and named a peer, several gentlemen, and ten Presbyterian ministers, as parties to the plot. Some of the accused were brought to trial; and Young appeared in the witness box; but the story which he told was proved by overwhelming evidence to be false. Soon after the Revolution he was again convicted of forgery, pilloried for the fourth or fifth time, and sent to Newgate. While he lay there, he determined to try whether he should be more fortunate as an accuser of Jacobites than he had been as an accuser of Puritans. He first addressed himself to Tillotson. There was a horrible plot against their Majesties, a plot as deep as hell; and some of the first men in England were concerned in it. Tillotson, though he placed little confidence in information coming from such a source, thought that the oath which he had taken as a Privy Councillor made it his duty to mention the subject to William. William, after his fashion, treated the matter very lightly. "I am confident," he said, "that this is a villany; and I will have nobody disturbed on such grounds." After this rebuff, Young remained some time quiet. But when William was on the Continent, and when the nation was agitated by the apprehension of a French invasion and of a Jacobite insurrection, a false accuser might hope to obtain a favourable audience. The mere oath of a man who was well known to the turnkeys of twenty gaols was not likely to injure any body. But Young was master of a weapon which is, of all weapons, the most formidable to innocence. He had lived during some years by counterfeiting hands, and had at length attained such consummate skill in that bad art that even experienced clerks who were conversant with manuscript could scarcely, after the most minute comparison, discover any difference between his imitations and the originals. He had succeeded in making a collection of papers written by men of note who were suspected of disaffection. Some autographs he had stolen; and some he had obtained by writing in feigned names to ask after the characters of servants or curates. He now drew up a paper purporting to be an Association for the Restoration of the banished King. This document set forth that the subscribers bound themselves in the presence of God to take arms for His
Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/330
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