Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 13, 1675-1681. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Veneris, 29 die Novembris.
Otes and Bedloe's Narratives concerning the Queen.
Which being granted to him, he complained "of the Restraint he is under, and being debarred of the Liberty of his Friends coming to him, and of conversing with any-body in private; and that no Englishman ought to be restrained, unless accused by One or more Witnesses;" and prayed, "That the Restraint might be taken off, that he might be enabled to give his Evidence more chearfully; and that the House would be pleased to address to the King for that Purpose; and that his Pardon may be renewed, because he is under Misprision of Treason."
And then, being sworn, he was told by the Lord Chancellor, "That the Lords have received an Address from the House of Commons, in Part, upon Evidence by him given there; and that the House expects he should give an Account what that is which hath begot such Astonishment in the House of Commons as is expressed in the Address."
Upon which, Titus Otes said, "That, in July last, he saw a Letter from Sir George Wakeman, to Richard Ashby, alias Thimbleby. In this Letter, he gave him an Account of the Proposals made for destroying the King; and declared his Liking thereof, provided his Reward might be answerable; and told him, the Queen Confort did approve of them; which were, to poison the King."
"That, in the same July, a Messenger came with a Letter to William Harcourt, for him, and John Keynes, Basill Langworth, and John Fenwicke, to attend the Queen at Somersett House; which they accordingly did, taking him with them; Harcoart telling him, he must go:" When they were there, having passed by the Presence, he was left in an Antichamber, and they went into another Room. But, the Door not being quite shut, he heard a Woman say, "That She would no longer endure these Affronts, but would revenge the Violation of Her Bed, and assist in propagating the Catholic Religion."
He saith, "He heard the Words spoken; and when the Fathers came out, he, being desirous to see the Queen, was introduced, either by Langworth or Fenwick; and saw no Woman there but the Queen with these Fathers."
He said further, "That the Queen had given several Sums of Money to Colker, a Benedictin, under the Notion of Charity; which he believes was only to pervert the King's Subjects in their Religion; and that, if Ireland's Papers be again searched, it would be found that several of them have had Money upon that Account, and some so small Shares as Two or Three Shillings; and that he himself had had several Sums. That, as a Circumstance to induce a Belief that the Queen was engaged in this Business, he faith, he saw Micho's Letter to the General of the Jesuits, wherein was Mention of Four Thousand Pounds at one Time, and One Thousand Pounds at another Time, given by the Queen, which he cannot say upon his Oath, but believes was given upon this Account; upon which, a Compliment was sent to the Queen, Duke, and Dutchess, of 500 Masses, 600 and odd Pair of Beads, and 1150 Acts of Mortification, as a Return for former Favours; Whitebread being then Provincial. He refers himself to the Letter, which may be found amongst Micho's or Whitebread's Papers."
Then, being asked, "Whether this is all he had to say in Reference to the Queen?" He said, "This is all as to Matter of Information; saving only, that he added, that the Queen holds Correspondency with the Bishop of Rome, and the General of the Society of Jesus."
Then, being asked, "Whether Mrs. Elliot came first to him from the King, or he did send her first to the King, about his speaking with the King?" He said, "She came first to him, and told him, The King would speak with him; but whether she came from the King, he knows not;" but saith, "he never desired her to speak with the King." He said further, "That, when he went to the King on the 13th Instant, the King was dissatisfied with what he said; and because there was One present whom he believed to be an Enemy to the King and Kingdom, he did not speak so freely as otherwise he should have done."
Then, being asked, "Why he said (the last Time he was here) that he had no other Person to accuse, being then required to name them (if any such were) of what Quality soever?" He said, "That he had no more to name, meaning of this House, before whom he then was; and that he then desired that he might not be further pressed to say any more, in Prejudice of the Evidence he was to give."
Then, being asked, "Why he concealed this Matter so long?" He said, "It was because the Queen was the Wife of the King's Bosom, and he had not then acquainted the King with it, and therefore thought not fit to mention it before a public Council; and if therein he erred in his Judgement, it was not his Intention so to do."
