Page images
PDF
EPUB

receiving intelligence from the fifter, 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 territick

manner.

On the 31st of May (1643), at a folemn fait, when they were listening to the sermon, a messenger entered the church, and communicated his 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 night 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 con“ founded with fear, that he confessed whatever “ he had heard, faid, thought, or feen; all that “ he knew of himself, and all that he suspected

66 of

C4

is of others, without concealing any person, of " what degree or quality soever, or any dif“ course which he had ever upon any occasion " entertained with them; what fuch and fuch “ ladies of great honour, to whom, upon the credit of his wit and great reputation, he had “ been admitted, had fpoke to him in their “chamters upon the proceedings in the Houses, “ and how they had encouraged hiin to oppofe “them; what correspondence and intercourse

they had with some Ministers of State at “ Oxford, and how they had conveyed all in

tclligence thither.” He accused the Earl of Portland and Lord Conway as co-operating in the transaction; and teftified that the Earl of Northumberland had declared himself difpofed in favour of any attempt that might check the violence of the Parliament, and reconcile them to the King.

He undoubtedly confeffed much, which they could never have discovered, and perhaps fomewhat which they would wish to have been fuppreffed; for it is inconvenient, in the confiet of factions, to have that disaffection known which cannot fafely be punished. Tcmkyns was seized on the same night with

Waller,

[ocr errors]

Waller, and appears likewise to have partaken of his cowardice; for he gave notice of Crispe's commission of array, of which Clarendon never knew how it was discovered. Tomkyns had been sent with the token appointed, to demand it from Lady Aubigney, and had buried it in his garden, where, by his 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 commiffion of

array

in the hands of him who was employed in collecting the opinions and affections of the people.

Of the plot, thus combined, they took care to make the most. They fent Pym among the citizens, to tell them of their imminent danger, and happy escape; and inform them, that the design was “ to 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 cither house, by which he declared his detefta

tion of all conspiracies against the parliament, and his 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 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 he endeavoured to perfuade Portland to a declaration like his own, by a letter extant in Fenton's edition. “But for me," says he,“ you “had never known any thing of this business, “ which was prepared for another; and there“ fore I cannot imagine why you should hide “ it so far as to contract your own ruin by

concealing it, and persisting unreasonbly to

66 hide

“ hide that truth, which, without you, already “ is, and will every day be made more ma" nifeft. Can you imagine yourfelf bound in “honour to keep that fecret, which is already “ revealed by another; or possible it should “ still be a secret, whiclt is known to one of " the other sex? - If you persist to be cruel to “ yourself for their fakes who deserve it not, « it will nevertheless be made appear, ere long, “ I fear, to your ruin. Surely, if I had the

happiness to wait on you, I could move you to compassionate both yourself and me, who,

desperate as my case is, am desirous to die sc with the honour of being known to have “ declared the truth. You have no reason to “ contend to hide what is already revealed

inconsiderately to throw away yourself, for " the interest of others, to whom you are less

obliged than you are aware of.”

This persuasion seems to have had little effect. Portland fent (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 hath threatened “ him with since he was imprisoned, he doth apprehend a very cruel, long, and ruinous

" restraint:

« PreviousContinue »