Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes, or The history of the gunpowder plot  (c. 1839–1858) 
by Anonymous

GUY FAWKES,

OR

THE HISTORY

OF THE

GUNPOWDER PLOT.


Guy Fawkes, or The history of the gunpowder plot - Title.png


EDINBURGH:

PRINTED & PUBLISHED BY J. BRYDONE,

SOUTH HANOVER STREET.

GUY FAWKES,

or

THE GUNPOWDER PLOT


The conspiracy called the Gunpowder Plot must, for various reasons, be considered as one of the most remarkable occurrences in English history. The atrocity of the design, the extent of the mischief intended, and the mysterious manner in which the scheme is represented to have been detected upon the eve of its execution, would alone be sufficient to give a surpassing interest to the story; while the observance of the anniversary periodically awakens the remembrance of Guy Fawkes and his associates, and perpetuates the memory of the transaction by rendering its leading features familiar even to our children.

In order to form a fair judgment of the causes which produced the Gunpowder Treason, and to comprehend the motives of those who were engaged in it, it is necessary to consider generally the state of the English Catholics at that period, and to take a summary view of the penal restrictions and liabilities to which, at the commencement of the reign of James I., the adherents to the Roman Church were subject.

The laws passed against recusants in the latter years of the reign of Elizabeth were extremely severe; and whatever may have been the object with which they were passed, and without discussing the debatable question of their necessity for the preservation of the Protestant establishment from the practices of disaffccted and turbulent fanatics, at that time excited and encouraged by the mischievous interference of the Pope, it may be observed that their effect undoubtedly was to withdraw from the Catholics the common rights and liberties of Englishmen, and to place all persons, however loyal to the existing Government, who adhered, from conscience and principle, to the ancient religion, in a state of unmerited persecution and suffering. By these laws, Catholics were not only forbidden to use the rites and ceremonies of their own faith, but were required to attend upon the services of a Church, which, if conscientious and consistent, they were bound to abhor as heretical and damnable. If they refused or forbore to come to a Protestant church on the Sabbath, they were liable to a penalty of £20 for every lunar month during which they absented themselves. The public exercise of the social rites of their own Church was virtually interdicted; for it was enacted, 'that every priest saying mass was punishable by a forfeiture of two hundred marks, and every person hearing it by a forfeiture of one hundred marks, and both were to be imprisoned a year, and the priest until his fine was paid.' The ministers of their religion, without whose presence they were precluded from the exercise of the Sacraments and other rites, were in effect proscribed and banished; for, by a statute passed in 1585, (27 Eliz. c. 2,) it was enacted, 'that all Jesuits, seminary and other priests, ordained since the beginning of the Queen's reign, should depart out of the realm within forty days after the end of that session of Parliament; and that all such priests, or other religious persons, ordained since the same time, should not come into England, or remain there, under the pain of suffering death as in case of treason.' It was also enacted by the same statute, 'that all persons receiving or assisting such priests should be guilty of a capital felony.' When a person professing the Popish religion was convicted in a court of law of absenting himself from the Established Church, he was termed a 'Popish recusant convict;' such a person was liable, by the 35 Eliz. c. 1, to be committed to prison without bail until he conformed and made submission; and if he did not, within three months after conviction, submit and repair to the Established Church, he must abjure the realm; and if he refused to swear, or did not depart upon his abjuration, or if he returned without licence, he was guilty of felony, and might suffer death as a felon, without benefit of clergy. No doubt, these rigorous laws were not at all times enforced to their utmost extent; but they placed the whole body of the Catholics at the mercy of the Protestant Government, who were enabled to crush or spare them at their discretion or caprice; for them, therefore, there was no liberty, personal or religious, but such as the Privy Council thought proper to allow: and with reference to their religion, the law gave them no rights, and afforded them no protection. When we remember that the victims of the laws above enumerated considered themselves to be the majority of the gross population of the country; that the chief sufferers were the principal nobility and gentry of the land, whose ancestors had served the Kings of England, before the Reformation, in the highest offices of state, and whose honours and possessions were the proofs of royal favour and distinction conferred on their predecessors; when we consider, moreover, that these persons were thus impoverished and disgraced for their adherence to that ancient religion to whose rites and ceremonies they were attached by early and hereditary associations, and whose power and influence they were bound by the strongest obligations to maintain and defend against what was to them an abominable heresy, we shall be at no loss to comprehend the bitter feelings of discontent which prevailed amongst the English Catholics under Elizabeth, and which produced a constant succession of plots and rebellions, more or less important and alarming, during the last twenty years of her reign.

Although it must be admitted that the laws in existence against the Catholics at this period were not constantly enforced against them, it must not, on the other hand, be supposed that they were merely suspended, in terrorem, over the heads of those against whom they were directed, for the purpose of restraining the seditious attempts of the disaffected. There is no doubt that they were often practically applied to a very severe extent; and there were few Catholic families who had not in some degree experienced their rigour. Of this, many instances might be adduced.

As Elizabeth's life declined, it was natural that a party so oppressed should direct their attention with much anxiety to her probable successor. Having abandoned all expectation of an avowed Catholic heir to the crown, they were led by many cireumstances to look forward with hope to the sueeession of James. They remembered that he was born of Catholic parents, and that he had been baptized by a Catholic archbishop; they relied upon the feelings of dislike with which they supposed that he must regard the party who had caused the execution of his mother; they knew that several of the ordinanees of the Roman Church were approved by him; and they had heard and believed that he had, on more than one occasion, expressed a willingness to be reconciled to the Apostolie See. But, besides these general presumptions of a disposition favourable to their party, the leading Catholics were attached to the cause of James, by the express assurances of a toleration for their religion, which were generally reported to them from various quarters, and, in particular, by individuals despatched to Edinburgh for the purpose of ascertaining his intentions upon that subject.

But the fond hopes and expectations of the Catholics were dissipated and destroyed before six inonths of James' Government had passed away. Symptoms of an anti-Catholic disposition appeared as soon as he felt himself firmly seated on the throne. De Beaumont says, that 'within a month after his arrival in London, he answered an objeetion made in conversation to the appointment of Lord Henry Howard to a seat in the Privy Council, on account of his being a Catholic.' The same authority farther reports, that 'he maintained openly at table that the Pope was the true Antichrist, with other like blasphemies worthy of his doctrine'. A proclamation, dated February 22, 1603-4, in which the King commanded all Jesuits, Seminarists, and other priests, to depart the realm before the 19th of March following, and not to return, under the penalty of being left to the rigour of the laws. These repeated threats were practically enforced by proceedings in Parliament, and generally throughout the country, which distinctly indicated to the dismayed Catholics a return to the persecutions and indignities of the reign of Elizabeth.

Though all were alike disappointed and discontented, it is clear that the general body of the English Catholics did not at this time contemplate forcible measures for the removal of their grievances. Many, however, and, in particular, those who were attached to the Jesuits' party, now wholly despairing of obtaining from the justice of the King, or by peaceable means, any alleviation of their degradation and misery, and despising and rejecting the counsel of the more moderate, readily lent an ear to any scheme of vengeance however desperate and sanguinary.

The design of blowing up the House of Lords with gunpowder at the opening of Parliament, and thus destroying, at a single blow, the King, the Lords, and the Commons, was formed about the summer of 1604. The conceiver of this desperate and bloody vengeance was Robert Catesby, a Catholic, the son of Sir William Catesby, who had been several times imprisoned for recusancy. It is uncertain whether, in order of time, Catesby first disclosed his scheme to John Wright or to Thomas Winter, the former descended from a respectable family in Yorkshire, the Wrights of Plowland, in Holderness; the latter, from the Winters in Huddington, in Worcestershire, where they had been in possession of estates since the time of Henry VI. At a conversation held between these conspirators, it was agreed that Winter should go over to the Netherlands to meet Velasco, constable of Castile, who had arrived at Flanders on his way to England to conclude a peaee between James and the King of Spain, and him to solieit his Majesty to recal the penal laws against the Catholies, and to admit them into the rank of his other subjeets. Winter received no eneouragement from Velaseo that he would stipulate in the treaty of the liberties of the English Catholics; and so and returned to England, taking Fawkes along with him, but without, at that time, eommunicating to him the nature of Catesby's purpose.

Guido, or Guy Fawkes, whose name has been more generally associated with this plot than that of any of the other conspirators, in consequence of the prominent part he undertook in the execution of it, was a gentleman of good family and respectable parentage in Yorkshire. His father, Edward Fawkes, was a notary at York, and held the office of Registrar and Advocate of the Consistory Court of the Cathedral. Of the education and early history of Guy Fawkes nothing is known; but having spent the little property he derived from his father, he enlisted as a soldier of fortune in the Spanish army in Flanders, and was present at the taking of Calais by the Archduke Albert in 1598. He was well known to the English Catholics, and had been despatehed by Sir William Stanley and Owen from Flanders to join Christopher Wright on his embassy to Philip II., immediately after Queen Elizabeth's death. Father Greenway, who knew all the conspirators intimately, describes him as 'a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and cheerful demeanour, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observances.' His society is stated, by the same authority, to have been 'sought by all the most distinguished in the Archduke's camp for nobility and virtue.' If this account of his character be correct, we are to look upon this man, not, according to the popular notion, as a mercenary ruffian ready for hire to perform the chief part in any tragedy of blood, but as an enthusiast whose understanding had been distorted by superstition, and in whom fanaticism had conquered the better feelings of nature. His conduct, after the discovery of the plot, is quite consistent with the character of a fanatie.

Soon after Winter's return to London, Thomas Percy, the relation and confidential steward of the Earl of Northumberland, joined the four eonspirators already mentioned. They met by appointment at a house in the fields beyond St Clement's Inn, and Catesby, Percy, Thomas Winter, John Wright, and Fawkes, then severally took an oath in the following form:—'You swear by the blessed Trinity, and by the Sacrament you now propose to receive, never to disclose, directly or indirectly, by word or cireumstance, the matter that shall be proposed to you to keep seeret, nor desist from the execution thereof until the rest shall give you leave.' This oath was given by them to each other in the most solemn manner, 'kneeling down upon their knees, with their hands laid on a primer.' They then heard mass, and received the Sacrament from Father Gerard, a Jesuit missionary, in confirmation of their vow. Thomas Winter and Fawkes both state the secrot was not communicated to Gerard. Percy took the next step. He was a gentleman pensioner, and, upon pretence that it would be convenient to him when in attendance in that capacity, he purchased of one Ferris the remainder of a short term which he had in the lease of a house adjoining the Parliament House. It was, accordingly, taken in Percy's name, under a written agreement with Ferris, the original of which, dated May 24, 1604, may be seen at the State-Paper Office. From the cellar of this house a mine was to be made through tho wall of the Parliament House, and a quantity of gunpowder and combustibles to be deposited immediately under the House of Lords. Fawkes, who was unknown in London, and had assumed the name of Johnson, acted as Percy's servant, and took possession of the house. Parliament was soon afterwards adjourned till the 7th February; and the conspirators, having first hired a house in Lambeth for the preparation of timber for the mine, and a place of deposit for combustibles, agreed to meet in London about the beginning of November. The custody of the house in Lambeth was committed to Robert Keyes, the son of a Protestant clergyman in Derbyshire, but himself a Catholic: the oath of secrecy was administered to him also.

The proceedings of the Star-Chamber, during the interval of their meetings, so exasperated the conspirators, that they became more eager than ever about the plot. Catesby and his confederates, according to a previous agreement, assembled in the house about the 11th of December, and a mine was immediately commenced. The stone wall, however, which separated them from the Parliament House, being found three yards in thickness, Keyes and the younger brother of John Wright (who was enlisted as the others had been) were called in to assist, and the seven men were thus occupied until Christmas-eve without their ever appearing in the upper part of the house. 'All which seven,' says Fawkes in his examination, 'were gentlemen of name and blood; and not any was employed in or about this action, no, not so much as in digging and mining, that was not a gentleman. And while the others wrought. I stood as sentinel to descry any man that came near; and when any person came near the place, upon warning given by me, they ceased until they had again notice from me to proceed; and we seven lay in the house, and had shot and powder, and we all resolved to die in that place before we yielded or were taken.'

During their laborious employment, they had much consultation respecting the scheme to be adopted. It was supposed that Prince Henry would accompany the King to the Parliament House, and perish there with his father. The Duke of York, afterwards Charles I., would then be the next heir, and Percy undertook to secure his person, and carry him off in safety as soon as the fatal blow was struck. If this scheme should fail, the Princess Elizabeth, who was under the care of Lord Harrington at his house near Coventry, might be easily surprised and secured by a party provided in the country. It was the intention to proclaim one of the Royal Family as king. It was also arranged that Warwickshire should be the general rendezvous, and that supplies of horses and armour should be sent to the houses of several of the conspirators in that county, to be used as occasion might require; all which was accordingly attended to.

In the midst of these deliberations, Fawkes brought intelligenee that the Parliament had again been prorogued from the 7th of February to the 3d of October following. The conspirators, therefore, separated for a time; and, in the mean while, John Grant of Norbrook, in Warwiekshire, and Robert Winter of Huddington, were sworn in among their number. In February (1604-5,) their labours were resumed, and the stone wall nearly half broken through.

Father Greenway observes, that 'it seemed almost incredible that men of their quality, aeeustomed to live in ease and delieaey, could have undergone sueh severe labour; and especially that, in a few weeks, they could have effeeted much more than as many workmen would have done who had been all their lives in the habit of gaining their daily bread by their labour.' In particular, he remarks that 'it was wonderful how Perey and Catesby, who were unusually tall men, could endure for so long a time the intense fatigue of working day and night in the stooping posture which was rendered necessary by the straightness of the place.'

One morning, while working upon the wall, they suddenly heard a rushing noise in a cellar nearly above their heads. At first, they feared they had been diseovered; but Fawkes, being despatched to reconnoitre, found that one Bright, to whom the cellar belonged, was selling off his coals in order to remove. Fawkes carefully surveyed this largo vault situated immediately below the House of Lords, and perceived its fitness for their purpose. The difficulties connected with breaking through the wall, its thickness, the damp of the situation, for water was continually oozing through the stone work, and tho danger of discovery from noise, disposed the confederates to abandon their operations, and to possess themselves of the cellar of Bright. The vault was immediately hired, and thirty-six barrels of powder were carried by night from Lambeth; iron bars and other tools that had been used in mining were also thrown among the powder that the breach might be the greater, and the whole was covered over with faggots. Lumber of various kinds was placed in the cellar, to prevent any suspicion of the curious or the watchful.

In May 1605, the preparations were complete: the conspirators, having marked tho door, in order that it might be seen if any one entered the vault, consented to separate. Before their separation, however, it was proposed that an attempt should be made to obtain foreign co-operation, by informing Sir William Stanley and Owen of the project. This was agreed to on condition of their being sworn to secrecy, and Fawkes was despatched to Flanders for the purpose of conferring with them. Sir Edmund Baynham was also sent on a mission to the Pope, that, when the news of the explosion arrived at Rome, he might be prepared to negotiate on behalf of the conspirators, and to explain that the design of the plot was the re-establishment of Catholicism. Soon after Fawkes' return from Flanders, the Parliament was further prorogued from October to the 5th of November. These repeated prorogations alarmed the conspirators, and led them to fear that their project was suspected. Their alarms, however, having been diseovered to be groundless, Catesby purchased horses, arms, and powder, and, under the pretence of making levies for the Arehduke in Flanders, assembled friends who might be armed in the country when the first blow was struck. As considerable sums of money were necessary for these purposes, it was proposed to admit into the confederacy three wealthy men—Sir Everard Digby, of Tilton and Drystoke, in Rutlandshire, who was then only twenty-four years of age; Ambrose Rookwood, of Coldham Hall, in Stanningfield, Suffolk; and Francis Tresham, of Rushton, in Northamptonshire, the two first intimate friends, and tho last a near relation of Catesby. These gentlemen were afterwards sworn in.

The particulars of what took place at the communication of the plot to Tresham by Catesby are unknown; however, he at first seemed to agree to it cordially, and undertook to furnish £2000 towards the promotion of the scheme. The sineerity of Tresham seems to have been always suspected by some of the conspirators; and probably nothing but the temptation of the great wealth of which he had lately become possessed upon his father's death, and his devotion to the Catholic religion, would havo induced them to consent to his rcecption amongst them. He was known to bo mean, treacherous, and unprincipled; and his character must have been fully understood by Catesby, who was not only his near relation, but had been brought up with him, and had been engaged with him in several treasonable conspiracies. Father Greenway states, that Catesby afterwards repented that he had admitted Tresham into the confederacy; that from the moment of his introduction he mistrusted him; and that the most fearful forebodings, excited and supported by ominous dreams portending the failure of his scheme, took possession of his mind.

As the day of meeting of Parliament approached, it was finally determined that Fawkes should fire the mine with a slow match, which would allow him a quarter of an hour to escape. He was instantly to embark on board a vessel in the river, and to proceed to Flanders with the intelligence of what had been done. Sir Everard Digby was to assemble a number of Catholic gentlemen in Warwickshire on the 5th of November under pretence of a hunting party, and Percy was to seize the Prince of Wales, or the Duke of York if the Prince should go to the Parliament House with the King. One subject of discussion only arose, whether and how the Catholic Peers should be warned of their danger. Each conspirator had friends, if not relations among them; but the danger of communicating the project to so large a number of persons was considered so imminent, that they despaired of saving all of them; and it was concluded that no express notice should be given them, but only such persuasion, upon general grounds, as might deter them from attending. Many of the conspirators were averse to this advice, and angry at its adoption, and Tresham in particular, for his sisters has married Lords Stourton and Mounteagle. Indeed, Tresham so passionately required that Lord Mounteagle should have warning of his danger, that very high words ensued; and when he was thwarted in his wishes, he hinted that the money he had promised would not be forthcoming; and from this time he ceased to attend their councils.

On Saturday, the 26th of October, ten days before the meeting of Parliament, Lord Mounteagle unexpectedly gave a supper in a house which he had not lately occupied. Circumstances have given rise to a belief that he was privy to the plot at the time that he invited his friends, and that the supper was only given as a convenient opportunity of discovering the conspiracy to them. Be this as it may, whilst he was at table, a letter was brought to him by one of his pages, who stated that he had received it in the street from a stranger, who pressed its instant delivery into his master's hands. The letter was as follows:—

'My Lord,—Out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a care for your preservation; therefore, I would advise you, as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift off your attendance on this Parliament, for God and man have determined to punish the wickedness of the times. And think not slightly of this advertisement; but retire yourself into the country, where you may expect the event in safety. For though there be no appearance of any stir, yet say they will receive a terrible blow this Parliament; and yet they shall not see who hurts them. This counsel is not to be contemned, because it may do you good, and can do you no harm; for the danger is over as soon as you have burned this letter. And I hope God will give you the grace to make use of it, to whose holy protection I commend you.—To the Right Honourable the Lord Mounteagle.'—This letter has been ascribed to Anne, the daughter of Lord Vaux, to Mrs Abington, Lord Mounteagle's sister, to Percy, and to others; but there seems greater reasons for believing that no one of these was the writer of it, but rather that Tresham was its author.

On the same evening, Lord Mounteagle shewed the letter to several Lords of the Council, who, with him, agreed that no steps should be taken until the King returned from hunting at Royston. The contents of the letter and its communication to many of the Council, as well as to the Secretary of State, soon reached the ears of the conspirators; but, though their danger was evident, and the vessel which was to convey Fawkes to Flanders was lying in the river, they made no attempt to escape. All suspected Tresham to be their betrayer, and he was accused by them, but he vehemently denied the accusation. Since they did not know accurately to what extent their proceedings had been divulged, they had still hope of effecting their design, especially as, upon examination, Fawkes found that the cellar was not watched and had not been disturbed. When, however, they heard that, on the 31st of October, the letter had been shewn to the King, their hope diminished and their fears increased. Some of the conspirators left London; others concealed themselves in an obscure lodging; all held themselves ready to start at a moment's warning. Fawkes alone, with the extraordinary courage which he had displayed through out the transaction, took up his station in the cellar. Thus they passed three days of anxiety and suspense.

On the Monday afternoon, the Lord Chamberlain, whose duty it was to see that all the arrangements for the meeting of Parliament were complete, went to the Parliament House, accompanied by Lord Mounteagle, who, it was said, expressed a desire to be present at the search. They first went into the Parliament Chamber, and remained there a considerable time; and then, for the alleged purpose of looking for some stuff of the King's, they visited the vaults and cellars under the house. They remarked the great store of coals and wood there, and perceived Fawkes standing in a corner. The Lord Chamberlain, with affected carelessness, inquired to whom this unusually large provision of fuel belonged; and being informed that the collar and its contents belonged to Perey, and that he had rented it for about a year and a half, retired without making any more particular search, to report his observations to the King. On their way, Lord Mounteagle expressed his fears and suspicions on the ground, that, though he was an intimate friend of Perey, and had lived with him for many years on terms of familiarity, he had not the least notion that he ever inhabited this house. Upon hearing the statement of the Lord Chamberlain, who declared the store of eoals and wood to be beyond all proportion to the wants of a person who dwelt so little in the house as Perey, and that the man (Fawkes) in the cellar looked like 'a very tall and desperate fellow, it was determined by the King, with the concurrence of several of the Privy Council, that the cellar should that night be minutely (illegible text)ed. In order, however, not to excite premature alarm, they employed Sir Thomas Knevet, a magistrate in Westminster, (who had been a gentleman of the Privy Chamber in the late Queen's time, and still held the same office,) to superintend a complete search of all the houses and cellars in the neighbourhood, under the pretence of looking for some stuff and hangings in the keeping of Whineard, the keeper of the King's wardrobe, which had been missing ever since the death of the late Queen.

Meanwhile, the visit of Lord Mounteagle and the Lord Chamberlain had been quite sufficient to alarm the vigilance of Fawkes. He went out to inform Percy of what had happened, but returned himself to his dangerous post; fully determined, as he afterwards declared, to have blown up the house on the first appearance of danger, and so to have perished together with those who might come to apprehend him.

Shortly before midnight, on the eve of the celebrated 5th of November, Sir Thomas Knevet, accompanied by a sufficient number of assistants, repaired secretly and suddenly to the house. At the moment of their arrival, Fawkes was stepping out of the door, dressed and booted, having, as he afterwards said, just then ended his work. He was stayed, and Sir Thomas Knevet proceeded to examine the cellar, where he found thirty-six barrels of gunpowder under the billets, in casks and hogsheads. Upon this discovery, Fawkes was seized, and bound hand and foot; a watch, together with slow matches and touchwood, were found upon his person; and a dark lantern, with a light in it, was discovered in a corner behind the door of the cellar. Fawkes at once avowed his purpose to the magistrate, and declared that 'if he had happened to be within the house when he took him, he would not have failed to have blown him up, house and all.'

Having left a sufficient guard with the prisoner, Sir Thomas Knevet repaired to Whitehall to give notice of his success to the Earl of Salisbury Such of the Council as slept at Whitehall were called, and the others who were in the town summoned; and the doors and gates being secured, all assembled in the King's bedchamber. Fawkes was brought in and questioned. Undismayed by the suddenness of his apprehension, or by the circumstances of this nocturnal examination before the King and Council, this resolute fanatic behaved with a Roman firmness of nerve, which filled the minds of all present with astonishment. To the impatient and hurried questions which were put to him with some violence and passion, he answered calmly and firmly. He gave his name as John Johnson, the servant of Thomas Percy, declared his intention to blow up the King, Lords, and Bishops, and others who should have assembled at the opening of the Parliament, refused to accuse any one as his accomplice; and upon being asked by the King how he could enter upon so bloody a conspiracy against so many innocent persons, declared that 'dangerous diseases require a desperate remedy.' Being questioned as to his intentions by some of the Scotch courtiers, he told them that 'one of his objects was to blow them back into Scotland.' After a great part of the night had been spent in examination, Fawkes was sent with a guard to the Tower.

After having received the news of the apprehension of Fawkes, it was agreed by the conspirators, who had assembled at Ashby Ledgers, to take up arms with the few followers they could collect, and to endeavour to excite to rebellion the Roman Catholics in the counties of Warwick, Worcester, and Stafford, together with those of Wales. This scheme was immediately adopted; arms and horses were seized upon, and different parties despatched over the country. But all their efforts were in vain, and the failure of the project so complete, that their proceedings served no other purpose than to point them out as members of the confederacy. A party of the King's troops pursued some of the conspirators to Holbeach, and here an obstinate defence, was made, in which the two Wrights, Percy, and Catesby were killed, and Rookwood and Thomas Winter wounded. The others were eventually taken. Tresham died a natural death in prison; and on the 27th January 1606, eight persons, namely, Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Thomas Bates, were tried at Westminster by a special commission for being concerned in the Powder Plot. Sir Everard Digby was arraigned and tried separately for the same crime. Upon the trials, no witness was orally examined; the evidence consisted of the written declaration of Digby's servant and of the prisoners themselves. There is reason to believe that Fawkes was tortured in order to make him confess more fully. All the prisoners were found guilty, and upon all the sentence of death was passed. The prisoners, after their condemnation and judgment, were again removed to the Tower, where they remained till the Thursday following, on which day four of them, viz. Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates, were drawn upon sledges and hurdles to a scaffold erected at the western end of St Paul's Church-yard. Great pains were taken to render the spectacle of the execution as imposing as possible; and, among other arrangements made in order to guard against any popular tumult, a precept was issued by the Lord Mayor to the Aldermen of each ward in the city, requiring him to provide an able and sufficient man, armed with a halbert, to stand at the door of every dwelling-house in the streets through which the conspirators were to be drawn to execution, from seven o'clock in the morning until the return of the Sheriff.

Sir Everard Digby was the first appointed for execution, who ascended the scaffold with a firm and manly bearing; and, in a speech short but expressive, stated his conviction in the justicc of the cause he had been engaged in in its religious aspect, but regretted it had been against the legal authority, for which he asked forgiveness of God, of the King, and the whole kingdom. Having engaged in prayer, he ascended the ladder, and was immediately launched into the unseen world.

Winter and Grant expressed themselves in nearly the same terms, who, after having prayed, ascended the fatal drop.

Bates, who was the last executed, expressed himself as sorry for his co-operation in the plot, and regretted his having yielded to the suggestion of his master, Catesby, and engaged in the conspiracy which had been attended with such baneful fruits. He was then hanged and quartered. Thus terminated the Thursday's proceedings

On the following day were drawn from the Tower to the Old Palace in Westminster, over against the Parliament House, where a scaffold was erected for their execution, Thomas Winter, the younger brother, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Guido Fawkes the miner, by some called the devil of the vaults; of whom says an old author, 'had he not been a devil incarnate, he had never conceived so villanous a thought, nor been employed in so damnable an action.'

Winter and Rookwood appeared sorry for having been guilty of such a diabolical offence; and, having hung a short time at the halter, were dragged to the block, and there quickly despatched.

Keyes made little or no show of repentance, but went up the ladder in a most indifferent manner, where, not staying long, he turned himself off with a great leap which broke the rope; but after his fall, he was drawn to the block, and divided into four parts.

Fawkes, who was much weakened by the torture he had undergone for the purpose of extracting from him any statements that might prejudice those of whom the Government entertained suspicions, with difficulty, and with the assistance of the executioner, ascended the scaffold, and expiated, with his life, the offence of which he was the intended perpetrator.


James Brydone, Printer, 17 South Hanover Street, Edinburgh.