The Historical Spectator.

Treason in a Brandy Bottle

The Glorious Revolution had been accomplished; William and Mary were sharing the throne as England’s first and only joint monarchs. But the followers of the expelled James II had not given up. This broadside describes how treasonable letters might have been carried to their destination had it not been for the curiosity of a patriotic tradesman. This is the sort of thing that makes perfect broadside material. It seems that Lady Griffith escaped execution, but her husband the first Lord Griffith was imprisoned and ultimately executed for treason.

An Account of the Apprehending of Treasonable Designs discovered in some Papers found in the false Bottoms of two large Brandy Bottles, on the 21st. of October, 1689.

Licensed October 24th 1689. J. Fraser.

The Security their present Sacred Majesties now stand upon, and the Foundation the Protestant Religion receives from their Administration, seems so establisht that their Enemies are reduced to their last shift of Wile and Stratagem, under the Covert of Disguise and Night to work their dark and hidden Designs against Them. An Instance of which has very lately demonstrated the Subtilty and Restlessness of that unsatisfied Party, which take as follows. The Lady Griffin, Wife to the Right Honourable the Lord Griffin, A Lady that has some years layn under the Affliction of Blindness, living in the Pall-mall, employed one of her Servants to bespeak two large Pewter Brandy Bottles containing five or six Quarts each Bottle, with each of them false Bottoms; which when she had got finished, on the twenty second Instant, late at Night, between the hours of Ten and Eleven, she sent her said Servant in company with a young Page of hers with the same Bottles to a strange Pewterer’s living in Panton-street to get the false Bottoms soder’d fast down upon the Bottles, in which Bottoms she had caused a great Parcel of Treasonable Letters to be laid and covered with Cotton: The honest Pewterer, surprized at the sight of two Bottles of that sly sort of make, and the cunning Conveyance of private Things thus suspiciously stowed in them, being likewise a little stagger’d at the unseasonableness of the Time of Night when they were brought to him to be thus closed up, made bold to satisfie his Curiosity by searching what lay concealed under the Cotton; and finding them to be a large quantity of Letters, apprehended both the said Servants of the said Lady, who were that Night committed to the Gate-house, (where the elder Servant now lies close Prisoner,) and the Letters he conveyed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shrewsbury Principal Secretary of State. The Lady upon Inquiry after her is taken into Custody.

From a broadside printed in 1689.