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sion, were only suspended from their ecclesiastical functions, The charges which the assembly sustained, were Arminian doctrines, superstitious, and papal innovations, illegal imposition of oaths, tyranny and oppression, in suspending and deposing, for no cause, but adherence to the principles of the Scottish church, some of her worthiest members. The imputations against their private conduct, were an utter disregard of decency, and a relaxation of morals, which had been sufficient in less scrupulous times, to have authorized their being removed from stations of such high responsibility, as that of teachers of religion. While gloomy, morose, unsocial fanaticism is urged and reiterated against the covenanters, and even alleged as an excuse for the excesses of their opponents, it is unfair to conceal the flagrant improprieties of the Episcopalian clergy, which had no inconsiderable effect in rendering the others more scrupulous and precise in the indulgence of even innocent amusements; the irregularities of the former, produced, perhaps, by a terror of being esteemed puritans, naturally created a necessity for the latter avoiding even the appearance of deviating from the most rigid line of propriety.
To prevent the recurrence of that most deadly of all the Episcopalian sins-and which is not only inconsistent with, but diametrically opposite to both the spirit and the letter of a Christian pastor's commission-civil power in churchmen, an act was passed against ministers holding any seats in parliament, exercising the office of justice of peace, lords of session, or judges in the exchequer. But, as by this deed, ministers were excluded from the estates, the elders who were members, were solicited to exert themselves to obtain a ratification in parliament, of the acts of this assembly. Before closing the assembly, they asserted their right to meet by appointing their next session to be at Edinburgh, on the third Wednesday of July, 1639, but at the same time, reserving the right of the king, by ordaining, that if it should please
ant, that he slept none all his time, for he entered on his office in the morning, and was put from it ere night. So it was with this prelate, for he was not well warmed in his cathedral chair, till both chair and cushion were taken from him, therefore, depose him only."
his majesty to indict a general assembly, all presbyteries, universities, and burghs, should send their commissioners to keep the time and place he should appoint, and it appears evident, notwithstanding all that had occurred, that the king might have retained unimpaired, his civil power and prerogative, according to the constitution of the state, could he only have been content not to have forced upon their consciences, a form of church government, and a ritual abhorrent to the nation, had he complied with what it is never justifiable, and seldom safe for a king to refuse, the universal prayer of a people, goaded to the verge of resistance by an imperious party, who claimed the exclusive praise of loyalty, and abused their sole access to the royal ear; for the Presbyterians were far from wishing to come to a rupture, and in their supplication which they presented to him, soliciting his sanction to their acts, they entreat his compliance in language the reverse of disaffection, and which their stubborn, inflexible opposition ought to have freed from the charge of sycophancy, or insincerity. "We humbly beg," say they, "and certainly expect, that from the bright beams of your majesty's countenance, shining on this your majesty's own kingdom and people, all our storms shall be changed into a comfortable calm, and sweet sunshine, and that your majesty's ratification in the ensuing parliament, shall settle us in such a firmness and stability in our religion, as shall add a further lustre unto your majesty's glorious diadem, and make us a blessed people under your majesty's long and prosperous reign, which we beseech Him who hath directed us in our affairs, and by whom kings reign, to grant unto your majesty, to the admiration of all the world, the astonishment of your enemies, and comfort of the godly." But Charles preferred the hollow flattery, and the idle state of a few worthless prelates, to the esteem, affection, and gratitude of such men, and rather than give up a liturgy, at best of very equivocal utility, and a hierarchy burdensome to the state, and hateful to the people, he was willing to involve his kingdom in all the horrors of civil war, and stake his life and his crown upon the issue.
The work of reformation thus thoroughly and unexpectedly completed, the assembly, after having sat twenty-six days,
rose triumphantly. "We have now cast down," said Hen derson, "the walls of Jericho, let him that rebuildeth them beware of the curse of Hiel the Bethelite." To the hero patriotism of this assembly, Scotland owes much. The wis dom of their measures, was not less conspicuous than their courage and their zeal. The leaders were always prepared, for every event, and the decided step they took in disregard ing the commissioner's orders to dissolve, was not less r ces sary for their own individual safety, than it has been ultimately advantageous to their country. Had they dissolved without razing the foundations of prelacy, it would not have been long ere the fabric had been rebuilt, with greater caution perhaps, but with more durability, and those seeds of liberty which they watered, and which braved the storms of half a century, ere they ripened into fruit, had probably never blossomed. Had Charles succeeded in effecting his purpose in Scotland, in ruling there by his prerogative, England, divided as it was, would have been forced to bend under the yoke of despotism, and Britain might have had yet to struggle for rational freedom. The power of this assembly to annul what had received the sanction of parliament, has been questioned. A case of such imperious urgency would have justified them, had they even done this. When all is at hazard, when fortune, liberty, and life are in peril, it is no time to search for precedents. Self-preservation tells a man, to provide first against danger, and afterward, he may search for precedents, or ask for bills of indemnity; but the assembly did not do this, they annulled what they had a right to annul, the irregular and illegal proceedings of their own assemblies, and if, when they were found to be nullities, the acts of parliament, which proceeded upon the supposition of their being regular and according to law, fell to the ground, the blame must attach to those who built upon the sand, not to those who exhibited the frailty of the foundation.
After he left the assembly, the marquis set out for Hamilton, whence, after depositing some of the bishops in a place of safety, he proceeded to Edinburgh, and reiterated his proclamation, dissolving the assembly, which was attended with the usual accompaniment of a formal protest. Vexed at the
ailure of his attempts, and worn out with mental anxiety and bodily fatigue, the marquis was detained in Scotland for some time by indisposition; but about the close of December ne set out for London, to exculpate himself to the king, to learn the real state of the armament, and concert a plan of operations for a contest, which appeared now inevitable.
HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.
THE HE year 1639 is remarkable, in the history of Scotland, for the commencement of hostilities between the king and his subjects. Charles, who had long looked forward to this issue of his disputes, had his preparations in a formidable state of forwardness; his artillery was ready in June preceding, arms to a considerable extent were commissioned from the continent, his fleet was equipped, and he had two hundred thousand pounds in his exchequer. In the month of January Hamilton arrived at Whitehall, and learned the intentions of his majesty. He proposed to lead in person an army of thirty thousand horse and foot, which was to assemble at York, where all the nobility, with their attendants, were summoned, under the pretence of repelling invasion. Berwick and Carlisle were to be garrisoned; the west coast invaded from Ireland, by the earl of Antrim, who was to land in Argyleshire; and the navy, with a land army of five thousand men, was to co-operate with Huntly in the north; first secure that quarter, and then march south, while Charles advanced by the east coast.
The king's armament had neither been so secretly, nor could it so speedily be executed, as not to communicate alarm to the Scots, whose leaders were too determined, and too acute, to allow themselves to be either dismayed at its magnitude, or taken unawares at its approach. It is impossible to say exactly at what time they first began to entertain the ideas of resistance, because the steps by which they were led on, till they made their ultimate appeal to arms, arose so