Chapter 19760549

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Chapter NumberVOL II V
Chapter TitleTHE ENGLISH JESUITS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19760549
Full Date1877-07-21
Page Number9
Corrections0
Word Count4845
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleHer Majesty's Tower
article text

LITERATURE

The Storyteller.

Her Majesty's Tower.*

VOL. II.

CHAPTER V.

THE ENGLISH JESUITS.

BY WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON.

THE form in which the English branch of the Society of Jesus presented itself to a statesman's notice was that of an Anglo-Spanish plot; whether he judged them by their personal

Hearing or by their public acts. • In all countries the members of this Order mixed with the world, which they affected to despise, and studied how to rule. They were peat in colleges, greater still in oourts. They ' made tools of women, and dupes of men who were the slaves of women. They affected to know atrange secrets, to possess indefinite funds, to govern by inscrutable means. They could change their names, their costumes, their nationalities, at wilL A priest oould wear a beard, a monk eonld deny nis shaven crown. They could put on plain stuff, they could sparkle in satin and . gold. In making war on the powers of darkness, they had a right to seise all weapons of war, to employ all arts of deoeption. Doing Heaven's 1 will on utrth, they were free from all scruples which might impede their work. ' But what was dubious in the conduct of Jesuits in other lands was carried to the farthest reach by the English branch. Claudius Aquaviva had no disciples so unruly as his English pupils. < All Jesuits were inclined by habit to subject the ( Interests of religion to those of politics; the English brethren made that subjection uncon ditional and complete. As men of the world they took the extremest views of what is per mitted ; classing conspiracy w^th love and war, in which everything is said to be fair. They justified treachery—they justified rebellion— they justified public murder. In the schools which their patron, Philip of Spain, had caused to, be plaoed under their control, they bound their pupils by an oath to go back when their course was finished to their native land, and strive by fair means and by foal to win it for the Church of Rome and the King of Spain. Inured to danger, these pupils of the Jesuits etossed the sea—prepared in mind for trouble, and wearing in their fancies the martyr's crown. Bat they were taught to make the best of a ' good cause, and not to throw away their lives, Provided with masks and money, served by their own agents, fed by their own converts, they were able to preach and teach with but little risk. They had means for landing in the ports, for evading spies, for slipping through the nets of justice. living in what they called " a strange land," they mapped off the country in 1 shires and hundreds, and on these small charts they marked each lonely beach on which a boat was kept, each country house in which they had a secret room. A Jesuit's business being to go about the world unseen, he had a dozen garbs, a doara professions, and a docen names. He had the jargon of many arts and the patter of maby tongues. A confessor of women, he learned from them the secrete which he turned against their lords, and through these secrets he could some times maoh at persons whom he dared not openly address. This permanent conspiracy on the English soil ia favor of a foreign prince, was offensive not only to the old Catholics, who wished to live in peaie, but to politicians like Cecil and Northampton, wno meant to become the chiefs of a n+w Spanish party in the state. For the moment, these politicians were willing to use the Jesuits; bat, even while using thefaj, they hoped to compromise and destroy them as a political power. j The Jesuits had not been twenty-three years in London; Persons, the first English Prefect, had not been thirty years a Jesuit; so that the men whom they had trained to act in this foreign spirit were none of them yet beyond middle age. Robert Persons and Edmund Campion had come over sea in 1580 ; come over against the wishes of the English Catholics; since they came in defiance of the law, and meaning to be a cause of strife; " creating disturbances," as Persons had frankly said, "in places where everything till that time was tranquil." Being then at peace, the Catholics wished to remain at peace; bat this smooth state of things, if good for the clergy and their flocks, had been the reverse of good for Philip, who would gladly have seen the Catholics driven mad with misery, in order that his generals might count on finding a partisan under every roof. The Prefect had come over with two sets of instructions, one of which he had kept in reserve. He was to stir up lawless passions, so as to sting the civil power into a severer course; and he was to put down the native fasts, and substitute, those of the Italian church. When Persons returned to Borne, leaving Father Weston with the rank of Prefect, he ooold boast of having made convert* of Sir Thomas Tresham, of Rushton Hall, Sir William Catesby of Lapworth, and their sons Francis and Robert, then boys of a tender age. Campion, Who stayed behind to carry on his work, wrote a letter to the Privy Council, in which he said :— ". . . . Be it known to you that we have made a league; all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach the practices of England; for bearing the curse that you shall lay upon us; and never to despair of your reoovery while we have a man left to anjoy your Tyburns, or to be racked by your torments, or to be consumed within your prisons. Expenses are reckoned ; the enterprise is begun. It is of God ; it cannot be resisted ; so the faith was founded; so it must be restored." This challenge was answered by a stricter law. Father Weston was locked in the Clink Prison, in spite of Lady Arundel's tears and gold; and the luckless Jesuit who defied his country was flung

