The Bye Plot

Extract from the opening of the handwritten confession of William Watson, who was involved in the Bye Plot – a Catholic conspiracy to seize the king James at Greenwich and force him to grant a general toleration. Further investigations led to the Main plot, which brought down Raleigh. This source is his handwritten confession and the section transcribed below is the opening part of his pleas for mercy, 10 August 1603 (catalogue ref: SP 14/3 f. 31)


As in respect of his Majesty’s mercy I hope for life, so in regard of mine own misery I wish for death, and resting indifferent between both, putting myself wholly into his Majesty’s hands with hearty desire of my sweet saviour to assist me with his grace, to open the whole truth of what I know in these matters without wronging of any man, or concealing of any act intended (to me known) against his royal person crown, or state, This it is…

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