Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 11, 1660-1666. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Jovis, 14 die Junii.
Preachers at the Thanksgiving.
L. Mohun protests he never took the Abjuration, &c. against the King.
Further Consideration of this Matter laid aside.
Protest against it.
Major Rolph, for conspiring the Death of the late King, in the Isle of Wight.
And he produced a printed Paper formerly printed, which were Letters he formerly (fn. 1) wrote: (Here enter them.) And Osborne said, upon his Oath, "That the Matter in that printed Paper was true."
Dowcett also delivered in a Paper of Information; which was read: (Here enter it.) And he avouched the same to be true, by the Oath that he had taken. But nothing new, but what was formerly given in Evidence.
Major Rolph was asked what he could say for (fn. 2) himself, to quit him for this horrid Offence of conspiring the late King's Death at Carrisbrooke Castle.
He denied himself to be guilty of any such horrid Thing, as to have a Design to make away the King at Carisbrooke Castle: That he was for this Business tried at Winchester Assizes, by Order of both Houses of Parliament; and was there quitted by the Grand Jury. And he laid Hold upon the King's Gracious Offer of Pardon, in His Declaration.
ORDERED, That this Business concerning Rolph be recommended to the Judges, to consider and state this Business, and report to this House, that their Lordships may see whether there be Ground sufficient to except the said Rolph from His Majesty's Gracious Offer of Pardon.
Marquis of Winton and L. St. John.
ORDERED, That the Cause between the Marquis Winton and his Son shall be heard, on Wednesday next, before the Committee for Petitions; at which Time some of the Judges are to attend the Lords Committees.
Report concerning the D. of Bucks Estate.
E. of Derby's Order.
Major Rolph committed to Newgate.
Peers to take the Oath of Allegiance.
ORDERED, That these Lords Committees do take into their Consideration the whole Business concerning the Peers taking the Oath of Allegiance; and Report of their Lordships Opinions herein to be made To-morrow Morning:
Order to prevent Waste on the E. of Derby's Lands.
(fn. 3) Upon Information given this Day unto the House, "That there is daily great Waste committed, upon the Lands of the Earl of Derby, by cutting of Wood and Timber, and demolishing of Houses standing upon the said Lands:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords in Parliament, That there shall be no more Wood or Timber cut upon the Lands of the said Earl, neither shall there be any Houses demolished, defaced, or pulled down, belonging to the said Lands; and all such Timber that is cut that did grow upon those Lands shall not be removed, or taken off the Premises; and that the Rents of the said Lands shall remain in the Tenants Hands, until the Pleasure of this House be further signified: And hereof all such as this Order doth or may any Way concern are to take Notice hereof, and yield their Obedience hereunto, as the contrary will be answered to this House.
Osborn's Letter to L. Wharton, concerning Major Rolph's Design against the late King in the Isle of Wight:
(fn. 4) "My Lord,
"Though I cannot but imagine I stand so highly condemned in your Lordship's and many Persons Thoughts, that any Thing of Vindication from me must come with all the Disadvantage and Prejudice that may be; yet (my Lord) being conscious of my own Integrity, and confident that I shall be judged by your Lordship by no other Rules but those of Justice and Reason, I cannot doubt but, when I have discovered the Grounds and Reasons of my Actions, that it will appear to your Lordship that what I have done hath been agreeable to the several Duties I stand engaged in, as I am supposed to have acted contrary before I am heard."
"Not to detain your Lordship in Circumstances; I shall make this Protestation, That, as no other Thing but the Danger of the King's Life could in Reason excuse such an Attempt, so I protest that no inferior Considerations did or could have moved to such an Action. But, my Lord, having had such particular and well-grounded Information that so horrid a Design was intended, and moved from those that could when they pleased have had the Power to put it in Execution; I hope I shall not be censured for having postposed all other Considerations to that Loyalty, which cannot be questioned but I owe to the King."
But not to leave your Lordship unsatisfied with the general Account; the Intelligence I speak of, concerning this Design, I received from Captain Rolfe, a Person very intimate with the Governor, privy to all Counsels, and One that is very high in the Esteem of the Army; he, my Lord, informed me, that to his Knowledge the Governor had received several Letters from the Army; intimating, they desired the King might by any Means be removed out of the Way, either by Poison or otherwise; and that another Time the same Person persuaded me to join with him in a Design to remove the King out of that Castle, to a Place of more Secrecy, proffering to take an Oath with me, and to do it without the Governor's Privity, who, he said, would not consent, for losing the Allowance of the House. His Pretence to this Attempt was, that the King was in too public a Place, from whence He might be rescued; but, if He might be conveyed into some Place of Secrecy, he said, he might dispose of His Person upon all Occasions as we thought fit; and this he was confident we could effect without the Governor's Privity. My Lord, Considering all these pregnant Circumstances, I think it will appear that there were, if there are no such Intentions concerning His Majesty's Person, as may well justify my Endeavours that have been made for His Remove from so much Danger; and for my own Part, my Lord, I must be so plain as to declare concerning my own Actings in relation to this Business, that, had I not done this (having such Grounds), I must believe I had then verified all those Aspersions of Disloyalty and Breach of Trust which I am contented to suffer, from those whose Interest is perchance opposed to my Endeavours to prevent such damnable Designs.
"My Lord, I have spoken nothing here but what I shall be ready to testify upon Oath, whenever I shall be called to it, with Promise of Freedom and Security. Till then, I must be content to support all Censures, and satisfy (fn. 5) myself with the Vindication I receive from my own Conscience. I am
His Letter to the E. of Manchester, on the same Subject.
"I did by a Letter of the First of June acquaint my Lord Wharton with what I send here inclosed, expecting it would before this have been communicated to both Houses: What should be the Reason of concealing a Business of this Nature I know not, except it be to give those Time that are concerned in it, better to think of some Stratagem to evade this Discovery."
"I humbly desire your Lordship, upon Sight of this Relation, to communicate it to the House of Peers, which I shall be ready to attest upon Oath in every Particular whenever your Lordship shall please to allow me that Freedom and Security which ought to be afforded to any Gentleman and Christian in witnessing a Truth."
Dowcett's Information concerning it.
"Abraham Dowcett, of Windsor, in the County of Berks, Esquire, aged Forty-eight Years, or thereabout, sworn and examined before the Lords in Parliament assembled, the 18th Day of July, in the 24th Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King Charles, and in the Year of our Lord God 1648, informeth and saith, upon his Oath, as followeth; (videlicet,)"
"That this Examinant being placed by the Commissioners of both Houses of Parliament to attend upon His Majesty, as Clerk of His Majesty's Kitchen, at Newcastle, about the End of January, 1646, and continued in that Service always afterwards in several Places to which His Majesty from Time to Time removed, until the 28th Day of May last past."
"He deposeth and saith, That, about a Fortnight before the said 28th of May, Mr. Richard Osborne, who attended upon the King as Gentleman Usher to His Majesty, at Carisbrooke Castle, in the Isle of Wight, came unto this Examinant, into his Chamber in the said Castle, and then and there told him, "That the King was weary of His being in the said Castle, and had a great Desire to be gone from thence." To which this Examinant made Answer, "That he could not blame His Majesty for it, being in the Condition He there was; but this Examinant conceived, and also said, that it would be very difficult for His Majesty, and hazardous to His Person, to attempt any Escape from thence;" or used Words to that Effect. Whereupon the said Mr. Osborne at that Time left this Examinant; but repaired to him again about Three or Four Days afterwards in his Chamber, and then and there told this Examinant, "That Captain Edmond Rolph, now Major Rolph, had a Design onfoot for the conveying of His Majesty's Person from Carisbrooke Castle, to some Place of Secrecy, where but Three should go with Him, and where they might dispose of His Person as they should think fit."
