wishes and good words
when occasion is offered; and all by their daily prayers both to God and
His Saints for us, “ut possimus accipere armaturam Dei, et resistere in
die malo, et in omnibus perfecti stare,” etc.(250) And so by this means
assisting us about our tents and provision, either in furnishing or in
guarding the same, although they be not present with us in the battle, yet
will our just David give them their share and part in our victory and
spoils, every one according to the measure of his aid and assistance.

But here, if any do seem to complain of our want of constancy and patience
in suffering—and some perhaps be rather ready to blame than to pity us, in
regard of a late attempt of some Catholic [gentlemen](251) in our country,
most worthy indeed to be blamed and misliked [for the rashness and
temerity thereof]—we expect notwithstanding more equity and charity at
their hands than to condemn the whole number for the error of a few, or to
deem that action the effect of all our desires, or fruit of our
endeavours; [whereas](252) the contrary is most true, and so testified by
the chief of the [conspirators themselves](253), and proved by the process
of all examinations and proceedings in law against the [said] delinquents,
as shall after appear.

(M1) Yea, the [dealers](254) in that tragical device had so little hope of
help from other Catholics, either spiritual or temporal, towards their
designments in that plot, that they neither did nor durst impart the same
even to their nearest and dearest friends, in whom otherwise they had all
confidence and trial both for secrecy and fidelity in other matters, as
the chiefest and wisest amongst them all did testify at the bar in public
audience. Neither did any Priest once dream of the matter, or so much as
know of it by way of confession [or otherwise] until the [whole plot
was](255) contrived, and had been [by all likelihood] put in execution if
the Parliament had gone forward on the first or second days in which it
was appointed. But when the said session was prorogued the third time, and
some of the conspirators in long delays, [besides the general light which
they presumed to have drawn by certain obscure questions which to that end
they had proposed, though their purpose was not understood by them that
gave the answers,] were desirous to have some [more particular] advice of
some one or two of the most learned and virtuous they could find, they
opened the matter in confession unto one of the Society, and by him in
like manner unto his Superior, with most strict charge unto both of all
secrecy, according to the privilege and seal of that holy Sacrament. At
which time the Superior did not only charge the other to dissuade and
forbid that unlawful and inhuman action, but did likewise by all lawful
means himself seek to hinder it, as shall appear in the sequel of [the
ensuing narration](256).

If then they had neither help nor heartening, neither counsel nor
encouragement from any Catholic [man and much less Priests, but rather to
the contrary from](257) those few that by chance, and in that most secret
manner, came to know of it much against their will, how can it then be
laid unto the rest? How can others be blamed for it where all were
ignorant of the matter [except only the said](258) two persons, and those
did seek to hinder it with all their power? Doth equity or charity permit
to lay the fault on those that were not guilty? or to attribute part of
the blame to those that were noways partakers in the crime? Yea, doth not
charity rather move the minds of just men to take pity and compassion of
those few that were offenders [rather than] to be stirred with indignation
against them, and for their sakes against others that are innocent? “Vera
justitia (saith St. Gregory) compassionem habet, falsa verò
dedignationem.”(259) And doth not St. Bernard counsel us to excuse the
fact if we can; if not (as in this present matter where it is so apparent
to be evil), yet to excuse the intention; and in the hardest and plainest
case that may be, at least to search out what motives and incentives they
might have urging them to such an error.

Truly, if we [may](260) judge of their minds by the words that came from
them even when they had no hope of life, or by all the signs that were to
be seen either in those that died in the field, or those that were put to
public justice, [at the very last instant of their lives,] we should
rather be moved to think that [not so much](261) impatience [as] zeal
(although “non secundum scientiam”) did stir them up to that strange and
[violent](262) attempt, for so they all deeply and seriously protested at
their death. Assuming belike the Machabees for their example, who seeing
numbers of their brethren to suffer patiently the unjust oppressions of
their adversaries, answering only in words unto them and saying, “Moriamur
omnes in simplicitate nostra et testes erunt super nos cœlum et terra quod
injuste perditis nos.”(263) They would not follow the example of their
[said] brethren therein; [but being of more intolerant heat and fervour
than the rest, said one to another](264), “Si omnes fecerimus sicut
fratres nostri fecerunt et non pugnaverimus pro animabus nostris et
justificationibus nostris, nunc citius disperdent nos a terra.” This, [I
say, seemed to have been in their minds and apprehensions](265) if we may
judge of them by their carriage in their greatest extremities, with which
also they opened unto the world other motives [both at their arraignment
and death], which they thought to be of no small moment; as the many and
great calamities they had long endured; the promises of toleration
received from the King, now contradicted both in word and action; all
hopes cut off of help from other Princes either by force or favour, seeing
many of them would not so much as believe the persecution to be great, but
rather give credit to their persecutors’ tales, seeking by all subtle
means and many instruments sent abroad for the purpose to have the
contrary believed in foreign countries; which, with the general peace
concluded [with all Catholic Princes round about], and no peace granted to
Catholics, but their penalties increased, and like so to continue by the
likelihood of continuance of that flourishing issue with which God hath
blessed our King (which they thought did alter the state of their
sufferings very much from that it was in Queen Elizabeth’s time). These
things did seem to move them much, and as they thought necessarily to seek
a remedy, if not for themselves, yet for the relief of others, which they
being but a few, and out of hope of any help from the most and best of the
Catholics of England, could not possibly effect, [as erroneously they
conceived,] but by some such stratagem, wherein the chiefest strength
should be resolution and secrecy, both which in the chosen number of so
few persons they thought abundantly provided for. They took not indeed the
course of the Machabees, which they deemed in their case to be merely
impossible. But they affirmed their end to be same, and their cause and
reasons much more important. So Catesby protested at his death in the
field, and Digby at the bar, that not for themselves but for the cause of
Christ; not for their wives and children, but for the Church, the Spouse
of Christ, and saving so many thousand souls, the children of God, from
eternal flames, they attempted with fire to cut off the chiefest heads and
only causes of that greater ruin. “Yea,” said Digby [ready now to die],
“in respect of this cause, I little regard, or rather I could be well
content, both to offer my life and fortune and also to have my posterity
rooted out for ever.” So that if we shall judge of these men by their
zeal, or their zeal by all the signs by which men’s minds are judged
(especially in cases of extremity where human respects give little cause
to move dissimulation), we may the better follow St. Bernard’s rule and
interpret charitably [with compassion] their [final] intention, although
[their immediate motives were unlawful, and therefore] the action for many
and great respects neither was nor is to be allowed.

And if St. Bernard did think this manner of interpretation of others’
actions to be requisite in the lovers of charity, I hope then I may much
more require that at least others will support with patience that act of
impatience in that small number of our brethren and [not impute it to the
whole number of Catholics; no, nor beyond the rule of charity to condemn
the delinquents themselves by extreme exclamations and maledictions, as
some do, but rather according to the Apostle’s rule in lenity of spirit to
have pity of them, and reproving their fact, esteem of their persons and
other parts, as otherwise they depend, of whom myself and many others can
testify that, setting aside this unfortunate evil action, by all good men
deplored, they were known and held, before they fell into the same, to
have been as wise, temperate, circumspect, and devout gentlemen as
commonly England had, and such as would not have committed a voluntary
injury against any man for a world](266).

Thus we disclaim from all participation of this [fact] intended by a few
in their deceived zeal. Yet we follow not the example of those that will
not follow the rule of charity in their judgments. And much more we do and
may stand upon the justice of our cause, and prove that it is altogether
against the rules of reason, justice, and charity, to lay the fault of a
few upon the whole number of Catholics in that country; who neither did
nor would have concurred, nor were partakers either by work or will in so
barbarous a cruelty intended: no, nor so much as imagined there could
enter such a thought into the hearts of any of their company.

The verity whereof with the innocency of all Catholics in that respect
will plainly appear by the narration following of the whole matter how it
passed, which at the earnest request of some principal friends on that
side the sea I am moved to set down. And although I know myself much less
able than they imagine to pen it in such manner as the greatness of the
matter and rareness of such an event deserveth, yet I hope to satisfy
their desire for the matter itself, if not their expectation for the
manner of handling, promising to [set down] the story truly as it passed,
without partiality to the one or other side; and to conceal no
circumstance (whereof I could have sufficient information) which may truly
explain the intentions, actions, and events of the whole matter, wherein I
had perhaps more helps to know both many and true particulars than others
could easily procure.

The whole I intend and offer to God’s glory and the good of souls:
desiring only this of the pious reader, that as I will perform my part in
truth and fidelity in the whole narration, so he will not be wanting of
his part to perform the rules of equity and charity both towards me and
the matter I write of; especially towards those that in so honourable a
manner do daily and hourly sustain the cause and quarrel of Christ, not
only “in(267) sole et pulvere,” but “in sanguine,” also “et vulneribus
multis.” And so “alter alterius onera portantes adimplebimus legem

    Or thus it may end:—

    And so we suffering for the cause and they assisting in the cause
    “alter alterius onera portantes” (according to the counsel of the
    Apostle) “adimplebimus legem Christi.” And being with charity
    joined in the works of grace we shall by the author of charity be
    conjoined in the rewards of glory, “quæ præparavit Deus
    diligentibus se.”

Chapter II. [I.] The State Of Persecuted Catholics At The Queen’s Death
And The King’s Entry, With Their Hopes Of Relaxation By Him, Whereof They

I was desirous by the former chapter to make known unto you the state of
things how they passed in England until the end of Queen Elizabeth’s
reign; wherein though I was more long than I had thought to be, yet little
methinks is said in comparison of that feeling which we must needs have
that live here, and see daily before our eyes “abominationem desolationis
stantem in loco sancto;”(269) that have so many causes to put us often in
mind of the glory and splendour of the Church robbed and spoiled by the
first schism under King Henry, overthrown and defaced by heresy, beginning
to prevail under King Edward; and wholly trodden upon and cruelly
persecuted during all the long reign of Queen Elizabeth, in which all
means were used that policy could invent, or power perform, to root out
all Catholics and Catholic religion out of England.

To which effect they continually devised and imposed all kinds of
penalties upon such as would profess the Roman Faith. They made sundry and
most severe statutes (as may appear in the end of this book) against all
practice of Catholic religion. They made it death to receive the
absolution of a Priest; yea, death to harbour a Priest in house, or to
give him a cup of drink, or any assistance in his need; death to persuade
any to the Catholic religion. They laid the premunire, which is a
punishment worse than death, for keeping an Agnus Dei, or hallowed grains,
or such like comforts of soul, that come from Rome. Finally, whatsoever
the wit or malice of the least pitiful hearts could find out, all that was
inflicted and laid upon our backs. For commonly they were such that were
put in authority, either in searches, or examinations, or executions—such
were authorized, such were countenanced, and borne out whatsoever
insolencies they committed against us, of which infinite examples might be
alleged. As for death itself, though it was the ordinary pain of the law
against Catholics for practice of their Faith (acts of religion being now
made acts of treason), and so came often in practice; yet was it not so
heavy a load as we felt by the other laws, and the outrageous execution of
them, in far worse sort than yet the laws permitted or had devised against
us. True it is they put to cruel death many and worthy persons. One famous
and religious Queen, mother to this King who now reigneth—an act not oft
recorded in other persecutions, though never so severe. One also of the
ancient Earls they put to death in like manner by the sword; two or three
others of the chiefest whilst they were in prison. Other noblemen died in
banishment; and many persons of great families and estimation were at
several times put to death under pretence of treason, which also was their
cloak to cover their cruelties against such Priests and Religious as were
sent into England by authority from His Holiness to teach and preach the
Faith of Christ and to minister the Sacraments. But he that would
endeavour those things in this time was not “amicus Cæsaris,”(270) and as
such, both the Priest himself must be condemned and he that would show him
any favour.

Of this kind the number was great that suffered (our difficulty considered
in preparing them, and penury of so fit workmen), but their worth was much
greater than this short treatise can or may contain: it is worthily
reserved for a more full discourse, and indeed it will require a just
volume by itself. It shall suffice us here to know, that as all were holy
and full of spirit, fit for men that are sent in such an Apostolical
mission, so many of them excelled in rare gifts, and for such were known
and esteemed highly by Catholics before their apprehension. There was of
them a Campian, so eloquent, and so much overmatching the heretics in
public disputation (although they came fully armed and provided against a
prisoner after tortures, preparing himself to die), that a courtier went
from the disputation presently to the Queen, and said if that man were
suffered to live he were enough to pervert the whole realm. Convert, they
would have said, but that heresy would not permit their tongue to tell the
truth. There died with him a most valiant Sherwin, full of St. Laurence
his fervent spirit, and ten other Priests, redoubted servants of Christ,
each one singular in their kind. Amongst whom one other was of the
Society, called Brian; a man of such devotion to the Passion of Christ,
that when he was extremely racked before his martyrdom, his mind being
fixed in the meditation of Christ His Passion, he felt not their torments,
nor any pain but only a little in one hand, upon a lively impression he
then had of the pain our Lord suffered when His holy hands were pierced.
What should I reckon up a Cornelius, so famous in preaching that all
Catholics followed him as children do their nurse when they long for milk,
and the man so full of the Apostle’s charity, that with one fervent speech
in imitation of the offer which St. Paul made to be “anathema pro
fratribus,”(271) he expelled a devil out of a person whom he was
exorcising. I know the time and place where it was performed; and where
another wicked spirit confessed in a possessed person that his fellow was
cast out by Cornelius his charity. This good Father was the third of the
Society which suffered death by public justice for profession of the
Catholic Roman Faith.

What a famous man, and how much beloved was Father Southwell! whose
excellent parts England cannot forget; and if it would be so ungrateful,
yet his works there extant, so full of spirit and eloquence both in prose
and verse, would suffice abundantly to make the cruelty of his persecutors
much accused, and his life so shortened much lamented, who living would
have been so profitable and pleasing to all sorts. His value and high
merit before God was much to be seen, in that he was delivered over by
God’s ordinance to encounter hand to hand the cruelest tyrant of all
England, Topliffe, a man most infamous and hateful to all the realm for
his bloody and butcherly mind; and this man had Father Southwell many
weeks together in his house alone to use him at his pleasure, where he
kept him in his boots as he was taken, with bolts of iron upon his arms,
and in a chamber without any bed or straw to lie upon, where he was to
turn himself upon his side, and lie upon the floor like a dog when he list
to sleep, as full of lice as he might hold. There also he put him nine
times most cruelly upon the torture, which Father Southwell at his
arraignment professed was more grievous to him than nine deaths could or
would have been. About that time also suffered at York another famous
Priest of the Society called Father Henry Walpole, whom first they had
tortured fourteen times in the Tower, and that in very extreme manner.
This gentleman was known to be of excellent parts before his going over to
take that happy course of Religious life, in so much that with his sweet
conversation and devout carriage he won divers to be Catholics even then
before he was Priest, and it was expected he would have proved an
excellent workman in that harvest, if the cruelty of heresy had not cut
him off. But his merits were such as God would defer his crown no longer,
and so at his first landing he was apprehended in the north, and therefore
carried thither again to be executed, after they had in vain made trial at
London to make him confess by torments something against the state of
Catholics and their profession or practice. When he came to die all men
admired his patience, and religious humility, and mortification, wherein
he very much excelled.

It were too long, and not for this place to reckon up the great number of
rare men both Religious and Secular Priests that suffered in Queen
Elizabeth’s times, “quibus dignus non erat mundus.”(272) But yet this
persecution by death, though it were cruel to them that suffered, and most
injurious to the Catholics that were by that means bereaved of their most
beloved Fathers, yet were the persecutions in other respects more grievous
to be borne and much more intolerable. Their torturing of men when they
were taken to make them confess their acquaintance and relievers, was more
terrible than death by much, as Bl. Father Southwell professed at the bar;
and this the rather both because the pain continued longer and was often
iterated, and chiefly for that it was not an end of their probation in
this world, but many after such torments are forced to walk on their
voyage towards Heaven for many years, being uncertain of their
perseverance in that estate of fervent love to God with which they offered
themselves for Him to torments, and would more gladly have done it unto
death, if such had been His pleasure at that time.

Besides the spoiling and robbing laymen of their livings and goods, with
which they should maintain their families, is to many more grievous than
death would be, when those that have lived in good estate and countenance
in their country shall see before them their whole life to be led in
misery, and not only themselves, but their wives and children to go
a-begging. And some, in like manner, that lose not all at once, but have
somewhat left, are worse than the rest, for they have not so much as is
proportionable to their charge, and yet being known to have something, can
have no colour to live on alms, as others do (even some of very worshipful
families), and live much better than diverse of these that have this
little left them.

And to these the continual and cruel searches, which I have found to be
more terrible than taking itself. The insolencies and abuses offered in
them, and in the seizures of goods, the continual awe and fear that men
are kept in by the daily expectance of these things, sith every malicious
man (of which heresy can want no plenty) is made an officer in these
affairs, and every officer a King, as it were, to command and insult upon
Catholics at their pleasure. These, and the like aggrievances, Catholics
having now sustained during the whole reign of Queen Elizabeth, was it not
now time for them to hope that God would say unto them, “Levate capita
vestra quia ecce appropinquat redemptio vestra?”(273) We had now suffered
more than the full number of years, not days, of this deluge of
persecution pouring down upon us. Was it not now time for us to look out
and to long that the earth would begin to dry and afford us some quiet
habitation upon it? Were we not now to expect that some gracious bird
would bring us an olive branch in sign of peace, which we had looked for
so long and desired so much? True it is that most Catholics had great hope
and expectation of this King James, then King of Scotland only. And this
hope, as a human help of no small force, did join with God’s grace and
bring some comfort with it, amidst the many discomforts sustained under
the long-continued reign of Queen Elizabeth.

First, they did, and might, expect that the son of such a mother (who not
only lived a Catholic in her kingdom and in prison, but died also because
she was a Catholic) would himself also be a friend to Catholics at least,
if he would not be a follower of Catholic religion. St. Monica, by her
tears and prayers, did win her son, St. Augustin; the hope was also in
England that “filius tantorum meritorum perire non poterat.”(274) And who
could think that the son would join in friendship and confidence with
them, and with only them that had betrayed and slain both his father and
mother, and who had kept himself so long like a ward in his own kingdom.
Besides they could see no cause why King James should follow the course
that Queen Elizabeth had done. For she in the beginning of her reign was
persuaded by her Council that for reason of State it was needful she
should break with the See Apostolic and maintain the new religion, that
might depend upon her supremacy and supreme authority expressed by the
laws of Parliament. This they pretended to be needful, first, in respect
of her nativity, which they knew was not esteemed legitimate by the See of
Rome. Again, in regard of the particular favour which it was known the
same See did bear unto Queen Mary, then Dowager of France and Queen of
Scotland, living and reigning there in all prosperity; who therefore was
much envied and feared by Queen Elizabeth and her Council at that time.
Unto which also was added the well-known affection of all Catholics in
England unto the said Queen Mary, in respect of her true descent from King
Henry VII. and her constant love and profession of the Catholic faith:
these seemed great motives to Queen Elizabeth, and sufficient to lead her
into the labyrinth of an heretical course. But these could not be objected
unto our King James, who was the true and hopeful issue of his so worthy
mother and the same so glorious a martyr. Neither could he fear the favour
or furtherance of the See Apostolic, which favoured him much and assisted
him many ways whilst yet he was but King of Scotland and professed a
contrary faith. What might he then have expected if he had offered himself
and his realm of England unto the obedience of the Church, if he had
trodden that path which all his ancestors had walked, and wherein both
they and the kingdom of England did so much flourish. Yea, what applause,
what congratulation, what assurance of friendship and assistance against
all his enemies might he have expected as most certain, both from His
Holiness, and the like from all Christian Princes? Yea, truly, this seemed
so strong a reason to induce His Majesty to that happy course, that many
Catholics, knowing his wisdom and learning, could not persuade themselves
how it could be possible that he would be drawn to any other manner of
proceeding, especially seeing that as on the one side all peace with the
Christian world was sure to be knit in firmest league of friendship; on
the other side, they could not see how he could expect any long or assured
peace with the pillars of God’s Church, if he should begin to persecute
the same afresh, as the late Queen had done before him. For it were in
vain to begin that war against the Church, if he meant not to do his best
endeavours to root out the same out of the world, if he could; because he
might be sure the more he proceeded therein the more he would exasperate
both God and all good men against him. This mind Catholics could not
expect in a Prince of so great judgment and so many good parts, as they
had cause to think him to be of. These hopes also were much strengthened
by his own words, published unto the world in that fatherly and princely
gift of his unto his son, wherein amongst many other grave and wise
documents unto the young Prince, one is, that he do cherish and make much
of those servants whom he hath known to be faithful unto his parents, of
which his counsel he first giveth divers true and judicial reasons, and
afterwards confirmeth the same with his own experience, affirming in plain
words he found those most true and trusty to himself who had been faithful
followers of hers, and so on the contrary side in like manner. To this
effect His Majesty delivered his mind unto his son, and therewith great
and comfortable hopes unto all Catholics, that they who had been true
lovers and followers of his mother should find favour, and that such as
had either done or suffered greatly in her service should find an
answerable requital and advancement.

These hopeful signs of future favour were yet much in particular confirmed
by the constant report and asseveration of divers, who in the said Queen
Elizabeth’s reign had lived under His Majesty in Scotland, as well English
as of the Scottish nation, who did everywhere affirm and divulge both at
home and abroad, and in all Princes’ Courts of the world (as it is well
known to the said Princes), the great and singular hope and expectation
that was to be conceived of this King for his good nature and rare parts,
as mansuetude, compassion, equanimity, high esteem of his said mother and
of all those that had faithfully loved and served her. And albeit that for
his religion he could be no other than as he had been brought up and
instructed, yet was he averse from all severity of persecution against
such as were of different religion, especially the Catholic; granting it
to be the ancient mother religion of all the rest, though in some things
now amiss in his opinion. And that out of his own reading he had observed
that all his ancestors, Kings and Queens both of England and Scotland,
without exception had been of the Catholic Roman faith and religion, and
that himself was the first among them all that ever professed a different
religion from them. These reports were spread by many and in many places.
But some others more particular and assured are said to have been sent by
particular embassagies and letters from His Majesty unto other Princes,
giving hope at least of toleration to Catholics in England, of which
letters divers were translated this year into French and came so into
England, as divers affirmed that had seen them. Yea, and further than
this, I am well assured that immediately upon Queen Elizabeth’s sickness
and death, divers Catholics of note and fame, Priests also, did ride post
into Scotland, as well to carry the assurance of dutiful affection from
all Catholics unto His Majesty as also to obtain his gracious favour for
them and his royal word for confirmation of the same. At that time, and to
those persons, it is certain he did promise that Catholics should not only
be quiet from any molestations, but should also enjoy such liberty in
their houses privately as themselves would desire, and have both Priests
and Sacraments with full toleration and desired quiet. Both the Priests
that did kneel before him when he gave this promise (binding it with the
word of a Prince, which he said was never yet broken), did protest so much
unto divers from whom I have it. And divers others, persons of great
worth, have assured me the same upon the like promise received from His
Majesty, both for the common state of Catholics and their own particular.

Now, more than this I think could not be, to give assured hope unto
Catholics of some present relaxation by his gracious help from the many
miseries and afflictions they had so long endured, being as much as they
could expect or he perform until his settling. How ready Catholics were in
all countries to receive him for their King, how forward to proclaim him,
yea, how joyful to entertain and welcome him with all care and cost that
might be, all the realm is witness. Insomuch that some set vessels of wine
in the streets for all comers to drink, in show of their gladness; other
Catholic noblemen at London cast store of money about the streets in sign
of their universal joy. What cost all sorts of Catholics bestowed upon
such furniture as was fit to welcome and meet both King and Queen, with
the Prince who came at several times! All was done with such applause and
jubilee as did well witness the joy and hopes they had conceived.

But now what shall we think to have been the state of all Catholic minds
when all these hopes did vanish away; and as a flash of lightning, giving
for the time a pale light unto those that sit in darkness, doth afterwards
leave them in more desolation? What grief may we imagine they felt
generally, when not only no one of these hopes did bring forth the hoped
fruit, nor any promise was performed, but when, on the contrary side, His
Majesty did suffer himself to be guided and as it were governed by those
that had so long time inured their hands and hardened their hearts with so
violent a persecution; yea, when he did not only confirm the former laws
with which we were afflicted, but permitted new and more grievous
vexations to fall upon us than before we had felt, and prepared yet more
and more heavy whips wherewith to scourge us? Truly the event proved
contrary to all our hopes. For, first, it was observed that some weeks
after his being in England, he began to use far different speech of and
against Catholics than was expected from the son of such a mother. And
when soon afterward there ensued his first Parliament, he made a bitter
speech (now extant in print) against them all; but especially, to our
greater increase of grief and despair of comfort, against the See
Apostolic, much different from that was expected, where so great favours
and tokens of love had been received.

Now, whereas Catholics expected his published and promised honour to his
mother and rewards unto her servants, it grieved them much when they saw
no memory at all made of so memorable a mother either in word or work; she
lying until this day obscurely in that place where her enemies cast her
after cutting off her head: nor any man gratefully looked on or respected
that belonged unto her or that made mention of her. As for those that did
or suffered anything in her cause and quarrel, there is not any advanced
nor yet recompensed for the great losses which some of them sustained in
her behalf. Not long after the said Queen’s imprisonment in England, there
were three, two knights and one gentleman, that intended her deliverance
and assistance to her settling again in her kingdom of Scotland [one of
the three was Sir Thomas Stanley, next brother to the Earl of Derby, who
had much land and many friends in that country where she was prisoner; the
second was Sir Thomas Gerard, whose dwelling-house was within two miles of
the castle where she was kept, and at that time had means sufficient to do
good service in that behalf; the third was one Mr. Roulston, an esquire of
good worth in the same country, and a very devout Catholic man and a stout
gentleman].(275) The meanest of which three had a son, being then a
pensioner in the Court, who betrayed the whole matter and caused them all
to be clapt in the Tower, where they were kept a long time in strait
prison, and Mr. Roulston was condemned to die, against whom they were able
it is likely to prove more particulars of the secret (by his son’s means),
than against the others. But it cost the others large sums of money and
sale of land before they could be freed.

After this, about twenty years ago, there was another matter intended by
fourteen gentlemen, Mr. Babington, Mr. Salesberie, and others of the
choice of England, for the said Queen’s deliverance and restoring to her
right; wherein, though they were ensnared and entrapped by some politic
heads that sought both their overthrow and thereby a seeming justifiable
pretence to cut off the said Queen also, yet it was apparent by their
examinations and executions, taking their death in so devout and resolute
manner, that they intended sincerely the Queen’s delivery for the
advancement of the Catholic cause. At the same time, also, one of the
foresaid knights(276) was again committed to the Tower for the same cause,
and kept there at least two years, though he had been so wary of his trust
that they could not prove anything against him to put him to death with
the rest; but it cost him much this time again, as that prison is ever
wont to do to those that live in it, but especially to those that get out.
Nor these nor any others of like deserts in other kind have been rewarded.
True it is that the elder son of the knight,(277) going to meet the King
at his coming into England, His Majesty told him before divers (from whom
I had it), “That he must love his blood, for that he and his had suffered
persecution for him.” These were his words, showing indeed in His Majesty
a good consideration of his servants and inclination to do for them; but
it is likely that others overrule the matter, for,(278) though he made
that gentleman knight at that time, yet that was to him no advancement
whose ancestors had been so for sixteen or seventeen descents together;
but since he hath had no preferment at all, but rather kept back, as being
known that his house hath ever been Catholic, though himself having long
time followed the Court do not profess it as he should.

Another(279) worthy gentleman also, one Mr. Abington, was in the Tower for
the same cause when the fourteen gentlemen were there prisoners. And this
gentleman, having lately some Priests taken in his house, was condemned to
die; and though his life be spared for a time (they say, in respect of his
former suffering; but, indeed, obtained by the Lord Mounteagle, whose
sister he hath married), yet is his house taken from him, one of the
fairest in all the country, and all his lands and goods forfeited: which
is much more grievous than death to a man of his devotion and resolution.
These and many such examples are seen and noted in the realm, and not any
seen to be advanced nor regarded that truly served or suffered for his
mother: yea, rather the contrary; that His Majesty was so prevented and
preoccupated with divers that pursued and both sought and wrought the ruin
of his mother, that he seemed to give himself wholly into their hands, and
not only himself but Catholics also, to be afflicted by them at their

All this, we say, moved great exasperation and exulceration of minds,
mixed with grief and despair, foreseeing that all would pass worse for
Catholics under his reign than in Queen Elizabeth’s time; when those that
did persecute under her were doubtful what side might prevail or bear sway
after her death, and therefore would be more sparing, and divers would
seek to make the principal Catholics their friends against those times of
uncertain event, which could not be far off in respect of the great age of
Queen Elizabeth and her want of issue; whereas now no such fear is thought
needful nor any such caution in policy requisite, the King being young and
his issue like to continue and to uphold their proceedings: so that they
may more freely and without fear persecute at their pleasure. Besides unto
this general fear, which all Catholics had in seeing these former hopes of
theirs to fail them, was added a full experience that neither hopes were
to be by them expected nor promises by others to be performed. For whereas
His Majesty, out of his gracious disposition, had promised much favour
towards Catholics, both to other Princes and to divers particular
Catholics that went unto him before his coming in, now the contrary was so
much practised and all these promised favours so plainly denied, that they
might not be so much as once spoken of or remembered that ever any such
had been.

For, first, when at the end of the first Parliament the Puritans packed
together therein, as well against His Majesty and his desires in the
matter of union of the two kingdoms as also against the Catholics, and
urged many new laws to their prejudice and for their greater affliction,
His Majesty, that with one word might have staid their fury by saying (as
it is accustomed in such cases when a Prince will show favour) that he
would deliberate and consider of the matter, he confirmed first all the
most sharp and rigorous laws and statutes which the late Queen or her
father or brother had made against Catholics for afflicting them or
shedding their blood. And, secondly, he adjoined new statutes of his own
that augmented greatly the grievances of the former (which afterwards
shall be set down), so as every sort of men, but especially the Puritans
(that by all means desired to make the King odious unto Catholics),
applied unto them presently those words of the young King Roboam to his
aggrieved people—“My father pressed you with a grievous yoke; but I will
aggravate the same yet more. My father beat you with whips; but I will
scourge you with scorpions.” So that it is easy to guess with what terror
and affliction the Catholics remained at that time. By all which we may
plainly see, that not only all hopes were failed whereupon Catholics did
build their comforts, but that it was also seriously endeavoured by some
to give now all assurance of the contrary opinion, and so to drive men to
despair, presuming perhaps that some amongst so many thousands would not
be so patient as to bear it long, but that despair would urge them to some
desperate attempt, whereby the chief causers of this persecution might
give the better pretence of the cruelty they intended against them for the
satisfaction of foreign Princes, that they might suppose these laws to be
afterwards devised and not before determined or practised. And it is no
marvel though divers Princes have been long in this error, knowing not the
state of things with us; yea, rather being possessed of a contrary opinion
to the truth of our sufferings by instruments employed of purpose, as also
their whole estates were in like manner by the ordinary news, which were
written in the gazettes to the end to be divulged. But Catholics that felt
the smart before, had cause to believe the contrary, and that they
received(280) one blow upon the face with the fist, to make them fetch
another against the wall. Yea, it is verily thought by many of the wiser
sort, that these very things, with others that followed, were the spurs
that set those gentlemen upon that furious and fiery course which they
afterwards fell into; and being otherwise too forward of themselves, and
not apt in those things to be retained with the bridle, did urge them to
take the bit in their teeth and run headlong (being thus filled with
despair of any good from this King’s government) to that desperate course
of cutting off the same to set up one of his younger children—a thing very
much lamented by all the body of Catholics in England, whose thoughts were
only bent how to possess their souls in patience, notwithstanding all the
causes of grief and despair of remedy which I have alleged, and more that
I must allege in the chapter following.

Chapter III. [II.] The Increase Of Persecution And All Kind Of
Molestations Unto Catholics, With Their Failing Of All Hopes, Procured By
The Puritan Faction.

Such as be acquainted with the state of affairs in England cannot be
ignorant that there be many at this time of the Puritan faction put in
authority and place of government, especially concerning the persecution
of Catholics. All which, as they be further gone in heresy than the
ordinary sort of moral Protestants be, so are they more violent enemies
against all Catholics and Catholic proceedings. And this not only in
respect of that spirit of heresy, which doth in greater measure possess
them, but for reason of policy also they hold it very requisite. For
although the Protestants are at this time the chief in Government, and
their laws and ordinances preferred both in ecclesiastical and secular
causes, yet are not the Puritans out of hope (if the Catholic party were
taken away) to prevail against them in time, either by force or friendly
means procured from their complices in other countries, in which kind they
are much stronger than the Protestants, or else by force of argument and
the Word, wherein they persuade themselves to have great power. And true
it is, that under the pretence of more pure profession of Calvin’s
doctrine and a greater outward show of a more formal religion, they do win
daily some or other new-fangled heads unto their sect from the
Protestants, whose grounds are more uncertain to themselves, and nothing
certain unto them but the following of the will and pleasure of those that
guide the State, whatsoever they hold or ordain to be professed or
practised. But as for the Catholics, they are holden and tried by the
Puritans and the other also to be inflexible for matter of their faith, as
having most sure and infallible grounds to rest upon, alleging for the
same all kind of authority, showing antiquity with universal consent of
all nations; and remaining now, as others of their side have done before
them, in perfect union amongst themselves in all points of their belief.
So that the Puritans having no hope at all that ever their private spirit
shall be able to prevail against such an army of impregnable proofs by
force of reason or argument they seek therefore, by all means they can
devise, the overthrow of Catholics much more earnestly than the
Protestants do, who are in themselves commonly less violent; and being
placed at the helm in the chief seats for commodity and honour, are
content to rest when they are well, and are not so busy and stirring as
the Puritans are, whose rising spirit cannot be at rest until they be in
possession of that which the others enjoy and they desire. Hereupon it
followeth that the Puritans are most forward continually to incense the
King against us; most violent also to execute all laws, and lay all kind
of molestations and afflictions upon us, and besides most desirous of all
occasions whereby to put us utterly in despair of help or favour, and so
to force some or other to unfit courses, that the rest may be punished for
their sake. And truly, as they were the men that did frame the Bills
against us in the first Parliament after the King’s entry, and did follow
the matter most hotly to have both the former cruel laws remain in force
and new penalties imposed upon Catholics, so when His Majesty had granted
and confirmed all their desires against us, it is strange to see with what
fury they sought in all places to execute the same cruelties—yea, much
further in most places than the laws themselves did allow or would permit.
And it is to be noted, that although the Puritans are not generally put in
authority or used for the government of the Commonwealth (as men known to
bear but hollow hearts unto the King, and to be much disgusted with his
proceedings), yet are they ordinarily employed in the punishing and
executing all kind of rigour against Catholics, as being tried by
experience to be most vigilant in finding them out, most violent in
afflicting them and most pitiless in their pains. So that in every shire,
those Justices which be known to be most forward in the Puritan faction,
though otherways they be little employed in matters of the country or
esteemed of by the State, yet they are the men that are put in commission
against Catholics—they are the searchers, they are the informers, they are
the Judges, and they are made, as it were, the kings of Catholics.

(M2) From hence it came that the pressures of Catholics were much
increased after the first Parliament and before that rash attempt of those
gentlemen who were urged to that conspiracy (as most men think in those
parts that know how things passed) by extremities which they saw to
increase so fast, and their despair of helps in vain expected. For then
presently, the execution of all laws against Catholics, both old and new,
being committed for the most part to the Chief Justice, who is known to be
hot and vehement in the Puritan faction and a bloody enemy to the said
Catholics; and he, by direction of others and his own desire, having
picked out men in every shire of the same humour to execute the same laws
with all the rigour and despite they could devise. Then followed afresh
the exaction of 20_l._(281) a month, which was imposed by Queen Elizabeth
upon every Catholic that would not go unto their service, although for a
time after the King’s coming there was hope given both by King and Council
that it should not be exacted: but then the whole was urged together with
the arrearages. Yea, and not contented with twelve months in the year (as
Nature hath appointed by course of the sun), they would have the payment
for thirteen months in the year, after the account of four weeks in the
month, contrary to the rule of ancient law affirming that _Pœnæ non sunt
ampliandæ_. But if Catholics could enjoy for this payment any reasonable
quiet, they would think themselves in great ease. But there is a law for
the poorer sort of Catholics, that they shall forfeit two parts of their
lands and leases, and all their goods and chattels whatsoever that can be
found; upon which law (being executed as the Puritans use to do) many and
great molestations do further ensue; for by this means they are not only
indicted and cast into jails and prisons and their lands seized, as the
statute alloweth, but also their goods embezzled and their cattle driven
away. And if they find no cattle which they are assured to be the
recusants’, but that his fields be rented and stocked by other men, they
drive that cattle also and put them to prove whose they were; and thereby
terrify all men from hiring their said lands, wherein they also add
diverse other particular afflictions that exasperate greatly the sufferer.
These matters being committed for the most part to their handling, that
care not how much or how far they strain poor Catholics, whereof no marvel
if it come to pass according to the proverb—_Qui nimium emungit elicit
sanguinem_—“He that scrapeth or rubbeth too much, draweth blood at last.”

It hath been also a matter of no small grief and complaint, that whereas
there be now in England certain hungry and ravenous people that importuned
the King for relief, having no rents or revenues in the land and yet
living at a high rate and great charges many ways, His Majesty to give
them content hath willed them to seek out Popish recusants which he might
bestow upon them; wherein they then become diligent to inquire them out
and restless in prosecuting them to the uttermost, and think all they can
get too little: as it is indeed too little to satisfy their needs; which
was a thing foreseen and foretold by some who yet are no prophets nor sons
of prophets, but Protestants of the wiser sort, who, as it is said, when
it was consulted of amongst all the Peers of the realm, before the King’s
coming, concerning his admission to the crown, some amongst them alleged
that it might well be feared that the lean and hungry oxen which Pharao
saw in his dream would devour all the fat and goodly oxen which their
English fertile ground had fed so well before, and that these ravenous
beasts would eat them up and yet seem to be nothing satisfied. Thus they.

And truly the meaner sort of these to whom Catholics were thus given, were
not satisfied with the Catholics they could find out, but they also
procured divers to be presented and indicted for recusants who were but
well-wishers unto Catholics and went to church themselves; and yet some of
them could not be delivered except they would publicly abjure their faith
at the Assizes and Sessions, whereof sundry rueful examples might be
given. In all which, the case seemeth to divers both grievous and odious,
that true and freeborn subjects of good quality should be given as it were
in prey to others. And for that the sequel of this matter appertaineth to
many, the exasperation also rising thereof must needs be very general.

(M3) Now if we should stand upon the particular enumeration of the
calamities which fall upon Catholics by private persons, and especially
Puritans put in authority over them, the many insolences and molestations
which are offered in the searches which are used in most odious manner,
and so have been ever since this first Parliament, it would much afflict
the hearts of the pious readers. And it is to be thought that many
particulars thereof are not known to His Majesty, though all exercised and
executed in his name and under his authority. What a thing is it for a
Catholic gentleman to have his house suddenly beset on all sides with a
number of men in arms both horse and foot, and not only his house and
gardens and such inclosed places all beset, but all highways laid for some
miles near unto him, that none shall pass but they shall be examined! Then
are these searchers ofttimes so rude and barbarous that, if the doors be
not opened in the instant when they would enter, they break open the doors
with all violence, as if they were to sack a town of enemies won by the
sword, which is a strange proceeding, and proper only to our persecuted
state at this time, for it is not used elsewhere, but with us so common
that no man can have assurance of one hour’s quiet or safety within the
walls of his own habitation, which yet in just and peaceable commonwealths
should be his fortress and castle. Whereupon it seemed so strange to the
Scottish gentlemen that came into England with His Majesty, that divers of
them said—“If we in Scotland should be thus used, or that any should enter
our house by force and against our will, we should presently have killed
them.” If they said this for this forcible entry only, what may be said
for their manner of proceeding being entered? Which I will therefore set
down more in particular, that by this the reader may judge of our usage in
other things.

The searchers being thus entered, it hath been usual with pursuivants to
run up the stairs and into the chambers with their drawn swords, enough to
drive the weaker sort of women and children out of their wits. Then they
begin to break off locks and open all the doors of the house presently,
that they may at one time search in many places. Then if they find no
Priest nor suspected persons for Priests in any of the chambers or
closets, they go presently to search for secret places, and this they do
most cunningly and strictly, sounding the floors and walls to see if they
can find any hollow places. They do also measure the walls of the house
and go round about the house on the outside to see if one part do answer
to another, in hope to find some void part left hollow, wherein a man may
be hid. Sometimes, if the walls be not made of stone, but of wainscot or
other weak matter, they will thrust through it with their swords in many
places, hoping that in some place or other they may light upon a Priest,
and this they do also in the roof of the house, upon suspicion there may
be some conveyance, though they cannot find the entry into it, as, indeed,
the doors of the secret places are commonly made with such art as it is
hard to find them or espy them, otherwise it were not possible to keep
Priests so long as some Catholics do and have done. But the searchers, if
they find any likely cause of suspicion, not contented with that dangerous
manner of trial with their swords (in which cases some Priests have
escaped very hardly of being wounded or slain), they then break down the
walls wholly and enter themselves to search with candles and torches in
all such dark places and in housetops, where sometimes nothing but mice or
birds have come of many years. This we hope will be a means to prevent the
diligent search of God’s judgments wherein he saith—“Scrutabor Jerusalem
in lucernis.”(282) But if this be permitted by God’s judgment to be done
to His servants in this life, what shall be done to the doers of this in
the next? “Si in viridi ligno hæc faciunt, in arido quid fiet?”(283)
“Incipit judicium (saith St. Peter) a domo Dei. Si autem primum a nobis,
quis finis eorum qui non credunt Evangelio?”(284) But to return unto our

When the searchers find not any Priest for all this cruel diligence they
have used, they will not yet give over, but supposing there is or may be
some so secretly hidden that yet he is there for all that they have done,
then they appoint a watch about the house and every part thereof of fifty
or sixty men, and sometimes more, and these with guns and bills, &c.; and
this they keep for many days together (intending to starve him out),
sometimes for six, yea, ten and twelve days’ continuance. Sometimes, also,
they place watchmen in the chambers of the house within, both to keep that
no Catholic shall stir to relieve the Priest (though commonly they make
them sure for that by locking them up all in one part of the house
together, which they mean least to search as being least suspected); and
besides that they may hearken if any little stirring be behind a wall,
yea, but the breathing or coughing of a Priest (which was the means indeed
by which Fr. Cornelius before mentioned was found out and apprehended), to
which end also they do sometimes cunningly speak aloud, one to another,
that they will begone away because they can find nothing, and seem to make
a noise as though they did depart; then will they go softly into the
chambers a little after and seem to be of the house, and knock softly at
every wall, willing the good man to come forth, for now the searchers are
gone, thanks be to God. This subtlety is usual to these men—“Sed deficient
scrutantes scrutinio et exaltabitur Dominus et sagittæ parvulorum sicut
plagæ eorum.”(285) And truly sometimes the protection of God is wonderful
in these cases, that men do escape their hands, when by human means one
would think it were wholly impossible, of which I have known many

But the searchers, in the meantime, when they can find no Priest, whom
they chiefly desire to take in any man’s house, because then his lands and
goods and life also are all forfeited:—but if that will not be, then they
rifle every little corner for church stuff, for copes and vestments,
chalices, pixes, and such. For these they break open chests and trunks;
then to cabinets and little boxes for letters, hoping to find some
spiritual advice in them (though not to follow it, God knows), but thereby
to infer that they are Priests’ letters with whom they have acquaintance;
or if they find any Agnus Deis, or beads or medals that they can prove are
hallowed, then also all the lands and goods of the parties are seized and
themselves condemned to perpetual prison, which was the case of Mr.
Tregian, a worthy gentleman of great estate. Many examples of all these
particulars might be alleged, but it were too long for the reader, and not
safe for the parties of whom the stories must be told, especially if they
be truly set down in such barbarous manner as they were performed, which
is sometimes so uncivil that they will search the very beds where man and
wife do lie at their first breaking into the house, when they come in the
night, as in London, it is most commonly, yea, sometimes into the beds
where women lie in childbed. Yea, they will not spare grave ancient
matrons and women of great place. One ancient lady, lying in Holborn, in
London, was in this sort so rudely handled by them that she fell sick upon
it and lived not long after—a grave lady, and a woman of great virtue.

