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´╗┐Title: Colonel Thomas Blood - Crown-stealer 1618-1680
Author: Abbott, Wilbur Cortez
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: COL : BLOOD.]












The story which follows is, without doubt, one of the most curious and
extraordinary in English history. It is, in fact, so remarkable that
it seems necessary to begin by assuring the cautious reader that it is
true. Much as it may resemble at times that species of literature
known in England as the shilling shocker and in America as the dime
novel, its material is drawn, not from the perfervid imagination of
the author, but from sources whose very nature would seem to repudiate
romance. The dullest and most sedate of official publications,
Parliamentary reports, memoranda of ministers, warrants to and from
officers and gaolers, newsletters full of gossip which for two hundred
years and more has ceased to be news, these would seem to offer little
promise of human interest.

Yet even these cannot well disguise the fascination of a life like
that of Thomas Blood. The tale of adventure has always divided honours
with the love story. And such a career as his, full of mystery, of
personal daring, and the successful defiance of law by one on whom its
provisions seem to have borne too hardly, cannot be obscured even by
the digest of official documents. Moreover it has historical
significance. This most famous and successful of English lawbreakers
was no common criminal. In a sense he was the representative of an
important class during a critical period of history. Not merely to the
Old Englander, but to those interested in the rise of the New England
beyond seas, the fate of the irreconcilable Puritans, no less than
that of their more submissive brethren, must seem of importance. This
is the more true in that no small number of the men whose names appear
in this narrative played parts on both sides of the Atlantic. The
younger Vane, who had been the governor of Massachusetts, in 1636, and
whose execution marked the early years of Restoration vengeance, is
the most striking of these figures. Next to him come the fugitive
regicides, Goffe, Whalley and Dixwell, who lived out their days in New
Haven, Hartford and Hadley. It is not so well known, however, that
Venner, whose insurrection in the early days of the Restoration was
one of the most dramatic and important events of that time, was at one
time a resident of Salem. Still less is it likely to be known that
Paul Hobson, one of the contrivers and the involuntary betrayer of the
great plot of 1663, was later allowed to remove to Carolina. The
relationship of Lawrence Washington, whose activities in the early
years of Charles II's reign gave the government such anxiety, to the
Washingtons who settled in Virginia has been vigorously denied. But
certainly no small element among these irreconcilables found sympathy,
support or refuge among their brethren in the New World. And it was
perhaps no more than chance that the subject of this sketch did not
become governor of an English colony in America.

This essay began as a serious historical study, whose larger results
are chronicled in another place. But it grew insensibly into the only
form of composition which seemed to do it any sort of justice, a
species of story. It is, in short, a romance, which differs from its
kind chiefly in that it has a larger proportion of truth. On the other
hand it lacks in equal measure what is generally superabundant in such
works, a plot. It has a plot, indeed many plots, but it is not always
easy to determine just what the plot is or what relation the hero or
villain as you like, bears to it. It has, above all, a mystery which
may atone for its shortcomings in other directions. And it has,
finally, for its central figure a character whose strange, surprising
adventures were the marvel of his day and are not greatly dimmed by
the dust of two centuries. On these grounds it seems not unprofitable
nor uninteresting to contemplate again and in a new light the life and
works of the man who has been generally conceded the bad eminence of
being the most daring and successful of English rascals, Thomas Blood,
courtesy-colonel of conspiracy and crown-stealer. The scene of his
activity was that brilliant and obscure period we know as the
Restoration, those years during which his most gracious Majesty, King
Charles the Second, of far from blessed memory, presided over the
destinies of the English race. And you are, if you wish, to transport
yourself at once into the very midst of the reign of him who for his
wit and wickedness has been forever miscalled the Merry Monarch.

The great event of the winter of 1670-1 in English politics and
society was a circumstance unprecedented in European affairs, the
visit of the head of the House of Orange to the English Court. The
young Prince William, soon to become the ruler of Holland, and later
King of England, made this, his first visit to the nation which one
day he was to rule, ostensibly to pay his respects to his uncle
Charles who was then King, and his uncle James, who was Duke of York.
Beside this his journey was officially declared to have no other
purpose than pleasure and the transaction of some private business.
What affairs of state were then secretly discussed by this precocious
statesman f nineteen and His British Majesty's ministers of the Cabal,
we have no need to inquire here, nor would our inquiries produce much
result were they made. The web of political intrigue then first set on
the roaring loom of time which was to plunge all England into
agitation and revolution and unrest, and all western Europe into war,
has, for the moment, little to do with this story. There was enough in
the external aspects of his visit to fill public attention then and to
serve our purpose now. The five months of his stay were one long round
of gayety. Balls, receptions, and dinners, horse-races, cocking mains,
gaming and drinking bouts followed each other in royal profusion. And
a marriage already projected between the Prince and his cousin, the
Princess Mary, gave a touch of romance to the affair, only qualified
by the fact that she still played at dolls in the nursery.

The court was not alone in its efforts to entertain the young prince.
The ministers, the leaders of the opposition, and many private
individuals beside, lent their energies to this laudable end. The work
was taken up by certain public or semi-public bodies. And, in
particular, the corporation of the great city of London felt that
among these festivities it must not be outdone in paying some
attention to the most distinguished citizen of the neighbouring
republic, who, as it happened, was also the most promising Protestant
candidate for the English throne. Accordingly on the afternoon of
Tuesday, December 6, 1670, as the custom then was, they tendered him a
banquet at Guildhall where were assembled the wealth and beauty of the
city to do him honour. The great function, apart from a subtle
political significance which might have been noted by a careful and
well-informed observer, was not unlike others of that long series of
splendid hospitalities by which the greatest city in the world has
been accustomed for centuries to welcome its distinguished guests.
There was the same splendour of civic display, the same wealth of
courses, the same excellent old wine, doubtless the same excellent old
speeches. And in spite of the greatness of the event and the position
and importance of the guest of honour, the glories of this noble
feast, like those of so many of its fellows, might well have passed
into that oblivion which enfolds dead dinner parties had it not been
that before the evening was over it had become the occasion of one of
the most daring and sensational adventures in the annals of crime, the
famous attempt on the Duke of Ormond.

This extraordinary exploit, remarkable in itself for its audacity and
the mystery which surrounded it, was made doubly so by the eminence
and character of its victim. James Butler, famous then and since as
"the great Duke of Ormond," bearer of a score of titles, member of the
Council, sometime Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and still Lord High
Steward of England, was by birth and ability one of the greatest,
wealthiest and most powerful men in the three Kingdoms. He was,
moreover, scarcely less distinguished for his noble character than for
his high rank. Neither these nor the circumstances of his career in
public life gave any apparent ground for belief that he was in danger
of personal violence. During the Civil Wars he had followed the
fortunes of King Charles the father with courage and fidelity, though
with no great success. When the royal cause was lost he followed
Charles the son into exile. When monarchy was restored he regained his
ancient estates and dignities, he was made the virtual ruler of
Ireland and with his two friends, the Chancellor, Clarendon, and the
Treasurer, Southampton, completed a triumvirate which dominated
English affairs during the first half dozen years of the Restoration.
When our story opens, Southampton was dead, Clarendon in exile. But
Ormond, last of the staunch Protestants and stately Cavaliers of the
old regime, remained conspicuous in a corrupt and worthless court for
his ability and his virtues. By reason of these, as well as his
office, he had been chosen on this occasion to accompany the Prince of
Orange to the city feast. And by reason of his years he had, before
the concluding revels of the younger men, left the banquet to return
home and so found his way into a most surprising adventure and this

At the time of which we write he lived in a mansion opposite St.
James's palace, built by his friend the Chancellor and still known as
Clarendon House. His establishment, like that of most men of rank in
those days, was on a scale almost feudal. It included some scores of
servants, companions and dependents of the family. A porter sat at the
gate, day and night, and when the Duke went abroad in his chariot he
was attended by six footmen, a coachman and a runner. It would have
seemed that in the three kingdoms there was scarce a man who, by
virtue of his position, character and surroundings, was less likely to
be exposed to violence than he. What enemies he might have made in his
administration of Ireland, if such there were, could at best be men of
little importance, living besides in a land then as distant from
London as the United States is to-day. They would, presumably, not be
well informed of his movements, least of all of his social
engagements, and they would be helpless in the midst of London,
against the power at his command. What rivals he had in England, it
might be premised from their station, would be far above the practice
of personal assault as a means of political triumph. Certainly nothing
could have been farther from his thoughts or those of his family than
that any danger beyond a possible attack of indigestion could threaten
him in connection with a Guildhall dinner. As the early winter evening
came on, therefore, the porter dozed at the gate, the family and
servants retired early, according to the better customs of a ruder
age, and the quiet of a house at peace with itself and the world
settled down on the little community within its walls.

It was of short duration. When the lumbering seventeenth century
chariot was heard making its way up the street on its return about
eight o'clock, the porter roused from his nap and came out to unbar
the gates for the home-coming Duke. But to his dismay there was no
Duke, and neither footmen nor runner, only an empty coach and a
frightened coachman, crying that they had been set upon by seven or
eight men in St. James Street almost in sight of the house, that the
footman, lagging behind on the hill, had been overpowered or put to
flight, that the Duke had been dragged out of the chariot and carried
off down Piccadilly way, and that he was, perhaps, already killed. The
porter was a man of courage and decision. He gave the alarm and, with
a certain James Clark, one of the Duke's household, who happened to be
passing through the courtyard when the coach came in, hastened off in
the direction indicated. They found no one at the place where the
attack had been made, but hurrying on past Devonshire House they came
upon two men struggling in the mud of the Knightsbridge road. As they
approached, one of the combatants, a man of huge stature, struggled to
his feet. He was immediately joined by another who appeared from the
shadows, and both fired their pistols at the prostrate figure. Then,
without waiting to see the result, the ruffians mounted their horses
which had meanwhile been held by a third man, and rode off. The
rescuers, joined by many persons whom their alarm had brought
together, hurried to the man in the road. He was too far spent for
words and in the darkness was unrecognizable from dirt and wounds. It
was only by feeling the great star of the order of the Garter on his
breast that they identified him as the Duke. He was carried home and
though much shaken by his adventure was found otherwise uninjured and
after some days he fully recovered. His account of the night's
happenings added a curious detail to the history of the attack and
explained why he had been found so far from where the coach was
stopped. The plan of his assailants, it appeared, was not merely to
capture or kill him, nor, as might have been supposed, to hold him for
ransom. They proposed, instead, to carry him to the place of public
execution, Tyburn, and hang him from the gallows there like a common
criminal. In pursuance of this design they had mounted him behind the
large man, to whom he was securely bound, while the leader rode on to
adjust the rope that there might be no delay at the gallows. When,
however, the others failed to appear, this man rode back and found
that the Duke, despite his age, had managed to throw himself and his
companion from their horse and so gain time till help came.[1]

          [1] Carte, Life of the Duke of Ormond.

Such was the extraordinary attempt on the Duke of Ormond, than which
no event of the time showed more daring and ingenuity, nor created as
great a sensation. The assailants were not recognized by the Duke nor
his men, no assignable motive for their actions could be given, nor
any further trace of them discovered. And this was not from lack of
effort. The court, the city, and the administration were deeply
stirred by the outrage, and the whole machinery of state was set in
motion to discover and apprehend the criminals. Unprecedented rewards
were offered, the ports were watched, the local authorities warned to
be on the lookout for the desperadoes, and spies were sent in every
direction to gain information. The House of Lords appointed a
committee of no less than sixty-nine peers to examine into "the late
barbarous assaulting, wounding and robbing the Lord High Steward of
His Majesty's Household."

