« AnteriorContinuar »
change the government and religion of the kingdom, which is the plot.
Nor will the more impudent of them deny the thing in general, but much the contrary, insulting to us with Fertullian's Implevtmus omnia against the old Pagans. We fill your courts, your armies, your navies ; it must take, you cannot avoid it; it is a just cause to extirpate hereticks, root and branch.
But one (and may be the worst) part of the plot has failed them; they resolved to surprise you, to make a night's work of it, to let you and your's never see day more (for such deeds become darkness) as they did in France and Ireland, in those most bloody massacres of poor harmless Protestants. But God, the infinitely good and gracious God, that hath always watched over this poor island, an hundred times designed to destruction, and whose eye pierceth through the secrets of men, hath, notwithstanding the greatness, as well as multitude of our sins (not to be equalled by any thing but his patience and compassion) discovered this impious conspiracy, we hope, too early for the plotter's purpose; he has beaten up our quarters, and given us the alarm, if we will take it. Methinks we should, when the noise of fire and sword is in our ears; when we cannot walk the streets without danger of being stabbed, nor sleep in our houses for fear of being burned; witness the dreadful fire of London, the fire of Southwark, and that, the other day, of Limehouse, where three poor souls were burned quick, to say nothing of forty attempts they have made in other places. To which let me add the design, in general, of massacring all the best people in the kingdom, begun, and amply confirmed, in the most barbarous murder of that worthy knight, and judicious magistrate, Sir Edmundbury Godfrey; and here I must stay a while. Murder is a great sin against God and our neighbour; but, alas! what induced them to it here? Sir Edmundbury Godfrey was oneof the mildest men to these bloody Papists, that was in commission for the peace; for, though he hated arbitrary power, and Popery, as the cause or effect of it, yet a man for a due liberty to all sober people, pretending tenderness of conscience, and saved them from many a pinch on that score; hoping, as many more did, that, after an hundred years experience, intermarriages, conversation, and large indulgence, they were grown wiser, if not more christian, than to cut their way to government through blood, and kill for religion (pardon me the use of the word about popery, that has nothing of religion, but the name); but gratitude restrains not men of this stamp, their principle knows no kindred, no obedience, no obligation, that stands in the way of their conspired dominion. Well, but was it that they would be revenged of him, for having courage, courage I say, as the world goes, to take depositions, upon oath, of their devilish plot? But where is the crime here, which can properly give their act the term of revenge, since examination is neither judgment nor execution? Even a saint is not injured to be examined, much less a papist: Innocency gets on trial, Jf falsly accused; but that is not the case, for truth seeks no corners, por yet ditches to lay a murdered man in, after having strangled him in the house for the purpose. What then can be the plain English of the business but this, that they concluded, his former kindness, thus abused, would for ever disengage him for the future; and that, since he could not be prevailed upon to stifle the evidence he had, and might yet have produced (for he acknowledged to some, he had been both tampered with and menaced) they would strangle him; which is such a demonstration, that their folly, as well as malice, hath given of the whole to be true, that none can now deny it to be a plot, but those that are of it, or will lose by the discovery.
