It was from the Roman Catholic Jesuit party that the Gunpowder Plotters sprung, their anger fuelled by the fact that King James had succeeded Elizabeth I. All of these conspirators were acquainted with Father Henry Garnet, the Superior of the Jesuits in England, who was hanged for treason for his part in the plot, which aimed to capture members of the Royal Family as well as the damage to the Houses of Parliament. Some of the conspirators were keen to pursue anarchy. These included Thomas Winter, John Wright, Thomas Percy (âa gentleman by birth ... who had gradually become a rogueâ) and Robert Catesby, the man who came up with the idea of the plot itself. Yet other members of the thirteen-strong band were cajoled and convinced to join the conspiracy, including Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. Tresham became the eventual traitor. Guy Faukes has gone down in stories of the plot, such as the official version printed in full at the end of this book, as the face of the attack. He had travelled to Spain to seek help in restoring the Jesuits to primacy in England, and was not as well-known in Britain which meant he could evade any spies.
Letters had been sent to prominent Roman Catholics advising them to avoid Parliament on the chosen day (delayed from the initial date in February 1605). Much space is given to one sent anonymously to Lord Mounteagle, which led to the wider discovery of the plot. Sidney queries the author of the letter, and also argues that some men were aware of the plot even before this. In the days after the strike was foiled, the plotters were placed in the Tower of London and began to confess of their crime.
Philip Sidney (1872-1908) wrote books on politics and society, including a work on Lady Jane Grey.