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tioned. I intreated him I might be examined that night if any witnesses could be produced against me. He said, that could not possibly be, because the lords who had the management of such affairs were separated, and gone home: but, that I was to appear before them the next day, and in the mean time all the civility should be shewn me that could be expected by a man in my condition.
My lord, said I, I hope, it being so very late, you will suffer me to lie at my own house at Westminster. He replied, you shall do so;
but you must have a guard of soldiers and a messenger with you. A guard of soldiers, said I, my lord, methinks it is not so necessary to secure one of my profession; I should rather offer, that I may have two or more messengers to keep me, though that may put me to greater charges. My lord, said he, I, for my own pari, would be glad if I might take your parole : but I must do what I may answer to others; and therefore I pray be content.
At this I acquiesced; only adding, my lord, here are divers papers brought up with me, which, upon my credit, are but of common importance; yet, because they are most of them private talk among friends, there may be some expressions which no man, if it were his own cause, would be willing to have divulged; and therefore I desire your lordship will take care they may not be shewn to the prejudice of any. He answered, you have to do with men of honour, and you shall have no occasion to complain upon that account.
And so I was conveyed home to Westminster, by Mr Dyve and Mr. Knight the messenger in the coach with me, and a guard attending on each side. After we came to the deanery, Mr. Dyve having diligently surveyed my lodgings and the avenues to them, left me about midnight, with a strict charge to the messenger and seldiers not to give me any unnecessary disturbance, but to watch carefully at my bed-chamber door till further orders, which
The next day, being Sunday, May the 8th, Mr. Dyve came again to me, about noon, to acquaint me that I was to attend the committee of the council that evening, by six of the clock. And, says he, my lord, I suppose you have here, also at Westminster, a room where you keep the rest of your books and papers. I told him I had. Then, said he, I have commission to search there likewise, particularly in your cabinet. [ shewed him my library, and gave him the keys. He opened all the presses of books, and viewed particularly every shelf, and examined every drawer in the cabinet : but finding nothing there of a late date, or that might afford any the least shadow of a traiterous correspondence, he went away without removing any one paper thence.
At the time appointed I was brought by the messenger and guard to Whitehall, where a select number of the lords of the council were assembled at my Lord Nottingham's lodgings. There were present, as I remember, the Earl of Devonshire, lord steward; the Earl of Dorset, lord chamberlain ; the Earl of Nottingham, secretary of state ; the Earl of Rochester; the Earl of Portland; the Lord Sidney, lord-lieutenant of Ireland; and Sir Edward Seymor.
When I was entered the room, and come to the end of the table, my Lord Nottingham began. But now, for the greater perspicuity of the whole proceedings, and to avoid the too frequent repetition of, said I, or said such an one, or said they, I will henceforth give all the questions and answers, and the rest of the discourses, in the name of every person as they spoke, and by way of dialogue.
Earl of Not. My lord, you cannot but think it must be some extraordinary occasion, which has forced us to send for you hither in this manner.
Bishop of Roch. My lord, I submit to the necessities of state in such a time of jealousy and danger as this is.
Earl of Not. My lord, I am to ask you some questions, to which we desire your plain and true answers.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, I assure you mine shall be such; as I hope I have been always taken for a man of simplicity and sincerity.
Earl of Not. Have you composed a declaration for the present intended descent of the late King James into England?
Bishop of Roch. I call God to witness I have not.
Earl of Not. Did you ever draw up any heads, or materials for such a declaration ?
Bishop of Roch. Upon the same solemn asseveration I never did.
Earl of Not. Were you ever sollicited, or applied to, by any person, for the undertaking such a work? Bishop of Roch.
I never was. Earl of Not. Do you hold any correspondencies abroad in France ?
Bishop of Roch. I do not hold any.
Earl of Not. Have you ever signed any association for restoring the late King James ?
Bishop of Roch. I never signed any.
Earl of Not. Do you know of any such association? Or any persons that have subscribed one?
Bishop of Roch. Upon the word of a christian and a bishop, I know of no such thing; nor of any person who has subscribed any paper of that nature
Sir Edw. Seymour. My Lord Bishop of Rochester, we have examined the papers that were seized in your
closet at Bromley. We find nothing in them but matters of ordinary and innocent conversation among friends ; only we have one scruple, that there are few or no letters among them written since Lady-day last.
Bishop of Roch. Sir, I suppose "there may be some of a date since that time in the bundles. If I had preserved more, they would have been of the same nature with the rest that you have, that is, concerning common intelligence, and the talk of the town:
not any secrets of state, or against the government. My lords, I hold no correspondencies of that kind. When I am in the country I desire some friend or other here to let me know how the worid goes, that I may inform myself and the neighbouring gentlemen of the truth of things, and prevent the spreading of false news: and afterwards I file up such letters according to their dates, as you may perceive I did these, that at any time I may have a present recourse to them, to refresh my memory in any past transaction.
My lord, those are all I thought worth keeping of this kind these two last years. And I hope the clerk of the council has done me the justice to acquaint your lordships how I was apprehended out of my house; and how narrowly I myself, and my study, and lodgingchamber, and other rooms, were searched : so that it was impossible for me to have suppressed or smothered any one writing from you. And really, I believe there was not a note, or least scrip of paper any consequence in my possession, but they had a view of it.
