free ebooks

A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

An English Jesuit named Baldwin


who had invited Philip III

to support the Catholics. When the Constable of Castile came to Flanders to negotiate the peace, Thomas Winter visited him in order to lay their wish before him. Though they met with a refusal from him as well as from his master they found nevertheless a support which was independent of the approval of individuals. In the archducal Netherlands a combination of a peculiar kind, favourable to their views, had been formed, in consequence of the permission to recruit in the British dominions, which by the terms of the peace had been granted to Spain as well as to the Netherlands. An English regiment, about fifteen hundred strong, had been raised, in which the chaplains were all Jesuit fathers; and no officers were admitted but those who were entirely devoted to them. An English Jesuit named Baldwin, and a soldier of the same opinions, Owen by name, were the leading spirits among them. There was here, so to speak, a school of soldiers side by side with a school of priests, in which every act of the English government provoked slander, malediction, and schemes of opposition. Pope Clement was blamed for not threatening James with excommunication as Elizabeth had formerly been threatened; and the necessity for violent means of redress was canvassed without disguise. These views were repeated in congenial circles in Paris and reacted also upon their friends in England. Robert Catesby had been most active in the enlistment of the regiment. Christopher Wright on his journey to Spain was
attended by one of the most resolute officers of this regiment, Guy Fawkes. The latter returned with Winter to England, and was pointed out by Owen as a man admirably qualified to conduct the horrible undertaking which was being prepared for execution. It must remain a question in whose head the thought of proceeding to it at this moment originated: we only know that Catesby first communicated it to another, and then with the aid of this comrade to the rest of the band. To this another member had been added, who was connected, if only in a remote degree, with one of the most distinguished families among the English nobility. I refer to Thomas Percy, a kinsman of the Earl of Northumberland, who through his influence had once received a place in the court establishment of King James of Scotland, and had then been the medium for forming a connexion between this prince and the Catholics. He was enraged because the assurances which he then thought that he might make to the Catholics in the name of the King, had not been fulfilled by the latter. In the spring of 1604, just at the time when the peace between England and Spain was concluded, by which no stipulations were made for the Catholics, they met one day in a lonely house near S. Clement's Inn, and bound themselves by a sacred and solemn oath to inviolable secrecy. It had been their intention once more to submit to the assembled Parliament an urgent petition in the name of the Catholics: but the resolutions of the House had sufficed to convince them that nothing could be gained by this step. Quite the contrary: it was apparent that the next session would impose far heavier conditions on them. An attack on the person of the King, or of his ministers, in the shape in which it had so often been resolved upon, could not do much even if it were successful: for the Parliament was always in reserve with its Protestant majority to establish anti-Catholic statutes, and the judges to execute them. Catesby now disclosed a plan which comprehended all their opponents at once. The King himself and his eldest son, the officers of state and of the court, the lords spiritual and temporal, the members of the House of Commons, one and all at the moment when they were collected to reopen Parliament, were to be blown into the air with gunpowder in the hall where they assembled--there where they issued the detested laws were they to be annihilated; vengeance was to be taken on them at the same time that room was to be made for another order of things in Church and State.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us