THE PROTESTATION OF MARTIN MARPRELATE
ing of the printer, he makes it known
unto the world that he fears neither
proud priest, Antichristian pope,
tyrannous prelate, nor godless cater-
cap: but defies he all the race of them
by these presents and offers condition-
ally, as is farther expressed herein,
by open disputation to appear in the
them and theirs.
maintain against him, then does he
also publish that he never means, by
the assistance of God, to leave the
assaying of them and their generation
out of our church.
by the worthy gentleman D. Martin Mar-
prelate D. in all the faculties primate and
You cannot lightly be ignorant, good reader, of that which has lately fallen unto some things of mine, which were to be printed, or in printing: the press, letters, workmen and all, apprehended and carried as malefactors before the magistrate, whose authority I reverence and whose sword I would fear, were I as wicked as our bishops are. These events I confess do strike me and give me just cause to enter more narrowly into myself, to see whether I be at peace with God or no. But utterly to discourage me from mine enterprise, a greater matter than that comes to, I hope shall never be able. The state of the poor men that are taken, I do bewail, not because they have hurt me, for I assure you they know not who I am, but inasmuch as I fear the tyranny of our wicked priests will do that against them which neither the word of God doth warrant, nor law of the land doth permit.
4 For as their hatred unto the cause is without ground, so their cruelty to those that profess the same is without measure. Therefore good reader, if you hear of any mean or compassionable punishment inflicted upon them (who to say the truth have deserved none at all, I mean the printers) I would never have you stand to expostulate with our bishops for this untimely lenity1 of theirs, for whom I dare take my oath (for I know them so well) that if there fall out any good to those poor men through the providence of God, and the gracious clemency of her Majesty, they for their parts are no more guilty, or accessary unto it, than the Spanish inquisitors themselves. For indeed, in this one point they are of my mind. viz: That reformation cannot well come to our church without blood. And that no blood can handsomely be spilt in that cause, unless they themselves be the butchers and horse-leaches to draw it out. The [conceit] evidently they claim that as a piece 5 and portion of their inheritance.
But tell them from me that we fear not men who can but kill the body, because we fear that God who can cast both body and soul into unquenchable fire. And tell them also this: that the more blood the church loses the more life and blood it gets. When the fearful sentence pronounced against the persecutors of the truth is executed upon them, I would then gladly know whether they who go about thus to shed our blood, or we whose blood cries for vengeance against them, shall have the worst end of the staff. We are sure to posses our souls in everlasting peace, whensoever we leave this earthly tabernacle; and in the mean time we know that an hair of our head cannot fall to the ground without the will of our heavenly father, who of his great mercy loves us in and for our Saviour Christ Jesus, and that with a love as far passing the love of a natural father toward his children, as he who so loves us excels all earthly parents. This 6 persuasion being steadfastly engrafted in their hearts, who either now or hereafter shall be trodled for this cause, will be a comfort to them in the midst of all their distresses.
And, good reader, whosoever you are, I would not have you discouraged at this that is lately fallen out. Reason not from the success of things unto the goodness of the cause. For that savours too much of the flesh. If in beholding the state of the Low Countries, and of France, you would have so reasoned with yourself you might easily have given the holy religion of God the slip 20 years ago. You must think that in these successes, though they be many times lamentable to the children of God, yet the Lord himself has a special hand to try it, may be who they are, that with a double face, and who with a single heart, do affect the cause. As to the present action, howsoever there may escape me some corruption in the handling, let them be well assured it was not undertaken to be intermitted 7 at every blast of evil success. Nay, let them know that by the grace of God the last year of Martinism, that is, of the descrying and displaying2 of lord bishops, shall not be till full 2 years after the last year of Lambethism: that is, of joining most godless proceedings unto the maintenance of an Antichristian and unlawful calling in God's church against the known truth. For that indeed is rightly called Lambethism or Cooperism, choose you whether.
