Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Mercurii, 30 die Octobris, 1678.
MR. Sachaverell reports from the Committee which by Order of the House was appointed to take the Examination of Mr. Coleman, That the Committee went to Newgate: And laying before Mr. Coleman his present Danger; and that he could have no Hopes to escape it, but by a full and plain Discovery of his whole Knowledge of the Conspiracy; Mr. Coleman, without any particular Questions put to him, said to the Effect following;
As to any Design against the King's Person; or for the Taking away of his Life; or the Lessening of his Power, he totally denies any Knowledge of it, or that he ever did design it, or ever heard of any such Design or Intention, either directly or indirectly: He totally denies, that he ever knew or heard of any Commissions for raising an Army, or any Intent or Design of raising an Army, till of late that he heard so, when he was examined by the Lords: He utterly denies, that he ever designed or endeavoured to change the Religion established in this Kingdom, or to introduce Popery; but confesses, he did endeavour to have this Parliament dissolved, and by That Means to gain a Liberty of Conscience; which he thought this Parliament would never grant: And said, He observed every Sessions of Parliament the Growth of Popery complained of, notwithstanding all their Endeavours against it; and believed the Catholick Religion to be the true one, and the Protestant the false; and therefore only proposed a Toleration, as concluding, that if the Catholick Religion stood upon equal Ground, it would prevail: And says, He did endeavour to get Three hundred thousand Pounds from France; hoping that thereby his Majesty might be prevailed on to dissolve this Parliament, rather than wait for an uncertain Sum: And says, there was not Three Men in England acquainted with these his Designs, or with his Correspondence; but that the Duke of York was acquainted with them; and he believes he communicated them to my Lord Arrundell of Warder: And said, He concluded it most probable to have Money from France for dissolving this Parliament; in regard the Confederacy against France was chiefly supported and held together by the Countenance and Expectation they had from this Parliament.
The first Correspondency, he says, which he had in France, was by some Letters of News, which he wrote to Sir Wm. Throgmorton, about the Time of the Siege of Mastreicht; any News being welcome at a Siege; and by That way the Correspondency between him and La Ferrier was introduced: And says, That upon the Death of La Ferrier, which was about the Time that the French King possessed himself of French Counte (which, he takes it, was the Year after the Siege of Mastreicht) he sent a Narrative to La Chese, to give him an Account of the Transactions that had passed betwixt La Ferrier and him; but after that wrote not above Three or Four Letters to La Chese; and that then the Correspondency betwixt them ceased.
He also said, That he had kept a Correspondency with the Pope's Nuncio at Bruxells; which Correspondency was first introduced by a Proposition that Father Patrick brought from the Nuncio there into England, of a great Sum of Money that should be given by the Pope to the King of England, if the Catholicks here in England might have some Favour answerable to it: But the Proposition being so confused that they did not understand it, he was sent by the Duke of York to the Nuncio at Bruxells, to understand the Proposition.
And he says, When he came to Bruxells, the Nuncio told him, He had no Authority from the Court of Rome to make any such Proposition; but did it as a private Person, and not by Order from the Court of Rome: But says, That the Nuncio, being then to go to Rome, promised Mr. Coleman to do what Service there he could in that Business: But says, he hath not held any Correspondency with the Nuncio this Three or Four Years; nor with any other Person so as to manage an Affair: That perhaps might touch upon the Business in some Letters.
He says, The Cypher marked with the Provincial's Mark, was the Cypher betwixt him and St. German; and that he always wrote to the Provincial in plain Words, and not in Cypher; and that there was another Cypher betwixt him and Blankart, who was Secretary to Monsieur Rovigney; but That was only upon small Concerns, and not upon any thing of this Nature.
And Mr. Coleman being then asked by the Committee, Whether he knew of any other Sum of Money that was proposed or treated on; he answered, That he believed there was Money proposed, to keep the King of England from joining with the Confederates against France; but does not know of any Money paid.
Keeper of Newgate to attend.
Answer to request for Papers.
Mr. Secretary Williamson acquaints the House, That in pursuance of the Order of this House, the Members of this House which are of his Majesty's Privy Council, had attended his Majesty: And that his Majesty was pleased to signify, That all the Papers and Writings relating to the Plot should be communicated to the House: And that Orders were given pursuant to his Majesty's Command.
Ordered, That the Papers relating to the Plot now under Examination, be delivered to the Committee appointed to translate Mr. Coleman's Letters: And that Col. Birch, Sir Wm. Frankland, Sir Cyrill Wych, Sir Tho. Mompesson, Sir John Coventry, Lord Clifford, Mr. Devereux, Sir John Hanmer, Sir John Reresby, Sir John Waerden, Sir Edw. Mansell, Mr. Hall, Lord Arlington, Sir Rich. Temple, be added to the Committee: And they are to meet this Afternoon; and to sit de die in diem, until they shall have perfected the Matters to them referred: And they are impowered to send for Persons, Papers, and Records.
Keeper of Newgate examined.
Mr. Richardson, Keeper of the Prison of Newgate, being called in, to give an Account, What Persons have had any Communication with Mr. Coleman since his Commitment; he acquainted the House, That there had not been any Person admitted to come to or converse with Mr. Coleman since his Imprisonment, except his Servant, to know what he wanted, and his Wife, by virtue of an Order from the Privy Council: And that he himself was present whilst she was with him; and that she did not deliver him any thing; and that she was not permitted to discourse to him any thing of News, nor any thing relating to the Plot now under Examination, besides the Committees appointed by each House of Parliament to examine him.