Briefly, their insolences are so many and so outrageous, and thereby the
miseries and afflictions of Catholics were so much increased and
multiplied, that it seemed to many very intolerable to be long endured.
The only hope might be that which at those times Priests did labour to
persuade, and divers of the graver Catholics were yet content to believe,
might be possible (as in darkness, the least glimpse of light, though but
far off, doth bring some comfort, in hope it may come nearer), and that
was the memory of His Majesty’s faithful promises, which, being given on
the word of a Prince, they thought could not be violated, unless they
should hear himself to speak the contrary. This only hope did yet live in
some, though many apparent proofs to the contrary did continually weaken
it. But this little spark of light also was soon after clean put out, no
doubt by the industry and malicitious procurement of the Puritans, whose
custom it is to incense the King against Catholics by some false
information, and thereby to draw from His Majesty certain bitter speeches
and invectives against Catholics, which then themselves are forward to
publish, thereby to put Catholics the more in despair, and by despair into
some cause giving of further afflictions, like him that will beat a child
to make him cry, and then beat him because he crieth.

But first, that which did seem to extinguish wholly all hopes of help from
His Majesty was, that whereas, in the beginning of the year 1605, it
pleased him to call a conference between the Protestant Bishops and the
chief of the Puritan side, in which conference or disputation the King, as
head of the Church of England in ecclesiastical matters (which the
Puritans acknowledge not), sat as chief moderator or judge in all
things—though I say it was his pleasure to give unto the Puritans a day of
hearing, yea, three days together full audience of all that they could say
or allege for themselves and for their novelties and newly coined
heretical inventions, yet would he not once admit the Catholics to be
heard or any for them, notwithstanding their prescription and
long-continued possession in their religion, and that they hold no other
faith than that which was warranted from erring by Christ Himself,
received from the seat of the Apostle St. Peter, commended for universal
by St. Paul, planted in our own country with miracles, watered with the
blood of acknowledged martyrs, strengthened with the authority of all the
ancient Doctors, practised and delivered unto us by known and granted
Saints, honoured and professed by all his ancestors, approved, commended,
and commanded by all the ancient Parliaments and laws of the realm;
notwithstanding all these and many other titles unto truth of doctrine
which we can allege, prove, and convince to be on our side, and only to
stand for us, yet we were put to silence, our mouth was shut, yea, and
stopped also (at the instance of the Puritans), least we should be heard
to cry that might not be suffered to speak. Which, that you may the better
see to be most true, you shall understand that when His Majesty, having
heard the Puritans at full, and knowing them to be a restless and
imperious company if they should be approved in their opinions, and
dangerous to his person and State (as he had often trial in Scotland) if
they should be permitted to grow to greater strength—for this cause he and
his Council thought it needful to define all matters in controversy
between the Protestants and them wholly in every point against the
Puritans, but then, being willing to give them satisfaction in some
things, “Et nesciens quomodo aliter placeret eis, nisi in capitibus
nostris,”(286) he first, in the whole conference, uttered divers things
that were very afflictive to Catholics, proceeding from the mouth of their
King, whom they had so much honoured and in whom they had hoped. Then,
drawing towards the end of the said conference, he urged the Bishops very
much to a diligent inquiry and punishment of the said Catholics (which
needed not, I wis, in respect of their known malice and vigilancy against
them). At which time His Majesty said he observed and discovered three
degrees of recusant Papists, as he called them; one that refused to go to
the communion but not to the service or sermons, the other refused to go
to communion or service but not to sermons, the third refused all three,
in which distinction His Majesty did comprehend those also whom we count
schismatics and well-wishers only, we esteeming, indeed, none for
Catholics, nor admitting any unto the Sacraments of the Church, but those
which refuse all communion with heretics in any of the three.

But all these kinds His Majesty said were carefully to be sought out and
prosecuted, &c. And when the Chancellor there present, and ready to devise
new afflictions unto Catholics for the satisfaction of the Puritans and
his credit with the King, proposed for a greater and sharper galling of
them, that ordinary processes _de excommunicato capiendo_ might be
exercised upon them, saying that no other punishment would vex them so
much; for that by force of this they should be barred from making
testaments; they should also be holden as outlaws and used accordingly; no
man needed to pay them any debts, nor any tenant their rents, unless they
list; and what injury soever they then receive, they can have no remedy.
This huge and universal affliction the Chancellor had no scruple to
entreat for us, and that he might have license to give out commandment for
the same, and that all under officers might be punished that any way
failed thereof. Whereunto, saith the book wherein all this conference is
printed at large, His Majesty yielded and gave consent. By which one
consent you may imagine how great a sea of molestations he did let forth
upon the said Catholics, and no less also by his consent to the 104 Canons
at that time set down and agreed on, all which were devised and planted by
the said Bishops to beat and batter the said Catholics withal. By this it
is easy to judge what cause all Catholics had by this time of extreme
diffidence of help from thence where it was most expected. And that
Catholics might know the better what to trust unto concerning all their
former hopes conceived or promises received, the contrary was afterwards
more plainly made known unto them by divers persons in authority, and that
in serious and public manner, of which I will only allege two examples, by
which you may guess at the rest; both which are published in print by
themselves in a book intituled _The late Commotion in Herefordshire_, &c.,
printed by J. Charlton and F. Burton. One is that upon the 5th of August,
in the year 1605, the then named Bishop of London, now of Canterbury,
preaching at Paul’s Cross, did utter a certain protestation of His
Majesty, made, as he saith, before God and His Angels, that he was so
constant and firm for the maintenance of the English religion which now he
professed, as that he would not only spend his own dearest blood in
defence thereof together with all his kingdoms if he had ten times so many
as he hath; but moreover desired of God, that if He saw any of his
children would be of other mind after him, He should take them away in his
lifetime, that he might see them brought to their grave before him, to the
end that their shame might be buried in his lifetime.

(M4) All which words of the King’s related by the Bishop, the author of
the book doth avow were spoken by His Majesty principally against Papists
and their hope of toleration or mitigation of their pressures, which he
saith to be a vain hope, &c. The other example is the Lord Chancellor his
speech in the Star Chamber some days before this, to wit, Thursday, the
20th of June in the same year, where, speaking unto the Judges before they
went their circuit, and to the Justices of Peace, gentlemen and others,
that were to return into their countries after the Term ended and relate
what they had heard in London, he delivered in vehement sort a large and
sharp speech as from His Majesty’s sense, words and commandment against
all sorts of Catholics, but especially Priests, Jesuits, and recusants,
and such as did acknowledge the authority of the Pope of Rome, ordaining
and charging in His Majesty’s name that all Judges in their circuits, all
Justices of Peace in their districts, all gentlemen in their countries,
and other people in the places where they should abide, should inquire
after them, pursue and seek them out, that they might be punished, adding
thereunto a certain new rigour of punishment not before in use, but
designed now by His Majesty, as he said, to wit, that every Justice of
Peace, though himself were no Papist, yet if he were thought to favour or
tolerate Papists, or if his wife, children, or servants were Papists, they
should lose their offices and be removed out of the Commission of Peace,
as unfit members to hold that place (which could be for no other reason,
but lest by some means or other some little favour might happen to some
Catholic by their means, as a town that is very strictly besieged is
commonly barred from all relief both by sea and land). Finally, he
concluded with that in effect which the Bishop spake at Paul’s Cross
concerning the vain hopes of Catholics for any toleration or alleviation
of their afflictions; hereunto adding a speech (saith the book) of His
Majesty’s concerning the folly of Papists, how they were besotted, yea and
more than bewitched to suppose any such matter of toleration, wondering
whereupon they should build their false hopes, adding also that His
Majesty had vowed unto his Privy Council, that if he did know that any of
his children after him would go back from this, he would lay his curse
upon him.

These and the like speeches do our chiefest enemies, the Puritans, use to
draw from His Majesty, and afterwards cause to be divulged also to no
small prejudice of the mutual love and goodwill, reverence, and respect,
which ought to be between the Prince and his subjects, as between the
father and his children: they being not ignorant what effect such speeches
do work, and that any injury is more easily borne at a Prince’s hand than
contumely against a multitude.

Whereupon they have further procured that ordinarily when His Majesty
cometh to dinner or supper, some one shall be ready to give occasion of
hard speeches against the Catholics; and this is commonly the office of
Mr. Mountague, dean of his chapel, who was in profession so earnest a
Puritan that he would not wear the cap or surplice (which Protestants
admit) before the King’s coming for any persuasion; but since, in respect
of the deanery in that place of credit, he is content to dispense with his
conscience, though his mother, the Lady Mountague, have given him her
curse for his labour, and saith she will not acknowledge him for her son
in respect of that dissimulation, as she calleth it. But howsoever it be,
his partners, the Puritans, make evil use of his place, being such as may
so often and so easily have the King’s ear, whereunto he is so ready,
that, besides other tricks, he hath this now and then, to bring some
Catholic book in his bosom, with the leaf turned into some place or other
where the author doth speak any thing that may offend His Majesty, as,
namely, of the Bishop of Rome, especially when it toucheth his spiritual
authority over Princes; which His Majesty reading or hearing read, and
growing thereby into heat of disputation, refutation, or reprehension,
uttereth oftentimes words which these men and their adherents do no less
odiously urge and divulge afterward, than craftily and maliciously they
procured before. As for example, that His Majesty doth hold all Catholics
that esteem of the Pope’s authority for traitors, and especially recusants
that will not in respect of their religion communicate with Protestants in
their service and sacraments, and finally that none can hold all points of
Catholic religion and be a true subject; with divers other such speeches
which gall and grieve the hearts of Catholics above measure, all which are
afterward avouched by the standers-by in His Majesty’s name, by citing his
authority for it. Whereof we could allege too many examples, which we
pretermit, for that it is likely that His Majesty had not so grievous
meaning therein against his Catholic subjects, as the words do sound or as
by such seditious people is wont to be inferred or urged, the sooner to
put men into despair.

(M5) And yet we must confess that one circumstance hath greatly increased
the fear of all Catholics touching His Majesty’s meaning in this most
deeply touching point, which is, that his Attorney-General (a man not
lightly esteemed in his profession of the common laws of our country)
having made a book whereby he would fain prove Catholic recusants to be
traitors, wresting and enforcing the common laws of the realm to that same
purpose; and presenting the said book unto the King, it was not only
gratefully received by His Majesty, but highly commended also, and the
doctrine allowed, so far forth that the King affirmed the same by oath and
said, “By my sall, I do hold them all for traitors indeed, and it is here
very sufficiently and truly proved.” And this was spoken publicly at His
Majesty’s table, divers noblemen standing by, and some that were not
ill-affected to Catholics and knew their minds and deserts unto His
Majesty to be much contrary to this construction.

This therefore being known to Catholics, it is easy to be seen how first
their hopes were turned into fears and then their fears into full
knowledge that all the contrary to that they hoped was intended and
prepared for them. It being well known that this book was made by the
Attorney according to the direction of the Council, to prepare the mind of
His Majesty and the other Peers of the realm against the ensuing
Parliament then to make laws against Catholics of such nature and force as
are fit and usual to be made against traitors; and therefore cunningly
they caused it first to be delivered to His Majesty in public place,
presuming that when the King had approved the book, and showed himself of
the same opinion, no subject durst seem to think the contrary, and
therefore that none would be slack in giving assent to any laws intended,
how cruel soever. And this is thought to have been a great cause of
hastening the impatience and temerity of those gentlemen who (as we find
now by their examinations) about these times conspired to work their
designment against the Parliament, as thinking by like, that sith they
were condemned for traitors and to be used for such at the Parliament,
they had no way to defend their life but by seeking to hinder the
Parliament, and that also, by so doing, they should be no more esteemed
traitors than they were already, nor their brethren neither, being all
esteemed and condemned beforehand for such. So that if they failed of
their purpose, they should not increase any evils to themselves or others;
and if their desires took effect, then they should free both (which
otherwise they thought impossible), besides the delivery of infinite souls
from schism and heresy, from sin and damnation, which they all protested
at their death was their principal intention.

But howsoever their intention was for the cause of their enterprise (which
I leave to the judgment of God), sure we are the thing intended was most
unfit, and a thing that I suppose hath brought more grief to the hearts of
Catholics generally in England than ever anything did in all this time of
their sufferings. But by this we may see how rash and temerarious attempts
extremity doth sometimes suggest, and that the counsel was wise which
Abner gave to Joab, when he did prosecute his victory with too great
violence. “An ignoras,” saith he, “quod periculosa sit desperatio?”(287)
As if he should say, Art thou so skilful a captain and art ignorant that
despair doth often drive those that fly to turn head again with new and
redoubled forces? especially when the despair of escaping by flight is so
great that they see rather increase of hope than of danger by fighting,
which hope of theirs men will then seek to strengthen with their uttermost
forces; whereof the event is often such as it turns the danger on the
contrary side, of which kind many examples are daily seen. And that not
only in men, that by natural reason are led to choose the less danger, but
in the poorest and most fearful creatures also that be, which of their own
natures are so timorous that they fly at the very sight of man, as we see
in many silly beasts both in house and fields; yet when they are so
pursued and pressed, as they are put in desperation of their life, they
turn again and leap in a man’s face itself. So that this course of giving
too much cause of despair is holden dangerous by all wise men, and as such
is carefully foreseen and prevented in most commonwealths. But our rulers
had been so long acquainted with our patience, and made trial thereof by
so many and so urging cruelties, that they thought themselves sure the
Catholics would never attempt anything in their own defence that might
offend the State, howsoever they were used. And surely so it had continued
still, as it hath long done, if this enterprise had been in their power to
prevent. But it was carried with that secrecy and with such manner of
proceeding as it was not possible for others to hinder it, nor seemed
probable that any did intend it; as now it will appear more plainly in the
chapters following.

Chapter III. How Upon These And The Like Motives Divers Gentlemen Did
Conspire And Conclude Upon Some Violent Remedy.

By that which hath been set down in the former chapter, every prudent man
will easily conceive what was like to be the sense and feeling of all
Catholics in this so great increase of their long-endured afflictions, in
this utter despair of any help from His Majesty (in whose promised
clemency all their hopes were placed), and in a certain expectation of
other most cruel and newly-invented laws to be further imposed upon them
at the next Parliament as against traitors not worthy to live in a
commonwealth, and as such already published in books framed and printed by
authority, and so censured and pronounced by the King himself. In what
other state could they be but a general and most afflicting desolation,
and as the Prophet Esay saith, “Omne caput languidum et omne cor
mœrens”(288) from the highest to the lowest.

But the cogitations of men, as they were all much afflicted in such an
inundation of evils upon them without hope of ease or end, so yet no doubt
they were very different according to the divers states of minds in plenty
or penury of grace, and partly also according to their different natures
and dispositions, some more able and apt than others to bear injuries with
patience. We know right well, and all England will witness with us, that
the greatest part by much did follow the example and exhortation of the
Religious and Priests that were their guides, moving them and leading them
by their own practice to make their refuge unto God in so great
extremities, “Qui nunquam deserit sperantes in se;”(289) “Nec patietur nos
tentari supra id quod possumus, sed faciet cum tentatione proventum ut
possimus sustinere.”(290) “Immo modicum passos ipse proficiet,
confirmabit, solidabitque.”(291) This we found to be believed practically
by most, and followed as faithfully, preparing themselves by more often
frequentation of the Sacraments, by more fervent prayer, and by perfect
resignation of their will to God, against the cloud that was like to cover
them, and the shower that might be expected would pour down upon them
after the Parliament, unto which all the chief Puritans of the land were
called, and only they or their friends selected out of every shire to be
the framers of the laws, which thereby we might easily know were chiefly
intended and prepared against us. But in so great a multitude all are not
so perfect, some few fainted in courage, and, as St. Cyprian noteth of his
times, did offer themselves unto the persecutors before they felt the
chief force of the blow that was to be expected.

Others again (as since it hath appeared) were much different from these,
and ran headlong into a contrary error. For being resolved never to yield
or forsake their faith, they had not patience and longanimity to expect
the Providence of God, “qui attingit a fine usque ad finem fortiter et
disponit omnia suaviter.”(292) They would not endure to see their brethren
so trodden upon by every Puritan, so made a prey to every needy follower
of the Court or servant to a Councillor, so presented and pursued by every
churchwarden and minister, so hauled to every sessions when the Justices
list to meet, so wronged on every side by the process of excommunication
or outlawry, and forced to seek for their own by law, and then also to be
denied law, because they were Papists; finally both themselves and all
others to be denounced traitors, and designed to the slaughter. These
things they would not endure now to begin afresh after so long endurance,
and therefore began amongst themselves to consult what remedy they might
apply to all these evils (and few greater than these by the daily
destruction of innumerable souls, as they alleged at their death), so that
it seems they did not so much respect what the remedy were, or how it
might be procured, as that it might be sure and speedy, to wit, to take
effect before the end of the Parliament from whence they seemed to expect
their greatest harm.

And this I do guess to have been the likeliest motive, to make that
stratagem of the Parliament House to come into their head, unless perhaps
they did think it was impossible for them to prevail any other way. Now
peace being concluded by other Princes, they could not expect any
sufficient aid from them. And they saw that other Princes were willing
with the peace in regard of their own affairs (which might be cause
sufficient), although there the peace of Catholics was not included; yea
presently upon the concluding of that, they saw and felt that the
persecution began afresh and in far worse manner than before (as in the
precedent chapters hath been related), yet they found that their case
would not be understood in many Princes’ Courts, but rather the
Ambassadors and other instruments employed by their persecutors believed,
than their case credited when it was laid down by witnesses of unstained
integrity. And seeing for these causes no hope of help from others, they
knew well that of themselves by open rising in field they were not able to
resist and repel the force of the whole State, both because all Catholics
would not join in those courses, and because both Protestants and Puritans
would then join together against them; therefore this public course being
not probable to take effect, it is like they fell to search out what
private way might be within their power and yet might be effectual. And
then, as it seems by their confessions (made after to the Council), Mr.
Catesby proposed that fatal and final course of overthrowing the
Parliament House, alleging for his reason that which before I gathered to
be his mind out of his own words: that so, said he, we may deliver our
country from the servitude she is in, and at one instant deliver us from
all our bonds, and although we can have no foreign help, yet so may we
plant again the Catholic religion in our country. Thus you may see how
good desires may be followed by unfit means, and how much a man may be
deceived when he doth follow but his own ways, how good or great soever
the motives be or the wished effect of that he goeth about, for “non est
faciendum malum ut inde eveniat bonum.”(293)

And when one of his companions, called Mr. Winter, proposed that the
matter was so great and imported so many that it would be well considered
of, Mr. Catesby answered, “The nature of the disease was such that it
required so sharp a remedy, and that the Parliament was the place where
all the laws had been made against Catholics, and therefore the fittest
for the makers of those laws there to receive their punishment, especially
there being then chosen all the Puritans of the realm, of purpose to make
much more cruel laws than before; so that at one blow they should cut off
all the greatest enemies of God’s Church, and the greatest persecutors
both of their souls and bodies, which they could not do by any other
possible means; and not doing that, they would never prevail nor save the
whole country from destruction of their souls, nor their brethren and
themselves from slaughter of their bodies.” Thus he. This, therefore,
seeming probable and pious to their deceived judgments, they fell upon
that conclusion, that they would prepare for it as soon as they could, but
in such secret manner that no living creature for no cause should
understand of their designments but themselves that then consulted, who
were but five in number, and they would take an oath of secrecy upon a
Primer to that effect. Only some months after, when they found some more
help was needful for them, they concluded that three of the five, whereof
Mr. Catesby and another of the chiefest to be two, might impart it to some
other chosen person to draw him into the action. So great care they had,
that it might not be so much as suspected by other Catholics, and
especially they meant to keep it from their ghostly Fathers and all kind
of Religious men or Priests, knowing well they should never have their
assent to an action of that nature. And besides, for that they had no
doubt at that time or any scruple in the matter for the causes before
alleged, gathered out of Mr. Catesby his words, though afterwards when the
matter depended much longer than they expected, upon some occasion or
other that belike was offered, they began to doubt of one circumstance,
and then sought resolution, but in such cunning and close manner, as shall
afterwards appear in the process of the story. And thirdly, for that they
feared their ghostly Fathers would assuredly draw them out of that course
if they should have understanding of it, which to be a principal cause of
their keeping the matter so secret from them, may appear by the speeches
which Sir Everard Digby used afterwards at the time of his arraignment.

The five that concluded first upon this preposterous Plot of Powder were
these, Mr. Robert Catesby, Mr. Thomas Percy, Mr. Thomas Winter, Mr. John
Wright, and Mr. Guy Fawks, as appeareth by the confession of the said Mr.
Thomas Winter: ¶(294) out of whose examinations with the others that were
made in the time of their imprisonment, I must gather and set down all
that is to be said or collected of their purposes and proceedings in this
heady enterprise. For that as I have said, they kept it so wholly secret
from all men, that until their flight and apprehension it was not known to
any that such a matter was in hand, and then there could none have access
unto them to learn the particulars. But we must be contented with that
which some of those that lived to be examined, did therein deliver. Only
for that some of their servants that were up in arms with them in the
country did afterwards escape, somewhat might be learned by them of their
carriage in their last extremities, and some such words as they then
uttered, whereby their mind in the whole matter is something the more
opened, and all as I have heard then I will faithfully relate.

But first that these first conspirators may be the better known, together
with the matter and manner of their conspiracy, it shall be good to let
you see in particular what the persons were.

Mr. Catesby (who as it seems by many circumstances was the first inventor
and the chiefest furtherer of the Plot) was a gentleman of an ancient and
great family in England, whose chief estate and dwelling was in
Warwickshire, though his ancestors had much living in other shires also.
Some of his ancestors had borne great sway in England. But commonly the
greatest men are not the best. Some others have been of great esteem for
virtue, as namely one knight of his house (I take it some four or five
descents ago) was commonly known and called in all the country, “good Sir
William Catesby,” of whom this memorable thing is recorded; that when he
had lived long in the fear of God and works of charity, one time as he was
walking in the fields, his good Angel appeared and showed him the anatomy
of a dead man and willed him to prepare him, for he should die by such a
time. The good knight presently accepting of the message willingly,
recommended himself with a fervent prayer unto our Blessed Lady in that
place and then went home and settled all his business both towards God and
the world, and died at his time appointed. This story is painted upon a
wall in the church of Ashby, where that knight and other of Mr. Catesby’s
ancestors lie buried. Myself have both seen the pictures and read the
prayer in that place.

Mr. Catesby his estate in his father’s time was great, above 3,000_l._ a
year, which now were worth much more; but Sir William Catesby, his father,
being a Catholic and often in prison for his faith, suffered many losses
and much impaired his estate. This son of his when he came to the living
was very wild, and as he kept company with the best noblemen of the land,
so he spent much above his rate and so wasted also good part of his
living. Some four or five years before Queen Elizabeth died, he was
reclaimed from his wild courses and became a Catholic, unto which he had
always been inclined in opinion, though not in practice. But after this
time he left his swearing and excess of play and apparel and all wild
company and began to use daily practices of religion instead of them,
insomuch that his former companions did marvel to see him so changed; for
he concealed his being a Catholic a long time. After that, about three
years before the Queen’s death, when the Earl of Essex did intend and
attempt by force to put down some of those that ruled the State and meant
(as it is thought) to have brought in His Majesty that now is into the
realm at that time, and to that end combined many noblemen and gentlemen
together in the enterprise, then was Mr. Catesby a principal man in the
action, having first received a faithful promise from the Earl of
toleration at least for all Catholics: yea and to that end he procured
some other Catholics to join also.

In that business, though it was weakly performed by those that had the
chief carriage, especially that Earl of Essex, yet did Mr. Catesby show
such valour and fought so long and stoutly, as divers afterwards of those
swordsmen did exceedingly esteem him and follow him in regard thereof, and
only commended Sir Christopher Blunt and him, both which were often
compared together, as well for their performance, as for the hurts they
received; though Mr. Catesby kept his very secret in prison, being in hope
to escape with a ransom, as he did, paying 2,000_l._, but it cost him
3,000_l._ before he got out. All which I therefore relate, as a chief
means of his getting aid and followers in the other enterprise following,
in which although he and his complices did us as great a wrong as might
be, and took themselves a most wrong course in their deceived zeal; yet I
will not wrong them with false reports in anything, nor wrong the reader
so much, as not to let him plainly know what kind of men they were, and to
that end do relate both their good and their evil.

When Mr. Catesby was cured of his hurts and had paid his ransom and
procured his liberty, he was so much esteemed and respected in all
companies of such as are counted there swordsmen or men of action, that
few were in the opinions of most men preferred before him, and he
increased much his acquaintance and friends. Upon which occasion he then
began to labour to win many to the Catholic faith, which he performed, and
brought many to be Catholics of the better sort, and was a continual means
of helping others to often frequentation of the Sacraments, to which end
he kept and maintained Priests in several places. And for himself he duly
received the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday and Festival-day, and grew to
such a composition of manners and carriage, to such a care in his speech
(that it might never be hurtful to others, but taking all occasions of
doing good), to such a zealous course of life, both for the cause in
general and every particular person whom he could help in God’s service,
as that he grew to be very much respected by most of the better and graver
sort of Catholics, and of Priests, and Religious also, whom he did much
satisfy in the care of his conscience; so that it might plainly appear he
had the fear of God joined with an earnest desire to serve Him. And so no
marvel though many Priests did know him and were often in his company. He
was moreover very wise and of great judgment, though his utterance not so
good. Besides he was so liberal and apt to help all sorts, as it got him
much love. He was of person above two yards high and, though slender, yet
as well proportioned to his height as any man one should see. His age (I
take it) at his death was about thirty-five, or thereabouts. And to do him
right, if he had not fallen into this foul action and followed his own
judgment in it (to the hurt and scandal of many), asking no advice but of
his own reasons deceived and blinded under the shadow of zeal; if, I say,
it had not been for this, he had truly been a man worthy to be highly
esteemed and prized in any commonwealth.

Mr. Thomas Percy was of the name and kindred of one of the ancientest and
greatest Earls in England, though I think he was not very near in blood,
although they called him cousin. His estate was not great, depending most
upon the same Earl that now is of the house of Percies, under whom he had
the keeping of a castle and the receiving of his rents, with the
overlooking and command of his tenants in those parts. For the most part
of his youth he had been very wild more than ordinary, and much given to
fighting, so much that it was noted in him and in Mr. John Wright (whose
sister he afterwards married) that if they had heard of any man in the
country to be esteemed more valiant and resolute than others, one or the
other of them would surely have picked some quarrel against him and fought
with him to have made trial of his valour. This Mr. Percy was for most of
his time affected to Catholics and a friend unto them, and did labour and
was the means to get some out of prison; but himself far from professing
the same, or following their counsel or example, until within five or six
years before his death, and I think about the time of my Lord of Essex his
enterprise he became Catholic; for he was also one in the action and a
very forward man, hoping that some ease at least would have come to
Catholics by the means. After that he was much more reclaimed, and grew in
time, by keeping Catholics’ company, and often frequentation of the
Sacraments, to leave all his old customs, and to live a very staid and
sober life, and for a year or two before his death kept a Priest
continually in the country to do good unto his family and neighbours,
though himself came thither but at times, living for the most part in
London, where he was made one of the Gentlemen Pensioners in Ordinary, and
so continued till his death. He had a great wit and a very good delivery
of his mind, and so was able to speak as well as most in the things
wherein he had experience. He was tall, and of a very comely face and
fashion; of age near fifty, as I take it, for his head and beard was much
changed white.

Mr. Thomas Winter was a younger brother of the house of Huddington, in the
county of Worcester, whose eldest brother and another younger than himself
were also brought after into the action by his means. This gentleman had
spent his youth well as it seemed by the parts he had, for he was a
reasonable good scholar, and able to talk in many matters of learning, but
especially in philosophy or histories very well and judicially. He could
speak both Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French. He had been a soldier both
in Flanders, France, and, I think, against the Turk, and could discourse
exceeding well of those matters. And was of such a wit, and so fine
carriage, that he was of so pleasing conversation, desired much of the
better sort, but an inseparable friend to Mr. Robert Catesby. He was of
mean stature, but strong and comely and very valiant, about thirty-three
years old or somewhat more. His means were not great, but he lived in good
sort, and with the best. He was very devout and zealous in his faith, and
careful to come often to the Sacraments, and of very grave and discreet
carriage, offensive to no man, and fit for any employment. I wish
therefore he had been employed in some better business.

Mr. John Wright was a gentleman of Yorkshire, not born to any great
fortune, but lived always in place and company of the better sort. In his
youth and for the most of his time very wild and disposed to fighting and
trial of his manhood, as I touched before. He became Catholic about the
time of my Lord of Essex his attempt, in which he was; and after that time
kept much with Mr. Catesby and some other gentlemen of his friends and
acquaintance. He grew to be staid and of good sober carriage after he was
Catholic, and kept house in Lincolnshire, where he had Priests come often,
both for his spiritual comfort and their own in corporal helps. He was
about forty years old, a strong and a stout man, and of a very good wit,
though slow of speech; much loved by Mr. Catesby for his valour and
secrecy in carriage of any business, which, I suppose, was the cause why
he was one of the first acquainted with this unfortunate enterprise.

Mr. Guido Faulks spent most of his time in the wars of Flanders, which is
the cause that he was less known here in England, but those that have
known him do affirm that as he did bear office in the camp under the
English coronell on the Catholic side, so he was a man every way deserving
it whilst he stayed there, both for devotion more than is ordinarily found
in soldiers, and especially for his skill in martial affairs and great
valour, for which he was there much esteemed. And that was the cause, as
it may be thought, why Mr. Catesby and the rest of the conspirators cast
their eyes upon him before others, when they desired one out of Flanders
to be their assistant.

But would to God these gentlemen had used their talents better and
employed them to the service of God and their country, for which they were
given, and not to the offence of the one and destruction of the other, as
we find now to our great increase of grief amidst the rest of our many
calamities and heavy burthen of persecution, of which the memory of this
matter is not the least. Undoubtedly they were men of able parts to
perform much in God’s service, and so it is like they would have continued
as they had begun if they would have feared sufficiently their own
fancies, and followed the grave example and advice of those from whom they
sought for help in all other matters that concerned their soul. And yet at
length they began to doubt in some points of this also, as shall appear in
the chapter following.

Chapter IV. How After They Had Begun Their Enterprise, They Fell Into Some
Scruple, And Went About To Satisfy Their Conscience By Asking Questions
Afar Off, Of Learned Men, Without Opening The Case.

It appeareth by the confession which Mr. Thomas Winter made unto the Lords
of the Council, being published in print by order from the said Council,
that these gentlemen having concluded upon this course of violent remedy
(because they resolved to undertake it as their last refuge and remedy of
all the evils they sought to prevent), Mr. Catesby, who first proposed
this fatal blow to be given to the Parliament House, did also first
propose unto them the last trial which he thought likely to prevail for
redress of those evils by quiet means; and to use his own words, there
related by Mr. Winter, “First (said he to Mr. Thomas Winter) because we
will leave no peaceable and quiet way untried, you shall go over and
inform the Constable (who was then upon his coming in) of the state of the
Catholics here in England, entreating him to solicit His Majesty at his
coming hither, that the Penal Laws may be recalled, and we admitted into
the rank of his other subjects.” Mr. Winter went over and delivered his
message unto the Constable as in the name of all the Catholics of England,
whose answer was, that he had strict command from His Majesty of Spain to
do all good offices for the Catholics; and for his own part, he thought
himself bound in conscience so to do, and that no good occasion should be
omitted. Thus much the Constable promised at that time, and no doubt
performed it both wisely and charitably in what he could. But it is an
easy matter to satisfy with hopes of future favours, when he that receives
the promises shall not be present to see the performance.

So soon as the peace was concluded, and the Constable [of Spain] departed,
the stream of persecution began to run more violently than before.
Searches were more frequent, the seizure of goods more ordinary and
violent, the payment of 20_l._ a month with the arrearages also were
enacted, and (which terrified most) the Puritans, who were the chief men
selected and summoned for the Parliament, were so full of their
designments against Catholics, that they could not choose but [cast out
great threats](295) against them in every place where they came; some
affirming they would now set up their rest and have their will of
Catholics; some that they would leave no Catholics in England after a
while; others that they hoped to see them all hanged ere it were long.
Yea, I know a town myself whither some Puritans came to seize some goods
of Catholics long before the Parliament, where the party whose goods were
taken, complaining of the rigour in the manner of proceeding, the officers
answered, “They hoped to see all the Catholics’ throats cut shortly,
therefore this was nothing.” Things therefore standing in these terms with
Catholics, these gentlemen resolved to expect no further trials, but, as I
said, concluded upon their intended stratagem, bound each other by oath to
the highest degree of secrecy, and so it seems they went about their
business, never fearing any fault in the thing itself, nor fall that might
come to Catholics by their error; and thus it continued for a good space
with them.

They hired a house by the water side (as may appear in Mr. Winter’s
confession) where they might first land their powder when they had bought
it, and from whence they might easily transport it by boat also unto the
place appointed, which was a house close by the Parliament House, hired by
Mr. Thomas Percy, as a fit residence for himself near the Court, being
Pensioner, and to wait daily in his quarters. And Mr. Faulks went as his
man to keep the house. In this house, to prevent occasions of often going
out, because they would not seem to be many in the house, they bought
baked meats and made provision at once for a long time. They began to work
underground at such times as they could least be heard, and wrought the
mine until they came to the wall of the Parliament House, which finding to
be hard stone, they were long about a little progress, and were to be more
wary than before in respect of the noise. Whilst they were thus together,
and proceeding daily as they might, they had leisure, saith Mr. Winter, to
fashion all their business, and to discourse of all things that were to be
done in the matter, whereby it may seem their first resolution of the
thing itself was sudden, and such as young heads and forward minds do
often bring forth, without due consideration of circumstances and likely
events, which would not have been if they had asked counsel in the cause;
but rather, if the matter had been of that quality that it had been fit to
have proceeded in it (as this was most unfit of all others), then would
all the circumstance of importance have been foreseen beforehand, and all
likely events forecast, and according to them the resolution left off or
undertaken. But these gentlemen, as it seems then, with that leisure and
opportunity of being so much in private together, began to fashion their
business, after they had begun the enterprise. Then they began to think
how they should get into their hands the next heir, whom they might set up
and strengthen against the meaner sort of Puritans that would be left; so
that his authority being used in his nonage, the Catholic religion might
be erected, and he so brought up, as that he would at his full years be a
patron of the same. And Mr. Percy undertook that charge, being one that
might best be seen in the Court, in regard of his place. Then they
discoursed what foreign Princes they should acquaint with the business, in
respect of their help after against the heretics, if they did stand out
long. And they resolved to acquaint none; first, because they could not
oblige them by oath to secrecy, so as they might be sufficiently assured
thereof, which they esteemed the most necessary point of all others, and
the strength of the whole business; secondly, for that it seemed they were
doubtful the matter would be misliked by other Princes, as indeed they had
cause to think it, not likely only, but certain; and so no doubt they
would have found it, if it had been imparted to any, especially if the
least notice had come unto His Holiness, who had ever showed a special
care of our King, and had great hope that in time he would do well both
for himself and his country. Then also they began to think what Lords they
should save out of the Parliament. And first they resolved they would save
as many as they could. Then they descended more into particulars, to
consider whom they might draw out of the danger, without danger of
discovering unto them the cause why, or so that they might have the least
suspicion of the matter intended.

And here, belike, finding it would be very hard to save so many as they
desired, and yet withal to save the secrecy of their enterprise (in which
consisted the safety of themselves and of the cause), here it is very
likely they began to have that scruple in which afterwards they sought to
satisfy their conscience, but not in right and plain matter as they
should, by explaining the case of which they demanded, but afar off, as a
thing by chance coming into their mind, and concerning rather a point of
warlike affairs in general, than any particular intention of theirs at
that time to be put in practice. For whilst they were in the middle of
their discourses (saith Mr. Winter), understanding that the Parliament
should be anew adjourned, they left off their work for that time, and went
to keep Christmas in several places, which was always their custom, to
avoid suspicion. Then the chiefest of them took the present commodity
offered by meeting with learned Priests that holy time, and meant to
inform themselves of such doubts as were risen concerning the lawfulness
of the business they had in hand. And, having a great opinion both of the
learning and virtue of the Fathers of the Society, Mr. Catesby desired to
get, by cunning means, the judgment of their Superior, so as he should
never perceive to what end the question were asked. Therefore coming to
Father Garnett, after much ordinary talk, and some time passed over after
his arrival, one time he took occasion (upon some speech proposed about
the wars in the Low Countries or such like) to ask how far it might be
lawful for the party that hath the just quarrel to proceed in sacking or
destroying a town of the enemy’s or fortress when it is holden against
them by strong hands. The Father answered that in a just war it was lawful
for those that had right to wage battle against the enemies of their
commonwealth, to authorize their captains or soldiers, as their officers,
to annoy or destroy any town that is unjustly holden against them, and
that such is the common doctrine of all Divines: in respect that every
commonwealth must by the Law of Nature be sufficient for itself, and
therefore as well able to repel injuries as to provide necessaries; and
that, as a private person may _vim vi repellere_, so may the commonwealth
do the like with so much more right as the whole is of more importance
than a part; which, if it were not true, it should follow that Nature had
provided better for beasts than for men, furnishing them with natural
weapons as well to offend as to defend themselves, which we see also they
have a natural instinct to use, when the offence of the invader is
necessary for their own defence. And therefore that it is not fit to think
that God, Who by natural reason, doth provide in a more universal and more
noble manner for men than by natural instinct for beasts, hath left any
particular person, and much less a commonwealth, without sufficient means
to defend and conserve itself; and therefore not without power to provide
and use likely means to repel present injuries, and to repress known and
hurtful enemies. And that, in all these, the head of the commonwealth may
judge what is expedient and needful for the body thereof. Unto which Mr.
Catesby answering that all this seemed to be plain in common reason, and
the same also practised by all well-governed commonwealths that ever have
been, were they never so pious or devout. But, said he, some put the
greatest difficulty in the sackage of towns and overthrowing or drowning
up of forts, which, in the Low Countries, and in all wars is endeavoured,
when the fort cannot otherwise be surprised, and the same of great
importance to be taken. How then those who have right to make the war may
justify that destruction of the town or fort, wherein there be many
innocents and young children, and some perhaps unchristened, which must
needs perish withal? Unto this the Father answered, that indeed therein
was the greatest difficulty; and that it was a thing could never be lawful
in itself, to kill an innocent, for that the reason ceaseth in them for
which the pain of death may be inflicted by authority, seeing the cause
why a malefactor and enemy to the commonwealth may be put to death is in
respect of the common good, which is to be preferred before his private
(for otherwise, considering the thing only in itself, it were not lawful
to put any man to death); and so because the malefactor doth _in re gravi_
hinder the common good, therefore by the authority of the magistrate that
impediment may be removed. But now, as for the innocent and good, their
life is a help and furtherance to the common good, and therefore in no
sort it can be lawful to kill or destroy an innocent. But, said Mr.
Catesby, that is done ordinarily in the destruction of these forts I spake
of. It is true, said the Father, it is there permitted, because it cannot
be avoided; but is done as _per accidens_, and not as a thing intended by
or for itself, and so it is not unlawful. As if we were shot into the arm
with a poisoned bullet, so that we could not escape with life unless we
cut off our arm; then _per accidens_ we cut off our hand and fingers also
which were sound, and yet being, at that time of danger, inseparably
joined to the arm, lawful to be cut off, which it were not lawful
otherwise to do without mortal sin. And such was the case of the town of
Gabaa, and the other towns of the tribe of Benjamin, wherein many were
destroyed that had not offended. With which Mr. Catesby seeming fully
satisfied, brake presently into other talk, the Father at that time little
imagining whereat he aimed, though afterwards, when the matter was known,
he told some friends what had passed between by Mr. Catesby and him about
this matter, and that he little suspected then he would so have applied
the general doctrine of Divines to the practice of a private and so
perilous a case, without expressing all particulars, which course may give
occasion of great errors, as we see it did in this.

Now Mr. Catesby having found as much as he thought was needful for his
purpose, related the same unto the rest of the conspirators, and all were
animated in their proceedings without any further scruple for a long time,
but applied all by their own divinity unto their own case, persuading
themselves belike, that they had all the conditions of a lawful war with
the Puritans and Protestant parties. First, a just cause, in defence of
their goods, lives, and liberty, both of themselves and their brethren,
and especially for the delivery and safety of so many thousand souls
inthralled by sin and heresy; secondly, they thought they found in
themselves a right intention to suppress evil and erect and strengthen
that which was good and needful; thirdly, about authority to commence the
same, I suppose they had most difficulty, and do not see how they could
satisfy their own reason (much less the rules that are required in
schools) in that behalf, seeing they did know so well, and had been so
often told by the said Father Garnett and others of their spiritual
guides, that His Holiness had given strict charge there should be nothing
attempted against His Majesty [and the State], but that all Catholics
should seek in patience to possess their souls, and thereby, and not by
force, to plead for favour. I know not therefore from what ground they
could imagine themselves to have authority, although in a far less matter.
For it is not likely that they should think of the opinion of some that
hold “quod defensio manualis cum sit de Jure Naturali non potest auferri
per Superiorem vel contrarium præcipi.”(296) And besides, that is to be
understood _in ipso conflictu_, and not _longe ante_, as in this case of
the Parliament.

But it is an easy matter for an earnest desire to draw a man’s opinion
after it, and so their great and unadvised zeal to remedy the wrongs done
to Catholics both in soul and body, might perhaps make them think that
this opportunity of the Parliament being omitted, they should never again
have power or opportunity to defend the Catholic party. And that there was
not sufficient access to inform Superiors of the case of Catholics,
neither that their extremities were believed, and that if they were truly
known, they neither would nor could be tolerated when remedy might be
applied, in which they thought themselves as it were the officers and
hands of the commonwealth, in whose hands and power it was then to perform
it as they thought, but would not be so if they should ask counsel or
leave of others, because so great a secret could not be kept in the mouths
of many, and those not in like manner or measure affected to the business.
Thus we may see how oftentimes it happens that a greedy affection and
desire of the prey doth not let the bird consider or see the danger of the
net which hangeth between the prey and it. And so as it is in too earnest
pursuit of riches, that “qui volunt divites fieri incidunt in tentationem
et in laqueum diaboli,”(297) so in this case, their vehement desire of
their prefixed end, did make them oversee a number of inconveniences and
perils both of soul and body, that did hang upon this lamentable
enterprise, which they did afterwards find, and as I hope repented: and
others for their fault have felt more at leisure since this matter

But we that be innocent in the case, and were no ways accessary to the
cause giving, must not repine at God’s judgments, if He suffer us to be
beaten for the error by others committed: Et si in vincula conjiciamur
quasi mala operantes et ante reges et præsides ducamur quasi non
existentes amici Cæsaris,(298) yet we must be comforted in the testimony
of our own conscience, that we do hate all treason against our Prince as
much as those that punish us for traitors, and would no ways have joined
in this if we had known it, but our earnest endeavours against it should
have given sufficient testimony of a contrary mind in us, as may and will
appear in the chapter following was done by Father Garnett when he began
to fear they had something in hand, although he could never guess or
suspect so strange a practice as they were then in plotting or rather in
perfecting to be performed.

Chapter V. How Father Garnett Beginning To Suspect Somewhat By Certain
Generalities He Understood Of The Gentlemen, Wrote Divers Letters To Rome
For Prevention Of Rebellion.

When Mr. Catesby had thus satisfied his particular doubts out of this
general doctrine, both he and his company went forward in their former
purposes and after Christmas met again and began to labour afresh in the
mine, to work through the wall of the Parliament House which they found to
be difficult and long in doing. Whereupon by mutual consent they took in
another assistant who was Mr. Christopher Wright, younger brother to John
Wright before described in the third chapter, by whom also this other may
be known without new description. For though he were not like him in face,
as being fatter and a lighter coloured hair and taller of person, yet was
he very like to the other in conditions and qualities, and both esteemed
and tried to be as stout a man as England had and withal a zealous
Catholic and trusty and secret in any business as could be wished: in
respect whereof they esteemed him very fit to be of their company and so
caused him to take the oath of secrecy and he received the Blessed
Sacrament thereupon (as they had also done) and so admitted him. Not long
after they admitted also another, which was Mr. Robert Winter, the eldest
brother to Thomas Winter before spoken of.

This Robert Winter was a gentleman of good estate in Worcestershire, about
one thousand marks a year, and had matched with the daughter of Mr. John
Talbot, an ancient Catholic and one of the greatest men in the whole shire
for blood, for living, and for power. Mr. Robert Winter was also an
earnest Catholic, though not as yet generally known to be so. He was a
wise man and of grave and sober carriage and very stout, as all of that
name have been esteemed. This gentleman then with like ceremonies and
obligation to secrecy was joined to their number and made them up seven;
who all laboured hard in the mine to get through the foundation of the
house, which was a hard stone wall of three yards thick. And so they
continued working until near Easter, at which time finding that a cellar
under the side of their house (which was until that time in the possession
of others) was then to be let for rent, Mr. Percy presently took the same,
as if it were to lay in fuel for his house and they found it so commodious
for their purpose, that they left off their other laborious work in the
mine; and in the cellar placed all their powder and covered the same with
billets, in such sort as it could not be suspected: intending to store it
better with powder and other necessaries nearer to the time of the
Parliament which then was adjourned.

In the meantime Father Garnett understanding by some friends that Mr.
Catesby was much missing from the places where he was wont continually to
resort for spiritual helps; and hearing also, that he and other gentlemen
of his forward humour did keep much together and had many secret meetings,
he began to suspect they had something in hand that might tend to some
commotion and that they did labour to get adherents for some attempt to be
performed in forcible manner. Whereupon he wrote presently to his
Superiors at Rome, that by their means there might be procured from His
Holiness a prohibition to be sent unto Catholics from attempting anything
by way of force, and of this kind he wrote divers letters which myself
have seen since that time. And having had good commodity to see the copies
of them lately in a place where they are safely kept, I will set down his
own words written in several letters, that the reader may see his wise and
quiet proceeding and the mild spirit of the man, much different from the
calumnious reports his enemies have given of him concerning this action
and directly contrary to the turbulent spirit of those that have been
professed teachers of heresy both in those and other countries.

And first he wrote one letter to his Superiors in the year 1604, dated on
the 29 of August, whilst the peace was yet in treaty and some hope yet
living in Catholics that their peace would also be included, in which he
hath these words (showing how difficult a matter it was for Catholics to
be heard in their own cause even by some of those that were to plead for
them). “Some,” saith he, “are so jealous of their peace that whosoever
dealt earnestly with them to further religion, they sticked not to say
that they were seditious and statesmen. ‘Nunquid pax est perniciosa
religioni?’(299) said one of them. But no wise men misliked the peace and
we hope for good of religion, which Catholics do patiently expect.” These
are his words: and truly if all that had to do in the matter had dealt as
effectually for us in that kind as the Constable did in the small time of
his stay there, perhaps things might have gone better with us than they
did; but as he received promises which were not performed after his
departure; so others were with like policy made believe that things did
not go so hard with us as indeed we felt them: although it be true that
the hardest of all began after the peace was fully concluded. In the same
letter of Father Garnett’s one may see also what difficulty he had on the
other side with some Catholics to keep them quiet if some mitigation
should not be obtained for them after so long expectance, wherein he meant
belike Mr. Catesby and some such whom he most feared, about which he wrote
these words following in cypher: “If the affair of toleration go not well,
Catholics will no more be quiet. What shall we do? Jesuits cannot hinder
it. Let Pope forbid all Catholics to stir.” These are his words, which
sufficiently declare both his desires and endeavours to further peace and
to hinder the contrary.

About a month after he wrote another letter in answer of one he had
received from his Superiors not long before (as I perceive by the party
that hath the keeping of these letters), wherein they did require to be
informed whether himself or any of the Society in England were against the
peace, or did favour or further unquiet proceedings in any respect; for
that such an information had been sent to Padua out of England, but not
known by whom, unto which he answered as followeth: “That which was
written to Padua, that the King is much moved against Catholics through
the fervour of some Jesuits, is known to be false here by all, as well
enemies as friends. For they were the setters on of the suit for peace,
and the Agent always used their counsel, and without their credit and
friends he had never gone so forward. Besides, an Earl of great account
commended publicly the Jesuits in the Parliament House, as persons wise,
learned, and of sincere conscience, and great setters forwards of peace.
In Watson’s business it is well known how many had been entangled, and
what danger would have followed if they had not hindered. For although
they cannot hinder what every tumultuous head intendeth, yet can they
carry with them to peaceable courses the best and most Catholics. Finally,
our enemies see our courses and stick not to say that we flatter the
Council, whose good opinion we have gotten. Thus humbly saluting yourself
and all our friends, I cease this 21 of September.” Thus the good Father,
in whose words we may see how, with truth and sincere dealing, he was
able, and had need to defend himself and his Company from virulent
surmises and false informations on both sides; some informing they did
bend to the one extremity, and some thinking they did lean unto the other;
but virtue is in the mean, in which path both he and his did walk.

And as for that matter of Watson’s, thus much I can say upon my knowledge,
that when the Plot was revealed unto Father Gerard to have his counsel and
furtherance therein, he first refused absolutely to meddle in the matter,
and wished the other party to desist himself and to dissuade others from
it, as a thing absolutely unlawful and many ways hurtful. Then presently,
for better prevention thereof, he sent to London of purpose, both to
inform his own Superior, Father Garnett, and the Archpriest, Mr.
Blackwell, wishing they would presently forbid all their acquaintance from
entering into the cause, and to stay it what they could; by which course
he thought he had done sufficient to hinder the proceeding of the matter,
not knowing then that any others were interested therein but those few
Catholics from whom and of whom he had heard it. But afterwards,
understanding again that the intention did go on, and that they were to be
at London at Midsummer to effect their intent (which was to apprehend the
King’s person as he should be hunting in a park); and seeing that
Midsummer was then at hand, and the time so short, that he feared much no
warning to the parties themselves would be sufficient to stay them, he
then, to be more sure of the safety of His Majesty’s person, made known
the whole intention unto one of His Majesty’s servants, a Scottish
gentleman and a Catholic, and as such well known unto His Majesty, who
presently made haste unto the Court to open the matter unto the King
himself; but found it was known the day before he came, and so spake
nothing of it, being not then needful, nor he willing without cause to be
acknowen of his acquaintance with Father Gerard: for which cause also I do
here suppress his name; but if occasion were, I doubt not but he would be
willing to bear witness with what care and fidelity the said Father Gerard
did seek to prevent the danger to His Majesty. All which having heard from
Father Gerard himself upon his protestation to be true in every point as I
have here related, I do the rather set it down, because he was one of the
three afterwards most wrongfully accused of this other much greater and
more pernicious conspiracy, whereof he had not so much as the least
knowledge, as will afterwards more plainly appear.

But to return to the letters of Father Garnett. When once he began to
suspect that the gentlemen aforesaid had something in their heads, and
perceived by divers words and signs, that they were the more strange with
the Society; and as it were offended that the Society were still so
earnest to persuade all men to expect the Providence of God, and the help
that might be procured by the mediation of other Princes, wherein also
they assured all Catholics that His Holiness would effectually procure
them to do their best. These gentlemen were impatient to hear of any
longer stay upon unlikely hopes, and therein esteemed the Society
hinderers of their good, as may appear by a letter of Father Garnett,
written in the 8 of May, 1605, wherein he hath these words set down all in
cypher: “All are desperate, divers Catholics are offended with Jesuits;
they say that Jesuits do impugn and hinder all forcible enterprises. I
dare not inform myself of their affairs, because of the prohibition of
Father General for meddling in such affairs.” Then out of cypher
followeth: “And so I cannot give you exact account; this I know by mere
chance.” Thus much Father Garnett, whereby may appear both what
commandment he had received from his Superiors and how carefully he
performed it, even to the offence of these forward-minded Catholics, who
were then well forward in their cruel enterprise. For this was after they
had left the mine, and hired the cellar, as I said in the last chapter, as
more commodious for their purpose. But of all that Father Garnett had not
then the least imagination, only so much as he gathered by generalities,
he informed his Superiors that they might hinder. Whereupon, having soon
after received answer of these from Father Persons, with strict charge in
the name of His Holiness, with Father General’s letters also to the same
effect, that he and his should continue, by all means possible, to hinder
any insurrection or undutiful proceedings against His Majesty or the
State. Unto those letters Father Garnett made this answer following, dated
the 24 of July, the same year 1605.

    “Magnifice Domine,

    Accepimus Dominationis vestræ litteras, quas, eâ quâ par est
    reverentiâ erga suam Sanctitatem et vestram Paternitatem
    amplectimur. Et quidem pro meâ parte quater hactenus tumultum
    impedivi. Nec dubium est quin publicos omnes armorum apparatus
    prohibere possimus; cum certum sit multos Catholicos absque nostro
    consensu nihil ejusmodi (nisi urgente necessitate) attentare
    velle. Duo tamen sunt quæ nos valde solicitos tenent. Primum ne
    alii fortassis in unâ aliquâ Provinciâ ad arma convolent, unde
    alios ipsa necessitas ad similia studia compellat. Sunt enim non
    pauci qui nudâ suæ Sanctitatis jussione cohiberi non possunt. Ausi
    sunt enim, vivo Papâ Clemente, interrogare, num posset Papa illos
    prohibere, quominus vitam suam defendant? Dicunt insuper, suorum
    secretorum Presbyterum nullum fore conscium, nominatim vero de
    nobis conqueruntur etiam amici nonnulli nos illorum molitionibus
    obicem ponere. Atque ut hos aliquo modo leniremus et saltem tempus
    lucraremur, ut dilatione aliquâ adhiberi possint congrua remedia,
    hortati sumus ut communi consilio aliquem ad Sanctissimum
    mitterent, quod factum est, eumque ad Illustrissimum Nuncium in
    Flandriam direxi, ut ab ipso suæ Sanctitati commendetur; scriptis
    etiam litteris, quibus eorum sententiam exposui, et rationes pro
    utrâque parte. Hæ litteræ fuse scriptæ ac plenius fuere, tutissime
    enim transferentur. Atque hæc de primo periculo. Alterum est
    aliquanto deterius, quia periculum est ne privatim aliqua proditio
    aut vis Regi offeratur, et hoc pacto omnes Catholici ad arma
    compellantur. Quare, meo quidem judicio duo necessaria sunt;
    primum ut sua Sanctitas præscribat quid quoquo in casu agendum
    sit; deinde ut sub censuris omnem armorum vim Catholicis
    prohibeat, idque Brevi publice edito, cujus occasio obtendi potest
    nuper excitatus in Walliâ tumultus qui demum in nihilum recidit.
    Restat ut (cum in pejus omnia quotidie prolabantur) oremus S.
    Sanctitatem his tantis periculis ut brevi necessarium aliquod
    remedium adhibeat, cujus sicut et Rdæ. Ptis. vræ benedictionem

    “Londini, 24 Julii, 1605.

    “Magcæ. Dnis. Væ. Servus

By these we may see that Father Garnett having now great suspicion that
these gentlemen had something in hand against the State, or perhaps
perceiving by some general signs there was some such matter, he sought
presently to apply the surest remedy from His Holiness. And true it is, as
will appear after in Father Garnett’s arraignment, that Mr. Catesby
offered sometimes to tell him that they would not endure to be so long so
much abused, but would take some course to right themselves, sith others
would not respect them or could not relieve them; unto which general
speeches Father Garnett would give no ear, nor durst not enter to inquire
further of the matter, in respect of a prohibition from his Superiors,
which he touched in the former letters. But yet upon this general
knowledge, you see how earnestly he wrote for an authentical instrument of
prohibition from such authority as he knew they would not resist, although
perhaps his own words, in a matter of so great weight, would not suffice
for all, though for the most and best it would, as before he also touched.

And it seemed soon after, as he thought that he had done some good with
those gentlemen also, whom he feared most, or else that they had promised
him to lay aside all thought of those matters, until they had answer from
the gentleman whose sending, as you see, he had proposed to defer their
hot desires until a cooling card might be sent from Rome, in answer of
this his letter. For soon after, he wrote other letters of the 28 of
August, wherein (having first declared how both his houses were discovered
unto the Council, and he thereby utterly unfurnished of a safe place, and
thereupon resolved to spend most of the summer in travel to visit a holy
well of St. Winifred, which is a great pilgrimage in England, and to do
what good he could at friends’ houses by the way, both going and coming,
until a fit house could be provided for him, wherein he might settle for
the winter); this declared, he wrote as followeth: “And for anything we
can see, Catholics are quiet, and likely to continue their old patience,
and to trust to the King or his son for to remedy all in time. The
increase of Catholics is great, and I hope in this journey (which I
undertake to-morrow, both for health and want of a house) I shall have
occasion of much good. I leave for substitute,” &c. And so he proceedeth
to show whom he left to dispatch his London business in his absence. But
where Father Garnett said in this letter that for ought he could see
Catholics were quiet, his meaning was, no doubt, quiet from any attempts,
as he supposed. For as for other quietness, or repose from persecution,
you shall see what quiet there was by another letter of his written in
October following, towards the end of his journey; which, being the true
relation of the present state of things to be seen in such a man’s letter,
I think best to set it down verbatim: “My very loving Sir, we are to go
within few days nearer London, yet are we unprovided of a house, nor can
find any convenient for any long time. But we must be fain to borrow some
private house for a time, and live more privately until this storm be
overblown. For most strict inquiries are practised, wherein if my hostess
be not quite undone, she speedeth better than many of her neighbours. The
courses taken are more severe than in Queen Elizabeth’s time. Every six
weeks is a several court; juries appointed to indict, present, find the
goods of Catholics, prize them, yea in many places to drive away
whatsoever they find ‘contra ordinem juris,’ and put the owners, if
perhaps Protestants, to prove that they be theirs, and not of recusants
with whom they deal. The Commissioners, in all countries, are the most
earnest and base Puritans, whom otherwise the King discountenanceth. The
prisoners at Wisbich are almost famished; they are very close, and can
have no help from abroad; but the King allowing a mark a week for each
one, the keeper maketh his gains, and giveth them meat but three days a
week. If any recusant buy his goods again, they inquire diligently if the
money be his own, otherwise they would have that too. In fine, if these
courses hold, every man must be fain to redeem once in six months the very
bed he lieth on. And hereof (that is of twice redeeming) besides other
precedents, I find one in this lodging of ——, where now I am.” (In his
letter it is described, but here not fit to set down.) “The judges now
openly protest that the King now will have blood, and hath taken blood in
Yorkshire; that the King hath hitherto stroked Papists, but now will
strike. And this is without any least desert of Catholics. The execution
of two in the North is certain, and whereas it was done upon cold blood,
that is, with so great stay after their condemnation, it argueth a
deliberate resolution of what we may expect. So that there is no hope that
[Pope] Paul [V.] can do anything; and whatsover men give out there, of
easy proceedings with Catholics, is mere fabulous. And yet I am assured,
notwithstanding, that the best sort of Catholics will bear all their
losses with patience. But how these tyrannical proceedings of such base
officers may drive particular men to desperate attempts, that I cannot
answer for. The King’s wisdom will foresee. In my journey,” &c. So he
proceedeth to relate some particular occurrents that happened in his
journey not needful here to be set down, yet towards the end of the letter
he setteth down this: “I have a letter from Field in Ireland who telleth
me that of late there was a very severe proclamation against all
Ecclesiastical persons, and a general command for going to the church,
with a solemn protestation that the King never promised nor meant to give
toleration.” All these are Father Garnett’s words truly and sincerely set
down as they lie in his letter written by his own hand, dated the 4th of
October, 1605,(301) which I am the more glad I lit on, because it doth
agree so just with my former relation of the state of England touching
persecution of Catholics before the time of this late conspiracy; whereby
some may see, by the plain words of so grave a witness as Father Garnett
was, how much they are deceived, when they think that the persecution was
caused by the conspiracy, and not, _e contra_, the conspiracy intended and
attempted by those gentlemen out of impatience to bear so great abuses,
and that from so base and cruel enemies as the Puritans are, who were
everywhere made princes over Catholics, though otherwise not thought
worthy to be esteemed or countenanced.

All these, I say, be Father Garnett his letters, whereof I have seen the
copies and have truly set down his own words as they are in the same (as I
assure the reader upon my conscience), and the letters themselves, as I
understand for certain, are as yet to be seen in Rome under his own hand,
if occasion require. And by all these it is most apparent that Father
Garnett was as careful as a man could be, to observe the strict
commandment he had received both from His Holiness and from Father General
and Father Persons his Superiors not to assent to any tumult, but to use
all means he could to keep Catholics in quiet and in their former long
combined patience, which he performed of his part with all sorts, and
therein prevailed with the most and the best, as himself noteth. And how
effectual his persuasions were, may also appear in that, when the
gentlemen were up in arms, no Catholic of account would come to assist
them, no, not those that were hard by the place; and men of great power,
much greater than those that were risen: yea and some of them near of
kindred, some nearly allied unto them; and yet they would neither go, nor
send them any assistance; yea they shut their gates against them, when
others came to demand it. Such was their resolution to obey the order they
had received and to keep themselves quiet, according to the commandment
they had from His Holiness, by the means of Father Garnett made known unto
them. And whereas, Father Garnett did fear at the first, and afterwards
find, that he could not rule some others so well, them he persuaded to
defer at the least all such practices, until they had sent to know His
Holiness’ will: he, in the mean time, labouring, as you have seen, to have
an effectual prohibition by a public instrument from the same authority.
So that, it is most apparent, he was not only innocent from any
furtherance or approbation of the treason itself; but also, an earnest
hinderer of all kind of undutiful courses and violent attempts: and
therein a most diligent and religious observer of his Superiors’ will and
commandment. Yet all this would not serve to work sufficient patience, or
any longer expectance in the minds of these foresaid gentlemen, who,
although they bare Father Garnett in hand that they would expect answer,
this, as it seems, was but a show of expectance in them, and continued
only until they saw the Parliament was almost at hand, and that it was too
late for him to send further notice to his Superiors, and receive their
answer. And they, in the mean time, proceeded, as afterwards Father
Garnett also chanced to know, very much against his will, as will appear
in that which followeth.

Chapter VI. How In The Mean Space, The Conspirators Proceeded In Their
Purpose, And Drew In More Complices, And What They Were.

Whilst the great persecution before recited did reign so much, and brought
with it so many and so great afflictions upon all sorts of Catholics, as
before you have read, and whilst Father Garnett did verily persuade
himself that notwithstanding all those great difficulties, all was and
would be borne with patience, until further order could be taken, and the
same patient toleration publicly commanded which he had privately
counselled; these foresaid gentlemen who had commenced a course before
that time which Father Garnett did little dream of, although they did bear
him in hand whom they saw resolute for quiet courses, that they would
expect until order came from authority, after their messenger had been
heard, whom they had sent to explain their griefs according to his
counsel, yet they, persuading themselves (as they afterwards affirmed to
some that were with them, when they were in arms in the country, but were
not taken with them) that if contrary order to their designments should
come from higher authority (as they feared in likelihood it would, and
therefore were loth to expect so long) that the same was only upon
mistaking of their case or upon some hope perhaps His Holiness might have
that things would be better with Catholics after a time, and that favour
would be procured by fair means; and this hope grounded upon promises from
those that had deceived many with the like and never kept any yet that
they made in that kind. They therefore, thinking themselves to have had so
long trial hereof, would not be staid, as it seems, from their present
purpose by future expectations, but proceeded in what way they had begun,
and provided still more powder to such a quantity as made up in all
thirty-six barrels, some bigger and some less; all which they placed so in
the cellar under the Parliament House, as must needs have overthrown the
same and some other buildings also that had been near unto it, if it had
been set on fire as was intended; especially having placed thereon many
billets of wood to cover the same powder and some bars of iron also of
purpose: all which being blown up with the powder, would have made sure to
tear and rend the Parliament House in pieces.

Thus having disposed all things in the cellar as they would have them,
they absented themselves much from thence; because they would give no
cause of note over that place more than others, whereof they were ever
very careful. And so they had good cause, being men as likely to be noted
by the State for men of action and performance, as any in the realm; and
then, being withal known to be resolute Catholics, their often meetings or
haunting much to one place, especially near the Court, would not have been
free from suspect. For the same cause also, during all the time they
wrought in the mine or cellar, they would have but small company, and were
but seven acquainted with the matter, all which I named before. Only one
man of meaner condition they admitted there into the secret, to help them
in making provision of their powder, and that was one Bates, a servant of
Mr. Robert Catesby’s, whom he had great opinion of for his long tried
fidelity towards him, which the poor fellow continued even until he saw
his master dead; and then, it is like, his heart was dead withal, for he
showed some fear after, when he was taken, which gave others occasion to
work upon his weakness and to give some beginning of colour towards the
accusation of divers that were not guilty in the matter, as shall
afterwards appear. But these foresaid gentlemen having left the cellar, as
they desired to find it, were then to seek for further helps wherewith to
effect their designments when that act should be performed. For then their
purpose was (saith Mr. Winter in his printed confession) to seize upon the
person of the young Prince, if he were not in the Parliament House, which
they much desired. But if he were, then upon the young Duke Charles, who
then should be the next heir, and him they would erect, and with him and
by his authority, the Catholic religion. If that did also fail them, then
had they a resolution to take the Lady Elizabeth, who was in the keeping
of the Lord Harrington in Warwickshire; and so by one means or other, they
would be certain to settle in the crown one of the true heirs unto the
same. But to perform this part of their exploit required more hands and
help than as yet they had at command. Wherefore they bethought themselves
what help they might adjoin unto them in that great secret, without likely
danger and yet with the assistance which they wanted, which partly
required some more men of strength both in mind and body; but chiefly for
supply of money, which if they had in readiness, and that placed in those
countries where they meant to gather to a head, and where, for the most
part, all sorts are either Catholic or affected to Catholics, they thought
then they could want neither men nor any needful provision.

To this effect they first acquainted Mr. Ambrose Rookewood with the
business, a gentleman of good worth in the county of Suffolk and of a very
ancient family and himself the heir of the eldest house. This gentleman
was brought up in Catholic religion from his infancy and was ever very
devout. His parents also were very virtuous and suffered much persecution
for their Faith, both in payment of money and loss of their goods and many
other molestations; yet was their house a continual receptacle for
Priests, and a place wherein many other Catholics did often find great
spiritual comfort, the house being a very fair great house and his living
very sufficient. But that which moved them specially to make choice of Mr.
Rookewood was, I suppose, not so much to have his help by his living as by
his person, and some provision of horses, of which he had divers of the
best: but for himself, he was known to be of great virtue and no less
valour and very secret. He was also of very good parts otherwise as for
wit and learning, having spent of his youth in study. He was at this time,
as I take it, not past twenty-six or twenty-seven years old and had
married a gentlewoman of a great family, a virtuous Catholic also, by whom
he had divers young children. Yet it seemed all those did little move him
nor any respect to his living or fortune, though he had enjoyed them but a
little time; whereby I do gather, they made a great account of this
business, in respect whereof, it seems, they made account of nothing.

Next unto him was a Warwickshire gentleman, one Mr. John Grant, a man of
sufficient estate for his own charge, and lived well in his country; but
of no great ability to help in the business, otherwise than by his
acquaintance (being well beloved and allied in that country where they
were chiefly to need help). But for his own person he was as fierce as a
lion, of a very undaunted courage as could be found in a country: which
mind of his he had often showed unto pursuivants and prowling companions,
when they would come to his house to search and ransack the same, as they
did to divers of his neighbours. But he paid them so well for their labour
not with crowns of gold but with cracked crowns sometimes, and with dry
blows instead of drink and other good cheer, that they durst not visit him
any more, unless they brought great store of help with them. Truth is, his
mettle and manner of proceeding was so well known unto them, that it kept
them very much in awe and himself in much quiet which he did the rather
use, that he might with more safety keep a Priest in his house, which he
did with great fruit unto his neighbours and comfort to himself. This
gentleman therefore they adjoined to their company, as they had done Mr.
Rookewood, giving to them both the oath of secrecy, according to their

Then they called in one Mr. Robert Keyes, a grave and sober man, and of
great wit and sufficiency, as I have heard divers say, that were well
acquainted with him. His virtue and valour were the chiefest things
wherein they could expect assistance from him; for otherwise, his means
were not great, but in those two, by report, he had great measure. More
was the pity that such men, so worthy to be esteemed, should lose
themselves in such a labyrinth of erring courses.

But of all others, he that was most pitied and generally most commended of
all men, was the next whom Mr. Catesby thought fit to acquaint with the
matter, therein to have his help and assistance in all kinds, both for
counsel and forces and provision of money, of horses and armour and men
and followers; in all which, put them all together and there was not such
a man amongst them. And this was Sir Everard Digby, a Knight of great
living and great account in his country. He was of an ancient and great
family, whose ancestors were a great help to the suppressing of Richard
III. the tyrant, and the bringing and setting up of King Henry VII. from
whom our King James is lineally descended: whereupon King Henry did make
Knights in the field seven brothers of his house at one time, from whom
descended divers houses of that name, which live all in good reputation in
their several countries. But this Sir Everard Digby was the heir of the
eldest and chiefest house, and one of the chiefest men in Rutlandshire
where he dwelt, as his ancestors had done before him, though he had also
much living in Leicestershire and other shires adjoining. His estate was
not fully come into his hands, for his mother lived, who had above seven
or eight hundred pounds a year; but he had in his hands above 2,000 marks
a year. This gentleman was always Catholicly affected, and heir unto the
piety of his parents, as well as to their living: for they were ever the
most noted and known Catholics in that country. And although this
gentleman being left a ward by his Father’s untimely death, was not
brought up Catholicly in his youth, but at the University by his
guardians, as other young gentlemen use to be; yet when he came to be of
riper years, and had the guiding of himself and his own estate, he
affected most the company of Catholics and finding by them the necessity
not only of believing but of practising also and professing that religion,
he presently made election rather to suffer with Catholic religion, and to
bear with Catholics the cross of persecution than to rise with heresy and
to be advanced in the Court, which until then he had followed, and was as
likely to be raised as any there, if he would have followed the time. For
indeed to do him right, he was as complete a man in all things that
deserved estimation or might win affection, as one should see in a
kingdom. He was of stature about two yards high, very little lower than
Mr. Catesby but of stronger making; of countenance so comely and manlike,
that when he was taken and brought up to the Court (not in the best case
to make show of himself as you may imagine), yet some of the chiefest in
the Court seeing him out of a window brought in that manner, lamented him
much, and said he was the goodliest man in the whole Court. He was skilful
in all things that belonged unto a gentleman, very cunning at his weapon,
much practised and expert in riding of great horses, of which he kept
divers in his stable continually with a skilful rider for them. For other
sports of hunting or hawking, which gentlemen in England so much use and
delight in, he had the best of both kinds in the country round about,
insomuch that he made that the colour of his going into Warwickshire at
this time, and of drawing company together of his friends, as it were to a
match of hunting which he had made. For all manner of games which are also
usual for gentlemen in foul weather, when they are forced to keep house,
he was not only able therein to keep company with the best; but was so
cunning in them all, that those who knew him well, had rather take his
part than be against him. He was a good musician and kept divers good
musicians in his house; and himself also could play well of divers
instruments. But those who were well acquainted with him do affirm that in
gifts of mind he excelled much more than in his natural parts; although in
those also it were hard to find so many in one man in such a measure. But
of wisdom he had an extraordinary talent, such a judicial wit and so well
able to discern and discourse of any matter, as truly I have heard many
say they have not seen the like of a young man, and that his carriage and
manner of discourse were more like to a grave Councillor of State, than to
a gallant of the Court as he was, and a man but of twenty-six years old
(which I think was his age or thereabouts). And though his behaviour were
courteous to all, and offensive to none, yet was he a man of great courage
and of noted valour, which at his end he showed plainly to the world, all
men seeing and affirming that he made no account at all of death. He was
so studious a follower of virtue, after he became Catholic, that he gave
great comfort to those that had the guiding of his soul (as I have heard
them seriously affirm more than once or twice), he used his prayers daily
both mental and vocal, and daily and diligent examination of his
conscience: the Sacraments he frequented devoutly every week, and to that
end kept a Priest in his house continually, who for virtue and learning
hath not many his betters in England. Briefly I have heard it reported of
this Knight by those that knew him well, and that were often in his
company, that they did note in him a special care of avoiding all
occasions of sin and of furthering acts of virtue in what he could; to
which end he was not only studious to bring as many to be Catholics as he
could (studying books of purpose to enable himself in that kind), and
brought in divers of that sort and some of great account and place. Not
only in this highest kind, wherein he took very great joy and comfort, but
also in ordinary talk, when he had observed that the speech did tend to
any evil, as detraction or other kind of evil words which sometimes will
happen in company, his custom was presently to take some occasion to alter
the talk, and cunningly to bring in some other good matter or profitable
subject to talk of. And this, when the matter was not very grossly evil,
or spoken to the dishonour of God or disgrace of His servants; for then,
his zeal and courage were such, that he could not bear it, but would
publicly and stoutly contradict it, whereof I could give divers instances
worth relating, but am loth to hold the reader longer; having written thus
much of him, that it may appear what was the cause why he was so much and
so generally lamented, and is so much esteemed and praised by all sorts in
England, both Catholics and others, although neither side do or can
approve this last outrageous and exorbitant attempt against our King and
country, wherein a man otherwise so worthy, was so unworthily lost and
cast away to the great grief of all that knew him and especially of all
that loved him. And truly it was hard to do the one and not the other.

The last of all that was called to be partaker in this treacherous plot
was Mr. Francis Tresham, a gentleman of Northamptonshire of great estate,
esteemed then worth 3,000_l._ a year. His parents had been long time
Catholic and his father often in prison for his conscience, although he
paid the statute duly besides of 20_l._ a month for his refusing to go to
Church with heretics. This gentleman had been wild in his youth, and even
till his end was not known to be of so good example as the rest, though,
towards his later years, much reclaimed and good hope conceived of him by
divers of good judgment. I think Mr. Catesby (who was his near kinsman)
did chiefly acquaint him with the matter in regard of his help by
provision of money which Mr. Tresham was as well able to do as the best,
and thought to be as likely to be both faithful and forward as any, having
been, before, a companion with them in that action of the Earl of Essex in
Queen Elizabeth’s time, and both then and since, continually discontented
with the proceedings of the State. But it is thought by most, that Mr.
Tresham had not that zeal for the advancement of the Catholics’ cause in
respect of itself, as the others had. And it seems by Mr. Winter’s
confession, they also repented afterwards that they had made him of their
council, fearing him to be the man who had opened the matter and so
defeated them of their purpose; whereof I must treat in the next chapter.

But these gentlemen being thus added to the number of the conspirators,
they then began to conclude amongst themselves how everything should be
acted, as saith Mr. Winter. They designed Mr. Faulkes to be the man that
should strike that first and fatal stroke and attend upon the powder ready
prepared in the cellar, to set it on fire with a match, when the hour
appointed should be come, which should be the first day of the Parliament,
because then the King would certainly be there, and all the Lords also
(but those whom they meant to keep from thence by some means or other),
likewise all their Bishops and most of the chiefest Puritans of the land.

Mr. Percy his office should be (with a certain company ready to assist
him) presently after that first blow to enter the place where the young
Prince or the Duke Charles were kept, to seize upon his person, who being
safely placed in the custody of Catholics, presently they would have
proclaimed him King. Sir Everard Digby was in Warwickshire at the time
appointed, as it was agreed amongst them, where, under pretence of a
hunting match (having brought his hawks and hounds to Dunsmore Heath for
the purpose, and hunted there two or three days before), he gathered many
of his friends together, and had himself great store of men, and many fair
and goodly horses. He had also made great provision of armour and shot,
which he sent before him in a cart with some trusty servants, and had made
ready above 1,000_l._ in ready coin, as his servants since have averred
that did escape, and one of them delivered up great part of the money to
the King’s officers so soon as he saw his master fallen into the lapse.

Their intention was that if they failed of the Prince or Duke about
London, which was not unlike they should, then would some of them hasten
down to Sir Everard Digby after the blow were given, others stopping the
ways that no news might pass but by their permission; and then should Sir
Everard Digby have made sure, with his forces and friends, to have taken
the Lady Elizabeth out of the Lord Harrington his hands, whom then they
would presently have proclaimed heir-apparent to the Crown. Then had they
(as is expressed in their confessions) a proclamation ready penned,
wherein they would have commanded all sorts of men, by authority of the
Prince or Princess, who would have been in their custody, to assist the
quiet settling of the young King or Queen in their seat. They would have
offered freedom from all taxes and impositions, and payments of subsidies,
and such like; and for religion, they would have left it as yet free for
all sorts to follow their own conscience without compulsion, which
afterwards they meant (saith the printed confession) to have set better in
order. And so indeed the Catholics are able to perform it, if they might
have freedom, by many means more effectual than force of arms, in such an
unsettled State as that must needs have been for a time; and by many means
more effectual than heretics have, who therefore only use the sword. For,
if the truth might freely be preached, if the lives and examples of
Catholics, and especially of Religious Orders, might be seen and suffered
in public, if those that be followers of the Apostles, and expert in their
trade of fishing for men, might be freely permitted to use and show their
skill in gaining of souls, no doubt then but the sun shining so bright, as
it would be seen to do in the doctrine of Truth, would disperse the clouds
of error; no doubt but the candle set upon the candlestick would give
light unto many minds that now are groping in the Egyptian darkness of
heresy. And no question but many and great fishes would be taken, when the
night being past, our Lord would both license and direct His servants to
cast their net on the right hand, and that such a net as would not break,
the net of Peter that is entire and undivided, although it be able to
catch at one draught a hundred, fifty and three great fishes, wherein is
designed by a great and certain number an uncertain and not to be numbered
gain of souls, that the Apostles and Apostolic men should gain to Christ.
And this these gentlemen hoped had been the time. But God, in Whose only
hands and disposition are the moments of time, and Who hath placed bounds
and limits unto the sea, and saith unto it, “Usque huc venies et non
procedes amplius et hic confringes tumentes fluctus tuos:”(302) He Who is
the Master must be also the Measurer of time, and He will not easily make
men of His council when their afflictions shall end and how far they shall
proceed; especially such men as themselves will not follow counsel, but
run headlong upon such a course as this, which no wise man could or would
have counselled. No, on the contrary side, that was verified in this
practice which Christ foretold unto St. Peter, when upon zeal he drew his
sword in defence of his Master,

“Omnes qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt,”(303) said our Lord,
forewarning all men, that howsoever they may receive the sword or use it,
when it is given them by authority (as it is to all lawful governors and
officers in commonwealths), yet to take the sword (which noteth a private
will or power not authorized) is not without a fault, nor shall be without
a fall. And so it happened to these conspirators, as the sequent chapter
will declare.

Chapter VII. How, The Parliament Drawing Near, The Whole Plot Was
Discovered, And That Which Ensued Thereupon.

The mercies of God are great, and His patient expectance of us, granting
time and occasions and motives to repent, is most gracious and full of
longanimity. The foresaid conspirators had intended and prepared, as you
have heard, the utter destruction and overthrow both of the King with the
chiefest of his family, of the Council also, with most of the nobility,
and with their clergy, and others that belonged to both the Houses of
Parliament. But the mercies of God were such, that He would not permit so
great and universal a ruin to light upon so many, and amongst them so many
worthy persons, amongst whom, it is to be hoped, His infinite wisdom hath
foreseen many upon whom His goodness will bestow His grace hereafter, and
so make them vessels of election, who now perhaps, in ignorant zeal, do
persecute the servants of Christ and Christ in them.

And if there were any there who finally will prove but cockle in the
field, yet the Father of the family would not have them so digged out as
His unskilful servants desired, “ne forte eradicantibus illis zizania,
eradicatum fuisset simul et triticum.”(304) We hope and pray for much good
unto many of those, who should have been present at that eruption of fire,
if it had succeeded according to their intent, which God forbid. And God
did forbid it, for no doubt it was His will it should be discovered, which
happened in this manner. About ten days before the Parliament should have
begun the Lord Mounteagle (whose affection to Catholics hath long time
been known unto divers) being at his own house and at supper, a man came
to his page in the street and delivered him a letter wishing him to
deliver the same unto his Lord’s own hands, which the page performed, but
made no stay of the bringer thereof, who presently departed. The Lord
Mounteagle not knowing the hand, and seeing no name subscribed, caused one
of his men to read it unto him, and it was of this tenour.

(M6) “My Lord, out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a
care of your preservation, therefore I would advise you, as you tender
your life, to devise some excuse to shift off your attendance at this
Parliament, for God and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of
this time. And think not slightly of this advertisement, but retire
yourself into your country, where you may expect the event in safety. For
though there be no appearance of any stir, yet, I say, they shall receive
a terrible blow this Parliament, and yet they shall not see who hurts
them. This counsel is not to be contemned, because it may do you good, and
can do you no harm, for the danger is past so soon as you have burnt the
letter. And I hope God will give you the grace to make use of it, to Whose
holy protection I commend you.”

This was the letter which the Lord Mounteagle having considered, and
seeing so dangerous matter contained in it, he presently went to the Lord
of Salisbury, who is Chief Secretary to His Majesty, and delivered the
letter unto him, with relation of all circumstances in the receipt and
reading of the letter. The Lord of Salisbury seemed not at the first to
make any great account of it, yet said he would acquaint some other Lords
of the Council with the same, and commended the Lord Mounteagle for his
fidelity and care of His Majesty’s safety, and of the State, and presently
showed the letter to the Lord Chamberlain, and then both of them thought
the letter might have some relation with other informations the Lord of
Salisbury had received from beyond seas, concerning some business intended
by the Papists; and they seemed to think there might be some perilous
attempt intended. And therefore they two concluded to join with them three
other of the Council, to wit, the Lord Admiral, the Earl of Worcester and
Northampton, to be acquainted with this matter; who having all of them
concurred together to the examination of the contents of the said letter,
they did conclude (saith the book written of the discovery of this
treason) that how slight soever a matter it might at the first appear, yet
was it not absolutely to be contemned, in respect of the care which it
behoved them to have of the preservation of His Majesty’s person. Yet they
resolved, for two reasons, first to acquaint the King himself with the
same, before they proceeded to any further inquisition in the matter, as
well (saith the book) for the expectation and experience they had of His
Majesty’s fortunate judgment in clearing and solving of obscure riddles
and doubtful mysteries, as also because the more time would in the
meanwhile be given for the practice to ripen (if any was) whereby the
discovery might be the more clear and evident, and the ground of
proceeding thereupon more safe, just, and easy. And so according to their
determination the said Earl of Salisbury did repair to the King upon the
Friday after, being All-Hallow-day, which was the day after His Majesty’s
arrival from Royston, where he had been at his hunting exercise, and was
come up to London to be present at the beginning of the Parliament. The
Earl therefore finding the King alone in his gallery, without any other
speech or judgment giving of the letter, but only relating simply the form
of the delivery thereof, he presented it to His Highness. The King no
sooner read the letter, but after a little pause, and then reading it over
again, he delivered his judgment of it in such sort, as he thought it was
not to be contemned; for that the style of it seemed to be more quick and
pithy than is usual to be in any pasquil or libel, the superfluities of
idle brains. But the Earl of Salisbury perceiving the King to apprehend it
deeplier than he looked for, knowing his nature, told him that he thought
by one sentence in it, that it was like to be written by some fool or
madman, reading to him that sentence in it, “For the danger is past as
soon as you have burnt the letter,” which he said was likely to be the
saying of a fool; for if the danger was past so soon as the letter was
burnt, then the warning behoved to be of little avail, when the burning of
the letter might make the danger to be eschewed. But the King by the
contrary, considering the former sentence in the letter, “That they should
receive a terrible blow at this Parliament, and yet should not see who
hurt them;” joining it to the sentence immediately following already
alleged, did thereupon conjecture that the danger mentioned should be some
sudden danger by blowing up of powder. For no other insurrection,
rebellion, or whatsoever other private and desperate attempt could be
committed or attempted in time of Parliament and the authors thereof
unseen except only if it were by a blowing up of powder, which might be
performed by one base knave in a dark corner: whereupon he was moved to
interpret and construe the later sentence in the letter (alleged by the
Earl of Salisbury against all ordinary sense and construction in grammar)
as if by these words, “For the danger is past as soon as you have burned
the letter,” should be closely understood the suddenty and quickness of
the danger, which should be as quickly performed and at an end, as that
paper should be of blazing up in the fire, turning the word of “as soon”
to the sense of “as quickly;” and therefore His Majesty wished that before
his going to the Parliament, the under rooms to the Parliament House might
be well and narrowly searched. The Earl of Salisbury wondering at this His
Majesty’s commentary, which he knew to be so far contrary to his ordinary
and natural disposition, who did rather ever sin upon the other side, in
not apprehending nor trusting the advertisements of practices and perils
when he was freely informed of them, and interpreting rightly this
extraordinary caution at this time to proceed from the vigilant care he
had of the whole State more than of his own person, yet he thought good to
dissemble still unto the King, that there was any just cause of such
apprehension, and ended the present talk with some merry jest as his
custom is. But though he seemed to neglect it to His Majesty, yet he could
not be at rest till with the Lord Chamberlain he came again unto His
Majesty, at which time it was agreed that the said Lord Chamberlain should
according to his custom and office view all the Parliament Houses both
above and below, and consider what likelihood or appearance of any such
danger might be gathered: but yet this was deferred until the afternoon
before the sitting down of the Parliament, which was upon the Monday
following: at what time, he according to this conclusion went to the
Parliament House accompanied with the Lord Mounteagle, where having viewed
all the lower rooms, he found in the vault under the Upper House great
store and provision of billets, faggots, and coals: and inquiring of
Whyneyard, keeper of the wardrobe, to what use he had put the lower rooms
and cellars, he told him that Mr. Thomas Percy had hired both the house
and part of the cellar or vault under the same and that the wood and coal
therein was the said gentleman’s own provision. Whereupon the Lord
Chamberlain looking into the room perceived a fellow standing in a corner,
who called himself the said Percy his man, and keeper of that house for
him, but indeed was Guido Faulks, the man that should have acted that
monstrous tragedy.

The Lord Chamberlain looking upon all things with a heedful eye, though in
outward show he seemed careless, presently addressed himself to the King,
and in the presence of the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Admiral, the Earls of
Worcester, Northampton, and Salisbury, he made his report what he had seen
and observed there, affirming that he did wonder not a little at the
extraordinary great provision of wood and coal in that house where Thomas
Percy had so seldom occasion to remain, as likewise it gave him in his
mind, that his man looked like a very tall and desperate fellow. This
could not but increase the King’s former apprehension, whereupon he willed
that those billets and coals should be searched to the bottom: and of the
same opinion were the Lords there present, although they thought it fit to
have it done in the night, and by a Justice of Peace only under pretence
of searching for some of the King’s stuff that was missing; and this for
two reasons; one was lest if nothing were found, it should seem the King
and State were too suspicious of every light toy; also for that they said
it would lay an ill-favoured imputation upon the Earl of Northumberland,
one of His Majesty’s greatest subjects and Councillors: this Thomas Percy
being his kinsman and most confident familiar.

Thus far the book of the discovery of this treason discourseth of the
manner how the same did come to light. And because the same was set forth
by authority, with desire that men all should conceive this to be the
manner how it came to light, it may be thought that so it was. Yet there
want not many others of great judgment, that think His Majesty and divers
of those Councillors also, who had the scanning of the letter, to be well
able in shorter time and with fewer doubts to decipher a darker riddle and
find out a greater secret than that matter was, after so plain a letter
was delivered, importing in so plain terms an intended punishment both by
God and man, and so terrible a blow to be given at that very time and yet
the actors invisible. And those that be of this opinion do persuade
themselves the matter came out by some other means, and that this letter
was but framed and sent of purpose to give another show of casual
discovery both to hide the true means and to make the especial
preservation of the King and State to be better discerned to come from God
Himself. Unto which opinion they were the rather inclined by the
circumstance of the matter. First, in that the Lord Mounteagle did that
night wherein the letter was to be delivered, appoint a supper to be made
for him at his own house a mile or two out of London, where he had not
supped or lain of a twelve-month and more before that time, and therefore
strange that party should seek him there. Then the manner of delivery
seemed strange, to be so weakly handled by any that had judgment as to be
delivered to a page and to be read by his Lord in the time of supper, when
he could not with safety have concealed the matter, if he would. Again it
was so written, as that my Lord of Salisbury might well say it was like to
be the writing of a fool or a madman. For no other assuredly would have
committed so great a secret to ink and paper in so plain manner and that
so long before the time; especially there being many other means likely
enough to be effectual for the staying of my Lord Mounteagle from the
Parliament that one day, and that without his danger of concealing any
practice against the State. For if some special friend had seemed to be in
extremity and sent for him in the instant, he would not have failed him.
Besides many sudden occasions would have sufficed, as a certain and
present opportunity of some commodious bargain for provision of money or
jewels or such like, which courtiers often have want of, if another, time
would not have served, would have been more likely to call him that very
morning than this letter so delivered to stay him ten days before.

But although many were of opinion that this was not the first means of
this discovery, yet none that ever I could hear of, was able to give a
certain judgment, which way indeed it was discovered. It seems the
gentlemen themselves did most fear Mr. Francis Tresham to be the man that
should send this letter unto the Lord Mounteagle, which Lord had married
Mr. Tresham his sister. But that was nothing likely, for he was very
witty; and surely the sending of such a letter in such a manner was
nothing wittingly contrived, if it were done _bona fide_; neither would
Mr. Tresham have adventured his life and estate (which was great) for his
brother-in-law, if he had not thought him worthy of further trust. For if
he did not think the letter would persuade, why should he write it so
plainly to the overthrow of the business and so also of himself, which if
the Lord followed not his counsel, must needs follow. And if he did
believe it would persuade, why did he not rather do it by word of mouth
the very morning it should have been done, which for divers reasons had
been most likely to be effectual; whereas on the other side he might well
think the Lord Mounteagle could not discern by the letter, whether it came
from friend or foe, being without name and in an unknown hand: and from a
friend he could not think it being sent in so simple and yet so public
manner. If from a foe, he were undone, if he did conceal it. No, Mr.
Tresham had too much wit to deal so sillily in a thing of such importance.
More did doubt want of fidelity than of wit in Mr. Tresham, and therefore
it was rather supposed, by most that doubted him to be the man, that he
first opened the matter unto the Council, as thinking thereby to be raised
to some place of credit, which then he might think himself with wit and
living able to bear out with the best. This opinion was the rather
believed afterwards, when it was evident that none of the rest had done
it, who were privy unto the matter; but that every one of them either died
in the field because they would not be taken, or being taken were all
executed and so left not the least suspicion of having opened the matter.
Again, this opinion was increased when the matter being discovered, all
the gentlemen fled into Warwickshire and then according to their former
designments, rose in arms, thinking to have made a head. But Mr. Tresham
staid still in London and never stirred foot, though as far in as the
best. And thirdly, the opinion was yet more confirmed when afterwards Mr.
Tresham was also taken and kept close prisoner, at which time the general
bruit was, that he confessed all he knew; but none of his confessions were
published, neither did himself ever come to light afterwards, but died in
the Tower; so that it is not known what he had discovered first or last,
or what he would have confirmed, or repented, if he had come unto his
trial and execution as the rest did.

But whosoever was the discoverer of this matter or by what means soever it
came to light, we are much to thank God that it was discovered, from whom
we must acknowledge the benefit received as from the chief cause, “a quo
omne donum optimum et omne bonum procedit,”(305) and these especially
which most concern the public good.

The letter therefore being so understood as before I declared, and the
place itself being viewed by the Lord Chamberlain giving such cause of
suspicion, as is already noted, that night following being Monday night
(when the Parliament should have begun _and ended also_ the next day) Sir
Thomas Knevet, a gentleman of His Majesty’s Privy Chamber, was sent to
search the place at midnight under pretence of looking for some other
things as was before devised. When he came to the Parliament House before
his entry into Mr. Percy his lodging, he found the foresaid man that had
the keeping of the house for Mr. Percy standing without the house and
seeing him with his clothes on and booted at so dead a time of the night,
the Justice apprehended him: and after went forward to the searching of
the house, where after he had caused to be overturned some of the billets
and coals, he first found one of the small barrels of powder, and after,
all the rest, to the number of thirty-six barrels great and small. And
thereafter searching the fellow whom he had taken, found three matches and
all other instruments fit for blowing up of the powder ready upon him:
which made him instantly to confess what his intent was, affirming withal
that if he had happened to have been within the house when he was taken,
as he was immediately before at the ending of his work, he would not have
failed to have blown up the Justice, house and all, belike imagining that
some part of the danger might have lit upon the Court and done some harm
to those, to whom he most desired it. For otherwise I know not what
meaning he should have, unless by his own sudden death also, which would
have followed, he meant to escape the extremity of torture which he might
well expect: but this we did not hear that he attempted afterwards to
himself nor seemed to desire it.

This done, the prisoner was carried fast bound unto the Court and the news
of all particulars presently carried unto the King by those of the Council
who lay in the house, although it were but four hours after midnight.
Afterwards all the rest of the Council being sent for into the town, they
examined the prisoner, who both to the Council and to all the rest that
spake with him that day, appeared so constant and settled upon his
grounds, as all the Council said they thought they had found another
Mutius Scævola born in England. For notwithstanding the horror of the
fact, his sudden surprising, the terror which might have been stricken
into him by coming into such a presence and the restless and confused
questions that every man all that day did vex him with, yet was his
countenance so far from being dejected, as he often smiled in scornful
manner, not only avowing the fact, but repenting only with the said
Scævola his failing in the execution thereof, whereof, he said, the devil
and not God was the discoverer: answering quickly to every man’s
objection, scoffing at many idle questions that were propounded unto him
and jesting with such as he thought had no authority to examine him. All
that day the Council could get nothing out of him concerning his
complices, refusing to answer to any such questions which he thought might
discover the plot and laying all the blame upon himself, whereunto he said
he was moved only for religion and conscience sake, denying the King to be
his lawful sovereign or the anointed of God, in respect he was an heretic;
and would acknowledge no other name to himself but John Johnson, servant
to Thomas Percy. But after he had been three or four days in the Tower and
was threatened the rack only, as the printed book saith (though the common
voice was, that he was extremely racked the first days), then, whether to
avoid torments, or for that he might understand that the gentlemen had
discovered themselves by rising up in arms in the country, he _then_ named
some of his complices, with his own name also, and how the matter was
broken unto him, and how begun and prosecuted, as I have before declared;
yet I cannot find by his confession which is published in print, that he
named above six of those who had wrought in the mine and provision of the
powder and who then were all known to be up in arms. And here we must
leave this prisoner, who now was known to be Guido Faulks, close kept in
the Tower; and will let you see what course the rest of the conspirators
took, when they understood the matter was plainly discovered.

First, upon the knowledge that such a letter was delivered to the Lord
Mounteagle ten days before, they grew very doubtful of the matter, and
fearing only Mr. Tresham in that kind, had divers meetings with him to
examine and try him how far he had proceeded. But he forswearing all and
that he knew nothing how it came about, they had divers consultations what
were best to do; but (as Mr. Thomas Winter saith in his confession) first
that Mr. Catesby resolved, he would not fly his country, he would see
further yet. And then they sent Mr. Faulks to see if all were well in the
cellar, who adventured to go notwithstanding the doubt and returned to
them at night and told them all was yet well, which it seems gave them
some hope, yet afterwards when they heard what conference had passed
between my Lord of Salisbury and His Majesty about the letter, they gave
it lost the second time, and then Mr. Catesby would not go until Mr. Percy
were come up, who came the next day and he would needs abide the uttermost
trial. But upon Tuesday morning (which was the day appointed for the fact)
Mr. Faulks being taken in the search that night as is declared, they heard
and saw so many and so plain circumstances, that they must needs know the
whole matter was discovered and no hope at all that way to be left them.
Then they, being all excellently well horsed, rode into the country
keeping the highway; but so fast a pace and with such a resolution, that
it was very hard to overtake them and would not have been easy to have
stayed them. They rode two and three together; and they did ride that day
notwithstanding the foulness of the winter ways to Dunchurch (which I take
it, is almost eighty(306) miles), where Sir Everard Digby stayed in
readiness to have surprised the person of the King’s daughter in case they
had brought other news. But they bringing such news as was little expected
and less welcome, as it may well be supposed, they all entered into
consultation what was best to be done, and it was much marvelled at by
divers of Sir Everard Digby his friends, who were there with him in
company for his match of hunting, to see so many gallant gentlemen come in
of sudden so late in the evening and so well appointed. And seeing them
enter into serious consultation in a chamber apart, they knew not what to
make of it; but soon after they might perceive, when they all came out, as
men resolved upon some enterprise. And Sir Everard caused all his men and
horses presently to be ready and departed with them. Mr. Catesby also and
other of the gentlemen had prepared their horses and furniture ready in
that place beforehand, although they thought they should have used it with
more advantage. For now when the matter was known and bruited in the
country, that such an act should have been performed in London, which had
failed and that all was safe there, and that it was apparent these were
the conspirators by the course they took, none would come to assist
them;(307) nor had they any with them, but such servants and followers as
themselves had provided beforehand under other pretences, which therefore
for danger of giving suspicion could not be many. Neither do I think they
were ever above eighty in the whole company, although the fame in other
countries went first that they were 150, then 300, and some said they were
1,000 strong. But if that had been so, it is like the matter had not been
so soon ended, as it proved to be.(308) But these conspirators, as it
seems, hoped the matter would prove otherwise than it did, and that many
would have joined with them, when once they saw them gathered to a head.
And to make their rising the more bruited and withal to furnish themselves
of some horses for the great saddle, they went presently to Warwick and
there out of a house which is adjoining to the Castle, they seized upon
certain great horse belonging to some noblemen and gentlemen which were
kept there by a rider to be taught. From thence they went and took all my
Lord Winsor’s armour, which by report was able to furnish a much greater
company then ever they had with them. From thence they went forward
through Worcestershire towards Staffordshire, offering no violence or hurt
to any.(309)

The country in the meantime began to rise on every side, yet none did as
yet set upon them, nor until Friday following;(310) and on Thursday night
they came to one Mr. Stephen Littleton’s house in Staffordshire, who had
adjoined himself unto them. And being there it pleased God to send them
such a fortune as seemed very much to alter their resolutions, and made
them resolve neither to fight nor fly, but to give up themselves willingly
unto death. For in the morning early when some were gone abroad to
discover what companies were coming, and others were preparing their shot
and powder in a readiness, because there was some of the powder that they
thought to be somewhat dankish which they set before the fire and were
busy about it, whilst behold, a spark falling out of the fire took hold of
the powder, and that blowing up, hurt divers of them, especially Mr.
Catesby, Mr. Rookewood, but most of all Mr. Grant, whose face was much
disfigured, and his eyes almost burnt out. This loe(311) made them see it
was not best for them to proceed in their commenced course; and, as it
seems, they took it for a sign of God’s will that He would not have them
prepare to resist, but rather to prepare themselves to suffer, which they
did. For, as Mr. Thomas Winter said in his confession, when himself (with
Mr. Littleton being abroad in the fields to discover) had understood of
this heavy chance, and the matter being told him by his man in worse sort
than indeed it was (to wit, that Mr. Catesby, Mr. Rookewood, and Mr. Grant
were burnt up with powder, and the rest of the company dispersed upon
sight thereof), he resolving not to fly, as Mr. Littleton advised him, but
first to see and bury the body of his friend Mr. Catesby, so returned back
to the house, and there found the gentlemen reasonable well in respect of
what he had heard, and asked them what they resolved to do. They answered,
“We mean here to die.” Then said Mr. Thomas Winter, “I will take such part
as you do.” Then they all fell earnestly to their prayers, the Litanies
and such like (as since some of the company affirmed that escaped taking,
being none of the conspirators, but such as joined with them in the
country); they also spent an hour in meditation, and divers of their
company departed to shift for themselves, the house being not yet beset.

About an hour before mid-day the High Sheriff came with the forces of the
country and beset the house. Mr. Thomas Winter going into the court of the
house was shot into the shoulder with which he lost the use of his arm.
The next shot was the elder Wright, who was stricken dead. After him the
younger Wright, and fourthly Mr. Rookewood, but he was only wounded in
four or five places, and so taken and afterwards put to death at London.
So were also Mr. Thomas Winter and Mr. Grant and all the rest but Mr.
Catesby and Mr. Percy, who resolved they would not be taken, but rather
suffer death at that time in the field. Wherefore Mr. Catesby took from
his neck a cross of gold which he always used to wear about him, and
blessing himself with it and kissing it, showed it unto the people,
protesting there solemnly before them all, it was only for the honour of
the Cross, and the exaltation of that Faith which honoured the Cross, and
for the saving of their souls in the same Faith, that had moved him to
undertake the business; and sith he saw it was not God’s will it should
succeed in that manner they intended or at that time, he was willing and
ready to give his life for the same cause, only he would not be taken by
any, and against that only he would defend himself with his sword.(312)
This done, Mr. Catesby and Mr. Percy turned back to back, resolving to
yield themselves to no man, but to death as to the messenger of God. None
of their adversaries did come near them; but one fellow standing behind a
tree with a musket shot them both with one bullet, and Mr. Catesby was
shot almost dead, the other lived three or four days.(313) Mr. Catesby
being fallen to the ground, as they say, went upon his knees into the
house, and there got a picture of our Blessed Lady in his arms (unto whom
he was accustomed to be very devout), and so embracing and kissing the
same he died.

Some of the chiefest of them did think to have escaped, as Sir Everard
Digby, Mr. Robert Winter, and Mr. Stephen Littleton; and these two last
knowing the country better than the other, did indeed escape for the
time.(314) Sir Everard Digby thinking also to take that course, offered
all his servants that they might take their horses and money and shift for
themselves. But his page and one other said they would never leave him but
against their will. Therefore being well mounted, they three went
together, but they found the country so up on every side, and all drawing
towards the place where the voice was the conspirators were beset, that it
was not possible for them to pass or go unknown, especially Sir Everard
Digby, being so noted a man for his stature and personage, and withal so
well appointed as he was. Whereupon he did rather choose (after he had
gained a little ground) to strike into a wood, and thought there in a dry
pit to have staid with his horses until the company had been passed. But
they tracked his horses unto the very pit side, and then cried out, “Here
he is, here he is.” Sir Everard being altogether undaunted, answered,
“Here he is indeed, what then?” and advanced his horse in the manner of
curvetting (which he was expert in) and thought to have borne them over,
and so to break from them, esteeming them to be but ten or twelve persons,
whom he saw about the pit, and though he made them easily give way, yet
then he saw above a hundred people hard by and coming upon him: so that
seeing it in vain to resist, he willingly yielded himself to the likeliest
man of the company, upon a desire he had to have some time before his
death for his better preparation, and withal out of a desire (as it
afterwards appeared) to have done some service to the Catholic cause by
word, sith he saw he could not do it by the sword. For being then taken
and carried up to London prisoner and to the Court, he made earnest
request to have spoken with His Majesty if it might have been admitted,
intending to lay down the causes so plainly which had moved them to this
attempt, and withal how dangerous it was for His Majesty to take the
course he did, as that he hoped to persuade at least some mitigation, if
not toleration, for Catholics.

But the Council knowing well how judicial a man he was, and how well able
to work his intent with sound reasons, would not assent unto his desire,
but sent him presently prisoner unto the Tower, where also all the rest of
the conspirators that were taken at Mr. Littleton’s in Staffordshire were
presently lodged upon their bringing up, which was as soon as their hurts
would give them leave to travel. So that only four were slain in the
country, Mr. Robert Catesby, Mr. Thomas Percy, Mr. John Wright, and his
brother, Christopher Wright. The rest were all put into the Tower for
further trial according to law, which were these: Sir Everard Digby, Mr.
Ambrose Rookewood, Mr. Thomas Winter, Mr. John Grant, Mr. Robert Keyes,
Mr. Francis Tresham, and Mr. Guido Faulks, who were there before; unto
them also were adjoined afterwards, Mr. Robert Winter and Mr. Stephen
Littleton, who being discovered(315) in one place where they had been at
least a month, they went into a house of the Widow Littleton’s a woman of
great estate, and there were kept in a chamber by Humphrey Littleton, her
alliance, she being then at London; but their being in that house was
found out by the cook of the house, in the provision of meal, and so by
him they were discovered, and taken by the next Justices and so carried up
to London and laid with the rest in the Tower. All(316) these prisoners
were divers times examined, but only two of their examinations published
in print, which were of Mr. Guido Faulks and Mr. Thomas Winter, both which
agreed in one, only Mr. Winter’s was the larger, and contained much of the
matter which I have before expressed, concerning their first intention,
the names and number of the conspirators, the course they took to keep it
secret, their manner of proceeding in the whole, and their intention
afterwards to set up one of the King’s children, and with them the
Catholic religion. And both in all their examinations and the whole
process of the matter it appeared plainly they were all and the only
conspirators. The rest of the Catholics were free, as shall more appear in
the chapter following.(317)

Chapter VIII. How Upon Examination Of The Prisoners It Was Apparent That
No Other Catholics Could Be Touched With The Conspiracy. The Same Also
Confirmed By His Majesty’s Own Words, To The Great Comfort Of Catholics.

When all these conspirators were brought to the Tower (which is the
ordinary prison for such as are found guilty or suspected of high treason,
and especially for persons of account, or in causes of great moment), they
were all severally and several times examined by the Lords of the Council,
and then it was in vain for them either to hide the matter, which was
apparently known in the great preparation of powder which had been found,
or to conceal the persons or qualities of the conspirators, who had all
published themselves in prosecuting their first intended treason with a
second attempt of public rebellion. Therefore all did acknowledge the
fact, though none would directly yield it to be an offence to God, though
they said it was so unto their Prince and the present State of the
country. Their examinations did all agree in all material points, and
therefore two only were published in print, containing the substance of
the rest. And indeed the sum of that which I have been able to say in this
narration touching either their first intentions or the names or number of
the conspirators, or concerning the course they took to keep the matter so
absolutely secret, or, finally, touching the manner of their beginning and
proceeding in the whole matter; for that (as I noted before) it being kept
as such a vowed secret in the heads and hearts of so few, and those also
afterwards apprehended before they could have means to declare the
particulars in any private manner, therefore no more can be known of the
matter or manner of this tragedy than is found or gathered out of their
examinations. The effect whereof I have set down before, in prosecution of
the story, and shall not need here to repeat.

But this they all agreed in, that no other Catholics were to be touched
with the matter, nor had any ways assisted them therein, but those who
were now well known to the whole realm by their public rising in arms, of
which also the greatest part did but join with them in the second, and had
not any knowledge at all of the first attempt. Hereupon it followed, that
whereas at the first breaking out of this monstrous Plot most men
according to their humour and aversion from Catholics and their religion,
would give their censure, that sure many Papists would be touched with
this matter, and especially the Priests no doubt were the devisers and
incentors of this intended fiery treason. Now after all these prisoners
had been often and seriously examined, their general voice was turned and
their conceit changed, and it was as general a report both in London and
through England, that not one Priest could be touched with the Plot, nor
any other Catholics but those that were already taken, and some few others
that were well known by their public rebellion, and were in chace in the
country and much watch laid for them everywhere, with public proclamation
and description of their persons, as is usual in such cases. This, you
must think, was a great comfort unto Catholics in so great a distress; and
this comfort was much increased also, when Catholics did see that His
Majesty did free most of his Catholic subjects from imputation of this
crime in his proclamation about this matter, dated the 7th of November,
which was after the examination and confessions of Faulks; wherein naming
eight principal heads or contrivers of this conspiracy, who had published
themselves in the country.

For in that proclamation, though at the beginning out of his persuasion of
a contrary religion, he do say that they were persons known to be so
utterly corrupted with the superstition of the Romish religion, as seduced
with the blindness thereof; yet afterwards in the body of the same
proclamation he doth prudently and more equally distinguish between them
and other Catholics, affirming that by good experience he was so well
persuaded of the loyalty of divers of his said Catholic subjects, that he
held himself assured they do as much abhor this detestable conspiracy as
himself, and would be ready to do their best endeavours (though with
expense of their blood) to suppress all attempts against his safety and
the quiet of his State, and to discover whomsoever they should suspect to
be of rebellious and traitorous disposition, &c. Which equanimity of His
Majesty distinguishing between the guilty and the guiltless, did much
edify and content all wise and grave men of what religion soever, who
cannot but greatly detest and condemn the attempt, under what pretence,
cause or intention soever, it were conceived.

And as the whole multitude of Catholics were free from all consent or
knowledge thereof, and could not in justice be touched therewith, so much
less the religion which they profess, which in her doctrine doth no ways
allow or avow any such attempt, whatsoever the enemies thereof, and namely
the Puritans, may persuade His Majesty to the contrary; as it appeared
they began not long after to labour His Highness upon this occasion, to be
so conceited of Catholics (if they were perfect Catholics indeed) and so
much more of their religion; seeming to think it more likely in them that
were better grounded and more exact professors of the same religion. To
which effect were His Majesty’s words in his public speech in the
Parliament House not long after, in the hearing of all the Puritans,(318)
seeming desirous to give contentment to all parties. For first after all
the conspirators had been thoroughly tried and examined in the Tower (as I
have declared), and that it was now apparent by all the success of the
matter, and by all their examinations, that not only the multitude of
Catholics were clear, but also that there were no more to be touched than
were already discovered, insomuch that the general voice and opinion of
all men was changed, as is said before, then did His Majesty in his public
speech confirm again his good opinion of his Catholic subjects in that
behalf; but withal seemed to believe the Puritans further in their
malicious reports of us and our minds, than upon due trial His Majesty
will find to be true. For in the said speech after he had first given due
thanks to God for his happy delivery from so great a danger, then he
declared whom he took to be the practisers and plotters of this treason,
and seeming to point as it were to the conspirators already discovered,
those he showed to be men unto which he had not given any cause of
disgust. “If, (saith he) these conspirators had only been bankrupt
persons, or discontented upon occasion of any disgrace done unto them,
this might have seemed to be but a work of revenge. But for my own part,
as I scarcely ever knew any of them, so cannot they allege so much as a
pretended cause of grief.(319) And the wretch himself in hands doth
confess that there was no cause moving him or them but merely and only
religion.” Where by the way we may observe both out of the reason which
His Majesty allegeth, and out of their own protestations, wherein they all
agreed, that no particular grudge or respect to themselves was their
motive to this action, but their zeal to the common cause, though not
“secundum scientiam.”

Then His Majesty proceedeth in his speech, admiring “that Christian men
and Englishmen, and one of them his sworn servant in an honourable place,
should enter into such a practice, wherein, saith he, their following
obstinacy is so joined to their former malice, as the fellow himself that
is in hand cannot be moved to discover any signs or notes of repentance,
except only that he doth not yet stand to avow that he repents for not
being able to perform his intent” A great testimony being spoken by the
King himself, both of the man’s great courage, which could not be brought
down with so great torments as he had then sustained, and besides of the
great opinion he had in his deceived conscience that the thing was lawful,
sith he would not even then repent that he had intended it, but only
seemed no more to desire the thing itself, which he might also see God
would not have go forward. And truly this testimony of His Majesty’s words
doth make me the rather to believe that of him which was reported by
divers of credit, to wit, that at his apprehension he had a shirt of hair
found upon his back when he was first searched.

(M7) It followeth then in the King’s speech (after the rehearsing more at
large the wonderful manner of his deliverance by his strange
interpretation of the letter, as I set down before), then he cometh to
declare that he doth not condemn his other Catholic subjects for the fault
of those few, and laboureth to restrain the Puritans from that conceit;
whereby it appears they had laboured also to put that opinion into His
Majesty’s head and heart against all Catholics, if his wisdom and upright
judgment had not been the greater. “It resteth now (saith he) that I
should shortly inform you what is to be done hereafter upon the occasion
of this horrible and strange accident. As for your part that are my
faithful and loving subjects of all degrees, I know that your hearts are
so burnt up with zeal in this errant, and your tongues so ready to utter
your dutiful affections, and your hands and feet so bent to concur in the
execution thereof (for which, as I need not to spur you, so can I not but
praise you for the same), as it may very well be possible that the zeal of
your hearts shall make some of you in your speeches rashly to blame such
as may be innocent of this attempt; but upon the other part I wish you to
consider, that I would be sorry that any being innocent of this practice,
either domestical or foreign, should receive blame or harm for the same.
For although it cannot be denied, that it was the only blind superstition
of their errors in religion that led them to this desperate device; yet
doth it not follow that all professing that Romish religion were guilty of
the same. For as it is true that no other sect of heretics, not excepting
Turk, Jew, nor Pagan, no not even those of Calicut (who adore the devil),
did ever maintain by the grounds of their religion that it was lawful or
rather meritorious, as the Romish Catholic call it, to murder Princes or
people, for quarrel of religion, &c.; yet it is true on the other side,
that many honest men blinded peradventure with some opinions of Popery (as
if they be not sound in the questions of the Real Presence, or in the
number of the Sacraments, or some such School question), yet do they
either not know, or at least not believe all the true grounds of Popery,
which is indeed the Mystery of Iniquity. And therefore do we justly
confess that many Papists, especially our forefathers, laying their only
trust upon Christ His merits at their last breath, may be and oftentimes
are saved; detesting in that point and thinking the cruelty of Puritans
worthy of fire, that will admit no salvation to any Papist. I therefore
thus do conclude this point, that as upon the one part many honest men
seduced with some errors of Popery may yet remain good and faithful
subjects; so upon the other part, none of those that truly know and
believe the whole grounds and School conclusions of their doctrine, can
ever prove either good Christians or good subjects,” &c.

(M8) These be the words of His Majesty’s speech in Parliament,(320)
wherein we may observe two things. First, that the Puritans had laboured
and in some sort prevailed with His Majesty to make him believe, that it
is holden by the doctrine of Catholics lawful to kill and murder Princes,
&c, wherein that they might the better persuade and work His Highness’
mind to their opinion, or rather his opinion to their desire, they did set
forth two pestilent books full of subtle falsehood, one of the which I had
occasion before to write of, which was directed to that unlawful end to
prove all Catholics traitors by the laws of the realm. The other was yet a
more impudent and malicious book, entitled _The Popish Positions_, wherein
by a number of Canons and sayings of Popes and Doctors, falsely alleged
and sophistically inferred, the Puritans labour to prove that it is by the
Catholic doctrine holden and approved for lawful to kill and murder
Princes, &c., and therefore not possible they should be good subjects but
traitors, and so to be esteemed and used. In which case I leave it to the
reader’s judgment what was the mark they shot at. But I may not leave him
in that error (if by chance he be one that know not our opinions) that we
either hold or teach so erroneous and wicked doctrine, as they would infer
out of many places which themselves understand not, and others which they
falsely allege. I will not stand to answer any particular of the book,
which is not for this place, and shall be no doubt much better and more at
large performed by others. But this I desire the reader to remember, that
out of this very story, wherein yet there is a sorer proof against us in
this point, so far as concerneth the only practice of a few, than can be
equalled in the examples of many ages; yet doth it plainly appear that
Catholics do hold and teach the very contrary, as if it please him to turn
back unto the answer which Father Garnett gave unto Mr. Catesby in
questions of the like kind but of far less moment, he shall plainly see.
For although he was not demanded any such barbarous question as whether it
were lawful to murder Kings (unto which his answer would have been quick
and sharp no doubt, as becometh a Religious man, whose ears must be hedged
about with thorns against any such traitorous tongues), but the demand
being only this: “For whom it was lawful to make war and how far to
proceed therein,” he showed that no war was lawful without authority, nor
any authority able to give leave but from those that had the government of
the commonwealth. His answer therefore was much contrary to this malicious
inference of his untrue reporting enemies, although he then spoke unto a
confident friend, where he feared no rehearsal of the matter; and to one
also that he feared to be too forward in those causes, and therefore if he
had been desirous to set him more forward in that mind, and had been of
that opinion himself, or that opinion true and lawful to be practised,
which our enemies slander us withal, surely he would then have delivered
his mind plainly to that effect. But the truth is so far on the contrary
side, that all Catholics received strict commandment from the See
Apostolic, that in no case they should stir or attempt anything against
His Majesty or the State, and this both from Pope Clement VIII. of pious
memory, and from Paulus Vtus. that now sitteth in the Chair, who both
before and since his assumption to that supreme dignity of governing the
Church of Christ, hath showed himself most earnest to procure the quiet,
safety, and security of our Sovereign, both by liking and allowing of the
leagues that other Catholic Princes have made with him, as also by often
intimation and signification into England both by letters and message,
that no Catholic people should go about to interrupt or trouble the same
by their impatient proceedings. This likewise was the commandment sent
from the General of the Society and Father Persons to Father Garnett, as
hath been showed before. This was also Father Garnett his practice and
earnest endeavour, as may plainly be seen in his own letters before set
down; and may be seen also in the proof and sequel of this business, sith
it may plainly appear he prevailed much with all the best sort of
Catholics in England, as his letters do also import that he hoped he
should, whereas these conspirators rising in arms, and with protestation
that they rise only for cause of religion, unto the which they were well
known to be fervently addicted, and no light-headed or hare-brained
persons, but men known to be full of valour and of wit, and esteemed also
before this action by all that knew them well, to be full of virtue. Yea,
although divers of them were much befriended and allied in those countries
where they took arms, and the countries also very well stored with many
Catholics of worth, yet for all this, so far had Father Garnett prevailed
with them, or rather the commandment of His Holiness delivered by him,
that none would or did come to help them, or offer to stand for the cause
in that kind or course of forcible attempt. No, neither friends to their
persons nor friends to their religion would either by themselves or their
forces give them any help at all. And yet they sought it earnestly,
insomuch that they sent Mr. Thomas Winter to one Catholic gentleman of a
noble house and great account, and whose daughter also his brother, Mr.
Robert Winter, had married, and yet this gentleman being a known and
constant Catholic, and a man otherwise very stout and withal of great
power in those parts, he was so far from helping or assisting them in any
sort, that he would not so much as hear Mr. Winter speak, but caused his
gates to be shut against him. And yet the said noble gentleman was
afterwards in great trouble and had like to have lost all his estate,
which is very great, upon presumption that he did bear some good will unto
them. So that hereby it is most apparent, how contrary the doctrine and
practice also both of Superiors and subjects in Catholic religion is from
that which the Puritans did labour by their books to persuade, and it
seems His Majesty was in part wrought to believe.

But whatsoever the Catholics do herein, it is well known that the Puritans
do both hold it for sound doctrine, and are not ashamed to teach it as
lawful and necessary, and to practise it also (not as these few Catholics
did, out of their own opinion ill-applied, and blamed for it by all of
their own side), but as proceeding out of their doctrine, yea and
warranted by the same, or rather urged upon the people by the preachers of
the said doctrine, for which they say they bring the Word in great plenty.

I will not here cite Luther and Calvin, who are very copious in this kind,
and will be fittest for those to bring that answer the foresaid books. It
sufficeth here to consider our home examples and that of the chief
apostles and pillars of the religion now professed under His Majesty’s
name and authority in Scotland, to wit, John Knox, the first broacher and
preacher thereof, and Buchanan’s chief assistant therein, and master also
and bringer up of His Majesty’s person. Both which in their public
writings do not only place the restraint, coaction, punishment,
arraignment, condemnation, deposition, yea and execution also of Princes
in the people’s hands when they govern not well (according to their
judgment), but further also do wish that public rewards should be
appointed by the same people for such as kill tyrants, as commonly there
are, say they, for those that kill wolves or bears or take their whelps.
So they. Whereunto if we add these authors’ own inference in the same
places here quoted, which is, that when the people are negligent in
punishing evil Princes, their particular ministers may cite them; yea, and
by excommunication cast them into hell, and make them unworthy to enjoy
life upon earth, as their own words are. By this doctrine, and by their
practice according to the same (whereof His Majesty is best able to bear
witness out of his own trial), the reader may judge how different the
state of Princes’ safety is under the one and the other doctrine and
discipline, and from the one and the other sort of subjects. And by this I
leave him to discern whether the Catholics or the Puritans deserve better
to be compared with Turk, Jew, or Pagan, or the inhabitants of Calicut, in
respect of cruelty or disobedience growing out of their doctrine.

And surely His Majesty was not ignorant of the mind and doctrine and
manner of proceeding of the Puritans in this point; but out of his wisdom,
he thought it best rather to please them for the time in seeming to
believe what they had written of us than to rehearse their own doctrine,
whereof he had tasted too much, knowing right well that their patience was
not able to bear to be rubbed upon the back, which indeed was much galled
in that kind of doctrine about government. So that herein we may think it
pleased His Highness to practise(321) that in this his grave and princely
speech in the Parliament House, which sometimes before he had used to say
in mirth, when he would show the difference between the Papists and
Puritans, in matter of patient sufferance. For His Majesty would often
affirm that he had in his realm two asses, an old ass and a young ass. The
old ass, which was the Papist, would willingly and patiently bear what
loads soever he laid upon his back; but the young ass, which was the
Puritan, was so unruly, that if he laid the least burden upon his back, he
would never leave wincing and flinging until he had gotten it off, and
perhaps would do much harm in the meantime with his heels. And we must for
this time bear with so much the more patience this imputation as a
punishment for the ill desert of these few gentlemen, although it be most
apparent that our doctrine and our general practice deserve much the
contrary, which also His Majesty in the same speech doth seem to allow as
true in the minds and manners of most of his Catholic subjects; and in
that regard doth wisely and graciously restrain the too great forwardness
and fury of the Puritans, which, he saith, he counteth worthy of fire,
allowing the Catholics neither for saved souls in Heaven, nor good
subjects in earth.

(M9) But yet whereas His Majesty doth distinguish between the learned and
unlearned Papists, and seemeth to think those which know the less, and
believe and follow the fewer of our grounds and points of doctrine, to be
the better sort of Catholics, and more likely to be the better subjects
and more obedient both to God in Heaven and to their Kings and Princes on
earth: this is the second point I touched before, which I must grant I do
not well understand. For being granted that some of our religion be good,
and God’s servants, and go to heaven, I do not see how it is possible that
those who know and practise more of that with which the others were good,
can thereby become the worse.

For as it is most assured, that none can have grace in this life, nor
glory in the next without faith—“sine qua impossible est placere
Deo:”(322) so no faith but the true faith which Christ delivered to His
Church, and the Apostles planted in His Church, can be this necessary
foundation to this good estate of a soul either in grace or glory.
“Fundamentum enim aliud nemo potest ponere praeter id quod positum
est.”(323) Therefore these simpler Catholics being saved must needs both
have had faith, and that the true faith of Christ. Now I suppose the true
faith of Christ can teach none to be disloyal. Again this faith of Christ,
being but one (as there is but one Lord and one baptism), cannot be
divided, or in part believed and followed and in part refused, “quam nisi
quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit, eamque
nisi quis integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in æternum
peribit.”(324) So that the most simple Catholics both do and must believe
and profess the same faith in all points which the learned do, although
they are not bound explicite to know all particulars more than the
articles of their Creed and the Sacraments and other needful helps to
salvation which they are to use; for the rest it sufficeth they believe
the Church in all things as being “Columna et firmamentum veritatis,”(325)
and the same also one article of their Creed, which all are bound both to
believe and know; and so consequently the simpler sort believe implicite
and virtually all that is generally taught and believed by School Doctors
for matter of faith: and so their faith and the grounds of their faith
being all one, can work no different effect. And if there should be any
difference, methinks the better lot should not light to the share of the
more simple, for then it would be good to be unskilful in the law and in
the grounds of faith, contrary to that which God saith by His Prophet,
“Conticuit populus meus, eo quod non habuerit scientiam: quia tu scientiam
repulisti, repellam et ego,”(326) &c. And this was the ordinary cavil
against us in the late alteration of religion (though unjustly imposed),
as though we had willingly kept the people in ignorance, and therefore
would not permit them the Scriptures in English. But as reason did then,
so since experience hath proved that was not the cause; but as nurses that
feed their children, as St. Paul did his, first with milk and then with
solid meat, so we. And this to prevent their danger, which since we see
hath followed, that rule being neglected under pretence, forsooth, of
remedying the ignorance which Papists were kept in. But if then the case
of the ignorant had been the better, we had the more wrong to be blamed
for doing the best. Finally, this faith which may and often hath saved
some of the ignorant Papists; as it is but one, and must be entirely
believed and professed, so it is also holy, as being the faith of Christ
(as before I proved), and the foundation of that Church which is “una et
sancta,” &c.: and being holy it cannot follow that the greater measure
should hurt, where the less doth good; for as we see, if a little fire
give warmth, a greater will give a greater heat, and the sun which giveth
light being under a cloud, will shine more brightly when it is fully seen:
so that the more virtue is in the agent, and the more the same is applied,
the more is the same effect brought forth in the patient, unless it be
“propter debilitatem organi,” as in our eye against the light of the sun
when we gaze upon it, which defect is not in our soul, the same being made
for God Himself as for the final end of man, and therefore capable still
of more and more increase of grace, as we see in the Apostles, &c.; and as
God saith by His Prophet, “Dilata os tuum et implebo illud.”(327)
Therefore it must needs follow that the more and more perfectly and
exactly the rules and grounds of this holy faith are known, the more holy
it doth make the knowers and believers and followers of the same. Neither
can it possibly be otherwise; for as our Lord Himself saith, “Non potest
arbor bona fructus malos facere.”

Well may it happen, and doth often (as His Majesty did wisely and truly
note), that “particular men of all professions and religions have been,
some thieves, some murderers, some traitors,” &c., but this then is
contrary to their doctrine, if their doctrine be that good Tree of which
our Saviour speaketh, and which He planted in His Church. For that being
“Arbor bona non potest malos fructus facere,” where we must understand,
“quatenus talis arbor.” The best tree that is hath some fruit that doth
miscarry. Some are blasted in the bud, some shaken off with the wind, some
pecked with birds, some with one mischance and some with another
miscarrieth before it come to ripeness or perfection; but by these we
never measure the goodness of the tree. But if we see an apple or apricock
hang upon the tree of perfect colour, of just bigness and shape, so that
we may see it is come to that perfection which the tree can naturally
bring it unto, then according to the taste of the fruit, we judge the
goodness of the tree. If then the fruit be sour, we call the tree a
crab-tree; if bitter, so we also term the tree and say it is nought; and
justly, being warranted by Him that made them, “Quia non potest arbor bona
fructus malos facere, nec arbor mala fructus bonos facere.”(328) So that
here is the difference: an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, that
is, neither grace nor glory can grow into a man’s soul out of evil
doctrine, and so that soul not possible to be saved, unless his branch be
cut from his own root and grafted into the stock of the good tree to
receive the juice and sap of the same, as St. Paul saith we Gentiles were
into the trunk of the Jews’ fruitful olive. On the contrary part, a good
tree may have some miscarry, but then it is not long of the tree, but of
other mischances. And so the Catholic doctrine being holy, and in this
very point of obedience holy, as teaching that all subjects are bound to
obey, not as Luther teacheth, for policy only, making all men equal and to
have no superior but Christ; nor as I showed before out of Knox and
Buchanan; but as the truth is, and as St. Paul teacheth, that there is
distinction of degrees and the subjects bound to obey, and that not _ad
libitum_, or outwardly only, “ad oculum servientes,”(329) but in
conscience and of necessity, “et tanquam Domino,” and as to our Lord
Himself, to Whom we serve in obeying our superiors according to His
commandment. This is the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Faith in this
point, wherein although some may miscarry and take wrong courses, as these
few of late did, following their own conceits and desires against the
direction and wills of those who delivered the contrary doctrine (as hath
been declared), yet this is no impeachment to the Tree, nor to the rest of
the fruit. This act of theirs cannot be laid upon the doctrine which is
holy and bringeth forth no disobedient fruit, but the contrary in great
measure, and that so much the more in those that know more and are the
more perfect in the grounds thereof, as being the fruit which this “Arbor
bona” hath brought to best perfection.

And this clearness and innocency touching this late attempt is not only
thus apparently proved to be in the whole body of Catholics, but was then
the general opinion of all, the Puritans excepted, who are ever ready to
impugn “agnitam veritatem.” His Majesty, as you have seen, did partly
affirm it and granted some other part, out of which you see it is

The prisoners being all at that time often and carefully examined, they
affirmed constantly and jointly (though severally examined) that there
were no other conspirators than were taken and publicly known. And as for
Priests, they did both then and at their death protest there was none in
the action: whereupon His Majesty in the whole course of his speech did
only lay the fault upon them that were discovered, and did seem to excuse
the rest, as you have heard. So that it was as generally, as justly
believed and voiced through England, that other Catholics were all free,
and no Priest at all accused or could be touched with the treason, which
gave no small satisfaction both to Catholics and others. And so in right
it should have continued. But the Puritans did much grieve and envy that
those should be free from blame, upon whom they rather wished that all
might light. And therefore they began to practise and work the contrary
opinion, first in the King, and afterwards in public show unto the
country, as shall appear in the next chapter.

