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reign over the conscience and persontributing additional punishments of every subject in the realm; and, and proscriptions, revolting to huin virtue of this new authority, at manity, and heaping infamy on the the instigation of archbishop Wbit- unfeeling bigots that could devise gift, Elizabeth issued an ecclesias- and sanction them. Among these tical commission, more extensive it was made treason against the and more arbitrary in its operations state to exercise the freedom of conthan any that had yet appeared.-science. Houses might be searched Its jurisdiction, says the Rev. Mr. by day or night for popish books Reeye, in his History of the Chris- or relics. A catholic was not at tian Church, “ extended over the liberty to educate his own children whole kingdom, and over all or- either at home or abroad, and he ders of men; their power was to vi- even forbidden the exercise of sit and reform all errors, heresies, his religion in his own house. To and schisms, to regulate all opinions, become a priest was to commit treaand to punish every breach of uni- son, if the individual presumed to formity in the public worship; and exercise his functions within the their power was subject to no con- realm; and all who assisted at the trol. They had directions to pro- ceremony of the mass were guilty ceed in the execution of their office, of felony. To enumerate the whole not only by the legal methods of ju- catalogue of laws forming this black ries and witnesses, but by any other code to restrain conscience, would means they should judge fit, that is, fill a large volume; but these were by the rack, by tortures, and impri- not the only hardships and oppressonment. The punishments they sions that proyed upon the catholics inflicted were arbitrary, directed by in the reigos of this gracious moDo rule. Their fines were often so narch and the Stuarts. Plots, conheavy as to bring total ruin upon spiracies, fabricated rumours of in. those who had the misfortune to vasions, of insurrections, and other offend. The very suspicion of be- inventions, were resorted to for the ing an offender was enough to make purpose of inflaming the public any such in the eyes of those inqui- mind, and covering the insatiable sitors, who, in that case, were au- avarice and corruptions of the mithorized to administer an official nisters and their satellites; and a oath, which compelled the suspected system of espiery took its rise, from person to answer
all questions, which the country has never yet though tending to criminate himself been freed. Camden, in his Hisor his dearest friends. So cruel and tory of the Life of Elizabeth, says despotic were the powers which the of the lords Paget and Arundel, and supremacy was supposed in that age other catholics, that they were forced to confer upon
aud to fly the land : “ That they hea- . which Elizabeth exercised to their vily complained of the subtle arti- full extent." Besides these violent fices of Leicester and Walsingham; measures, sir, judged necessary by that strange kind of tricks and the wisdom of PROTESTANT-Ascen- cheats were invented, and secret DENCY to reform the abuses and snares so closely laid, that they slavery of popery, a code of penal must, whether they would or not, Jaws was founded, such as would and before they were aware, be inhave disgraced the sanguinary reigns volved in the guilt of high treason. of a Nero, or a Caligula, to which And (he adds) verily there were at the bigoted and infuriated intole- this time some ways taken to try rance of succeeding reigas kept con-how men stood affected : counter
Development of the Gunpowder Plot.
5 feit letters were privily sent in the seven, five were rash young men, name of the queen of Scots and the who, by their occasional conformity fugitives, and left in papists' houses; to the established religion, were spies were sent abroad up and down looked upon by the catholics as the country, to take notice of peo- apostates from their faith. It must ple's discourse, and lay hold of their also be remarked, that the first cawords. Reporters of vain and idle tholic of rank and honour whom stories were admired and credited. the minister sought to draw into his Hereupon many were brought into snare, by means of an anonymous suspicion, and amongst the rest, and mysterious letter, carried the Henry earl of Northumberland, same to the minister himself, and and his son Ralph earl of Arun- thereby occasioned the scheme to be del."
