State Papers, 1654: June (1 of 6)

Pages 341-355

A Collection of the State Papers of John Thurloe, Volume 2, 1654. Originally published by Fletcher Gyles, London, 1742.

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In this section

June (1 of 6)

The examination of Charles Gerard, taken 2. June, 1654.

Vol. xv. p. 26.

That colonel Charles Finch, and one colonel Dean, walking with the examinant in Covent-garden walks about a week before Whitsuntide, informed the examinant, that there was a design laid in France; and that one major Henshaw was come over from the court at Paris, to prosecute and manage the same; and that the design was, to have fallen upon the guards in Whitehall, and elsewhere, and to kill the protector; and then to secure the city of London, and compel the lord mayor to proclaim Charles II. king: and that in order thereunto, that the said major Henshaw had lifted 700 men, and colonel Dean had lifted 200 men, and two other gentlemen in Southwark had listed men also to the same purpose: the name of one of the gentlemen was Maixhood; the other's name the said colonel concealed from the examinant. And the said colonel Finch farther informed the examinant, that the said major Henshaw had a great party in the city, to be ready and to be up in arms upon 24 hours warning; after which relation he desired the examinant to engage, as much pressing as he could, in the same design; which the examinant promised to do, and in pursuance thereof had a meeting at the Belle-savage, upon Ludgate-hill, with Somerset Fox, Francis Fox, William Dod, and others.

And he farther saith, that about friday before Whitsuntide the examinant came into Mr. Jones's house in Rose-street, within two doors of the Red Rose, where he found colonel Finch, major Henshaw, and his brother John Gerard, who were discoursing of listing of men for the said service, at his coming in; and the said colonel Finch (having paper and ink before them) was saying, that he had listed divers; and you (speaking to major Henshaw) have lifted 700, and colonel Dean hath listed 200 men. And he farther faith, that upon his pressing col. Finch to name persons to the examinant, who were entrusted with the said design, he named to him one Sir William Vincent, who lives about Guilford; and that Jones the apothecary was the said Sir William Vincent's confederate in the said design.

Charles Gerard.

The examination of Thomas Underwood, of Wingfield, in the county of Suffolk, taken the . . . of June, 1654.

Vol. xv. p.33.

Who faith,
That about five weeks since, the examinant came up to London, in company of John Welsh, to procure a chapman for the sale of 120 l. per annum, which he hath in Suffolk; and being in discourse here with a friend of his, about that business, he was directed to repair unto Mr. Audley of the Temple, who, his friend told him, was a very rich man, and a purchaser; and another told him, he had land in the same county. Whereupon the examinant, with the said John Welsh, went to the chamber of the said Mr. Audley in Hare-court in the Temple, upon the 12th day of May last; and finding him within, he made to him an offer of his land, there being with him a young gentleman; but the said Mr. Audley refused to buy his land, bidding the examinant to be gone out of his chamber, and said, that he wondered, who should direct the examinant to him. Whereupon the gentleman, who was with Audley, said, Sir, why do you answer him so sternly ? The man comes in love to you; or words to that effect. But the said Audley refused still to enter into any treaty with him about his lands. Whereupon the examinant went out of that room, and staid a little without the door, believing the young gentleman might have persuaded him to entertain his motion; and the examinant standing at the door aforesaid, and the said Welsh with him, this examinant heard the young gentleman say; Sir, why did you give the countryman such an answer, and speak so surlily to him ? Whereto the said Audley answered, Cousin, what should I do with his land ? I have a better way for my money. I hear Middleton flourisheth in the North. I have ten thousand pounds in gold, and forty thousand pounds in silver, which rather than they shall want, I will turn my silver into gold, and some is gone already: they shall not want supply, and if Middleton carry the victory, it will come home double. To which his cousin replied, Why should you go that hazard, which is an uncertain way ? Whereupon this examinant stept again in the room, thinking his cousin might have persuaded him to purchase his lands; but the said Audley seeing him, said, A pox take you! I thought you had been gone; and so held his tongue and thereupon this examinant departed.

The examinant further faith, that he never saw Mr. Audley before, and faith, that he is an old man, with little hair upon his face. And further faith not.

Thomas Underwood.

The said John Welsh, being present at the examination of the said Underwood, and hearing the same words with him, faith, that the same is true in manner as it is expressed.

The mark of
John Welsh.

General Fleetwood to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xv. p. 378.

The sense of my own duty will not give me the liberty of silence; but I must acquaint you, that upon the account of several intelligencies and observations, we have ground to belive, that the Irish have some desperate thing in designe to execute speedily, and to belive, that the late bloody intentions to my lord's own person was part of this designe; and that the contrivers in England, both cavaliere and Irish; are engaged in one bussines. I therefore begge, you will suffer no Irishman, under what pretence soever, to com neare my lord's person, though he comes with my own or commissioner's licence; and that you would remove the Irish from about London: from thence are all contrivances hatched. Ther is one Segrave, a notable Jesuited papist, and so is Sir Richard Barnwell, besides severall others now in London. I confess ther is the earl of Antrim, whom the commissioners have lately given liberty to goe over, who I thinke is as much an object of pitty as any of this nation, and I should be glade somthing were done for his future subsistance; but, because of his relations and some about him, I showld not desire he might come often to my lord, though I know no man deserves so much mercy to be shewed him as he doth; of this nation; but the truth is, thes people are an abominable false, cuning, and perfidious people; and the best of them to be pittyed, but not to be trusted.

I hope we shall heare doe what we can in the discharge of our own dutyes, and doubt not we shall have the same good presence of the Lord with us, if there be occasion, as hitherunto we have found; and therefore desire not to be sollicitous, but prayerfull and watchfull. Ther is one called the lady Jane Spottswood; (I belive Mr. Malin knowes her, I am sure serjeant Birkett doth) who writt a letter to one Mr. Brown in Dublin, not to goe into the country untill after Midsummer; for that Ireland was not so secure as we imagined, writt covertly, as if she knew of some designe. I think, it were well she was examined. Pardon this trouble, as not doubting you will make the best use of it. I am

2. June, 1654.

Your very affectionate servant,
Charles Fleetwood.

Jongestall the Dutch embassador in England to the states general.

Vol. xi. p. 39.

H. and M. Lords,
I have esteemed it my duty; in obedience of your lordships resolution of the sixth of this month delivered to us yesterday, to return this answer to your lordships, and to declare upon the holy bible, that to me never in particular, or together with the lords Beverning and Nieuport, any resolution, act, or declaration, concerning the seclusion of the lord prince of Orange and his line out of the function of the high offices formerly possessed by the lords his predecessors; of the lords states of Holland, or any thing in their behalf, was made known, much less sent unto us: also, that I never alone, or with the other lords together, directly or indirectly, did act any thing here in the said business; but did hear and perceive by the bye, that the said lords Nieuport and Beverning had received such a separate command from the lords states of Holland, and that they had held secret conferences several times with the lord protector about it. What there hath been done, will be suddenly revealed; however it is true, that their lordships have been several times at Whitehall with the lord protector, without making me acquainted with it, or communicating what they had negotiated; wherein I hope to have acted in my particular, according to your lordships meaning and intentions.

Westminster, 2/12. June, 1654.


Demand of the English commissioners at Denmark of the restitution of the English ships and goods detained in that kingdom.

Vol. xv. p. 59.

Whereas in the twenty-eighth article of the treaty of peace, lately made between his highness Oliver, lord protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, and the lords the states general of the United Provinces, it is accorded, concluded, and agreed, that restitution shall be made of all and singular the English ships and goods seized and detained within the dominions of his majesty of Denmark since the eighteenth day of May, 1652. and remaining yet in specie; together with the true and just price of such as are sold, imbezelled, or otherwise disposed of, within fourteen days after the arrival of the merchants and masters interested therein, or their assigns for the receiving of them; and that damages be given for the losses sustained by the English by reason of the said detention, according to the award of certain arbitrators therein named; and that the sum of twenty thousand rixdollars shall be paid in Denmark to such persons as his highness should appoint, within six days after their arrival there, for the use of the merchants, masters, and owners, towards the repairing their ships, and fitting them to sea; as by the said article may appear: and whereas it hath pleased his highness, by his commission of the nineteenth of April last, to appoint and authorize us, John Edwards, and Michael Evans, as commissioners, procurators, and assigns, to demand and take into our possession the said ships and goods remaining, and the just value of the rest, and to receive the said sum of 20,000 rixdollars; and we being for this purpose arrived at his royal majesty's city of Copenhagen, this second day of June, 1654. we do, by virtue of the said commission, and according to the contract and capitulation in the fore-recited article contained, and in the name and behalf of the merchants, masters, and owners interested, demand all such ships and goods belonging to any of the people of the said commonwealth, as have been at any time seized and detained within his majesty's dominions since the eighteenth day of May, 1652. namely, restitution of all such of the said ships and goods as are yet remaining, in specie, and the true and just price of such of the ships and goods, or the tackle, guns, furniture, or other apparel of the said ships, as are either sold, taken away, imbezelled, or other ways disposed of (which by the said article is to be performed within fourteen days after our arrival); as also the said sum of twenty thousand rixdollars, (which by the said article is to be paid within six days after our arrival) towards repairing of such ships as remain.

Which being what we have in commission to present, we humbly desire a resolution and answer for our dispatch.

Copenhagen, 2. June, 1654.

A letter of intelligence from Holland.

Vol. xv. p. 61.

My last unto you was the fifth of this present month, wherein I gave you the particulers of all the shipps of warr in these parts. Since, yours of the twenty-sixth ditto is come to my handes. Your orders shall be observed, and an account given you, so soone as possible. I am extreame glad to heare the affaires of Scotland are in a better condition then report made them here; for there was a speech in the Hague, that Middleton had wrote it with his owne hand, that he had beaten general Monck's forces, and him kil'd, which gave a great alacritye to the malignant partye. Uppon that followed the news of a plot against the protector, but discovered, and some of the conspirators apprehended; which they lament; the Lord of power's name be praysed for his wonderfull mercye in bringinge it to light! Some dayes since the lord Culpepper was here, whoe tooke a high oath, that he or his sonns should kill the protector. Some of the Duch are forward to strengthen their evill inclinations, by counselling them to the same; and I dare saye, there is little mischief brought forth, but it is hatched at the Hage, which is the nest of malignant vypers. The princess royall's and queen of Bohemia's court nourishes those creatures. The queen, I suppose, will remove this summer for Heydelberg to her sonn, whoe is not able to give her so large allowance as her court here requires; but I thinke she stayes in hopes the protector and counsill will give somethinge towards sattisfaction of her creditors. Here is nothinge more offers at present. I am

12. June, 1654. [N. S.]

The superscription,
A Monsieur Monsieur Pieter Hacker, à Londres.

Your most humble servant.

A letter of intelligence from the Hague.

Vol. xv. p. 49.

[Paragraph contains cyphered content - see page mage]

The chief business now on foot is the matter of the seclusion of the young prince. You know already, that on saturday last, the sixth of this month, the six provinces perceiving, that Holland would not hearken to give copies of the act, nor to make overture thereof, did conclude to write to the embassadors; against which those of Holland have protested, according to the contents of the inclosed.

Since this likewise the commissioner of Groningen hath exhibited a writing against the act of seclusion.

But not only of the protestation, but also of somewhat elsewhere, is made known, that the embassadors are not to obey those orders of the generality; and although they should disown them, or call them home, they are now properly in England busy in the affairs, which concern Holland and Zealand; and Zealand also will be afraid to separate from Holland for fear of offending England.

Now at last the lord Stockar will depart, having received his letters of dispatch, and a chain of gold of 1200 l. He faith, he is to be at the general assembly at Baden, which will be within this month.

Men have an opinion, that as well the one as the other commonwealth have a desire to make a final end of their differences, since they have referred it to the Switzers, who have very good knowledge of the Alps; but what knowledge have they of the Ocean, and of navigation ? Ergo, if men will not stand to the judgment of ignorant men, they must agree amongst themselves.

Men do speak and discourse here now of another secret act; namely, that the protector should have the secret resolution here inclosed, which notwithstanding doth seem to be invented here; for it hath neither style, ground, nor method; but it is only to stir up the humours the more against. As also men do publish here, that the city of Amsterdam hath made a private treaty apart with the lord protector, that they alone should be free of that act put forth in England in the year 1651. called, an act for increase of trade; whereby it is forbidden to import into England any other merchandize, than of the proper growth of this country; a thing that hath very little likelihood, but which doth only service to incite the rest against the city, which doth very well deserve a little belying persecution; for in truth, that city doth drain the rest of their trade; but the act of seclusion doth and will ingender many fables and fancies, as if the truth did not suffice to cause trouble.

It is true, that in Holland, yea, in all the magistracy, there is diversity of opinion, and there are of the Orange party to be found every-where; but however, they do agree so well together, that they will not be grumbled at by the other provinces.

It is evident enough, that the impatience of Orange party is cause, that states of Holland hath passed the act of seclusion; for Orange party have no other thought, than to restore prince of Orange into the throne, as soon as may be; and in the mean time, the year 1650. and the siege of Amsterdam, are things too fresh.

Mons. Dury, passing this way, hath held discourse with several persons, that protector took very much into cosideration Bremen, by reason of the religion. Those of Bremen have had advice thereof.

They have commanded me expresly to write one word about it, if I had correspondency in England, as I do, desiring you would be pleased to write to me one word concerning it; for otherwise Bremen will treat with men of another religion.

I do remember, when the lords Strickland and St. John were here, that I spoke how ill Bremen was used, that the lord St. John said, Veniant Bremenses ad nos, invenient illic sanctuarium. Of states general and states of Holland they find themselves forsaken. Bremen alone cannot subsist against the Swede. If protector would treat with Bremen, they would hearken to it. One word of answer. I am

12/2 June, 1654.

Your humble servant.

Letters of intelligence.

Hague, 12. July, 1654. [N. S.]

Vol. xv. p. 110.

At this time many extracts might be sent to you; but they are so long, that I have not time and opportunity to prepare them; but the substance of them all you have as followeth:

Our embassadors there write of the discovery of a plot, that has been, to murder the protector, and major general Lambert; for the further discovery whereof great inquiry is made.

The disgusts and discords between the provinces here daily increase, and the matter is brought to that point, that the rest of the provinces having seen and noted the herency of the province of Holland, not to give to them any knowledge or communication of what they have given orders to their two embassadors in England, to treat apart with the protector, in prejudice of the prince of Orange and his house; and that the said states of Holland only amused them to win time, as may be seen by the resolution of the fifth of this month, after having spent all that day in very heavy contestations; and saturday the president of Groningen, (who that time by his turn presided) after almost the whole day's full debate, did conclude (notwithstanding all the opposition of the states of Holland) by plurality of votes, as may be seen by the resolution of that day by the states general; and by another of the states of Holland, quite contrary to that; for the states general by their resolution do command, that the embassadors in England shall send to them a particular account, and the copies of all such transactions, as they have negotiated apart with the province of Holland; and the states of Holland do command by theirs, that the said embassadors shall not deliver any copies, nor give account of their negotiation apart. Time will let us see, to which of these commands the embassadors shall give obedience.

The said orders and commands were sent to the said embassadors upon sunday morning by two several expresses in two small pinks or boats, which was very much resented by those of Friesland and Groningen, who had voted and insisted, that the said embassadors should be immediately recalled to justify themselves; but some others have been a little more temperate, and pressed not as to that so earnestly. The states of Zealand are met and advise upon that matter, and it is with much curiosity expected what they shall resolve thereupon; for the people of Zealand are very much discontented and prompt to mutiny, by reason of the prince of Orange's exclusion. Those of Guelderland are very much disunited; yet their resolution upon this matter is daily expected. This is the real substance of the greatest affairs here at present; you may inquire further the obedience of our embassadors there at London. When it shall come hither, I presume you shall have it from, Sir,

Brussels, 13. June, 1654. [N. S.]

Vol. xv. p.109.

From Ratisbon you have nothing these two posts, because the court is departed for Vienna, as you had formerly; and till they arrive there, you are not to expect any letters from thence.

Your letters are received by the last, and great rumours of the plot discoved by the protector. Some write, it was to murder the protector, and major general Lambert; others add a third, Mr. secretary Thurloe. So divers letters disier in their relations of it; and the certainty is earnestly expected here by all men. I hope you will, in due time, give the true manner of it, to satisfy friends here against the false representations, that shall be made, I am sure, by the cavaliers.

In this place nothing of news considerable since my last to you, whereby I gave you a particular account, how the forces of these countries were to be divided into three armies, under the conduct of the archduke, the prince of Condé, and count Fuenseldagna, at three several rendezvous, whither they are now all marched, and will be suddenly in some action, having spent too much of the season in expectation of some great matters, which now appears not; but money is extremely wanting.

The Lorrain army is to serve this season, divided into the three above armies; and duke Francis his coming to them has not done so much as talked of, because he brought no money, which must do the thing, and not words; and to my knowledge, that army is less now by two thousand men, than at the time of the imprisonment of their only master; and for aught I know, the French are like to have a good part of the German horse, who are men that look more for liberty than honour; so that the army of Lorrain is like to come to nothing.

Some think the army of Spain will march into Picardy towards Boulogne, and the prince of Condé's army towards Lorrain; but no certainty as yet, and no appearance of any great matters this season, as most men judge; neither is it improbable what some say, that a secret treaty is for a general peace, which must be the end of this war, being all the countries are ruined of all sides, and the soldiers starved.

Gravelin is repaired, and now all dangers past, that were feared by that accident. The next may bring more to you from, Sir,

Mr.John Edwards, and Mr. Michael Evans, to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xv. p.73.

Right Honourable,
Being so long detained in the Thames by contrary winds, we had the more reason to lament our mishap in being detained afterwards at Harwich, when the wind stood fair; and this put us upon the dispatching of an express to your honor; but prevailing afterwards with the mayor of the town and governor of the fort, (through the interest and engagement of a friend we there met with) to depart upon an employment requiring so great expedition, we had not the patience to attend his return, but set sail from Harwich the twenty-fifth of the last month, and arrived here at Copenhagen yesterday, the second of June, where we find the town emptied of her inhabitants, being affrighted away by the plague, of which many have died for some months past; and an increase thereof may be feared, by reason of the intemperate heat of the weather, which we feel in great extremity here. Yet did not all this discourage us so much as the perplexity we were in, for want of one, unto whom to apply ourselves with our demand, the king having been for some time past in Holstein (where, it's said, a parliament is before the end of this month to convene); and the rix hoffmaster, whom he had deputed in his absence, newly gone away before our arrival, and all his council absent.

