A (not so) Early Modern Pamphlet: The Popish Plague.

Manon Lenormand and Klaudia Porucka, both MA students with us, read Arthur Marotti’s ‘Alienating Catholic: Recusant Women, Jesuits, and Ideological Fantasies’, in Religious Ideology & Cultural Fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England (University of Notre Dame, 2005), pp. 32-63. Below is their reflexive work, which they chose to present as a piece of creative writing inspired by pamphlets such as The Jesuits Intrigues (London, 1669), which pretended to be genuine guide books for the conversion of virtuous English subjects to the Roman faith. 

A (not so) Early Modern Pamphlet: The Popish Plague.

In the manner of Thomas Scott or Henry Compton, this blogpost is written in the form of an anti-recusancy pamphlet such as it was custom during the Early Modern Period. It focuses on the alienation of recusant women and Jesuits with links to common myths surrounding their practices and goals. The following four chapters were based on Arthur F. Marotti’s book Religious Ideology & Cultural Fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England (University of Notre Dame, 2005)

The Double Deliverance 1588-1605 [1]

Chap. I. Find the devil in disguise

It is commonly known that those who dare to challenge the Church are willing to challenge the state. After all, if you were to diminish the magnificence of our supreme leader, could we call you English? Was the Book of Common Prayer not made to unify our nation and to help us celebrate our uniqueness?  We have published 39 articles of faith[2] to explore what it means to be part of our mighty Anglican Church and it is obvious to the most humble of eyes that the popish vermin cannot align their virtues to ours. Those half subjects preaching in a foreign tongue, unleashing threats of purgatory, and accusing us of heresy[3]… those foreign snakes are what lurks in the darkest hole waiting to poison our nation. In past times, the English held grudges against several nations, but the true black sheep is hiding among loyal English citizens. How can we show their real face to humanity?

The first thing that English Protestants can do, is to expose them for what they are! We have suffered because of them and are in great danger of losing everything that our great nation has accomplished with our Majesties divine help. Milton[4] warns us in his work of the archtraitor and of their use of female charm. Catholic missionary priests, especially those of the Jesuit kind, are known to work with recusant women, trying to lure more English subjects into their net. They are in allegiance with the Catholic Church in Rome and are committed to foreign powers.Women play a particular role in this game, as they trick their husbands into following their faith and bring into this world popish offspring that is to be educated outside of our English home. Those strange dangers are only the tip of this heinous mountain of doom.

Chap. II. Devilish snakes spewing their Popish venom

Ever since the arrival of the first Jesuits in our dear country in 1580,[6] things have not been the same. Our nation is in great danger, they are rotting the very core of our civilisation. They are trying to rip us of our institutions. How, you may ask? Like snakes, they are slithering into our towns and within our very homes. First, they send their offspring to foreign countries where they are taught to worship the heresy of the papish order, they send them our money so that they can spend it on the continent.[7] Then, once their offspring has been acquainted enough with these popish heresies, they send them back to our country so they can spew their poison within our homes.[8] Our wives, who are weaker than us because of their sex, are the first prey these devils target. They seduce them into Catholicism, and once seduced, they seduce their good Protestant husbands in  their turn. They poison our weak women’s minds and render them seductresses who manipulate men. They shift the natural and good order of things, our women no longer abide by their loving husbands or by our loving Monarch, but by their perversities. They become wicked Popish women, who let those vipers into their bed to practise spiritual adultery.[9] Widows and married women alike, Jesuits use the weakness of their sex and mind to control their estates and their money in the name of their mission for the romische Pope.

What have they brought to our nation? They are trying to rot our institutions. Plot after plot, we discover the extent of their deceitfulness. Like devils, they disguise themselves as good citizens, only for us to find them in Parliament, plotting to burn our institutions with their hellish fires,[10] or trying to kill our dear monarch Charles II[11] so they can have their Catholic King.[12]

Chap. III. Take the burden back to Rome!

This Burden backe to Rome 1641 [16]

For our sake, the sake of our country and the survival of our monarchy, we must kick these devils out of our kingdom! Let’s not give them an opportunity to kick us out of our own homes! We must protect our dearest monarch and government. The Jesuits and the recusant Catholic women who give them shelter have declared themselves as enemies of the state by not complying to the oath of allegiance. More than that, they befriend our greatest enemy: the Spaniards.[13]We must therefore treat them as traitors of the state. We must not let them plot against our dear nation together. They have tried putting the Spanish infanta, their Catholic offspring, by the side of our future monarch,[14] to have that dry-Nurse pretend to be a mother to our country…[15] We must continue to forbid them to poison our society. We must continue to reveal their true devilish nature to the world, and to uncover them from their disguises.

They have no place in our homes or in our towns. The first thing is to not let them have a say in the important decisions of our community, whether they want to participate in the light of the day or behind closed doors without us knowing, plotting behind our backs. That is why we must deny them any position in our society.

Chap. IV. Unite and pluck the rotten weed by its roots!

