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In those districts of the country where the Protesters were numerous the wranglings in the church courts were interminable and intolerable. In some instances the two factions broke off from one another, and constituted themselves into separate courts. The Protesters had the greater antipathy to the king, and the greater favour for the Commonwealth ; and therefore they could always count upon the support of the Lord Protector and his troopers.
They deposed some ministers who were not like-minded with themselves; with the help of the soldiery they intruded others upon parishes, against the united will of the heritors and people. Several
Several of their leaders managed to secure lucrative places for themselves in the principal universities, and Resolutioners were turned out to make way for them. The Resolutioners retaliated where they could. Altogether, the condition of the country was sad enough. Unchristian animosities reigned in the Church ; English garrisons held the forts; and the nobility were almost to a man overwhelmed in debt; many were in prison, and many in hiding. Burnet says of Lord Traquair, once Lord Treasurer of the kingdom-" I saw him brought so low that he wanted bread, and was forced to beg, and it was believed he died of hunger.”
Some poetic chroniclers have depicted this as the golden age in the history of our Church's piety. “Then was Scotland,” says Kirkton, “ a heap of wheat set about with lilies, uniform, or a palace of silver beautifully proportioned, and this seems to me to have been Scotland's high noon.” Not an oath, we are told, was to be heard ; not a child was to be found but could read its Bible; not a family in which the worship of God was not observed. Unfortunately we are awakened from this pleasing dream to the reality of things by stubborn facts which cannot be gainsaid. We read in another chronicle of a man being scourged at the Cross of Edinburgh for such an accumulation of debaucheries as, we would fain hope, is unknown in our day;3 we read of a noble lord dying a bachelor, and yet leaving sixty-seven descendants behind him ; 4 we read of an ordinance forbidding females to serve in taverns, on
Baillie's Letters, passim, 1654-5, vol. iii. Burnet, vol. i. p. 22. 2 Kirkton's History, pp. 48-50.
3 Lamont's Diary. “Feb. 1650. About the same tyme, ther was one scourged by the hangman for having seven wumen at one tyme with chielde."
4 Balfour's Annals, vol. iii. p. 423. He refers to Patrick Lesley, Lord Lindores.
THE RELIGION OF THE PERIOD.
account of the scandals which had arisen from such fair servitors waiting upon drunken men ; 1 and in all the ecclesiastical records of the time we have very many and very sad proofs that vice was still known in the land. Ignorance was known too; and in some districts the ability to read appears to have been the exception rather than the rule.2
At the same time it is quite certain that religion of a kind had taken a firm hold upon the popular mind. The ministers, in general, were come of respectable families, were possessed of a fair share of learning, and were entirely devoted to their pastoral work. By their preaching and by their catechizing they laid the foundation of that almost universal intelligence in regard to religious subjects which is still characteristic of the Scottish people. The religious excitement of the period infected all, and we may be sure that the subjects debated in presbyteries and synods between Remonstrants, Protesters, and Resolutioners, or in garrison towns between Anabaptists, Ranters, and Quakers, were debated too at the firesides of the peasantry. The religious development in the national cranium became larger than ever; and opinions and observances still alive had then their birth. But with all this vitality, there was an utter want of that loving, liberal spirit which is the highest phase of the religious life. Some of the worst bigotries which have come down to the present day were then born.
On the 3d of September 1658 the great Protector of England breathed his last ; and the sovereign power which he had won and retained by the sword passed into the hands of his eldest son. But Richard Cromwell was not a man to keep in awe the strong spirits which twenty years of civil war and military rule had evoked; and, after a few months of precarious authority, he ungrudgingly resigned the supreme power, and retired into private life. The government of the country again passed into the hands of a military junto,-every ambitious officer began to dream he might be king, -and anarchy and despotism were likely to be the result. General Monk, in Scotland, beheld what was passing in London, and keeping
1 Nichol's Diary, March 1650. Lord Loudon and Samuel Rutherford did not escape suspicion.
2 In the Record of the Presbytery of Perth, 28th March 1649, there is the following significant entry :- List of the families wherein some of them can read within the following parishes-viz., Scone, 25 ; Drone, 36; Dumbarny, 55 ; St Madoes, 9; Řhind, 25 ; Kinnoul, 18; St Martin's, 13; Redgorton, 9; Arngask, 16; Abernethy, 100.” (See Peterkin's Records.)
his counsel to himself, began his march southwards in the month of November 1659, to decide that Charles should sit upon the throne, as the legions stationed in Gaul had anciently determined, on more occasions than one, who should wear the imperial purple at Rome.
GENERAL MONK had hardly reached London when James Sharp, minister of Crail, and professor of theology at St Andrews, began his journey thither, commissioned by some of the leading Scotch ministers to watch over the interests of their Church at this crisis in the country's fate. He regularly reported his proceedings to Robert Douglas, at that period the man most respected of all in the Church of Scotland. From his letters, we find him at one time closeted with Monk; at another, visiting members of parliament; at another, talking over their prospects with the Presbyterian ministers of London; and then, about the beginning of May, starting for Breda to offer his congratulations to Charles on his being proclaimed King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. By his first instructions he was requested to press the covenanted uniformity of religion between the two nations ;1 as the English Parliament, before its dissolution, had once more declared for the Westminster Confession, and ordered the Solemn League and Covenant to be set up in every church, and read by the minister once every year.
But when the new parliament met, it soon became apparent that the face of things would be changed. The tide of feeling in favour of Episcopacy now rose so high that it was evident it would soon overflow all England. Sharp intimated this to his friends, but he suggests no suspicion that it might probably be extended to Scotland.2
England, wearied of the Commonwealth, clamoured for a king as earnestly as did Israel when tired of its Judges; and God sent them Charles, a greater plague than ever was Saul to the Jews. The parliament had it in its power to have limited the monarchy; and the man who had accepted the
1 This is not mentioned in his formal instructions, but it is referred to in his correspondence with Douglas. (See the Introduction to Wodrow's History.)
2 These letters are happily preserved.
crown of Scotland upon such humiliating terms would have submitted to any conditions which England chose to dictate. But the nation was drunk with a Royalist joy; and after having bought its liberty with its blood at Marston and Worcester, it now willingly gave itself back into slavery. On the 29th of May 1660, Charles II. entered London in triumph; and the Londoners were once more pleased with the pageant of royalty. Capital cities, though sometimes seized with revolutionary spasms, are in general attached to monarchy; for they witness the splendour of courts, and feed upon the crumbs which fall from imperial tables. It is in villages and towns that democracy and republicanism are to be found.
Scotland had ever been loyal. It had been deprived of its king, but it had never renounced him, and had submitted with reluctance to the domination of the Protector. It was meet, therefore, that it should rejoice. The 19th of June was kept at Edinburgh as a day of thanksgiving for the Restoration. The sermons were followed by banqueting and bonfires. At the Cross a table was spread for the magistrates; and barrels of wine were poured forth, and three hundred dozen of glasses were smashed in drinking the king's health. The Castle-hill had its display of fire-works; and, to the great delight of the citizens, in the midst of these was seen Oliver Cromwell pursued by the devil; and the delight was increased when both Cromwell and the devil were blown into the air.1 The other towns of Scotland imitated the loyalty of the metropolis. Such a loyal country deserved a loving king.
The Scottish nobles hastened to London to pay their respects to the king; and among these went Argyll. He had long been the leading man among the Covenanters—he had commanded their armies and guided their councils; but still he had placed the Scottish crown upon Charles's head. As soon as it was known that he was in London, he was seized, and committed to the Tower. This was upon the 8th of July; and upon the 14th orders came down to Major-General Morgan, commanding in Scotland, to secure Sir James Stuart, the provost of Edinburgh, Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, and Sir John Chiesly of Carswell. Stuart and Chiesly were got hold of; but Warriston fled, and a reward was offered for his apprehension. This was the beginning of sorrows. The Earl of Glencairn was now raised to the office of chan
1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 62.
cellor of the kingdom, and the government entrusted to the Committee of Estates nominated by the parliament of 1651, On the 23d of August the committee held its first meeting under the presidency of Glencairn. On the same day a number of ministers of the Remonstrant party, among whom was James Guthrie, met in a private house in Edinburgh, to draw up a supplication to be laid before the king, congratulating him upon his restoration, expressing their unfeigned loyalty, putting him in mind of his own and the nation's Covenant with the Lord, hinting that if it were broken curses would follow, begging him to banish popery, prelacy, and sectarianism from his own house and from the whole kingdom, and praying that his reign might be like that of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah. By an order from the Committee of Estates, all assembled were arrested, and sent prisoners to the Castle, 1
On the last day of August Sharp arrived from London, bringing with him a letter from the king. It was directed to Douglas, to be communicated to the Presbytery of Edinburgh. On the 3d September the presbytery met, and the king's letter was read. In this document Charles declared,
“We do resolve to protect and preserve the government of the Church of Scotland as it is settled by law, without violation, and to countenance in the due exercise of their functions all such ministers who shall behave themselves dutifully and peaceably, as becomes men of their calling. We will also take care that the authority and acts of the General Assembly at St Andrews and Dundee, 1651, be owned and stand in force until we shall call another General Assembly (which we purpose to do as soon as our affairs will permit); and we do intend to send for Mr Robert Douglas and some other ministers, that we may speak with them in what may further concern the affairs of the Church.” Nothing could have been more satisfactory than this letter. The Presbytery of Edinburgh accordingly ordered copies of it to be transmitted to all the presbyteries of the Church, as being of public concern, and appointed a committee to write the king expressing their thankfulness. They went furtherthey purchased a silver box in which they enshrined the precious document.2
1 Kirkton's History, p. 73. Burnet's History of his Own Times, vol. i. pp. 121, 122.
Kirkton, p. 75. Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 80, 81.