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Enraged at these proceedings, a proclamation was issued by the privy council, declaring the excommunication null and void.
Besides this attack upon the constitution and liberty of the church, the ministers were individually subjected to persecution, for their discourses in the pulpit. They did not cease to inveigh against those whom they considered the authors of the calamities which afflicted both church and state, and in particular, John Dury, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, named Lennox and Arran, in one of his discourses, as those on whom the chief blame rested. They, in return, complained to the king, of what they thought the unwarrantable liberty of the preacher, and the king, irritated at what he considered as oblique reflections on his own conduct, ordered the magistrates to remove him from the town, within twenty-four hours. Dury consulted with the general assembly upon the occasion, and they approving of his doctrine, recommended him not to withdraw secretly, but remain till formally commanded to depart, and then obey; and the magistrates, although unwillingly, finding themselves compelled to enforce his majesty's orders, Dury, after solemnly protesting at the cross, against the force used, was obliged to leave the city.
These arbitrary proceedings occasioned an extraordinary meeting of the general assembly, at which a spirited remonstrance was drawn up, addressed to the king and council, complaining that he had been persuaded to assume a spiritual authority, which belonged only to Christ, and the execution of which is committed to his ministers, as if he could not be king of the state, without being head of the church. That in consequence, unworthy and unfit persons were obtruded into the ministerial office-discipline obstructed, and the censures of the church condemned and disannulled-and after an enumeration of their complaints, under fourteen heads, they besought his majesty to redress their grievances, with the advice of men, "that fear God, and do tender his grace's estate, and quietness of this commonwealth." The venerable Erskine, of Dun, and a number of others of the older reformers, were associated with Andrew Melville, and ordered to proceed to Perth, where the king then was, and present the remonstrance.
In spite of threats against their lives, held out to deter them, they boldly proceeded, and having obtained access to the king in council, presented their remonstrance. Arran, who was present, after it had been read, looking sternly round the assembly, demanded, Who dare subscribe these treasonable articles? We dare, replied Melville, and immediately affixed his own signature, the other commissioners successively following his example, while the duke and Arran, overawed at their intrepidity, offered no opposition. They were afterward dismissed with a favourable answer.
Such boldness in the exercise of their rights, by a body of men, who were unsupported by any civil power, or armed force, while it struck strangers with astonishment,* shamed into action the Scottish nobles, who had long borne, with irritable impatience, the insolent presumption of two upstarts. Elizabeth too, if she had not secretly incited, was at least ready to support any attempt to rescue the king from the hands of the rash and inexperienced favourites, who had deprived her of all influence in Scotland, and had almost involved the two kingdoms in hostilities. A conspiracy, to force the king to part with his favourites, was the consequence, as the legal methods of removing obnoxious servants of the crown -difficult even in the best regulated states-was either unknown, or impracticable in Scotland at that period. The principal leaders were the earls of Marr, Glencairn, and Gowrie, lord Lindsay, lord Boyd, the masters of Glammis and Oliphant, the titular abbots of Dunfermline, Paisley, Dryburgh, and Cambuskenneth, the lairds of Lochleven, Easter Wemyss, Cliesh, and the constable of Dundee. Their design was to obtain possession of the king's person, send Lennox to France, and remove Arran from court. The young monarch, who had been some time in Athol, enjoying his favourite amusement of hunting, intended to stop at Dunfermline, on his return to Edinburgh, and here the conspirators proposed to present a supplication, against the illegal and tyrannical conduct of the favourites, and carry their object into effect, but as neither Lennox nor Arran were with him,
M'Crie's Life of Melville, p. 273.
and he was only very slenderly attended, they, probably afraid lest the favourites should join him at Dunfermline, invited the king to Ruthven castle, whence this enterprise has derived the name of the Raid of Ruthven.
James, unsuspiciously complied with the invitation, but, upon his arrival, observing an unusual concourse, he began to doubt that some plot was in agitation. Concealing, however, his suspicions, he dissembled, in expectation of freeing himself from constraint, when he went abroad to his sport. Next morning, he early prepared to take the field, but was anticipated by the nobles, who, entering his bedchamber, presented their memorial. This he received graciously, and was hastening to begone, when the master of Glammis, stepping to the door of the apartment, told him he must stay. On finding himself a prisoner, he threatened, expostulated, and at length burst into tears. It is no matter of his tears, said the master of Glammis, when he observed him crying, better bairns should weep, than bearded men, a saying the king could never afterward forget, so much less easy is it to forgive an affront, than a real injury. Although kept captive, the king was treated with every outward mark of respect, only his attendants were changed, and none of whom the conspirators had any suspicion, were suffered to remain near his person. Finding himself totally cut off from any communication with his obnoxious ministers, James made a virtue of necessity, and submitted to his fate.
