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that love of bold and heroic adventure by which his subsequent career was so strikingly marked.
On his return to Britain, in the early part of 1636, he presented himself at the court of Charles, where his reception was very different from what his personal merits and the services of his family entitled him to expect. A frigid act of courtesy, insultingly performed, was the only welcome with which the selfish and haughty monarch received the youthful noble, who endowed with all the accomplishments of his age, was burning to lay the unqualified offer of his services at the feet of his hereditary sovereign. Mr. Napier, following Heylyn, endeavours to trace this injurious treatment to the crafty surmises of the Duke of Hamilton, at that time the King's bosom counsellor, in so far at least as Scotland was concerned, and from certain suspicions of his own seems inclined to hint, that nothing was wanting on the part of another Scotchman whom Charles had recently admitted into his councils, the young Lord of Lorn, afterwards Earl and Marquis of Argyle, to foster the prejudice thereby excited against one in whom both of these noblemen had reason to dread a formidable rival at court. The only objection to this theory is, that it has little beyond mere conjecture in its support, for it certainly serves to account for what otherwise must appear very extraordinary,the rejection by Charles of one whose illustrious descent, personal accomplishments, and hereditary principles seemed to point him out as a fit favorite for a prince to whom such qualifications were never indifferent; and there is nothing in the subsequent history of these noblemen in respect either of their public conduct, or of their behaviour towards Montrose, to cast any antecedent improbability on the supposition to which Mr. Napier resorts. Be this, however, as it may, the fact that Montrose was all but directly repulsed on the occasion of his first appearance at court, is unquestionable; and as little can it be doubted that, on his return to Scotland, which took place immediately after, he carried with him the rankling soreness which, in a mind like his, such unworthy treatment could not fail to produce.
On his arrival at the capital of his native country, a state of things presented itself to his view but little calculated to allay the tumult of his feelings, or to lull him into forgetfulness of the insult he had received. The whole country was in a state of intense political and religious excitement. A long series of foolish, vexatious, and oppressive interferences on the part of the crown, with the religious habits and prejudices of the people, had at length formed among the latter a spirit of fierce and determined resistance, which was rapidly verging towards an appeal to arms. The nation had reached one of those awful crises when the power that has been silently and imperceptibly gathering behind the bulwarks that seemed to repress and confine it, bursts suddenly
forth, and sweeps with resistless and appalling fury over every obstacle. Unusual and portentous murmurs had long given ominous warning of the coming storm; but in vain. A few cautious and careful observers had marked the gradual rising of the tide, but the warnings they uttered were treated with disdain by those to whom they were addressed, or were replied to only by fresh attempts to beat back within still narrower limits the advancing surge. The time had at length arrived when this course could no longer be pursued. The intimations of danger had become too palpable and alarming to be longer overlooked. Men of all parties felt that a mighty struggle was at hand, and were preparing themselves as their interests or their consciences dictated, to take a side in the conflict. All as yet was uncertainty and excitement. Nothing was organized; hardly any thing definitely proposed. The nation, however, was obviously separating into two great parties. On the one side stood those who inscribed Episcopacy,' on the other, those who inscribed Presbytery,' on their banners. But these were mere accidental distinctions; -announcing only the proximate, and not the fundamental cause of the dispute. It was in reality the old struggle between Prerogative and Liberty-between the assumptions of the few, and the rights of the many-that had been revived in Scotland, though under circumstances of a peculiar nature, and with an aspect modified by the religious feelings and mental character of the people. Though the COVENANT was the magnet by which the unsettled elements of society were either attracted or repelled, and thereby formed into two antagonist masses, it was the tremendous force of tyrannical oppression that had first destroyed their natural cohesion, and thereby given occasion to the new combination. Mr. Napier finds in this rallying point nothing but a pretext for faction and rebellion; but it requires, we think, only a very cursory acquaintance with the progress of feeling and opinion in Scotland, during the greater part of the preceding century, to enable us to perceive that some such outbreak of popular indignation was almost a necessary consequence of the policy which had been pursued towards the nation at large, by those in whose hands the government was placed.
The Reformation from Popery was effected in Scotland almost exclusively by the powerful influence which the preaching of Knox and his confederates communicated to the minds of those composing the middle and lower classes of society. From first to last it was a popular movement, the result of strong conviction and ardent zeal on the part of those whose minds had been first awakened to independency of thought and feeling, by the stern and vehement exhortations of the Calvinistic preachers. The effect of this upon the national mind was deep and lasting. Apart from the more direct consequences of the change that had taken
place in the religious opinions and habits of the people, the manner in which they had themselves effected that change, not only without the countenance of those to whom they had been accustomed to yield unquestioning obedience, but in the face of their most strenuous opposition, had taught them a lesson of self-respect, and imbued them with a consciousness of their own power which materially affected the relations in which they had hitherto stood to their hereditary superiors. For the first time they had exercised the right of thinking for themselves, and having succeeded in constraining their rulers to admit that right, they were not likely to return speedily to the state of vassallage and passivity from which that effort had roused them. They had swallowed the first draught from the fountain of freedom, and had found it too pleasant and refreshing to allow the stone which had so long covered that fountain, again to be rolled upon it. It was not, however, for civil freedom so much as for the rights of conscience that they were concerned. They had arisen to cast from them the bonds not of a political, but of a spiritual despotism. They were, consequently, less disposed to quarrel about matters of policy, than to maintain to the last, every jot and tittle of that ecclesiastical system for which they had already dared and done so much. Their religion was to them not merely the basis of their hopes for eternity, and the source of their comfort and direction in life, it was also associated with all that was spirit-stirring in the recollection of the hour when they first burst from the thraldom of centuries. They felt that in being the objects of a divine message, they occupied a place which rendered it an invasion of the divine prerogative to withhold from them the right of studying that message for themselves, without respect to any authority but that of the Almighty. Whilst, therefore, they offered no resistance to the temporal claims of their sovereignwhilst, on the contrary, they seemed prepared for almost any degree of sacrifice or service which loyalty in temporal matters was thought to demand; their religion was a sacred inclosure within which they would permit no profane foot to enter, and the integrity and purity of which they were ready to defend with the last drop of their blood. Amidst poverty and insecurity they felt this to be a treasure of certain and unsearchable riches; under the grinding oppression and incessant exactions of their feudal superiors, they gloried in the consciousness that this at least was their own. It was the pearl of great price for which they were ready to part with all that they had, but which they would exchange for nothing, short of those unseen glories of which it was the foretaste and the pledge.
Under these circumstances, nothing more strikingly shows the utter infatuation which seems to have seized upon the princes of the house of Stuart, than that they should have selected this point
-the only one on which the mass of the people were peculiarly sensitive, as that through which to probe most painfully and cruelly the patience and loyalty of their hereditary subjects. From the very first the Presbyterian faith had been distasteful to them, and in allowing it to become the established religion of the country they had yielded, unwillingly and with bad grace, only to a stern necessity. They accordingly were ready, on the first opportunity, to endeavour its destruction, and at this favourite object they laboured until they had severed every tie of loyalty and custom by which the Scottish nation was bound; and had kindled the flames of a civil war, in which, after it had raged for the greater part of a century, and licked up some of the best blood of the kingdom, their own ancient line was at last consumed and lost. So long as James remained in possession only of the Scottish throne, the contest seems to have proceeded with little virulence or zeal on either side. No sooner, however, had he ascended that of England, and got over his never very deeply seated horror of Pasche and Yule,' and the 'evil-said mass' of the Liturgy;* no sooner had he tasted the sweets of being surrounded by obsequious bishops, who did him reverence as the acknowledged head of the Church, and flattered him into the belief, that on him the mantle of Solomon had descended, than he learned to adopt for his motto, No bishop, no king,' and commenced with resolute vigor to assail the constitution which had been conceded to the Kirk of Scotland, by attempting to subvert the Presbyterian parity of its ministers, and to enforce upon its members a conformity in matters of faith and order to the Episcopal church of England. The success which attended his exertions is almost incredible, considering the state of feeling among the majority of the clergy and the great mass of the people in Scotland; and can only be satisfactorily accounted for by the romantic loyalty of the nation, and their unwillingness to believe that one of their own Stuarts could be deliberately and intentionally seeking their personal injury and national disgrace. Not only did James succeed in engrafting bishops upon the stock of the Presbyterian Establishment, but he gradually accomplished the restoration to these functionaries of much of the wealth, power, and dignity which had been enjoyed by the Scottish bishops previous to the Reformation. Large innovations were made also in the ritual and discipline of the church; an uniform Liturgy was enforced; the eucharist was appointed to be received in a kneeling posture; the 'holy communion' to be administered to sick persons who could declare upon their conscience, that they considered their sickness to be deadly; all children to be baptized
* See Price's History of Protestant Nonconformity, vol. i. p. 449.
in the church, and a declaration to be made after the ceremony by the minister, that the child 'ought therefore to be received as one of the true flock of Christ's fold; all young persons to be instructed in the catechism, and to be in due time presented to the bishop, that he might bless them with prayer for the increase of their knowledge, and the continuance of God's heavenly graces 'with every one of them;' and the festivals of Christmas, GoodFriday, Easter, Ascension-day, and Whit-Sunday to be observed. The means by which James succeeded in introducing these innovations were sufficiently discreditable. Bribery, craft, and force were unsparingly employed for the purpose. The royal prerogative was stretched to its utmost extent for the protection of those who favoured his designs, and for the punishment of those who opposed them. Some of the basest men were exalted both to civic and ecclesiastical dignity; some of the worthiest and most respected were treated as criminals, deprived of their civil or ecclesiastical status, fined, imprisoned, or banished from the kingdom. Still it was only after repeated attempts, and a considerable lapse of time, that the triumph was attained; and the difficulties James had to encounter seem to have effectually deterred him from making any further encroachments upon the Scottish Kirk, though perseveringly urged to it by the restless and malignant bigotry of Laud. Nor was his success in reality so great as it appeared. A large proportion even of those who had supported his innovations, or tacitly acquiesced in them, were in heart averse from them; while not a few of the more zealous of the Presbyterian party were fearlessly and openly opposing them. A strong feeling had been excited throughout the country in favour of the deposed and banished clergy, of which several of the latter availed themselves, and returned to their former spheres of labour. The 'too-fervid genius 't of the nation had, moreover, been rudely stirred, and was venting its effervescent wrath in murmurs and moody threats, which if they fell short of the monarch, lighted with full weight upon the unlucky men on whose behalf he had violated the civil and ecclesiastical immunities of the people. A contemporary Latin epigram upon Nicholson, Bishop of Dunkeld, from the pen of one who himself subsequently sustained the burden of a mitre, David Lindsay, successively
* Cook's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 291-294. The above form the famous Articles of Perth; they were agreed to by a General Assembly of the Church held at that city in 1618, and were enacted by Parliament three years afterwards.
See a curious passage in proof of this in Hackett's Life of Williams, part i. p. 64; quoted also by Dr. Price, History of Nonconformity, vol. ii. p. 46,
Perfervidum ingenium Scotorum.' Buchanan.