Earl of Devonshire. But, my lord, it is probable a man of your interest and acquaintance, must have received more letters since, than are here to be found. We see here are many concerning affairs that passed just before that time.
Bishop of Roch. My lords, a little before the conclusion of the last session of parliament, I obtained leave of the house of lords to retire into the country, for the recovery
my health. During my abode there, as long as the parliament continued, I was somewhat curious to learn what passed in both houses, and therefore, as your Jordship has observed, letters came thicher to me about that time, But when the parliament was up, very little happening that was remarkable in that interval, I was not so mindful to preserve the letters that came to me, whilst all things, both abroad and at home, were rather in preparation than action.
Besides that, since the time your lordships speak of, I was twice or thrice in town for several days together; once especially, upon a publick occasion, the annual election of Westminster school, which detained me here about a week. And these are the true reasons why you find so few letters to me since the date of time your lordships have mentioned.
Earl of Not. Will it please your lordships to ask the Bishop of Rochester any more questions?
They being all silent, I said, my lords, I cannot imagine how it comes to pass that I should be thus suspected to be guilty of any contrivance against the government; I think I may appeal to all that know me, I am sure I may to all my neighbours in the country where I live, that there has no man submitted to it more peaceably and quietly than I have done ever since the revolution; and I must own, I did it both upon a principle of conscience and gratitude. Of conscience, because I cannot see how the church of England and the whole protestant religion can be preserved, but upon this constitution ; since an invasion from France cannot but be destructive to both. And of gratitude, because, as you all know, I happened to be in the late reign ingaged in an affair, which since I have been taught was illegal. And though I may say I stopped betimes, and did no great hurt, but hindered as much as I could whilst I acted; yet I acted so long that I might bave expected to be severely punished for what I did. But the king's and queen's part in the general pardon was so gracious and benign in making it their own act, and not excluding me out of it, that their majesties have thereby laid upon me an obligation never to be forgotten,
Upon this I was bid to withdraw; and, about au bour after, the same clerk of the council was sent out to tell me, the lords had ordered I should return to my own house, and be under the same confinement as before, of a messenger and a guard of soldiers : and there I should shortly hear what their lordships would determine concerning me. He likewise told the messenger and the guards, that he had a strict command to them to use me with all respect; only to take care that I should be safely kept and forth-coming. Nor, indeed, had I any thing to object against their behaviour : for, as Mr. Dyve demeaned himself always to me like a gentleman, and the messenger was very civil, so the soldiers themselves were as easy and quiet to the rest of my family, as if they had been a. part of it.
The same evening, Mr. Dyve came home to me, and brought me all my papers, telling me, that the lords had heard him read them over; and, having no exception against them, had sent bim to return them all safe to me again.
Thus guarded, I continued from that day till the 18th of May under the custody of a messenger and of four centinels, who watched day and night, and were relieved every eight and forty hours.
But then, having heard nothing in the mean time from the lords, I wrote this letter to the Earl of Nottingham.
jesties' government, with patience and humility submitted 'to my confinement under a guard of soldiers and a messenger; so • now, fearing that my longer silence may be interpreted as a mis
trust of my innocency, I think it becomes me to make this appli*cation to your lordship, earnestly intreating you to represent my
condition and request to the most honourable board, where I was examined. I intirely rely on their justice and honour, that, if they ' find nothing real against me, as God knows I am conscious to 'myself they cannot, they would be pleased to order my enlarge• ment. I am forced to be the more importunate with your lordship
in this business, because it is very well known in what a danger"ous condition of health I went out of town towards the latter end of the session of parliament: and I find my distemper very much
increased by this close restraint, in a time when I was just entering upon a course of physick in the country.
I am your lordship’s most humble May 18, Westm.
and most obedient servant,
THOS. ROFFEN, To the Right Honourable the
Earl of Nottingham, Principal Secretary of State.
This letter was read in the cabinet council that day, and it had the desired effect; for, thereupon, I was ordered to be discharged that evening; which accordingly was done about ten at night, by Mr. Shorter, a messenger of the chamber, coming to my house, and dismissing the messenger, and taking off the guard.
The next morning, being May 19th, to prevent any concourse or congratulations, usual upon such occasions, I retired early to Bromley, where I remained quiet till June the 9th, little dreaming of a worse mischief hanging over my head.
But that day, being Thursday, as I was upon the road coming to Westminster, to the meeting of Dr. Busby's preachers, who assemble once a term at my house there, I was stopped by a gentleman that brought me this letter from my Lord Nottingham. MY LORD,
Whitehall, June 8, 92. I
MUST desire your lordship to be at my office on Friday morn-
I am your lordship’s
NOTTINGHAM. For the Right Reverend the
Lord Bishop of Rochester, at Bromley.
I asked the bearer whether he had any farther orders concerning me; he answered no, but was forthwith to return. I desired him to acquaint his lord, that I was now going to town upon other business, but that I would presently wait on him at Whitehall
. ACcordingly, from Lambeth I went to his office. When
lord came to me, I told him, that having met with his lordship's letter accidentally in my way to Westminster, I thought it best to come presently to know his pleasure.
Earl of Not. My lord, there is a mistake, I gave you notice to. be here to-morrow morning : and that is the time you are ap-. pointed to appear before the committee of the council.
Bishop of Roch. However, my lord, being in town occasionally, I thought it became me to present myself to you as soon as I could. And I now make it my request, if your lordships have any thing farther to say to me, I may be convened before you this day.