« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
gradually out of the circumstances in which they were placed, that had it not been for their uncommon sagacity, and their accurate intelligence, the king must inevitably have got the start. They soon, however, received effectual pecuniary aid from an unexpected quarter, which enabled them to purchase arms and ammunition. France and Holland had combined against Spain, with the intention of seizing and dividing the Low Countries, and were anxious to secure the neutrality of England, whose maritime power they dreaded; and Richlieu sent D'Estrades to propose any terms to obtain this, and even promised the assistance of French troops to aid him in reducing his rebellious subjects; but Charles rejected the proposals with disdain, and told the ambassador who made them, that he had a squadron ready, and, if necessary, would cross the sea with fifteen thousand men to prevent the conquest;-thanked the French minister for his offer, but said, he had no need of any foreign assistance to reduce his subjects, his own authority, and the laws of England, were sufficient to compel them to do their duty.
Richlieu's pride was irritated, and, in revenge, he determined to avail himself of the troubles in Scotland, for giving employment to Charles. In a letter to D'Estrades he tells him, "before the end of twelve months, the king and queen of England shall repent having refused the proposal which you made them from his majesty, and, if God blesses our undertaking, his majesty will have no great reason to regret that England has rejected his offers." A hundred thousand crowns were in consequence furnished by the cardinal, who employed his almoner, Chambers, to reside as a secret emissary in Scotland; these were employed on the continent in the purchase of military stores, which were clandestinely imported by the Scottish merchants.
Alexander Leslie, who had greatly distinguished himself in Gustavus' service, was invited by his chief, the earl of Rothes, to return to his native land, and assist in its defence; and by his influence the most experienced officers, who had been trained under the same great leader, were recalled to instruct their countrymen in the use of arms. There was, however, one main obstacle to be overcome; the nation had,
during a long period, been unaccustomed to warfare, and now, when it appeared in the form of a contest with their king, a number were ready to cloak their want of military ardour under the plea of the duty they owed to their sovereign, and not a few of those who had conformed were impressed with the notions of passive obedience, which the prelates so constantly rung in their ears; they conceived it might be just and necessary to resist the monarch, so long as this could be done in the assembly or the estates, but were not equally persuaded of the propriety of doing so in the field; but when the king's proclamation appeared, denouncing them as traitors ready to invade England, no man could longer remain neuter, and it became necessary their minds should be resolved.
A manifesto was ordered by the tables, to be drawn up and circulated, entitled, A State of the Question, and, Reasons for Defensive War. In it they say the question is not about obeying his majesty; this they never denied. They cheerfully acknowledge their duty to honour, obey, and fear the king; but they cannot see their obligation to obey evil, and wicked superiors, in an evil thing; for if God command one thing, and kings another, they consider it their duty to obey God rather than man. Nor is the question about invasion; this, they add, our consciences abhor, and our actions deny. It is simply about our own defence and safety, and here there is a wide difference between a king residing in the kingdom, attentive to the statements of both parties, and correctly informed about the subject of dispute-and a king residing in a different country, listening only to one party, and and misinformed by our adversaries. Another weighty difference is, between private persons, or a few subordinate magistrates taking arms for resistance, and a whole nation standing to their own defence, between a people rising against law and reason, that they may throw off the bonds of obedience, and a people holding fast their allegiance to their sovereign, and supplicating for religion and justice. The question then resolves itself into this:-In such a case is defensive war lawful? or ought the people to defend themselves against extreme violence and oppression, bringing
utter ruin and desolation on the kirk and kingdom, upon themselves and their posterity? That they ought, they deduced from a variety of reasons;-from the very absurdity of absolute sovereignty, and unlimited authority residing in princes; from the end of magistracy instituted for the good of the people, and their defence; the body of the magistrate is mortal, but the people, as a society, is immortal, and therefore it were a direct overturning of all the foundations of policy and government, to prefer subjection to the prince, to the preservation of the commonwealth, or to expose the public, wherein every man's person, family, and private estate are contained, to be a prey to the fury of the prince, rather than by all our power to defend and preserve the commonwealth; from the law of nature, as mariners and passengers may save themselves, by resisting him who, sitting at the helm, would drive the vessel against a rock, or by hindering the prince himself, not only by supplication of mouth, but by strength of hand, to govern the ship to their certain shipwreck; from examples in scripture; from the mutual contract between king and people, acknowledged in the coronation ceremony; from acts of parliament, ratifying the authority of the three estates; from their own civil and ecclesiastical history; and from the covenant lately sworn and subscribed, binding us to defend the king's majesty's person in defence of the true religion, and to defend the true religion against all persons whatsoever.
