The iudgment of a Catholicke English-man, living in banishment for his religion VVritten to his priuate friend in England. Concerninge a late booke set forth, and entituled; Triplici nodo, triplex cuneus, or, An apologie for the oath of allegiance. Against two breves of Pope Paulus V. to the Catholickes of England; & a letter of Cardinall Bellarmine to M. George Blackwell, Arch-priest. VVherein, the said oath is shewed to be vnlawfull vnto a Catholicke conscience; for so much, as it conteyneth sundry clauses repugnant to his religion.
Parsons, Robert, 1546-1610.

The Conclusion.

WHERFORE to draw to an end of this dis∣tastfull argument, it cannot but grieue, & afflict much the hartes of all that loue ey∣ther Prince or Countrey, & looke into the naturall sequels of like proceedings, to see matters runne dayly vnto such extremityes as they do, & that by such instigators, as are both both lesse carefull to foresee the hurts both priuate & publick that may ensue, & lesse able to remedy thē when they fall out. The prin∣cipall of whom (being the first & chiefe motors) besydes the generall hatred wherin they are with both extremes of opposite in Religion, are so interessed in like māner by the spoyles, & rapines which their rauenous Purseuants daylie bring home, out of their continuall searches, and ransacks of innocent mens houses, goodes and persons, as litle moderation may be expected from them.

LXXXV. Would God it might please his dyuine Ma.tie so to inlighten and illustrate that excellent vn∣derstanding of our Prince and Soueraigne, as he may see the many & great inconueniēces, that do & must follow vpon so violēt courses as these men for their owne vti∣litie Page  124 do suggest, & prosecute. Nothing can be more pit∣tifull, then to see a Noble House diuided in itselfe, & the one to beate, hunt, & pursue the other, & this to be their continuall exercise, especially of Children, vnder the sight of their owne Father, louing them all, and desy∣ring to be beloued. Ah! what sollicitude must there needs be in that Fathers hart! And were it not a great synne to increase the same, by casting in oyle to augmēt the flame?

LXXXVI. Would God his Ma.ties eares, and those of his wise Counsell could reach into these partes be∣yond the seas, and to all forrayne nations of Christen∣dome besydes, to heare what is said, what is writtē, what is discoursed by men of best iudgment in this behalfe, not only in regard of iustice and piety, but in reason also of State and Policie; no man being of so simple vn∣derstanding, but that he must see, that so notorious dif∣ferēces, of Subiects for Religiō, pursued with such hosti∣lity among thēselues, must weaken greatly their forces, and make them lesse esteemed both of friends and ad∣uersaryes. So as, besydes internall dangers, which are euer consequent vpon such inward diuisions, if forrayne occasions should be offred vs agayne (as in former tymes they haue beene) by forrayne warres; we should not know how to trust the one the other.

LXXXVII. The cryes & cōplayntes of these affli∣ctions running throughout Christendome, do giue strange admiration vnto men, and do worke strong ef∣fectes both in iudgments and affections: Admiration, for that no such thing was euer expected vnder his Ma∣iesties gouernment, for many causes: strong effectes, for that they worke great alterations both in the one, and the other: In iudgment, for that wise men fynd not any reason, eyther of Religion or State, why such extre∣mityes should be pursued, with such rigour at the insti∣gation of partyes interessed, to the euident danger of so great and honorable Kingdomes, who if in wills they were vinted, as they are in one Prince and Gouernour; Page  125 their forces were both admirable and dreadfull: In affe∣ctions, for that the compassion which naturally doth ac∣company our brethrens afflictions, especially for a cause that we most esteeme and loue, to wit, our Religion; must needes worke the contrary effect of inward auer∣sion, both in Princes & people abroad, notwithstāding they hold externall amity, and friendship for the tyme.

LXXXVIII. I let passe the generall obloquies, and murmurations that are to be heard euery where, almost in Christendome, vpon this manner of proceeding, and much more the publicke and priuate complaints, out∣cryes, and praiers that are made and offered daylie to heauen, throughout all Catholicke Kingdomes lightly, in all particuler Congregations, Oratoryes, Chappels, & meetings of zealous men, that pray instantly to Al∣mighty God for some remedy of these oppressions, and persecutions of English Catholicks, sufficiently (as they thinke) declared vnto thē & to the whole world by the very printed Catalogues of English Statutes extant in Print against them, for profession of their Religion: for that by the view of those Statutes, they do easily con∣ceaue, what enormous effectes, do, and must follow in the execution therof; albeit they did not both heare & see daily so many lamētable presidēts & spectacles therin.

LXXXIX. As for example, there haue not passed many moneths, since there were seene some threescore Priests more or lesse (to omit others) cast into banishmēt about one tyme, & wandring vp and downe, through∣out Christēdome, according as euery man had occasion, or necessity for their mayntenance, gaue a lamentable spectacle to all nations, to see mē of so good partes, amia∣ble aspects, sweet behauiour, naturall borne subiects of the Lād, the most of them of very worshipfull parētage, all of learned education, cleere and deuoyd of any suspi∣tion of crymes that could be obiected vnto them (for otherwise they should not haue bene dismissed) in the flower of their age, to be cast out of their natiue soyle, for Page  126 professing that Religion only, wherby their said Coun∣trey was first made Christian, & so continued vnder all their noble Princes, Kings, Queenes, and Soueraignes, Nobility, and Communatly, from the beginning of their Conuersion, vnto this our age.

XC. This spectacle (I say) presented to the eyes of most Nations of Europe, moued men not a litle, especially hearing them protest their duetifull affections to his Ma.tie and Realme in all Cyuill & Temporall respects, without seeking of any preferments, dignityes, riches, or other emoluments by staying at home; but only the rest & vse of their owne Consciences in matters of Religion, which Protestāts in many other Catholicke Countryes are suffered to inioy, though with farre lesser reason, in regard of the ancient right & possession, which ech part pretendeth for the vse of their said Religion.

XCI. And since this tyme agayne there hath beene seene very lately another spectacle, not much vnlike to the former (though much more markable) to wit, a like number of Noble and Gentlemen, with their followers and trayne, passing in very good sort through sundry Countryes, being lately retyred out of his Ma.ties King∣dome of Irelād, for the selfe same cause of their Consciēce, and Religion; which when men do behold, and heare them otherwise to speake honourably of his Ma.tie & the State, ascribing rather their afflictiōs to some vnder Magistrates in Ireland, and Ministers that set them on; it moueth more compassion, and maketh men thinke and muse, what may be the end of all this, and whereunto fynally it may grow? Whether the like may not be ex∣pected in tyme or doubted, out of other partes also of his Ma.ties dominions, vpon like angariatiō of Consciēces: which points seeme to be of no small consideration, and consequence to wise men; though those that be the im∣mediate causes therof, will and must make light of all: but the naturall yssue of such euentes, are not vnknowne. And if the occasioners therof were guylty of no greater Page  127 fault, but only to cast his Ma.tie & the State into perpe∣tuall cares about the same (his Royall nature being in∣clined otherwise to sweetnes, peace, and tranquillity) it were a great synne in them, and scarce sufferable.

XCII. Nor is the remedy heere attēpted by our Mi∣nister-Apologer (of denying all, and saying that there is no persecution, nor hard dealing with any, for mat∣ters of Religion, no not in the late Queenes dayes, when so many were so rackt and rented for the same) any re∣medy at all; but rather a doubling of the iniury to the afflicted, with encrease of exasperation & auersion of myndes; as also a leesing of all credit with others that heare it, eyther at home or abroad: for that facts con∣trary to wordes, do preponderate with all sober men, and preuaile against the same.

XCIII. And truely, I cannot but wonder, why this late Apology hath beene so greedily published by the Apologer, both in English and Latyn to the world, for that the Popes Breues, being but written priuatly to the Catholicks of England, for informing their Consciences in a matter of necessary doctrine about the lawfulnes, or vnlawfulnes of taking the Oath, and the Letter of Cardinall Bellarmyne being directed only to a priuate friend; both of them might haue remayned also pri∣uate, if this attempt had not byn made of publishing the same. But now being drawne by the Apologer into the Vniuersall Theatre of the world, besydes, that di∣uers will hold themselues obliged, or at leastwyse prouoked to answere the same; it will follow also, that the vnlawfulnes of the said Oath to Catholicke Con∣sciences will more be seene, disputed, & condemned by all Vniuersityes, Schooles, Bookes & Treatises of par∣ticuler learned men, throughout all Countryes of Christendome that professe Catholicke Religiō. Wher∣vpon also the vniust violence, inforcing men to sweare the same Oath, vnder so rigorous paynes, as are the losse both of goods & libertie, and therwithall to sweare in Page  128 like manner, that they do it willingly, freely, and without coaction: will be censured (no doubt) for one of the greatest contradictions in it selfe, and the most iniurious manner of proceeding with Christian men, that euer, perhaps was heard of in the Christian world.

XCIII. And this now occurred to me (deare Syr) to write to you cōcerning my iudgmēt vpō this matter. What more may be said to this Apologie, when it shall come into the handes of learned men; you will easily ghesse by these few notes, that I haue heere laid togea∣ther, which conteyne but little in respect of that which may be written of the matters heere handled. God of his endles mercy inclyne the hart of his Maiesty, to take the best way in this his course of Royall Gouernment: & for so much, as he hath byn pleased to ioyne so many Great Kingdomes vnder his only Scepter, and permit∣ted them to haue so great differences of iudgements in matters of Religion, that their vnion of wills, at least, in dutifull affections, may be so combined and conserued by sweet and temperate proceeding towards all, as despayre, the mother of headlong precipitation, enter not. The Prouerbe is knowne, Qui nimium emungit, elicit sanguinē: & patientia laesa vertitur in furorem. I neuer heard or read, that too much violēce towards free Subiects euer ended well, especially for supposed faultes that are not acknowledged for such, by the punished: & cōsequently no hope of amendment by way of compulsion. Some may dissemble for feare, but they are more lost in their affections then the other. Some reasonable toleration, and friendly treatie would bynd vp woundes from bleeding on all sydes: Exulceration maketh them fester more greiuously, and dangerously. To Gods holy Pro∣uidence the whole is to be committed, who will dispose of all to his greater glorie, siuè in vitam, siuè in mortem. And to him also I committ yow, with my hartiest Com∣mendations, &c. This 10. of Iune. 1608.

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