Page images

a Committee of the Articles for religion, also the act containing the Coronation Oath, which, by the custom of all Scots parlia- appointed by several standing acts of parliaments, and his majesty's instructions to his ment, to be taken by all our kings, and commissioner, at this time, was the first regents, before their entry to the exercise of thing treated of; in this committee there the government. was an act prepared for securing the Protes- “ This act was drawn somewhat less binding tant religion; which act did ratify the act upon the successor, as to his own profession, approving the Confession of Faith, and

but full as strictly tying bim to maintain the when men are to be undone if they do not sub- fied with that which he proposed : So being mit to a hard law, they willingly catch at any called on the next day at the council table to thing that seems to resolve their doubts. take the test, he said, he did not think that the

“ About eighty of the most learned and pious parliament did intend an oath that should have of their clergy left all rather than comply with any contradictions in one part of it to another ; the terms of this law : And these were noted to therefore he took the test, as it was consistent be the best preachers, and the most zealous with itself: (This related to the absolute loyal. enemies to Popery, that belonged to that ty in the test, and the limitations that were on church. The bishops, whọ thought their re- it in the confession:) And he added, that he fusing the test was a reproach to those who did not intend to bind himself up by it from took it, treated them with much contempt, and doing any thing in his station for the amending put them to many hardships. Ahout twenty of of any thing in church or state, so far as was them came up to England: I found them men of consistent with the Protestant religion and the excellent tempers, pious and learned, and duty of a good subject: And he took that as a I esteemed it no small happiness that I had then part of his oath. The thing past, and he sát so much credit by the ill opinion they had of that day in council; and went next day to the me at court, that by this means I got most of treasury chamber, where he repeated the samne them to be well settled in England; where they words. Some officious people upon this came, have behaved themselves so worthily, that I and suggested to the duke, that great advanhave great reason to rejoice in being made an take might be taken against him from these instrument to get so many good men, who suf- words. So at the treasury chamber he was fered for their consciences, to be again well desired to write them down, and give them to employed, and well provided for. Most of them the clerk, which he did, and was immediately were formed by Charteris, who had been al- made a prisoner in the castle of Edinburyte ways a great enemy to the imposing of books upon it." It was said, this was high treason

, and systems as tests that must be signed and and the assuming to himself the legislative sworn by such as are admitted to serve in the power, in his giving a sense of an act of parlischurch. He had been for some years divinity ment, and making that a part of his oath. professor at Edinburgh, where he had formed It was also said that his saying, that he did not the minds of many of the young clergy both think the parliament intended ap oath that did to an excellent temper and to a set of very good contradict itself, was a tacit way of saying that principles. He upon this retired, and lived he did think it, and was a defaming and a spreadprivate for some years : He writ to me, and ing lies of the proceedings of parliament, gave me an account of this breach, that was which was capital. The liberty that he relike to be in the church; and desired, that I served to himself was likewise called treason would try by all the methods I could think of able, in assuming a power to act against law : to stop the proceedings upon the test. But the These were such apparent stretches, that for king had put the affairs of Scotland so entirely some days it was believed all this was done only in the duke's bands, and the bishops here were to affright him to a more absolute submission, so pleased with those clauses in the test that and to surrender up some of those great jurisrenounced the covenant and all endeavours for dictions over the Highlands that were in bis any alteration in church and state, that I saw it family. He desired he might be admitted ty was in vain to make any attempt at court. speak with the duke in private: But that was

“ Upon this matter an incident of great im- refused. He had let bis old correspondence portance happened: The earl of Argyle was a with me fall for some years: But I thought it privy counsellor, and one of the commissioners became me in this extremity to serve him all of the treasury: So when the time limited was I could. And I prevailed with lord Halifax to Dear lapsing he was forced to declare bimself speak so oft to the king about it, that it came to He bad once resolved to retire from all em- be known: And lord Argyle writ me some letployments, but his engagements with duke ters of thanks upon it. "Duke Lauderdale was Lauderdale's party, and the entanglements of still in a firm friendship with him, and tried bit bis own affairs, overcame that. His main ob- whole strength with the king to preserve him jection lay to that part which obliged them to But he was sinking both in body and mind, amt endeavour no alteration in the

government in was like to be cast off in his old age. Upon church or state, which he thought was a limi- which I also prevailed with lord Halifax to offer tation of the legislature. He desired leave to him his service, for which duke Lauderdale explain himself in that point : And he conti- sent me very kind messages. I thought these vuod always to affirm, that the duke was satis- were the only returns that I ought to make

Protestant religion, in the public profession than an exclusion, and all being content to thereof, and to put the laws concerning it put no limitation on the crown, so it might in execution, and also appointing a further consist with the safety, and security of the test, beside the former, to exclude papists Protestant religion, it was ordained, that all from places of public trust ; and because the such fines, and fortaultures should apperfines of such as should act, without taking tain the one half to the informers, and the the test, appeared no better then discharged, other half should be bestowed on pious uses, if falling in the hands of a Popish successor, according to certain rules expressed in the and some accounting any limitation worse


him for all the injuries he had done me, thus to nour, that he heard one who was in great serve him and his friends in distress. But the favour say to the duke, The thing must be duke of York took this, as he did every thing done, and that it would be easier to satisfy from me, by the worst handle possible. He the king about it after it was done, thian to'ob. said, I would reconcile myself to the greatest tain his leave for doing it. It is certain, many enemies I had in opposition to him. Upon this of the Scottish nobility did believe that it was it was not thought fit upon many accounts that intended he should die. I should go and see duke Lauderdale, which I “. Upon these reasons lord Argyle made bis had intended to do. It was well known I escape out of the Castle in a disguise. Others had done him acts of friendship : So the suspected those stories were sent to him on purscandal of being in enmity with him was pose to frighten' him to make bis escape; as orer: For a Christian is no man's enemy: that which would justify further severities And he will always study to overcome evil with against him. He came to London, and lurked good.

for some months there. It was thought I was “Lord Argyle was brought to a trial for the in his secret. But though I knew one that words he had spoke. The fact was certain : knew it, and saw many papers that he then So the debate lay in a point of law, what guilt writ, giving an account of all that matter, yet could be made out of his words. Lockhart 1 abhorred lying: and it was not easy to have pleaded three hours for him, and shewed so kept out of the danger of that, if I had seen him, manifestly that his words had no sort of or known where he was': so I avoided it by not criininousness, much less of treason in them, seeing him. One that saw him knew him, and that, if his cause had not been judged before went, and told the king of it: but he would his trial, no harm could have come to him. lave no search made for him, and retained The court that was to judge the point of law still very good thoughts of him. In one or the relevancy of the libel as it is called in of lord Argyle's papers he writ, that, if Scotland) consisted of a justice general, the ever he was admitted to speak with the justice clerk, and of five judges. The justice king, he could convince him how much he general does not yote, unless the court ismerited at his hands by that which had drawn equally divided. One of the judges was deat, the Duke's indignatiori on him. He that shewed and so old that he could not sit all the while the me this explained it, that at the duke's first bé. trial lasted, but went home and to bed. The in Scotland, when he apprehended that the other four were equally divided : So the old king might have consented to the exclusion; he judge was sent for: And he turned it against tried to engage lord Argyle to stick to him in lord Argyle. The jury was only to find the that case ; who told him, he would always he fact proved: But yet they were officious, and true to the king, and likewise to him when it found it treason: and to make a shew of im- should come to his turn to be king, but that he partiality, whereas in the libel he was charged would go no farther, nor engage himself in with perjury for taking the oath falsly, they ac- case the king and he should quarrel. quitted him of the perjury. No sentence in our “ I had lived many years in great friendage was more universally cried out on than this. ship with the earl of Perth: I lived with him All people spoke of it, and of the dake who as a father with a son for above twelve years : drove it on, with horror : All that was said to and he had really the submissions of'a child to lessen that was, that duke Lauderdale had re- me. So, he having been on lors Argyle's jury, stored the family with such an extended juris- I writ him a letter about it with the freedom diction that he was really the master of all the that I thought became me: he, to merit at the highlands: So that it was fit to attaint him, that duke's hands, shewed it to him, as he himself by a new restoring him these grants might be confessed to me. I could very easily forgive better limited. This, as the duke wrote to the him, but could not esteem him much after so king, was all he intended by it, as lord Halifax, unworthy an action. He was then aspiring to assured me. But lord Argyle was made be-' great preferment, and so sacrificed me to obliexe, that the duke intended to proceed to exe- tain favour : but he made greater sacrifices atcution. Some more of the guards were ordered terwards. The duke now seemed to triumph i to come to Edinburgh. Rooms were also fitted Scotland. All stooped to him. The presbyfor him in the common jail , to which peers use terian party was much depressed. The

best of tion. And a person of quality, whom lord Ar- this, he was now more hated there than ever. gyle never nathed, affirmed to him on bis ho- Lord Argyle's business made him be looked ou



[ocr errors]

“ But this act, being no wise pleasing to some, made for the security of the Protestant reli

it was laid aside, and the committee dis- gion, which is the first of the printed acts of charged any more to meet, and instead of this parliament. this act, there was brought in to the parlia-“ At the passing of this act, the earl proposed ment, at the same time,

with the act of suc- that these words, “And all acts against Po. cession, a short act ratifying all former acts pery,' might be added, which was opposed as one that would prove a terrible master oppose whatsoever was adverse to religion, his when all should come into bis hands.” 1 Bur- words were observed to produce a deep and innet, 515.

delible impression upon James. But the Laing's Account is very valuable for the re

opposition to the test was ineffectual, nor was a fections interwoven in it:

delay admitted for a single night. As it was

difficult to ascertain, or to define with accuracy “ The act of succession had passed, on the what was the precise standard of the protestant promise of the two brothers to grant every se- religion, Dalrymple, the president, suggesteri curity for the protestant faith which the parlia- as the rule of faith, the earliest confession of ment should require ; but the performance of the first reformers, framed to expose the errors this public and solemn assurance does no credit of popery, and to justify their resistance to the to the sincerity of James. When demanded so queen regent; and ratified by the first parlialoudly that it could no longer be withheld, the inent of James 6. when Mary was compelled to security of the protestant religion was insidi- resign her crown. It was artfully proposed as ously converted into a test of passive obedi- irreconcileable to the test, and had been disused ence, for the security of the throne. A decla- so longto make way for the Westminster confes

. ration from persons in office, of their adherence sion, that the contents of it were unknown to to the protestant religion, was at first proposed. the illiterate prelates ; and were adopted withThe court party subjoined a recognition of the out being understood or even read. The test supremacy, a disavowal of the covenant, and was accordingly framed, and approved by a an obligation never to assemble in order to de- majority of seven votes. It appeared when liberate on civil or ecclesiastical affairs, with examined, to be a mass of the most absurd conout the king's permission ; 'never to rise in arms tradictions A long inconsistent oath was prewithout his authority, nor otherwise to endea- scribed, to adhere according to this obsolete vour an alteration of government in church or confession, to the protestant faith, yet by the state. The oath was to be received under the recognition of supremacy, to conform to what. penalty of confiscation, and to be sworn accord- soever religion the king might appoint ; to ing to its literal acceptation, by all persons in maintain the former presbyterian discipline, yet civil, military, or ecclesiastical offices ; the to attempt no alteration in the present episcopal king's legitimate brothers or sons excepted : form of the church ; to abjure the doctrines

, and as the test was meant to incapacitate the and to renounce the right of resistance, but a presbyterians, it was extended to the whole the same time, as a religious duty incumbent body of electors, and members elected to serve by the confession upon good subjects, to rein parliament. (Fountainhall's Memoirs, MS. press the tyranny and to resist the oppression Burnet, ii. 329.]

