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CHAP. attend Ballard in his journey to France, and had thereby XLIII. got a hint of the designs, entertained by the fugitives.
Polly, another of his fpies, had found nieans to infinu1586. ate himself among the conspirators in England ; and
though not entirely trusted, had obtained some insight into their dangerous fecrets. But the bottom of the confpiracy was never fully known, till Gifford, a seminary priest, came over, and made tender of his services to Walsingham. By his means, the discovery became of the utmost importance, and involved the fate of Mary, as well as of those zealous partizans of that princess.
BABINGTON and his associates, having laid such a plan, as, they thought, promised infallible success, were impatient to communicate the design to the queen of Scots, and to obtain her approbation and concurrence. For this service, they employed Gifford, who immediately applied to Wallingham, that the interest of that minister might forward bis secret correfpondence with Mary. Walfingham proposed the matter to Paulet, and desired him to connive at Gifford's corrupting one of his servants : But Paulet, averse to introducing such a pernicious precedent into his family, desired, that they would rather think of some other expedient. Gifford found a brewer, who supplied the family with ale; and bribed him to convey letters to the captive queen. The letters, by Paulet's connivance, were thrust through a chink in the wall; and answers were returned by the same conveyance.
BALLARD and Babington were at first diffident of Gifford's fidelity; and to make trial of him, they gave him only blank papers made up like letters : But finding by the answers, that these had been faithfully delivered, they laid aside all farther fcruple, and conveyed by his hands the most criminal and dangerous parts of their conspiracy. Babington informed Mary of tlie design laid for a foreign invasion, the plan of an infurrection at home, the scheme for her delivery, and the confpiracy for afsalfinating the ufurper, by fix noble gentlemen, as he termed them, all of them his private friends; who, from the zeal, which they bore to the catholic cause and her
majesty's service, would undertake the tragical execution. Mary af- Mary replied, that the approved highly of the design; sents to the that the gentlemen might expect all the rewards, which conspiracy. it should ever be in her power to confer; and that the death of Elizabeth was a necessary circumstance, before CHAP. any attempts were made, either for her own delivery or XLIII. an insurrection K. These letters, with others to Mendoza, Charles Paget, the archbishop of Glasgow, and sir 1586. Francis Ingelfield, were carried by Gifford to secretary Walsingham ; were decyphered by the art of Philips, his clerk, and copies taken of them. Walsingham employed another artifice, in order to obtain full insight into the plot : He subjoined to a letter of Mary's a postscript in the same cypher; in which he made her delire Babington to inform her of the names of the fix conspirators. The indiscretion of Babington furnished Wallingham with still another means of detection, as well as of defence. That gentleman had made a picture be drawn, where he himself was represented standing amidst the fix affaflins; and a motto was subjoined, expressing that their common perils were the band of their confederacy. A copy of this picture was brought to Elizabeth, that he might know ihe affafsins, and guard herself against their approach to her perfon.
MEANWHILE, Babington, anxious to ensure and haften the foreign succours, resolved to dispatch Ballard into France; and he procured for him, under a feigned name, a licence to travel. In order to remove from himself all fufpicion, he applied to Wallingham, pretended great zeal for the queen's service, offered to go abroad, and professed his intentions of employing that confidence which he had gained among the catholics, to the detection and disappointment of their conspiracies. Wallingham commended his loyal purposes; and promising his own counsel and assistance in the execution of them, still fed him with hopes, and maintained a close correspondence with him. A warrant, meanwhile, was issued for seizing Ballard ; and this incident, joined to the consciousness of guilt, begot in all the conspirators the utmost anxiety and
Some advised, that they should immediately make their escape: Others proposed, that Savage and Charnoc should without delay execute their purpose against Elizabeth ; and Babington, in prosecution of this scheme, furnished Savage with money, that he might buy good cloaths, and have thereby more easy access to the queen's person. Next day, they began to apprehend,
* State Trials, vol. i. p. 135. Camden, p. 515.
