A True Account of
the Horrid Conspiracy against
the late king, His Present Majesty,
and the Government.
The King has thought fit to lay open, and to declare to the World, an Exact Account of the late Accursed Conspiracy, which was actually form'd, and carried out in England, and set on foot in Scotland, against His own, and his only and dearest Brothers Life, and against the Peaceable and Flourishing Government of his Majesties Kingdoms: as far forth, as hitherto the Paeticulars of it have come to His Knowledge, by the Voluntary Confessions or undeniable Convictions of divers of the Principal Conspirators.
By this faithfully representing the plain Matter of Fact, though perhaps all the Groundless Suggestions, and Malicious Insinuations of Factious Men, will not be wholly put to silence, it being their old, and constant Artifice, to support, and incourage their Party, by Impudent Slanders and Falsehoods, against the clearest Light, and most evident Proof; Yet however His Majesty will have the Satisfaction hereby to confirm the loyalty at Home, and to establish Abroad the Reputation, and Honour of His Royal Justice.
And moreover (which His Majesty most of all regards) this Publick, and Lasting Testimony will be given of His sincere Thankfulness to Almighty God, for that Miraculous Deliverance from a Danger, which came so near His Sacred Person, and was so far spread in the Ruine, it threaten'd to all His people.
It is well known, what mischievous Arts of late Years have been used, and what Treasonable Courses taken, to withdraw these Nations from their bounden Duty and Allegiance, and to expose His Majesties most Just, and Merciful Government to Calumny and Contempt: The Rebellious Design having been apparently carried on by all sorts of Malecontents: whom either their Crimes, or Wants, their furious Zeal, or unbounded Ambition, inclined to wish for a Disturbance of the Peace, and Prosperity, which His Majesties Dominions have so long injoy'd, to the Envy of all His Neighbours.
To this wicked purpose, many the very same fatal Methods and specious Pretences, which, in the Days of His Majesties Glorious Father, had involved these Kingdoms in Confusion and Blood, were once again revived, and by many the very same Persons; Men of crafty, restless, and implacable Spirits; impenitent after the most Gracious Pardons; whom long Experience had made skilful in seducing weak, and unstable Minds, by counterfeiting the plausible Names of things in themselves most excellent, but most dangerous when abused; such as Liberty, Property, Conscience, and Religion.
By these wretched Instruments, was this most gentle, and benign Government again reproached with Tyranny, and Arbitrary Power: The Church of England was once more Traduced, as Popishly affected: The most able Officers, and faitfullest Servants of the Crown again Reviled, under the odious Title of Evil Councellours.
In the mean time Sedition and Schism were every where promoted; unreasonable Fears suggested; vain Suspicious of future Dangers augmented to destroy the present Tranquility; desperate Speeches, infamous Libels, Traiterous Books swarm'd in all places; and under colour of the only True Protestant, the worst of all Unchristian Principles were put in practice; all the old Republican, and Antimonarchical Doctrines, whose Effects had formerly prov'd so dismal, were now again as confidently own'd, and asserted, as ever they had been during the hottest Rage of the late unhappy Troubles.
From these Preparations to a new Rebellion, the Party began by degrees to proceed to Actions. Distinctions of Sides were made: Illegal Conventicles were maintained, in defiance of the Laws of God, and Man: Tumultuous Feasts, and Factious Clubs were set up in City, and Country: Close and Seditious Meetings haunted: Frequent Cabals appointed, and by Men of high degree with the lowest: Great Stores of Arms provided by private Persons: Insolent Progresses made through divers Countries; thereby to glory in their Numbers, and to carry far and near the Terrour of their Power, and even to Muster their Party ready for some sudden Blow, or general Insurrection.
All these, and many more such Personal Indignities, and Publick Assaults on the Government, His Majesty long endured with the same Mildness, and Clemency, wherewith he had already forgiven the highest Crimes against himself; His Royal Goodness still patiently expecting, and wishing, that in time the most obstinate of his misguided Subjects would see their Errour, and return at length to a sense of the Duty, they owe him by all the strongest Bands of Nature and Laws, Religion and Gratitude, that can possibly oblige Subjects towards a Soverign.
But when His Majesty was abundantly convinc'd that all those dark consultations, and open Tumults of unruly Men, were but so many infallible Signs, and Forerunners of Rebellion, or some extraordinary Commotions; Then at last, in a tender respect to his Peoples Safety, more than to his own, was His Majesty constrain'd to awaken his Authority, to try what good Effect the Vigour of his Laws would have on those Offenders, with whom all his repeated Mercy and Indulgence had so little prevail'd.
Yet such was then His Majesties hard Fortune, so firmly combined were the Disaffected, especially by their Prevalent Interest in packing the Juries of London and Middlesex, that whilst His Majesty carefully endeavour'd to distribute Impartial Justice to all his Subjects, he could not obtain the same Right Himself; his Enemies still becoming more numerous, and united in those very places, where their desperate Enterprises against the Government, were likely to be most sudden and pernicious.
Amongst divers other infamous Examples of this nature, was that of Collegde the Joyner. For though the Criminal was so mean a Man, and no other ways considerable, but for his audacious Forwardness in affronting the Government; yet His Majesty, with all His Royal Authority, could hardly prevail to have him brought to a Fair and Legal Tryal. Nor had His Majesty been able at last to procure so much Justice to be done, had not the process been removed into another County, where (the Rulers of the Faction being less powerful,) that new and damnable Opinion and Practice of the Lawfulness of Equivocating and even of Perjury for the Good Old Cause, had not prevailed over the old and honest English Principles of Truth and Honour.
However though in the end His Majesties Justice got the better at that time, yet it was defeated in a greater, and more important Instance, that of the late Earl of Shaftsbury, (1) who had been long and reasonably suspected, and in the issue was manifestly discovered to be the chief Author, and supreme Manager of all these Traiterous Contrivances against His Majesties Crowns and Life.
(1) Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury.