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many places in scripture found out, which seem to favour that, as there are now alleged against the prelacy or preferment in the church. And, as for abuses, where you are now in the remonstrance told what this and that poor man hath suffered by the bishops, you may be presented with a thousand instances of poor men that have received hard measure from their landlords; and of worldly goods abused, to the injury of others, and disadvantage of the owners.
"And, therefore, Mr. Speaker,my humble motion is, that we may settle men's minds herein; and, by a question, declare our resolution, 'to reform,' that is, 'not to abolish, episcopacy.
It cannot but be wished that he, who could speak in this manner, had been able to act with spirit and uniformity.
When the commons began to set the royal authority at open defiance, Waller is said to have withdrawn from the house, and to have returned with the king's permission; and, when the king set up his standard, he sent him a thousand broad-pieces. He continued, however, to sit in the rebellious conventicle; but “spoke,” says Clarendon, , great sharpness and freedom, which, now there was no danger of being outvoted, was not restrained; and, therefore, used as an argument against those who were gone, upon pretence that they were not suffered to deliver their opinion freely in the house, which could not be believed, when all men knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, and spoke every day
with impunity against the sense and proceedings of the house.
Waller, as he continued to sit, was one of the commissioners nominated by the parliament to treat with the king at Oxford; and, when they were presented, the king said to him, “Though you are the last, you are not the lowest, nor the least in my favour.” Whitlock, who, being another of the commissioners, was witness of this kindness, imputes it to the king's knowledge of the plot, in which Waller appeared afterwards to have been engaged against the parliament. Fenton, with equal probability, believes that his attempt to promote the royal cause arose from his sensibility of the king's tenderness. Whitlock says nothing of his behaviour at Oxford: he was sent with several others to add pomp to the commission, but was not one of those to whom the trust of treating was imparted.
The engagement, known by the name of Waller's plot, was soon afterwards discovered. Waller had a brother-in-law, Tomkyns, who was clerk of the queen's council, and, at the same time, had a very numerous acquaintance, and great influence, in the city. Waller and he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends; and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found, in the majority of all ranks, great disapprobation of the violence of the commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the king, whose fear concealed their loyalty; and many desired peace,
though they durst not oppose the clamour for war; and they imagined that, if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intelligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of sedition, by refusing to comply with the ordinance for the twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army, and by uniting great numbers in a petition for peace. They proceeded with great caution. Three only met in one place, and no man was allowed to impart the plot to more than two others; so that, if any should be suspected or seized, more than three could not be endangered.
Lord Conway joined in the design, and, Clarendon imagines, incidentally mingled, as he was a soldier, some martial hopes or projects, which, however, were only mentioned, the main design being to bring the loyal inhabitants to the knowledge of each other; for which purpose there was to be appointed one in every district, to distinguish the friends of the king, the adherents to the parliament, and the neutrals. How far they proceeded does not appear; the result of their inquiry, as Pym declared', was, that within the walls, for one that was for the royalists, there were three against them; but that without the walls, for one that was against them, there were five for them. Whether this was said from knowledge or guess, was, perhaps, never inquired.
It is the opinion of Clarendon, that in Waller's plan no violence or sanguinary resistance was comParliamentary History, vol. xii. Dr. J.
prised; that he intended only to abate the confidence of the rebels by publick declarations, and to weaken their powers by an opposition to new supplies. This, in calmer times, and more than this, is done without fear; but such was the acrimony of the commons, that no method of obstructing them was safe.
About this time, another design was formed by sir Nicholas Crispe, a man of loyalty that deserves perpetual remembrance: when he was a merchant in the city, he gave and procured the king, in his exigencies, a hundred thousand pounds; and, when he was driven from the exchange, raised a regiment, and commanded it.
Sir Nicholas flattered himself with an opinion, that some provocation would so much exasperate, or some opportunity so much encourage, the king's friends in the city, that they would break out in open resistance, and then would want only a lawful standard, and an authorized commander; and extorted from the king, whose judgment too frequently yielded to importunity, a commission of array, directed to such as he thought proper to nominate, which was sent to London by the lady Aubigney. She knew not what she carried, but was to deliver it on the communication of a certain token, which sir Nicholas imparted.
This commission could be only intended to lie ready, till the time should require it. To have attempted to raise any forces, would have been certain destruction; it could be of use only when the forces should appear. This was, however, an act
preparatory to martial hostility. Crispe would, undoubtedly, have put an end to the session of parliament, had his strength been equal to his zeal: and out of the design of Crispe, which involved very little danger, and that of Waller, which was an act purely civil, they compounded a horrid and dreadful plot.
The discovery of Waller's design is variously related. In Clarendon's History, it is told, that a servant of Tomkyns, lurking behind the hangings, when his master was in conference with Waller, heard enough to qualify him for an informer, and carried his intelligence to Pym. A manuscript, quoted in the Life of Waller, relates, that "he was betrayed by his sister Price, and her presbyterian chaplain, Mr. Goode, who stole some of his papers; and, if he had not strangely dreamed the night before, that his sister had betrayed him, and, thereupon, burnt the rest of his papers, by the fire that was in his chimney, he had certainly lost his life by it.” The question cannot be decided. It is not unreasonable to believe, that the men in power, receiving intelligence from the sister, would employ the servant of Tomkyns to listen at the conference, that they might avoid an act so offensive as that of destroying the brother by the sister's testimony.
The plot was published in the most terrifick manner. On the 31st of May, 1643, at a solemn fast, when they were listening to the sermon, a messenger entered the church, and communicated his errand to Pym, who whispered it to others that were