And be it known unto them that Martinism stands upon another manner of foundation than their prelacy does, or can stand. Therefore if they will needs overthrow me, let them go in hand with the exploit rather by proving the lawfulness of their places than by exercising the force of their unlawful tyranny. For once again, I fear not their tyranny. And one sound syllogism (which I tell you is dainty ware in a bishops breast) brought in for the proof of their unlawful callings shall more dismay and sooner induce me to give over my course than a thousand warrants a thousand pursuivants3, a thousand threats 8 and a thousand racks. Which course, because they take not, therefore all their other drifts and devices are to no other end than to shew the great care and skill they have to carry away all the blows. But what get they by their tyranny, seeing it is truth and not violence that most uphold their places? Do they not know that the more violence they use, the more breathe they spend. And what wisdom were this, trow4 you, for a man that had coursed5 himself windless, to attempt the recovery of his breath by running up and down to find air? So you know he might soon have as much life in his members as lord bishops have religion and conscience in their proceedings.
The whole issue of their force and bloodthirsty attempts does nothing else but witness against them, that they are the children of those fathers who never as yet dared abide to have their proceedings examined by the word, and methinks they should be ashamed to have it recorded unto ages to come, that they have ever shunned to maintain their cause, either by open disputation, 9 or by any other sound conference or writing. Let me be overthrown by any of these ways, and I do here, by these my writings, publicly protest that I will never molest lord bishop again while I live, but will with very great vehemence, to the uttermost of my endeavour, maintain them and their cause, as ever I did oppugn the same; otherwise I do, with the like constancy and resolution, protest that by the aid and assistance of God, I will never leave the displaying of them and their proceedings until they be made as odious in our church and commonwealth, as that they be thought of all sorts, unworthy to be harboured therein.
And this offer of mine, so reasonable and in every respect so easy to be yielded unto. If they refuse, who sees not therein a secret implying and a close granting of the desperateness and misery of their cause, which shakes and quivers, and shrinks as it were in the sinews, to think that there should be any buckling towards, and therefore does wisely shift of all honest and 10 lawful means of trial, as having nothing to uphold it but tyranny and blood.
Now because they would gladly know Martin, I will here set them down a way whereby they may not only know him, but (that which is more delightful unto them, they may quench their thirst with his blood if they will) provided that they be able to make their cause good against him by the word of God.
I do therefore by this my protestation, make it known to the whole church of England, especially unto our magistrates, more especially unto our gracious sovereign, and unto all posterity to come, that I who do now go under the name of Martin Marprelate, do offer personally to appear, and there to make myself known in open disputation, upon the danger, not only of my liberty but also of my life, to maintain against all our bishops, 11 or any else whosoever that shall dare in any Scholastical manner, to take their parts, the cause of the church government, which is now in controversy between me and our prelates, so that I may have this condition following inviolably kept and observed, viz: That for appearing, or for anything that I have either published or caused to be published in this cause, I be not dealt with or molested except they overthrow me by the word of God, which if they do, confusion be upon me if I do not yield. But if in this encounter I overthrow them (as I make no question of it, if they dare abide the push) then they to truss up and be packing to ROME, and to trouble our church no longer. Provided also, that if any of the Puritans will join with me, and venture their lives in the cause, it may be lawful for them to come in freely 12 against these dragons in disputation.
I call you here again (good reader) to witness the indifference of my challenge and offer, and to judge what account you ought to make of our present church government by lord archbishops and bishops, upon the refusal of the former condition by them; and whether thereupon, I may not justly and lawfully proclaim the victory over them in manner following:
Be it known unto all states, Churches, and Universities under heaven, and unto all men, either present or to come, of what estate or condition soever: That inasmuch as Mr.6 Fenner's, and Mr. Penry's syllogisms, whereby Doctor Bridges his book is confuted, and the cause of reformation unanswerably proved. Mr. Travers, Mr. Cartwright, and Mr. Gilbye's, the Demonstration of Discipline, the Abstract, the Counterpoison; Mr. Tyndale, Mr. Frith, Mr. Barnes, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Foxe, and Mr. Martin Marprelate's writings, together with other learned discourses 13 more; whereby the corruption, and the unlawfulness of the places and proceedings of lord bishops are shamefully laid open unto the world, are as yet unanswered and likely to be no otherwise confuted than with slanders, ribaldry, scurrility, reviling, imprisonment and torture; and inasmuch as they dare not maintain their cause against me by open and public disputation, that therefore they do manifestly confess their cause and proceedings to be clean foiled, overthrown, and made even with the ground, in such sort as beside whorish impudence, halter, axe, bonds, scourging and racking, with such other weapons as were bequeathed unto them by their forefathers, the ancient enemies and persecutors of the church, they have not left any instrument to defend themselves.
