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place in this great enterprise; finds, he too, that there is nothing but failure in it.
Miles Sindercomb, now a cashiered Quartermaster living about Town, was once a zealous Deptford lad, who enlisted to fight for Liberty, at the beginning of these Wars. He fought strongly on the side of Liberty, being an earnest fierce young fellow; — then gradually got astray into Levelling courses, and wandered ever deeper there, till daylight forsook him, and it became quite dark. He was one of the desperate misguided Corporals, or Quartermasters, doomed to be shot at Burford, seven years ago: but he escaped overnight, and was not shot there; took service in Scotland; got again to be Quartermaster; was in the Overton Plot, for seizing Monk and marching into England, lately: whereupon Monk cashiered him: and he came to Town; lodged himself here, in a sulky threadbare manner, — in Alsatia or elsewhere. A gloomy man and Ex-Quartermaster; has become one of Sexby's people, "on the faith of a Christian King;" nothing now left of him but the fierceness, groping some path for itself in the utter dark. Henry Toope, one of his Highness's Lifeguard, gives us, or will give us, an inkling of Sindercomb; and we know something of his courses and inventions, which are many. He rode in Hyde Park, among his Highness's escort, with Sexby; but the deed could not then be done. Leave me the 1,600/., said he; and I will find a way to do it. Sexby left it him, and went abroad.
Inventive Sindercomb then took a House in Hammersmith; Garden-House, I think, "which had a banquetingroom looking into the road;" road very narrow at that part;— road from Whitehall to Hampton Court on Saturday afternoons. Inventive Sindercomb here set about providing blunderbusses of the due explosive force, — ancient "infernalmachines," in fact, — with these he will blow his Highness's self into small pieces, if it please Heaven. It did not please Heaven, — probably not Henry Toope of his Highness's Lifeguard. This first scheme proved a failure.
Inventive Sindercomb, to justify his 1,600J., had to try something. He decided to fire Whitehall by night, and have a stroke at his Highness in the tumult. He has "a hundred swift horses, two in a stable, up and down:" — set a hundred stout ruffians on the back of these, in the nocturnal fire; and try. Thursday, 8th January 1656-7; that is to be the Night. On the dusk of Thursday, January 8th, he with old-trooper Cecil, his second in the business, attends Public Worship in Whitehall Chapel; is seen loitering there afterwards, "near the Lord Lambert's seat." Nothing more is seen of him: but about half-past eleven at night, the sentinel on guard catches a smell of fire; — finds holed wainscots, picked locks; a basket of the most virulent wildfire, "fit almost to burn throuh stones," — with lit match slowly creeping towards it, computed to reach in it some half-hour hence, about the! stroke of midnight!— His Highness is summoned, the Council is summoned;/— alas, Toope of the Lifeguard is examined, and Sindercomb's lodging is known. Just when the wildfire should have blazed, two Guardsmen wait upon Sindercomb; seize him, not without hard defence on his part, "wherein his nose was nearly cut off;" bring him to his Highness. Toope testifies; Cecil peaches: — inventive Sindercomb has failed for the last time. To the Tower with him, to a jury of hiB country with him! — The emotion in the Parliament and in Public, next morning, was great. It had been proposed to ring an alarm at the moment of discovery, and summon the Trainbands; but his Highness would not hear of it.*
This Parliament, really intent on settling the Nation, . could not want for emotions in regard to such a matter! Parliament adjourns for a week, till the roots of the Plot are investigated somewhat. Parliament, on reassembling, appoints a day of Thanksgiving for the Nation; Friday come four weeks, which is February 20th, that shall be the general. Thanksgiving Day: and in the mean time we decide to go over in a body, and congratulate his Highness. A mark of great respect to him. **
* Burton, (I. 322, 3, 355; Official Narrative (in Cromwelliana, pp.180, 161); State-Trials, v. § Sindercomb.
** Commons Journals, vii. 481, 484, 493; Burton's Diary, i. 369, 377.
Parliament accordingly goes over in a body, with millifluous Widdrington, whom they have chosen for Speaker, at their head, to congratulate his Highness. It is Friday 23d January 1656-7; about Eleven in the morning; scene, Banqueting-house, Whitehall. Mellifluous Widdrington's congratulation, not very prolix, exists in abstract;* but we suppress it. Here is his Highness's Reply; — rather satisfactory to the reader. We have only to regret that in passing from the Court up to the Banqueting-house, "part of an ancient wooden staircase," or balustrade of a staircase, "long exposed to the weather, gave way in the crowding;"** and some honourable Gentlemen had falls, though happily nobody was seriously hurt. Mellifluous Widdrington having ended, his Highness answers:
I confess with much respect, that you have put this trouble on yourselves upon this occasion: — but I 'perceive there be two things that fill me full of sense. One is, The mercy on a poor unworthy creaturej the second is, .This great and, as I said, unexpected kind^ ness of Parliament, in manifesting such a sense thereof as this is which you have now expressed. I speak not this with compliment! That which detracts from the thing, in some sense, is the inconsiderableness and unworthiness of the person that hath been the object and subject of this deliverance, to wit, .myself." I confess ingenuously to you, I do lie under the daily sense of my unworthiness and unprofitableness, as I have expressed to you: and if there be, as I most readily acknowledge there is, a mercy in it to me, I wish I may never reckon it on any other account than this, That
• Burton, ii. 488. *» Cromwelliaua, p. 162. See Thurloe (vl. 49), and correct poor Noble (i. 161), who, with a double or even triple blunder, says my Lord Richard Cromwell had his leg broken on this occasion, and dates it August 1667.
the life that is lengthened, may be spent and improved to His honour who hath vouchsafed the mercy, and to thtf service of you, and those you represent.
I do not' know, nor^ did I think it would be very seasonable for me, to say much to you upon this occasion; being a thing that ariseth from yourselves. Yet, methinks, the kindness you bear should kindle a little desire in me; even at this present, to make a short return. And, as you have been disposed hither by the Providence of God, to congratulate my mercy; so give me leave in a very word or two, to congratulate with ytfu. [Rusty, but sincere.]
Congratulations are ever conversant about good, bestowed upon men, or possessed by them. Truly, I shall in a word or two congratulate you with'good you are in possession of, and in some respect, I also with' you. God hath bestowed upon you, and you are in possession of it, — Three Nations, and all that appertains to them. Which in either a geographical, or topical consideration, are Nations. [Indisputably!] In which also there are places of honour and consideration, not inferior to any in the known world, — without vanity it may be spoken. Truly God hath not made so much soil, furnished with so many blessings, in vain! [Here is an idea of one's own.] But it is a goodly sight, if a man behold it uno intuitu. And therefore this is a possession of yours, worthy of congratulation.
This is furnished, — give me leave to say, for I believe it is true,—with the best People in the world, possessing so much soil. A People in civil rights, — in respect of their rights and privileges, — very ancient and honourable. And in this People,, in the midst of this People, 'you have, what is still more precious,' a People (I know every one will hear 'and acknowledge' it) that are to God "as the apple of His eye," — and He says so of them, be they many, or be they few! But they are many. A People of the blessing of God; a People under His safety and protection. A People calling upon the Name of the Lord; which the Heathen do not. A People knowing God; and a People (according to the ordinary expressions) fearing God. [We hope so!] And you have of this no parallel; no, not in all the world! You have in the midst of you glorious things.'
Glorious things: for you have Laws and statutes, and ordinances, which, though not all of them so conformable as were to be wished to the Law of God, yet, on all hands, pretend not to be long rested-in further than as they are conformable to the just and righteous Laws of God. Therefore, I am persuaded, there is a heart and spirit in every good man to wish they did all of them answer the Pattern. [Fea/] I cannot doubt but that which is in the heart will in due time break forth. [And we shall actually have just Laws., your Highness thinks?] That endeavours will be 'made' that way, is another of your good things, with which in my heart 'I think' you are worthily to be congratulated. And you have a Magistracy; which, in outward profession, in pretence, in endeavour, doth desire to put life into these Laws. And I am confident that among you will rest the true desire to promote every desire jn others, and every endeavour, that hath tended or shall tend to. the putting of these Laws in execution.