Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small]

Oxford historian, speaks with the greatest contempt of Fox and his work, and that he relates a ludicrous story in confirmation of his opinion is not unknown to the Catholic biographical reader—yet these authors, although uncontradicted, make but little impression, as they do not fall into the hands of the generality of Catholics. Might it not therefore be useful to dedicate a few. pages of your valuable Miscellany in analyzing a little this huge mass of deceit, and in giving a brief but true account of many of the pretended martyrs and confessors noted in the ancient calendar of John Fox. Should you be of this opinion I will attempt the task, although I am aware that it cannot be done without some difficulty, for the examinations of many have been purposely destroyed by their reformed friends, some have had no existence but in the inventive head of John Fox, and, generally speaking, the martyrs who are said to have suffered from Catholic intolerance being from the lowest classes of society, little more than details of their vices, or of their obstinacy, have been handed down to posterity. Yet materials, some of which have been furnished by John Fox himself, and which have never yet been called in question or disproved, are sufficiently numerous to give a pretty correct idea of these Protestant martyrs. It will also be necessary to define the meaning of the term Protestantthis is no easy thing --for does it mean anything or nothing? Men may believe every article of the Catholic faith separately, and yet be good Protestants, they may revile their Catholic neighbour, and persecute him unto death for his religious opinions, and yet be a liberal and tolerating Protestant. It seems, therefore, to me, that the creed of the party is not to be considered, but that he may be allowed to believe anything or nothing, provided he opposes the Catholic faith, and that he will still be a true Protestant. It is, therefore, in this acceptation of the term, that I shall, in the following letters, consider the word Protestant.

I also think it right to premise that many persons have doubtless been unjustifiably put to death in this kingdom for their religious opinions alone, both by Catholic and by Protestant princes. Yet the refined cruelty of the application of the rack, the hoop, and the gauntlet, was the invention of our merciful and enlightened reformers, it was unknown in the

[ocr errors]

dark days of superstition and ignorance, although constantly resorted to in the mild and beneficent reign of the tender hearted Elizabeth. For many executions in the reign of Mary I offer no apology; for although iu these she imitated her father and her brother, and was by far surpassed in butchery by her virgin sister, yet persecutions for religious opinions alone, always has been, and always must be held in just abhorrence. The Acts and Monuments of John Fox were first published in Latin, at Basle, in Switzerland, during the voluntary exile of their author; they were soon after translated into English, and filled three large folio volumes. In these was inserted a new Protestant calendar, in lieu of the one generally used by the Catholics of this country. In the new catalogue of saints and martyrs, the term Protestant is to be taken in its widest latitade, for it will appear that many of these were executed for sedition and treason, some for felony, others for maintaining opinions diametrically opposite to each other, and which generally had a 'seditious tendency, and some were living when the book was first published ; yet such was the infatuation of the times, that every church in the kingdom was furnished with a copy of the Acts and Monuments, with the 'new calendar. By degrees, however, many of the established religion grew ashamed of their new saints, and the work was gradually excluded from every church, the last which retained it, is said to have been in Bishopsgate-street. The sectaries still cherished the precious work; but in their eyes it soon appeared too popish ; the calendar of saints and martyrs savoured too much of old times. This, therefore was expunged in the succeeding editions, which have appeared in every shape and at every price, all abridgements of the original, but with additions to suit the taste and opinions of the prevailing sectarians of the day. I perceive, Mr. Editor, that I am encroaching too far upon the pages of the Catholic Miscellany, I will therefore defer all further observations for some future number. In the meantime, permit me to subscribe myself your sincere wellwisher,

A CatnioLIC. September 10th.

IRISH PEASANTRY.

(From the Perèy Anecdotes.)

Among the virtues which distinguish the Irish peasantry, there is none which shines with more brilliaucy than their filial piety. No nation can pay, mose respectful attention and implicit obedience to their parents. As there are no parish workhouses in Ireland, the country would abound with destitute old people, were it not for the gratitude of their progeny. The Irish peasantry, especially the mountaineer, protects his parents in the decline of their years. The mothers assist in card. ing, spinning, or nursing; the fathers hobble about directing the young men at their work. At night the best and easiest seat is appropriated to the ancient father or mother; and the best food in the house is served up to them, 66 It is really,” says a traveller who had seen much of the habits of these people,“ an edifying and lovely sight to behold the respectful attention paid by these peasants to their aged parents, while the grand-children are taught to address them in the most endearing language, nay, to crave their blessing, and supplicate the Deity for them in prayer.” Nor does the filial love of the Irish mountaineer expire with its parents. He closes their eyes, attends their remains to the humble tomb with grateful sorrow, and occasionally visits the grave of those who gave him being, bedews it with his tears, and breaths a pious requiem for their departed souls. From such disposition, what excellent virtues might be produced with proper cultivation,

Poetry.

ON CHILLINGTON HALL.

The Seat of the late Thomas Giffard, Esq.

Seqitester'd on a beauteous plain,

An ancient mansion stands :
That has been famous in its reign,
For noble pious hands.

1

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

When some of them forsook Their earthly pleasures for Divine,

And spiritual joy partook.

Their ancient race has oft supplied,

The Church with holy priests : Who by the works they have applied,

Religion's joys increased.

Glorious prelates too have graced,

This worthy parent chain :
Who many noble structures blest,

And many poor maintained.

No wonder then such pious souls,

Should persecution meet: Since it befel all those of old,

To make their joy complete.

Their loyalty has likewise shone

In history's famous page: Which proves them never to have gone,

o join the rebel's rage.

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »