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does not appear; the result of their enquiry, as Pym declared*, was, that within the walls, for one that was for the Royalists, there were three against them, but that without the walls, for one that was against them, there were five for them. Whether this was said from knowledge or guess, was perhaps never enquired.
It is the opinion of Clarendon, that in Waller's plan no violence or sanguinary resistance was comprised; that he intended only to abate the confidence of the rebels by public declarations, and to weaken their powers by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer times, and more than this, is done wiihout fear; but such was the acrimony of the commons, that no method of obstructing them was safe.
About this time another design was formed by Sir Nicholas Crispe, a man of loyalty that deserves perpetual remembrance; when he was a merchant in the city; he gave and procured the king, in his exigences, an hundred thousand pounds; and, when he was driven from the Exchange, raised a regiment, and commanded it.
Sir Nicholas flattered himself with an opinion, that some provocation would so much exasperate, or some opportunity so much encourage, the King's friends in the city, that they would break out in open resistance, and then would want only a lawful standard, and an authorised commander; and extorted from the King, whose judgment too frequently yielded to importunity, a commission of array, directed to such as he thought proper to nominate, which was sent to London by the Lady Aubigney. She knew not what she carried, but was to deliver it on the communication of a certain token which Sir Nicholas imparted.
This coinmission could be only intended to lie ready till the time should require it. To have attempted to raise any forces, would have been certain destruction; it could be of use only when the forces should appear. This was, however, an act preparatory to martial hostility. Crispe would undoubtedly have put an end to the session of parliament, had his strength been equal to his zeal; and out of the design of Crispe, which involved very little danger, and that of Waller, which was an act purely civil, they compounded a horrid and dreadful plot.
The discovery of Waller's design is variously related. In “ Clarendon's History" it is told, that a servant of Tomkyns, lurking behind the hangings when his master was in conference with Waller, heard enough to quality him for an informer, and carried his intelligence to Pym. A manuscript, quoted in the Life of Waller,” relates, that“ he was betrayed by his “ sister Price, and her Presbyterian chaplain Mr. Goode, who stole some " of his papers; and if he had not strangely dreamed the night before, that “ his sister had betrayed him, and thereupon burnt the rest of his papers by " the tire that was in his chimney, he had certainly lost his life by it.” The question cannot be decided. It is not unreasonable to believe that the men in power, receiving intelligence from the sister, would employ the servanr
of * Parliamentary History, Vol. II. Dr. J.
of Tomkyns to listen at the conference, that they might avoid an act so of fensive as that of destroying the brother by the sister's testimony.
The plot was published in the most terrifick manner.
On the 31st of May (1643), at a solemn fast, 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 confounded with “ fear, that he confessed whatever he had heard, said, thought, or seen ; “ all that he knew of himself, and all that he suspected of others, without “ concealing any person, of what degree or quality soever, or any discourse “ which he had ever upon any occasion entertained with them; what such « and such ladies of great honour, to whom, upon the credit of his wit and “great reputation, he had been admitted, had spoke to him in their cham“bers upon the proceedings in the Houses, and how they had encouraged “ him to oppose them; what correspondence and intercourse they had with
some Ministers of State at Oxford, and how they had conveyed all intel“ ligence thither.” He accused the Earl of Portland and Lord Conway as co-operating in the transaction; and testified that the Earl of Northumberland had declared himself disposed in favour of any attempt that might check the violence of the Parliament, and reconcile them to the King.
He undoubtedly confessed much, which they could never have discovered, and perhaps somewhat which they would wish to have been suppressed; for it is inconvenient, in the conflict of factions, to have that disaffectionz known which cannot safely be punished
Tomkyns was seized on the same night with 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. Tom. kyns 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 commission 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 sent 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
“ then).” They drew up a vow and covenant, to be taken by every member of either house, by which he declared his detestation 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 delive'rance, 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 persuade 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 therefore I cannot imagine why you should hide it so « far as to contract your own ruin by concealing it, and persisting unrea
sonably to hide that truth, which, without you, already is, and will every “ day be made more manifeste Can you imagine yourself bound in honour “ to keep that secret, which is already revealed hy another; or possible it « should still be a secret, which is known to one of the other sex ?-If you ", persist to be cruel to yourself for their sakes 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 " 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 ob
liged than you are aware of.” · This persuasion seems to have had little effect. Portland sent (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:-He therefore prays, that he may not find the effects “ of Mr. Waller's threats, by a long and close imprisonment; but may be « speedily brought to a legal trial, and then he is confident the vanity and « falsehood of those informations which have been given against him will " appear."
In consequence of this letter, the Lords ordered Portland and Waller to be confronted; when the one repeated his charge, and the other his denial. The examination of the plot being continued (July 1), Thinn, usher of the house of Lords, deposed, that Mr. Waller having had a conference with the Lord Portland in an upper room, Lord Portland said, when he came dewa,“ Do me the favour to tell my Lord Northumberland, that Mr. Waller
" has extremely pressed me to save my own life and his, by throwing the “ blame upon the Lord Conway and the Earl of Northumberland.”
