Page images
PDF
EPUB

IN 1660.

were moved by the One Eternal Spirit, excited to the utmost pitch of possible en-with low heart-wrung groans, and durance, the mighty multitude melted faces bathed in tears, they lifted up their quietly and peacefully away, each to his right hands to heaven, avowing, by this own abode, their souls filled with holy sublime appeal, that they had now"joined awe and spiritual elevation, by the power themselves to the Lord in an everlasting of the sacred pledge which they had muCOVENANT, that shall not be forgotten."* tually given to be faithful to their coun

try and their God. What but the Spirit of God could have thus moved an entire people to the formation of such a bond,

in which every worldly consideration CHAPTER VI.

was thrown aside, every personal interest

trampled under foot, every kind of peril FROM THE SUBSCRIBING OF THE COVENANT IN calmly confronted, solely for the main1638, TO THE RESTORATION OF CHARLES II.

tenance of religious truth, purity, and

freedom ? Worldly politicians might The Covenant Subscribed throughout the Kingdom well stand amazed; selfish and ambitious in the Highlands-The King resolves to enter into palled; and a despotic sovereign and his of both parties to the King=The Covenant Subscribed prelates might be confounded and apMarquis of Hamilton appointed Lord High Commis- flatterers might cherish fierce resentilton-Preparations for a Meeting of Assembly the ment, when they heard of the wonderful General Assembly of 1638 held at Glasgow-Struggles transaction : and men of similar views, of its most important Acts—Reflections_supplication characters, and feelings, may still pour to the King- His Resentment, Schemes of Revenge, forth their virulent invectives against rations of the Covenanters-Montrose at Aberdeen- Scotland's Covenant, and the men who The King resolves to invade Scotland. The Cave framed and signed it, obeying the divine King enters into a TreatyDefection of Montrose impulse by which they were guided and The King displeased with the Proceedings of the Assembly and Parliament--Prepares again for War- upheld; but we do not hesitate to state The Covenanters prepare also contentions in the our opinion, that the sublime deed of that ters enter England The Scottish Commissioners in derstand and value it

, be regarded as the Character Reflections-The Army of the Covenan. great day will ever, by all who can unTwo Kingdoms suggested-Repeated in the Assembly deed and the day of Scotland's greatest resolve to enter into Treaty with the English Parlia national and religious glory.

On the next day, the 1st of March, Contemporaneous Events in England and Scotland the Covenant was again publicly read -Montrose-Charles in the Army_of the cave in a large meeting of those who had nantersFaith-The

come too recently to the capital to have claimed King-Signs the Covenant--Cromwell in had leisure to take its main propositions Internal State of the Church-- Divisions-Resolution into sufficiently deliberate consideration.

Freely were its principles stated, that no Never, except among God's peculiar full nature of which he did not compre

man might bind himself to a measure the people the Jews, did any national transaction equal in moral and religious sub- hend; and yet so remarkable was the limity that which was displayed by Scot- unanimity of the meeting, that about land on the great day of her sacred Na- their names to the large number already

three hundred ministers at once added tional Covenant. Although it was com

subscribed. The Covenant was then puted that there could not be less than carried to the most public parts of the sixty thousand people from all parts of the kingdom assembled at that time in city, to afford an opportunity to people Edinburgh, there was not the slightest dwelling in the different districts of adEdinburgh, there was not the slightest ding to it their signatures ; and whereon the evening of that solemn day, after ever it appeared, it was hailed with joyhours of the deepest and most intense

ful welcome, as a bond of unity and a emotion, when every chord of the heart pledge of sacred peace. Great numbers and every faculty of the mind had been are said to have followed it from place to

place, imploring the blessing of God Relation, Row's History, Alton's Life of Henderson, &c. I upon it, with gushing tears and fervent

[graphic]

ment.-THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT-Reflections-The Westminster Assembly of Divines

ment-Divisions in Scotland-Death of Charles 1.---Loyalty of the Covenanters-Charles II. pro

ers and Protesters-Restoration of Charles II.