For more than a month this august body, aided by the secret service
officers, pursued its investigations. The result was small. The most
important testimony was that of a "drawer" at the Bull Tavern, Charing
Cross. He deposed that on the day of the assault, between six and
seven in the evening, five men on horseback, with cloaks, who said
they were graziers, rode up to the inn. They dismounted, ordered wine,
some six pints in all, and sat there, drinking, talking and finally,
having ordered pipes and tobacco, smoking for nearly an hour. About
seven o'clock a man came by on foot crying, "Make way for the Duke of
Ormond," and shortly after the Duke's coach passed by. Fifteen minutes
later the five men paid their reckoning and rode off, still smoking,
toward the Hay Market or Pall Mall, leaving behind some wine, which
the boy duly drank. Beside this, a certain Michael Beresford, clerk or
parson of Hopton, Suffolk, testified that on the same evening,
somewhat earlier it would appear than the incident at the Bull, he had
met in the "Piattza," Covent Garden, a man formerly known to him as a
footman in the service of the regicide, Sir Michael Livesey. This man,
Allen by name, appeared much disturbed, and after some conversation in
which he hinted at "great designs" on foot, was called away by a page,
who told him the horses were ready. The principal piece of evidence,
however, was a sword, belt and pistol, marked "T. H." found at the
scene of the struggle and identified as the property of one Hunt, who
had been arrested in the preceding August under suspicion of highway
robbery, but released for lack of evidence against him. Three horses
were also found, one of which corresponded to the description of the
animal ridden by the leader of the five men at the Bull. In addition
to this there was the usual mass of more or less irrelevant
informations, rumours, arrests, witnesses and worthless testimony
which such a case always produces. After much deliberation the
committee finally drew up a bill against three men, Thomas Hunt,
Richard Halliwell, and one Thomas Allen, also called Allett, Aleck and
Ayloffe. These were summoned to render themselves "by a short day" or
stand convicted of the assault. The bill was duly passed by both
houses and fully vindicated the dignity of the Lords. But it had no
further result. The men did not render themselves by any day, short or
long, the government agents failed to find them and there the matter

The result and indeed the whole procedure was thoroughly
unsatisfactory to many in authority. At the outset of the
investigation Justice Morton of London, the far-famed terror of
highwaymen, was asked by Ormond to look into the matter and was
furnished with the names of certain suspects. He reported on Hunt and
his career, and went on to say that Moore and Blood, concerning whom
his Grace had enquired, were in or about London. A month later, Lord
Arlington, the Secretary of State, who had charge of the secret
service, reported to the Lords' committee that of the men suspected,
"Jones, who wrote _Mene Tekel_,[2] Blood, called Allen, Allec, etc.,
young Blood, his son, called Hunt, under which name he was indicted
last year, Halliwell, Moore and Simons, were desperate characters
sheltering themselves under the name of Fifth Monarchy men." "Would
not this exposing of their names by act of Parliament," he asked,
"make them hide themselves in the country, whereas the Nonconformists
with whom they met, and who abhorred their crime would otherwise be
glad to bring them to justice?" Apparently not, in the opinion of the
Lords, and the result was what we have seen. Neither Arlington's
advice nor the men were taken. And though in the minds of Ormond,
Morton and Arlington, apparently little doubt existed as to the
authors of the outrage, no way was found to put their opinions into
effect. It needed another and even more daring exploit to demonstrate
the truth of their conjecture and bring the criminal into custody. And
it was not long until just such a circumstance confirmed their surmise
that the man guilty of the assault was the most famous outlaw of his
day, long known and much wanted, many times proclaimed, and on whose
head a price had often been set. He was, in short, Thomas Blood,
courtesy-colonel of conspiracy, plotter, desperado, and now, at last,
highwayman, a man not much known to the world at large, but a source
of long standing anxiety to the government.

          [2] A famous fanatic pamphlet against the government.

Who was he and what was the motive of this apparently foolhardy and
purposeless piece of bravado? The answer to that question lies deep in
the history of the time, for Blood was no common rascal. Unlike the
ordinary criminal he was not merely an individual lawbreaker. He was
at once a leader and a type of an element in the state, and the part
that he and his fellows played in affairs was not merely important in
itself and in its generation, but even at this distance it has an
interest little dimmed by two centuries of neglect. The story of his
life, in so far as it can be pieced out from the materials at our
command, is as follows:

In the reign of James I, that is to say, in the first quarter of the
seventeenth century, there lived at an obscure place called Sarney,
County Meath, Ireland, a man named Blood. He was by trade a blacksmith
and ironworker and seems to have been possessed of some little
property, including an iron works. He was not a native Irishman but
one of those north English or Scotch Presbyterians, colonized in that
unhappy island according to the policy which had been pursued by the
English government. Of him we know little more save this. About 1618
there was born to him a son, christened Thomas, who grew to young
manhood unmarked by any noteworthy achievements or qualities of which
any record remains. But if the circumstances of his own life were of
no great importance, the times in which he lived were stirring enough,
and remote as he was from the center of English political life, he
could hardly have failed to know something of the great issues then
agitating public affairs, and be moved by events far outside his own
little circle. When he was ten years old, the long struggle between
the English king and Parliament blazed up in the Petition of Right, by
which the Commons strove to check the power of the Crown. Thereafter
for eleven years no Parliament sat in England. There, supported by
royal prerogative, the Archbishop Laud sought to force conformity to
the Anglican ritual on multitudes of unwilling men and women, while
the Attorney-General, Noy, and the Treasurer, Weston, revived
long-lapsed statutes and privileges and stretched the technicalities
of the law to extort unparliamentary revenue. Then it was that the
Great Emigration poured thousands of settlers into the New World and
established finally and beyond question the success of the struggling
Puritan colonies oversea. Such matters touched the boy in the Irish
village little. But when the greatest of the Royalists, Thomas
Wentworth, Earl Strafford to be, was transferred from the presidency
of the English Council of the North to rule Ireland, Blood, like all
others in that troubled province, was brought face to face with the
issues of the time. He, like others, saw in that administration the
theory and practice of the enlightened despotism which English
Parliamentarians said it was the aim of this man and his master to
force upon England when English liberties should have been crushed
with the Irish army then forming.

Whether young Blood enlisted in that army we do not know, but it is
not improbable. In any event, when the Civil War finally broke out,
the Blood family seem to have been in the thick of it. Years afterward
Prince Rupert said that he remembered the young man as a bold and
dashing soldier in his command. And, later still, Blood himself wrote
King Charles II, in behalf of his uncle Neptune, for thirty years dean
of Kilfernora, noting among his virtues that he had been with Charles
I at Oxford. Thus it would appear that the Bloods first sided with the
royal cause. Beside this we know that, in the year before the
execution of the King, Blood married a Miss Holcroft of Holcroft in
Lancashire. And we know further that then or thereafter, like many
another stout soldier, like the stoutest of them all, General Monk[3]
himself, the young Royalist changed sides, for the next time he
appears in history it is with the rank of lieutenant in the
Cromwellian army.

          [3] This spelling of the General's name has been disputed of
          late, such authorities as Professor Firth and Mr. Willcock
          preferring Monck. But the form here used seems as good, it
          has much tradition and authority on its side, and the point
          is, after all, of no special importance.

Before that, however, many great events had taken place, in war and
politics. The Royalist resistance in England had been beaten down, and
the king was dead, the title and office of king had been abolished,
the House of Lords had been done away with, and England was a
commonwealth with a Huntingdonshire gentleman, Oliver Cromwell, at its
head. The war had shifted to Scotland and Ireland. Charles II had been
proclaimed in Edinburgh, and Catholic and Royalist had risen in
Ireland. Thither Cromwell had hastened with his invincible Ironsides,
to crush the Irish before they could gather head and, with the aid of
the Scotch, overthrow his hard-won power. His stroke was swift and
merciless. The chief strongholds of his enemies, Drogheda and Wexford,
were stormed and their inhabitants put to the sword after the manner
of the old Testament. The Irish army was overpowered and Cromwell
hurried back to crush the Scots at Dunbar and Worcester, leaving his
son-in-law, the lawyer-general Ireton, to stamp out the embers of
rebellion. Thereafter, he sent the ablest of his sons, Henry, to hold
the island for the Commonwealth.

With him Blood came into touch with the house of Cromwell. The young
Irishman had probably been among the troops which were brought over to
conquer the "rebels" serving under the Lord General and Ireton after
him. For when the new government, following the example of its
predecessors, confiscated the land of its enemies and the fair domains
of Royalist and Catholic passed into the hands of the hard-hitting and
loud-praying colonels and captains and even common soldiers of the
Commonwealth, Blood not only acquired estates, but was further
distinguished by being made Justice of the Peace under Henry Cromwell.
Thus with his fellows, and in greater proportion than most of them, he
prospered and after an adventurous career seemed about to achieve the
ambition of most Englishmen then and since, and become a real country
gentleman. For a space of seven years, under Commonwealth and
Protectorate, he lived, like many others of his kind, satisfied and
secure in the enjoyment of the fruits of his share in saving England
from the tyrant, little moved by the great events oversea. And, had it
not been for circumstances as far outside his little sphere as those
which had raised him to this position, he might well have finished an
obscure and peaceful existence, with little further interest for the
historian or moralist. But at the end of those seven fat years Fate,
who had been so kind to Blood and his fellows, changed sides, and he,
like many others, missing the signs of the times, or moved by
conviction, could not, or would not, at all events did not change with

On September 3, 1658, Oliver Cromwell died and the fabric of
government which for some years had rested on little more than his
will and his sword, began at once to crumble. For a few months his son
Richard endured the empty honour of the Protector's title. Then he
resigned and the administration was left in a weltering chaos of Rump
Parliament politicians and Cromwellian army generals. To end this
anarchy came the governor of Scotland, General Monk, with his army, to
London in the first months of 1660. Under his shrewd, stern management
the old Parliament was forced to dissolve itself and a new House of
Commons was chosen. The first act of this so-called Convention was to
recall the House of Stuart to the throne, and on May 29, 1660, Charles
II rode into London and his inheritance, welcomed by the same shouting
thousands who had so recently assembled to pay the last honours to the
Protectorate. As rapidly as might be thereafter the new regime was
established. The old officers and officials were replaced by
Royalists, the forces by land and sea were disbanded, save for five
thousand trusty troops to guard the new monarchy, the leaders of the
fallen party were arrested and executed, or driven into exile, or put
under security. Some, like Monk and Montague and Browne, were now the
strongest pillars in the new political edifice. Many, like Harrison
and his fellow-regicides, were marked for speedy execution, while
others, like Vane, were kept for future sacrifice. Many more, like
Marten and Waller and Cobbet, dragged out a wretched existence as
political prisoners, exchanging one prison for another till death
released them. Some, like Hutchinson, were put under bonds and granted
a half liberty that in too many cases led only to later imprisonment.
Only a few, like Lambert, lived long in the more pleasant confinement
of the Channel Islands and the Scillies. Yet many escaped. Ludlow and
Lisle and their companions found protection if not safety in
Switzerland. Many more sought refuge in Holland. Some like Algernon
Sidney flitted over Europe like uneasy spirits. No small number joined
the Emperor to fight the Turk, or took service in Holland or Sweden or
the petty states of Germany. And still others, like Goffe and Whalley
and Dixwell, sought and found security in the New World. The leaders
of the fallen party out of the way, for the ensuing six years the
government left no stone unturned to undo the work of revolution and
to restore in so far as possible the old order.

