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was unfit for a gentleman, and improper to be BOOK continued, that obsequious politician urged, with an insidious violence, the innovation which he could no longer prevent; and thus the intolerant
arendon, the corrupt ambition of some statesmen, and the servile pliancy and adu. lation of others, betrayed the king into the most pernicious measures of the two preceding reigns.18 The suffragan bishops were recommended by And conse
• Cration of Sharp, on whoni the metropolitan see of St. An- prelates. drews was bestowed. But as Sydserf alone, of the former prelates, survived at the restoration, it was necessary to resort again to the English church, for that apostolical succession which a single bishop is unable to confer. Had the restoration been de. layed for a few years, the English church might have expired herself with her aged prelates; and the nation, reduced to a dire dilemma, must have acknowledged the presbyterial ordination to the priesthood as valid, or have solicited a new conse, cration from the Romish fane. But her danger did not inspire moderation. At the consecration of Spotiswood, the subordinate orders of priesthood had been conferred or supplied by the epis. copal character ; but Sharp and Leighton were required, before they were consecrated, to submit to episcopal ordination, as deacons and priests. The ordination of Fairfoul and Hamilton was
18 Wodrow, i. 96. Burnet, i. 187.
BOOK strictly canonical, and the four bishops were disa w missed, when duly consecrated, to propagate the
apostolical order in Scotland. They were received and conducted to the capital, by the chancellor and nobility in solemn procession. No mark of external respect or pomp was omitted, to impress the people with veneration and esteem. When the parliament was resumed, they were invited by a deputation from each estate, and introduced in triumph to their ancient seats. But their reve. nues were inadequate to their rank; and their characters were unequal to the stations to which they were unexpectedly preferred. Leighton, the most learned and respectable of their number, united the most devout and ascetic virtues, with an indulgent charity and extensive toleration, But the rest were remiss in the discharge of their functions, and were distinguished rather by, zeal than sanctity; the violence of Sharp was no longer disguised; and they were destitute of that moderation and of those talents which were necessary to
recall and conciliate a disaffected church.19 Episcopal The second session of parliament commenced ment, with the government of the church, the regulaMay 8th.
tion of whose external polity, according to the established laws and advice of bishops, was transferred to the king, The authority of presbyteries,
19 Burnet, i. 191. 200-5. 101-14, 15,
Baillie, ii. 1:60.
and of provincial and general assemblies, was an- BOOK
VII. nulled. The prelates, released from every restraint but the advice of ministers whose prudence or loy. alty they might choose to consult, were restored to the plenitude of their former privileges, and to the supreme and exclusive jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs. The covenants were repealed and ab- established jured as unlawful oaths; and whatever might tend ment. to excite a dislike to the prerogative, supremacy, or episcopal government, was punished as sedition. The rights of patronage were revived. The clergy who had been admitted since its abrogation, were deprived of all title to their livings; and were re. quired, within four months, to procure a presentation from their patrons, and collation from the bishops; to acknowledge their authority, and to attend their visitations and diocesan synods. The prelates introduced by James, had assumed nothing more than precedence,-a share in ordination, and a negative voice in the assemblies of the church. The clergy continued to meet in presbyteries, and as there was no remedy, they had submitted to an usurpation which might innovate, without annul. ling the constitution or authority of their ecclesiastical courts. While they sat with their bishops, upon different principles, in the same tribunals, their opposition was confined within their own walls; or was suffered to evaporate in idle protestations, and, amidst all the vicissitudes of government, the unity of the church was at least pre
BOOK served. But in these acts, from the violent and s precipitate ambition of Sharp, the foundations of
episcopal government were inverted, and the whole power was transferred to the prelates. When the presbyteries and other judicatures were first interrupted, and then held as diocesan 'assemblies, the old and rigid presbyterians refused to sit or assist as the bishops officials, and prepared to secede. They protested that it was hard indeed to submit to his authority, but that it was impossible, without violence to their conscience, to acknowledge the exorbitance of his episcopal power. Men of the former episcopal persuasion, were dissatisfied at the exemption of the bishops from ecclesiastical control; and an imperious system of eccle. siastical polity, to which the nation, that could be reconciled only by lenient measures, must have
been hostile, was universally disapproved.20 Act of When episcopal government was thus establishDudeninity'.
ed, an act of indemnity and oblivion was no longer deferred; if indeed an act, more oppressive than indulgent, can deserve that name. An unconditional indemnity was recommended by Lauderdalc, as the sufferings of the nation, ever since the engagement, and its services in promoting the restoration, were entitled to the same indulgence and grace with England. Unhappily, Middleton's r presentations prevailed at court, that the royalists
2. Wodrow. Burnet, i. 203.
were impoverished or ruined by their adherence BOOK to the crown, whose revenues were anticipated, or were insufficient for their relief; and that no means remained to reimburse their losses, unless their enemies were equitably amerced for rebellion. Some unavailing limitations were enjoined, that no fines should be imposed beyond their annual revenues, or for offences committed previous to the parliament at Stirling; and an additional exception from the indemnity was unwarily admitted, on Middleton's assurances that the parliament was desirous to incapacitate a few obnoxious de linquents from public trust. The indemnity was no sooner introduced into parliament, than a committee was appointed to determine the number of offenders, and the amount of their fines; but the Fines. members were sworn to secrecy, not to a faithful discharge of their trust; and it soon appeared that they were actuated by the 'worst passions of avarice and revenge. Their ears were open to accusations alone. In the promiscuous choice of of. fenders, no.proof of innocence was admitted ; no inquiry nor intimation was made concerning their guilt ; no computation was even taken of their estates; but their names, as soon as they were accused, were inserted in an arbitrary list of fines. The most obnoxious offenders compounded in secret. Of such as were innocent or ignorant of their offences, nine hundred were reported to parliament, whose fines amounted to eighty-five thou