For a more full account see Baillie's Letters, Rothe's

*

16

supplications, that this return of their the signing of the Covenant. But these country to its ancient covenant union scenes of intemperate zeal or petty retaliwith God might be the means of averting ation were almost entirely the sudden the Divine indignation, and procuring ebullitions of passion among a few women deliverance from their calamities. Copies and boys, unattended by serious conseof it were soon afterwards written, and quences. Not an instance is recorded of sent to every part of the kingdom, that personal injury having been sustained by being universally signed, it might be by a prelatist, but one, and that to a very come indeed a National Covenant. It trifling extent. And when it is rememwas almost everywhere received with bered how long the country had groaned feelings of reverence and gratitude. No beneath the prelatic yoke,-how many compulsion was required to induce men of the most faithful ministers had been to subscribe a bond, the placing their banished from their attached congreganames on which they held to be at once tions--and how much injurious and opa high honour and a solemn duty; nor pressive treatment both ministers and would compulsion have been permitted, people had suffered from the Court of had it been required. “ The matter was High Commission, the chief cause of so holy,” says the Earl of Rothes, “ that wonder is, that so little of a vindictive they held it to be irreligious to use vio- spirit was displayed by the nation, when lent means for advancing so good a arising in its might, to shake off the gallwork." And in his answer to the Aber- ing domination of its proud oppressors. deen Doctors, Henderson says, that But this truly glorious blending of

some men of no small note offered strength and forbearance, of judgment their subscription, and were refused, till and mercy, was merely a new manifestatime should prove that they joined from tion of the Presbyterian spirit and princilove to the cause and not from the fear ples, first shown at the Reformation, of man."* Before the end of April there when Popery was overthrown, but the were few parishes in Scotland in which popish priesthood spared, -repeated in the Covenant had not been signed by this, the Second Reformation, when Prenearly all of competent age and charac- lacy was condemned, but the prelatic facter. "It deserves to be stated, in confir- tion rarely exposed to the slightest degree mation of the thoroughly religious of that retaliation which they had so character both of the Covenant itself, and wantonly provoked,-again to be re-exof the feelings regarding it or those by hibited in still more trying circumstances whom it was subscribed, that Baillie, by the truly Christian-minded PresbyteLivingstone, and every writer of thé rians, but never imitated by their antagoperiod of any respectability, agree in de- nists in their periods of triumph. The claring that the subscribing of the Cove- Presbyterian Church of Scotland has nant was everywhere regarded as a most often suffered persecution, but has never sacred act, and was accompanied in been guilty of committing that great many instances with remarkable mani- crime. festations of spiritual influence, and in all The prelates had always declared, with decided amendment in life and man. when urging forward their innovations,

It awed and hallowed the soul, that the greater part of the nation would imparted purity to the heart, and gave readily receive the Canons and Liturgy, an earnest and foretaste of peace,--that and that the opposition was that merely peace which the world can neither give of a very few, who might be safely nor take away,--peace of conscience and despised; but now, when the Covenant peace with God.

was received with such cordiality and We do not affect to conceal that some gratitude throughout the kingdom, they slight instances of popular violence took were overwhelmed with shame, consterplace in some parts of the country, where nation, and despair, mingled with bursts either the people had previously suffered of fury and passionate longings for reinjurious treatment from the prelates and venge. Spotswood, who better undertheir partizans, or where attempts were * Even the prelates, in their artiches of information, made by that party forcibly to prevent (Burnet's Memoirs of the Duke of Hamilton, p. 41.)

ners.

Answers to the Aberdeen Doctors, &c., p. 9.

Other authors mention about as many more, but not so well authenticated.

than a year.

stood the character of his countrymen regarded a civil war as a slight matter, than the younger prelates, exclaimed, provided they could recover that wealth “Now all that we have been doing these and power which they had so grievously thirty years past is thrown down at once;" abused. Unfortunately their pernicious and, yielding to despair, he fled to Lon-advice sunk deep into the mind of don, and remaining chiefly there in a Charles, impelling him to those measures state of gloomy dejection, survived the which involved the kingdom in the misruin of his pride and power little more eries of revolutionary strife, and issued

