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A detailed history of this plot does not enter into my plan. But although the charge is now withdrawn, it is right to mention such circumstances as serve to exculpate the country party from the guilt of inventing this story, for the purpose of taking away the lives of the innocent. This accusation is easily disproved: nay, so f'a‘r is it from the truth, that the plot was brought to light by Lord Shaftesbury and his friends, that it might have been suppressed but for the following circumstance. The Duke of Buckingham, who was a great enemy of Lord Danby, had been long banished from Court, but had lately been privately admitted to kiss the King’s hand at Chiffinch’s. Upon being informed of the circumstance by the Duke of York, Danby expressed great indignation at the King’s want of firmness to stand by hisfriends. From this time he expected to be supplanted by Buckingham in the royal favour, and he became proportionably anxious to obtain the good opinion of the country. The
* See Oates‘s Narrative.
Upon the first discovery, the‘ High Church party were eagerly bent on pursuing.
any thingthat concerns me) that I have been ini formed of a design against my person by the Jesuits, of which I shall forbear any opinion, lest I may seem to say too much or too little; but I will leave the matter to the law, and in the mean time will take as much care as I can to prevent all manner of practices by that sort of men, and of others, too, who have been tampering in a high degree with foreigners, and contriving how to introduce Popery amongst us.” ,
Lord Chancellor Finch, following the King: said, “ His Majesty has told you, that he hath.‘ lately received information of designs against his own life by the Jesuits; and though he doth in no sort prejudice the persons accused, yet the strict enquiry into this matter hath been the means to discover so many other unwarantable practices of theirs, that His Majesty hath reason to look to them.”
The letters of Coleman, and the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, seem to have fully confirmed the general belief of the Popish Plot. Every party shared in this delusion,' and Oates was generally styled the Saviour of the Nation. The country party, in general, were probably deceived with the rest. They were, indeed, more open to be imposed upon by afeigned plot than others, as they were thoroughly convinced that a design was carrying on against the Pro