It was no easy task. For twenty years England had been engaged in a
civil strife where political animosities were embittered by religious
dissensions, emphasized by lines of social cleavage. Not merely had
the ancient fabric of church and state been shattered, but society
itself had been convulsed by the intrusion of ideas and classes
hitherto little regarded as vital elements of public affairs. One by
one institutions long held sacred fell before these new vandals who
seemed about to set up a new heaven and a new earth. King, Lords,
Church, local government, finally the House of Commons itself
disappeared. An open way for the talents was created. A carter became
a colonel and member of Parliament, a butcher became a major-general.
The son of a country merchant developed into the greatest English
naval commander of his time. Meeting house and conventicle took their
place beside parish church and cathedral. Bishops, vestments, liturgy,
at last the whole Establishment disappeared, and there came to be
thousands of men who, like Pepys, saw a church service with its
"singing men" for the first time after the Restoration. One section of
the people in short had triumphed over another. Many of them, like
Blood, actually entered into their enemies' inheritance and seemed
likely to found a new dominant caste. Nor was the effect confined to
England. That land where Puritanism had taken refuge across the sea,
New England, felt the impulse no less strongly. The current of
emigration which some years before had flowed so strongly toward the
new world was checked and even turned back. With the clash of arms not
a few New World Puritans hastened to the mother country to strike a
blow for their cause. Thus the young George Downing, but just
graduated from Harvard, entered the Parliamentary army as chaplain,
turning thence to diplomacy, and with the overthrow of the Puritans,
to Royalism. But many were more scrupulous or less fortunate than he.
When 1660 came and this was all reversed, when the old party was in
the ascendant, the king on the throne, what would become of them? They
had been free to worship in their own way and had been largely exempt
even from many forms of taxation. But all this was now suddenly
reversed. The Royalists were again in the ascendant, the king was on
his throne, Puritanism was discredited, its leaders gone, its
organization destroyed. What were men like Blood to do?

Matters moved rapidly in those early months of 1660 as they had need
to do if the restoration of the old order was to be accomplished
without bloodshed. From the first of January when Monk with his Scotch
army entered England on its way to London to the end of May when
Charles II rode into Whitehall and his inheritance, great events
pressed close on each other's heels. The old Long Parliament was
restored to decree its own dissolution and the summoning of its
successor. A general election when Royalism was stimulated by the
Declaration from Breda promising amnesty and toleration produced the
Convention Parliament which under stress of Royal promise and fear of
the sectaries recalled the King. A Royal Council was hurriedly brought
together, the House of Lords filled up, the Commonwealth officials and
officers replaced as rapidly as might be by Royalists and before the
end of June administration had been secured for the new monarchy. Thus
under the protection of Monk and his trusty regiments, King, Lords,
Commons resumed their ancient place, administration came into new
hands, the bishops were taking their place in the Lords, the clergy in
their parishes as they could and all England seemed well on the way to
accept a settlement. Yet great issues remained.

For the moment the restoration had affected only the leaders of the
fallen party and the army. The divisions in society and politics
remained, and the three classes which had fought the civil war
persisted. But their positions were greatly changed. The Anglicans
were in power. The Presbyterians for the time shared that power with
their rivals, and it was only by their aid the king had been recalled.
But the Third Party, or sectaries--Independents, Baptists, Unitarians,
Quakers, and the rest, were now hopelessly at sea. Cromwell, under
whom they had risen to numbers and influence, was dead, their army was
being disbanded, they had little voice in Parliament, and the shadow
of persecution was already upon them. Yet though cast down they were
not destroyed. They had not time to fully establish themselves as a
factor in religion and politics. Their development was checked half
way and they had been given no opportunity to work out their salvation
unhindered. But they were there and they were to be reckoned with.

For several months, though the Anglicans strove to prevent it, the
Presbyterians at least, seemed likely to receive the recognition they
had earned by their services to the restoration. In the Parliament
they were the most powerful group. In the new Council twelve men of
the thirty had borne arms against the late king. Among the royal
chaplains ten Presbyterian divines found place. And beside issuing the
Declaration from Breda promising liberty of conscience, the king
presently called a conference of Anglicans and Presbyterians at the
Savoy palace to consider some plan of toleration or comprehension. So
far all promised well for an amicable adjustment of relations between
the two great parties in church and state. But their very agreement
boded ill for the third party. In the days of their prosperity they
had suppressed Anglican and Presbyterian alike. Now that these had
joined hands the sectaries had little to hope. They had early stirred
to meet the danger. While the Convention debated the terms on which
the king should return, their deliberations were cut short not less by
the declaration of the king, than by the fear of a rising of the
republicans and sects. But, as the event proved, it was not in the
alliance of the two greater parties their danger lay, for that
alliance was of a few days and full of trouble. The Convention was
dissolved without the embodiment into legislation of those guarantees
which might have made the Presbyterians secure. And before the new
House was chosen, or the Savoy Conference held, their cause was
hopelessly compromised by the third party with whom, against their
will, the Anglicans successfully endeavored to identify them. For in
January, 1661, fanaticism broke out in London. A cooper named Venner,
a soldier of the old army, sometime conspirator against Cromwell,
sometime resident of Salem, in New England, with some three score
followers, all of that peculiar millennial sect known as Fifth
Monarchy men, rose against the government, and for three days kept the
city, the court and the administration in a state of feverish alarm.
But the odds against them were too great. They found neither aid nor
comfort from outside, and the children of this world triumphed over
those who would have restored the rule of the saints under King Jesus.

That rising helped destroy whatever chance the Presbyterians had of
holding their strength in the new Parliament, and the House of Commons
showed a clear majority of Royalist Anglicans. Hardly had this body
begun its deliberations when the Savoy Conference met, and, after some
wrangling, dissolved without reaching any agreement. Thence ensued a
period of reaction whose results are writ large in religious history
to this day, for this was the time when established church and
denominations definitely parted company. The dominant party lost no
time in destroying the strength of their rivals. The Corporation Act
drove the dissenters from those bodies which governed the cities and
towns and chose a majority of the Commons. The Act of Uniformity
excluded all dissenting ministers from the Church of England. And the
restoration of the bishops to the House of Lords, and of its
confiscated property to the Church completed the discomfiture of the
Presbyterians. These, indeed, suffered most for they had most to lose,
but the new policy bore no less hardly on the sectaries. And these,
joined by the more extreme Presbyterians, were less inclined to submit
to the revived authority in church and state. Many moderate men,
indeed, found it in their consciences to conform enough to evade the
law. But many more were not able nor inclined to take this course.
Deprived of their army, of their political position, of their
religious liberty, even at length of their right to petition, in many
cases of what they considered their rightful property, with no outlet
for their opinions in Parliament, the case seemed hopeless enough.
Some recanted, the most began a long and honorable course of silent
endurance of their persecution. And some, of bolder spirit, turned to
darker ways.

These events in England had their counterpart in Scotland and Ireland.
In the former a Royalist Parliament, intoxicated with power, a source,
however, from which its name of the Drunken Parliament was not
derived, repealed at one stroke all the acts of the preceding
twenty-eight years, and abolished that document so dear to
Presbyterian hearts, the Solemn League and Covenant. In the latter a
Court of Claims was established to unravel the intricacies of the
interminable land question and restore the estates, as far as
possible, to their former owners. In all three kingdoms the
dispossessed party was thrown into a ferment of discontent over this
sudden reversal of their fortunes. The soldiers of the old army were
especially enraged. They felt that they had lost by political trickery
what had been won in fair fight. By a sudden turn of fortune's wheel,
a bit of legal chicanery, their old enemy, the Parliament, had caught
them off their guard and overthrown them. Their place had been taken
by the ungodly, the Arminian and the idol-worshipper. And these
brethren of the Covenant and the sword were not men to rest quietly
under such wrongs. Many, indeed, turned aside from politics and war,
taking no further part in public affairs. But not a few declared they
would not be led into an Egyptian bondage under a new Pharaoh. They
would not be turned adrift by the empty vote of a packed Parliament,
whence they had been excluded. Those whom they had fairly fought and
fairly conquered, those who had followed Mammon, and bowed the knee to
Baal, the worshippers of Rimmon, the doers of abominations, the
servants of the Scarlet Woman who sits on the Seven Hills, were these
to enter upon that fair inheritance, so lately in the hands of the
Saints, without a blow? Surely the Lord was on the side of His
servants, as he had shown them by so many signal instances of His
favour, at Naseby, at Marston Moor, at Dunbar and Worcester, and a
hundred fights beside, in the great days gone by. Was He to look on
unmoved? Had He abandoned them to their enemies? Was this not rather a
device of His to try their constancy and courage? Was it not their
part as brave and righteous men to strike another blow for the faith
that was in them and the heritage He had put in their hands? A bold
stroke had once prevailed against their oppressors. Might not another
restore the Covenant and give back to the afflicted saints their
inheritance and the spoil of the Philistines? A new king was on the
throne who knew not Joseph. But his rule was recent, his hold
precarious. His father had been overthrown though all the wealth and
power of the mighty had been on his side. Now the land was honeycombed
with sedition, there were thousands of bold spirits accustomed to
discipline and the use of arms, and thousands more of the faithful
with money and sympathy to aid in the great work of destroying the
rule of grasping bishops and a Catholic king.

Thus while the regicides fled from the wrath of the new government, or
suffered the penalty of their deeds in London, while Parliament was
driving Nonconformity from church and state and the greater part of
the dispossessed party girded itself to endure the impending
persecution, while new-fledged royalty flaunted its licentiousness in
Whitehall, earnest and vindictive men plotted against the new order in
England, in Ireland and Scotland and Wales, in London itself.
Emissaries made their way by night along unfrequented roads, or stole
from village to village in tiny fishing boats, or crept through narrow
lanes of the old City and its environs, to cheer the secret and
unlawful conventicles of Baptist and Quaker, Presbyterian and
Congregationalist, Unitarian and Fifth Monarchist, with hopes and
plans for the resurrection of the Kingdom of the Righteous. The old
Republicans were approached, the holders of land taken in the recent
troubles, the members of the old Rump Parliament, the exiles abroad,
the officers and soldiers of the old army at home. Proclamations were
printed promising all things to all men, but chiefly toleration and
lighter taxes. Tracts were smuggled from London or Holland full of the
language of prophecy. The new monarchy had been measured and found
wanting, the old Covenant was about to rise, Phoenix-like, from its
ashes, the heavens were full of signs and portents, and prodigies
everywhere indicated the fall of king and bishop. A new Armageddon was
at hand, the rule of King Jesus was to be restored, "even by Blood."
Everywhere arms were gathered and men enlisted against that great day.
A council of conspirators directed the activities of its agents from
London and communicated with other groups throughout the three
kingdoms and with the refugees on the Continent. In such wise were
woven the threads of conspiracy against restored royalty and the pride
of the Anglicans, widely but loosely.

And everywhere, meanwhile, the government followed close on the trail
of the conspirators and kept in close touch with the elements of
discontent. Everywhere spies and informers were enlisted, even from
the ranks of conspiracy itself, to discover and also, it was
whispered, to foment conspiracy where none existed, that dangerous men
might be drawn in and seized. From every county justices and deputy
lieutenants poured a steady stream of prisoners and information into
the hands of the administration. Under the careful direction of the
Lord General the militia was reorganized, former strongholds weakened
or destroyed, troops moved here and there, suspicious persons seized
and incipient disturbance vigorously repressed. So for three years
this underground warfare went on. Late in 1661 the government found or
professed to find, a clue to conspiracy and exploited its discovery in
Parliament to secure the act against corporations. Again in 1662
another, and perhaps more real danger was brought to light, and again
this was used to pass the Act of Uniformity, a measure against
dissenting ministers which drove some eighteen hundred from the Church
and rendered comprehension finally impossible. Some of the alleged
conspirators were hanged, some were used to get more information, but
for the most part the leaders remained unknown, or escaped. Thus far
the disaffected had played into the hands of their bitterest enemies,
and had accomplished little more than furnish a much desired excuse
for legislation to destroy Nonconformity root and branch. If
insurrection had been planned at all it had been thwarted, and turned
against its authors and their party. So useful had it been to the
Anglicans, indeed, that it was more than hinted that the so-called
conspiracies were in fact engineered by them for use in Parliament.

This was not quite true. Conspiracy there had been, and was, as events
were to prove. The increasing persecution of Dissent, the increasing
weight of taxation, the increasing luxury of the court and the
exactions of the church, provided an increasing basis of discontent,
deep and far-reaching. And the administration learned presently that
the plot they had so diligently pursued and exploited had a very real
existence. By 1663 it was a wide spread and apparently well-organized
conspiracy. It included the discontented Nonconformists of the west
and north of England, the Scotch Covenanters, the dispossessed
Cromwellians in Ireland, the London conventiclers and the Continental
refugees. A central Committee of Six, chiefly old army officers, sat
in London, whence they directed the movement from their hiding places
in those little known regions of the metropolis where even the King's
writ ran with difficulty or not at all. The scheme contemplated the
surprise and seizure of Whitehall and the Tower, the capture of the
King and his brother, of the Chancellor, and the Lord General.
Simultaneous risings were to take place throughout the country whereby
the local authorities were to be overpowered, the Guards, if possible,
decoyed away from the capital, and the central administration
paralyzed and destroyed. The forces of the conspirators, under their
former leaders, especially General Ludlow, were to unite, march on
London, and there either exact terms from the captive King or set up
another Republic, but in any event relieve the people from the burdens
of religious and financial oppression. Such was the dream of the
discontented, which, transformed into action might well have plunged
England again into the throes of civil war.

Meanwhile what of our friend Blood amid all these great affairs? Had
he, like many others, preferred the safer course, withdrawn into
private life and abandoned his property and ambitions together? That,
indeed, seems to have been his first course. The Court of Claims
apparently deprived him, among many others, of part or all of his
new-found fortune in land, and he seems to have taken up his residence
in Dublin, with or near his brother-in-law, Lackie, or Lecky, a
Presbyterian clergyman, and, like his modern namesake, the historian,
a fellow of Trinity College. Even so he maintained his reputation as
an active man, for on June 30, 1663, a Dublin butcher, Dolman by name,
is found petitioning the Duke of Ormond for the return of an
"outlandish bull and cow" of which he had been unlawfully deprived by
Thomas Blood, lieutenant in the late army. The petition was duly
granted and the animals doubtless duly recovered. But before that the
gallant lieutenant was in far deeper designs than the benevolent
assimilation of other people's outlandish bulls, and before the worthy
butcher petitioned against him he had come under the direct attention
of the Lord-lieutenant in a much more serious connection.

It was not to be supposed that such a man was overlooked in the
assignment of parts for the great conspiracy. A committee had been
formed in Dublin to organize and enlist the old Cromwellians in the
design and of this committee Blood and his brother-in-law were
prominent members. They were, in fact, the chief means by which
correspondence was maintained with the north Irish Presbyterians in
Ulster, and the so-called Cameronians in Scotland, as well as the
Nonconformist group in Lancashire and north England, with whom Blood's
marriage had given him some connection. The local design, as evolved
by this committee, was most ingenious. A day, the 9th or 10th of May,
was set for its execution, men and arms were collected, and the
details carefully arranged for the seizure of Dublin Castle and the
person of Ormond. According to an old usage the Lord-lieutenant was
accustomed from day to day to receive petitions in person from all who
cared to carry their troubles to him in this way. Taking advantage of
this custom, it was proposed by the conspirators to send certain men
enlisted in the enterprise into the Castle in the guise of
petitioners. Some eighty others, meanwhile, disguised as workingmen
and loiterers, were to hang about the great gate of the Castle.
Another, disguised as a baker, and carrying a basket of bread on his
head, was to enter the gate, as if on his way to the kitchen. As he
went in he was to stumble and let fall his pile of loaves. It was
calculated that the careless guard would probably rush out to snatch
the bread thus scattered. The baker would resist, the pretended
workmen and loiterers would gather to see the fun, and, under cover of
the disturbance, rush the gate, seize the guard-house and its arms,
overpower the guard, and, with the aid of the petitioners within,
occupy the Castle. Upon the news of this, risings were to take place
throughout the country, and the English troops and officials
overpowered and brought over or killed.

It was an admirable plan. The volunteers were chosen, the disguises
prepared, a proclamation to the people was printed, and the whole
matter laid in train. The plot, in fact, wanted but one thing to
succeed--secrecy. This it was not destined to have. At the proper time
the inevitable informer appeared in the person of Mr. Philip Alden or
Arden, a member of the committee. By him and by a certain Sir
Theophilus Jones, to whom some knowledge of the plot had come, Ormond
was warned of his danger. He took immediate steps to secure himself
and arrest the conspirators. But they were warned of their danger in
time to escape, and under the rules of the game they should have made
off at once. Instead they boldly went on with their plans, but set the
time four days ahead, for May 5th. Even this daring step failed to
save them. The Castle guard was increased, troops and militia called
out, the other districts warned, and the conspirators sought out and
arrested. Among the first victims was Blood's brother-in-law, Lackie.
He was thrown into prison, where the severity of his treatment is said
to have driven him insane. His wife petitioned for his release, and
there is a story that his colleagues, the fellows of Trinity College,
joined her in begging that his life be spared. They were told that he
might have his liberty if he would conform, which, however, even at
that price, he refused to do. This much is quite certain, his wife was
promised, not her husband's liberty but his body. And this, after his
execution in December, was accordingly handed over to her. The other
conspirators suffered likewise in life, or liberty, or property, and
every effort was made to include Blood in the list of victims. A
proclamation he had issued was burned by the hangman. He was declared
an outlaw, his remaining estates were confiscated, and a price was set
on his head. But the government was compelled to satisfy itself with
this, the man himself disappeared. Among the brethren of his faith he
was able to find plenty of hiding places. But, according to his own
story, told many years later, he scorned to skulk in corners.
Disguised as a Quaker, as a Dissenting minister, even as a Catholic
priest, he made his way from place to place, living and preaching
openly, and by his very effrontery keeping the officers off his scent
for some years. And so great, it is said, was the terror of his name
and his daring that a plot to rescue Lackie from the scaffold not only
frightened away the crowd from the execution, but nearly succeeded in
its object, while for months afterward Ormond was hindered from
venturing out of Dublin by the fear of his friends that he would be
kidnapped or killed by Blood and his companions.

Meanwhile the great design in England, like that in Ireland, found its
shipwreck in treachery. Two of the men entrusted with the secrets of
the design revealed it to the government. One of the leaders, Paul
Hobson, was early seized, and his correspondence intercepted. The
first leader chosen went mad, and the miracles which were prophesied,
did not come to pass. The plans for a rising in Durham, Westmoreland
and Lancashire were betrayed, troops and militia were hurried to the
points of danger, and the few who rose in arms during that fatal month
of October, 1663, discouraged by the fewness of their numbers and the
strength brought against them, dispersed without a blow. The rest was
but the story of arrests, examinations, trials, and executions. More
than a score of those who took part in the design were executed, more
than a hundred punished by fine or imprisonment or exile, or all
three. Hobson was kept prisoner in the Tower for more than a year. His
health failed, and in consideration of information he had given, he
and his family were permitted to go under heavy bonds, to the
Carolinas, where, as elsewhere in the colonies, he doubtless found
many kindred spirits. By the middle of 1664 the tale of victims was
complete, and the conspiracy was crushed. The alarm again reacted on
Parliament, and a bill against meetings of Dissenters, which had been
long pending, was passed under pressure of the plot. By its provisions
it became unlawful to hold a religious meeting of more than five
persons beside the family in whose house the worshippers assembled
under severe and cumulative penalties. This was the Conventicle Act.

Blood, meanwhile, like several of his co-conspirators, flitted from
place to place, in Ireland and England, the authorities always on his
trail. Finally, like many before and after him, he seems to have found
refuge in the seventeenth century sanctuary of political refugees,
Holland. There no small number of the leaders and soldiers of the old
army had preceded him, and many had taken service in the Dutch army
and navy. It may be that he had some thought of following their
example, perhaps his designs were deeper still. He had nothing to hope
from England, for his confiscated estates had been leased to a certain
Captain Toby Barnes, reserving the rights of the government, based on
his forfeiture by treason. He therefore made his way and extended his
acquaintance not only among the English, but among the Dutch as well,
and, if his story is true, was introduced to no less a person than the
great Dutch admiral, De Ruyter, the most formidable of all England's
enemies. And this was of much importance, for while he sojourned
abroad, England and Holland had drifted into war. From February, 1665,
to July, 1667, the two strongest maritime powers strove for control of
the sea. In the summer of 1665 the English won some advantage in the
fierce battle of Lowestoft, but the noise of rejoicing was stilled by
a terrible catastrophe. In that same summer the Plague fell upon
London. The death list in the city alone swelled from 600 in April to
20,000 in August. Business was suspended, the court and most of the
administration and the clergy fled, and the war languished. A few
brave spirits like Sheldon, the bishop of London, a certain secretary
in the Admiralty, Samuel Pepys, of much fame thereafter, and the old
Cromwellian general, Monk, now Duke of Albemarle, stuck grimly to
their posts. But they and their fellows were few among many. Amid the
terror and confusion the Nonconformist clergy came out of their hiding
places, ascended the pulpits which had been deserted by their brethren
of the Anglican church, few of whom followed the example of their
brave, intolerant old bishop, and ministered to the spiritual needs of
the stricken people. Conventicles sprung up everywhere, and conspiracy
again raised its head. This time new plans were devised. Hundreds of
old soldiers were reported coming to London and taking quarters near
the Tower. Arms were collected and a plan formed to surprise the great
stronghold by an attack from the water side. In addition there was a
design for risings elsewhere, aided by the Dutch. The government
bestirred itself under the direction of the inevitable Monk. The
London conspirators were seized, information was sent to the local
authorities, who made arrests and called out the militia, and the
danger was averted. Parliament met at Oxford in October and, as a
sequel to the plot, passed the most ferocious of the persecuting
measures, the Five Mile Act, by which no Nonconformist preacher or
teacher was permitted to come within that distance of a city or
borough, save on a duly certified journey.

The next year repeated the history of its predecessor. The English
fleet under the only man who seemed to rise to emergencies in this
dark time, Monk, met the Dutch off the North Foreland and fought there
a terrible battle which lasted three days, and was claimed as a
victory by both sides. Again this was followed by a calamity. In
September a fire broke out in London which raged almost unchecked for
a week, and laid the greater part of the city in ashes. France,
meanwhile, entered the war on the side of Holland, and the English
government, corrupt and exhausted, seemed almost ready to fall. It was
little wonder that the sectaries, though their arms had been lost in
the fire, plucked up courage and laid more plans. Six weeks after the
fire the Covenanters in west Scotland, maddened by persecution, were
in arms, and maintained themselves for some weeks against the forces
sent against them. During the following winter the English, short of
money, and negotiating for peace, resolved not to set out a fleet in
the spring. In June the Dutch, apprised of the defenceless condition
of the English coasts, brought together a fleet under De Ruyter,
sailed up the Medway and the Thames, took Sheerness and Chatham, broke
through the defenses there and captured or destroyed the English ships
they found at anchor. There was little to oppose them. The Guards were
drawn out, the young gentlemen about the court enlisted, the militia
was brought together, and volunteers collected. Some entrenchments
were dug, and guns were mounted to oppose a landing. And the Lord
General Monk, who had done all that was done, marched up and down the
bank, before the Dutch ships whose big black hulks lay well within the
sound of his voice, chewing tobacco, swearing like a pirate, shaking
his heavy cane at the enemy, and daring them to land. They did not
kill him as they might easily have done. From their ships came a brisk
cannonade, volleys of jeers and profanity, and the insulting cries of
English seamen aboard, deriding their fellow-countrymen ashore. And
with these insults the fleet presently weighed anchor and sailed away
to patrol the coasts, interrupt commerce, and attack other ports. In
particular an attempt was made on Landguard fort, covering Harwich.
There the Dutch fleet was taken into the harbour by English pilots,
some twelve hundred men landed under command of an English exile,
Colonel Doleman. But despite the heroic efforts of the "tall English
lieutenant-colonel" who led them, efforts which extorted the
admiration of his fellow-countrymen who held the fort against him, the
Dutch were driven off. At Portsmouth and elsewhere similar attempts
were made but with no greater success and, the negotiations then in
progress at Breda having been expedited by this exploit, the Dutch
fleet withdrew, leaving England seething with impotent rage and
mortification. Peace was signed at Breda a month later, on terms
influenced in no small degree by this notable raid, the first in
centuries which had brought an enemy into the Thames.

