A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 3, December 1654 - August 1655. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.
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March (1 of 8)
Bordeaux, the French embassador in England, to his father. March 11/1, 1654/5.
Since my last there hath past nothing in my negotiation, whereof you will have heard the condition to be bad enough. The obstinacy, which the ministers of the council do declare upon the two propositions, which do occasion the obstacle at present in the treaty, doth cause me to apprehend a rupture ; to prevent which, I have again made an overture unto them of some expedients, which do seem very reasonable unto me, and wherewith they ought to be satisfied. At the same time I declared unto them, that if they would not accept of them, I had nothing more to do, but to take my leave of the protector; but whether it be, that they believe, that our interest will not permit a rupture, or whether they will try, whether my threats be affected, I know not. In the mean time, I draw no satisfaction of all my care and pains, and am resolved to take my leave on monday, if there arrive no differing orders from the foregoing. Those, which I have received to day, do not oblige me to change my conduct, nor likewise to add any thing to my foregoing letters. It was so late before I received them to day, that I had not time to write to the earl of Brienne, nor to his eminence. Both they now do agree, that it had been more convenient de ne point remuer ces difficultez. That was my opinion, and I would not make those propositions, till after I had received their express orders; nor is it of greater consequence de s'en departir apres la demande. If you chance to see any of the lords of the council, you may impart so much unto them.
A letter of information to general Monk.
I was very latly solisitated to act in a designe, wherein the commonwelth in generall, and your honor in perticuler, were hiely concerned; the perticulers whereof were these. Your person was first to have benne secured; then major generall Overton to have given out orders, and to have drawen 3000 foot, besids horse, into the field, and sone after to have marcht for England, where the lord Bradshaw and sir Arther Haselrig was to have joyned with them very considerable forces ; and that vice admirall Lawson was ingaged in this designe, with a squadran of the sleete; that coll. Pride, coll. Cobbit, coll. Ashfield, lieutenant coll. Mason, lieutenant coll. Michel, lieutenant coll. Wilkes, and severall others were also ingaged in this plot; and your person was, according to my relation, to be seized one by captain lieutenant Crest, who to that purpose was prepared by captain Ward. That which was entreated of mee was, to ingage a party in this regiment, that so they might have free passage through this garison, and a party to joyne with them. This designe was to breake forth some tenn dayes since, by which time, as I was tould, the declarations of the grounds of this revolt, being now in the presse, would be ready. All this I thought my selfe obliged to impart unto your honor; and whether it prove true or sals in the execution, I beseech you to take it as a duty from me, unto which the securyty of the commonwealth, and that of your person, hath obliged mee. I shall only intreat you, not to require of mee the name of the person, that reveled it, for that I obliged my selfe to concele before the discovery. So humbly entreating you, that no eye may see these lynes but your owne, I rest your honor's most humble servant.
A letter of intelligence from the Hague.
Il est veritablement des affaires d'Angleterre, comme d'un horologe rompu, estant certain ce que tel escrit, que rien n'y est certain, & que partiri non potes orbem, solus babere potes. Je ne say pas comment on s'y peut gouverneur; la sagesse de Salomon n'y suffit pas pour prevoir les maux, qui arrivent de jour a autre. Les plus heureux font, qui s'en meslent le moins, & voudrois bein savoir quel soit votre conduit & dessein. Icy ne faisons que contempler, ut mari in magno turbantibus aquora ventis e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem; & comme cy devant c'a esté inutile & vain, quand les ambassades de voisins se sont voulu mesler de ces affaires, aussy l'est il bien encore hors de propos. On y est comme un tonneau de vin & de biere, qui travalle soy meme, & se doibt expurger & purisier soy meme. Je m' imagine que les sieurs envoyes extraordinares d'Angleterre tant icy qu'ailleurs doivent estre bien en peine & perplexité: heureux est l'infant, qui connoist son pere: malheureux le serviteur, qui ne connoit ny ne sçait pas a qui il soit. Il me souvient avoir ouy autresois discourir (a l'occasion du feu roy de Boeme) que chacun n'avoit pas la teste fait pour porter une couronne ; mais je trouve, qu'aux Anglois les testes ne sont pas faites pour porter la liberté; au moins pour encore ils le portent ou supportent mal. En effect les republicans sont contemplatifs sur ce qui ce sera & arrivera en Angleterre, si Roi d'Ecosse rentre: ce sera monstrer le chemin a prince d' Orange neantmoins: ces capt. general monstrent bonne mine, comme si ils ne craignoint rien ; mais il y a bien de croire, qu'ils en jugent bien autrement en leur coeur; cependant ils previenderont le danger par flatterie: quanto quis obsequio promptior, &c. & que dirat on: c'est ainsy les cours du monde: il a esté ainsy devant nous, ainsy fera apres nous. Je suis
Ce 12 Mars, [1654/5 N. S.]
Mr. Jonas Cudworth to col. Charles Worseley.