in the death of the beguiled and infatuThe privy council felt almost equally ated monarch. Well indeed may Preparalyzed. After a deliberation of four lacy canonize as a martyr the sovereign days at Stirling, during which they were who perished, the victim of its dark, receiving hourly intelligence of the rap- bloody, and fatal policy. idly-extending influence of the Covenant, The Earl of Haddington, to whom the they resolved to send to the king informa Covenanters had sent their deputation, tion of the state of affairs, suggesting the and with whom they maintained a secret necessity of listening to the remonstran- but very constant correspondence, was ces of the aggrieved nation, and giving aware of the advice which had been promise of redress, to the extent at least given to the king, and of the measures of refraining from the enforcement of the which were in contemplation. Orders Book of Canons and Liturgy, and miti- had been given to seize Livingstone the gating the despotic conduct of the High moment he arrived, and to throw him Commission. *About the same time, the into prison; but Haddington concealed Covenanters, as they began to be desig- him, presented the supplication of the nated, and as we may henceforth term Covenanters, which was, however, rethem, sent a deputation to London, to turned unopened; and sent the messengive his majesty a faithful representation ger back to Scotland, with private inforof the real state of public matters, and of mation of the secret designs of the court. the views and wishes of his oppressed The Covenanters lost no time in countersubjects. The prelates were already in acting the dangerous policy recommendLondon ; so that the representatives of all ed by the prelates. Deputations were parties in Scotland were at one time sent to those districts of the country where within the precincts of the court, afford- the Covenant had been but partially ing an opportunity to his majesty of ob- signed, and on the support of which the taining full and accurate information of prelates mainly relied for the ultimate the condition of the kingdom, had he triumph of their cause. These deputabeen disposed to seek it. But he had al- tions met with success beyond their most ready listened to the partial statements of sanguine hopes. In some of the seats of the prelates, and formed his determina- learning, as at St. Andrews and Glasgow, tion. They, anxious to extenuate their the ministers and professors subscribed own failure, had still represented the but partially ; but even in these towns, Covenanters as weak in station, influence, the magistrates, burgesses, and citizens and numbers, and, however violent in joined their countrymen almost univertheir procedure, forming but a small fac- sally. Even in the Highlands the Covtion in the kingdom. They had sug- enant was welcomed with perfectly amazgested that the north was steady to his ing cordiality. Clans that rarely met majesty's interest ; and that the south but in hostile strife, and, if they did so was so divided, that if the powerful fami- meet, never parted without exchanging lies of Hamilton, Douglas, Nithsdale, and blows, met like brothers, subscribed the some others, should raise their forces, bond of national union, and parted in and form a junction with Huntly and the peace and love. Nowhere was this unHighland chiefs, the Covenanters might wonted but most lovely sight more sig. be easily overpowered, and the whole nally displayed than at Inverness. There kingdom brought into complete subjec- the fierce feuds of ages melted and disaption to his commands.* Such were the peared beneath the warming and renewcounsels of the prelates, who seem to have ing power of that Divine influence which

so strongly and brightly shone around

Baillie, vol. i. pp. 70, 71.

he Covenant, as the snows melt from where the prelates had assured him it their native mountains, when the summer would be indignantly rejected. This rensun is high in the smiling heavens. dered the prelatic cry for war a more

Thus did her sacred Covenant first doubtful question ; especially as the Enmake Scotland truly a nation, melting glish nobility concurred in recommendand fusing into one united mass the het. ing peace, being better aware of the erogeneous and jarring elements which wide-sprtad discontent existing in that had previously lain partially compacted kingdom also, than was its blindly-obstitogether in space, but uncombined, and nate sovereign. mutually repelling and repelled. Then, Perceiving that he must. for the prestoo, was seen a portion of the good which ent abandon his warlike designs, the next God brings out of what man intends for care of the king was to engage the Covevil; for then was seen some of the fruits enanters in negociations, partly in the of the zealous and faithful labours, among hope of dividing them, and partly to gain these warm-hearted Highlanders, of the time till he might muster power enough pious ministers who had been from time forcibly to overwhelm them. He resolved, to time torn away from their own con- therefore, to appoint a commissioner to gregations, and banished to the remote treat with his Scottish subjects, to hear regions of the north, there in tears to sow their grievances, and, if he could not a seed which was now springing up in flatter and delude them into submission, gladness. James and the prelates had at least to lull them into security, or wear sent Bruce, and Dickson, and Ruther-them out by procrastination. The choice ford, and others, to Inverness, Aberdeen, of a person to undertake this difficult task and other Highland districts, as if to show was a matter of vital importance, as its the inhabitants what true religion was, success would greatly depend upon his and thus to prepare them for the Cove- ( skilful management. At last the Marnant, although they did not mean it so. quis of Hamilton was appointed lord high But such has often been the mysterious commissioner, and intrusted with the hazcourse of all-wise Providence, to pour ardous and disreputable enterprise of atcontempt upon the wicked desires of un- tempting to deceive or overawe a nation godly men, overruling their machination, famed for courage and sagacity, and now and causing them to promote the very doubly vigilant and thoroughly united. cause which they are seeking to destroy. Aware of the perilous nature of the task,

Meanwhile the king was busily en- Hamilton would willingly have declined gaged in concerting his schemes, and it; but the king would take no denial, for a time it seemed as if he were truly and he was obliged to prepare to meet it desirous to learn the real state of matters as he might. For this reason he strove before he should come to a final determi- to secure hirself against the possible nation. He sent orders to the Earl of consequences of the dark intrigues in Traquair, Roxburgh, and Lorn, to repair which he must be involved; and knowto London without delay; and he re- ing well the character of those who were quired from the most eminent Scottish urging the king to the adoption of hostile lawyers a legal opinion whether the con- measures, one of Hamilton's first steps duct of the Covenanters were not treason- was to secure the absence from the court able. Sir Thomas Hope, then Lord Ad- of all the Scottish courtiers, and espevocate, and two other distinguished law-cially of the prelates. After he had seen yers, gave their opinion, that there was them all sent off, he left London himself; nothing decidedly illegal in the proceed- but not thinking his protection yet suffiings of the Covenanters. Lord Lorn ciently secure, he delayed his journey at also spoke very strongly in defence of Berwick, and remained there till he had these injured and calumniated men; and procured from the king private instruclaid before his majesty a full account of tions, ample powers, and a secret pardon the actual state of the country. About for whatever he might say or do in the the same time the king received the un- matter, which might be represented by welcome intelligence, that the Covenant his enemies as contrary to the king's inhad been received with enthusiastic detentions. light, even in those parts of the country In that strange specimen of state diplo. macy, the real intentions of the king are unity of heart, mind, and effort, which revealed, and are enough to cause any was essential to their safety. man of common honesty to blush for On the 10th of May the king sent to shame. It states, that Hamilton was ex- the Scottish privy council intimation of pected, and even required, to enter into his commission to the Marquis of Hamil. the most intimate intercourse with the ton, requiring them all to meet his Grace Covenanters,--to pretend friendship and at Dalkeith on the 6th of June, to render compassion,-and to throw them off their him all due honour, and to support him guard and detect their schemes, that he in the discharge of his high trust

. The might the more easily circumvent and Covenanters, on their part, sent informaoverpower them.

"For which end," tion of the approaching negociations to says his majesty, “ you will be necessi- all their supporters, requiring them to tated to speak that language which, if come to Edinburgh in such numbers as you were called to account for by us, you should protect them from any meditated might suffer for it. These are therefore hostile attempt. And still placing their to assure you, and, if need be, hereafter trust in the Divine guidance and support, to testify to others, that whatsoever ye a general fast was appointed to be held shall

say to them to discover their inten- on the 3d of June, to humble-themselves tions, ye shall neither be called in ques. before God, and to supplicate his protection for the same, nor yet it prove in any tion. The fast was kept in the most solway prejudicial to you."* It may be emn and impressive manner, and had a hoped that a high-minded nobleman, powerful effect in preparing the kingdom such as Hamilton, would feel it indeed a for the approaching struggle, enabling degrading and irksome employment, them to keep their position on ground when thus required to act the part of a avowedly sacred. At the same time, the spy and a deceiver; and when courtly Covenanters, whose councils were still and prelatic historians assail the Cove guided by the Tables, resolved that they nanters in the language of vituperation would not attend the commissioner at and reproach, they may be reminded that Dalkeith, but would remain in a united the whole conduct of Charles was a body at Edinburgh, and by that means tissue of despotism and treachery, fatal avoid the danger of being divided by the to his character and ruinous to his cause. subtle insinuations of their crafty oppo

The Covenanters received warning of nents. Having received information that the secret intentions of the king, and of the king meant to subdue them by force, the real object of Hamilton's commission; they judged it expedient to prevent that but though thus aware of the treacherous force from being concentrated in the heart devices to be put in motion against them, of the country; and therefore placed a they resolved to act as became their sa- guard on the Castle of Edinburgh, that cred cause, and, whilst guarding against it might not receive any large supplies of deceit and guile, to make their own provisions and military stores. course one of truth and rectitude. For Hamilton at first refused to come to this reason they drew up and promulga- Edinburgh, which was completely in the ted two papers, of a public nature. The possession of the Covenanters; but after one was sent to the nobles at court, stating some concessions had been made, he conplainly the articles required for the peace sented to make the Palace of Holyrood of the Church and kingdom of Scotland, his residence. Accordingly it was conthat they might be aware what was de- certed that on the 19th of June the Marmanded, and be prepared to advise his quis of Hamilton should make his public majesty accordingly. The other con- entry into Edinburgh in state, as lord tained a general staiement of the plan of high commissioner from the king. The procedure which would require to be Covenanters prepared to give him a statefollowed in the approaching negociations ly reception. Both parties agreed that with the high commissioner ; and was he should approach" by Musselburgh sent through the kingdom, to prevent di- along the level sea-line--i. circuitous vision of sentiment, and to secure that route, but one peculiarly adapted for dis

play. All the nobles who had signed

Hardwicke's State Papers, vol. ii. p.

141.

« EelmineJätka »