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some doubts of its success, till Providence cleared them to me by the effects. I was, truly, and to speak ingenuously, not without doubtings; and shall not be ashamed to give your Eminency the grounds I had for much doubting. I did fear that Berkley would not have been able to go through and carry i on that work; and that either the Duke would have cooled in his suit,* or condescended to his Brother. I doubted also that those Instructions which I sent over with 290f were not clear enough as to expressions; some affairs here denying me leisure at that time to be so particular as, 'in regard' to some circumstances, I would. If I am not mistaken in his ' the Duke's' character, as I received it from your Eminency, that fire which is kindled between them will not ask bellows to blow it and keep it burning. But what I think farther necessary in this matter I will send 'to' your Eminency by Lockhart.
And now I shall boast to your Eminency my security upon a wellbuilded confidence in the Lord: for I distrust not but if this breach ' be' widened a little more, and this difference fomented, with a little caution in respect of the persons to be added to it,—I distrust not but that Party, which is already forsaken of God as to an untoward dispensation of mer cies, and noisome to their countrymen, will grow lower in the opinion of all the world.
If I have troubled your Eminency too long in this, you may impute it to the resentment of joy which I have for the issue of this Affair; and 'I' will conclude with giving you assurance that I will never be backward in demonstrating, as becomes your brother and confederate, that [ am,
* His suit, I understand, was for leave to continue in France; an AntiSpanish notion.
t Cipher for some Man's Name, now undecipherable; to all appearance, Bamfield.
X Thurloe, v., 735. In the possession of a *Mr. Theophilus Rowe of Hampstead in Middlesex,' says Birch. Where did Rowe get it? Is it in the original hand, or only a copy? Birch is silent even as to the latter point. The style sufficiently declares it to be a genuine Letter.
The Spanish Invasion and Royalist Insurrection once more came to no effect: on mature judgment of the case, it seemed necessary to have Oliver Protector assassinated first; and that, as usual, could not be got done. Colonel Sexby, the frantic Anabaptist, he and others have been very busy; 'riding among his Highness's escort' in Hyde Park and elsewhere, with fleet horses, formidable weapons, with ' gate-hinges ready filed through,' if the deed could have been done;—but it never could. Sexby went over to Flanders again, for fresh consultations; left the assassination-affair in other hands, with 1,6007. of ready money, 'on the faith of a Christian King.' Quartermaster Sindercomb takes Sexby's 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, se'ven years ago: but he escaped over night, 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 nim 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 1,6007., 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 banqueting-room 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 'infernal-machines,' in fact,—with these he will blow his Highness's Coach and 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 1,600Z., 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 to burn through stones,'—with lit match slowly creeping towards it, computed to reach it in 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 oft";' bring him to his Highness. Toope testifies; Cecil Deaches :—inventive Sindercomb has failed for the last time. To the Tower with him, to a jury of his country with him!—The emotion in the Parliament and in the Public, next morning, was great. It had been proposed to ring an alarm at ths moment of discovery, and summon the Trainbands; but his Highness would not .'ear 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 three weeks, which is February 20th, that shall be the general Thanksgiving Day: and in the meantime we decide to go over in a body, and congratulate his Highness. A mark of great respect to him.f
Parliament accordingly goes over in a body, with mellifluous 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 honorable 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 creature; the second is, This great and, as I said, unexpected kindnesa
* Burton, i , 322, 3, 355; Official Narrative (in Cromwelliana, p. 160-1); State-Trials, v., § Sindercomb.
t Commons Journals, vii., 481, 493; Burton's Diary, i., 369, 377. X Burton, ii., 488
§ Cromwellmna, p. 162. See Thurloe (vi., 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, 1657
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 the life that is lengthened, may be spent and improved to His honor who hath vouchsafed the mercy, and to the 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, thfckindness 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 you. [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 honor 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 honorable. And ire 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