To facilitate the disposal of these traitors one must pluck the rotten weed by its roots. We must prevent the spread of Catholicism and show our unity in the conformity of our national Protestant church. How can you serve two leaders at once? Lay bare their affiliation and make them vow loyalty to our Queen Majesty! If they wish to continue in recusancy, they ought to pay fines and endure more severe sentences depending on their crimes. Jesuits, those treacherous, wandering rats, seducing women into roman degeneracy and other Machiavellian activities, must be ripped out of the holes that they are being harboured in. And those whores of Babylon, traitors to their state, will be condemned for their paganist behaviour. Their Mass, golden trinkets, and confessions only ever showed their greed for other people’s secrets and their lust. This generation of vipers has been plotting against our Monarch since 1605. Traitors and naughty wilful women preach idolatrous, superstitious, and carnal acts. We shall expose their true face and shed a light on the horns that they are trying to conceal underneath a martyr’s halo. For even when given the chance to show affection for our Protestant Church, they prefer to recite romish nonsense! They are a firebrand in the ruin of both king and country!

Our holy mission will be accomplished, be it through fines, exile, or death. We must protect what is dearest to our entire country’s well-being, the pure and benevolent power of our monarch and their state!

 

Chap. V. Loyal subjects bathing in God’s grace

Imagine, in a land freed of venomous vipers, our people will flourish and be united. All that will be left for those popish degenerates will be a lost paradise, with Satan walking amongst his followers. The diabolical agency of their world stems from feminine power, seduction, and idolatrous activities. Ours, will be a world reconciled with God. For our monarch works on His behalf and shall guide us towards what is good and just.

‘The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.’ [17]

 

Notes

[1] British Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, “The Double Deliverance 1588 1605” last modified May 8, 2020, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Double_Deliverance_1588_1605_(BM_1847,0723.11_1).jpg?fbclid=IwAR00BPtyw5BvLiQYk0FE59PI-riVIXL4bcTO57TcHqJkx5wkxS1EYDqzXmU
[2] In 1563 the 39 Articles of faith were published and later put in the Book of Common Prayer. They defined what it meant to be part of the Anglican Church.
[3] In 1570 Pious V’s Bull Regnans in Excelsis, he excommunicates Elizabeth, describes her as “the pretended queen of England and the servant of the crime”, as a heretic, and an illegitimate heir to the throne, releasing her subjects from the oath of allegiance.
[4] Marotti Arthur, ‘Alienating Catholics.  Recusant women, Jesuits, and ideological fantasies’, in his Religious ideology and cultural fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic discourses in early modern England, Notre Dame 2005, 64.
[5] Marotti Arthur, ‘Alienating Catholics.  Recusant women, Jesuits, and ideological fantasies’, in his Religious ideology and cultural fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic discourses in early modern England, 33.
[6] Ibid, 48.
[7] John Gee, New Shreds of the Old Snare (London, 1624), 113.
[8] Catholic families would send their children to the continent so they could attend Catholic schools where they would become Jesuits. The daughters were also sent to the continent to go to Nunneries that their families had to pay for.
[9] Marotti Arthur, ‘Alienating Catholics.  Recusant women, Jesuits, and ideological fantasies’, in his Religious ideology and cultural fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic discourses in early modern England, 39.
[10] This is a reference to the Gunpowder Plot on the 5th November 1605, also referred to as the Jesuit Plot. It was a failed attempt at assassinating King James I. The aim was to blow up the House of Lords. The plot was led by Robert Catesby who wished to restore the Catholic monarchy. They were closely linked to the Spanish.
[11] This refers to the Popish Plot, a fictitious plot invented by Titus Oates. He declared that the Jesuits were trying to kill King Charles to replace him with his brother James, Duke of York, who was a Catholic. This led to the Exclusion Bill Crisis and the assassination of 22 men.
[12] Marotti Arthur, ‘Alienating Catholics.  Recusant women, Jesuits, and ideological fantasies’, in his Religious ideology and cultural fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic discourses in early modern England, 48.
[13] Ibid, 43.
[14] This is a reference to the Spanish Match, a supposed marriage between Charles II and the Spanish Infanta. It created many tensions in England since the King was a Protestant and the Spanish royal family was Catholic. Negotiations took place between 1614 to 1623 but failed.
[15] Marotti Arthur, ‘Alienating Catholics.  Recusant women, Jesuits, and ideological fantasies’, in his Religious ideology and cultural fantasy. Catholic and Anti-Catholic discourses in early modern England, 36.
[16] British Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, “This Burden backe to Rome…” last modified May 8, 2020, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:This_Burden_backe_to_Rome_…_(BM_Ee,2.101_1).jpg?fbclid=IwAR1WFCYGr3NBBQdeLyMguaTshU-C30P3YJowJ2kIraQvNWaelSQxy-vDaTU
[17] John Milton, Paradise Lost (London: Penguin Group, 2003), 288.



Cite this blog post
Laurence Lux-Sterritt (2022, April 15). A (not so) Early Modern Pamphlet: The Popish Plague. Britaix 17-18 - Seminar on the early-modern anglophone world (Aix-Marseille University, LERMA, UR 853) . Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/m58b

You may also like...

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search