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parliament, this nobleman, upon his return to town, received a letter from a person unknown, and delivered by one who fled as soon as he had discharged his message. The letter was to this effect: “My lord, stay away from this parliament; for God and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of the times. And think not slightly of this advertisement, but retire yourself into your country, where you may expect the event in safety. For though there be no appearance of any stir, yet I say they will receive a terrible blow this parliament; and yet they shall not see who hurts them. This counsel is not to be contemned ; because it may do you good, and can do you no harm. For the danger is past as soon as you have burned the letter.” The contents of this mysterious letter surprised and puzzled the nobleman to whom it was addressed; and though inclined to think it a foolish attempt to fright and ridicule him, yet he judged it safest to carry it to lord Salisbury, secretary of state. That minister was inclined to give little attention to it, yet thought proper to lay it before the king, who came to town a few days after. None of the council were able to make any thing of it, although it appeared serious and alarming. In this universal agitation between doubt and apprehension, the king was the first who penetrated the meaning of this dark epistle. He concluded that some sudden danger was preparing by gunpowder; and it was thought advisable to inspect all the vaults below the houses of parliament. This care belonged to the earl of Suffolk, lord chamberlain, who purposely delayed the search till the day before the meeting of parliament. He Nov. 5, remarked those great piles of faggots which lay 1605. in the vault under the house of peers; and he cast his eye upon Fawkes, who stood in a dark corner, and who

passed himself for Percy's servant. That daring deterVOL. II. N

mined courage for which he had long been noted, even , among the desperate, was fully painted in his countenance, and struck the lord chamberlain with strong suspicion. The great quantity of fuel also kept there for the use of a person seldom in town, did not pass unnoticed; and he resolved to take his time to make a more exact scrutiny. About midnight, therefore, sir Thomas Knevet, a justice of the peace, was sent with proper attendants; and just at the entrance of the vault he seized a man preparing for the terrible enterprise, dressed in a cloak and boots, with a dark lantern in his hand. This was no other than Guy Fawkes, who had just disposed every part of the train for its taking fire the next morning; the matches and other combustibles being found in his pockets. The whole of the design was now discovered; but the atrociousness of his guilt, and the despair of pardon, inspiring him with resolution, he told the officers of justice, with an undaunted air, that had he blown them and himself up together, he had been happy. Before the council, he displayed the same intrepid firmness, mixed even with scorn and disdain; refusing to discover his associates, and showing no concern but for the failure of his enterprise. But his bold spirit was at length subdued; being confined to the Tower for two or three days, and the rack just shown him, his courage, fatigued with so long an effort, at last failed him, and he made a full discovery of all his accomplices. Catesby, Percy, and the conspirators who were in London, hearing that Fawkes was arrested, fled with all speed into Warwickshire, where sir Everard Digby, relying on the success of the plot, was already in arms, in order to seize the princess Elizabeth. But the country soon began to take the alarm; and wherever they turned, they found a superior force ready to oppose

them. In this exigency, beset on all sides, they resolved, to about the number of eighty persons, to fly no farther, but make a stand at a house in Warwickshire, to defend it to the last, and sell their lives as dearly as possible. But even this miserable consolation was denied them : a spark of fire happening to fall among some gunpowder that was laid to dry, it blew up, and so maimed the principal conspirators, that the survivors resolved to open the gate and sally out against the multitude that surrounded the house. Some were instantly cut to pieces; Catesby, Percy, and Winter, standing back to back, fought long and desperately, till in the end the two first fell covered with wounds, and Winter was taken alive. Those who survived the slaughter were tried and convicted; several fell by the A.D. hands of the executioner, and others experienced 1606. the king's mercy. The Jesuits, Garnet and Oldcorn, who were privy to the plot, suffered with the rest; and, notwithstanding the atrociousness of their treason, Garnet was considered by his party as a martyr, and miracles were said to have been wrought by his blood. Such was the end of a conspiracy that brought ruin on its contrivers, and utterly supplanted that religion it was intended to establish. Yet it is remarkable, that, before this audacious attempt, the chief conspirators had borne a fair reputation: Catesby was loved by all his acquaintance; and Digby was as highly respected, both for his honour and integrity, as any man in the nation. However, such are the lengths to which superstition and early prejudice can drive minds originally well formed, but impressed by a wrong direction. The king's moderation, after the extinction of this conspiracy, was as great as his penetration in the prevention of it. The hatred excited in the nation against the catholics knew no bounds; and nothing but a total

extinction of those who adhered to that persuasion seemed capable of satisfying the greater part of the people. James bravely rejected all violent measures, and nobly declared that the late conspiracy, however atrocious, should never alter his plans of government; but as, on the one hand, he was determined to punish guilt, so, on the other, he would still support and protect innocence. This moderation was at that time no way pleasing to the people; and the malignant part of his subjects were willing to ascribe this lenity to the papists, to his being himself tinctured with their superstitions. However this be, he still found his parliaments refractory to all the measures he took to support his authority at home, or his desire of peace with foreign states. His speeches, indeed, betrayed no want of resolution to defend his rights; but his liberality to his favourites, and the insufficiency of his finances to maintain the royal dignity, still rendered him dependent upon his parliament for money, and they took care to keep him in indigence. Thus he was often forced into concessions, which, when once granted, could never be recalled; and while he supposed himself maintaining the royal prerogative, it was diminishing on every side. It was, perhaps, the opposition which James met with from his people, that made him place his affections upon different persons about the court, whom he rewarded with a liberality that bordered on profusion. A. D. The death of prince Henry, a youth of great 1612. hopes, gave him no very great uneasiness, as his affections were rather taken up by newer connections. In the first rank of these stood Robert Carre, a youth of a good family in Scotland, who, after having passed some time in his travels, arrived in London, at about twenty years of age. All his natural accomplishments consisted in a pleasing visage; all his acquired abilities, in an easy and graceful demeanour. This youth came to England with letters of recommendation, to see his countryman lord Hay; and that nobleman took an opportunity of assigning him the office of presenting the king his buckler at a match of tilting. When Carre was advancing to execute his office, he was thrown by his horse, and his leg was broken in the king's presence. James approached him with pity and concern, and ordered him to be lodged in the palace till his cure was completed. He himself, after tilting, paid him a visit in his chamber, and returned frequently during his confinement. The ignorance and simplicity of the youth confirmed the king's affections, as he disregarded learning in his favourites, of which he found very little use in his own practice. Carre was therefore soon considered as the most rising man at court: he was knighted, created viscount Rochester, honoured with the order of the Garter, made a privy-counsellor; and, to raise him to the highest pitch of honour, he was at last created earl of Somerset. This was an advancement which some regarded with envy; but the wiser part of mankind looked upon it with contempt and ridicule, sensible that ungrounded attachments are seldom of long continuance. Nor was it long before the favourite gave proofs of his being unworthy of the place he held in the king's affections. Among the friends whom he consulted at court was sir Thomas Overbury, a man of great abilities and learning: among the mistresses whom he addressed, was the young countess of Essex, whose husband had been sent by the king's command to travel, until the young couple should arrive at the age of puberty. But the assiduities of a man of such personal accomplishments as the favourite possessed were too powerful to be resisted; a

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