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A long debate in the House, unsuccessful on the Court side.
** We have been these four days, morning and night, busied in council about the information of this Oates. If he be a liar, he is the greatest and the adroitest I ever saw; and yet it is a stupendous thing to think what vast concerns are like to depend upon the evidence of one young man, who hath twice changed his religion, if he be now a Protestant. There will many things, I believe, appear in the papers of some men taken, that will administer matter for noise; and some think a matter of this great consequence should have been digested somewhere else, before it had been brought so openly upon the stage. It is now too late to be recalled; and be the matter of the information true or false, it hath given occasion to so many enquiries, and awakened so many men and discourses upon a theme the people were but too eagerly concerned in before, that I cannot conceive it can pass over without drawing some great severity upon the Catholics, or giving so great a dissatisfaction to the kingdom as will be attended with great inconveniences."
"We have much noise, and we of the council much business about a plot. Would two witnesses swear but half that which one doth, there would be enough to hang a great many men. Several are imprisoned, and very pernicious papers found, which, whether published, or not published, will produce great consequences."
"Our new plot, or pretended plot, (for as yet we have but one witness, and none confessing,) hath produced so many collateral contrivances of disturbing the government, that I doubt it will not only busy the Council, but the Parliament a good while.
"If you had Peter Talbot's papers, doubtlessmany things would appear, though, perhaps, not in relation to this plot; yet men that look for the philosopher's stone, though they miss that, yet find medicines to cure the itch, and sometimes bigger diseases."
"We must be preserved by a greater miracle than we were restored, or else perish,"
"We are all, I think, in a mist as yet, and the most refining men do but grope in their politics. There are so many subdivisions in our divisions, both in Court and Parliament, that I think, ere long, we shall divide so nicely as to have no factions, which is the best I can hope of it."
"This is certain, that without any invasion from abroad, or insurrection at home, a greater confusion was never seen in any nation,"
"We are here in so many disorders, that a volume cannot write it; and whilst His Majesty will use but one clue for the labyrinth, and that so stretched as it now is, I cannot but fear the event."
Jan. 4,1679Parliament prorogued.—Fleet and army unpaid.—In great alarm.
4 Jan. 11.
Very few doubt of the plot.—Only the King not afraid for his own person.—Great arming by sea in France.
Hints at a design on Ireland from France, confirmed by letters from Amsterdam.—Brisbane's letter only hearsay to the contrary.
Letter from Mr. Thynne.—Court has not the usual favour in elections; but majority well affected to monarchy and church.
On the entrance of the new Commissioners, only 275. and 3d. (besides appropriated money) in the Treasury.
"Though they (the new councillors,) have yet done neither good nor evil, I find the bare being preferred, maketh some of them suspected, though not criminal."
Great debates.—House sits on Sunday.
Four thousand arms freighted from Rotterdam for Ireland.—Enquiries if ordered by the Duke? July 5.
K Suspension of all tables, pensions, and what not?"
Acquitting Sir G. Wakeman, rather to be attributed to Judges and Jury, than temper of the people.
"The sudden and unexpected arrival of the Duke of Monmouth yesterday, about two o'clock in the morning, hath given a great alarm: the King hath refused to see him, and by four or five reiterated messages, commanded his return; but he hath refused: so it is said (and I believe it) all his charges will be given away. On the other side, all the acclamations of the rabble as to bonfires, and the like, have been very great, and not a little disorderly. It is said, though he arrived at that dead hour at his lodgings, he had been three days in England; and an argument that his coming was known to some long before, (is that) copies of elaborate verses, by several authors, were published by eight of the clock in the morning, printed, and cried in the streets. Matters seem to grow very ripe, and the confusion great."