My enemies (though satisfied I am none of the commonwealth's or protector's enemie) cease not to persecute mee with violence soe farr as they have power. They incensed col. Howard against mee, to whome I have given satisfaction, and hee perceives their villany. Upon a strict examin I beleeve both Dawson and Bonner will appeare to have declared themselves unsatisfied with this government; and cannott make appeare any thinge acted by them for establishment of the same, further then led by perticular revenge. I have since enquired further concerninge what I writt of in my last, and it is evident, that major Birridge, whoe was major to the earle of Newcastle, brought divers comissions from the kinge of Scotts to severall gentlemen in the contry, and was entertained 20 dayes at Seaton Dellavella, neer Tynmouth, the gentleman of the place professeinge himselfe a frende, but generaly reported otherwise. Hee married Lisle his daughter. I heare alsoe amongst our gentry, that one mr. Byareley, a rich gentleman his father is reputed to bee, hath disbursed 200 l. for horses, and hee with some others should have mett the lord Willoby at Yorke with 500 horse. Willoby was to bee lieutenant generall, as is reported in private, to sir Thomas. 'Tis reported, they are prevented for the present. I have received 2 or 3 lines from mr. Witte, but nothinge of your businesse. I should rejoice to bee able to serve you in any thinge ; for mr. Dawson boastes you gott a sownd check for contenanceinge mee against him; which if true, my lord protector was greatly misinformed, since I came to Stella, hee hath done sufficient to cast him out of custome house, if any thing could take hould of him; which I am now out of hopes on, as well as destroy'd from all practice to live, and purely for doeinge good service. God in his mercie direct mee what course to take, and more frendes to be coajutant to mee in this my sad condition. Sir, I have not els to offer to your consideration, but conclud with the acknowlegement of my self to bee
Stella, neere Newcastle,
March 2, 1654.
Mr. Henry Sealy to secretary Thurloe.
There was 2 of your messengers with mee this day at Drury-howse, to have an account of mr. Thomas Betson a merchant newly arrived at Dover from Antwerp. I did then give them what I knew concerning the person, and am now come to give your honour a farther satisfaction concerning him. I know him to be a marchant that hath lived in Amsterdam and Antwerp for severall yeares, haveing been there employed by his father in marchandizing ; and I doe beeleeve, that his comming over into England at this tyme is cheifely to cleare accounts with his father, who I heard lately say, that hee expected his sonne, or to that purpose. Wherefore I make my humble request to your honour, that hee may bee discharged from any further restraint at Dover, and permitted his repayre to London, to followe his occasions, which I the rather desyer, beecause by letter this day received from him hee writs mee, that his detention there will bee very prejudiciall to his one and his father's concearnments ; and I am very well assured, that boath father and sonne are freinds, haveing alwayes appeared for the interrest of this state. I remayne, sir,
March 2, 1654.
Mr. W. Prideaux to secretary Thurloe.
By these your honour will please to understand, that the 27th of last month I was advertised by my prestave from the chancellor of the possesco office, that the emperor had made choice of him for commissioner to here mee, and to deliver in writing what else I had to say more than what was done at my audience to his majesty ; and the 28th in the morning I was assigned to appeare at that office, when I went thither from my lodgings in the same manner, as I did the day of my going to the emperor; and the same number of companys of musquiteers with their ensigns stood as before. At my arrival to the office, I found the chancellor there, with whom I discoursed, and gave him in writing all I have to saye by the interpretation of Hebden; to which the chancellor assured mee to referre all to his imperial majesty, and with as much expedition as could be, I should have my answer and my full dispatch for my returne to his highnesse. The sudden departure of this conveyance doth not permitt mee to write your honour what I negotiated with the chancellor ; nor doe I thinke to send it by any, butt carrye it myselfe, praying to have my dispatch in such tyme as to be at Riga the beginning of Aprill.
Here is come newse, that the Pole hath had another bout with the Ruffe since that abovementioned; on which all the commanders and officers strangers that are here, are dispeeded for the armey in dilligence.
Yesterdaye the crowne of Sweden's commissary sent mee a vizitt, by a gentleman of his, to desire mee to excuse him for being soe long before hee sent to mee, which hath proceeded through his indisposition of the gout, having deferred the tyme in expectation to have bine able to come himselfe, which he hopes to effect within two or three dayes. I doe this daye send a gentleman to him to render his vizitt.
A letter of W. S. from Calais.
