Extracts from a pamphlet dated 25 May, 1716 written by Richard Gascoigne and addressed to the sheriffs of London in which he denies being involved in a plot to put James Francis Edward Stuart (James III of Scotland) on the English throne. He says the evidence presented at his trial was false. The pamphlet was printed after the court case. (SP 35/5 f.48B).
A True Copy OF THE PAPER
Delivered to the SHERIFFS of LONDON
BY Richard Gascoigne
I take it to be my Duty, to leave this Paper behind me, to refute [deny] those False Accusations and Calumnies [lies] that have been designedly spread [spread on purpose] by People, who I am afraid took Pains [took steps] to procure [get] unhappy Wretches to confirm them [back them up].
In the first Place I declare I dye [die] an unworthy Member of the Holy Catholick Apostolick Roman Church, and do acknowledge my self to be the greatest of Sinners; but Blessed be my GOD, I have a firm Confidence in the Sufferings of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by whose Merits [goodness] I hope I shall be saved.
I, from the Bottom of my Heart, forgive all those that [were] my Enemies and Persecutors, and hope Almighty GOD in his Great Goodness (and I beseech him to do it as heartily as I beg pardon for my own Sins) will pardon them, and give them Grace to Repent.
And I earnestly beg Pardon of all those whom I have any ways offended or injured, and lament that it is not in my Power to make them Reparation [make it up to them]: but as they expect to be forgiven, I hope they will do so to me. I also beg Pardon of all those whom I have disedified [let down] by my Life or Conversation.
That I have had an uncommon Ardour [passion] or Zeal [enthusiasm] in my Duty and Loyalty for my most Injur’d and Royal Sovereign King James the Third [Charles Francis Edward Stuart], I own at my Death, as I did to every one that knew me whilst I lived; and I affirm, that it was not only on the Account of his being a Roman Catholick, or any wordly Views; but from a true Sense of my Duty, as I took my self to be bound by the Laws of GOD and my Country, and as his Succeeding to the Throne of his Ancestors could only make these Three Kingdoms happy, and from impartial Accounts of his Royal Person and Qualities; which make him one of the most meriting [deserving] Princes in the World.
My Loyalty descended to me from my Ancestors, my Father and Grandfather having had the Honour to be Sacrificed in doing their Duty to their Kings, Charles I. and James II.
Nor was I ever Agent, or employ’d by any Person in my Life (as was suggested at my Trial) in any Politick Design [plot], nor did I ever carry a Letter, or was intrusted by one great Man to another; nor did I ever know of any concerted [planned] Measure to restore my Royal Master in my Life, more than what was talk’d in publick, and in the Papers; nor, as I expect Mercy, did I directly or indirectly know anything of the Arms that was seized at Bath directed to R.G as was said at my Trial.
And as to Mr. Calderwood’s Evidence against me, of my being in the Market-place a Saturday in the Afternoon, and that he saw me there; to my Knowledge I had not been there until 7 a-clock at Night, when he could not see me; and if he did, not with my Sword drawn, his Evidence was intirely false: And he sent me Word two Days before my Trial, That he could not [swear] anything against me whatever. And he said I was in the Council of War: I never (so far from being in it) knew the House was held in, nor did I know there was one held.
The Evidence of the Footman Walmsly was as false, he swearing me drinking of Brandy with Excise-Men Six times a Saturday, in the same Market place.
These are the two Men that swore me out of my Life; I forgive them with all my Heart, and recommend to them to Repent.
And as I have upon the Word of dying Man declar’d all these Truths, in order to caution People not to believe Reports, and to do all the Justice I am capable of doing; so now let me recommend to all People to think of their Duties to GOD and their Country, and to heal all Divisions; and exhort [call] them to think of the Means of Uniting and Reconciling all their Interests, and unite in the only Measure that can render them Happy; which that they may do, I beg of Almighty GOD to direct them, and that they may compass it.
I bless my GOD, who has given me the grace to submit patiently to all the Injuries that has been done me, as also for enabling me to resist the many Temptations I have had frequently in relation to a Gentleman, upon whose Account I presume they have taken my Life; because I would not concur to take his Life: But God forgive them; I do heartily.
And I humbly beg the Prayers of all good Christians.
The 25th of May, 1716.