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Land & thejn: Complices.

Wee professe y® same Faith & Truth of y^ Gospel which
her Matestie, which your hardships, this Whole Land,
& all y® reformed Churches vnder Heaven this day doo
hold & mainteine. Wee goe beyond them (beeing our
only fait, even in y^ iudgrae/it of our most tyrannicall &
savadge enimies) in y® detestation of all Popery, y'
most fearefull Antichristian Religion; & drawe neerer
in some poincte* by owr practise vnto Chris ts holy

1 Harl. MS. 6848, fol. 150, in the British Museum. This petition was
written between March 4 and 11, 1592/3.

110 Early English Dissenters

order & Institucion. This is our faith, this is our
cause (right Honorable) yea the Lordes Cause in our
sinful! handed.

For the profession & maintenance of W/jich Faith, the
forenamed Enimies of GoD deteine in theyr handes
Within the Prisons about London (not to speake of
other Gaoles throughout the Land) about threescore &
twelue persons, men & Woemen young & old, lying in
cold, hunger, dungeons & Yrons : Of wAtch number they
haue taken the Lorded day last, beeing the 4*^^ of this
.3. Moneth March 1592 about some .56. persons hearing
y* Word of GoD truly taught, praying & praysing GoD
for his favors shewed vnto vs, vnto her Matestie, Your
hordships, & this whole Land; and desiring our GoD
to be mercifuU vnto vs, vnto our gracious Prince, & to
our Contrey. Beeing employed in these holy actions &
no other (as the parties who disturbed them can testifie)
they were taken in the very place where y® persecuted
Church & Martyres were enforced to vse the like exer-
cises in Queene Ma ryes dayes.

The former nomber are now vnbayleably committed by the
Prelate or Bishop of London &c vnto close (for y® most
part) severall Prisons: As Brydewell, the Lymboe or
dungeon in Newgate; the Fleet, the Marshalsea, the
Counters, the Gatehouse, the Clynke, the White
Lyon : Wherein wee willingly acknowledge the Lott &
inheritance in this life of our Fore-fathers & Brethren
the holy Martires of y® former age, and y" entayled
Aceldema or bloody possession of the Sea of London
& y*^ whole linadge. Well, heere our Brethren lye (how
long Lord holy & true thow knowest) in dungeons, in
hunger, in cold, in nakednes & all outward distresse :
For those bloody men will allowe them neyther meate,
drinke, fyre, lodging, nor suffer anie whose heartes the
Lord would stirr vp for their releif to haue accesse vnto
them, purposinge belike to emprison them vnto death,
as they haue doon 17 or 18 others in the same noysome
Gaoles witAin these .6. yeeres.

Three early Barrowist Petitions 111

The Wife & Husband beeing now taken by them, they per-
mit not to be in y^ same, but haue sent them to be closely
kept in diverse Prisons : What theyr poore familie doth
at home in y® meane tyme yowr Lorrf^/a'ps may consider
& iustly pittie. Some of this companie had not anie
penie about them When they were sent vnto close
Prison ; nor anie thing beeing abrode (w^ich is the
case of the most of them, if not of all) to procure
themselves & thejn* poore families anie maintenance,
saue only their handy labors & trades. Whereby it is
come to passe, y'' these enimies of GoD doo not only
starue & vndooe a number of men in Prison, but even a
lamentable companie of poore Orphanes & servantes
abrode. Their vnbrydled sclanders; Their lawlesse
privie serches ; Their violent breaking open & rifling
of OUT houses; Their lamentable & barbarous vsage of
woemen & young Children in these hostile assaultes;
Theyr vncontrolled theeverye, robbing & taking of what-
soever they thinke meete from vs in this case; Their
vnappeased and mercilesse pursuite of vs from our
houses, trades, wives, Children ; But specially from y®
holy societie of y^ Sainctes & Church of GoD wee are
enforced to omitt, lest wee should bee over tedious vnto
Your Ijordshi^s. But theyr dealing this way toward vs
is so woefull (right Honorable) as wee may truly demaund
w* greife of heart, whether the forreigne Enimie or our
naturall Contrymen doo possesse & beare rule over vs in
our deare & natiue Contrey./
Their whole dealing heerein is most barbarous, most in-
humane, but especially most vnchristian, & such as
exceedeth the crueltie, of the heathen & popish pro-
fessed Tyrantes & persecute™. The Recorder of the
heathen persecution vnder Nero, Traian, Decius,
Galienus, Maximinian, &c. can scant affoord vs anie
examples of the like crueltie & havock : For the
heathen Romans would murther openly & professedly ;
These godlesse men haue put the blood of warre about
them in the day of that peace & truce w^ich this Land

112 Early English Dissenters

professeth to hold w'' lesus Christ & his servante*.
Bishop Boner, Storyc, Weston, delt not after this
sort: For those whome they com?;iitted close, they
Would also eyther feed, or permit to be fedd by others ;
And they brought them in short space openly into
Smyth feild to end their miserie, & to begin theyr
never ending ioye. whereas Bishop Elraar, D. Stanope,
& M' Justice Young w^ the rest of that persecuting &
bloodthirstie facultie doo neyther of these. No Fellons,
no Murtherers, No Traytors in this Land are thus delt
There are manie of vs by the mercy of GoD still out of theyr
handes. The former holy exercises & profession Wee
purpose not to leaue by the assistance of ouv GoD.
Wee haue as good warrant to reiect y* Ordinances of
Antichrist, «Sc to labor for y« recoverie of CHRISTS
holy Institucions, as ouv Fathers & Brethren in Queene
Maryes dayes had to doo y* like. And wee doubt not
if owr Cause were truly knowne vnto her Maiestie &
Yowr wisdomes, but wee should finde greater favor then
they did, whereas our estate now is far more lamentable./
And therfore wee humbly & earnestly craue of her Maiestie
& Your LorrfsAi'ps both for our selves abrode, & for our
Brethren now in miserable captivitie but iust & equall
tryall according to her Maiestis \sic\ Lawes. If
wee prooue not our Adversaries to bee in a most
pestilent & godlesse course, both in regard of
theyr Offices & theyr proceedings in them, and
our selves to bee in y^ right way, wee desire not
to have the benefit of her Maiestis true & faith-
full Subiects, w/ach of all earthly favors wee
accompt to bee one of the greatest. Are wee
malefjictors ? Are wee anie wise vndutifull vnto our
Prince ? Maineteine wee anie errors ? Let vs then
bee iudicially convicted thereof, & delyvered to the
Civill authoritie ; But let not these bloody men both
accuse, condemne & closely murther after this sort,
contrarie to lawe, aequitie & Conscience, Where they

Three early Barrowist Petitions 113

alone are the plaintiffes, the accusers, the ludges, and
the Executioners of theyr most fearefull & barbarous
They should not by the Lawes of this Land goe anie further
in Cases of Religion then theyr owne Ecclesiasticall
censures, and then referre vs vnto y® Civill power.
Their Fore-fathers Gardyner, Boner, Story, delt
thus equally And wee Craue but this aequitie.
Oh Let her excellent Mazestie our Sovereigne & Your
Honours consider & accord vnto this our iust petition.
For streames of innocent blood are likely to bee spilt in
secret by these bloodthirstie men, except her Maiestie
& Yo?/r lionouTS doo take order with theyr most cruell
& inhumane procedinges

Wee craue for all of vs but the Libertie eyther to dye
openly or to lyve openly in y® Land of our
nativit[i]e. If wee deserue death, it beseemeth the
Maiestie of Justice not to see v[s] closely murthered, yea
starved to death wtth hunger & colde, & stifled in loth-
some dongeons. If wee be guyltlesse, wee crave but y®
benefit of our innocencie Viz. That wee may haue
peace to serve our GoD & our Prince in the place
of the sepulchres of our Fathers./

Thus protesting oitr innocencie, complayning of violence &
Wrong, & crying for lustice on the behalfe & in the
name of y*^ righteous ludge the GoD of gequitie &
iustice, Wee contynue our prayers vnto him for her
Matestie & your Honours, whose heartes wee beseech
him to encline toward this our most sequall & iust
suite, Through CHRIST lESVS our Lord./

[The humble
Petition of
[the imprisoned Barrowists]

["To the... Magistrates of our Most mercifull
soueraigne Lady Queene Elizabeth in their
seuerall places ".]

B. II. 8

114 Early English Dissenters

For Goddes sake
For Qiieene Elizabeths sake
For Englandes sake &
For your owne sake

pervse yt With favoure
Yt tendethe to

mercy & vnitie]*

[Written just after the death of Barrowe and Greenwood in 1593.]

The firste parte of
A tretise conteyning Motions touching
Mercie & vnitie

Sent by a few of those whoe are falslie & Maliciouslie called

For Christes sake, For Queene Elizabeths, For
Englandes sake, and for youv owne sakes'

peruse it, &
Neglect it not

If the confession of offence against her Maiestie, in some
faltes escaped in those booker and the suffering death for yt by
the Two principall doers, may be found sufficient punishment in
conscience, for the qualletie of those faltes : The Lord graunte
that None maye diswade her highnes from her Wonted Mercy,
but that some may have Will and power to perswade her grace
to pardon all former offences in theis poinctes, : And it shalbe a
Warning to vs all to looke better vnto that w*''* our penns lay
downe (quia litera scripta manet). And We shall also be the
more bpunde, to praise our God, and to pray Vnto him for her
Maiesties most longe & prosperous raigne, and the present &
ever lasting comfort of her soule and boddie./

> Harl. MS. 6848, fol. 2-7, in the British Museum. Throughout the
text here given words enclosed by dark brackets are such as have been
inserted by the corrector of the Petition.

2 The person who wrote this petition forms many of his small "m"s
and "w"s, and even some other letters, with a long preliminary curved
stroke of the pen, so that they much resemble capital, or if one may so
express it, semi-capital, letters. When thus formed they are here given as

Three early Barrowist Petitions 115

To the most honorable & Worshipfull Magistrates of our Most
mercifull soue7'aigne Lady Queene Elizabeth in their seuerall
places (specially her highnes moste honorable privie counsell,
in their digneties, her reverend Judges in their seates, the right
honorable the Lord Maior of London, and the Worshipfull
Justices there in theire roomes) To all & euerie of them,
aboundaunce of heavenly Wisdome be Multeplied./

In Most humble and lamentable manner beseech yowr
honnowrs and worshipps, a fewe of the poore people, falslie
and Maliciouslie called Brownistes, in behalfe of our selves at
libertie, and more then Threskore [three score] poore prisoners
now shut vp in the seuerall Gaoles and prisons of this most
noble Cittie. That whereas all the bookes, letters, wrytinges,
examinactons speeches and accions of anie particuler pe?'son, or
of the whole congregacion, are vndoubtedlie knowen to be quite
contrarie to Infidells, Papistes, and Atheistes. And whereas
none can prove that we hold anie heresie, or Mainteyne anie
filthines amongest vs, (the thought whereof we thanke our God
we abhorre) And lastlie. Whereas we doe here protest before
his heavenly Matestie (whoe knoweth all secrettes) that we
hartelie desyer the glorie of our God to shine more and more
in this naci'on by increase of true holines and Godliness in all
the people thereof even with in tire and fervent love to him, our
Queene and one an other, togeather wtth the abundant peace
plenty and prosperretie of our Countrie, and all this vnder the
longe and most blessed government of our dread and soueraigne
Ladie and Queene Elizabeth to Melchisedeches age, yf such
be his good pleasure (whose princelie spirites and boddie we
praye that he will refreshe or renew as he doth the Eagles Bill)
Yt may therefore please yowr honno?/rs and worshipps for
Godes sake to increase all charitable thoughtes of vs, and to be
Mercifull vnto vs as our heavenlie Father is mercifull, and as
our noble Queene doth plentifully and daylie ymitate * * him
therein : Hereof we have late experience by her highnes pro-
longing** our deare M^ Barrowesand M"" Greene woods life, when
the instrumentes, and Man and sheetes and flowers and grave,

"** [From margin.] sequens pagma expungat«r [?] (in fine)"


116 Earlji Enr/h'sh Dissenters

of death Were all prepared, and they both reddie (as they had
lived togeather like Two Turtles) to yeld vp their sperite*
togeather (like Two lambs) in all meekenes and obedience :
Now blessed be our God for such a ruler of his people; Let
them deepelie repent or perishe foreuer that once seeke one
drop of her bloud, or peece of her land, or blemishe to her
renowme. What is our cheife request in this Introduc-
tion ? Having Twoe or Three Motions concerning Mercy, and
more touching vnetie, whereby we verelie hope that this con-
troversie shalbe the sooner taken vp. Wee most humblie beseech
You to harken vnto them with patience and then to favour them
so farre as they shalbe found Godlie, lawfull & convenient. Ye
reuerend Magistrates, ye Godes (so called in the scriptures,
because yow are in his stede to doe righteous Judgment vppon
the earth) Hath not the almightie given yow vnderstanding
to trye the depth of all attempted within this land ? Wee trust
he hath. Oh search vs deeper then, try our wayes, And if none
like poore can alleadge anie thinge against vs save onelie this one error (yf
ca*8^!^Chap. ^^ ^® ^^) touching the law of our God. deale tenderlie wtth
6. 5. uerse tender consciences : Wee are Yet perswaded that we shold shew
our selves disobedient and vnthankfull to our maker, except
we hold fast this cause : Yow know not how rich his mercie hath
ben vnto vs, for we verelie suppose that yow never offended his
divine Maiestie so much or so often as most of vs have donne
(like the prodigall childe, yea like Mary Magdelin) But he hath
wasshed vs & clensed vs, and given vs vnspeakable loye and
peace of conscience sence we came to this companie : Mervell
not then at our zeale, but pittie vs and helpe vs wherein yow
know it to be a Misse. Behold a people wholly bent & vowed
to serve the God of heaven in that course w^*^ they may perceive
to be most tending to holines & righteousnes. Yf your honnowrs
& Worshipps can bring anie to shew vs that We shall doe more
true service to our God, our Queene and Countrie by comyng to
the parish assemblies, verelie we will harken vnto them without
obstinacy (& o that some of yow wold be the Witnesses and
Judges). Alas it is not our worldlie ease to be thus tossed as
we are, yt is onely this matter of conscience that causeth all our
sufferinges, and your troubles with vs./

Three early Barrowist Petitions 117

Wherefore for Christe lesus sake (whose true servauntes we
strive to be) for Queene Elizabeths sake, (whose true subiectes we
are,) For Englandes sake (whose loving Countrymen we remaine)
and for the honnowr of your owne names and helth of your owne
soules, let no man cause yow to fixe yowr eies and your thoughtes
whollie vppon that our supposed falte (or fait indeede) but
rather vppon some holie and Mercifull meane [^whereby] this
our too much heate may be cooled and tempered (yf it be adust
[sic]) in all meekenes & love : [?] Howe ? As becommeth them,
that wold spend their blood against the Pope and Spanishe
Kinge to deale with those that are most willing to doe the
like : As it becometh Englishmen to deale with Englishmen,
Protestantes with Protestantes, Fathers with their children, and
breifely Christians with Christians: Men & Fathers yf yow
cannot helpe vs presentlie, yet suffer vs to ease our hartes a
litle by expressing our Woundes sorrowes and suites at large
(even as a childe mourneth to the nurse) vnder God, we have
no helpe but our Queene and Yow. And whoe knoweth
Whether he will (even this Mournefull Moneth) by increasing
our affliccions, cause yow to behold our loyaltie and innocency
More then ever yow did, And thereby release vs the sooner.
The Mercy of God, and the Mercifull inclinacion of our most
gracious Queene, doth feede vs with vndoubted hope, that so
manie of [the rest of] vs as cannot be found Traito" or Her-
retickes, shall [yet] fynde favour & pardon. The God of
Daniel, our Most mercifull Father, graunte all true Wisdome
& prosperetie to our most gratious Queene Elizabeth, and
to as manie of yow and yours as desyer to increase in true
feare and love & service of that mighty God of Izraell. Amen.

Motions tending to mercy

First That it may please yowr honnowrs and worships (the 1
proraysses christianlie pondered) never to hearken vnto them,
Whoe shall goe aboute to perswade Yow that this people
deserve the like terror and punishment, as treacherous and
Idolatrous Papistes doe./

Secondlie, That yt may please yow to take order for releasing 2

118 Early English Dissenters

theis pore distressed protestantes, freelie from those contagious
Gaoles, yf that may stand with lawe and conscience./

3 Orels, To baile them vppon sufficient securetie, to answer at a
reasonable Warning vnto whatsoever shall be obiected against
them. /

4 Last lie, yf it be not thought convenient that Wee her
Matesties naturall and loving subiectes shold have the same
libertic graunted vs in the Worship of God, W*"** her highnes
giveth to strangers, French, Dutche, and Italian (sithe
our practise is no othe[r] in every cheife poinct, then that of
theirs, and Geneua, and all other reformed Churches.) Yet
that we maye have Summam misericordiam, Not summum
ius: Sed quorsum hec de Gall is . &c: ? Inuidus alterius?
Non equidem inuidemus (honoratissimi et nobillissimi
viri) miramur magis vndiqwe totis vsqwe a deo &c. En
nos &c : (sed tcmpus non datur).

The other motions tending to vnitie (w^*" wee trust wilbe
acceptable to your honnotirs and W^orshipps) shalbe now [alsoe]
delivered to yow [and more partes] God Avilling very shortlie, yf
theis firste, and the Women that bring them doe fynde such
favour in your eies, as not to be turned back or Misliked :
Otherwise wee know not what course to take (so greate is our
Misery and want of men and Meanes to expresse it) Wee are
like enough to offend in not Wryting with such discression as
we ought, and they in not delivering with such modestie as
they shold : Bat wee are simple men, and they are silly Women.
Therefore howsoever either Wee now or others of late have failed
in Manner or matter, Wee most humblie beseech your honnowrs
and -worsfiipps to be perswaded, that it was not for lack of care
and conscience, but onelie for Want of Judgment and experience,
and therefore to pardon vs the sooner : If he that hath but his
foote out of ioynct can scarce doe anie thing currantly, What
can they doe whoe have [all] their cheife members troubled and
almoste quite cut of? No Marvell yf their accons [sic, for
" acci'ons "] be distempered (some too violent, some too cold)
In such a case have we ben theise manie Weekes The knee (as
it were) is faine to ronne for the foote and a few litle fingers

Three early Barrowist Petitions 119

(w* cold never helpe them selves) to labowr for the Whole
bodie : Howbeit we truste that in such tymes and cases, your
Juordships & Worshippa will ymmitate all Godly men of trades
(si liceat magna paruis) when Children or servauntes are
sent vnto them, they Will give better Ware and Measure, and
dispatch them sooner then yf the parentes them selves shold
come to buye : Necessety compelleth vs to make mone & signes
vnto yow : Ah barre vs not of that comfort for then shall our
greate distresse be made vnspeakable. Heu, quanta miseria
est, in tormento, nee vocem, nee pennam, nee signum
habere: O vos qui Dij appellamini, nolite istiusmodi
silentiam iniungere: ferme omnes perimus (dolore et
paupertate oppressi) luniores carent gubernatione,
et aliqui seniores sepulti sunt: si non remedium
statim, saltem lachrymas suspiria, Declarationes, sup-
plicationes, et verba concedite (presertim matri pro
filio, sorori pro fratre vxori pro marito) Alitor, regia
(quasi) petendi via obstructa erit, quod adhuc non
factum esse vidimus (Deo gratias) Ecce feminas pe-
tentes pro charissimis suis in causa lamentabili, cum
motionibus honestis, legitimis et pijs: Estote miseri-
cordes, qui sub Deo et Elizabetha (^ipsiusl Ancilla
Regina nostm) judicatis et gubernatis Angliam.
In all humble and pittifuU manner Wee intreate Yow not to
make question whoe shold begynne to releive vs : But as we
have ioyned Yow all in one humble petici'on : soe all of yow to
ioyne togeather in one Christian compassion and euerie one in
his place according to his lawfull auc^/io?-itie to helpe vs : The
cause whie We made our direction thus generall, was, to the
ends that one or a few coppies might passe from manie handes
to manie hartes : Wee beseech Yow then, send our papers from
one to an other, & lett our lamentable case remaine in Your
bosome till there be some godlie & MercifuU order taken
for vs./

* * Whereas We spake of her majesties imitacton of God in

* * mercy, lest some might misconster [sic] vs as Hers or flat-

terers, thus We say. We are persuaded that their reprive as
from her highnes, was in mercy, and that their execution (sone

120 Early English Dissenters

after) Was rather importuned «fe hastened by others then easily
consented vnto by her grace For hath she not ben alwaies very
mercifull to her veriest enemies ? Therefore howsoeiier yt fell
out, we still retaine a good hope of her maiesties favour towarde*
vs when God shall fynd meanes to revele oar inocencie vnto her,
and still we pray that nothing may withdraws our loiall [?] harte*
from her*

[The second

Motions tending to Vnitie

That yf we maie not heare publique conference for anie
inconvenience (in regard Whereof it were better We shold
suffer Mischeif) Yet that our Teachers may (in our hearing yf
it be thought Meete,) have such as Was graunted Campion and
his fellowes

Orels, That there may be some conference betwene ij or iij of
either side, before a good nomber of yo?<r honnowrs and worshipps
in some private Chamber, the Manie questions agreed vppon
before hand (with preparacion by fasting and prayer) and when
the tyme com/nes[?] omytting all tauntes and by Matters, onely
searching the truth in love. To the touchstone, To the
lawe and the Testament.

Orels such a conference as was graunted Hart, the Papist.
Yf it be obiected that none of our side are Worthie to be thus
disputed or Wrytten With (publiquelie nor privately) Wee
thinke that this will prove the contrary viz, because there are
3. or 4 in this Cittie and More els Where, Whoe have ben
zealous preachers in the parish assemblies, Not ignorant in the
Lattin Greeke & Hebrew tongues (nor otherwayes vnlerned)
and gene7'ally confessed to be of honest conversacton. To be
breife, as gentle and lemed M"" Reynoldes of Oxford and others
like him are yet alive, so are there right honorable and godlie
disposed personages of sir Frauncis Walsinghams mynde (and

* The corrector of the petition evidently wished this paragraph omitted
from the text, aa he has expressed in Latin in the margin of fol. 2 verso.

Three early Barrowist Petitions 121

alyance and mynde), Whoe have power Wee know, and good
Will we hope to furder such lawful! Mocions tending to so good

If these moctons take effect wee are verely perswaded that the
controvercy Will soone ende (with all or moste of vs) For by
theis Meanes shall Wee poore Wretches whoe onelie Make this
sepperacton (as knoweth the Lord) for love we have to kepe his
commaundimentes and for feare to disobey him, perceive more
plainely Whether (as men & simple soules) we be deceived by
a false light, orells (as his deare children (for soe we hope)
honored and trusted with the first view of and faithfull standing
in a cause of holines and righteousnes. Wherefore in most
humble and earnest manner, and even as yow feare God and
love righteousnes (and as yow strive to resemble him in liking
better of them that are hott, then of those that are luke Warme)
We intreate your honnowrs and Worshipps to laboitr in obteyn-
ing theis or some better Moctons for procuring vnitie and

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