I Appoint Thomas Newcomb, and Henry Hills, to Print this Infor­mation, According to the Order of the HOUSE of COMMONS; And that no other Person presume to Print the same.

Wi WILLIAMS, Speaker.

THE INFORMATION OF Stephen Dugdale, GENT.

Delivered at the BAR of the HOUSE of COMMONS, Munday the First day of November▪ In the Year of our Lord 1680.

Perused and Signed to be Printed, according to the Order of the House of Commons, By me WILLIAM WILLIAMS, Speaker.

·DIEV·ET·MON·DROIT
HONI SOIT QVI MAL Y PENSE
C2 R

LONDON, Printed by the Assigns of John Bill, Thomas Newcomb, and Henry Hills, Printers to the Kings most Excellent Majesty. 1680.

[Page 1] THE INFORMATION Given at the BARR of the Honourable the House of Commons, BY Mr. Stephen Dugdale, On the 30th day of October, Anno Dom. 1680. viz.

THAT about two or three and twenty years since, I was brought over from the Church of England to the Church of Rome, by one Mr. Knight a Priest, continuing some years under his care, till at length he the said Mr. Knight, through infirmity of body, not being able to Officiate his [Page 2] [...] [Page 3] [...] [Page 2] Priestly Function, he delivered me to the care of one Francis Evers a Jesuit, who did not only take care to in­struct me in matters relating to a future State, as to a future State, but in all things as far as he could in tem­poral things. Likewise he the said Mr. Evers laid an injunction upon me to visit him every day once, if I was [...]t home: and so by such means we grew to such an intimacy, that scarcely any thing that the one knew, but the other was privy to it. So that sometimes as we were talking of affairs of State, and the Revolutions of Governments, we came to discourse of our own. And he the said Evers often hath told me, that it would not be long before we might expect good times, for the Duke of York ha­ving declared himself to be a Roman Catholick, had given a good assurance to the Pope; besides he was a Prince of that resolution and worth, that if ever he made any ingagement, he would never revoke it, particularly in so high a Concern as this, where his Soul lies at stake. So that never more Hopes than now of dispersing the dark Clouds of Heresie. He hath not only engaged himself solemnly to us for the Establishing of Religion, but that he would re­store Us to all our Church Lands, and other Privi­ledges taken from the Church formerly. And this I had not from Mr. Evers alone, but from several private Gentlemen, besides Priests. For my great intimacy with Mr. Evers did get me great acquaintance with most of the Gentry of our Religion. So by that means I came with several of them to their private Meetings, where it had been debated, what the Duke of York's pleasure was, that as he had given them an Assurance of his Part, they should not be negligent to do theirs. And that they should be in all readiness with all [Page 3] necessaries when the King should dye, to assist the Duke against the Protestants. For they must expect some opposition from the Protestant Party: but good Care before-hand might prevent a great deal of Mis­chief, and that it was thought fit that every Landlord amongst his Tenants and Servants have some twenty, some thirty, some fourty Catholicks, and the Priest to instruct them, That they should be ready at an hours warning, and this was the course resolved upon. And that the said Evers told me, that there had been great care taken for an honest Gentleman to be Confessor to the Duke of York, and they had found one, a friend to the said Evers, who was a worthy honest Gentleman; one Mr. Moumford, otherwise called Beddingfeild. He was presented to the Duke sometime before the Dutch Wars, and was with the Duke, being his Ghostly Father, in the Dutch Wars on Shipbbard. Mr. Evers hath shewed me Letters from him dated from on Shipboard, commending the Duke, how good and zealous he was in the Roman Catholick Religion: he thought him to be the hopefullest and zealousest Prince in the whole Universe. I saw in one of those Letters from on Shipboard to Mr. Evers, that he the said Beddingfeild had given the Duke the blessed Host twice, in order for the Engaging him­self with the Enemy. That in the year 1677. Mr. Evers and I being in discourse, Mr. Evers told me, There were great fears and jealousies, that the King would outlive the Duke of York, and then all our hopes were at an end. But to prevent that, he told me, that Cardinal Howard had sent a Letter, that they had Excommunicated the King as an He­retick, that he was deposed from being King, and that any One that killed him might merit by [Page 4] it. That he maintained a Damnable Heretical Do­ctrine; and so consequently was an Enemy of Christ. At this time I had all the Letters directed to me for the carrying on this Plot, which were for Mr. Evers, some of which I opened and read, which all tended to lay hold of this Opportunity; for if they missed this Point, they must never look to have the like again for the Establishing of their Religi­on. And about the Month of July or August 1677. soon after I was by Mr. Evers admitted into the secret of the Design for the Romish Government, there came one Carrington to Tixall, whom the Jesu­its thereabouts imployed as a Messenger of Trust in their Business. He brought a Letter to Mr. Evers from Mr. Vavasor, who was then at Wolverhampton or Boscobell, and meeting me in the Hall, desired me to give it to Mr. Evers, which I presently did. The Letter from Mr. Vavasor did inclose in it several others, as one from John Grove in London, who in a part of the sheet of Paper writ some News in short; but underneath his signing Mr. William Harcourt be­gan a long Account, how he lately had received the two enclosed Letters, one of them from St. Omers, which was signed by Monfort, Warner, and Peters, as I remember, and four more whose names I re­member not at all. And this Letter did refer to ano­ther Letter from Paris, to the three Parties first na­med, and the same was signed from Paris by two names, whereof I think Clifford was one. This Letter did contain the Opinion and Advice of those at Paris, upon a Letter which it seems had been first writ from England to St. Omers, and from St. Omers transmitted to them. The scope of which Advice was this, That by all means [Page 5] care should be taken not to let any Arms appear, or any appear in Arms till after the Death of the KING, because they had fully considered, that when any sudden Death should befall the KING, it might be easily laid to the Presbyterians, who had killed the late KING, and were still Enemies to the KING and Government. Therefore they advised, that all ways should be taken to give out and possess the People before-hand, that the Pres­byterians were the only Enemies, so that when the KING should be killed, those of the Church of ENGLAND would presently be incensed, and take up Arms to Revenge it, and rather crave the Aid of the Catholicks, than be afraid of them: And therefore it was fit they should be in a Readi­ness to make the first Alarm, and give out, that all was done by the Presbyterians, and then by a little Assistance from abroad the Work would easily be compassed. This was the substance of the Letter from Paris: and they did further desire to have the same sent into England, with the Opinion of those of St. Omers upon it; and those of St. Omers did in their Letter much praise the Advice from Paris, adding nothing else of their own unto it, besides Commendation, but passed unto other of smaller concerns, as, that one Mr. Evers should call to one Gerard of Lancashire, and Gerald of Hilderson for fifty pound due for teaching of their Children or Relati­ons there, and such like things.

Master Harcourt further added, that this Letter from Saint Omers being directed unto him, he had Communicated it, as also that from Paris, unto Ma­ster Bedingfield, and Master Ireland, and likewise to the Lord Arundell, Lord Bellasis, Lord Stafford, and six or seven more whom I have forgot, by all whom it was highly commended as good Advice, and that [Page 6] all should endeavour upon any Differences in Par­liament, or any other Disorders, still to give out, That it was those Blood-sucking, King-killing Pres­byterians, that were the Authors of it.

That Master Evers did shew them the said three Letters sent from Master Harcourt, and then soon after, the same day, sent them by the same Messen­ger Carrington, under a cover to Mistress Heveningham at Aston, to be shewn to her Husband, and to Sir James Symonds their Son-in-law, and to come back that night with the same Letters, as he did; for that I did see Evers shew them to the present Lord Aston in the Parlour after Supper, his Lordship having been abroad before, and he believes them to be the same Letters he had seen in the morning: for the Messenger was then come back, and two of the Letters lay by on the Table, and the third they were reading by the fire. And I do verily believe they were the same Hands, and the same Letters, and the Messenger was there detained all Night, and made much of by Me, according to Order; and in the Morning Master Evers sent him back with an Answer to Master Vavasor, but Master Evers kept still the Letters from Master Harcourt. And I did afterwards hear Master Evers and Master Gavan dis­course together touching the said Letters, and in Commendation of the said Advice, and they na­med several Friends in their discourse that were en­gaged at Paris, whom I remember not. And Ma­ster Evers did tell me, that the Letters from Saint Omers were brought by a particular Gentleman in­to England, and from London to Master Vavasor by some Friend, which I do the rather believe, for that I took notice, there was no Post-mark upon the said Letter to Master Vavasor.

[Page 7] That about February 1677/8; there came a Letter to Mr. Evers, to acquaint him, from a Friend of his in Paris, that he had received a Letter from Rome, which did require the said Mr. Evers, together with the said Cotton's Company in London, with Mr. Gavans, Mr. Peters, and Mr Vavasor; And ac­cordingly Mr. Evers did come to London, and Mr. Peters, but whether the other two were there I know not. And when Mr. Evers came home, he told me, Mr. Ireland and Mr. Symonds would be in the Country the latter end of June, for considering the best way and means for carrying on the great Work, as it was called. And in July 1678. I received a Letter from Mr. Evers, which came from Sir John Warners, to acquaint him that all the Arms were ready that were bespoke, and want­ed now nothing but their Orders how they should be disposed of.

In August following a Meeting was appointed at the Lord Aston's House at Tixall, where was present the Lord Aston himself, and my Lord Staf­ford, Sir James Symonds, Mr. Dracott, Mr. Heveningham, Mr. Symonds, Mr. Ireland, Mr. Vavasor, Mr. Gavan, Mr. Peter, Mr. Fitter, Mr. Fitzherbert, and Mr. Manley, with several others; which Meeting was for carrying on the Plot, the Death of the KING, with several other things relating thereto. At that time it was Agreed, That the said Lord Aston and Sir James Sy­monds should go beyond the Seas in the beginning of October, to dispose of the Arms that were provided, but the Plot breaking out, their journey was stopt.

In September following my Lord Stafford sent for me several times into his lodging Chamber at Tixall, where we had several private Conferences, amongst which he told me, That Mr. Evers had [Page 8] commended me to him, that I was true and trusty to any thing that I undertook, and that now was the time: That they stood in need of such Men as I was: And that if I would I might make my self happy; And if I would be one that would under­take to Kill the KING, he would give me Five Hundred Pounds for a present supply; which I faithfully promised I would do: And he told me I should go up to London with him in October, and sometimes I should be at Standon, and sometimes in London; And should receive Instructions from Mr. Harcourt, Mr. Ireland, and himself. And going to Mr. Evers and acquainting him of it, he told me he knew of it before. I must renew my Oath of Secrecy, which I did do: And the Fourteenth of October I received a Letter from Mr. Harcourt for Mr. Evers; the Contents of which was, This night Sir Edmundbury Godfrey is dispatcht. Sir, said I to Mr. Evers, do you think that this will not destroy all our Designs? Sir said I, if it do not de­stroy it I will be hang'd. Not so, said Evers, be not so passionate, not so, for he was a man that did use to punish Lewd and Debaucht people; And it will rather be cast on them, than any of us.

Another time I being in company with Mr. Evers, I pressed of him, to know the reason why they should Kill Sir Edmundbury Godfrey? He told me, That the Duke of YORK had sent a Message to Coleman, after he was taken, that he should not Confess any thing: He returned the Duke an An­swer back, That it had been his misfortune, to de­clare all that he knew of the Matter to Sir Ed­mundbury Godfrey; and he heard the said Sir Edmund­bury Godfrey would come in a Witness against him, in regard he had been so diligent in taking Ex­aminations: The Duke returned him Answer back [Page 9] again, That bid him be sure he did not Confess, and he should not need to fear Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, and that there should be care taken, or to that purpose. I saw a Letter from Mr. Whitebread, directed to Mr. Evers, but inclosed in Groves Letter to my self, wherein was, That there was great hopes now, that things will go on well, if there be diligent care taken in the Management of it, which can never be, if it be communicated to every idle Fellow. Therefore be sure you do not trust any, but whom you have made tryal of: for if it should be discovered, we both ruine our De­sign, and all concerned in it. For those persons which are for the People, no matter whether Gen­tlemen or not, so they be cunning, desperate and trusty, which choice made here I fear not: for there hath been especial care taken that no oppor­tunity might be lost; and what persons you think fit, let me have your Answer next Week. Send to Boscobel, and there will be a Messenger to bring them to me. I need not say much more to you, in regard you are fully acquainted with the bu­siness, and how it is to be carried on by Mr. Ireland. I hope you put the Gentlemen in mind, for the getting what Mony you can. Pray send me word by the next, how my Lady is. I think to be at St. Omers next week.

Those Gentlemen that Subscribed for carrying on this design about us in Staffordshire, were as fol­loweth, (viz.)

[Page 10]

Sir James Symonds subscribed1000l
Mr. Heveningham2000l
Mr. Dracot3000l
Mr. Gerrard500l
Mr. Howard2000l

And as Master Evers told me, my Lord Aston paid One thousand pound for carrying on this Design to Master Bedingfield: and that what was paid was re­turned towards the discharging the Accounts of Arms, which were provided beyond the Seas, and every of the aforesaid Gentlemen was to have a share, and Offices appointed. But in all our Meet­ings it was never agreed, what their parts should be, and the Noted'st Gentlemen of all those was ever Sir James Symonds, being as they said, a very active person, and one that would be found a well qualified person. But as far as I ever understood, their places were to be appointed here in London by some of those Great Ones whom I have former­ly mentioned; but there are several persons names, besides those I have named, in that same List; and there are other persons that entred their Names be­yond Seas, for this Note was only for Master Evers private use. And to that end Master Evers and Master Cotton were sent to Saint Omers about two or three years ago, for the sake of other persons which were very fearfull, and some others paid their money to Master Bedingfield, Master Ireland, Master Harcourt: and Master Evers hath been ap­pointed to receive. Acquittances for them; which Acquittances I have seen come in Master Evers [Page 11] Letters, one to Sir James Symonds at one time was for three hundred pound, which was noted in the Acquittance for a Charitable Use, but it was for the carrying on of this Wicked Design, or Master Evers told me not true. Most of the persons about Woolverhampton, Master Gavan took care to receive of, and discharge them. I asked Master Peter how the rest must be had, for these Gentlemen when they were all together, would be but a few. He Answered me, I need not fear, there was care ta­ken for that, and such a care, that at one hours warning they would be ready. But as he said, they had formerly told, that none, except the Gen­tlemen, were so much as to tell one another, till the very time, of which I never enquired after that time, but I perceived that a great Number were knowing, by their fear when I was taken.

Stephen Dugdale.
FINIS.

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