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Mercye, that the blessinges promysed to Mercifull Men and
peacemakers, maye light vpon Yow and yowrs, and the curses
threatened for the contraiy maye be farre from Yow. Ye
reuerend Magistrates and noble guides of this most flonishing
common Welth, We beseech Yow againe and againe in the Lord
lesus, searche your selves narrowlie when Yow seeke him
whome your soule loueth.and thinke how yow wold desyer
to be dealt wzth yf yow were in our case, and so deale with vs
and our Teachers ; If yow suppose them and vs to be in a
grevious error, for common humanities sake (were there no
further cause) let vs not pe7'ishe either secretly in prisons or
openlie by execucton for want of that vtermost helpe w*^^ lyeth
in your power to afford them that are not obstinate./
If anie adversary shall obiect that we are Worthie of close
ymprisonmentes in Most contageous ayre, wtthoute bayle, and
vnworthie of having or hearing anie greate prepared conference
or of anie favour because some of vs have ben confen-ed with
alreadie, and yet remaine in greate error as lemed men ludge,
We make this answer, and praye cache one of tender harte to
ponder it deepelie. /
God forbid that all they whoe |[erre] greately in some opinions

122 Early English Dissenters

shold have no other Meanes to convert them but sodden
vnequall conferences by ["startes] [?] (with snatching & [?] and
Catching) without good order and indifferent hearing and
Judges, (such have all or the moste of our conferences ben)
and then yf they Will not by and by yeild, be thought Worthie
of as bad prisons as theeves and Roges: The holy ghoste
seemeth to be of another Mynde. 2 Tim. 2. 24, 25, 26. even
towardes those Whoe are in the snare of the Devill taken
prisoners by him to doe his Will (can We be worse then such)
And also Galla. 6. 1, 2, 3, that the Bisshopes and all the
zealous preachers of this land, wold aske their owne hartes
whether we [have] ben soundlie and lovinglie delt with ac-
cording to theise rules. If they be true Pasto" to vs, then
though we goe a straye and be intangled in errors (as sillye
sheepe with thonies) yet ought they to follow vs seeke vs vp,
and vnlose vs with all tendemes (not so much for feare of
loosing of our fleece as of our soules,) The love of a naturall
brother is greate, and Will not easely cease, but more of a
naturall Mother but much More of a supematurall father (such
are Pasto"^ and therefore they Will not easely give over the
leaste and leanest of their flocke, though he have a greate
disease, a greate error) : O why then doe theise or anie of them
so revile vs in their bookes & common speeches, Whie doe they
Wishe and perswade the Civil Magistrate to deale With vs
by the sword and not by the Word, by prisons and Not by
perswations, Whie doe they vse vs thus whiles we praye for
them and wish them no more harme then we desyer to our
owne soules and bodies, naye whilest we grone and longe to
heare some of them, so wee might doe it with a saife con-
scyence ? Is there no other remedy but yf wee erre We must
be thus dealt With ? Alas our first parentis Adam and Eve
did fall : The Patriarkes had their faltes, the holiest Prophetes
Were not free from them, the Appostles erred and dissented,
The Auncient Fathei-s of the Prymative Church retracted divers
opinions, greate pa?-liamentes & generall counsells have fouly
erred The lemed of this age, Yea of this land, (, Naye of one
profession and Church) differ very Much in ludgment aboute
moste of the same poinctes w*^** we doe, And whoe is cleere fi:om

Three early Barrowist Petitions 123

sjnine error & ignoraunce But so longe as men are not in
herresy nor in trechery, Nor in filthie conceiptes nor in
obstinacy but erring (yf they doe faile) on the right hand
in poinctes uncondempned, still hating all falce wayes and
loving the pathes of righteousnes, thus long there is apparant
Mercy in the Moste high, and so is there in those Pasto" those
Magistrates those people Whoe have feeling compassion (when
God bringes meanes Whereby they vnderstand the truth of
accions.) As for dungeons, Irons, close ymprisonment, honger,
cold, want of meanes to raainteyne their famulies [?], theise
may cause some to make shipwrack of a good conscyence or to
lose their life, but they are not fitt Wayes to perswade f honest
men] to anie truth or diswade them from errors. /
Her Maiestie hath shewed greate Mercy to [her] vndoubted
enemies, the trecherous Papistes. What then Wold her
Maiestie shew to vs yf she knew that w*^^ some of yow doe
now see. that her grace and Yow did vnderstand of all our
acctons, and did see [the] seuerall declaracions of our faith and
loyalty (longe sence penned) Wee shold not then be longe in
such hazard of vtter spoyle to our bodyes and Myndes (of evel
ayre and dyet) and of the poore remnant of our goodes, and of
our famulies [?] distruccion through lack of guiding. Doubtles
right honorable & Worshipfull) vnles there be some speedie &
Merciful! order taken With vs, both Wee our selves are like to
perishe in the gaoles (as divers of our bretheren & sisters have
donne) and our famulies [?] & housholdes fall to vttur men
and decay e through Want of government and teaching. / [Alas
(reverend Fathers) What is Youth Without govememe/it ? and
What govemement can there be in those howses whose shop
Windowes are alwaies shut. Whose masters are continuall
prisoners. Whose dames [?] are dayly cold sutors, and whose
teachers & overseers are so enclosed as they cannot performe
any dutie vnto them vpon the Lordes day, or wekely from
howse to howse] Mercifull Magistrates yf anie of yow fynde
the bowells of yowr Christian compassion stirred by theise
lamentable yet true reportes, let not your eyes rest untill youv
heartes have made a promise to cause your tonges to speake,
and Your bodies to labour for Mercy & vnetie. And the God