Then he said, "This Plot was designed in 1670; he believes it was so in 1666. Further, he could swear, That their own Records say, it was designed upon the King's coming in 1660." And being asked, Why he, knowing this Matter of the Queen's being in it in July and August last, did not acquaint the King with it till November?" He said, "That the Queen was not to act till all other Practices failed; and that then She was to have further Notice." And being asked, "How he knew that the Queen had not Notice in all this Time?" He said, "It was to be done when the King should take Physic; which was not done, because of His going to Newmarket."
And being told, "That, if he had mentioned this Matter of Sir George Wakeman's Letter so fully at the Council as he hath done now, Sir George had then been taken into Custody;" to this he said, That he had been up all the Saturday and Sunday at Night; and had attended the Council so long, that he was ready to saint; and that the Weakness of his Body so confounded his Memory, that he forgot to mention that Letter."
Bedloe's Examination concerning the Queen.
Then William Bedloe, being called in and sworn, is told of the Occasion of his coming hither, upon the Address now brought up from the House of Commons; and "that his whole Knowledge concerning this Matter is expected from Him."
Upon which he said, "That, about the End of April, or Beginning of May, 1677, there was a Consult held in the Chapel Gallery at Somerset House, where were present the Lord Bellasis, Mr. Coleman, Lee Phaire, Pritchard, Sheldon, and Latham, and Two French Abbots, and the Queen (and he thinks the Lord Powis): That he was below in the Chapel, with Walsh and others, at the same Time; and, when the Consult was over, Coleman came down, and told Walsh and him, "That the Queen wept much, before they could bring Her to it; but the French Abbots, by their Arguments, had prevailed."
Then he said, "That he was afterwards dispatched, by Coleman, with Letters for France; and that he overtook Stapleton at Cambray, for whom he had Letters; which Letters Stapleton read by a Key, or Cypher, which he had in his Hand: That Stapleton (after he had read them) said, "I am glad they have brought Her to it; our Party grows stronger and stronger." And Bedloe asking, "Who was meant by Her?" Stapleton said, "The Queen." And that he received this Letter from Coleman in his own House."
Then, being asked, "If he knew the Lord Bellasis?" He said, "He did; and had seen him at his House in St. Albane's Square about Three Years since:" And said, "That he had no more to say of any Person, either in or out of this House, than he had already charged."
Then, being asked, "Where he stood in the Chapel, when the Consult was above?" He said, "He came in from the Water-side, through the Room where the Priests put on their Vestments; and, standing below, saw the Queen look over the Rails of the Gallery."
Then, being asked, "Whether he knew Mr. Otes?" he said, "He remembered he had seen the Man, at Valadolid, about a Month before Michaelmas last was Twelvemonth; but knew not that he was concerned in this Business, and that he went there by the Name of Ambrose; and that, when he was formerly asked here if he knew him, he denied it, because he knew him not by that Name of Otes, and had not then seen him here."
Mrs. Elliot examined.
Then Mrs. Elliot, being come, is called in, and sworn; and is asked, "Whether Mr. Otes sent her first to the King, or the King sent her first to Mr. Otes?" She said, "The Lady Gerard of Bromley told her, Doctor Tong would speak with her; who told her, coming to him, "That Mr. Otes must needs speak with the King privately." And being asked, Whether Dr. Tong told her what it was about?" She said, "That, by the Words he spoke, she guessed the Queen was concerned; but she did not hear him say why, or wherein; and that she went to the King before she spoke with Mr. Otes, at Dr. Tong's Desire."
Papers from the Privy Council, concerning the Charge against the Queen.
"Mr. Otes doth nform, That, in the Month of July, he saw a Letter from Sir George Wakeman, in which Sir George did assure Richard Thimbleby, to whom it was directed, that the Queen would assist him to poison His Sacred Majesty; and in the latter Part of July, Mr. Otes did wait upon John Keines, Basill Langworth, William Harcourt, and John Fenwicke, to Somersett House, where the Queen then was; and, in an Antichamber, did hear the Queen say, "That She would not take those Affronts any longer that had been done unto Her; but would revenge the Violation of Her Bed." Now the Deponent, being presented before Her Majesty, saw no living Soul there but Her Majesty and those Fathers with whom he went to Somersett House. And the Deponent did hear the Queen say, "That She would assist them in the Propagation of Catholic Religion;" and hath, by Colker the Benedictine Monk, given several Sums of Money to pervert His Majesty's Subjects, as Mr. Otes doth verily believe; and several Sums have been so used by the Jesuits in Her Majesty's Name; and £5000 hath been paid to the Jesuits by Her Majesty, in order to destroy the Person of His Majesty, and subvert Religion and Government, as appeared by several Instructions from the Queen to the Jesuits, as the Jesuits themselves have confessed to Mr. Otes.
Otes's Narrative about Her.
"That, in the Month of July last, he saw a Letter, written from Sir George Wakeman, to Richard Ashby alias Thimbleby, advising him, for his Health, being troubled with the Gout, to take a Pint of Milk in the Morning, and a Pint at Night, and also an Hundred Strokes of the Pump every Day while he continued at The Bath.
"That, in the same Letter, Sir George Wakeman did declre his good Liking of the Proposal about poisoning the King, provided good Terms might be had; and added, "That the Queen would give Her Assistance in that Work."
"That, in the same Month of July, there came a Messenger, to have some of the Fathers to attend at Somersett House; who were, John Keines, William Harcourt, John Fenwicke, and Basill Langworth. The Messenger was one Sir Richard, or Sir Robert, he knows not which, being a Man of a middle Stature, and about Forty-four or Forty-five Years of Age, and a nimble Man.
"That, being at Somerset House, they went all into an Antichamber: That he himself and some others (whom he remembers not) were in the Room without; but that, he being curious to hear what passed within, and the Door not being quite close, he listened, and did hear a Woman's Voice (though he saw not who it was) to say, "That She would no longer endure those Affronts; but would revenge the Violation of Her Bed, and would assist in taking away the King's Life, and propagating Catholic Religion."
"That, upon opening of the Door, he desired One of the Fathers, that he might see the Queen; and being admitted, he doth, on his Salvation, declare that he saw nobody but the Queen and the said Fathers."
Mr. Otes being afterwards asked, "If the Queen saw him when he was presented?" He said, "She did, and took as much Notice of him as one of Her Rank usually doth of such as he was, being then in another Habit than at present;" but he thought She gave him a gracious Smile.
"That the Queen, under the Notion of Charity, hath given to Mr. Corker several Sums of Money, in order to pervert His Majesty's Subjects in their Religion; and that, if Mr. Ireland's Papers be again examined, it will appear that there was made Distributions of this Charity, and some so small as Two or Three Shillings, whereof he himself has had some Share.
"That, as a Circumstance to induce a Belief that the Queen was engaged in this Matter, he says, he saw a Letter, which Micho had prepared, to the General of the Jesuits, wherein was Mention of Five Thousand Pounds given by Her Majesty, Four Thousand Pounds at one Time, and One Thousand Pounds at another, which he cannot swear was for this End; but verily believes it was." And being asked, "How he came to see that Letter?" He says, Micho, the Secretary of the Order, consulted with him about a Latin Phrase; and he advised him to put a Word into the Dative Case, as being better Latin.
"That, as to the Question why he concealed this important Matter so long, he answered, That he had much Distrust within himself, in his Judgement, about the discovering it; and that once he intended to disclose it, upon Sir George Wakeman's Business at this Board; but was willing His Majesty should know it first in private.
