[Our note: What is commonly known as "the Gunpowder Plot" was a conspiracy, fomented by Roman Catholics (including some Jesuits), to blow up King James I, king of Great Britain, and the entire British Parliament in the year 1605. In the following treatise, King James calls it the "Powder Treason." This assassination attempt was not unknown deed for Roman Catholics, who were essentially told that it is a meritorious good thing to kill kings who are out of favor with the Roman Catholic pope (King James wrote of this abominable doctrine and named the names of the Roman Catholics who taught it). ) It is still remembered all these years later every November on Guy Fawkes Day (Guy Fawkes was one of the Roman Catholic traitors). In the following treatise, King James essentially describes the Powder Treason as a terrorist act without equal. King James often wrote about this practice that he called "parricide" (this is back when kings were true and caring fathers of their nations and sought to care for them and protect them). In the aftermath of the treason, King James did not want innocent Roman Catholics blamed for the Powder Treason (see kjgunpow.htm). During the time of Bloody Mary, a Roman Catholic queen of England, in her zeal to turn England back to the Roman Catholic "Church", she burned about three hundred Protestants. No such thing was done by Protestant sovereigns to Roman Catholic subjects, even in the face of such horrible provocations as the Gunpowder Plot/Powder Treason. Only the lawbreakers themselves were punished. England's royalty, to protect themselves from Roman Catholic traitors, required the people to take oaths of allegiance to the country. The problem was that Catholics were citizens in various countries but their allegiance was to the pope of Rome, over the mountains in Italy--these are the ultramontanes. Ultramontane means "over the mountain"--to France (and certain other European countries), Italy is an ultramontane country; it is over the Alps mountains. Catholics lived in the European countries, but their allegiance was over the mountain to the pope in Rome, Italy. Their allegiance was supposed to be first to the pope of Rome, not the sovereign/ruler of the land in which they lived.). History is replete with examples that orders were issued from the papal chair, and that Catholics were to obey them. Roman Catholics are not simply to hearken to the scriptures but are required to accept the various dogmas, decrees, encylicals, bulls, traditions, magisterium, promulgations, etc. of the Roman Catholic church and her popes. This treatise includes the contents of the letter delivered before the failed attempt to destroy the King, the British parliament, and others.
For those unfamiliar with Jacobean spellings and typesetting, spelling is modernized (if I was not sure about a word, I spelled it as written. If I could not discern a character (in particular one that looks somewhat like "ae", I spelled it as it seemed. See the Workes to read a clear facsimile of the original typeset. You can access the summary and the link to The Workes here). Marginal notes are placed in brackets [ ] after, in, or above the sentences near which they are found (see the Workes itself for the placement of these marginal notes). Underline emphases ours. The following is found in The Workes of the Most High and Mightie Prince Iames, By the Grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. (page 223) by King James VI & I You may access a facsimile of The Workes at this link (kjworkes.htm)] Another note: On page 228, it is noted that
A Discourse of the Manner of the Powder Treason,
Joined with the Examination of Some of the Prisoners.
There is a time when no man ought to keep silence. For it hath ever been held as a general rule, and undoubted Maxim, in all well governed Commonwealths (whether Christian, and so guided by the divine light of Gods word, or Ethnicke, and so led by the glimmering twi-light of Nature) yet howsoever their profession was,upon this ground have they all agreed, tThat when either their Religion, the King, or their country was in any extreme hazard, no good countryman ought then to withhold either his tongue or his hand, according to his calling and faculty, from aiding to repel the injury, repress the violence, and avenge the guild upon the authors thereof. But if ever any people had such an occasion ministred unto them, It is surely this people now, nay this whole Isle, and all the rest belonging to this great and glorious monarchy. For if in any heathenish republic, no private man could think his life more happily and gloriously bestowed, then in the defense of any one of these three, That is, either pro Aris, pro Focis, or pro Patre patria ; And that the endangering of any one of these, would at once stir the whole body of the Common-wealth, not any more as divided members, but as a solid and individual lump: How much more ought we truly Christian people that inhabit this united and truly
happy Isle [Insula fortunata.], under the wings of our gracious and religious Monarch? Nay, how infinitely greater cause have we to feel and resent our selves of the smart of that wound, no only intended and execrated (not consecrated) for the utter extinguishing of our true Christian profession, nor jointly for the utter extinguishing of our true Christian profession, nor jointly therewith only for the cutting off of our Head and father Politike, Sed ut nefas istud & sacrilegiosum parricidium omnibus modis absolutum reddi possit? And that nothing might be wanting for making this sacrilegious parricide a pattern of mischief, and a crime (nay, a mother or storehouse of all crimes) without example, they should have joined the destruction of the body to the head, so as Grex cum Rege, Arae cum focis, Lares cum Penatibus , should all at one thunderclap have been sent to heaven together: The King our head, the Queen our fertile mother, and those young and hopeful Olive plants, noth theirs but ours: Our reverend Clergy, our honourable Nobility, the faithful Counsellors, the grave Judges, the greatest part of the worthy Knights and Gentry, aswell as of the wisest Burgesses; The whole Clerks of the Crown, Counsaile, Signet, Seales, or of any other principal Judgement seat. All the learned Lawyers, together with an infinite number of the common people: Nay, their furious rage should not only have lighted upon reasonable and sensible creatures without distinction either of degree, sex or age; But even the insensible stocks and stones should not have been free of their fury. The hall of Justice; The house of Parliament, The Church used for the Coronation of our Kings; The Monuments of our former Princes; The Crown an other marks of Royalty; All the Records, as well of Parliament, as of every particular mans right, with a great number of Charters and such like, should all have been comprehended under that fearful Chaos. And so the earth as it were opened, should have sent forth of the bottom of the Stygian lake such sulfured smoke smoke, furious flames, and fearful thunder, as should have by their diabolical Domesday destroyed and defaced, in the twinkling of an eye, not only our present living Princes and people, but even our insensible Monuments reserved for future ages. So as not only our selves that are mortal, but the immortal Monuments of our ancient Princes and Nobility, that have been so preciously preserved from age to age, as the remaining Trophies of their eternal glory, and have so long triumphed over envious time, should now have been all consumed together; and so not only we, but the memory of us and ours, should have been thus extinguished in an instant. The true horror therefore of this detestable device, hath stirred me up to bethink my self, wherein I may best discharge my conscience in a cause so general and common, if it were to bring but one stone to the building, or rather with the Widow one mite to the common box. But since to so hateful and unheard of intervention, there can be no greater enemy then the self, the simple truth thereof being once publicly known; and that there needs no stronger argument to bring such a plot in universal detestation, then the certainty that so monstrous a thing could once be devised, nay concluded upon,
wrought in, in full readiness, and within twelve hours of the execution My threefold zeal to those blessings, whereof they would have so violently made us all widows, hath made me resolve to set down here the true Narration of that monstrous and unnatural intended Tragedy, having better occasion by the means of my service and continual attendance in Court, to know the truth thereof, then others that peradventure have it only by relation at the third or fourth hand. So that whereas those worse then Catilines, thought to have extirped us and our memories; Their infamous memory shall by these means remain to the end of the world, upon the one part: and upon the other, Gods great and merciful deliverance of his Anointed and us all, shall remain in never-dying Records. And God grant that it may be in marble tables of Thankfulness graven in our hearts.
WHile this Land and whole Monarchy flourished in a most happy and plentiful P E A C E, as well at home as abroad, sustained and conducted by these two main Pillars of all good Government, PIETIE and Justice, no foreign grudge, nor inward whispering of discontentment any way appearing; The King being upon his return from his hunting exercise at Royston, upon occasion of the drawing near of the Parliament time, which had been twice prorogued already, partly in regard of the season of the year, and partly of the Term; As the winds are ever stillest immediately before a storme; and as the Sun blenks often hottest to foretell a following shower: So at that time of greatest calm did this secretly-hatched thunder begin to cast forth the first flashes, and flaming lightnings of the approaching tempest.
[A letter delivered to the Lord Mountege.]