And let them be sure, seeing they dare come to no lawful way of trial with me, that there shall not be a post in any great street or place of concourse, almost in the land, but I will make an affix and set up this my foresaid 14 declaration of the victory had over them, to their shame. And I will also make foreign nations ring of their villainies and ungodliness, if the publishing of their doings in Latin can do it.
And as for myself, my life, and whatsoever else I possess, I have long ago set up my rest, making that account of it, as in standing against the enemies of God and for the liberty of his church, it is of no value in my sight. My life in this cause shall be a gain to the church, and no loss to myself, I know right well. And this is all the reckoning which by the assistance of the Lord I will make as long as I live, of all the torments they have devised for me. I am blamed of many in this my attempt, not only for throwing myself into great danger, but also for the utter undoing of my wife and children. I do thank them with all my heart for their care over those poor souls, and commend them for their secrecy and wisdom, that in knowing my wife and my children they have not, by shewing their unmeasurable love towards them, discovered me. 15 You see what it is when wise men have the handling of a matter. I perceive, if these men were not very provident and wary, that Martin could not be long unknown. For I tell you, if a man's wife and children be once known, it is not possible that he can be secret any long time; and yet methinks that all their wisdom, and all their care over my wife and children when the matter is well weighed, is scant worth three straws. For what if Martin had neither wife nor child in all his life? Are they not then something too much overweened in their own conceit, who give out that he has both. Will you believe me then if I tell you the truth? To put you therefore out of all doubt, I may safely protest unto you with a good conscience that howsoever the speech may seem strange unto many, yet the very truth is that hitherto I never had wife nor child in all my life. Not that I never mean to have any, for it may be, notwithstanding all the rage and barking of the Lambethetical whelps, I may be married, and that 16 ere it be long.
For methinks this should be enough, that two only of the Metropolitans of the land should continue maiden (though I fear scarce virgin) priests. But whensoever I am married, it would do me good at the heart to see a dozen of good and honest lord bishops dance at my wedding, saving that as Mr. Tyndale hath very well noted, (Practice of Prelates, p. 374), It is not possible naturally there should be any good and honest lord bishop. Well, howsoever it goes with me, you see how little cause as yet my wife and children have to fear that Antichrist of Lambeth and his instruments.
To omit these matters. Will they know indeed why I fear them not, and wherefore they ought not to terrify you, good reader, if the Lord has bestowed upon you the same mind that he has vouchsafed me?. Why, surely it is because they against whom I deal have so provoked the anger of God and the prayers of his church against them, as stand long they cannot, if either the 17 Lord be true of his promise or the prayers of the church made in faith can be heard. Of both which I make no question. Hereunto you may add that I fear them not, inasmuch as the end wherefore I have taken this work in hand was only the glory of God, by delivering of his church from the great tyranny and bondage wherewith these tyrants do oppress the same. I dealt not herein, as the Lord knows, because I would please myself, or my reader, in a pleasant vein of writing. If that be the thing I sought or seek after, then let my writings be buried in the grave of all proud prelates, that is, never mentioned in the church of God without detestation. Even so was it as far from me that by sharpening my pen against them, I should thereby (as some foolishly give out) make a way for myself, or other great men, unto their livings and promotion. For if the possession and enjoying of a good conscience, but for one day alone, be not more dear to me than all their ungodly pomp and 18 ambitious preeminence, then let my adversaries prey upon me, and let my reward be nothing else but the very bitterness of their malicious hearts. I have, I thank God, of my own, wherewith I am better content than they are, with all their spoil and robbery. And if I wanted, I could tell how to live in an honest calling with better credit in the church of God than all the lord bishops of England do. And I may safely say, it is so far from me to bring the church livings into the hands of any but the ministers and officers thereof, that I can no more abide church-robbery in a temporal man than I can brook sacrilege in a presumptuous priest: as I hate the one, so I abhor the other.
