Изображения страниц

her, in return, the sharp and condign punishment of C HA P.

XXXVIII. this enormity, which, they repeated it, might draw down the vengeance of God on the whole kingdom: 1561. And that they maintained it to be her duty to lay aside all private affections towards the actors in so heinous à crime, and so enormous a villany, and without delay bring them to a trial, and inflict the severest penalties upon them. The queen gave a gracious reception to this peremptory address; but because she probably thought that breaking the windows of a brothel merited not such severe reprehension, she only replied, that her uncle was a stranger, and that he was attended by a young company: But she would put such order to him and to all others, that her subjects should henceforth have no reason to complain. Her passing over this incident so slightly was the source of great discontent, and was regarded as a proof of the most profligate manners. It is not to be omitted, that Allison Craig, the cause of all the uproar, was known to entertain a commerce with the earl of Arran, who, on account of his great zeal for the reformation, was, without scruple, indulged in that enormity.P

Some of the populace of Edinburgh broke into the queen's chapel during her absence, and committed outrages; for which two of them were in. dicted, and it was intended to bring them to trial. Knox wrote circular letters to the most considerable zealots of the party, and charged them to appear in town, and protect their brethren. The holy sacraments, he there said, are abused by profane papists; the mass has beer said ; and in worshipping that idol, the priests have omitted no ceremony, not even the conjuring of their accursed water, that had ever been practised in the time of the greatest blindness. These violent measures for opposing justice


Knox, p. 302, 303, 304. Keith, p. 509.

P Knox, ibid.



CHA P. were little short of rebellion; and Knox was sum-. XXXVIII.

moned before the council to answer for his offence. The courage of the man was equal to his insolence. He scrupled not to tell the queen, that the pestilent papists, who had inflamed her against these holy men, were the sons of the devil; and must therefore obey the directions of their father, who had been a liar and a manslayer from the beginning. The matter ended with a full acquittal of Knox.! Ran: dolph, the English ambassador in Scotland, had reason to write to Cecil, speaking of the Scottish nation: “I think marvellously of the wisdom of “God, that gave this unruly, inconstant, and cum“ bersome people no more power nor substance: “ for they would otherwise run wild.”

We have related these incidents at greater length than the necessity of our subject may seem to require: But even trivial circumstances, which shew the manners of the age, are often more instructive, as well as entertaining, than the great transactions of wars and negotiations, which are nearly similar in all periods and in all countries of the world.

The reformed clergy in Scotland had, at that time, a very natural reason for their ill-humour; namely, the poverty, or rather beggary, to which they were reduced. The nobility and gentry had at first laid their hands on all the property of the regular clergy, without making any provision for the friars and nuns, whom they turned out of their possessions. The secular clergy of the catholic communion, though they lost all ecclesiastical juris: diction, still held some of the temporalities of their benefices; and either became laymen themselves, and converted them into private property, or made conveyance of them at low prices to the nobility, who thus enriched themselves by the plunder of the


9 Knox, p. 336. 342.

"Keith, p. 202.


church. The new teachers had hitherto subsisted CHAP,

XXXVIII. chiefly by the voluntary oblations of the faithful; and in a poor country, divided in religious senti- 1561. ments, this establishment was regarded as very scanty and very precarious. Repeated applications were made for a legal settlement to the preachers; and though almost every thing in the kingdom was governed by their zeal and caprice, it was with difficulty that their request was at last complied with. The fanatical spirit which they indulged, and their industry in decrying the principles and practices of the Roman communion, which placed such merit in enriching the clergy, proved now a very sensible obstacle to their acquisitions. The convention, however, passed a vote, by which they divided all the ecclesiastical benefices into twenty-one shares: They assigned fourteen to the ancient pos sessors: Of the remaining seven they granted three to the crown; and if that were found to answer the public expences, they bestowed the overplus on the reformed' ministers. The queen was empowered to levy all the seven ; and it was ordained that she should afterwards


to the clergy what should be judged to suffice for their maintenance. The necessities of the crown, the rapacity of the courtiers, and the small affection which Mary bore to the protestant ecclesiastics, rendered their revenues contemptible as well as uncertain; and the preachers, finding that they could not rival the gentry, or even the middling rank of men, in opulence and plenty, were necessitated to betake themselves to other expedients for supporting their authority. They affected a furious zeal for religion, morose manners, a vulgar and familiar, yet mysterious cant; and though the liberality of subsequent princes put them afterwards on a better footing with re


Knox, p. 296. Keith, p. 210,



CHAP: gard to revenue, and thereby corrected in some

degree those bad habits; it must be confessed, that,
while many other advantages attend presbyterian
government, these inconveniencies are not easily
separated from the genius of that ecclesiastical

The queen of Scots, destitute of all force, pos-
sessing a narrow revenue, surrounded with a fac-
tious turbulent nobility, a bigotted people, and
insolent ecclesiastics, soon found, that her only ex-
pedient for maintaining tranquillity was to preserve
a good correspondence with Elizabeth,' who, by
former connexions and services, had acquired such
authority over all these ranks of men, Soon after
her arrival in Scotland, secretary Lidington was sent
to London in order to pay her compliments to the
queen, and

express her desire of friendship and a good correspondence; and he received a commission from her, as well as from the nobility of Scotland, to demand, as a means of cementing this friendship, that Mary should, by act of parliament or by proclamation, (for the difference between these securities was not then deemed very considerable,) be declared successor to the crown, No request could be more unreasonable, or made at a more improper juncture. The queen replied, that Mary had once discovered her intention not to wait for the succession, but had openly, without ceremony or reserve, assumed the title of queen of England, and had pretended a superior right to her throne and kingdom: That though her ambassadors, and those of her husband, the French king, had signed a treaty, in which they renounced that claim, and promised satisfaction for so great an indignity, she was so intoxicated with this imaginary right, that she had rejected the most earnest solicitations, and even, as some endeavoured

to Jebb, vol. ii, p. 456.



to persuade her, had incurred some danger in cross-CHAR

XXXVIIL ing the seas, rather than ratify that equitable treaty: That her partisans every where had still the assurance to insist on her title, and had presumed to talk of her own birth as illegitimate : That while affairs were on this footing; while a claim thus openly made, so far from being openly renounced, was only suspended till a more favourable opportunity, it would, in her, be the most egregious imprudence to fortify the hands of a pretender to her crown, by declaring her the successor: That no expedient could be worse imagined for cementing friendship than such a declaration; and kings were often found to bear no good-will to their successors, even though their own children; much more when the connexion was less intimate, and when such cause of disgust and jealousy had already been given, and indeed was still continued, on the part of Mary: That though she was willing, from the amity which she bore her kinswoman, to ascribe her former pretensions to the advice of others, by whose direction she was then governed; her present refusal to relinquish them could proceed only from her own prepossessions, and was a proof that she still harboured some dangerous designs against her: That it was the nature of all nien to be disgusted with the present, to entertain flattering views of futurity, to think their services ill - rewarded, to expect a better recompence from the successor; and she should esteem herself scarcely half a sovereign over the English, if they saw her declare her heir, and arm her rival with authority against her own repose and safety: That she knew the inconstant nature of the people; she was acquainted with the present divisions in religion; she was not ignorant that the same party which expected greater favour during the reign of Mary, did also imagine that the title


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »