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and prayers—with the aid of St. Ursula. It is not likely that she troubled him with persuasions, but very possible that her una fleeted piety and the consolation which she derived from it, may have affected him in a manner of which he himself was hardly conscious. The question of religion was one to which he had never given any serious consideration; it was not his nature, as Sir John Reresby says of him, to think or perplex himself much about any thing. If he had ever examined the subject, his understanding was clear enough to lead him to a right conclusion. He could have had no other reason for regarding the Catholic superstition favourably, than what arose from the remembrance of his mother and the influence of his wife's example. That he had secretly embraced it before the Restoration, as Burnet asserts, is altogether improbable. He came, indeed, to England, with an intention of repealing the penal laws against it, and that intention and the reasons upon which it was founded, are highly honourable to him. A collection of those laws had been published in French and Latin, with the same intent as the Theatrum Crudelitatis Hareticorum, and the lying histories of our reformation by Sanders, Ribadaneyra and Pollini, but with less dishonesty, inasmuch as no falsehoods were contained in it. When Charles was in France, this collection was shown him whereever he went, and he was asked whether it was a true collection i whether it was possible that any Christian kingdom could exercise so much tyranny against the Catholic religion? He who knew nothing of such laws, really believed that none such were in existence, and asked Clarendon whether the papers were not forged. That excellent statesman informed him in reply that these laws had been enacted in consequence of the frequent conspiracies entered into by some Catholics, ' always with the privity and approbation of their priests and confessors,' against Elizabeth, and of the gunpowder treason; 'so that in those times, the Pope having excommunicated the whole kingdom, and absolved the subjects from all their oaths of fidelity, there seemed no expedient to preserve the crown but the using these severities against those who were professed enemies to it.' This rigour had not been used since the Catholics had lived quietly; and the king his father's clemency in dispensing with the utmost rigour of these laws was ' the ground of the scandal of his being popishly affected, which contributed as much to his ruin as any particular malice in the worst of his enemies." Charles answered with a feeling of rectitude which, if he had always followed it, would have made his reign as glorious as it proved dis-r graceful. He did not doubt, he said, but that some very extraordi-, nary reason had existed for making such laws, but evidently it did not exist now. He knew well that he had not the power to repeal any law without the consent of parliament; but he knew no reason
why why he might not profess that he did not like those laws which caused men to be put to death for their religion, and if ever God restored him to his kingdom, he would do his best that those bloody laws might be repealed. And if there were no other reason of state than he could yet comprehend against the taking away of the other penalties, he should be glad that all those distinctions between his subjects might be removed, and that whilst they were all equally good subjects they might equally enjoy his protection. 'It had been a very unreasonable presumption,' says Clarendon, ' in any man who would have endeavoured to have dissuaded him from entertaining that candour in his heart.'
In abolishing the penal laws against the Catholics, Charles would have acted justly and wisely, in pursuance of his father's feelings and intentions; but as for removing all distinctions between his subjects upon the score of their religions persuasions, against that measure there were reasons which will always be unanswerable as long as we desire to support that church establishment which is the greatest of all our blessings. He returned to England with the kindest and most generous intentions towards the Catholics; they themselves frustrated those intentions; they could not agree upon what would please them; they would not consent to a solemn declaration against the temporal authority of the Pope, which in their common discourse they made no scruple of disclaiming; and it plainly appeared, even to those who were most desirous of serving them, that they were not in a proper temper to be admitted to indulgence. The indiscretion and indolence with which too many of them acted, awakened a proper spirit of jealousy in the Parliament, and revived in the nation those feelings of aversion which, during the general calamity, had been suspended or allayed. One of their writers was rash enough to publish an infamous parallel between Thomas Cromwell and Oliver, the noble martyr Lord Cobham and Venner the frantic fifth-monarchy man, Tindal and Prynne, Latimer and Hugh Peters! Then and not till then the loyal part of the nation called to mind the scandalous indifference with which the Romanists had regarded the late king's murder, the marked manner in which, during the usurpation, they had kept aloof from the Cavaliers, the overtures which they had made to Cromwell, and the deportment which Charles during his exile had found in his Catholic subjects; wherever he had met with them abroad they had shown him less respect than he received from foreigners of the same religion.
As the aversion for the Romanists which was thus revived prepared the nation to believe the Popish plot, so the popular madness which that most shameless imposture excited tended more than any other circumstance to produce in the considerate part of the
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nation a more favourable disposition towards them. One of Oates'«
And favoured thee with so many graces?
There He cried out with it powerful voice,'' ',
'It is told me I must die.
0 happy news.
I shall be freed from miser}',
'It is told me I must die.
1 am going
To the place of my rest;
O my father, - •
0 thou the best of all fathers.
Have pity on the most wretched of all thy children!
I was lost, but by thy mercy am now found:
1 was gone astray after vanity,
But am now ready to appear before thee.
O my father,
In a collection of poems written by persons in extraordinary situations, the piece from which these extracts are taken would
deserve deserve the first place. The author was a lawyer, and had been professionally employed by the Jesuits. After his conviction, therefore, Shaftesbury promised him not only his life if he would make a full discovery of the plot, but' as good a post both as to honour and estate as his heart could wish.' Charity itself cannot even suspect that Shaftesbury believed in the ' devilish imposture' which he promoted. Upon Langhorn's solemn protestation that he was not only innocent himself, but totally ignorant of any plot, pardon was promised him on condition of his disclosing what estates the Jesuits had in England, a knowledge which it was ascertained that he possessed. This disclosure he made, resting satislied that if the promised pardon were not granted him, he should then die with the great comfort of a double martyrdom; 'first,' said he, ' at dying perfectly innocent of the crime for which I should lose my life; and secondly, as choosing rather to die than to sin against my God and my neighbour, by charging others falsely, and becoming guilty of their blood and of the ruin of their families, by accusing them of a crime of which my own conscience must bear me witness that 1 did never know them or any of them guilty, but on the contrary, believe them to be perfectly innocent. Whereas if I had, on the other side, denied myself to have known any thing of those estates which I was required to discover, I must have sinned against the God of truth, by affirming a lye. And if, confessing that I had knowledge of such estates, I should rather have chosen to die, than to have made a discovery of such my knowledge for the saving of my life, 1 should have appeared, in some sort at least, guilty of my own blood, through my obstinacy.'
The fervour of Langhorn's devotional effusions was not more remarkable than the calm and convincing style of his dying speech, which was penned ' with all the a.rt of his profession, to obviate all possible imputation of subterfuge, ambiguity, or reserve.' Yet the dying asseverations of this man and of his fellow sufferers were disregarded as totally as the plainest rules of justice had been upon their trials, and they were sacrificed to the evidence of the vilest miscreants who were ever made the instruments of a faction. Nature had never written rogue in more legible characters than upon the countenance of Titus Oates. < His mouth,' says Roger North, ' was the centre of his face, and a compass there would sweep his nose, forehead and chin within the perimeter. Cave (juos ipse Deus notavit!' Such was the state of public feeling, that this villain, flagrant with infamy as he was, obtained a pension from the state of ^£1,200; the abandoned wretches whom he brought forward to support his testimony were pensioned for giving evidence which, to every sane judgment, disproved itself by its absurdity and its contradictions; Judges, under the fear of the