Waller, in his letter to Portland, tells him of the reasons which he could urge with resistless efficacy in a personal conference; but he over-rated his own oratory; his vehemence, whether of persuasion or intreaty, was returned with contempt.
One of his arguments with Portland is, that the plot is already known to a woman. This woman was doubtless Lady Aubigney, who, upon casion, was committed to custody; but who, in reality, when she delivered the commission, knew not what it was.
The parliament then proceeded against the conspirators, and committed their trial to council of war. Tomkyns and Chaloner were hanged near their own doors. Tomkyns, when he came to die, said it was a foolish business; and indeed there seems to have been no hope that it should escape discovery; for though never more than three met at a time, yet a design so extensive must, by necessity, be communicated to many, who could not be expected to be all faithful, and all prudent. Chaloner was attended at his execution by Hugh Peters. His crime was, that he had commission to raise money for the King; but it appears not that the money was to be expended upon the advancement of either Crispe or Waller's plot.
The Earl of Northumberland, being too great for prosecution, was only once examined before the Lords. The Earl of Portland and Lord Conway persisting to deny the charge, and no testimony but Waller's yet appearing against them, were, after a long imprisonment, admitted to bail. Hassel, the King's messenger, who carried the letter to Oxford, died the night before his trial. Hampden escaped death, perhaps by the interest of his family; but was kept in prison to the end of his life. They whose names were inserted in the commission of array were not capitally punished, as it could not be proved that they had consented to their own nomination; buc they were considered as malignants, and their estates were seized.
“ Waller, though confessedly," says Clarendon, “ the most guilty, with “ incredible dissimulation affected such a remorse of conscience, that his “ trial was put off, out of Christian compassion, till he might recover his “ understanding." What use be made of this interval, with what liberality and success he distributed flattery and money, and how, when he was brought (July 4) before the House, he confessed and lamented, and submitted and implored, may be read in the History of the Rebellion (B. vii.) The speech, to which Clarendon ascribes the preservation of his dear-bought life, is inserted in bis works. The great historian, however, seems to have been mistaken in relating that he prevailed in the principal part of his supplication, not to be tried by a Council of War; for, according to Whitlock, he was by expulsion from the House abandoned to the tribunal which he so much dreaded, and, beingtried and condemned, was reprieved by Essex; but after a year's imprisonment, in which time resentment grew less acrimoniOus, paying a fine of ten thousand pounds, he was permitted to recollect himself in another counsry.
Of his behaviour in this part of his life, it is not necessary to direct the reader's opinion. “ Let us not,” says his last ingenious biographer, “con« demn him with untempered severity, because he was not a prodigy which “ the world hath seldom seen, because his character included not the poet, " the orator, and the hero.”
For the place of his exile he chose France, and stayed some time at Roan, where his daughter Margaret was born, who was afterwards his favourite, and his amanuensis. He then removed to Paris, where he lived with great splendor and hospitality; and from time to time amused himself with poetry, in which he sometimes speaks of the rebels, and their usurpation, in the natural language of an honest man.
At last it became necessary, for his support, to sell his wife's jewels; and being reduced, as he said, at last to the rump-jewel, he solicited from Cromwell permission to return, and obtained it by the interest of colonel Scroop, to whom his sister was married. Upon the remains of a fortune, which the danger of his life had very much diminished, he lived at Hall-barn, a house built by himself, very near to Beaconsfied, where his mother resided. His mother, though related to Cromweli and Hampden, was zealous for the royal cause, and, when Cromwell visited her, used to reproach him ; he, in return, would throw a napkin at her, and say he would not dispute with his aunt; but finding in time that she acted for the King, as well as talked, he made her a prisoner to her own daughter, in her own house. If he would do anything, he could not do less.
Cromwell, now Protector, received Waller as his kinsman, to a familiar conversarion. Waller, as he used to relate, found him sufficiently versed in anciel history; and when any of his enthusiastick friends came to advise or consult him, could sometimes overhear him discourse in the cant of the times : but, when he returned, he would say, “ Cousin Waller, I must talk to these men in their own way:" and resumed the common style of conversation.
He repaid the Protector for his favours (1654) by the famous panegyrick, which has been always considered as the first of his poetical productions. His choice of enconiastic topicks is very judicious; for he considers Cromwell in his exaltation, without enquiring how he attained it; there is consequently no mention of the rebel or the regicide. All the former part of his hero's life is veiled with shades; and nothing is brought to view but the chief, the governor, the defender of England's honour, and the enlarger of her dominion. The act of violence by which he obtained the supreme power is lightly treated and decently justified. It was certainly to be desired that the detestable band should be dissolved, which had destroyed the church, murdered the King, and filled the nation with tumult and oppression; yet Cromwell had not the right of dissolving them, for all that he had before done could be justified only by supposing them invested with lawful authority. But combinations of wickedness would overwhelm the world by the advantage which licentious principles afford, did not those, who have long practised perfidy, grow faithless to each other.