For the Saturday of the week immediately preceding the Kings return, which was upon a Thursday (being but ten days before Parliament) The Lord Mountegle, son and heir to the Lord Morley, being in his own lodging ready to go to supper at seven of the clock at night, one of his foot-men (whom he had sent of an errand over the street) was met by an unknown man of a reasonable tall personage, who delivered him a Letter, charging him to put it in my my Lord his masters hands: which my Lord no sooner received, but that having broken it up, and perceiving the same to be of an unknown and somewhat unlegible hand, and without either date or subscription; did call one of his men unto him for help him to read it. But no sooner did he conceive the strange contents thereof, although he was somewhat perplexed what construction to make of it (as whether of a matter of consequence, as indeed it was, or whether some foolish devised Pasquil by some of his enemies, to scare hims from his attendance at the Parliament) yet did he as a most dutiful and loyal Subject, conclude not to conceal it, what ever might come of it. Whereupon, notwithstanding the lateness and darkness of the night in that season of the year, he presently reparied to his Majesty's Palace at Whitehall, and there delivered the same
[Revealed to the Lord of Salisbury.]
to the Earl of Salisbury. his Maiesties principal Secretary. Whereupon the said Earl of Salisbury. having read the Letter, and heard the manner of the coming of it to his hands, did greatly encourage and commend my Lord for his discretion, telling him plainly, that whatsoever the purpose of the Letter might prove hereafter, yet did this accident put him in mind of divers advertisements he had received from beyond the Seas, wherewith he had acquainted aswell the King himself, as divers of his Privy Counsellors, concerning some business the Papists were in, both at home and abroad, making preparations for some combination amongst them against this Parliament time,
[Purpose of the Papists for delivering a petition to his Majesty, to crave toleration of Religion.]
for enabling them to deliver at that time to the King some petition for toleration of Religion: which should be delivered in some such order and so well backed, as the King should be loath to refuse their requests; like the sturdy beggars craving alms with one open hand, but carrying a stone in the other in case of refusal. And therefore did the Earl of Salisbury conclude with the Lord Mountegle, that he would in regard of the Kings absence impart the same Letter to some more of his Majesty's Council; whereof my L. Mountegle liked well: only adding this request by way of protestation, That whatsoever the even hereof might prove, it should not be imputed to him, as proceeding from too light and too sudden an apprehension, that he delivered this Letter, being only moved thereunto for demonstration of his ready devotion, and care for preservation of his Majesty and the State.
[The Lord Chamberlain made privy to the Letter by the Earl of Salisbury.]
And thus did the Earl of Salisbury presently acquaint the Lord Chamberlain with the said letter: Whereupon they two in presence of the Lord Mountegle, calling to mind the former intelligence already mentioned, which seemed to have some relation with this Letter; The tender care which they ever carried to the preservation of his Majesty's person, made them apprehend, that some perilous attempt did thereby appear to be intended against the same, which did the more nearly concern the said L. Chamberlain to have a care of, in regard that it doth belong to the charge of his Office to oversee as well all places of Assembly where his Majesty is to repair, as his Highness own private houses. And therefore did the said two Counsellors conclude, That they should join unto themselves three more of the Council, to wit, the Lord Admiral, the Earls of Worcester and Northhampton, to be also particularly acquainted with this accident, who having all of them concurred together to the re-examination of the contents of the said Letter, they did conclude, That how slight a matter it might at the first appear to be, yet was it not absolutely to be contemned, in respect of the care which it behooved them to have of the preservation of his Majesty's person:
[Thought meet by the Counsellors to acquaint the King with the Letter.]
But yet resolved for two reasons, first to acquaint the King himself with the same before they proceeded to any further inquisition in the matter, aswell as for the expectation and experience they had of his Majesty's fortunate Judgement in clearing and solving of obscure riddles and doubtful mysteries; as also because the more time would in the meanwhile be given for the Practice to ripen,
if any was, whereby the Discovery might be the more clear and evident, and the ground of hte proceeding thereupon more safe, just, and easy.
[Upon Allhallow day the Earl of Salisbury shewed the Letter to the King.]
