There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.
Thos. Macaulay, essay on Ranke’s History of the Popes of Rome, Edinburgh Review, October, 1840.
τὸ δ᾽ ἔργον τοῦτο μὴ μόνον εἶναι κατὰ τὸ μέγεθος ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῇ τέχνῃ θαυμαστὸν καὶ τῇ τοῦ λίθου φύσει διαφέρον, ὡς ἂν ἐν τηλικούτῳ μεγέθει μήτε διαφυάδος μήτε κηλῖδος μηδεμιᾶς θεωρουμένης. ἐπιγεγράφθαι δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῦ ‘βασιλεὺς βασιλέων Ὀσυμανδύας εἰμί. εἰ δέ τις εἰδέναι βούλεται πηλίκος εἰμὶ καὶ ποῦ κεῖμαι, νικάτω τι τῶν ἐμῶν ἔργων.’
[M]ox visit veterum Thebarum magna vestigia. Et manebant structis molibus litterae Aegyptiae, priorem opulentiam complexae: iussusque e senioribus sacerdotum patrium sermonem interpretari, referebat habitasse quondam septingenta milia aetate militari atque eo cum exercitu regem Rhamsen Libya, Aethiopia Medisque et Persis et Bactriano ac Scytha potitum quasque terras Suri Armeniique et contigui Cappadoces colunt, inde Bithynum, hinc Lycium ad mare imperio tenuisse. Legebantur et indicta gentibus tributa, pondus argenti et auri, numerus armorum equorumque et dona templis, ebur atque odores, quasque copias frumenti et omnium utensilium quaeque natio penderet, haud minus magnifica quam nunc vi Parthorum aut potentia Romana iubentur.
Tac. Ann. 2.60.
or, On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below.
In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.”— The City’s gone,—
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
The Examiner, 1 February 1818.
Is it not odd that the only truly generous person I ever knew who had money enough to be generous with should be a stockbroker? He writes poetry and pastoral dramas and yet knows how to make money, and does make it, and is still generous.
Shelley on Smith.
Upon Thursday, the day after the battle, a party was ordered to the field of battle to put to death all the wounded they should find upon it, which accordingly they performed with the greatest despatch and the utmost exactness, carrying the wounded from the several parts of the field to two or three spots of rising ground, where they ranged them in due order, and instantly shot them dead.
Upon the day following, (Friday,) parties were ordered to go and search for the wounded in houses in the neighbourhood of the field, to carry them to the field, and there to kill them, which they did, as in the case of John Fraser and his fellow prisoners. To the honour of some particular officers (whom I could name) be it remarked, that by their clemency some few of the wounded were saved.
John MacLeod of MacLeod, junior, esquire, has had the honesty and courage to declare oftener than once, that he himself saw seventy-two killed in cold blood.
At a small distance from the field there was a hut for sheltering sheep and goats in cold and stormy weather. To this hut some of the wounded men had crawled, but were soon found out by the soldiery, who (immediately upon the discovery) made sure the door, and set fire to several parts of the hut, so that all within it perished in the flames, to the number of between thirty and forty persons, among whom were some beggars, who had been spectators of the battle in hopes of sharing in the plunder. Many people went and viewed the smothered and scorched bodies among the rubbish of the hut. Sure, the poor beggars could not be deemed rebels in any sense whatsoever.
In several parts of the Highlands in Scotland the soldiery spared neither man, woman, nor child, particularly those under the command of Major Lockhart, Caroline Scott, &c. The hoary head, the tender mother, and the weeping infant, behoved to share in the general wreck, and to fall victims to rage and cruelty by the musket, the bloody bayonet, the devouring flame, or famishing hunger and cold! In a word, the troops sported with cruelty. They marched through scenes of wo, and marked their steps with blood. Believe me, sir, this is far from exaggerating. It is in my power to condescend upon particular instances of these more than Neronian cruelties, which I am ready to do when called upon by proper authority–to bring to light, not the hidden things of darkness, but monstrous transactions, that were deliberately perpetrated in face of the sun by gentlemen, and (shall I say it?) Christians! In all I have said, I have omitted one thing, which is, that even the yet unborn babe (I tremble to relate it) felt the effects of the fury of our military butchers!
Copy of a letter from a gentleman in London to his friend at Bath, from the manuscript collection of Robert Forbes, Bishop of Ross and Caithness (Scottish Episcopal Church).
If no remedy can be found for these evils [the disorders of the Tyburn procession] it would be better that Malefactors should be put to death in private; for our publick executions are become decoys, that draw in the necessitous, and in effect as cruel as frequent pardons, instead of giving warning they are examplary the wrong way, and encourage where they should deter.
Bernard de Mandeville, Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Execution, London, 1725.
I went to see the fopperies of the Papists at Somerset House and York House, where now the French Ambassador had caused to be represented our Blessed Saviour with his Disciples in figures and puppets, made as big as the life, of wax-work, curiously clad and sitting round large table, the room nobly hung and shining with innumerable lamps and candles. This was exposed to all the world; all the City came to see it; such liberty had Roman Catholics at this time obtained!
John Evelyn, Diary, 4 April 1672.
Seventeenth Century LITURGICAL PUPPETS?
——— Imperial Jove,
He reigns unquestion’d in his Realms above;
No Title from Descent he need infer,
His red right Arm proclaims the Thunderer,
This, Campbell, be thy Pride, Illustrious Peer,
Alike to shine distinguish’d in your Sphere,
All Merit but your own you may disdain,
And Kings have been your Ancestors in vain.
Mr. Pope on reading the Preamble to the Patent creating his Grace Duke of Greenwich.
* * *
The Scotch, while the [Malt Tax] Bill was depending in the House of Commons, argued strenuously against it; but when it passed that House, all of them unanimously agreed to lay aside all invidious Distinctions of Whig or Tory, and to endeavour either to be redressed in their Grievances, or dissolve the Union; for which Purpose they had several Meetings, and on the sixth of May deputed four of their Members, viz. the Duke of Argyle, the Earl of Mar, Mr. Lockhart, and Mr. Cockburn, to attend the Queen, and make a Remonstrance in the Name of the whole Scotch Representation. The Substance of which was, ‘That their Countrymen bore with great Impatience the Violation of some Articles the Act of Union, and the laying such an insupportable Burthen as the Malt-Tax upon them, was like to raise their Discontent to such a Height, as to promote them to declare the Union dissolv’d.’ To this unexpected verbal Remonstrance the Queen answer’d, ‘This was a precipitate Resolution, and she wished they might not have Reason to repent it, but however she would endeavour to make all Things easy.’ Upon the Deputies Report to the Scotch Members, the next Day, of the Queen’s Answer, they resolved before they proceeded any farther, to apply to the House of Lords. Accordingly on Thursday the 28th of May, the Earl of Seafield made a Motion that some Day might be appointed to take into Consideration the State of the Nation, and Monday the first of June was appointed, and all the Peers summoned to be present on this important Debate, which was opened by the same Nobleman, who pathetically laid open the Grievances of the Scotch Nation; which he reduced to four Heads, ‘1.Their being deprived of a Privy Council: 2. The Laws of England in Cases of Treason extended to Scotland: 3. The Peers of Scotland being incapable of being made Peers of Great Britain, as was judged in the Case of the Duke of Hamilton: And, 4. The Scots being subjected to the Malt-Tax; which Would be more insupportable to them now, in that they never bore it during the War, and had Reason to expect to reap and enjoy the Benefits of a Peace.’ Concluding, ‘That since the Union had not those good Effects as were expected and hoped from it when it was made, he therefore moved, that leave might be given to bring in a Bill for dissolving the said Union, and securing the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, securing the Queen’s Prerogative in both Kingdoms, and preserving an entire Amity and good Correspondence between the two Kingdoms.’ This Motion was seconded by the Earl of Mar, and a great many Scotch Peers. Those who spoke for the Dissolution was the Duke of Argyle; the Earls of Islay, Eglintoun, Nottingham, and Sunderland; the Lord Viscount Townshend; the Lords Hallifax, Powlet, Scarborough, and Scarsdale. Those who spoke against it were the Lord North and Grey, the Lord Earl Peterborough, the Lord Chief Justice Trevor, and the Lord Treasurer Oxford. The Arguments against the Dissolution were chiefly drawn from the Impossibility; the Lords on that side supposing it impossible to dissolve it: comparing it to a Marriage, which once made, could not be broke. That this Union was concluded with so much Solemnity, that nothing could be more Solemn, except it came down from Heaven like the Ten Commandments. They did not pretend so much to deny that the Scotch had not Grievances to complain of, but that some other Remedy might be found out to ease them than dissolving the Union. With some little Reflections on the Poverty and Temper of the Scots; who would have all the Advantages of the Union with England, and yet with their good Will would not pay one Farthing towards the common Expence.
The Lords on the opposite side argued, That however solemn the Treaty of Union might be, yet the Power which made it might dissolve it. They expatiated, upon their Grievances; which they said were the more intollerable, as the general Confidence they had placed in the Faith of the English Nation, for which they had desired no Guarantee, gave them all the Reason in the World to expect other Usage. They owned the Country poor, and that was the Reason they complained of the Imposition of the Malt-Tax. That they were willing to bear their stipulated Proportion of the necessary Expences of the Nation; but they had no Reason to expect that they should be taxed above their Power. The Duke of Argyle, in a handsome but warm Speech, among other Things said, ‘That he was by some reflected on as if he was disgusted, and had changed Sides; but that he despised those Persons as much as he undervalued their judgments. That it was true he had a great Hand in making the Union: That the chief Reason that moved him to it, was the securing the Protestant Succession ; but that he was satisfied that might be done now as well if the Union was dissolved: That he spoke as a Peer of England as well as of Scotland: That he believed in his Conscience it was as much for the Interest of England to have it dissolved, as that of Scotland: And if it was not, he did not expect long to have Property left in Scotland, or Liberty in England. He urged, That the Tax upon Malt in Scotland was as unequal, tho’ the same as in England, as taxing Land by the Acre; which would be very unjust, the Land being worth five or six Pound per Acre here about London, and not more Shillings in some Parts of the Country: That this was the Case between the Scotch and the English Malt; the latter being worth three or four Shillings per Bushel, the other not above one. So if that Tax was collected in Scotland, it must be done by a Regiment of Dragoons.’ Several English Lords were for putting off the Debate till a farther Day, that the Peers might have time to consider of a Matter of such Consequence. To this last Opinion of a Delay, the Earls of Mar and Loudon join’d, and so lost the Bill; for the Question being put on the Earl of Seafield‘s Motion, it was carried in the Negative by four Voices only; there being fifty four Lords on each Side present, seventeen Proxies on the Negative, and but thirteen on the Affirmative; so near was the Union to receiving a fatal Blow.
— Robert Campbell, Esq., The Life of the Most Illustrious Prince, John, Duke of Argyle and Greenwich, Belfast: F. Joy, 1745.
That he hath traiterously endeavoured to alter and subvert God’s true Religion, by Law established in this Realm, and instead thereof to set up Popish Superstition and Idolatry. And to that end, hath declared and maintained in Speeches, and printed Books, divers Popish Doctrines and Opinions, contrary to the Articles of Religion establish’d by Law. He hath urged and enjoined divers Popish and Superstitious Ceremonies without any warrant of Law, and hath cruelly persecuted those who have opposed the same, by corporal Punishments and Imprisonments, and most unjustly vexed others, who refused to conform thereunto, by Ecclesiastical Censures of Excommunication, Suspension, Deprivation, and Degradation, contrary to the Laws of this Kingdom.
Articles of the Commons assembled in Parliament, in maintenance of their Accusation against William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, whereby he stands charged with High Treason; presented and carried up to the Lords, by Mr. J. Pym, Feb. 26. 1640.
[T]he Church of England has been the instrument of Providence in conferring great benefits on me; had I been born in Dissent, perhaps I should never have been baptized; had I been born an English Presbyterian, perhaps I should never have known our Lord’s divinity; had I not come to Oxford, perhaps I never should have heard of the visible Church, or of Tradition, or other Catholic doctrines. And as I have received so much good from the Anglican Establishment itself, can I have the heart, or rather the want of charity, considering that it does for so many others, what it has done for me, to wish to see it overthrown? I have no such wish while it is what it is, and while we are so small a body. Not for its own sake, but for the sake of the many congregations to which it ministers, I will do nothing against it. While Catholics are so weak in England, it is doing our work; and, though it does us harm in a measure, at present the balance is in our favour. What our duty would be at another time and in other circumstances, supposing, for instance, the Establishment lost its dogmatic faith, or at least did not preach it, is another matter altogether. In secular history we read of hostile nations having long truces, and renewing them from time to time, and that seems to be the position which the Catholic Church may fairly take up at present in relation to the Anglican Establishment.
John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Appendix “Answer in Detail to Mr. Kingsley’s Accusations,” no. 3.
All members of every Christian church are, according to the principles of liberty, entitled to every part of what they conceive to be the benefits of it, entire and complete, so far as consistent with the welfare of civil government. Yet the members of our Church in America do not there enjoy its benefits, having no Protestant bishop within 3,000 miles of them — a case which never had its parallel before in the Christian world. Therefore it is desired that two or three bishops be appointed for them, to reside where His Majesty may think most convenient; that they may have no concern in the least with any persons who do not profess themselves to be of the Church of England, but may ordain ministers for such as do, may confirm their children, and take such oversight of the episcopal clergy as the Bishop of London’s commissaries in those parts have been empowered to take, and have taken, without offence.
Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Jonathan Mayhew, 1764.
ARGYLE the State’s whole Thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the Senate and the Field Alexander Pope, Epilogue to the Satires (TE 4: 318).
Two Sticks and Apple,
Ring ye Bells at Whitechapple,
Old Father Bald Pate,
Ring ye Bells Aldgate,
Maids in White Aprons,
Ring ye Bells at St. Catherines,
Oranges and Lemons,
Ring ye bells at St. Clements,
When will you pay me,
Ring ye Bells at ye Old Bailey,
When I am Rich,
Ring ye Bells at Fleetditch,
When will that be,
Ring ye Bells at Stepney,
When I am Old,
Ring ye Bells at Pauls. Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c. 1744).
CHAP. XIX. How Queen Ethelthryth [Etheldreda] always preserved her virginity, and her body suffered no corruption in the grave. [A.D. 660]
KING EGFRID took to wife Ethelthryth, the daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles, of whom mention has been often made; a man of true religion, and altogether noble in mind and deed. She had before been given in marriage to another, to wit, Tondbert, ealdorman of the Southern Gyrwas; but he died soon after he had married her, and she was given to the aforesaid king. Though she lived with him twelve years, yet she preserved the glory of perfect virginity, as I was informed by Bishop Wilfrid, of blessed memory, of whom I inquired, because some questioned the truth thereof; and he told me that he was an undoubted witness to her virginity, forasmuch as Egfrid promised to give him many lands and much money if he could persuade the queen to consent to fulfil her marriage duty, for he knew the queen loved no man more than himself. And it is not to be doubted that this might take place in our age, which true histories tell us happened sometimes in former ages, by the help of the same Lord who promises to abide with us always, even unto the end of the world. For the divine miracle whereby her flesh, being buried, could not suffer corruption, is a token that she had not been defiled by man.
She had long asked of the king that he would permit her to lay aside worldly cares, and to serve only Christ, the true King, in a monastery; and having at length with difficulty prevailed, she entered the monastery of the Abbess Aebba, who was aunt to King Egfrid, at the place called the city of Coludi, having received the veil of the religious habit from the hands of the aforesaid Bishop Wilfrid; but a year after she was herself made abbess in the district called Elge, (Ely) where, having built a monastery, she began, by the example of a heavenly life and by her teaching, to be the virgin mother of many virgins dedicated to God. It is told of her that from the time of her entering the monastery, she would never wear any linen but only woollen garments, and would seldom wash in a hot bath, unless just before the greater festivals, as Easter, Whitsuntide, and the Epiphany, and then she did it last of all, when the other handmaids of Christ who were there had been washed, served by her and her attendants. She seldom ate more than once a day, excepting on the greater festivals, or some urgent occasion. Always, except when grievous sickness prevented her, from the time of matins till day-break, she continued in the church at prayer. Some also say, that by the spirit of prophecy she not only foretold the pestilence of which she was to die, but also, in the presence of all, revealed the number of those that should be then snatched away from this world out of her monastery. She was taken to the Lord, in the midst of her flock, seven years after she had been made abbess; and, as she had ordered, was buried among them in a wooden coffin in her turn, according to the order in which she had passed away.
She was succeeded in the office of abbess by her sister Sexburg, who had been wife to Earconbert, king of Kent. This abbess, when her sister had been buried sixteen years, thought fit to take up her bones, and, putting them into a new coffin, to translate them into the church. Accordingly she ordered some of the brothers to find a stone whereof to make a coffin for this purpose. They went on board ship, for the district of Ely is on every side encompassed with water and marshes, and has no large stones, and came to a small deserted city, not far from thence, which, in the language of the English, is called Grantacaestir, (Grantchester, near Cambridge) and presently, near the city walls, they found a white marble coffin, most beautifully wrought, and fitly covered with a lid of the same sort of stone. Perceiving, therefore, that the Lord had prospered their journey, they returned thanks to Him and carried it to the monastery.
When the grave was opened and the body of the holy virgin and bride of Christ was brought into the light of day, it was found as free from corruption as if she had died and been buried on that very day; as the aforesaid Bishop Wilfrid, and many others that know it, testify. But the physician, Cynifrid, who was present at her death, and when she was taken up out of the grave, had more certain knowledge. He was wont to relate that in her sickness she had a very great tumour under her jaw. “And I was ordered,” said he, “to lay open that tumour to let out the noxious matter in it, which I did, and she seemed to be somewhat more easy for two days, so that many thought she might recover from her infirmity; but on the third day she was attacked by the former pains, and being soon snatched out of the world, she exchanged all pain and death for everlasting life and health. And when, so many years after, her bones were to be taken out of the grave, a pavilion being spread over it, and all the congregation, the brothers on the one side, and the sisters on the other, standing about it singing, while the abbess, with a few others, had gone within to take up and wash the bones, on a sudden we heard the abbess within cry out with a loud voice, ‘Glory be to the name of the Lord.’ Not long after they called me in, opening the door of the pavilion, and I found the body of the holy virgin taken out of the grave and laid on a bed, like one asleep; then taking off the veil from the face, they also showed me that the incision which I had made was healed up; so that, in marvellous wise, instead of the open gaping wound with which she had been buried, there then appeared only the slightest trace of a scar. Besides, all the linen clothes in which the body had been wrapped, appeared entire and as fresh as if they had been that very day put about her chaste limbs.”
It is said that when she was sore troubled with the aforesaid tumour and pain in her jaw and neck, she took great pleasure in that sort of sickness, and was wont to say, “I know of a surety that I deservedly bear the weight of my trouble on my neck, for I remember that, when I was a young maiden, I bore on it the needless weight of necklaces; and therefore I believe the Divine goodness would have me endure the pain in my neck, that so I may be absolved from the guilt of my needless levity, having now, instead of gold and pearls, the fiery heat of a tumour rising on my neck.” It happened also that by the touch of those same linen clothes devils were expelled from bodies possessed, and other diseases were at divers times healed; and the coffin wherein she was first buried is said to have cured some of infirmities of the eyes, who, praying with their heads resting upon that coffin, were presently relieved of the pain or dimness in their eyes. So they washed the virgin’s body, and having clothed it in new garments, brought it into the church, and laid it in the sarcophagus that had been brought, where it is held in great veneration to this day. The sarcophagus was found in a wonderful manner to fit the virgin’s body as if it had been made purposely for her, and the place for the head, which was fashioned separately, appeared exactly shaped to the measurement of her head.
Elge is in the province of the East Angles, a district of about six hundred families, of the nature of an island, encompassed, as has been said, with marshes or waters, and therefore it has its name from the great plenty of eels taken in those marshes; there the aforesaid handmaid of Christ desired to have a monastery, because, as we have before mentioned, she came, according to the flesh, of that same province of the East Angles.
— Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Book IV, Venerable Bede.