Chapter IX. How The Fathers Of The Society Were By Industry Of The
Heretics Drawn Into This Matter, To Incense The King Against Them, And For
Them Against The Catholic Religion.

The Prophet doth in few words very fully express the desires and
endeavours of such as are most guided by that spirit of pride, who is a
professed enemy to God and to all good men. “Superbia eorum (saith he) qui
te oderunt, ascendit semper.”(330) As if he should say to Almighty God,
not only the apostate Angel himself doth hate Thee, and all those for Thy
sake whom he seeth Thee to love; but those also, who are full of his
rising and resisting spirit, do still raise themselves against Thee and
all Thine, but most against those whom they see Thee most to favour, or
most to use and employ in Thy service. “Ascendit semper:” their spirit
still fighteth against those whom at least they think the highest;
although in this man’s judgment often erreth, guessing by outward signs
and not being able to search the heart of man, as He doth that is
“Scrutator cordis et renum,” is therefore not able to judge, or their
judgment to be taken for a certain proof, who be most in God’s favour. But
this their practice was plainly proved true in this present matter,
whereof we have already treated and are as yet further to declare. For
although we are to presume that His Majesty and the Council did proceed
without passion in the matter, His Majesty having in many parts of his
speech showed great equanimity and gracious opinion of his faithful
Catholic subjects; yea, although His Highness did in the same speech
correct the malice of Puritans against all Catholics in general, and did
seek to repress their fury, which he saw so ready by word and action to
oppress all Catholics upon this occasion offered, and to persecute the
innocent multitude for the fault of a few: yet all this would not suffice
to quench or assuage that fire (as the King did wisely observe and so
express it in his speech) “with which their hearts were burnt up in this
errant.” But as they had before determined, so they never left labouring,
until they had wrought their will, and found out a device which they hoped
would serve both to discredit and discourage Catholics; and beginning with
some of the chiefest (as they thought), to proceed with better colour in
punishing and persecuting of the rest.

Therefore whereas they did know very well how great esteem Catholics did
generally make of the Fathers of the Society, and how much they did all
for the most part (especially the better sort) rely upon their advice,
reputing them to be men of great learning and judgment, and chiefly to be
of approved virtue and spirit and both skill and experience in direction
of souls: at these Fathers therefore did these Puritans resolve to level
their first poisoned arrows, drawn out of the quiver of malice and shot
from the bow of open injustice. But you must understand that this is not
the first time they have aimed at this mark. No; they have been the men
upon their eye of envy and spite hath ever been fixed since the first
coming into England of those two famous men, Father Persons and blessed
Father Campian, whose wisdom and spiritual instructions did so settle the
hearts of Catholics in profession of their faith and whose exhortations
both private and public did so kindle the zeal of devotion in all their
minds, that the heretics might see another face of things in the
persecuted state of the English Church, unto which afterwards being added
the frequent and learned books of the one, and the challenged and
performed disputation of the other (with all which they were convinced and
confounded), these were motives sufficient to set malice on fire against
them, and their Society for their sake, although they had found no like
causes in their followers. But when they saw the like course to be
continued; of exemplary virtue in Father Edmonds,(331) of wise direction
for progress in devotion in blessed Father Garnett, and of learned and
spiritual books in blessed Father Southwell; also when they had tried the
constancy of blessed Father Walpole and others to be inflexible and not to
be drawn either by force or favour to their will, either against God’s
honour or the good of their neighbours; when they found that no one of the
Society that were sent into England could ever be wrought by them neither
by torments to yield in infirmity, nor yet by their subtle examinations to
be overreached so far, no not so much as out of simplicity to accuse the
least Catholic of his acquaintance, or so that any did come in trouble by
any undiscreet answer of theirs.

This long and sufficient trial hath made them so much malign the men of
that Society, that they have never ceased labouring by one means or other
to practise all hostility against them, as against their chief enemies.
From hence hath proceeded the many slanders they have sought to publish of
them: from hence the many false and foul reports in several kinds, which
they by themselves have published in books and procured the like to be
done by all others whom they could work unto their will, as namely those
of Mr. Watson’s writing, which he so much repented at his death, asking
humble pardon both of God and of the Society for the many falsehoods and
slanders fathered upon them in the same. From hence also did proceed the
disobedience of some scholars against the Fathers in the Seminaries,
secretly wrought in their minds by some instruments which the chief of
these Puritans had employed to that end and purpose. Finally, from hence
as from a troubled fountain have flowed all the streams of disgraces and
disturbance and persecutions both against the Fathers themselves, and
against the places where they have been presumed to be; yea, against all
those who have been conceived to be favourers or well-willers to them:
insomuch that in hatred of the Fathers, they would often show favour to
the places where other Priests were taken. But if the Priest were a
Jesuit, or but a friend of theirs, and one that were known to love them
and to follow some of their spiritual courses, of which number I
acknowledge myself to be; then should they and their receivers be sure to
drink of the whip and to have _summum jus_ instead of mercy. And as they
at the first, when Seminary Priests did come in apace and did much good,
made severe laws against them, punishing with pain of death the receivers
of them, in all which they exempted the old Queen Mary Priests, because
they saw the others, with their apostolical zeal and fervour, to work much
greater effect in the minds of men; so now in the practice of those laws,
they made a plain distinction between all Priests and Jesuits, whom they
esteemed the greatest enemies to the proceeding and increase of heresy.
And, but howsoever that is, would to God there were a divorce between them
and heresy (unto which as yet their minds are so much wedded) undoubtedly
they should then find they had no friends in the world more faithful, nor
any that would be more ready to serve them in the service of God, than
those whom now they hate and persecute so much, upon a contrary supposed
ground, and the same most contrary to all truth and justice.

But their minds being in this manner settled upon their courses, and so
grounded in opinion of chief resistance in the Fathers of the Society and
by their means, they resolved absolutely by one means or other to effect
that which they had so much desired and so many ways laboured for. And
having this opportunity of colour offered, of this late attempt of the
foresaid gentlemen, and knowing the same to be so odious not only to His
Majesty and the Council, but in like manner to all the graver and better
sort of Catholics both in England and elsewhere, they did imagine that if
they could with any little show of pretence but father this matter upon
those Fathers, they should by that means either have all, or at least some
of their desires performed against them. For if they could not convince
them to be guilty, yet because the matter was so hateful, they hoped
either in the meantime whilst the matter were in handling and not fully
cleared, to procure that they might be called out of England (which hath
long time been a chief part of their desires) or at least to make many
Catholics both shy of them and fearful to deal with them; whilst they by
extraordinary and exquisite searching might apprehend the most of them. Or
at the least, if none of these took effect (as thanks be to God, the
contrary through God’s providence was proved true), yet they might
hereupon ground the pretence of just occasion to enact those severe laws
against Catholics, which they had determined and prepared long before, as
I showed in the former chapters.

Now therefore they began with all diligence to seek out likely pretences
for their purpose: and it was no hard matter to find a staff to beat these
dogs prepared by Christ, the Chief Shepherd, against the wolves that seek
to devour His flock. For although they could not find in all the several
examinations and confessions of the conspirators now in prison any little
proof that they were in the Plot, but the contrary to be averred by them
all with solemn protestation, yet they would have it suffice for a
likelihood, that divers of these gentlemen were known unto divers of the
Fathers and did sometimes come unto them for helps in the Sacraments. But
so did many hundreds besides those gentlemen: and the Fathers dispense
faithfully those divine mysteries to all, without exception of any, if
they find them desirous and prepared, and without suspicion of any to bear
undutiful minds.(332) And if all the acquaintance, yea, or the familiar
and inward friends unto these gentlemen should have been called in
suspicion, not only many other Catholics in England, who neither are nor
can be appeached of any such matter, should be convented, but as well,
many of their own side, even some of those that sat as judges of them in
the Parliament. Briefly, a bad excuse must stand for good, where no better
can be found, and where the matter is resolved, and the parties condemned,
before the proof can be found or the witnesses produced. But behold one
single and he but a seeming witness was found, or rather was supposed to
be found; for he also failed them, as I shall after declare.

There was one Bates a servant to Mr. Robert Catesby, of whom I made
mention before; and this man having been employed by his master in the
whole action for provision of powder, &c., and seeing himself so far in
danger as the best, and yet not stored with so much grace and generous
mind as was needful, nor perhaps entering the action with so seeming good
motives as those gentlemen, who protested they did it merely for service
to God and exaltation of religion; which it may be feared was not the
motive to this fellow,(333) being but a serving-man and never of any
extraordinary capacity or devotion, but only trusty to his master, and
belike, in respect of that employed. Therefore now when he saw his master
gone, and all hopes by him failed, it may well be this wind would make his
house to shake, if it were so built upon the sand; and when he saw
likewise the likely storm coming of death which he was to expect, and of
torments also in likelihood, if he did not seek to please: these loe were
great temptations to the poor fellow and sufficient to toss and bend that
reed which way the wind would blow; especially those fears being seconded
with hopes of favour; which were also promised, as shall afterwards appear
in his words, when he repented his frailty before his death. And so
this(334) fellow being earnestly urged by persons of great authority to
confess some proofs or likelihood that the Jesuits were in this action,
the poor man, of frailty and desire of life (as afterwards himself
affirmed), told them that his master and another of those gentlemen had
been not past a fortnight before the action broke out, at a nobleman’s
house where three Jesuits were, to wit, Father Henry Garnett, Father
Osmund Tesimond, and Father John Gerard. He affirmed also that himself was
sent with a letter by his master after they were up in arms, to a house in
Warwickshire, where two of the said Jesuits were, _vidlt._, Father Garnett
and Father Tesimond: and that Father Tesimond then went with him to his
master, who was at Mr. Winter’s with the rest of the company; but that the
said Father Tesimond staid not with them, but rode presently away; yet did
the poor fellow in his weakness yield so far as to say, that he thought
Father Tesimond did know of the Plot, which yet he affirmed not of the
other two.

This was the ground and the only foundation upon which they built that
great and slanderous calumniation against all the Jesuits in England;
whereas this was no proof at all, but only the single conceit of one
simple man, and that only set down as a mere thought of his own head, and
but of one of the three. For as for the seeing of them all three at my
Lord Vaux’s, it is certain that was not true. For I have inquired of the
matter since, and so have found it, as I say, to be false; besides, Father
Gerard in his letters sent unto the Council in his own purgation, did
protest he had not seen that Bates of at least a twelve-month before, and
these letters were so sent, as they were received by the Council, whilst
Bates was living and in their hands. But Bates perhaps might think it true
that he was there at that time, that being the place which was generally
supposed to be his chief abode, and so esteemed by the Council themselves,
as appeared by the several searches had been made there for him, before as
well as after this false suspicion. Besides if he would be there at any
time, Bates might think it likely he would not be absent at that time,
when two aunts of the Lord Vaux that now is, were come thither in their
return from a long journey, who had not been there together of many years
before; especially because Bates did suppose that Father Garnett, who was
the Superior of all the Society in England, did continue with those two
sisters, and was then come with them unto the same house, as Bates did
imagine, and that Father Tesimond also did meet him there. All which might
be very likely, if Father Garnett did go along in that journey with those
devout gentlewomen; for it might well be supposed Father Gerard would not
then be missing, but would rather be there of purpose to give his Superior
the best entertainment he could procure, and this, if it were so, was
cause sufficient, without any thought of the other cause of meeting, which
I have heard Father Gerard himself protest, he did not so much as imagine
before the thing itself was known to all men. And as for Mr. Catesby his
being there, he was near cousin both unto the same Lord Vaux, and his
mother who kept the house, and to those two gentlewomen whom he met there
at that time, as he had done in many other places, both before and since
this conspiracy was dreamt of. And as for Sir Everard Digby, there was
more occasion of his being there, and there at that time (as I have since
learned), for that he was a near neighbour and a great and tried friend
unto the same Lord Vaux and his mother, as it was very well known unto
divers of the Council, and the same also allowed of and well liked by
them, with whom he had dealt concerning the said Lord and his mother about
a match that should have been between the Lord Chamberlain(335) his
daughter and the young Lord Vaux.

So that Sir Everard Digby had many serious occasions to come to my Lord
Vaux’s; and then in particular, as I have learned since, being come from
his ancient house and chief living which lay in Rutlandshire, from whence
he could not go unto the house(336) where his wife and family lay, but he
must pass by the door of my Lord Vaux his house, which also made him there
an ordinary guest.

So that all this supposal had been nothing if it had been true; and as
Bates neither did nor could affirm it to be true that the three Jesuits
were there, but only that the two gentlewomen were there, taking their
sister’s house in their way at their return, and his master also, and Sir
Everard Digby met them, of which one also came merely by chance; what the
other did I know not. And whereas I say that Bates did not affirm this of
the Jesuits, no, nor of their only being in the house, so absolutely as he
did affirm that he afterwards saw Father Garnett and Father Tesimond in
Warwickshire, shall appear in his own words, when I set down his letter,
whereof I have the true copy.

But yet this doubtful and uncertain affirmation of his, which, if it had
been most true and certain, had been also certain to be no proof at all or
just cause of presumption, where there were so many other causes
concurring which would have required the being of Father Gerard in that
house at that time (if that were the place of his most residence), yet was
this no cause made cause sufficient of great trouble to that noble family.
For presently there was commission granted out for a most severe search to
be made in that house of my Lord Vaux’s, and also in another house of the
said Lord’s three miles off, lest perhaps Father Gerard might be kept
there in that troublesome time. The commission was directed to the most
forward Puritans of the country, with strict charge not only to search
narrowly for the said Father, but whether they found him or not, to keep
possession of the house and the keys of the rooms, until the Commissioners
should have further order from the Council. All this and much more was
performed in so strict manner as might be. For although the Lord Vaux and
his mother were very much beloved and respected in all the country, he
being the most ancient Baron and first in place of all the shire, and so
linked to most houses of worth within the shire that it was hard to find
any man of account therein that was not either akin or allied or a dear
friend unto their house; yet all this notwithstanding, the search was most
severe, as I have been credibly informed by those that were present. The
house was beset with at least a hundred men, and those well appointed. The
young Lord made no resistance, as having no cause to fear, but brought the
Commissioners presently in to his mother, who delivered unto them all the
keys of her house, and willed them to use their pleasure. They searched
for two or three days continually, and searched with candles in cellars
and several dark corners. They searched every cabinet and box in her own
closet for letters, in hope to find some little scroll that might show
Father Gerard had been an actor in this treason, or that she or her son
had received some knowledge of it. But they found not with all this
diligence the least tittle of advantage in the matter, insomuch that the
chief man in commission for this search (though an earnest Puritan) yet
sent a very full information unto the Council that he had found the house
most clear, the young Lord and his mother very respective unto authority,
admitting any kind of search or inquiry that he could desire and yet very
confident in their own innocency; and that he found not any preparation in
the house for war, or any show at all that they had the least knowledge of
any such attempt intended.

Notwithstanding, this information sent after full trial made by search,
the Council sent for the young Lord and his mother up to London presently,
where they were both examined; the young Lord by my Lord Salisbury alone,
who cleared himself so by his answer that he was no further restrained,
but only commanded to stay in the city of London. His mother was examined
before the whole Council, where she did clear herself fully from all cause
of suspicion in that treason, and affirmed constantly, that although she
were a firm Catholic, and so would live and die by the grace of God, yet
that fact she did as much mislike and condemn as themselves; and that so
she had been taught by those that had care of her soul. They urged her
that she knew Father Gerard, and had received him many times into her
house. She answered she hoped none could justly accuse her that she had
received either him or any other Priest, and that she would not accuse
herself, the same being a Penal Law. They insisted she was bound to tell
of him, for that he was known to be a traitor and a chief plotter of this
action. She answered with serious protestation, that she had never the
least cause to think so of him (if she did know him, as they presupposed);
and said that she had heard so much good of the man (though she did not
know him) that she would pawn her whole estate, yea, and her life also,
that he was not guilty of that Plot, nor justly to be touched with it.
Then the Council produced a letter which she had written unto the Sheriff
of Warwickshire, her cousin, for the delivery of two Priests, who were
taken passing through the country after the stirs were begun, which letter
the sheriff had sent unto the Council (more like a Puritan as he is, than
a kinsman as he should be). This letter, said the Lords of the Council,
being written for the delivery of Strange, the Jesuit (now in the Tower,
and since very sore tortured, as I shall afterwards declare), and for
another Priest, one of Blackwell the Archpriest his assistants, and the
same also written in so earnest and effectual manner, doth convince you to
be guilty of treason in that Statute of aiding Priests.(337) She answered
that she wrote for them indeed, and that she desired much to set them
free, but she knew them not to be Priests, but took them for Catholic
gentlemen that came sometimes to her house as others did, and looked
nothing like Priests. Then finally, some of the Council said, that whereas
she was now in the King’s mercy to live or die, she should have her life
and lose nothing of her estate, if she would tell where Gerard the Jesuit
was to be found. She answered, she knew not; but if she did know she would
not tell it them to save her life and many lives. “Why then,” said they,
“Lady, you must die.” “Why then, I will die, my Lords,” said she, “for I
will never do the other.” So they sent her away to prison, not to an
ordinary gaol, but to a rich Alderman’s house in London, where she was
well respected, and yet kept so close that not her own son might come to
see her, only she had a gentlewoman of her own to attend her. There were
also divers of her servants committed to several prisons, and often and
strictly examined with many menacings if they would not confess Father
Gerard to have been at the Lord Vaux his house, but nothing could be wrung
out of them. The house in the country was all this while watched within
and without for nine or ten days together, that if Father Gerard were
still in the house hid in any secret place, he either might be starved to
death, or by famine forced to come out. And for two or three miles round
about the house there was watch kept in the country, and all passengers
examined in desire to find the said Father, but all in vain; for where God
will protect, man’s forces or policies are frustrate, “et deficient
scrutantes scrutinio.”(338)

Soon after this search was past, Father Gerard lying secretly in another
country, and understanding how that house had been severely searched for
him as for one of this conspiracy, he thought it fit and needful to show
his innocency in the matter by a public letter, which he performed
presently, and I have read the letter. It contained, first, some reasons
why he did seek to clear himself, and that by the way of protestation, the
matter being true and just and _in re gravi_. Then he did solemnly and
seriously protest before God and all the Court of Heaven, that he was
never privy to the matter, nor had heard so much as one word of that Plot
of Powder before the thing itself was discovered and the knowledge thereof
brought unto him by public fame; and that his meaning was, he had not
known of it either in secret or otherwise, no, not so much as in
confession. Also he did exclude all equivocation so far forth, that if he
did in any sort equivocate in this protestation, he did yield himself as
guilty of the whole both in the sight of God and men. Further he alleged
divers reasons why it was not likely he should know thereof, as in respect
of the badness of the matter, which he utterly disliked and condemned, no
man more. In respect of his estate and the prohibition he had received
from his Superiors, not to meddle with any State matters at all; and much
less with any such outrageous attempt. Also, that the Council had tried
him sufficiently in those matters in the time of Queen Elizabeth’s reign,
when they had him in their hands from three years and more, often
labouring to have found him guilty, or to have him confess he had dealt in
State matters; but he was ever found clear, insomuch that they could not
produce the least word of his writing or witness against him in all that
time of his imprisonment, nor find him guilty in the least point, although
they put him to the uttermost trials to see whether force or favour would
sooner prevail with him. Then further in this letter he alleged, that if
in Queen Elizabeth’s time it could not be proved he had meddled in any
matters of State, much more it was to be presumed he would be far from
dealing in this highest kind of treason, and that against this King, for
whom it was well known his father had suffered and lost much, whereof it
pleased His Majesty to take knowledge unto his brother at his first coming
to the Crown. And lastly, he said he was so far from ever consenting or
knowing of any such matter, that he offered freely, if either before his
taking or after,(339) it could be proved, that ever he had any kind of
knowledge of that Plot of Powder, that then he would freely give them
leave, whensoever it should please God to deliver him into their hands, to
put him to all the torments could be imagined, and pull one piece of him
from another, and withal that all men of what side or sect soever should
then repute him as a perjured creature, and to have neither faith to God
nor man. This was the effect of his letter in brief, the letter itself
containing a sheet or two of paper, which letter being published in
London, did give great satisfaction not only to Catholics (who could not
easily believe such reports of him before) but even to the Protestants
themselves. Yea, it was showed unto the King himself by an Earl in great
favour with His Majesty, and His Highness for that time was very well
satisfied therewith.

But notwithstanding this and the general opinion which most men conceived
of his innocency, and although there were no proof at all or sufficient
grounds to proceed against any of the rest, yet such was the settled
resolution of some to bring them into the suspicion and slander of this
treason, that they proposed it unto His Majesty as a thing very requisite,
to have a public proclamation sent forth against the Jesuits, and first to
begin with these three, meaning to bring in the rest also by degrees. The
King referred the matter unto the Council, as his manner is. The cause was
therefore discussed at the council-table, and being proposed by those that
were of great authority in that place, it was not much gainsaid, at least
for two of the three. But for the third, which was Father Gerard, it was
answered by some, that there was no reason he should be put in the number;
and one Earl at the table, being of great account both for wisdom and
learning, said that sith Gerard had so fully cleared himself by so ample a
protestation and was a gentleman, he thought it was very hard to lay so
severe a punishment upon him, upon the single accusation of one witness,
and he but a base fellow and in fear of his life. For it was then supposed
that Bates did accuse all these three, and perhaps so proposed also to
make the matter seem more justly grounded. But it was not so, as will
appear in the words of Bates his letter hereafter. But neither this pious
answer, nor truth itself, which I doubt not answered for all the three in
the conscience of those that most furthered this cruel course, could
anything at all prevail against the course which was before intended,
insomuch that it was there resolved a proclamation should presently be
sent forth against those three before named. Yea, and Father Gerard was
put in the first place, as if he had been the principal person of the
three, which though some do think to have been done only by the penner of
the proclamation in respect of his blood or kindred in the world, which
they (looking only with fleshly eyes) make more account of than of
spiritual dignities; yet sure it was done of purpose, to make him the more
odious thereby, and to hide the want of proof which they had against him:
that when all men did see him set before the other two, whereof one was
his Superior, and the other his ancient every way, they might the rather
think there was some great matter found out against him. And so all men
might be incensed the more to betray him or apprehend him, for that was
the chief intention of the proclamation against all the three. And to that
end in the proclamation, first the names of the persons and the nature of
their supposed offence was set down; then a subtle inducement joined with
a serious commandment unto all men to discover them and to help to
apprehend them, unto which also was annexed large promises to those that
should be found the particular instruments of their apprehension; and
lastly, a severe protestation that whosoever should presume to be a
harbourer, maintainer, or concealer of any of them, or should not do their
best for their discovery or apprehension, that they should hope for no
mercy, but that the laws should be most severely executed upon them, as
upon persons no less pernicious than the actors and concealers of the main
treason itself. In the end of all the three persons were described, that
they might the better be known, by their stature, their colour, and
countenance. By all which it may appear how violent a desire of their
apprehension those had who procured the proclamation, as the most forcible
and likely means to that effect. I pray God avert the violence of His
justice from their souls, and send them to find mercy, when this forcible
proceeding of theirs doth come to be examined. For otherwise a dreadful
doom must be expected, “quia potentes potenter tormenta patientur:
horrende et cito apparebit eis,”(340) saith the wise man. I pray God they
may prevent it, before it light upon them; otherwise this blow will hurt
and wound the strikers much more than them against whom it was

This proclamation being published in London, it was presently carried into
all the market-towns of England (as the custom is) to be there proclaimed,
to the end that all men taking notice of the names and the description of
the persons of these three supposed traitors, it might be unpossible in
any short time for any of them to pass safely through any town, but that
they would be descried, discovered, and apprehended. So that they were now
to be esteemed in all human likelihood, “tanquam oves occisionis,” like
sheep designed to the slaughter. “Sed ira viri justitiam Dei non
operatur;”(342) and whom God will protect “nemo potest rapere de manu
illius.”(343) God provided for them such friends as knew their innocency
well, and did most willingly adventure with them, not regarding the
threats nor respecting the promises in the proclamation of a straw. Yea, I
know where some of them refused the earnest entreaties of some persons of
great worth instantly desiring to have had them in their houses. But they
were well and safely provided for, for insomuch that until this day two of
them were never in danger to fall into their enemies’ hands, “sed liberati
sunt de manu Herodis et de omni expectatione plebis Judæorum.”(344) And
the third was provided for sufficiently in a house of great safety, and
where he might have continued long enough without danger, if he had not
been by God’s permission betrayed into their hands as his Master was; “sed
advenerat hora ejus.”(345) And he that betrayed him for “Quid vultis mihi
dare?”(346) had a halter for his pains, as Judas had, though he died not
desperate, as Judas did, but very penitent for his fact, as the sequent
chapters shall declare.

Chapter X. How Father Garnett, The Superior, Was Discovered And Taken In
Worcestershire And Brought Up To London: And Of His First Entreaty And

When all England was filled with this new rumour by means of this
proclamation, that now the Jesuits were also found to be in the Plot of
Powder, and especially those three, who therefore were named and described
and publicly proclaimed, though Catholics did generally believe the
contrary of them, many being witnesses of their innocency, and of their
often and earnest persuasions to peace and quietness, and to patience in
this time of persecution. And though many wise men did say in their
hearts, “Quam accusationem affertis adversus homines istos?”(347) because
they saw them traduced by the proclamation in general words as heinous
traitors and contrivers of the whole Plot, and as men so proved to be by
the several examinations of the prisoners in the Tower. But when they
looked for these proofs in the examinations, even those which were chosen
out amongst the rest to be published in print, as the chiefest and most
fit for the full discovery of the whole Plot and the plotters of the same;
and finding there no one word of any of them, but the contrary, in that
the whole course of the matter was there seen to be carried by others
there mentioned with all particulars of their proceedings. And hearing
also by many certain reports that the prisoners did all protest there was
no Priests at all guilty of the conspiracy, or that did any ways assist
them therein: these and the like reasons did make the wiser and more
reasonable sort, even of Protestants themselves, to think, as the truth
was, “quod ex invidiâ tradidissent eos.”(348)

But this was no impediment to the forcible authority of the proclamation,
which went out under the King’s name. And instead of particular
accusations, it must suffice for the present, “quod si non essent hi
malefactores, non tradidisset eos potestas regia;”(349) and indeed other
proofs they could have none at all against all the three neither then nor
since, although against two of them, to wit, against Fathers Garnett and
Tesimond,(350) they framed afterwards some pretended matter in particular,
much like to that whereof their Master was accused, “quod subverteret
gentem et prohiberet tributum dari Cæsari:”(351) “Sed sufficit discipulis
ut sint sicut Magister eorum.”(352) In the meantime Father Garnett thought
best to retire himself to a house of great safety near unto the place
where then he was, and there meant to lie private till the heat of this
persecution were passed, and that it might be more safe travelling towards
London where he meant to settle as he had been accustomed. The house was
called Henlip, two miles distant from the city of Worcester, and so large
and fair a house that it might be seen over great part of the country; and
indeed it was so fair and commodious a house that it had often caused the
owner of it much trouble, being an eyesore unto some Puritans of great
wealth that were neighbours, within some miles, and nothing so well
seated; who therefore procured often warrants to search that house in hope
to find some Priest there, for which the house and the whole estate of the
gentleman might be forfeited to the King, and so begged by them that were
the causers and actors of such apprehension. But this being often essayed
was never permitted by God until this time, “quæ erat hora illorum et
potestas tenebrarum.”(353)

The proclamation being published containing, besides other persuasions,
large promises to any that would be discoverers of any of the three; it
happened that there was a gentleman called Humphrey Littleton, then fallen
into trouble for receiving and concealing Mr. Robert Winter, one of the
principal conspirators, and Mr. Stephen Littleton, his kinsman, who had
joined himself unto the conspirators in rebellion. These two having
escaped from this Stephen Littleton his house, where the rest of the
conspirators were, some slain and some taken (as before hath been
declared), and having escaped taking a month and more in several places
where they lay hid, did finally come to this Humphrey Littleton for
harbour: and he received them into his kinswoman’s house, where he then
lay, and kept them in his own chamber, where they were discovered and
apprehended.(354) Humphrey Littleton therefore being in danger of his life
for having harboured them, and seeing so large promises of favour and
rewards to those that would discover any of the three, thought to save
himself from a temporal punishment by doing that which deserved an eternal
pain, and sent up word unto the Council, that he had been not long before
at Mr. Abington his house, called Henlip, before mentioned, where he heard
a Jesuit preach called Ouldcorne, who did there reside for the most part,
and where he thought also Garnett was to be found.

Upon this information a warrant was presently despatched into the country
to Sir Henry Bromley, a Knight, who was the next Justice of account unto
Mr. Abington’s house, and who was best experienced in searching of that
house, which he had often performed before upon less likelihood of
speeding than now he carried with him by means of this discovery, and the
extraordinary authority he had to use his pleasure. He came therefore to
the house on a Sunday morning very early, accompanied with above a hundred
men with him, armed and furnished all “cum gladiis et fustibus”(355) and
with guns, and all kind of weapons, more fit for an army than an orderly
search. And beginning to beat at the gate with great importunity to be let
in presently, the Catholics within the house soon perceiving their
intention, made all the haste possible to hide both the Priests and Church
stuff, and books, and all such persons and things as belonged to the
Priests, or might give cause of suspicion. In the meantime sending to the
gates, as the custom is, to know the cause of their coming, and to keep
them in talk with messages to and fro, from the master or mistress of the
house, all to gain time, whilst they within were hiding all things in the
most safe secret places they had.

But Sir Henry Bromley, impatient of this delay, caused the gates with
great violence and force of men to be broken down, which yet he could not
perform in so short a time (by reason they were very strong and answerable
to the greatness of the house) before they within had made all safe which
they would hide from this violent invasion. The Knight being entered by
force, sent presently some principal persons with men enough to assist
each of them into all the several parts of the house, as well to take
possession of the same, as to make stay of any persons that were
suspicious, and to be sure that nothing should then be hidden after his
entry. Himself showed unto the mistress of the house (Mr. Abington himself
being not then at home) his large commission to search, and the
proclamation against those for whom he would search. She yielded to his
authority, and gave him full power to do his will. He began after the
accustomed manner, to go through all the rooms of the house, which were
many and very large; he had with him Argus his eyes, many watchful and
subtle companions, that would spy out the least advantage or cause of
suspicion, and yet they searched and sounded every corner in that great
house till they were all weary, and found no likelihood of finding that
they came for, though they continued the daily search, and that with
double diligence, all the whole week following. But upon Saturday two
laymen that did usually attend upon the two Priests, and were hid in a
place by themselves, being almost starved to death, came out of their own
accord. For they had placed the Priests in another secret conveyance where
there was some provision of victuals laid up for their sustenance a few
days; but themselves were forced to go into a place on the sudden, which
though it were safe from finding, yet had no provision at all to eat, and,
as I have heard, they had but one apple between them in all those six or
seven days. Whereupon they thought it best to come out; and yet not that
so much to save themselves from death by famine, as for that they
perceived the resolution of the searchers to be of staying in the house
until they had either found or famished those whom they knew to be within.
Therefore these two virtuous men being in hope that upon their taking, the
searchers would be satisfied and depart (as either thinking them to be
Priests, or that if there had been any more to be found, they would also
have been forced to come out), this hope made them resolve to offer
themselves to their enemies’ hands, to save the lives of those whom they
loved better than themselves. And their coming out was in such manner as
could endanger nothing but themselves; one of the two especially, whose
name was Nicholas Owen, abounding in discretion, which was the man that
attended on Father Garnett, and is thought by all men to have been a
Brother of the Society, of whom we shall have occasion to speak
afterwards, for he suffered many and great torments, and is now a glorious

They therefore perceiving that some of the searchers did continually by
turns watch and walk up and down in the room where they were hidden, which
was a long and fair gallery four square, going round about the house, they
watched their time when the searchers were furthest off, and came out so
secretly and stilly, and shut the place again so finely, that they were
not one whit heard or perceived when or where they came out, and so they
walked in the gallery towards the door, which they thought belike to have
found open. But the searchers being turned back in their walk, and
perceiving two strange men to be there, whom they had not seen before,
presently ran unto them, and asked what they were. They answered they were
men that were in the house, and would be content to depart if it pleased
them. The others asked whether they were Priests: they answered they were
Catholics, and that further they would not answer, being no doubt desirous
to be taken for such, the better to satisfy the insatiable mind of those
blood-suckers. Then being asked where they had been all that while, they
answered they had hid themselves, being Catholics, to avoid taking. And
being urged to tell or show the place where, they absolutely refused.

But the searchers knowing well that it must needs be in the gallery by all
circumstances, began afresh to search more violently than ever, and to
break down the wainscot with which the gallery was lined, and the walls
also in a number of places. And so they continued with all violence for
five or six days after, and leaving no place untried in so great leisure
as they had, it pleased God to end the misery in which they kept those two
good Fathers by their so long and strait inclosure, and to deliver them
“in manus quærentium animam illorum,”(356) by permitting the searchers at
last to light upon the place itself, where they had been hid so many days,
“sustentati aquâ, angustiæ et pane tribulationis.”(357) For the Fathers
were resolved (as since I have been informed) there to have ended their
days (which could not much longer have continued, the uneasiness of the
room and their slender provision considered) rather than by coming out to
have endangered their friends in whose house they had been so charitably
entreated. But it was God’s will to have their great patience and many
virtues better known by their public sufferance of violent death, than it
could have been if they had been in that manner privately pined up in a
corner. The searchers therefore having found and entered the secret place,
they took out the two Fathers out of their close and painful prison, and
they seized upon such Church stuff and books as were also laid up in the
same place, which had made the room more strait and uneasy for the Fathers
than otherwise it would have been. When the Fathers were taken, they soon
knew who Father Ouldcorne was, because he had continued in that country
many years and was well known and highly respected by most of the
Catholics in all those parts.

He had also been often seen by many heretics of the country, and was once
in their hands before in Queen Elizabeth’s time, taken on the sudden by
some that came to search the house, as he was walking with another
gentleman in the garden. But then out of his ready wit he escaped their
hands; for coming with the searchers to the door, which went of the
parlour into the garden, and finding it locked (which it is like the
servants had done after they perceived the search, because they would have
respite to pull down the altar and to hide the Church stuff and other
things of peril), Father Ouldcorne, therefore, finding this door shut,
called the servants hastily, as if he did reprehend them for keeping out
the Queen’s officers, and when they came to open the door he stept in
first, as if he did continue his speech of finding fault with their long
stay, and suddenly clapt to the door upon the searchers, leaving them shut
out and in the garden with the other gentleman; himself presently got into
a secret place, perhaps the same which now was found, though then they
could not find neither it nor the man again, though they sought him long
and with great diligence. And the like strange escapes had happened to
Father Garnett often, though in other manner.

And so we see, that when God will protect, he can hide a Felix between two
walls, and make spiders His workmen to cover the entry with their webs.
And again, when it is His pleasure to deliver up His servants to their
last conflicts, no secret, no hide, no defence shall serve; but He will
deliver them like sheep to the devouring of wolves, when He hath ordained
them to so high an honour, as to suffer for His holy name, “ut simul
compatiantur in hoc sæculo, qui conregnaturi sunt in futuro.”(358) So it
fell out to these two holy men, who after they had spent so many years in
the gaining of souls, labouring both faithfully and fruitfully in God’s
vineyard, so that they might say with the blessed Apostle, “Bonum certamen
certavimus, cursum consummavimus, fidem servavimus:”(359) what was now
remaining but that they should be called by the just Judge to receive
“illam coronam justitiæ quæ reposita erat illis,”(360) and which therefore
the Apostle doth not only appropriate to himself, but “iis etiam qui
diligunt adventum Christi,” which truly was performed by these two in
great measure, as both in their life and at their death they showed
abundantly. Thus therefore Father Garnett and Father Ouldcorne being
taken, and Father Ouldcorne soon known who he was, they laboured much to
know whether the other were Father Garnett or no, and though they brought
divers unto him to see if they did know him, yet they could find none for
a good while that could and would discover who he was, until at last one
poor man was brought, who had drunk too much of that cup of contradiction
with which the craft of heresy hath sought of late to infect the minds of
some of the weaker sort, thereby to divide, and so to destroy the kingdom
of faith in our country; and this poor man, I hope rather out of
simplicity than malice, took knowledge of him, having known him before and
been beholden to him, and called him both by his own name Garnett, and by
other names that he had known him to go by, by which he was also described
in the proclamation. And this silly man did utter it with a kind of
spleen, as seeming to hope that now the Jesuits would bear less sway than
he thought they had done. It is thought he hoped for some favour from the
Council for this his good service unto them (though a Priest, and then a
prisoner in Worcester); but I cannot hear that he reaped any fruit besides
a wounded conscience “ex hâc delatione et accusatione fratris sui;”(361)
and Father Garnett’s answer unto him was with great mildness and charity,
according to his custom. Sir Henry Bromley now having what he desired,
presently despatched posts unto the Council with this news, and kept the
prisoners at his own house in the meantime until he might receive further

Unto these foresaid prisoners, Mr. Thomas Abington, the master of the
house where they were taken, was also now adjoined, who came home to his
own house two days after the search began, and was presently apprehended,
that he might be in safety if any of these supposed traitors should chance
to be taken in his house: because then by the laws he loseth both life and
living. Sir Henry Bromley soon after receiving order from the Council to
bring up Father Garnett and Father Ouldcorne with a good guard and
strength to London, he performed presently their commandment, and went
towards London attended with a great number of horses for the more safe
custody of his charge. But the more he conversed with Father Garnett, the
more he grew in estimation of him, and the more he showed in all things to
respect him, although the man be otherwise a very earnest Puritan, and one
of the forwardest that way of all Worcestershire. It happened by the way
that the Minister who went with Sir Henry Bromley as his chaplain or
preacher, seeing Father Garnett so modest and to speak so little,
especially of matters of controversy, thought belike that he had been
utterly unskilful in them, and desirous to get himself some credit in that
kind, began to provoke Father Garnett to the combat; but Father Garnett,
loth to give offence unto any, and esteeming the example of modesty more
fruitful to a proud heretic than to contend with one so likely to resist
the known truth, did once or twice put him off with a mild answer, showing
only what the other should believe in such a case, and forbearing to
allege any further reasons. Whereupon the heretic grew more insolent (as
their custom is), and then began in sort to triumph in the hearing of
others, which Father Garnett perceiving, and then doubting that his good
meaning would be so easily discerned by his silence as misconstrued,
without giving further answer to the Minister, he hastened his horse a
little to overtake Sir Henry Bromley that rode before, and told him how
his Minister had divers times provoked him to disputation, which he had
purposely forborne, being loth to give offence unto him in whose custody
now he was; and partly also, because he knew such disputations to be often
fruitless where there is no judge of authority to restrain the subdued
party from entering into terms of blasphemy and such like, which himself
was not willing to hear, and therefore thought it better in such a case to
be silent. But that if it pleased Sir Henry to hear the one and restrain
the other in case it should be offered, he then for his part was very
ready to give his Minister satisfaction to anything he would or could
propound. Sir Henry commended very much his wisdom and government in the
manner of his proceeding, and called the Minister presently, willing him
to propound all things freely that he would, but yet with modesty. So the
Minister began to discourse after their diffuse manner, producing many
things not digested into any good method, nor founded upon any sure
grounds of faith or learning. Father Garnett suffered him to speak his
fill, as long as he seemed to continue in one matter, and then desired
leave to speak. Then he in few words and excellent order related the
substance of all that the other had said, and then repelled it with so
substantial grounds, and with such demonstration of learning, and that
even in those kinds which they most esteem and stand upon, which is the
Scriptures and Tongues, that it put the Minister to silence and the Knight
to great admiration, and all the audience were so satisfied both with his
modesty and profound learning as it was reported presently by them all
over London, to the great commendation of the good Father. But Sir Henry
Bromley did seem so greatly to admire and affect him, that he affirmed to
divers gentlemen of account, when he came to London, that he never in his
life met the like man to Mr. Garnett either for modesty, wisdom, or
learning, and that he would kneel before the King to save his life, if he
were not found guilty of the Powder.

When they were come to London, the two Fathers were first committed close
prisoners to the Gatehouse, their two servants to other prisons. When
Father Garnett was carried into the prison, there stood a great number of
prisoners at the gate expecting to see him as he passed, whom he seeing,
asked aloud, “Is there any of you that be in for the Catholic faith?” And
divers Catholics answering, “Yes, yes, we are Catholics, and prisoners for
our conscience,” “Then,” said he, “I am your fellow.” So he was locked up
in a chamber.

And it was two days after before he was examined, whereof the reason was
guessed to be in that the Council, hearing so much fame of his virtue,
gravity, and learning, and knowing well how much he was respected by many
great persons, and esteemed also by the Ambassadors of the Catholic
Princes then residing in London, it made them very wary, and to deliberate
much how to proceed with him, and would not call him to examination before
they had informed themselves of as much as they could learn of his words
and carriage at his taking and bringing up to London, many of which (to
our great grief and loss) are unknown to us; for that the three that were
taken and brought up with him are all put to death, and were kept close
until their death, and the times also have been so troublesome since, that
we could not have such means as we desire to meet and talk with those that
were eyewitnesses of many notable accidents, which we hope to do
hereafter, and to have many things brought to light which will be greatly
to God’s glory and all our comfort.

The third or fourth day after Father Garnett was committed to the
Gatehouse he was sent for to be examined by five or six of the Privy
Council, at which time, as ever after, they used him with great respect,
unusual from meaner Commissioners than the Privy Council when Priests are
examined, and especially those of the Society, whom, as being more hated
by them, they are accustomed to revile with many bitter and disgraceful
terms, whereof traitor is the least. But to Father Garnett the contrary
was so far used that the Lords themselves would seldom speak unto him but
they would put off their hat, and sometimes hold it off a good while, and
they did usually call him Mr. Garnett at every word. Of this his first
examination we have not the particular; but this only in general, that he
answered so to all their questions that he gave them great satisfaction,
and they after his departure gave him great commendation. Yea, one of the
Council said, “he could not be misliked but for matter of doctrine only.
As for the Powder he was clear of it.” So he was sent back to the
Gatehouse for the time. But that time was very short, for he was soon
after lodged in a stronger hold and in a straiter prison, where neither
any that wished him well could come near him to understand how he was
used, and where there wanted not instruments full of subtlety and cruel
hatred against him, who would be sure to use him far otherwise than so
mild a disposition and so worthy a man deserved.

Chapter XI. Of Father Garnett, His Carriage To The Tower And Subtle Usage
There. Also Of The Usage Of Fr. Ouldcorne And Nicholas Owen, Ralph, And
John Grisoll In The Same Place.

The expectation of this matter touching Father Garnett was great in every
place, and the conceits of men very diverse and their discourses different
what would become of so notable a man, being so famous for learning and
piety and modesty as that his very enemies could speak no other but much
good of him, unless they would so apparently wrong their judgments by
judging contrary to the sight of all men. Some thought he should have
favour, because they saw him used with such respect; some deemed it most
likely they meant to permit his friends to redeem his life, as not finding
sufficient pretence to put him to death, and therefore better to gratify
some courtier with that which would be given for his life; in which hope I
know one devout gentlewoman who offered 500_l._ as a fee to a courtier,
that was very likely to obtain it if that had been their intention. Others
judged this stay that was made of sending him to the Tower was but to give
such hope to Catholics, and to see who would make suit for him in any
kind; others, again, that it was done to try his constancy first by fair
means, meaning afterwards to make trial of him by contrary usage, if that
would not serve the turn. Briefly, the general report was that he was free
from the Plot, and not to be touched with this conspiracy, which even
Protestants affirmed to be most likely, in that he was not accused by any
of the conspirators, as might be easily seen in their printed
examinations, for that above all the rest would have been printed, if by
favour or force or fear it could have been wrung out of them. Now as for
Catholics, it was generally their opinion that he was innocent, for they
knew very well he could not be guilty who had so often and so effectually
laboured to stay them from all attempts or disobedience, though in matters
of much less moment than this so cruel intention against the Parliament

But whilst all London and England was full of expectation what issue this
cause would have, and every man gave his judgment of the matter according
to his several humour and opinion, that course was taken which was from
the first intended, and he was delivered up to the Lieutenant of the
Tower, a fit instrument for such a purpose, as being a man most pliable to
the will of those that had no will to do Father Garnett good. And the
man’s mind and manner of proceeding may be seen by his first salutation to
Father Garnett when he was brought into the Tower, for presently he began
to revile him, saying “he was a plotter of all treasons.” But Father
Garnett gave him no answer, and being demanded why he did not answer to
those accusing words, he said “he was not moved with his words, for Christ
his Master had taught him by His own example to bear quietly such

His lodging and first usage there was not evil in exterior things
(supposing the condition of the place), which doth allow no bed or any
such provision to any prisoner but such as himself doth provide from his
friends abroad; which help, until it be procured, a prisoner there may by
favour have some straw to lie upon, and that was Father Garnett his couch
until such necessaries could be sent unto him, which in his case could
hardly be procured without danger to the senders, nor but by divers
circumstances. First he was to send to some known prisoner or notorious
Catholic, not as acquainted with him, but as by request in the way of
charity. Then that party did send unto his friends, and after that it was
not long in doing, but yet all done with great circumspection, as not
doubting but all those that brought such things to that Catholic’s house
that must seem to send them, would be watched narrowly, and perhaps dogged
to their home, which is an ordinary practice in all such cases.

Being now settled in the Tower, the Council came thither to examine him,
but found him always the same man, both constant in his faith and
function, and faithful to his friends. For though they pretended they
would not deal with him in any matter concerning his Priesthood (desiring,
indeed, to have his case esteemed different from others against whom they
had formerly proceeded), yet were many questions such as if he had
answered either weakly or unwisely he must needs have brought many of his
friends to great trouble; as, where he had lived for a long time, how he
had been maintained, what places he was at in that last journey, what
company he had met at the places which they affirmed he did stay in, and
finally, whom he knew or had had any dealings withal. But he quit himself
so wisely, and answered so resolutely in them all, as did sufficiently
declare he neither could lawfully, nor would upon any condition detect
others, knowing nothing by them but the exercise of Catholic religion and
practice of virtue. Finally, there was not any whosoever of high or low
degree that came in trouble by his default or oversight. There were also
many occasions offered in those several examinations of showing his skill
and knowledge in matters of learning. In particular for matter of
equivocation, wherein he was much and often urged, and ever gave them such
satisfaction as in reason they could wish no more. The particulars of
divers such-like things we cannot as yet procure, they are kept so close
(as commonly it is most done where they find least advantage); only that
matter of equivocation being spoken of again at the bar by Mr.
Attorney,(362) then he referred to the former full satisfaction he had
given them in his several examinations, though there again he repeated
some points thereof briefly, as shall appear when we come to handle his

The Council, finding that no advantage was to be gotten of him in his
examinations, either against himself or others in this chief matter, they
committed the care and charge of proceeding with him in that kind unto the
Lord Chief Justice and the Attorney-General, to wit, Popham and Coke, both
professed enemies to Catholics and their religion, who were so forward or
rather so desirous to undertake the business, that (as it is said) they
offered, if they might have their full scope to deal with him as they
thought good, they would undertake to prove him guilty in the Plot of
Powder. I pray God, that of the Prophet David be not proved against them
both, “Veloces pedes eorum ad effundendum sanguinem,”(363) when they shall
be cited to a higher Tribunal, where neither the one shall plead nor the
other be judge, but both be judged “secundum mensuram quâ mensi

Father Garnett was delivered over to their pleasure,(365) and it pleased
them to examine him very often. In all which, though they found no
advantage at all, yet, after three or four examinations, they were so bold
as to give it out that he had confessed all. But this was for another end.
For hereupon presently the Attorney spake in the Parliament House to have
eight Jesuits condemned of this treason by the High Court of Parliament,
_vidlt._, Garnett, Hall, Greenway, Gerard, Hamon, Westmoreland (there
being no such of the Society), Cresswell, and Baldwin. But the Parliament
refused to condemn these men without better proof of their being guilty,
and therefore willed the Attorney (seeing he had Garnett’s examinations)
to lay down the next day the proofs before them, which he promised to do
in so clear manner as their lordships should rest satisfied of their
guiltiness, and that by Garnett’s own confession. At the time appointed he
brings his proofs, which all proved no confession of Father Garnett (as he
had promised), and indeed nothing else but mere conjectures, imaginations,
and inferences of his own, and that with so little colour of likely truth
as no man applauded the motion, although there were very many that were no
friends to the parties accused (to speak the least), and so Mr. Attorney
his motion died, and was never after revived. Yea, a nobleman coming from
the Parliament at that time, said to his friend, that these lawyers were
so accustomed to lie that they could say truth in no place. But indeed Mr.
Attorney must be excused for this time, the cause and case being very
particular and a thing much sought for and long desired; and if it could
have been thus huddled up without further examination, that so many of the
Society might have stood convicted by Act of Parliament, it would have
been (as they well hoped) a stain of record to the whole Society. But it
pleased God otherwise to afflict and exercise his servants at that time
“et infatuavit Deus consilium Achitophel.”(366) I wish him from my heart a
better end than Achitophel had, though his device and advice in this
matter was of like malice. There were also some questions sent unto Father
Garnett from the Parliament itself, and he answered to all their demands
by writing in such sort as gave good satisfaction.

The Chief Justice and Attorney, in the meantime, did often visit Father
Garnett, but not in that manner that they may expect to hear for their
labour, “In carcere eram et visitastis Me.”(367) They did daily vex him
with subtle examinations and cruel interrogations, but finding they could
win nothing by these means, they devised, by treacherous stratagems, to
discover the secrets of his heart, if any were concealed by him of which
they might take advantage. And to this end caused the keeper that had
particular charge to keep his prison close and surely locked, and who
alone was admitted to come unto him and to bring him his meat and other
necessaries which he wanted. This man was directed to feign himself much
moved with Father Garnett his behaviour and words (as, indeed, they were
sufficient to move a better and wiser man than him that had not been
without grace), and to pretend that he began to be much inclined and
almost won to the Catholic faith, and, in the meantime, to show himself
very friendly, and promise to be faithful to Father Garnett in anything
wherein he might do him service. And the fellow was so cunning in this art
of cozenage, and set so fair a gilt upon his copper, that the good Father,
being full of charity, “quæ omnia credit et omnia sperat,”(368) did hope
the best of his mind, though he meant not to trust him so far as might
greatly endanger either himself or others until he had better trial. But
yet he made use of his offer so far as to send by him some notes of
ordinary matters (as the fellow might think); first unto a prisoner in the
Gatehouse, a virtuous Priest and his kinsman of his own name, unto whom he
sent a short letter concerning some necessaries that he wanted, which
letter being written with ordinary ink, he wrote besides in the margent
and in the free parts of the paper some other things with the juice of
orange, which could not be seen without holding to the fire, and would not
have been suspected if the letter had only by casualty come to light. But
this faithless messenger, opposing his malice to the Father’s charity,
carried the letter presently to be scanned, which imported (besides the
writing in black) a brief relation of the Father’s estate, the effect of
his examination, and that he was so clear of the Powder that the same
could not be proved against him. When this letter was thus read by warming
at the fire, because it could not then be delivered to the Priest, they
therefore counterfeited the Father’s hand and sent it to Mr. Garnett in
the Gatehouse, to deceive him also and to make him to return answer to the
Father, that so he might think himself secure, and be emboldened to commit
yet further trust unto this false messenger.(369)

Then the Father, knowing how great care his friends abroad had of him,
hoped he might use this man in like manner unto Mrs. Ann Vaux, a noble
gentlewoman, and aunt unto the Baron I had occasion to speak of in the
former chapters, who had for a long time showed great devotion and
charity, serving Christ in His servants, much like, in her intended
course, to those holy women of Matt. 27. whom the Evangelist speaketh,
“Quæ secutæ sunt Jesum a Galilæa ministrantes ei.”(370) This gentlewoman,
out of her great and faithful charity to Father Garnett, followed him,
indeed, not only when she might with liberty enjoy the comfort of his
spiritual and fatherly counsel, but also with great constancy and an
undaunted mind, seeking by all means possible how she might assist him in
his troubles. She therefore, being most desirous to perform all friendly
offices to Father Garnett, and, as charity is ever more careful of
another’s want than fearful of their own danger, and more solicitous to
provide for the one than to prevent the other: understanding that Mr.
Garnett in the Gatehouse had received a letter safely (as it was thought)
by the means of this keeper, she procured to speak with the man, and
finding by all outward signs that he did much affect the good Father (whom
she well knew to deserve so much affection), she thought she might be bold
to send unto her good Father by him. And so she did, desiring to know what
he wanted, and what she might perform to procure him any comfort. So that
under hope of this safe means there passed divers letters between them by
this keeper, all which were first delivered by him to those that had
employed him in that bad office; who procured the letters to be so finely
counterfeited, that being delivered they were received on both sides for
the true hands of the first writers. And so their trust was deceived on
both sides, and their letters sent by so false a messenger were
continually read, which they thought had passed so safely. By which train
they afterwards entrapped the gentlewoman and bred her trouble, as I will
declare in his place.

But in the meantime, finding nothing by all this that might touch Father
Garnett in that degree which they most desired (there passing nothing in
those letters but either spiritual comforts from the good Father, or
relation of his estate and examinations, and how he would have some
matters disposed of which belonged to his charge, and which he had not
means before to give order for, in respect of the late great troubles
which had happened); therefore, this not succeeding as yet to their full
desire, though they kept this still on foot, yet they invented and put in
practice another subtle craft, so much further from suspicion as it was
nearer home, where the Father might to his thinking freely speak unto his
friend without fear that his words should come to scanning, which letters
are often subject unto.

(M10) To this end they placed Father Ouldcorne in a chamber near unto
Father Garnett. And one time this sly companion and cunning or rather
cozening keeper, making show of great love to Father Garnett, told him
there was a thing wherein he knew the Father would take great comfort, and
which he would be willing to grant (as desiring to do him any service),
but that he durst never as yet tell him of it, least it should be espied
by others, and then he was undone. And this was, forsooth, that he might
at some convenient times come to speak with Father Ouldcorne; and that he
would willingly grant them both this favour, so that Father Garnett would
promise never to disclose it, and give the like charge unto Father
Ouldcorne. This being promised, the fellow showed Father Garnett the way
unto the wall of Father Ouldcorne’s chamber, wherein there was a cleft by
which they might well speak together and hear one the other, if they did
speak of any loudness. This was accepted by both the Fathers as a great
courtesy; as indeed it is no small comfort in such a place to men of their
quality, if this honey had not been stuffed with too much gall. But this
dogged fellow dogged them so closely, as they could never meet but he
would be of the council, though unseen by them; for the place was
purposely so contrived as that the sound of their words must needs be
carried to another place not far off, where this keeper would stand and
some other with him, to have a double witness in their double dealing.
Whereupon it happened not long after that these two Fathers, thinking
themselves secure in this point, took some fit time (as they thought) to
have each other’s help in the Sacrament of Confession. And after they had
ended their spiritual business, they began to confer of each other’s
estate, demanding what had been asked and what answered in the times of
their examinations. Amongst other things, Father Ouldcorne demanding of
Father Garnett whether Mr. Winter’s going into Spain and his negotiation
there were not laid to his charge, to this the Father answered, “He could
answer that well enough, for after that time he had the King’s general
pardon at the time of his coming to the crown, that other business with
Spain being in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.” Then Father Ouldcorne also
demanded whether he were not pressed with this matter of the Powder
Treason, as being a likely thing they would urge that above all other
matters against him. Father Garnett answered, that “so they did; but that
they could prove no such matter against him, and that no man living could
touch him in that matter, but one.” This, lo, was the word that afterwards
bred him so much trouble, and others of his friends so much grief, until
by his public answers he had cleared their doubts, and by his death put
the matter out of doubt, that he was not to be charged with any crime in
the matter of that treason, but that there was one man alone that could
accuse him so far forth as might give a likely pretence to their laws to
proceed against him, especially his enemies being his judges, and they not
judged or ruled by the law of conscience, in which the Father was clear.
This word, as the rest also, was overheard by the keeper and another
easing-dropper, his companion in that listening and cony-catching office.
Then they thought they had enough. This was carried with all speed unto
the Council, with no small joy; as it was foretold by Christ should befall
his followers. “Mundus gaudebit, vos vero contristabimini.”(371) But this
lot is not ever to lie on their side; for He that permits this to His
servants for a time, hath promised also “quod tristitia vestra vertetur in
gaudium,” and then “gaudium vestrum nemo toilet a vobis.” Then shall be
verified, “Væ vobis qui ridetis nunc, quia flebitis,”(372) and that with
fruitless and yet everlasting tears. God grant they may see and shun the
danger, which is far greater and more to be feared than that which did or
could befall this good Father by this seeming misfortune. But to proceed.

(M11) Then it was resolved presently, that either by fear or force they
would wring out of him who this person was that only could accuse him, and
how far he could be accused. Then they resolved also to pull off the
vizard from the dissembling face of the false keeper, and that he should
no more show his former readiness to please or pleasure the good Father;
but only that he should bring the good gentlewoman into the snare, which
he had before drawn her into by his faithless promising, which he
performed in this manner. Finding the devout gentlewoman desirous to see
her good Father at the window of his prison, he promised to satisfy her
wishes therein, and appointed a time when she should come to the Tower
privately, and he would carry her to a place where she should at the least
see him, if not speak with him. She failed not of her time; but coming
thither found such signs and causes of distrust, that she returned sooner
than she had intended, and was followed by persons prepared for the
purpose, to see whither she would go to take her lodging, thereby not only
to bring her, but her friends also in question. The gentlewoman,
perceiving herself to be dogged, would not go to her own lodging nor to
any Catholic house; but wisely intended to have gone into the prison of
Newgate, where there was great store of Priests and other Catholics, unto
which many of all sorts had continual access. Thus far they let her pass
quietly, but when they saw she intended to go no further, they presently
staid her, and with some rough usage carried her back unto the Tower, from
whence she came, and there committed her prisoner, which is a very
unwonted place for women to be committed in. But her extraordinary zeal
towards her good Father deserved this extraordinary honour of being
thereby more noted and spoken of, by this confession both of her faith and
fervour, which was so much the more honourable as the confession was more
public, and that was so much the more, as the place was more eminent where
she was imprisoned.

Presently after her imprisonment, there were many false rumours spread and
slanders raised, according to their custom in such cases (where they
desire most to obscure the most known virtues and best deserving persons)
for it was reported in many mouths that Father Garnett was married to this
gentlewoman, and such like stuff, which forsooth they would have therefore
the rather believed in that she was forward to adventure for him, and to
go to see a man in so great danger as he was: not understanding how much
more force true charity hath than fond affection, but “Animalis homo non
percipit ea quæ Dei sunt.”(373) And they measure others by their own
desires, not feeling any spark of that heat which moved so many good
Maries to follow Christ and His Apostles, nor tasting any part of their
comfort, who ministering corporal food unto their spiritual Pastors,
receive also from God by their ministration that heavenly manna “quod nemo
novit nisi qui accipit.”(374) But those reports soon died, when they saw
her sober and modest behaviour, giving very good example and as great
edification by her carriage as she did satisfaction by her answers in all
the time of her imprisonment, never relenting or repenting the forward
zeal she had showed to help her good Father in his need; but rather
contrary, that she should as willingly bestow her life as her labour to do
God service in that kind. And so my Lord of Salisbury did give her
testimony at Father Garnett’s arraignment.

About this time also was Mr. Garnett, the Priest in the Gatehouse, brought
into further trouble for the letter he had received by the treacherous
keeper, although it was signed and so licensed with the Lieutenant his
hand, who had also, notwithstanding this leave given, seized upon all such
necessaries as were then sent unto Father Garnett by this good Priest, and
he was now also called into question about the whole matter, and strictly
examined, and so removed from the Gatehouse to the Tower, where he
remained in likely expectation both of torture and death for his charity
shown to Father Garnett, to whom no man could show any friendship, and be
withal esteemed “amicus Cæsaris.”

Then the Council appointed a set time of coming to the Tower to examine
Father Garnett upon this advantage they had by cunning won of him out of
his own words. There came thither to that end the Lord of Salisbury, the
Lord of Suffolk, the Lord Northampton and others. How Father Garnett had
been used in the meantime for his preparation to this business we cannot
learn, but we have cause to think it was not so well at this time
especially, as he out of his modesty was content to affirm of his usage in
general, being asked the question at his arraignment. For when he was
brought before the Lords, he was in a very strange plight, so thirsty as
not able to spit or speak; beer was called for, and he drank two glasses
before them; withal he was so drowsy, as not able to hold up his head; he
complaining that he had not slept in five nights before. It was reported
by divers of good intelligence in London, that he was watched of purpose
and kept from sleep to make his head light, and himself less able to bear
that which should be imposed upon him; also that he had some mixtures of
intoxicating drink given him which should obscure his understanding and
distemper his body. But in respect that Father Garnett being asked the
question in public, did not take knowledge of any extraordinary hard usage
in those kinds, I for my part do rather think it was done, but in such
manner as himself could not perceive, by mixing his drink or meat with
such confections as might work both those effects to distemper his body
and hinder his sleep, and yet the Father not know when or how it was

At this time he was so heavy in his head, that being not fit to be
examined, the Lords permitted him to go sleep an hour, and then being
awaked, he was brought unto them again, but was little better. Then they
did examine him of many things concerning the Powder Treason, and
particularly seemed to take knowledge that one had confessed something of
him in that kind, and asked seriously whether there were not some one that
could accuse him therein: which he confidently denied as thinking himself
as secure from being accused in the knowledge of the matter as he was in
conscience clear from all consent or approbation of the thing itself. When
they saw him so absolute in denying this point, they carried him to the
house of torture and there did torture him for some time; it is thought
not very long.(375) For then they opened the whole secret, how he had been
overheard speak at the hole in the wall with Father Ouldcorne, and that he
said, there was one man that could accuse him, of which words they
produced two witnesses that said they heard him speak them; and how many
more were brought in we know not. But Father Garnett then seeing his trust
deceived and the matter discovered, thought it best for divers reasons not
to stand in it any longer; but said that “in tantâ nube testium,”(376) he
would utter the matter justly as it was, that being the time wherein he
might lawfully do it, and before he could not: the knowledge that he had
being a secret committed to him in confession, which the penitent did only
license him to utter, to save himself from torture, but not in any other

Then being taken down from the torture, he was demanded, how far he was of
counsel or a furtherer of the Plot of Powder. He answered he was never any
furtherer of it, but did ever both mislike it in his heart, and in what he
could did hinder it. And being asked how it was, or by whom he might then
be accused; he answered that he could not be otherwise accused of it, but
that he had only a simple knowledge of it, and that also in so secret a
manner as that it was never lawful for him to utter it, being in
confession. They asked him how it came to be more lawful now to utter it
than before. He said, in respect that now he had leave granted by the
penitent, who had licensed him to utter it, rather than endure torture for
keeping his confession secret. And being urged by some of the Lords, why
it might be lawful to utter the secret of confession to save himself from
torture, and not lawful to utter it for the saving of so many great
persons from death, &c, he answered it was lawful in neither case, but by
the license of the penitent, who only could “dilatare” or “restringere
sigillum secreti,”(377) which appertained to himself. Being then required
to tell who that party was; he answered, they should see, he would deal
plainly with them in all things, it being now lawful to utter his
knowledge therein; and said, “the man was Father Oswald Tesimond.”

This acknowledgment of Father Garnett’s was after censured by many; and
even by some of his friends and well-wishers esteemed a weakness in him.
But if the causes that moved him thereunto be well weighed (as they were
no doubt very well considered by him) the matter will not be found to
deserve any imputation of fear or imprudence in Father Garnett. For after
it was once bolted out at the hole in the wall that he was to be accused
of it (which thing indeed made the overture to all) if he had then
insisted upon denial, that would neither have saved his life, nor his
estimation touching that matter; yea rather, it would have left him
suspected of further practice as a principal plotter of the matter, and
withal would have made all the rest of his true assertions the more
distrusted. Whereas by telling the plain truth, that he only heard it in
confession, he did both show himself and the party from whom he heard it
to be free from being either principals or parties in the action,
especially declaring unto them as he did how the matter passed, to wit,
that Father Tesimond came unto him much troubled about the matter,
desiring for the ease of his conscience to go to confession, and therein
declared, that such an intention and practice was opened unto him; wherein
he might have some doubt whether he had done his duty. For though (as I
have heard it affirmed by some of credit, that since have spoken with
Father Tesimond) he did utterly mislike the practice, and refuse to assist
them any way, either by counsel or otherwise, yet doubts or scruples fit
for confession might arise in his mind two divers ways. First, on the one
side he might be doubtful whether he had sufficiently dissuaded them from
it, and used the best and most effectual reasons to withdraw them from
proceeding therein, both in respect of the matter itself and of the charge
he had from his Superiors not to meddle with any matter of State, much
less of that quality that concerned the life of any, or attempts against
the Prince. So on the other side, he might have some motions to doubt
whether in that case(378) God did not intend by them to punish heresy and
revenge the cause and quarrel of his servants with a temporal affliction
to some of their chiefest afflictors, which he knew well would be much
more severely punished in the next world if it be not repented in this.
Therefore being uncertain of the secret judgments of God, and seeing them
so resolute in it, and to protest they did it only for the redeeming of
the Church from persecution in England and like danger in other places, if
the root of heresy should continue; but especially that they did it to
save so many souls as daily were cast away, whilst heresy was in that
strength and power, against which also, they said, no other means was left
in human likelihood by which they could hope redress of so many evils,
much greater without comparison than the loss of such as were to perish in
the action. Remembering therefore the reasons they alleged, though he was
sure he might not himself be an actor or furtherer thereof in any kind,
yet perhaps he might doubt how far he was bound to hinder it in others.
And so the matter on both sides might breed some doubts, and whether he
feared he had done too much, or too little, in the cause, yet his fear on
either side might be cause sufficient of confession;(379) and his
confession a sign that he rather disliked than approved the Plot in any
sort. For either he must confess that he had hindered it or not. If that
he had hindered it, then he was no furtherer of it; if that he had not
hindered it sufficiently, then it was apparent he misliked the Plot, and
meant to hinder it. But the truth indeed was (as I have heard it) that he
had sought to hinder it by persuasion; but was doubtful whether in so
earnest and effectual manner as might be likely to prevail with so
absolute resolutions.

Father Garnett, therefore, opening the plain truth of the matter according
to the leave he had of the penitent in that case, did not any way
prejudice, but rather relieve, both his own and his penitent’s case as
things then stood. But some will say, what needed Father Garnett have
opened the name of the party, and not rather indefinitely have affirmed
that some one in confession did open it unto him. But this (if it be well
considered) would not have served. For, first, if he had named no person,
he could never have taken away the fear and jealousy of the King and
State, knowing assuredly that one man yet lived that was privy to the
matter, and for ought they knew might be still in the same mind, and live
in place, or be of power, to effect some mischief. Besides, by such
concealment, he might fear great troubles would follow to many Catholics,
especially that all the friends of the Society would have been troubled
with continual examinations, searches, and vexations; and that his
particular acquaintance should assuredly have been suspected, imprisoned,
and convented before the Council as traitors under this pretence; and so
to save one man from trouble he should have been the cause of trouble to
many, besides his own extremity of torture, which would have been with all
force and fury laid upon him until he had told the truth. And to name any
other person living, it was not lawful, because not true; and to name one
of the gentlemen that were slain would not have been sufficient, he having
said that one man living might accuse him. And to name in particular
Father Tesimond did not seem to give any just cause of increase to the
hard opinion they had of him before, knowing by Mr. Winter of his going
into Spain with him (though they mistook the cause) and by Bates(380) of
his going unto the gentlemen in Warwickshire after they were up in arms,
though there also they misinterpret his intention. But this supposed, and
he thereby as much laid for and as likely to suffer (if he were taken) by
their former conceits, as by this one particular, this circumstance of his
uttering it in confession might rather extenuate than aggravate his peril
in just reason and the opinion conceived of him. For as I showed before,
it proved a dislike of the action, or an endeavour against it, or both,
and this before his confession. Then Father Garnett adding thereunto his
further charge, that he should do his uttermost to dissuade and divert
them from their purpose, and he promising to do his best, all these points
do prove sufficiently that he was neither contriver nor counsellor, nor
yet consenter to the Plot, of all which he stood then accused in the
proclamation, so that the knowledge of the truth might seem to help and
not to hinder him in anything.

(M12) These and many more effectual reasons no doubt were considered by
Father Garnett, which moved him not to conceal the whole truth of his
knowledge, and the means how it came unto him; which cannot therefore be
justly imputed to any frailty or imprudence in him, but rather esteemed as
an argument of his care to take away jealousies from the King, who could
not fear any further power or practice in Father Tesimond; to prevent
troubles from Catholics; to free himself and the other also from opinion
of any consent unto the Plot; but especially to clear all the rest of the
Society from so much as the least knowledge that any such thing was
intended. Which truth may evidently be proved out of Father Garnett’s
words, “That one only could accuse him of his knowledge thereof;” for if
any more of the Society had known thereof, it is certain they would and
must have confessed the same to him, if they took it for a fault; if
otherwise, at least have sought his advice out of confession. So that no
more imparting the matter to him, it was apparent no more did know of it;
and therefore very likely to be God’s especial providence that Father
Garnett should be overheard to speak these words unto his confident friend
in private (whereby it was most apparent he meant not to be heard by
others), that thereby all others might be cleared; though for the time it
occasioned his further trouble, which God doth often permit to His elected
servants, for their further increase of glory in another world.

This, therefore, Father Garnett acknowledged then in his examination
before the Council, that they might see, as he told them, he dealt truly
and plainly with them in all things. And they asking him why he did not
before acknowledge so much, but did protest against it, he answered it was
not before lawful for him to do it, because he had no leave but in that
case; and that it was a thing both lawful in all laws, divine and human,
and ordinary also in their own practice, for men to plead not guilty,
until they be convicted by witness, which he especially might do in this
case, this being no sin or crime in him, and was bound to do until this
time, it being before “sigillum secreti confessionis,”(381) which now was
released by the penitent’s leave.

So they left Father Garnett for the time; but carried with them matter
enough, as they thought, to convict him of this treason in show of the
world. To which end it was presently given out through the whole town,
that he had confessed all, and now they could prove the Jesuits to be
principal plotters of this treason, and him and Greenway to be chief
authors and devisers of the same; and it was in most men’s mouths that all
this was under Garnett’s hand confessed. And this presently carried unto
the Ambassadors there residing, that by them it might be divulged in
others States; and so a falsehood first grounded, might be more hard to be
removed by sequent information of the truth, and their proceedings against
Father Garnett might seem more justifiable. This report, although it
troubled the Catholics of England much until they knew the contrary, yet
could they not believe it, being so well acquainted with the giving out of
such things, as the chiefest do desire to have believed, although the
truth be often found on the contrary side.

In the meantime Father Ouldcorne was also called in further question about
this conference and about his knowledge of the treason; but they found him
always like himself, both virtuous and wise and constant in both, and as,
indeed, he knew nothing thereof, so he ever professed his absolute
innocency therein and patiently endured the extreme torments they put him
unto, as I have heard five hours every day, four or five days together,
which was a greater extremity than one will easily believe that hath not
tried it.

Likewise one that did attend upon Father Ouldcorne, and did assist him in
his journeys and many good works when he was at liberty, did now suffer
with him, as he afterwards died with him. His name was Ralph ———;(382) and
he was divers times put upon the torture; but the certain number or
measure of the times I cannot yet learn. But he patiently and constantly
endured all without revealing any one place or person of his master’s

But, above all, they were most troubled and tormented that were known most
to belong unto Father Garnett; of which kind they had first taken one John
Grissold, an honest faithful man, who had the keeping of a house where the
foresaid Mrs. Ann Vaux and a kinswoman of hers did use to dwell near unto
London, and where they imagined Father Garnett did also remain with them.
This honest man being taken in the beginning of the troubles, was first
committed close prisoner to the Gatehouse and there lodged in a dungeon
upon the bare ground, for the keeper (though he were earnestly entreated
by the other prisoners) would not allow him so much as straw to lie upon,
pretending that if he had any straw to lie on, he would with that set fire
on the house. This man did both endure his affliction with great patience
and answer in all his examinations with great constancy and fidelity. But
afterwards, when Father Garnett was taken and prisoner in the Tower, the
Commissioners desiring to get matter against him, removed this man to the
Tower also, and there put him to the torture with great extremity and very
often, almost every day for a long time together, as we did confidently
hear reported; with which and with other bad usage in his diet and
lodging, he was for a long time after like to die, and it was thought by
many that he was dead, and doubtless he escaped very hardly.

But the man that was most extremely used and with extremities brought unto
the last extremity, which is death itself, was one Nicholas Oven, commonly
called and most known by the name of Little John. By which name he was so
famous and so much esteemed by all Catholics, especially those of the
better sort, that few in England, either Priests or others, were of more
credit. This man did for seventeen or eighteen(383) years continually
attend upon Father Garnett, and assist him in many occasions. But his
chief employment was in making of secret places to hide Priests and Church
stuff in from the fury of searches; in which kind he was so skilful both
to devise and frame the places in the best manner, and his help therein
desired in so many places, that I verily think no man can be said to have
done more good of all those that laboured in the English vineyard. For,
first, he was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds
of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular, and of the estates also of
these seculars, which had been lost and forfeited many times over if the
Priests had been taken in their houses; of which some have escaped, not
once but many times, in several searches that have come to the same house,
and sometimes five or six Priests together at the same time. Myself have
been one of the seven that have escaped that danger at one time in a
secret place of his making. How many Priests then may we think this man
did save by his endeavours in the space of seventeen years, having
laboured in all shires and in the chiefest Catholic houses of England?
Then for spiritual good, it is to be noted he was partner with them all in
the gain of souls wherein he did preserve them; and to which end he
intended directly all his works, labouring in that painful and dangerous
business to keep them in safety for the saving of souls, which it appeared
well he respected more than his own body, for he was not ignorant that his
office was much subject to the danger of spies, and that when he should
happen to be taken he was sure to be extremely handled to wrest out of him
the secrets of other men’s houses. And so, _de facto_, he did prove it ten
years before this his last apprehension, at which time being taken with
Father Gerard, though it were not known directly that he was the man that
used to make secret places, neither the time as then all out so violent
(things passing much with us by storms and calms, as in times of former
persecution), yet was he then put to extreme torture, and used besides
with all cunning to see if either force or fear would make him to relent.
But when they found that he was so constant he would not yield in the
least point, and so discreet withal that they could not take any advantage
of his answers either against himself or others, having no evidence at all
nor witness to come in against him, they could do no more but keep him
still in prison, which they did until Catholics, that could hardly want
him abroad, with a good round sum of money did purchase his liberty.

One reason that made him so much desired by Catholics of account, who
might have had other workmen enough to make conveyances in their houses,
was a known and tried care he had of secrecy, not only from such as would
of malice be inquisitive, but from all others to whom it belonged not to
know; in which he was so careful that you should never hear him speak of
any houses or places where he had made such hides, though sometimes he had
occasion to discourse of the fashion of them for the making of others.
Yea, he did much strive to make them of several fashions in several
places, that one being taken might give no light to the discovery of
another. Wherein he had no doubt great aid from Almighty God, for his
places were exceeding fortunate (if so we may term the providence of God),
and no marvel, for he ever began his work with communicating that day he
entered upon it, and, as much as his labour would give him leave, did
continually pray whilst he was working. But the contriving of his works in
the safest manner were also very much assisted by an extraordinary wit and
discretion which he had in such measure as I have seldom in my life seen
the like in a man of his quality, which is also the opinion of most that
did know him well. But, above all, that which did most commend him both in
the sight of God and man, was his innocent life and earnest practice of
solid virtues. For the first it was such, that I think no man can say that
in all that seventeen or eighteen years they heard him swear by any oath,
or ever saw him out of charity; yea, I have heard his ghostly Fathers
affirm very seriously, that in all that time they never knew him to have
committed mortal sin, nor anything that might be doubted to be such. His
practice of the chiefest virtues was such that he had gotten great habits
both in the religious virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and no
less in humility, patience, and charity, which upon all occasions were
very plainly seen in his conversation and actions, insomuch that he was as
a pattern of those virtues in every house where he came. One trial of his
patience I cannot omit, because it was most apparent and worthy memory.

He was sent on a time to London by his Superior to fetch certain household
stuff behind him upon a horse that was somewhat resty. He loaded his horse
in an inn, and afterwards got up in the saddle with great difficulty; but
then the horse would not forward, whether misliking his load or no, it is
uncertain; but instead of going forward he rose so high with his forefeet
that he fell backward and fell upon the man and burst his leg; which sore
hurt he did bear with so great patience, and in like sort the dressing
thereof divers times, but especially when being false knit, it was needful
to have it broken the second which was worse than the first, that they all
admired him in the inn, where he was forced to lie a long time. And
whereas his friends were much afraid he would there have been discovered
in his long abode, yet his patience and virtue got him so much love that
he received no harm, but was ever after most welcome to the place.

Upon this hurt and the ill-setting of the leg-bone, one leg was a little
bended and shorter than the other, whereof he had some halt, but so little
as you could scarcely discern it; wherein, as he was made somewhat like in
his pace unto blessed Father Ignatius (whose child and scholar he was), so
did he labour to follow his steps in his Rules and holy Institution,
whereof he was a most religious observer, and as we generally think a
Lay-coadjutor of the Society, admitted by Father Garnett some years before
his death, though his humble and discreet carriage was such as you could
not discern any liberty of fellowlike conversation that he took thereupon
with any of the Society, but rather carried himself in all things as a
servant. And I have some reasons more in particulars to think that he was
assuredly admitted of the Order, yet those can better tell that are of the
Society here in England.

Now to come to the manner of his death. It was such as might be expected
from so innocent and holy a life; yea, such as the enemy did therefore
much malign and to seek to hide, and that with disgrace in all he might.
Being taken with Father Garnett, as hath been said, he was first committed
to the Marshalsea, and not close prisoner of purpose (as it is thought) to
observe who would come unto him; but he was too wise to give any
advantage. When Father Garnett was committed to the Tower, he also was
sent thither, there to be tortured, and that with all extremity, as it was
before intended when he was first known to be taken; for even then a chief
Councillor said, “Is he taken that knows all the secret places? I am very
glad of that. We will have a trick for him.” And so indeed they tricked
him when they had him in the Tower, for they tortured him so long and so
often that his bowels gushed out together with his life; which when they
did espy, thinking to cover their own cruelty with his slander, they gave
it out that he had slain himself with a knife that was lent him to eat his
meat withal. And to make this report to go for current amongst the common
people, they set forth a ballad with his picture, ripping out his own
bowels with a knife as he lay in bed, his keeper being also in the chamber
busy about some other thing. But this false slander was so improbable that
even his enemies did not believe it, much less his friends that were so
well acquainted with his innocent life and long-continued practice in
virtue, besides his former tried constancy in that kind. For all men did
see it stood with no likelihood that, after all his torments so patiently
sustained, he should then of impatience or fear of more torments cast away
himself; for then he would rather have done it before his torments, or
after the first time to prevent the next, for he was beforehand well
assured they meant to use him with all extremity; and yet all the while he
was in the Marshalsea, or where his carriage might be seen, no sign of
fear or trouble of mind could be discerned, but an humble and quiet
settled mind, using great diligence in prayer, as one that prepared
himself to his last conflict, which he might well expect, especially
knowing the state of his body, as he did, which I will by-and-bye declare.
Again, if he would have yielded to sin to save himself from pain, would he
not rather have yielded to their desires and discovered the secret places
that he knew, for which he might be well assured not only to escape
torments, but to be most highly rewarded, as one that could have done them
more service in that kind than any man in England whosoever, and might
have brought more Priests into their hands and more gentlemen’s and
noblemen’s livings into their possession than any one man could; yea, he
might have made it almost an impossible thing for Priests to escape,
knowing the residences of most Priests in England, and of all those of the
Society, whom he might have taken as partridges in a net, knowing all
their secret places which himself had made, and the like conveyances in
most of the chief Catholics’ houses in England, and the means and manner
how all such places were to be found, though made by others. So that as no
one man did more good than he in assisting the labours of all the Priests
that were workmen in that vineyard, so no ten men could have done so much
harm as he alone might if he had been so disposed; by which he well knew
he might have made himself great in the world, not only by their rewards
for so great and extraordinary service, but also by the spoil of
Catholics’ goods, being so many and so great, as he might have come to the
rifling of, and have had no doubt much thereof for his own share,
especially the Church stuff, which he knew to be very rich in some places,
and where and how it was laid up. These motives therefore of riches,
credit, and pleasure, being joined with assurance of life and liberty, had
been more likely baits for him to have bitten at, if he would have
swallowed the hook of sin for the avoiding of torment, than by the torment
of death voluntarily assumed, not to end his torments, as he well knew,
but to begin a never-ending and that also much more intolerable torment in
hell-fire. He wanted neither wit nor knowledge in spiritual things to
discern the great difference between these two; especially seeing on the
one side with pleasures and riches in the world to be joined a longer
life, and so a time wherein he might at last hope to do penance and be
saved. Whereas on the other side he could see nothing but present death
without comfort, and that but “initium dolorum,”(384) the door, as it
were, into the house of horror, despair, and everlasting torments.

No; the truth was this: the man had lived a saintly life, and his death
was answerable, and he a glorious martyr of extraordinary merit. God
assisted him with so much grace that in all his torments he gave not the
least sign of relenting, not any sign of impatience, not any one word by
which the least of his acquaintance either did or might come in any
trouble, of which three kinds they could not so much as feign any little
instance to set forth with their forged slander, but set out the bare lie
without any colour or likelihood at all. Indeed, I think they intended not
to have killed him by torture, though they meant to give him enough, and
more than ever any sustained of whom we can find records. For he hung in
the torture seven hours together, and this divers times, though we cannot
as yet learn the certain number, but day after day we heard of his being
carried to torments. Now true it is, and well known to many, that the man
had a rupture in his belly, taken with excessive pains in his former
labours; and a man in that case is so unable to abide torments, that the
civil law doth forbid to torture any man that is broken. He, therefore,
being not only tortured, but that with so much extremity and so long
continuance, it could not be otherwise but that his bowels should come
out; which, when they perceived, and minding as yet to continue that
course with him, they girded his belly with a plate of iron to keep in his
bowels, but the extremity of pain (which is most, in that kind of torment,
about the breast and belly) did force out his guts, and so the iron did
serve but to cut and wound his body, which, perhaps, did afterwards put
them in mind to give it out that he had ripped his belly with a knife.
Which, besides all the former reasons, is in itself improbable, if not
impossible. For first, in that case, knives are not allowed, but only in
time of meat, whilst one stands by, and those such as are broad at the
point, and will only cut towards the midst. And if one be sore tortured
(though much less than he was), he is not able to handle that knife
neither for many days, but his keeper must cut his meat for him. But his
particular case proceeded yet further, for his weakness was such that when
a kinswoman of his (to whom they sent for some relief for him) desired to
see by his handwriting what he would have, his keeper answered, “What
would you have him write? He is not able to put on his own cap: no, not to
feed himself, but I am forced to feed him.” This man was likely, then,
belike, to do such a deed with a knife which he was not able to grasp. But
afterwards, the same party, seeking further to know his estate, and coming
to the keeper to learn, as desirous to help him with anything that was
needful, he secretly wished her to trouble herself no more, for, said he,
“The man is dead, he died in our hands.” This was known presently to
divers Catholics, though reported in private, as it was spoken, for fear
of further examination and trouble. For after they had published that he
had killed himself, and seeing it was not believed, the only argument they
had to give it credit was to commit those to prison that spake against it,
of which there were divers examples to terrify others. “Sed Deus revelabit
abscondita tenebrarum et manifestabit consilia cordium.”(385) And of this
great and worthy martyr there is no question but many witnesses will one
day be produced to the glory of God and His servant, and the safety of
their own souls if ever they come to penance. In the meantime I desire my
soul may have part with his, and myself may be assisted with his holy
prayers. About whose life and death I have been the longer, to show how
much the truth of his virtuous life and glorious death is contrary to the
published slander. This happy soul suffering all this, only for his
conscience and constant practice of charity, not being so much as accused
of any other crime.(386)

Chapter XII. Of The Arraignment, Condemnation, And Execution Of The
Conspirators, With The Full Clearing Of Some Of The Society Falsely
Accused In This Arraignment.

About(387) this time was discovered unto the Council the place where
Father Garnett was, insomuch as they gave present order for his
apprehension, as I will declare in the next chapter; but it could not be
so soon effected as it was hoped and desired, so that in the meantime,
although they were most desirous to defer the execution of the
conspirators as long as might be, coveting to have found matter in Father
Garnett whereby he might have been joined to them as a party at least, if
not a principal contriver and author of their plot, yet finding his
apprehension not to be speedy, and having no proofs and therefore weak
hopes of proving him guilty, they could not well defer the trial of the
conspirators so long time. Therefore upon the —(388) of January, they were
all carried from the Tower to Westminster Hall by water, being nine in
number: _vidlt._, Sir Everard Digby, Knight, Mr. Robert Winter, Esquire,
Mr. Ambrose Rokewood, Esquire, Mr. John Grant, Esquire, Mr. Thomas Winter,
and Mr. John Winter, brothers unto Robert Winter, Mr. Guido Faulks, Mr.
Robert Keyes, and Thomas Bates, servant to Mr. Robert Catesby, of all
which mention hath been made in the precedent chapters, sufficient both to
declare the quality and conditions of each one of them, unto which I remit
the careful reader, if he be desirous to renew his memory and to join the
consideration of their life with the inspection of their death.

Being brought to Westminster Hall before the Court was ready to sit, they
were staid some half-hour in the Star Chamber, where in that little time
of stay all men did note a great resolution in them, not seeming to fear
or respect either judgment or death itself; nor showing any sign of sorrow
for their attempt, in regard of their intention thereby to have pulled
down heresy and set up the Catholic religion. Their state of mind and
manner of carriage may in part be discerned by that printed pamphlet,
which was presently set forth, entitled _A true report of the
Imprisonment, Arraignment, and Death of the late Traitors_, wherein
although all their particular words and actions were of set purpose left
out, which might sound to their commendation, and many words of contumely
and disgrace heaped upon them and their religion also in the most odious
manner that could be devised; yet even that which is there set down of
them did confirm very many in opinion that they thought themselves clear
from offence to God in the matter, and that they were thereby made the
more willing to suffer for the same cause. For there it is set down “that
they spake little but in commendation of their conceited religion; also,
that they asked no mercy either of God or the King for their offence, but
seemed as though in their conscience they thought the work to be
meritorious; also, that some did seem to enforce a stern look, as if they
would fear death with a frown; also, that they did only pray by the dozens
upon their beads.” Thus they scoff at the iteration of the _Ave Maria_ and
the set number of them which Catholics use in saying their beads. But by
all these it appears they were nothing daunted with that which they
expected, but were well persuaded of their cause, although they knew it
was and would be condemned by the world. All which I do the rather set
down, as well for the verity of the story, as that all men may see how
needful it is even for the best minds to follow counsel, although their
intentions be never so direct; seeing men of so excellent parts ran into
so foul an error, and attempted so dangerous an enterprise against the
whole State, by their own rash and heady courses, against the advice of
their spiritual guides. For if they would have followed the advice of
Father Garnett, they had never fallen into this grievous disorder.

