The Plot, The Introduction
Midi Music Thomas Campion, 1567-1620, "Suite in Dmin: Sarabande," 5k
Threatening a New World Order?
In 1604 three men, Robert Catesby (age 31), and  Thomas Winter (age 32), and John Wright,(age 37)  met at the request of Robert Catesby at his house in Lambeth (across the river from Parliament at the site of the present day St. Thomas's Hospital) to discuss possible solutions to the limitation and qualification of the rights of Catholics which James I had re-imposed in February 1604  in response  to activities against the state organized by Catholics. There was  very real evidence which linked the community of  English Catholic radicals to foreign Catholic states which were dedicated to the defeat of England and or the furtherance of the Counter Reformation.

Despite their  involvement in treasonous activities the community of Catholic radicals continued to hold significant political and economic power. These known rebels held important, trusted, positions at court despite the penalties imposed against them.  They owned and operated big houses and estates. Despite their treasonous activities and their responsibility for bringing harsh sanctions down upon the majority of Catholics, these radicals remained popular within the Catholic community and were embraced by Jesuits and priests. Despite their political and economic power the Radicals sought more of the same. Delivering England to the pope as prize of the counter reformation could bring them untold power and wealth if they were able to seize the persecutory powers of state and turn them against the Protestants.  To accomplish this task, however, they would have to put their case before the English people. Their revolt would have its opportunity to do just that one cold November evening in the Midlands.

In general, within popular opinion,  there  was a broad political awareness that Catholics could not be trusted and were dangerous. By and large, however the Catholic community was not politically radical.  England had grown into a nation state whose prosperity and strength had brought a sense of prosperity and security to all.  This new prosperous environment was encouraging the growth of tolerance of religion and brought a new confidence even at the highest levels amongst the Jesuit community that, given a decline in treasonous acts, the religious freedoms of Catholics would soon be restored.  In 1604 England was still in a protracted war with Catholic Spain.  The government for national security purposes was forced to maintain a very clear distinction  between political Catholicism  and Catholicism as religion. 

Political Catholicism, associated with  men  such as Father Robert  Persons,  Edmund Campion, Henry Constable and Hugh Owen,  the centers of exiled Catholics in Douai, Rheims, and Rome  (established by William Allen), along with the growing English Regiment  lead aggressively from abroad by Sir William Stanley, was closely tied to the well-known, secular and political agenda of the Jesuits. This agenda was quite clear.  It was  the reversal of Protestant gains and total capitulation  to Rome in matters of politics, government and religion.   The papacy, perhaps skeptical of the success of the counter reformation, had begun to send mixed messages.  Popes - in particular Clement VIII in 1602, at times would formally disassociate themselves from this philosophy which they saw as leaning to closely to Spanish political interests. The church was it seems beginning to recognize a primacy of national politics, yet, as its reaction to the plot would clearly demonstrate, it was in 1605 still not ready to put the Counter Reformation to rest. Getting off the fence proved more difficult in practice than in theory. In our case holding sacred ritual to be more important that public safety, human pain, suffering, political and social stability does not help to exonerate Political Catholicism or cleanse it of its imperial stains.

The political side of the Roman faith made a mockery of the loyal and patriotic aspirations of a great number of English Catholics upon whom the political Catholics and in particular the Spanish Party brought down the wrath of the national government through their wild , ill conceived and dangerous acts of disloyalty. Even secular priests such as William Watson and William Clark (the leaders of the Bye Plot of 1603) found themselves straying into  the secular and political arena. Political Catholics often engaged   in actions which would put the  religious Catholic community at large in harm's way.. 

Therefore, in this climate Penal laws were reinforced and priests (who were in effect politically tied to the papal state) were banished. All of the plotters were prominent members of the English Catholic Sub-Culture.  All were  related either by birth or marriage.  The English Catholic Sub-Culture was much more that that of religious association. It extended to family ties, economic networks and political relationships both within and outside of England. This organized group had a detailed history of  radical opposition to the English State and a defiance of its laws. When in power this group supported and took part in some of the most horrific and violent persecutions of Protestants under the guidance of Bloody Mary. They were as human and as imperfect as any other group. 