And what had become of our friend Blood in these stirring times? It is
not to be supposed that the organizer of Irish rebellion, the
correspondent of English revolutionary committee and Scotch
Covenanters, and the friend of De Ruyter, sat quietly apart from this
turmoil of war and conspiracy. Yet, working underground as he did,
like a mole, it is possible to trace his movements only by an
occasional upheaval on the surface. It seems quite certain that he did
not, like so many of his countrymen, enlist in the Dutch service and
that he was not among the four or five thousand troops, mostly
English, which manned their fleet, nor did he, like them, take part in
the attempt to storm the forts covering Harwich. On February 13, 1666,
there is a secret service note, that Captain Blood may be found at
Colonel Gilby Carr's in the north of Ireland, or at his wife's near
Dublin, and that the fanatics had secretly held a meeting at Liverpool
and put off their rising till after the engagement of the fleets. On
May 3, there is a similar note concerning a man named Padshall, then
prisoner in the Gatehouse in London, that if he is kept close he may
discover where Allen, alias Blood, lodges, or "Joannes" alias Mene
Tekel, and the note indicates their presence in the city. Then came
the battle of the North Foreland and the failure of the Dutch to crush
the English fleet. On August 24th we learn that these two men, Blood
and Jones, have gone to Ireland to do mischief. There another plot was
reported forming, which contemplated the seizure of Limerick. But
this, like that of the preceding year on the Tower, both of which bear
a strong family resemblance to the old design on Dublin Castle, were
discovered and defeated. One insurrection alone, as we have seen,
resulted from this unrest, the rising of the Scotch Covenanters in
October. And among them, according to advices which came to the
administration, was Blood. He had evidently found the Irish plot
betrayed and with some of his companions, described in the accounts of
the Pentland rising as "some Presbyterian ministers and old officers
from Ireland," hurried to the only chance of real fighting. That was
not great. The Covenanters, cooped up in the Pentland Hills, were
beaten, dispersed and butchered, before concentrated aid could be
given them. Blood, as usual, escaped. He seems first to have sought
refuge in Lancashire among his relatives. Thence he went to Ireland,
but, landing near Carrickfergus, was so closely pursued there by Lord
Dungannon that he turned again to England, and by the first of the
following April was reported to the government as being at the house
of a rigid Anabaptist in Westmoreland. From there he watched the
government unravel the web of conspiracy he had been so busy weaving.

Yet even here lies another mystery. In 1665, at the time when he might
be supposed to have been most active against the government, his wife
petitioned, through him apparently, for the return of certain property
seized from her father by one Richard Clively, then in prison for
killing a bailiff, and in December of that year it appears that
certain men convicted of attending conventicles are to be discharged,
and the order is endorsed by Blood. More than that, there is a
petition of September, 1666, the month of the Fire, noted as "Blood's
memorial," requesting a permit from Secretary Arlington that the
"hidden persons, especially the spies, be not seized till they are
disposed of." From such data it has been conjectured that Blood was
playing a double part, that he was, after all, no dangerous
conspirator but a mere informer.

And this brings us to a most curious phase of this whole movement, the
relation of the conspirators to the government. It is a remarkable
fact that no small number of those who to all appearances were most
deeply implicated in conspiracy, corresponded at one time or another
with the administration, in many instances furnishing information of
each other to the secretaries. And this might lead, indeed, it has
led, many to imagine that the whole of these vaunted conspiracies
were, after all, nothing but what we should call in the language of
modern crime, "plants," devised and executed by the government itself
for purposes of its own. There is, in some instances, evidence of
this. But in many others it is apparent that this is not a full
explanation of cases like that of Blood. In that doubtful borderland
between secret service and conspiracy it was often possible for a man
to serve both sides. Having engineered a plot and acquired money and
arms and companions to carry it out a man not infrequently found
himself in the clutches of the law. The officers, because they did not
have evidence to hang him, or because they hoped to gain more from him
alive than dead, were often disposed to offer him his life, even his
liberty, in return for information. He, on his part, was nearly always
ready to furnish information in any quantity and of any sort, in
return for this favour. And, if he were shrewd enough, he might amuse
his captors for years with specious stories, with just enough truth to
make them plausible, and just enough vagueness to make them unusable,
and ultimately escape, meanwhile carrying on the very plans which he
purported to betray. He might even get money from both sides and make
a not to be despised livelihood from his trade. This is very different
from the regular informer, who, like Alden, received a lump sum or an
annuity from the government, and it was a very fair profession for a
man with enough shrewdness and not too much conscience in those
troubled times. If, indeed, Blood were such a man, as seems probable,
he represented a considerable element in the underground politics of
the early Restoration. And it is to be observed that no small
proportion of the men who were executed for actual and undeniable
complicity in the plots were of just this type and had at various
times been in government service, only to be caught red-handed at the
end. And that such was the case of Blood seems to be proved by the
fact that the next time he appears above the horizon his actions seem
to dissipate any idea of permanent accommodation with the government.

The arrests and examinations which succeeded the abortive conspiracy
of 1663 had led the secretaries of state into many dark ways of
subterranean politics, and they had steadily pushed their
investigations through the years of the war, the plague and the fire.
They had broken up one group after another, pursuing a steady policy
of enlisting the weaker men as informers, and executing or keeping in
prison the irreconcilables. Among those they had thus discovered had
been a little group, the "desperadoes," the names of some of whom we
have come across before, Blood, his brother-in-law, Colonel Lockyer,
Jones, the author of _Mene Tekel_, and a Captain John Mason. The
last had been taken, had escaped, and some time during the Dutch war,
was recaptured. On the 20th of July, 1667, while the Dutch fleets
still patrolled the English coast and the peace of Breda was just
about to be signed, warrants were issued from the Secretary of State
to the Keeper of the Tower and the Keeper of Newgate to deliver
Captain John Mason and Mr. Leving to the bearer to be conveyed to York
gaol. This duty was assigned to a certain Corporal Darcy, otherwise
unknown to fame, who with some seven or eight troopers proceeded to
carry out his instructions. The little party thus made up rode north
by easy stages for four days without incident. On the fourth day they
were joined by one Scott, a citizen of York, apparently by profession
a barber, who, not much fancying solitary travel in that somewhat
insecure district, sought safety with the soldiers. About seven
o'clock on the evening of the 25th of August the little party entered
a narrow lane near the village of Darrington, Yorkshire, and there met
a most extraordinary adventure. As they rode along, doubtless with no
great caution, they heard behind them a sudden rattle of horses'
hoofs. They turned to meet a pistol-volley from a small body of well
armed and mounted men, and a demand for their prisoners. Several of
the guard were wounded at the first fire, and the surprise was
complete. But Corporal Darcy was not a man to be thus handled. He
faced his little force about, delivered a volley in return, charged
his assailants briskly and in a moment was the center of a sharp
hand-to-hand fight. He was twice wounded and had his horse shot under
him. Three of his companions were badly hurt. Of the attacking party
at least one was severely wounded[4]. But when they drew off they
carried Mason with them. Leving, feeling discretion the better part of
valour, took refuge in a house near by and after the fight surrendered
himself again to the stout corporal. Scott, the innocent by-stander
who had sought protection with the soldiers, was killed outright, the
only immediate fatality in either party, though some of the troopers
died later of their wounds. The corporal, despite his disabled
condition, managed to get one of his opponents' horses in place of the
one he lost, and rode hurriedly into the nearby village for help. But
the fearful villagers had barricaded themselves in their houses, and
were moved neither by his promises nor his threats to join in the
pursuit of the desperadoes. He had, therefore, to be content with
giving information to the nearest justice, sending after them the hue
and cry, and making his way to York with his remaining prisoner.

          [4] Blood's story of this exploit differs in some
          unimportant details, all reflecting credit on himself. He
          puts the number of his party at four, that of Darcy at
          eight. He tells how he happened on Darcy at an inn near
          Doncaster when almost ready to abandon the pursuit. He
          explains that two of Mason's party lingered behind and were
          put out of action by Blood and one of his companions, who
          then rode on to demand Mason from his guards and maintained
          an unequal fight with the seven men in Darcy's party for
          some time before reinforced by their two fellows. But
          Darcy's account supplemented by Leving's is much clearer and
          at least more plausible.

This, it will be remembered, was one Leving. And with him we come upon
a character, and a plot beneath a plot, which well illustrates the
times. William Leving, or Levings, or Levering, or Leonard Williams,
as he was variously called, was very far from being the man his guards
thought him. It must have been a surprise to them after the fight to
see one of their prisoners instead of making off with the rescuers,
render himself again into their hands. But the explanation, though the
good corporal and his men did not know it, nor yet the governor of
York gaol to whom Leving was delivered, was only too well known to
Captain Mason's friends, and explains the strange conduct of the
Captain's fellow prisoner on other grounds than mere cowardice. Leving
had been deeply implicated in the plots of 1661 and 1662, perhaps in
that of 1663 as well. He had been caught, and, to save his life, he
had "come in," to use an expressive phrase of the time. He was, in
short, one of the most useful of the government's spies. It was he who
had given news of Blood and his companions in Ireland. It was he who
had furnished some of the information on which the government was then
acting, and who proposed to furnish more, acquired, possibly, by this
very ruse of sending him North with Mason. And it was he who now gave
to the justice and the officers the names of the principal rescuers,
Captain Lockyer, Major Blood, and Timothy Butler, and wrote to
Secretary Arlington suggesting that the ways into London be watched as
they would probably seek refuge there. It was little wonder that
Mason's rescuers had sought to kill Leving, or that he had sought
refuge in flight and surrender.

These indeed availed him little. He was kept a prisoner at York even
after it appeared from his examination who and what he was. This was
doubtless done more for his own safety than for any other reason, but
even this was not effectual. Not many weeks later he was found dead in
his cell. Some time after another informer, similarly confined there,
wrote Arlington a terrified letter begging protection or release,
"that he might not, like Leving, be poisoned in his cell." Thus, it
appears, his enemies found him out even there. And that you may not
think too hardly of the poor spy, it may be added that on his dead
body was found a letter, apparently one he was engaged on when he
died, completely exonerating certain men then in hiding for the great
conspiracy. It would, perhaps, be uncharitable to hint that this was
part of an even more subtle plot beneath the other two, and that his
murderers sought to shield their friends outside by this device. York
gaol, in any event, was no place to keep men disaffected toward the
government. From the Lord-lieutenant down the place was thick with
discontent and conspiracy. Indeed no great while before the Council
had arrested the Lord-lieutenant himself, no less a person than one of
their own number, the great Duke of Buckingham, on the charge of
corresponding with the sectaries, and had confined him for some time
in the Tower.

But what, meanwhile, had happened to Mason and his friends? On August
8th they were proclaimed outlaws by name and a hundred pounds reward
was offered for Lockyer, Butler, Mason and Blood. But they had
disappeared, as usual. Blood, it was said, had been mortally wounded,
and was finally reported dead. That part of the story, at least, was
greatly exaggerated, and was, no doubt, spread by Blood himself. He
seems, in fact, to have retired to one of his hiding places and there
recovered from his injuries, which were severe. The rest dispersed,
and Mason, we know, found his way to London where three years later he
appears in the guise of an innkeeper, still plotting for the
inevitable rising. To us this seems strange. Our minds conjure up a
well-ordered city, properly policed and thoroughly known. But apart
from the fallacy of such a view even now, the London of Charles II was
a far different place from the city of to-day in more ways than its
size and the advances wrought by civilization. The City itself was
then distant from the Court. The long thoroughfare connecting them,
now the busy Strand, was then what its name implies still, the way
along the river, and was the seat of only a few great palaces, like
the Savoy, and the rising pile of Buckingham. Beside what is now
Trafalgar Square stood then, as now, St. Martin's in the Fields. But
the fields have long since fled from Piccadilly and Whitehall. Beyond
and around in every direction outside the purlieus of the Court and
the liberties of the City, stretched great collections of houses and
hovels, affording rich hiding places for men outside the law. The inns
abounding everywhere offered like facilities. Beneath the very walls
of St. Stephen's where Parliament devised measures to suppress
conventicles, those conventicles flourished. Among their numbers,
among the small and secluded country houses round about, among the
rough watermen and sailors along the river, in wide stretching
districts where the King's writ ran with difficulty or not at all, and
a man's life was safe only as his strength or skill made it so, or, it
was whispered, even among some of the great houses like that of the
Duke of Buckingham, men flying from justice might find safety enough.

Later Mason seems to have been joined in London by Blood and the old
practices were renewed. But the Major, for Blood had now by some
subterranean means arrived at that title, was apparently not wholly
content with this. He retired, it would appear, to the little village
of Romford, in Surrey, and there, under the name of Allen or Ayloffe,
set up--amazing choice among all the things he might have chosen--as a
physician. His son-in-law was apprenticed to an apothecary, and thus,
with every appearance of quiet and sobriety, the outlaw began life
again. But it was not for long, at any rate. Most likely, indeed, this
whole business, if it ever existed at all, was a sham. For on May
28th, 1670, we find Secretary Trevor, who had succeeded Arlington in
office, ordering the Provost Marshal to search out and take in custody
Henry Danvers and William Allen, alias Blood. In December of that same
year came the assault on Ormond, with which our story began, and
Blood, under his alias, was for the third time proclaimed an outlaw,
and for the third time had a price set on his head. Surely, you will
say, this is enough of that impudent scoundrel who so long disturbed
the slumber of His Majesty's secretaries, and flouted the activities
of their agents. And, in spite of the stir raised by the attempt on
Ormond, if Blood had disappeared after that for the last time, he
would not have lived again in the pages of history. For that he is
indebted to the great exploit which at once ended his career of crime
and raised him above the ordinary herd of outlaws and criminals.

At the time of which we write the Tower of London served even more
numerous and important purposes than it does to-day. It was then, as
now, a depository of arms and ammunition, and the quarters of a
considerable body of troops, which served to overawe possible
disturbance in the city. But in 1670 it was also the principal prison
for political offenders, and it was the place where the state regalia,
the crown, the orb, and the scepter, were kept. Then, as now, the
various functions of the great fortress were quite distinct. The
visitor of to-day passes through a wide courtyard to the main edifice,
the White Tower of William the Conqueror, whose chambers are filled
with curious weapons and armour. He may climb the stone stairs to see
the grim apartments once reserved for men reckoned dangerous to the
state, and gaze with what awe he can muster upon the imitation crown
jewels set out for the delectation of the tourists. Everywhere he
finds in evidence the guardians of these treasures, the unobtrusive
attendant, the picturesque beefeater, the omnipresent policeman, and
if he looks down from the high windows he may see far below him the
red tunics or white undercoats of the soldiers on parade or at work.
In some measure this was true in 1670, and it is to this spot we must
now turn our attention. We have already seen some of the characters in
this story taken to or from the custody of the lieutenant of the
Tower, and our steps in trace of our hero or villain, as you choose to
call him, have often led perilously near its grim portals. At last
they are to go inside.

Among the various functionaries in and about the Tower in the year
1670 was one Edwards, the Keeper of the Regalia, an old soldier who
lived with his wife and daughter within the walls, his son being away
at the wars on the Continent. Some time after the attack on the Duke
of Ormond there appeared one day, among the visitors who flocked to
see the sights of the stronghold, a little party of strangers from the
country, a clergyman, his wife and his nephew. They visited the usual
places of interest, and presently under Edwards' guidance, were taken
to see the regalia. They were pleasant folk and much interested in
what they saw. But unfortunately while looking at the royal
paraphernalia the lady fell ill with some sort of a chill or
convulsion. Her husband and nephew and Edwards were greatly alarmed.
They carried her to Edwards' apartments where his wife and daughter
took her in charge, and administered cordials and restoratives until
she recovered. The clergyman was deeply grateful. He rewarded Edwards
generously for his attention and they were all profuse in
acknowledging the kindness of the Keeper's family. Nor did the matter
end here. From this little incident there sprang up an acquaintance
which rapidly ripened into friendship between the two families. The
clergyman and his nephew came in from time to time on visits. The
nephew was young and dashing, the daughter was pretty and pleasing[5].
They were obviously attracted to each other, and their elders looked
on the dawning romance with favor. So rapidly did the matter progress
that the clergyman presently proposed a marriage between the young
couple. Edwards was not unwilling and on the 9th of May, 1671, the
clergyman, his nephew, and a friend, with two companions rode up about
seven in the morning to make the final arrangements. Mrs. Edwards,
however, was not prepared to meet guests at so early an hour and some
delay occurred. To fill in the time the clergyman suggested that
Edwards might show the regalia to his friend who had never seen it. So
the four mounted the steps to the room where the treasures were kept.
Edwards went on before to take the regalia out for exhibition. But as
he stooped over the chest to get them he was seized suddenly from
behind, a cloak was thrown over his head, he was bound and gagged,
knocked on the head with a mallet, and all these measures having
failed to prevent his giving an alarm, he was finally stabbed. One of
the men with him seized the crown and bent it so that it went under
his cloak. The other put the orb in the pocket of his baggy breeches,
and began to file the scepter in two that it might be more easily
carried. But as they were thus busied, by a coincidence, surely the
strangest out of a play, at this precise instant Edwards' son, Talbot,
returned from the wars, bringing a companion with him. They accosted
the third man who had remained as a sentinel at the foot of the
stairs. He gave the alarm, the two men ran down the stairs and all
three hurried off toward the Tower Gate. But there fortune deserted
them. Edwards roused from his stupor, tore out the gag and shouted
"Treason and Murder!" The daughter hurried to his side and thence to
Tower Hill crying, "Treason! the crown is stolen!" Young Edwards and
his companion, Captain Beckman, took up the alarm and hurried to the
Keeper's side. Gaining from him some idea of the situation they rushed
down and saw the thieves just going out the gate. Edwards drew his
pistols and shouted to the sentinels. But the warders were apparently
terrified and young Edwards, Beckman, and others who joined the
pursuit closed in on the outlaws. They in turn aided the confusion by
also crying "Stop Thief" so that some were deceived into believing the
parson a party to the pursuit. Beckman seems to have caught him and
wrestled with him for the crown, while a servant seized one of the
other men. Beckman and Blood had a most "robustious struggle." Blood
had fired one pistol at Beckman, and when they grappled drew a second
and fired again, but missed both times. The accomplices waiting
outside, mounted and rode off in different directions. But the pursuit
was too close. Two of the three principals having been taken almost at
the gate, the third might have got away but was thrown from his horse
by running into a projecting cart pole, and captured at no great
distance. The other accomplices, two apparently, seem to have escaped.
The prisoners were brought back to the Tower at once and identified.
To the astonishment of their captors the clergyman was found to be our
old friend Blood, the so-called nephew was his son[6], the third man
an Anabaptist silk dyer, named Parret. Warrants were immediately made
out to the governor of the Tower, Sir John Robinson, for their
imprisonment; Blood's on the ground of outlawry for treason and other
great and heinous crimes in England; young Blood's and Parret's for
dangerous crimes and practices.

          [5] The Somers Tracts account says that it was Edwards' son
          and a pretended daughter of Blood, but this is almost
          certainly incorrect.

          [6] Though there is some confusion here. The cobbler who
          seized him exclaimed, "This is Tom Hunt who was in the
          bloody business against the Duke of Ormond," and Edwards'
          account to Talbot (_ Biog. Britt._ II, 366) speaks of him as
          Blood's son-in-law. But his pardon was certainly made out to
          Thomas Blood, Jr., and there is no mention of the name Hunt.
          The explanation probably is that he was Thomas Hunt, Blood's
          son-in-law, but was called Blood by his father-in-law, and,
          like many men in that time, used either of the two names
          indifferently. It appears from Talbot's account that the
          cobbler and a constable who came up took Hunt to a nearby
          Justice of the Peace, one Smith, who was about to release
          him when news came of the attempt on the crown, and Hunt was
          then taken back to the Tower.

Thus fell the mighty Blood in this unique attempt at crime. The
sensation caused by his extraordinary undertaking was naturally
tremendous. Newsletters and correspondence of the time are all filled
with the details of the exploit, for the moment the gravest affairs of
state sunk into insignificance before the interest in this most
audacious venture. An infinite number of guesses were hazarded at the
motive for the theft, for it was felt that mere robbery would not
account for it. It was even suspected that it was a prelude to the
assassination of the king and the proclamation of a usurper who
hoped to strengthen himself by the possession of the regalia. This
view was reenforced by the fact that the Chancellor's house was
entered at about the same time and nothing taken but the Great Seal.
The darkest suspicions were afloat, and the relief at the capture of
the noted outlaw and the failure of his attempt on the crown was
intensified by the sense of having escaped from some vague and
terrible danger which would have menaced the state had he succeeded.
Broadsides and squibs of all sorts were inspired by the exploit.
Among others the irrepressible Presbyterian satirist, Andrew Marvell,
characteristically improved the occasion to make it the subject of a
satire on the Church, as follows:


    _When daring Blood his rent to have regained
    Upon the English diadem restrained
    He chose the cassock, surcingle and gown,
    The fittest mask for one that robs the crown:
    But his lay pity underneath prevailed.
    And whilst he saved the keeper's life he failed;
    With the priest's vestment had he but put on
    The prelate's cruelty, the crown had gone._

The proceedings in Blood's case, therefore, excited extraordinary
interest, which was not lessened by the unusual circumstances
surrounding it. The prisoners were first brought before Sir Gilbert
Talbot, the provost-marshal[7]. But Blood refused absolutely to answer
any leading questions put him by that official as to his motives,
accomplices, and the ultimate purpose of his exploit. This naturally
deepened the interest in the matter, and increased the suspicion that
there was more in it than appeared on the surface, the more so as the
outlaw declared he would speak only with the king himself. To the
further astonishment of the world this bold request was granted. Three
days after his arrest, on May 12, he was taken by the king's express
order to Whitehall and there examined by Charles, the Duke of York,
and a select few of the royal family and household. The proceeding was
not quite as unusual as it seemed, for in the earlier years of the
Restoration it had been fairly common and the king had proved a master
in the art of examination. But it had been given up of late and its
revival seemed to indicate a matter of unusual gravity. "The man need
not despair," said Ormond to Southwell when he heard that the king was
to give Blood a hearing, "for surely no king would wish to see a
malefactor but with intention to pardon him." But this opinion was not
general and his conviction was never doubted by the world at large. A
few days after his examination Secretary Williamson's Dublin
correspondent wrote him that there was little news in Ireland save the
talk of Blood's attempt on the crown, and he voiced the prevailing
sentiment when he "hoped that Blood would receive the reward of his
many wicked attempts." The coffee houses talked of nothing else and
all London prepared to gratify itself with the spectacle of the
execution of the most daring criminal of the time[8].

          [7] He seems also to have been examined by Dr. Chamberlain
          and Sir William Waller.

          [8] It was hinted that Buckingham had set Blood on to steal
          the crown in pursuance of some of his mad schemes for
          ascending the throne. And it is also charged that the King
          himself had employed the outlaw to get the jewels, pawn or
          sell them abroad and divide the proceeds. Beside such
          suggestions as these even Blood's letter sinks into the
          commonplace. At all events, as in the Ormond affair, it was
          and is generally believed that there were other influences
          at work behind his exploit.

But in this, at any rate for the present, they were to be
disappointed. Blood was remanded to the Tower, and there held for some
time while certain other steps were taken to probe the case deeper.
Two months later Sir John Robinson wrote to Secretary Williamson that
Lord Arlington had dined with him the Saturday before, and had given
into his hands certain warrants, not as every one supposed for Blood's
execution, but for his release and that of his son. Two weeks later a
grant of pardon was issued to him for "all the treasons, murders,
felonies, etc., committed by him alone or with others from the day of
His Majesty's accession, May 29, 1660, to the present," and this was
followed by a similar grant to his son. Later, to complete this
incredible story, his estates were restored to him, he was given a
place at Court, and a pension of five hundred pounds a year in Irish
lands. Not long afterward the indefatigable diner-out, John Evelyn,
notes in his diary that, dining with the Lord Treasurer, Arlington, a
few days before, he had met there, among the guests, Colonel Thomas
Blood. It is no wonder that a Londoner wrote in early August of that
same year: "On Thursday last in the courtyard at Whitehall, I saw
walking, in a new suit and periwig, Mr. Blood exceeding pleasant and
jocose--a tall rough-boned man, with small legs, a pock-frecken face
with little hollow blue eyes." And in September Blood had acquired
enough credit, apparently, not only to get a new grant of pardon
confirmed for himself and his son, but others for certain of his
former companions as well.

What is the explanation of this extraordinary circumstance? It is a
question no one has yet answered satisfactorily, and it has remained
one of the many unsolved mysteries of the period, along with the
murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey and the Popish Plot. If we knew
fully we could clear up many dark ways of Restoration politics. We
have certain second-hand accounts of what took place in that memorable
interview between the vagabond king and the Irish outlaw, from which
we may get some light on the matter. The latter "as gallant and hardy
a villain as ever herded with the sneaking sect of Anabaptists," in
the words of a contemporary, we are told, "answered so frankly and
undauntedly that every one stood amazed." Snatches of Blood's comments
on his most recent exploit have floated down to us. "It was, at all
events, a stroke for a crown," had been his remark to Beckman when he
was captured, a cool witticism which must have pleased the wittiest of
monarchs when it was repeated to him. "Who are your associates?" he is
said to have been asked, to which he replied that he "would never
betray a friend's life nor deny guilt in defense of his own." Blood
explained to the king, it is said, that he thought the crown was worth
a hundred thousand pounds, when, in fact the whole regalia, had he
known it, only cost six thousand. He told the story of his life and
adventures with much freedom, and it must have been a good story to
hear. He confessed to the attempt on Dublin Castle, to the rescue of
Mason and the kidnapping of Ormond. There was found on his person a
"little book in which he had set down sixty signal deliverances from
eminent dangers." And one may remark, in passing, that it is a pity
that it, instead of the dagger with which Edwards was stabbed, is not
preserved in a London museum. Perhaps it may turn up some day, and
allow us the whole story as he told it to Charles. Several about the
monarch contributed their information of Blood. Prince Rupert, in
particular, recalled him as "a very stout, bold fellow in the royal
service," twenty years before. But the thing to which rumor credited
his escape and which was reported to have made his fortune, was a
story in connection with the king himself. A plot had been laid by
Blood and his accomplices, according to his account, to kill the king
while he was bathing in the river at Battersea. But as they hid in the
reeds, said the outlaw turned courtier, with their victim before them,
the majesty of royalty was too great--he could not fire the shot. But,
he continued, there was a band to which he belonged, three hundred
strong, pledged to avenge his death on the king, in case of his

Doubtless truth lurks amid all this. It may all be true. Even so there
is hardly material here for pardon, much less for reward. Other
reasons not known at that time, must be assigned for such royal
clemency. One, perhaps, lies in this letter written six days after the

    "May 19, 1671. Tower. Col. Blood to the King.

    May it please your Majesty these may tell and inform you that it
    was Sir Thomas Osborne and Sir Thomas Littleton, both your
    treasurers for your Navy, that set me to steal your crown, but he
    that feed me with money was James Littleton, Esq. 'Tis he that
    pays under your treasurer at the Pay Office. He is a very bold
    villainous fellow, a very rogue, for I and my companions have had
    many a hundred pounds of him of your Majesty's money to encourage
    us upon this attempt. I pray no words of this confession, but know
    your friends. Not else but am your Majesty's prisoner and if life
    spared your dutiful subject whose name is Blood, which I hope is
    not that your Majesty seeks after."

Surely of the two qualities then so necessary in the court, wit and
effrontery, a plentiful supply was not lacking to a man who could
write such a letter in such a situation. And his daring, his
effrontery and his adventures undoubtedly made a great impression on
the king.

Another reason for the treatment Blood received was, strangely enough,
his powerful influence at court. It will be remembered, in connection
with the rescue of Mason, that the great Duke of Buckingham,
Lord-lieutenant of Yorkshire, and one of the men highest in favour at
court and in the country at large, had been arrested on a charge of
conspiring with the fanatics against the throne. He had been released,
and was now not only again in the royal favour, but was one of the
leading men in the ministry of the day, the so-called Cabal. It was he
who secured the interview with the king for Blood, and he doubtless
lent his influence for mercy. And there was, perhaps, a deeper reason
for this. Buckingham was the bitter enemy of Ormond. The king,
whatever his inclination, could not, in decency, pardon Blood, after
his confessing to the attack on Ormond, without at least some pretense
of consulting the man who had been so maltreated. He sent, therefore,
to Ormond to ask him to forgive Blood. Lord Arlington carried the
message with those private reasons for the request, which still
puzzles us. Blood, meanwhile, under direction, wrote a letter to
Ormond, expressing his regret in unmeasured terms. The old Duke's
reply was at once a lesson in dignity and loyalty. "If the king could
forgive an attempt on his crown," he said proudly to Arlington, "I
myself may easily forgive an attempt on my life, and since it is his
Majesty's pleasure, that is reason sufficient for me, and your
lordship may well spare the rest of the explanations." But Ormond's
son, and his biographer, took refuge in no such dignity. The latter
declares roundly that Buckingham instigated the attempt on his master.
And not long after the affair, the former, the gallant young Earl of
Ossory, coming into the royal presence and seeing the Duke of
Buckingham standing by the king, his colour rose, and he spoke to this

"My lord, I know well that you are at the bottom of this late attempt
of Blood's upon my father; and therefore I give you fair warning if my
father comes to a violent end by sword or pistol, or if he dies by the
hand of a ruffian, or by the more secret way of poison, I shall not be
at a loss to know the first author of it; I shall consider you as the
assassin; I shall treat you as such; and wherever I meet you I shall
pistol you, though you stood behind the king's chair; and I tell it
you in his Majesty's presence that you may be sure I shall keep my

These were brave words, and had they come from other lips than those
of the Restoration Bayard, might have been regarded as mere bravado.
But he had proved his courage on too many occasions to count this
lightly. Scarce five years before, while visiting Sir Thomas Clifford,
in the country, he had heard the guns of the fleet off Harwich, in the
fierce battle of Lowestoft. With no commission and with no connection
with either the navy or the government, he had mounted a horse, and,
accompanied by his host, had ridden to the shore and put off in an
open boat to the English fleet to take his part in one of the hardest
day's fighting the English fleet ever saw. The word of such a man,
conspicuous for his honesty as for his courage, was not to be lightly
set aside. And whether this threat was the cause or not, or whether
Buckingham was really not responsible for an assault which might have
been attributed to Blood's desire for revenge on the man who had
confiscated his estates and hanged his brother-in-law, the old Duke
was not further molested.

But, apart from these matters, there is another, and one may be
permitted to think, a more serious reason for Blood's escape. It lies
in the political situation of the time. This was, in many ways,
peculiar. Some four years before the events we have narrated in
connection with the theft of the crown the administration of Clarendon
had fallen and had been succeeded by that of a group called the Cabal,
whose chief bond of union lay in the fact that they were none of them
Anglicans and they were all opposed to Clarendon. They, with the aid
of the king, who, largely through tenderness to the Catholics, had
never favoured the persecuting policy, had relaxed the execution of
the Clarendonian measures, and had thus far succeeded in preventing
the re-enactment of the Conventicle Act which had expired some years
before. The Anglicans in Parliament had been no less insistent that
the old policy be maintained and that the Act be renewed. The king,
now supported by his ministers, was no less eager to renew the attempt
which had failed under Clarendon, and revive the dispensing power,
whereby the toleration of Catholic and Protestant Nonconformist alike
would rest in his own hands. This situation was complicated by the
fact that king and ministers alike were bent on another war with
Holland. It seemed highly desirable to them to pacify the still
discontented Nonconformists before entering on such a struggle,
particularly since the government had little money and must rely on
the city, which was strongly Nonconformist in its sentiments. It
seemed no less necessary to destroy, if possible, that group of
extremists whose conspiracies were doubly dangerous in the face of a
war. To gain information of the feelings of the dissenting bodies, and
discover what terms would be most acceptable to them, to track down
and bring in the fierce and desperate men from whom trouble might be
anticipated, to discover if possible the connection that existed
between the sects and those in high places, these were objects of the
highest importance. They needed such a man as Blood. And it seemed
worth while to Charles to tame this fierce bird of prey to his service
to achieve such ends as he contemplated. Some such thought evidently
occurred to the king during the examination. "What," he is said to
have asked bluntly at its close, "What if I should give you your
life?" Blood's reply is almost epic, "I would endeavor to deserve it."

This, at any rate, became his immediate business. Almost at once he
was taken in hand by the government, and it was soon reported that he
was making discoveries. The arrest of three of Cromwell's captains is
noted among the first fruits of his information. And close upon the
heels of his pardon came the arrest and conviction of some twenty-four
or twenty-five irreconcilables[9]. This may or may not show the hand
of the new government agent, but the circumstantial evidence is
strong. It is certain, however, that throughout the winter of 1671-2
Secretary Williamson was in close consultation with Blood over the
situation and the demands of Dissenters, and he filled many pages of
good paper with cryptic abbreviations of these long and important
interviews, in which are to be found many curious secrets of
conventicles and conspiracies, of back-stairs politics and the
underground connections of men high in the councils of the nation.
From Blood, from the Presbyterian ministers, through one or two of
their number, and from sources to which these communications led, the
court and ministry gradually obtained the information from which a
great and far-reaching policy was framed. This took form in the
beginning of the following year in the famous Declaration of
Indulgence. This, taking the control of the Nonconformist situation
from Parliament, placed it in the hands of the king. Licenses were to
be issued to ministers to preach, to meeting-houses, and to other
places for worship which was not according to the forms or under the
direction of the Anglican church. The policy, owing to the bitter
opposition of Parliament, lasted but a few months, but it marked an
era in English history. The rioting which had accompanied the revival
of the Conventicle Act, and which had encouraged the government to try
the licensing system, disappeared. For a few months entire religious
toleration prevailed, and, though Parliament forced the king to
withdraw his Declaration, the old persecution was never revived. In
this work Blood's share was not small. He not merely furnished
information, he became one of the recognized channels through whom
licenses were obtained, and in the few months while they were being
issued he drove a thriving trade. And with one other activity which
preceded the Dutch war he was doubtless closely connected. This was
the issuing of pardons to many of those old Cromwellians who had
sought refuge in Holland a dozen years before. No small number of
these, taking advantage of the government's new lenience, came back
from exile with their families and goods, and took up their residence
again in England. Thus Colonels Burton and Kelsey, Berry and
Desborough, Blood's brother-in-law Captain Lockyer, Nicholas, Sweetman
and many others found pardons and were received again into England.
"Through his means," wrote Mrs. Goffe to her husband, "as is reputed,
Desborough and Maggarborn [Major Bourne?] and Lewson of Yarmouth is
come out of Holland and Kelsi and have their pardon and liberty to
live quietly, no oath being imposed on them." "The people of God have
much liberty and meetings are very free and they sing psalms in many
places and the King is very favourable to many of the fanatics and to
some of them he was highly displeased with." It might have been that
the regicides in New England could have returned but the cautious Mrs.
Goffe warned her husband not to rely on the favourable appearance of
affairs. "It is reported," she wrote, "that Whalley and Goffe and
Ludlow is sent for but I think they have more wit than to trust them."

