The Masonic Plot

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The Masonic Plot refers to a supposed conspiracy by a group of Nihilists to assassinate the English/Scottish Royal Family in 1888.

The name comes from a pub all members of the group frequented, where they would drink too much and make wild claims about what was needed to further the cause. Violence was indeed discussed, but it seems unlikely any but Druett took these words seriously. The five men were not so much friends as acquaintences who had in common a vague devotion of Nihilism and firm devotion to getting drunk while complaining about the world.

At any rate, all group members were arrested and four of them were hanged:

  • Monatgue Druett was the son of a family of doctors who tried to make his career at the bar, but failed. Depression over his mother's insanity and the fading of his glory days as a cricket player may have contributed to his assassination of the Prince Consort.
  • Jacob Kosminiski was an alcholic from Veneda, who liked to talk about how kings and queens all conspired to make his life a misery. He was found "Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity" and locked up in an asylum for twelve years.
  • Dr. Franklin Tumblety was a bisexual physician who knew Druett from working with one of his brothers. His estranged wife was a prostitute and much was made at his trial of the body parts he had preserved in alchohol in his home (a common enough item for doctors of the time).
  • John Maybrick was a former cotton merchant who had lost everything and become addicted to laudanum. He was also a heavy user of absinthe.
  • Dr. T. Neal Cream was another physician who knew the Druetts. Evidence surfaced that he very likely had poisoned his wife for her money.

The most famous witness in the case was Sir William Gull, the ailing physician extraordinary to the Prince Consort who had declared Prince Albert deceased.

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