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and other of the ministers. Layer also
spoke of the certainty of the army
declaring in their favour, and proposed
sending a strong guard at the proper time to
secure the king from insult.

After dinner the two plotters rode on to
Epping, and there Lynch was formally
introduced to Lord North and Grey, who
seemed at first suspicious and distrustful.
The two stayed there all night, dined
there the next day, and then rode home
together. At a subsequent interview with
Layer in London, Lynch threatened to back
out of the plot unless something was soon
done. Layer then said that things would be
put in execution sooner than he expected,
and that rather than all should fail, he
himself would rise up as a second Masaniello.

In the mean time Layer had been sounding
other persons besides Lynch. A Major
Barnewell, whom Layer had redeemed
from the Marshalsea, introduced
Matthew Plunkett, an ex-sergeant of the
Guards, to the plotter of Southampton-
buildings. This Plunkett had five years
before been useful to Layer, having got
two grenadiers to turn out some bailiffs
who had put an execution into the house
of Layer's landlord in Great Queen-street.
It was arranged by Barnewell that Plunkett
should meet Layer at the Italian
Coffee-house in Russell-court, "to open a
correspondence for the Pretender's service."
This appointment, however, the old soldier
did not keep. One Sunday in July, 1722,
Plunkett went to St. Andrew's Church,
Holborn, to hear the famous Tory high-
church preacher of divine right, Dr. Sacheverel.
On his way home through Lincoln's-inn-fields,
he met Layer, whom he did not
remember, but who recognised and stopped
him. The two men walked back towards
Little Turnstile, and striking up the wall
side, stepped into "a great coach-house
gateway." Layer began to sound him about
the Pretender, and said he wanted old soldiers
to discipline the mob. On Plunkett's
objecting that the Pretender was a Papist,
Layer said there was no difference between
a Papist and a Lutheran king; that the
people were enslaved; moreover, he said,
injustice was done to old soldiers, who had
undergone great hardships (men like Plunkett,
for instance), and that people were
promoted over their heads. Then the wily
Jacobite barrister mentioned the leader of
the plot, Lord North and Grey, "a fine
general;" and he also asked Plunkett's
opinion of the Earl of Stratford, old
General Primrose, and General Webb.
Plunkett promised to bring over twenty-five
old non-commissioned officers, and Layer
asked where they lodged, that they might
be in readiness for a call. Layer then told
him the affair would have gone on sooner,
but somebody had informed the French
ambassador, and he had written to the
regent, who discovered it to the king. The
Duke of Ormond and General Dillon, he
assured Plunkett, were to bring over French
troops. When he parted from Plunkett he
gave the old soldier half-a-crown for drink.
Four or six days afterwards, Jeffreys, a
non-juring minister, came to Plunkett and
took him to a small tavern in Drury-lane.
There they drank two pints of wine and
talked hopeful treason. Another time
Jeffreys took Plunkett to the Cock-and-Bottle
alehouse in the Strand, and gave the
sergeant half a guinea as a token from Layer,
and an encouragement. Another day
Layer and Plunkett went to a tavern in
Drury-lane, and had two bottles of wine
and some bread-and-cheese with the
landlord. Layer at parting gave Plunkett a
crown to list men for the Pretender. The
morning Layer rode into Norfolk, Plunkett
went to Southampton-buildings and found
Layer's servant loading a blunderbuss.
Layer promised the old sergeant a guinea
by the non-juror, and said, "When I am
abroad you may be sure I shall not be
idle." Arms were to be also provided for
Plunkett's twenty-five renegades.

Soon after that the watchful government
closed in on the dangerous house in
Southampton-buildings. The plot was
ripethe wasp's-nest was ready for the
sulphur. Hasty steps came one bright
September morning, and Counsellor Layer
was seized just as he got out of his bed.
The Jacobite plotter was well prepared.
A pair of large pistols hung by his bedside,
and between them a horseman's
sabre and two swords. On the other side
of the bed next the chimney there was
another case of pistols, and near them,
another sword. In a closet there were two
muskets and two musquetoons, a mould for
bullets, and forty loaded ball-cartridges. On
the officer handling the guns, Layer cried
out, "Have a care, they are loaded; don't
meddle with them." The officer asked what
he wanted with so many arms; Layer
replied, "You must know my clerk and I
are great shooters when we are in the
country." When pressed about the
cartridges, Layer replied, "They are proper
for my use to defend the house if there
should be any disturbance in the nation."