"Millions Ready Saddled And Bridled To Be Ridden"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: After the Stuarts had been restored to England's throne and the old despotism resumed, the country still seethed with rebellion; and in 1683 the Rye House Plot was hatched. The plan was to waylay and assassinate Charles II and his brother (later James II) at Rye House Farm, as they returned from the Newmarket races. The royal party returned early, however, and the plot was frustrated. When word of the conspiracy leaked out, it served as an excuse to execute not only the plotters but a number of prominent members of their party. Among those brought to the scaffold was a brave and sincere man named Richard Rumbold, who owned Rye House Farm. He fought his captors gallantly, and was mortally wounded; but his conquerors could not forego the pleasure of seeing him hanged and quartered, so his trial was brief. Macaulay describes his courage:

. . . Though unable to stand without the support of two men, he maintained his fortitude to the last, and under the gibbet raised his feeble voice against Popery and tyranny with such vehemence that the officers ordered the drums to strike up, lest the people should hear him. He was a friend, he said, to limited monarchy. But he never would believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.