Lennox and Arran, who were residing in the utmost security upon their estates, the former at Dalkeith, and the latter at Kinniel, thunderstruck at so unexpected an event, prepared, if possible, to retrieve the error they had committed, in allow ing the king so easily to fall into the snare of their enemies. The earl, whose arrogance imagined no one would dare to oppose him, and trusting at the same time, to the friendship of Gowrie, who, he either did not yet know had joined the confederates, or would not believe sincere in his attachment, instantly, on receiving intelligence of the seizure of the king's person, set out with a few followers towards Ruthven castle, boasting as he went, that he would chase all the lords into mouse holes. Fearing lest he should be detained on his
journey by his attendants, he pushed forward, with only one servant, by a cross road, directing his brother, William Stuart, to follow with the rest, by the common highway. In this manner he escaped an ambush, which had been laid for bim by the earl of Marr, and arrived in the evening, at Ruthven. On entering the gate of the castle he asked for the king, intending to proceed immediately to his presence, but here again, his good fortune rescued him from a peril, even greater than what he had previously escaped. The conspirators, whose indignation was roused by the appearance of a man whom they detested, would instantly have sacrificed, upon the spot, the enemy of their country, but the earl of Gowrie, from motives of friendship or hospitality, interfered, and had him conveyed to a place of safety, thus preserving a life destined to wreck Arran was afterward sent into confinement, in Stirling castle, without being permitted to see the king. His brother encountered the horsemen who lay in wait, with whom he had a smart encounter near Duplin, in which he was wounded, and taken prisoner.*
The duke, after a vain attempt to excite the inhabitants of Edinburgh to take arms, sent some noblemen to Perth, where the king had been carried, to learn from his majesty himself, if the revolution which had taken place had been with his consent. The messengers were not allowed to see the king except in council, where being introduced, and having explained the nature of their mission, the king passionately cried out;-"I am a captive, which I wish all my subjects to know, and earnestly desire the duke to use his endeavours to procure me my liberty." With affected humility, the lords entreated his majesty not to imagine himself a prisoner, or that he was under any restraint; for he was at liberty to go wherever he pleased, only they would not permit the duke of Lennox, and the earl of Arran, to mislead him, and oppress the church and the kingdom as they had hitherto done; at the same time, they advised his majesty to inform the duke, that it might be prudent for him to retire quietly to France, else they would be forced to bring him to an account for his conduct, and
* Spotswood, p. 320. Melville, p. 263.
proceed against him according to the utmost rigour of law. The king, finding it would be in vain to contend with persons in whose power he so completely was, dissembled his anger, and afraid for the fate of Lennox, to whom he seems to have felt a sincere attachment, issued a declaration, stating: "That it was his own free and voluntary choice to remain at Perth, that his person was under no restriction, and that the noblemen, who at present attended him, had only done their duty, and performed a good service to himself and the commonwealth;' and prohibiting any attempt to disturb the public peace, under pretence of rescuing him from restraint!" Lennox, who was still endeavouring to raise a force, received, by return of his messengers, a letter from the king, commanding him to leave the kingdom before the 20th of September. Unwilling to obey, but unable to resist, he continued to linger about Edinburgh, uncertain how to act, till at length, by the advice of his friends, he retired to Dunbarton, to await the occurrence of any favourable turn in his fortune. But the nobles were inflexible in insisting upon Lennox leaving the country, and it was with great difficulty and at the earnest entreaty of the king, that he was permitted to remain only a few days; yet, by various evasions, he continued to delay his departure till about the middle of December.
In October he attempted, or pretended to make an attempt of going to France from the west coast, but the weather being tempestuous, he fell sick, and landed again. He then, by the king's advice, came to Blackness, to remain there till a passport was procured from the queen of England, to enable him to travel overland to France, on account of the season of the year and his ill health. He had not remained there, however, many days, till, upon a rumour of his being again to be received into favour, lord Herries was sent with a peremptory command for him to begin his journey. He only begged to be admitted into the king's presence, to salute his majesty, and bid him farewell; but this the lords wisely denied him, and he took his reluctant departure, much to the pleasure of the people, and the regret of the king.
Soon after his arrival in France, fatigue or chagrin, or both, threw him into a fever, which in a short time carried