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lity of the king's tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his behaviour at Oxford : he was sent with several others to add pomp to the commission ; but was not one of those to whom the trust of treating was imparted.
The engagement, known by the name of Waller's plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Waller had a brother-in-law, Tomkyns, who was clerk of the Queen's council, and at the same time had a very numerous acquaintance, and great influence, in the city. "Waller and he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends; and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found in the majority of all ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the Commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the king, whose fear concealed their loyalty; and many desired peace, though they durst not oppose the clamour for war; and they imagined that if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intelligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of fedition, by refusing to comply with the ordinance for the twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army, and by uniting great numbers in a petition for peace.
Lord Conway joined in the design, and, as Clarendon imagines, incidentally mingled, as he was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, which however were only mentioned, the main design being to bring the loyal inhabitants to the knowledge of each other; for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguish the friends of the king, the adherents to the parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does not appear; the result of their enquiry, as Pym declared, was, that within the walls for one that was for them, there were three against them; but that without the walls for one that was against them, there were three 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 resiftance was comprised ; that he intended only to abate the confidence of the rebels by publick declarations, and to weaken their power by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer times, and more than this, is done without fear ; but such was the acrimony of the commons, that no method of obstructing them
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 exigencies, 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 fo 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 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 commission 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 qualify him for an informer, and carried his intelligence to Pym. A manuscript, quoted in the Life of Waller, relates, that “ he was betray“ ed by his filter Price, and her presbyterian
chaplain Mr. Goode, who stole some of his
papers ; and if he had not strangely dream“ ed the night before, that his sister had be“ trayed him, and thereupon burnt the rest of “ his papers by the fire that was left 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 fifter, would employ the servant of Tomkyns to listen at the conference, that they might avoid an act fo offensive as that of destroying the brother by the fister's testimony.
The plot was published in the most terrifick manner. On the zist of May, at a folemn 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 reft in folicitude 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 foon 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 con“ founded with fear, that he confeffed what
ever 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 foever, 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 chambers upon the proceedings in the houses, and how they had en
“ couraged “ couraged him to oppose them; what core
respondence and intercourse they had with “ some ministers of state at Oxford, and how
they conveyed all intelligence 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 disaffection 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. Tomkyns 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 fent Pym among