Brandreth Scene 3


A room in Nottingham Castle. The Duke of Newcastle sits at a desk. A maid enters.

MAID. Mr Oliver to see you, your grace.
NEWCASTLE. Show him in.

(Maid ushers in Oliver and retires.)

N. (Hard and superior at all times.) Ah, Oliver! You have news for me?
OLIVER. (Remaining standing at a polite distance during the discourse.) Yes, your grace. (He hands the Duke a batch of papers.) Here are my hourly reports, made as instructed by your Nottingham Magistrates.
N. (Takes them and glances through them. Looking up.
) You have travelled widely among the insurrectionists. Is your position secure?
0. I had trouble at Leeds, your grace, but managed to escape detection. The Nottingham 'patriots' are suspicious of me and I believe someone has a plan to murder me.
N. You must be careful. They must not know that you are in Government service.
0. I think my position is secure.
N. What is the present mood of the people?
0. There are just a few hotheads who stir up their followers with fierce words and wild promises. For the most part I find the people timid and considerate for their families.
N. (Rising and looking out of the window.) The people are being deceived and I hold that blackguard Cobbett and his friends responsible for this political nonsense.
0. Yes, their speeches are often quoted at meetings.
N. It is a fact of life, and evidence of the wisdom of Divine Providence that all men have been set in their place. The ruling classes must always rule, it is their right. As I said in parliament, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I please with mine own? (Looks to 0liver for approval.)
0. Quite so, your grace. The French have certainly learnt the folly of revolution and come to value their aristocracy again.
N. Exactly! His Majesty King Louis is back in his rightful place you can't defy Providence!
0. (Tentatively.) Some say that if the Prince Regent would accept a petition for reform of parliament and universal suffrage the troubles would soon die away.
N. (Annoyed.)
They want Democracy! Ha! And where would that get them. In theory democracy seems best calculated to maintain and cherish the civil liberty they so desire. But experience, fatal experience to Rome, has taught us that in this particular, theory and practice are incompatible. The ambition of private men, the degeneracy and corruption of human nature and a thousand other similar causes conspire to render the subjects of democracy, under the sacred cloak of liberty, the most abject slaves. (Locks pleased with himself after such an effort. He returns to his desk)
0. (Timidly, but gaining confidence as he speaks.) The people seem to see it differently, your grace. But it is my opinion that their schemes are weak and impracticable. If they can be delayed, the whole thing will blow itself out.
N. We can't allow that! I have told Sidmouth that we would be advised to let the matter come to a crisis. We now know that the Country People are not of a rebellious way of thinking. We will wait and see what the bad people will do, then we will deal with them accordingly.
0. What do you wish me to do, your grace?
N. (Scrutinising Oliver's reports.)
I see that the Pentrich band march tonight.
0. Yes, your grace.
N. You must continue to maintain contact with the Nottingham group, but do not raise their suspicions in any way.
0. I understand that, your grace.
N. (Rising and leaving the room, and turning
back to Oliver.) I trust you not to betray our intentions!

0. (Left alone, sings the Song of the Deceiver.)

I have persuaded those men to trust me.
They will march on Nottingham
And the King's men will take them, and our troubles will be over.
After so many dangers, my mission will now succeed.
Despised I may be, but someone must play this lonely part.
I have done my duty, I have played my part.
I have served my King and country,
Yet a Judas I'll be called.

Are those men my comrades? Are those rogues my friends?
They are surely traitors. And deserve a traitors end.
Would they not have plotted? Would their bitterness be less
If they'd known no Oliver?
Yet a Judas I'll be called.

There will be no revolution, With a nation torn with strife.
Just the death of a traitor, And return to normal life.
I will take my ransom. I will seek my Just reward
With a clear uncluttered conscience.
Yet a Judas I'll be called.


Click here for scene 4