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drive from court every one but his own satellites, treated the earl of Gowrie with so much insolence, that he forced him to retire, and even after the king had invited him back, obliged him again to withdraw, and form the resolution of leaving the country. About the same time, he was appointed governor of Stirling castle, of which town he was also provost, and shortly after persuaded the king to take up his residence in the castle, on purpose that no one, except with his permission, might find access to the royal presence.
Walsingham, on his arrival in Edinburgh, was welcomed by Sir James Melville, in name of the king, and conducted by him to Perth, where the king had appointed to receive him. He had there several interviews with his majesty, but refused to have any personal communication with the earl of Arran, who felt the affront so keenly, that he sought, upon every occasion, to insult the ambassador.* No change in the political situation of Scotland, nor any alteration of the relative circumstances of the two kingdoms followed this embassy, which renders the conjecture not improbable,+ that his chief errand was to discover the capacity and disposition of the Scottish king, who was now arrived at that time of life when, with some degree of certainty, conjectures might be formed concerning his character and future conduct; yet it is not unlikely, that whatever other business the aged ambassador might have had to propose, he declined entering upon, when he found Arran so high in favour; for he expressed himself to Sir James Melville, in the language of strong disappointment and regret, at the company by whom he found his majesty surrounded, which, he said, "had he known before he set out, he would have shifted the journey." James, however, who possessed plausible and showy powers of conversation, made rather a favourable impression on the English secretary, who, notwithstanding the unworthy treatment he had met with, gave his mistress an advantageous report of his abilities.
*He refused the captains of Berwick, and other respectable members of Walsingham's retinue, admission to the king, and, at his departure, instead of a rich diamond ring, the king had ordered to be given him, he substituted a paltry crystal.-Melville, p. 296.
+ Melville, p. 297. Robertson.
The altered measures of the court had destroyed all confidence, and the distractions of the country, in consequence, increased, while Arran, the chief cause of the whole, whose ambition seemed to have grown more insatiable from its late check, procured himself to be appointed lord high chancellor, and governor of Edinburgh castle. A convention of the estates was summoned for the 17th of December. At this meeting, Arran having duped the nobles, and—according to Melville-deceived the king, rendered the confusion more inextricable, and instead of soothing, augmented the disorder of the state. He represented to the nobility, as they arrived in Edinburgh, the king's gracious intention, to grant to each individually, after suffering some very, trifling punishment, a pardon for his particular share in the offence, provided they would consent to a vote of the convention, allowing, in general, the enterprise to have been treason; to which, if they would not consent, they would be considered as vilifiers of the king's honour, and contemners of his promise.
Considering Arran's representations as an especial message from the crown, the estates, on the first day of meeting, passed an act, recommending a rigorous prosecution of those who had not embraced the offer of pardon at the time appointed, and ordering the act of council, passed at St. Andrews, to be erased from the council books. This act was productive of the most pernicious effects to the conspirators, some of whom were banished to Ireland, others confined within certain districts, and the earl of Gowrie, notwithstanding his reconciliation to the king, and his special pardon, deemed it prudent to request leave to exile himself to France.
The return of Arran to power, was not less baneful to the clergy than to the nobles. The church had, during the ten months James was under the direction of the confederated lords, enjoyed a temporary calm; ministers were allowed to preach with freedom, to exercise discipline, and to hold their ecclesiastical assemblies; but no sooner was he reinstated, than persecution commenced. Several of the most respectable individuals were interrogated before the council on their sentiments respecting the Raid of Ruthven, which they were urged to condemn, and approve of the measures since pur
sued. In this difficult situation they acted with much prudence; aware that any unguarded expression might expose them to a criminal prosecution, they requested liberty to reply in writing. In their answers, they declared that they adhered to the act of the general assembly, with regard to the Raid of Ruthven; that, as individuals, they did not conceive it fell within their sphere to intermeddle with political discussions, but if his majesty were desirous to obtain the judgment of the church, they recommended him to apply to the general assembly. That body, however, without waiting for his majesty's command, at their next meeting, expressed their opinion, by presenting a list of their grievances to the king at Stirling "They lamented the impunity enjoyed, through his sufferance, by papists, apostates, and convicted traitors; his evident partiality to the enemies of God, both in his own realm and in France; the employment of men, of the most dissolute lives, in his service, and the dismissal of upright, zealous, loyal noblemen, who had ever been faithful to him from his infancy; they reminded him, that since his acceptance of the government, the church had had many fair promises, but instead of performance, its liberties and privileges were daily infringed; and they deplored the wanton perversion of law, which excited universal discontent, and rendered both life and property insecure; and concluded with entreating his majesty to call the wisest and most moderate of the nobility to his councils, that, by their advice, the hearts of all good subjects might be united in maintaining God's truth, and in preserving his highness' estate and person." The king made a specious reply, but the historian of the church * observes, the commissioners received small contentment.
During the winter, the misgovernment of Arran became every day more insupportable, and the ministers, whose intrepid patriotism formed the only apparent barrier to his tyranny, were harassed in the most vexatious manner. The intrepid Dury, who had been already banished, but whose sufferings could not induce him to sit the silent spectator of his country's oppression, was summoned before the council
for having, in one of his sermons, vindicated the conduct of the noblemen concerned in the Raid of Ruthven, and, defending what he had said, he was ordered to ward himself in the town of Montrose. But the most outrageous proceeding was the process against Andrew Melville, then justly considered the leader of the church. In the beginning of February he was summoned to answer before the privy council, for some seditious and treasonable speeches uttered by him in his sermon on a fast which had been kept the preceding month. Melville without hesitation obeyed, and the university sent Mr. Robert Bruce, and Mr. Robert Wilkie, to the king and council, with the most ample testimonial, declaring that they had been constant attendants on his doctrine, and had never heard either in his class or in his pulpit, any sentiment inconsistent with the truth of God, or in the least subversive of his majesty's government, to which he had constantly exhorted his hearers to yield obedience, and to respect even the meanest magistrate in authority. Similar attestations were given him by the town council, the kirk session, and presbytery of St. Andrews. At his first appearance he gave an account, which he afterward embodied in his protestation, of the sermon for which he was accused. His text was the address of Daniel to Belshazzar, before he explained the handwriting on the wall, in which he applied the example of the father in reproof of the son; and the general doctrine which he [Melville] deducted from the passage, and supported by other places of Scripture, was, that it is the duty of ministers to apply examples of divine mercy and judgment in all ages to kings, princes, and people, in their time; and the nearer the persons are to us, the greater interest have we in the example. "But if nowadays," said he, "a minister should rehearse in the court the example that fell out in king James III.'s days, who was abused by the flattery of his courtiers, he would be said to wander from his text." He denied ever having used the words, "That our Nebuchadnezzar-meaning the king's mother-was twice seven years banished, and would be restored again ;" and solemnly protested, that he never, upon any occasion, said, "The king is unlawfully promoted to the crown," or used any words which could by possibility be construed to such a mean
ing. The simple doctrine, he said, which he wished to establish, was, that whether kings be advanced to the throne by inheritance, by election, or by any other ordinary means, it is God that maketh kings, a truth which is easily forgotten by them, and not by usurpers or robbers only, when exalted to the regal dignity, but even by good men, who have been extraordinarily placed in such high stations, as David, and Solomon, and Joash, who all forgot the God that had advanced them, and were therefore punished; and instead of any application, he offered up a prayer-according to his accustomed manner whenever he spoke of his majesty-that it would please the Lord of his mercy never to suffer the king to forget the goodness of that God who had raised him to the throne while yet an infant, and his mother still alive, and in opposition to the greater part of the nobility, and who had preserved him hitherto since the weighty burden of government was laid upon his shoulders. The council not being satisfied with this explanation, and having resolved to proceed with the trial, he requested, first, that as he was accused of certain expressions, alleged to have been used by him in preaching and prayer, his trial should be remitted, in the first instance, to the ecclesiastical courts, as the ordinary judges of his ministerial conduct, according to Scripture, the laws of the kingdom, and an agreement made between certain commissioners of the privy council and of the church; secondly, that he should be tried at St. Andrews, where the alleged offence was committed; or, third, if his first request were refused, he should enjoy the special privilege, lately confirmed by his majesty himself to the university of St. Andrews, of having his case first submitted to the rector and his assessors; fourthly, that he should enjoy the benefit of the apostolic canon, Against an elder, receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses; fifthly, that he should have the benefit of a free subject, by being made acquainted with his accuser, who, if the charge. turned out false and calumnious, might be liable to the punishment prescribed by act against those who alienate the king from his faithful subjects. In fine, he protested that if William Stuart was the informer, he had just cause to except against him, inasmuch as he bore him deadly malice, and had