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should be suspected or seized, more than three could not be endangered.
Lord Conway joined in the design, and, Clarendon imagines, incidentally mingled, as he was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, which however were only mentioned, the main design being to bring the loyal inbabitants to the knowledge of each other; for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguisha the friends of the king, the adherents to the parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does not appear; the result of their inquiry, as Pym declared, was, that within the walls, for one that was for the royalists, there were three against them; but that without the walls, for one that was against them, there were five for them. Whether this was said from knowledge or guess, was perhaps never inquired.
It is the opinion of Clarendon, that in Waller's plan no violence or sanguinary resistance was comprised ; that he intended only to abate the confidence of the rebels by public declarations, and to weaken their power by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer tines, and more than this, is done without fear; but such was the acrimony of the Commons, that no inethod of obstructing them was safe. About the same time another design was forined by sir Nicholas Crispe, an opulent merchant in the city, who gave and procured the king in his exigencies an hundred thousand pounds, and wben he was driven from the royal exchange, raised a regiment and commanded it. His object appears to have been to raise a military force, but his design and Waller's appear to have been totally distinct.
The discovery of Waller's design is variously related. In “ Clarendon's History” it is told, that a servant of Tomkyns, Jurking behind the hangings when bis master was in conference with Waller, heard enough to qualify him for an informer, and carried his intelligence to Pym. A manuscript, quoted in the “ Life of Waller,” relates, that "he was betrayed by his sister Price, and her Presbyterian chaplain Mr. Goode, who stole some of his papers; and, if he had not strangely dreamed the night before that his sister had betrayed him, and thereupon burnt the rest of bis papers by the fire that was in his chimney, he had certainly lost his life by it." The question cannot be decided. It is not unreasonable to believe that the men in power, receiving intelligence from the sister, would employ the servant of Tomkyns to listen at the conference, that they might avoid an act so offensive as that of destroying the brother by the sister's testimony.
The plot was published in the most terrific manner. On the 31st of May (1643), at a solemn fast, when they were listening to tbe sermon, a messenger entered the church, and communicated bis errand to Pym, who whispered it to others that were placed near him, and then went with them out of the church, leaving the rest in solicitude and amazement. They immediately sent guards to proper places, and that might apprehended Tomkyns and Waller; having yet traced nothing but that letters had been intercepted, from which it appeared that the parliament and the city were soon to be delivered into the hands of the cavaliers. They perhaps yet knew little themselves, beyond some general and indistinct notices. “ But Waller," says Clarendon, “was so confounded with fear and apprehension, that he confessed whatever he had said, beard, thought, or seen; all that he knew of himself, and all that he suspected of others, without concealing any person of what degree or quality soever, or any discourse that he had ever, upon any occasion, entertained with them : what such and such la, dies of great honour, to whom, upon the credit of his wit and great reputation, be had been admitted, had spoken to him in their chambers upon the proceedings in the Houses, and how they had encouraged him to oppose them: what correspondence and intercourse they had with some ministers of state at Oxford, and how they had conveyed all intelligence thither.” He accused the earl of Portland and lord Conway as co-operating in the transaction; and testified that the earl of Northumberland bad declared himself disposed in favour of any attempt that might check the violence of the parliament, and reconcile them to the king:
Tomkyns was seized on the same night with Waller, and appears likewise to bave partaken of his cowardice ; for be gave notice of Crispe's having obtained from the king a commission of array, of which Clarendon never knew how it was discovered. Tomkyns bad buried it in his garden, where, by bis direction, it was dug up; and thus the rebels obtained, what Clarendon confesses them to have had, the original copy. It can raise no wonder that they formed one plot out of these two designs, however remote from each other, when they saw the same agent employed in both, and found the commission of array in the hands of him who was employed in collecting the opinions and af. fections of his people. *
Of the plot, thus combined, they took care to make the most. They sent Pym among the citizens, to tell them of their imminent danger, and happy escape; and inform them, that the design was, “10 seize the lord mayor and all the committee of militia, and would not spare one of them.” They drew up a vow and covenant, to be taken by every member of either House, by which he declared his detestation of all conspiracies against the parliament, and bis resolution to detect and oppose them. They then appointed a day of thanksgiving for this wonderful delivery; which shut out, says Clarendon, all doubts whether there had been such a deliverance, and whether the plot was real or fictitious.
