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ears: They were wakened from their slumber; and, CHAP. like men affrighted and in the dark, took every
LXVII. figure for a spectre. The terror of each man be
1678. came the source of terror to another. And an universal panic being diffused,“ reason, and argument, and common sense, and common humanity, lost all influence over them. From this disposition of men's minds we are to account for the progress of the POPISH PLOT, and the credit given to it; an event, The popwhich would otherwise appear prodigious and alto- ish plot. gether inexplicable.
On the 12th of August, one Kirby, a chemist, accosted the King, as he was walking in the park: “ Sir," said he,," keep within the company : Your
enemies have a design upon your life ; and you
may be shot in this very walk.” Being asked the reason of these strange speeches, he said, that two men, called Grove and Pickering, had engaged to shoot the King, and Sir George Wakeman, the Queen's physician, to poison him. This intelligence, he added, had been communicated to him by Doctor Tongue; whom if permitted, he would introduce to His Majesty. Tongue was a divine of the church of England; a man active, restless, full of projects, void of understanding. He brought papers to the King, which contained information of a plot, and were digested into forty-three articles. The King, not having leisure to peruse them, sent them to the treasurer, Danby, and ordered the two informers to lay the business before that minister. Tongue confessed to Danby, that he himself had not drawn the papers, that they had been secretly thrust under his door, and that, though he suspected, he did not certainly know, who was the author. After a few days he returned, and told the treasurer, that his suspicions, he found, were just; and that the author of the intelligence, whom he had met twice or thrice in the street, had acknow.
CHAP. ledged the whole matter, and had given him a more LXVII. particular account of the conspiracy, but desired
that his name might be concealed, being apprehen1678.
sive lest the papists should murder him.
The information was renewed with regard to Grove's and Pickering's intentions of shooting the King ;. and Tongue even pretended, that, at a particular time, they were to set out for Windsor with that intention. Orders were given for arresting them, as soon as they should appear in that place : But though this alarm was more than once renewed, some frivolous reasons were still found by Tongue for their having delayed the journey. And the King concluded, both from these evasions, and from the mysterious, artificial manner of communicating the intelligence; that the whole was an imposture.
TONGUE came next to the treasurer, and told him, that a pacquet of letters, written by Jesuits concerned in the plot, was that night to be put into the post-house for Windsor, directed to Bennifield, a Jesuit, confessor to the Duke. When this intelligence was conveyed to the King, he replied, that the pacquet mentioned had a few hours before been brought to the Duke by Bennifield; who said, that he suspected some bad design upon him, that the letters seemed to contain matters of a dangerous import, and that he knew them not to be the hand. writing of the persons whose names were subscribed to them. This incident still further confirmed the King in his incredulity.
The matter had probably slept for ever, had it not been for the anxiety of the Duke ; who hearing that priests and Jesuits, and even his own confessor, had been accused, was desirous that a thorough inquiry should be made by the council into the pretended conspiracy. Kirby and Tongue were in. .quired after, and were now found to be living in close connexion with Titus Oates, the person who
was said to have conveyed the first intelligence to CHA P. Tongue. Oates affirmed, that he had fallen under LXVII. suspicion with the Jesuits; that he had received three blows with a stick, and a box on the ear from
1678. the provincial of that order, for revealing their conspiracy: And that, over-hearing them speak of their intentions to punish him more severely, he had withdrawn, and concealed himself. This man, in whose breast was lodged a secret, involving the fate of Kings and kingdoms, was allowed to remain in such necessity, that Kirby was obliged to supply him with daily bread; and it was a joyful surprise to him, when he heard that the council was at last disposed to take some notice of his intelligence.But as he expected more encouragement from the public, than from the King or his ministers, he thought proper, before he was presented to the council, to go with his two companions to Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, a noted and active justice of peace, and to give evidence before him of all the articles of the conspiracy.
