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IV. MY LORD NORTHAMPTONS SPEECH
AS IT WAS TAKEN AT THE ARRAIGNEMENT OF SIR EVERARD DIGBY
BY T. S.
OU must not hold it strange, Sir Everard Digby, though at this time, being pressed in duty, conscience and trueth, I do not suffer you to wander in the labyrinth of your own idle conceits without opposition, to seduce others, as you your selfe have been seduced by false principles, or to convey your selfe by charmes of imputation, by clouds of errour, and by shifts of lately devised Equivocation out of that streight wherein your late secure and happy fortune hath been unluckily entangled, but yet justly surprised by the rage and revenge of your owne rash humours. If in this crime (more horrible then any man is able to expresse) I could lament the estate of any person upon earth, I could pity you. But thanke your selfe and your bad counsellours for leading you into a crime of such a kinde, as no less benummeth in all faithful, true and honest men the tendernesse of affection, then it did in you the sense of all humanitie.
That you were once wel thought of and esteemed by the late Queene I can witnesse, having heard her speake of you with that grace which might have encouraged a true gentleman to have runne a better course. Nay, I will adde further that there was a time wherein you were as well affected to the King our masters expectation, though perhaps upon false rumours and reports that he would have yeelded satisfaction to your unprobable and vast desires. But the seede that wanted moisture (as our Saviour himselfe reporteth) tooke no deepe roote. That zeale which hath no other end or object then the pleasing of it selfe is quickly spent, and Trajan that worthy and wise Emperour had reason to hold himselfe discharged of all debts to those that had offended more by prevarication then they could ever deserve by industrie.
The grace and goodnesse of His Majestie in giving honour at his first comming unto many men of your owne affection, and (as I thinke) unto your selfe, his facilitie in admitting all, without distinction, Trojan or Tyrian, to his royall presence upon just occasions of accesse, his integritie in setting open the gate of civill justice unto all his subjects equally and indifferently, with many other favours that succeeded by the progression of peace, are so palpable and evident to all men that have either eyes of understanding or understanding of capacitie, as your selfe and many others have beene driven of late to excuse and countenance your execrable ingratitude with a false and scandalous report of some further hope and comfort yeelded to the Catholicks for toleration or connivencie, before his coming to the crowne, then since hath been performed, made good or satisfied.
I am not ignorant that this seditious and false alarme hath awaked and incited many working spirits to the prejudice of the present State, that might otherwise have slept as before with silence and sufferance. It hath served for a shield of waxe against a sword of power. It hath been used as an instrument of arte to shadow false approaches, till the Trojan horse might be brought within the walles of the Parliament with a belly stuffed, not as in olde time with armed Greekes, but with hellish gunpowder. But howsoever God had blinded you and other in this action, as hee did the King of Egypt and his instruments for the better evidence of His owne powerfull glory, yet every man of understanding could discerne that a prince whose judgement had bene fixed by experience of so many yeeres upon the poles of the north and the south could not shrinke upon the suddaine; no, nor since with feare of that combustion which Catesby that archtraitor, like a second Phaeton, would have caused in an instant in all the elements. His Majesty did never value fortunes of the world in lesser matter then religion with the freedome of this thoughts. He thought it no safe policie (professing as hee did and ever will) to call up more spirits into the circle then he could put down againe. He knewe that omne regnum in se divisum desolabitur [every kingdom divided against itself will be desolated]. Philosophie doeth teach that whatsoever any man may thinke in secret thought, that where one doeth hold of Cephas, another of Apollo, openly dissension ensues. Quod insitum alieno solo est, in id quo alitur natura vertente degenerat [what is planted in alien soil degenerates by its nourishment, its nature changing], and the world will ever apprehend that quorum est commune symbolum, facillimus est transitus [of things whose sign is shared, the passage is most easy]
Touching the point it selfe of promising a kinde of toleration to Catholiques, as it was divulged by these two limbes of Lucifer, Watson and Percie, to raise a ground of practise and conspiracie against the State and person of our deere sovereigne, let the kingdome of Scotland witnesse for the space of so many yeeres before his comming hither, whether either flattery or feare (no not upon that enterprise of the 17. of November, which would have put the patience of any prince in Europe to his proofe) could draw from the King the least inclination to this dispensative indifference, that was onely beleeved because it was eagerly desired.
Every man doth know how great arte was used, what strong wits sublimed, and how many ministers suborned and corrupted many yeere both in Scotland and in forraine parts, to set the Kings teeth an edge, with faire promises of future helps and supplies to that happy end of attaining his due right in England, when the sunne should set to rise more gloriously in the same hemisphere, to the wonder both of this iland and of the world. But all in vaine, for iacta erat alea [the die was cast], the Kings compasse had bin set before, and by a more certain rule, and they were commonly cast off as forlorne hopes in the Kings favour, that ranne a course of ranking themselves in the foremost front of forraine correspondencie.
