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whole gang of spies, witnesses, informers, suborners, who had long been encouraged and supported by the leading patriots, finding now that the king was entirely" master, turned short upon their ancient drivers, and offered their evidence against those who had first put them in motion. The king's ministers, with a horrid satisfaction, gave them countenance and encouragement; so that soon the same cruelties and the same injustice were practised against presbyterian schemes that had been employed against catholic treasons. The first person that fell under the displeasure of the ministry was one Stephen College, a London joiner, who had become so noted for his zeal against popery, that he went by the name of the Protestant Joiner. He had attended the city members to Oxford, armed with sword and pistol: he had sometimes been heard to speak irreverently of the king, and was now presented by the grand jury of London as guilty of sedition. The sheriffs of London were in strong opposition to the court; and the grand jury, named by them, rejected the bill against College. However, the court were not to be foiled so; they sent the prisoner to Oxford, where the treason was said to have been committed, and there tried him before a partial judge and a packed jury. He was accused by Dugdale, Turberville, and others who had already given evidence against the catholics; and the nation saw themselves reduced to a ridiculous dilemma upon their testimony. The jury, who were royalists, could not accept their evidence, as they believed them to be abandoned liars; nor yet could they reject it, as they were taught by their opponents to think their evidence sufficient for conviction. College defended himself with great presence of mind, and invalidated their testimony. But all was in vain. The jury, after half an hour's deliberation, brought him in

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guilty, and the spectators testified their inhuman pleasure with a shout of applause. He bore his fate with unshaken fortitude, and at the place of execution denied the crime for which he had been condemned. But higher vengeance was demanded by the king, whose resentment was chiefly levelled against the earl of Shaftesbury; and not without reason. No sums were spared to seek for evidence, and even to suborn witmesses, against this intriguing and formidable man. A bill of indictment being presented to the grand jury, witnesses were examined, who swore to such incredible circumstances as must have invalidated their testimony, even if they had not been branded as perjured villains. Among his papers, indeed, a draught of an association was found, which might have been construed into treason; but it was not in the earl's hand-writing, nor could his adversaries prove that he had ever communicated this scheme to any body, or signified his approbation of any such project. The sheriffs had summoned a jury whose principles coincided with those of the earl: and that probably, more than any want of proof, procured his safety. The power of the crown by this time became irresistible. The punishment of the city of London was so A. D. mortifying a circumstance, that all the other 1683. corporations in England soon began to fear the same treatment, and most of them were successively induced to surrender their charters into the hands of the king. Considerable sums were exacted for restoring these charters; and all the offices of power and profit were left at the disposal of the crown. Resistance now, however justifiable, could not be safe; and all prudent men saw no other expedient, but peaceably submitting to the present grievances. But there was a party in England that still cherished their former ideas of free

dom, and were resolved to hazard, every danger in its defence. This, like all other combinations, was made up of men, some guided by principle to the subversion of the present despotic power, some by interest, and many more by revenge. Some time before, in the year 1681, the king had been seized with a fit of sickness at Windsor, which gave a great alarm to the public. Shaftesbury had even then attempted to exclude the duke of York from the succession, and united with the duke of Monmouth, lord Russel, and lord Grey: in case of the king's death, they conspired to rise in arms, and vindicate their opinions by the sword. Shaftesbury's imprisonment and trial for some time put a stop to these designs; but they soon revived with his release. Monmouth engaged the earl of Macclesfield, lord Brandon, sir Gilbert Gerard, and other gentlemen in Cheshire. Lord Russel fixed a correspondence with sir William Courtenay, sir Francis Rowe, and sir Francis Drake, who promised to raise the West. Shaftesbury, with one Ferguson, an independent clergyman, and a restless plotter, managed the city, upon which the confederates chiefly relied. It was now that this turbulent man found his schemes most likely to take effect. After the disappointment and destruction of a hundred plots, he at last began to be sure of the present. But this scheme, like all the former, was disappointed. The caution of lord Russel, who induced the duke of Monmouth to put off the enterprise, saved the kingdom from the horrors of civil war; while Shaftesbury was so struck with a sense of his impending danger, that he left his house, and lurking about the city, attempted, but in vain, to drive the Londoners into open insurrection. At last, enraged at the numberless cautions and delays which clogged and defeated his projects, he threatened to begin with his friends alone. However, after a long struggle between fear and rage, he abandoned all hopes of success, and fled out of the kingdom to Amsterdam, where he ended his turbulent life soon after, without being pitied by his friends or feared by his enemies. The loss of Shaftesbury, though it retarded the views of the conspirators, did not suppress them. A council of six was erected, consisting of Monmouth, Russel, Essex, Howard, Algernon Sidney, and John Hampden, grandson to the great man of that name. These corresponded with Argyle and the malcontents in Scotland, and resolved to prosecute the scheme of the insurrection, though they widely differed in principles from each other. Monmouth aspired at the crown; Russel and Hampden proposed to exclude the duke of York from the succession, and redress the grievances of the nation; Sidney was for restoring the republic, and Essex joined in the same wish. Lord Howard was an abandoned man, who, having no principles, sought to embroil the nation, to gratify his private interest in the confusion. Such were the leaders of this conspiracy, and such their motives. But there was also a set of subordinate conspirators, who frequently met together, and carried on projects quite unknown to Monmouth and his council. Among these men were colonel Rumsey, an old republican officer, lieutenant-colonel Walcot, of the same stamp, Goodenough, under-sheriff of London, a zealous and noted party man, the dissenter Ferguson, and several attorneys, merchants, and tradesmen. But Rumsey and Ferguson were the only persons who had access to the great leaders of the conspiracy. These men in their meetings embraced the most desperate resolutions. They proposed to assassinate the king in his way to Newmarket: Rumbold, one of the party, possessed a farm upon that road called the Rye-house; and thence the conspiracy was denominated the Rye-house Plot. They deliberated upon a scheme of stopping the king's coach by overturning a cart on the highway at this place, and shooting him through the hedges. The house in which the king lived at Newmarket took fire accidentally, and he was obliged to leave Newmarket eight days sooner than was expected, to which circumstance his safety was ascribed. Among the conspirators was one Keiling, who, finding himself in danger of a prosecution for arresting the lord-mayor of London, resolved to earn his pardon by discovering this plot to the ministry. Colonel Rumsey, and West a lawyer, no sooner understood that this man had informed against them, than they agreed to save their lives by turning king's evidence, and they surrendered themselves accordingly. Shephard, another conspirator, being apprehended, confessed all he knew, and general orders were soon issued out for apprehending the rest of the leaders of the conspiracy. Monmouth absconded; Russel was sent to the Tower; Grey escaped; Howard was taken, concealed in a chimney; Essex, Sidney, and Hampden, were soon after arrested, and had the mortification to find lord Howard an evidence against them. Walcot was first brought to trial and condemned, together with Home and Rouse, two associates in the conspiracy, upon the evidence of Rumsey, West, and Shephard. They died penitent, acknowledging the justice of the sentence by which they were executed. A much greater sacrifice was shortly after to follow. This was the lord Russel (son of the earl of Bedford), who had numberless good qualities, and had been led into this conspiracy from a conviction of the duke's intentions to restore popery. He was liberal, popular, humane, and

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