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Salisbury, secretary of state. Lord Salisbury, too, was inclined to give little attention to it, yet he thought proper to lay it before the king in council. None of the latter were able to make any thing of it, although it appeared serious and alarming. In the universal agitation between doubt and apprehension, the king was the first who penetrated the meaning of this dark epistle. He concluded that some sudden danger was preparing by gunpowder; and it was thought advisable to inspect all the vaults below the houses of parliament. This care belonged to the Earl of Suffolk, lord chamberlain, who purposely delayed the search till the day before the meeting of parliament. He remarked those great piles of fagots which lay in the vault under the House of Peers ; and he cast his eye upon Fawkes, who stood in a dark corner, and who passed himself off as Percy's servant. That daring, determined courage, for which he had long been noted, was fully painted in his countenance, and struck the lord chamberlain with strong suspicion. The great quantity of fuel, also, kept there for the use of a person who seldom visited London, did not pass unnoticed; and he resolved to make a more exact scrutiny. About midnight, therefore, Sir Thomas Knevet, a justice of the peace, was sent with proper attendants, and, just at the entrance of the vault, he seized a man preparing for the terrible enterprise, dressed in a cloak and boots, and with a dark lantern in his hand. This was no other than Guy Fawkes, who had just disposed every part of the train for setting it on fire the next morning, the matches and other combustibles being found in his pockets. The whole of the design was now discovered; but the atrociousness of his guilt, and despair of pardon, inspiring him with resolution, he told the officers of justice, with an undaunted air, that, had he blown them and himself up together, he had been happy. Before the council, he displayed the same intrepid firmness, mixed even with scorn and disdain ; refusing to discover his associates, and showing no concern but for the failure of his enterprise. But his bold spirit was at length subdued; having been confined to the Tower for two or three days, and the rack just shown him, his courage, fatigued with so long an effort, at last failed him, and he made a full discovery of all his accomplices.
Catesby, Percy, and the conspirators who were in London, hearing that Fawkes was arrested, fled with all speed to Warwickshire, where Sir Everard Digby, relying on the success of the plot, was already in arms in order to seize the Princess Elizabeth. But the country soon took the alarm, and wherever the insurgents turned they found a force ready to oppose them. In this exigency, beset on all sides, they resolved, to the number of about eighty persons, to fly no farther, but to make a stand at a house in Warwickshire; to de. fend it to the last, and sell their lives as dearly as possible. But even this miserable consolation was denied them; a spark of fire happening to fall among some gunpowder that was laid to dry, it exploded, and so maimed the principal conspirators that the survivors resolved to open the gate and sally out against the multitude that surrounded the house. Some were instantly cut to pieces; Catesby, Percy, and Winter, standing back to back, fought long and desperately,
till in the end the two first fell covered with wounds, and Winter was taken alive. Those that survived the slaughter were tried and convicted ; several perished by the hands of the executioner; while others experienced the king's mercy. The Jesuits Garnet and Oldcorn, who were privy to the plot, suffered with the rest; and, notwithstanding the enormity of their crime, Garnet was considered by his party as a martyr, and miracles were said to have been wrought by his blood.
Such was the end of a conspiracy that brought ruin on its contrivers, and only disgraced the religion it was intended to establish. Yet it is remarkable, that, before this audacious attempt, the conspirators had always borne a fair reputation. Catesby was noted for his amiable disposition, and Digby was as highly esteemed for honor and integrity as any man in Eng. land. Such are the lamentable effects of superstition and religious bigotry in extinguishing all human sympathies, and perverting every gentle and honorable feeling that can ennoble mankind.
Escape of Charles the Second, after the battle of Worcester.
OLIVER CROMWELL is the most remarkable person in English history. From an obscure origin he raised himself to sovereign power; and, although he refused the title of King, he reigned over Great Britain with absolute sway, and became the most powerful sovereign that ever guided the destinies of that nation. No characters fill so brilliant a page in history, as those who have founded monarchies on the ruins of republican institutions. Mankind, indeed, profess more esteem for patriots, who, like Washington, after leading their countrymen to victory, voluntarily abdicate that authority which might have been exerted for their own personal aggrandizement; yet the glory of these great men, although purer, is not of so seductive and dazzling a kind as that of the successful conqueror who places a crown upon his head.
Cromwell was the son of a private gentleman of Huntingdon, and was born at that place on the 25th of April, 1599. He received an ordinary education, and in the early part of his life gave no indication whatever of the possession of any great or shining qualities. His manners were rude and boisterous, his acquirements small, and his morals licentious; unless, indeed, the royalists, in their enmity, have blackened his character by falsehoods. Suddenly he reformed, married, settled in his native town, and led a sober and religious life. His enemies have called this hypocrisy, but it does not appear that any thing was to be gained by such an assumed character. Cromwell was doubtless a sincere enthusiast. He removed to the Isle of Ely, abandoned the Church of England, attached himself to the Puritans, and manifested increased zeal for religion. As a proof of the sincerity of his conversion, he made restitution to persons of whom he had won money by gaming. He was a member of the parliaments of 1625 and 1628; but his worldly affairs beginning to decline, he took a farm near St. Ives, which he occupied five years. His affairs growing still worse, he formed a resolution, in 1637, of emigrating to New England in company with John Hampden ; which would have been carried into effect, had not the ship in which he was about to embark for Boston been detained. Charles the First issued a proclamation forbidding new settlers to sail for America; little did he imagine that he was compelling a man to remain in the kingdom, who was destined to wrest the sceptre from his hand and bring him to the scaffold.