of kings. No sincere presbyterian could sub“ Such a violent invasion of their privileges scribe the oath. None of the episcopal persuisexcited fierce debates. The presbyterians would sion could assent conscientiously to the confes. have dispensed with the security of religion, to sion of faith. A papist could accept of neither avoid a test which the duke urged as a political But when both were conjoined, and when every engine, and which the bishops regarded as a sa- explication different from the literal sense was lutary expedient for the preservation of their disavowed, it was impossible, without perjury, order, against the danger to be apprehended either to receive the test or to reconcile the from a presbyterian parliament. Lord Belha- contradictory terms in which it was framed. ven observed that, however secure from the [Burnet, 331. Fountainhall's Mem. MS. Dec. effects of innovations which themselves might i. 149. Wodrow, ü. 195. Argyle's Case, p. 3. attempt, they had no provision to preserve their written by sir James Stewart. ] religion against a popish or fanatical successor ; “ The parliament concluded with little credit bat the words were no sooner uttered than he to the reputation of James. Whatever were was sent to the Castle. Argyle, with more his moral or his private qualities, it was obmoderation, deplored the frequency of religi- served that he inherited all the obstinacy, and ous oaths, but opposed the exemption of the the same species of political insincerity, which royal family, as a permission, if not an en- his father possessed ; but, in the management couragement, for men to depart from the na- of parliament, discovered little capacity for tional church. If an exemption were to be the nice conduct of public affairs.' [Founmade, he proposed that it should be expressly tainhall's Dec. 1. 1571 To evade the preconfined to the duke ; but when the latter rose mise of an additional security for the proto resist the motion, Argyle declared in conclu- testant faith, he deceived and endeavoured to sion, that the exception was pernicious to the entangle the presbyterians in an ensnaring test. protestant faith, and notwithstanding a previous From his own violence, he was over-reached by intimation which he had given, that he would Dalrymple, and the oath intended to esclude

by the advocate, and some of the clergy, as several members desiring other additions, unnecessary, but the motion being seconded and other acts, a promise was made by his by sir George Lockhart, and the then presi- royal highness, in open parliament, that dent of the session, now turned out, it was time, and opportunity, should be given, to yielded to, and added without a vote, and bring in any other act, which should be

this act being still not thought sufficient, and thought necessary for further securing the the presbyterians, was rendered adverse and dictions, and a part of lus estates. Eight adequally irreconcileable to every religious per- vocates, who signed an opinion that the explasuasion and sect. A test contradicted through- nation was legal, were severely threatened; the out by the confession of faith, was expected to assistance of Lockhart was thrice prohibited, be abandoned; but the court party was inured and was only granted from an apprehension to political oaths. The duke was determined that Argyle, if deprived of the benefit of counnot to forego the political advantages of a test sel, might refuse to plead. The iniquity of the from which he was relieved himself ; a strange whole trial is manifest; but it is proper, and example of the nature of persecution, and of often profitable in bistory, to investigate the bis character, in exacting from the presbyte- minute particulars, and to record the infamy of rians an acknowledgment of the ecclesiastical each judge, as a warning to others, and as a supremacy of the crown, wbich his own re- wholesome example to future times. When ligion disavowed, and did not permit him to Argyle was arraigned at the bar of the justisubscribe. The established clergy were the ciary court, his explanation of the test was per: first to dissent.

