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Yet yf any man can shew by the wrytten word of God that
I erre in any thing, I will most willingly refourme my iudg-
ment, craue pardon earnestly for my oversight yea and be most
willingly content to suffer due punishment for ray temerytie.
But yf on the other syde I testifie nothing but verytie in these
poynte5 as I am vndoubtedly persuaded, I humbly craue that
the piercing edge of that sword may not in heate be turned
against me and my brethren, w/iich was neuer profifessedly
violent against the open and sworne enemyes of our natiue
Prince and Cuntrye.

Death (I thanke God) I feare not in this cause especyally, for
I know that the sting of death is taken away, and thai they are
blessed that dye in the Lord for wyttnessing against anie of the
former corruptions. Reuel. 14. 9. 13. Life I desire not, yf I be
giltie of sedition, of defaming and disturbing the quiet state of
her Marest/es peaceable gouernme72t

Lastly, I humbly and earnestly beseech their honors and
wors/iipps into whose handes this wryting of myne may come,

Documents relating to John Penry 87

to Consider, that it is to no purpose that her Maiesties subiectes
should bestowe their tyme in learning, in the study and medy-
tation of the word, in reading the wrytinges and doinges of
learned men and of the holy Martyrs that haue bene in former
ages, especyally the wrytinges published by her Islsdesties
authorytie, yf they may not without danger professe & hold
those truthes wAich they learne out of them, and that in such
sort, as they are able to convince all the world that will stand
against them, by no other weapons then by the word of God.
I beseech them also to consider, what a lamentable case yt is,
that we may hold fellowshipp with the Romish Church in
th'inventions thereof without all danger, and cannot but with
extreme perill be permytted in Judgment and practize to dissent
from the same where yt swarueth from the trew way : And as
they find these consideraczons to be of specyall moment, so I
beseech them in the bowelles of Ihesus Christ to be a meanes
vnto her Maiestie and their honors that my cause may be weyed
in euen balance. Imprysonmewt, yndytementes arraignmentes
yea death yt selfe, are no meet weapons to convince the con-
scyence grounded vpon the word of the Lord, accompanied with
so many testimonies of his famous seruantes and Churches.
The Lord blesse her right excellent Maiestie my most gracyous
Soueraigne blesse theyr honors, this whole land, and all his
Saintes euen for his names sake. Amen. Amen.
Subscribed with heart and hand by me I, P. now in streight
& hard bondes for the afore recyted testimony of Christes

lohn. Penry.

Apology eiusdem.

Although yt were altogether most reasonable, that these my
poore, publike, deliberate and digested wrytinges should bind
vp and heale that wound w/it'ch my most secrete vnbalanced
and confused observations are iudged to make, yet I craue not
so much that equytie in this case, wherein my allegeance and
dutyfullnes towardes my most gracyous Prince is called in
question, as chiefly this I desyre, that what in the Conscyence
of her right excellent Maiestie, and of all those both honorable

88 Early English Dissenter8

and worshipfull into whose handes I entreat that these my
wrj'tinges may come shalbe thought most likely to agree with
truth may be determined touching my case, and that accordingly
I may be acquy ted or condemned of the guylt layd to my chardge,
as for the penalty thereof, I will not refuse to susteine the same
yf yt shall seem good to her highnes to inflict yt vpon me
whether yt be the vndeserued mulct of myne ynnocency, or the
iust demeryt of my guiltynes, that I referre vnto the Lordes
determynacion and her gracyous Matestie whom he hath placed
over me : M3me ynnocency only heerby I desyre to be many-
fested without any further regard, that whether I lyue or dye
my vprightnes towardes my Prince and her State may survyue.
Whatsoeuer then in those my pryvate intercepted wrytinges,
(being the secret & confused obseruations of myne owne study)
touching her Matestie is mencyned [sic], the same I protest was
sett downe by me, eyther as obiected indeed by others, whereof
I thought to haue Considered further, yf at all, yt should be
done for her Matesties cleering where occasyon should be ofifered,
or as being groundes of a brief treatize, wAich with myne owne
handes (yf euer the Lord should graunt meanes and oppor-
tunytie therevnto) I purposed to haue delyuered vnto her
highnes for the manyfesting of my fayth and allegeance to-
wardes the Lord and her MaVestie wherein (as in a pryvate
advertisement) euen for the dischardge of my Conscyence, I
meant to haue offered to her Consideracion. viz. Whether
many thinges besides her knowledge were not done vnder
gouernment to the hindrance of the free course of the Ghospell
for the wAich she standeth blamed amongst forrayn nations and
yt may be wold be further charged amongst their posterytie
These my wrytinges also are not only most vnperfect, but euen
so pryvate as no creature vnder heauen was privy vnto them
(my selfe excepted) vntill now they were seised vpon, and there-
fore yt wilbe the great fault of those into whose handes they are
come, and not any vndutyfuUnes of myne yf they be made more
publike then they are. Myne I dare not acknowledge them to
be for a thousand worldes, because I should therby most
fearfully synne against the. Lord and myne owne Conscyence,
in bearing false wyttnes against my selfe. I neuer conceyued

Documents relating to John Penry 89

that anie man would haue made any thing of them, especyally
against my selfe, by whomsoeuer they had bene interpreted,
otherwise yt might be well thought that I would neuer haue
reserued them being to my so small vse, as all men will iudge
them to be. Now for the cleering of my selfe towardes her
Maiestie, and of the purpose I had to referr my selfe into her
'M.Q.iesiies handes, yt shalbe found in those my intercepted
writinges, how earnestly I haue entreated the Lord, and often
(especyally toward the tyme of my coming out of Scotland) to
graunt me fauor in her sight, and to enclyne her hart vnto
my petition, w/itch was only that yt would please her so to
conceyve of me as I was in hart towardes her, and to permytt
me to employ my small talent amongst my poore Cuntrymen
in Wales, for their calling to the knowledge of Christ [.] Their
ignorance I know (alas) to be ouer-lamentable. It will also
appeer in my said wrytinges, that report coming into Scotland
of her Maiesttes departure out of this life, I humbled my selfe
when I heard yt in fasting and prayer before the Lord, entreating
him euen with many teares, that the same report might proue
vntrue, as I thanke his Maiestie yt did, shewing what a great
stroke (in my Conscyence) the taking her out of this life would
be vnto the Church of God, at this day especyally, and vnto
her kingdome, my deare and natiue Cuntrye. How heavy the
newes were vnto me in partycular, those my wrytinges do
partly testify, my Conscyence knoweth, and the Lord God I
am sure will reveale vnto my clearing in that great daye.
This was long synce I had occasyon to sett downe all the
thinges wherwith I am like to be so heavyly chardged. No
Creature was privy to this accton of myne vntill my wrytinges
were now intercepted, neyther did I purpose to haue revealed
the same. Now that my secret, confused and vnadvysed obser-
vations are brought against me euen to the spilling of ray
blood, I humbly beseech that these my papers also may be
looked vppon and brought to light aswell as the other, wherby
myne adversaryes thinke to ympeach my allegeance wAt'ch (I
thanke God) neither man nor Angell shall euer be able to
eflfect. This was done in January or Febr was Twellvemoneth —
1592 — . It wilbe easily found out in those papers of myne.