124 Early English Dissenters

of righteousnes graunte that Yow maye fynde peace & favojtr
with him in the dayes of trouble, sicknes, and death (whereto all
flesh is subiect). Amen. /

To the right honorable Syr . Roe* nowe Lord major of

London abundance of all blessinges be multiplied

to Goddes glorie

Right honorable seinge God disposeth of everie action
(accordinge to his surpassinge Wisedome) and sith he and his
Angelles behold all the doinge* of men, We humblie beseche
yo** to consider with yoMr self that yt is not without some
providence of his (to yowr good if you deale mercifuUie) that
these thinges touchinge Mercy and Vnitie are first brought
to your 'Lordships handes : Many of our bretheren are in the
prisons belonginge to your Libertie, Nowe as your Citie is
accounted the most noble (even as the Princes chamber) and
as You are the honorable and chefe officer therein, so we
beseche our God that your 'Lordship may be made a noble
honorable & Worthy instrument in bringinge these twoe most
blessed and acceptable thinges (in the sight of God & man) to
good passe : If we sent you vile thinge.9 (dishorable [dishonor-
able] to God our Queene & Contrey) ought you not to make
the superior magistrates acquainted with them ? surely you
ought: But howe if we acquaint your Lordship with honest
motions (tendinge to the glorie of God, the honour of her
maiestie and the benefit of our Contrey) should you not doe
the like ? dowtles you should : If you hide yt or neglect yt, yet
the almighty may fynd waies to bring yt to the sight of her
highnes right honorable Counsel I and her grace* reverend
ludges: But if you vouch-safe to be a charitable and godlie
meane for effectinge such lawfull & conscionable [?] Suites,
You shall dischardge the dutie of a most honorable officer of
a most famous & populous Citie, and we and all ours shalbe

' Evidently Sir William Rowe, but Joseph Hayden in his " Book of
Dignities", London, 1890, appears to give Sir William's year of oflBce as
9 November, 1591, to 9 November, 1592. It is not unlikely that during
this time of trouble and imprisonment the separatist leaders had forgotten
that a new Lord Mayor had already ajssumed the dignities of that position.

Three early Barrowist Petitions 125

the more bound to pray vnto owr God that he will blesse yowr
Mayraltie with all manner blessinges of trewe peace (both in-
ward & outward) and of healthe, with all other prosperities
soe as may tend most to his owne glory and your and our
comfort in hym : And that he will continnewe those blessinges
to your successors and to all England in such sorte as moche
happines may redound to you & vs and all her maiesties
dominions for many Yeares (if yt be his will) vnder the blessed
governement of our most gratious Zoueraigne Ladie & Queene


The humble Petition of her
highnes faithfuU Subiects falsly
called Brownistes [of 1597]^

To the Right Honorable the Lords of her
Majesties most honorable priuie Councell :

SSKibcreas wee her Maiestzes naturall borne Subiectes true and
Loyal 1 now lyving many of vs in other Countries as Men exiled
her highnes Domynions, and the rest which remaine within
her Graces land greatlie distressed thorough imprisonment and
other great troubles sustained onlie for some matters of con-
science in vfhich. our most lamentable estate, wee cannot in
that measure performe the dutie of Subiectes, as wee desier.
And also Wheareas meanes is now offered for our beeing in
a forraigne and farre Countrie w^i'ch lieth to the West from
hence in the Province of Canada where by the providence of
the Almightie, and her Mai'esties most gi-atious fauour, wee may
not onlie worshippe god as wee are in conscience perswaded by
his Word, but also doe vnto her Maiestie and our Country great
good service, and in tyme also greatlie annoy that bloodie and
persecuting Spaniard about the Baye of Mexico. Our most
humble suite is that it may please Your Honors to bee a
meanes vnto her excellent Maiestie that with her most gracious

