Friday, November 5, 2010

Gunpowder Plot

"Lord Dalgarno," said Margaret;--"the wickedest man who lives. Under pretence of friendship, he introduced the Lord Glenvarloch to a gambling-house with the purpose of engaging him in deep play; but he with whom the perfidious traitor had to deal, was too virtuous, moderate, and cautious, to be caught in a snare so open. What did they next, but turn his own moderation against him, and persuade others that--because he would not become the prey of wolves, he herded with them for a share of their booty! And, while this base Lord Dalgarno was thus undermining his unsuspecting countryman, he took every measure to keep him surrounded by creatures of his own, to prevent him from attending Court, and mixing with those of his proper rank. Since the Gunpowder Treason, there never was a conspiracy more deeply laid, more basely and more deliberately pursued."


From "The Fortunes of Nigel" by Sir Walter Scott.  This novel focuses on King James I of England's era, particularly after the attempted bombing of November 5, 1605, which was believed to have been a conspiracy undertaken by Catholics to assassinate James.  After the failed attempt to blow up the House of Lords while James was opening a new session of Parliament, Catholics were vulnerable to reprisals from the mainly Protestant members of Parliament.  James, realizing that most Catholics were good citizens, restrained Parliament from more forceful measures.  Instead, he supported legislation which made Catholics swear an oath affirming loyalty to the King and denying the power of the Pope.

More from the text...

"A plague of your similes, dame," replied the apprentice; "for the devil gave me that knowledge, and beggary may be the end on't.--But what has this gentleman done, that he should need to be under hiding? No Papist, I hope--no Catesby and Piercy business--no Gunpowder Plot?"

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