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Full text of "The Diary Of John Evelyn Vol-2"

JOHN EVELYN

confined to nunneries and monasteries, gave them, after
so long1 trial, a general releasement, and leave to go out
of the kingdom, but utterly taking their estates and their
children; so that great numbers came daily into England
and other places, where they were received and relieved
with very considerate Christian charity. This Providence
and goodness of God to those who thus constantly held
out, did so work upon those miserable poor souls who, to
avoid the persecution, signed their renunciation, and to
save their estates went to mass, that reflecting on what
they had done, they grew so affected in their conscience,
that not "being able to support it, they in great numbers
through all the French provinces, acquainted the magis-
trates and lieutenants that being sorry for their apostacy,
they were resolved to return to their old religion; that
they would gx> no more to mass, but peaceably assemble
when they could, to beg pardon and worship God, but so
without weapons as not to give the least umbrage of
rebellion or sedition, imploring their pity and commis-
eration; and, accordingly, meeting so from time to time,
the dragxxon-missioners, Popish officers and priests, fell
upon them, murdered and put them to death, whoever
they could lay hold on; they without the least resistance
embraced death, torture, or hanging, with singing psalms
and praying- for their persecutors to the last breath, yet
still continuing the former assembling of themselves in
desolate places, suffering with incredible constancy, that
through God's mercy they might obtain pardon for this
lapse. Such, examples of Christian behavior have not
been seen since the primitive persecutions; and doubtless
God will do some signal work in the end, if we can with
patience and resignation hold out, and depend on his
Providence.

24th March, 1688. I went with Sir Charles Littleton
to Sheen, a house and estate given him by Lord Broun-
ker; one who was ever noted for a hard, covetous, vicious
man; but for his worldly craft and skill in gaming few
exceeded him. Coming to die, he bequeathed all his
land, house, furniture, etc., to Sir Charles, to whom he
had no manner of relation, but an ancient friendship con-
tracted at the famous siege of Colchester, forty years
before. It is a pretty place, with fine gardens, and well
planted, and given to one worthy of them, Sir Charles of the British Museum. ..,'d to do.                                                    J* ^ that he could do none of Worcester he would have no further com-