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The King's Book - II. Monteagle goes to Salisbury

Whereupon, the said Earl of Salisbury having read the letter and having 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 purport 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, as well as the King himself, as divers of 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, 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 loth to refuse their requests; like the sturdy beggars, craving alms with one hand, but carrying a stone in the other, in case of refusal. And, therefore, did the Earl of Salisbury conclude with the Lord Mounteagle, that he would, in regard of the King’s absence, impart the same letter to some more of his Majesty’s Council, whereof my Lord Mounteagle liked well, only adding this request by protestation. That whatsoever the event 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. And thus did Earl of Salisbury presently acquaint the Lord Chamberlain with the said letter.

Whereupon, they two, in presence of the Lord Mounteagle, 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 Lord Chamberlain to have a care of, in regard that it doth belong to the charge of his office to oversee, as well as all places of assembly where his Majesty is to repair, as his Highness’s own private houses. And, therefore, did the two counsellors conclude that they should join unto themselves three more of the council to wit, the Lord Admiral, the Earls of Worcester and Northampton, 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; 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, as well for the expectation and experience they had of his Majesty’s fortunate judgment, in clearing and solving obscure riddles and doubtful mysteries; as also, because the more time would, in the meantime, be given for the practice to ripen, if any was, whereby the discovery might be more clear and evident, and the ground of proceeding thereupon more safe, just, and easy. And so, according to their determination, did the said Earl of Salisbury repair to the King, in his gallery upon Friday, being Allhallows-day, in the afternoon, which was the day after his Majesty’s arrival, and none but himself being present with his Highness at that time, where, without any other speech, or judgment given of the letter, but only relating the form of the delivery thereof, he presented it to his Majesty.

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