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said nygromancyr, but surmysith that yo' said oratour shuld be pryvy unto the said delyng, whereof the contrary shall be proved to fore your lordship right evydently,” &c.-pp. cxix. cxx.
Roger Polgrenn states in his petition in the same reign, that it was the custom of Cornwall - evermore out of tyme that no mynde ys be used and accustumed that yn cas yff any persone dwellyng wythynne the saide counte dye that hys heyr schall have off all maner off godes of hys fader ys the principals,” p. xxxix.; but we have perhaps no other evidence of such a custom: nor do we believe that it now prevails. In another petition complaining that one Lawrence Wilkinson had seduced his maid-servant, a man describes himself as a “ Textwriter of London."
In the time of Edward the Fourth, we have proof of the publication of deeds in parish churches :
“John Croke, Thomas Godard, and Thomas Botely of Newbery, sworn uppon a boke, seyen that they herde John Stokes of Brympton in the countie of Berk, gentilman, sey and declare that he saw and radde, in the parissh churche of Estildesley in the seid countie of Berk, a dede of entayle concerninge a tenement,” &c.—p. lxxxv.
A petition from a priest about the same period, affords a curious example of the danger to which the clergy exposed themselves from popular resentment, if openly guilty of immoral conduct :
“Mekely besechith yo' pour chapeleyn and oratour S? Waultier Howard prest, that wher as he accordyng to naturall reason and Jawe was syttyng and drynkyng with his owne suster in an honest hous within the cite of London, yet dyvers personez maliciously disposed toward yo' said oratour enterd in to the said hous, surmysyng that the said woman shuld not be his suster, and ther made assaulte uppon hym, and hym ther toke, bette, and sore wounded, and from thens carried yo' said oratour to the Compter,” &c.—p. lxxxviii.
The petitions of that reign also contain one from a Spanish merchant, complaining, that one Francis Narbone of Gascoyn, enticed him into a tavern of London, and having seduced him to play at dice won of him with false dice 28li., in consequence of which Narbone was arrested; but as he had taken sanctuary in Westminster, the complainant prayed the Chancellor to grant a “corpus cum causa” directed to the sheriffs of London, commanding them to bring the matter“ be fore the kyng in hys Chauncery.”- p. cii. Among other singular petitions, is one in the middle of the fifteenth century, for the recovery of a book.
Two suits occur for the payment of a surgeon's bill: the one informs us that James le Leche, a Dutchman, was applied to by Sir Edward Courtenay, Knight, to cure him of a disease in his leg; and that, as Sir Edward was obliged to return into Devonshire, be engaged James to attend him, but that when he was fully healed, before he applied for payment, Courtenay ordered his servant to take him to the Compter, &c.—p. civ: and the other in the reign of Henry VII. when Peter Blank, surgeon, complained that a stationer of London“ having a child that was diseased in the ie with a pynne and a webbe, willyd and desyred ye seyd oratour to cure ye seyd child ;" this he undertook to do, provided the father would cause the child “ to be preserved and kept from mysbehavyng hymself with his hands in toching and robbyng of the seyd ei ;”, but as the patient did “ rub his eye" the attempt to save it failed, upon which the stationer brought an action against the doctor.-p. cxxiv. Nor are these the only litigations in which the professors of the healing art were complainants : but we have no space for further extracts. Our object in selecting the few which we have introduced from above fifty that we had marked for the purpose, is to show the valuable illustrations of manners which these petitions contain; and which would alone entitle them to attention, even were they as destitute as they are rich in information connected with legal and personal history, and the descent of property.
That the petitions in question should, under any circumstances, be neglected by a Commission established for the publication of records that elucidate the history of this country, would be sufficient matter of astonishment; but that a calendar should be ordered to be made of one part of the series to the entire omission of what, we contend, are the most useful and important, really seems to be an act of wilful absurdity which could only be exceeded by an attempt to justify or explain it. The truth however is, that the Commissioners, and it is the fault of all similar institutions that emanate from the Crown, are men of high rank, who, being fully engaged on more important official duties, are obliged to act upon suggestions, the merits of which they have neither the necessary information, nor the time to investigate. Of the gross folly of many of those propositions; and still more, of the culpable manner in which even bad plans have been executed, we have, we think, presented ample specimens for one article on the subject.
No es comida para puercos Mi Fruto, ca perlas son y aunque
parezeo Carrasco soy mas, pues soy Carrascon. De las Cortes, y Midrano en Cintrueñiyo, por Maria Sanchez No driza. Año 1633.
Few, if any, of our readers are probably aware that Mr. Blanco White is not the first distinguished member of the Church of Spain who has sought a refuge in our country and communion from the snares and terrors by which his conscience was assailed in the land and the faith of his fathers. The curious little work in which we find this fact being one of extreme rarity, we may, perhaps, be thought to render a not unacceptable service to our readers by laying before them the opinions of the author on the religion in which he was nurtured. It is in the possession of Mr. Salvà *, of Regent-street, in whose catalogue of Spanish books, a work of great bibliographical learning and accuracy, it is noticed in the following words:
- This work was written by a Spaniard, who, after being an Augustin Friar in Spain, came to England, where he turned Protestant. King James ordered him to translate the Liturgy into Spanish, and as a reward for his labours made him a canon of Hereford cathedral. The leaf supplied by hand in this copy is more than a century old, an unequivocal proof that the rarity of this book is of long standing. In fact, neither Nicholas Antonio, nor any other bibliographer, either Spanish or foreign, had, so far as I can discover, the remotest idea of this author, or of his work, until La Serna Santander announced it in the catalogue of his books, and the editors of the periodical work, called Ocios de Españoles emigrados,' in the number for the month of May, 1824, gave notice of this copy, which is the only one of whose existence we have any account. It was at Genoa, from whence it has just been imported as a curiosity worthy to hold a place in some of the libraries of England, which contain so many bibliographical rarities.”