But as concerning the laying open of their bishoprics to the spoil of such cormorants as gape for their downfall, thereby only to enrich themselves, I greatly muse that our prelates will be so overseen as to charge me therewith. For it is well known that none of them all, no not the proudest priest in the 19 land, does so cumber7 himself in caring how he should live that comes after him, but that now all of them begin prettily, either of their wonted love to themselves, or of their natural spite to their successors, to take such charitable order as that if they may have their wills, I hope there shall not be much left in a while, to allure any covetous courtier to the spoil. Wherein, no dispraise to any, I must needs commend for their forecast8 in this point, a couple of as arrant bishops (for it were pity to bereave the devil of his due commendation) as any the land yields. The men, or rather beasts that I mean, are John London, and Thomas Winchester, whereof the one at Fulham, the other by Whitney in Oxfordshire, have so contended in throwing down elms, as if the wager had been, whether of them should most have impoverished their bishoprics. And yet I blame not Mar-elm9, so much as Cooper for this fact, because it is no less given him by his name to spoil elms than it is allotted him by the secret 20 judgement of God to mar the church. Whereas a man of Mr. Cooper�s age, and occupation, so well seen in that trade, might easily know that tubs made of green timber must needs leak out of all cry. And yet now I consider with myself, I do not so greatly marvel at the matter. For he that makes no conscience to be a deceiver and a false prophet in the building of the church, will not stick for his gain, to be a deceitful workman in making of tubs.
Well, concerning the care that our prelates have in leaving of things behoovefull10 for their successors, I may truly say, that were it not more for fear of law than for any conscience of the maintenance of the ministry, the whole bishopric, even today before tomorrow, would not yield a lord bishop so much as might purchase him an handsome halter to hang himself with, as the poet says. Therefore let them never talk more for shame (as their T. C. does) of the care they have that the church's maintenance should not decay. And as herein their spoil and 21 robbery is apparent, on the other side so their tyranny and bloodthirsty proceedings against good men, is inexcusable.
And as herein their spoil and robbery is apparent, so on the other side their tyranny and bloodthirsty proceedings is inexcusable; and yet is the manner of their proceedings more intolerable and dangerous to the state, than their very practises themselves.
First, you see, they may examine of what they will. For who can let11 them when they be both sole judge and sole witness themselves, and none other by12, but the poor examinee. To which effect, what is the seat of justice they commonly use in these cases, but only some close chamber at Lambeth, or some obscure gallery in London palace13, where according to the true nature of an evil conscience, that flies and fears the light, they may juggle and foist in what they list14 without control; and so attempt (if they will) to induce the party examined, to be of a conspiracy with them, to pull 22 the crown off her Majesty's head. And I put case they should do so (as here you see is a way laid open for them to broach any conspiracy in the world) what remedy should the party that stands there alone have, by apeaching15 or complaining? Any other, trow you, than this: he lies like a puritan knave; I'll have his ears; I'll have the scandalum magnatum against him. For he has slandered the high commission and the president of her Majesty's council, namely, my Lord of Canterbury's worship? And here behold the poor man's reward.
Secondly, you must lay your hand on the book, and not know whereunto you must be sworn. Yea16, they be so honest, that they will compel you to accuse yourself, or else you shall lie by it. Which ungodly practise of theirs, savours so rankly of the Spanish Inquisition that it is flat contrary to all humanity, the express laws of the land and the doctrine of our church. For the law is so far from compelling any to apeach himself in a cause 23 wherein either life, goods, or good name is called in question, that it altogether condemns those for oppressors of the common liberty of her Majesty's subjects, and for unreasonable violators and wresters of all good order of justice, that will urge or require any such thing at their hands; as may more at large appear in a plain Statute of the 25th of Henry 8 in the title of heresy. And therefore, men may see what account they ought to make of those shameless speeches of that worthy greyhead, Mistress Cooper's husband, who as he has been long since too old to blush, so did he not let, openly to avouch17, that before God, there was no other way of trial, nor no state could stand and continue without it.