90 Early English Dissenters

w/iich conteyne a diarie or daily obseruacion of myne owne
synnes and corruptions, and of the specyall requestes w/irch
I made to the Lord, being thinges of that secrecye as I know
well all the world would thinke yt shamefull that they should
be laid to my charge : yot I thanke the Lord I refuse not to be
tryed by them. Touching the partycular thinges that eonceme
her Majesty in those my papers, I had great occjisyon in the
tyme of my contynuance and being in Scotland to take notyce
of them, for the purpose before mencyoned, and surely most of
them are expressed in the very same or the like wordes wherein
they were obiected to me, euen by those whom I iudge to wish
well to her Maiestie and gouernment. For the gentlemen,
ministers and people of Scotland, that are not acquainted with
the State of this Land thinke by reason of the Prelacy here
mainteyned, (the yoake whereof they fell within these few
yeares), by reason of the multytude of dumbe ministers that
were tolerated and dayly made in this land, and because they
heare that preachers are suspended, sylenced, ymprysoned and
depryued thinke (I say) and haue spoken yt vnto me, that lyttle
or no truth is permytted to be taught in England, that w/n'ch is
taught, ys measured by the length of her Maiesties Scepter, and
that the Common wealth indeed is much but the Ghospell lyttle
behoulding vnto her. Whereunto I answered that the Ghospell
(in my Conscyence) was asmuch behoulding to her Maiestie as
to all the Princes in Europe besides. They haue replyed then
that Princes dissemble then, for none of them that appeare to
defend tho. Ghospell do suffer the ministers and professors
thereof to be sylenced and ymprysoned for their Conscyence
sake and for mainteyning the truth w/a'ch reformed Churches
do generally embrace, wherevnto as I haue allwayes suffycyentlie
answered (I thank the Lord) in her M.-a.iesUes behalfe, so haue I
sett downe confusedly the tenor of my speeches in those my
wrytinges, that so I might vpon better leysure consyder of
them, and make some vse for the discharge of my Conscyence
as before I haue sett downe. Hereof also I haue had specyall
occasyon vpon pryvate conferences had with the ministers of the
Cuntrye wherein I haue otherwyse informed them of the state
of thinges here then they were generally certyfyed by the

Documents relating to John Penry 91

marchantes or such other as travayled thether, in such sort,
as I being invited with some of them by a godly gentfeman
of that Cuntry, then told him, that yt was not without
great reason (seing he had so often speech with me) that he
being in such a noble mans Chamber, where her Maiesttes
picture was sett belowe the pictures of divers other kinges
and Princes, he tooke the same and placed yt aboue them all,
for he thought her to be no less worthy, yf the speeches wAi'ch
I gaue of her highnes were trew. The gentleman answered
that he was glad to learne that of me who as he iudged would
not report otherwyse then truth, w/«ch he allwayes conceyved
of her. viz. That the Euangely of Christ was mickle deale bound
(for those were his wordes) vnto the Qt^ene of England, as vnto
all the Princes on this syde of the Alpes the wAich he durst the
more boldly avouch vppon the credyt of my report [.] These
and such like (I say) haue bene the occasyon of whatsoeuer in
my pryvate wrytinges seemeth to make most against me : and I
could name Englishmen who (yf they would speake yndifferently)
must testyfy, that they haue heard no lesse obiected of others,
and no less answered by me then I haue here sett downe, as
convenyence of tyme and place hath bene ministred : yea when
myne owne case, or the case of any other (who professing the
Ghospell are iudged to be hardly dealt with vnder her Matesttes
gouemment) hath bene alleadged, I haue answered. Vt
parentum sic patriae & principis seueritatem patiendo
& ferendo semindam esse. The which saying, as also some
other of Marciis TuUiws vnto Lentulus as I remember shalbe
found noted in those my wrytinges to this very purpose.
Whereby yt may appeare that what now I wryte hath some
credence in yt though those my obseruations be most confused,
such as out of which no man (my selfe excepted) can possibly
gather my purpose, I haue not looked vpon most of those my
wrytinges these — 14 — or — 15 — moneths, whereby consydering
how they are sett downe, I might also well forgett the purpose
for the w^tch they were wrytten : yet I will not desyre to be
accounted (as I thanke God I am) a Loyall subiect to my
Prince, yf I shew not any speech conteyned in them touching
her Maiesty to haue reason vppon the former occasyons, and to

92 Early English Dissenters

haue bene noted for the purposes I spake of, namely, eyther
the advertysing or further clecring of her Maiestie as the Lord
would offer occasyon, the w/iich latter purpose of myne, is also
cleered, in a treatyse w/<ich I published now toward 2 yeares
synce wherein, wryting vnto the Parliameijt, I shewed that the
Papistes, either Brystow or Saunders yf my memory faile not,
had geuen out that her Maiestic regarded not the Ghospell any
further then yt may be for her standing, and therfore desyred
the Parliament that they would withstand that slaunder, by
provyding that the people of Wales may be better taught,
saying that whatsoeuer the Parliament should do, I did gain-
saye the same, as being a speech vndutifull and slanderous
against my Prince, as lowd as ynke and paper could do yt.
These are my wordes, and as I shall answer before the Lord
my God, I had no other then this dutyfull meaning in setting
downe whatsoeuer is now so heynously interpreted in those my
wrytinges. Briefly the most reuerend and dutyfull regard w^i'ch
I haue caryed towardes her Maiestie in my publike wrytinges
whensoeuer I haue mecyoned her or her gouernment, the tenor
of my life that way, together with the testimonie of all those
w/iich haue knowen me and my wrytinges especyally of such of
my cuntrymen as know me in Scotland, will clear me of what-
soeuer may touch me in loyaltie towardes my Soueraigne. And
I do here, (in this last wryting w^tch is like to proceed from me
for ought I know) protest before all the world, that although I
regarded neither the feare of God nor man, nor the testimony
of a good conscyence, yet the respect which I haue and allwayes
had that my native Cuntry Wales should not cary the blemish,
that euer it brought forth (for my part) any that would defame
or deale vndutyfully with so gracyous a Prince as her Maiestie
is, and hath bene allwayes vnto vs, should and would kepe me
from all vndutyfull attempted against her highnes. Nay (I
thanke God) I haue all reasons that do and allwayes haue
stirred me vp to all dutyfullnes towardes my Prince but neuer
any that moued me so much as in a secret wandring thought
vnto any such disloyall cogitation of her Maiestie. Lastly those
my intercepted wrytinges w/a'ch are now brought against me,
conteyning in them not only a peculiar record of my dayly

Documents relating to John Penry 93

Corruptions, for and against w^tch I craued mercy and strength
at the Lordes hand, but also of all the specyall synnes whereof
my conscyence could accuse me in all my lyfe, euen to the last
daie of my coming out of Scottland yt will easyly appeare,
whether my soule was euer privy to any offence commytted
by me against her Mamtie, saue only this whereof I there
compla3nie namely that I was not so carefull in prayer for her
perseuerance and wellfare, as I desyred and laboured to haue
bene [.] And yet (I thanke the Lord) I remember not that day
hath passed ouer my head, synce vnder her gouernment I
first came to the knowledge of the truth, wherein I haue not
recommended her estate vnto his Matestie [.] I deale in those
my most secreat wrytinges without guile, as in his sight whom
I know to be the revealer of secrettes, at whose hand I craued
the healing of my brused Conscyence, wherfore yt concerned
me not to collude with him though I would do the same with
man, such dealing might well augment the intollerable burthen
of my woryed soule, but cure my wound yt could not, and ther-
fore I may truly say If euer I had bene gilty of any such cryme
there yt should haue bene sett downe, euen when I powred the
secretes of my hart before the mercy seat of the euerly ving, and
the rather in such a case of confession vnto the Lord of my
secret synnes neuer expressed in action, wherof also I was most
sory thai any such should be brought against me. But in this
point of my Loyaltie towardes my Prince, I feare not (I thanke
the Lord) the aduerse testimony of myne owne Conscyence
much lesse^

[A Letter of John Penr3^'s to Lord Burghley, written
May 28, 1593.]'

Although Right honorable my thoughtes athis present are
wholy employed as it is meet, rather vpon y® meditation of that
heavenly lyf whervnto of the Lordes infinite favor, I ame now
to passe, then vpon any earthly consideration whatsoever ; yet

1 Here with the last two words as catch-words the manuscript
at present abruptly ends.

» Egerton MS. 2603, fol. 49, in the British Museum.

94 Early English Dissenters

to the end yowr Lord«/u'p may see, that I have in in [sic] no
wise slightly regarded your last speach vsed vnto mee ; I do
heer most humblie crave entreat the vse of penn and inke, y*" I
may writ vnto hir raaj&stie my most gracious soveraing, to see
yf the Lord will thcrby encline hir roiall heart to hould forth
vnto mee, the compassionate hand of hir wonted clemency
towardes hir distressed Subjected in my case.
For your Lords/jtp[?] I beseech you, to beare patiently these
few lines following wAich in the discharge of my conscienc, I
write vnto you ; & for no other respect. I do confess then &
your [?] Lord[ship] lay it not vnto my charge, that I betrayed
myne owne innocency at y" barr, because I did not lay open,
the clcames of my case, as in lawe it is well knowen [?] to bee.
Lett mee speak without prejudice vnto any. I will not say much
vnto your Lordship this way. Only this, I should have beene
indighted of those thinges within one yeer after I writ them. I
should have been convinced [?] to have written them with a
maliciouse intent, to diffame hir majestie, or to stirr insurrection
faraong hir subjectes]^ from wAich purposes, how farr I [?] have
been alhvayes, I refer it vnto y^ voyc of y® whole world, even vnto
the consciences of adverseryes them selves yf I haue any. Yf
I weare a papist [fallen away & to err from "f true Christ] as
farrbeit I might writ in the defenc, of y* sixt article, & labor to
draw hir majesties subjects to bee of my wicked [?] mynd, & yet
shal be in no wise thogh[t] nor adjudged [?] a felone by y*' statwie
of .23. Eliz. I may publish & vtter Bellarmyns readinges Sanders
Demonstration. &c wAich directly mak hir majestic & y® whole
state to be & yet bee in no wise within y® daunger of y® sayd
statute. These bookes & such lyk any[?J other [?] are comonly
sold by all stationers. And therfor my Lord, I beseech your
wysdome in the mercyes[?] bowelles of lesus Christ, whose
truth you profess, to consider what a lamentable case it is, y'
the playn [?] error in the missvnderstanding of y® law should
bee written with my blood.

Touching these my confused, & most secrete indeavors[?]

writtinges [I] refer you vnto y*^ w/jich els where I hav written

to this..., as your Lordship knoweth[?] I am sure. And how

' Words within dark brackets are in the margin of the MS.

Documents relating to John Penry 95

fair I ame from any such thoughtes of hir majestie, I shall

declare, yf you will grant [?] mee the vse of ink & paper.

That I spak not at y® barr what in law might have cleared my

case, it was partly in that y® lury wear sent away, befo'^ I cold

have tyme so to doe, but especially in that I was content in

this case, rather to comitt myne innocency vnto him, y*^ judgeth l- Pet. 2. 23.

righteously, & to referr my self vnto hir majesties handes, then

any wyse to contend wt'th your Lordshipes their present, whome

I saw to bee playnly overseen in the mysvndersta[n]ding of that


But my Lord, I beseech you lett mee appeale vnto your second

considiration as this way, & have y^ favor thereof, for the

defenc of my lyf : And I dare assure your Lordship, y* it shall

not repent you, eyther in this, or the lyf to come, you have

beene the meanes of my preservation frome vntymly [?] death.

