Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Sussex Regicides, &c.                    173
plan was, that the King should land on the Sussex coast, and that that county, and Kent and Surrey, should rise and march upon London, and six blank commissions were received by John Stapley to fill up and distribute as he pleased. But, whilst this plot was going on, Cromwell's Secretary of State, Thurloe, was kept informed of every step of it, and at the very moment when the parties to the plot thought all was ripe for action, and the Marquis of Ormond had crossed over to France to persuade Charles to make a landing, the bubble burst and the Stapleys were arrestedóJohn at Whitehall, where he was in personal attendance upon Cromwell. Nothing could then exceed the baseness of these brothers. Anthony was a witness against John, and John, to save his life, gave such evidence as ensured the conviction and execution of his chief confederates, Sir Harry Slingsby (the head of an ancient Yorkshire family) and Dr. John Hewitt, of Norfolk. Not only did John Stapley betray his friends to death, but he wrote a pitiful letter to Cromwell. "For the future," he said, "I do promise, by the assistance of the Almighty, I will not only live peaceably, but will, with the utmost of my endeavours, stand by your Highness with life and fortune, to preserve your Highness's person, interest, and dignity, and if ever Charles Stewart should in my dayes make any attempt against your present Government, I will personally appear against him, though it be but in the capacity of a private trooper, if I may not be intrusted by your Highness, or your successors, with better preferment." Cromwell granted the traitor his life; but, we may be sure, gave him no " better preferment." At the Restoration, however, he met with better luck. Not only was the paternal estate at Patcham, which had been forfeited by the attainder of his father, restored to him, but he was first knighted and then created a Baronet by Charles II., and, to borrow the words of Mr. W. H. Blaauw, in his " Passages of the Civil War in Sussex"ó"Sir John Stapley, Baronet, lived to a good old age, very loyal, and very well satisfied to have expiated the sins of his regicide father by such prosperous loyalty." It was fortunate for him that the letter he had
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