Изображения страниц
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]


ey were going to have to help them.

the Roman Catholics, hoping that their relier and favour in Engwas an invention of The leader of the gang en first a Protestant w said he had become here, and at all times, a very wicked man. I even the two Houses what he said, because from the papists.

e horrible stories the strate to whom Oates pretended plot was few days afterwards. ists had committed the for listening to Oates, on them. Every one accused many innocent uilty by the jury, and hen other men who Deverything he said warded with a large is plot, they, too, witness, and swore The chief judges did nen said, but they one who ventured accused papist, was as an accomplice


was to keep the king and the people always at strife. So he bade his ambassador make friends secretly with the chief men in parliament who were against the king, and promised to give them money if they would go on finding fault with the measures of the government; and some of them were mean enough to take his money.

They meant to serve their country by hindering Charles from governing as he wished; but an Englishman ought to scorn the thought of being paid by a foreign prince for doing his duty to England. And they might have known that Louis meant no good to their country by anything that he did. The most noted of these pensioners of the King of France was Algernon Sidney, a man who would have liked to make England a republic again if it had been possible.


REIGN OF CHARLES II.-(concluded).



(From 1678 to 1685.)


IN the year 1678 England was thrown into dreadful alarm. It was said that the papists had concocted a horrible plot, much worse than the gunpowder treason. They were going to burn down London again; to set fire to the shipping; to murder the king and all their Protestant neighbours; but especially the chief men



in church and state; and they were going to have troops from France and Spain to help them.

Now there is no doubt that the Roman Catholics, both at home and abroad, were hoping that their religion would recover some power and favour in England; but this horrible plot was an invention of wicked men to gain money. The leader of the gang was Titus Oates, who had been first a Protestant clergyman, then a Jesuit, and now said he had become a Protestant again; but everywhere, and at all times, he had proved himself to be a very wicked man. Yet Englishmen in general, and even the two Houses of Parliament, believed most of what he said, because they were so suspicious of evil from the papists.

And they believed all these horrible stories the more firmly, because the magistrate to whom Oates first gave information of this pretended plot was found murdered in a field a few days afterwards. Every one believed that the papists had committed the murder, to be revenged on him for listening to Oates, and now terrible calamities fell on them. Every one whom Oates accused-and he accused many innocent men-was sure to be found guilty by the jury, and condemned to death. And when other men who were as wicked as Oates saw that everything he said was believed, and that he was rewarded with a large pension for having discovered this plot, they, too, came forward with their false witness, and swore away the lives of the innocent. The chief judges did not quite believe all these bad men said, but they were afraid to interfere, for every one who ventured to say a word in defence of an accused papist, was looked upon by the enraged people as an accomplice


in the plot. Had the judges been honest men, they would have braved this; but the chief magistrates then were not upright and fearless.

The excellent judge Hale, who was on the Bench in the beginning of Charles's reign, was dead, and no man like-minded with him sat in the seat of judgment. Even the king did nothing to save the unfortunate persons who were unjustly condemned. The alarm about the popish plot lasted more than two years; but after shedding the blood of Lord Stafford, a very aged and excellent man, at the bidding of false accusers, the nation became ashamed of the delusion under which they had been acting, and the plot was heard of

no more.

Another and a real plot was found out soon afterwards. We have seen that many persons dreaded the Duke of York's coming to the throne after his brother's death, and now a few men joined together in a plot to prevent him from ever being king, by giving the crown, after the death of Charles the Second, to the eldest of his natural sons, the Duke of Monmouth. Monmouth had not the least right to the crown, but he was very handsome and agreeable, and a great favourite with the people. Some of these plotters went further, for they planned to shoot both the king and the duke, and as they used to meet at a place called the Rye-house, near Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, their plot was named the Rye-house Plot.

These murderous designs were not told to Monmouth, nor to Lord William Russell, who was one of the conspirators. Russell was a very good man, led into an unlawful conspiracy by his great fear that popery would be re-established in England.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »