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majority, to put the nation in a posture of defence. This resolution was not come to without trouble. The Commission of the Assembly—a body not constituted as at present, but composed of a nominated number—had for some years been rising into power, and now remonstrated violently against the proceedings of the parliament. They declared that the king's concessions were not enough. They held that Charles must not only take the Covenant himself, but compel all others to take it too; that he must not only establish Presbytery in England, but establish it permanently and at once, and become a Presbyterian himself. The parliament had for some years been in pupilage to the Church, and tried on this occasion to humour it by concessions; but finding that no concession would do, it broke its yoke, and acted for itself. An army was raised, and the Duke of Hamilton placed at its head.
In the month of July the Assembly met, and gave its approval to the proceedings of its Commission, and showed itself disposed to defy the Parliament. It complained of the parliament entering into such an Engagement without its consent; it declared the oath which the parliament had imposed to be an unlawful snare, and prohibited the people from taking it: it maintained that to unite with malignants against sectaries was to join hands with a black devil to beat a white one; and proved this from the case of Asa and Benhadad, Ahaz and the King of Assyria, Jehoshaphat and Ahab; and finally threatened with the highest censure ministers who should not speak out against the acts of the legislature. The pretensions of Hildebrand, which led to the war of investitures, were not so high as those of this conclave of presbyters in the Scottish Vatican.
The Marquis of Argyll, with the Earls of Cassillis and Eglinton, had always taken part with the rigid Covenanters; the Chancellor Loudon now ratted, reprobated a treaty which himself had devised, and did public penance for his backsliding in the High Church of Edinburgh. The army of the Engagers, ill disciplined and ill equipped, after dispersing an armed muster of the peasantry at Mauchline, penetrated into England, and being encountered at Preston by the invincible August 17. battalions of Cromwell
, was decisively defeated. Hamilton, who had shewn himself incapable of command, was taken prisoner, and soon afterwards paid for his loyalty with his life.3 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 339.
2 Peterkin's Records, p. 509. 3 Burnet's Memoirs. Baillie's Letters, &c.
When the news of this disaster reached Scotland, Argyll, Cassillis, and Eglinton assembled their vassals; the westland ministers combined with the westland nobles in calling the people to arms; crowds of excited Covenanters poured toward the capital; the Committee of Estates fled at their approach and a change of the government was effected, which placed Argyll once more at the head of affairs. This was called the
Whiggamore's Raid,” and originated the name by which one of the great political parties in the State is still known. The party in power hastened to make their peace with Cromwell, forgetful that they were pledged by their Covenant to extirpate all such sectaries as he. They placed Berwick and Carlisle in his hands, brought him to Edinburgh, and gave banquets in his honour. They showed, however, that their notions were as narrow as ever, by passing the Act of Classes, by which they excluded from all places of honour and trust every one who had shown himself hostile to the Covenant, taken any part in the Engagement, or contracted any other like deadly sin. The consequence was, large numbers of ministers were deposed, the parliament was reduced to a fraction of its strength, and every statesman and every magistrate suspected of malignancy was driven from his post.1
On the 30th of January 1649, Charles was beheaded before his palace of Whitehall. He fell, like Louis XVI. in France, not because he was the worst or most despotic king whom England had seen, but simply because in his day despotic and democratic ideas came into collision. We must pity his fate; but we may partly console ourselves with the reflection that his death has not been lost upon the world. It has taught many kings to be wise.
So soon as the news of his execution reached Edinburgh, the Estates proclaimed his eldest son, Charles, king of Scotland. But their loyalty did not make them forget their Covenant. They passed an act, ordaining that he should not be admitted to the exercise of the sovereignty till he should swear to the Solemn League and Covenant, and consent that all civil matters should be ordered by the parliaments, and all ecclesiastical affairs by the Assembly of the
1 Lamont's Diary, Sept. and Oct. 1649. Kirkton's History, p. 48. Kirkton says, “Now the ministry was notably purified, the magistracy altered, the people strangely refined. It is true, at this time hardly the fifth part of the lords of Scotland were admitted to sit in parliament; but those who did sit were esteemed truly godly men.
THE CROWN AND THE COVENANT.
Church. They despatched commissioners to the Hague, to declare their loyalty and explain their terms to the exiled prince. The prince at first thought that exile was better than the Covenant.
On the 7th of July the Assembly met. In their acts we have a strange mixture of the darkest fanaticism with the truest appreciation of constitutional freedom. They ordained that all who had been involved in the Engagement, or in any way expressed their approbation of it, should be regarded as malignants, and either submit to the ignominy of the Church's discipline, or endure the horrors of excommunication. They resolved that the army as well as the parliament should be purged of malignants. They declared that Charles II. must take the Covenant if he would reign over them. In short, all must think just as they thought ; and though two watches have never been got to go exactly alike, all the minds of the nation must be made to keep time with the mind of the Church. Yet the same Assembly could give utterance to propositions which form the basis of the limited monarchy and the free constitution which we now enjoy.