The style of the book is fantastic, and highly characteristic of an age in which it was the fashion not only to use words to express a meaning, but to play with them in any way ingenuity could devise; and in which quirks and puns found their way into the gravest discussions, and even into the pulpit. It has, in spite of this, a tone of great earnestness and seriousness : it is dedicated to his two daughters in an address containing the counsels and sentiments of a truly christian father; which concludes in these words :
“ Love God above all things, and your neighbour as yourselves. Honour your father and your honoured and generous mother. Love
* Late Deputy to the Cortes for the city of Valencia.
each other affectionately; do evil to no one, but according to your power, good to all: for if you act thus, that God, who is the infinite good, and from whom all good proceeds, will fill you in this life with spiritual mercies, and will provide you with temporal blessings, so that you may live in his fear, die in his favour, and be received into his glory."
All that we learn of his private history is, that he was " by birth an Hidalgo, of illustrious and wealthy lineage,” although he himself was poor; that he quitted his country in search of one more favourable to his progress towards that land which was the object of his desires; and that he was still a voluntary exile from Spain. He says, quaintly,
« In England I wove four webs: one in Latin, which I called • Texeda Retextus;' two others in English, the one called “Miracles Unmasked;" the other, with a Latin title, Scruptamini Scripturas.' In the fourth I gave a Spanish voice to the English liturgy. This I did at the command of the most wise king James, of blessed memory. He rewarded me with a canonry in the cathedral of Hereford ; and if God had not shortly after called him to reign in his glorious kingdom, he would have still farther advanced me, which he promised ; and said, that that Prebendal stall was only the earnest of a greater recompense. With the king died my hopes; I forsook the court before it forsook me, and retired to the place of my dignity. . . . . . . . . I read all the books I could get in Romance (Spanish), and many in Latin. I ransacked popish treatises, catholic arguments and works prohibited by the Inquisition of Spain, for facts against the Church of Rome. Of these materials I compiled one large volume, in Latin, De Monachatu;' another, De Contradictionibus doctrinæ Ecclesiæ Romanæ,' in the same tongue; and another, entitled · Carrascon,' also in Latin, in which, from the premises of anti-christian doctors, I drew christian conclusions."
The little work before us, which bears the same title as the last mentioned, is in Spanish, and was printed in the Low Countries. It is divided into chapters, most of which are headed with some passage either from decrees of councils, or from works of unquestioned authority in the Romish church. The first chapter is on the reading of the Holy Scriptures. Carrascon contends with great earnestness for the free use of the sacred volume, and lays open the motives of the intense anxiety of the popish priesthood to keep it from all eyes but their own. These arguments might appear to be sufficiently unanswerable, and these causes sufficiently obvious; but let us remember that the contest between darkness and light is still going on, and that however familiar to our minds these truths may be, there are millions into which they can find no entrance.
“ All who have not lost all shame before God and man, confess that God reveals to us the way of life in the divine word. .... But it does not suit the pope and the priests that we should have any such
rule of faith or standard of truth. ... Their custom is not to render an account of any thing to any body, but to require it of every body concerning every thing ; so imperious and domineering are they. It is not therefore their interest to permit recourse to be had to this Sovereign Book. They care not how tortuous the way, provided it does but always mislead. To palliate and conceal their tyranny, they invent blasphemous excuses and pretexts, and even impute false testimonies to the word of God. They say it is obscure, as if His word could be otherwise than clear. They allege that it is the cause and the occasion of errors, as if truth itself had not given it to us in order that we might avoid errors, and know clearly the way to Heaven. They say that though it is good in itself, evil men make an ill use of it; as if the abuse of a thing ought to make us abandon the right use of it; or as if we ought to deprive the good of needful blessings, because the wicked pervert them to evil; and as if they did not themselves teach, that although images have been and still are the occasion of infinite errors and idolatries, and although auricular confession has been by many foully abused *, yet, that our temples are not to be stripped of the former, nor the faithful to desist from the practice of the latter. In which they clearly shew and make palpable their develish cunning, since they prohibit what God commands, under colour that it is liable to abuse, and command what God prohibits, though they see with their eyes and feel with their hands its inconveniences and abuses."
Mr. Blanco White, in his “ Letter to Charles Butler, Esq. 1826," asserts that the church of Rome had rather deliver over its doubting children to atheism and infidelity, than suffer them to search for a system of faith which might bring conviction to their understandings and repose to their hearts.
His testimony on this point is corroborated by that of Carrascon :
“ Suffice it at this time to say, that a man renders himself amenable to the tribunal of the inquisition by searching the Scriptures for truth; and that, while all sorts of profane, indecent, and accursed books are permitted in our miserable Spain, the word of God alone has no place, and is rejected as pernicious."
He asserts on the authority of Luis of Granada, a friar, that the ecclesiastics of Spain vehemently opposed the printing, not only of the Scriptures, but of all works of piety and devotion whatsoever in the vulgar tongue. Fra. Joseph de Jesus-Maria declares that “ in spite of numberless petitions, deliberations of the lords of the council, manifestations of public opinion, and
* A gentleman, upon whose authority we can perfectly rely, told us the other day, that he distinctly remembered, when a child in Italy, being asked by the priest at confession, whether his father and mother lived well together—whether they had ever any disputes—what were the causes, &c. Through children and servants they thus make themselves masters of the most secret details of every family.