1 S. P., Dora., Elizabeth, 1593, Vol. 246 (No. 56), in the Public Record
Ofl&ce, London.

126 Early English Dissenters

fauour and protection wee may peaceablie Depart thither, and
there remayning to bee accounted her Mmesiies faithfull and
loving Subiectes, to whom wee owe all dutie and obedience in
the Lord. Promising heerebie, and takeing god to record who
searcheth the hartes of all people. That wheresoeuer wee
become wee will by the grace of god Hue and die faithfull to
her highnes and this Land of our Natiuitie : /


[A Letter of Sir Robert Naunton to Dr. J. Copcoat, Master of
Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, relating to the publica-
tion of Richard Bancroft's famous " Sermon preached at Pa vies
Crosse ", and dated November 12, 1589.]^

Sir My Humble dutie to your Worship precommended &c. [?]
The ould inveterate [?] grudg conceived by this Clergie against
m' DoctouT Bancrofte for meer medling with their anarchie [?]
here established ; how soeuer it seemed for a time to have bene
divested or at least voyded [?] together wtth such cholericke
humours & termes of splene as they disgorged their stomaches
of at y® first receipt : yet is it at length descried [?] to haue
impostuned [?] & rankled inward [?] all this while, by y® late
fostering & drawing to a heade w^tch we [?] here perceive
allready [?], and is like er longe to breake out to some further
anoyance there, if discrete remedie be not foreseene in time.
A man wold hardly beleeve that such professours of Charitie,
should be such reteiners of enmitie Et tamen istos si quis forte
vel verbo com/;ioverit, manet alta mente repostum. etiaw
plumbeas iras gerunt [?]. He that shall heare their protested
sinceritie & see their practised extremitie he may iustly
exclame with that Pocticall admiracion — tanta6 ne an.imis

1 Add. MS. 32,092. fol. 106-7, in the British Museum.

128 Earhj English Dissenters

coelestibu5 irac ? At y® first publishing of M' Bancrofts
sermon, there was nothing but breathing out threatninges of
I know not what Canonicall confutacion to be set forth by -f
generall consent of their provinciall Synode, anathematizing as
well y* readers [?] Jis y** authour of that schismaticall libell for
80 it pleased some of their brotherhoods to intitulate [?] that
booke). Since when, either vpon their kings earnest intreatie
(his Highnes standing so intirely well affected to y^ inter-
teigneme^it & preservacion of all good amitie betwene the two
Crownes) or rather bethinking them selves that there was
nothing in that sermon w/iich might gall them any way, but
was literally derived out of the acts of their owne parleament
declared by publicke autoritie, they have vpon mature de-
liber'acion (vt sunt istor?<m ho7?iinum secundae cogitationes
aliquanto saniores) revoked that p?^rpose of controverting y*
matter by pen for feare of ripping vp their old sores &
vncouering y® shame of their reformacion [?] alia Scotcese (y®
searching vvherof they haue no list to heare of) but haue
reserved notwithstanding [?] y"" rancour of their brotherly
fivrjcriKaKia still boyling in their brests, till the first oppor-
tunitie shold serve [?]. when to belche it forth. To which
intent waiting all pacience still [?] swelling [?] on without
vent, might at length indanger them to brast [burst] for
envie like Asops tode, they haue taken their advantage of the
time present persuading them selves that now in absence of
their kinge (of whose sailing into Norwey to fetch home his
Qiieene I doubt not but you have heard long since) bearing so
highe a saile in y® state as they do, & being earnestly moved
from her Maiestie to performe all good offices [?] they may to
keepe this people on good terms till their Soueraines retume
(wherein I denye not but their endevowrs haue bene well
imployed) & therupon presuming that this is their time where-
in to make their market in England. Her Maiestie having
promised them all good Correspondence in reco7/ipence of their
paines taken for y^ peaceable qualificact'on of her vnruly neigh-
bours in so dangerous a time [?] ; they made resort to my
L. Ambassador here, acquainting him with their [?] greife[?],
craving his assistance for their redresse, & offringe their le^^res