In the beginning of 1650 Montrose landed A.D. 1650.
in Scotland, anxious to make one effort more for the throne. The Estates, though recognising the king, could not recognise his general, as he had fallen away from the Covenant, and troops were instantly marched against him. His little army was beaten and dispersed, and he himself, after wandering about some days among the hills of Assynt, was betrayed and taken prisoner. He was carried to Edinburgh, condemned to death, conveyed through the crowded streets in an open cart driven by the executioner, and hanged upon a gallows thirty feet high.1 His death has left a deep stain upon the character of all who were implicated in it—and many of the ministers were not free. They were now enjoying their day of power ; but the scene was to be changed, and was it likely that Charles would forget Montrose ?
Previous to the expedition of Montrose, a deputation from the Scotch Estates had waited upon the king at Breda, to urge him once more to accept the terms upon which they were willing to invest him with the supreme authority.
The Wigton Papers. Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Balfour's Annals, &c.
old man should be spilt because he had believed in the five points of Arminius, and loved the splendid ritual of the Church of Rome; but the Covenanters regarded him as the troubler of their Zion, and the Puritans remembered how he had persecuted their sect, and had no pity on his grey hairs. Cavaliers and Roundheads were butchering one another; and England was experiencing the miseries of that warfare for success in which the Latin generals could have no chaplet and no triumph. The Scotch army had taken part in the fierce struggle of Marston Moor; had assisted in the reduction of York; and then, marching northwards, had entered Newcastle by storm. This done, the Covenanted warriors seemed disposed to rest upon the laurels they had won.
In the beginning of 1645, commissioners from the king met commissioners from the parliament at Uxbridge, to try if it were possible to arrange a peace. As religion presented one of the principal difficulties, the plenipotentiaries were accompanied by preachers; and Alexander Henderson represented the Scotch. The competing claims of Episcopacy and Presbytery to a divine right were debated till the nobles were heartily tired; and the Marquis of Hertford put an end to the squabble by remarking, that both claimed what he believed neither possessed. The negotiations ended in nothing. The king was asked to abolish Episcopacy, to establish Presbytery, and not only to take the Solemn League and Covenant himself, but to compel others to take it too. This was too much for him. 1
The cause of Presbytery had been making rapid progress among the English clergy. London contained a hundred and twenty-one ministers, and all these were Presbyterians but two. The organs had been silenced, the altars removed, the Prayer-Book laid on the shelf, and schemes for the erection of presbyteries and synods were already in agitation.3 This rapid conversion of the nation was due as much to the presence of the Scotch army as of the Scotch ministers; and it is amusing to find Baillie, when vexed in spirit by the Independents, writing home to his friends that the best way to remedy such insolencies was largely to recruit the regiments at Newark.4
But the Independents were not to be put down. Holding Cook's History, vol. iii. p. 92. Peterkin's Records. Rushworth, &c.
Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 271-96. 3 Letter from the Commissioners in London to the General Assembly, 4th June 1644. Peterkin's Records,, pp. 400, 401.
* Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 300, 325, &c.
INDEPENDENTS AND ERASTIANS.
that every congregation was a perfect Church in itself, they repudiated presbyteries, synods, and assemblies, and shocked the Scotch commissioners by talking of taking the sacrament of the Supper in their pews, of preaching with their hats on, and of extending liberty of conscience to all. Knowing the persuasive power of the Scotch army, they lifted up their voice against it. They declared it was useless ; that the expense of maintaining it was intolerable; and that, notwithstanding days of fasting and meetings of presbytery within its lines, it was defiling the land with whoredoms. Cromwell had already thrown out some unmistakeable hints that, unless a universal toleration were given, he would exact it from both senators and divines at the head of his invincible brigades.
The Erastian spirit which pervaded the parliament grieved the Scotch Presbyters almost as much as the love for Independency which was growing up in the army. The legislature showed no dislike to ecclesiastical courts, but it showed a determined resolution to keep these courts subservient to itself; and the successors of Andrew Melville imagined this to be an infringement of the crown-rights of the Redeemer, and remonstrated earnestly against it. While such controversies were going on, sects were multiplying with alarming rapidity. Millenaries, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Libertines, Familists, Enthusiasts, Seekers, Perfectists, Antiscripturists, Ranters, Beheminists, Quakers, preached their strange doctrines, and practised their strange rites; and not unfrequently the corporal in the army, or the shopkeeper at his counter, imagined himself commissioned by Heaven to expound the Scriptures, to administer the sacraments, and become the founder of a sect. We now regard these extravagances of the religious life with composure ; but that generation, accustomed to unity, and ignorant of dissent, beheld these things as men for the first time behold the hideous forms of animal life which crawl forth from a decaying body.
But affairs were fast coming to an issue. The A.D. 1646. fortune of war had gone against the king, and, driven to despair, he sought shelter in the Scotch army in the beginning of May 1646. It was strange he should have trusted himself to the men who had been the first to raise the revolutionary storm; but it is probable he thought he could depend upon the loyalty of his ancestral kingdom, and imagined that since he had granted them all that they desired for themselves, they would not stubbornly insist upon his
* Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 319, 320.