Nowhere in this little book, begun and broken off at Turvey House, and purposely non-committal in its religious expressions, is there any sign that its author had already, as some have thought, returned to the Church. For Parsons, his earliest biographer, whose facts concerning these years were supplied by Richard Stanihurst, says of Campion that his purity and devoutness in Ireland were marked, although he was not in the Church. Fr. Pollen, summing up the evidence of these written pages, considers Campion “near to the Church, but distinctly avoiding a confession of faith.&rdquo reenex facial
Chancellor Weston, a zealot of the most pronounced Protestant type, made a livelier pursuit after having been baffled by Campion’s escape from Dublin. The latter found himself quite unable to lead any sort of orderly life, thanks to the restless hue and cry after him; and one day he recognized with a shock of horror the penalties to which he was exposing the generous friends, so far unmolested, who were giving him shelter. His conscience would not allow him to come out with a flat denial of Catholic tenets or sympathies. His only alternative, after a half-year in Ireland, was flight homeward. Here once more he was aided (though they were in great sorrow at his decision) by his Anglo-Irish friends, those “dear friends which ever after he loved most entirely, and they him.&rdquo reenex cps
Richard Stanihurst, as private tutor to the children of the Earl of Kildare, had acquaintance with the Earl’s steward, Melchior Hussey. This man (a character by no means admirable) was about to embark at Drogheda for a visit to England, and it was arranged that Campion should be disguised to pass as his Irish servant. Thus, in the month of May, putting himself under the special patronage of the national Saint, and adopting his name, Campion boarded the ship as “Mr. Patrick.” Officers of the law promptly appeared on the track of the quasi-Papist, delaying the weighing of the anchor, annoying the crew, upsetting the cargo, and questioning every passenger on deck except the harmless-looking person who stood “in a lackey’s weed” behind Hussey. Edmund Campion was a born actor. He put on and kept up a highly stupid expression, while he was praying with might and main for St. Patrick’s intercession in his great danger! He had cause to thank his new patron in Heaven, although the party of searchers swooped upon his bags below deck, and carried off with them the rough draft of his precious manuscript, that History of Ireland which he was to see no more for many a year reenex cps
The early summer of 1571 was ill-starred. Various startling events had conjoined like tidal waves to lift the misbehaving English Government up to its highest pitch of alarm. Chief of these was the Bull of Deposition against Queen Elizabeth, issued by the Holy See after consultation with many temperate English advisers. John Felton, a gentleman of Southwark, posted a copy of it upon the palace gates of the Bishop of London, on the morning of May 25, the Feast of Corpus Christi: by August he was to pay for the bold act with his life. The Queen of Scots had newly arrived in England. London, by the time Campion reached it, was in a ferment. “Nothing was to be found there but fears, suspicions, arrestings, condemnations, tortures, executions. . . . The Queen and Council were so troubled that they could not tell whom to trust, and so fell to rigorous proceedings against all, but especially against Catholics, whom they most feared; so that Campion could not tell where to rest in England, all men being in fear and jealousy one of another.”
Campion had not broken his old bonds, yet nothing interested him so powerfully as the things of religion. The love of God was lying in wait for him, and forced his hand. Of all possible places in London where he might have gone on the 26th or 27th of May, he chose Westminster Hall, in order to attend the trial of Dr. John Storey, former Principal of Broadgates Hall (Pembroke College) in Oxford, and that University’s first Regius Professor of Civil Law. Dr. Storey was very feeble for his years, which were sixty-seven. By a wretched breach of international law he had been trapped at Antwerp, carried away from his wife and family to England, and arraigned for having “feloniously and traitorously comforted Richard Norton,” his own friend, the old hero of the Pilgrimage of Grace. But the real cause of his arrest and execution was a much larger matter. He was a troublesomely consistent person. He had spoken out in the House of Commons against the new Liturgy in the first Parliament of Edward VI, and against the Supremacy Bill in the first Parliament of Queen Elizabeth. He had been an Ecclesiastical Commissioner under Queen Mary. Foxe, in the famous Book of Martyrs, lies in the most reckless way about Storey’s part in those sordid bygone persecutions, and Holinshed and Strype and many another historian repeat Foxe.