Confirmation of Browne's Opinion of Scotland 129

of Complainte vnto her Mai&sty of such & such abuses against
y^ puritie of their reformacion [?] not only committed by one of
her Highnes subiects, but permitted & allowed by her Highnea
publicke autoritie to their [?] greate slander, scandale & I know
not what. My L. having received late instructions from y®
Councel to put in execution all good meanes he mought to
winne & reteine [?] their kindnes in a time so necessarye
(& therefore [?] being to temporise & second them in all their
motives [?] in convenient sorte) had much adoe[?] to[?] with-
stand their vrgent importunitie with all the earnest intreatie
he could make for the delaie of their Complainte herein,
alleging that how fitt soeuer the present might seeme to serve
their turne for exhibiting of their supplicacion, yet that it was
on y® other side as vnseasonable a time for her Maiestie to
intende their redresse, being so encombred as she now is with
diuerse other her greate affaires both domesticall & forein[?],
promising that if they woulde referre y^ matter to him, he
would of him selfe worke privatelie for their satisfaction as
he could, or at least to watche them a fiter time to present
their complaints with better hope of taking place &c. And so
after much debating to & fro they were intreated [?] thoughe
halfe malecontente to suppresse their supplicaeion till some
better opportunity, not dessembling [?] y^''' purpose to selicite
her Highnes further herein by some other extraordinarie meanes,
vnles some speedy satisfaction were procured by my L*^ dealing
to that effecte. Wherupon being glad of so fitte an oppor-
tunity [?] to declare my due regard of my humble dutie &
service aswell to my Lo7*ds grace as to your worship hereof,
I vndertoke to my L. Ambassador that he would aduertise
yoitr worship thereof in such time, as my L**' grace might take
knowledge of their designeme?its before hand, the better to
prevent any such inconvenience as might insue hereupon,
specially in such a time wherein her Maiestie having so
necessarie occasion to vse their service here, may happilie be
drawen the rather to respecte y"^ [?] importunitie of their
Clamorous complaints whatsoeuer. I may please your worship
to acquainte my Lo7'ds grace herewith if so you shall thinke
good & to recommend my L. Ambassadors most affectionate
B. II. 9

130 Early EnfjUsh Dissenters

devocion to his Honour, who (if[?] he might presume so farre)
wold gladlye knowe his graces direction how to deale therein,
or otherwise to imparte it to m"" Bancrofte that he may the
better bethinke him selfe [?] postquaib irritavit hos cra-
brones quibus armis aut consilijs horwm aculeis eatwr
obviam. Sunt enim & Stoicis sua Trddr], & his etiam
Sanctis sua bilis. Nimirum qwod in alijs scelus, id in
his zelus quid nj habeatitr? And so most humbly pre-
senting my humble dutie & service, craving your best
acceptance of my perfite[?] good meaning herein how soeuer
imperfectly vttered, I cease further to be tedious to your

At 'Edenhurgh this xij*^'' of November 1589.

Your worships most intirely devoted

R. Naunton

[A Letter of Richard Bancroft's, dated December 23, 1589,
also relating to his Sermon at Paul's Cross.] ^

To my good frend M""
Nanton attendinde
vpon y® L: Embassador
in Scotland.

Good M' Nanton. Althoughe we have no acquaintaunce to-
gether, yet by the letter yow writt not longe since to D' Copcot
I find ray selfe exceedingly beholden vnto yow. Towchinge the
effect of which letter there hath been consideration taken by
ray good Frendes. I had written a letter to the chief of the
great Rabbies : but bicawse I ara certaynly enforraed that there
is a booke written agaynst ray sermon which shall withowt
doubt be printed I have thought good with some advice to
stay the same. It appeareth likewise by your letter how
greatly I am bownd to my L: Embassador: I doubt not but
that both my L: of Canterbury and my L: Chauncelor who are
acquainted thervvithall will give him thankee on my behalfe.
The truth is I had no intent to have offended any of the

