Saturday, November 05, 2005

Double Agents - Militants Beware

In 1605 the UK government claimed to have uncovered a plot to blow up parliament.

Some historians do not believe the government version of the Gunpowder Plot.

Some historians have argued that the conspiracy was really devised by King James's spy-master, Robert Cecil.

It is argued that Cecil wanted to have an excuse to clamp down on Catholics and take more land and money from them.

Many people, when told about the Gunpowder Plot, agreed to Cecil's plans to pass a series of laws persecuting Catholics.

Some historians suggest that Cecil blackmailed Robert Catesby into organising the plot.

Back in 1605, rumours circulated that Francis Tresham, a probable double agent who knew too much, had been poisoned while being held captive in the Tower of London.

There is one theory that Tresham was allowed to escape to Spain where he travelled under the name of Matthew Brunninge.

Information on Tresham:

http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/FrancisTresham.htm
http://www.gunpowder-plot.org/tresham.asp

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The Gunpowder Plot of 1605:

The official story of the gunpowder plot does not make sense.

The 'confessions' were obtained under torture.

Why would the Catholic plotters have wanted to blow up parliament when it housed not only Protestants but also all the country's leading Catholics?

Elizabeth, James' Protestant daughter, was was due to take over, if the plotters succeeded.

Why would the Catholic plotters want Elizabeth on the throne?

The government had a monopoly on gunpowder and it was stored in places like the Tower of London.

How did the conspirators get hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder without drawing attention to themselves?

How was the gunpowder moved across London from the Tower of London to Westminster (at least two miles distant) without anyone seeing it?

The River Thames would not have been used as it could have lead to the gunpowder becoming damp and useless.

Thirty six barrels would have been a sizeable quantity to move without causing suspicion.

Why were men who were known to be Catholics allowed to rent out a house so near to the Houses of Parliament?

How did they move 36 barrels from that house to the cellar of the Houses of Parliament without anyone noticing?

Why, for the first time in history, was there a search of Parliament's cellars that conveniently found Guy Fawkes?

Why was the soldier who killed the plotters Catesby and Percy at Holbeech House in the Midlands, given such a large pension for life (10p a day for life) when their arrest and torture was more desirable so that the names of any other conspirators might be found out?

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http://www.geocities.com/larwilson2001/remember.htm

From larwilson2001:

The plotters were all known to the authorities. Winter and Percy were actually paid by the government as double-agents!

They didn't notice anything suspicious when the date of opening parliament was changed to the 4th November 'The King's Day'. It was normally the end of October.

They could have escaped while Fawkes was being questioned but they all went to hide in the house of Robert Catesby!

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From Channel 4:

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/treason/whatif1.html

The Monteagle letter

A member of the House of Lords, Lord Monteagle, a closet Catholic, received a letter warning him not to attend parliament.

Monteagle was married to Robert Catesby's first cousin Elizabeth Tresham.

On 26 October, he was handed an anonymous letter that had been delivered to one of his servants by a mysterious stranger.

It urged Monteagle to 'Retire yourself into the country for ... they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament and yet they shall not see who hurts them.'

By his own account, Monteagle immediately took the letter to James I's spymaster, Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury.

On Friday, 1 November, Cecil showed it to his royal master, who had been away on a hunting trip.

The following day, the decision was taken to search the Houses of Parliament 'above and below' – but two more days passed before this was done.

After the discovery of the plot, Monteagle received land and a pension worth £500 a year.

Who wrote the Monteagle letter?

The balance of opinion is that it was a concocted document, but we will never know exactly by whom.

It was truly a 'dark and doubtful' communication, possibly fabricated by Monteagle himself with the connivance of Cecil.

Certainly Cecil's leisurely approach to interpreting its meaning and showing it to the king suggest his complicity.

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From newadvent.org:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07081b.htm

If, as Father Gerard thinks (and he is not at all alone in his opinion), the government knew of the plot for some time before Monteagle's letter and yet allowed it to proceed, from that time it was no longer a conspiracy against the crown, but a conspiracy of the crown against political adversaries, whom they were luring on, by some agent provocateur, to their doom.

In the case of the Babington Plot, indeed, we have direct proof that this was done in the letters of the provocateurs themselves.

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