verted throughout. That the parliament never “The earl of Argyle, when required by the meant to impose contradictory oaths, was conduke to subscribe the test, was admonished pri- verted by Mackenzie, the king's advocate, into vately, by the bishop of Edinburgh, not to a tacit, defamatory implication, that such conruin an ancient family, nor to auginent the re- tradictory oaths were actually imposed by parsentment which his opposition had kindled. In | liament: That he took the oath as far as it was the late parliament an attempt had been made, consistent with itself and with the Protestant with the duke's concurrence, to divest him of religion, implied, maliciously, that it was conhis family jurisdictions and estate. A special sistent with neither : That he was not thereby commission was proposed, instead of the ordi- precluded from such alterations as he thought nary judicatures, in order to examine, or rather advantageous to the church or state, released to resume the gift of his father's forfeiture; he from every obligation contained in the test: was refused access to the king for protection ; And that he understood this to be a part of his he was displaced with Dalrymple from the oath, transferred the legislative power of the court of session ; and no doubt can remain of estates to himself. By means of such miserathe duke's intention to ruin a potent nobleman, ble comments, leasing-making, perjury, and whose implicit and unreserved support he de- treason were deduced from a perversion of the spaired to obtain. Argyle, aware of the danger, most innocent words. The pleadings are exwould have resigned his employments; but tant, and the arguments of Lockhart reflect on obtaining the duke's approbation, he ac- dishonour on the public accuser and infamy on cepted the test as a privy counsellor, with the court. He demonstrated to the secret conan explanation. His explanation was gra- viction of the judges themselves, that the exciously received. He resumed his seat on the planation, far from amounting to treason, was duke's invitation, but declined to vote on the not even criminal ; and that the particular exgeneral explanation which the council pro- pressions were of the most innocent import, nounced that day upon the test. Next day, necessary to disburden the conscience from per he was required in council to renew the oath, jury, and strictly legal. But the question had as a commissioner of treasury, and when he been already prejudged in council. The court referred to his former explanation, it was cla- was adjourned; but the judges continued sitmorously demanded. Alarmed at this eager ting till midnight, to determine on the releimportunity, be acknowledged, but refused to vancy of the libel, whether in point of law the subscribe the explanation, and was immediately explanation of the test was sutticient to constidisplaced from the council board. A few days tute those crimes which the indictment conafterwards he was enjoined to enter prisoner în tained. Collington, an old cavalier, and Har. the castle, and was accused of leasing-making, carse, a just and learned judge, prolonged the perjury and treason ; of depraving the laws, and deliberations on the indictment, and opposed assuming the legislative powers of the state. its relevancy, which was supported by Newton [Wodrow, 3. 7. &c. Burnet, 2. 335.] and Forret, the former instruments of Lauder

“No man could believe, that the ministerial dale's corruption. Queensberry, who presided cabal was so bold and Aagitious, or that the as justice general, had himself received the duke was of such a ductile or tyrannical dispo- test with an explanation ; and in this delicate sition, as to persist in a judicial trial, in order to situation, when the judges were equally divideprive Argyle of his honours, his estate, and ded on the question, his private conviction was life. Nothing farther was apprehended at first sufficiently attested by his refusal to give a dethan a design to extort, by menaces, a more cisive vote, or forfeit the preferment and faample submission : the surrender of his juris-vour of court by the acquittal of Argyle. To

Protestant religion : but though several for the test was still obtruded, and nothing persons, both before and after passing the of that nature suffered to be heard, after act for the test (here subjoined) did give in once that act past, though even at passing it memorials, and overtures, yet they were the promise was renewed. never suffered to be read, either in articles, “ As for the test, it was first brought into the

or parliament, but in place of all, this act parliament without mentioning the Cogrelieve him from this disgraceful dilemma, creatures implied that his execution was Nairn, a superannuated judge, whose attend- necessary, and that it would be easier to ance had been long dispensed with, was roused satisfy the king when the deed was done, from his bed at midnight; and the proceed- than to procure his previous consent. Whether ings were read over, as he had not heard the these insinuations were employed to intimidade debate ; but he dropped asleep till awakened Argyle, he escaped that evening in the train of for his vote. The interlocutor was pronounced his daughter in law, the lady Sophia Lindsay, next day, in the strict forms of unsubstantial disguised as her page. Sentence of attainder justice: Unconscious of this midnight divan, was immediately pronounced. His honours, Argyle and bis counsel were overwhelmed with estate and life, were forfeited in his absence ; surprise and despair. They declined any chal- his arms were reversed and torn ; his postelenge of the jurors, or examination of the wit- rity was incapacitated ; and a large reward ofnesses ; or disdained to renew an unavailing de- fered for bis head. Notwithstanding a general fence. The jury asserted their full share of in- alarm, and a vigilant pursuit, be was conducted famy, in this iniquitous transaction. Montrose, to London, by Veitch a clergyman, through the chancellor or foreman, dishonoured the re- uofrequented roads; and Charles, who posputation derived from his grandfather, in order sessed not the common justice to pardon and relo avenge his death ; and of eleven peers and store him, had the generosity not to enquire affour commoners, seven were privy-counsellors, ter the place of his retreat. [Argyle's Case, personal enemies, deeply engaged in the prose- 121. 1 Burnet. Wodrow, ii. 213; Fount. Dee. cution of Argyle. From a gross affectation of i. 167.] impartiality, they acquitted him of perjury in - Never was a sentence productive of more receiving the oath in a false acceptation, but execration and horror ; never, perhaps, was a found by an unanimous verdict, that he was sentence more flagitiously obtained, than the guilty of treason and leasing making to their attainder of Argyle. Even the episcopal party, full extent. [Burnet. Argyle's Case, i. 5. whom James had attached to his person and in8. 88.]

terest, were indignant at the shameless prosti“ It is in vain for apologetical bistorians to tution of justice, and the depravity of the prime pretend, and in vain for James to assert in his nobility, who had descended to the basest ofViemoirs, that nothing more was intended than fices, in order to accomplish the ruin of an abto wrest some dangerous jurisdictions out of the cient house. But the presbyterians were struck hands of Argyle. A man, who has perverted with consternation and despair. The most obthe course of justice, in order to acquire an un- noxious of such as had opposed the test, and due power over another's lite, has no claim to among these the earl of Loudon, Dalrymple the credit for the motives which it may be conve- late president, Stewart an advocate, Fletcher of nient to assert when his victim has escaped. Salton, retired to the continent. The duke of Argyle had already offered to surrender those Hamilton, and the proprietors of twenty sheriffjurisdictions, unconditionally, to the king. ships, or extensive regalities, rather than receive The design was to ruin the head of the presby- a test so pernicious to Argyle, suffered their terian party, and to divide the estates among hereditary jurisdictions to lapse and revert to the duke's friends, Whatever were their ori- the crown." [Wudrow, ii. 225.] From the ginal designs against his life, his execution, if borror and antipathy which the sentence inspisentence were once pronouncel, was a single red, the presbyterians became ever afterwards additional step which their safety might re- irreconcileable to James. He allowed them, quire, and which the duke's authority was suf- they said, to continue protestants, but if they ficient to sustain. When convicted formerly of once ventured to assert their faith, not the most the same fictitious crimes, he was preserved by uniform nor meritorious services could atone Lauderdale, whose intiuence had now declined, for a single act of opposition or of zeal. [Fount. and he discovered that no favour was to be ex- Mem. NS.] Their fears were coinmunicated pected at court. On the return of his messen- to those who had urged his exclusion with such ger, he was informed of the king's instructions, violence in England, and whom the dissolution ibat the sentence should be pronounced and of the last parliament of Charles had left

unpro. the execution suspended ; but every circum- tected ; and Argyle's Case, which was printed stance seemed to announce that his death was in London, produced a deep impression on the resolved. The military were ordered to town, public mind. From the coincidence of the two and his guards were doubled : apartments were events, his attainder, at the duke's instigation, provided for his reception in the public gaol, to was compared with the acquittal of Shaftesbury; which peers were usually removed from the against whom it appeared that the king bunself castle before execution ; and the dark and am- had condescended to solicit evidence, if not to biguous expressions of the duke and his practise the arts of subornation, (Ralphs

, 1,632.]

« PreviousContinue »