1 Egerton MS. 2598 (fol. 242-3) in the British Museum.

Confirmation of Browne's Opinion of Scotland 131

ministers there [in Scotland]. Yow know we are pressed wtth
examples of other Churches to the imbracinge of that most
counterfeyt and falsly patched vp government wAich is tearmed
the presbitery, a meere humane device devised by shiffcinge and
sleight, attayned by tiranny and bloud, and mainteyned with
vntollerable pride and with most straunge boldnes in expound-
inge the scriptures and falsifyinge of all antiquitye. In wAi'ch
respect I thought it agreable with my duty and the since
beinge called to that place to give warninge by the miserable
estate of the Church of Scotland least we should fall into the
like desolation. But howsoever it is taken I shall be redy for
them : especially if I may crave your favor by satisfyinge the
particular poyntes conteyned in the sheet of paper here in-
closed. For other matters towchinge the course wAi'ch hath
been held for the erectinge of that government ever since
lames the fifte I am well acquainted with yt. I have read of
the last stratageme and exployt at Strivelinge when the kinge
was taken. But peradventure yow may leame more therof
then is mentioned in our English late Chronicle of Scotland.
For of that poynt I have litle more then there is conteyned.
Furthermore I doe perceave vpon diverse occasions that the
chiefest of the ministers of Scotland (especially M"^ Melvin
[probably Andrew Melville]) have procured sondry lettres from
M"" Beza and other learned men beyond the seas conceminge
theyr ratefyinge of the Church government there established.
Which lettres or the copyes of them if by the strength of your
device yow be able to corapasse they will greatly pleasure me.
For thereby it will appere what very false reportes have been
made by them both of the kinge and of the Bishopes there.
Vpon which vntrue suggestions the sayd learned men did write
otherwise then they wold have done if they had knowen the
truth, I can not see how yow can accomplish this poynt except
yow insinuate your selfe into them as one desirous to embrace
theyr devices if yow might see the same confirmed by the
iudgmente* of Beza and other learned men of Fraunce &c:
Thervpon pe^-adventure they will show yow the sayd lettres
If also yow could procure the Copyes of theyr owne lettres
sent to Beza &c that were notable what paynes yow shall be


132 Early EncfUsh Dissenters

pleased to take herein, and to certifye me thereof from time to
time whilest yow stay there yow may signify vnto me with all
seciiritye if yow direct your lettres to M*^ Ashly one of the
Clarkes of her Matestie* privy counsell. But I wold have yow
to seale such lettres as yow write vnto me and to inclose them
in a letter to him of my direction to yow and then I am sure
he will be very carefull to deliver them vnto me. M' D' Copcott
my very frend I thinke will ioyne with me for your good favor
in the premises : Yow may thereby as I suppose fumishe your
selfe with good experience : and if hereafter yow shall have any
occasion wherin I may doe yow any pleasure assure your selfe
yow shall commaund me. And so with my harty commenda-
tions I committ yow to god : from Lambeth y® 23 of December,

Your Lovinge frend

Rich: Bancrofte^

[Some of the " Reasons alledged by the Arch B?^^op of
Canterbury, for D'' (Richard) Bancroft's being promoted to the
Bis/ioprick of London."]''

" He was by his diligent search the first Detector of Martin
Mar#Prelats Press & Books, where & by whom they were
printed ^

" He was an especiall Man, that gave the Instructions, to
her Majesties learned Council, when Martin's Agents, were
brought into the Star Chamber.

" By his advice, that Course was taken, wMch did principally
stop Martin & his Fellow's [sic] mouths viz: to have them
answered after their own vein in writing.

" By his diligence to find out certain Letters & writings,

* Only the signature and the words beginning with " from Lambeth "
are in Bancroft's own handwriting.

2 Baker MS. 36, pp. 3.3.3-5, in the University Library, Cambridge.
It is possible that the original manuscript of which this is a copy, is to
be found in Harleian MSS. 6848 or 6849 in the British Museum. I think
that I have somewhere seen the original.

3 P. 333.

- •'■ -/ - - - > . / / I " \





Thomas Helwys' autograph inscription to King Jamks 1,
1612. See Vol. i., page 252.

Confirmation of Browne's Opinion of Scotland 133

M'': Cartwright & his complices, their setting up their Dis-
cipline secretly in most shires of the Realm, their Classes, their
Decrees, & Book of Discipline were first detected." ^

" By his only diligence, Penry's seditious writings were
intercepted as they came out of Scotland, & delivered to the
now hord Keeper.

" His earnest desire, to have the slanderous Libels, against
her Majestic answered, & some pains of his taken therein, wold
not be omitted because they show his true Affection, & & [sic]
dutifull heart unto her Highness." ^

" Though he hath been carefull & zealous to suppress some
sort of Sectaries, yet hath he therein shewed, no tyrannous
Disposition, but with mildness & kind dealing, when it was
expedient, hath reclaimed diverse."'

1 P. 334. 2 p, 334. 3 p, 335.



troubles/", 1603 ; from "The Prophane Schisme of the Brownists
or Separatists", 1612 ; and from Christopher Lawne's "Brovvnisme
Tvrned The In-side out-ward", 1613

W. Adams

Henry [Henrie] Ainsworth

R. Appleby

William Asplin(?)

William Barbor [?Barbones^]

Online LibraryChamplin BurrageThe early English dissenters in the light of recent research (1550-1641) (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 30)