Nor were the pulpits silent; the necessity of self-defence was insisted on, the dangers that threatened religion and the commonwealth, were strongly pointed out, and the sin of standing back in the day of trouble, was threatened with the curse pronounced against those who came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Their arguments and exhortations were not ineffectual; a spirit of enthusiastic zeal for the cause was universally excited, and every where men pressed to enlist under the banner of the covenant. But while endeavouring to rouse the martial spirit of their countrymen, they used every means to assure the English nation of their ardent desire for peace, and their aversion to the smallest acts of hostility against them. In vain did the king interdict the
publication of Scottish declarations, they were spread extensively through the country, and a fellow feeling was excited in the breasts of the Puritans, for men whose principles and wrongs were so similar to their own. With their open avowal of their intention to defend themselves against invasion, the tables adopted the most vigorous and wise measures for carrying their intention into effect; they not only attempted to secure the friendship of the people of England, by explaining to them their motives, but wisely rejected all foreign assistance, as that which might have given them umbrage, although they had heard that the king had entered into treaty for some Spanish veterans from the Netherlands, of whose aid he was only deprived by accidental circumstances. A supreme committee was appointed to reside at Edinburgh, with full executive powers, and subordinate ones in every shire, for consulting on its proper defence, and providing arms. The commanders, who had served abroad, were distributed throughout the counties, to instruct the officers, and exercise the men, and every fourth man was ordered to be levied. All expert smiths were put in requisition, for the fabrication of musquets, carabines, pole-axes, Lochaber-axes, and halberts, and magazines and beacons were established in each shire. A permanent body of two thousand foot were placed
* The following were the instructions for alarming the country in case of danger. "That no shire might want advertisement, it was thought fit that beacons should be set up in all eminent places of the country, that so any danger that appeared at sea, might be made known by the beacons running along the country; which beacons were a long and strong tree, set up with a long iron pole across the head of it, carrying on it an iron grate for holding a fire, and an iron brander fixed on a stalk in the middle of it, for holding a tar barrel, and the manner of advertisement was this:-The first fire was upon the ground, beside the beacon, on the sight whereof, all were to provide themselves to stand to their arms, and set out watches to advertise others. The next advertisement was by two fires, the one on the ground, and the other on the large grate, on the sight whereof, all were to come out, first to the rendezvous of their company, and then of their regiment, and if the danger was imminent, to the two former signs were added, that of the burning tar barrel, and lest, through rain or mist, or the people being at rest, these beacons should prove abortive of the end designed, the next adjacent gentlemen were to warn all betwixt that and the next beacon, going out one way and coming in another. Inst. No. 6.
$ under Monro, as a seminary for training the rest of the coun try, and to be always ready, either to repress any sudden incursion on the borders, or overawe any appearance of insub¡ordination among themselves, and for their pay, the nobles borrowed from Mr. William Dick of Priestfield, afterward provost of Edinburgh, 200,000 merks, and gave their joint bond for that sum, till money could otherwise be raised. Argyle undertook to maintain nine hundred men, for the protection of the West coast from the Macdonalds of the Isles, and the arrival of Antrim, their chief, from Ireland.
The king's forces, on the appointed day, assembled at York, amounting to three thousand horse, and twenty thousand foot, the command of which was intrusted to the earl of Arundel, a nobleman of great family, but of no military experience. The earl of Essex, who had seen considerable service, and was extremely popular among the soldiery, was appointed lieutenant general. The earl of Holland, said to be a favourite of the queen, was general of the horse. In addition to the funds in the exchequer, the clergy were called upon by Laud, to contribute, and the Papists, by the influence of the queen, came liberally forward to support his majesty in the Episcopal crusade. The Scots, though unwilling to commence any warlike operations, yet, aware of the danger of leaving enemies behind them, determined to secure their rear, before they advanced to meet the invader. Huntly had begun to arm in the north, the earls of Airly and Southesk in Angus, and Douglas in the south; they therefore planned the surprise of all the strong places not held by their friends. Edinburgh castle had only a feeble garrison, and was ill supplied, but when Leslie appeared before it, the captain refused to surrender, on which, after a short parley, a petard was brought to the outer gate, which was immediately blown open. Axes and hammers demolished the inner, and in less than half an hour, the covenanters, had possession without the loss of a
On the same day, Dunbarton was taken by stratagem. It was well garrisoned and supplied, and the governor was staunch to the opposite party, but being invited, or entering without suspicion, the church of Dunbarton on a fast, accom