          [9] Variously noted as 20, 24 and 27.

In the third great measure of the period, the Stop of the Exchequer,
Blood naturally had no part, but when the war actually broke out, he
found a new field of usefulness in obtaining information from Holland,
in ferreting out the tracts which the Dutch smuggled into England, in
watching for the signs of conspiracy at home. Thus he lived and
flourished. His residence was in Bowling Alley, now Bowling Street,
leading from Dean's Yard to Tufton Street, Westminster, convenient to
Whitehall. His favorite resort is said to have been White's Coffee
House, near the Royal Exchange[10]. His sinister face and ungraceful
form became only too familiar about the court. His bearing was
resented by many as insolent. He was both hated and feared as he moved
through the atmosphere of intrigue by which the court was surrounded,
getting and revealing to the king information of the conspirators, of
the Dutch, and the other enemies of royalty. His was not a pleasant
trade and there were undoubtedly many who, for good reasons of their
own, wished him out of the way. There were many who contrasted his
reward with the neglect of the unfortunate Edwards, and who railed at
Blood and the king alike. Rochester allowed himself the usual liberty
of rhymed epigram:

          [10] Thus Wheatley and Cunningham. John Timbs, in his
          _Romance of London_, says Blood lived first in Whitehall,
          then, according to tradition, in a house on the corner of
          Peter and Tufton Streets.

    _Blood that wears treason in his face
    Villain complete in parson's gown
    How much is he at court in grace
    For stealing Ormond and the crown?
    Since loyalty does no man good
    Let's steal the King and out do Blood._

There were doubtless many more who regretted that the king had not
bestowed on him a reward that was at one time contemplated, the
governorship of a colony, the hotter the better. In that event America
would have had some direct share in the career of England's most
distinguished criminal. And even so it is by no means certain she
would have suffered greatly in comparison with the situation of some
colonies under the governors they actually had. But Blood was far too
useful at home to be wasted on a distant dependency. And, on the
whole, the outlaw seems to have fully justified his existence and even
his pardon, as an outer sentinel along the line of guards between King
Charles and his enemies. That he was so hated is perhaps, in some sort
a measure of his usefulness. For the times when men in the ministry or
just out of the ministry conspired or connived at conspiracy against
the government and held communication with an enemy in arms to compel
their sovereign to their will are not those in which a ruler will be
too squeamish about his means, least of all such a ruler as Charles.

In such wise Blood lived until 1679. Then he seems to have fallen foul
of the Duke of Buckingham, who had played such a great part in his
career. He, with three others, was accused by the Duke of swearing
falsely to a monstrous charge against his Grace and sued for the
crushing sum of ten thousand pounds. A most curious circumstance
brought out by this trial connects our story with the literature of
to-day. In Scott's novel, _Peveril of the Peak_, it will be remembered
that the villain is one Christian, brother of the deemster of the Isle
of Man, who was executed by the Countess of Derby. This man, a most
accomplished scoundrel, is there portrayed as the familiar Duke of
Buckingham, who plays a part in the romance very like that which he
plays in this story of real life. With the appearance of the later
editions of the novel the author, in response to many inquiries
concerning the authenticity of the various characters there portrayed,
added some notes in which he gave some account of the originals of
many of his characters. Concerning Christian, however, he declared
that he was a wholly original creation, that, so far as he knew, no
such man had ever existed, and that he was purely a fictitious
character. Though, strange as it may seem, one of the men indicted
with Blood in this action at law, was, in fact, named Christian, and
Scott knew of him. And while he may not have played the part assigned
to him in the story, he had for some time been in the service of the
Duke, and to have had a reputation, if not a character, which might
well have served as a model for the villain of the novel.

The motive of Buckingham in beginning this suit is obscure, but it was
suspected that he thought by this means to hush up certain accusations
which might have been brought against his own machinations, then
scarcely to be defended in the light of day. The curious and unusual
procedure and the absurdity of the charge which one might suppose it
beneath the dignity of so great a nobleman to press in such fashion
against such men, lends a certain colour to this suspicion. In any
event the suit was tried and Blood was duly found guilty. But he was
never punished. He fell sick in the summer of 1680 and, after two
weeks of suffering, died August 24, in his house on the southwest
corner of Bowling Alley. He was firm and undaunted to the last, and
looked death in the face at the end with the same courage he had
exhibited many times before. All England was then in the throes of the
excitement of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Bill, and civil war
seemed almost in sight. Whig and Tory stood arrayed against each
other, with the crown as the prize between. It would not be supposed
that the death of the old adventurer could have caused more than a
passing ripple of interest. Quite the contrary was the case. Strange
end of a strange story, the mystery which surrounded him during his
life did not altogether end with his death and burial. Even that, said
many, was but one of the old fox's tricks. And to prove that it was
not his body which had been interred in the adjoining churchyard of
New Chapel, Tothill Fields, the grave was opened after some days, the
corpse carried before a coroner and identified by the curious fact
that one of the thumbs was twice the natural size, a peculiarity which
it seems would have betrayed Blood many times during his life.

Thus ended the troubled life of a mysterious man. If his end was not
peace it certainly was not worse than his beginning. Not a few persons
must have breathed easier at the final burial of the secrets which
died with him. He was not without some literary remains, chief of
which was a Life, which though not written by his own hand, gives
evidence of having been written, either under his direction, or from
material furnished by him. It contains, as perhaps its chief matter of
interest outside the facts here included, not many of which adorn its
pages, a story of which Blood seems to have been very proud. It is
that on one occasion some of the men in his following of desperadoes
proved unfaithful. He caused them to be seized and brought before him
for trial in a public house. There, after the case had been set forth
and the arguments made, he sentenced them to death, but later
reprieved them. This, of all the good stories he might have told, is
left to us as almost his sole contribution to the account of his
adventures. For the rest, his memory was promptly embalmed in prose
and verse, mostly libellous and wholly worthless, from any standpoint,
of which the following sample may suffice whether of history or

    "_At last our famous hero, Colonel Blood,
    Seeing his projects all will do no good,
    And that success was still to him denied
    Fell sick with grief, broke his great heart and died._"

But there is still one curious circumstance about his family which it
would be too bad not to insert here, and with which this story may
fittingly conclude. It concerns one of his sons whom we have not met,
Holcroft Blood. This youth, evidently inheriting the paternal love of
adventure, ran away from home at the age of twelve. He found his way,
through an experience as a sailor, into the French army. After the
Revolution of 1688 he became an engineer in the English service, owing
chiefly to his escape from a suit brought against him by his enemies,
which was intended to ruin him but by accident attracted to him
instead the notice of the man with whose visit to England our story
began, now William the Third of England and Holland. This became the
foundation of his fortunes. In the English service young Blood rose
rapidly through the long period of wars which followed. He gained the
praise of the great Marlborough, and ultimately became the principal
artillery commander of the allied forces in the War of the Spanish
Succession, dying, full of honors, in 1707. Meanwhile Ormond's
grandson and heir, the second Duke, distinguished himself likewise in
that same war in other quarters, and bade fair to take high rank as a
commander. But on the death of Queen Anne he took the Jacobite side,
was driven into exile, and died many years later, a fugitive supported
by a Spanish and Papal pension. Thus did Fate equalize the two
families within a generation.

I said at the beginning that this was to be the story of the greatest
rascal in English history, but I am not so sure that it is, after all.
It may be only the story of a brave man on the wrong side of politics
and society. For his courage and ability, thrown on the other side of
the scale, would, without doubt, have given him a far different place
in history than the one he now occupies. What is the moral of it all?
I do not know, and I am inclined to fall back on the dictum of a great
man in a far different connection: "I do not think it desirable that
we should always be drawing morals or seeking for edification. Of
great men it may truly be said, 'It does good only to look at them.'"


The story here told has been related elsewhere though not in such
detail nor, so far as I am aware, from precisely this point of view.
Apart from the accounts in encyclopedias and biographical
dictionaries, of which by far the best for its day is the _Biographia
Brittanica_, the most accessible source of information is the article
on Blood in the _Dictionary of National Biography_ and the fullest
details are to be found in W. Hepworth Dixon's _Her Majesty's Tower_,
VOL. IV, pp. 119, and in a note (No. 35) to Scott's _Peveril of the
Peak_, in which novel the Colonel plays enough part to have a
pen-portrait drawn of him by Scott in a speech by Buckingham.

These, of course, touch but lightly on the broader aspects of the
matter. The sources for nearly all the statements made in the
foregoing narrative are to be found in the _Calendars of State Papers,
Domestic and Ireland, 1660-1675_, in the _Reports of the Historical
Manuscripts Commission_, especially in the _Ormond Papers_ and in
Carte's _Life of Ormond_. In 1680 was published a pamphlet entitled
_Remarks on the Life and Death of the Famed Mr. Blood, etc._, signed
R. H., which includes, besides a general running account of several of
the outlaw's chief adventures, a curious and obscure story of the
Buckingham incident from which it is practically impossible to get any
satisfaction. To this is added a Postscript written some time after
the body of the work and describing Blood's illness, death and burial.
This tract appears to have been written by some one who knew Blood,
and in places seems to represent his own story. It would perhaps be
too much to assume from the similarity of the initials that it was
composed by that Richard Halliwell, Hallowell or Halloway, the tobacco
cutter of Frying-Pan Alley, Petticoat Lane, whose name, or alias,
appears among those often connected with Blood in his enterprises. Sir
Gilbert Talbot's narrative of Blood's adventures, especially valuable
for its full account of the attempt on the crown, is to be found in
Strype's _Continuation of Stowe's Survey of London_. Some details as
to Blood's London haunts may be found in Wheatley and Cunningham's
_London, Past and Present_.

There are several portraits of Blood extant of which the one in the
_National Portrait Gallery_, painted by Gerard Soest, is the best.
This is reproduced in Cust's _National Portrait Gallery_, VOL. I, p.
163. Another which appeared in the _Literary Magazine_, for the year
1791, is evidently a copy of the one prefixed to this study. This is
reproduced from a contemporary mezzotint, which is described in
Smith's _British Mezzotinto Portraits_, (Henry Sotheran & Co., Lond.,
1884), as follows:


    H. L. in oval frame directed to left facing towards and looking to
    front, long hair, cravat, black gown. Under: _G. White Fecit. Coll
    Blood. Sold by S. Sympson in ye Strand near Catherine Street._ H.
    10; Sub. 8-3/4; W. 7-1/4; O.D.H. 8-1/4; W. 7.

    I. As described. II. Engraver's name and address erased, reworked,

    Another reproduction of the same original may be found in Lord
    Ronald Gower's _Tower of London_, VOL. II, p. 66. The daggers of
    Blood and Parret which were used to stab Edwards are said to be
    preserved in the Royal Literary Fund Society's museum, Adelphi

The family of Blood among the earlier settlers of New England has
sometimes been said to be closely connected with that of the Colonel,
but there is no substantial evidence either way. (_Mass. Hist. Coll._)
On the other hand a tablet to the memory of Blood's cousin, Neptune,
is to be found in Kilfernora Cathedral (_Proc. Roy. Soc. Antiq. Irel.
1900_, p. 396). A note says that he was the son and namesake of his
predecessor in the Deanery and grandson of Edmond Blood of Macknay in
Derbyshire who settled in Ireland about 1595 and was M.P. for Ennis in
1613. A fuller account of the plots is to be found in articles by the
author of this sketch in the _American Historical Review_ for April
and July, 1909, under title of _English Conspiracy and Dissent,

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