But some say, he killed himself. That is a likely business indeed; for what I pray? a sober, charitable, judicious man. O, but he was melancholy; that is, he was a serious man. But why now more melancholy than ever? Because he had wronged the innocent Papists. Is that it? Where is the wrong? Is it, that he heard what persons, upon oath, declared of the most horrid conspiracy that ever was on foot in the world, but the murdering of the Son of God? But, be this deposition true or false, it was his duty and place to take it, he was sworn to do it, it was a great, and the best part of his office; he had deserved a plotter's punishment to have refused the thing. Here is no virulency, suborning of evidence, condemning, or murdering them, in all this. Where is the sin then, that should trouble his conscience? But they, that will murder, will lie to cover it. Besides, it is plain that he was strangled, and his neck broke before stabbed, because he could neither strangle himself, nor break his neck, after he was stabbed through his heart, nor stab himself after he was strangled, and his neck broke. Moreover, had he been stabbed before dead, or soon after, blood would have appeared on the hilt of his sword on which he lay, or on the ground, it being a dry place, or on his cloaths; but no blood was to be seen, and when the sword was drawn out of his body, which his murderers put in to palliate the butchery, nothing issued from him but a dark water, as is usual, where blood is congealed, as his doubtless was, before he was stabbed; for, we are of opinion, there was a good time betwixt strangling and stabbing him, and that the latter was upon great deliberation, and that on purpose to hide the actors, and cast the murder upon himself. O Lord God! that ever men should be so much the children of the devil, as first to murder, then charge it upon the innocent soul murdered. But the devil was ever a fool, and so in this; for, besides what we have observed, this further is to be said, they that killed him would have us think it was himself, because neither cloaths, nor money, nor rings, were taken away. True, but though they that are concerned in the plot wanted neither his cloaths, nor money, nor rings, to carry it on, yet they took what they wanted, and they wanted what they took with a witness, and that was his pocket-book of depositions and examinations; which puts it out of doubt, that they, that were so much concerned in them, both murdered him and took it; for none can think that Father Conyers, the Duke of Norfolk's confessor, taking the air over hedge and ditch to Primrose Hill, dropt just upon him, and pickt his pockets of the book. Well, but why may he not have hang
cd himself, and his kindred, to save his estate, stabbed him afterwards, and carried him thither? This is deadly cunning; but why was his pocket-book only wanting, wherein the plotters were concerned? Tricks will not do here. Furthermore, why did they not keep his gold, silver, and rings, that were found in his pocket, but expose them? Why not strip him in some degree, make wound in his sword-arm, and hack, bend, or break his sword, that it might look like robbery? But, last of all, why should they carry him out exactly as he used to go, quite dressed, and want a band, especially lince they were so punctual as to take his sword, belt, gloves, and stick, with them? He went out, in the morning, with a great laced band, none was found, as well as the book of examinations. Of that we have already spoke; for the band, it is a plain case they Strangled him, and being a long.necked man, and wearing an high strong collar, he struggling to save himself, and they striving to dispatch him that way, the band was torn in the fray, and, to have let it go so, had been to have told the story too plainly; that is, that the man was strangled to death by violence, and that the stab of his own sword was an after-trick to cover the business.
Thus this poor gentleman, but worthy and brave patriot, ended his days, by the assassinating hands of Papists, whose butchery made him the common martyr of his religion and country, and his death is to us the earnest of their cruelty; in him they have massacred us all, we must take it to ourselves, and can no more be unconcerned in his death, than disinterested in the cause of it.
The plot is opened, the tragedy is begun, our wives are affrighted, our children cry, no man is sure of his life a day; the choice is only, what death we shall die, whether be stabbed, strangled, or burned. This consternation and insecurity must needs obstruct all commerce, scare people from following their lawful occasions, deter all officers of justice from their duty, and, in fine, dissolve human society, and reduce the world into its first chaos.
For the Lord's sake, let us consider our condition, let us all turn to the Lord with unfeigned repentance, let us look and cry to him for help, that he, who has discovered, would confound this bloody conspiracy, and shew mercy, and bring us deliverance, that we may yet see his salvation, and serve him all the days of our lives; and, in order to our security, these things are earnestly requested of you:
1. Take effectual care to preserve the king; they say, and we believe, he is not for their turn. We would not have him, for his sake and ours. In order to this, pray find out the Ahithophels, the dangerous men about him; you know who they are, be free and bold, prize your time, the conjuncture is great.
2. Vote an address to the king, to banish all Irish Papists out of the army, navy, and kingdom, by such a day, and all Papists out of the City of London, whose gross ignorance, and base desperateness, renders them the fittest men for assassinations. Besides, it is a shame, that the children and kindred of Irish rebels, if not some of them the very men themselves that were actors in that horrid mas* sacre, in the year 1641, about thirty-seven years since, in which above three-hundred thousand Protestants were murdered in the kingdom of Ireland, without regard to age or sex, should be employed either in the English army or navy; but more scandalous is it, that St. James's should bo their head quarters, and the park turned into an Irish walk. What do so many Irish Papists, Teigs, and rebels, do swarming there? No good to be sure; their parts, courage, and skill, can invite no man of any worth to entertain them; it must only be their ignorance, and cowardly cruelty, which makes them instruments of mischief, and fit to be used by those that love foul play. But, that poor dissenting Protestants should be daily molested and pillaged, for the sake of their peaceable consciences, whilst Teagues, and Irish rebels, go by whole droves under the nose of king and duke, in their royal park, and walks of pleasure, is almost insupportable. Is this to maintain the Protestant religion, and discountenance Popery? Expede Herculem.
3. For God's sake, call for the plot; look thoroughly and strictly into it; fear, nor favour no man, Jiut justitia, but fear God; do what you do, as in his presence, to whom you must render an account; it is the great action of your life, discharge your trust, and quit yourselves now like men. This has been the perpetual troubler of our Protestant Israel; as you would see God with comfort, and secure your posterity from civil and spiritual tyranny, slip not this opportunity God has so wonderfully cast into your hands; be not found despisers of his providence, neither be you careless, or fearful of improving it; now or never: Had they you on this lock, and at this advantage, you nor yours should never see day more. What once you could not have so well done, they have now made easy and necessary for you to do; and, what before you scarcely might do, is now become your duty. Be not cheated by a sacrifice; let not the lives of two or three plotters be the ransom of the rest, or your satisfaction; it is not blood, but security, prospect, future safety, an eternal prevention of the like miseries for the future; otherwise, we shall only sit down with the peace and joy of fools, and fat ourselves sacrifices with more security against their next slaughter. Therefore,
4. Raise the trained-bands, and let them be put not so much as into the hands of men popishly affected; for those men that would pull off the vizard, incase Popery prevailed; that otherwise keep their credit by not discovering themselves, are the most dangerous to be trusted; I fear Popery thus entering, more than any other way. Examine the counties well, for some of base principles are intrusted.
5. Let there be power given to raise auxiliaries, that such honest Protestant gentlemen, as are willing, at their own charges, voluntarily to serve their country, by raising troops or companies, or serving in them, may be permitted and encouraged so to do.
6. Let every Protestant family be well armed, and every Popish family be utterly disarmed; they have tried our usage of arms with ease, we theirs with cruelty enough. ,
7. Let there be an act, with a strict penalty, that, after such a. <tay, no gun-smith shall sell guns or pistols; cutlers, swords or daggers; and dry-salters, gunpowder or bullets, without license of the aldermen of the wards in London, or some chief officer, if in any other corporation; and that the person so buying them shall, before the said officer, subscribe a sufficient test against Popery, but, more especially, that no Papist be suffered to make or sell any such implements of war.
8. That care be taken to prevent fraudulent conveyances of estates by Papists, to escape the law, where they have done mischief; for this is to cheat the government, and invalidate the law. • V. That it shall be treason for any Papist to entertain a priest, Jesuit, or seminary in their house, because mortal enemies, by principle and practice, to the civil government. Consider of the Swedish law, or some other way to clear the land of all of them; let us buy them out to be safe.
10. That in all schools, particularly in universities, care be taken to educate youth in a just abhorrence of Romish principles, especially the Jesuit's immoral morals, shewing the inconsistency thereof with human nature, reason, and society, as well as pure and meek Christianity, of which there has been great neglect.
11. That our youth be not suffered to travel abroad, but between twelve and sixteen, and that under the conduct of approved Protestants; for the present way of education is chiefly in pleasure and looseness, which makes way for atheism or Popery, no religion or false religion.
12. That speedy care be taken to release all oppressed Protestants in this kingdom; and, since the Papists mark all Protestants out for one fate, and esteem them one body of hereticks, that they may be as one body of protestancy against that common enemy. This is the language of God's present providence; those, that withstand it, are such as love Rome better than London; every Protestant, dissenter or not, has the same thing to say against popery. Agree then so far, and let a general negative creed be concluded upon, and from thence let some general positive truths be considered of, in order to a better understanding among them. For this purpose, let there be a select assembly of some out of all persuasions, in which these two proposals may be duly weighed, that whosoever believe, and own what shall be therein contained, shall be reputed and protected as true Protestants.
Lastly, and more especially, let all the laws in force against immorality be speedily and effectually executed. It is sin, which is the disease and shame of the nation; we have forgotten God, and cast his law behind us, and we deserve not this beginning of deliverance. Our pleasures have been our gods, and to them we bow, and have little or no religion at heart; therefore it is that iniquity abounds, and in that variety too, and to such a degree, as no kingdom can parallel. Illush, 0 heavens, and be astonished, 0 earth! A people loved of God, and so often saved by his wonderful providences, are become the Tyre and Sidon, the Sodom and Gomorrah of the world. Let us repent in dust and ashes; let us turn to God, from the bot