Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Langhorne, Richard

LANGHORNE, RICHARD (d. 1679), one of Titus Oates's victims, was admitted a member of the Inner Temple in November 1649, and was called to the bar in 1654 (Cooks, Members admitted to the Inner Temple, p. 324). He was a Roman catholic. Shortly before the Restoration he engaged a half-witted person to manage elections for him in Kent, and admitted to Tillotson (afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) that if the agent should turn informer it would be easy to invalidate his evidence by representing him as a madman. Langhorne was accused by Oates and his associates with being a ringleader in the pretended 'Popish plot,' and was among the first who were apprehended. He was committed to Newgate on 7 Oct. 1678, and after more than eight months' close imprisonment was tried at the old Bailey on 14 June 1679. Oates gave evidence against against Langhorne, and Bedloe corroborated him. Langhorne called witnesses to rebut their statements, and pointed out glaring discrepancies, but in vain. He was condemned with five jesuits who had been tried on the previous day, and was reprieved for some time in the hope that he would make discoveries, but he persisted in affirming that he could make none, and that all that had been sworn against him was false. He was executed on 14 July 1679 at Tyburn, where he delivered a speech, which he desired might be published. A portrait of him in mezzotint has been engraved by E. Lutterel. It is reproduced in Richardson's 'Collection of Portraits in illustration of Granger,' vol. ii.

His works are: 1. 'Mr. Langhorne's Memoires, with some Meditations and Devotions of his during his imprisonment: as also his Petition to his Majesty, and his Speech at his Execution,' London, 1679, fol. 2. 'Considerations touching the great question of the King's right in dispensing with the Penal Laws, written on the occasion of his late blessed Majesties granting Free Toleration and Indulgence,' London, 1667, fol. Dedicated to the king by the author's son, Richard Langhorne.

[The following publications have reference to his trial and execution: (a) The Petition and Declaration of R. Langhorne, the notorious Papist, now in Newgate condemned for treason, promoted to his Majesty in Council ... in which be avowedly owneth several Popish principles [London, 1679], fol.; (b) Tryal of R. Langhorne . . . London, 1679. fol.; (c) An Account of the Deportment and last Words of ... R. Langhorne, London, 1679, fol.; (d) The Confession and Execution of ... R. Langhorne ... [London, 1679], fol.; (e) The Speech of R. Langhorne at his Execution, 14 July 1679. Being left in writing by him [London, 1679], fol. Printed in French the same year by Thomas White, alias Whitebread, jesuit, in Harangues des cinq Pères de la Compagnie de Jéans, executés á Londres, le 14 juin 1679, sine loco, 4to. See also Burnet's Hist. of his own Time. i. 230, 427, 430, 431, 465, 466; Challoner's Missionary Priests, No. 200; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 263; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 5th edit. v. 129, 130; Howell's State Trials, vii. 417; Jones's Popery Tracts, i. 90; North's Lives, 1825, i. 38.]

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