Though, as you say very well, promotion comes not from the East, nor from the West, but it is God that orders it in such way as he pleases; yet since God does give nothing to us in vayne, hee would not have us to neglect the making any of those oportunities, which hee is pleased to offerr us for our good ; and therefore, as wee are not to resist his will, soe wee ought not to resist his dispensations; which his divine providence houldes out to us. I have now the opportunity offerred me of doing my friend and those hee governes a publick good, and of receving my selfe, as I hope, a privat advantage by it, either of which I doe supose I may justifiably endeavour, the one as the other, the law of nature teaching us selfe-preservation, as well as the doing of others good. Wherefore I am not at all ashamed, to insist still in this letter upon what I did in my last; which is, that before I enter any further into any matters, I should bee glad to receive from your frind some assurance at least of his kindnesse and favour, that I may not bee absolutely throwne off to the wide world, without friends or support, and that I may expect to bee provided for by him, after that I shall have lost my selfe every where else for his sake ; for though I cannot 18. 12. 25. 19. 17. 34. 36. 16. 40. 11. 31. 37. 25. 30. 17. 23. 40. 26. 35. 37. 34. 36. 35. 36. 6. 41. 17. 12. it is come to my knowledge by 2. 25. 12. 37. 25. 17. 7. 30. 41. 17. 25. and 33. 28. 35. 23. 40. 34. 35. 35. 7. 12. 3. 25. 19. 36. 35. 28. 41. 6. 34. 41. 17. 35. 28. 40. 41. 40. 11. secrecy 35. 7. 25. 39. 12. 37. 36. 40. 41. 6. 10. 40. 35. 28. 38. 40. 33. 35. 11. 37. 40. 43. taking it 26. 40. 37. 10. 37. 30. 41. 35. 12. 16. upon his meeting 2. 12. 25. 19. 36. 7. 25. 12. 35. 7. 40. 34. 10. 32. 35. stealing out of Whitehall 67. that I was not only perticularly informed of 35. 7. 12. 43. 19. 35. 25. 37. 18. 34. 35. 30. 3. 36. 40. employed in it, yet since it is the absolute breaking of 30. 39. 40. 35. 23. 7. 19. 35. 23. 19. 36. 18. 12. 25. 41. 12. 30. 7. 35. 17. 23. 28. 41. 10. by 35. 23. 12. 33. 7. 40. 3. 12. 39. 19. 37. 35. 6. 25. 40. 11. 143. there is noe question 18. 34. 35. 28. 36. 7. 19. 3. by this one action render my selfe 6. 37. 37. 12. 17. 40. 41. 17. 28. 6. 19. 18. 3. 35. 33. 6. 35. 7. 35. 23. 12. 2. 30. 36. 3. 40. 41. 10. 19. 30. 6. 3. 28. 35. 25. and therfore certaynly, when your friend shall seriously consider the nature of this matter, hee cannot thinke it strange in me to expect to bee assured of his protection, before I shall doe a thinge, that will render it impossible for mee to receive it any where else. I am very farr from having the least imagination in this of engaging your friend to a promise of doing mee good, upon the pretence of a service, which afterwards I should not bee able to doe. I desire nothing from him till I have shewne him by the effects, that the service I intend to doe him is not inconsiderable ; and then hee will bee able to judge, whether the service I doe him bee worthy his thankes or noe. Sir, I am in such hast to make an end, for feare of loosing this poste, that I feare you will scarce be able to reade the hand, much lesse that which is written in cipher, since I doe not verry well know my selfe, whether it bee true written or noe. And if this correspondence continue betweene us, I should desire you to sende me another cipher, this which you have sent mee already being very imperfect. Though it is more then tyme I should make an end, I cannot hinder myselfe from representing this to your consideration ; first what designe I can have in this that I doe, if it be not to linke myselfe intirely to your friend's interest and fortune; the part I have a mind to act, if hee would give mee leave, being such, that it would bee impossible for mee to have dependance afterwards upon any body but himselfe, though I should intend it never soe much. Next, whether or noe I have not reason to beleeve, that your friend must needs think (how small a proportion of parts soever God hath given mee) I may bee usefull to him in this perticular businesse, considering the 38. 34. 30. 3. 28. 35. 6. 12. I am of, the familiar acquaintance I have amongst all the 153, and the share I have hitherto had of theire businesse. And last, whither or noe I ought in reason to expect, hee will admitt of mee, if in this soe pressing a conjuncture, and wherein I can without vanity pretend to bee in some kinde usefull to him, hee do's absolutely reject the service I offer him ; for how slight soever you may make of thes businesse, I know it is a more 130 troope, and in which more 39. 25. 40. 39. 3. 12. 19. 37. 25. 12. 41. 10. 30. 22. 12. 29. 35. 7. 12. 41. 28. 41. 19. 41. 6. 40. 41. 12. 40. 11. the 26. 40. 37. 43. 12. 37. 40. 41. 25. 36. 33. 7. 30. 35. 36. 40. 12. 34. 35. 37. army. 35. 23. 19. by 35. 7. 12. it 25. 6. 36. in 17. 30. it 36. 12. 19. 35. and at the 25. 17. 40. the 36. 6. 16. 12. 37. 19. 18. 3. 25. 28. the 67. 81. 35. 7. 12. am 85. 41. 40. 35. 3. 19. am. 16. 12. 158. 35. 40. 36. 34. 37. 39. it 6. in. 12. that by 7. 25. am. 23. 19. 34. 25. 10. 6. 34. 12. 41. 1. 19. 3. 29. 36. by 40. 26. 11. and 37. 35. am. thousand armes 81. 3. am 37. 12. 19. 29. 6. 35. 40. 18. 25. 12. 2. 19. 17. 25. 34. 36. 12. and 11. 33. 7. 25. 41. 35. 23. 12. 6. 37. 25. 18. 34. 36. 28. 41. 12. 36. in 12. 36. 7. 19. 3. 18. 12. 37. 6. 39. 25. 11. 40. 37. 6. 35, and which makes mee beleeve the time appointed for it is not farre off, I have been assured this day, that 40. 37. 43. and 41. 29. is in 67. 7. am. 16. 12. 23. 19. 36. 23. 30. 36. at 37. 6. 35. 6. 41. 35. 40. 70.
This plott is soe insalible, that noe discovery can prevent it; which would rather make
mee beleeve it were a rediculous one, then any thing else, if I did not know perticularly, it
were indeed soe well lay'd, that nothing but his and . . . ignorance together could destroye it.
I know very well too, it would not bee hard for mee to have as considerable a share in it as
any body, if the offers I have already made of my service to [symbol], and the naturall aversion
I have to submitt to those that have used mee unworthily, did not hinder mee from it.
Sir, it depends on your friend, to dispose of mee as hee pleases. If he thinkes that what I
have to say may bee of use to him, without doubt the best way were, to let me come and
wayte upon him, it being certayne, that I should bee better able to informe him of this
businesse in one single discourse, than I should be able to doe by a hundred severall letters.
Besides I know very well, that my sister and some others I would imploy, would bee very
instrumentall to mee in it, who it would bee impossible for mee to engage without being
there myselfe. If your friend thinkes it fittest for mee to be there unknowne, I am sure
I could order my journey thither soe, that noe body in the world should suspect it, being
easy for mee by the lieutenant gouvernor's meanes to goe out of this towne without being
seene, and afterwards as easy to land somewhere in Ingland, where noe body knowes mee,
from thence to goe straight to London, where your friend should apointe mee, were noe hard
matter ; neither should I finde any more difficulty in keeping my chamber there then to
keepe it heere, which I have done without stirring out once since my coming to this towne.
I suppose you will easily perceive by the earnestnesse I write to you with about this matter, that my inclination leades me rather to come to you, then to stay heere. I confesse
it does soe, because I know I should bee able to doe your friend more service there then I
can doe being in this place ; and I am sure I should doe it with a greate deale of affection.
If your friend bee of the same opinion, I shall immediatly, upon the least intimation of
his, that hee is willing to it, come away in what manner he shall apoint mee: but if for
som hidden causes, which I cannot guesse, hee will not consent to it, I shall then expect
from him at least, that he will be pleased to lett mee have under his owne hand some assurance
of his favoure, that I may hope the service I shall doe him shall not absolutely bee forgot;
but that in case I can contribute somthing to his advantage, hee will be pleased to owne mee
as one, who hee is willing he should hereafter depend upon his fortune; for it has beene
my lucke to bee very ill used by those I have deserved well from; and therefore I am
the more excusable, if I am a little too apprehensive of meeting with the same kind of
usage, though in another place; and if out of that aprehension I am desirous, before I engage myselfe any further in this matter, to have some surety, as to my owne perticular,
though the surety I now demaunde would bee, as I conceive, but very smale, if I did not
very much rely upon your friend's generosity. Pray, sir, weigh seariously what I have heere
said to you, and lett mee have speedily your answer; for I have nothinge to doe heere,
but in order to this businesse. In the meane tyme, I aske your pardon for all this trouble,
and desire you to bee assured, that whatever fortune I runne, or whether your friend shall
thinke fit to accept of the service I offer him or noe, I shall however thinke myselfe
obliged by the civilities you in your owne perticular have shewed mee, to bee as long as
Callais, March 13, [1654/5. N. S.]
Another letter from the same person.
Having had the misfortune not to make an ende of my letter, till it was just too late, I have hyred a boate on purpose to send it after the packett to mr. Whit's, who I have desired to send away to you as soone as possibly hee cowld. I hope you will pardon the little expedition I am able to make in this odde way of writing, which I am forced to use, and that you would helpe to ease yourselfe of this trouble I put you to, by endeavouring to get your friend's leave for mee to come to you, which would bee noe small obligation you would lay upon,
Callais, March 13.
W. S. Calais, 13/3 March 1654/5. His desire of a correspondence, and promise of performing some emminent service (in case my lord protector will engage to reward him) namely in discovering of the plott, &c.
Mr. Manning to secretary Thurloe.
I Have purposely sent this day my servant to Dunkirk, that this letter may be delivered by his owne hands unto the male; and not to trouble you with many impertinences, I shall be as short as may be ; and in the first place tell you, being ignorant how to address letters and papers, I have presumed to give my lord president the trouble of five or six, and since one to his highness in one to mr. Malin ; but since I understand I ought to have done itt to yourself, but whether mine have come to their hands, I know not, being they never made me the least answer ; and I am sure the matter was most considerable, would they have made use of itt as I gave directions; and out of my zeale to his highness welfare, I am not a little troubled, till you informe me how many of mine are come to theire hands, which be pleased to doe effectually and without saile by the next. I hope they are soe honest, that I need not repeate any thinge that I have already written, but shall only proceed, and tell you, that in prosecution of it I therein intimated I have bona fide spent viis et modis above 200 pistoles ; and I cannot beleeve that his highnesse will have any serve him a looser. There is something of concernement now, that I cannot omitt to tell you, viz. that your governor of Dover must be either knave or foole; for he hath lately lett pass Willmot and Philipps, Armerer, Halsey, and Daniel O Neile. Some of them he restreined soe carelesly, as if it were a purpose for them to escape, especialy the last. He or the searchers have connived att many's comming over of late, amongst them mr. Jo. Seymour, mr. Trelawney, one mr. Ross, mr. Manning, a Frenchman or two, all imployed in the capitall enemye's service; also one Griffin and Palmer servants of his, who are now all in England againe, acting theire bloody parts by his commands, and looke upon this for a truth. Since his removall from Colen he passed by this toune, and is lurking in this island with Ormond, Blague, and 2 or 3 of his servants, Wentworth, one of the judge Heathe's sonnes, one collonel Price, sir John Mince, as also lately Manning and one mr. Bennet, with one of the lord Coventrey's sonnes are now in Middleberghe, but some of the later named I heare gon for England. It now behooves you to have a care, and that a narrow search be made for these persons immediately in London or elsewhere, for they are pernicious and implacable enemyes to the peace and welfare of the nation. Theise I adventure thus openly and bluntly to give you this timely notice.
Now, sir, if I may be thought considerable to serve his highnes in discovery of the
ennemyes of the peace, and the depth of their bloody designe, (which I can and will most
effectualy doe) I pray faile not to write three lines to me, and subscribe your name John
Brown, and direct one to me by the name of mr. Henry Mannering, and inclose itt in this
cover, and seale itt up also in the cover, and sende a duplicat directed thus, for mr. Henry
Jackson, to be left with captain Bath att the Harp in Donkirk, to be delivered with care; and I
wil be sure of having them or one att least time enough to give you an ample and large
accompt tuesday next come sevenight. You need not trouble yourself more than to lett
me know, what letters they have received from an unknowne hand. Give me a plaine
direction by what name and how without suspition I may send to you; also a cypher with
a key ; and lastlie to assure me my indeavoures and service is gratefully accepted. Lett me
not faile of having a bill of exchange to receive such a some of money as you shall think
fitt and proper, in lieue of what I have expended; and to desray the charges of carrying
on soe greate a worke. I will not faile being att Donkirk to meet your answer sonday
next; and then you may depend of the largest accompt you ever yett had of this business,
and the most of certeinty and truth from him, that is, sir,
Lett the letter of creditt or bill be drawne upon some merchant at Donkirke.
If you think I may doe better service to come to you, then staye abroad, on notice and assurance from you for my safety, I will hire a ship, and come imediately and privately to you ; but then let me have directions how to pass in case of examination of your party.
Major Boteler to secretary Thurloe.
You may please to remember I sent his highness an information of one mr. Gylls the last weeke against one Stradling, whome I have since apprehended and examined upon the sayd information, who at the first denyed the whole; but the next morning he sent me word from the sort, (where he was secured) that he desired to speake with me. I sent for him, and asked him, what he had to say to me. He tould me, he was now of another mind then he had beene last night, and would cast himselfe upon my lord protector's favour and my intercession for it, and would freely and truly confess all that he knew concerning the late plott, and accordingly gave me the inclosed information, which is subscribed with his owne hand, whereby you will fee he hath made himselfe a party in and guilty of the late horrid plott as well as others; and he does acknowledge frequently he hath deserved the utmost the law can inflict upon him for so great an offence, and does onely fly to his highness mercy, which I cannot but humbly supplicat for him, if his highness please to graunte it. I did upon his information presently send for the severall parties of horse to apprehend the severall offenders therein mentioned, and have taken major Leversedge, mr. John Bayly, captain Dyer, and John Morse, and kept them apart till I had examined them, and so shall do still. They are very obstinat, and scarce will be gott to answer to any question, though you will see Dyer hath consest the plott was made knowne to him, and concealed by him, and he invited to it. Leversedge will confess litle, though a man may reade guilt in his face (if that were any rule.) But Stradling did witness to his face what he did charge him with in the information, and indeed struck him with palpable feare and amazement. Leversedge is a man of 300 l. per annum, and one that hath compounded for his estate heretofore. Bayly the sequestred parson is the most impudent wretch that ever I mett with; and hath craft to his confidence. I cannot gett any thinge out of Morse worth the penning, though it seemes upon very probable grounds, that theire two houses have been the common rendezvowez for carrying on the worke. As for John Dowthwayte (the very principall verb) I cannot light of him, though I have searched 5 or 6 severall gentlemen's houses, where he uses to sculk, and came within two howers time of him at one mr. Sealick's house neere Bridgwater, in one of whose grounds he had turned up his tyred horse (which we have taken) and is gone thence on foote. But Stradling tells me, he hath so great acquaintance with the malignant gentry, that he will be able to secure himselfe against the stricktest search we can make. And on my word, sir, we have gone many a weary stepp after him. Mr. Sealick, to whose house he was last traced, does profess he is altogether ignorant of his roguery, and he is forth-coming to answer for himselfe, if required. Sir Hugh Wyndham and collonel Francis Wyndham are both fledd upon it. I have had a party at both their places of aboad. Sir Hugh's lady did confess, her husband was gone upon the alarme given by the taking of other gentlemen. I would humbly beg I might know, how his highness would have theise prisoners we have taken disposed of. If not to London, I thinke Chepstow would be a safer place for them then where they are. I have ordered the same officer to bring J. W. up to Whitehall, that tooke him (being a most carefull man) and the rather, for that it may please his highnesse to aske him some questions about his taking him ipso facto, who can speake pertinently. I suppose he will be with you on fryday night, and scarcely before, and he can tell you there was a most strict charge given to the officer, who conveyed J. W. and his man to Chepstow, that we should informe the deputy governor, that man was equally guilty with the master, and they were both to be kept close prisoners, and one from the speech of the other, and all the party, which were neere 20, will witness, that my officer did deliver both master and man, with that charge to the deputy governor. I cannot but speak of this againe to purge both officers and souldiers amongst us from the guilt of so great a neglect as some body lyes under for the escape of the man. The castle is going downe apace now, and I hope peace making up as fast, at least seemingly; though I feare there are som chores do yet remaine. But I hope, feeing I cannot take them out (for grace must doe that) yet I have buryed them so deepe, the effects of them will not soone appeare againe. I am verily persuaded, his highness hath so farr oblieged this citty, by admitting of a faire and impartiall representation of things, and testifying his credence thereto, which in my very harte was true in every perticular, that neither feare nor love ever made them so much the king's creatures, as this act hath made them his, though here very many that will adventure their all for him upon the best account. And if I thought heere to any purpose, I would tell you how poore our soldiers are, not onely wanting money, but cloaths. Perhapps you may se it convenient to hint it to his highness, but I cannot think he is without such remembrancers. I beseech you, sir, present my most humble duty to his highness. My cordiall service to my deare and honoured friend sir Gilbert, and let me say, I am, sir,
Bristoll, March 3, 1654.
Since I writt my letter (having had the informant Stradling and John Morse face to face) Morse upon his examination hath confessed something making him accessory. But indeed, sir, you will finde Stradling very ingenuous and deserving savour, I am persuaded. The cornet that comes up with J. W. hath beene by at most of their examinations, and can informe you of his carriage.
Col. Barkstead, lieutenant of the Tower, to secretary Thurloe.
The last night after I came from Whitehall, mr. Read's keeper came to me, and informed me, that he had some grounds of suspicion, that his prisoner was endeavouring to make his escape; first from several questions he put to him; secondly, for that he had a glasse of water sent him of a pale sea-greene colour, together with half a pound of bees-wax, and a cloth to make a serecloth, of which they that brought it pretended the water to be for to bath his legg, where he hath a bruise, and the searcloth to strengthen his ancle, which he pretends is very weake, and so limps as if he were quite lame; thirdly, he hath observed him for neere two houres this last evening to be with a light constantly about his back window, his light being then out, and, as I beleive, he then gone to bed. I only appointed his keeper and one more to watch the last night under his window, but soe as not to give the least ground of suspition to him. This morneing I sent for mr. Read, pretending to speake with him only about my fee, and seemingly was very angry, that he had not as yet taken care in it; and in that time sent his keeper and one officer more into his chamber, and to bring me some of that sea-greene water in a small viall, and to take notice, if any thing was done to the iron barrs, which they did, and found, that about one of the barrs of iron he hath made a coffin of serecloth, which is filled with aquafortis, and that is now a working, and holding neere four spoonefulls of water. That the water they brought me being out of his glasse was aquafortis, or as some call it, mercury water. Sir, I have returned him to his lodging againe, but have not taken the least notice of it to him as yet; only I thought it my duty to give you this account, and to receive your further advice and directions, in which none shall be more punctuall to observe them, then,
Tower, London, March 3, 1654.
I have some thoughts to lett him goe on, and take him in his attempt to escape; but if you shall not thinke that safe, the glasse of water, together with the barre of iron now on eating in sunder, will sufficiently demonstrate his resolution to endeavour his escape, I submitt.
The examination of James Reade prisoner in the Tower, taken March 3, 1654, before John Barkstead, esq; lieutenant of the Tower of London.
The examinate being asked, of whom he had the aquafortis, which he did put about the bar of iron in his window, and thereby intended to have made his escape, faith, that he spoke for it before he came to prison. Being asked to whom he spake unto for it, faith, that he spake unto an apothecary, whose name he knoweth not, nor never did know, neither knoweth he where he lived then, or doth now live. Being asked how he knew him to be an apothecary, faith, to his best remembrance he was told so by one mrs. Humphreys. Being asked where the said mrs. Humphreys liveth, faith, he thinketh she liveth in King's-street Westminster, and is a chandler's wise there. Being asked, if he spake not to his surgeon about the said water, to bring it in to him, he saith, he did not speake unto him or any other since his coming into the Tower for it. And farther saith not.
The said James Read being farther asked, whither he intended to go, if he had made his escape, saith unto Holland. Being asked, what time he intended to attempt it, he saith, he knows not the particular day or night. Being asked, is any in the Tower were to further or assist him in the said escape, saith, not any one; for he is not acquainted with any in the Tower, nor hath spoke with any since he came to the Tower, other than his keeper, that do belong to the Tower. And farther saith, that he could not resolve of the particular time of making his escape, until he saw that the means which he used had accomplished his design; and farther saith not.