The wonderful intelligence, which Oates con- Oates's veyed both to Godfrey and the council, and after. Narrative. wards to the parliament, was to this purpose “. The Pope, he said, on examining the matter in the congregation de propaganda, had found himself entitled to the possession of England and Ireland on account of the heresy of Prince and people, and had accordingly assumed the sovereignty of these kingdoms. This supreme power he had thought proper to delegate to the society of Jesuits; and de Oliva, general of that order, in consequence of the papal grant, had exerted every act of regal authority, and particularly had supplied, by commissions under the seal of the society, all the chief offices, both civil and military.
Lord Arundel was created chancellor, Lord Powis treasurer, Sir William Godolphin privy
CHAP. seal, Coleman secretary of state, Langhorne attorney LXVII. general, Lord Bellasis general of the papal army, 1678.
Lord Peters lieutenant general, Lord Stafford pay. master ; and inferior commissions, signed by the provincial of the Jesuits, were distributed all over England. All the dignities too of the church were filled, and many of them with Spaniards and other foreigners. The provincial had held a consult of the Jesuits under his authority ; where the King, whom they opprobriously called the Black Bastard, was solemnly tried and condemned as a heretic; and a resolution taken to put him to death. Father le Shee (for so this great plotter and informer called Father la Chaise, the noted confessor of the French King) had consigned in London ten thousand pounds to be paid to any man who should merit it by this assassination. A Spanish provincial had expressed like liberality : The prior of the Benedictines was willing to go the length of six thousand : The Dominicans approved of the action ; but pleaded poverty. Ten thousand pounds had been offered to Sir George Wakeman, the Queen's physician, who demanded fifteen thousand, as a reward for so great a service: His demand was complied with ; and five thousand had been paid him by advance. Lest this means should fail, four Irish ruffians had been hired by the Jesuits, at the rate of twenty guineas a-piece, to stab the King at Windsor ; and Coleman, secretary to the late Dutchess of York, had given the messenger, who carried them orders, a guinea to quicken his diligence. Grove and Pickering were also employed to shoot the King with silver bullets : The former was to receive the sum of fifteen hundred pounds; the latter, being a pious man, was to be rewarded with thirty thousand masses, which, estimating masses at a shilling a-piece, amounted to a like value. Pickering would have executed his purpose, had not the Alint at one time dropped out of his pistol, at another time the prim
ing. Coniers, the Jesuit, had bought a knife at the CHAP. price of ten shillings, which he thought was not dear, LXVII. considering the purpose for which he intended it,
1678. to wit, stabbing the King. Letters of subscription were circulated among the catholics all over England to raise a sum for the same purpose. No less than fifty Jesuits had met in May last, at the White-horse tavern, where it was unanimously agreed to put the King to death. This synod did afterwards, for more convenience, divide themselves into many lesser cabals or companies ; and Oates was employed to carry notes and letters from one to another, all tending to the same end, of murdering the King. He even carried from one company to another, a paper, in which they formally expressed their resolution of executing that deed ; and it was regularly subscribed by all of them. A A wager of a hundred pounds was laid, and stakes made, that the King should eat no more Christmas pyes. In short, it was determined, to use the expression of a Jesuit, that if he would not become R. C. (Roman Catholic), he should no longer be C. R. (Charles Rex). The great fire of London had been the work of the Jesuits, who had employed eighty or eighty-six persons for that purpose, and had expended seven hundred fire-balls; but they had a good return for their money, for they had been able to pilfer goods from the fire to the amount of fourteen thousand pounds : The Jesuits had also raised another fire on St. Margaret's Hill, whence they had stolen goods to the value of two thousand pounds: Another at Southwark : And it was determined in like manner to burn all the chief cities in England. A paper model was already framed for the
firing of London ; the stations were regularly marked out, where the several fires were to commence; and the whole plan of operations was so concerted, that precautions were taken by the Jesuits to vary their measures, according to the variation of