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St. Giles's and the Old Tron Church, Edinburgh, in the time of Charles I.


Scovand-Visit of the king in 1633-A Service-book commanded to be used in 1637-The National Covenant-Progress of the troubles in Scotland-The General Assembly-The king and the Scots levy forces-The king at Berwick-Camp of the Covenanters-An English Parliament-Suddenly dissolved-Convocation continues to sit-The Scottish war resumed-Rout of Newburn-Council of Peers--Cessation of arms-An English Parliament summoned-Character of the House of Commons-Strafford-Laud.

In the summer of 1633 Charles had paid a visit to Scotland, and was there crowned. Not only were the two nations as distinct in their civil and ecclesiastical systems of government as if they had been still ruled by two sovereigns, but the Scottish affairs were separately managed by Charles himself, without any reference to the English Council. One English adviser he, however, had, whose notions upon church government wholly over-rode the prudential considerations of civil polity. Laud, then bishop of London, accompanied the king on this Scottish journey. Although the bishop enters in his Diary, "King Charles crowned at Holyrood church in Edinburgh ;-I never saw more expressions of joy than after it;" Laud himself gave great offence by the introduction of rites at the coronation which the people considered as part of the system which the Reformation had overthrown. His temper was violent; and the Scottish historians say that he thrust the archbishop of Glasgow from the king's side, because he refused to officiate in embroidered robes. Some of the Scottish prelates were not imbued with




this love of simplicity; and they united with the powerful English bishop in the promotion of a plan for introducing a Service-book in Scotland, which should supersede the extemporaneous prayers of the presbyterian form of worship. The design was not then carried into effect. But in 1637, when Laud had become archbishop, and all moderate measures for producing conformity in England had been laid aside, the Scottish Church was suddenly called upon to receive a book of Canons approved at Lambeth; and a Service-book was directed to be used in all places of divine worship. This Prayer Book varied from the English Liturgy in points which indicated a nearer approach to the Romish ritual. The consequences of this most ignorant rashnessignorant, because of its utter blindness to the course of Scottish history during the previous hundred years, and to the character of the Scottish people— were wholly unforeseen. All political prudence was swallowed up in the one dominant passion of the king and of his prime adviser for an unvarying ecclesiastical uniformity, in and through which the minutest ceremonial observances should be rigidly enforced, as the test of orthodoxy, and therefore of loyalty. From the date of this violent defiance of the principles and habits of the Scottish people, the reign of Charles becomes the turning-point of English history. Perhaps no great public event has been without its ultimate effects upon the fortunes of a nation, although centuries may have passed away. The stirring action that commenced in Scotland in 1637 not only influenced all her own after-destinies;-" it preserved the liberties and overthrew the monarchy of England."

Robert Baillie, Principal of the University of Glasgow, has, in his Letters and Journals, left some of the most interesting memorials of these times.+ We find in the good man's narrative the ominous beginning of these Scottish disturbances. By sound of trumpet it is proclaimed that all subjects, ecclesiastical and civil, conform themselves to the Liturgy by the next Pasch [Easter]. The books were not ready till May, and then every minister was commanded to buy two copies. The book is lent about from hand to hand; its "popish points" are shown; it is imposed without any meeting of church or state, say the dissatisfied. A letter comes down from the king commanding its use without farther delay. "The whole body of the town murmurs and grudges all the week exceedingly; and, who can marvel, discourses, declamations, pamphlets, everywhere." Sunday, the 23rd of June, arrives; and thus Principal Baillie tells us what happened :-" When the bishop and his dean, in the great church, and the bishop of Argyle, in the Grayfriars, began to officiate, as they speak, incontinent the serving-maids began such a tumult as was never heard of since the Reformation in our nation." History has preserved the name of one turbulent heroine, who may have sat for the "Trulla" of Hudibras: "Jane or Janet Geddes (yet living at the writing of this relation) flung a little folding-stool, whereon she sat, at the dean's head, saying Out, thou false thief! dost thou say the mass at my lug?'"‡ A threatening outburst of popular fury followed this exhibition, but no wounds were given. The chancellor writes to the king, and there is "great fear for the king's wrath." The country is getting hot, as well as Edinburgh.

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* Hallam, chap. xvii.

+"Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie, A.M., edited by David Laing, Esq." 3 vols. "Continuation of Baker's Chronicle," edit. of 1670; quoted by Mr. Carlyle.




Preachers who defend the Liturgy are maltreated, and mostly by "enraged women of all qualities." Gradually the nobles, the gentry, and the "burrows" [members for boroughs] take up the supplications against the Service-book. By December, some of the most influential agree together to oppose its use, and resist the further intrusion of Prelacy. They become organised. The king, who at first had threatened the Scottish authorities, now endeavours to moderate the people by proclamations that declare his abhorrence of Popery, and his resolution to maintain the religion then professed. But there are symptoms that these professions are delusive. The idea of submission to the authority of the Scottish prelates is utterly rejected. The whole community enters into a National Covenant to abjure the doctrines, rites, and ceremonies of the Romish Church, and to resist the innovations which the prelates had introduced. In the High Church of Edinburgh, on the 1st of March, 1638, this Covenant was read, and the whole congregation rose and swore to maintain what it set forth. Copies of the deed were sent throughout the land, and with tears and protestations the Covenant was sworn to and signed by hundreds of thousands.

The ecclesiastical government was an anomaly, which Clarendon describes in few words: “Though there were bishops in name, the whole jurisdiction, and they themselves were, upon the matter, subject to an assembly which was purely presbyterian." But when Clarendon adds "no form of religion in practice, no liturgy, nor the least appearance of the beauty of holiness," he speaks with a very imperfect knowledge of the Scottish earnestness in religion, in which the strength as well as the beauty of holiness was manifest. The "enraged women " of Edinburgh were not very favourable specimens of the national spirit. But in the history of nations there is no grander spectacle than a whole people, for the assertion of a principle, assembled in separate congregations, large or small, in the crowded city and in the mountain solitude, to defend the doctrine and discipline which their fathers had established; and to declare, "before God, his angels, and the world," their resolution to adhere to the same all the days of their life. During this wonderful movement in Scotland, the Council of England, and indeed the people, were as men in their midnight sleep whilst their neighbour's house is on fire. "The truth is," says Clarendon, "there was so little curiosity either in the court, or the country, to know anything of Scotland, or what was done there, that when the whole nation was solicitous to know what passed weekly in Germany and Poland, and all other parts of Europe, no man ever inquired what was doing in Scotland, nor had that kingdom a place or mention in one page of any gazette.' There were gazettes in that day. "The Weekly News," and "The Weekly Account," and little sheets called "Currantoes," were the staple of the half-yearly "Intelligencer." Few, indeed, and very meagre, were these peep-holes out of the prison in which public opinion was then locked up. For the Star-chamber was in full activity for the regulation of the press; and by its decree at this very period master printers were limited to twenty who found sureties; and "printing in corners without a license was punishable by the orthodox process of whipping and the pillory. It was seven years later when Milton raised his

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eloquent voico for the "Liberty of Unlicensed Printing," and spoke the words which tyranny has always most dreaded to hear, "Give me the liberty to

Milton in his earlier years.

know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." If the petty newspapers of 1637 and 1638 had told of Janet Geddes and her doings, they would soon have been silenced. The people had no curiosity about Scotland, because they. knew nothing about Scotland. The king suffered no transaction of his native kingdom to be debated or communicated to his privy-council, "but handled all these affairs himself with two or three Scotsmen." Gradually the knowledge of the riots of Edinburgh creeps out: "Horrible ado against the bishops in Scotland, for seeking to bring in amongst them our Church-Service." (October,

