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offer incense before his statues ; to mutter fifteen decads of Aves, each decad followed by a Pater Noster, all at a time, and to feel assured, that this Latin repetition would abridge their stay in Purgatory; to trust for the same purpose, in a particular kind of diet, in trudging barefoot to some idol, or in hiring a priest to receive the Sacrament; to confess, be absolved, anointed, and to take the Eucharist, at the point of death ; at last, to close their eyes in a full assurance, that they had lived in the faithful profession of that religion which an all-wise God revealed as the instrument for ameliorating the hearts, and enlightening the minds of his rational creatures. An anxiety to be left in undisturbed possession of such a religion as this was, however, not confined to the villagers of Sampford. On the contrary, the divinity of these rustics soon appeared to be that which a great majority of zealots and turbulent spirits throughout the diocese of Exeter, were disposed to maintain at all hazards. Within a short time, not less than ten thousand men appeared in the field', all eager to retain the papal yoke about their own necks, and to rivet it about the necks of their latest posterity. Their leader was Humphrey Arundel, a Cornish gentlemen; who was accompanied in his enterprise by others of his own condition. As a farther encouragement, certain clergymen left their homes to join this misguided rabble. By these unworthy priests, the people's madness was invested with
Burnet, Hist, ef. II. 185.
the character of a religious war. Crosses and candlesticks, bread and salted water, esteemed holy by Romanists, the pix with its included wafer under a canopy in a cart, attended the movements of these infatuated insurgents d. In the hope of crushing the spirit of revolt by prompt measures, Lord Russell, the Privy Seal, was despatched westward, with such forces as could be hastily prepared for action. When, however, this nobleman arrived at Honiton, he found that the troops under his command were not equal to · face the rebels in the field, and accordingly, he was obliged to content himself with opposing a barrier to their farther progress. His inactivity infused fresh spirit into the disaffected, and their numbers augmented daily. Russell now determined upon trying the effect of negociation, and he sent to the rebel troops for a statement of the conditions upon which they would disperse. This message brought back the following demands: that Baptism should be administered whenever necessary; that confirmation should never be denied; that solitary masses should be restored ; that consecrated wafers should be reserved in churches; that holy bread, and holy water should still be allowed; that the old service should be audibly said or sung in the choir; that the clergy should be restrained from marriage; and that the Act of Six Articles should be in force until the King's majority. Disturbers of the public peace
commonly profess loyalty, and accordingly these insolent, absurd, and intolerant demands were thus concluded : “We pray God save King Edward, for we be his, both body and goods." This pretence was noticed, with great propriety in an answer to the demands of the rebels, dated July 6, and sent in the King's name, from Richmond. “ Ye use our name," says this state-paper, “in your writings, against ourself. What injury herein do you us, to call those who love us to your evil purposes by the authority of our name!” After more matter in a similar strain the royal communication proceeds to describe with great justice the kind of persons most active in seditions. They care not what cause they seek to provoke an insurrection, so they may do it; nor, indeed, can they wax so rich with their own labours, and with peace, as they can with spoils, with robberies, and such like, yea with the spoil of your own goods, with the living of your labours, the sweat of your bodies; the food of your own households, wives, and children." This homely but accurate account of a demagogue's character and objects, is followed by answers to the demands of the deluded peasantry. As for Baptism, it is said, the people had been shamefully deceived in being induced to believe, that hereafter it was to be administered only on Sundays and holidays. Those who would look into the new service-book, might see, that this Sacrament was to be administered on any day, when necessary An opportunity of receiving confir
mation at all times is asserted to be unnecessary, because there is no reason to doubt respecting the salvation of children who die unconfirmed. That rite is therefore restricted to such as are of sufficient age to make in their own persons the religious engagements made for them by others at the font. The alterations in the public service are stated to have been made by persons emi, nently fitted for the task, after much deliberation, and to have merely consisted in the rejection of manifest improprieties, and in the translation of what remains into the vernacular tongue. As for the act of Six Articles, it is said to have been repealed, because it was too bloody to be borne, and that besides, being abrogåted by Parliament, it could only be restored by the same authority. Then after some reflections upon the absurdity of disobedience under pretence of the King's minority, and some menaces addressed to such as might still continue in arms, the paper concludes with an appeal to the sound religious feelings of the insurgents. When this document arrived in the West, the rebels had laid siege to Exeter, and had reduced its inhabitants to great difficulties by cutting off the supplies of provisions. The Exonians, however, though agreeing for the most part in religious opinions with their assailants', chose rather to brave the horrors of famine, than admit within their walls an armed rabble intent upon plunder and mischief. Forty
e Ibid. 1188.
f Fuller, 394.
days did the siege continue, during which time, the city-gates were twice consumed by fire 5, but the citizens notwithstanding, repulsed every attempt to gain admittance made by the insurgents. These deluded men, however, long kept up their spirits, not only on account of the inadequate force by which they were opposed, but also from the news of commotions which had broken out on the opposite side of England. Thus encouraged, they rose in their demands, and instead of the eight articles upon which they formerly insisted, they transmitted to the royal commander fifteen articles as the conditions of their return to peaceful habits". Russell, indeed, was at one time in a very critical situation. Destitute of military supplies, he found himself unable to advance, and he had even felt a disposition to retrograde, at the instances of the Dorsetshire gentry. Happily such a dangerous and dishonourable movement was rendered unnecessary by the patriotic conduct of three opulent merchants, who furnished him with the sums required for undertaking effectual hostilities. He now gave battle to the insurgents at Fenington-bridge, and defeated then with a loss of three hundred of their body. This advantage was no sooner gained than the royal army was re-inforced by Lord Gray, who brought the troops recently employed in suppressing an insurrection in Oxfordshire. With this nobleman, were three hundred Italian