Gunpowder Plot The Verdicts. Note. All eight Conspirators were to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The narrative provides the rationale for why this particlar punishment was applied.
The Conclusion shall be from the admirable Clemency and Moderation of the King, in that howsoever these Traitors have exceeded all others their Predecessors in Mischief, and so Crescente Malitia crescere debuit et Pæna; yet neither will the King exceed the usual Punishment of Law, nor invent any new Torture or Torment for them; but is graciously pleased to afford them as well an ordinary Course of Trial, as an ordinary Punishment, much inferior to their Offence.
And surely worthy of Observation is the Punishment by Law provided and appointed for High-Treason, which we call Crimen læsæ Majestatis. For first, after a Traitor hath had his just Trial, and is convicted and attainted, he shall have his Judgement to be drawn to the place of Execution from his Prison, as being not worthy any more to tread upon the Face of the Earth whereof he was made:
Also for that he hath been retrograde to Nature, therefore is he drawn backward at a Horse-Tail. And whereas God hath made the Head of Man the highest and most supreme Part, as being his chief Grace and Ornament, Pronaque cum spectent Animalia cætera terram, Os homini sublime dedit; he must be drawn with his Head declining downward, and lying so near the Ground as may be, being thought unfit to take benefit of the common Air. For which Cause also he shall be strangled, being hanged up by the Neck between Heaven and Earth, as deemed unworthy of both, or either; as likewise, that the Eyes of Men may behold, and their Hearts contemn him. Then he is to be cut down alive, and to have his Privy Parts cut off and burnt before his Face, as being unworthily begotten, and unfit to leave any Generation after him. His Bowels and inlay'd Parts taken out and burnt, who inwardly had conceived and harboured in his heart such horrible Treason. After, to have his Head cut off, which had imagined the Mischief. And lastly, his Body to be quartered, and the Quarters set up in some high and eminent Place, to the View and Detestation of Men, and to become a Prey for the Fowls of the Air.
And this is a Reward due to Traitors, whose Hearts be hardened: For that it is Physic of State and Government, to let out corrupt Blood from the Heart. But, Pænitentia vera numquam, sera sed pænitentia sera raro vera: True Repentance is indeed never too late; but late Repentance is seldom found true: Which yet I pray the merciful Lord to grant unto them, that having a Sense of their Offences, they may make a true and sincere ConFession both for their Souls Health, and for the Good and Safety of the King and this State. And for the rest that are not yet apprehended, my Prayer to God is, Ut aut convertantur ne pereant, aut confundantur ne noceant; that either they may be converted, to the End they perish not, or else confounded, that they hurt not.
After this by the Direction of Master Attorney-General, were their several Examinations (subscribed by themselves) shewed particularly unto them, and acknowledged by them to be their own, and true, wherein every one had confessed the Treason. Then did Master Attorney desire, That albeit that which had been already done and confessed at the Bar, might be all-sufficient for the Declaration and Justification of the Course of Justice then held, especially seeing we have Reos confitentes, the Traitors own voluntary ConFessions at the Bar; yet for further Satisfaction to so great a Presence and Audience, and their better Memory of the Carriage of these Treasons, the voluntary and free ConFessions of all the said several Traitors in writing subscribed with their own proper Hands, and acknowledged at the Bar, by themselves to be true, were openly and distinctly read; By which, amongst other things, it appeared that Bates was absolved for what he undertook concerning the Powder-Treason, and being therein warranted by the Jesuits. Also it appeared, that Hammond the Jesuit, after that he knew the Powder-Treason was discovered, and that these Traitors had been in actual Rebellion, confessed them, and gave them Absolution: And this was on Thursday the 7th of November.
Here also was Mention made by Master Attorney of the ConFessions of Watson and Clarke, Seminary Priests, upon their Apprehension; who affirmed, that there was some Treason intended by the Jesuits, and then in Hand; as might appear.
Note 1 By their continual negotiating at that Time with Spain, which they assured themsleves tended to nothing but a preparation for a foreign Commotion.
Note 2 By their collecting and gathering together such great Sums of Money, as then they had done, therewith to levy an Army when Time should serve.
Note 3 For that sundry of the Jesuits had been tampering with Catholicks, as well to dissuade them from Acceptance of the King at his first coming, saying, That they ought rather to Die, than to admit of any Heretick (as they continually termed his Majesty) to the Crown; and that they might not, under pain of Excommunication, accept of any but a Catholick for their Sovereign; as also to dissuade Catholicks from their Loyalty after the State was settled.
Lastly, In that they had both bought up store of great Horses throughout the Country, and conveyed Powder and Shot, and Artillery secretly to their Friends; wishing them not stir, but keep themselves quiet until they heard from them.
After the reading of their several Examinations, ConFessions, and voluntary Declaration as well of themselves, as of some of their dead Confederates, they were all by the Verdict of the Jury found guilty of the Treasons contained in their Indictment.