After much solicitude and trouble, wherein we have discovered, that one Mr. Henry Freeze, and one they call the renter-master, had some verbal order lest with them by the hossmaster relating to our business; with both of whom we have spoken, and produced to them our commission, and a demand thereupon; and we find, that the last of these, two is to deliver the goods, which are remaining, (being about seven hundred ship pound of hemp) and some other things of small consideration, and all much damnified; and that the ships remaining being seventeen, (the other five being disposed of) are to be delivered us by the vice-admiral, with whom we have endeavoured to speak; but are deferred 'till to-morrow, or monday, in respect of some extreme indisposition, or sickness, which he is said to have.

As for the goods disposed of, they acquainted us, that the king had sold as much as amounts to 118,000 rix-dollars, which money is paid out unto such of his subjects, as have sustained loss by the English, which they say amounts to 150,000 dollars; so that they would have us behind with them upon that score. In brief, we believe, by what we can on this sudden collect, that we are to expect no moneys, unless it be the 20,000 dollars for setting out the ships, which is to be made good by the Holland resident at Elsenore, who is hourly expected here, and we are told, that sum lies in a readiness. We observe, there is much shifting off the business between the Dane and the Hollanders, each of whom would willingly leave the burden upon the other; but we shall press it as home as we can, and give your honor a further account by the next opportunity. In the mean time we take leave to rest

Copenhagen, 3. June, 1654.

Your honor's most humble servants,
John Edwards.
Michael Evans.

A letter of secretary Oste from Sweden.

Vol. xv.p.290.

My Lord,
The queen upon saturday last did admonish all the states by found of trumpet, to bring in their answer to her majesty's proposition on the monday following, which happened with expressions of great content they had in her majesty's government; and did permit her majesty not only to resign up her crown to his royal highness, but also, that she should enjoy, during her life, the revenues of Pomeren, Oelandt, Godtlandt, Oesel, and North-copping; and that the crown shall pay all the charges for the improving of the said revenue, which doth amount to two hundred thousand rixdollars. The nobility did desire of the queen by the lord chancellor and some of their members, that they might not suffer any prejudice in their estates, either in Pomerania, or elsewhere, which have been given them formerly; which being denied by the queen, and the chancellor still insisting, was at last answered in these words, Hold your tongue, you old fool. Whereupon the chancellor replied, I see my unfitness now to serve this crown any further; and went presently away with the rest. And because this hath discontented a great many, the queen and his royal highness have laboured hard to appease the old lord chancellor, which is said to be done, by offering of the rix-marshal's place to earl John, and the succession of rix-chancellor to earl Erick, both the sons of his excellency. The coronation, is said, will be on sunday next without fail; and the queen on the tuesday following will take journey by land through Denmark.

Upsal, 13. June, 1654. [N. S.]

J. Oste.

A letter of intelligence from Paris.

Paris, 13. June, 1654. [N. S.]

Vol. xv. p. 79.

The post of this day is not yet arrived, nor will till next tuesday, as the post-master here tells me.

From hence you have since my former, that madame la princesse de Condé presseth much his majesty to obtain licence for herself, and her son the duke of Enguien, to come to the French court; as also desiring his majesty to be pleased to let her have her right promised to her, when she was married to the said Condé, now out of the prince's goods, before it shall be altogether disposed of among those, that have nothing to do with it in any justice; of which she can get no answer as yet, though she has a man in court always.

The dukes of Guise and Amville were not at the crowning of the king, as I writ before.

The duchess of Roquelaure, that was sick, (as I writ formerly) is now recovered:

Some say, it was proposed in the king's council, since he parted hence, to send the prince of Conti as embassador to Spain, to treat for a general peace between both crowns; as also to propose a marriage between this king and the infanta of Spain; also that another embassador is to come hither from Spain; but of this I am not yet certain. It is reported the bishop of Valence is dead.

From Abbeville and Montreuille we have, that some of the English landed there, and made much disorder to the inhabitants, taking away their bestiales, and any other things they could meet withal.

Here we have fresh news, that Mons. duke de St. Symon, governor of Blaye, has arrested forty merchant English ships full of merchandize, failing, as they said, towards Bordeaux; but he thought they were to do something at Blaye, as he has seen by some of their own letters found in the said ships. He sends to the court, to know what he shall do with them. You shall hear more of it, if it be true.

I am informed this morning, that the king and his council have changed their design concerning the siege of Barcelona by sea and land, as I writ before; but I cannot yet believe it, if that was their design; however the French and the Portuguese forces are to meet at sea, and to attempt upon some place. Cardinal de Retz writ lately to the king, signifying how he has obeyed his orders in all things concerning the dimission of his archbishoprick of Paris, or else his banishment, as his majesty pleases; and yet that his said majesty does not perform his word to him, as to set him at liberty one way or other, as he promised; but his discourse was not heard in court, by reason they heard certainly, the said cardinal sent to the pope and the cardinals in Rome, before he signed any thing to the king. We hear, that Mons. de la Meilleraye brings him now by the king's orders to the sort of Brest in Bretagne.

Marshal Turenne, that was with some troops near Abbeville, is now marching towards Stenay and Cleremont. One of those towns will be besieged soon, as we are informed.

Our embassador there his wife is preparing for her journey to part for England, which makes us believes, that there is hope of peace between these two states.

The king was crowned last sunday, and the ceremonies held two days: now he is preparing for Chalons, if not gone already; where afterwards you shall hear by the time.

The lord chancellor of France and Mons. Servien the furintendant des finances arrived here last night; so did the queen that was of England, with her children, yesternight from Rheims.

Prince Rupert parted last thursday for Germany, accompanied with thirty cavaliers, and two or three led horses, very gallantly.

From Normandy we have, that Longueville is making great levies in that province; of which, part shall stay to keep the sea-coasts there, and the rest shall be sent to the king's army. The flying troops, commanded by Mons. Bart, governor of the citadel of Amiens, are now camped at Little Hesdin, to prevent some of the enemies, which are also camped at Mount Cassel near St. Omer, within six leagues of one another. The prince of Condé is preparing for the field, being yet at Brussels. They say his army will be in number 16,000 men. The said prince writ to the king of France at Rheims, assuring his majesty, he would never hinder his sacré or crowning, but rather assist it with all affection, were it not for the enemies near his said majesty, which he could not suffer, nor never will; and assured his majesty, he was his servant, is, and ever would be, notwithstanding what his adversaries please to discourse, &c.

The cardinal ordered the express, that came with the said letter, to be committed; which the king took ill, and said it was his own pleasure, that he should not be committed; so he parted, and the king's will was executed.

The count of Harcourt's treaty with France is ended, as I writ formerly. He may either serve the king, or live peaceably, as he shall think best. They continue their preparing in Provence for the sea; but duke de Guise is here as yet.

We have from Genoa, that upon some reprisals those of Genoa made upon the state of Finale, the Spaniard have seized upon all the ships and goods of those of Genoa, that were in Sicily, Naples, and Milan; upon which those of Genoa resolved to make war against the Spaniard both by sea and land, till they yield reason for the like. They suspect much cardinal Astalli to have given intelligence to the Spaniard of a conjunction, that was making between the pope, the French, and the state of Genoa, to take Casal, and conquer the kingdom of Naples.

Saturday, being the day of St. Claude here, the bishop d'Olonne preached at Little St. Antoine, where he convinced father Boux, that said in his predications, before the king parted, that his majesty's sacration was not necessary, being but outward ceremonies, and not in word. This last proved the contrary, (as he says) that an inward character was absolutely necessary for the greatness and dignity of our kings, because by the virtue of this consecration our kings make a holy union with God, the church, and the people. He adds likewise, that we must think, after such pious and godly ceremonies, that God will give light and inspiration to our sovereign, to govern his subjects in peace and tranquillity by his own proper virtues, and not by others, &c.

The king's coronation was ended last sunday the seventh instant. As for the differences, that happened between the masters of requests and the king's chaplains, about the prisoners, (as I writ in my last) it was resolved by the council, that both jointly should do the business, and examine the prisoners, being in all about two thousand, which shall be judged before the chancellor. It is thought they shall be all pardoned, except those that are guilty of forcing women, murders, duels, or coining of false money.

The citizens of Rheims served the king at dinner the day of his coronation. They did chuse two hundred to carry the dishes. The duke of Vendosme happened to be indisposed at the table, and asked leave from the king, that he should be carried to his lodging. All the peers of France, and officers of the ceremonies, dined with his majesty that day. Mons. marshal Turenne arrived late in the evening, after all was ended.

The day following, being the eighth instant, his majesty received the order of the Holy Ghost by the hands of the bishop of Soissons, who crowned his majesty, and gave the same order to his brother, the duke of Anjou, only that morning. The same day in the morning, his majesty made his cavalcade from the archbishop's house, till he came to St. Rhemy, where the archers of the grand provost, the hundred Switzers of the guard, the gens d'armes, chevaux legeres, and the world of nobility marched before him on horseback, all covered with cloth of gold, full of ribbands themselves and their horses. In fine, the like, they say, was never seen; at least so says he, that did not see the like before in France. They are now bound for Chalons; and where afterwards, God knows.

Mons. de Sommery arrived here yesternight from Blois, and parts this day to court, to congratulate his majesty after his coronation, on the behalf of the duke of Orleans and his wife, which is all I can say of it at present, with, Sir, my humble service. The next week you shall have your news, God willing, from court and your friend, with what else we can add to it, from, Sir,
Yours, as above.

An intercepted letter.

June 13. 1654. [N. S.]

Vol. xv. p.71.

My Dear Hart,
Here wee beleeve, that there is some stop, that noe ship should come out of England, becaus wee had noe letters by the last post, nor I any from you these two monthes but three; in exchange of which, I have writ by every post but three; this is authentick as any record in the Tower. After you receive this, you may stop your hand, until you heare further from me; for the next weeke I shall goe hence to the Spa, to doe some bissines for my mistress, whome I expect shall be ther ten days after mee.

From Brussells I shall give you an address how to send to mee. I know nothing of the cloth you tell me Dab made mee a present of. I am not the less thankfull, though I never see it. Your cossen William showed me a hatt he said he would give mee for you; but I am much troubled I did not lyke it; for I feare I shall have never another; but it shall not bee for want of solisitation; for I have learned of you to doe that boldly for a frind.


I heare the countess will be at the Spa, which rejoises my hart.

The superscription,
For Mr. John Clerk, all the earle of Newport's house, in St. Martin's-lane, London.

Col. George Crompton to secretary Thurloe.

Vol. xv.p. 65.

Worthy Sir,
Here was one Thomas Fox, a souldier, as he affirmeth, under the command of captain John Courtney, belonging to the garrison of Breda in Brabant, and thither bound; who uppon his search, I founde thes letters here inclosed; and in one of them, that which gave me some cause of suspicion, in not nameing the party to whom it is sent, onely to be delivered at Breda; and her not mentioning the name is, because here is greate inquiry for delinquents; and for there intelligence, there was put up these pamphlets. I had detained him here, till I had knowne your further pleasure therein, but he desired to come up to procure his passe, which caused me send him up with one of my souldiers, and to receive your further commands; which is all at present from, Sir,

Gravesend forte, 3. June, 1654.

Your most humble servant,
G. Crompton.

The examination of Mr. Michael Mason, taken before colonel John Barkstead esq; lieutenant of the Tower of London, the 4th day of June, 1654.

Vol. xv. p.85.

That he knoweth James Browne and Henry Browne, who are brethren, and both recusants, who were about a year since lodged at Mr. Geoffard's in his buildings in St. Giles's, in a court, over-against sheriff Biggs's house, who is also a recusant. Likewise faith, that James Browne (who hath long black-brown hair, which this examinant thinks not to be a periwig) was in his company about a fortnight since, either at the Red Hart in Russel-street, or at Oxford John's in Covent-garden in Bow-lane; at which of those places he doth not perfectly remember, but is assured at one of them; the first of which places, being a tobacco-shop, is frequented by most of the loose debauched people about the town, as Hectors, &c. which said James then told this examinant, he had been in France about a month before. And further faith, that about a fortnight, or three weeks by-past, he did accidentally meet Henry Browne in Covent-garden. Being asked, what conference they had then together, faith, that the said Henry told this examinant, that he heard he was newly come from France; and bid him welcome into England; and told this examinant, that his brother James was come out of France; which was all their discourse at that time. Further faith, that he knows not at present where they lodge, but believes they do lodge at the said Mr. Geoffard's; if not, he is assured, that the said Geoffard knoweth where they lodge either in city or country, he holding a constant correspondency with them. And further this examinant saith, that he conceives the only way to come to the speech of them is, by making up the form of a letter, with a superscription in French on the one side, and English on the other, as it should come from Paris, directed to the said James Browne, to be delivered into his own hand; and for that purpose to be directed to them at the said Mr. Geoffard's house in St. Giles's aforesaid; by which means he this examinant verily believeth it may be known where they now are. And further saith, that Henry Browne weareth a black-brown periwig; but that he did never know or see the said Henry to be in Gray's-inn-walks; and further saith not.

