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from him the most powerful families; and when he visited Scotland, and was crowned, in 1633, certain proceedings with regard to religion, which he forced the parliament to confirm, considerably increased the ill feeling which already existed. His prosecution of Lord Balmerino still further aggravated this.
Balmerino had retained in his possession a copy of an apology which he and other peers had intended to present to Charles during the late parliament, Prosecution but from which they had desisted, in apprehension of his displeasure. of Lord This copy was obtained from Balmerino clandestinely, and as it contained some expressions not very flattering to the royal ear, he was indicted on the statute of leasing-making, as having concealed a slander against his majesty's government. A jury was returned with gross partiality; yet, so outrageous was the attempted violation of justice, that Balmerino was only convicted by a majority of eight against seven (1635). Judgment of death, the sentence to which Balmerino was liable by this conviction, was not pronounced, however; the government apprehending popular violence; but such an infamous stretch of power did the government no good, and the people already talked of banding together in defence of their liberties and their kirk.
It was religion alone which at last excited the Scottish nation to rebellion. Like his father, Charles had left no means untried, in order to overthrow the kirk and re-establish episcopacy. He revived the bishoprics which his father had instituted; and at last, by the advice of Laud, he published a body of canons, which was soon followed by a liturgy, that was appointed to be first read on the 23rd of July, 1637.
On that day, the Bishop and Dean of Edinburgh, accompanied by the council and the chief officers of state, proceeded to the High Church of St. Giles, First readwhere a large concourse of persons had already assembled, chiefly women. English ing of the From the moment the dean began the service, nothing was to be heard liturgy in but groans, hisses, and imprecations. "Let us read the collect of the day," said the dean, as he proceeded. "De'il colic the wame of thee, thou foul thief," answered Jenny Geddes, who kept a green stall in the High-street, "Wilt thou say mass at my lug?" and forthwith she threw a stool at the dean's head. A wild tumult instantly began; a shower of stools and clasp Bibles was hurled at the reader, who immediately stopped the service, which was taken up by the bishop. But no sooner had the prelate opened his mouth, than his voice was drowned with cries and imprecations, and another shower of stools compelled him also to retreat. The magistrates then expelled the most riotous, and the service again proceeded; but those without immediately demolished the windows with stones, and then attacked the bishop as he was proceeding home; and they would have murdered him had not Lord Roxburgh taken him up in his carriage, and lodged him within Holyrood House.
21. Resistance of the Scots: Formation of the "Tables." This tumult was the signal for a general rising. The privy council of Scotland, having no interest in the liturgy, were slow to engage in a contest for it; while the peers were jealous of the immense powers which the bishops enjoyed in the civil government, and they were alarmed lest the new order of church government might lead to the loss of those church lands which they still
possessed. Nine bishops had seats in the council; Spottiswood, of St. Andrew's, was the chancellor, and Maxwell, of Ross, was the secretary; while in the committee called "Lords of the The Lords Articles," the hierarchy had still greater influence. Articles. Charles ordered that the bishops should choose eight peers, who in their turn should choose eight bishops, and that these sixteen should appoint the commissioners of shires and boroughs, who should join them in forming the above committee. These elections took place on the first day of the parliamentary session; parliament then adjourned, and only re-assembled on the last day to ratify what these "lords" should propose. By this proceeding, the whole government was in the hands of the bishops.*
The Earl of Traquair, the treasurer, sent to the King a detailed account of the popular feelings, and did not conceal the fact that opposition to the canons and liturgy was spreading far and wide. But Charles insisted upon the use of the service book, and was so much enraged, that he showed his displeasure even in trifles.
The King's jester at that time was one Archie Armstrong, and as the primate was hurrying to the court on receipt of the evil tidings from Scotland, he whispered in the prelate's ear, "Who's fool now, my lord?" for which poor Archie got his disgrace, and a whipping besides. He was the last of the jesters.
By this time, however, immense multitudes from all parts of the kingdom had crowded to Edinburgh, to protest against the innovations with which the kirk was threatened (October 18th, 1637). They crowded the houses and the streets, encamped at the gates and beneath the walls of the town, besieged the hall of the privy council, who vainly demanded assistance from the Excitement municipal council, itself besieged; they insulted the burgh. bishops as they passed, and drew up in the High-street an accusation of tyranny and idolatry against them, which was signed by clergymen, gentlemen, and lords. The council, which had in the meantime removed to Dalkeith, conceded so far to their demands, as to agree that they should elect representatives from amongst themselves, who should remain in Edinburgh and watch their interests. The nobles, gentry, clergy, and burgesses (for the multitudes of strangers in the capital comprehended men of every class) then chose a number of separate committees, or "tables," as they were called, composed each of four members, each of which then selected one of their number to form a committee of superintendence and government, with power to collect the opinions of the others, and to decide on all *Hallam, II., 484.
questions in the last resort. With these five boards in the capital, corresponded others in the country; their orders were received with respect, and executed with promptitude; and in a few weeks the tables possessed and exercised an uncontrolled authority throughout the greater part of Scotland. The leading members of these tables were the Earls of Rothes, Balmerino, Lindsay, Lothian, Loudun, Yester, and Cranston (November, 1637).
22. The National Covenant. The petitioners, as they who resisted the innovations were called, emboldened by the consciousness of their strength, now demanded the formal revocation of the liturgy, of the book of canons, and of the High Commission Court, which had been established in Scotland. They accused the bishops as the authors of all the troubles; they declined their authority; and they protested against all acts of the council in which they took part. At the end of seven weeks, the lord treasurer, Traquair, was ordered to publish a proclamation in Edinburgh and Stirling, declaring the tables unlawful, confirming the liturgy, and forbidding the petitioners to assemble under the penalties of treason. The Scottish council was ordered to keep this proclamation secret until the moment of publication; but ere it had reached Scotland the tables already knew its contents. The petitioners, therefore, were immediately convoked; the council, to anticipate them, at once published the proclamation (February 19th, 1638), and in the same moment that the King's herald had finished reading it, a counter proclamation was read and affixed to the market cross in Edinburgh and Stirling. The petitioners held this protest to be a sufficient warrant for their disobedience of the royal order, and they at once took measures for the organization of a regular resistance. Alexander Henderson, the most powerful of their preachers, and Archibald Johnston, afterwards Lord Wariston, the advocate, drew up an engagement called The National Covenant, which they devised after the model of that which the Lords of the Congregation had sworn to, for the defence of the Reformation.
The new covenant recited this more ancient one by containing the same profession of faith, and the same minute abjuration of the doctrines and practices of Rome. It then enumerated all the acts of parliament which confirmed the kirk establishment, and inflicted penalties on its opponents; after which came the vow, in which the subscribers bound themselves, " by the great name of the Lord their God," to defend against every danger the sovereign, the religion, the laws, and the liberties of their country, and to defend each other, so that whatsoever should be done to the least of the subscribers, on account of his religion or liberties, "should be taken as done to all in general and to every one in particular."
This covenant was no sooner proposed than it was received
with universal transport; messengers, relieving each other from village to village, carried it with incredible rapidity to the remotest parts of the kingdom, as the fiery cross was borne over the mountains to call the clans to arms; and hundreds of thousands, of every age and description, swore fealty to it, vowing, with uplifted hands and weeping eyes, that, with the Divine assistance, they would dedicate life and fortune to maintain their engagement. There were many, certainly, who had no fear of the introduction of popery by the establishment of a liturgy and canons, although they signed the covenant; but they considered that the King, not being the head of the Scottish church, had no right to force a matter of conscience upon a whole nation, and that without the sanction of even the general assembly or the parliament; and they foresaw that if he was not now withstood, he would ultimately make himself master of their rights and privileges in secular as well as in religious affairs.
23. Charles offers concessions which he does not mean to observe. The daring of these proceedings utterly astonished Charles and his council. He resolved to use force and cunning. Whilst he prepared for war, he sent the Marquis of Hamilton, as his commissioner, to Scotland, with instructions to flatter the rebels with hope, but to avoid committing the King. The commissioner was escorted into Edinburgh (June, 1638) by 50,000 Covenanters; and among them were 700 clergymen, who, dressed in their robes, stood on an eminence by the road side, singing a psalm as he passed. This formidable array induced him to return to London, and advise the King to grant concessions; which he obtained, and published in September. They abolished the canons, the liturgy, and the High Commission Court; promised that the kirk and the parliament should assemble ; and that all questions should be freely and fully debated in them, and that even the bishops might be impeached. Had these concessions come earlier, the Scots would have received them with gratitude; but Charles was not sincere in offering them, and traitors who surrounded him informed the Covenanters that no reliance was to be placed upon his word, and that his object was, to lull them into a fatal security until his warlike preparations were complete. The Covenanters, accordingly, issued a formal protest, showing that, to accept the King's concessions would be to betray the cause of God, and violate the conscience.* The King's real purpose soon became manifest; and, when the general assembly met at Glasgow, Hamilton suddenly dissolved * Guizot's Eng. Rev., Appendix V.
them, as they were about to impeach the bishops (November 28th, 1638). But the assembly was in no humour to be dissolved, and, at the instigation of the Earl of Argyle, they passed a resolution, declaring that the kirk was independent of the state in spiritual matters; and they immediately abolished the canons, the liturgy, episcopacy, and every innovation which had been made upon the Presbyterian system. Charles annulled these proceedings, on which the Scots celebrated a national thanksgiving for their deliverance from popery and prelacy, and immediately prepared for war.
24. Beginning of the war: The pacification of Berwick. The Covenanters soon gathered formidable strength. Scottish merchants went abroad to buy arms and ammunition; the covenant was sent to the Scottish troops serving in Germany and Holland, who hastened to join their countrymen in this great crisis; and Alexander Leslie, a veteran of skill and experience, who had served with distinction under Gustavus Adolphus, was entrusted with the chief command. Besides the contributions which the citizens and noblemen gave for the support of the army, they received a liberal supply, and promises of further support, from Cardinal Richelieu, who was actuated against Charles by Richelieu motives of public as well as personal interest. The latter Covenanters had not only aided the Huguenots, but he had defeated the cardinal's plan of partitioning the Spanish Netherlands between France and the States, according to the treaty of Paris; and he had personally offended the cardinal, by affording an asylum to Mary de Medicis, the Queen Mother, and Richelieu's most dangerous enemy. On these accounts, the cardinal sent a considerable stand of arms, and large supplies of money, to the Covenanters; but the transaction was kept a secret by their leaders, because the kirk would have condemned it as a violation of the covenant.*
In the meantime, Charles was making what preparations he could; but, with all the means that could be devised, Charles's only £110,000 could be raised; there were only £200 in difficulties. the exchequer; the magazines were unfurnished; and the popular discontent was so great, that the Puritans went about openly condemning the war as an impious crusade against the servants of God. In such circumstances, Lord Wentworth dissuaded a war, yet knew not what other course to advise. He seemed appalled at the perils which surrounded him and his master, and, in his correspondence with Laud, "the two-handed engine at the door" Lingard, IX., 360.