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punity against the sense and proceedings of 66 the house."
Waller, as he continued to fit, was one of the commissioners nominated by the parliament to treat with the king at Oxford; and when they were presented, the King said to him, “ Though you are the last, you are not “ the lowest nor the least in my favour.” Whitlock, who, being another of the commiffioners, was witness of this kindness, imputes it to the king's knowledge of the plot, in which Waller appeared afterwards to have been engaged againtt the parliament. Fenton, with equal probability, believes that this attempt to promote the royal cause arose from his fenfibility of the king's tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his behaviour at Oxford: he was fent with several others to add pomp to the commission, but was not one of those to whom the trust of treating was imparted.
The engagement, known by the name of Waller's plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Waller had a brother-in-law, Tomkyns, who was clerk of the Queen's council, and at the fame time had a very numerous acquaintance, and great influence, in the city. Waller and
he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends
; and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found in the majority of all ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the Commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the king, whose fear concealed their loyalty; and many desired peace, though they durft not oppose the clamour for war; and they imagined that if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intelligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of fedition, by refusing to comply with the ordinance for the twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army, and by uniting great numbers in a petition for peace. They proceeded with great caution.
Three only met in one place, and no man was allowed to impart the plot to more than two others; so that, if any 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 inhabitants to the knowledge of each other; for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguish the friends of the king, the adherents to the parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does not appear; the result of their enquiry, 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 enquired.
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 publick declarations, and to weaken their powers by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer times, and more than this, is done without fear; but such was the acrimony of the commons, that no method of obstructing them
* Parliamentary History, Vol. II. `Dr. J.
About this time another design was formed by Sir Nicholas Crispe, a man of loyalty that deserves perpetual remembrance : when he was a merchant in the city, he gave and procured the king, in his exigences, an hundred thoufand pounds; and, when he was driven from the Exchange, raised a regiment, and commanded it.
Sir Nicholas flattered himself with an opinion, that some provocation would so much exasperate, or some opportunity so much encourage, the King's friends in the city, that they would break out in open resistance, and then would want only a lawful standard, and an authorised commander; and extorted from the King, whose judgement too frequently vielded to importunity, a commission of arrav, directed to such as he thought proper to nominate, which was sent to London by the Lady Aubigney. She knew not what the carried, but was to deliver it on the communication of a certain token which Sir Nicholas imparted.
This commission could be only intended to . lie ready till the time should require it. To have attempted to raise any forces, would have been certain destruction; it could be of use
only when the forces should appear.
This was, however, an act preparatory to martial hostility. Crispe would undoubtedly have put an end to the session of parliament, had his strength been equal to his zeal; and out of the design of Crispe, which involved very little danger, and that of Waller, which was an act purely civil, they compounded a horrid and dreadful plot.
The discovery of Waller's defign is variously related. In “Clarendon's History” it is told, that a fervant of Tomkyns, lurking behind the hangings when his 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 fifter Price, and her Presby“ terian chaplain Mr. Goode, who foie fomc " 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 his 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,