Michaell Mason.

An information concerning Monsieur de Baas.

Vol. xxviii. p. 576.

I being in discourse with Mons. de Baas the day he went from London, he told me, that he was occasioned to goe away by a deposition of Naudin to the lord protector, by whom he was sent for some days ago, with an intention to examine him before many of his councill, not considering he was a royall commissioner, whereof he was very sensible, saying, that if the protector had spoken to him in private, he would have given him satisfaction of the things, of which he was accused by the said Naudin, whom he called an indiscreet man, his own meaning having not been to attempt any thing against the protector, but only to know what could be attempted. And after some discourse betwixt Mons. de Baas did consess, that he ever since some weeks had inquired from D. Naudin, whether he knew not among his own acquaintance a good valliant and understanding gentleman, in whom the souldiers should have confidence, and who also should have interest amongst the gentry, both for to divide the army, and for to raise secretly money and troops against the power newly setled in England. To this answered Naudin, that he knew such a gentleman, and he beleived many able ones should be ready to follow on him in the same dessein, if there was any hope of reliefe and help from another place. Mons. de Baas said to this, that he being a publick minister, he would assure him, that the crown of France should doubtless deliver money enough by his own hands for the payment of such an enterprize; and that would appoint a good recompence in France or other parts to the beginners of the said dessein, if so was, that they would not come to the end of it: besides, that it was a glorious way, by which the king of Scots (whose intention surely was free in matter of religion) should be restored, and called again, both by many provinces of England, and several officers and souldiers of the protector's army.

D. Naudin answered to this, that he durst not, nor had the power of attempting such things himself; but that he would acquaint some with the said matter and offers.

Mons. de Baas said this before he went away, that notwithstanding all these discourse, his intention was not to go further with Naudin; but he knew another way of hurting England, which he had not communicated yet.

The examination of Theodore Naudin, taken the fifth day of June, 1654.

Vol. xv. p. 113.

Who saith,
That about April last Mons. Baas, agent of the king of France, residing here, sent unto this examinant, by one Mons. Sharriere, and desired to speak with him; and accordingly, the examinant went to the said Mons. Baas to his house in Covent-garden in the morning, where he found him in bed; and then nobody being in the room, the said Mons. Baas, after mutual salutations, did ask the examinant of several particular things relating to this commonwealth, as what forces there were in England, and whether the examinant knew major general Harrison, and some other things, which he doth not now remember; but did observe, that the said Mons. Baas was very inquisitive, which made the examinant suspect he had some design against this state; but at that conference he acquainted the examinant with nothing in particular. He farther saith, that a little while after he went again to the said Mons. Baas; and that then he told this examinant, that he did fear, that the protector had no mind to make peace with France; and that therefore he had a design to trouble the affairs of England, and to make divisions in the army; and other words to that effect; and asked this examinant, whether he knew not some able valiant persons, who had interest in the army, to undertake this design; whereto this examinant answered, he would endeavour to find out such persons, and that he hoped to do it. And this examinant did presently after acquaint colonel Buller with this discourse, and what design the said Mons. de Baas had. And the said Buller wished the examinant to proceed on with Baas; and thereupon this examinant did repair to the said Mons. de Baas, and acquainted him, that there was a person of honour, a friend of his, that would undertake this business; but that this could not be carried on without money, and the orders and countenance of the cardinal; and that if that were had, other persons would join too. That the said Mons. de Baas did embrace this with much gladness; and said, that he, being a public minister, would assure him, that the cardinal would be glad of the news; and that France would contribute money, and such other things as were necessary for the carrying on this design; and other words to the same purpose. And said, that he would write to the cardinal about it; and did not question but to have a sudden answer. And this examinant further faith, that he, at the desire of the said Baas, went unto him, and had conference with him about the same business, and was usually with him every post night; but saith, he never saw any answer the cardinal did write, nor knows whether he did write at all. This examinant faith, that in all this discourse he intended nothing of hurt against the government; but was desirous to find out the design of the said Mons. Baas, perceiving by his inquisitiveness, he had somewhat of design; and did accordingly, about eight days before his imprisonment, acquaint the said colonel Buller, that he would acquaint the protector with it, the business being then quite put off; and further saith not.

Theo. Naudin.

The information and examination of colonel Buller, taken the day of

Vol. xv. p. 115, 116.

