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Henry Garnet's Defense
What was the famous Jesuit's point of view?
You will find it here below in the account of his defense at his trial for his role in the Gunpowder Plot.
Then Mr. Garnet, having license of the Court to answer what he could for himself, spake and divided all which had been objected, to his remembrance, into four parts, viz. containing matter of, first, doctrine; secondly, recusants; thirdly, Jesuits in general; fourthly, himself in particular.
First in doctrine, he rememberd two points-
1. Concerning equivocation: whereunto he answered that
their Church condemned all lying, but especially if it be in cause of religionand
faith, that being the most pernicious lie of all others, and by St. Augustine
condemned in the Prisciallianists; nay, to lie in any cause is held a sin
and evil. However of eight degrees which St. Augustine maketh, the lowest
indeed is to lie for to procure the good of some, without hurting of any.
So then our equivocation is not to maintain lying but to defend the use
of certain propositions; for a man may be asked of one, who hath no authority
to interrogate, or examined concerning something which belongeth not to
his own cognisance who asketh, as what a man thinketh, &c. So
then no man may equivocate when he ought to tell the truth, otherwise he
may. And so St. Augustine upon John saith that Christ denied he know
the Day of Judgment, viz, with purpose to tell it to his disciples; and
so St. Thomas, and others who handle this matter, chiefly under the title
Secondly, for recusants:
Thirdly, concerning the Jesuits, he said that if any were privy to such horrible treasons, it was impious, especially in men of their profession; but said that he talked with some of them about it, and that they denied it.
Fourthly, touching myself. The negotiation into Spain was indeed propounded unto me, and I was also acquainted with the negotiation for money, but ever intended it should be bestowed for the relief of poor Catholics; but when they were there, they moved for an army, which , when they afterwards acquainted me withal, I misliked it, and said it would be much disliked at Rome; only I mustneeds confess I did conceal it after the example of Christ, Who commands us, when our brother offends, to reprove him; for if he do amend, we have gained him. Yet I must needs confess that the laws made against such concealing are very good and just, for it is not fit the safety of a prince should depend upon any other man's conscience. to that I am verily persuaded, if they yielded to me, it had been good; but what trheir intent and meaning was in desiring an army I knew not, and I was charged not to meddle therein, no, not with the money that was to be sent for pensions, though it was to maintain the title of the King.
The Earl of Salisbury: To maintain whose title?
The Earl of Salisbury then replied to Garnet: I must now
remember you how little any of your answers can make for your purpose when
you would ask to colour your dealing with Baynam by professing to
write to Rome to procure a contermand of conspiracies; and yet you know,
when he took his hourney towards Rome, the blow mush needs have been passed
before the time he could have arrived to the Pope's presence (such
being your zeal and his haste for any such prevention), as it was about
the 20th of October when he passed by Florence towards Rome.
And when Sir Edmund Baynam (as he pretended) was to go over into Flanders for a soldier, Garnet thought good to send him to the Pope's Nuncio, and to commend him to other friends of his that they should send him to inform the Pope of the distressed estate of Catholics in England; the rather, that the Pope, having a layman there, might be acquainted with all their proceedings; and that Baynam might then learn of the Pope what course he would advise the Catholics in England to take for their own good; but wished Baynam in no case to use Garnet's name to the Nuncio in that behalf.
Then were the two witnesses called for, both of them persons of good estimation, that overheard the interlouction betixt Garnet and Hall the Jesuit, viz., Mr. Fauset, a man learned and a Justice of Peace, and Mr. Lockerson. But Mr. Fauset being not present, was sent for to appear; and in the meantime Mr. Lockerson, who being deposed before Garnet, delivered upon his oath, that they heard Garnet say to Hall:" They will charge me with my prayer for the good success of the great action in the begining of the Parliament, and with the verses which I added in the end of my prayer-
Gentem auferte perfidam
It is true, indeed, said Garnet, that I prayed for the good success of that great action; but I will tell them, that I meant it in respect of some sharper laws, which I feared they would then make against Catholics, and that answer shall serve well enough."
Here Garnet repied that, for the two gentlemen that heard
the interloucution, he would not charge them with purjury, because he knew
them to be honest men; yet he thought they did mistake some things, though
in the substantial parts, he confessed, he could not deny their relation.
And for the main Plot, he confessed that he was therewithal acquainted
by Greenwell particularly; and that Greenwell came perplexed unto him to
open something, which Mr. Catesby with divers others intended; to whom
he said he was contented to hear by him what it was so as he would not
be acknown to Mr. Catesby, or to any other that he was made privy to it.
To that the Earl of Salsbury replied that he should do
well to sepak clearly of his devotion in that point, for otherwise he must
put him in remembrance that he had confessed to the Lords that he had offered
sacrifice to God for stay of that Plot, unless it were for the good of
the Catholic cause. "And in no other fashion." said his Lordship,
"was this state beholden to you for you mases and oblations," adding
thus much further that he wondered why he would not write to his surperior
Aquaviva as well of this particular Powder-treason as to procure prohibition
for other smaller matters.
Then Garnet told the Lords that he commanded Greenwell to dissuade Catesby, which he thought he did; and if Catesby had come to him upon Allhallow-day, he thought he could so far have ruled him as he would have been persuaded to desist.
The Earl of Salisbury: Why did you refuse to hear Catesby tell you all the particulars, when he would have told you, if you had been desirous to prevent it?
Garnet replied that after Greenwell had told him what it was which Catesby intended, and that he called to mind what Catesby said to him, at his first breaking with him in general terms, his soul was so troubled with mislike of that particular, as he was loth to hear any more of it.
"Well, then, " said the Earl of Salisbury, "you see his heart." And then turning to the Lords Commissioners, he desired leave of the that he might use some speefch conerning the proceedings of the State in this greate cause from the first beginning until that hour; and so began to this effect:
That although the evidence had been well distributed and opened by Mr. Attorney, as he had never heard such a mass of matter better contracted, nor made more intelligible to the jury, to whom it was not his part to speak, nor his purpose to meddle with Mr. Garnet in divinity or in the doctrine of equivocation, in which latter he saw how he had played his master-prize; yet because he had been particullarly used in this service with other of the Lords Commissioner, by whom nothing was more desired, next the glory of God, than to demonstrate to the world with what sincerity and moderation His Majesty's justice was carried in all points, he would be bold to say somewhat of the mannero f this arraignment, and of the place whre it was appointed. For the first, he said that, seeing there was nothing to which this Starte might more attribute the infinite goodness and blessings of God than to the protection of the true religion, which had groaned so long under the bittter persecutions of men of his profession, he confessed that he held himself greatly honoured to be na assistant amongst so many great lords at the seat of justice, where God's cause should receive so much honour by discrediting the person of Garnte, on whom the common adversary had thought to confer the ursurpatoion of such an eminent jurisdiction; for otherwise, who did not know that the quality of poor Henry Garnet might have undergone a more ordinary form of trial and ahply in some other place of less note and observation? And so his Lordship took an occassion to declare that the City of London was so dear to the King, and His Majesty so desirous to give it all honour and comfort as ,when this opportunity was put into his hand s wherby there might be made so visible an anatomy of Popish doctrine, from whence these treasons have their source and support, he thought he could not choose a fitter stage than the City of London, which was not only rightly termeed " The Chamber of his Empire." but was by His Majesty esteemend as his greatest and safest treasury, who accounteth no riches comparable to his subjects hearts, and acknowledgeth that such a circut did never contain so many faithful subjects within the walls; a matter well appearing to his own eyes amongst others upon the descease of the late Queen of precious memory, when he, attending most of the Peers and Privy Counsellors of this Kingdom, who were accompanied with no small number of noble and faithful gentlemen, had seen them all stayed fromentry within the gates of this city until they had publicly declared with one voice hat they would live and die wieth the King our Soverign Lord.
To you, therefoe, Mr. Garnet," said the Earl of Salisbury, "must I address myself, as the man in whom it appeareth best what horrible treasons have been covered under the mantle of religion, which heretofore have been petty treason for a Protestant to have affirmed. Such has been the iniquity of false tongues, who have always sought to prove the truth a liar. Of which impudent calumnies the State is so tender, as you do best know, mr. Garne, that since your apprehension, even till this day, you have been a Christianly, as courteously, and as carefully used as every man could be, of any quality or any profession: yea, it may truly be said that you have ben as well attended for health or otherwise as a nurse-child, Is it true or no?
" It is most true, my lord," said Garnet, "I confess it." "Well then," said the Earl, "if your strange doctrine of equivocation be observed, and your hardness of heart to deny all things, let it not be fgorgotten that this interlocution of yours with Hall, overheard by others appears to be digitus Dei; for thereby had the Lords some light and proof of matter aaginst you, which must have been discovered otherwise by violence and coercion, a matter ordinary in other kingdoms, though now forborn here: but it is better as it is for the honour of the State, for so were your own words, that you thought it best to tell the truth at last, when you saw you were confounded tanta nube testium. In which I protest that I do confidently assure myself that you would as easily have confessed yourself to be the author of all the action as the concealer, but that His Majesty and my Lords were well contented to draw all from you without racking, or any sch bitter torments. I pray you, Mr. Garnet, what encouraged Catesby that he might proceed but your resolving him in the first proposition? What warranted Fawkes but Catesby's explication of Garntt's arguments?- as appears infallibly by Winter's confession, and by Fawkes, that they knew the point had been resolved to Mr. Catesby by the best authority."
Then Garnet answered that Mr. Catesby was to blame to
make such application.
to this Garnet answered that when one is asked a qauestion before a magistrate he was not bound to answer before some witnesses be produced against tim, Quia nemo tenetur prodere seipsum.
Then Garnet, falling into some professions of his well wishing to His Majesty, and being put in mind of the answer he made concerning the excommunicaiton of kings, wherein he referred himself to the cannon of Non Sanctorum, he ansewered that His Majesty was not yet excommunicated.
Then the Earl of Salisbury bade him deal plainly, for now was the time, whether in case the Pope, per sententiam orthodoxam, should excommunicate the King's Majesty of Great Britain, his subjects were bound to continue their obedience.
To this Garnet denied to answer.
From that matter he began to make request that, where he had confessed the receiving of two Briefs or Bulls from the Pope in the Queen's time, by which all Catholics were forbidden to adhere to any successor that was not obedient to the Church of Rome, His Majesty would be pleased to make a favorable interpretatin, because he had shown them to very few Catholics in England in the Queen's time; and when he understood that the Pope had changed his mind, he then burnt the Bulls.
To that it was said that belike the Pope changed his mind when the King was so safely possessed of his estate, and Garnet iwth his complices began to feel their own impiety, and so, as Catesby said to Percy, did resolve roundly of that treason which would speed all at once.
Then Garnet becan to use some speeches that he was not consenting to the Powder-Treason.
Whereupon the Earl of Salisbury said: Mr. Garnet, give
me but one argument that you were not consenting to it that you can hold
in any indifferent man's ear or sense, besides your bare negative.
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