To conclude this point. It is too manifest, that: 1. by these their private whispering examinations in corners; 2. by the oath thus administered at random; 3. by the enforcing of men to accuse themselves; our bishops, with their wretched favourers, may in time (as it is not unlikely but they will) 24 bring one of these mischievous inconveniences upon her Majesty's best subjects: viz. either perpetual imprisonment, loss of ears or some other limb, or else (as I said before) an enforcement to conspire the overthrow of her Majesty's crown and dignity. Whether these matters be not worthy the consideration of the gravest councillors in the land, I leave it to the judgement of every true Englishman that loves his Prince and the liberty of his country. But Martin is an intolerable, busy fellow, for molesting the state of the clergy in this sort.
Now I hasten to other matters, where it may be, good reader, you will ask what was in that 'Pistle18 of mine? To tell you true, I sigh to remember the loss of it, it was so pretty and so witty. And I know if you had it, you would lay it up among other thy honest recreations, for your delight.
First then, there was set down for your learning, the true, proper, and natural definition, or rather description of Martinism, to this effect: That to 25 be a right Martinist indeed, is to be neither Brownist, Cooperist, Lambethist, Schismatic, Papist, atheist, traitor nor yet lord bishop; but one that is at defiance with all men, whether he be French, Dutch, Spanish, Catercap,20 pope or popeling, so far forth as he is an enemy to God and her Majesty. Whereupon I remember, I did then ask the reader, whether it were not good being a Martinist; and as I did then, so do I still heartily rejoice to think that all the honestest, and best affected subjects her Majesty has, will one day become Martinists.
Then among all the rhymers and stage players which my lords of the clergy had suborned against me, I remember Mar-Martin, John a Cant. his hobby-horse was, to his reproach, newly put out of the Morris19, take it how he will, with a flat discharge for ever shaking his shins about a Maypole again while he lived. Hereabouts I placed Dr. Underhill and Dr. Wood of All Souls College, to be chaplains unto a certain chaste Vicar of Hell, called Sir James King, of 26 Herefordshire; and somewhere it was, that I so slived21 Dick Bancroft over the shoulders, as his chaplainship is never able to recover his credit, if that 'Pistle of mine be once published. Next to this (as I take it) followed a preamble to an Epitaph upon the death of old Andrew Turncoat, to be sung antiphonically in his grace's chapel, on Wednesdays and Fridays, to the lamentable tune of Orawhynemeg.
Then was there a certain vulnerall22 sermon of old Lockwood of Sarum, upon the sudden and untimely death of his said brother Pearne, wherein he did undertake for him, that he was never puritan in his life, but always an orderly man and a maintainer of the state of the clergy.
And if his grace did appoint any other to preach at his old good master's funerals, but only this quick-witted Bridges, he was certainly foully overseen. For there would have been such a [mish] and such a match, such a pair of saints, the one living and the other dead, as I believe the Legendary 27 would not yield the like. Both old standards, both proculstants, both catercaps, both priests, both deans, both hypocrites, both asses. Why, sans merci, said I, etc. but alas, I have half forgotten the rest.
After this, I had a fling at these puritans, concerning whom my desire is that wherein I am faulty, you puritans would set me down the particulars. It is odds-on, I shall some way or other hear of it. For albeit there have been some jars of unkindness between us, yet I would have you know that I take the worst of you, in regard of his calling, to be an honester man than the best lord bishop in Christendom. The report goes, that some of you have preached against me, and I believe it in part. Well look to it, for I may happen be even with you in this manner. I will not rest till I have learned what it is that you have said of me, and if I find it to be a just reproof I will mend my fault, be as angry as you will; if unjust, trust unto it I will hold on my course. And there is one rap more than you looked for.
28 The next pretty thing to this was, to my remembrance, Chaplain Some confuted with the bald sheath of his own dagger, wherein all his short cuts, Latin apothegms, and childish pen-and-inkhorn proverbs, were wholly inverted upon himself. I then said, and so say I still, that if it were not for those whom our bishops hate and persecute, it is known they would make a mad piece of confuting of the Brownists and other sectaries amongst them, as may appear by that which they suffer to come out so nakedly and patchedly against them, by this father Robert of theirs. And this is he that has crazed his brain at Lambeth and his conscience at Gyrton; whose bald writings without sap or edge, unworthy of a boy of 12 years old, have (I am persuaded) made and will make (if it be not looked into) more Brownists in our church than all that ever they have hitherto published themselves.
This (if you know him not) is the very same Doctor, that in publishing 3 pretty treatises, has so handled the 29 matter, by a geometrical dimension, that the last (if it be well scanned) is the same with the first, and the middlemost all one with them both. The man in all likelihood, never goes without a little saunce-bell in his pocket, and that does nothing else but Ting, Ting, Ting. And what does it Ting? If you give good care, nothing else I warrant you, but My sermons, My writings, My reasons, My arguments, and all is My, My, My; as if the depth of all learning, were included in the channel of his brain. This is even he, that let him write as many books as he will (though he should never so much disguise himself and conceal his name) yet we should be sure to know him by one of these rapping figures, either by hitting the white, or by missing the butt, or by resting on his reason, or by 32 dozen of full points, or by some such broken wooden dish or other.
Then was there recorded a brave agreement which Martin of his courtesy is contented to make with the bishops; which agreement was taught once in the pulpit, by a certain lame Vicar of 30 Warwick, a chaplain of their own stamp. His text was out of Matthew; agree with thine adversary quickly. We have an adversary said he, who is that? The Devil. How shall we agree with the Devil? Even thus said he, and if you mark it is a good lesson: Shake him off, never come nigh him, nor have nothing to do with him. Even so, I'll be bound that myself, and all the puritans, shall agree with the bishops while the world stands, on this condition that we shake them off never come nigh them, nor have nothing to do with them.
'T were pity to forget Martin's Tolbooth in the midst whereof were many rare conceits; as a great ashen chair wherein John a� Bridges was placed by patent during his life, and Leonard Wright appointed to keep it clean, by scraping and rubbing the feet of it. Round about this Tolbooth were placed a foul rank of Catercaps, conferring and disputing hotly about the third declension, the churching of women, or such like matters of life and death. On 31 the first form, sat in rank, John, John and William; on the second, Richard, Richard, and Thomas; on a third, John, William and Marmaduke, etc.
After this followed something, a large confutation of Friar Fregueville, of wrinklefaced Wright, within which compass were contained: 1. a manifest proof, that reformation imports the overthrow of the state of the clergy, and that according unto the doctrine of our church; 2. an antithesis between our Saviour Christ and that cursed pope of Lambeth, John Whitgift; 3. a proof of many of those theses which that unhappy boy of mine published so untimely. But as for him and his elder brother, together with that blind ass Pasquill, I will have them talked with elsewhere. With these and suchlike points, with an honourable mention of all noble soldiers, a complaint of the loss of my papers, and the misery of sea journeys, I ended my 'Pistle, being the first tome of More work for the Cooper. And here also I end this my protestation. Desiring you (good reader) 32 according unto your place, to be careful of the relief and deliverance of
unto you without all fraud and ambiguity, I was never as yet married in my life) you shall
be better welcome unto me than the best Lord Catercap of
them all, and so tell them from me
when you will.
Page 6. line 23. read single for siuule. page 21. there is something twice set down, mend that yourself if you will, for I promise you I cannot. Yet hear me a word before you go, and you be a good fellow: commend me to George Bullen Dean of Litchfield, by these 4 tokens: 1. The wind is south, the wind is south; 2. that he lately taught in Coventry, that men might fall from grace; 3. that taking himself with a fault in the same sermon, he said, there I lied, there I lied; 4. being at another time in the pulpit, hearing his dog cry, he out with this text; Why, how now, hoe. Can you not let my dog alone there; come Spring, come Spring.