That upon tuesday morning the eighteenth of April 1654. doctor Naudin came early to my lodging, where he desired me to walk alone with him in James's Park; where as soon as we were come, he began to praise and extol me with great admiration, admiring that a person of my quality and experience, with my travels and languages, and so great a soldier, and a person of so much courage and resolution, would suffer myself and services to be so slighted and abused, and myself and country to be enslaved; and that I would not think of a way to make me great, which was in my power to do; and how fit a person I was for it; expressing how much it was for God's glory, and freeing my country from this slavery they were now under, saying, Portugal, Naples, and divers others had thrown off their tyrants, and had and did keep their country ever since to themselves; and that it was in my power, not only to make myself great now, but to posterity for ever; and that I was not less in the world than any other, and had as much right for to govern as any man; and that giving liberty of conscience, I might be sure of all the Anabaptists, Levellers, and Independents would be for me, and stand to me, besides all discontented persons, and many presbyterians and cavaliers; and desired me to be secret, which he wished me for God's sake to do; for otherwise he must perish, if he were known; he proffering me, if I would join with him to cut off the protector, he would procure me money enough from the king of France's embassador; and that if I would join with him to cut off the protector, I should leave it to him to continue and manage the business, which he said was feasible, and nothing to do; adding farther, that after the protector was cut off, all that were in command, from the general to the least officer, should be in command but eight days, and every one take their turns; and this would make all the common soldiers to join with me, and all other discontented persons; and that for me to do this action, it was nothing at all, if I would undertake it; saying, that if I would not, although he had never been a soldier, yet he had as much courage to do this action as any man whatsoever; and therefore he pressed me to give my consent, and then he would go to the French embassador about it. I thought it fit to put him off four days, at the end of which I condescended he should go; and accordingly the twenty-second of April he went to Mons. le Baas in the morning, and was near two hours alone with him, before he was out of his bed, he commanding all his servants to go out of the chamber. So when they were all alone, the doctor began thus to say: Sir, I am one, that is a lover of his country, and ready to do it service; for you see this tyrant and devil the protector, who holds now his sword to your throats in France, either to have his own terms by a treaty, (which he is now beginning with you) or to cut your throats. Mons. le Baas desired to know, how he could help him, or serve his country. To which the doctor replied, that if Mons. le Baas would help him with money, there were persons of courage and quality, that would undertake a design with him, to cut off the protector, and make a division here in England; which motion Mons. le Baas did like very well, and did give him many thanks, and embraced it cordially. And accordingly he sent letters away to the cardinal by the next post for his order, which packet Mons. le Baas sent over with a merchant's son to Calais on purpose, whom the doctor named, saying, he knew him; but I have forgotten his name: but the governor of Calais sent the letters away; for Mons. le Baas told him, he was confident the cardinal would be glad of the news, and embrace it; but he, of himself, could not undertake to act, till he had the cardinal's order. To which the doctor replied, he knew that very well; for although thirty or forty thousand pounds would be able to begin the business, yet it would cost many millions to carry it on; and that after the cardinal had approved of the design, he would go over on purpose to the cardinal about the business, which Mons. Baas liked very well, and told him, that the king and cardinal knew, that the protector had sent divers scouts, which lie in France as his creatures to carry on his designs; and that they knew them all, and all that they had spoken to any of quality, that could help them, and what answer they had given them again; and that they had a vigilant eye on them. And then Mons. Baas desired the doctor to dine with him, and to come often to him; but he told him, he came not to him for his meat, but for the business, which was treated of; and that in case he should dine with him, or come too often to him, he might be taken notice of; which Mr. Baas did commend him for it. So the doctor went once or twice a week to correspond with him, and for to have the cardinal's answer; which Mr. Baas did faithfully promise him, and desired the doctor to get him certain and private news, how affairs went in Scotland, and to procure him a true list of the strength of the army in England and Wales, and how and where they were quartered, and the number in each garison, and also of the strength of the army and garisons in Ireland; which the doctor did very much trouble me, both for a list, and private news; and to try to get some in command for to join in the design, being importuned by Mr. Baas, who had promised not to let any man here know any thing; but afterwards did consess to the doctor, that he had told Mr Bordeaux, the embassador, and his own brother; and that Mr Bordeaux was inquisitive to know, who it was that had treated with him; but Mr. Baas would not tell him. So Mr. Bordeaux asked him, Whether it was not the big man, the colonel with the great mouth, who had been so often with him, and proffered to undertake to do very great matters against the lord protector here? To which Mr. Baas replied, It was another, and not he; but the doctor was with Mr. Baas once or twice a week, for five or six weeks together, treating about the design.

The examination of John Gerard (fn. 1), taken the fifth day of June, 1654.

[By secretary Thurloe.]


That he came from France about five or six weeks since; that he was in France about three months together, before he came last over, a month whereof he spent at Boulogne, and the other two months at Paris, a month whereof he was very sick: that during his stay there, he spoke not with the king, meaning Charles Stuart, nor with prince Rupert, or the lord Gerard, concerning any design to be executed in England: that he saw at Paris one Mason and Browne, and appointed to meet them at Calais, to come over for England; and that he did meet them there accordingly, and came over with them in the same boat: that there was with them also, a young man called Preston, and an antient man, whose name he knoweth not: that being come together to Dover, he left them there; and hath since heard, that Preston and the antient man, having been two or three days in Kent, returned back again to France; but knoweth not what their business in Kent was, nor why they returned so soon: that he knows colonel Charles Finch, major Henshaw, and one Tuder, a surgeon; but never did speak with them about any design to cut off the lord protector, or to fall upon the guards at Whitehall, the Meuse, and St. James's; or any design of that nature, nor with any other person whatsoever, concerning any such business; nor hath his brother Charles spoke any thing, relating to any such matter.

Jo. Gerard.

The examination of Michael Mason, taken the fifth of June, 1654.

[By secretary Thurloe.]


That he went for France about six weeks since, in company with George Bowres of Gray's inn, and at his desire: that he had no business there, but only to keep him company; and that Bowres's business thither was, to be touch'd for the king's evil; and that he was touch'd by the king, meaning Charles Stuart, as he believes; and that Mr. Bowres never did acquaint him with any other business he had there; nor doth the examinate know, that he had any other.

That the said Bowres and the examinate came together from Paris to Roan, and with them also came one Bremes, a captain of horse, under the command of the lord Digby in France; and also one Stocket, a lieutenant or cornet of horse, both Englishmen: that they were in company with the same persons in Paris, and lay in the same lodgings, Bowres being well acquainted with them, and sent for them to Roan, to come to him.

That they came all together from Roan to Calais, where they staid two or three days, and in their being there came acquainted with a young gentleman, tall in stature, and slender, his hair black, and of about 24 years old, and had a black round patch upon the side of his face, and went by the name of Preston; but conceives, that was not his own name, because the merchant, who furnished the said Preston with money at Calais, whose name-was Booth, did tell the examinate so, and that he was a person of great quality; which the examinate also did perceive by his spending, he keeping a very great table, and gave entertainment to the English gentlemen, that were there; and did entertain Mr. Bowres, and the examinate, with the other two persons Bremes and Stocket.

That there was in the company of the said Preston an antient gentleman, who went by the name of Geoffard; but knows not whether that be his own name, or not.

Being demanded, whether he knew, who the said Preston and Geoffard were; he saith, he doth not know, nor hath heard; and that he never saw him before that time; and was told, that they had been there at Calais about a month before they came thither.

That after this examinate and Bowres had been there about two dayes, Gerard came thither to Calais; but denies, that the examinate did make any appointment to meet him there, or that he knew he would come thither.

That the said Bowres, Preston, Geoffard, John Gerard, and the examinate, came over together in one boat from Calais to Dover. Gerard went from them presently: that the rest staid there one day, and the next day took horse all together; and Preston, and Gerard, with their servants, went one way, and Mr. Bowres and this examinate came up to London, staying by the way two days: that the said Preston told them, that he was to return within two or three days to Calais.

That he believes, that the said Preston went out of England to Calais, and saith, that he lay publickly at Calais, at the sign of the Mermaid, at one Mons. la Firce's house.