Upon notice given to His Majestie from hence some yeeres before the death of the late Queene, that many men were growen suspitious of his religion by rumors spread abroad, that some of those in forraine parts that seemed to be well affected to his future expectation had used his name more audaciously, and spoken in his favour to the Catholiques, more forwardly then the Kings owne conscience and unchangeable decree could acknowledge or admit (either with a purpose to prepare the minds of forraine princes, or for a practise to estrange and alienate affections at home), not onely utterly renounced and condemned these encrochments of blinde zeale and rash proceedings by the voices of his owne ministers, but was carefull also for a caution to succeeding hopes, so far as lay in him, that by the disgrace of the delinquents in this kinde the minds of all English subjects chiefly might be secured, and the world satisfied.
No man can speake in this case more confidently then my selfe, that received in the Queenes time for the space of many yeeres directions and warnings to take heed that neither any further comfort might be given to Catholiques concerning future favours then he did intend, which was to binde al subjects in one kingdome to one law concerning the religion established, howsoever in civill matters he might extend his favour as he found just cause, nor any seeds of jealousie and dissidence sowen in the minds of Protestants by Semeis and Achitophels, to make them doubtfull of his constancie, to whom hee would confirme with his dearest blood that faith which he had sucked from the breast of his nurse, apprehended from the cradle of his infancie, and maintained with his uttermost endevour, affection and strength, since he was more able out of reading and disputing to give a reason of those principle which he had now digested and turned to nutriment.
He that wrote that booke of titles before the late Queenes death declares abundantly by seeking to possesse some forrain prince of the Kings hereditary crownes, when the cause should come to the proofe, and may witnesse in stead of many what hope there of the Kings favour or affection to Catholicks in the case of toleration or dispensation with exercise of conscience. For every man may gesse that it was no sleight and ordinary degree of despaire that made him and others of his suite renounce their portion in the sonne and heire of that renowned and rare lady Mary Queene of Scotland, a member of the Romane Church, as some did in David, Nulla nobis pars in David, nec haereditas in filio Isai [We have no part in David, nor heritage in the son of Jesse]. For hereof by letters intercepted in their passage into Scotland, the records and proofes are evident. His Majestie, so long as he was in expectation of that which by the worke and grace of God he doeth now possesse, did ever seeke to settle his establishment upon the faith of Protestants in generalitie, as the most assured shoote anchre [sheet anchor]. For though he found a number on the other side as faithfull and as well affected to his person, claime and interest, as any men alive, aswell in respect of their dependencie upon the Queene his mother as for the tast which they had of the sweetnesse of himselfe, yet finding with what strength of blood many have bene over-caried out of a fervencie in zeale in former times, observing to what censures they were subject, both in points of faith and limitation of loyaltie, and last of all forecasting to what end their former protestations would come when present satisfaction should shrinke, he was ever fearefull to embarke himself for any further voyage and adventure in this streight, then his owne compasse might steare him, and his judgement levell him.
If any one grene leafe for Catholiques could have been visibly discerned by the eye of Catesby, Winter, Garnet, Faux, etc. they would neither have entred into practise with forraine princes during the Queenes time for prevention of the Kings lawful and hereditarie right, nor have renued the same both abroad and at home by missions and combinations after His Majesty was both applauded and entered.
It is true that by confessions we finde that false priest Watson and arch-traytour Percy to have bin the first devisers and divulgers of this scandalous report, as an accursed ground whereon they might with some advantage, as it was conceived, build the castles of their conspiracie.
Touching the first, no man can speake more soundly to the poynt than my selfe. For being sent into the prison by the King to charge him with this false alarum only two daies before his death, and upon his soule to presse him in the presence of God, and as hee would answere it at another bar, to confesse directly whether at either of both these times he had accesse unto His Majestie at Edinborough, His Majestie did give him any promise, hope or comfort of encouragement to Catholiques concerning toleration, he did there protest upon his soule that he could never winne one ynch of ground, or drawe the smallest comfort from the King in those degrees, nor further then that he would have them apprehend that as he was a stranger to this State, so till he understood in all poynts how those matters stood, hee would not promise favour any way, but did protest that all the crownes and kingdomes in this would should not induce him to change any jote of his profession, which was the pasture of his soule and earnest of his eternall inheritance. Hee did confesse that in very deede, to keepe up the hearts of Catholiques in love and duety to the King, hee had imparted the Kings wordes to many in a better tune and higher kind of descant then his booke of plaine song did direct, because hee knewe that others like flie bargemen looked that way when their stroke was bent another way. For this he craved pardon of the King in a humble maner, and for his maine treasons of a higher nature then these figures of hypocrisie, and seemed penitent aswell for the horrour of his crime, as for the falshood of his whisperings.