known about court ten days before Such, sir, was the commencement it was suffered to be publicly exof PROTESTANT-ASCENDENCY; and ploded. Furthermore, had the plot its
progress has been marked by the been a real, instead of a sham one, same uncharitable disposition, the the catholics would have suffered same disregard to honour and vera- equally with the protestants, as city, the same violation of the prin- they were not then excluded from ciples of Magna charta, and the parliament, and not less than twenty same spirit of despotism and corrup-lords of that religion had seats in tion. To set the mind of James, the upper house. Yet, notwiththe successor of Elizabeth, against standing the knowledge of these his catholic subjects, towards the facts-notwithstanding the express faith and discipline of whose church admission of the king personally, he entertained a partiality, his fa- both in parliament and in his proclather and mother beiog both catho- mations, issued out for the apprelics, and himself baptized and con- hension of the conspirators, that he firmed as such, perfidy and trea- did not " charge the plot upon the chery were brought into action, whole body of the English papists," which soon threw the whole pa- - notwithstanding the ambassadors tion into a state of delirium and of the catholic king of Spain and fear, by the announcement of a the catholic archduke of Austria conspiracy, by papists, to blow up were foremost in the rejoicings made the parliament-house with gunpow on the disclosure of this pretended der, and thereby destroy the three plot, --an act of parliament was estates of the realm. This conspi- passed in the third year of this king's racy, known by the name of the reign, commanding a public thanksGunpowder.plot, has since been giving to be annually made on the clearly proved not to belong to the fifth of November in every church catholics, but was the invention of in the kingdom, and the following the then prime-minister, for the pur- form of prayer was directed to be pose of wreaking his vengeance on used as the collect in the morning that persecuted and vilified body, service: - " Almighty God, who and dissolving the attachment which hast in all ages shewed thy power the monarch had for them. By the and mercy in the miraculous and most authentic records it appears, gracious deliverances of thy church, that no more than sixteen persons and in the protection of righteous were so much as accused of having and religious kings and states proa share in the plot, and of these six- fessing thy holy and eternal truth, teen only seven were acquainted from the wicked conspiracies and with the wosst part of it. Of these malicious practices of all the ene
mies thereof: We yield thee our un- ligners and libellers of the religious feigned thanks and praise for the principles of that class of christians ? wonderful and mighty deliverance Thus avowing themselves in the awof our gracious sovereign king ful presence of a scrutinizing and James the first, the queen,
the just Judge, the violaters of one of prince, and all the royal branches, his own commandments, by bearing with the nobility, clergy, and com false witness agaiost their neighmons of England, then assembled bours. Really, when I reflect that in parliament, by popish treachery, this ceremony is performed even at appointed as sheep to the slaughter, this day, I cannot but think there in a most barbarous and savage man- is much room for consideration, and ner, beyond the examples of former serious consideration too, on the ages. From this unnatural conspi- part of the members of the establishracy, not our merit, but thy mercy, ment, into the conduct of their not our foresight, but thy Provi- evangelical reforming ancestors, bedence, delivered us. And therefore fore they set up a cry against those not untorus, O Lord, not unto us, who advocate freedom of conscience but unto thy name be ascribed all to all, and a participation of civil honour and glory, in all churches of rights to men of every religious perthe saints, from generation to gene
suasion. ration," &c. You, sir, and I be- This diabolical conspiracy, for a lieve the whole of those who are conspiracy it certainly was, not, great sticklers against popery, and however, to blow up the three esthe admission of catholics to their tates of the realm, but the characters undoubted civil rights, have mani- of men, who preferred adhering to fested the utmost abhorrence of the the ancient faith, rather than the recent attempts to spread blasphemy embracing evangelical principles, and impiety among the people; but succeeded in its design, and the tell me, sir, can you select a more people were fired with the deadliest impious and blasphemous case from hatred towards the supposed treathe writings of modern reformers chery and perfidy of papists. Still than this act of the religious re- no attempt was yet made to exclude formers of the early part of the six- them by law from the exercise of teenth century? What can be more civil office, whenever the monarch impious, what more blasphemous, thought fit to call any of them to than to ordain a religious holiday, his councils, or intrust them with a and command individuals to bend post of honour. This fact is corrothemselves before the throne of Cha- borated by the many succeeding rity and Truth, there to render complaints which the puritans in praise to God for deliverance from parliament sent up to James and his a danger merely pretended, for the son Charles, respecting the favour basest purposes, and attribute to which those sovereigns occasionally bis providence the escape of indivi- bestowed on some of the most gifted duals, whose existence was never of the catholic body. At length a seriously menaced ? To thank and period arrived, when the system of praise the God of Heaven for an civil exclusion was to be added to escape from popish treachery, when that of religious persecution and the Omnipotent Being knows that slander. To effect this, another the doctrines of popery, as the ca- monster appeared after the restoratholic faith is called, reprobates all tion of Charles the second, of whom such perfidious and unlawful deeds; it is written, “Void of all honour thus standing in his presence the ma- in politics, Shaftesbury coined råa
" The king
mours as they fitted his purpose, and I would otherwise appear prodigious had men of his party ready who and incredible.”.... could repeat, and men who could (he observes) was anxious to keep write them, so as to make them cir- the question of the popish plot from culate through every part of the the parliament, where, he suspected, kingdom. Void of all feeling, he many designing people would very confirmed his inventions by public much abuse the credulity of the natrials, and, without remorse, saw tion ; but Danby, who hated the persons led to death for charges catholics, and courted popularity, which himself had contrived; en- and, perhaps, hoped that the king, gaging thus even the passions of if his life was believed to be in danhorror and amazement in the public, ger from the jesuils, would be more to make things credible, which, with cordially loved by the nation, had out these, could not have been be- entertained opposite designs; and lieved.”-(North’s Examen, p.45.) the very first day of the session he Such is the character given to the in- opened the matter in the house of ventor and manager of that infamous peers.” The intelligence threw both conspiracy, called Titus Oates's houses into a state of phrensy.Plot, said to have been carried on 66 So vehement were the houses, by the jesuits, and other papists, (says Hume) that they sat every day, against his majesty's life, the pro- forenoon and afternoon, on the subtestant religion, and the government ject of the plot; for no other busiof this kingdom. I shall not enter ness could be admitted.
A comhere into all the perjuries, mock mittee of lords were appointed to trials, executions of innocent vic- examine prisoners and witnesses ; tims, and imprisonment of others, blank warrants were put into their which took place under the influ- hands for the commitment of such ence of this infernal measure, as a
as should be accused or suspected, full account of them may be seen in Oates, who, though his evidence my Historical Narrative; but shall were true, must, by his own conconfine myself to the opinions deli- fession, be regarded as an INFAvered by the most popular and au- | MOUS VILLAIN, was by every thentic protestant historians, of the one applauded, caressed, and called transactions which occurred from, The Saviour of the Nation. He and the state of the public mind oc- was recommended by the parliament casioned by, the rumours then cir- to the king. He was lodged in culated to mislead the people.- Whitehall, protected by guards, and Smollet says, “At this period the encouraged by a PENSION of attention of the English nation was twelve hundred pounds a year."engrossed by a very remarkable in- This Oates, who was the first witstance of villainy and imposture, that ness in the plot, and the only one, raised an universal ferment among till rewards were offered for others the people, and operated in defiance to come forward, " when examined of common sense and demonstration." | before the council,” according to Hume writes, that "an universal Hume, “betrayed his impostures panic being diffused, reason and ar. in such a manner, as would have utgument, and common sense and terly discredited the most consistent common humanity, lost all influence story, and th ost reputable eviover the people. From this disposi-dence."...." Notwithstanding these tion sof men's minds we are to ac- objections,” this historian adds, count for the progress and credit of great attention was paid to Oates's the popish płot; an event which evidence; and the plot became very
soon the subject of conversation, and the people. From this time, the ca. 13 even the object of terror to the peo- tholics or England were, and have ple.” Remarking on the extraordi- been ever since, expressly excluded nary evidence given by this perjured by law from holding any civil office villain and his associate, Bedloe, on under the crown, or taking any which eighteen individuals suffered share in the legislative concerns of as traitors, Hume says, “ Though the nation; and how far the people the catholics had been suddenly and then had, and now have, cause to be unexpectedly detected, at the mo- satisfied, let the past and present siment when their conspiracy, it is tuation of the country bear testimosaid, was ready to be put in execu. ny to the sagacious, and equitable, tion, no arms, no ammunition, no and incorrupt system of PROTESTmoney, no commissions, no papers, ANT-ASCENDENCY. This exclusion, no letters, after the most rigorous as I before said, was the work of search, ever were discovered to con- Shaftesbury, who had deserted the firm the evidence of Oates and Bed- king's councils, and espoused the loe. Yet still the nation, though cause of the violent party, of which often frustrated, went on in eager he became the leader. Hatred topursuit and confident belief of the wards the then duke of York, who conspiracy; and even the manifold had become a convert to the cathoinconsistencies and absurdities con- lic faith, honestly and openly protained in the narratives, instead of fessing himself as such, induced this discouraging them, served only as incendiary to attempt setting aside farther incentives to discover the his right to the throne. Shaftesbury bottom of the plot, and were consi- had been instrumental in bringing dered as slight objections, which a the duke's father to the block, and more complete information would raising Cromwell to the protectorfully remove. In all history it will ship; it is no wonder then, when be difficult to find such another in- swayed by implacable malice and stance of popular frenzy and bigoted revenge for supposed injuries, he me. delusion.'
ditated robbing the son of his regal Here, sir, we have the account, rights, after he had assisted to deas given by historians of opposite prive the father of his throne. This principles to the catholic church, plan, however, he considered diffiof a plot devised by unprincipled cult to accomplish, from the convic. and malignant politicians, who tion that he should have to encounbribed worthless and infamous ter the decided opposition of the cawretches to swear to the grossest tholic lords, who he knew would absurdities, all which the gulled never consent to impair the royal protestant people believed with the prerogatives, or alter the regular same readiness as "their own fanciful succession of the crown; and hence interpretations of the seriptures.- sprung the invention of the above In this state of national insanity and infamous plot, to alarm the nation terror, and while the fever was at with the terrors of popery and the its greatest height, the bill for disa necessity of securing the protestant bliog papists froin sitting in either interest, and monopolize the whole house of parliament was carried of the civil offices and privileges of through both houses, and opon the the state by the professors of pro30th of November, 1678, was pre testantism. This sented to the king upon the throne, enacting that no one, who then was, to which he gave his consent, to the or who hereafter should be, a memvery great satisfaction, it is said, of ber of either house of parliament, le pa
let then where in your box popeliery