And so according to their determination did the said Earl of Salisbury repair to the King in his Galler upon Friday, being Alhallow day, in the afternoon, which was the day after his Majestiy's arrival, and none but himself being present with his Highness at that time, where without any other speech or judement giving of the Letter, but only relating simply the form of the delivery thereof, he presented it to his Majesty. The contents whereof follow.
MY Lord, Out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a care of your preservation. Therefore I would advise you, as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift off your attendance at this Parliament. For god and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of this Time. And think not slightly of this Advertisement, but retire your self into your Country, where you may expect the event in safety. For though there be no appearance of any stir, yet I say, they that 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 past so soon as you have burnt the Letter. And I hope God will give you the grace to make good use of it: To whose holy protection I commend you.
[His Majesty's judgement of the Letter.]
The King no sooner read the letter, but after a little pause, and then reading it over again, he delivered his judgement of it in such sort, as he thought it was not to be contemned, for that the Style of it seemed to be more quick and pithy, then is usual to be in any Pasquil or libel (the superfluities of idle brains:) But the Earl of Salisbury perceiving the King to apprehend it deeplier then he looked for, knowing his nature, told him that he thought by one sentence in it, that it was like to be written by some fool or madman, reading to him this sentence in it, For the danger is past as soon as you have burnt the Letter; which he said, was likely to be the saying of a fool: for if the danger was past so soon as the Letter was burnt, then the warning behooved to be of little avail, when the burning of the Letter might make the danger to be eschewed. But the King by the contrary considering the former sentence in the Letter, That they should receive a terrible Blow at this Parliament, and yet should not see who hurt them, Joining it tot he sentence immediately following, already alledged, did thereupon conjecture, That the danger mentioned , should be some sudden danger by blowing up of Powder: For no other Insurrection, Rebellion, or whatsoever other private and desperate Attempt could be committed or attempted in time of Parliament, and the Authors thereof unseen, except only it were by blowing up of Powder, which might be performed by one base knave in a dark corner; whereupon he was moved to interpret and construe the latter Sentence in the Letter (alledged by the Earl of Salisbury) against all ordinary sense and construction in Grammar,
as if by these words, For the danger is past as soon as you have burned the Letter, should be closely understood the suddenty and quickness of the danger, which should be as quickly performed and at an end, as that paper should be of bleasing up in the fire; turning that word of as soon, to the sense of, as quickly:
[His Majesty's opinion for searching of the under rooms of the Parliament House.]
And therefore wished, that before his going to the Parliament, the under rooms of the Parliament house might be well and narrowly searched. But the Earl of Salisbury wondering at this his Majesty's Commentary, which he knew to be so far contrary to his ordinary and natural disposition, who did rather ever sin upon the other side; in not apprehending nor trusting due Advertisements of Practices and Perils when he was truly informed of them, whereby he had many times drawn himself into many desperate dangers: and interpreting rightly this extraordinary Caution at this time to proceed from the vigilant care he had of the whole State, more then of his own Person, which could not but have all perished together, if this designement had succeeded: He thought good to dissemble still unto the King, that there had been any just cause of such apprehension: And ending the purpose with some mercy least upon this Subject, as his custom is, took his leave for that time.
But though he seemed so to neglect it to his Majesty, yet his customable and watchful care of the King and the State still boiling within him, And having with the blessed Virgin Mary laid up in his heart [our note: this was not an appeal to Mary, the Earl laid up the king's words in his heart, like Mary pondered things in her heart (Luke 2:19)] the Kings so strange judgement and construction of it; He could not be at rest till he acquainted the foresaid Lords what had passed between the King and him in private: Whereupon they were all so earnest to renew again the memory of the same purpose to his Majesty, as it was agreed that he should the next day, being Saturday, repair to his Highness: which he did in the same privy Gallery, and renewed the memory thereof, the L. Chamberlain then being present with the King.
[The determination to search the Parliament house and the rooms under it.]
