First, Catesby was commended to the Marquis for a Regiment of Horse in the Low-Countries, (which is the same that the Lord Arundel now hath) that under that pretence he might have furnished this Treason with Horses without Suspicion.
The Second means was an Oath, which they solemnly and severally took, as well for Secrecy, as Perseverance and Constancy in the execution of their Plot. The Form of the Oath was as follows:
YOU shall swear by the blessed Trinity, and by the Sacrament you now purpose to receive, never to disclose directly nor indirectly, by Word or Circumstance, the matter that shall be proposed to you to keep secret, nor desist from the Execution thereof, until the rest shall give you leave.
This Oath was, by Gerrard the Jesuit, given to Catesby, Percy, Christopher Wright, and Thomas Winter at once; and by Greenwell the Jesuit, to Bates, at another time, and so to the rest.
The Third, was the Sacrament; which they impiously and devilishly prophaned to this end.
But the Last, was their perfidious and perjurious Equivocating, abetted, allowed, and justified by the Jesuits, not only simply to conceal or deny an open Truth, but religiously to aver, to protest upon Salvation, to swear that which themselves know to be most false; and all this, by reserving a secret and private Sense inwardly to themselves: whereby they are, by their ghostly Fathers, persuaded, That they may safely and lawfully elude any Question whatsoever.
And here was shewed a Book written not long before the Queen's death, at what time Thomas Winter was employed into Spain, entituled, A Treatise of Equivocation. Which Book being seen and allowed by Garnet, the Superior of the Jesuits, and Blackwel the Archpriest of England, in the beginning thereof, Garnet with his own hand put out those words in the Title of Equivocation, and made it thus; A Treatise against Lying and fraudulent Dissimulation. Whereas in deed and truth it makes for both, Speciofaque[***] nomina Culpæ imponis, Garnette, tuæ. And in the end thereof, Blackwel besprinkles it with his Blessing, saying, Tractatus iste, valde doctus & vere pius, & Catholicus est; certe S. Scripturarum, Patrum, Doctorum, Scholasticorum, Canonistarum & optimarum Rationem præsidiis plenissime firmat æquitatem æquivocationis; ideoque dignissimus est qui Typis propagetur, ad consolationem afflictorum Catholicorum, & omnium piorum instructionem. That is, This Treatise is very learned, godly, and Catholick, and doth most fully confirm the Equity of Equivocation, by strong Proofs out of holy Scriptures, Fathers, Doctors, Schoolmen, Canonists, and soundest Reasons; and therefore worthy to be published in Print, for the Comfort of afflicted Catholicks, and Instructions of all the godly.
Now, in this Book there is Propositio mentalis, virbalis, scripta, and mixta; distinguishing of a mental, a verbal, a written, and a mixed Proposition; a very Labyrinth to lead Men into Error and Falshood.
For example, to give you a little taste of this Art of Cozening: A Man is asked upon Oath this Question, Did you see such a one to-day ? He may by this Doctrine answer, No, tho' he did see him, viz. reserving this secret Meaning, not with purpose to tell my Lord Chief Justice: Or, I see him not visiona beatifica, or, not in Venice, &c. Likewise to answer thus; I was in the Company; reserving and intending secretly as added, this word Not: As Strange the Jesuit did to my Lord Chief Justice and myself. Take one or two of these out of that very Book, as for purpose: A Man cometh unto Coventry in time of a suspicion of Plague, and at the Gates the Officers meet him, and upon his Oath examine him, Whether he came from London or no, where they think certainly the Plague to be: This Man knowing for certain the Plague not to be at London, or at least knowing that the Air is not there infectious, and that he only rid thro' some secret place of London, not staying there, may safely swear, he came not from London: answering to their final Intention in their Demand, that is, whether he came so from London, that he may endanger their City of the Plague, although their immediate Intention were to know, whether he came from London or no. That Man (saith the Book) the very Light of Nature would clear from Perjury.
In like manner, One being convented in the Bishop's Court, because he refuseth to take such a one to his Wife, as he had contracted with, per verba de præsenti, having contracted with another privily before, so that he cannot be Husband to her that claimeth him; may answer, That he never contracted with her per verba de præsenti: understanding, that he did not so contract that it was a Marriage; for that is the final Intention of the Judge, to know whether there were a sufficient Marriage between them or no.
Never did Father Cranmer, Father Latimer, Father Ridley, those blessed Martyrs, know these Shifts, neither would they have used them to have saved their Lives. And surely let every good Man take heed of such Jurors or Witnesses, there being no Faith, no Bond of Religion or Civility, no Conscience of Truth in such Men; and therefore the Conclusion shall be that of the Prophet David, Domine libera Animam meam a labiis iniquis & à lingua dolosa; Deliver me, O Lord, from lying Lips, and from a deceitful Tongue.
S. P. Q. R. was sometimes taken for these Words, Senatus Populusque Romanus; the Senate and People of Rome: but now they may truly be expressed thus, Stultus Populus quærit Roman; A foolish People that runneth to Rome. And here was very aptly and delightfully inserted and related the Apologues or Tale of the Cat and the Mice: The Cat having a long time preyed upon the Mice, the poor Creatures at last, for their Safety, contained themselves within their Holes; but the Cat finding his Prey to cease, as being known to the Mice, that he was indeed their Enemy and a Cat, deviseth this Course following, viz. Changeth his Hue, getteth on a Religious Habit, shaveth his Crown, walks gravely by their Holes: And yet perceiving that the Mice kept their Holes, and looking out, suspected the worst, he formally, and father-like, said unto them, Quod fueram non sum, frater; caput aspice tonsum ! Oh Brother, I am not as you take me for, no more a Cat; see my Habit and shaven Crown ! Hereupon some of the more credulous and bold among them, were again, by this Deceit, snatched up; and therefore, when afterwards he came as before to entice them forth, they would come out no more, but answered, Cor tibi restat idem, vix tibi præsto fidem; Talk what you can, we will never believe you, you have still a Cat's Heart within you. You do not watch and pray, but you watch to prey. And so have the Jesuits, yea, and Priests too, for they are all joined in the Tails like Sampson's Foxes, Ephraim against Manasses, and Manasses against Ephraim, but both against Judah.