On June 11, the earl of Portland and lord Conway were committed, one to the custody of the mayor, and the other of the sheriff : but their lands and goods were not seized. Waller, however, was still to immerse himself deeper in ignominy. The earl of Portland and lord Conway denied the charge; and there was no evidence against them but the confession of Waller, of which undoubtedly many would be inclined to question the veracity. With these doubts he was so much terrified, that be endeavoured to persuade
* “ The plot,” says May, ance, and to des'roy all those, who horrid, and could not possibly have should by authority of Parliament be been put in execution without great their opposers; and by force of arms effusion of blood, as must needs ap- to resist and payment imposed by the pear by the particular branches of it, authority of both flouses for support which were confessed upon the exa- of those armies employed in their de. minations of master Waller, master fence. “Many other partitulars there Tomkins, master Challoner, master were,” contioves Mr. May, “ too teHassel, master Blinkhorne, master dious to relate at large; as what sigWhite, and others the chief actors of nals should have been given to the it.” That which appeared by the king's forces of borse to invade the Narrative declaration published by city; wat colours for difference those authority of Parliament, was to this of the plot should wear to be known effect; that 1. They sbould seize in- to their fellows, and such like. Much. to their custody the king's children. heartened they were in this business 2. To seize upon several members of by a commission of array sent from both Houses of Parliament, upon the Oxford at that time from the king to lord mayor of London, and the com. them, and brought secretly to Lon. mittee of the militia there, under pre- don by a lady, the lady Aubigny, tence of bringing them to legal trial. daughter to the earl of Sufflk, a wi. 3. To seize upon all the city's out- dow ever since the battle of Keynton, works and forts, upon the iower of where the Jord Aubigny her husband London, and all the magazines, gates, was slaiu. That commission of array and other places of importance in the was directed from the king to sir Ni. city. 4. To let in the king's forces, cholas Crispe, &c. &c.” to surprise the city with their assista
Portland to a declaration like his own, by a letter which is extant in Fenton's edition of his works; but this bad very little effect: Portland sént (June 29) a letter to the Lords, to tell them, that he “is in custody, as he conceives, without any charge; and that, by what Mr. Waller had threatened him with since he was imprisoned, he doth apprehend a very cruel, long, and ruinous restraint: he therefore prays, that he may not find the effects of Mr. Waller's threats, a long and close imprisonment; but may be speedily brought to a legal trial, and theu he is confident the vanity and falsehood of those informations which have been given against him will appear."
In consequence of this letter, the Lords ordered Portland and Waller to be confronted; when the one repeated his charge, and the other his denial. The examination of the plot being continued (July 1,) Thinn, usher of the House of Lords, deposed, that Mr. Waller having had a conference with the lord Portland in an upper rooin, lord Portland said, when he came down, “Do me the favour to tell my lord Northumberland, that Mr. Waller bas extremely pressed me to save my own life and his, by throwing the blame upon the lord Conway and the earl of Nor. tumberland." Waller, in his letter to Portland, tells him of the reasons which he could urge with resistless efficacy in a personal conference; but he overrated bis own oratory; his vehemence, whether of persuasion or intreaty, was returned with contempt. One of his arguments with Portland is, that the plot is already known to a woman. This woman was doubtless lady Aubigny, who, upon this occasion, was committed to custody; but who, in reality, when she delivered the commission of array, knew not what it was. The parliament then proceeded against the conspirators, and Tomkyns * and Chaloner were hanged. The earl of Northumberland, being too great for prosecution, was only once examined before the Lords. The earl of Portland and lord Conway, persisting to deny the charge, and no testimony but Waller's yet appearing against them, were, after a long imprisonment, admitted to bail. Hassel, the king's messenger, who carried the letters to Oxford, died the night before his trial. Hampden escaped death, perhaps by the interest of his family, but was kept in prison to the end of his life. They whose names were inserted in the commission of array were not capitally punished, as it could not be proved that they had consented to their own nomination : but they were considered as malignants, and their estates were seized.
* Waller's influence at this time feelings must hare been strangely must have been very low, when it bluntod, if he was not sensible of the served just to save his own life, but meanness of his own escape, and the not that of his sister's husband ; or his disgrace now inflicted on his family.
“ Waller," says Clarendon, whom we have already quoted on this point, “though confessedly the most guilty, with incredible dissimulation, affected such a remorse of conscience, that bis trial was put off, out of Christian compassion, till he might recover his understanding.” What use he made of this interval, with what liberality and success he distributed flattery and money, and how, when he was brought (July 4) before the House, he confessed and lamented, and submitted and implored, may be read in the History of the Rebellion (B. vii.). The speech, to which Clarendon ascribes the preservation of his dearbought life, is inserted in his works. The great historian, however, seems to have been mistaken in relating that he prevailed in the principal part of his supplication, not to be tried by a council of war; for, according to Whitlock, he was by expulsion from the House abandoned to the tribunal which he so much dreaded, and, being tried and condemned, was reprieved by Essex; but after a year's imprisonment, in which time resentment grew less acrimobious, paying a fine of ten thousand pounds, he was permitted to recollect himself in another country. Of his behaviour in this part of his life, Johnson justly says, it is not necessary to direct the reader's opinion.
For the place of his exile he chose France, and stayed some time at Roan, where his daughter Margaret was born, who was afterwards his favourite, and his amanuensis. He then removed to Paris, where he lived with great splendour and hospitality; and from time to time amused himself with poetry, in which he sometimes speaks of the rebels, and their usurpation, in the natural language of an honest man.
At last it became necessary for his support, to sell his wife's jewels, and being thus reduced, he sulicited from Cromwell permission to return, and obtained it by the interest of colonel Scroop, to whom his sister was married. Upon the remains of his fortune he lived at Hallbarn, a house built by himself, very near to Beaconsfield, where his mother resided. His mother, though