1637.) "Small hope yet in Scotland to bring our Church-Service into use there; they still oppose it with great violence." (November, 1637.) "Messengers come weekly thence." (March, 1638.) So writes Garrard to his great patron, but intimates that there is one who informs the Lord-Deputy much better than himself of the proceedings there. The weekly messengers have told something of the truth in the court purlieus; for even the king's fool has been moved to speak his mind, poor fellow: "Archy is fallen into a great misfortune. A fool he would be, but a foul-mouthed knave he hath proved himself. Being in a tavern in Westminster, drunk he saith himself, he was speaking of the Scottish business; he fell a railing on my lord of Canterbury; said he was a monk, a rogue, and a traitor. Of this his grace complained at Council, the king being present. It was ordered he should be carried to the porter's lodge, his coat pulled over his ears, and kicked out of the court, never to enter within the gates, and to be called into the Star-chamber. The first part is done; but my lord of Canterbury hath interceded to the king that there it should end." + Opinions are getting troublesome in England in higher places than taverns in Westminster. "They grow foolish at Oxford, for they had a question about the legality of Ship-money; as also, whether the Addita and Alterata in the Scottish liturgy did give just cause of scandal; but my lord's grace of Canterbury, hearing of it, forbad them such question." (July, 1638.) In another year the very courtiers are taking the Scottish matters to heart: "Most certain it is, that the Scots are grown a most obstinate rebellious people. God turn their hearts. Daily they fall more and more from their obedience." (May, 1639.)

The steps by which the Scots arrived at this "obstinate rebellious" condition were those of the steady march of an irritated population under experienced leaders. The first resistance to the Service-Book was a sudden outburst. The National Covenant was a deliberate act which was to be


• Clarendon.

+ Strafford Letters.





sustained on the battle-field. Charles and his one fatal adviser chose to regard it as the affair of a rabble; and the king commissioned the Marquis of Hamilton to reduce "the rascally people" to obedience. The commissioner was to allow the Scots six weeks to renounce the Covenant. If not renounced, power was to be sent from England; and the king himself would hazard his life rather than suffer authority to be contemned. In June, 1638, the Marquis of Hamilton arrived at Edinburgh. He had written to nobles and gentlemen, the most of note, to attend him at Haddington, previous to his entry into the capital. Two or three only met him, and they carried him an excuse in the name of all. Baillie records that huge multitudes received him at Leith-nobles, gentry, women, the town magistrates. But, says the good minister, we were most conspicuous in our black cloaks, above five hundred on a brae-side in the links." These Geneva cloaks must have suggested some serious considerations to the Commissioners. The discussions between Hamilton and the Covenanters only shewed how earnest and resolute they were. Nothing but a General Assembly and a Parliament would induce them to renounce their league. The Commissioner was directed to temporise, and not to take any extreme measures till an armed force was ready to support them. He went to England for further instructions; but he returned with powers to announce a General Assembly and a Parliament, and to propose that the Confession of Faith, of 1589, should be signed instead of the Covenant. A proclamation was issued, setting forth that the Liturgy and the Canons should be given up, on condition that this Confession should be adopted. The Covenanters protested against this; as an attempt to make them, under cover of a new oath, recant what they had been doing. "We thought this subscription," says Baillie," a very deep and dangerous plot, and so opposed it everywhere, what we could." In November, a General Assembly was convened at Glasgow. "The Town did expect and provide for multitudes of people." On the 17th the Commissioner arrived. On the 20th there was a solemn fast. The Assembly was opened on the 21st. Seven days did this great meeting debate and protest. The chief grounds of difference were the introduction of lay members into the Assembly; and the general determination to remove the bishops. On the 28th the Marquis dissolved the Assembly, and left Glasgow. It continued its sittings till the 20th of December; and, against the opinions of a few of the moderate, declared the total abolition of episcopacy in the kirk of Scotland. The determined opposition of the Scottish nobility to episcopacy may be attributed to some motives, not unjust ones, besides a desire for the safety of the Reformed Church. The prelates had engrossed some of the high civil offices; they formed a large proportion of the Privy-Council; they had Courts with very obnoxious powers, like those of the High-Commission Court in England. The whole system of episcopacy seemed to the people and to their leaders full of danger to their consciences and their liberties. "The Canterburian faction," says Baillie, "was hayling us all away to Rome for our religion, to Constantinople for our policy." ""*

At the beginning of 1639 it became clear that these contests would end in an appeal to arms. Charles was ill-prepared for a war. In November,

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