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What Gunpowder Plot Was By Samuel Rawson Gardiner Characters: 35754

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

First of all, let us restrict ourselves to the story told by Guy Fawkes himself in the five[15] examinations to which he was subjected previously to his being put to the torture on November 9, and to the letters, proclamations, &c., issued by the Government during the four days commencing with the 5th. From these we learn, not only that Fawkes's account of the matter gradually developed, but that the knowledge of the Government also developed; a fact which fits in very well with the 'traditional story,' but which is hardly to be expected if the Government account of the affair was cut-and-dried from the first.

Fawkes's first examination took place on the 5th, and was conducted by Chief Justice Popham and Attorney-General Coke. It is true that only a copy has reached us, but it is a copy taken for Coke's use, as is shown by the headings of each paragraph inserted in the margin in his own hand. It is therefore out of the question that Salisbury, if he had been so minded, would have been able to falsify it. Each page has the signature (in copy) of 'Jhon Jhonson,' the name by which Fawkes chose to be known.

The first part of the examination turns upon Fawkes's movements abroad, showing that the Government had already acquired information that he had been beyond sea. Fawkes showed no reluctance to speak of his own proceedings in the Low Countries, or to give the names of persons he had met there, and who were beyond the reach of his examiners. As to his movements after his return to England he was explicit enough so far as he was himself concerned, and also about Percy, whose servant he professed himself to be, and whose connection with the hiring of the house could not be concealed. Fawkes stated that after coming back to England he 'came to the lodging near the Upper House of Parliament,' and 'that Percy hired the house of Whynniard for 12l. rent, about a year and a half ago'; that his master, before his own going abroad, i.e., before Easter, 1605, 'lay in the house about three or four times.' Further, he confessed 'that about Christmas last,' i.e., Christmas, 1604, 'he brought in the night time gunpowder [to the cellar under the Upper House of Parliament.]'[16] Afterwards he told how he covered the powder with faggots, intending to blow up the King and the Lords; and, being pressed how he knew that the King would be in the House on the 5th, said he knew it only from general report and by the making ready of the King's barge; but he would have 'blown up the Upper House whensoever the King was there.' He further acknowledged that there was more than one person concerned in the conspiracy, and said he himself had promised not to reveal it, but denied that he had taken the sacrament on his promise. Where the promise was given he could not remember, except that it was in England. He refused to accuse his partners, saying that he himself had provided the powder, and defrayed the cost of his journey beyond sea, which was only undertaken 'to see the country, and to pass away the time.' When he went, he locked up the powder and took the key with him, and 'one Gibbons' wife, who dwells thereby, had the charge of the residue of the house.'

Such is that part of the story told by Fawkes which concerns us at present. Of course there are discrepancies enough with other statements given later on, and Father Gerard makes the most of them. What he does not observe is that it is in the nature of the case that these discrepancies should exist. It is obvious that Fawkes, who, as subsequent experience shows, was no coward, had made up his mind to shield as far as possible his confederates, and to take the whole of the blame upon himself. He says, for instance, that Percy had only lain in the house for three or four days before Easter, 1605; a statement, as subsequent evidence proved, quite untrue; he pretends not to know, except from rumour and the preparations of the barge, that the King was coming to the House of Lords on the 5th, a statement almost certainly untrue. In order not to criminate others, and especially any priest, he denies having taken the Sacrament on his promise, which is also untrue. What is more noticeable is that he makes no mention of the mine, about which so much was afterwards heard, evidently-so at least I read the evidence-because he did not wish to bring upon the stage those who had worked at it. If indeed the passage which I have placed in square brackets be accepted as evidence, Fawkes did more than keep silence upon the mine. He must have made a positive assertion, soon afterwards found to be untrue, that the cellar was hired several months before it really was.[17] This passage is, however, inserted in a different hand from the rest of the document. My own belief is that it gives a correct account of a statement made by the prisoner, but omitted by the clerk who made the copy for Coke, and inserted by some other person. Nobody that I can think of had the slightest interest in adding the words, whilst they are just what Fawkes might be expected to say if he wanted to lead his examiners off the scent. At all events, even if these words be left out of account, it must be admitted that Fawkes said nothing about the existence of a mine.

Though Fawkes kept silence as to the mine, he did not keep silence on the desperate character of the work on which he had been engaged. "And," runs the record, "he confesseth that when the King had come to the Parliament House this present day, and the Upper House had been sitting, he meant to have fired the match and have fled for his own safety before the powder had taken fire, and confesseth that if he had not been apprehended this last night, he had blown up the Upper House, when the King, Lords, Bishops, and others had been there, and saith that he spake for [and provided][18] those bars and crows of iron, some in one place, some in another, in London, lest it should be suspected, and saith that he had some of them in or about Gracious Street."[19]

After this it will little avail Father Gerard to produce arguments in support of the proposition that the story of the plot was contrived by the Government as long as this burning record is allowed to stand. Fawkes here clearly takes the whole terrible design, with the exception of the incident of the mine, on his own shoulders. He may have lied to save his friends; he certainly would not lie to save Salisbury.

So far, however, there is no proof that Salisbury was not long ago cognisant of the plot through one of the active conspirators. Yet, in that case, it might be supposed that the accounts that he gave of his discoveries would be less dependent than they were on the partial revelations which came in day by day. There is, however, no hint of superior knowledge in the draft of a letter intended to be sent by Salisbury to Sir Thomas Parry, the English ambassador in Paris, and dated on November 6, the day after that on which Fawkes's first examination was taken:

Sir Thomas Parry, it hath pleased Almighty God, out of his singular goodness, to bring to light the most cruel and detestable practice against the person of his Majesty and the whole estate of this realm, that ever was conceived by the heart of man at any time or in any place whatsoever, by which practice there was intended not only the extirpation of the King's Majesty and his issue royal, but the whole subversion and downfal of this estate, the plot being to take away at an instant the King, Queen, Prince, Council, Nobility, Clergy, Judges, and the principal gentlemen of this realm, as they should have been yesterday altogether assembled at the Parliament House, in Westminster, the 5th of November, being Tuesday. The means how to have compassed so great an act, was not to be performed by strength of men or outward violence, for that might have be espied and prevented in time; but by a secret conveying of a great quantity of gunpowder into a vault under the Upper House of Parliament, and so to have blown up all at a clap, if God out of his mercy and his just revenge against so great an abomination had not destined it to be discovered, though very miraculously even some twelve hours before the matter should have been put into execution. The person that was the principal undertaker of it, is one Johnson, a Yorkshire man, and servant to one Thomas Percy, a gentleman pensioner to his Majesty, and a near kinsman and a special confidant to the Earl of Northumberland. This Percy had about a year and a half ago hired a part of Whynniard's house in the old palace, from whence he had access into this vault to lay his wood and coal, and as it seemeth now, taken this place of purpose to work some mischief in a fit time. He is a Papist by profession, and so is this his man Johnson, a desperate fellow, whom of late years he took into his service.

Into this vault Johnson had, at sundry times, very privately conveyed a great quantity of powder, and therewith filled two hogsheads and some thirty-two small barrels; all which he had cunningly covered with great store of billets and faggots, and on Tuesday[20] at midnight, as he was busy to prepare the things for execution was apprehended in the place itself with a false lantern, booted and spurred.[21]

There is not much knowledge here beyond what Salisbury had learnt from Fawkes's own statement with all its deceptions. Nor, if there had been any such knowledge, was it in any way revealed by the actions of the Government on the 5th or on the morning of the 6th. On the 5th a proclamation was issued for the apprehension of Percy alone.[22] On the same day Archbishop Bancroft forwarded to Salisbury a story, afterward known to be untrue, that Percy had been seen riding towards Croydon; whilst Popham sent another untrue story that he had been seen riding towards Gravesend.[23] A letter from Waad, the Lieutenant of the Tower, of the same date, revealed the truth that Percy had escaped northwards. Of course, Percy's house was searched for papers, but those discovered were of singularly little interest, and bore no relation to the plot.[24] An examination of a servant of Ambrose Rokewood, a Catholic gentleman afterwards known to have been involved in the plot, and of the landlady of the house in London in which Rokewood had been lodging, brought out the names of persons who had been in his company, some of whom were afterwards found to be amongst the conspirators; but there was nothing in these examinations to connect them with the plot, and there is no reason to suppose that they were prompted by anything more than a notion that it would generally be worth while to trace the movements of a noted Catholic gentleman. On the same day a letter from Chief Justice Popham shows that inquiries were being directed into the movements of other Catholics, and amongst them Christopher Wright, Keyes, and Winter; but the tone of the letter shows that Popham was merely acting upon general suspicion, and had no special information on which to work.[25] Up to the morning of November 6th, the action of Government was that of men feeling in the dark, so far as anything not revealed by Fawkes was concerned.

Commissioners were now appointed to conduct the investigation further. They were-Nottingham, Suffolk, Devonshire, Worcester, Northampton, Salisbury, Mar, and Popham, with Attorney-General Coke in attendance.[26] This was hardly a body of men who would knowingly cover an intrigue of Salisbury's:-Worcester is always understood to have been professedly a Catholic, Northampton was certainly one, though he attended the King's service, whilst Suffolk was friendly towards the Catholics;[27] and Nottingham, if he is no longer to be counted amongst them,[28] was at least not long afterwards a member of the party which favoured an alliance with Spain, and therefore a policy of toleration towards the Catholics. It is not the least of the objections to the view which Father Gerard has taken, that it would have been impossible for Salisbury to falsify examinations of prisoners without the connivance of these men.

Before five of these Commissioners-Nottingham, Suffolk, Devonshire, Northampton, and Salisbury-Fawkes was examined a second time on the forenoon of the 6th. In some way the Government had found out that Percy had had a new door made in the wall leading to the cellar, and they now drew from Fawkes an untrue statement that it was put in about the middle of Lent, that is to say, early in March 1605.[29] They had also discovered a pair of brewer's slings, by which barrels were usually carried between two men, and they pressed Fawkes hard to say who was his partner in removing the barrels of gunpowder. He began by denying that he had had a partner at all, but finally answered that 'he cannot discover the party, but'-i.e. lest-'he shall bring him in question.' He also said that he had forgotten where he slept on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday in the week before his arrest.[30]

Upon this James himself intervened, submitting to the Commissioners a series of questions with the object of drawing out of the prisoner a true account of himself, and of his relations to Percy. A letter had been found on Fawkes when he was taken, directed not to Johnson, but to Fawkes, and this amongst other things had raised the King's suspicions. In his third examination, on the afternoon of the 6th, in the presence of Northampton, Devonshire, Nottingham, and Salisbury, Fawkes gave a good deal of information, more or less true, about himself; and, whilst still maintaining that his real name was Johnson, said that the letter, which was written by a Mrs. Bostock in Flanders, was addressed to him by another name 'because he called himself Fawkes,' that is to say, because he had acquired the name of Fawkes as an alias.

'If he will not otherwise confess,' the King had ended by saying, 'the gentler tortures are to be first used unto him, et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur.' To us living in the nineteenth century these words are simply horrible. As a Scotchman, however, James had long been familiar with the use of torture as an ordinary means of legal investigation, whilst even in England, though unknown to the law, that is to say, to the practice of the ordinary courts of justice, it had for some generations been used not infrequently by order of the Council to extract evidence from a recalcitrant witness, though, according to Bacon, not for the purpose of driving him to incriminate himself. Surely, if the use of torture was admissible at all, this was a case for its employment. The prisoner had informed the Government that he had been at the bottom of a plot of the most sanguinary kind, and had acknowledged by implication that there were fellow-conspirators whom he refused to name. If, indeed, Father Gerard's view of the case, that the Government, or at least Salisbury, had for some time known all about the conspiracy, nothing-not even the Gunpowder Plot itself-could be more atrocious than the infliction of torments on a fellow-creature to make him reveal a secret already in their possession. If, however, the evidence I have adduced be worth anything, this was by no means the case. What it shows is, that on the afternoon of the 6th all that the members of the Government were aware of was that an unknown number of conspirators were at large-they knew not where-and might at that very moment be appealing-they knew not with what effect-to Catholic landowners and their tenants, who were, without doubt, exasperated by the recent enforcement of the penal laws. We may, if we please, condemn the conduct of the Government which had brought the danger of a general Catholic rising within sight. We cannot deny that, at that particular moment, they had real cause of alarm. At all events, no immediate steps were taken to put this part of the King's orders in execution. Some little information, indeed, was coming in from other witnesses. In his first examination, on November 5, Fawkes had stated that in his absence he locked up the powder, and 'one Gibbons' wife who dwells thereby had the charge of the residue of the house.' An examination of her husband on the 5th, however, only elicited that he, being a porter, had with two others carried 3,000 billets into the vault.[31] On the 6th Ellen, the wife of Andrew Bright, stated that Percy's servant had, about the beginning of March, asked her to let the vault to his master, and that she had consented to abandon her tenancy of it if Mrs. Whynniard, from whom she held it, would consent. Mrs. Whynniard's consent having been obtained, Mrs. Bright, or rather Mrs. Skinner-she being a widow remarried subsequently to Andrew Bright[32]-received 2l. for giving up the premises. The important point in this evidence is that the date of March 1605, given as that on which Percy entered into possession of the cellar, showed that Fawkes's statement that he had brought powder into the cellar at Christmas 1604 could not possibly be true. On the 7th, Mrs. Whynniard confirmed Mrs. Bright's statement, and also stated that, a year earlier, in March 1604, 'Mr. Percy began to labour very earnestly with this examinate and her husband to have the lodging by the Parliament House, which one Mr. Henry Ferris, of Warwickshire, had long held before, and having obtained the said Mr. Ferris's good will to part from it after long suit by himself and great entreaty of Mr. Carleton, Mr. Epsley,[33] and other gentlemen belonging to the Earl of Northumberland, affirming him to be a very honest gentleman, and that they could not have a better tenant, her husband and she were contented to let him have the said lodging at the same rent Mr. Ferris paid for it.'[34] Mrs. Whynniard had plainly never heard of the mine; and that the Government was in equal ignorance is shown by the endorsement on the

agreement of Ferris, or rather Ferrers, to make over his tenancy to Percy. 'The bargain between Ferris and Percy for the bloody cellar, found in Winter's lodging.' Winter's name had been under consideration for some little time, and doubtless the discovery of this paper was made on, or more probably before, the 7th. The Government, having as yet nothing but Fawkes's evidence to go upon, connected the hiring of the house with the hiring of the cellar, and at least showed no signs of suspecting anything more.

On the same day, the 7th, something was definitely heard of the proceedings of the other plotters, who had either gathered at Dunchurch for the hunting-match, or had fled from London to join them, and a proclamation was issued for the arrest of Percy, Catesby, Rokewood, Thomas Winter, Edward[35] Grant, John and Christopher Wright, and Catesby's servant, Robert Ashfield. They were charged with assembling in troops in the counties of Warwick and Worcester, breaking into stables and seizing horses.[36] Fawkes, too, was on that day subjected to a fourth examination.[37] Not very much that was new was extracted from him. He acknowledged that his real name was Guy Fawkes, that-which he had denied before-he had received the Sacrament not to discover any of the conspirators, and also that there had been at first five persons privy to the plot, and afterwards five or six more 'were generally acquainted that an action was to be performed for the Catholic cause, and saith that he doth not know that they were acquainted with the whole conspiracy.' Being asked whether Catesby, the two Wrights, Winter, or Tresham were privy, he refused to accuse any one.

The increase of the information received by the Government left its trace on Salisbury's correspondence. Whether the letter to Parry, from which a quotation has already been given, was sent away on the 6th, is unknown; but it was copied and completed, with sundry alterations, for Cornwallis and Edmondes, the ambassadors at Madrid and Brussels, and signed by Salisbury on the 7th, though it was kept back and sent off with two postscripts on the 9th, and it is likely enough that the letter to Parry was treated in the same way. One of the alterations concerns Fawkes's admission that he had taken the Sacrament as well as an oath to keep the secret. What is of greater significance is, that there is absolutely no mention of a mine in the letter. If it had really been written on the 9th, this silence would have gone far to justify Father Gerard's suspicions, as the existence of the mine was certainly known to the Government at that date. On the 7th the Government knew nothing of it.[38]

That Fawkes had already been threatened with torture is known,[39] and it may easily be imagined that the threats had been redoubled after this last unsatisfactory acknowledgment. On the morning of the 8th, however, Waad, who was employed to worm out his secrets, reported that little was to be expected. "I find this fellow," he wrote, "who this day is in a most stubborn and perverse humour, as dogged as if he were possessed. Yesternight I had persuaded him to set down a clear narration of all his wicked plots from the first entering to the same, to the end they pretended, with the discourses and projects that were thought upon amongst them, which he undertook [to do] and craved time this night to bethink him the better; but this morning he hath changed his mind and is [so] sullen and obstinate as there is no dealing with him."[40]

The sight of the examiners, together with the sight of the rack,[41] changed Fawkes's mind to some extent. He was resolved that nothing but actual torture should wring from him the names of his fellow plotters, who so far as was known in London were still at large.[42] He prepared himself, however, to reveal the secrets of the plot so far as was consistent with the concealment of the names of those concerned in it. His fifth examination on the 8th, the last before the one taken under torture on the 9th, gives to the inquirer into the reality of the plot all that he wants to know.

"He confesseth," so the tale begins, "that a practice was first broken unto him against his Majesty for the Catholic cause, and not invented or propounded by himself, and this was first propounded unto him about Easter last was twelvemonth, beyond the seas in the Low Countries, by an English layman,[43] and that Englishman came over with him in his company, into England, and they two and three more[44] were the first five mentioned in the former examination. And they five resolving to do somewhat for the Catholic cause (a vow being first taken by all of them for secrecy), one of the other three[45] propounded to perform it with powder, and resolved that the place should be (where this action should be performed and justice done) in or near the place of the sitting of the Parliament, wherein Religion had been unjustly suppressed. This being resolved, the manner of it was as followeth:-

"First they hired the house at Westminster, of one Ferres, and having his house they sought then[46] to make a mine under the Upper House of Parliament, and they began to make the mine in or about the 11 of December, and they five first entered into the works, and soone after took an other[47] to[48] them, having first sworn him and taken the sacrament for secrecy; and when they came to the wall (that was about three yards thick) and found it a matter of great difficulty, they took to them an other in like manner, with oath and sacrament as aforesaid;[49] all which seven were gentlemen of name and blood, and not any[50] was employed in or about this action (no, not so much as in digging and mining) that was not a gentleman. And having wrought to the wall before Christmas, they ceased until after the holidays, and the day before Christmas (having a mass of earth that came out of the mine), they carried it into the garden of the said house, and after Christmas they wrought the wall till Candlemas, and wrought the wall half through; and saith that all the time while the other[51] wrought, he stood as sentinel, to descry any man that came near, and when any man came near to the place upon warning given by him, they ceased until they had notice to proceed from him, and sayeth that they seven all lay in the house, and had shot and powder, and they all resolved to die in that place, before they yielded or were taken.

"And, as they were working, they heard a rushing in the cellar, which grew by one[52] Bright's selling of his coals,[53] whereupon this examinant, fearing they had been discovered, went into the cellar, and viewed the cellar[54] and perceiving the commodity thereof for their purpose, and understanding how it would be letten,[55] his master, Mr. Percy, hired the cellar for a year for 4l. rent; and confesseth that after Christmas twenty barrels of powder were brought by themselves to a house, which they had on the Bankside in hampers, and from that house removed[56] the powder to the said house near the Upper House of Parliament; and presently, upon hiring the cellar they themselves removed the powder into the cellar, and covered the same with fagots which they had before laid into the cellar.

"After, about Easter, he went into the Low Countries (as he before hath declared in his former examination) and that the true purpose of his going over was, lest, being a dangerous man, he should be known and suspected, and in the mean time he left the key of the cellar with Mr. Percy, who, in his absence caused more billets to be laid into the cellar, as in his former examination he confessed, and returned about the end of August, or the beginning of September, and went again to the said house, near to the said cellar, and received the key of the cellar again of one of the five,[57] and then they brought in five or six barrels of powder more into the cellar, which also they covered with billets, saving four little barrels covered with fagots, and then this examinant went into the country about the end of September.

"It appeareth the powder was in the cellar placed as it was found the 5 of November, when the Lords came to prorogue the Parliament, and sayeth that he returned again to the said house near the cellar on Wednesday the 30 of October.

"He confesseth he was at the Earl of Montgomery's marriage, but, as he sayeth, with no intention of evil having a sword about him, and was very near to his Majesty and the Lords there present.[58]

"Forasmuch as they knew not well how they should come by the person of the Duke Charles, being near London, where they had no forces (if he had not been also blown up) he confesseth that it was resolved among them that, the same day that this detestable act should have been performed, the same day should other of their confederacy have surprised the person of the Lady Elizabeth, and presently have proclaimed her Queen, to which purpose a proclamation was drawn, as well to avow and justify the action, as to have protested against the Union, and in no sort to have meddled with religion therein, and would have protested also against all strangers, and this proclamation should have been made in the name of the Lady Elizabeth.

"Being demanded why they did not surprise the King's person, and draw him to the effecting of their purpose sayeth that so many must have been acquainted with such an action as it[59] would not have been kept secret.

"He confesseth that if their purpose had taken effect, until they had had power enough, they would not have avowed the deed to be theirs; but if their power (for their defence and safety) had been sufficient, they themselves would then[60] have taken it upon them. They meant also to have sent for the prisoners in the Tower to have come to them, of whom particularly they had some consultation.

"He confesseth that the place of rendezvous was in Warwickshire, and that armour was sent thither, but[61] the particular thereof[62] he knows not.

"He confesseth that they had consultation for the taking of the Lady Mary into their possession, but knew not how to come by her.

"And confesseth that provision was made by some of the conspiracy of some armour of proof this last summer for this action.

"He confesseth that the powder was bought by the common purse of the confederates.

"L. Admiral [Earl of Nottingham]

L. Chamberlain [Earl of Suffolk]

Earl of Devonshire

Earl of Northampton

Earl of Salisbury

Earl of Mar

Lord Chief Justice [Popham][63] } Attended by Mr.

Attorney-General [Coke]."

Father Gerard, who has printed this examination in his Appendix,[64] styles it a draft, placing on the opposite pages the published confession of Guy Fawkes on November 17. That later confession, indeed, though embodying many passages of the earlier one, contains so many new statements, that it is a misapplication of words to speak of the one as the draft of the other. A probable explanation of the similarity is that when Fawkes was re-examined on the 17th, his former confession was produced, and he was required to supplement it with fresh information.

In one sense, indeed, the paper from which the examination of the 8th has been printed both by Father Gerard and myself, may be styled a draft, not of the examination of the 17th, but of a copy forwarded to Edmondes on the 14th.[65] The two passages crossed out and printed above[66] in italics have been omitted in the copy intended for the ambassadors. All other differences, except those of punctuation, have been given in my notes, and it will be seen that they are merely the changes of a copyist from whom absolute verbal accuracy was not required. Father Gerard, indeed, says that in the original of the so-called draft five paragraphs were 'ticked off for omission.' He may be right, but in Winter's declaration of November 23, every paragraph is marked in the same way, and, at all events, not one of the five paragraphs is omitted in the copy sent to Edmondes.

In any other sense to call this paper a draft is to beg the whole question. What we want to know is whether it was a copy of the rough notes of the examination, signed by Fawkes himself, or a pure invention either of Salisbury or of the seven Commissioners and the Attorney-General. Curiously enough, one of the crossed out passages supplies evidence that the document is a genuine one. The first, indeed, proves nothing either way, and was, perhaps, left out merely because it was thought unwise to allow it to be known that the King had been so carelessly guarded that Percy had been admitted to his presence with a sword by his side. The second contains an intimation that the conspirators did not intend to rely only on a Catholic rising. They expected to have on their side Protestants who disliked the union with Scotland, and who were ready to protest 'against all strangers,' that is to say, against all Scots. We can readily understand that Privy Councillors, knowing as they did the line taken by the King in the matter of the union, would be unwilling to spread information of there being in England a Protestant party opposed to the union, not only of sufficient importance to be worth gaining, but so exasperated that even these gunpowder plotters could think it possible to win them to their side. Nor is this all. If it is difficult to conceive that the Commissioners could have allowed such a paragraph to go abroad, it is at least equally difficult to think of their inventing it. We may be sure that if Fawkes had not made the statement, no one of the examiners would ever have committed it to paper at all, and if the document is genuine in this respect, why is it not to be held genuine from beginning to end?

Father Gerard, indeed, objects to this view of the case that the document 'is unsigned; the list of witnesses is in the same handwriting as the rest, and in no instance is a witness indicated by such a title as he would employ for his signature. Throughout this paper Fawkes is made to speak in the third person, and the names of accomplices to whom he refers are not given.'[67] All this is quite true, and unless I am much mistaken, are evidences for the genuineness of the document, not for its fabrication. If Salisbury had wished to palm off an invention of his own as a copy of a true confession by Fawkes, he surely would not have stuck at so small a thing as an alleged copy of the prisoner's signature, nor is it to be supposed that the original signatures of the Commissioners would appear in what, in my contention, is a copy of a lost original. As for the titles Lord Admiral and Lord Chamberlain being used instead of their signatures, it was in accordance with official usage. A letter, written on January 21, 1604-5, by the Council to the Judges, bears nineteen names at the foot in the place where signatures are ordinarily found. The first six names are given thus:-'L. Chancellor, L. Treasurer, L. Admirall, L. Chamberlaine, E. of Northumberland, E. of Worcester.'[68] Fawkes is made to speak in the third person in all the four preceding examinations, three of which bear his autograph signature. That the names of accomplices are not given is exactly what one might expect from a man of his courage. All through the five examinations he refused to break his oath not to reveal a name, except in the case of Percy in which concealment was impossible. It required the horrible torture of the 9th to wring a single name from him.

Moreover, Father Gerard further urges what he intends to be damaging to the view taken by me, that a set of questions formed by Coke upon the examination of the 7th, apparently for use on the 8th, is 'not founded on information already obtained, but is, in fact, what is known as a "fishing document," intended to elicit evidence of some kind.'[69] Exactly so! If Coke had to fish, casting his net as widely as Father Gerard correctly shows him to have done, it is plain that the Government had no direct knowledge to guide its inquiries. Father Gerard's charge therefore resolves itself into this: that Salisbury not only deceived the public at large, but his brother-commissioners as well. Has he seriously thought out all that is involved in this theory? Salisbury, according to hypothesis, gets an altered copy of a confession drawn up, or else a confession purely invented by himself. The clerk who makes it is, of course, aware of what is being done, and also the second clerk,[70] who wrote out the further copy sent to Edmondes. Edmondes, at least, received the second copy, and there can be little doubt that other ambassadors received it also. How could Salisbury count on the life-long silence of all these? Salisbury, as the event proved, was not exactly loved by his colleagues, and if his brother-commissioners-every one of them men of no slight influence at Court-had discovered that their names had been taken in vain, it would not have been left to the rumour of the streets to spread the news that Salisbury had been the inventor of the plot. Nay, more than this. Father Gerard distinctly sets down the story of the mine as an impossible one, and therefore one which must have been fabricated by Salisbury for his own purposes. The allegation that there had been a mine was not subsequently kept in the dark. It was proclaimed on the house-tops in every account of the plot published to the world. And all the while, it seems, six out of these seven Commissioners, to say nothing of the Attorney-General, knew that it was all a lie-that Fawkes, when they examined him on the 8th, had really said nothing about it, and yet, neither in public, nor, so far as we know, in private-either in Salisbury's lifetime or after his death-did they breathe a word of the wrong that had been done to them as well as to the conspirators!

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