Page images

Garden at supper ; whereof this examinant failing, Captaine Billingsley comes again to his house on Monday morning, and not finding him there, left word that he must needs come to the Covent Garden, to Sir John Suckling's lodging, which accordingly he did ; but not finding him there, the same day he was with Captaine Billingsley at the Dog Tavern in Westminster, at which time he did farther appoint this examinant upon Wednesday, to promise Sir John Suckling a meeting at the Dolphin, in Gray's-Inn Lane, about nine of the clock in the forenoone, where, the same day, came some thirty more, which were appointed by Sir John Suckling and Captaine Billingsley; but neither Sir John Suckling or Billingsley came, only there came one and gave them money, and so dismist them for the present.

This examinant further saith, That Captaine Billingsley having notice that he had some store of arms of his owne, told him Sir John Suckling would buy them all if he pleased to sell them.

Captaine Billingsley likewise told this examinant, that Sir John Suckling had furnished himselfe for money, and all the company.


Quarto die Maii, 1641.

Elizabeth Nutt, wife of William Nutt of Tower Street, London, merchant, and Anne Bardsey of Tower Street, aforesaid, widow, say, that they being desirous to see the Earl of Strafford, came to Anne Vyner, wife of Thomas Vyner, clerk to the lieutenant of the Tower, whose lodging being near to the king's gallery, where the said earle useth to walke, carried them to a back doore of the said gallery, the said earl with one other being then walking. And they three being then there, and peeping through the key-hole, and other places of the doore, to see the said earle, did heare him and the said other party conferring about an escape as they conceived, saying, that it must be done when all was still, and asked the said party where his brother's ship was, who said she was gone below in the river; and heard them say, that they three might be there in twelve houres, and doubted not to escape, if something which was said concerning the lieutenant of the Tower were done; but what that was, as also where they might be in twelve houres, they could not heare, by reason that when they walked further off they could not perfectly heare. And the said Mrs. Nutt and Mrs. Bardsey say, that they heard the said carle then say, that if this fort could be safely guarded or secured for three or foure moneths, there would come ayde enough; and divers other words tending to the purposes aforesaid, which they cannot now remember.

And further, all of them say, that they heard the said earle three times mention an escape, saying, that if any thing had been done, his majestie might safely have sent for him ; but now there was nothing to be thought on but an escape ; and heard the said other partie tell. ing his lordship, that the outward gates were now as surely guarded as those within. To whom the said earle said, the easier our escape that way, pointing to the east, if the said party and some others should obey the directions of the said earl: But what those were they know not ; but heard the said party answer, they would do any thing his lordship should command.


Eliz. E. N. Nutt.

Those depositions are presented as they were published by the parliament, along with “ the declaration or remonstrance of the lords and commons in parliament assembled, May 19, 1642." I have taken them from Husband's Collection, 1643.

In a previous declaration presented to Charles at Newmarket, the lords and commons, in stating their causes of jealousy, use this language: “ The manifold attempts to provoke your majestie's late army, and the army of the Scots, and to raise a faction in the city of London, and other parts of the kingdom: That those who have been actors in those businesses have had their dependence and encouragement from the court; witnesse the treason whereof Master Jermyn and others stạnd accused, who was transported beyond sea by warrant under your majestie's hand, after your majesty had laid a strict command upon all your servants that none of them should depart the court." Id. p. 98.

To this Charles answers thus: “ For Master Jermyn, it is well known that he was gone from Whitehall before we received the desire of both houses for the restraint of our servants, neither returned hee thither, or passed over by any warrant granted by us after that time.” Id. p. 108. The warrant the reader will find amongst the depositions above, in p. 594-5.

The lords and commons reply thus : “ We doe not affirme that his

majestie's warrant was granted for the passage of Master Jermyn, after the desire of both houses for restraint of his servants, but only that he did passe over after that restraint by virtue of such a warrant. We know the warrant beares date the duy before our desire, yet it seemes strange to those who know how great respect and power Mr. Jermine had in court, that hee should begin his journey in such haste, and in apparell so unfit for travaille as a black sattin suit and white boots, if going away were designed the day before.” Id. p. 200.

These depositions, &c. sufficiently prove the dangerous nature of the conspiracy; and yet it is evident that the witnesses did not, in their anxiety to save their credit at court, give quite an accurate account of the particulars. Had their depositions been liable to question by the king, he, as having been grossly slandered, had a direct interest in the punishment of his defamers, and ought never to have trusted the witnesses more; yet most of them were all along treated by him as his most confidential servants. Legg was designated honest Will Legg. The object of the king was to screen them all from punishment; and when he found his expectations of accomplishing his purpose so far frustrated by parliament, he vowed vengeance against that assembly. “ I hope," says he, in an apostyle to a letter from Nie cholas, informing him of the apprehension, &c. of Sir John Berkeley and Capt. O'Neale, “ I hope some day they may repent their severities.” Note. The letters were returned with these apostyles or directions. Append. to Evelyn's Mem. Correspondence between K. Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, p. 26. See also p. 7, 8, 9, 10, in proof of his extreme desire to screen the individuals implicated.

