Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in the Archives and Collections of Milan 1385-1618. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
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G. Inf. 207.
1041. Father Anselmo to Cardinal Federigo Borromeo.
As I have recently received from one of our fathers who is imprisoned for the faith in England an account of the martyrdom of another of ours in London, I think it my duty, though I have not all the particulars, to send such an account as I can to your Eminence, as having a better right than any one else to taste the fruit of your own planting, that is, of the English Benedictine mission. On the eve of St. Thomas the Apostle last Dom. Joanne Marvino, commonly called Roberts, one of our priests and monks, suffered martyrdom with another secular priest. This man, in defence of the faith, both at the public tribunal, when he was sentenced to death, and at the hour of his death, spoke at length, with such fluency, modesty and discretion that he was heard, not only with unusual silence, but with the greatest admiration of all and the edification of several. So much so that all the Catholics present at his death publicly asked for his blessing, and all the multitude present at the spectacle, stood without insulting or cursing the martyrs, showing so much respect that all seemed to be Catholics also. There is no occasion for surprise in this, for God on such occasions gives wisdom, and occasionally moves the feelings of sorry men to compunction. Moreover this father of ours was known to many, both for long imprisonment endured on several occasions. He was twice banished, and on returning this third time, he was found and imprisoned. He was also known for his rare charity, shown at the time of the great plague of 1603. At that time he was practically the only priest in London at liberty; he did not desert it, but never ceased to visit and console with the most holy sacraments and other adjuncts, both spiritual and corporal. In this way he saved the lives of various persons and the souls of many more. His quarters and those of the priest who suffered with him were buried in a deep ditch and thrown upon the bodies of several malefactors, hanged at the same time. Nevertheless, on the following night they were removed by devout persons, except the heads, which from the sentence, as being traitors, are set up on the Tower of London bridge as food for the birds. In order that your Eminence may see the manner of the martyrdom, I enclose a picture printed in Flanders upon the similar death of another of ours, named George Gervase. (fn. 1)
Of our affair which your Eminence recommends so warmly to Cardinal Montalto, no results have appeared from the cardinal's good will, as certain ministers have thwarted everything. I have little or no hope, not only in this, but in every other matter for our mission, the more so as it is deprived of the protection of the Cardinal de Camerino, who was appointed for the purpose by your Eminence, and who always favoured it with zeal and enthusiasm. I therefore humbly beg your Eminence to recommend us affectionately to some other cardinal of the congregation of the Holy Office, if so it pleases you, to whom everything pertaining to the English may be referred, whom your Eminence knows to be of equal zeal and spirit, to whom we can apply with the same security and hope of assistance as to your Eminence, in time of need.
Rome, the 19th February, 1611.
G. Inf. 206.
1042. Costantino Caetano to Cardinal Federigo Borromeo.
In sending your Eminence the enclosed account of the martyrdom of a Father of the Order of St. Benedict in England, and now that one sees clearly the fruits of the apostolic mission to England promoted by your Eminence, I venture to beg you to appoint a cardinal protector owing to the death of the Cardinal of Camerino, about which Father Anselmo wrote to you several days ago. The Cardinal S. Eusebio is well informed of everything and is very friendly to us, and if your Eminence sees fit you might write to him to act or to some other cardinal that you may think of. This is more than necessary, since these good protectors, under the name of peace, are representing under hand that there are no English monks staying at Rome. This would be of the greatest hurt to the service of the mission and of Holy Church, but through the influence of your Eminence we hope to progress every day and advance the service of God.
Your Eminence will have received a letter of mine asking for a favour, in which I have the company of Cardinal Montalto and Cardinal Farnese, from whom I receive extraordinary favours every day, also due to your Eminence.
There is some stir at this Court owing to a pragmatic made by the Catholic in the month of October, published in all his dominions, and in Sicily on the 17th December, by Cardinal Joannettin Doria etc.
Rome, the Apostolic Palace, 10th April, 1611.