At what time it was determined, that the said Lord Chamberlain should, according to the custom of his Office, view all the Parliament Houses, both above and below, and consider what likelihood or appearance of any such danger might possibly be gathered by the sight of them: But yet, as well for staying of idle rumours, as for being the more able to discern any mystery, the nearer that things were in readiness, his journey thither was ordained to be deferred til the afternoon before the sitting down of the Parliament, which was upon the Monday following. At what time he (according to this conclusion) went to the Parliament house accompanied with my Lord Mountegle, being in zeal to the Kings service earnest and curious to see the event of that accident whereof he had the fortune to be the first discoverer: where, having viewed all the lower rooms, he found in the Vault under the upper House great store and provision of Billets, Faggots and Coales: And inquiring of Whyneard Keeper of the Wardrobe, to what use he had put those lower rooms and cellars: he told him, That Thomas Percie had hi-
red both the House, and part of the Cellar or Vault under the same, and that the Wood and Coal therein was the said Gentlemans own provision: Whereupon the Lord Chamberlain, casting his eye aside, perceived a fellow standing in a corner there, calling himself the said Percies man, and keeper of that house for him, but indeed was Guido Fawkes, the owner of that hand which should have acted that monstrous Tragedy.
The Lord Chamberlain looking upon all things with a heedful indeed, yet in outward appearance with but a careless and rackleless eye (as became so wise and diligent a minister) he presently addressed himself to the King in the said privy Gallery, where in the presence of the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Admiral, the Earls of Worcester, Northampton, and Salisbury, he made his report, what he had seen and observed there; noting that Mountegle had told him, That he no sooner heard Thomas Percy named to be the possessor of that house, but considering both his backwardness in Religion, and the old dearness in friendship between himself and the said Percy, he did greatly suspect the matter, and that the Letter should come from him. The said Lord Chamberlain also told, That he did not wonder a little at the extraordinary great provision of wood and coal in that house, where Thomas Percie had so seldom occasion to remain; As likewise it gave him in his mind that his man looked like a very tall and desperate fellow.
This could not but increase the Kings former apprehension and jealousy: whereupon he insisted (as before) that the House was narrowly to be searched, and that those Billets and Coales would be searched to the bottom, it beeing most suspicious that they were layed there only for covering of the powder.
[Disputation about the manner of the further search.]
Of this same mind also were all the Counsellors then present: But upon the fashion of making the search was it long debated: For upon the one side there were all so jealous for the Kings safety, that they all agreed, that there could not be too much caution used for preventing his danger. And yet upon the other part they were all extreme loath and dainty, that in case this Letter should prove to be nothing but the evaporation of an idle brain, then a curious searching being made, and nothing found, should not only turn to the general scandal of the King and the State, as being so suspicious of every light and frivolous toy, but likewise lay an ill favoured imputation upon the Earl of Northumberland one of his Majesty's greatest Subjects and Counsellors, this Tho. Percie being his kinsman, and most confident familiar. And the rather were they curious upon this point, knowing how far the King detested to be thought suspicious or jealous of any of his good Subjects, though of the meanest degree. And therefore though they all agreed upon the main ground, which was to provide for the security of the Kings Person, yet did they differ in the circumstances, by which this action might be best carried with the least din and occasion of slander. But the King himself still persisting that there were divers shrewd appearances, and that
a narrow search of those places could prejudge no man that was innocent, he at last plainly resolved them, That either must all the parts of those rooms be narrowly searched, and no possibility of danger left unexamined, or else he and they all must resolve not to meddle in it at all, but plainly to go the next day to the Parliament, and leave the success to Fortune, which he believed they would be loathe to take upon their consciences: for in such a case as this, an half doing was worse than no doing at all.
[Agreed that the search should be under colour of seeking for Wardrobe stuff missed by Whyneard.]
