King James VI & I
ON THE GUNPOWDER PLOT


King Extracts from speech to Parliament, 1605
(speech can be found in James' Workes, pages 499-508)

ON THE GUNPOWDER PLOT.

...in this [plot], which did so lately fall out, and which was a destruction prepared not for me alone, but for you all that are here present, and wherein no rank, age, nor sex should have been spared; this was not a crying sin of blood ... it may well be called a roaring, nay a thundering sin of fire and brimstone, from the which God has so miraculously delivered us all ...

... The horrible and fearful cruelty of their device, which was not only for the destruction of my person ... but of the whole body of the State in general; wherein should neither have been spared, or distinction made of young or of old, of great nor of small, of man nor of woman; the whole nobility, the whole reverend clergy, bishops and most part of the good preachers, the most part of knights and gentry ... The whole judges of the land, with the most of the lawyers and the whole clerks: And as the wretch himself that is in the Tower does confess, it was purposely devised by them, and concluded to be done in this House; that where the cruel laws (as they say) were made against their religion, both place and persons should all be destroyed and blown up at once.

As it may very well be possible that the zeal of your hearts shall make some of you in your speeches rashly to blame such as may be innocent of this attempt; but upon the other part I wish you to consider, That I would be sorry that any being innocent of this practice, either domestic or foreign, should receive blame or harm for the same. For although it cannot be denied, That it was the only blind superstition of their errors in religion, that led them to this desperate devise; yet does it not follow, that all professing that Romish religion were guilty of the same. For as it is true, that no other sect of heretiques, not excepting Turke, Jew, nor Pagan, no not even those of Calicute, who adore the devill, did ever maintaine by the grounds of their religion, that it was lawful, or rather meritorious (as the Romish Catholics call it) to murder princes or people for quarrell of religion. And although particular men of all professions of religion have been some thieves, some murderers, some traitors, yet ever when they came to their end and just punishment, they confessed their fault to be in their nature, and not in their profession, (these Romish Cahtolics only excepted:) yet it is true on the other side, that many honest men blinded peradventure with some opinions of popery...yet do they either not know, or at least not believe all the trew grounds of popery, which is in deed The mystery of iniquitie...


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