"This Examinant, fearing that the said Mr. Osborne came but to intrap him, made Answer, "That if he might see something under His Majesty's Hand, testifying His Majesty's Desire that this Examinant would assist the said Mr. Osborne concerning His Majesty's Escape, that then he would be ready to assist Him therein." Whereupon the said Mr. Osborne again left the Examinant; and the same Day after Supper came to this Examinant's said Chamber, bringing with him a Note of His Majesty's Handwriting, to this Effect; (videlicet,) "Dowcett, I desire you to assist the Bearer hereof, Osborne, for My Escape." Upon Sight whereof, this Examinant asked the said Mr. Osborne, "If His Majesty should escape, whither He would then go?" To which the said Mr. Osborne made Answer, "That His Majesty would go to His Parliament." And thereupon this Examinant yielded; and promised to join with the said Mr. Osborne, as was by him propounded, and by His Majesty desired; but this Examinant not daring to keep the said Note, did presently burn the same."
"And afterwards this Examinant, upon Conference from Time to Time with the said Mr. Osborne, and in Pursuance of their Agreements in that Behalf, dealt with one Tylling, one Wenscall, one Lloyd, and also with one Fetherston, Soldiers at Carisbrook, for Rewards to them given, and promised to be given, that they should be assistant to the said Mr. Osborne and to this Examinant, towards His Majesty's intended Escape, which they promised to be: And Sunday Night, the 28 of May last, was agreed for the Accomplishment thereof."
"The Manner thereof should have been thus: The King was to be furnished with a Cord by the said Mr. Osborne; and with the same His Majesty by Himself alone was to come down out of His Chamber Window within the said Castle, in the Dark of the Night; and was then forthwith to walk on to the New Platform in the said Castle; from thence He was to get down by another Cord, which this Examinant had provided to be delivered to the said Lloyd, who was therewith to help the King in His getting down from the said Platform; from which Place His Majesty being once gotten down, He might without further Help of Cords pass well enough to a Place where Mr. Edward Worseleys, an Inhabitant of the said Island privy and consenting to the said intended Escape, was to attend with Horses for His Majesty; and that His Majesty, being got on Horseback, should from that Place ride about Three Miles and a Half from the said Castle to the Sea, where the said Mr. Osborne was to attend with a Boat ready to receive and carry off His Majesty."
"This Examinant further saith, That, about Three Hours before the Time that His Majesty was to escape, it did plainly appear to this Examinant, that the said Plot for His Majesty's Escape was discovered; whereupon this Examinant, without delivering any Cord to the said Lloyd, went to Bed in his Chamber in the said Castle; and about an Hour and Half after, the said Colonel Hamond the Governor, and the said Captain Rolph, with others, came into this Examinant's Chamber, where they found him then in his Bed; and the said Governor used then forthwith to this Examinant Words to this Effect, (videlicet,") "Oh! Sir, you are abed; you are he that should have helped to convey away the King Tonight;" with many other Speeches. And this Examinant was forthwith commanded to rise, and make himself ready, which he did; and from thenceforth was confined to his said Chamber, and a Guard of Musketeers set upon him, by Command of the said Governor."
"This Examinant also saith, That, about Three Days after, the said Rolph came again to his Chamber; and then and there, in a jeering Manner, asked this Examinant, "Why the King came not down, according to His Appointment?" To which this Examinant answered, "Because you prevented him." Whereupon the said Rolph, with great Indignation and Fury, said, "He waited almost Three Hours under the new Platform, with a good Pistol ready charged, to receive Him if He had come."
Order for restoring the D. of Bucks to the Possession of his Estate.
Upon the Report of the Lords Committees for Petitions, "That the Estate of the Duke of Buckingham was illegally disposed of, aliened, and sold, without Hearing, Summons, or Proof of any Charge against the said Duke, and contrary to the Privilege of Peerage, and the fundamental Laws of the Land:"
(fn. 6) Read in the House.
It is therefore ORDERED, by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That the said Dispositions, Alienations, and Sales, of the Estate of the Duke of Bucks, be, and is hereby declared to be, null and void; and that the Duke of Bucks be, and is hereby, restored to the Possession of his Estate, in whose Hands soever the same is, together with all Arrears of Rents, Fines, and other Profits, which have been unjustly kept from him, and to all Timber and Woods felled off any Part of the said Estate, and to all Materials of Houses and Buildings taken off any Part of the said Estate: And hereof all Persons whatsoever are to take Notice, and yield Obedience hereunto accordingly. (fn. 7)