Whereupon it was at last concluded, That nothing should be left unsearched in those Houses: And yet for the better colour and stay of rumour, in case nothing were found, it was though meet, that upon a pretence of Whyneards missing some of the Kings stuff or Hangings which he had in keeping, all those rooms should be narrowly ripped for them. And to this purpose was Sir Thomas Kneuet (a Gentleman of his Majesty's privy Chamber) employed, being a Justice of Peace in Westminster, and one, whose ancient fidelity both the late Queen and our now Sovereign have had large proof: who according to the trust committed unto him, went about the midnight next after, to the Parliament house, accompanied with such a small number as was fit for that errand. But before his entry in the house, finding Thomas Percies alleged man standing without the door, his clothes and boots on at so dead a time of the night, he resolved to apprehend him, as he did, and thereafter went forward to the searching of the house, where after he had caused to be overturned some of the Billets and Coales, he first found one of the small Barrels, of Powder, and after all the rest, to the number of thirty six Barrels, great and small: And thereafter searching the fellow, whom he had taken, found three matches, and all other instruments fit for blowing up of the Powder, ready upon him, which made him instantly confess his own guiltiness, declaring also unto him, That if he had happened to be within the house when he took him, as he was immediately before (at the ending of his work) he would not have failed to have blown him up, house and all.
Thus after Sir Thomas had cause the wretch to be surely bound, and well guarded by the company he had brought with him, he himself returned back to the Kings Palace, and gave warning of his success to the Lord Chamberlain, and Earl of Salisbury, who immediately warning the rest of the Council that lay in the house, as soon as they could get themselves ready, came, with their fellow Counsellors, the Kings Bedchamber, being at that time near four of the clock in the morning. And at the first entry of the Kings Chamber door, the Lord Chamberlain, being not any longer able to conceal his joy for the preventing of so great a danger, told the King in a confused haste, that all was found and discovered, and the Traitor in hands and fast bound.
Then, order being first taken for sending for the rest of the Council that lay in the Towne, The prisoner himself was brought into the house, where in respect of the strangeness of the accident, no man was stayed from
the sight or speaking with him. And within a while after, the Council did examine; Who seeming to put on a Romane resolution, did both to the Council, and to every other person that spake with him that day, appear so constant and settled upon his grounds, as we all thought we had found some new Mutius Scaeuola borne in England. For notwithstanding the horror of the fact, the guilt of his conscience, his sudden surprising, the terror which should have been stroken in him by coming into so grave a Council, and the restless and confused questions that every man all that day did vex him with; Yet was his countenance so far from being dejected, as he often smiled in a scornful manner, not only avowing the Fact, but repenting only, with the said Scaeuola, his failing in the execution thereof, whereof (he said) the devil and not God, was the discoverer: Answering quickly to every mans objection, scoffing at any idle questions which were propounded unto him, and jesting with such as he thought had no authority to examine him. All that day could the Council get nothing out of him touching his Complices, refusing to answer to any such question which he thought might discover the plot, and laying all the blame upon himself; Whereunto he said he was moved only for Religion and conscience sake, denying the King to be his lawful Sovereign, or the Anointed of God, in respect he was an heretic, and giving himself no other name than John Johnson, servant to Thomas Percie. But the next morning being carried to the Tower, he did not there remain above two or three days, being twice or thrice reexamined, and the Rack only offered and shewed unto him, when the mask of his Romane fortitude did visibly begin to wear and slide off his face; And then did he begin to confess part of the truth, and thereafter to open the whole matter, as doeth appear by his dispositions immediately following.
THE TRUE COPY OF THE
DECLARATION OF GUIDO FAWKES,
TAKEN IN THE PRESENCE OF THE
Counsellors, whose names are under written.
I Confess, that a practice in general was first broken unto me, against his Majesty for relief of the Catholic cause, and not invented or propounded by my self. And this was first propounded unto me about Easter last was twelve month beyond the Seas, in the Low-Countries of the Archduke's obeisance, by Thomas Winter, who came thereupon with me
into England, and there we imparted our purpose to three other Gentlemen more, namely, Robert Catesby, Thomas Percie, and John Wright, who all five consulting together of the means how to execute the same, and taking a vow among our selves for secrecy; Catesby propounded to have it performed by Gunpowder, and by making a Mine under the upper House of Parliament: which place we made choice of the rather, because Religion having been unjustly suppressed there, it was fittest that Justice and punishment should be executed there.
[This is a work in progress.]
[See also Workes 333-336--A Premontion(Warning) (see information on Jesuits involved in the Powder Treason;
Roman Catholic false doctrine teaching that Church-men are not subject to Kings or Princes; etc. |||
Workes 499-508--Speech to Parliament on the Powder Treason (1605)]