wherwith, as I thank god I ame well content because I know

whether to goe after this lyf; of this erthly breath becaus

becaus \sic] it is y® Lord [who gave it.3 not you, where [?] now

have yo'* use therof it beseemeth mee in no wise to bee over

profuse. And therfor agayn, I beseech your Lords/np, y*" I may

not only reaceave the same at Queen Elyzabeth my soverainges

handes, but also be indebted vnto Sir lohn Popame hir highnes

Supreme Justice for the reposs thereof And my Lord you

shall fynd, that the continuance of my lyf (w/a'ch I thank god

for my self I respect nob becaus I ame assured, y' a better is

prepared for me) wilbee farr more beheefull [?] for the apeasing

& quiet taking vp, of the differences in relligion between mee

& y® Ecclesiasticall estate of this land then, my death in the

said tymes possiblie can bee.

What my purposes are, yf I shold live y'' way, what manor of

disposition I am off even in heart, I canot hide it yf I wold, for

my...privat writinges, wAich wholy shew, the very lineaments of

my soule, & y® very vnreveled [?] secrett intentes of my heart

are in ther handes, with whose judgmentes & this lyf I

canot wholly accord.

You ar not to bee putt in mynd, y' as y® cry of y® widow & y* Exodus 22. 22

fatherless, peerceth deeply into y® eares of y® just judge, so y® p^gy^ 24 13

blessing [?], of y® distressed & y^ orphan especially of him that is

96 Early English Dissenters

ready to perish, is much avaylablc befor god & man, vnto them,

y*^ deserve the same therefor good my Lord cloth your self

therewith as with a robe, the garment, wherwith yo" are

lob. 29. 12.13. adorned. That with y*^ great [?]... wholy man[?] lob yo" may

say. I deliuered y® poor, y'^ cryed, & y® fatherless & him, y'' hade

none to helpe him. The blessing of him y'' was ready to perish

came vpon mee & I caused y'' widowes heart to rejoyc. I was

a father vnto y® poor & when I knew not y* cause (or had

mistaken it), I sought it out y^ more dilligently

And' shall fynd in the mercyes of god y*" veryfyed of you, w^rch

verse 18. foUoweth in the same place of holy story openly [?] y*^ you shall

.19. dy in your nest & multiply yowr dayes as the sand [y*^ y[oMr ?]

root] shalbe spread out by y® watere & y® dew vpon your

20 branch, y'' your honor shalbe renued [?] towardes yo" & youv

21 bow continue [?] firme in your hand, y*^ vnto you men shall
28. still [?] give eare & hold their tong at yowr counsell, & y' yo"
26, shall appoynt al their way & continue [?] still to sitt as cheife,

& be truly accounted lyk him, y' comforteth y® mourners.
Thus preparing my self vnto y* tribunall of y® Supream judg,
I humblie referr my... estate vnto your LordsAipes due con-
sideration, & your self with all yours into his handes, whoe
tryeth y® heartes & y* reines, y* hee may give vnto every man
according as his workes shalbee From...& close prison, the 28 of
y« 4 month Maij[?] 1593

Your LordsAip[es] most


lohn Penry'.

* At this point about ten words have been crossed out.

* The text of this letter took the present writer some hours to decipher,
even with the aid of the magnifying-glass and with the help of two of the
ofl&cials in the British Museum. The handwriting is in places very fine
and indistinct, and the ink is much faded. Penry's corrections, also, are
by no means as clear as they might be. The present text, therefore, is
not perfect, but it is perhaps as good as under the circumstances might be



[An undated Letter of Henry Barrowe's asking for a " christian
and peaceable conference " for the settlement of " theis Ecclesi-
asticall controuersies".]^

My humble desier is to any that feare god even to my
gratest aduersaries in theis Ecclesiasticall controuersies (or
I hope) but brotherly differences yf we may come to
christian and peaceable conference with some Learned and
moderate persons, where the reasons of each syde may be
with deliberacion set downe and exponded by the worde of
God and so his treuth therin appearinge may be imbraced
and we brought to vnitei [sic] in the treuth. And theis

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