*The right of republishing "Her majastry Tower" has been propeistors of The Queenslander.

into the Tower, convicted of high treason, *nd put to death. • ,\ ••>; - i"» *?»«!»••?* .Robert Southwell and Henry Garnet were sent from Rome by Persons to fill the dangerous posts. Southwell took up Weston's place in Lady Arundel'a household, while Garnet became Prefect of the English missoin. Even the poet showed that in his foreign schools he had lost the human and tender sense of home. "We have sung the Canticles in a strange land," he wrote ; and that" strange land" was the country of his birth I In due time he followed Campion to the Tower, and after three years of waiting, was tried and hung; leaving his more cautious and unscrupulous friend, the new Prefect, to continue and complete his task. Philip found no trustier servants than these English priests; who spread themselves not only over England, but over Europe, in order to do his will. They stood by the side of Kings, and the ministers and mistresses of Kings. Robert Persons was near the Pope; Joseph Cresswell was in Madrid, the Spanish capital; Henry Fludd in Lisbon, then the principal Spanish port Willam Baldwin followed Spinola's banner on the Rhine. John Jones lived at DouaL Hugh Owen, the most active and most unscrupulous of these fathers, was in the Cardinal's camp., One of Father Owen's closest friends was Sir Wiluajjn Stanley; one of his nearest followers was Guv Fawkes. < ' A crime of the rarest kind and the darkest dye had covered the name of Sir William Stanley with an odium which has hardly any mate. This knight had given up the city of Deventer to the enemy, while commanding an English and native garrison in his sovereign's name. The Jesuits owned his work, praising him for doing what he felt to be right, in face of the adverse verdicts of the world. A medal, commemorative of his treason, was struck in Rome. The rage and shame with which the news of this treachery was received in England cannot be expressed in words. Men said it was the Jesuits' doing ; and when they afterwards spoke of Jesuit morals, they mentioned the betrayal of Deventer as one of those facts from which there is no appeal. A soldier hated and reviled as Stanley was drew all the desperate spirits who left their oountry to his side, and a regiment of English renegades was formed by him in the Cardinal's eam£>, which he.fondly hoped to have a chance of one day leading against bit Queen. Garnet fixed his auartera near London, so as to be within easy reach of his, lay supporters, and able to direct the many coadjutors who came over from Spain and Flanders to help is patting England beneath the yoke. The chief of these helpers were Father Fisher, Father Gerard, and father Greenway, whom he sent into the midland shires, with orders to attach themselves to ardent women and discon tented men. They were to treat the country as a missionary land, to regard their church as a missionary church. England being lost to the faith of Christ, their business was to convert it back; that portion of it which claimed to be Catholic no less than that which avowed itself Reformed. AH were gone astray from Rome, they said, and all must be brought into the fold, out of whibh there was no salvation from death andhelL < ; The haftd-quartera of thia conspiracy wire planted in Enfield Chase. . ,

Ohaphb VL '•' WMMI WBtN. ' -.'??'? . Ok the edge of EnfUld Chase, about ton miles from Paul's Crow, stood—in the days of James the First—«large end lonely house of the Tudor sort; a house in a narrow lane, ao screened by tree* that a few paces off itoouM be hardly Men. It had many rooms, a big garden, and a high fence. The plaoe was a maw of ins and outs ; with passages by which visitors might come and go; with traps in the oaken floors and secret chambers in the chimney stacks and the dividing walla, Deep vaults lay below, while a conduit led to the dams and waters of the Lea. This house was called White Webbs, and from its situation and its size it might hate been built as a hiding-place for priests and a rendesvoua for plots. Like the whole of Enfield Chase, White Webbs belonged to the Crown. Some thirty years before that time the Queen had. granted it to Robert Hewiok, her Physician in Ordinary; and this Robert Hewiok had afterwards let it to Rowland Watson, Clerk of the Crown, whose wife still held it on a lease. One day—about the time when Essex was beginning to court the foreign Catholics, to consort with Catesby and Tresbam, to oonsult with Father Wright—a man of middle age, thick set, with rather jovial manner, came to see the place. He gave the name of Mese, the address of Berks. He wore a coat of fustian stuff, and looked like a grader of the better class. He had a sister, he said; one Mrs. Perkins, a lady of good means, who wanted to hire a house near London, where she could live in quiet, yet see her friends from town. The Queen's physician saw no reason to suspect his guest, and when the terms were settled between them, Mr. Mese became the tenant of White Webbs. Robert Skinner, who passed for Mrs. Perkins' butler, took possession and prepared the rooms; putting James Johnson, a servant whom he hired, in charge of this house, while he rode over to Enfield and engaged one Lewis, a carrier, to go with his team to London aad fetch in goods. One room was set apart as a chapel; all the things necessary in performing mass were bought; and the chambers were furnished with books and relics as well as with household stuff. Three months elapsed before Mrs. Perkins came. She was a lady in the prime of life, and seemingly of ample means. Skinner and his wife waited on her ; but she had other servants, both male and female, in her train ; including Will Shepperd, her coachman, and Bess, that coachman's wife. In fact, the lady's establish ment was framed on a large and costly seal*. She was a Catholic, and her people were also Catholic. Mr. Mese, of Berkshire, followed his sister to White Webbs, and when he came he brought his man-servant, a cunning fellow, who was known as Little John. By-and-by a Mr. Perkins came to White Webbs; a lean man, with a long faoe, brown hair, and yellow beard. He had a serving-man with him, called George, whose full name was George Chambers. In what relation

Mr. Perkins stood to Mrs. Perkins no one seemed -tojknow. Skinner ooald have told, no doubt, but Skinner never spoke. He might be taken for her husband, since he came to her very often and stayed with her very lcng. In fact, although he went away oa basiaess from time to time, he never failed to oome back to White Webbs as to his proper home. Mr. Mese also spent much of his time in the Chase ; many gentlemen riding down from London to see him, some of whom sat up late at night talking, business in his room. These strangers put up their hones, had beds Erepared for them, and sometimes stayed in the oo»e for two or three days; on which occasions much venison would be sent for and much claret drarik. Once when Mr. Mese went away from White Webbs on business, he came back in a new name. He was now called Mr. Farmer, and the servants were told to speak of him as such. Shortly afterwards, these servants heard him addreiaed by Borne of his friends as Father Walley,; and then they knew, if they had not previously suspected, that the homely personage in the fustian coat was a priest James Johnson, the hired domestic, kept his eyes and ears open; and after a little waiting he found reason to believe that his mistress was not what she seemed; was not named Perkins, was neither wife nor widow, but a single woman, the daughter of a peer. But Jamea was clever enough to keep bis secret and his place. w In no long time a second lady came to White Webbs, and took up her abode there. She gave the name of Mrs. Jennings, and the people about the houße were told that her husband was a merchant of the City, a good deal away from home. Mrs. Jennings was said to be a suiter of " Mrs. Perkins," in which case she would be a sister of "Mr. Mese." That a warm affection bound the lady and gentleman to each other, anyone might see. Now and then a small creature, with a red beard and a bald pate, made his appearance at White Webbs, who called himself Thomas Jennings, and claimed Mr. Mate's sister as his wife. None of these people were what they seamed. The homely man in fustian stuff was Father Garnet, Prefect of the English mission. The serving-man called Little John was Nick Owen, a lay Jesuit, of singular skill in devising places for concealment. 7<Mr. Perkins" was Father Qldoorne; and his serving-man, George, was also a lay Jesuit* in attendance on his chief. The two ladies passing under the names of Mrs. Perkins and Mrs. Jennings were Ann and Helen, daughters of William, third Lord Vauz of Harrowden. Ann was a single woman. Helen a wedded wife. "Mrs. Perkins" had no other relation to M Mr. Perkins" than that of a penitent to her priest No ties of blood connected the ladies with "Mr. Mese." Helen was not Mrs. Jennings ; nor was the small creature who called himself Jennings a merchant from the City. The bald P*U belonged to Bartholomew Brooksby, a country gentleman of good estate and of little witt who had given himself body and soul to work out the Prefect's wilL He was allowed to pay most of the rent for White Webbs. Lord Vaux, the father of these two ladies, had bean a grievous sufferer for conscience-sake. No small part of his life had been spent in gaols, and b» small part of his fortune had been lost in fines. For more than two years he had lodged in the . Fleet prison, in company with Sir Thomas Tresham, whose sister he married on his first wife's death. He had seen his family broken up, and the honors of his line renounced. For his eldest son, Henry Vauz, had been persuaded by the Jesuits to lay down his name and title, to assume, the higher mission of the cross. This heir to a noble name and good estate had thrown away all bis worldly advantages to enter a foreign cell and to die a monk. Nor was this all that he had to hear. His second son, (targe Vauz, now heir to his honors, had almost broken his heart by marrying against his wish, and family strife had embittered his later days. Lord Vaux outlived his sons—he quarrelled with his connexions—and, when he died, he left the honors of his house to a child not seven years old, the son of a woman whom he could not bear. Ann Vauz and Helen Brooksby were the aunts to this young peer. Griffith Floyd, a Jesuit agent, was sent to England by his superiors to enquire into the life which Garnet had been leading at White Webbs, especially as to his love of dainty food, and his alleged familiarities with Mistress Ann. He told his masters that be had "found too much." The words are somewhat vague; they were meant to damage Garnet; but we must not follow them from what they describe to what they merely hint No proof exists of an immoral intimacy. If Garnet felt a love for either Ann Vauz or Helen Brooksby beyond what is allowed to a priest for every soul committed to his care, he never put that love into written words. But while he may be acquitted of criminal passion for his fair penitents, he must be held responsible for all the scandals piled upon their names. He led them into a false position, and he kept them in that false position before the world. They were not nuns. They had taken no vows. They lay under no female rule. One of them was a married woman. In living under the same roof with two single men, in passing under false names, in pretending to a near relationship of blood, and in assuming a condition to which they had no right, they hid themselves open to jests and sneers from which they ought to have been aaved by more prudent friends. Garnet had not the grace to act a more manly part He loved the soft ways of these high-born women, and rather than forego the pleasure of their company he was willing to darken and blight their fame. To this lonely house in the royal demesne came other Jesuits besides Oldcorne, other laymen besides Bartholomew Brooksby. Father Fisher, Father Gerard, and Father Greenway, were often there ; coming in a score of varying names and garbs. Besides the lay characters which they assumed, each Jesuit had three or four priestly names, so as to be known to the servants of different houses as different persons. Fisher was called Father Percy in one place Father Fairfax in a second. Gerard was known as Father Standish, Father Brooke, and Father Lee ; Greenway as Father Greenwell and Father Tesmond. All these emissaries moved about the country, passing from house to house, saying mass in secret, raking up the fires of disoontect.

and keeping alive in their scholars the prospect of a change. r * Lay viaiton came to the lonely House. After the death of Ease* on Tower Hill, the men who were out with him in the streets, and Were afterwards pardoned by the Queen, came over to consult the Jesuits as to what should be done. The first of these lay visitors were Robert Cateaby and a companion whom he called Tom. Catesby was a young gentleman ; tall, handsome, well bred, with a presence which took the eye; his blood being gentle, and his bearing that of a prince. Early converted from his church, early united to a Protestant wife, early left a widower with an infant son, early engaged in treason to his Queen, he bad passed through many lives, and was a worn-out sage before he was thirty yean old. The companion whom he called Tom, and who addressed him in reply as Sir, was a dumpy little fellow of middle age, with person and manner exceedingly unlike those of his handsome friend. They asked for Mr. Mese. The dumpy fellow had just come back from Rome, to which city he had been sent by the Fathers on a secret errand; and having eon* versed with Persona at the English college, he could explain to the company at White Webbs the latest views of the political exiles at the Roman court Other visitors came; not in crowds, but in twos and threes, so as to pan unnoticed in the Chase. Catesby waa strict in his own coming and going; riding out either alone or with his dampy friend. As a rule, the callers gave no names ; they wanted Mr. Mese ; and they were shown by Skinner into Mr. Mese'a room.

Chpatkr VIL THB PBHSTS 1 PLOT. Thx men of his own church whom Garnet,'** chief of the Anglo-Spanish party, had most cause to fear were two priests, William Watson and William Clarke, who were loud supporters of the old Catholic party against the new; writers of books on the Jesuits, and warm denouncers of the foreign sohool. Having taught their flocks the duty of de fending the soil, the freedom, and the sovereign of their native land, these priests were scouted by Father Persons as pedants and fools. To this attack Father Watson replied in a book called "Ten Quodlibetieal Questions f from which title he got the droll nickname of " Qiiod libets," by which he has ever since been kndwn. Of a good family, holding high office in the Church and State—a kinsman of that Thomas Watson who was Queen Mary's Bishop of Lin coln—he regarded the new ideas preached by Persons and Oarnet with the contempt of a Catholic of ancient lineage and unswerving faith. How, h» asked himself, could these converts un derstand his church ! What had they done, save vex the people and alarm the Government T Loathing their creed, he felt no pity for the fate of Campion and Southwell; and he told the Catholics of Europe, in many a stinging phrase, that the Jesuits who were hung in London suffered, not because they were servants of their church, but because they were traitors to their Queen. This, view was the English view. In that luscious and ornate style which the clergy learned from the poets. Father Watson denounced the ambition of King Garnet and the turbulence of Emperor Persons; asserting that the angel faces, the flower of England's youth, the beauty of Britain's ocean, should never be appalled—nor the vermilion blush of English virgins—the modesty of married wives—and the matronhood of widows, put to shame either by Spanish plots or Spanish force. Persons replied to the secular priest in his " Manifestation/ a book disfigured by much bad English sad much fierce invective;; in which the Jesuit in place of covering the nakedness of his fellow priests, accused them of living in a state of drunkenness and uncleanneas; nay, he went so far in vituperation as to charge some of these reverend fathers with dicing, and others with stealing pewter pots. Father Clarke, a man of higher gifts than Watson, answered this "Manifestation," in a 44Reply" of some reach and vigor; charging home upon the Jesuits, whom be accused of a design to overthrow all liberty of thought and action, even that of the Pope himself. It would have been well for the old Catholio clergy, if Father Clarke had been content with this victory of the pen, but, unfortunately for many besides himself! he conceived the idea of proving to Pope Clement that the old English clergy were a match for these vaunting Jesuits in political craft, no less than they were in literary power. His friend Watson, one of the few priests of their party who had talked with James while he was yet in Scotland, pledged his word that Catholics would be favored by the King. For saying so much in public he was seised by Ban croft, Bishop of London; though the prelate changed his mind and set his prisoner free. When James came in, and day after day went by, and gave no sign, the priest began to think he had been duped. On his asking for a fresh audience the King replied, "Since all the Pro testants are for me, I have no need for the Papists." Father Watson thought the King mistaken in that view ; the Catholio hosts being uke the summer stars for multitude; and he said the King must be made aware of a fact which he did not seem to know. Taking Father Clarke into his councils, he found they were of one mind as to the policy of proving, by an open effort, how strong the Catholics were. Two advantages would grow out of such a course:—(l) the King would be frightened into doing right; and (2) the Jesuits, who fancied themselves the only plotters in the world, would be put to open shame. The second of these results would seem to have been re garded by the priests as muoh more precious than the first. They meant the King no harm, except a little fright, and their project was to be carried out in the blase of noon. A Catholio host was to be raised in London and the nearer shires; they were to ride good horses, to show their quality; they were to go forth and meet their King. Tbey were to break upon him like an army in line of battle, to offer their petition of grievances, and, in a frenzy of loyal ardor, to sweep him to the Tower. Surrounded in his palace by a court of Catholic Peers, he would be only too willing to dismiss his Secretary, to dissolve his Council, to call new men into office, and openly return to the Church in which he bad been baptised.

The English Catholics wo»J4 iprzn hi* gawd, while the Jesuits would be routed from the oountry as the enemies of Qod and man. Such was the dream of these simple priests. But when they came to talk with their sober and conservative flock, they found that such a display of numbers could not be made. Here and there some reckless spirit might be tempted by the hope of plunder to join their ranks, but the busy farmers and fearful dtisens were averse to publio action of any sort They wanted to live In peace. They saw no reason to believe the King was with them. They had much to lose by plots, and were slavishly devoted to thb maintenance of publio law. Not yet reading the moral of their failure, .the two priests turned elsewhere for aid, and in these new walks thei)r feet began to slide. , i Dining with Duke Humphrey in St. Paul's, carousing in the taverns of Carter-lane, were hosts of, stout fellows, who might be willing to mount ft good horse on the chance of getting fat purse* not to speak of such tempting bajta, a^ a place at court. One such fellow was Sir Griffin Markham, of Beskwood Park, a knight who had smelt powder in the Low-Country . camps, but having lost his commission was now dawdling, away his time between the con fessional, the tavern, and the stews. For the moment he was much excited against Lord Rutland, the young kinsman of Essex, from whom be had suffered some slight; and Father Watson, finding him in a sullen mood, suggested that the nearest way to bis revenge upon that proud young spark was .through the chances offered by this plot. Markham snapped at the golden bait; but this broken hero bargained fojr substantial favor; and before he pledged his ?word to Watson he stipulated that, on a Catholic ministry, being formed by the King, he was to have the Secretary's place I [TO BE CONTINDBD.] ' : I