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popish plot, he lays, and justly lays, the‘ greatest.
stress upon the dying declarations of the suf
ferers. Burnet adverts, as well to the peculiar language used by Rumbold, as to his denial of,
the assassination ; but having before given us to understand, that he believed that no such crime had been projected, it is the less to be wondered at, that he does not much dwell upon this further evidence in favour of his former opinion. Sir John Dalrymple, upon the authority of a paper which he does not produce, but from which he quotes enough to show, that if pro; duced it would not answer his purpose, takes‘ Rumbold’s guilt for a decided fact, and then states his dying protestations of his innocence, as an instance of aggravated wickedness.‘t It is to be remarked too, that although Sir John. is pleased roundly to assert, that Rumbold denied; the share he had had in the Rye-House plot, yet the particular words which he cites neither contain, nor express, nor imply, any such denial.
f" Dalrymple’s Memoirs, i. 141. ,
guess; for surelythe execution of a man whom he setsdown as guilty of a design to murder the two royal brothers, could. not, even in the judgment of persons much less accustomed than Sir John to palliate the crimes of princes, be looked upon as an act of blameable severity; but it was thought, perhaps, that for the purpose of conveying a calumny upon the persons concerned, or
accused of being concerned, in the Rye-House '
plot, an affected censure upon the government would be the fittest vehicle.
“ The fact itself, that Rumbold did, in his last hours, solemnly deny the having been, concerned in any project'for assassinating the King or Duke, has not, I believe, been questioned.‘F It is not invalidated by the silence of some historians: it is confirmed by the misrepresentation of others. The first question that naturally presents itself, must be, was this declaration true ? ‘The asseverations of dying men have always had, and will always have, great influence upon the minds of those who do not‘push their ill opinion of mankind to the most outrageous
* It is confirmed, beyond contradiction; by Lord Fountain; hall’s aeoount ofdns trial and execution. ' '
moment. Where none of the above mentioned objections occur, and where, therefore, ,the weight of evidence in question is confessedly considerable, yet is it still liable to be balanced or outweighed by evidence in the opposite scale.
“: Let Rumbold’s declaration, then, be examined upon these principles, and we shall find, that it has every character of truth, without a single circumstance to discredit it. He was so far from entertaining any hope of pardon, that he did not seem even to wish it ; and indeed, if
, he had had any such chimerical object in view,‘
he must have known, that‘ to have supplied the government with a proof of. the Rye-House assassination plot, would be a more likely road at least, than asteady denial, to obtain it. , He left none behind him, for whom to entreat favour, or whose welfare or honour were at all afi'ected any confession or declaration he might make. If, in a prospective view, he was without temptation, so neither if he looked‘back, was he fettered by any former declaration ; so that he couldnot be influenced ‘by that erroneous notion of consistency, to which, it maybe feared, that truth, even in the most awful moments, has in some cases been sacrificed. His timely escape in 1688, had saved him from the necessity of making any protestation ‘upon the subject of his innocence at that time; ‘and the’ words of the