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the court, had the more credit and intereft to promote the fervice of it. When the ruptures grew fo great between the King, and the two houfes, that many of the Members withdrew from thofe councils, he, among the reft, abfented himself, but at the time the standard was let up, having intimacy and friendship with fome perfons now of nearnefs about the King, with his Majefty's leave he returned again to London, where he spoke, upon all occafions, with great fharpness and freedom, which was not reftrained, and therefore used as an argument against thofe who were gone upon pre· tence, that they were not fuffered to declare their opinion freely in the Houfe; which could not be believed, when all men knew what li berty Mr. Waller took, and fpoke every day with impunity, against the proceedings of the Houfe; this won him a great reputation with all people who wifhed well to the King; and he was looked upon as the boldeft champion the crown had in either House, so that fuch Lords and Commons who were willing to prevent the ruin of the kingdom, complied in a * great familiarity with him, as a man refolute in their ends, and beft able to promote them; and it may be, they believed his reputation at court fo good, that he would be no ill evidence there of other men's zeal and affection; fo all men fpoke their minds freely to him, both of the general distemper, and of the paffions and ambition of particular perfons, all men knowing him to be of too good a fortune, and too wary a nature, to engage himself in defigns of hazard.
Mr. Tomkins already mentioned, had married Waller's fifter, and was clerk of the Queen' council, and of very good fame for honefty and ability great intereft and reputation in the M 4
1 city, and converfed much with those who difliked the proceedings of the Parliament, from whom he learned the difpofitions of the citizens on all accidents, which he freely communicated to his brother Waller, as the latter imparted to him whatever obfervations he made from those with whom he converfed. Mr. Waller told him, that many lords and commons were for a peace. Mr. Tomkins made the fame relation with respect to the most fubftantial men of London, which Mr. Waller reported to the well affected members of both houses; and Mr. Tomkins to the well affected citizens; whence they came to a conclufion, that if they heartily united in the mutual affiftance of one another, they fhould be able to prevent thofe tumults which feemed to countenance the diftractions, and both parties would be excited to moderation. The lord Conway at that time coming from Ireland incenfed against the Scotch, difcontented with the Parliament here, and finding Waller in good eAteem with the earl of Norhumberland, and in great friendship with the earl of Portland, entered into the fame familiarity; and being a foldier, in the difcourfes they had, he infinuated, it was convenient to enquire into the numbers of the well affected in the city, that they might know whom they had to truft to. Mr. Waller telling Mr. Tomkins this, the latter imparted it to his confidents there; and it was agreed, that fome trufty perfons in every ward and parish about London fhould make a list of all the inhabitants, and by gueffing at their feveral affections, compute the strength of that party which oppofed an accommodation, and that which was for it.
Lord Clarendon declares, that he believes this defign, was to beget fuch a combination among the well affected parties, that they would refufe to conform to thofe ordinances of the twentieth
part, and other taxes for the fupport of the war ; and thereby or by joint petitioning for peace, and discountenancing the other who petitioned against it, to prevail with the Parliament to incline to a determination of the war, ' but that there ever was, fays the earl, any formed defign either of letting the King's army into London, which was impoffible to be effected, or raifing an army there, and furprizing the Parliament, or any person of it, or of ufing any 'violence in, or upon the city, I could never yet
fee caufe to believe. But it unluckily happened, that while this combination was on foot, Sir Nicholas Crifp procured a commiffion of array to be fent from Oxford to London, which was carried by the lady Aubigny, and delivered to a gentleman employed by Sir Nicholas to take it of her; and this being difcovered at the fame time Mr. Waller's plot was, the two confpiracies were blended into one; tho' the earl of Clarendon is fatisfied that they were two diftinct defigns. His lordship relates the difcovery of Mr. Waller's plot in this manner A fervant of Mr. Tomkins, who had of
ten curforily overheard his mafter and Mr. Waller difcourfe of the fubject which we are upon, placed himself behind the hangings, at a time when they were together; and there whilst either of them difcovered the language and opinion of the company which they kept, overheard enough to make him believe, that his 'information and difcovery could make him welcome to those whom he thought concerned, and fo went to Mr. Pym, and acquainted him with all he had heard, or probably imagined. The time when Mr. Pym was made acquainted with it, is not known; but the circumftance of publishing it was fuch as filled all men with apprehenfi M 5
It was on Wednesday the 31st of May, their folemn faft day, when being all at their fermon in St. Margaret's church, Weftminster, according to their cuftom, a letter or meffage was brought privately to Mr. Pym; who thereupon with fome of the most active members rofe from their feats, and after a little whispering together, removed out of the church. This could not but exceedingly affect thofe who ftayed behind. Immediately they fent guards to all the prifons, at Lambeth houfe, Ely-houfe, and fuch places where malignants were in cuftody, with directions to fearch the prifoners, and fome other places which they thought fit fhould be fufpected. After the fermon was ended, the houfes met, and were only then told, that letters were intercepted going to the King and the court at Oxford, which expreffed fome notable confpiracy in hand, to deliver up the Parliament and the city into the hands of the Cavaliers; and that the time for the execution of it drew near. Hereupon a ⚫ committee was appointed to examine all perfons they thought fit, and to apprehend fome nominated at that time; and the fame night this committee apprehended Mr. Waller and Mr. Tomkins, and the next day fuch as they fufpec⚫ted."
The Houfes were, or feemed to be, fo alarmed with the difcovery of the plot, that fix days after they took a facred vow and covenant, which was alfo taken by the city and army, denouncing war against the King more directly than they had done before. The earl of Portland and lord Conway were imprisoned on Mr. Waller's accufation, and often confronted with him before the, committee, where they as peremptorily denying, as he charging them, and there being no other witness but him against them, they were kept a while in reftra nt, and then bailed. Mr. Waller, after he had had fays
the carl of Clarendon, with incredible diffimulation, acted fuch a remorfe of confcience, that his trial was put off out of chriftian compaffion, till he fhould recover his understanding (and that was not till the heat and fury of the profecutors was abated by the facrifices they had made) and by drawing vifitants to himfelf of the most powerful 'minifters of all factions, had by his liberality and penitence, his receiving vulgar and vile fayings from them with humility and reverence, as clearer convictions, and informations than in his life he had ever had; and distributing great fums to them for their prayers and ghoftly council, fo fatisfied them, that they fatisfied others; was brought at his fuit to the bar, of the Houfe of Commons on on the 4th of July 1643, where being a man in truth very powerful in language, and who, by what he spoke, and the manner of fpeaking it, 'exceedingly captivated', the good will, and benevolence of his hearers, with fuch flattery, as was moft exactly calculated to that meridian, with fuch a fubmiflion as their pride took delight in, and 'fuch a dejection of mind and fpirit, as was like to couzen the major part. He laid before them, their own danger and concernment if they should fuffer one of their body, how unworthy and monftrous foever, to be tried by the foldiers, who might thereby grow to fuch power hereafter, that they would both try thofe they would not be willing fhould be tried, and for things which they would ' account no crime, the inconvenience and infupportable mifchief whereof wife commonwealths had forefeen and prevented, by exempting their own members from all judgments but their own. He prevailed, not to be tried by a Council of War, and thereby preferved his dear-bought life; fo that in truth he did as much owe the keeping his head to that oration, as Cataline did the lofs of his to those of Tully; and having done ill, very M 6