Page images
PDF
EPUB

A.D. 1638.]

THE LORD ADVOCATE'S DREAMS.

21

siderable penetration of character, the High Commissioner remarks, "the Lord Advocate should be removed, for he is ill-disposed.” This was Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, an able lawyer, but who, notwithstanding the office which he held, keenly sympathised with the Covenanters. The curious diary of this remarkable man has been published by the Bannatyne Club, and illustrates not merely the character of the man, but the character of the piety prevalent at the time. The Advocate of Scotland, like the Primate of All England, was a dreamer of dreams, and like him too, he was careful enough to record them in his diary. The Advocate's dreams, however, were more religious than the archbishop's. “As I awakened on Wednesday in the morning, I fell in an earnest in-calling of the Lord, that His Majesty would pity His people, and vindicate them from the power and rage of His adversaries, and would establish the glory of His blessed truth in the land. And while I was praying, these words were spoken, but whether by me or some other I dare not say, but the words were— I will preserve and save my people.' “ About midnight, as I was regretting to the Lord the calamities of His Kirk, and humbly praying His Majesty to arise to the help thereof, and with tears begging till I became drowsy, I heard these words>'I will arise."" “Being pressing the Lord for the good king, and humbly praying for the accomplishment of God's work, I heard this voice — I have done it.'"

Civil war was now imminent; and both parties were preparing for it.

We have already had some indications of the preparations of the king, his train of artillery, his ammunition, his ships, his treasure; and the Covenanters were not behind. Quite as early as the king, they had begun to buy arms and enlist soldiers. At this very time the Thirty Years' War was raging on the Continent. The House of Austria had unsheathed the sword, attempted to wrest from Protestantism the wide provinces it had won, and, led by the genius of Tilly and Wallenstein, its armies were everywhere victorious. At this critical time for the religion and liberties of Europe, Gustavus Adolphus, with his invincible Swedes, came thundering from the north like an avalanche from the hills. Many adventurers from Scotland, having no fighting to do at home, hurried to join him. The greatest of the imperial generals quailed in his presence. Tilly succumbed to him at Leipsic

See Sir Thomas Hope's Diary, Ban. Ed. Also Napier's Life and Times of Montrose, pp. 94-100, 114-22.

6 there

and the Lech ; and at Lützen, neither the strategy of Wallenstein nor the awful charges of Pappenheim could save the imperial troops from the resistless rush of the Swedes, maddened by the death of their king. After this fatal day the fury of the war abated, and many of the Scotch adventurers returned homewards, where there were already rumours of wars.

The most distinguished of these military adventurers was Alexander Leslie, now destined to be the leader of the Covenanting armies. The description given of him by Spalding is so amusing that we cannot refrain from transcribing it:-“ About this time, or a little before," says he, came out of Germany from the wars, home to Scotland, a gentleman, of base birth, born in Balvany, who had served long and fortunately in the German wars, and called to his name Felt-Marshall Leslie, his Excellence. His name, indeed, was Alexander Leslie ; but his valour and good-luck attained to this title, ‘his Excellence,' inferior to none but to the King of Sweden, under whom he served amongst all his cavallirie.

Well, this Felt-Marshall Leslie, having conquest, from nought, honour and wealth in great abundance, resolved to come home to his native country of Scotland, and settle beside his chief, the Earl of Rothes, as he did indeed, and coft fair lands in Fife. But this Earl, foreseeing the troubles whereof himself was one of the principal beginners, took hold of this Leslie, who was both wise and stout, acquaints him with his plot, and had his advice for farthering thereof to his power. And first he advises cannon to be cast in the Potterow, by one Captain Hamilton; he began to drill the Earl's men in Fife; he caused send to Holland for ammunition, powder and ball, muskets, carbines, pistols, pikes, swords, cannon, cartell, and all other sort of necessary arms, fit for old and young soldiers, in great abundance; he caused send to Germany, France, Holland, Denmark, and other countries for the most expert and valiant captains, lieutenants, and under officers, who came in great numbers, in hopes of bloody wars.'

Early in the spring of 1639, the royal army was A.D. 1639. mustering at York. The English clergy, regarding it as an Episcopal war, contributed liberally to its sinews. The English nobility obeyed the old feudal call to meet the king, who purposed leading his army in person. The Earl of Arundel was made general—"a man,” says Clarendon," who was thought to be made choice of for his negative qualities.

i Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. i,

A.D. 1639.]

THE TWO ARMIES.

23

He did not love the Scots; he did not love the Puritans; which qualifications were allayed by another negative, he did not love much anybody else.Ӓ The Earl of Essex, already a favourite with the army, and afterwards so celebrated as the leader of the Parliamentary forces, was made lieutenantgeneral. The Earl of Holland was made general of the horse. The whole army amounted to upwards of twenty thousand men, and was well officered, well equipped, and followed by a powerful train of artillery. Besides these land preparations, a fleet was despatched to the Frith of Forth, under the command of the Marquis of Hamilton, to interrupt trade, threaten Leith, and favour the rising of the Marquis of Huntly in the north.

Meantime, the Covenanters were not idle. Baillie complains that, at this juncture, the management of affairs passed from the many to the few. “ The secret wheels,” says he, “whereupon this work has run, are all within the curtain, where the like of me wins not.” He tells us he saw the handles of the clock moving, but not the mechanism by which they were moved.2 The result was both natural and necessary : the government of the country, with civil war impending, could not be carried on by a mob of ministers. The preparations for war went briskly on. Noblemen acted as colonels ; ploughmen were drilled into soldiers ; the Castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton were seized ; fast-days were held ; and sermons preached, in which the people were called to come to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

By the end of May the Scotch Covenanting army was encamped at Dunse-Law, where it could be distinctly seen by the king through his telescope from the other side of the Tweed, where his forces were posted. The Scotch array was somewhat tattered, but still it was full of enthusiasm, and the "old, little, crooked soldier," Leslie, managed to keep both proud barons and raw ploughmen in wonderful order. “It would have done you good,” says Baillie, have cast your eyes athwart our brave and rich hill, as often I did with great contentment and joy, for I was there among the rest, being chosen preacher by the gentlemen of our shire, who came late with my Lord of Eglinton. I furnished to half a dozen good fellows muskets and picks, and to my

i Clarendon's History, vol. i. p. 91.
2 Letters and Journals, vol. i. p. 186.
3 Burnett's Memoirs, p. 115. Baillie, vol. i. p. 195.

3

to

boy a broadsword. I carried myself, as the fashion was, a sword, and a couple of Dutch pistols at my saddle ; but I promise for the offence of no man, except a robber in the way; for it was our part alone to pray and preach for the encouragement of our countrymen, which I did to my power most cheerfully. Our hill was garnished on the top with our mounted cannon, well-nigh to the number of forty, great and small. Our regiments lay on the sides of the hill, almost round about. The crowners lay in canvas lodges, high and wide ; the captains about them in lesser ones; the soldiers about all in huts of timber, covered with divot and straw. . . . It was thought the country of England was more afraid for the barbarity of the highlanders than of any other terror ; those of the English that came to visit our camp did gaze much with admiration upon these supple fellows, with their plaids, targes, and dorlachs. . . . Our captains were, for the most part, barons or gentlemen of good note; our lieutenants almost all soldiers who had served over sea in good charges; every company had flying at the captain's tent door a brave new colour, stamped with the Scottish arms, and the ditton, FOR CHRIST'S CROWN AND COVENANT, in golden letters. Our general had a brave royal tent, but it was not set up; his constant guard was some hundreds of our lawyers, musketeers, under Durie and Hope's command, all the way standing in good arms, and with cocked matches, before his gate, well apparelled. . . . . Had you lent your ear in the morning, or especially at the evening, and heard in the tents the sound of some singing psalms, some praying, and some reading Scripture, you would have been refreshed. True, there was swearing, and cursing, and brawling in some quarters, whereat we were grieved.”

The two armies lay for some time looking at each other across the Tweed. Both were unwilling to come to blows, and gradually both became more and more anxious for an accommodation. The king knew that there was much discontent, and little willingness to fight, on the part of his nobles; the Covenanters knew that it would be impossible to keep their array long together. This mutual feeling becoming known, the Covenanters sent the Earl of Dunfermline with a supplication to the King's most excellent Majesty,” praying him to nominate some of his English subjects, well affected to the true religion and their common peace, to meet with some of

1 Letters and Journals, vol. i. pp. 211•14.

[ocr errors]

A.D. 1639.]

TREATY OF PEACE.

25

1

them, that all misunderstandings might be removed, and the two kingdoms kept in quietness. The king listened to the supplication, and the consequence was that a deputation of the Scotch Covenanters crossed the Tweed, and came to the Earl of Arundel's tent to treat of peace. They were scarcely entered till the king came in, “at whose unexpected presence,” says Baillie, we were somewhat moved, but yet very glad." His Majesty said he came there to hear all they had to say, and is confessed to have listened with great patience and kindness to the free outspoken statements of the Covenanters. The truth is, Charles had a quiet, king-like manner, which fascinated many. There was a second and a third interview, and the happy result was a pacification.?

It was carried out in the following fashion :—The king published a declaration, in which he set forth his resolution to hold a free General Assembly at Edinburgh on the 6th of August, and a parliament on the 20th of the same month, for ratifying what should be concluded in the Assembly; and, further, to recall his fleets and his armies so soon as the Covenanters disbanded their forces, restored the castles which they held, and broke up the Tables. On the back of this the Covenanters signed an agreement to disband their forces within twenty-four hours, surrender their strongholds, hold no meetings but such as were warrantable by law, and

carry

themselves like humble, loyal, and obedient subjects. The terms of the treaty were faithfully kept, and happily the country was once more at ace, without a single drop of blood being shed.

The time rapidly approached when the Assembly must meet. The king was resolved that the Assembly of 1638 should not be recognised, but willing that most of its acts should be passed anew.

He had at length brought himself, though not without a struggle, to give up the Episcopate, but was anxious that, if abolished, it should be so," not as a point of Popery, or contrary to God's law, or the Protestant religion," but simply “as contrary to the constitution of the Church of Scotland.” The king's relation to the Episcopal Church of England made him naturally and properly anxious on this point. He had promised at first to be present in the Assembly himself, but changing his mind, he asked the Marquis of Hamilton again See Letters, Supplications, &c., in Peterkin's Records, pp. 225-30.

Baillie, vol. i. pp. 216, 217. 3 Peterkin's Records, pp. 230, 231.

2

« EelmineJätka »