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had; others of us have been grievously beaten with cudgels in Bridewell, and cast into a place called Little Ease, for refusing to come to their chapel service,in which prison several have ended their lives. But upon none of our companions thus committed by them and dying in their prison, is there any search or inquest suffered to pass, as by law in like case is provided.
'Their manner of pursuing and apprehending us is with no less violence and outrage. Their pursuivants, with their assistants, break into our houses at all times of the night, where they break open, ransack and rifle at their pleasure, under pretence of searching for seditious unlawful books. The husbands in the dead of night they have plucked out of their beds from their wives, and haled them to prison. Some time since, these pursuivants, late in the night, entered in the Queen's name into an honest citizen's house upon Ludgate Hill, where, after they had at their pleasure searched and ransacked all places, chests, &c., of the house, they apprehended two of our ministers, Mr. Francis Johnson and John Greenwood, without any warrant at all, both of whom, between one and two of the clock after midnight, they with bills and staves led them to the Counter of Wood street, taking assurance of Mr. Boys the master of the house, to be prisoner in his house till next day, at which time the Archbishop, with certain doctors his associates, committed them to close prison, two to the Clink and the third to the Fleet, where they now remain in distress. Since this they have cast into prison Thomas Settle, Daniel Studley, and Nicholas Lane, taken upon a Lord's day in our assembly, and shut them up in the Gate-house. Others of our friends they
are in continual pursuit of, so that there is no safety for them in one place. "We therefore, humbly pray, in the name of God and of our sovereign the Queen, that we may have the benefit of the laws and of the public charter of the land, namely, that we may be received to bail till we be by order of law convicted of some crime deserving bonds. We plight unto your Honors our faith unto God, and our allegiance to her Majesty, that we will not commit anything unworthy the Gospel of Christ, or to the disturbance of the common peace and good order of the land, and that we will be forthcoming at such reasonable warning as your Lordships shall command. Oh! let us not perish before trial and judgment, especially imploring and crying out to you for the same. However, we here take the Lord of heaven and earth, and his angels, together with your own consciences, and all persons in all ages, to whom this our supplication may come, to witness that we have here truly advertised your Honors of our case and usage, and have in all humility offered our cause to Christian trial.”*
Barrowe, in a particular supplication of his own, set forth their grievances with greater force of language. "Those bloody men," said he, "will allow us neither meat, drink, fire, lodging, nor any whose hearts the Lord would stir up for our relief to have access to us; by which means seventeen or eighteen have perished in the noisome jails within these six
Strype's Annals, in Neal i, p. 199.
years. Some of us had not one penny about us when we were sent to prison, nor anything to procure a maintenance for ourselves and families but our handy labor and trades, by which means not only we ourselves, but our families and children, are undone and starved. Their unbridled slander, their lawless privy searches, their violent breaking open houses, their taking away whatever they think meet, and their barbarous usage of women and children, we are forced to omit lest we be tedious. That which we crave for us all is the liberty to die openly or to live openly in the land of our nativity. If we deserve death, let us not be closely murdered, yea, starved to death with hunger and cold in loathsome prisons."
Another petition addressed to the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, and subscribed by fifty-nine prisoners in the various prisons in and about London, with the names appended of ten who had died in the same prisons, begged, in the most respectful and persuasive terms, either "a speedy trial together, or some free Christian conference, or else in the meanwhile, that they might be bailed according to law, or else put into Bridewell, or some other convenient place where they might be together for mutual aid and comfort." To show what reason they had for making such a request, they said, “We, her Majesty's loyal, dutiful and true-hearted subjects, to the number of three score persons and upward, have contrary to all law and equity, been imprisoned, separated from our trades, wives, children and families; yea, put up in close prisons from all comfort, many of us for the space of two years and a half, upon the Bishop's sole commandment, in great penury and noisomeness of the prisons; many ending their lives, never called to trial; some haled forth to the sessions; some cast in irons and dungeons; some in hunger and famine; all of us debarred from any lawful audience before our honorable governors and magistrates, and from all benefit and help of the laws; daily defamed and falsely accused by published pamphlets, by private suggestions, open preaching, slanders, and accusations of heresy, sedition, schism, and what not. And, above all, which most utterly toucheth our salvation, they keep us from
all spiritual comfort and edifying by doctrine, prayer, or mutual conference."
There was one comprehensive, and (as the authorities judged) all-sufficient reason for disregarding these petitions. In the judgment of Lord Burleigh as well as Archbishop Whitgift, the petitioners were obstinate men who might at any time obtain their liberty by promising entire conformity and submission to the church of England, and renouncing their pretended right of instituting voluntary churches on the New Testament plan. It seemed altogether reasonable that such men should lie in prison, and that all the civil rights of English subjects, guaranteed by the great charter, should be broken down for the sake of keeping them there lest others should become infected with the same preposterous notions of religious liberty overtopping the Queen's ecclesiastical supremacy.
Among the subscribers to the petition last mentioned, was Roger Rippon, at that time a prisoner in Bridewell. Roger Rippon died, not long afterwards, in another prison, Newgate. Bridewell, an ancient prison by the Thames, was the place from which eighteen of those fifty-nine petitioners dated their signatures, and one part of their petition was that they might be able at least to have the alleviation of being all in Bridewell together, "for their mutual help and comfort." Of their ten brethren whose names were appended to the petition as having died in prison, five had died in Newgate. Was it for this reason that Roger Rippon had been transferred to Newgate from Bridewell? His fellow prisoners expressed their grief and indignation in an inscription which they placed upon his coffin. The inscription was,
"This is the corpse of Roger Rippon, a servant of Christ and her Majesty's faithful subject; who is the last of sixteen or seventeen which that great enemy of God the Archbishop of Canterbury, with his High Commissioners, have murdered in Newgate within these five years, manifestly for the testimony of Jesus Christ. His soul is now with the Lord, and his blood crieth for speedy vengeance against that great enemy of his saints, and against Mr. Richard Young, who in this and many the like points, hath abused his power for the upholding of the Romish antichrist, prelacy and priesthood."
"Mr. Richard Young," named in the inscription, was a city
magistrate whose eminent zeal in the persecution of the Separatists, he being also one of the Commissioners, made him eminently obnoxious. When the coffin of Roger Rippon, thus inscribed, was carried from the prison, along the streets of London, to its burial, the procession halted before the door of Justice Young. Copies of the inscription were made by friends of the deceased, and must have been widely dispersed among those who were most likely to be moved by such a testimony. There was a sort of desperate courage in these proceedings. It seemed as if the persecuted few, having lost all hope of obtaining justice in any other way, were making an appeal against their persecutors to the pity of the people. Of course the appeal was resented by the persecutors. Several persons were imprisoned for carrying the coffin. And not long afterwards, on the 21st of March, 1593, Barrowe and Greenwood, with three others less conspicuous, were indicted at the Old Bailey, for the same offense for which Copping and Thacker had suffered just ten years earlier.
Barrowe had published in 1590, as the result of his prison studies, a volume entitled, "A brief Discovery of the False Church." The work was subscribed on its last page, "by the Lord's most unworthy servant and witness, in bonds, Henry Barrowe." It had been written by stealth when he was so closely watched that he could not "keep one sheet by him while he was writing another." The writer had been neither ignorant nor thoughtless of the peril to which he was exposing himself. "The shipmasters," said he, "the mariners, merchantmen, and all the people that reign, row, and are carried in this False Church,-will never endure to see fire cast into her; they will never endure to suffer loss of their dainty and precious merchandise, but, rather, will raise up no small tumults and stirs against the servants of God, seeking their blood by all subtle and violent means, as we read in the Scriptures their predecessors have always done, accusing them of treason, troubling the state, schism, heresy, and what not." He struck boldly at the foundation of the national church and of the assumed identity between church and state, namely, the doctrine "that a Christian prince which publisheth and maintaineth the
gospel, doth forthwith make all that realm which with open force resisteth not his proceedings, to be held a church to whom a holy ministry and sacraments belong, without further and more particular and personal trial, examination, confession, and so forth." In other words, the doctrine which he opposed, and on which was built the theory of the ecclesiastical supremacy, is that a state under a government which acknowledges the Christian religion, is of course a Christian church. "This doctrine," he said, "we find by the word of God, to be most false, corrupt, unclean, dangerous, and pernicious doctrine, contrary to the whole course, practice, and laws, both of the Old and New Testament, breaking at once all Christian order, corrupting and poisoning all Christian communion and fellowship, and sacrilegiously profaning the holy things of God." He assailed the liturgy of the Queen's ecclesiastical establishment, not only finding fault with particular phrases and ceremonies as the Puritans were wont to do, but abhorring the "thing itself as evidently abstracted from the Pope's blasphemous Mass Book," and denouncing even the principle of "a public prescript continued liturgy." To him, "if it were the best that ever was devised by mortal man, yet, in this place and use," "it becometh a detestable idol, standing for that it is not in the church of God and consciences of men, namely, for holy spiritual and faithful prayer." Under the Old Testament law, "every sacrifice must be brought quick and new unto the altar, and there be slain every morning and evening; how much more in this spiritual temple of God, where the offerings are spiritual, and God made all his servants kings and priests to offer up sacrifices unto him, through Jesus Christ who hath thereunto given them his Holy Spirit. into their hearts, to help their infirmities and teach them to say, Abba, Father."" With the same vehemence he inveighed against the Puritan or Reforming party in the national church" your great learned preachers; your good men that sigh and groan for reformation,' but their hands, with the sluggard, deny to work." Alluding to their attempted introduction of the Presbyterian discipline by voluntary arrangement among themselves without secession from the na