His avidity was insatiable and he could brook no opposition; but, unlike his father, he was morose, silent and unsympathetic. His next conquests were Camerino and Urbino, but his power was now greatly shaken by the conspiracy of La Magione (a castle near Perugia where the plotters met).
The party which had set up the Committee of Public Safety was now struck down by the very man who through the Directory inherited by direct lineal descent the dictatorial powers instituted in the spring of 1793 for the salvation of the republic. It remains to add that the suspects in the plot of October 1800 were now guillotined (31st of January 1801), and that two of the plotters closely connected with the affair of Nivose were also executed (21st of April).
Would-be plotters remained quiet from sheer terror of his power and ability, or from a conviction that conspiracies redounded to his advantage.
His spies were naturally doubtful characters, because the profession does not attract honest men; morality of methods can no more be expected from counterplotters than from plotters; and the prevalence of political or religious assassination made counterplot a necessity in the interests of the state.
He was in deep poverty, the Estates were chary of supplies, plotters in Scotland had been offering to Cecil to kidnap the king (1598), and his relations both with the English government and with his own subdued but struggling preachers were bitterly unfriendly.
The plotters were at this juncture reinforced by an exranger from Scania (Skane), Johan Kristoffer Toll, also a victim of Cap oppression.
He was, in fact, informed of every detail, through Fulvia, the mistress of Curius, one of the plotters,who was himself soon persuaded to turn informer.
But in addition, among the peers to be assassinated were included many Roman Catholics and some lords nearly connected in kinship or friendship with the plotters themselves.
Of this widespread belief the plotters now took advantage; they held that much more could be accomplished with such a claim than by using that of the unfortunate Edward of Clarence, whose chances were so severely handicapped by his being still the prisoner of Henry VII.