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was going on; he admitted in Court that he had consulted the Swedish envoy as to the position of the Count in reference to Lady Ogle, should he kill Thynne. His own statement, given with much prevarication, amounted to his having asked the envoy whether, if Königsmarck called Thynne to account,' the English law would prevent him marrying his widow. He also one afternoon bought a sword and riding-coat in Charing Cross for the use of Boraski, and on returning with young Philip from the theatre the same evening made a great complaint that the sword was not ready.
This was on Saturday, the 11th of February ; in view of what followed it was a significant fact that the Count should next day have asked a youth of fifteen who was engaged to attend on him whether there was any law against riding on Sunday; the boy said there was none, except during the services. Though the Count strenuously denied this, there can be little doubt that the boy's story as to this and certain other damaging details was true.
It must be remembered that in those times even a thoroughfare so near the Court as Pall Mall was filthy in appearance as well as dark and dangerous. St. James's Square, we are told, was a dumpingground for the refuse and dead dogs and cats of the neighbourhood ; and rubbish was shot 'under the windows of the gilded saloons in which the first magnates of the realm, Norfolks, Ormonds, Kents and Pembrokes, gave banquets and balls.
In the afternoon (of Sunday the 12th) Thynne went to call upon Lady Northumberland, the grandmother and guardian of his wife. Her house was at the top of St. James's Street, where White's Club now stands. What a curious Sunday call! The powerful Dowager and the battered rake who had married and then lost the heiress the child-wife absent, perhaps with the sweet-tempered Lady Temple sheltering her ; Thynne's imposing equipage at the door, with running footmen bearing flambeaux; and hanging over all the unsatisfied claim of Mr. Potter for 5001. for bringing about the match! When Thynne went out to pay this visit, word was brought at once to Vratz, who met his confederates at the Black Bull Inn in Holborn, there took horse, and started off through the growing dusk, via Temple Bar, the Strand and Charing Cross. Stern was the foremost of the three, when, at the foot of St. Alban's Street (where Waterloo Place now is), they met Thynne's coach returning, one of the footmen with his lighted flambeau preceding it to show the way. What followed seems to have been the work of a moment; Vratz held up the coach with a 'Stop, you dog!' to the driver, and a pistol pointed at him; then Boraski pushed his musquetoon in at the carriage window, and discharged its contents full into Thynne's breast, and the three scoundrels decamped at once, clattering away up the Haymarket.
Vratz made his way back to Königsmarck to report the news, whither also soon after came Hanson, fresh from the King's Palace at Whitehall, where the intelligence had created immense consternation.
If we wish a picture of the scene that the great gallery of Whitehall probably presented on that Sunday evening, the 12th of February 1682, at the moment that the news was brought, we can find it in the pages of Macaulay. The great master of the English language has depicted its appearance on another Sunday evening almost exactly three years later as one of revelry and play—the King toying with three women whose charms were the boast, as their vices were the disgrace, of three nations, Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, whose voluptuous loveliness had once overcome all hearts; the Duchess of Portsmouth, her soft features illuminated with the vivacity of France; and Hortensia, Duchess of Mazarin, her face resplendent with the rich beauty of the South, but her understanding marred by ungovernable passion.
The diarists of the time tell us how easy it was for any man of address with sufficient credentials to present himself at the King's levées or couchées, without any special invitation, and watch him at wine, gallantry or play. In his former brilliant and open sojourn in London, Königsmarck must often have been present on such an occasion as one of the favoured few whom the King was wont to honour with especial recognition. Young Philip Königsmarck would probably have been there on this occasion had he not been visiting the Duke of Richmond, a boy of nine years old, the royal candidate, if we may believe the story, for the Lady Ogle's hand.
Another person at the same time at Whitehall was Sir John Reresby, M.P. for Aldborough in Yorkshire, and a justice of the peace for Middlesex and Westminster. He was now in middle life, but many years before had cut a brilliant figure in Paris, and ingratiating himself with Henrietta Maria, had thus obtained the ear of Charles the Second. In those memoirs, which present so graphic an account of the history of his time, he describes Charles's concern at the news of the occurrence, and his uneasiness lest it should be turned to political account, for the Duke of Monmouth had been in Thynne's carriage, and been dropped by the latter at his house ; it was, however, clearly established later that, had the Duke still been in the coach, the assault on Thynne would not then at any rate have been made. Reresby tells us how he proceeded to leave the Court and was just stepping into bed, when one of Thynne's servants applied to him for a 'Hue and Cry,'5 immediately after which the Duke of Monmouth's carriage arrived to carry him to the wounded man's lodgings. There in the presence of a distinguished group of men, Monmouth among them, he found Thynne dying from the wounds he had received. Warrants were granted
* See Macaulay's History of England, chap. iv.
S A Hue and Cry (Hutesium et clamor) is the old process of pursuing with horn and with voice all felons, and such as have dangerously wounded another.
for the arrest of the assassins, and Reresby tells us how, in company with the Duke of Monmouth, and Mordaunt, the groom of the stole to the Duke of York, he personally captured Vratz in a Swedish doctor's house in Leicester Fields. Boraski and Stern were also arrested and brought to Reresby for examination; and so interested was the King in the whole matter that he directed the investigation to take place in his own presence, and even went so far as to examine the accused himself. Hanson, the tutor, was also examined, and made the very damaging statement that Königsmarck, who had formerly been so well known in England, had on this occasion arrived incognito ten days before the murder, and lain disguised till it had been committed. Reresby thereupon proceeded to his lodgings to arrest him, but as he tells us found' the bird was flown.'
The Count, however, was not fated to escape trial. Vratz had come to his lodgings in St. Martin's Lane, red-handed from the scene of the tragedy, told his story and then gone off to the doctor's in Leicester Fields. On the Monday morning, when the Count's boy came in to attend on him, the latter asked the lad what the bustle in the street had been for, and the boy said it was over the capture of Thynne's murderers, whereupon Königsmarck made hurried preparations to decamp. Announcing his immediate departure for Windsor and concealing his identity, he sallied out to take coach at Charing Cross, but he directed the coach to carry him to Rotherhithe. There he lay some time disguised, in terror of discovery, probably not so much dreading the King's constables as the summary vengeance of the mob who were thirsting for his blood. The idea that an honest Englishman of ancient lineage and great estate should be barbarously murdered on a Sunday evening, in the heart of London, close to the Royal Palace, by three foreign ruffians, acting at the instigation of a Swedish adventurer who had received royal hospitality, incensed popular anger to fever point. The Count lay concealed till the Tbursday at a Swede's house in Rotherhithe, when he took boat (a small sculling-boat) and was rowed by stages to Gravesend, but in spite of his disguise he had been seen and identified. A reward had been offered for his apprehension, and a neighbour of the Swede at Rotherhithe recognised him, from the published description, and gave information. Officers from London arrested the Count just as he was landing from his boat at the Gravesend stairs on Sunday evening the 19th ; and only just in time, for he had made arrangements to sail in a vessel that was to be cleared at Gravesend on the following morning. He was sent, closely guarded by a file of musketeers, to Whitehall, and on the way made some inquiries as to the treatment and behaviour of the three assassins since their arrest. When he heard of Vratz's stubborn indifference he seemed to take heart, and pretended to attribute the murder to a quarrel of Vratz and Thynne over a lady (this of course was Vratz's'own assumed attitude); but when he heard
that Boraski had made a full confession he became exceedingly discomposed, wept, bit his clothes, and began to picture the doom that was hanging over him and which he had so richly merited. He lost his self-possession, and blurted out words which were much commented on at the trial : “ 'Tis a stain upon my blood, but one good action in the wars, or a lodging upon a counterscarp, will wash away all that.'
Königsmarck on his arrest was taken before the King and the Council to be examined, and must have had strange sensations on finding himself in the presence of the monarch at whose Court he had made such a brilliant figure. He behaved with great assurance, and Reresby notes especially that he was fine of person, and his hair the longest that he had ever seen. He equivocated as to his reason for keeping concealed in London; the King, however, let it be seen that he would not object if the Count were acquitted.
Others besides the King were exerting themselves in Königsmarck's interest, and Foubert came from the Academy to attempt to bribe Reresby to arrange an acquittal ; this was by no means a solitary case in Reresby's experience; coupled with Hanson's conduct, it gives some colour to the idea insisted upon by Thackeray that Philip Königsmarck was privy to the affair ; the lad, indeed, gave evidence, probably false, in support of his brother, and it was eagerly seized upon by the Chief Justice, who pretended to attach great importance to it.
The trial was not long deferred ; bills having been found at Hicks's Hall (the building which, like Campden House in the west, perpetuated the memory of Baptist Hicks, first Viscount Campden), the hearing of the terrible indictment began on the following day at the Old Bailey. All three Chiefs of the Common Law Judicature were present on the bench. Sir Francis Pemberton, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, who presided, had experienced many vicissitudes in his career.
He had led a riotous youth, flung all studies aside, and outcavaliered the Cavaliers in profligacy ; but, during a long incarceration for debt, he had turned his enforced leisure to wiser account, and acquired in prison the scholarship and jurisprudence which he had spurned at school. Though & royalist Judge, he did not go far enough for the Court, and was dismissed from the Bench ; and his chief title to fame will rest on his subsequent conduct as the leading advocate for the Seven Bishops.
With him were Francis North, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, William Montagu, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and George Treby, the Recorder. North, afterwards better known as Lord Keeper Guildford, was a servile truckling lawyer, who had in company with Pemberton lately been foiled in their attempt to force the grand jury of Middlesex to find a true bill against Shaftesbury. Montagu afterwards earned some notoriety for sentencing a witch to death, but acted honourably in his protest against the pretended
dispensing power. Treby was a well-known Whig lawyer from the west.
Even the Lord Mayor who accompanied the judges was a person of more than civic celebrity ; his predecessor, Sir Patience Ward, had played a manful part in reference to the City Charters, and used language very unpalatable to the Court; it was therefore important for the Crown to replace Ward at the end of 1681 by some more pliant instrument; after a fierce contest John Moore, a Tory, entirely under the influence of Charles, was elected; he was subsequently member for the City, and his subserviency to James the Second and his apprehension for his future safety may be gauged from the circumstance that one of James's last acts as king was to grant him a 'general pardon ' under the great seal.
The four prisoners were arraigned before this solemn tribunal, and at nine in the morning the trial began; it is impossible to study it at the present day without being struck by the unfairness and inhumanity of the criminal law of that time. Its very severity encouraged judges to admit in favour of prisoners objections, seemingly frivolous, some of which could be successfully urged down to a quite recent period. No counsel were allowed to the accused, and it is very doubtful how much of the evidence they, or the foreign moiety of the jury, understood; the nationalities of the prisoners made a jury de medietate linguae (i.e. half English and half foreign) necessary, but the empanelling of such a jury was not altogether an advantage to the prisoners, of whom two were Swedes, one a German, and the fourth a Pole : the very interpreters could not understand all the languages, and the Judges would not pause for every answer to be immediately translated.
Thus, after Hanson the tutor has given evidence at immense length in English, the following conversation takes place :
L C. J. (PEMBERTON) (to Hanson).—Look you, sir, now will you in French deliver this for the benefit of those jurymen that don't understand English.
Mr. WILLIAMS (junior counsel for the Crown).—We pray, my lord, that our interpreter may do it.
L. C. J.-When a man can speak both languages he needs no interpreter, he is his own best interpreter.
Mr. WILLIAMS.—My lord, I will tell you why I ask it ; there is a great deal of difference I find when you examine a man with the hair, and when you examine him against the hair ; when you find it difficult to make a man answer you will pump him with questions, and cross-interrogate him, to sift out the truth ; now if you leave this man to the interpretation of what he hath said himself, he will make a fine story of it and we shall be never the wiser.
LC. J.-You may examine him in French if you will.
• Moore is thus referred to in Absalom and Achitophel :
This year did Ziloah rule Jerusalern,