Home The GPS Archives Library Links Contact Us
The King's Book - IV. The Search

At which time it was determined, that the said Lord Chamberlain should, according to his custom and 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 the mystery, the nearer that things were in readiness, his journey thither was ordained to be deferred till the afternoon before the sitting down of the Parliament, which was upon the Monday following. At which time he (according to this conclusion) went to the Parliament with my Lord Monteagle, being in zeal to the King’s 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 coals; and, inquiring of Whyneard, keeper of the wardrobe, to what use he had put those lower rooms and cellars? He told him, that Thomas Percy had hired both the house, and part of the cellar, or vault, under the same; and that the wood and coal therein were the gentleman’s own provision. Whereupon, the Lord Chamberlain, casting his eye aside, perceived a fellow standing in a corner there, calling himself the said Percy’s man, and keeper of the house for him, but indeed was Guido Faukes, 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 rackless 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 Monteagle 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 of friendship between him 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 Percy had so seldom occasion to remain; as likewise it gave him in his mind, that his mind, that his man looked a very tall and desperate fellow.

This could not but increase the King’s former apprehension and jealousy; whereupon, he insisted as before, that the house was narrowly to be searched, and that those billets and coals should be searched to the bottom, it being most suspicious that they were laid there only for the covering of the powder. Of this same mind also were all the counsellors then present; but upon the fashion of making of the search was it long debated: For, upon the one side, they were all so jealous of the King’s 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 extremely loth and dainty, that in case this letter should prove to be nothing but the evaporation of an idle brain, then a curious search 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 counsellors, this Thomas Percy being his kinsman and most confident familiar. And the rather were they curious on 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 King’s person, yet did they much differ in the circumstances, by which this action might be best carried with 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 go the next day to the Parliament, and leave the success to fortune; which he believed they would be loth to take upon their conscience; for in such a case as this, an half-doing was worse than no doing at all.

All material copyright© The Gunpowder Plot Society