"And further, upon this Account, and the Objection that Pickering was employed to have killed the King with a Pistol and Silver Bullets, and that he had been disciplined with Twenty Strokes for having failed (which was before the Consult in April last, as near as he remembers), it appeared the Business was committed to other Hands to be executed: He answered hereunto, That the Matter had been designed in the Year 1670; and that he knew Her Majesty (let Her Virtues be what they will) held Correspondence with the Bishop of Rome and the General of the Jesuits, by the Hands of the Jesuits here; but that She was not to act, until they judged Things to be ripe. And he further said, That Endeavours were used that the Queen should not be engaged in this Business till all other Means failed."
He further added, as to the said Question of his being so long silent in a Matter of that dangerous Consequence, "That he was unwilling to communicate any Thing of the Queen to any public Court, but only to the King Himself in private, to prevent the Danger, She being the Wife of His Bosom."
Being put in Mind, "That he had declared, at the Bar of the House of Peers, that he had no more to say against any Person of Quality;" he answered, His Meaning was, that he had no more against any of that House before whom he then was; and prayed their Lordships to remember, that he then desired he might not be further pressed to say any more, to the End his Evidence might not be superseded."
And being further questioned, "How it came about that he could not give an Account of the precise Day when those Words were spoken, having in other Things referred himself to his Papers?" He declared, "That he had not committed this Thing to Writing, not daring to trust more with it than his own Soul; yet he hopes he may recollect something as to the very Time; and would examine his Papers, but that they are in the Custody of Mr. Thomas Howard."
Being asked, "Whether he knew Bedloe before?" He said, "'Tis like he had seen him, but not by that Name; but that, if he had seen him, 'twas in Spaine, and as going by the Name of Williams; but that he never knew him as concerned in this Business."
Mr. Otes, being asked, "How many several Hands he could write?" did answer, "That he never had been taught any, but had learnt of himself, and did write differently, according as his Pen was; and that, when he saw a Hand that pleased him, he endeavoured to imitate the same."
Being further demanded, "Why he had omitted so material a Thing against Sir George Wakeman as the dangerous Letter written by him to Thimbleby aforementioned, for nothing appears of it in the First Minutes taken at the Council Board against Sir George Wakeman?" He answered, "That he was at that Time faint and weak, and had been up Two Nights together; nor could he then have said that he saw Sir George write such a Letter, but that he saw a Letter signed George Wakeman in Thimblebye's Chamber."
And further reminded the Lords, "That he did declare, that when the Consult was held by the Benedictines, when Sir George was contracted with, that he was sick of the Stone, and not there; but that he afterwards found the Contents of their Proceeding in their Entry Book."
Touching which, it was told him, "That he had indeed made Mention of such an Entry Book at the Bar of the House of Commons, but no Mention of it at this Board." To which he replied, "That it was then an Omission, occasioned by his Weakness at that Time.
Earls of Ossory and Bridgewater's Report of carrying Otes to Somerset Home.
"We went, by His Majesty's Direction, to Somersett House, and took Mr. Howard and Mr. Otes in the Coach with us. When alighted at the Door, we took Mr. Otes between us, and asked him, "Whether, that Time that he mentions, he came into the House that Way?" And he answered us, "Yes;" and shewed us forward to the Guard-chamber Door, that he went in there. And when we were come into the Guard-chamber, he remembered that Room, and so he did the Presence Chamber; for, he said, "he remembered the Canopy;" but, when we went into the next Room, he began to doubt. So we went back again with him into the Guard-chamber, and he again asserted his coming in that Way; but, when we were again come into the Presence Chamber, he began to speak of a Pair of Stairs that he had gone up, but he could not find them. All the Doors were opened, and we went with him through the Queen's Bedchamber, through several little Rooms, and opened the Gallery Door, which, he said, "he had never seen before; and that those little Rooms were none of them the Room he looked for;" but still talked of a Pair of Stairs. And when he came out again into the Room next the Bedchamber, he set One of the Leaves of the Door in the Posture he said the Door that he stood at was in; but said, "that was not the Door he had stood at;" but still talked of a Pair of Stairs; but could not find any. We shewed him the Stairs that go to the Garden by the Chapel, and went with him down to the Bottom; "but, he said, they were not the Stairs he meant." When we came up again to go away, he again said, "he remembered the Guardchamber;" and when we went out of the Guardchamber into the Walk between that and the Court Yard, we carried him to the further End of it, and went in with him at that Door, but he immediately said, "that that was not the Way he had come." In all the Search he made for a Pair of Stairs, he said, "the Stairs he sought for were a light Pair of Stairs, and the Rooms they went to had great Folding Doors, and were high large Rooms."
Bedloe's Narrative concerning the Queen.
"Mr. Bedloe, being called in before His Majesty in Council, and told by the Lord Chancellor, "That His Majesty had given Mr. Attorney General Order forthwith to prepare his Pardon for all Concealments of any Manner of Treason, from the Beginning of the World, to the 28th Day of this Instant November; and that His Majesty did desire to be informed of all the Heads of the Treasons he can discover and make Proof of:"
"And thereupon taking his Oath, on the Holy Evangelists, saith, That, about the latter End of April or the Beginning of May last was a Twelvemonth, about Six of the Clock in the Afternoon, there was a Consult held in the Chapel Gallery at Somersett House, where were present the Lord Bellasis and (he thinks) the Lord Powis, Mr. Coleman, Le Phaire, Pritchard, Latham, and Sheldon, and Two Frenchmen in Orders, whom he took to be Abbots, and Two other Persons of Quality, but did not see their Faces, and others, and amongst them the Queen; and further, that Coleman and Pritchard told him, after the Consult, "That the Queen wept at what was proposed there; but was over-persuaded to consent, by the Strength of the Two Frenchmen's Arguments:" That he was below, walking in the Chapel, at the Time of the Consult, with others, of whom he remembers only a short fat Man, who was the Chapel-keeper, and Mr. Walsh: [ (fn. 1) That, after the Consult, the Queen came through the Room where the Priests dress themselves; and that he then observed some Alteration in her Majesty.]
Upon Examination of this Book with the Paper of Bedloe's Examination, signed by his Hand, finding these above-written Lines in the Paper, but left out in this Book, they are inserted, 12 December, 1678, in the Presence of us,
"That he was afterwards dispatched by Coleman with Letters for France; and that Le Phaire and Pritchard went with him to Gravesend; that he went by Cambray, and there overtook Stapleton, for whom he had Letters; which Stapleton read by a Key or a Cypher which he had in his Hand; he standing at a Distance: That, after Stapleton had read them, he said, "Well, I am glad they have brought Her to it; we are now better backed than ever." But this Deponent saith, he did not know who they meant by Her; and that Stapleton further added, that they got Ground every Day; and that it was better an Hundred Heretic Kings should be destroyed, than that the Catholic Religion should not be propagated." And says, That the Contents of those Letters were about subverting the Government.
"This Deponent further saith, That he did not call any Thing of this foregoing Information to Mind till Mr. Coleman did this Day aver, upon his Trial, that he had never seen his Face before in his Life.
"And being asked, "What it was that lay upon his Spirits, that made him desire a further Pardon, for which the House of Commons had made an Address to His Majesty?" He said, "He knew nothing of it, but by some of the Yeomen of the Guard who attend him; but that he desired it, left he might have forgotten any Thing, and that by a further Pardon his Mind would be at more Ease to recollect Circumstances."
"Being asked, "If ever he was at my Lord Westmorland's?" He said, "He was there about this Time Twelvemonth, as he was going to my Lord Brudnell's; and that my Lord Brudnell came thither whilst he was there, and that he was like to have had a Quarrel with him, he then going by the Name of Bennet; and that he was never at the Lord Westmerland's but Once."
"Being asked, "If he was not here in Prison the last Year?" He says, "He was in The Marshalsey for his Brother's Debts; and that Harcourt and Le Phaire sent him Money, as soon as they came to Town, that released him.
The House, having heard the Informations of Tytus Otes and William Bedloe, took into Consideration the Address brought from the House of Commons, concerning the Removal of the Queen's Majesty and Her Family from Whitehall, which was read.
Address from H. C. for removing the Queen and Her Family. This Address not having been entered in this Book, which ought to have been entered in this Place, it is now entered in the Margin of this Leaf, this 12 Day of December, 1678, in the Presence of us,
" (fn. 2) We Your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful Subjects, the and Commons in Parliament assembled, having received Informations, by several Witnesses, of a most desperate and traiterous Design and Conspiracy against the Life of Your most Sacred Majesty, wherein, to their great Astonishment, the Queen is particularly charged and accused; in Discharge of our Allegiance, and out of our Affections and Care for the Preservation of Your Majesty's Sacred Person, and consequently of the whole Kingdom, do most humbly beseech Your Majesty, That the Queen and all Her Family, and all Papists and reputed or suspected Papists, be forthwith removed from Your Majesty's Court at Whitehall."
Protest against not agreeing to it.
Heads for a Conference about it.
Lords Committees appointed to prepare Reasons to be offered, at a Conference to be had with the House of Commons, why the Lords do not agree to the Address of the House of Commons, concerning the Removal of the Queen's Majesty and Her Family from Whitehall, to which the Lords Concurrence was desired; and to make Report thereof on Monday next:
L. Privy Seal.
Marq. of Winton.
E. of Clarendon.
E. of Essex.
|Bp. of London.||L. Colepeper.|
The House received an Account, "That Dr. Lowre and Dr. Warner have visited Mr. Whitebread; and they find that his former Distempers have left him, and he hath now only a Tertian Ague; and their Opinion is, That he may be removed safely, upon his Intermitting Days."
Hereupon it is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, or his Deputy and Deputies, taking with them such Soldiers as shall be necessary, shall To-morrow attach the Body of Mr. White alias Whitebread, and carry him forthwith to The Prison of Newgate, there to remain in safe Custody, till he shall be delivered by due Course of Law: And this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
To Sir George Charnock Knight, Serjeant at Arms attending this House, his Deputy and Deputies, and to the Keeper of Newgate, his Deputy and Deputies, and to all His Majesty's Officers Civil and Military, to be aiding and assisting in this Service.
The Lord Marquis of Winton gave the House an Account, "That he did see a Bull, derived from the Pope, which is now in the Hands of a Member of the House of Commons, which is of dangerous Consequence."
Message to H. C. for one sound among Ireland's Papers.
To let them know, that the Lords are informed, that there is a Bull from Rome, which was found amongst the Papers of Ireland, a Jesuit. The Lords desire they may have a Sight thereof, it being in the Hands of One of their Members.
Maccarty, a Jesuit, to be attached.
Upon Information given to this House, "That one Daniell Maccarty, a Romish Priest, is now under Custody, in Thetford, in the County of Norfolk: It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, or his Deputy or Deputies, shall forthwith repair to Thetford aforesaid, and bring thence the Body of the said Danyell Maccarty, in safe Custody, to the Bar of this House; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
Message from H. C. with the Pope's Bull.
The Messengers sent to the House of Commons return with a Paper, being a Faculty from Rome; which the Commons pray the said Paper may be returned to them, so soon as their Lordships have perused the same.
Message from thence, with the following Information from Franckfort, about the Plot.
A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Sir Charles Cotterell and others; who acquainted their Lordships with an Information they have received from Franckford, which they thought fit to communicate to their Lordships in this Conjuncture of Affairs.
"Some Days since a Jesuit, coming from Rome, arrived at Basell, with Intent to go for England, who, being in Discourse with certain Merchants there, is reported to have said, "That there was something designed in England against the King, whereof he believed he should hear the Effect before he should get to his Journey's End; and that, for the going through with that Design, he should find more than a Thousand Jesuits in England." During this Discourse, the Post brought News of the Discovery of the Conspiracy in England: Whereupon the Jesuit withdrew, and suffered himself no more to be seen."