Clarendon, who pretends that there was only one petition ever prepared, and gives what he is pleased to call a copy of the original, in another place informs us, that Chudleigh“ being then a very young man, and of a stirring spirit, and desirous of a name, had expressed much zeal to the king's service, and been busy in inclining the army to engag in such petitions and undertakings as were not gracious to the parliament. But, when that discovery was made by Mr. Goring, as is before remembered, and a committee appointed to examine the combination, this gentleman, wrought upon by hopes or fears, in his examination, said much that was disadvantageous to the court, and there fore bringing no other testimony with him to Oxford but of his own conscience, he received nothing like countenance there.” Ibid. vol. iii. p. 272. What Charles and his advisers expected of this witness, may be inferred from his treatment of Northumberland, because he would not perjure himself to save Strafforde. Clarendon eulogizes the geneosity of Chudleigh's temper. Ib. The noble historian, too, in afterwards giving an account of Daniel O'Neil, who had been a courtier very early, had received the best education, to which he joined the most insinuating address, and had a competent fortune, says, in relation to the army-plot, “ that when the parliament grew too imperious, he entered very frankly into those new designs which were contrived at court, with less circumspection than both the season and the weight of the affair required. And in this combination, in which men were most concerned for themselves, and to receive good recompense for the adventures they made, he had either been promised, or at least encouraged by the queen to hope to be made groom of the bedchamber, when a vacancy should happen.” Vol. iv. p. 610-11. Is not this a full admission of what he elsewhere so confidently denies ? See also Supplement to State Papers, character of Sir John Berkeley (called Bartley in the depositions,) vol. iii. p. 74.

The following passage from Clarendon's Life by himself, which is referred to by us, may properly be given here. “ After the king came to Oxford with his army, his majesty one day speaking with the Lord Falkland very graciously concerning Mr. Hyde, said he had such a peculiar style, that he could know any thing written by him if it were brought to him by a stranger, amongst a multitude of writings by other men. The Lord Falkland answered, he doubted his majesty could hardly do that, because he himself, who had so long conversation and friendship with him, was often deceived, and often met with things written by him, of which he could never have suspected him, upon the variety of arguments. To which the king replied, he would lay him an angel, that, let the argument be what it would, he should never bring him a sheet of paper (for he would not undertake to judge of less) of his writing, but he would discover it to be his. The Lord Falkand told him it should be a wager ; but neither the one nor the other ever mentioned it to Mr. Hyde. Some days after, the Lord Falkland brought several packets, which he had then received from London, to the king, before he had opened them, as he used to do; and after he had read his several letters of intelligence, he took out the prints of diurnals, and speeches, and the like, which were every day printed at London, and as constantly sent to Oxford : And amongst the rest, there were two speeches, the one made by the Lord Pembroke for an accommodation, and the other by the Lord Brooke against it, and for the carrying on the war with more vigour, and utterly to root out the courtiers, which were the king's party.The king was very much pleased with reading the speeches, and said

he did not think that Pembroke could speak so long together, though
every word he said was so much his own, that nobody else could make
it. And so, after he had pleased himself with reading the speeches
over again, and then passed to other papers, the Lord Falkland whis-
pered in his ear, (for there were other persons by,) desiring him he
would pay him the angel, which his majesty in the instant apprehend-
ing, blushed, and put his hand in his pocket, and gave him an angel,
saying, he had never paid a wager more willingly: And was very
merry upon it, and would often call upon Mr. Hyde for a speech or a
letter, which he very often prepared upon several occasions; and the
king always commanded them to be printed. And he was often wont
to say, many years after, that he would be very glad he could make a
collection of all those papers which he had written occasionally at that
time, which he could never do, though he got many of them."-Life,
vol. i. p. 69, 70. 136, 137.

Surely such an individual ought to be regarded as a very suspicious
authority for statements in a history which he undertook, as himself
informs us, at the express desire of the king, “ and for his vindication."
Hist. vol. iv. p. 627. See also Life, vol. i. p. 103—202. But his nu-
merous contradictions, and palpable mis-statements, which we expose
throughout our work, set his veracity as an historian at rest.

Madam de Motteville, who informs us that she had her informa-
tion from the queen herself, (Tome i. p. 251.) gives an account of
the army-plot, as having been carried on at the desire of the king and
queen, and been meritorious in itself. Id. p. 252, et seq. She justly
ascribes the disclosure by Goring to his disappointment in the com-

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »