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controversy with doctor Sturges; I am confident Mr. Andrews's triumph over "the good old martyrologist" will be equally complete.
Justification of the Persecution of the Roman-catholics, in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, from the alleged Plots against her.
As a further excuse for the sanguinary acts of queen Elizabeth against the roman-catholics, you mention their alleged plots against her. I have discussed this charge in "the Historical Memoirs "of the English, Irish and Scottish Roman-catholics:" I trust that I have satisfactorily shown, that there is not one which can, with any justice, be charged upon the roman-catholics. But, if all that is said of their supposed guilt were completely true, how very small a proportion of their body would it criminate. Would it be just to implicate the universal body of the roman-catholics, consisting, at that time, of one half, perhaps of two thirds of the whole population of England, in the crime of twenty or thirty at the utmost of their members ? Would it be allowable to attribute it to their religious principles? to assign any other excuse for it than the ordinary feelings and passions of aggrieved, of irritated human nature?
You produce against us the bull of Pius V. by which he affected to depose queen Elizabeth, and to absolve her subjects of their allegiance to her; and the renewal of it by Sixtus Quintus. You cannot
express yourself of these transactions in stronger terms of condemnation, than I have used in "the "Historical Memoirs." With the late reverend Charles Plowden*, I have acknowledged that a few, -but only very few,-catholics, chiefly from among those who lived in exile,—were led astray by these illaudable bulls from their duty. I have also acknowledged, that the conduct of the popes, and these adherents to them, would have justified queen Elizabeth in the use of strong precautions. This is all the acknowledgment the case requires or justifies; and grieving, as I do, that there is cause for it, I make it without hesitation.
The Spanish Armada.
BUT,-was it kind or just in you, to be perfectly silent on the conduct of the roman-catholics during the threatened invasion by the Spanish Armada; a conduct which does them so much honour?
Warmly attached to their faith, which had twice, or perhaps thrice, rescued their country from paganism; and under which, during a long series of centuries, their ancestors had enjoyed every spiritual and temporal blessing; they now beheld it proscribed; its tenets reviled, its sacred institutions abolished, its holy edifices levelled with the ground, its altars profaned; all, who professed it, groaning under the severest inflictions of religious persecution; imaginary plots incessantly imputed to them; the
* Reply to the Editor of the Memoirs of Panzani.
subtlest artifices used to draw them into criminal attempts; "counterfeit letters privately left in their "houses; spies sent up and down the country to "notice their discourses, and lay hold of, their "words; informers and reporters of idle stories "against them countenanced and credited *;" and even "innocence itself," (to use Camden's own words), "though accompanied by prudence, no "guard to them ;" they had constantly before their eyes the racks and gibbets by which their priests had suffered; they saw other racks and other gibbets preparing; they saw the presumptive heir to the crown brought to the block, because she was of their religion; and because, as she was formally told by lord Buckhurst, "the established "religion was thought not to be secure whilst she "was in being;" they knew the universal indignation which this enormity had raised in every part of Europe against their remorseless persecutor; that Pius V, the supreme head of their church, had excommunicated her, had deposed her, had absolved her subjects from their allegiance to her, and implicated them in her excommunication if they continued true to her; they knew that Sixtus, the reigning pope, had renewed the excommunication, had called on every catholic prince to execute the sentence, and that Philip II. by far the most powerful monarch of the time, had undertaken it; had lined the shores of the Continent with troops, ready, at a moment's notice, for the invasion of England; and had covered the sea with an armament, which * Carte's History, vol. 3, p. 585.
was proclaimed to be invincible ;-in this awful moment, when England stood in need of all her strength, and the slightest diversion of any part of it might have proved fatal,-the worth of a romancatholic's conscientious loyalty was fully shown. What catholic in England did not do his duty? Who of them forgot his allegiance to the queen? or was not eager to sacrifice his life and his whole fortune in her cause?" Some," says Hume, "equipped ships at their own charge, and gave the "command of them to protestants; others were "active in animating their tenants, and their vassals "and neighbours, in defence of their country:"
Some," (says the writer of an intercepted letter, printed in the second volume of the Harleian Miscellany*), "by their letters to the council, signed "with their own hands, offered that they would ❝ make adventures of their own lives in defence of "the queen, whom they named their undoubted
sovereign lady and queen, against all foreign "foes, though they were sent from the pope, or at "his commandment; yea, some did offer that they "would present their bodies in the foremost ranks:" Lord Montagu, a zealous catholic, and the only temporal peer who ventured to oppose the act for the queen's supremacy in the first year of her reign, brought a band of horsemen to Tilbury, commanded by himself, his son and his grandson, thus periling his whole house in the expected conflict t:-The annals of the world do not present
* Page 64.
+ Osborn's Secret History, edit. 1811, p. 22.
a more glorious or a more affecting spectacle than the zeal shown on this memorable occasion, by the poor and persecuted, but loyal, but honourable catholics!-Nor should it be forgotten, that, in this account of their loyalty, all historians are agreed.
Then will not you,--even You,-feel some indignation, when you are informed, that this exemplary, may it not be called, heroic conduct, procured no relaxation of the laws against the catholics?That it was followed, almost immediately, by laws still more harsh than the preceding? That through the whole remainder of the reign of Elizabeth, the laws against the catholics continued to be executed with unabated, and even with increased rigour ?— That, between the defeat of the armada, and the death of Elizabeth, more than one hundred catholics were hanged and embowelled,--merely, I must repeat, for the exercise of their religion?-and that, when some catholics presented to the queen a most dutiful and loyal address, praying, in the most humble terms, a mitigation of the laws against them, no other attention was shown it, than that Mr. Shelley, by whom it was presented to the queen, "for presuming," as it was said, to pre"sent an address to the queen, without the knowledge and consent of the lords of the council," was sent to the marshalsea, and kept a close prisoner till his death?
Surely, when you peruse this treatment of the catholics, you will feel some indignation. But do you not justly excite something of a like indignation, when, after seeing the loyalty of the catholics