Изображения страниц


him off. In his last moments he professed to die in the faith of the church of Scotland, to keep the oath he had given to the king inviolate; and the king, to rescue his memory from the charge of hypocrisy, eagerly proclaimed in Edinburgh his dying confession. Whether he was ever sincerely attached to the doctrines of the Reformed or not, is as uncertain as it is unimportant. That he was insolent, oppressive, and tyrannical, is evident from the inflexible rigour with which the nobles insisted upon his quitting the country, although probably in some instances his plausibility of manner + might have led the courtiers to think more kindly of him than of Arran, whose insolence had more ruggedness about it. The king long remembered him with affection, and showed many acts of generosity to his posterity. He was the earliest, the most obsequious, and, unfortunately, one of the most unprincipled of James' favourites. He found the prince at a period of life comparatively uncorrupted, and he contaminated him by the licentiousness of his conversation, and the looseness of his conduct. Unacquainted with the manners of the country, and educated in a system directly opposed to that of James, passionate in his temper, and libertine in his morals, he was the most unfit companion the young monarch, of a free and a religious country, could have chosen.

Immediately upon the report of James' captivity, Elizabeth despatched two ambassadors, Sir George Carey and Sir Rob

Patrick Galloway, minister of Perth, gives the following account of the duke's behaviour in the church, when the preacher blamed the court for supporting Montgomery, bishop of Glasgow: "When I did speak against the same, he did plainly menace me, and called me pultron, villain, mischant, with many other injurious words, and threatened to run me through with a rappair, till his majesty himself was compelled to lay his hand upon his mouth, and stay the duke's fury and malicious language heard of all that stood in his highness' seat, and uttered publicly before the people. After the sermon was ended, at the duke's passing out of the kirk door, in plain language, laying his hand upon his sword, he boasted he would have my life, and used diverse contumelious and reproachful words of malice and despite.MS. Apology of Mr. Patrick Galloway, quoted by Dr. M'Cric, Life of A. Melville, vol. i. Notes, and Calderwood, p. 152.

+ It is from this circumstance, I apprehend, that Sir James Melville is inclined to represent him in more favourable colours than he appears to have deserved.

ert Bowes, under pretence of inquiring after the king's safety, to endeavour to reconcile him with his nobles, and induce him to restore the earl of Angus, who had lived in exile in England ever since the death of his uncle, the earl of Morton. James, who suspected that Elizabeth was not ignorant of the conspiracy, gave, in public, a general answer, that he was satisfied with the conduct of the lords, but, in private, he whispered his discontent to Carey, and begged him to inform his mistress of the real state of affairs. At their request he consented to the return of Angus, who formed a farther addition to the strength of the party.

Besides the royal proclamation, the nobles, who were anxious to justify their conduct to the nation, issued a long declaration, explaining the motives which induced them to venture on the irregular step they had taken, in which they inveighed against the favourites, and enumerated all their offences against the church and state-their endeavouring to destroy the power of the church, by filling her livings with unworthy characters, abusing, banishing, and suspending some of her ministers, and libelling and traducing all as traitors, seditious persons, members of Satan, and enemies to the commonwealth—their negotiating with the king's mother-their driving faithful noblemen from the court, banishing gentlemen without trial or conviction, and overawing the courts of law, removing forfeitures without the authority of parliament, and rendering the whole country one scene of confusion, tyranny, and lawless misrule.

The conspirators, who had first carried the king to Stirling, next proceeded with him to Edinburgh, for although they had already obtained from his majesty a remission in the most ample form, yet, afraid lest it might still be urged against them, that they had forced this from him when under constraint, they were extremely anxious to procure some legal sanction of their enterprise. The general assembly met early in October, and their first application was to that body. They commissioned the abbot of Paisley to explain to them the reasons for their approbation of the "action," which were the same as those enumerated in their public declaration—the danger of the church, and the confusion of the commonwealth.


The assembly, on receiving this information, inquired at the members individually, whether they had perceived the mischiefs to be as great as represented, and they unanimously answered in the affirmative. Still unwilling to proceed hastily, the assembly deputed Mr. James Lawson, Mr. David Lindsay, and the king's minister, [Mr John Craig,] to wait upon the king, and ascertain his sentiments upon the subject. He instructed them to declare, as his opinion, "That religion was in peril, and his person also in danger, for he considered his own safety as inseparable from that of religion. He acknowledged that abuses existed in the commonwealth till the late enterprise, and that it was the duty of all his subjects to unite in rescuing the kirk, his person and estate, and to assist in reforming the commonwealth." On receiving this communication, the assembly proceeded to pass an act approving the late enterprise, in which they embodied his majesty's acknowledgment. This act, dated 13th October, 1582, was ordered to be published in all the churches, and those who maliciously or violently opposed the good cause, were in the first instance to undergo the censures of the church, and if obstinate, to be reported to the king and council for their civil offence.

