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THE Condemnation of the Cheating POPISH PRIEST: OR, A brief Account of the TRYAL OF Father Lewis, The pretended Biſhop of Landaff, At the laſt Aſſizes at Monmouth, March 28.

Who lately Cheated a poor woman of 15 l. and got a Warrant of Attorney to Confeſs Judge­ment againſt her for 15 l. more; on pre­tence of Praying her Fathers Soul out of PURGATORY.

WITH The Condemnation of another POPISH PRIEST at Glouceſter.

And through Covetouſneſs ſhall they with feigned words make Merchandiſe of you, whoſe Judgment now of a long time lin­gereth not, and their Damnation ſleepeth not,

2 Pet. 2, 3.

LICENSED, April 7. 1679.

LONDON: Printed for L. C. 1679.



THe Two main Hinges that ſupport Popery, or the Poles on which it turns, are Ignorance in their Com­mon People, and wicked Craft in their Prieſts, and other Guides that call themſelves Religious: Nor is it any difficult taſk to demonſtrate, That every one of thoſe Inno­vations wherewith they have Corrupted the an­cient Faith, and wherein they differ from the Pro­teſtants, were at firſt hatcht, and ſtill are continued, out of ſiniſter Reſpects, either to Pride or Cove­touſneſs; but I ſhall at this time inſtance but in one, as moſt pertinent to our Subject, viz. Their Fable of Purgatory, and the fraudulent devices depending thereon. What vaſt ſums of Money have been drain'd, or rather forcibly ſqueez'd out of peoples pockets on that account, for Pardons, Indulgences, Maſſes ſatisfactory, Trentals, Anniver­ſaries, Obits, Requiems, Dirge's Placebo's, Tapers, and ſuch-like. Trumperies, by the wheadling Arts of Purſe-milking Prieſts and Romiſh Locuſts, is not ſo eaſie to be imagined, as intollerable to be born withal or endured. Nay, ſo exceſſively gree­dy4 have theſe Spiritual Vultures (that prey upon departed Souls, as others on dead Carcaſſes) been in their Exactions, that they have ſtudied the baſeſt and moſt indirect Courſes in the world, to gratifie their rapacious deſires; of which we have a mul­titude of Examples in Hiſtory, but none more arch and fraudulent, than that notorious prank acted very lately near Herefordſhire, by a Ghoſtly Cheat called Father Lewis, and by the Popes Authority, ſtiling and pretending himſelf, The Biſhop of Lan­daff in Wales; concerning whom, there was in February laſt publiſhed a Narrative, annext to the Diſcovery of a Colledge of Jeſuits at Come in the ſaid County of Hereford, (a Book that very well deſerves the Reading;) from whom I ſhall take leave to give a ſhort Breviat of the matter of Fact, becauſe otherwiſe the Reader cannot well appre­hend the following Account of that Impoſtors Tryal.

This Father Lewis being one of the Jeſuits of the before-mentioned Colledge at Come, and ſkul­king up and down amongſt Popiſh Families in that Neighbourhood, the Father of a poor ſeduced woman (that was a Papiſt) happening to die about half a year ſince, the Daughter being very igno­rantly devout, but of a very good nature, having oft heard the frightful ſtories of the Torments en­dured in Purgatory, diſmally ſet forth by the Prieſts; and fearing by his diſſolute life, that her Father might be dropt in there, (for dying however a true Roman Gatholick, ſhe thought there was no fear5 of any worſe matter) ſhe applied her ſelf to this good Father, intreating his Prayers and Aſſiſtance to deliver her dear Fathers Soul out of thoſe Tor­tures. He received the Propoſal with the right Wheadles of a Popiſh Trappan; and after ſeveral preparatory diſcourſes, ſaid it might be done, but would be very chargeable: For which he gave her divers notable reaſons; and after diligent counting up particulars, conceiv'd it could not be undertaken under 100 l. The poor woman higgled with him as well as ſhe could, and got ſeveral abatements; but finding his demands ſtill exceed her ability, very truely, and with tears, aſſured him, That 35 l. was all that ſhe had in the world: Whereupon at laſt, becauſe it was an Act of Charity, he would take but 30 l. of her; and ſo they came to a Bargain, taking not onely a Bond, but a Judgment thereupon for the money, promiſing to do the Feat in ſix weeks time, and then the money to be paid without fur­ther delay. Accordingly that time being up, he ſends for his Ghoſtly Child, and with ſolemn pro­teſtations, aſſur'd her, her Fathers Soul was Infalli­bly in Heaven. The woman was mightily pleas'd and overjoy'd, but Father Lewis not ſo; when deman­ding the Pence, ſhe told him, that ſhe could not poſſibly get in her money, and therefore had brought him but 10 l. at preſent. This ſo nettled him, that he threatned to Excommunicate her, and alſo fling her into Goal, &c. yet at laſt took the 10 l. in part, and gave time for the reſt; 5 l. of which ſhe made ſhift to pay ſoon after.


But afterwards happening to marry a Proteſtant, and he inquiring what was become of her money, after ſome importunity, ſhe declar'd the whole In­treague, and that ſhe was 15 l. in debt to him ſtill. The Huſband and ſome friends took pains to con­vince her of the abſurdity and knavery of ſuch pretences, together with the falſity of other Popiſh Doctrines: whereupon ſhe was brought over to the Proteſtant Church; and a Magiſtrate having exa­mined her upon Oath, ſearch was made for Father Lewis, who by her directions was found lurking in a cunning, though now no longer ſafe, Sanctuary, con­triv'd under ground in a poor Cottage, and thence committed to Monmouth-Goal.

And now this Lent Aſſizes there coming on, he was brought to his Tryal, being Indicted for Trea­ſon, for that having received orders from the pretended Authority of the See of Rome, he yet came over into, and continued in His Majeſties Dominions, contrary to the Statute in that caſe made and provided. There was very full and ſufficient Evidence againſt him; but 'tis ſaid, ei­ther through negligence or deſigne, ſeveral Pa­piſts or ſuch reputed ad been returned both on the grand Inqueſt, and on the Jury of Life and Death. However, notice being given thereof to the Judge, his Lordſhip preſently diſcharged them of their ſervice, and cauſed other Gentlemen to be impannelled. Father Lewis made a great and long argument in endeavouring to diſprove ſome petty circumſtances in the Book that was writ­ten7 concerning him, and alleadged that the ſame and the Evidence did differ in ſome particulars, though as to the material points of the ſtory he could not deny but they agreed; and although the Court told him that it ſignified nothing to make his objections to the Book, it being no E­vidence againſt him, yet he would proceed and make an end of his tedious ſpeech to that pur­poſe. And as to the Evidence that was given a­gainſt him, he with the uſual Confidence, Impu­dence, and Obſtinacy of thoſe hypocritical Impo­ſtors, poſitively denied it with may ſolemn pro­teſtations, making this plea for himſelf; 1. That the Evidence did not prove him a Prieſt, becauſe none could directly ſay that they ſaw him receive Orders from the See of Rome. But if that ſhould be admitted, and their exerciſing prieſtly Fun­ctions, as ſaying Maſs, conſecrating the Euchariſt, taking Confeſſions, preſcribing Penances, giving Abſolutions, and the like acts, which none but a Prieſt may perform, and this at ſeveral times and places amongſt the moſt zealous and intelligent Roman Families. If theſe acts, I ſay, ſhould not be a concluding proof, then that neceſſary Law would be totally eluded, and it would be impoſ­ſible to convict a popiſh Prieſt. The Ghoſtly Father urged this point further, inſiſting ', That if his Prieſthood were not proved, he then did ap­pear but as a Cheat, and ſo ought not to be convi­cted as a Prieſt. It ſeems he was content to be a Lay-cheat, but very loth for the honour of the8 Brotherhood to be known to be a cheat Eccleſi­aſtical. He alſo ignorantly alleadged that the Act wherein he ſtood indicted was repealed by a ſuc­ceeding Act, the penalty of which was onely fine and impriſonment: but all theſe pleas being in themſelves frivolous, and the laſt falſe, they were over-ruled by the Court, and being fairly convi­cted on full evidence by an impartial Jury, he re­ceived Sentence; but for the preſent Execution was ſuſpended till further order.

Another Prieſt was likewiſe Convicted at Glouceſter, a­gainſt whom there was poſitive Evidence that he in his prieſtly Habits did adminiſter the Sacraments, took Confeſ­ſions, gave Diſpenſations and Pardons, undertook to pray the Souls of perſons deceaſed out of Purgatory; but whe­ther on cheaper or dearer terms than Father Lewis I cannot ſay. But that which was moſt remarkable in his Tryal, as we hear, is, that ſeveral perſons lately Romaniſts, who had taken the Oaths and ſeemed Converts, did yet deny that he was a Prieſt, and that they ever received abſolution of Sins or the Sacrament from him, though the contrary was by others ſufficiently proved. Which if ſo, we may thence judge at the reality of ſuch peoples pretences to diſown the Church of Rome, when at the ſame time they count the ſaving of a raſcally Prieſt from Juſtice ſuch a meritorious work, as to over-ballance and acquit them from the guilt of horrid per­jury. But of theſe folks honeſtly, and the aſſeverations of traiterous popiſh Prieſts, when at their Tryals or Execu­tions they would outbrazen their guilt with pretenſions of innocence, we may take honeſt Luther's advice, Nemo eorum obteſtationibus & jaculationibus quicquam credat, namees Men­tiri & dupliciter Mentiri Certiſſimum eſt. Let no man he ſo weak as to believe their proteſtations and vaunts; for it is moſt certain they lye, and that moſt loudly and abominably. Luth. Defenſ. verb. Coenae, Fol. 381.


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TextThe Condemnation of the cheating Popish priest: or, A brief account of the tryal of Father Lewis, the pretended bishop of Landaff, at the last assizes at Monmouth, March 28. Who lately cheated a poor woman of 15 l. and got a warrant of attorney to confess judgement against her for 15 l. more; on pretence of praying her fathers soul out of purgatory. : With the condemnation of another Popish priest at Gloucester.
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SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A80304)

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Bibliographic informationThe Condemnation of the cheating Popish priest: or, A brief account of the tryal of Father Lewis, the pretended bishop of Landaff, at the last assizes at Monmouth, March 28. Who lately cheated a poor woman of 15 l. and got a warrant of attorney to confess judgement against her for 15 l. more; on pretence of praying her fathers soul out of purgatory. : With the condemnation of another Popish priest at Gloucester. 8 p. Printed for L.C.,London: :1679.. ("Licensed, April 7, 1679.") (Reproduction of original in the National Library of Wales.)
  • Catholic Church -- Controversial literature.
  • Catholic Church -- Clergy.
  • Anti-Catholicism -- England.

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