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BOOK but the oath of allegiance was impofed indiscrimi nately, as a fruitful fource of perfecution, on all perfons, at the pleafure of the council, under the penalty of incapacitation from public truft. Instead of the monthly affeffments exacted by Cromwell, an excife of forty thoufand pounds a-year was conferred on the king for life, to preserve the public tranquillity by a military force ". To reftore the prerogative of which the crown had been defpoiled, was perhaps unexceptionable; but in these acts, the late proceedings of the nation was indifcriminately condemned, and the prerogative was magnified by rhetorical flourishes, to the most exalted defpotifm.
The commiffioner had been selected as exempt from fcruples, and although his natural violence was heightened by intemperance', an obfequious parliament was prepared to yield to his moft extravagant demands. The lords of articles became impatient and tired of particular reverfals. But there were two parliaments whofe acts it was difficult, yet neceffary to repeal, in order to abfolve the king from his promise to preferve the established church. His father had prefided in the one, and himself in the other. The presbyterian church was confirmed by the acts of both; the repeal of which might
Former parliaments refcinded
from the beginning of the civil
6 Parl. 1661, ch. 5. 7. 11, 12. 14. 34.
7 Middleton was of a good family in the North, but of no eftate; and rofe from a pikeman in Hepburn's regiment in France. Kirkton, MS. His father was murdered, fitting in his chair, by Montrofe's foldiers, when they overrun the country in 1645. Woodrow.
excite a fpirit of remonftrance, fufficient to deter BOOK
BOOK ment, and of all confidence between the people and the king. The laws were open, they affirmed, if defective, to amendment and review; but if one parliament, under the pretext of fear, or the neceffity of public affairs, can refcind another, the first principles of government are fubverted. A future legislature may annul the present, on the fame pretext that the prefent abrogates thofe whofe public treaties and indemnities, which are ever to be reputed facred, were confirmed by the crown".
Exceffes of the times.
Trial of Argyle.
These times are described by Burnet as mad and riotous; full of extravagance, for the men engaged in public affairs were almoft perpetually drunk. The most important and violent acts, that reversed the former conftitution and government, are explained by the constant intoxication of ministers; and the commiffioner often appeared fo drunk on the throne, that the parliament was adjourned. The most licentious intemperance and excefs of debauchery were termed loyalty, gravity, fedition; and the trial and attainder of delinquents, was perhaps the only fubject that engroffed the ferious or fober confideration of the estates.
When the king was reftored, on the promise of an amnesty to his English subjects, no indemnity was promised or propofed for Scotland; and it was deemed expedient that the nation fhould ftill remain at the mercy of the crown. Argyle, encouraged by fome equivocal expreffions of Charles,
* Parl. 1661, ch. 15. Burner, i. 168. Baillie, ii. 451.
had repaired privately to court, but the royalists BOOK who grafped at his poffeffions, were apprehenfive of a crafty, infinuating statesman, whofe former credit with the king might revive. On demanding admittance to the royal prefence, he was committed to the Tower, and accused of a fecret acceffion to the murder of the late king. His trial was remitted to Scotland, where he was produced and arraigned in parliament on feparate indictments of oppreffion and treafon. The feverities inflicted on the royalifts during the civil wars, the cruelties retaliated in the adherents of Montrofe, were accumulated in his indictments. He was accufed as the author of every national act from the commencement of the wars; as an acceffory to the furrender and execution of the king; and an actor under the late ufurpation, in oppofition to those who appeared for the crown. His defence was His devigorous and plaufible at least, if not always juft. He affirmed that the atrocities imputed to his clan were partly fictitious, partly exaggerated "°; committed during his abfence in England, from the violence of the times; and that a cruel revenge was to be expected from his people, whofe country had been twice wafted with fire, and devoted to
10 We may judge of the extravagance of the charge, and the fanaticifm of the accufers themfelves, from a fact afferted in his first indictment; that a tree on which thirty-fix of his ene mies were hanged, was immediately blafted, and when hewn down, a miraculous and copious ftream of a bloody hue, with which the earth was deeply faturated, was emitted for feveral years from the root. State Trials, ii. 422.
1661. Feb. 13:
BOOK the fword. His tranfactions during the war were conducted under the authority of the legislature, to whom the surrender of the king must be afcribed; but his public tranfactions were protected from inquiry, by the act of oblivion, paffed in confequence of the treaty of Rippon, and the indemnity granted by Charles in the parliament at Stirling, of which the records were loft, but the memory was ftill recent in the minds of men. His compliance with the late ufurpation was neceffary for his prefervation, or excufable from the contagious example of the times. While refiftance was practicable he was the laft to fubmit; but his folitary refiftance, after the nation had fubmitted to a conqueror, would neither have fecured himself, nor restored the king. From his peculiar fituation in life, more than a paffive compliance was required for his prefervation; and if to mitigate the oppreffion of his country, he was returned a member to Richard's parliament, the recognition of a power de facto, and without his affiftance in poffeffion of the government, never implied an acknowledgment of its original title; much lefs a treasonable oppofition to the rightful heir, while excluded from the throne. "What could I think," he exclaimed, "or how fuppofe, that these unhappy compliances "were criminal, at the time when a man fo learned "as his majesty's advocate received the fame oaths to the commonwealth with myfelf." Sir John Fletcher, lord advocate, interrupted and reviled him in the most opprobrious terms, but he calmly replied, that he had learned in his afflictions to