The plotters went about their work  conditioned by the heritage of the English  Catholic Sub-Culture. All this took place in a world in which a leading Catholic, Sir Thomas Tresham ,could speak highly of Lord Burghley, the ruthless defender of the Tudor state from Catholicism, in regard to his charity towards recusants ,and, while the queen herself- Queen Anne was embarking on her own conversion from Lutheranism to Catholicism. The English Catholic sub-culture was indeed a complex and oft - time fragmented entity, however, it is essential to realize that it was distinctly minority entity when compared to mainstream society of England and the nation state for which patriotism and national loyalty were becoming central concerns of great importance. 

The plotters had suffered greatly for their activities in rebellion against the government, and for their support of the illegal activities of their church and of its political representatives the Jesuits. They were members of a more radical, frustrated younger generation who lacked the political experience which had placed a strong value upon the concept of English citizenship and patriotism-a generation which was not willing to suffer in silence rather than to put the protections and general benefits of the nation state  at risk.. 

Principals of the plot, including Catesby,  had earlier taken part in the Essex Rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I. James had suggested to the prominent Catholic Thomas Percy, that should he become king he would be tolerant of Catholics. The disappointment of this reversal was surely a motivational factor, however, another factor of equal importance was the continued engagement of England in a war with Catholic Spain. King Philip of Spain was seen as a potential savior of the Catholic sub-culture who would bring down the increasingly nationalistic English state and substitute   for it a Catholic monarchy in which Catholics would come to power and turn the clock back to the days of Queen Mary, the bloody. One must bear in mind that the interests of the political Catholic sub-culture were more than those of religious tolerance.  There was much to be gained both economically and politically, from a reversal of English nationalism and a return to a form of Catholic rule in which the foreign and  political papacy would play a large role. It was an important sign of their times that the man who was most instrumental in uncovering the plot Lord Mounteagle, William Parker   was himself a devout Catholic who had once risked his life in rebellion against the state who by 1605 having breathed the fresher air of emergent nationalism had become one of the king's most trusted confidants. let us join the conspirators in their discussions.... 

End Of the Introduction-Good to meet you!
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As we see the web was quite tangled
before things get started
From the Trial Transcript of 1605-

"First in December, Anno Dom. 1601. do 
Henry Garnet Superior of the Jesuits in 
England, Robert Tesmond Jesuit, Robert 
Catesby (who was bono subacto & versuto
ingenio & profunda perfidia) together with 
Francis Tresham and others, in the names, 
and for the behalf of all the English Romish 
Catholicks, imploy Thomas Winter into Spain,
as for the general good of the Romish 
Catholick Cause; and by him doth Garnet 
write his Letters to Father Creswell, Jesuit 
residing in Spain, in that behalf. With Thomas
Winter doth Tesmond, alias Greeneway
the Jesuit, go as an Associate and 
Confederate in that Conspiracy. The 
Message (which was principally committed 
unto the said Winter) was, that he should 
make a Proposition and Request to the King 
of Spain, in the behalf and names of the English 
Catholicks, That the King would send an 
Army hither into England, and that the Forces
of the Catholicks in England should be prepared
to join with him, and do him Service. And further, 
that he should move the King of Spain to bestow
some Pensions here in England, upon sundry 
Persons Catholicks, and devoted to his Service:
And moreover, to give Advertisement, that the 
said King of Spain, making use of the general 
Discontentment that young Gentlemen and
Soldiers were in, might no doubt, by relieving 
their Necessities, have them all at his Devotion.

And because that in all Attempts upon England, 
the greatest Difficulty was ever to be found to 
be the Transportation of Horses; the Catholicks 
in England would assure the King of
Spain to have always in readiness for his Use 
and Service, 1500 or 2000 Horses, against any 
occasion or enterprize. Now Thomas Winter 
undertaking this Negotiation, and with Tesmond
the Jesuit coming into Spain, by means of Father 
Creswell the Legier Jesuit there, as hath been said, 
had readily Speech with Don Pedro Francesa 
second Secretary of State, to whom he
imparted his Message, as also to the Duke of
Lerma; who assured him, that it would be an 
Office very grateful to his Master, and that it 
should not want his best Furtherance.

Concerning the Place for landing of the King 
of Spain's Army, which from the English Romish 
Catholicks he desired might be sent to invade 
the Land; it was resolved, That if the Army
were great, then Essex and Kent were judged 
fittest, (where note by the way, Who was then 
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports :) If the Army
were small, and trusted upon Succour in
England, then Milford-haven was thought more 

Now there being at that time Hostility betwixt 
both Kingdoms, the King of Spain willingly 
embraced the Motion, saying, that he took the 
Message from the Catholicks very kindly, and
that in all things he would respect them with 
as great Care as his proper Castilians. But for 
his further answer, and full dispatch, Thomas 
Winter was appointed to attend the Progress. In
the end whereof, being in Summer time, Count
Miranda gave him this answer in the behalf of 
his Master, That the King would bestow 100000 
Crowns to that use, half to be paid that
Year, and the rest the next Spring following; 
and withal required that we should be as good 
as our Promise, for the next Spring he meant to be
with us, and set foot in England. And lastly,
he desired on the King's behalf, of Winter, 
that he might have certain Advertisement and
Intelligence, if so it should in the mean time 
happen that the Queen did die. Tho. Winter 
ladenwith these Hopes, returns into England about
a Month before Christmas, and delivered answer 
of all that had passed, to Henry Garnet, Robert 
Catesby, and Francis Tresham. But soon
after set that glorious Light, her Majesty died:
Mira cano; Sol occubuit, Nox nulla secuta est.

Presently after whose Death was Christopher 
Wright, another Messenger sent over into 
Spain by Garnet, (who likewise did write by
him to Creswell, for the furtherance of the
Negotiation) Catesby and Tresham, in the
name and behalf of all the Romish Catholicks 
in England; as well to carry News of her Majesty's
Death, as also to continue the aforesaid
Negotiation for an Invasion and Pensions, 
which by Tho. Winter had before been 
dealt in. And in the Spanish Court, about 
two Months after his arrival there, doth 
Christopher Wright meet with Guy Fawkes;
who upon the 22d of June was employed
out of Flanders from Brussels by Sir William 
Stanley, Hugh Owen, (whose Finger hath 
been in every Treason which
hath been of late Years detected) and 
Baldwyn the Legier Jesuit in Flanders; 
from whom likewise the said Fawkes carried
Letters to Creswell in Spain, for the
countenancing and
furtherance of his Affairs. 

Now the End of Fawkes's imployment
was, to give Advertisement to the King
of Spain, how the King of England was 
like to proceed rigorously with the 
Catholicks, and to run the same
course which the late Queen did; and 
withal to intreat that it would please him 
to send an Army into England to Milford-
haven, where the Romish Catholicks 
would be ready to assist
him; and then the Forces that should 
be transported in Spinola's Gallies, should 
be landed where they could most conveniently. 
And these their several Messages did Christopher
Wright and Guy Fawkes in the end 
intimate and propound to the King 
of Spain. But the King as then very 
honourably answered them both, that
he would not in any wise further listen
to any such Motion, as having before 
dispatched an Embassy into England, 
to treat concerning Peace. Therefore this 
Course by foreign Forces failing, they fell 
to the Powder-Plot,
Catesby and Tresham being in at all; in the 
Treason of the Earl of Essex, in the Treason 
of Watson and Clarke Seminary Priests, 
and also in this of the Jesuits; such a 
greedy Appetite
had they to practise against the State."

-Source:A Complete Collection 
O F  S T A T E - 
T R I A L S, A N D
 P R O C E E D I N G S  F O R  H I G H - 
T R E A S O N,A N D    O T H E R
 T H E    F O U R T H    E D I T I O N ;
Year of the Reign of KING RICHARD II.
AND ENDING WITH The Sixteenth Year 
of the Reign of KING GEORGE III. WITH
N E W    P R E F A C E,
V O L U M E   T H E    F I R S T.
L O N D O N : Printed by T
.WRIGHT, Essex-Street, Strand;And Sold
by G. KEARSLY, NO. 46, near Serjeant's-Inn,
Fleet-Street.MDCCLXXVI.-XIX. The Trials 
of Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, 
John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert 
Keyes, Thomas
Bates, and Sir Everard Digby, at Westminster 
for High-Treason, being Conspirators in the 
Gunpowder-Plot. 27 Jan. 1605.
3 Jac. l. (This reference will be henceforth 
referred to as "Trial Transcript")

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