« ZurückWeiter »
1633–1636.] CHARLES VISITS SCOTLAND.
been obtained for the colony of Massachusetts Bay, and about three hundred and fifty religious sectaries sailed thither. Numbers followed in the subsequent years, and the settlements were extended through the province, which was henceforth named New-England. After the failure of the attempt to resist the levying of ship-money, persons of higher rank, the lords Say and Brook, Sir Arthur Haselrig, Hampden, his kinsman Oliver Cromwell, and others, resolved to quit their now enslaved and degraded country. These last, it is said, in 1638, were actually on board the vessel which was to take them away, when a proclamation, dictated by the bigotry of Laud, appeared, forbidding masters of ships to carry out any passenger who had not a license from the privy council, and a testimonial of conformity from the minister of his parish.
Such was the condition of things in England : the affairs of Scotland now claim our attention.
In the year 1633 Charles visited his native kingdom for the first time since his accession. He was received with great affection and loyalty, and crowned with the usual splendour ; but Laud, his evil genius, attended him, and the feelings of the people were shocked by the appearance of an altar with wax tapers and a crucifix, before which the officiating prelates bowed as they passed; and, when the Archbishop of Glasgow declined wearing the gorgeous habits provided for him, Laud rudely forced him from the side of the king, and put Maxwell, bishop of Ross, in his place.
A parliament was next assembled, which gave the king an occasion for displaying his arbitrary temper, and this served to alienate from him the affections of many of his nobles. He had, indeed, some years before, inflicted a wound, which still rankled in their minds, by resorting to a measure for the redemption of the church-lands and tithes which the nobility and gentry had seized and appropriated to themselves at the time of the Reformation.
Thus Charles left behind him in Scotland the seeds of future troubles; and the prosecution of Lord Balmerino, shortly after, powerfully aided to alienate the
nobility. This nobleman, who had been one of the opposition in parliament, happened to have in his possession a copy of an apology for their conduct, which he and his friends intended to have presented, but had been withheld by the fear of exciting the royal displeasure. A transcript of this was surreptitiously obtained by one who was his private enemy, and communicated to the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, by whom it was conveyed to the king, with an assurance that it had been circulated for signature throughout Scotland, and that it was the nobles who upheld the clergy in their opposition to the surplice. Balmerino was therefore selected for an example ; and he was indicted on the statute of leasing-making, or promoting discord between the king and his people. A jury, with Lord Traquair, one of the ministers, for foreman, was selected to try him: yet so flagrantly iniquitous was the proceeding, that even that jury found him guilty only by the foreman's casting vote. The people were furious at this decision; and it was resolved, in secret consultations, that if anything should happen to him, they would massacre all those who had found him guilty. Traquair, on learning this, hasted up to London, and a pardon was granted to Balmerino; but the impression which his danger had made on the minds of the nobility and people was deep and permanent.
In religion matters were urged forward with a view of bringing Scotland into uniformity with England. The bishops began to appropriate the civil dignities to themselves. Archbishop Spottiswood was made chancellor; Maxwell, bishop of Ross, aspired to the office of lord-treasurer; and of the fourteen prelates, nine were members of the privy council. They had courts with powers similar to those of the court of High Commission in England ; and, acting under the influence of Laud, they proceeded to draw up canons and a liturgy for the Church of Scotland. They commenced with the former, sanctioning the latter before it had been prepared. The whole structure of Presbytery. was dissolved by these canons. Each church was
* Among other things, these canons asserted the king's absolute
1637.] OPPOSITION TO THE LITURGY.
to have a font at the entrance, and an altar in the chancel; and various other regulations were adopted which the people regarded as little better than popery. The liturgy was chiefly compiled from that of the Church of England, but a report soon spread abroad that it was nothing more than a translation of the Catholic mass. From the pulpits the clergy declaimed against it, and it was reprobated in conversation and in pamphlets. Spottiswood, and the elder and more experienced prelates, recommended great caution in introducing it : but, on its transmission to London and its approval by Laud, a royal proclamation was issued, enjoining it to be used in every parish church in the kingdom by a certain day.