That the examinant saw Bowres that sunday morning, before they were taken, and did then appoint to meet again in the evening in Gray's-inn-walks; but the said Bowres did not meet him according to appointment; neither hath he ever seen him since, nor heard from him.

Michaell Mason.

He further saith, that he hath seen John Gerard but twice since he came from France, to wit, one time at a tavern in the Strand, where was in company Sir Gilbert Gerard, col. Goring, and Mr. Bowres. And being asked, what discourse they had there, he faith, he doth not remember it; and the other time was in the street.

Michaell Mason.

The examination of Robert Dayles, taken the fifth day of June, 1654.

Vol. xv.p.127.

That about six weeks since, as he remembreth, there came unto him one Peter Vowell, a schoolmaster of Islington, and asked him, whether he had any arms, and would sell them to accommodate friends; and the examinate telling him he had only two pairs of pistols, he desired to have them of him; which the examinate did agree unto, and delivered the pistols to the said Vowell, who was to pay for them to the examinate nine shillings. And the examinate demanding, what use they were for; the said Vowell told him, that he would bring a friend, who should acquaint him with the business.

That about ten days after, the said Vowell came again to the examinate, and brought with him one major Thomas Henshaw; which Henshaw, in the presence and hearing of the said Vowell, told the examinate, that they had a design to fall upon the protector, either as he went to Hampton-court, or at Whitehall, as they should find their opportunity, and cut him off; as also major general Lambert, Sir Gilbert Pickering, and Mr. Strickland; and that at the same time they would have a force to seize upon the guards in and about the town; and invited the examinate to join with them in their party; and told him, that they had appointed him to assist in falling upon the guard at Islington; which the examinate consented to do, and told them, that he thought he could help them to four or five men. He further saith, that John Wiseman, brother-in-law to Henshaw, was present at this discourse.

And the examinate asking them, what head they should have to countenance them? they answered, that they were prepared in that, and wished the examinate to take no care for it; but told him, that he should be sure to be ready in ten hours after notice given to him of the design; and so they parted.

That within three days after, the said Henshaw, John Wiseman, and one Plunket, came again to the examinate's house, and told him, that they proceeded in their design, and that the examinate must not fail to be ready; but the examinate did begin to declare his dislike to it, and told them, he was to take a journey into the country. Whereupon they desired, that if he the examinate could not be there himself, that yet he would appoint somebody else in his room. And the examinate further saith, that while they were together, there came two gentlemen, that were lodged in the house, through the hall up into the chamber: Well, saith Henshaw, there shall be their arms; and the examinate asking him, what he meant thereby? the said Henshaw answered, that they should be killed, taking the said two men to be soldiors.

That afterwards Henshaw and Wiseman came again to his house, and with them one Tuder, and Jones, an apothecary; but there was no discourse of the said design, while he was present.

That afterwards they met several times at his house: that one time there came four gentlemen to inquire for them; but the examinate knoweth none of their names.

That Plunket came to him, and told him, he would buy a horse of him, and said, that he would give him notice, when they should be ready with their design.

Robert Dayles.

The examination of Peter Vowell (fn. 2), taken the sixth day of June, 1654.


Who faith,
That he is schoolmaster of the free-school at Islington, and hath been so these 16 or 17 years . . . he hath heard of the late plot or design . . . . that he hath seen in the books, that there is a design against the lord protector and the government: that he never had any conference with any person whatsoever, concerning the same. And being asked, whether he knows any of the persons named in the books in reference to the said plot? he saith, he doth not.

Being further asked, whether he knows John Gerard, Charles Gerard, colonel Charles Finch, major Thomas Henshaw, John Wiseman, or any man named Wiseman, colonel Dean, Thomas Tuder a surgeon, one Jones an apothecary, or any of them? he faith, he doth not; nor that he hath ever seen any of them, to his knowledge; nor that he knoweth any of the earl of Northampton's family, save his chaplain; but saith, he knows one Bayly a proctor, who lives in Doctors Commons; but that he never had any conference with him concerning the said design. It being demanded of him again, whether he . . . . the said major Thomas Henshaw? he faith, he ... not, nor hath ever heard of his name. He faith, that he knows one Dayle an innkeeper, dwelling at the White Hart near Gray's-inn-lane, and hath known him these three years: that he was at the house of the said Dayle last night, about nine o'clock, to speak with one Mr. Alsop, a minister; and from thence went to Clerkenwell, and there he borrowed a sword to go home with, because it was late.

Being asked, if he knew one Billingsley, a butcher? saith, that he doth; and that a child of his goes to school with this examinate: that he was with the said Billingsley upon sunday last at dinner; when Billingsley told the examinate, that he had been carried before the lord protector, as a dangerous person, upon the ... of some people; but doth not remember, that any other . . . that the said Billingsley told him any thing farther, than his being before the lord protector.

He saith, that he dined with him the sunday fortnight, or sunday sevennight, as he believes; and . . . that time he met with him two or three times in the street; and who took him once to an ale-house, another time to the King's-head, it being his manner . . . examinate to bid him . . . but nobody was present with them at either place; nor did the examinate go with him to any other place in all that time.

Being asked, whether the examinate and the said Billingsley had any discourse about a design or plot to be executed upon a sunday, within these three weeks or fortnight? he saith, that they had.

Being farther asked, whether he hath seen any arms in the house of the said Dayle, or any armed men? saith, that he hath not, except some souldiers; and that he the said examinant . . . . any arms from the said Dayle.

And it being demanded of him, whether Dayle's house be not a suspected place . . . . . . . that on the contrary, he is a man of good report; and that good guests resort to his house.

He saith, that he knows one . . . Hudson, living in the Old Bailey, and hath been often with him, to bring him some relief, he being a blind man. And being asked, whether he hath met with major Thomas Henshaw there, or at the said Dayle's? saith, he never did to his knowledge. And being asked again, whether he had not some pistols from the said . . . he saith, he had not.

Peter Vowell.


  • 1. This gentleman was beheaded on Tower-hill, 10 July, 1654. Whitel. p. 595. and at his death declared, that he was very innocent of what was charged against him; and that he had not entered into, or consented to any plot or conspiracy. Clarend. iii. 384.
  • 2. Mr. Vowell was hanged at the Meuse gate, 10 July, 1654. Whitel. f. 595. and was very unjustly executed, if, as the lord Clarendon says, (Hist. of Rebell. iii. 384) he was a person utterly unknown to the king, and to any person entrusted by him.