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either by a vain air of popularity, or too great a confidence in his friends. ’
Lord Shaftesbury, finding himself deserted, then attempted to raise an insurrection, by means of his own partisans, in the city. The Duke of Monmouth, at various times, discouraged these attempts. On one of these occasions, he prevailed on Lord Russell, who had come to town on private affairs, to go with him to a meeting, at the house of Shepherd, a winemerchant. ‘
Lord Shaftesbury being concealed in the city at this time, did not dare to appear himself at this meeting, but sent two. of his creatures, Rumsey and Ferguson. Lord Grey and Sir Thomas Armstrong were also‘there ; but nothing was determined at this meeting.
', Soon‘ after this, Lord Shaftesbury, finding he could not bring his friends to rise with the speed he wished, and being in fear of being discovered
if he remained in London any longer, went over , , to Holland. He died in January, ‘1688. i
- The year,lwhichl thus began with the death of Shaftesbury, was nearly fatal to the liberties of ,England. The surrender of the city’s charter, and its renewal on the‘most abject terms; the ‘decree. of the university of Oxford, enforcing slavery as a moral and religious duty ; the deaths
of'Russelland of Sidney, were deep, and almost"
WILLIAM LORD RUSSELL. i
general propensity’ for plots ; Goodenough, who
had been under-sheriff; and one Holloway, of' ' : Bristol, were the chief persons at these meetings. i Lord'Howard was, at one time, among them.
Their discourse seems to have extended itself to. the worst species;of treason and murder;
but whether they had any concerted plan “forassassinating the . King, is still a mystery.‘ Amongst those who were sounded in this‘ business, was one Keeling, a vintner sinking in
business, to ‘whom’ Goodenough often spoke of their‘ designs.. This man went to Legge', then made Lord Dartmouth, and. discovered all he ' knew. .Lord Dartmouth took him to Secretary
Jenkins, who told him‘he could noti'p'rocee‘dwithout more witnesses. It would also seem J that some promises were made to him ; for he: said in a tavern, in the hearing of many persons, , that “ he had considerable profl'ers made him of’ money,'and a place worth 1001. or 801. p61‘
annum, to do something for them ' ;” and he afterwards obtained a place in the Victualling Oflice, by means of Lord Halifaxcl The method he took of procuring another witness, was by taking his brother into the company of Goodenough, and afterwards persuading him to go and tell what he had heard at Whitehall. The substance of the information given by Josiah Keeling, in his first examination, was that a plot had been formed for enlisting forty men, to intercept the King and Duke, on their return from Newmarket, at a farm-house called Rye, belonging to one Rumbold, a maltster; that this plan being defeated by a fire at Newmarket, which caused the King’s return sooner than was expected, the design of an insurrection was laid; and, as the means of carrying this project into effect, they said that Goodenough had spoken of 4000 men, and 20,0001. to be raised by the Duke of Monmouth and other great men. The following day, the two brothers made oath. that Goodenough had told them that Lord Russell had promised to engage in the design, and to use all his interest to accomplish the killing of the King and the Duke. When the council found that the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Russell were named, they wrote to the King to
* Examinations before the Lords, 168,9.
come to London ; for they would not venture to go further, without his presence and leave. "" In the mean time, warrants were issued for the approhension of several of the conspirators. , Hearing of this, and having had private information from the brother of Keeling, they had a meeting on the 18th June, at Captain Walcot’s lodging. At this meeting were present Walcot, Wade, Rumsey, Norton, the two Goodenoughs, Nelthrop, West, and Ferguson. Finding they had no means either of opposing the King, or flying into Holland, they agreed to separate, and shift each man for himself. 1“
A proclamation was now issued for seizing on some who could not be found; and amongst these, Rumsey and West were named. The next day, West delivered himself, and Rumsey came in a day after him. Their confessions, especially concerning the assassination‘ at the Rye House, were very ample. Burnet says, they had concerted a story to be brought out on such an emergency’.
In this critical situation, Lord Russell, though perfectly sensible of his danger, acted with the greatest composure. He had, long before, told Mr. Johnson, that " he was very sensible he should fall a sacrifice: arbitrary government
could notbe set up in England without wading, through his blood.” * ,The day before the King.
arrived, a messenger of the council was sent to wait at his gate, to stop him if he had offered to go out: yet his back-gate was not watched, so‘ that he might have gone away, if he had chosen it. He had heard that he was named by Rumsey; but forgetting the meeting at Sheppard’s,
he feared no danger from a man whom he had;
always disliked, and never trusted. Yet'zhe thought proper to send his wife amongst his friends for advice. They were at first of dif-. ferent minds; but, as he said he apprehended nothing from Rumsey, they agreed that his flight would look too like a confession of guilt. This
advice coinciding with his own opinion, he de-'
termined to stay where he was. As soon as the
King arrived, a messenger was sent to bring him
before the council. When he appeared there,‘ the King told him that nobody suspected him of any design against his person; but that he had. good evidence ofhis being in designs against his government. He was examined, upon the information of Rumsey, concerning the meeting at Sheppard’s, to which, Rumsey pretended to have carried a message, requiring a speedy reso
* Lords’ Examination, 1689.