On the appointed day, July 23, 1637, the Dean of Edinburgh prepared to officiate according to the liturgy in St. Giles's, and the Bishop of Argyle in the Gray Friars' church. The judges, prelates, and members of the privy council were present in the former, which was thronged with people. When the service began, an old woman, it is said, filled with zeal, sprang up, and flung the stool she sat on at the dean's head, crying, “ Villain! dost thou say the mass at niy lug ? (ear.)" A tumult quickly arose; the women rushed to seize the dean, and he escaped with difficulty; the Bishop of Edinburgh ascended the pulpit to appease the people ; sticks and stones were flung at him; and, but for the aid of the magistrates, he would have perished on the spot. In the other church the service was interrupted by tears, groans, and lamentations, but there was no violence. Throughout the rest of Scotland the efforts of the prelates were unavailing, and the liturgy was used only at St. Andrew's and in three other cathedrals.
The clergy had been directed to purchase two copand unlimited authority ; forbade all extempore prayer by the clergy; required that all teachers of youth should be licensed by the bishop of the diocese; and declared that no person should be admitted to orders in the church, or permitted to perform any ec. clesiastical duty, until he had first subscribed to the canons.Am. Ed.
ies of the liturgy for each parish, and the prelates now proceeded to enforce obedience to this mandate. A divine named Henderson, and three others, presented supplications to suspend the charge. These being supported by several of the nobility and gentry, and the general aversion to the liturgy becoming manifest, the council made a representation to the king, obscurely intimating a desire that the liturgy should be recalled. But prudent concession was a thing unknown to Charles : a stern reproof, and an injunction for the immediate adoption of the ritual, were the answer returned. The consequence was an immense accession to the number of supplications, and a formal organization of the opponents of the liturgy throughout the kingdom
In the month of October vast numbers of people flocked to Edinburgh to learn the king's reply to the supplications which had been transmitted to him. A proclamation ordered them to disperse : but they, in return, drew up an accusation against the prelates on account of the canons and liturgy, which was rapidly subscribed by the nobility, gentry, clergy, and people throughout Scotland. The following month they reassembled in increased force; and, having obtained permission of the council to choose representatives to carry on the accusation, they appointed several of the nobility, two gentlemen for each county, and one or more of the clergy and burgesses for each presbytery and borough. Thus were formed the celebrated Tables or committees, which, being subdivided and regulated, gave order and consistency to their union. Their demands now increased : they required the abrogation of the high commission, the canons, and the liturgy. To this neither Laud nor the king could yield without the ruin of their favourite plans; and a proclamation was issued, censuring the supplicants, and forbidding them to assemble under the penalties of treason.
This was a fatal measure to the crown: for the Tables forthwith resolved on a renewal of the national covenant, the bond of religious union first adopted
223 by the Lords of the Congregation, and twice renewed in the reign of James. It took its name and character from the covenants of Israel with Jehovah recorded in the Scriptures, and it also partook much of the nature of the bonds of mutual defence and maintenance which had long prevailed in Scotland. It was now drawn up by Henderson, the leader of the clergy, and Johnstone of Wariston, a distinguished advocate. It renounced popery, and all its doctrines, practices, and claims, in the strongest terms; and then, declaring the liturgy and canons to be thus virtually renounced, concluded with an obligation to resist them, to defend each other, and to support the king in preserving religion, liberty, and law. The supplicants were invited by the Tables to repair to a solemn meeting at Edinburgh; a fast was appointed; and the preachers, as directed, recommended a renewal of the covenant. Accordingly, on the 1st of March, 1638, in the Gray Friars' church, it was solemnly renewed, with prayer and spiritual exhortations. The nobility, gentry, clergy, and thousands of all orders, sexes, and ages subscribed it; copies were transmitted to all parts of the kingdom; and it was everywhere subscribed to with shouts of joy, or with tears of contrition for their past defections. Within two months all Scotland (Aberdeen alone excepted) was banded to the covenant.
An independent assembly and a free parliament were the demands of the covenanters. The court employed every art to deceive them, being secretly resolved to resort to arms. With this view, all their demands (after Charles had taken sufficient care to convince them of his insincerity) were suddenly conceded; and, on the 21st of November, an assembly was held at Glasgow to regulate the church. The Marquis of Hamilton, the king's representative, was instructed to excite jealousies among the members, and, if he found the assembly restiff, to dissolve it. Seeing he could not manage it under the pretext of its being irregularly chosen, and, consequently, not competent to the trial of prelates (which was one of the measures proposed), he declared it dissolved, but the members