A Relation of the Rebellion made against the King.
For the Conclusion of this Part, it will not be improper to relate here a dangerous rising of the People against the King. It happened in the year 1664. About which time appeared a fearful Blazing-Star. Just at the Instant of the Rebellion, the Star was right over our heads. And one thing I very much wondred, at, which was that whereas before this Rebellion, the Tail stood away toward the Westward from which side the Rebellion sprung, the very night after (for I very well observed it) the Tail was turned and stood away toward the Eastward. And by degrees it diminished quite away.
At this time, I say, the people of this land, having been long and sore oppressed by this Kings unreasonable and cruel Government, had contrived a Plot against him. Which was to assault the Kings Court in the night, and to slay him, and to make the Prince his Son, King. He being then some twelve or fifteen years of age, who was then with his Mother the Queen in the City of Cande. At this time the King held his Court in a City called Nillemby. The Situation of which is far inferior to that of Cande, and as far beyond that of Digligy where he now is. Nillemby lyeth some fourteen miles southward of the City of Cande. In the place where this City stands it is reported by Tradition an Hare gave chase after a Dog, upon which it was concluded that place was fortunate, and so indeed it proved to the King. It is invironed with Hills and Woods.
The time appointed to put their design in action was the one and twentieth of December 1664. about Twelve in the night. And having gotten a select company of men, how many well I know not, but as is supposed, not above two hundred, neither needed they many here, having so many Confederates in the Court; in the dead of the night they came marching into the City. The Watch was thought to be of their confedracy: but if he were not, it was not in his power to resist them. Howbeit afterwards, whether he were not, he was executed for it. The said men, being thus in the City, hastened and came down to the Court; and fell upon the great men, which then laid without the Palace upon Watch: since which by the Kings order they lye allways within the Palace. For they were well informed before who were for them and who not. Many who before were not intrusted to know of their design, were killed and wounded; and those that could, seeing the slaughter of others, got in unto the King. Who was walled about with a Clay-wall, thatched: that was all his strength. Yet these people feared to assault him, laying still until the morning. At which time the King made way to flee, fearing to stay in his Palace, endeavouring to get unto the mountains, and had not with him above fifty persons. There were horses went with him, but the wayes were so bad, that he could not ride. They were fain to drive an Elephant before him, to break the way through the Woods, that the King with his followers might pass.
As he fled, they pursued him, but at a great distance, fearing to approach within shot of him. For he wanted not for excellent good Fowling-pieces, which are made there. So he got safe upon a Mountain, called Gauluda, some fifteen miles distant, where many of the Inhabitants, that were near, resorted to him. Howbeit had the people of the Rebel-party been resolute, who were the major part (almost all the Land;) this Hill could not have secured him, but they might have driven him from thence; there being many ways by which they might have ascended. There is not far from thence a high and peaked hill called Mondamounour, where there is but one way to get up, and that very steep, at the top are great stones hanging in chains to let fall when need requireth. Had he fled hither, there had been no way to come at him. But he never will adventure to go, where he may be stopped in.
The People having thus driven away the old King, marched away to the City of Cande, and proclaimed the Prince, King: giving out to us English who were there, that what they had done they had not done rashly, but upon good Consideration, and with good advice; the King by his evil Government having occasioned it, who went about to destroy both them and their Countrey: As in keeping Ambassadours, disanulling of Trade, detaining of all people that come upon his Land, and killing of his Subjects and their Children, and not suffering them to enjoy nor to see their Wives. And all this was contrary to reason, and as, they were informed, to the Government of other Countries.
The Prince being young and tender, and having never been out of the Palace, nor ever seen any but those that attended on his person, as it seemed afterwards, was scared to see so many coming and bowing down to him, and telling him that he was King, and his Father was fled into the mountains. Neither did he say or act any thing as not owning the business, or else not knowing what to say or do. This much discouraged the Rebells, to see they had no more thanks for their pains. And so all things stood until the five and twentieth of December, at which time they intended to march and fall upon the old King.
But in the Interim, the Kings Sister Flyes away with the Prince from the Court into the Countrey near unto the King; which so amazed the Rebells, that the mony and cloth and plunder which they had taken, and were going to distribute to the Strangers to gain their good will and assistance, they scattered about and fled. Others of their Company seeing the Business was overthrown, to make amends for their former fact, turned and fell upon their Consorts, killing and taking Prisoners all they could. The people were now all up in arms one against another, killing whom they pleas’d, only saying they were Rebells and taking their goods.
By this time a great man had drawn out his men, and stood in the Field, and there turned and publickly declared for the old King: and so went to catch the Rebells that were scattered abroad. Who when he understood that they were all fled, and no whole party or body left to resist him, marched into the City killing all that he could catch.
And so all revolted, and came back to the King again: whilst he only lay still upon his mountain. The King needed not to take care to catch or execute the Rebells, for they themselves out of their zeal to him, and to make amends for what was past, imprisoned and killed all they met; the Plunder being their own. This continued for some eight or ten days. Which the King hearing of, commanded to kill no more, but that whom they took they should imprison, until examination passed; which was not so much to save innocent persons from violence, as that he might have the Rebells to torment them, and make them confess of their Confederates. For he spared none that seemed guilty: some to this day lye chained in Prison, being sequestred of all their Estates, and beg for their living. One of the most noted Rebells, called Ambom Wellaraul, he sent to Columba to the Dutch to execute, supposing they would invent new Tortures for him, beyond what he knew of. But they instead of executing him, cut off his chains, and kindly entertained him, and there he still is in the City of Columba, reserving him for some designs they may hereafter have against the Countrey.
The King could but not be sensible, that it was his rigorous government that had occasioned this Rebellion, yet amended it not in the least; but on the contrary like to Rehoboam added yet more to the Peoples yoak. And being thus safely re-instated in his Kingdom again, and observing that the life of his Son gave encouragement to the Rebellion, resolved to prevent it for the future by taking him away. Which upon the next opportunity he did by Poysoning him, which I have related before.
But one thing there is, that argues him guilty of imprudence and horrible ingratitude, that most of those that went along with him when he fled, of whose Loyalty he had such ample experience, he hath since cut off; and that with extreme cruelty too.
In the year 1666 in the month of February, there appeared in this Countrey another Comet or stream in the West, the head end under the Horizon, much resembling that which was seen in England in the year 1680 in December. The sight of this did much daunt both King and People, having but a year or two before felt the sad event of a Blazing-Star in this Rebellion which I have now related. The King sent men upon the highest mountains in the Land to look if they could perceive the head of it, which they could not, being still under the Horizon. This continued visible about the space of one month, and by that time it was so diminished, that it could not be seen. But there were no remarkable passages that ensued upon it.