A few days after, a convention of the estates followed, which was opened by the king in person, who, in a short speech, expressed his regret at the dissentions that prevailed, and his willingness to follow the advice of his parliament. With the freedom which then prevailed in these assemblies, one of the lords-he is not named-rose, and addressing the king, frankly told him: “That the dissentions were caused by those who, having possession of his majesty's ear, abused his favour,

* Dr. Robertson says, Hist. vol. ii. book vi. “They [the nobles] applied to the assembly of the church, and easily procured an act that they had donę good and acceptable service to God, to their sovereign, and to their native country," but from the statement in the text, it will appear that the church was extremely cautious, and first obtained the king's own personal approbation before they would proceed, and after the act was framed, the tutor of Pitcur, and colonel Stewart, by special command from James, signified his assent. These are important facts necessary to be kept in view.-Dr. Cooke's Hist. of the Ch. of Scot. vol. i. p. 351. and the authorities referred to.--Calderwood, p. 179.

+ Calderwood, p. 133. Spotswood, p. 322.



ruled the state as they chose, and disdained the advice of their fellow counsellors, particularly Lennox and Arran, whose misrule was such, that unless some noblemen had procured a remedy, by repairing to his majesty, both church and state must in a short time have been subverted." After this, the earls of Marr, Gowrie, and Glencairn, acknowledged themselves as principals in the transactions that had taken place, and, after stating their reasons, withdrew. The convention, on their removal, in the fullest manner, approved of their proceeding, and relieved them from all actions, civil or criminal, that might be entered against them, or any of them, for what they had done.

The French court, who continued to look with regret on the loss of their influence in Scotland, and omitted no opportunity by which it might be regained, despatched thither an ambassador, M. Monevel, early in January, and ordered M. de la Motte Fenelon, ambassador at the English court, to join him. Their instructions were, to endeavour to procure the king his liberty; to try to draw closer the bonds of union with France; and to revive the project for associating the queen mother, and James, in the government together. Elizabeth, who dreaded the French gaining any ascendency in the Scottish council, although she viewed with jealousy the embassage, could not, by any intrigue, prevent it. * She therefore, to counteract as much as possible the effect, sent Davidson, as her ambassador, along with Fenelon, under pretence of concurring in the same object, but, in reality, to watch his motions, and support the nobles.

The arrival of the French ambassadors occasioned considerable agitation, especially when the object of their mission came to be known, and the clergy, who viewed with just horror any approach towards an affinity with the treacherous and "bloody house of Guise," immediately took the alarm. James, who, since he assumed the government, had received no foreign ministers, except from England, was delighted with this honourable embassy from the French monarch. He re

* It is not unlikely that the French king, Henry III., dreading some obstacle to M. de la Motte's progress from Elizabeth's policy, had sent M. Mɔnevel by sea as a duplicate to prevent disappointments.

ceived the ambassadors with great distinction himself, and was anxious that they should be everywhere treated with respect. By a message to the presbytery of Edinburgh, he requested that the ministers should refrain from speaking about them. In reply, the ministers said they were bound, irr every season of danger to religion, to caution their flocks, and admonished the king himself to be upon his guard; and they proceeded in what they conceived their duty, warning their hearers against the corruptions of popery, and against any league with its = professors, but, at the same time, urged the obligation of performing the offices of humanity to strangers, although they differed in the articles of faith.*

When M. Fenelon found, that he made but small progress in his negotiation, and was preparing to leave the kingdom, the king, at the request of some merchants who traded with France, wrote to the council of Edinburgh, to invite the ambassador to a farewell banquet. The provost and magis=trates, apparently pro forma, laid the letter before the ministers, for their advice, and they deemed it unseasonable and improper, "for banqueting," said they, "is a sign of love; if, therefore, ye be sincere, ye seal by this feast, your fellowship and true love with the murderers of the people of God; if you dissemble, it is hypocrisy." Notwithstanding which, the magistrates proceeded with their banquet, and the ministers, who saw their advice scorned, and the right hand of fellowship given to idolaters, proclaimed a fast to be held on the same day. In this conduct, perhaps there might be a want

* Dr. Cooke's Hist. Ch. of Scot. vol. i. p. 362. and authorities, p. 363.
+ Calderwood, p. 138.

We are apt to err in estimating the customs of other times, either by comparing them with our own, or by forgetting the circumstances which rendered necessary then, what might be improper now, and pronouncing simply upon an insulated action. Yet even doing so, in this instance, I should hesitate before I blamed the ministers. The magistrates ought not to have asked their advice, if they did not mean to follow it, and I do not know but in such a case, the fast was a fair retaliation. But when we recollect that the blood of the thousands immolated to the papal tyranny, still stained the streets of Paris, and the fields of France, that this was justified upon principle, that every papist of that day, was in fact an accessory to the deed, that some of the ministers of Edinburgh had themselves witnessed the cruelties of that

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »