Abbildungen der Seite

purpose ;* and accordingly, in the cathedral church of St. Giles, the dean of Edinburgh, arrayed in his surplice, began the service; the bishop himself and many of the privy council being present. But no sooner had the dean opened the book than a multitude of the meanest sort, most of them women, clapping their hands, cursing, and crying out, “ A pope, a pope! Antichrist! stone him!” raised such a tumult that it was impossible to proceed with the service.

The bishop, mounting the pulpit in order to appease the populace, had a stool thrown at him; the council was insulted : and it was with difficulty that the magistrates were able, partly by authority, partly by force, to expel the rabble, and to shut the doors against them. The tumult

, however, still continued without: stones were thrown at the doors and windows : and when the service was ended, the bishop, going home, was attacked, and narrowly escaped from the hands of the enraged multitude. In the afternoon, the privy seal, because he carried the bishop in his coach, was so pelted with stones, and hooted at with execrations, and pressed upon by the eager populace, that if his servants with drawn swords had not kept them off, the bishop's life had been exposed to the utmost danger.

Though it was violently suspected that the low populace, who alone appeared, had been instigated by some of higher condition, yet no proof of it could be produced ; and every one spake with disapprobation of the licentiousness of the giddy multitude. It was not thought safe, however, to hazard a new insult by any new attempt to read the liturgy; and the people seemed for the time to be appeased and satisfied. But it being known that the king still persevered in his intentions of imposing that mode of worship, men fortified themselves still further in their prejudices against it ; and great multitudes resorted to Edinburgh, in order to oppose the introduction of so hated a novelty.S. It was not long before they broke out in the most violent disorder. The bishop of Galloway was attacked in the streets, and chased into the chamber where the privy council was sitting. The council itself was besieged and violently attacked: the town council met with the same fate : and nothing could have saved the lives of all of them, but

Clarendon, vol. i. p. 108.

Rush. yol. ü.

* King's Decl. p. 22.

p. 387.

* King's Decl. p. 23, 24, 25. “Rush. vol. ii. p. 388.

King's Decl. p. 26, 30. Clarendon, vol. i. p. 109.
King's Decl. p. 32. Rush. vol. ii. p. 400

their application to some popular lords, who protected them, and dispersed the multitude. In this sedition, the actors were of some better condition than in the former; though nobody of rank seemed as yet to countenance them.

All men, however, began to unite and to encourage each other in opposition to the religious innovations introduced into the kingdom. Petitions to the council were signed and presented by persons of the highest quality : the women took part, and, as was usual, with violence: the clergy every where loudly declaimed against Popery and the liturgy, which they represented as the same: the pulpits resounded with vehement invectives against Antichrist : and the populace, who first opposed the service, was often compared to Balaam's ass, an animal in itself stupid and senseless, but whose, mouth had been opened by the Lord, to the admiration of the whole world. In short, fanaticism mingling with faction, private interest with the spirit of liberty, symptoms appeared on all hands of the most dangerous insurrection and disorder.

The primate, a man of wisdom and prudence, who was all along averse to the introduction of the liturgy, represented to the king the state of the nation: the earl of Traquaire, the treasurer, set out for London, in order to lay the matter more fully before him: every circumstance, whether the condition of England or of Scotland were considered, should have engaged him to desist from so hazardous an attempt: yet was Charles inflexible. In his whole conduct of this affair, there appear no marks of the good sense with which he was endowed : a lively instance of that species of character so frequently to be met with ; where there are found parts and judgment in every discourse and opinion; in many actions, indiscretion and imprudence. Men's views of things are the result of their understanding alone : their conduct is regulated by their understanding, their temper, and their passions.

[1638.] To so violent a combination of a whole kingdom, Charles had nothing to oppose but-a proclamation; in which he pardoned all past offences, and exhorted the people to be more obedient for the future, and to submit peaceably to the use of the liturgy. This proclamation was instantly encountered with a public protestation, presented by the earl of Hume and Lord Lindesey: and this was the first time that men of quality

* King's Decl. p. 35, 36, etc. Rush. vol. ii. p. 404.
* King's Decl. p. 31.

had appeared in any violent act of opposition.* But this proved a crisis. The insurrection, which had been advancing by a gradual and slow progress, now blazed up at once. No disorder, however, attended it. On the contrary, a new order immediately took place. Four“ tables," as they were called, were formed in Edinburgh. One consisted of nobility, another of gentry, a third of ministers, a fourth of burgesses. The table of gentry was divided into many subordinate tables, according to their different counties. In the hands of the four tables the whole authority of the kingdom was placed. Orders were issued by them, and every where obeyed with the utmost regularity. And among the first acts of their government was the production of the “Covenant."

This famous covenant consisted first of a renunciation of Popery, formerly signed by James in his youth, and composed of many invectives, fitted to inflame the minds of men against their fellow-creatures, whom Heaven has enjoined them to cherish and to love. There followed a bond of union, by which the subscribers obliged themselves to resist religious innovations, and to defend each other against all opposition whatsoever: and all this, for the greater' glory of God, and the greater honor and advantage of their king and country. I The people, without distinction of rank or condition, of age or sex, flocked to the subscription of this covenant: few in their judgment disapproved of it; and still fewer durst openly condemn it. The king's ministers and counsellors themselves were most of them seized by the general contagion. And none but rebels to God, and traitors to their country, it was thought, would withdraw themselves from so salutary and so pious a combination.

The treacherous, the cruel, the unrelenting Philip, accompanied with all the terrors of a Spanish inquisition, was scarc

rcely, during the preceding century, opposed in the Low Countries with more determined fury, than was now, by the Scots, the mild, the humane Charles, attended with his inoffensive liturgy.

The king began to apprehend the consequences. He sent the marquis of Hamilton, as commissioner, with authority to treat with the Covenanters. He required the covenant to be renounced and recalled: and he thought, that on his part he

* King's Decl. p. 47, 48, etc. Guthry, p. 28. May, p. 37.
† Clarendon, vol. i. p. 111. Rush. vol. ii. p. 734.
King's Decl. p. 57, 58. Rush. vol. ii. p. 734. May, p. 38.

had maae very satisfactory concessions, when he offered to suspend the canons and the liturgy, till in a fair and legal way they could be received; and so to model the high commission, that it should no longer give offence to his subjects.* Such general declarations could not well give content to any, much less to those who carried so much higher their pretensions. The Covenanters found themselves seconded by the zeal of the whole nation. Above sixty thousand people were assembled in a tumultuous manner in Edinburgh and the neighborhood. Charles possessed no regular forces in either of his kingdoms. And the discontents in England, though secret, were believed so violent, that the king, it was thought, would find it very difficult to employ in such a cause the power of that kingdom. The more, therefore, the popular leaders in Scotland considered their situation, the less apprehension did they entertain of royal power, and the more rigorously did they insist on entire satisfaction. In answer to Hamilton's demand of renouncing the covenant, they plainly told him that they would sooner renounce their baptism. And the clergy invited the commissioner himself to subscribe it, by informing him “ with what peace and comfort it had filled the hearts of all God's people ; what resolutions, and beginnings of reformation of manners were sensibly perceived in all parts of the nation, above any measure they had ever before found or could have expected; how great glory the Lord had received thereby; and what confidence they had that God would make Scotland a blessed kingdom." I

Hamilton returned to London; made another fruitless jour ney, with new concessions, to Edinburgh; returned again to London; and was immediately sent back with still more satisfactory concessions. The king was now willing entirely to abolish the canons, the liturgy, and the high commission court. He was even resolved to limit extremely the power of the bishops, and was content if on any terms he could retain that order in the church of Scotland. And to insure all these gracious offers, he gave Hamilton authority to summon first an assembly, then a parliament, where every national grievance might be redressed and remedied. These successive concessions of the king, which yet came still short of the rising

+ King's Decl. p. 87.
King's Decl, p. 88. Rush. vol. ii. p. 751.
King's Decl. p. 137. Rush. vol. ü. p. 762.

* Rush. vol. ii. p. 137, etc.

aemands of the malecontents, discovered his own weakness, encouraged their insolence, and gave no satisfaction. The offer, however, of an assembly and a parliament, in which they expected to be entirely masters, was willingly embraced by the Covenanters.

Charles, perceiving what advantage his enemies had reaped from their covenant, resolved to have a covenant on his side; and he ordered one to be drawn up for that purpose. It consisted of the same violent renunciation of Popery above men, tioned; which, though the king did not approve of it, he thought it safest to adopt, in order to remove all the suspicions entertained against him. As the Covenanters, in their bond of mutual defence against all opposition, had been careful not to except the king, Charles had formed a bond, which was annexed to this renunciation, and which expressed the duty and loyalty of the subscribers to his majesty. * But the Covenanters; perceiving that this new covenant was only meant to weaken and divide them, received it with the utmost scorn and detestation. And without delay they proceeded to model the future assembly, from which such great achievements were expected.t

The genius of that religion which prevailed in Scotland, and which every day was secretly gaining ground in England, was far from inculcating deference and submission to the ecclesias. tics, merely as such; or rather, by, nourishing in every individual the highest raptures and ecstasies of devotion, it conse. crated, in a manner, every individual, and in his own eyes bestowed a character on him much superior to what forms and ceremonious institutions could alone confer. The clergy of Scotland, though such tumult was excited about religious wor. ship and discipline, were both poor and in small numbers; nor are they in general to be considered, at least in the beginning; as the ringleaders of the sedition which was raised on their account. On the contrary, the laity, apprehending, from several instances which occurred, a spirit of moderation in that order, resolved to domineer entirely in the assembly which was summoned, and to hurry on the ecclesiastics by the same furious zeal with which they were themselves transported.

It had been usual, before the establishment of prelacy, for each presbytery to send to the assembly, besides two or three

* King's Decl. p. 140, etc.

t Rush. vol. ii. p. 772; King's Decl. p. 188, 189. Rush. vol. i. p. 761.

« ZurückWeiter »