صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

vii

When Toleration was granted to, and enjoyed by the Romanists, and when they demanded no more, the Compiler would not have thought of reverting to the fearful events related in the following pages ; --but Equality is now claimed by some, while Ascendancy is the avowed aspiration of others.

What has been may be again ;-the cold blooded murders on both sides in Spain, and the assassinations in Ireland, give something like indications, that even in this enlightened and liberal age, there might not be found wanting such hands as could unhesitatingly put a light to the faggots encircling a Heretic.

The pages of History, we have been personally told by a radical of the new school, were no longer to be consulted.--Man is a new animal, and all around him is a blaze of intellectual light.-It may be so; yet one cannot for the life of one but fancy that some of the old motives of the bygone world may still be seen influencing his actions ; somewhat relying upon this fancy, the Compiler flatters himself, that in a condensed form, he has offered to the right minded English Protestant a small and cheap volume, which rousing no vindictive passions now

may still prove a wholesome check upon the confiding simplicity of those, who injudiciously think that superstition and bigotry have lost their hold on the human mind, and that the religion calling its supreme though merely mortal head, infallible, is full of Christian toleration to those who dissent from it, and would use none other than bland persuasives to ensure their re-conversion :-Happy dreams ! in which probably many kind hearted Protestants indulged when the massacre of St. Bartholomew sent them to another world, or while the Gunpowder Treason was plotting, the explosion of which was mercifully averted by the great goodness of God.

PROTESTANT MARTYRS

IN

THE REIGN OF MARY.

Mary Queen of England was daughter and first born child of Henry VIII. by Catherine of Aragon, and had been sedulously bred up in the Roman Catholic faith by her mother, to which she imbibed an attachment so ardent and exclusive as to engross every passion and sentiment; possessing an obstinate and irritable temper, impatient of opposition or control, and having no indulgence for the religious opinions of others, she became a furious bigot, and soon after her accession, exhibited a desire not only to abolish the Protestant Religion, but to persecute its professors to the utmost.

Happily for her own time and for after generations, the reign of Mary was short, being only little more than five years, and would have been as a matter of history, entirely insignificant, but for the bitter persecution and atrocious cruelties practised on the Protestants; during the progress of which, in the short space of three years, no less than two hundred and seventyseven persons of various ranks, among whom five were Bishops perished at the stake, not to mention multitudes who were reduced to misery and want, by fine, imprisonment or confiscation.

B

Mary's reign virtually commenced on the death of her brother Edward, July 6th., 1553, but she cannot be said to have mounted the throne until a month after that period, when she made her public entry into London, the interim having been occupied in the suppression of the weak attempt of the Duke of Northumberland to secure the crown for Lady Jane Grey. Mary was crowned on the 1st of October, and never having made a secret of her intention to restore the ancient religion, she immediately ordered the release of the Catholic Prelates, some of whom had been long prisoners, and restored them to their respective Sees. The Bishoprick of Durham which had been abolished by Act of Parliament, was re-erected by Letters Patent under the Sign-Manual, and Tonstal the former occupant replaced. Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, famed for his consummate sagacity, was appointed keeper of the Great Seal, and chosen by the Queen as her most confidential minister. Sir James Hales one of the Judges of the Common Pleas, who had distinguished himself by his defence of Mary's title to the throne, became troublesome by his opposition to these arbitrary measures, and was sent to prison, which so affected his mind, that shortly after his release he committed suicide.

The meeting of Mary's first Parliament, Oct. 10th, was distinguished by the on of High Mass with great pomp and ceremony before both Houses, in defiance of an Act which had been passed at a former period for its abolition : on this occasion many protestant prelates yet undeposed and attending in their places, instantly retired, but Taylor, Bishop of Lincoln, refusing to kneel during the performance was roughly handled, and rudely thrust out of the House. This Parliament repealed

all the statutes of the late King concerning religion by one vote, thus placing upon record their abject obedience to the bigoted will of the Sovereign ; and their addresses were filled with acknowledgments of the Queen's piety. A convocation had been summoned at the same time as the Parliament, the majority of which were Roman Catholics, who appointed a disputation on the doctrine of transubstantiation in the Convocation House of St. Paul's London, which was dissolved, and afterwards renewed at Oxford, where Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were sent under a guard to take part in it, this was also dissolved at the same time as the Parliament in 1554. By an act of Royal prerogative, all preaching was prohibited except by those who obtained a particular licence, which was granted to none but Roman Catholics. The celebration of the Mass was revived and encouraged, notwithstanding the Queen's declaration to grant free toleration. The marriage of priests was forbidden, and a visitation appointed to enforce the prescribed mode of worship, six Bishops were thrown into prison for impugning the revived church, including Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; Ridley, Bishop of London ; Holgate, Archbishop of York; Coverdale; Bishop of Exeter; and Hooper of Gloucester ; Latimer also soon after shared the same fate, Cranmer and Ridley having given additional offence by the favour they had shown to the title of Lady Jane Grey. The return to the Church of Rome might be now esteemed nearly complete in all but the acknowledgment of the Pope's supremacy, Mary still retaining the title of head of the Church. Many foreign protestants hastily quitted England about this time and were quickly followed by a number of English families, who foresee

« السابقةمتابعة »