Scott, Thomas (d.1660) (DNB00)
SCOTT or SCOT, THOMAS (d. 1660), regicide, is said by Noble to have been the son of a brewer in London (Lives of the Regicides, ii. 169). Another authority describes him as probably descended from Thomas Scot, a Yorkshireman, who married Margaret, widow of Benedict Lee of Burston, and daughter of Robert Pakington (Lipscomb, Buckinghamshire, ii. 11). Scot was educated at Westminster school and at Cambridge (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894; Wood, Athenæ, iii. 578). On 27 June 1644 his name appears in the list of the parliamentary committee for Buckinghamshire (Husband, Ordinances of 1646, folio, p. 511). In 1645 he was returned to the Long parliament, in place of Sir Ralph Verney, for Aylesbury (Return of Members of Parliament, i. 485; Memoirs of the Verney Family, ii. 218). He was one of those members of the commons who joined the army and signed the engagement of 4 Aug. 1647 (Rushworth, vii. 755). In January 1649 Scot was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of Charles I, signed the king's death-warrant, and was only absent twice during the trial (Nalson, Trial of Charles I). He was elected a member of each of the five councils of state elected during the Commonwealth, and in the election to the fifth was seventh on the list, obtaining 93 votes out of 114 (Commons' Journals, vii. 220).
On 1 July 1649 the council of state appointed Scot to ‘manage the intelligence both at home and abroad for the state,’ and granted him 800l. a year for that object (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p, 221). This involved the employment of spies and secret agents, both at foreign courts and among the exiled royalists, and gave Scot an important influence both in foreign and domestic policy. His papers have mostly perished, but in 1660 he drew up an account of his proceedings as an intelligencer which throws some light on the history of the Commonwealth (printed in the English Historical Review, January 1897). Scot was a vehement supporter of the republic, opposed Cromwell's dissolution of the Long parliament in 1653, and remained hostile to him throughout the protectorate. In the Protector's first parliament he represented Wycombe (though his election was disputed), and was, according to Ludlow, ‘very instrumental in opening the eyes of many young members’ on the question of the legality of the new constitution (Mercurius Politicus, 6–13 July 1654; Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 391). In consequence he was one of those members excluded from the house for refusing to sign the engagement of 12 Sept. 1654, accepting the government as settled in a single person and parliament. In 1656 Scot was returned to Cromwell's second parliament as member for Aylesbury, but failed in the attempt to be also chosen at Wycombe (Thurloe Papers, v. 316). The council of state, however, kept out Scot and about ninety more republicans whose protestation is printed in Whitelocke's ‘Memorials’ (ed. 1853, iv. 274). All those thus excluded were admitted in January 1658 at the opening of the second session. Scot at once proceeded to attack the House of Lords, which had been established in accordance with the ‘Humble Petition and Advice.’ On 29 Jan. he made a long oration, reviewing the whole history of the civil war, justifying the execution of the king and the abolition of the lords, and denouncing the attempt to put fetters upon the people of England by reviving a second chamber. ‘Shall I,’ he said, ‘that sat in a parliament that brought a king to the bar, and to the block, not speak my mind freely here?’ (Burton, Parliamentary Diary, ii. 382).
In Richard Cromwell's parliament, Scot, who again sat for Wycombe, was equally prominent among the opposition. He pronounced a panegyric on the Long parliament, attacked Cromwell's foreign policy, opposed the admission of the members for Scotland, and spoke against the recognition of Richard Cromwell and the powers given the Protector by the constitution (ib. iii. 28, 107, 219, 275, 473, iv. 34, 92, 228, 316, 453, 478; Ludlow, ii. 50). On the fall of Richard Cromwell and the restoration of the Long parliament, Scot became a person of great influence in the new government. He was appointed a member of the council of state on 14 May 1659, and again on 31 Dec. of the same year (Commons' Journals, vii. 654, 800). He was also one of the six members of the intelligence committee (24 May 1659), and was finally given the sole charge of the intelligence department (10 Jan. 1660) (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–60, pp. 355, 374). When Lambert interrupted the sittings of the Long parliament (October 1659), Scot entered into correspondence with Monck, and took an active part in opposing the army (Ludlow, ii. 145, 159, 176, 209). In conjunction with Ashley Cooper, he made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the Tower (Christie, Life of Shaftesbury, vol. i. p. lxxiv). When the parliament was once more restored he was made secretary of state (17 Jan. 1660), and sent to meet Monck on his march from Scotland and congratulate him on his success (Commons' Journals, vii. 813, 816). Monck found Scot's company very irksome, regarding him as a spy sent by parliament, but treated him with great civility and professed to be guided by his advice (Gumble, Life of Monck, pp. 224, 226; Price, Mystery of His Majesty's Happy