When the Court was set, they were all brought into the hall and placed
upon the scaffold at the bar to answer to their indictments. And, first,
their indictments were read, wherein, as the manner is, their whole
designment was laid open, together with the names and number of the
conspirators, and the beginning and prosecution of the whole Plot, in such
order as hath been before declared out of their confessions, only now they
intermixed many untruths devised of their own head against the Jesuits,
accusing them without any instance of time or place, and without any proof
or witness at all, not only as parties of the conspiracy, but as principal
actors, yea, and authors of the whole Plot. And to this end they did name
those three as principal, whom they had before put in the proclamation,
_vidlt._, Garnett, Tesimond,(389) and Gerard; yet always adding unto them
“and other Jesuits,” whereby it is apparent they meant by degrees to bring
in the whole Company, having no proof against any, more than evil will
suggested. For this was before they came to know that Father Garnett and
Father Tesimond were acquainted with it in that secret manner that they
could not reveal it,(390) at which time both they dissuaded it, and by all
lawful means did labour to hinder it. But here both they and Father Gerard
by name, and other also without name, were accused of it, who never had
the least knowledge or imagination of such a matter. And yet to make the
matter good against them, here they were accused in this indictment, where
none of them were present to answer for themselves; and were joined with
the conspirators who were sure to be convicted and condemned of the fact,
that the Jesuits might also seem to stand convicted and proved guilty with
them; and this not only as partners, but, as I have said, as principal
counsellors and causers of the whole treason. To which end they brought in
in the indictment certain solemn meetings and consultations between the
aforesaid three Jesuits(391) and the principal of these gentlemen,
especially Catesby, Winter, Percy, Faulks, and Wright; at which time these
Jesuits (said the indictment) did persuade those gentlemen that the King
being an heretic stood excommunicate, and therefore might be deposed, and
finally persuaded them that there was no better way to effect that and
restore Catholic religion than to blow up the Parliament House with
gunpowder. All this was there fathered upon the Jesuits, whereof there was
no one word true, as hath already and shall hereafter more apparently be

And first, the prisoners unto this indictment did all plead not guilty,
which though it be an ordinary course for all to do, until they have
answered for themselves what they can, and then be cast by the verdict of
the jury, yet in their case it was thought strange; they having all
confessed the fact before in their several examinations. It was asked
therefore afterwards of Mr. Guido Faulks, how he could plead not guilty,
being so apparently taken in the place where the powder was laid up, and
with matches and instruments about him for the purpose he intended, and
seeing that also he never denied the fact nor the intention; but had
confessed himself privy to the whole designment and of the most secret
counsel from the beginning. It was much marvelled, therefore, how he
amongst all the rest could plead not guilty; unto which he answered that
he granted all to be true which they now spake of himself; but that he
pleaded not guilty to the indictment, in regard of the meetings and
consultations there alleged between the Jesuits and them, of which he said
he knew nothing nor ever heard of any such counsel or persuasion from
them. Now unto this his speech, which did so clearly discharge the Jesuits
from all the imposed crime, what answer, think you, was given? Truly a
very poor one. Forsooth, that all that was put in for form of law, because
it must be presupposed.

But must untruths be presupposed in the place of justice, where right and
truth stand to be tried from faults and falsehood, as gold and brass
distinguished by the touchstone? And if some consultations must for form
sake be set down before the acts themselves be said to be concluded of or
commenced, yet must the innocent needs be thrust into the number and made
the principals in the parley? Let us suppose the indictment had been drawn
by some lawyers that had been no good friends to the Chief Justice and
Attorney and Solicitor there present, and that their three names had been
put into the indictment instead of the three Jesuits there named, and the
whole matter laid upon their counsel and persuasion; would this have
seemed to them to be just dealing and fit for the place of justice, only
for that such consultations must be presupposed? Well, the time must come
(and God knoweth how soon) when they and all that were the compilers of
that indictment shall stand at the bar in a higher court, where their
indictment will also be read, being already written by themselves in these
their actions, “Eadem enim mensura, quâ mensi fuerint, remetietur

(M13) But to proceed in the narration. When the indictment was read, and
they all pleaded not guilty, then according to the custom in such cases,
the King’s Serjeant-at-Law (whose name was Sir Edward Philips) endeavoured
to lay open the indictment that the cause of those that stood indicted
might seem the more odious unto the jury and all the standers-by. After
him Sir Edward Coke, the King’s Attorney-General, began his speech,
wherein first he laboured to excuse the long stay that had been made of
that trial and arraignment of the conspirators, which he supposed many did
marvel to see so long deferred, supposing the grievousness of their fact
and the apparent evidence that was to be brought against them. For excuse
whereof he alleged divers reasons which some of the standers-by thought
very insufficient; as, namely, that Mr. Robert Winter and Mr. Stephen
Littleton were not long before taken. But what if it had been some months
after before they had been apprehended (as it might well have been if by
accident they had not been discovered), should then the execution have
been deferred until their taking? Also he alleged, that if they had made
more haste, they might have hanged Johnson instead of Faulks. But that had
been a small matter, they being sure of the same man, and he of his
punishment, which would have been neither greater nor less to him if he
had received it by a wrong name. If Johnson and Faulks had been two
several men, and then one hanged for the other, such a mistaking of the
men or matter had been indeed an error, and to be prevented with some
longer stay. But Mr. Attorney did not allege that which was the chief
cause of this stay of execution, to wit, an earnest desire to have brought
the Jesuits upon the stage if they could have been proved guilty, as they
did their names into the indictment without any proof at all; yea,
contrary to the published examinations and the now public witness of the
conspirators themselves, as there it appeared. Secondly, Mr. Attorney did
seek to excuse himself to foreign Princes in that he was forced to produce
their names in that odious action, which he said he would not otherwise
have done, but that he was enforced thereunto by the confessions of the
conspirators, which he was to urge against them, and said he, the names of
foreign Princes were so woven into the matter by their confessions, that
they could not conveniently be left out. In all which I must allow of Mr.
Attorney his modesty and care not to offend so great persons, who, though
they were named, yet in no sort accused by any of the conspirators.

(M14) But here in defence of the innocent, we have cause to demand of Mr.
Attorney why he was not also careful to forbear the offence of a much
higher Majesty, that is, of God Himself, by accusing His servants
wrongfully, without any cause at all given by them, or occasion offered by
the confession of the conspirators, in which they were not so much as
named? Yet Mr. Attorney would needs enforce those meetings and
consultations to be true which the indictment had mentioned, and which,
you heard before, the conspirators disclaimed, and in respect thereof did
all plead not guilty: although for their own part, they denied not the
fact, nor the consultations which they had amongst themselves before they
concluded of the matter. Mr. Attorney, notwithstanding, would needs insist
in the same disproved falsehood, and added thereunto another most
egregious untruth, never so much as thought of by the party accused, as he
hath often and most seriously protested to his private and confident
friends, and once in my own hearing. The tale is this: that Father Gerard
did give the oath of secrecy and perseverance in this treason unto the
conspirators, and then heard their confessions and ministered the Blessed
Sacrament unto them. Than which a more false and pernicious slander could
not be raised or reported of any man living, nor more contrary to his very
natural disposition and known manner of proceeding, as all men will answer
for him that are much conversant with him.

But I would ask Mr. Attorney upon what ground he did raise and report this
false surmise? Did any one man ever accuse him of it, or could it be
justly gathered by any little word or tittle of their confessions? They
are printed and published, and I have them now by me whilst I write this.
I have often read them over, and my eyes are not of so quick a sight as to
discern the least cause of surmise leading to any such matter. But perhaps
Mr. Attorney had it by revelation. Certainly he neither had nor brought
any proof at all of so foul an accusation, which had been requisite to a
man of his place. And it had been well he would have considered for his
own credit that which all men know, that if there had been any such thing
confessed by the conspirators, without which he could never know it,
infallibly it would have been set down in their confessions; which I prove
apparently by this reason: Mr. Attorney here affirmeth that he was forced
to speak of other Princes, because their names were so intermixed or woven
(as he termeth it) into their confessions, that he could not declare the
one without the other. If then that which he saith he was so unwilling to
speak of was publicly set down in their printed confessions, because they
were annexed by the examinates to the discourse of their said confessions,
how much more would this against a Jesuit have been left in (which here
they charged him withal)(393) if any such thing had been true, or
confessed for such by the conspirators? I hope Mr. Attorney will not say
that he suppressed the matter for good-will unto him, and was more loth to
have his name spoken of in so odious a cause than the names of those
Princes which he would so fain have concealed, but that he could not
unweave their confessions so much, into which they were inserted.

But if you will indeed know the true reason why this absurd fiction was
not set down in their printed confessions, and yet was here averred by Mr.
Attorney, you must understand that the author of that first relation and
discourse of all this treason and of the course and proceeding thereof
(wherein the treason itself of gunpowder, the discovery thereof, the
rebellion of the conspirators, their apprehension, and their confessions,
were all published with all known, due, and true circumstances) was so
careful of his authority and the credit of his narration, that he would
not blemish the same with reporting any known untruth. And indeed the
author was said to be of no less authority than the King himself; as it is
easy to be gathered out of another book set forth soon after by the Earl
of Salisbury, entitled _An Answer to certain Scandalous Papers_, in which,
he saith, speaking of that discourse, “that every line discovered where
Apelles’ hand hath been.” Now, on the other side, Mr. Attorney being not
so sure a friend to truth, nor so careful of his own credit in that point,
did not stick to allege this dream or device of his own for a true
narrative, than which there never was a more foul untruth devised, the
party accused being no more privy unto the giving or taking of any such
oath, nor to any such plot or purpose in any one of the conspirators than
the Attorney himself was, or whosoever doth think himself the furthest
from it. And so it may appear that others of greater authority and
judgment than Mr. Attorney were persuaded of him. For although when the
matter first broke out the Council perhaps might have some suspicion that
he was privy unto the Plot, in respect he was supposed to be acquainted
with some of the gentlemen that were in the conspiracy, and thereupon his
name put in the proclamation, yet after the conspirators were taken, and
had been examined, and no proof at all found against him, or mention made
of him in any of their confessions, it seems that the wisest, and those
that had most to deal in the matter, did hold him free; and therefore
neither the Earl of Salisbury nor of Northampton did produce any such
accusation against him, although in their several speeches they had often
occasion to mention that matter of the oath taken by the conspirators
(which oath, as Mr. Winter directly saith in his confession,(394) was
taken by themselves being alone and private in a chamber):(395) for these
be the words of Mr. Winter’s confession related in the foresaid discourse
of the whole treason set forth by His Majesty himself, as before hath been
declared. “First,” saith Mr. Thomas Winter, “Mr. Percy said unto Mr.
Catesby and myself, ‘Shall we always, gentlemen, talk and never do
anything?’ Then Mr. Catesby took him aside and had speech about somewhat
to be done; so as first we might all take an oath of secrecy, which we
resolved within two or three days to do. So as there we met, Mr. Catesby,
Mr. Percy, Mr. John Wright, Mr. Guy Faulks, and myself; and having upon a
Primer given each other the oath of secrecy in a chamber where no other
body was, we went after into the next room and heard Mass and received the
Blessed Sacrament upon the same. Then did Mr. Catesby disclose to Mr.
Percy, and I together with Jack Wright tell to Mr. Faulks, the business
for which we took this oath, which they both approved; and then was Mr.
Percy sent to take the house, where the mine was to be begun,” &c.

Here it is most apparent, that in this great business they consulted only
with themselves; they took the oath by themselves; they imparted the
matter amongst themselves; and assented unto it of themselves; and did
admit neither counsel, nor persuasion, nor presence of any other in
talking of the same. As for their hearing Mass and receiving the Blessed
Sacrament, who seeth not but that might be done, and the Priest not privy
to the matter? Whereof they made no scruple at all, as appears by their
present receiving, but esteemed the case and cause meritorious and not
belonging to confession. And yet who that Priest was, I have heard Father
Gerard protest upon his soul and salvation that he doth not know. This
confession of Mr. Thomas Winter is likewise approved in the confession of
Mr. Faulks related also in the same discourse of this late intended
treason, and contradicted by none. But we must pardon Mr. Attorney this
overlashing in this his discourse, which seemed rather to be intended
against the Jesuits, than to prove the prisoners guilty that were there
present before him; for it appeared by his words in divers places, that
the chief mark he shot at was, like another Aman, to root out the whole
Order of them, not out of England only, but out of the world, if he could;
for to that end he compared them with the Order of the Templars, which was
suppressed by the See Apostolic. To that end it pleased him, out of his
too great liberty of speech, to accuse them of teaching damned heresies,
and besides, that they approve for lawful and meritorious the killing of
Kings. In which last point, to show his good-will as well to the Head as
to the members, he joined them with the Pope himself, affirming that Pope
Sixtus Vtus did not only allow of the fact of that Dominican who killed
the King of France, but did highly commend the same in a public oration in
his Consistory. No marvel therefore if Mr. Attorney did pass the bounds of
justice in his reports of those three Jesuits, and had no regard of truth
in that fiction of his own fathered upon Father Gerard in particular, sith
he showed so great a malice against the whole Order in general, and was so
bold as to accuse the Pope himself in that public place, contrary to the
rule of modesty in his speech, which himself had before acknowledged to be
needful; and contrary to the counsel that is given in such cases, that at
least his memory should be good, if his words were not true. But for the
further convincing of that fiction, and full clearing of Father Gerard, I
will afterwards briefly set down what course he held, to show his
innocency both from that and all other participation in this treason.

Now to proceed to Mr. Attorney his speech. He endeavoured to lay open the
foulness of the treason intended, with all the parts and circumstances
thereof; and showed how great harm and ruin might have come to the
commonwealth by their rash and unnatural attempt. Yet for the persons of
those that were the conspirators, whereof some were slain and most of them
were present, he said, “though some reported them to be persons of mean
account, yet,” said he, “not to wrong them, they are gentlemen of good
houses and of excellent parts, howsoever most perniciously seduced,
corrupted, and Jesuited” (this was his phrase), “of very competent
fortunes and estates;” besides he named three that were of very noble
houses. But the most of his speech was directly or indirectly still bent
against the Jesuits, as the men most maligned by him, and that, in respect
of their religion and the industry they use to promote the same, for other
matter he had not there, which he could with any justice or truth allege
against them.

When it came to the prisoners’ turn to answer for themselves, although
they had pleaded not guilty, as I said before, that was partly in respect
of those conferences between the Jesuits and them, which were not true and
therefore by them denied; partly also for that although they acknowledged
the fact, yet they accounted themselves not guilty of any crime in the
sight of God, (M15) Whom they sought to serve and please in the action,
and would not for any other respect have attempted it. To this effect
answered Mr. Robert Winter and his brother Thomas, the elder of which,
though he were known to be a man both wise and stout, yet he said but
little in that place, as it is thought, for that he saw it was in vain to
justify the action, and yet he would not condemn it, but showed a willing
mind to suffer for the fact which he confessed. In like manner the younger
brother, Thomas, though he were a man of very good discourse and had
delivered his mind at large before the Council about the whole matter, and
that in so good order and with such resolution that he was much commended
and pitied by them all, so far that the Earl of Salisbury said if his case
were any other but for this Powder Treason, he would have saved his life;
yet now in this place he said little or nothing for himself, rather
showing a contented, ready mind to suffer: only he asked mercy of the King
for his brother, who was, as he said, drawn into the action by himself. It
is not amiss to see what is said of them both by that pamphlet which was
then by some base person published of their arraignment and execution; for
that being written in as disgraceful manner of them as could be devised,
it is the surer witness of anything that may be well interpreted of their
mind. Of the elder he hath this, that he said little, but had a guilty
conscience, that he swallowed and concealed his grief and made little show
of sorrow for that time. Of the younger, he saith that he thought himself
already half a saint for his whole villainy, that he said little that
either made show of sorrow or sought mercy, but only made a request to the
King for his brother, &c. By which relation set down to their disgrace, it
may appear what opinion they had of the attempt itself and of their
present state of mind in regard of their intention in the former.

Mr. Rookwood spake more at large, declaring how he had ever been brought
up in the Catholic religion, and taught to fear God from his infancy; that
he was the rather induced to attempt this enterprise, as thinking it the
only likely means to restore the Catholic religion; that his friendship
also and love to Mr. Catesby was such as moved him the sooner to follow
his counsel and example: he requested, withal, favour for his wife and
children. Of him the aforesaid book hath these words, “That he would fain
have made his bringing up and breeding in idolatry to have been some
excuse to his villainy; but a fair tale could not help a foul deed.” So

Of Mr. Grant the book hath this. “Grant, stubborn in his idolatry, nothing
penitent for his villainy, asked little mercy; but, as it were, careless
of grace, received the doom of his desert.” In which words one may
sufficiently see the state of the man’s mind to be answerable to the
description in the —(396) chapter, though in other language here
expressed, where the Catholic religion is, as you see, esteemed and called

The youngest brother of the three Winters did speak little, but only that
he did not begin nor assist to the Plot of Powder, but was after drawn in
by the example and persuasion of his brother.

Mr. Faulks did show a mind answerable to his former proceedings, and gave
that reason for his pleading not guilty which I set down before in this
chapter: for his own part freely and willingly acknowledging the fact, for
which he was ready to suffer.

Mr. Keyes did speak but few words, but such as did make show of great
spirit. He affirmed that the persecution was such before they undertook
this business, and himself had his goods seized with such violence, that
to live in such misery seemed worse than death, and therefore to free both
himself and others, he was glad of this occasion.

Bates, being the last of the eight which were all included in one
indictment, and being but a serving-man, showed more servile fear both now
and at his death than any of them all, answerable perhaps to the motives
that made him first to undertake it, which being most like to be the love
to his master, or some such human respect, so now he showed most sense in
foregoing that which it seems before he had most respected.

Last of all was read a particular indictment of Sir Everard Digby, of
which he stood indicted and convicted already in the country in the county
of Northampton, where the matter was imparted unto him by Mr. Robert
Catesby, and where he gave his consent with promise to provide 1,500_l._
in money, with horses and other furniture fit for assistance and
prosecution of the enterprise, as he himself had formerly confessed and
now again acknowledged at the bar. Therefore when his indictment was read
to this effect, and he required to speak what he would in his own defence,
he answered that he could not deny the fact nor would defend it, but that
he must needs defend his intention, which was to please God and profit
others by the action; that his motives were neither for ambition and
desire of worldly preferment, nor discontentment of his worldly estate,
which it was well known he had no cause to mislike, nor yet was he moved
thereunto by malice or ill-will against any particular person; but that
his motives were these. First, that which moved him to listen and to trust
and to conceal the matter being opened unto him, was his love to Mr.
Catesby, for whose love and friendship he would have adventured his
estates and fortunes. But another greater reason which moved him indeed to
enter into the action was the relief of Catholics, for whom he saw no
other remedy, seeing that the King, he said, had broken his word and
promise of giving relief unto them, at least by toleration; which promise,
said he, they received from him by divers messages; and whereof now there
was no hope at all, but rather that they did all expect and see a
preparation to make other laws in that Parliament more strict than the
former, and that they had to that end packed all the Puritans together,
which was the cause that moved them the rather to attempt that matter
against the Parliament House. But the chiefest motive he said was the
cause of religion, which alone, said he, seeing it lay at the stake, in
that behalf he neglected his estate, his life, his name, his memory, yea,
and his posterity and all the world and whatsoever the world could afford
him. These were his words as near as they could be taken, which were noted
by very many, and he exceedingly pitied even by many of those that were
enemies to his religion, in which he showed so great a resolution and
zeal, with so great estimation thereof and contempt of himself in regard
thereof, which many of the hearers did so generally commend and so
publicly affirm that they could never forget it, he being known to have
enjoyed and that he might still have enjoyed as much worldly contentment
as any man of his estate in England. After this he made some petitions
unto the King and Council, that whereas his fault against the State had
passed no further than himself, he neither having drawn others into the
action nor performed anything to the hurt of others, therefore he desired
in like manner that his punishment might be extended no further but to
himself, and so that his wife and children might neither of them sustain
loss, but the one enjoy her jointure, the other his lands, so far as they
were entailed upon them in law before this matter was thought of. Also
that his debts might be discharged out of his estate; and for himself he
craved no other favour but that, if it pleased the King, he might be
beheaded instead of hanging. Lastly, whereas he had noted in the
indictment and in Mr. Attorney his speech, divers of the Fathers of the
Society to be accused as principal counsellors and persuaders unto this
enterprise, he there protested that in his conscience he thought them all
clear. And in particular for Father Gerard he could best testify, being
best acquainted with him, and therefore was bound in conscience to set
down his knowledge that “he was wholly innocent and did never so much as
know of the matter, yea (said he), I never durst tell him of it, for fear
he would have drawn me out of it.” This was his testimony and protestation
in that public place, being ready to receive the sentence of death; which
he was likewise beginning to iterate again at the time of his death, but
that he was interrupted. Now concerning this matter, if it were not for
staying the reader too long from the story itself, I could here set down
certain letters sent unto the Council by Father Gerard at this very time,
which would make it apparent that he never knew of the conspiracy until
all England knew it. But for that this chapter will grow too long, I will
only set down the course he took to clear himself and the contents of the
letters in few words, though I have now the copies by me procured of
purpose to have been set down in this place.

I made mention before in the —(397) chapter how Father Gerard, before the
proclamation came out, seeing himself to be searched for as guilty of this
conspiracy, did write a long letter of protestation that he was wholly
innocent and had not the least knowledge of the matter. This letter was
seen to divers and even to the King himself, as hath been said, and gave
good satisfaction. But notwithstanding this, some heavy friends of his (to
whom he never gave any cause of offence) procured a proclamation to be set
forth against him and two others of the Society, as hath been said; which
when he perceived, and knowing very well that there was no proof at all
which was or could be brought forth against him, he presently wrote four
letters and sent them to London, three of which were to three of the
chiefest of the Council and one to Sir Everard Digby, then prisoner in the
Tower. The letters to the Council were to the Duke of Lenox, the Earl of
Northampton, and the Earl of Salisbury; in all which he did humbly and
instantly require, that whereas he was accused of so great a crime, in
which he was not partaker in the least degree, nor ever in any sort made
privy unto it, that it would please them for God’s cause and for their
love to equity, to show him so much justice as to afford him such trial as
might be made of his innocency; whereof he proposed in those letters, two
kinds, the one affirmative, the other negative. The one was that the
letter to Sir Everard Digby, which was sent enclosed in theirs and
unsealed might be delivered in their presence, and he examined upon the
points thereof, containing a discourse between him and Father Gerard but
three days before the Plot of Powder was publicly discovered, by which
discourse (if any such discourse were then between them) it was most
apparent that Father Gerard knew nothing in the world of the conspiracy.
And of the verity of that discourse, the Council might by that letter make
full trial, in which the time and place and words that passed between them
were expressly set down, all which, if Sir Everard Digby did not affirm
and agree with his letter, he would grant they had some proof against him.
The trial by negatives which he required was this: that it would please
them to cause all the conspirators at the hour of their death to be
publicly examined, whether ever any of them had imparted the matter unto
him, or would but say upon their conscience that he had the least
knowledge thereof, either by them or any other means. And if they did not
all of them deny it (being urged, as they would answer the Highest Judge,
to speak the sincere truth), he would then yield they had some proof
against him, so that the parties that should so accuse him did it not in
hope of pardon, but did certainly know they should die and did make show
to die in the fear of God and hope of their salvation.

These two ways of trial were proposed and most earnestly requested by
Father Gerard in those his letters, which were as sufficient to try the
truth of the matter (all circumstances considered) as any could be wished.
And these letters were sent in such time to London, as that they certainly
came to the Council’s hands that very day of the arraignment of the
conspirators; so that there was time enough to have had both kinds of
trial made which he required, and in equity and justice might require.

But neither of them were performed. And it is thought generally that they
were forborne, because it was sufficiently known beforehand that thereby
he would be proved clear, whereof the Council were before that persuaded;
but that they were willing to have the proclamation go forward against
him, as against the rest, to hinder him thereby from conversion of souls
and drawing many from them to the Catholic faith, and that of the better
sort, with whom his conversation and practice was for the most part; which
made them so desirous to take him by means of the proclamation, even after
they knew he was not guilty of this treason whereof he was accused.

And see the providence of God. That Sir Everard Digby, knowing nothing at
all of this Father’s demand of trial by his testimony, yet hearing him so
wrongfully accused in the process against them, he did of his own accord
there publicly protest his knowledge of the Father’s innocency, yea, and
of his inclination also against such practices, which was more than the
Father desired in his letters should be demanded. Now, because these
trials were not made which Father Gerard so earnestly requested, he
therefore, before his going out of England, did publish these letters to
some of his friends, that the world might see how clear he was, and what
equal and full trial he offered to show his innocency.

Now, whereas it was reported that Bates had accused Father Gerard, and
that, upon his accusation Father Gerard was put in the proclamation with
the others, that is also apparently disproved by Bates his own letter,
written a day or two before his arraignment, and sent unto a Priest his
last ghostly Father, who did help him with the Sacraments after his
examinations and some weakness showed in them, as may appear also by his
letter, whereof the original is kept under his own hand, and may be seen
to be the same handwriting which is annexed unto his examinations
themselves. The true copy is this:

    “Sir, I humbly thank you for your great comfort and pains taken
    for me. I praise God I find myself more stronger to resist, and do
    hope shall more and more. Sir, when I was at Hobadge House, where
    my master was slain, that morning at my going away from him, by
    reason of the misfortune that fell amongst us by powder, Mr.
    Christopher Wright flung me out of a window an 100_l._, and
    desired me, as I was a Catholic, to give unto his wife and his
    brother’s wife 80_l._, and take 20_l._ myself. I took out by guess
    some 22_l._, as I think, and left it with a friend of mine, and
    desired him, if I did miscarry in this action, he should bestow it
    amongst my children. Now, I would entreat you to give my fellow
    George instructions what to do in it. I refer it to you. Mr.
    Wright had of me at times, in money and kine, as much as came to
    some 28_l._, but my master told me he would pay me, but he did
    not. Now whether my wife may take that money out of that I refer
    to you. Also, further, I have dealt with my keeper to deal with
    the Clerk of the Council for my pardon, and have promised an
    100_l._ if it may be had, which I made account that money should
    have served that turn; but I am out of all hope for that, unless
    it be God’s will to deliver me. This morning I was sent for down,
    and there was a fellow ready with a new suit of fustian, and my
    keeper made me to essay it, and neither said it was for me nor
    anything, but I know it was provided for me. The meaning I know
    not. And before that my Lord of Salisbury asked me what I wanted,
    and caused the keeper to buy me a new gown, and bade him use me
    extraordinary well. All this makes me full of doubts, for I fear
    it is but to serve their own turns of me and then to hang me. Is
    it not best for me, if the clothes be offered me, to refuse them?
    I pray you resolve me in that, for I have a purpose to tell the
    keeper, ‘I have clothes good enough to serve me as long as I live,
    I fear, and therefore will none.’ I beseech you to send me word
    what your opinion is in these things being offered me. At my last
    being before them I told them I thought Mr. Greenway knew of this
    business, but I did not charge the others with it, but that I saw
    them all together with my master at my Lord Vaux’s, and that after
    I saw Mr. Walley and Mr. Greenway at Coughton, and it is true. For
    I was sent thither with a letter, and Mr. Greenway rode with me to
    Mr. Winter’s to my master, and from thence he rode to Mr.
    Abington’s. This I told them and no more. For which I am heartily
    sorry for, and I trust God will forgive me, for I did it not out
    of malice but in hope to gain my life by it, which I think now did
    me no good. Thus desiring your daily prayers I commit you to God.”

This is the true copy of his letter, by which it appears that a man so
weak and so ignorant, as here he showeth himself to be, might easily be
wrought upon, especially by those means that here he expresseth were used
to him; and that such an one to save his life would strain his conscience
far, as indeed he did when he saith that he saw those three at my Lord
Vaux’s; for in truth he did not, nor saw Father Gerard of a year or two
before; but if he had seen him in that place at that time, yet that had
been no accusation of this treason (as is sufficiently proved in the
—(398) chapter where the same matter is handled); and as himself directly
saith in this letter, that he did not accuse him at all, nor Father
Walley, nor the other neither of knowledge; but only that he thought he
knew of the business: whereby it appears that it is not true, which was
afterwards affirmed in Father Garnett’s arraignment that Bates had told
Mr. Greenway of the matter in confession. And this Bates being the only
one of the conspirators of whom it was reported that he had accused Father
Gerard, which here in plain words you see himself doth say he did not, it
remains apparent that never any did accuse him. And this letter under
Bates his own hand being haply brought to Father Gerard a little before
his departure out of England,(399) he did annex the true copy of the same
unto the letters before mentioned, which he had sent unto the Council, and
sent them unto a friend to be published by him after his departure; and of
them all there be divers copies taken, of which myself have one, in which
there is this clause amongst others for his clearing, which methinks doth
offer enough, if reason may be accepted and the promise there alleged
performed. After he had offered and humbly desired of the Council two
sufficient kinds of trial of his cause before specified, seeing that
neither of them were performed, in his letter wherewith he published those
offers made, he citeth a sentence out of my Lord of Salisbury his book
then newly come forth, wherein the Earl declared his mind to be no ways
bent to seek the blood of any but such as had themselves laboured to seek
the blood of others, saying that he only desired, “Necis artifices arte
perire suâ.”(400) This sentence (worthy indeed the pen and practice of a
Councillor in so eminent authority(401)) Father Gerard desired should be
made the rule or square whereby the line of his accusation might be
straitened; and offered that if it could be duly proved, that ever, either
in this most unnatural treason or in any other action, he had wrought or
sought the death of any man, let him then be punished with as cruel a
death as wit of man could devise, and find no eye nor heart to pity him.
This was his offer, and then he addeth further: “But if,” saith he,
“neither this can be proved nor any proofs of my innocency (whereof there
be divers produced for me and none against me) may be in my case admitted,
but that I must remain, &c., yet I would not the world should think it
doth or can bereave me of that quiet and contentment of mind, which I have
in the confident expectation of God’s protection and favour;” and so he
goeth forward, laying down sufficient reasons for both to the full
satisfaction of the reader, both of his innocency touching this accusation
and of his willing acceptance of God’s blessed will and disposition.

Now to return unto Sir Everard Digby. After he had ended his speech with
the foresaid protestation,(402) that he thought assuredly all the Fathers
were innocent of this treason, and that he knew for certain that Father
Gerard had not so much as any knowledge at all thereof, then the Earl of
Northampton made a speech, which he chiefly directed to Sir Everard Digby
in answer of that point, especially where Sir Everard urged the King’s
promise for toleration. And, first, the Earl said that, if he could lament
any man upon earth in that case, he could pity him in respect of his worth
many ways, and the good opinion he had formerly conceived of him. He
witnessed also that Queen Elizabeth esteemed him much, and, to his own
knowledge, had spoken of Sir Everard with great grace. Then, after a
sufficient discourse, proving by sound reasons the foulness of this
treason, his Lordship came to that promise of the King, which there he
utterly denied, and proved it by Watson his confession before his death,
who had been a chief man to divulge the same before. And that Watson
affirmed likewise, he had given out such hopes before contrary to his
knowledge, only to move Catholics to a willing acceptance of the King. All
which, though we admit as true, being affirmed by the Earl as spoken to
himself, yet Catholics are not thereby persuaded that Watson received no
such hopes from His Majesty when he kneeled before him in Scotland. For
they think it much more likely that Watson, being in this peril of death
and in the power of the Council, would misreport his former persuasion of
mind and the cause thereof, thereby to please the more, and by pleasing to
obtain favour, which divers of his other words at that time, related also
in this speech, did plainly show he did both desire and hope for. Whereas,
when he returned out of Scotland he had no such cause to dissemble, and to
relate such assured promises to so many Catholics, as it is known he did,
if himself had been out of hope thereof; yea, and that he did not therein
dissemble his sequent actions did apparently prove. For he was the first
man that laboured to persuade Catholics to take arms against His Majesty,
as hath been declared before (though, thanks be to God, he could prevail
but with a very few therein), which, happening within the first year, it
appears he ran that contrary course so soon as he had the contrary
opinion; which, if he had brought with him out of Scotland (as he affirmed
to the Earl of Northampton in the time of his imprisonment), then had it
been more easy for him to have persuaded Catholics there was no hope to be
had, and so to have kept him out, than after he had assured them the
contrary, and the King was settled in his throne, then to persuade them
thereunto, which then was much more difficult and unlikely. And,
therefore, nothing likely he would first have been so forward to plant
that tree, which so soon after himself did first endeavour to cut down,
and that with hazard and loss of his life, unless he had first expected
other fruit than afterwards he found. But Watson’s reports were not the
greatest grounds that Catholics did build their hopes upon. Divers men,
his betters much, did affirm the same, whose words were more esteemed than
either Watson’s or Percy’s in that cause. It was not the least part of
needful policy that such a conceit should run for current in the minds of
Catholics generally, and such hopes to be thought likely at that time by
whomsoever they were given out, which I will not here dispute; for that
persuasion, no doubt, did strengthen much the Catholics’ mind, which was
found so ready to receive their King with all peace and comfort. And I
make no question but if it pleased His Majesty to perform as much as then
was hoped, it would prove no less profitable in all respects unto the
stability of peace and happiness than pleasing to the receivers, in regard
of their ease and mitigation of their afflictions.

Unto the speech of Sir Everard Digby the Earl of Salisbury did likewise
answer in defence of the King’s word, esteeming that Sir Everard did seem
to tax His Majesty with breach of promise, which many think was not the
intention of the prisoner, but only to show that, such general hopes being
conceived upon some likely ground as they presumed, and now seeing all
hopes to fail, they were the more easily induced to run this other course
for the redress of their own miseries. And so, against the likelihood of
these hopes, the Earl’s speech did prove fully that the King had always
professed the contrary religion most earnestly, and that His Majesty was
so far from giving hope of toleration that he would not endure the least
motion thereof to be proposed. And yet the Earl in the same speech
declared how His Majesty had dealt favourably with divers principal
Catholic gentlemen who were sent for to the Court in the time of Watson
his treason before mentioned; at which time finding them free from having
their hands in any treason (said the Earl) they were dismissed with
encouragement to persist in their dutiful carriage, and that the payments
for not going to Church should be forgiven them in respect of their so
much loyalty showed at the King’s entry, and for that they had afterwards
kept themselves so free.(403) In this speech the Earl of Salisbury did
show great zeal to defend His Majesty from the least touch of breach of
his promise, and therein to disprove that which he thought would be
conceived of Sir Everard Digby’s words. And though otherwise he
acknowledged Sir Everard to be his alliance by marriage, yet it is thought
that in regard chiefly of this his speech, he had not his petition granted
of being beheaded, but was with all the rest adjudged presently to be
hanged, drawn, and quartered, according to the ordinary form of judgment
in case of high treason. So then, having received the sentence of death,
they were all returned to their prisons until Thursday and Friday
following, which were the days of their execution; only Mr. John Winter
(being the youngest of the three brothers) was not then put to death, but
carried after into the country and suffered at Worcester, as shall
afterward be declared.

(M16) On Thursday, therefore, being the 30th of January, four of the eight
were drawn upon sledges and hurdles from the Tower to St. Paul’s
Churchyard, where they were to suffer, _vidlt._, Sir Everard Digby, Mr.
Robert Winter, Mr. John Graunt, and —— Bates. And being arrived there,
first Sir Everard Digby was taken off the hurdle and led up to the
scaffold, of whom the pamphlet before alleged set forth of their judgment
and death as much to disgrace them as might be, yet hath these words,
“First went up Digby, a man of a goodly personage and a manly aspect. He
enforced himself to speak as stoutly as he could; his speech was not long
and to little good purpose, only that his belied conscience (being but
indeed a blinded conceit) had led him into this offence, which, in respect
of his religion (_alias_ indeed idolatry), he held no offence, but, in
respect of the law, he held an offence, for which he asked forgiveness;
and so, with vain and superstitious crossing of himself, betook him to his
Latin prayers, mumbling to himself, refusing to have any prayers of any
but of the Romish Catholics, went up the ladder.” Thus he. By which
relation, though set down with much ill-will against him and his religion,
yet it is easy to see thereby what state of mind he died in. The truth is
he gave great satisfaction to all the standers-by.(404) When he was first
brought up to the scaffold, after he had commended himself to God, being
wished, as the custom is, to acknowledge his treason for which he died, he
did accordingly acknowledge the fact intended according to his judgment,
but withal he declared that his motives were no evil will to any, nor any
love to himself for worldly respects, but the ending of persecution of
Catholics, the good of souls, and the cause of religion. In which regard
he could not condemn himself of any offence to God, though he granted he
had offended the laws of the realm, for which he asked their pardon, and
was willing to suffer death, and thought nothing too much to suffer for
those respects which had moved him to that enterprise. The preachers
standing by, as the fashion is, did move him to pray with them. He
absolutely refused, and desired the assistance and prayers of all good
Catholics, himself fell to his prayers with such devotion as much moved
all the beholders. And when he had done, he stood up and saluted all the
noblemen and gentlemen that stood upon the scaffold, every one according
to his estate, to the noblemen with a lower _congé_, to others with more
show of equality, but to all in so friendly and so cheerful a manner, as
they afterwards said, he seemed so free from fear of death as that he
showed no feeling at all of any passion therein, but took his leave of
them as he was wont to do when he went from the Court or out of the city
to his own house in the country; yet withal he showed so great devotion of
mind, so much fervour and humility in his prayers, and so great confidence
in God, as that very many said(405) they made no doubt but his soul was
happy, and wished themselves might die in the like state of mind. He was
no sooner turned off the ladder but very speedily cut down, and that with
such haste as that he fell upon his face, and so somewhat bruised his
forehead, yet, though he could not be dead, he made no resistance at the
block whilst he was in quartering; and after his bowels and heart were
cast into the fire, and his head cut off, the hangman holding it up as is
usual to do, it was noted that there was no alteration at all in his
countenance, but had the same man-like and comely aspect he had before his

(M17) After him went up Mr. Robert Winter, of whom the foresaid pamphlet
hath this, “After him went Winter up to the scaffold, where he used few
words to any good effect; without asking mercy either of God or the King
for his offence, went up the ladder, and making a few prayers to himself,
staid not long for his execution.” By which words it may appear that Mr.
Winter died much in the like mind and manner as the other gentleman before
him. He was esteemed in his life to be one of the wisest and most resolute
and sufficient gentlemen in Worcestershire, where he dwelt, as formerly
hath been declared.

After him went up Mr. Graunt, who showed extraordinary zeal, as it may
appear by the foresaid book, which saith “that he, being abominably
blinded with his idolatry, though he confessed his offence to be heinous,
yet would fain have excused it by his conscience and religion. He having
used a few idle words to ill effect, was, as his fellows before him, led
the way to the halter, and so, after his crossing of himself, to the last
part of his tragedy.” Whereby it appears he alleged the same reasons and
died with the same resolution the former had done.

Last of them was Bates, of whom the book saith “that he seemed sorry for
his offence, and asked forgiveness of God and the King and of the whole
kingdom, prayed to God for the preservation of them all; and, as he said,
only for his love to his master (Mr. Robert Catesby) drawn to forget his
duty to God, his King, and country.” These words which Bates spake at his
death, and the mind he showed, declare sufficiently what hath been said of
him before; and his motives being but human respects (as here he
acknowledgeth), no marvel though he had showed less store of grace and
assistance thereof both before and at his death. But seeing he showed to
die penitent for his fact, it is to be hoped he found mercy at God’s
hands. Thus ended the execution of this day. And many of the beholders
returned full of pity and compassion towards so worthy-minded men as the
first three were, especially Sir Everard Digby, whose fortitude of mind
they did so much admire, and had so great opinion of his devotion that for
all that day and some time after they could talk almost of nothing else.

The next day, being Friday, were drawn from the Tower to the Old Palace in
Westminster over against the Parliament House, Mr. Thomas Winter, the
second brother of the Winters, Mr. Ambrose Rookwood, Mr. Robert Keyes, and
Mr. Guy Faulks. By the way, as they were drawn upon the Strand, Mr.
Rookwood had provided that he should be admonished when he came over
against the lodging where his wife lay; and being come unto the place, he
opened his eyes (which before he kept shut to attend better to his
prayers), and seeing her stand in a window to see him pass by, he raised
himself as well as he could up from the hurdle, and said aloud unto her:
“Pray for me, pray for me.” She answered him also aloud: “I will; and be
of good courage and offer thyself wholly to God. I, for my part, do as
freely restore thee to God as He gave thee unto me.”

(M18) Being all come to the place of execution, first Mr. Thomas Winter
was led to the scaffold, as the principal in the business, who was from
the first acquainted therewith, and a chief actor therein. Of him the book
saith that “he seemed after a sort as it were sorry for his offence, and
yet crossed himself,” saith he, “as though those were sufficient wards
against the devil; that he protested to die a true Catholic, and so went
up the ladder.” Truth is, Mr. Thomas Winter spake not much at his
execution, seeming more willing to prepare himself for death; whereat some
of the standers-by marvelling, who knew him to be a wise and well-spoken
man, seemed desirous to have him speak at large. But he answered he had
spoken at large unto the Council concerning all their intentions and the
causes that moved them to that enterprise, and he hoped he had given
satisfaction in the whole; that this was no time to discourse; he was come
to die, wherein he desired the prayers and assistance of all good
Catholics. Only this he said in particular, that whereas divers of the
Fathers of the Society were accused of counselling and furthering them in
this treason, he could clear them all, and particularly Father Tesimond,
from all fault and participation therein. And indeed Mr. Thomas Winter
might best clear that good Father, with whom he was best acquainted, and
knew very well how far he was from counselling or plotting that business.
For himself, having first told the Father of it (as I have heard), long
after the thing was ready, and that in such secret as he might not utter
it, but with his leave, unto his Superior only, the Father, both then and
after, did so earnestly persuade him, and by him the rest, to leave off
that course (as his duty was), that Mr. Winter might well find himself
bound in conscience to clear this Father from his wrongful accusation of
being a counseller and furtherer of the Plot.(406)

(M19) Next him came Mr. Rookwood, who made a speech of some longer time,
acknowledged and asked forgiveness for his offence to His Majesty and the
State. He prayed earnestly for the King and Queen and all their children,
and wished them long life and a happy reign, and last of all (which, the
foresaid book saith, was to mar all the pottage with one filthy weed) he
prayed God to make the King a Catholic. And so, desiring favour for his
wife and children, protesting, saith the book, to die in his idolatry, a
Romish Catholic, he went up the ladder, and hanging until he was almost
dead, was drawn to the block, where he gave his last gasp. The devotion
and resolute mind of this gentleman was very well known to many, and he
was very much pitied, as he had been much beloved.

After him came Mr. Keyes, of whom the book saith thus: “That he, like a
desperate villain, used little speech, showed small or no sign of
repentance, went up the ladder stoutly, where, not staying the hangman’s
turn, turned himself off, and with the swing broke the halter, but after
his fall was quickly drawn to the block and there divided into four
parts.” But he did not, as here it is said, leap down of himself, but when
he thought himself ready he showed his ready mind to go off the ladder
without force, lest the hangman should take him on a sudden, when his mind
was not actually upon it, and so be cause of some little reluctation.

Last of all Mr. Faulks was led to the scaffold, of whom the book hath
this: “That his body being weak with torture and sickness he was scarce
able to go up the ladder; also that he made no long speech, but after a
sort seeming to be sorry for his offence, asked a kind of forgiveness of
the King and the State for his bloody intent, and, with his crosses and
idle ceremonies, made his end upon the gallows and the block.” Thus saith
the author of that pamphlet, and where he said that Mr. Faulks seemed to
be sorry after a sort, and asked a kind of forgiveness, he maketh it
apparent that he did as his fellows had done, acknowledge their intended
action to be displeasing to the King and State, whose favour they desired,
and therefore in that respect asked them forgiveness; but that they did
not hold it for an offence to God in respect of their intention to please
Him and serve Him in the whole, as thinking when they began the action and
professing when they ended their life that there was no other likely means
to restore religion in England. And would to God herein they had been as
well advised as they were absolute to believe and follow their own advice.
Then had they neither hurt themselves nor others by this rash and heady
enterprise, most unfit for subjects to undertake against their Prince and
country, especially all attempts being so forbidden by His Holiness as
they were, and so often and earnestly dissuaded by the Fathers of the
Society, as hath been declared. And yet it is strange to see how
impudently that heretical pamphlet which I have cited before so often of
their arraignment and death (set forth by one T.W., I know not who), doth
rail first at the Pope himself and then against all Jesuits and Priests,
as against the authors and plotters of this business. For he saith: “Thus
I have ended my discourse of the arraignment and execution of these eight
traitors.” Then a little after he prosecuteth in this manner: “Was there
ever seen such a hellish Plot since the betraying of the Lord of Heaven?
If the Pope were not a very devil, and these Jesuits, or rather Jebusites
and satanical seminaries, very spirits of wickedness, that whisper in the
ears of Evahs to bring a world of Adams to destruction, how could nature
be senseless or reason so graceless,” &c. So he proceedeth, inveighing
against His Holiness and religion, and all that he imagined did favour or
further the same religion in any great measure.

But silence is the best answer to such witless and wilful assertions,
uttered against the truth so many ways manifestly proved. But this fellow,
and such as he is, will rather “impugnare agnitam veritatem”(407) than
omit any opportunity to revile against the Pope and those that most do
stand for his authority; which is no news for poor Catholics in England to
hear of daily to their grief, long before this act was commenced or
thought of by these few laymen, who had not the counsel or help of any one
Priest amongst them. Yea, for these many years the most part of their
sermons is in this relative kind, devising names of reproach against His
Holiness, so far forth that many youths, when they are first brought to be
Catholics, will hardly be brought to think that he is a natural man, and
not some devil or monster, as they have heard him often described. And
this custom of the heretics is so common, and yet so grievous for zealous
Catholics to endure, that it is rather to be pitied than marvelled that
these few gentlemen, being men of great spirit, did want patience to
endure any longer when they saw all other hopes of help to fail them. We
hope all others will be warned hereafter, and temper their zeal by the
counsel of their guides, which, if these had done, according to the
earnest wishes and serious labours of Father Garnett, then had not he
sustained so many troubles (as I am now to declare) for their trespass,
which he by all lawful means sought to hinder.

Chapter XIII. Of The Arraignment And Condemnation Of Father Garnett.

Whereas it was now plainly and directly known unto the Council (by the
means and in the manner aforesaid) how far this matter could be laid unto
Father Garnett’s charge; and that they had no further expectation to find
him guilty of any help or furtherance at all given by him to this Powder
Treason, it was resolved to proceed against him only upon his simple
knowledge thereof which he had received in confession; esteeming it not
fit to let go this opportunity, sith no greater advantage could be gotten;
especially seeing by this time all men were full of expectation what would
become of the matter after so long time of trial and so many and strict
examinations. It was hoped also, that howsoever he might excuse himself
from fault in the sight of God for not revealing the seal and secret of
confession, yet that he could not justify it before the world: it being
accounted treason by the laws of England to know of treason intended and
not to reveal it. In which law (now) the knowledge which is had by
confession is not excepted; because confession itself being in England
rejected, the good and necessity of the secrecy thereof is not so much
esteemed, as their public peace and prosperous proceedings in their
worldly estate. Upon this ground therefore it was hoped they had matter
enough against Father Garnett both to make him odious to the people, and
all Jesuits for his sake; and therefore it was intended, that his trial
should be performed in the most public and solemn manner they could
devise, thereby to disgrace the more both him and his religion; for so in
express words the Earl of Salisbury did twice publicly affirm in the time
of his arraignment; and that otherwise such preparation and solemnity had
not been needful for the arraignment of a poor religious man, and said “he
held himself much honoured that day to be an assistant where God’s cause
should be so much honoured” (meaning the Protestants’ religion). And how
should this be performed? “By discrediting,” said he, “the person of
Garnett, on whom the common adversary had thought to confer the usurpation
of so eminent jurisdiction.” So that one may see plainly the whole day’s
work was bent against religion; and whatsoever was pretended against
Father Garnett in this matter, all was directly intended “in odium
Catholicæ Fidei.”(408) And so we may see in the process of the accusation,
when the Attorney brought against Father Garnett all other former matter
that had been forged against the martyrs in Queen Elizabeth’s time, with
which (if they had been true) yet they could no more have charged Father
Garnett with them in justice, than the child that was then unborn.

Therefore the day appointed being come, which was a Friday, the 28th
March, about eight of the clock, he was brought from the Tower in a coach
with the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir William Wade, and another Knight,
the curtains being close drawn about them. Which manner of carriage to
judgment being very extraordinary and not used to any before him, the
people did much wonder at it, and thought it strange he should be so
carried, considering that most of those that were indeed conspirators in
the treason were men of better birth and blood than he (which by them is
much respected) and yet were used in much different manner. But some did
more truly guess that this was not done for any grace unto him (whom they
sought to disgrace in all they could), but to grace their own cause, by
making him seem a man of greatest account amongst the Papists, against
whom they meant to object and hoped to prove the Powder Treason, and so
all Papists to be as it were proved guilty in him they chiefly esteemed
and followed. But the curtains doubtless were kept close, that the people
might not be moved with the sight of so reverend a man, or he moved upon
any occasion to speak unto them in his own clearing.

There were set in place of judgment in the Guildhall the Lord Mayor of
London (who in that Court is the King’s Lieutenant), the Lord Charles
Howard, Earl of Nottingham, the Lord Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, the
Lord Somerset, Earl of Worcester, the Lord Henry Howard, Earl of
Northampton, the Lord Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, with Sir John
Popham, Lord Chief Justice of England, the Lord Chief Baron, and Justice
Yelverton, Commissioners for His Majesty in that behalf, The Lieutenant of
the Tower being come with Father Garnett to the place of judgment, he
returned his writ unto the Council (by virtue whereof he had kept the
prisoner) together with the body of the prisoner there present.(409)

The indictment was read and the prisoner called to hold up his hand at the
bar, as the fashion is. The effect of the indictment was this. “That Henry
Garnett, _alias_ Walley, _alias_ Farmer, _alias_ Darcy, had conspired with
Robert Catesby and the rest of his confederates (the 9th of June last
past, in the parish of St Michael in the ward of Queenhithe in London) to
withdraw the hearts of the subjects from their due obedience to God and
their King, and to deprive the King of his crown, to kill him and the
Prince, and to slaughter the whole Parliament assembled, to raise
rebellion, to change religion, to ruin the commonwealth and to bring in
strangers: and that this 9th of June he met with Catesby and Tesimond and
did treat of means to accomplish the same, and did conclude that Winter,
Faulks and others should blow up with powder the Parliament House.” To
this indictment the prisoner pleaded “not guilty,” and for his trial
referred himself to God and his country as the manner is. Whereupon a jury
of substantial citizens was impanelled, and twelve of them sworn to try
the issue between His Majesty and Henry Garnett according to the evidence
produced against him; which being done, the indictment was read the second
time, and then Sir John Crooke, Knight, the King’s Serjeant, began to
plead in this manner (as near as it could be remembered by two or three
sufficient men that were present and did carefully observe both that and
all the other speeches).

(M20) “ ‘Nihil est occultum,’ ” said he, “ ‘quod non manifestabitur; nihil
secretum quod non revelabitur.’(410) Thus saith the Truth itself, ‘qui
consilium pravorum dissipat:’(411) which as it is generally true, so is
the truth thereof laid open in the discovery of the late horrible treason,
which though it were closely carried, yet by the providence of God, it
hath been most apparently revealed. And truly when I cast mine eyes upon
this prisoner, the rotten root of this corrupted tree of treason, I am
stricken with great horror to think that under the cover of so grave a
countenance, should lurk such a poisoned heart. He is a man, ‘multorum
nominum sed nullius boni nominis’(412)—of no good name, nor honest
conversation, but infamous for many treasons, and especially for this last
and most abominable treason, whereby he intended the subversion of the
King, Queen, Prince, State, and religion; and for testimony of his
guiltiness therein,” he said, “they should have ‘loquentia signa,
testimonia rerum,’ and ‘confitentem reum,’ nay, ‘reos confitentes,’(413)
that is the persons guilty accusing one the other. We have,” said he,
“Garnett and Hall accusing Greenway, as shall be laid open by the ensuing
discourse of him to whom it belongeth.”

(M21) This speech being ended, Sir Edward Coke, His Majesty’s
Attorney-General, began his speech with a low voice, that so his words
could not at the first be so distinctly heard: but it tended to this
effect. “That this was a later act of this horrible Powder Treason, that
first he craved pardon of their Lordships that he might reiterate some
things of which he had formerly discoursed, ‘quia nunquam nimis dicitur,
quod nunquam satis discitur.’(414) Secondly, he craved pardon that without
offence to any he might nominate some great persons, who were sometimes
interested in some of these causes; but he would do it without any
disgrace at all unto their persons, because,” said he, “there is great
difference to be made between times of hostility and times of amity.
Thirdly, he desired to satisfy two sorts of people that might marvel this
execution of justice should be so long deferred; the first of such, as
might think such delays inconvenient lest the impunity of the malefactors
might seem to patronize the offence; the second of such persons, as might
think the delay of trial argued his clearness in the cause. To those both
he answered, that the Lords of the Council (whose great wisdom he would
not in that place much commend, because ‘coram laudare est clam
vituperare’(415)) had spent many days in examinations of those affairs,
and that the prisoner had been twenty-three [times] examined; so that the
trial could not have been much sooner.” (But this seemed to many rather an
excuse than accusation to the prisoner, in whom there could not with so
much labour and in so long time be found any crime to be justly imposed,
for “frustra fit per plura quod fieri potest per pauciora.”(416)) “But to
draw nearer the cause of the prisoner,” said Mr. Attorney. “Henry Garnett,
_alias_ Walley, &c, is a man grave, discreet, wise, learned, and of
excellent ornaments both of nature and arts.” (He might have added grace
also, if he had had grace to see it.) “And one that, if he will, may do
His Majesty as much good service as any subject I know in England.” (By
this and the like speeches which it seems they used often, to work him to
yield from profession of his faith, it is apparent they would have given
him both life and much preferment, if he had not rather chosen to die for
God than to live to the world.) “Besides this man,” saith he, “was a
scholar in Winchester, from thence went to Oxford, and there was well
esteemed.” (This Mr. Attorney did mistake, for he was never student in
Oxford.) “But he hath abused his learning to the ruin of his country, as
we shall hereafter declare in the discourse following, wherein I will
speak of nothing but of this late horrible treason; which treason for
distinction sake, I will call the Jesuits’ treason: for the Jesuits were
the authors thereof; therefore I will not do them the wrong to take from
them anything which is theirs, especially seeing in every crime ‘plus
peccat author quam actor,’(417) as it appeareth by Adam and Eve and the
serpent.” (But here he presupposeth Father Garnett had counselled the
Plot, as the indictment had said before, but that never was, nor ever can
be proved.) “In this discourse I will speak of circumstances and
observations touching the matter in hand: of no other circumstances but of
treason, and of no other treasons but the Jesuits’ treasons; and of no
other Jesuits’ treasons but such as shall particularly concern this
prisoner, seeing all have been practised, since he was their Superior; and
these circumstances I will divide into precedent, concurrent, and

“For the precedent circumstances; you must understand this man hath been
in England this twenty years, and from the very first hour he set foot in
England hath been a notorious traitor, because he came in contrary to a
statute made the year before his coming in, Anno 27º. of our late
sovereign of happy memory, whereby it was made high treason for any Priest
that had received Orders from any authority derived from the See of Rome
beyond the seas, which I beseech your Lordships to observe; for of Queen
Mary’s Priests nothing was spoken in the law.” (And the reason hereof is
given in the former ——(418) chapter, but here it is apparent, that this
treason so earnestly urged, was merely matter of religion, as in all
former martyrs.) “Contrary to which statute this prisoner came in, and by
consequence at that very instant was a traitor. But he will say, this is a
new law; these laws were never heard of before Luther’s days; this law is
a cruel law, a bloody law, prohibiting men to exercise their function, to
gain souls to God; and that their religion is the old religion, where ours
is the new and confined in England, where on the contrary side their
religion is universal and embraced of the greatest part of this Christian
world. And thus for the maintenance of their rotten religion, do they seek
to disgrace our gospel and do calumniate just laws with title of cruelty.
But to this I answer,” saith he, “that if our religion be as ancient as
Luther, it is more ancient than the Jesuits are.(419) Albeit it neither be
contained in those narrow limits of place, nor bounds of time, which they
feignedly imagine, having been ever since the time of Christ and His
Apostles. For we do not deny but Rome was the Mother Church and had
thirty-two virginal Martyrs for her Popes a row; and so continued till in
succeeding ages it brought in a mass of errors and idle ceremonies. But
you will ask, where our Church lurked before Luther’s coming for some
hundreds of years. But I say it makes no great matter where it was, so
that I be certain it was; for as a wedge of gold, if it be mixed with a
mass of other metal,” &c. (By your leave, Mr. Attorney, if I know not
where the true Church is, I cannot be of it: if I be not of it, I cannot
be saved: and if this be no matter to you, yet to God’s children it is a
great matter. And your simile of the wedge is lame of all the feet: for
the Church if it be invisible to all men is gone, “quia ore fit confessio
ad salutem,”(420) and so Christ had no true servants on earth; but this is
like your dream before that the true Church could degenerate into errors,
and yet those coming in, no man being able to name the time, the place,
nor the person, that did alter any substantial point of faith. But can Mr.
Attorney think that Christ our Lord would put His candle under a bushel,
which He had lighted with so great labour? And that which He saith no man
will do, as being an idle and foolish thing, yet will Mr. Attorney have
the Wisdom of God to do? But good Mr. Attorney, give me leave to believe
Christ our Lord before you; and therefore that the city could not be hid
which Christ had built upon a hill. And so your imagined gold is turned
into alchymy, and passeth away in smoke; but if the material wedge of gold
be hid, men say you know where to find it, if you will but search your
coffers with half the pains you took to find out this invisible wedge of
gold. Pardon me for this digression, I could not well let such false
follies pass without a word or two; but I will not trouble the reader any
more, but leave it to others: neither should I or any other have had need
to admonish Mr. Attorney, if Father Garnett had been suffered to speak at
large, as he was often of set purpose interrupted. But let us proceed in
Mr. Attorney his speech.) “For as a wedge of gold, if it be dissolved and
mixed with a mass of brass or other metal, it doth not lose its nature,
but remaineth gold still, although we cannot determine in what part of the
mass it is contained, but the touch-stone will find that out; so though
our Church hath ever been since Christ His time in the world, yet being
mixed and covered with innovations and errors we cannot tell in what part
it was.” (This is the truest word in all Mr. Attorney his speech, but
presently linked with the contrary, for he saith:) “And I dare say it is
now more extended than theirs is, for we have all England, all Scotland,
all Germany, all Denmark, a great part of France, all Poland, and some
part of Italy. Now as for the statute which they call a bloody and cruel
statute, I will make it apparent to be the mildest law, the sweetest law,
the law most full of mercy and pity,” (It is a great pity it were not
executed upon Mr. Attorney:) “that ever was enacted by any Prince so
injuriously provoked as she was. And if I prove not this, then let the
world say that Garnett is an honest man. And to prove this, we must
remember that Pius or rather Impius Quintus, the Pope, in the eleventh
year of our late Queen deceased, sent over a Bull of Excommunication
against Her Majesty, discharging all her subjects from their allegiance,
whereupon arose the insurrection in the North, and other rebellions, for
which divers were apprehended and executed. And here we may observe the
misery of Popish Catholics, who if they do obey the Bulls of the Pope are
apprehended and hanged as traitors; and if they do not obey them, are by
the Pope excommunicated and cursed. But to go forward: from this
excommunication also proceeded that the Popish Catholics refused to come
to our churches; so that the reason of refusal is not religion, but the
Pope’s Bull, which now being not of force, there is no doubt but that they
both may and will come to our churches.” (False.) “Then after the
suppression of the rebels in the North, the Popish Catholics being thought
too weak to make a party, then did the Pope give them a toleration ‘rebus
sic stantibus et donec commoda executio Bullæ fieri posset.’(421) Then to
make a party of Popish Catholics against the Queen, was sent in Campion
and a crew of Priests with him, that laboured to pervert Her Majesty’s
subjects and draw them to bloody practices, which Her Majesty sought to
prevent, and withal out of her singular clemency made a law, and that the
fullest of pity that could be devised, to wit, That they should keep
themselves there (beyond the seas), and not to come into her dominions
under pain of high treason. Now tell me I pray you, was this law made to
spill their blood?” (Yes, either to spill the Blood of Christ by the loss
of souls, if the Priests came not in, or if they did, then theirs.) “No,
it was made to save their blood, by keeping them there, which by coming
hither would be spilt in bloody practices” (which were fathered upon them,
that it might not seem to be cause of religion.) “Then comes in Garnett in
the twenty-seventh year of the Queen. His purpose was to prepare the way
against the great compounded navy, which may well be called a compounded
navy, because it consisted of the ships of all nations in Christendom,
that either they could beg, hire, or borrow. He came in, I say, to be the
forerunner of this navy. The Pope was the inciter and the Spaniards the
actors; and this great navy was overthrown, not so much by our power, as
by themselves, their own ships severing and scattering them. So that we
may well apply those verses to our late sovereign, which Claudian sung to
his Emperor Theodosius:

    O nimium dilecta Deo, cui militat æther,
    Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti.(422)

“But was this a sufficient warning to the Romish Catholics to desist from
their treasonable practices? No, for when they saw that open invasion
served not their turn, they took themselves to private treacheries;
insomuch that I dare boldly say” (but not truly) “there passed no four
years without some one or other treason. For shortly after came Patrick
Collyn, sent from Father Holt and Father Sherwood, two Jesuits, to kill
the Queen. Shortly after cometh Lopez to poison the Queen, incited
likewise by the instigation of the Jesuits.” (This Lopez was a Jew, the
Queen’s physician, living in London, a rich man, and knew no Jesuit in the
world, nor was acquainted with any Catholics in England that I know of.)
“After him came Yorke and Williams from Father Holt, who likewise had
plotted to kill the Queen. Not long after him comes Squire, sent by Father
Walpole from Spain, to poison Her Majesty.” And here Mr. Attorney desired
licence to advertise the Lords that each of these treasons were
accompanied with some devilish book. “As for example, the plot of Patrick
Collyn was accompanied with the book of Philopater written by Cresswell
the Jesuit, their ledger in Spain. Then cometh Squire with his plot, and
this was accompanied with another most pernicious book written by Dolman,
_alias_ Persons, their great ledger(423) in Rome. And now we are come to
the Spanish treason, which was in the forty-fourth year of our late
sovereign. And that you may know there was a Spanish treason, you shall
understand that Thomas Winter, and Father Greenway, _alias_ Tesimond, the
Jesuit, went over commended by Garnett to offer their obedience and
service to the King of Spain, and to promise him their assistance, when
time should serve for advancement of his title to the crown of England,
and withal to entreat him to send them an army, to be conveyed hither by
the galleys of Spinola; which army, if it were great, should land in Kent;
if it were small, it might land at Milford Haven; that they should bring
with them a round sum of money, and in the meantime to bestow some annual
pensions upon certain discontented persons here; and that they for their
part would prepare two thousand horses, which in such attempts were like
to be the greatest want. This motion being made to the King, they were
brought unto him; from him they were directed to the Duke of Lerma, who
received them gracefully, and finally for their answer they were referred
to the Conde de Miranda, who assured them the King his master liked very
well of their motion and would be ready to further them in their just
request, and would henceforward account the English as his own Castilians.
With this resolution Thomas Winter and Greenway returned, expecting the
next summer the arrival of their navy. And here were not wanting the books
I mentioned before; but what books? They had no books indeed; but that
want was supplied with two Breves or Bulls, as we call them, and they were
most pernicious and treacherous, which by God’s providence came lately to
light. The first was directed ‘Principibus et Nobilibus Catholicis totius
Regni Anglicani.’(424) The tenour of this first was an admonition that
‘postquam contigerit miseram fœminam e vitâ excedere,’ ”(425) &c. Here you
may mark this foul-mouthed monster that calleth our dread sovereign of
happy memory, “miseram fœminam;” being one of the most renowned of
Princes. (Here the reader indeed hath cause to mark a foul mouth, that
durst call the Vicegerent of God Himself a foul-mouthed monster; nor will
he mark that the Bull speaking only of the time after the Queen’s death,
was not to accompany the army, which, if any such were intended, was to
come at a certain prefixed time; yea, it rather showeth the Pope would
have nothing attempted in her lifetime.) “But well,” saith he, “what
followeth in the Bull? Marry, when it shall happen that miserable woman
shall depart this life, they shall not admit of any other to succeed in
her place, ‘quâcumque propinquitate sanguinis niteretur,’(426) except that
first they promise not only to tolerate the Catholic religion, but also do
bind themselves by oath to maintain it and no other: and this to deprive
King James from his rightful inheritance” (nay, rather to move him to be
Catholic, and so to get him also a much greater kingdom in Heaven). “To
exclude him therefore cometh this roaring Bull, that warned them also to
give notice of her sickness or death, as soon as may be, when it should
happen, to his Legate in Flanders. And so accordingly presently upon her
indisposition, Christopher Wright was despatched with letters of
commendation from Garnett the Jesuit, as appeared by a confession then
produced and read. And here, my Lords, let me observe another circumstance
very markable; that these peculiar traitors were severally commended by
Garnett the Jesuit, as for example, Thomas Winter went over: wherefore?
For treason; and yet was he commended by Garnett the Jesuit. Christopher
Wright went over: wherefore? For treason; and yet was he likewise
commended by Garnett the Jesuit. Guy Faulks was sent over: wherefore? For
treason—that is, to solicit and deal with Owen, that Spinola and Sir
William Stanley might draw their forces near to the sea-side, that when
the time served they might come over with the more expedition: and yet he
also is commended by Garnett the Jesuit. Sir Edward Baynham was sent over
to acquaint the Pope with this business, when the blow should be given”
(By this known untruth the rest may be judged of the better:) “which
Edward Baynham was a fit messenger between the Pope and the devil; and yet
he had also letters of commendation from Garnett the Jesuit. So that
hereby it is apparent that Garnett was not only privy, but consenting to
their several practices. Now when King James was settled in this kingdom,
and received of all, then did Garnett burn the Bull. But out of that Bull
did Catesby infer that it was lawful for him to entertain any practice
against our sovereign that now is; for, said he, it is as lawful for us to
expel him and cast him out now, seeing by experience he doth persecute
religion, as by the Breve it was lawful to resist him and reject, when we
did but fear he would not favour Catholics.” (True it is Mr. Catesby did
argue thus; but was answered by Father Garnett, that the case was not like
before and after admission, and that we must not by ourselves attempt
anything, the Pope now commanding to be quiet.) “The other Bull was to the
Archpriest and his associates, commending their patience and longanimity,
and willing them to counsel all sorts of lay people to be forward in
execution of the Pope’s command. Well then, out of these circumstances, I
infer that Garnett was not only privy, but an author and actor in this

“But now let us consider other circumstances that are ‘omni acceptione
majores.’(427) Your Lordships must understand that Garnett would not be
known to any of the actors in these bloody practices, but only to Catesby,
being a man ‘vafro et versuto ingenio et profundâ perfidiâ,’(428) so that
all we have against him must be chiefly drawn from himself.” (Indeed Mr.
Catesby was dead, and never affirmed any such thing, and the rest of the
conspirators in their examinations and public speeches affirmed the
contrary; so that Mr. Attorney did want proof very much, when he brought
in a dead man to be witness, like to them that brought the sleeping
soldiers at Christ His sepulchre to be witnesses that his body was stolen
whilst they were asleep.) “Well then, this Garnett confesseth that Catesby
had in general imparted to him that something would be done by the
Catholics, but could not reveal in particular what it was without the
consent of two others of his consorts, which Garnett saith he dissuaded
him from; but how know we that he did so? Only by his own words, who useth
to deal sincerely in nothing that concerneth himself. But I will prove
that he did not dissuade them, but did encourage them, even to the Powder
Treason itself.” (Here, by the way, I would gladly ask Mr. Attorney how he
doth save the accusation recited in the indictment from a false slander,
where it is said that Garnett and Greenway did in the beginning meet with
Catesby at Queenhithe, and there conclude upon destroying the King and
Queen and the Parliament House by powder? How could this be true, seeing
that here now long after, and after the gentlemen had concluded as it
seems of the matter, and bound one another to secrecy, so that as you see
Mr. Catesby could not reveal it to Father Garnett without leave of two
others, Father Garnett was all this while ignorant of it: yea, and now
also had but a general knowledge of something to be done, from which also
he dissuaded them? We may see in this contradiction Father Garnett his
innocency; and that Mr. Attorney should be mindful of what he hath said,
if he will not say the truth. But let us see how he seeketh to prove by
likelihoods, that here Father Garnett, getting some knowledge of the thing
in general, did persuade it in particular.) “For Father Garnett,” said he,
“confesseth moreover that Mr. Catesby did in general terms propound a case
unto him, whether it were not lawful to destroy many enemies assembled
together to our ruin, although some innocents must needs be inwrapped in
the slaughter. To this Garnett answered that in just war when a town or
castle is besieged that could not be taken without battering the walls,
and that not to be performed without perishing of some innocents, in that
case, if the advantage which redounded to the general good by the death of
those enemies were greater than the loss should be by the destruction of
those innocents, that then it was lawful. I beseech your Lordships mark
here, that Garnett approveth this fact in particular; for this resolution
was Catesby’s whole ground; and this I prove by Rookwood his confession
(which he brought forth), and therein it appeared that when Catesby made
the first overture of this matter unto him, he conceived great horror of
the fact in respect of the innocents that were to be there, whereunto
Catesby answered, that he had advice of the most learned, that it was
lawful, not by proposing the case in particular, but in a like.” (Here Mr.
Attorney, by his plain proof which he promised, hath proved himself to be
guilty of a malicious and false inference, and Father Garnett to be clear
from all furtherance to the Plot. For, first, this case was put to Father
Garnett before the time this general notice of something in hand was given
him by Mr. Catesby: though here Mr. Attorney did maliciously put it after,
to make it seem that Father Garnett might gather some light what should be
meant by them, hearing now this particular case out of the former general
knowledge, which the Attorney saith he had before received. But the
general knowledge came after, which I prove by these alleged words of Mr.
Attorney. For here he saith, he had resolution in this case before he
acquainted Rookwood; and that general knowledge was given after the matter
was commenced: for, so he said, there was something in hand, but he could
not tell him without leave of two; at which time Father Garnett refused to
know the matter, but dissuaded it in general. Now that he proveth also
Father Garnett clear from persuasion or consent, I prove by his own words,
where he saith that Mr. Catesby persuaded Mr. Rookwood to yield, upon the
resolution he had received of the like case, not of the same case; whereby
it appears, they first concluded of it amongst themselves, and the rest
consented to it, without Father Garnett his knowledge or privity, much
less his counsel. Now whereas Mr. Attorney will needs conclude, that
because Mr. Catesby did infer the lawfulness of the particular out of the
resolution in general, therefore Father Garnett should be guilty of the
powder; by the same reason he may prove many Doctors in the Schools, and
the most learned writers that are or have been, to be guilty of the same
treason; for they deliver the same doctrine in the same case, as it was
put to Father Garnett. And as they, being wholly ignorant of the matter,
cannot be touched with it, for delivering their true opinion, so Father
Garnett, when that case was put, thought of nothing less than that they
had any such intent. And afterward when he perceived something in general,
that he also laboured to hinder by persuasion: and so no way to be blamed,
but much to be commended, if he had his right).

“Then further,” says Mr. Attorney, “Garnett, under pretence of a journey
to St. Winifred’s Well, and I know not what marriage, retired himself into
Warwickshire, which was the rendezvous for all the conspirators,
pretending he had no place to abide in until the Parliament.” (It is well
known to many Catholics that all the safe lodgings which Father Garnett
had about London were lately before discovered, and that was a chief cause
of his journey; and it was unfit to take a new house about London, before
they might see what laws would be made at the Parliament, which were
expected would be such as there would be no abiding there.) “He also made
a prayer for the great business about the Parliament time, which was

    Gentem(429) auferte perfidam
    Credentium de finibus,
    Ut Christo laudes debitas
    Persolvamus alacriter.”(430)

Now for the subsequent circumstances Mr. Attorney produced, an
interlocution between Father Garnett and Father Ouldcorne in the Tower;
which thing is before declared at large and therefore needs not here be
set down, the chapter growing too long by other points not before so much
declared. Only this here is to be noted, that Mr. Attorney reported the
matter otherwise than it was; for he said, that by reason the Tower was
full of prisoners, the Lieutenant was constrained for want of room to
lodge them in two chambers joining one upon another, which they perceiving
did often discourse together, and being overheard by the Lieutenant’s men
passing to other prisoners, some of them were placed near adjoining to
overhear them.(431) And so out of that interlocution, and Father Garnett
his confession taken by the Lords after the same, he proved that Father
Garnett was told in confession of the Powder Treason; which point alone he
was able to prove against Father Garnett, and the which Father Garnett
acknowledged, but proved it to be both lawful and necessary for him to
proceed as he did therein. Then Mr. Attorney began to exaggerate the
greatness of the treason, because it was intended against so worthy a
Prince, and so noble a progeny, in whose praises he spent a long time; but
not needful to be set down in this place. Then he praised and sought to
please the City of London, affirming that the King, in desire to give
contentment unto the city, had caused that solemn trial to be made in that
place, which belonged to the public justice of the city.

Then he returned to Father Garnett, and said that he and the Jesuits had
plotted these foresaid treasons against all these so worthy persons; and
that the Jesuits were Doctors of four D’s; first of Dissimulation, wherein
he made an invective against the doctrine of equivocation, showing a
written book of that matter which had been taken in some search, the title
whereof was written with Father Garnett his own hand, “Against lying and
untruths;” and, said Mr. Attorney,(432) “If this doctrine might be
admitted, that men may swear and forswear what they list, there would be
no martyrs: the holy Ridley, Cranmer, and Latimer would not have been
martyred.” (These were three notorious heretics burnt in Queen Mary’s
time.) “The thirty-two Popes, that were virginal martyrs, would not have
suffered on a row. This doctrine was begun by Arius, who having a schedule
of the Catholic doctrine in his left hand, and another of his own opinion
in his bosom, laid his right hand upon his breast and sware he believed
and would maintain that doctrine _he had in his hand_ during his life.”
(Many such things he said against “equivocatio,” either mistaking or
misreporting wholly the state of the question.) The second D, he said, was
Deposing of Princes, for which he produced a place out of Philopater,
affirming that heretics cannot bear rule over Catholics; and another out
of Dolman’s book of titles to the like effect, also two places of Simanha,
whom he termed the Spanish Jesuit. The first, that all heretics were
excommunicate _de jure_ at Easter, and were excommunicate _de facto_. The
second was that a Prince once excommunicate “amittit jus regnandi;”(433)
and not only for himself, but for his heirs. The third D, is the Disposing
of kingdoms, for proof whereof, he alleged that they would have disposed
of the kingdom of England to the Infanta of Spain, without any memory of
King James. The fourth and last D, was the Deterring of Princes with fear
of their excommunications, and I know not what. And then, with some
invectives against Jesuits, he dehorted all men from conversing with them,
with this saying, “Qui cum Jesu itis, non itis cum Jesuitis.” “Neither,”
said he, “are their Priests less perilous than they of whom I hope I may
presage the destruction near at hand; for seeing I am informed they are in
number about four hundred, they may fitly be resembled to the four hundred
false prophets that Micheas had in his company;(434) for as they were
possessed of lying spirits and then perishing, so may we hope that these
Priests and Jesuits publicly teaching this doctrine of lying and
equivocating are near their downfall.” And then making a low reverence he
concluded his speech.

(M22) Mr. Attorney having ended,(435) Father Garnett, having first made
his reverence with a very modest countenance began his speech, first
craving pardon for the weakness of his memory, if he should fail to give
them satisfaction in any particular that had been objected against him.
“But I trust,” said he, “with the help of Mr. Attorney, I shall fail in
nothing of consequence. And considering the whole discourse of Mr.
Attorney, I find the things by him treated of, may be reduced to four
principal heads: the first, concerning our doctrine in general; the
second, concerning recusants in general; third, concerning Jesuits in
general; the last, concerning myself in particular.

(M23) “And for the first, Mr. Attorney inveigheth greatly against that
point of doctrine wherein we teach that equivocations in some cases may be
lawfully used, as a doctrine which he supposeth to hinder Martyrs from
their crowns and to break the bonds of human society; neither of which can
ensue out of that doctrine, as we do teach it. For we do not teach (as Mr.
Attorney affirmeth) that it is lawful to equivocate in matters of faith;
but we teach the contrary most expressly, rejecting that doctrine as an
heresy, condemned long since in the Priscilianists. Yea, some Catholics
have suffered death for answering directly to questions which they might
have avoided, but that they feared they should then equivocate in matters
of faith, or seem to deny their religion. And, my Lords, because I have
discoursed to your Lordships of this point heretofore, and to other
learned men sent to me in the Tower, I will be the shorter at this
present: and as I say, it is never lawful to equivocate in matters of
faith, so also in matters of human conversation, it may not be used
promiscually, or at our pleasure; as in matters of contract, in matters of
testimony, or before a competent judge, or to the prejudice of any third
person: in which cases we judge it altogether unlawful. But only we think
it lawful when it is no way prejudicial to others and to be used for our
own or our brother’s good, or when we are pressed to questions that are
hurtful to be answered unto, or urged upon examination to answer to one
who is no competent judge, or who would force us to open matters not
liable to his court: as if they should examine me of the secrets of my
heart, or the secrets I have heard in confession; because these secrets
are not liable to any external court, I may in these cases, for avoiding
of inconvenience, and redeeming my own vexation, lawfully use some
reservation. Neither doth this liberty prejudice any whit human
conversation; but it is conformable to reason, agreeable to the doctrine
of the holy Fathers, and to the consent of all learned men, without
contradiction of any one that ever I heard or read of, who teach generally
with St. Thomas of Aquin, affirming the same which I have said, in several
places, and specially in that place where he teacheth that if a Confessor
should by any man whosoever be examined concerning points which he knoweth
only by confession, he may lawfully, yea, he is bound to disavow them. And
this doctrine is also found in the Scripture itself; for confirmation
whereof, I will cite only two places. The first is that place where our
Saviour being demanded concerning the Day of Judgment by His disciples
made answer, ‘De die illâ nemo novit, neque Angeli Dei, neque filius
hominis, nisi solus Pater.’(436) But certain it is that Christ our Saviour
did know of the Day of Judgment, not only as He was God, but as He was Man
also, as all holy Doctors and Divines do constantly affirm. Wherefore it
cannot be denied but therein He used some mental reservation. For lying
can no ways be tolerable and much less practised by Him that is the rule
and measure of all truth, as St. Augustine excellently proveth in that
place where he distinguisheth eight kind of lies, all of them being sins;
and the least of those when it is ‘mendacium officiosum,’ to the good of
some, without the hurt of any. So that seeing this saying of our Saviour
cannot be verified otherwise but, as St. Augustine expoundeth it, with
this secret reservation that He knew it not to reveal it, it cannot be
denied but these reservations in some cases are lawful. The second example
is, where He said to His Disciples, ‘Vos ascendite ad diem festum hunc:
ego autem non ascendo ad diem festum istum.’(437) And yet,
notwithstanding, the Evangelist affirmeth that after they were gone to the
feast, ‘tunc et ipse ascendit ad diem festum non manifeste, sed quasi in
occulto,’(438) which argueth that in this general denial to go, He meant
only that He would not go in public, which in His mind He reserved.”

Here my Lord of Salisbury interrupted the prisoner and said, that because
the truth was oftentimes more plainly discovered by interposition of
questions and answers, than by a continual speech delivered together, he
would ask of Mr. Garnett one question concerning that doctrine he
delivered. “For you teach it,” said he, “to be unlawful to equivocate
before a competent judge, and I trust you take us to be such. At the least
I do. Now did not you deny in the Tower unto me with earnest asseveration,
that you had not any conference with Hall, until the witness was produced
against you, and then you confessed it? Is not this to equivocate before a
competent judge, and in a matter of small consequence?” To this the
prisoner answered that he did so because, until the witness came, he did
think the matter wholly secret, and therefore not liable to the
examination of any judge, though otherwise competent; besides he deemed it
prejudicial to a third person, whom then he accounted an honest man. Then
he went forward in his speech.

“The second point of our doctrine,” said he, “that Mr. Attorney greatly
inveigheth against, is the doctrine of deposing of Princes and
excommunicating of Kings. Whereof although I could discourse at large, yet
for that I am unwilling in this honourable assembly to speak anything
which may be offensive to His Majesty or to them, I will only say a word
or two in just excuse of myself and my brethren, the Catholics of England.
And, first, I beseech your Lordships to consider that our doctrine in this
point is the very same which is taught and holden by all Catholic Divines
and other subjects in all Catholic Universities and countries of the
Christian world, which subjects are not by their Princes censured for this
doctrine or condemned as traitors, nor their doctrine judged to be
seditious or treasonable. And therefore I cannot see why we, concurring
with them and with all our predecessors in this kingdom, without
innovation or changing any one principle or tittle in that matter, should
be so severely branded with such notes of infamy. Secondly, for clearing
our case the more, I will observe a great difference to be made between
our Sovereign that now is, and other Princes that have once embraced and
professed the Catholic faith and do afterwards revolt and decline into
heresies, parting themselves from that body unto which they were before
united, disjoining and dividing themselves from that Head to whom before
they had submitted themselves and by whom they were governed; for they
incur the censures which those authors, cited by Mr. Attorney, do speak
of, and are punishable by that power which in precedent times they
admitted. But His Majesty’s case is different from theirs; for he
maintaineth no other doctrine than that which from his cradle he hath been
nourished and brought up in. And therefore those general sentences are not
by any private man to be applied to his case in particular.” Here the Earl
of Salisbury again interrupted him and demanded if the Pope could
excommunicate King James, his Sovereign. The prisoner answered, “My Lord,
I cannot deny the authority of His Holiness.” Then my Lord of Salisbury
demanded, whether if he should be excommunicated, it were lawful for his
subjects to rebel against him. “My Lord,” said he, “I have already
answered that point. I beseech your Lordship to press me no further. You
have my opinion in the Canon of Nos Sanctorum which I before alleged.”
Then Mr. Attorney produced the Canon, which was publicly read with
derision of divers standers-by, who thought it ridiculous that the Pope
should have such authority over Princes.

(M24) After this the Father proceeded and the second thing he would answer
unto, should be recusants in general, “who,” saith he, “are accused by Mr.
Attorney that they only grounded their recusancy upon the excommunication
of the Queen by Pius Vtus, which, if it were true, then Mr. Attorney did
infer that, seeing that our Sovereign that now is stands not
excommunicate, it were lawful to repair to the churches and service of
England. But if this were lawful, doubtless Catholics would have done it
before this, thereby to avoid the penalty of those statutes which in that
case are enacted. Neither is it true, that Mr. Attorney so constantly
avoucheth, that till the eleventh year of Queen Elizabeth all Catholics
did resort to their churches. For I knew many Catholics at that time
living, that I am certain never went to Protestants’ churches in their
lives. And Sir Thomas Fitzherbert of my knowledge did not only refuse it
before that time himself, but also had written a treatise to prove that it
could not be tolerated in any Catholic; and it is apparent to the world
that before that time many Catholic Bishops and Priests were imprisoned
for their refusal. Whereby it is evident that their recusancy is not
founded upon any excommunication; but only upon mere matter of conscience,
judging it unlawful to communicate in their service(439) with such as have
separated themselves from the Church. Which doctrine is as ancient as the
condemnation of the Arian heresy; for even then the Catholics refused _in
divinis_ to communicate with the Arians, albeit they had Priests, Masses,
Altars and their whole service, the same both in substance and ceremony.
Which doctrine hath also been taught by the most learned of the
Protestants, Calvin, Luther, Beza and others, who all teach it to be
unlawful to be present at our service, not only at Mass, which they count
idolatry, but at Evensong also. Yet I grant this point was not so clearly
understood by Catholics here until the Council of Trent, where twelve most
grave and learned men were appointed to consult and conclude of this
matter; who without controversy determined, that it was in no case lawful
to communicate with the heretics in their service, no, not to avoid any
torment whatsoever. And their decision was by the whole Council approved;
although the same was also concluded of by the Council of Nice above 1,300
years ago.” Here again he was interrupted by my Lord of Salisbury, saying,
“You go about to seduce the people.” The rest of his speech only tended to
the City of London, and seemed to tell them they should see such an
anatomy of the Popish doctrine, that he hoped after that it would not have
so many followers, with other words to like effect; which speech being
ended, the prisoner resumed his discourse and said:

(M25) “The third thing I determined to speak of was the Jesuits in
general; of whom some have been by Mr. Attorney accused of undertaking
several treasonable attempts, as the matters of Patrick Collyn, Yorke,
Williams, and Squire, of all which I can say no more but this, that I have
had the hands and protestations of those Fathers that are accused, as
Father Holt and Father Walpole, who on their salvations affirm they never
treated with the parties concerning any such matter; and that it was very
unlikely, seeing the enterprisers of them were no Catholics, or but
feigned Catholics, as Yorke and Squire were, who died Protestants, and
were of so little acquaintance with those Fathers that it was no way
probable they would employ them in matters of such weight. And howsoever
they might in time of torture, or for fear, be brought to accuse
themselves, yet at their death some of them discovered the practices and
protested they died innocent of the facts for which they suffered, as
Williams and Squire did. And for Father Sherwood, accused also by Mr.
Attorney, there neither is nor was any such Father of the Society. Indeed
there was one of that name that entered the Society; but he died before he
came to be Priest. But I am sure there was none such of the Society, as
Mr. Attorney accuseth.

(M26) “Now for myself in particular. First I protest I am clear from
approving, and much more from furthering, either this or any other
treasonable attempts, and have ever thought and taught them to be
unlawful; and have by all my best endeavours laboured to divert and
suppress them. True it is,(440) that I did understand in general by Mr.
Catesby,(441) that he would have