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followers, rushed on the troops sent to take "them with their swords in their hands, and a "determination to sell their lives as dearly as pos"sible, it does not follow that they fell in the "conflict, because express directions had been given, that they should not be taken alive.* It may be added, that the concurrent testimony "of all the conspirators declared that Catesby was "the author of the conspiracy, and that Percy was his first associate; that from all we know of the characters of the conspirators, Catesby "and Percy were the most unlikely to have any "communications with Cecil; and that when the "first news of the conspiracy was divulged, they "fled into the country, which, if they had any "claims upon Cecil for previous communications, "it is most unlikely they would have done."
"Besides,-from some documents published "by the late Dr. Nash, in his History of Worces"tershire,† it appears probable that the commu"nication to Lord Monteagle was made, not by "Tresham, as some, or by Percy, as others have "suspected, but by Mary, the wife of Mr. Thomas "Abingdon, of Henlip, in Worcestershire. She was a sister of Lord Monteagle; and Mr. Abing"don, her husband, who had taken an active part "in the conspiracy, and in whose house at Henlip
It now appears by the examination in the State Paper Office, that the sheriff sent them a regular summons to surrender; and that they answered it by a haughty defiance.
They are inserted in the Appendix, Note 11."
"Garnett and Oldcorn were concealed, was par"doned at her intercession.
"It has also been observed, in confirmation of suspicions suggested respecting Cecil's early privity to the conspiracy, that he appears, from "his own admission, to have known of it before "the letter was sent to Lord Monteagle. This is certainly true; but surely wisdom and sound policy required, that, before he made the plot public, particularly as no mischief could arise from his keeping it a secret, he should discover all the "actors in it, and every person who might be "reasonably suspected, from the circumstances to "which the event might lead, of evil design against "the state. Had the late Cato-street conspiracy
come sooner to the knowledge of his Majesty's "ministers, would they, or ought they not to "have kept it secret until they had discovered, as "far as possible, all the conspirators, and all their "accomplices and connections?
"To this must be added, the total want of every kind of positive evidence to fix the charge upon Cecil: we do not find the slightest intima"tion, in the examination of any person engaged "in the conspiracy, that he or any other person was drawn into it by the artifices of Cecil."
Whether the Gunpowder Conspiracy can be justly charged on the general body of the Roman Catholics.
To prove the affirmative, you produce (p. 249) four reasons:-I shall successively transcribe each of them in your own words, and answer it.
1.-" That the gunpowder conspiracy was jus"tified upon the principles taught by the Roman "Catholic church."
For this, you cite the authority of the third canon of the fourth Council of Lateran. I have demonstratively shown, in my ninth letter, that this canon, if it ever existed, was not a canon of a general council; and that its authority, if it ever had any, had ceased long before the event in question.
You say:-" This decree was not considered "useless or obsolete at the period of which we are speaking, though it would not now be absolutely "defended by any Romanist in these kingdoms, "who has received it as an article of faith."
I answer, 1st, This canon was never considered to be an article of faith in any part of Christendom; 2ndly, I admit that the doctrine upon which it proceeded had, at the period of which we are speaking, some advocates; 3dly, I assert that it was taught by the first Protestant reformers, and carried into execution in many Protestant states; and, 4thly, That no Roman Catholic in England, or in the whole world, has received, or, if it were
proposed to him, would now receive the canon, as an article of faith, or even as a matter of opinion; and that, if the acceptance of it were now proposed to any Catholic, in any part of the world, by the Pope, the whole college of cardinals, all their congregations, and all their canonists, the Catholic would spurn it with scorn.
2.-"These principles," you continue (page 249), "were taught in the reign of James I, by the priests or jesuits, or instructors of the Romanists, to such
an extent, at least, if not universally, as to justify "the suspicions and jealousy of the existing go"vernment."
I acknowledge, nearly in your own words, that the deposing doctrine was taught in the reign of James I, by several Roman Catholic priests, jesuits and instructors, to such an extent as justified the suspicions and jealousy of the existing government, and made measures of precaution necessary.
But I repeat, that the general body of the Catholics preserved their integrity; and that, although it was both wise and just to adopt measures of precaution, the sanguinary and exterminating code of legislation passed by Elizabeth, and adopted and aggravated by James, was unwise, unjust, and cannot be too severely condemned.
I must observe, that nothing is so bad, which may not be represented worse than it really is. The deposing doctrine was most reprehensible; but the limitations, with which it was propounded, took away something from its atrocity. It was
universally allowed to be applicable to extreme cases only; to those only, in which the oppression of the tyrant was enormous, and the subject was without legal or constitutional means of remedy, -and where, to use Doctor Johnson's expression, "Nature herself will arise, and assert her injured " rights." It was also required, that the Pope, or if he were not accessible, that some grave personage should have been consulted upon it, and have pronounced it lawful. Still, even with these limitations, the doctrine was indefensible; it was held by few, and censured by the general mass of Catholic writers, in the severest and harshest terms. But, by how many Protestants has it been held? by how many practised?-Was it not held by Milton, Knox, Willcock, Goodman, and many. others? * Goodman, in his book De Verá Obedientiâ, written at Geneva, says, "It is a duty "incumbent on all the people to see that idolators' (i. e. Roman Catholics) "should be punished, "however great they may be, whether king, queen 66 or emperor. If the governors fall from God, away with them to the gallows! (ad furcas ubripiant)." He adds, that "Wyat did his duty, "and that all professors of the Gospel should "have risen with him; that Mary was a monster " and a beast, who ought to be put to death. The "aforesaid book is ushered in with a preface by "Whittingham, another Protestant fugitive, after
See the Decree of the University of Oxford, 21 July 1683, in Somers's Tracts, Vol. III. p. 223.