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A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF A CURIOUS MANUSCRIPT In the Collection of the Rev. Dr. NELIGAN, with Extracts.
THE MANUSCRIPT IS ENTITLED
A TRUE HISTORICALL RELATION
OF THE CONVERSION OF
SIR TOBIE MATTHEW S*
TO THE HOLIE CATHOLIC FAYTH,
To a deare Friend.
This highly curious Manuscript consists of three separate treatises, and is dated 8th 7ber, 1640.1 It is signed by Sir Tobie Matthew himself in two places, viz., at the end of the history of his conversion, where it also bears the name of several witnesses in their own autographs; and again after the treatise called Posthumus, or the Survivour, to which Sir T. Matthew has likewise affixed his seal in red wax.
In its very interesting pages will be found the following: Page 2— Resolves to spend some years in Italy. 3—Prays his parents “to give me leave to spend some
six months in France till the Parlement in England
(wherein I had a place) should be recontinued.” 4-Charged by his father (the then Archbishop of York)
not to go into Spain or Italy-promises that he “ would walk within the limit which his father
prescribed.” * The name is in the autograph of Sir T. M., who was the eldest son of Dr. Tobias Matthew, Archbishop of York A.D 1606—1627.
† Although dated 1640, it refers to occurrences prior to that period.
Page 5–Has "been of opinion that his father thought him
likelie enough to lay hold upon Catholick religion, if he should once find himself in a place where it
was punctually professed and practised.” 6--Sir T. Matthew leaves England and goes into Italy. 12—Walks with Sir George Petre and Mr. Robert Cansfield. 15, 16--Apparent“ liquefaction of the bloud of St. Janua
rius," which it is pretended, was before as “hard as a pummice-stone,” witnessed by the Earl of Suffolk,
who relates it as true. 20, 21-On the of October, 1605, falls with his mule
over a bridge into a river near Naples—“one of his spurres broken, but his body being made of a softer metal,” is miraculously preserved-meets the “Bishop of Malta, and divers Cavalliers of that
Order." 26--Arrival at Rome, and introduction to the celebrated
Jesuit Father Persons, or Parsons, with whom he
has many conferences. 34-Introduction to, and conference with, Cardinal Pinelli
relative to Queen Mary, Elizabeth, &c. 64—Libraries of St. Mark and St. Lawrence, in Florence. 77—“Purposed fully to become a Roman Catholic.” 79–Fancies that he “ was not as he then was in Florence,
but in London and in Prison," and that he “ may be carried to Tyburne, there to suffer death for the
confession and Profession of his Fayth.” 80—Allusion to the “ Gunpowder Treason.” 89— Waits on Padre Lelio Ptolomei. 93—“ Conducted to the Inquisitour," by whom he is
“absolved” from what he terms “all his heresies"— received into the Church of Rome, in the Annun.
ciata at Florence. 96, 97—Returns to England-visits Canterburie, the
“Chayre of St. Thomas” (à Becket)-his prayer there. 100 to 103—Takes lodgings at the east end of London
confers with, and writes to, the celebrated Sir Francis
Bacon, "changes his lodgings into Fleet Street.” 104—A visit to Dr. Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
-various conferences with him in the Pages fol.
lowing 115—Description of Bancroft's Library, “the most excel
lent possessed by any one single subject in the world,”-the reason of this.
Page 116—Bancroft calls for his “ Secretary and commanded
him to make out a warrant for his commitment"
to prison. 119, 120— Extraordinary copious draught of Archbishop
Bancroft, on the festival of Sš. Peter and Paul, “of a huge goblet or bowle of about a quart (one of those which kings give to archbishops for their New Year's Guift-of what was neither beere, nor wine, nor ale, but a caudle, which shewed nutt. megs and eggs,”—the description of this scene is
very amusing. 123—The Archbishop sends for Sir Christopher Perkins
to confer with Sir Toby Matthew. 131—"His Majestie one day asking the Bishop (Bancroft)
what became of me," he answered that he held me for a kind of obstinate man-" whereupon the King was pleased to directe him to put to me the oath with opinion, that by no means I would
refuse it. 132—“Mr. Blackwell the arche-prieste taken” for refusing
the oath of allegiance, “and put out of his witts” by “these subtill men of state”. - It appears from page 198, that Mr. Blackwell was in the Clinke
Prison or Precincts. 143--Sir T. M. committed to the Fleete Prison by the
Archbishop: 144, 145—Visited by Sir Christopher Perkins and Doctour Morton,*
* “ who was made a bishop afterwards," “much abused by his ill reports," Sir T. M. speaks to him of the “falsifications with which Fa. Persons had charged him with, and so he grew to trouble me no more -“torientud
much by Doctour Evansham.” 146— Visited in the Prison by Sir Maurice Barkley, Sir
Edwin Sandes, Sir Henry Goodyear, Mr. Richard
Martin, Mr. John Dunne, &c. 151-Visited by Dr. Albericus Gentilis “the Doctour of
the Chayre in Oxford for Civil Law.” 158, 189—Long controversial discussion with Dr. Andrews,
Bishop of Chichester, occupying several pages. 168, 169—Dr. Fulke, &c.
* Perhaps Dr. Thomas Morton, Bishop of Chester, A.D. 1616, translated to Litchfieid, 1618--Durbam, 1632.
Page 189—“The Plague was then hott in London, and yet it
was in no power of mine to get released from that
prison.” 190—Sir Francis Bacon intercedes for him. 193, 194–Offers to make a present to the Bishop of Salis
burie, who declines accepting it without paying the
full value. 196—Sir George Calvert, Sir John Dackombe, &c. 204—Disposes of his estate. 205—“Delivered out of the Fleete" Prison.—“My Lo. of
Salisburie kept a continual watch upon me, to do
me all honour.” 206—Goes into France-makes "an acquaintance with
Mr. Villiers, who grew afterwards to be the King's
favourite and Duke of Buckingham.” 207, 208—who “resolved to press King James to permitt
me to returne into my countrie, to which, after great difficulties, his Majestie was content to give way,” thinking that he would take the oath of allegiance, which he still refused, “though with good manners”—the King takes offence at his refusal.
“My Lo. of Bristol had so much good will and so
much power as to obtain my return home.” 208—“King James was pleased to put a visible marke of
particular honour upon me, at the instance of his Majestie that now is," viz., Charles I., then Prince of Wales.-His conference with the King—“King
James spoke very graciously to me.” 209—“
“Upon this the honours and favours done me at
Court, in the eye as it were of my parents, made them grow apace in being good to me.”—“
_“Being once at my father's house, it came out that there came by accident, if not by designe, a kinde of lustie knott, if it might not rather goe for a little colledge of certaine eminent Clergie-men, Archdeacons, Doctours, and Chaplains, &c. &c.”—with these he enters into a Controversial Discussion, which occupies several pages, and after expressing his opinions, he
says: 215_“It was strange to see how they wrung their hands,
and their whites of eyes were turned up, and their devout sighes were sent abroad to testifie their grief that I would utter myself after that manner.”
Page 220_"My father would ever choose to put some fitt
booke into my hand, than to enter into anie express discourse, though he told me what a crosse and disadvantage it was to him that I should be of that religion which I professed, and what a comfort it would be if I returned to his ; my custom was to
excuse myself,” &c. 222—Thinks his father was inclined to embrace his beliefe. 223—Death of his father “a matter of much grief to my
hart.” 223, 232— Interesting allusion to his “Mother, who was
much more fervent towards the Puritanicall Scrip
225–His mother “went out of this world, calling for her
silkes and toys and trinketts, more like an ignorant childe of foure years old, than like a talking Scrip
turist of almost foure score. 226–End of “historicall part.”
232–Conclusion of first treatise.
wittness yt all this relation
“ TOBIE MATTHEW. London, ye 8th of
7ber, 1640.” Then follows the attestation by witnesses, in a different writing, and their autograph signatures :
“We heer underwritten affirme that wee have heard Sir Toby Matthew declare, and take it upon his soule, that both the Relation of his Conversion, which is seen sett down in this booke; and also the following short Discourse, which he calls by the name of Posthumus, or the Survivour, are entyrely true, to the best of his understanding and memory. Both which are signed by his owne hand. He also holds the following Five-and-twenty Considerations, in order to religion to be very considerable and sweet.