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1438 [1414]

Q. Mary. A Supplication of the Preachers in prison. M. Iohn Rogers, Martyr.

Marginalia1555. Febr.but what auaileth either learning, reason or truth it selfe, where will beareth rule.

After the examination and condemnation of these good men and preachers aboue recited, Commissions and Inquisitours were sent abrode likewise into all partes of the Realme, by reason wherof a great number of most godly & true christians (out of all the quarters of the realme, but especially Kent, Essex, Northfolke, and Suffolke) were apprehended, brought vp to London, and cast in prison, and afterward (most of them) eyther consumed cruelly by fire, or els through euill handlyng died in the prisons, and were buried on dunghils abroad in the fieldes, or in some backeside of the prison. Of all which matters, concerning the tragicall handling of these blessed Martyrs and witnesses of Iesus Christ, of all the bloudy persecution of this tyme, now followeth (the lord so grauntyng) seuerally and more particularly in this next booke, in order to be declared: after that I shall first recite a generall supplication, geuen vp in the name of the preachers aforesayd lying in prison, vnto the kyng and Queene, during the tyme of the Parliament, as followeth. 

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Foxe printed a petition by imprisoned protestant ministers to Philip and Mary. The initials of the suppliants, given in the document - H., F., T., B., P., R., S. - seem to indicate that the authors of this document were Hooper, Ferrar, Taylor, Bradford, Philpot, Rogers and Saunders. The suppliants denounced the persecution of religious dissenters, requested a disputation or debate (but one conducted on their terms) and proclaimed that if such a disputation were held, they would prove that their doctrine was doctrine of the true catholic church.

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Vnto the King and Queenes most excellent Maieiestes, and to their most honourable and high Court of Parlament.

MarginaliaA Supplication of the persecuted preachers to the kyng and Queene.IN most humble and lamentable wyse complain vnto your maiesties, and to your high court of Parliamēt, your poore desolate and obedient subiectes, H. F. T. B. P. R. S. &c. That where as your sayd subiectes liuyng vnder the lawes of god andof this realme in the dayes of the late most noble kyng Edward. 6. did in all thinges shew themselues true, faithful and diligent subiectes, according to their vocation, as well in the sincere ministring of gods holy worde, as in due obedience to the higher powers, and in the dailye practise of such vertues and good demeanour, as the lawes of God at all tymes, and the statutes of the realme did then allowe: your sayd subiectes neuertheles, contrary to all lawes of iustice, equitie and right, are in very extreme maner, not only cast into prison (where they haue remayned now these. 15. or. 16. monthes MarginaliaThe long inprisonment of the Christian preachers.) but their liuings also, their houses and possessions, their goods and bookes taken from them, and they slaundered to be most haynous heretickes, their enemyes them selues being both witnesses, accusers, and Iudges, belying, sclaundering, and misreporting your said subiectes at their pleasure: MarginaliaVnorderly proceding of the aduersaries agaynst Gods people wheras your sayd subiects beyng straightly kept in prison, can not yet be suffered to come forth and make aunswere accordingly.

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In consideration whereof, it may please your most excellent Maiesties, and this your high court of Parlament, graciouslye to tender the present calamitie of your sayde poore subiectes, and to call thē before your presence, graunting them liberty, either by mouth or writing in the plaine English tong, MarginaliaRequest of þe preachers to stand to the triall of their doctrine before indifferent Iudges.to aunswer before you or before indifferent Arbiters to bee appointed by your maiesties vnto such Articles of controuersie in Religion as their sayde aduersaries haue alredy condemned them of, as of haynous heresies: Prouided, that all thinges may be done with such moderation and quiet behauiour, as becommeth subiectes and children of peace, and that your said subiects may haue the free vse of all their owne bookes and conference together among themselues.

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Which thing beyng graunted, your said subiectes doubt not but it shall plainly appeare that your said subiectes are true and faithfull christians, and neither heretikes, neyther teachers of heresie, nor cut of from the true catholicke vniuersall church of Christ: Yea, that rather their aduersaries themselues be vnto your maiesties, as were the charmers of Egipt vnto Pharao Sedechias and his adherentes, vnto the king of Israel: MarginaliaActes. 13.and Bariesu to the Proconsull Sergius Paulus. And if your said subiectes be not able by the testimonye of Christ, his Prophets, Apostles, and godly fathers of hys church to proue, that the docrine of the church, Homelies, and seruice, taught and set foorth in the time of our late most godly prince and kyng Edward the 6. is the true docrine of Christes catholike Church, and most agreable to the articles of the christian fayth: your sayd subiectes offer themselues then to the most heuy punishment, that it shal please your maiesties to appoint.

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Wherefore for the tender mercy of God in Christ (which you loke for at the day of iudgement) your said poore subiectes in bondes, most humbly beseech your most excellent maiesties, and this your high courte of Parliament, beningly and graciously to heare and graunt this their petition, tending so greatly to the glory of God, to the edifiyng of his church, to the honor of your maiesties, to the commendation and maintenance of iustice, right, and equitie, both before God and man. And your sayd subiectes according to

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their bounden duety, shall not cease to pray vnto almighty God, for the gracious preseruation of your most excellent maiesties long to endure.

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