8 February 1673
Brother Balty’s letter to mee giveing an account of the Fortune of his Family, perticulerly done for the cleareing the imputation layd on mee in Parliament of my turning his Sister from a Protestant to a Catholique, S.P.
Deale, the 8th February 1673/4
In answer to yours of last night which received this morning at 8 of the Clock: I wonder indeed that you, whoose life and Conversation, hath bine ever knowne to be a Ferme Protestant, shoold now be Caled in question of being a papist; but Sir Malice and Envey will still oppress the best of Men; wherefore Sir to the hazard of my life i will proove (if Occasion be) with my sworde in my hand (since it hath touched soe neare of the memory of my Dear sister) that your Competitor is a false lier in his thought, as to your haveing Eather an Alter in your House, or that my Dear sister Ever since shee had the Honour to be your wife, or to her Death had the least thoughts of Popery, this I know, by my not only often Conversation with her my selfe, but in my Presence on time, i remember, shee haveing some discourse with my Father, conserning your life and Conversation, as well as Fortunes, this was his speech with her, that amongst the Greatest of Happinesses hee injoyed in his minde, was that shee had by matching with you, not only wedded wisdome, but allsoe one whoe by it, hee hoped in Christ, would quite bloute out, those Foolish, Phopish thoughts, shee might in her more tender yeares have had of Popery, theese (to the Best of my memory) ware his very words; to which her reply was (Kissing his Eyes, which shee loved dearly) dear Father said shee, though in my tender yeares, I was, by my low Fortune in this world deluded by popery by the Fonde-didly thereof; I have now a man to my husbande soe wise, and one so religious in the Protestant religion (Joyned with my riper yeares which gives me more understanding) to Ever suffer my thought to bende that way any more.
But Sir, I have given you two much truble with one thinge; Now to what you desir as to the Knoledge how, and when, the Popish Fancis ware first put in my Poore Dear Sisters head; which (to the best of my memory) in Every Pointe I shall declare to you. First my Father, Sonn to the High-Shreeve of Boge (in Anjou in France) a Papist and all his Famely, in which religion, allsoe my Father was bread, and continued in, till hee was 21 yeares, at which time (hee being then in the German service) turned Protestant, and without trubling you with the rest of his life there, till hee returned to France, I shall only say that hee did soe;where hee Found his Father Dead, haven given all hee had (heering of my Fathers being turned a Hugenot as hee termed it) in mariage with his Daughter (my Fathers only sister) soe that my Father, being disinherited of all for his religion-sake, had nothing lefte but his sword and Freindes, to preferr him in the world (though an Uncle of my Fathers a Chanoine of Parris whoe loved [him] soe well, that hee promised to make him his Aire and Give him 200 000 livres Tournois which is about 20 000 £ sterling, if he woold but goe to mass againe, but all (to this deare man whoe lived and died a sai[n]tely life) nor any thing could shake his resolutions of Continuance in the true Protestant Cause; at last Fortune in this world seemed to smile on him againe, hee being (as you knew Sir) a Gentleman, Extreamely well-bred, got him the Frends (to geather with his Name and Quality being of a very Good house in France) to preferr him ( when the Match was Concluded, between his Majesty Charles the First of Blessed memory, and the Daughter of France, to be of her retenue, in the Place of one of her Gentlemen Carvers, soe hee Came over with her Majesty, but longe had hee not Continued heere in her service, but the Cloudes of his Misfortunes (as to the Losse of his place) Frowned on him againe, being tooke notice of by some of the Friers that hee came not to Mass, was by it imediattly knowne to be what hee was Viz: a Very strong and Firme protestant, soe that the Queene dismissed him, his imployment, hee having in discourse and Controversy of religion struck a Frier: Well (as I said before and as your Honour knew) hee being a man not only Extreame Hansone, but allsoe of mightey winning Courtely Partes, went For Irelande where hee soone by it wone the Afection of my mother, Daughter, to Sir Francis Kingsmall and then late widow to an Irish Esquire, soe my Father, After hee had Maried her, though much to the dislike of her Freinds (my Lord Moore, & c) with what moneys thay could raise being 1500£, intended for France againe (with his wife my mother, to indeavor by Law (to recover if Posible some parte of his Father’s Estate, ) with his sister; but in his prosedure haveing turned the moneys hee had into Goods marchandable For France, at sea hee and the Goods were all tooke by the Dunkirkers, and hee allsoe prisoner for some munths, soe that hee and my Mother were again to begeen the World, but hee, being Bread to Nothing but the sworde; that was his recourse, and by it he had in his time many Very Honourable Comisions both in France, Holland, and Germany as well as England; hee For some time settled him selfe upon that litell he hadd in Devonsheire at a Place Caled Bidiford, where, and thereabouts my sister and wee all ware borne. Sir my Small age at those time hinders my giving you soe Exact accompt as I could wish; how-that, at last my Father, Mother and Famely went For France againe, neather cann I tell on what accompt only at First I remember that hee Caried a Compagny of Foot under his Comande by order of Englande, to Assiste the French against the Spaniard in the taking of Dunkirck, and Arrass which was about the yeare 1648 or 9 neather any Further acompt cann I say wee went to parries about, but that my Father (at least) grew Full of wheemesis, and Propositions (of Perpetuall Motions & c) to Kings, Princes, and others, which Soaked his Pockett, and brought all our Famely soe low (by his not minding anything Elce spending all hee had or had Gott and Getting noe other imployment to bring in More) as nothing more, and my Mother (For Feare of her Childrens want) into Extreame trubles, at last shee was persuaded by some deluding Papists, namely Madame Trouson, a Rich Counselers wife, Mr Duplesis a Rich Advocat of the Parlement, with many other Pretended Devouts, that if my Mother with her Children would gett From her husbande my Father, that Damned trublesome Hugenot (as thay Cauled him) thay woold provide For all if uss namely my Mother, sister and selfe by Allowing her a Considerable allowance Fitting a Gentlewooman of her Quality, Give a Rounde some of Moneys and Make My sister a Nunn, and my selfe a Page to the Pope Nuncio (by which i might [have been] since I have thought on it Either a Cardinall, or a Bardache;) then at Parris resident; in order to theese persuasions my Mother agrees, apointes the day and Howr, when Exactly Came 2 Coashes on of Madame Trouson Aforesaid, and the other of Mr Dupl[e]cy and Madam Trouson in her caries Mother and sister a way as sweefte as litening For Feare of my Fathers interest and Furies, and putts them both into the Nouvelle Catholique of Weemen, and I in Mr Duplecys convaid to that of Garsons, at last my Deare sister being Extreame Hansome was deluded into the Nuneries of the Urselines (all this about her 12 or 13 yeare of age) where shee was received with Gladness, thinking to have her there sure Enough it being the stricktest Nunerys in all Parris, but shee was not there longe I meane not 12 days Eare my Father by some stratageme or other I know not well How, gott her out, and uss all, hee haveing bine allmost distracted about it (Poore Deare man) but in Fine hee gott uss all For England againe, where after some time wee had the Honour to be related to you by my Deare sisters match, which was of Extreame Content to my Father, that his deare child had an other Ferme Protestant Protector, and Guide. Truly Sir I beleeve (that could I remember or that my mother whoe by her Absence From my house at this present, For health sake I can have noe accompt of) that never man For religion in thees later ages hath sufered what my Father hath. and now sir I doe declare From my very soule, and am Extreamely well satisfied that you kept my Dear sister in the true protestant Religion till her death. I am you Honour’s most obedient humble Servant.