It hindered not the satisfaction which may be given to Percies shadow (the most desperate boute-feu [firebrand] in the pack) that as he died impenitent, so any thing we know, so likewise hee died silent in the particulars. For first, it is not strange that such a traitour should devise so scandalous a slander out of the malice of his heart, intending to destroy the King by any meanes, and to advance all meanes that might remoove obstructions and impediments to the Plot of gunpowder. The more odious that he could make him to the partie malecontent, and the more sharply that hee could set the partie malecontent upon the point and humour of revenge, the stronger was his hope at the giving of the last blow to be glorified and justified. But touching the trueth of the matters, it will be witnessed by many that this traitor Percy after both the first and second returne from the King brought to the Catholiques no sparke of comfort, or encouragement of hope, whereof no stronger proofe of argument doeth need, then that Fawkes and others were imployed both into Spaine and other parts for the reviving of a practise suspended and covered after Percyes comming backe, as in likelihood they should not have beene, in case hee had returned with a branch of olive in his mouth, or yeelded any ground of comfort to resolve upon.
Therefore I thought it thus farre needful to proceede for the clearing of those scandals that were cast abroad by these forlorne hopes and gracelesse instruments. It onely remains that I pray for your repentance in this world for the satisfaction of many, and forgiveness in the next world for the saving of your selfe, having had by the Kings favour so long a time to cast up your accompt before your appearance at the seate of the great Auditor.
HEN spake the Earle of Salisbury, especially to that point of His Majesties breaking of promise with Recusants, which was used and urged by Sir Everard Digby as a motive to drawn him to participate in this so hideous a treason. Wherein in Lordship, after acknowledgement that Sir Everard Digby was his ally, and having made a zealous and religious protestation concerning the sinceritie and trueth of that which he would deliver, shortly and clearely defended the honour of the King herein, and freed His Majesty from all imputation, and in the constant and perpetuall maintaining thereof, as also from having at any time given the least hope, much lesse promise of toleration. To which purpose he declared how His Majestie aswell before his comming to this crowne, as at that very time, and alwayes since, was so farre from making of promise or giving hope of toleration, that hee ever professed hee should not endure the very motion thereof from any.
And here his Lordship shewed what was done at Hampton Court at the time of Watsons treason, where some of the greater Recusants were convented, and being found then not to have their fingers in treason, were sent away againe with encouragement to persist in their dutifull carriage, and with promise onely of thus much favour, that those meane profits which had accrued since the Kings time to his his Majestie for their Recusancie should be forgiven to the principall gentlemen, who had both at his entry shewed so much loyaltie, and had kept themselves so free since from all conspiracies.
Then did his Lordship also (the rather to shew how little trueth Sir Everard Digbyes words did carry in any thing which hee had spoken) plainly proove that all his protestations wherein hee denyed so constantly to be privie to the Plot of Powder were utterly false, by the testimonie of Fawkes (there present at the barre), who had confessed that certaine moneths before that session the said Fawkes being with Digby at his house in the countrey, about what time there had fallen much wet, Digby taking Fawkes aside after supper told him that he was much afraid that the powder in the cellar was growen danke, and that some newe must be provided, least that should not take fire.
Next, the said Earle did justly and greatly commend the Lord Mounteagle for his loyall and honorable care of his prince and countrey in the speedy bringing forth of his the letter sent unto him, wherein hee said that hee had shewed both his discretion and fidelitie. Which speech being ended, Digby then acknowledged that hee spake not that of the breach of promise out of his own knowledge, but from their relations whom he trusted, and namely from Sir Thomas Tresham.
OW were the jurie returned, who having delivered their verdict whereby they joyntly found those seven prisoners arraigned upon the former indictment guiltie, Sergeant Philips craved judgement against those seven upon their conviction, and against Sir Everard Digby upon his owne confession.
Then the Lord Chiefe Justice of England, after a grave and prudent relation and defence of the lawes made by Queen Elizabeth against Recusants, priest, and receivers of priests, together with the severall occasions, progresses and reasons of the same, and having plainly demonstrated and prooved that they were all necessary, milde, equall, moderate, and to be justified to all the world, pronounced judgement.
Upon the rising of the court, Sir Everard Digby bowing himselfe toward the Lords, sayd, If I may but heare any of your Lordships say you forgive mee, I shall goe more cheerefully to the gallowes. Whereunto the Lords sayd God forgive you, and wee doe.
And so, according to the sentence, on Thursday following execution was done upon Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Graunt, and Thomas Bates, at the west end of Paules Church, and on the Friday following upon Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rookewood, Robert Keyes, and Guy Fawkes within the old Palace yard at Westminster not farre from the Parliament house.
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