CHA P. that they had taken the alarm too haftily; and Babington, XLIII. having renewed his correfpondence with Wallingham,
was persuaded by that fubtle minister, that the feizure of 1586. Ballard had proceeded entirely from the usual diligence of
informers in the detection of popith and seminary priests. He even consented to take secretly lodgings in Walfiny. ham's house, that they might have more frequent conferences together, before his intended departure for France: But observing, that he was watched and guarded, he made his escape, and gave the alarm to the other conspirators. They all took to fight, covered themselves with several disguises, and lay concealed in woods or barns;
but were soon discovered and thrown into prison. In Ipirators
their examinations they contradicted each other; and Jeized and the leaders were obl ged to inake a full confession of the executed. truth. Fourteen were condemned and executed : Of
whom, seven acknowledged the crime on their trial; the
rest were convicted by evidence. Sept.
The lefser conspirators being dispatched, measures were taken for the trial and convi&ion of the queen of Scots ; on whose account, and with whose concurrence, these attempts had been made against the life of the queen, and the tranquillity of the kingdom. Some of Elizabeth's counsellors were averse to this procedure ; and thought, that the close confinement of a woman, who was become very sickly, and who would probably put a speedy period to their anxiety by her natural death, might give fufficient security to the government, without attempting a measure, of wbich there scarcely remains any example in history, Leicester advised, that Mary should be secretly dispatched by poison, and he sent a divine to convince Walfingham of the lawfulness of that action : But Walfingham declared his abhorrence of it, and infifted still, in conjunction with the majority of the counseliors, for the open trial of the queen of Scots. The situation of England, and of the English ministers had, indeed, been hitherto not a little dangerous. No successor of the crown was declared ; but the heir of blood, to whom the people in general were likely to adhere, was, by education, an enemy to the national religion; was, from multiplied injuries, an enemy to the ministers and principal nobility: And their personal safety, as well as the public safety, seemed to depend alone on the queen's life, who was
now somewhat advanced in years. No wonder, therefore, C HAP.
THOUGH all England was acquainted with the detec-
It was resolved to try Mary, not by the common statute Resolution of treasons, but by the act which had passed the former to try the year, with a view to this very event; and the queen, in queen of terms of that act, appointed a commission, consisting of Scots. forty noblemen and privy-counsellors, and empowered them to examine and pass sentence on Mary, whom the denominated the late queen of Scots, and heir to James the fifth of Scotland. The commissioners came to. Fotheringay castle, and sent to her Sir Walter Mildmay, Sir Amias Paulet, and Edward Barker, who delivered her a letter from Elizabeth, informing her of the commison, and of the approaching trial. Mary received the in
telligence L Camden, p. 518.
CH A P. telligence without emotion or altonilhment. She faid, XLIII. however, that it seemed strange to her, that the queen
should command her, as a subject, to submit to a trial 1586. and examination before subjects: That she was an abio
lute independent princess, and would yield to nothing, which might derogate either from her royal majesty, from the state of sovereign princes, or from the dignity and rank of her fon : That, however opprefled by inisfortunes and calamities, she was not yet so much broken in spirit, as her enemies flattered theinselves ; nor would the, on any account, be accessary to her own degradation and dirhonour : that she was ignorant of the laws and statutes of England; was utterly destitute of council; and could not conceive who were entitled to be called her peers, or could legally fit as judges on her trial : That though she had lived in England for many years, she had lived in captivity; and not having received the protection of the laws, The could not, merely by her involuntary residence in the country, be supposed to have subjected herself to their jurisdi&tion and authority : That notwithstanding the superiority of her rank, she was willing to give an account of her conduct before an English parliament; but could not view these commissioners in any other light, than as men appointed to justify, by some colour of legal proceeding, her condemnation and execution: And that the warned them to look to their conscience and their character, in trying an innocent person ; and to reflect, that these transactions would somewhere be subject to revision, and that the theatre of the whole world was much wider than the
kingdom of England. The
In return, the commissioners sent a new deputation, missioners informing her, that her plea, either from her royal digprevail on nity or from her imprisonment, could not be admitted ; ber to fub.and that they were empowered to proceed to her trial, even mit to the though she should refuse to appear before them. Burleigh, trial. the treasurer, and Bromley, the chancellor, employed
much reasoning to make her submit; but the person, whose arguments had the chief influence, was fir Christopher Harton, vice-chamberlaio. His speech was to this purpore. " You are accused, madam,” said he," but not “ condemned, of having conspired the destruction of our
lady and queen anointed. You say, you are a queen : “ Bui, in such a crime as this, and such a situation as