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sonal enemies, deeply engaged in the prosecution BOOK of Argyle. From a gross affectation of impartiality, they acquitted him of perjury in receiving 1681. the oath in a false acceptation, but found by an Convicted: unanimous verdict, that he was guilty of treason and leasing-making to their full extent 4°.
It is in vain for apologetical historians to pretend, Motives of and in vain for James to assert in his memoirs, that nothing more was intended than to wrest some dangerous jurisdictions out of the hands of Argyle. A man, who has perverted the course of justice, in order to acquire an undue power over another's life, has no claim to credit for the motives which it may be convenient to assert when his victim has escaped. Argyle had already offered to surrender those jurisdictions, unconditionally, tó the king. The design was to ruin the head of the presbyterian party, and to divide the estates among the duke's friends. Whatever were their original designs against his life, his execution, if sentence were once pronounced, was a single additional step which their safety might require, and which the duke's authority was sufficient to sustain. When convicted formerly of the same fictitious crimes, he was preserved by Lauderdale, whose influence had now declined, and he discovered that no favour was to be expected at court. On the return of his messenger, he was informed of the king's instructions, that the sentence should 4 Burnet. Argyle's Case, ii. 5. 8. SS.
be pronounced and the execution suspended; but every circumstance seemed to announce that his death was resolved. The military were ordered to town, and his guards were doubled: apartments were provided for his reception in the public gaol, to which peers were usually removed from the castle before execution; and the dark and ambi guous expressions of the duke and his creatures, implied that his execution was necessary, and that it would be easier to satisfy the king when the deed was done, than to procure his previous conWhether these insinuations were employed to intimidate Argyle, he escaped that evening in the train of his daughter-in-law, the lady Sophia Lindsay, disguised as her page. Sentence of attainder was immediately pronounced. His honours, estate, and life, were forfeited in his ab sence; his arms were reversed and torn; his posterity was incapacitated; and a large reward offered for his head. Notwithstanding a general alarm, and a vigilant pursuit, he was conducted to London, by Veitch a clergyman, through unfrequented roads; and Charles, who possessed not the common justice to pardon and restore him, had the generosity not to enquire after the place of his retreat+1.
Never was a sentence productive of more execration and horror; never, perhaps, was a sentence more flagitiously obtained, than the attain
Effects of hissentence on the
41 Argyle's Case, 121. Burnet. Wodrow, ii. 213. Fount Dec. i. 167.
der of Argyle. Even the episcopal party, whom James had attached to his person and interest, were indignant at the shameless prostitution of justice, and the depravity of the prime nobility, who had descended to the basest offices, in order to accomplish the ruin of an ancient house. But the presbyterians were struck with consternation and despair. The most obnoxious of such as had opposed the test, and among these the earl of Loudon, Dalrymple the late president, Stewart an advocate, Fletcher of Salton, retired to the continent. The duke of Hamilton, and the proprietors of twenty sheriffships, or extensive regalities, rather than receive a test so pernicious to Argyle, suffered their hereditary jurisdictions to lapse and revert to the crown 42. From the horror and antipathy which the sentence inspired, the presbyterians became ever afterwards irreconcilable to James. He allowed them, they said, to continue protestants, but if they once ventured to assert their faith, not the most uniform nor meritorious services could atone for a single act of opposition or of zeal+3. Their fears were communicated to those who had urged his exclusion with such violence in England, and whom the dissolution of the last parliament of Charles had left unprotected; and Argyle's case, which was printed in London, produced a deep impression on the public mind. From the coincidence of the two events, 42 Wodrow, ii, 225. 43 Fount. Mem. MS.
BOOK his attainder, at the duke's instigation, was com pared with the acquittal of Shaftesbury, against whom it appeared that the king himself had condescended to solicit evidence, if not to practise the arts of subornation 44. There was nothing similar to the corruption of the peers and jurors of Argyle; except the venal evidence which was allotted in England to the vilest of mankind. But the exclusionists anticipated their own destruction, from the attempt to ruin the two protestant earls; and if such were the first fruits of the duke's administration in Scotland, what was to be expec from his tyrannical disposition when he should ascend the throne? What, but the most sanguinary reign of proscription and terror? the fear of which was productive of extensive conspiracies, in which the patriots of each kingdom were involved.
Lauderdale, who had outlived his influence, and by a timid vote for the condemnation of Stafford, had incurred the duke's resentment, sunk under the weight of vexation and age 45. After the fall of the exclusionists, the duke was recalled to court; but he lost his ship when returning to Scotland, for the purpose of placing the administration there in the hands of his confidential friends. He was preserved in his barge, to which Churchill, Legg.
44 Ralph, i. 639-40.
45 His brother succeeded to the title of Earl; but the rapacious duchess had impoverished and despoiled the family of its principal estates. See Fount. Mem. Dec. i. 208. 223.
and the earls of Middleton and Perth, were admitted: others were saved by boats from the attending yacht, but the vessel sunk with several persons of distinction on board. It was maliciously said, that the duke appeared chiefly solicitous for his priests and dogs; but if more lives might have been preserved in his barge, the testimony of the drowning seamen acquits him of the first part of this inhuman charge. As if insensible to the horrors of their own situation, they gave a loud shout while sinking themselves, when they observed him safely received into the yacht. On his arrival in Scotland, Queensberry was appointed treasurer, and created a marquis; Perth, justice general, an important office in the present reign; Gordon of Haddow, chancellor, with the title of earl of Aberdeen; and to these men the administration of the kingdom was entrusted by James, with instructions sufficient to authorise the most unrelenting rigour. After a short stay, he returned with the most ample and absurd testimonies from the bishops, of his affection for the church 45.
As a change of administration was productive Severe adof no change in the measures of a despotical go- tion. vernment, the unhappy country procured no relief. Every new ministry created for the purpose of pursuing the same measures, endeavoured to exceed the violence of its predecessors, and to enBurnet. Macpherson's Orig. Pap. i. 135. Kennet. Fount. Mem.