Restoration, ed. Maseres, pp. 754–61). After Monck's march into the city and his threatening letter to the parliament (11 Feb. 1660), Scot was again sent as parliamentary commissioner to him, and his reception opened his eyes to the fact that he had been deluded (ib. pp. 248, 252; Price, p. 768; Ludlow, ii. 222). The readmission of the members of the commons excluded in 1648 put an end to his secretaryship and his power, but before the dissolution of the Long parliament he took opportunity to affirm the justice of the king's execution, saying that he desired no better epitaph than ‘Here lies one who had a hand and a heart in the execution of Charles Stuart’ (ib. ii. 250; Trial of the Regicides, p. 87). Ludlow and some of the late council of state hoped to raise money and troops for a last effort to prevent the restoration of Charles II, but Scot, who had promised his assistance, finding the scheme had no prospect of success, and that his arrest was imminent, resolved to retire to the country (Ludlow, ii. 252). In April 1660, finding himself, as he said, in danger of assassination, he took ship for Flanders. In spite of his disguise he was recognised at Brussels in June 1660, and attempts were made to seize him. In the end he was persuaded to surrender himself to Sir Henry de Vic, the king's resident at Brussels, in the hope of saving his life by thus obeying the royal proclamation for the surrender of the regicides. The credit of capturing him or persuading him to surrender was much disputed (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1670, p. 649; A True Narrative in a Letter written to Col. B. R. of the Apprehension of the Grand Traitor Thomas Scot, 1660, 4to; Mr. Ignatius White his Vindication from all Imputations concerning Mr. Scot, &c., 1660, 4to). Scot was brought to England, and at once sent to the Tower (July 12). The House of Commons had excepted him from pardon on 6 June, and the exception was maintained in the act of indemnity. Some promise of life appears to have been made to him if he would discover the agents from whom he had obtained information of the plans of Charles II during the time he was intelligencer. He drew up accordingly ‘A Confession and Discovery of his Transactions,’ to which he appended a petition for his life, apologising for his ‘rash and over-lavish’ words in parliament, and pleading his constant opposition to Cromwell (English Historical Review, January 1897), but his revelations were not held sufficiently valuable; he was tried with the other regicides on 12 Oct. 1660. Scot pleaded not guilty, argued that the authority of parliament justified his actions; and, when his words about the king's death were urged against him, claimed that they were covered by the privilege of parliament. He was condemned to death, and executed on 17 Oct. 1660 (Trial of the Regicides, pp. 82–85, 99). He behaved with great courage, and died protesting that he had engaged in ‘a cause not to be repented of’ (Ludlow, ii. 315; Speeches and Prayers of some of the late King's Judges, 4to, 1660, pp. 65–73).
Scot had property at Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire, and was also for a time recorder of Aylesbury. During the Commonwealth he bought an estate from Sir John Pakington at Heydon Hill, and was one of the purchasers of Lambeth House. He also made some small purchase of church lands, though he asserts that his official gains were small (Lispcomb, ii. 11, iii. 601; Thurloe, v. 711). Scot is charged with throwing down the monument of Archbishop Parker at Lambeth, and causing his bones to be disinterred (Wood, Athenæ, ii. 783; Strype, Life of Parker, pp. 494, 498; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 149).
He was thrice married, first to Alice Allinson at Chesterford in 1626; secondly, to Grace Maleverer or Mauleverer (buried in Westminster Abbey 26 Feb. 1646); and thirdly to Alice (surname unknown), who petitioned to visit him before execution (Noble, Lives of the Regicides, ii. 197; Chester, Westminster Reg. p. 140). His son William was made a fellow of All Souls' by the parliamentary visitors of Oxford, and graduated B.C.L. on 4 Aug. 1648 (Wood, Fasti, ii. 62; Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, i. 1326). In April 1666 William, who was then an exile in Holland, was summoned by proclamation to return to England. He preferred to remain in Holland as a spy for the English government, who secured him by means of his mistress Afra Behn [q. v.] (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6 p. 342, 1666–7 pp. 44, 82, 135, 142, 145). Another son, Colonel Thomas Scot, was arrested in Ireland in 1663 for a plot, turned king's evidence, and was expelled from the Irish parliament (Carte, Ormonde, iv. 138; Pepys, Diary, 1 June 1663). Alice Scot, daughter of the regicide, married William Rowe, who was scoutmaster-general in 1650 (Thurloe, v. 711; Biographia Britannica, p. 3528).
Scot the regicide, who never served in the parliamentary army, is often confused with Major or Colonel Thomas Scot (or Scott) who was elected member for Aldborough in 1645, and was concerned in the mutiny at Ware in November 1647 (Rushworth, vii. 876; Commons' Journals, v. 362; Clarke Papers, i. 231). He died in January 1648 (Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 408).
[The only life of Scot is that in Noble's Lives of the Regicides, ii. 169–99, which is full of errors; see authorities cited.]