Blood, Thomas

, generally known by the appellation of colonel Blood, was a disbanded officer of Oliver Cromwell’s army, famous for his daring crimes and his good fortune. He was first distinguished by engaging in a conspiracy to surprise the castle of Dublin, which was defeated by the vigilance of the duke of Ormond; and some of his | accomplices were executed. Escaping to England, he meditated revenge against Ormond and actually seized him one night in his coach in St. James’s-street, where he might have finished his purpose if he had not studied refinements in his vengeance. He bound him on horseback behind one of his associates, resolving to- hang him at Tyburn, with a paper pinned to his breast but when they got into the fields, the duke, in his efforts for liberty, threw himself and the assassin, to whom he was fastened, to the ground and while they were struggling in the mire, he was rescued by his servants; but the authors of this attempt were not then discovered. A little after, in 1671, Blood formed a design of carrying off the crown and regalia from the tower; a design, to which he was prompted, as well by the surprising boldness of the enterprize, as by the views of profit. He was very near succeeding. He had bound and wounded Edwards, the keeper of the jewel-office, and had got out of the tower with his prey but was overtaken and seized, with some of his associates. One of them was known to have been concerned in the attempt upon Ormond and Blood was immediately concluded to be the ringleader. When questioned, he frankly avowed the enterprize but refused to discover his accomplices. “The fear of death (he said) should never induce him either to deny a guilt or betray a friend.” All these extraordinary circumstances made him the general subject of conversation and the king was moved with an idle curiosity to see and speak with a person so noted for his courage and his crimes. Blood might now esteem himself secure of pardon and he wanted not address to improve the opportunity. He told Charles, that he had been engaged with others, in a design to kill him with a carabine above Battersea, where his majesty often went to bathe that the cause of this resolution was the severity exercised over the consciences of the godly, in restraining the liberty of their religious assemblies: that when he had taken his stand among the reeds, full of these bloody resolutions, he found his heart checked with an awe of majesty; and he not only relented himself, but diverted his associates from their purpose: that he had long ago brought himself to an entire indifference about life, which he now gave for lost; yet he could not forbear warning the king of the danger which might attend his execution; that his associates had bound themselves, by the strictest oaths, to revenge the death of | any of their confederacy; and that no precaution nor power could secure any one from the effects of their desperate resolutions. Whether these considerations excited fear or admiration in the king, they confirmed his resolution of granting a pardon to Blood and what is yet more extraordinary? Charles carried his kindness so far as to grant him an estate of 500l. a-year. He also showed him great countenance and while old Edwards, who had been wounded, in defending the crown and regalia, was neglected, this man, who deserved only to be stared at and detested as a monster, became a kind of favourite. Blood enjoyed his pension about ten years, till, being charged with fixing an imputation of a scandalous nature on the duke of Buckingham, he was thrown into prison, where he died August 24, 1680. 1


Biog. Brit.