The inclosed is a copy of what I could gett from Read. I find him a crafty fellow. Had not I met with the bottle of water, and alsoe found the water in a coffin of beeswax, then eating one of the bars of his window, into which it had eaten a pretty way, he would not have confessed, that he intended to have made his escape; for after I had done examaineing of him, and that he had scarce time to breath, but he imediately begun to cry out, that the water and wax was sent him out of a designe and purpose to betray him. I have taken care of his security, as well in his lodging, as by putting on a pair of substantial shakles on him. I shall use all the meanes I can to find out from whom he had his water, though I may confidently affirme, he hath not had commerce with any but his keeper, whom I know to be honest, and mr. Deane, since he came into the Tower. Sir, I feare I have by this scribling given you trouble; for which begging your pardon, I take leave to subscribe myselfe,
Tower, London, March 4, 1654.
I intended to have been with you to morrow morning, but having received a summons to meet the militia of London at that time by 8 of the clock, I thinke it my duty not to neglect that business, and shall therefore wait on you with the first opportunity.
Capt. Unton Croke to the protector.
May it please your highnesse,
Receiving your commaunds on saturday night last by the post, I made all possible speed to repayre to Weymouth, to receive an account of the late detention of my soldiers, and alsoe to be informed of the particulars your highnesse gave mee in charge, and I have most faithfully and impartially, according to my best judgment, and as the brevity of time would alsoe permitt, couched every particular in this enclosed narrative. Hitherto your highnesse hath (I confesse) received noe satisfaction from mee concerning my lieutenant. Indeed, my lord, I know not how he stood in your highnesse's thoughts, nor what was the reason of his long absence from my troop. I only accidentaly heard, that he was deteyned uppon suspition, that he did not well rellish the present government. My lord, I thinke hee is more a stranger unto mee then unto any officer in the regiament. He was placed in my troop (but not by my choyce) imediately before the tyme your highnesse gave mee liberty to attend my lord Whitlocke into Sweaden; soe that before my going thither I had not a weeke's acquaintance with him, and since my retorne I have had as little of his companie, soe that I am verry incapable to know his principles. But, my lord, I am informed by others, that know him very well, that hee is of a dangerous temper, and neither well inclined to the good old way of God, nor to the government of your highnesse. My lord, this I thought my duty to speake, not out of any prejudice I have to the person of the man, from whom I have received all respect that could have beene expected, but that I could not bee silent, having so fair a call from your highnesse to spend my opinion. I professe, my lord, I am soe far from desiering his continuance, that I rejoyce at your highnesse's resolves in giving him his dismission; and since your highnesse is pleased to thinke of such a course, I beseech you, my lord, grant me the liberty of making an earnest request unto your highnesse, which if you will be pleased to grant, I shall freely engage all that's deare to me in this world, that your highnesse shall never have cause to thinke your favours - - - - - - - It is, my lord, that my cornett (who is a playne, downeright, honest man, one that is well principled, and that hath boorne commaund in my troop now for more than 5 yeares, and an exceeding good and carefull souldier) may be my lieutenant, and that your highnesse will conserre my colours on a brother of mine, who hath been some yeares in my troop, and is not unapt for the place. He is, my lord, well disposed, and, I hope, of a gratious spirit. The high sheriffe of Devonshire col. Copleston hath lately honoured him with one of your highnesse's commissions for a companie (which he hath alreadie raysed) in his regiment; but, my lord, I imagine that that is now neer at an end; and therefore it is, that I presume thus earnestly to importune your highnesse in this manner, hoping I may live to express my gratitude and to declare more amply then hitherto I have had opportunity to doe, how much I am,
Weymouth, March 5, 1654/5.
A paper of capt. Unton Croke concerning col. Sexby.
The mayor of the towne, captain Hurst, the governor of Portland, captaine Green that commaunds a frigatt, and cornett Brockhurst, that belongs to Jersey island, confessed to mee, that the souldiers demeaned themselves very civilly without giving offence to any; and the reason why they were deteyned, was purely uppon this account, that they came to search for colonel Sexbey without an order in wrighting.
The grounds and just cause of suspition, that Sexby was at that time in the towne.; These words Dudly confessed to mee.; All these words Dudly spoke to my souldiers, which they will depose of.; Major Harding said, that if Sexby had been in their hands, that they having no written order, he would endeavour to rescue him out of their hands. He said allfoe, that Sexby was soe qualified, and had done such good service for my lord, that he wondered any should come to looke for him in that manner.
The souldiers came unto Weymouth on the 20th day of February last past, about 5 a clocke at night, made some enquiry at a distance, whether colonel Sexby were in towne or noe. They were told, that if he were in towne; he was at captain Arthur's house, (who is the grand customer of that place, but a man esteemed of no good principle) for their he was servant to a lady, to whom for many yeares he had prosessed friendshipp, and many people thought that it still continued. One of the souldiers throwing aside his armes, addressed himself to the said captaine's house in qualitie of a countryman, and knockt at the dore, whereuppon a maid servant came unto him. The souldiers asked her, whether colonel Sexby were in the house or noe, for he had a desire to speake with him. She replied, she could not tell, but she would in an instant informe him, and so went in and called mrs. Ford unto him, Sexbie's supposed mistresse. When shee came, she demaunded of the souldier his businesse: hee told her, hee had a message and letter to deliver to colonel Sexbie. She desired to know from whom; the souldier answered, from a very good friend of the colonel, one mr. Hugh Courtney. Mrs. Ford said, that the colonel was not within, but if he would leave the message and letter with her, she would take order to have it delivered unto him, that soe a time and place might be appoynted for them to meete. The souldier told her, that unless hee could see him, he would not deliver the letter, and soe departed. Imediately after this mrs. Ford calls one Dudly unto her (who is deputy to captaine Arthur, and acts all things under him) and tells him, that their were troopes in towne enquiring after colonel Sexby: shee willed him to enquire, if he could, what was the business; and if he could learne it, shee desired to be informed before any souldiers came down to the house to make search after him. He promised he would make enquiry, and then went up to the inne where the souldiers quartered, and entered into discourse with them. Hee told the souldiers, that hee knew their businesse, and what it was they came about, and told them it was to apprehend Sexbie. And for his part he loved the protector soe well, that he would assist them in the businesse. He said, that Sexbie was in towne, and at the house of captain Arthur; and if they should bee wise, and keep his councell, he would carry them to his very chamber dore; but he told them, that they must search very well, for the house was large, and many by places in it, that without a strict scrutinie little good will bee done. The souldiers were very joyfull at this newes, and did intend that night, though very late, to goe and search the house; and when they were provided and ready to goe, Dudly's mind changed; he denied all that was said before, and would not goe forth with them; soe that all the businesse for that night seemed to bee quashed. E're this tyme the news went for currant about the towne, that souldiers were come to apprehend col. Sexby; whereuppon coronet Brockhurst, captain Lambert, one major Hardinge, and mr. Waltham; (the two last, I am credibly informed, are highflowne men in their principles, and direct friends to Sexby and Joyce) these 4 much questioned, why it was the souldiers should come to looke after any man without a written order. Some of them examined the souldiers, who presently confessed the design; and notwithstanding that they made out what they could, to whom they belonged, from whence they came, and what was their business; yet they thought it convenient to secuer the souldiers, and that night some of captain Lambert's seamen were placed in the house, where the souldiers were, to take care, that none should come to them, nor they goe to any. The next day the souldiers were had to the mayor, and by the instigation of the aforesaid gentleman, he thought them very fitting to be secured, untill such tyme as he should send for captain Hurst, governor of Portland. He desired the souldiers to repaire to their quarters, and entreated coronett Brockhurst and captaine Lambert to bare them company, which was to watch over them. About noone captaine Hurst comes. They encited the captaine to proceed against the souldiers, as they had done the mayor before. He concurred with them; soe the souldiers were then disarmed, and made prisoners indeed.
But it is the generall saying in the towne, that Sexby hath not been in towne neer this twelve months, Captain Arthur's wife, a very godly woman, did avow to me, she had not seen him in much longer tyme; and mr. Thorne, the pastor of the gathered church in Weymouth, did affirm to me, that he was confident there was much knaverie in the information of Dudly, and that what mrs. Arthur spoke was truth.
I doe find, that the mayor and captaine were very innocent from any designe in the business: they did it meerly at the request of others. Neither can I learne, that either the mayor or captaine have any relation or neer acquaintance with Sexbie; but some of the other gentlemen have.
I cannot discover what the principles of the captaine are. They are not much taken
notice of any way; but sure I thinke by his discource, he desiers to be quiett, and doth
not appeare to be of a turbulent spirrit. I pressed him to discource as to present affayres,
but he was very wary. I asked him his thoughts of major general Harrison, who was
his prisoner. He was very affectionate towards him in his expressions, often saying he was
a good man. He told mee, that the major general had desired libertie of him to speake
uppon some places of scripture sometymes to his souldiers, which he had granted him;
and he did usually preach to them. Their is noe commission-officer but himselfe in the
castle; otherwise I had discoursed with more. The captaine told mee, that he had little
acquaintance with Sexby; but he knew Joyce very well, and hinted to mee, as if he
owned all his preserment from him. Hee told me, that he was at London about three
weekes since, and desired to speake with Sexby about some buisiness, but could not, for he
was then told, that Sexby was with his highnesse, and that he had much conferrence about
the plott; but that he heard Sexby was very free, and gave satisfaction. He told me,
that col. Harrison wondered to heare, that Sexby should bee suspected. He thought him
only to bee a decoy for his highnesse, because he observed all those that Sexby had been
with were secured; but he himself at libertie, though pretended to be searcht for. Col.
Harrison alsoe added, that Sexby was with him, but he knew him to be a treacherous
fellow, and would have nothing to doe with him. This imperfect unmodelled narration is
all that at present can be made forth by