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committee revived. The Militia Bill and the Hearth Money Act. were pushed through, together with acts against Quakers and seditious publications. Finally, on May 9, was passed the great Act of Uniformity compelling all preachers and teachers to use the Anglican ritual and prayer book after the 24th of the following August. The court and administration had reiterated the dangers. which threatened the nation throughout the session, and emphasized them again in the closing speeches which were largely devoted to the "humors and spirits of men too boisterous for soft remedies ", "refractory spirits of strong, malicious corrupted understanding "33 Meanwhile government activities outside the Houses had been no less reactionary. In the preceding September the "Cromwellian bodies", including those of Blake and Pym, had been removed from the Abbey and thrown into a pit in the adjoining churchyard.34 In April Colonels Barkstead, Okey and Corbet, who had been treacherously seized in Holland by Sir George Downing, were executed, and on June 14 Vane suffered the same fate. The bishops had meanwhile taken their places in the Lords, a Catholic queen had come to England, and negotiations had begun for the sale of Dunkirk, last of the Cromwellian conquests, to France.37
In the face of these events it is no wonder the discontented party was roused to fury. They denied the charges of plotting and accused the royalists of having manufactured plot and evidence alike to further their political aims.38 Meetings multiplied and the proscribed pamphlets again appeared,39 with the usual rumors of insurrection. Talk of "gallant times ", the purchase of horses and even the issue of commissions and enlisting of men were reported.*0 The conspirators, it was said, had settled on the King and the Rump as their rallying cry, and planned to rouse the people with tracts, wait for a rising in Scotland and seize the Tower and Whitehall when the troops went north." The old Parliamentarians in Ireland, the Fifth Monarchy men in England, were declared ripe for revolt but were held back by the leaders in London, who waited "till the vulgar were pricked by the late acts". The alliance of Independents
and Presbyterians was reported to be at hand and the Commonwealth. men only waited Presbyterian aid to rise.42 In all this there was no doubt much wild talk, but some circumstances substantiated these rumors. Independents, Anabaptists, Socinians and Fifth Monarchy men set apart a day to pray for Vane and Lambert, and there was reason to believe that, had the general been condemned, an effort would have been made by his old followers to rescue him.43 Kent, Gainsborough, Uxbridge and Dunkirk furnished news of disaffection. A Presbyterian "lecture driver" in the west hanged himself on hearing of the Act of Uniformity. Three obstinate members of the Newbury corporation, first of many such, were sent up to the Council by the commissioners. From every direction came news of opposition to the administration policy furnishing a fertile field. for conspiracy.
On its part the Council warned Governor Rutherford of Dunkirk of the designs on that place, ordered the justices of Southwark to suppress sedition there, and the Southampton authorities to send up the names of those obstructing the town government and "wholesome contributions ".*5 In London the Lord Mayor and General Browne were commanded to suppress seditious meetings and when the City chose two aldermen obnoxious to the court, they were replaced with safer men by the King, and orders issued that only well-affected men should be chosen for sheriffs.46 Most important of all measures since the disbanding of the army, was the garrisoning or destruction of the strongholds throughout England in this summer of 1662, "removing that temptation to seditious spirits to seize them, evidenced in the late desperate design". Hull and Chepstow were repaired, Shrewsbury and Chester garrisoned, and orders given to "slight or destroy" other fortifications. Under the direction of Albemarle, the lord lieutenants and deputy lieutenants thus supervised the dismantling of Coventry, Northampton, Gloucester, and "that turbulent town of Taunton ". The last two proved difficult, and in Taunton the delay and disaffection of the authorities evoked severe reprimand from the government and stringent orders to destroy the works and set the militia. in order. This last was a matter of much importance everywhere.
42 Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, pp. 398, 408, 412, 418, 448 and passim.
43 Ibid., pp. 397, 411.
"Ibid., pp. 255, 287, 304, 307 and passim to 419. Pepys, v. d. June 1662. 45 Ibid., pp. 399, 400, 417.
4 Ibid., pp. 376, 408, 416, 543, 544, 548. The best account of the Dissenters' state of mind is to be found in a long letter, Cal. St. P. Dom., 1663-1664, p. 63. 47 Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, pp. 422-511 passim.
The revising of the entire list of deputy lieutenants and the reorganization of the militia under the late act proceeded slowly, and from every direction, especially in those places where local forces were most needed, the West, the Northwest and the City, came complaints of inefficient, dilatory and even disaffected militiamen.48
This was more serious in that strong opposition developed against the government policy in many places. The corporation commissioners met difficulties in districts as widely separated as Bristol, Norwich and Lancaster.49 In Chard they could not find enough honest men to carry on the government and the mayor asked that the town's charter be recalled.50 The hearth money officials were in like straits, London being especially stubborn against them.51 With this, as the summer wore on, the rumors of insurrection increased. In July instructions were issued to all lord lieutenants and deputy lieutenants to be on their guard against a republican rising,52 and from every direction warnings came to the administration of prospective disturbance.53 The government feared, not without reason, that some attempt might be made when the Act of Uniformity went into effect in August. In addition to the garrisoning of Chester, therefore, Shrewsbury and Coventry, troops were quartered in Axminster and Taunton.55 The day passed without disturbance, but the news which reached the government after the act took effect increased in volume and importance.56 Intercepted letters indicated that recruiting was in an advanced stage, and the situation seemed so serious that not merely were many arrests made of old officers but in Exeter, Plymouth and Portsmouth militia gathered and Exeter Castle was occupied for the King. Similar precautions were taken elsewhere, especially as evidence accumulated that a rising had been set for October 28.58 On that day 80 or 100 horsemen actually appeared in St. Albans,59 but no general movement resulted, and as the year drew to a close it seemed that, after all, the whole business was a figment of royalist imagination or a device
48 Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, as above, and pp. 509-551 passim.
of Anglican politicians, as the nonconformists maintained. Yet this was not wholly true. Sufficient evidence reached the government to make it fearful of an outbreak, and its precautions indicated its fears. If plots existed these measures had kept them from maturing. On the other hand if there were plotters they had eluded discovery. It was not from lack of energy that the government had failed to bring home to individuals the charge of conspiracy, nor for lack of information. From week to week, almost from day to day, prisoners and reports reached them. As one reads the mass of evidence that accumulated he wonders that the Council found time to do anything besides hunting down plots and plotters.60 The result was the same, rumors of risings and designs, scores of prisoners, hundreds of letters and warnings and informations, but no evidence on which men could be hanged. In their anxiety they did not neglect, if we may believe their enemies, the fomenting of false conspiracy to fathom the real one or provide victims for execution. August 24 and 28, September 2 and 3, and October 28, however, passed without serious disturbance, and though men spoke and wrote of "the late horrid design" the administration had obtained from all its activities nothing on which to base prosecutions much less executions.61
But on November 2 the government arrested in London a certain Captain Foster of the old army, and his hostler, on charges which had come into its hands some time before. Through him, his friends and his servants, information was secured against a number of others who were likewise seized, among them Ensign Tong, Captain Lee and Colonel Kenrick of the old army and a certain Platter. Tong confessed that he had been a member of a council which sat at the Wheatsheaf in Thames Street, whose design was insurrection.62 Through him, through one Stubbs, and especially from a minister named Riggs,63 enough was learned to bring six men to trial at Old Bailey on December 11. From the information and testimony thus adduced it appeared that there was a plot to enter Whitehall, seize the King and the Duke of York, secure Windsor Cal. St. P. Dom., as above, and many places besides; orders, warrants, etc., on almost every page in 1661-1662, 1662 and 1663. On October 14 the King actually ordered the archbishops to tune the pulpits" after the Elizabethan Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, p. 517.
As above, and Pepys, September 3, 1662; Hist. MSS. Comm. Reports, VII. 463, XII. 9, p. 52; Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. Firth, II. 344, etc.
62 Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, pp. 540-541.
'Or Ridge, who became master of a ship, and was killed in 1666. said that he would kill the King with his halberd if the others failed. bullets to shoot the King at review.
Castle, bring over some frigates whose crews were ready to revolt, and thus begin a revolution. A council of six was directing the plot through a council of forty. The government did not assert that the men brought to trial were the real heads of the design. "Other wits than these poor contemptible agitators ", these "outboughs of conspiracy ", laid the plans, it was declared. None the less these were all found guilty. Four of them, Tong, Stubbs, Gibbs and Phillips were executed, two were reprieved and of these one, curiously enough, ultimately became royal hydrographer.65
But this was not the end of the matter. One John Bradley, messenger, spy, and trepanner, or fomenter of sedition for profit, and a fellow-informer, John Baker, a Cromwellian life-guardsman turned tinker, appeared in the trial of Tong and his fellows as witnesses for the state.66 They now came forward with further revelations. Baker, examined in the King's presence December 15, deposed that two former comrades of his, Smith and Kent or Kentish, now the King's guard, had intimated their willingness to admit men to Whitehall to kill the King. Seditious meetings, he declared, were held at the house of a Mr. Ward in Redcross Street, and a plan had been on foot to shoot the King at the review of Sir John Robinson's regiment some time before, for which Tong had provided bullets to the numerous fanatics in the ranks, who would have killed Charles had he happened to come before them as they were drawn up. Many were arrested in consequence of his revelations, among them Johnston, another halberdier who was especially named, Kent, Captain Cates, Captain Faircloth, John Jackson, John Whitehall and Mr. Ward. These, with one exception, denied all charges save that of having met at Ward's house, and denounced Baker as an unmitigated liar and scoundrel. Johnston however implicated a long list of men; three ministers, Owen, Kiffin and Cockain; a Mr. Caitness; Cornet Billing and Colonel Carr; a postoffice employee, Roden; a Mr. Helme; a City merchant, Gavin Lawry; a Mr. Dundas; and finally his former master, namesake, and probably kinsman, Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston, once a considerable figure in Cromwellian times, but now ill and a fugitive in France. Most of these men were seized, and Lawry was held in long and vexatious imprisonment.67 Bradley was rewarded.
Macpherson, Life of James II., 1663; Howell, State Trials, VI. 226 ff.; Cal.
St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, pp. 546, 588, 600, 602.
5 Rapin, History of England, III. 864 and n.; Secret Hist., I. 461-462.
06 Cal. St. P. Dom., 1661-1662, pp. 593-595, 610-614.
87 Ibid., pp. 591-595, 613 ff.; id., 1663-1664, pp. 12, 27-37 passim.