Category Archives: Assassination

Assassination Crime Gunpowder Plot London Monarchy Parliament Tower Of London

The true copie of the declaration of Guido Fawkes

 

The confession of Guy Fawkes, published in December 1605. This confession corresponds to the official government position on the Gunpowder Plot, and was probably extracted under torture which renders it unreliable as an historical text. But it certainly makes for interesting reading.

 

The true copie of the declaration of Guido Fawkes, taken in the presence of the Counsellors whose names are under written.

I confesse that a practise in general was first broken unto me against his Majestie for relief of the Catholique cause, and not invented or propounded by my self. And this was first propounded unto me about Easter last. I was twelve month beyond the Seas in the Lowe Countryes of the Archdukes obeisance. Thomas Winter came thereupon with mee into Engand, and there we imparted our purpose to three other Gentlemen, namely, Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, and John Wright, who all five [of us were] consulting together of the meanes how to execute the same, and taking a vow among our selves for secrecy. Catesbie propounded to have it performed with Gunpowder, and by making a Myne under the upper House of Parliament, which place we made choice of because Religion having been unjustly suppressed there, it was fittest that Justice and punishments should be executed there.

This being resolved amongst us, Thomas Percy hired a House at Westminster for that purpose, near adjoying to the Parliament House, and there we begun to make our Myne about 11th of December 1604. The five that first entered into the work were Thomas Piercy, Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter, John Wright, and my self. Soon after we took another unto us, Christopher Wright, having sworn him also, and taken the Sacrament for Secrecie. When we came to the very foundation of the Wall of the House, which was about three yards thick, and found it a matter of great difficulty, we tooke unto us another Gentleman, Robert Winter, in like manner with oath and Sacrament as aforesaid.

It was about Christmas when we brought our Myne unto the Wall, about Candlemass we had wrought the Wall halfe through. And whilst they were working, I stood as Sentinell to defer any man that came near, whereof I gave them warning, and so they ceased until I gave notice againe to proceede. And we seven lay in the House and had Shot and Powder, being resolved to die in that place before we should yeeld or be taken.

As they were working upon the Wall, they heard a rushing in a Cellar of removing of Coales, whereupon we feared we had beene discovered, and they sent me to go to the Cellar, who finding that the Coales were a-selling, and that the Cellar was to be let, viewing the commodity thereof for our own purpose, Percy went and hired the same for yeerly rent. We had this provided, and brought into the House twenty Barrels of Powder, which we remooved unto the Cellar, and covered the same with Billets and Faggots, which were provided for that purpose.

About Easter, the Parliament being prorogued until October next, we dispersed our selves, and I retired to the Lowe countries by advice and direction of the rest, as well to acquaint Owen with the particulars of the Plot, as also least by my longer stay I might have grown suspicious, and to have come into question. In the meantime Percy having the key of the Cellar, laid in more Powder and wood into it. I returned about the beginning of September next, and then receiving the key of Percy, we brought in more Powder and Billets to cover the same again, and so I went for a time into the Countrey until the 30. of October.

It was further resolved amongst us that the same day that this Act should have been performed, some other of our Confederates should have surprised the person of the Lady Elizabeth the Kings Daughter, who was kept in Warwickshire at the Lord Harington’s house, and presently have proclaimed her Queene, having a Project of Proclamation ready for that purpose; wherein we made no mention of altering of Religion, nor would have avowed the deed to be ours, untill we should have had power enough to make our partie good and then we would have avowed both. Concerning Duke Charles the Kings second son, we had sundry consultations how to seize on his person, but because we found no meanes how to compasse it, the Duke being kept near London, where wee had not forces enough, we resolved to serve our turne with the Lady Elizabeth.

The names of the principal persons that were made privy afterwards to this horrible conspiracy: Edward Digby, Knight. Francis Tresham. John Grant. Robert Keyes.

 

 

There are more posts on the Gunpowder Plot here

Assassination Crime Execution

The Lamentable Death of William of Nassau Prince of Orange

William I, Prince of Orange (1533-1584), also known as William the Silent, was the first head of state to be assassinated with a hand gun. Born into a noble family, William became the main leader in the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, which contributed to the start of the Eighty Years’ War. His assassination by a French Catholic had serious political consequences and was a major blow to the Protestant cause in the Netherlands. Elizabeth I, William’s closest political ally, was devastated by his death, and it wasn’t long before the English parliament enacted legislation making it a criminal offence to possess a hand gun anywhere near a royal palace. What follows are snippets from the contemporary account of William’s assassination, entitled: The True Report of the Lamentable Death of William of Nassau Prince of Orange; who was traitorously slain with a Dag in his own Court, by Balthazar Serack a Burgundian, the first of July 1584. Those of a nervous disposition may not wish to read the gruesome account of the subsequent death of William’s assassin.

Upon the 12th day of June last past 1584, there came to the Prince of Orange a base born Gentleman of Burgundy, who brought certain letters from the States of France, concerning matters of news, which the Prince in most thankful manner did receive. This messenger (in whom there remained nothing but subtlety and secret mischief) did show unto the Prince, how he could at any time bring him or his soldiers into the Prince of Parma’s garrison, which caused the Prince to repose a great trust and confidence in him, so that he remained in the court without suspicion of any treachery. But behold what followed, on the 1st day of July last past. This Traitor, seeing a small Pistoll or Dag in the hands of one of the Prince’s servants, did demand what it might cost him, saying: ‘I have occasion to ride a journey shortly, and that dag would be a good defence for me upon the highway.’ The Prince’s servant, thinking nothing of that which happened afterward, did sell it to him for the sum of ten shillings of English money.

The Prince being then in his Court at Delft, who being gone to dinner, and the Guard attendant about his person, this Traitor seeing it a meet time to compass his pretended mischief, went into his Chamber, and charged the Pistol with powder, and put three bullets in the same. That done he placed it privily in his pocket, and went down to dinner. After he had dined, hearing that the Prince would anon go to his privy chamber, devised in his mind where he might best plant himself for the finishing of his wicked deed, who finding a privy corner upon the stairs, placed himself until the Prince’s coming.

The Prince, going up the stairs no sooner came directly against this villainous traitor, but he presently discharged his Pistol, wherein (as before mentioned) he having put 3 bullets, two of those bullets went through the Prince’s body, and the third remained in his belly, through which wicked stroke, the Prince fell down suddenly, crying out, saying ‘Lord have mercy upon me, and remember thy little flock.’

The assassin was captured after attempting to escape the guards, and the account of William’s death concludes with an additional account of the gruesome fate which met his murderer:

He had the 1st day the Strappado, openly in the Market.

The strappardo was a form of torture in which the victim, hands tied behind the back, was suspended from ropes attached to his/her wrists. Often leading to dislocation of the arms, weights could also be attached to increase the severity of pain.

 

The second day whipped and salted, and his right hand cut off. The third day, his breasts cut out and salt thrown in, and then his left hand cut off. The last day of his torment, which was the 10th of July, he was bound to 2 stakes, standing upright, in such order that he could not stir any way. Thus standing naked, there was a great fire placed some small distance from him, wherein were heated pincers of Iron, with which pincers, two men appointed for the same, did punch and pull his flesh in small pieces from his bones throughout most parts of his body. Then was he unbound from the stakes and laid upon the earth, and again fastened to four posts, namely by his feet and arms; they ripped up his belly at which time he had life and perfect memory, he had his bowels burned before his face, and his body cut in four several quarters. During the whole time of his execution, he remained impenitent and obstinate, rejoicing that he had slain the Prince.

Further reading on William’s assassination, and the subsequent political turmoil, can be found in Lisa Jardine’s The Awful End of Prince William the Silent, Harper Collins (2005).

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