MacLean, Gerald, editor. The Return of the King : An Anthology of English Poems Commemorating the Restoration
of Charles II / edited by Gerald MacLean
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
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Hells Master-piece discovered
Throughout the summer and autumn, government efforts to secure the realm by disbanding the army while searching for leading radicals had proceeded cautiously. "In December, however, it increased tension by publicizing the so-called "White's Plot," said to be a plan by former soldiers to seize the capital" (Hutton 1985: 136).
This ballad offers a version of those events and presumably appeared during the final days of December. Early that month, Major Thomas White, who had served in the army since 1648, attempted to bribe a porter at the gate to Whitehall; the porter told Monck and White was arrested. Investigation showed that White had earlier conspired to assasinate Monck and "pull the king from his throne" by Christmas (Greaves 1986: 35). Lists of possible confederates were discovered in his chambers and, on 15 December, further arrests of former army radicals were ordered in and around London. Of more than forty men arrested, only sixteen were detained, including Major-General Robert Overton, former commander in Scotland. When Pepys arrived at Whitehall on the 16th, he was "surprized with the news of a plott against the King's person and my Lord Monkes." He visited the Tower "where I heard [Overton] deny that he is guilty of any such things, but that whereas it is said that he is found to have brought many armes to towne, he says it was only to sell them, as he will prove by oath" (1:318-9). Although caches of weapons were indeed discovered, proof of an organized uprising was hard to establish and many of those arrested were quickly released for lack of evidence. Meanwhile, fear had spread to provincial areas leading to investigations of linked conspiratorial activities in Lincoln, York, Hull, Wiltshire, Essex, Leicester and elsewhere (Greaves 1986: 37). In Edinburgh, city authorities required residents to report the names of all guests. Back in London, a proclamation issued on the 17th required all former soldiers to stay at least twenty miles away from London and Westminster, while Clarendon made much of rumours linking the plot with Lambert and Ludlow. "In a speech to the Convention on 29 December, [Clarendon] blamed the plot on discontent arising from the regicide's execution. . . . Ludlow, he averred, was expected to lead the fanatics" (Greaves 1986: 39). But Ludlow had already fled to Europe. "What the authorities unearthed was no organized plot, no insurrection planned for a specific time with designated leaders, but a growing number of disenchanted men who had begun to gather weapons and explore possibilities for an uprising" (Greaves 1986: 39).
See: Rugg 132 for his view of the affair, which is also reported in Parliamentary Intelligencer (10-17 December), (17-24 Dec), (24-31 Dec), Mercurius Publicus 51 (13 -- 20 December), 53 (20-27 Dec), 54 (27 Dec-3 Jan), and Kingdomes Intelligencer (31 Dec-7 Jan)
And see Duncombe's Counter-blast to the Phanaticks
Hells Master-piece discovered:
Or Joy and Sorrow mixt together.
Being a breife and true Relation of the Damnable Plot, of those
invetrate Enemies of God, and the King; who intended to a mixt
our Joy for the Nativitie of Christ, with the blood of the King,
and his faithfull Subjects.
Being a fit Carrall for Royallist to sing,
That alwaies fear God, and honour the King.
To the Tune of, Sommer Time.
YOu Loyall Subjects all give eare,
unto my sad and joyfull Song;
A true Relation you shall heare,
For unto you it doth belong.
5: The Devill and his Instruments,
hath long been Plotting night and day,
For to destroy both King and Church,
& now they thought they had found ye way,
They would cut down both Root & Branch
10: and all the Shrubs that doth belong,
About our Royall Garden plot,
as Fences to our Leader strong.
The chiefe Ring-leader of this Plot,
is Mazarine as I do understand,
15: The chiefest Enemie to our King,
when bloody Cromwell rul'd this Land.
These Saint like Devils would bring in
the French or who they else could find,
To ruine King and Kingdome too,
20: for to revenge their bloody mind.
For in this Plot they did intend,
by fire and Sword to make their way,
Throughout the City to the Court,
and all they meet for to destroy.
25: They would a saved the King they say,
but make him yeild unto their will,
To Sign or Grant what they desired,
or else be sure they would him kill.
The Queen, the Duke, and Proginie,
30: and General Monck should all a dyed,
With most of the Nobility,
and all the Royall part beside.
Those that they Caveliers did call,
but little mercy should have found,
35: And I believe that for their King,
their herts with swords both fals to ground.
I hope theres none that now wears swords
for to defend his Majestie,
If ever he should in danger be,
40: For quarter now they scorn to cry.
The number in this Devilish Plot,
it is not known, nor cannot be,
But seventeen thousand as tis thought,
should first begin this Masacree.
45: No doubt but desperate they'd been,
if God had let them in't alone,
And thus those Saints, they call themselvs
by blood would make the Land their own
The second Part, to the same Tune.
THis Devilish Plot was carried on,
50: tis thought in all the Kingdome round,
So secret are they, now 'tis known
not many of them yet are found.
A Porter at first discovered all,
which once was Servant unto White,
55: Which White was Major since of Foot,
at Portsmouth nere the Isle of Wight.
He did belong to Morley 1 too,
that kept the Tower a little while,
What side they'r for ther's none doth know
60: for every side they did beguile.
All the Grand Rebels of the Land,
which many thought was o're in France,
Was here in London as tis thought,
this Hellish Plot for to advanse.
65: There's Ludlow, Whaley, and Baxter too,
with Okey & Hewson that single ey'd theif
With the Devil of the west cal'd Disbrow,
and Overton these were the chiefs.
But Overton and Disborow's tooke,
70: and both are safe enough in hold;
Squier Dun never fears to charge them all
for all they think themselves so bold.
There's thousands in this Land I feare,
to whom the King doth mercy shew;
75: They are resolved for to be hang'd,
whether his Grace he will or no.
Examples you see every day,
on most the Gates here in the City,
Now you have hang'd your Masters up,
80: Dun vowes on you hee'l take no pitty.
And if you'r troubled still (he saith)
with the greedy worm still in your brains,
Hee'l ease you on't in half an houre,
or else have nothing for his pains.
85: But as your Friend I do desire
You'd pray to God to guid your hearts,
To fear the Lord and love your King,
and then you'l act true Subjects parts.
If God had not reveal'd this Plot,
90: a bloody Christmass had befell,
Then civily pray drink on pot,
to one we oft for to love well.
The Porter tis, who under God,
preserv'd the King, and all his Peers,
95: Be sure hee'l never be forgot,
by honest Royall Caveliers.
A List of the Trators Names.
Robert Overton formerly called Major Generall Overton, Francis Elstone, John Disborow formerly Collonel, John Hargrass, El. Hunt, Gabriel Hopkins, Wil. Kirk, Fran. Booth, C. Bagster, C. Babinton, W. Wright, Anthony Barnshaw, Thomas Millard, Tobias Hill, Rich. Dilling, Peter Thompson, Tho. Simcock, Frederick Barnwel, Ric. Danie, Ric. Shoopel, John Lucan, W. Howard, Tho. Nicols, Henry Limrick, Francis Gavill, Henry Simboll, James Eglefield, Jeffery Hookins, Sam. Jepp, Isaac Benton, Rich. Young, John Steward, John Ward, Tho. Butler, Rich. Glover, George Thomas, James Sanford, Ro. Parker, Rich. Burt,John Decks, Owen Davis.
London, Printed for Francis Grove dwelling on Snowhill.
.úúColonel Herbert Morley; seeGreaves 1986 and Hutton 1984