صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the former of these two bodies passed resolutions to admit into the royal army all who were willing to serve, without regard to church politics; while the latter remonstrated against what they deemed a sinful compromise with "malignants," and wished to exclude all who would not sign the solemn league and covenant. These last were chiefly confined to the south-west of Scotland, and afterwards carried matters with so high a hand that they took up arms in order to compel the universal observance of their covenant. They were, to a considerable extent, patronized by Cromwell, who yet restrained the violence of both parties. Rutherford was the only remonstrant" in the presbytery of St. Andrews. Blair acted a neutral part. Colville and Wood, professors of St. Mary's, sided with the "resolutioners." To such a length did Colville and Rutherford carry their personal animosity on this point, that it was found necessary to remove the former to St. Salvator's College, of which he was made principal. The latter declared on his death-bed that St. Mary's College had broken his heart.1

[ocr errors]

In September this year was fought the battle of Dunbar, which gave Cromwell the undisputed sovereignty of Scotland; a country which had been inaccessible to the Romans in the plenitude of their power, and had successfully resisted the whole force of England for many centuries, was now completely conquered by a small ariny of independents, antinomians, and anabaptists! to so low a state had puritanical democracy reduced the inhabitants. About 10,000 of the Scots covenanters were taken prisoners on this occasion, and were put on so short an allowance of food by their sectarian conquerors, that a public subscription was raised throughout Scotland for their relief. They were finally sent to work as slaves in our transatlantic possessions. It is remarkable, that while every little piece of supposed tyranny on the part of the royal family of the Stuarts is magnified and reiterated, the real tyranny of Cromwell is scarcely ever mentioned by our covenanting writers. To what can this be owing?

1651. In July this year the general assembly met at St. Andrews, at which the earl of Balcarras was the king's commissioner. The famous Andrew Cant preached in the forenoon, and the no less famous Robert Douglas in the afternoon; but in consequence of Cromwell being then in Fife, they removed to Dundee. The same year the conqueror compelled the different presbyteries in Fife to pay cess to the English garrison at Perth, to the amount of "21 shillings in the £100 of rental, weekly."

1652. A deputation of officers from the English army held a visitation of the university of St. Andrews. They inspected the books and statutes, made various new regulations, and ordered that no vacancies in the professorships should be filled up without their approbation. The commands of Cromwell were quietly submitted to, while those of their lawful king had been resisted unto blood!

This summer Colonel Bryan (an Englishman), and Mr. W. Bruce, commissary of St. Andrews, were appointed by the English authorities to be judges for the county of Fife."They sat ordinarily in the old

1 Blair was deposed for non-conformity after the Restoration, and retired to Aberdour, where he died in 1666. Wood was also deprived for the same reason. Colville conformed, and was made principal of St. Mary's. 2 Lamont's Diary in loco.

college church, the place where the constree (consistory) did sit formerly. A number of debates did come in before them."

[ocr errors]

The sectarian soldiers often attended the presbyterian kirks, and seated themselves on the stool of repentance out of mockery. Sometimes they interrupted the minister in the middle of his sermon or prayers, challenging him to dispute with them publicly on some controverted doctrine; and if the minister proved refractory, they quartered six or eight soldiers upon him. Retribution is sure, sooner or later, to follow those who have set an example of disobedience and injustice. How could men who had obtained their power by agitation and rebellion be surprised that others should use the same weapons against themselves?

1653. Two English officers forced themselves into a provincial assembly held here, who, on being asked what they wanted, answered that they attended to see that nothing was done prejudicial to the interests of the commonwealth.

1654. A party of English cavalry were at St. Andrews searching for horses, where they got about twenty. They took with them as prisoners, Lord Melvin and Sir John Carstairs, of Kilconquhar, on the plea that they had been supporting a party in the north which had risen in favour of the king. A few months after, the royalist party made a descent into the low country, and carried off a few more horses from St. Andrews.2

1655. Under this year we have to notice the following correspondence: "To the right honourable General Monk, commander-in-chiefe of the forces in Scotland, the petition of the provost, bailies, and remanent counsell of the city of St. Andrews, for themselves, and in name and behalf of the remanent inhabitants thereof, humbly showeth,

"That foresaid cittie (by reason of the total decay of shipping and sea trade, and of the removal of the most eminent inhabitants thereof to live in the country, in respect they conceive themselves to be overburthened with assessments and quarterings) was accustomed to pay forty-three pounds sterling of assessment monthly, a sum which the petitioners are not able to pay; nevertheless Mr. Glover, collector of the shyre of Fife, doth demand of the petitioners seven pounds more monthly, since the first of November last, a burthen which the petitioners are not able to undergo, unless they disable themselves altogether of their livelihood and subsistence, which calls to your honour for redress, considering their fall will occasion detriment to the commonwealth: and therefore it is humbly petitioned that your honour may be pleased to take the premises into consideration, and redress the samyne, by discharging of the foresaid collector to exact any more from the petitioners since the foresaid first of November last, but only their accustomed assessment of fortythree pounds sterling monthly; and likewise that it may please your honour in respect of the petitioners their debility, to give them such an ease of their assessment for the future as your honour shall conceive fit, and their low condition calls for."

1 Lamont's Diary in loco.

(Signed) &c.

2 Lamont's Diary. Lords Kenmure, Glencairn, Balcarras, and others, were at this time organizing an insurrection in favour of the king. They had at one time 5000 men under them, most of whom were mounted. But partly from jealousy of each other, and partly from the vigilance of Monk, their efforts ended in nothing.

The general's laconic answer follows:

"Dalkeith, 9th July, 1655. "In regard the warrants are issued forth for the months past, I cannot alter the samyn for the time past, onlie there is three pounds abated for Julie and August; but before Julie next the collectors must receive according to their warrants.


"George Monk."

These letters show the severe military despotism under which Scotland groaned at this period, and how little she had gained by rebellion against her lawful sovereign. Baillie too, in his letters, gives a very gloomy view of Scotland during this period, both in regard to the state, which was oppressed by military exactions, and the kirk, which was still more oppressed by the remonstrant ministers, in conjunction with the English sectaries. Yet the latter did some good service; and, among other things, they put a stop to the inhuman practice of burning witches, which had become very prevalent during the reign of the covenant. There is too much reason to apprehend that the "Witch Lake" and the "Witchhill" in St. Andrews, derive their names from their having been used as places of punishment for these unhappy creatures. The tradition is, that they were first thrown into the lake to see whether they would float or sink; if they sank they were not witches, but they were drowned nevertheless, as if the very suspicion of witchcraft deserved drowning; if they floated, they were undoubted witches, in which case they were taken out of the water, and burnt on the adjacent hill! "About this tyme (says Spalding, in his history, vol. ii., p. 151) many witches war takin in Anstruther, Dysart, Culros, Santandrois and sindrie uther pairtis in the cost side of Fyf. They maid strange confessionis and war brynt to the death." In Fife alone, in the course of a few months of the year 1643, upwards of thirty persons were burnt for witchcraft!

1657. This year the resolutioners and remonstrants made an appeal to Cromwell. Mr. James Sharp, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews, represented the former, and Mr. James Guthrie, afterwards hanged for high treason, the latter. Guthrie spoke first, and occupied so much time that Cromwell became impatient, and at the conclusion, said he would hear Sharp at another time, as he had then business of greater importance to attend to. Sharp begged earnestly to be heard, and promised to be brief; and his friend, Lord Broghill, seconding his request, Oliver was persuaded to hear him. He then turned Guthrie's arguments against himself, and gave such a rational account of his constituents and their principles that the Protector was fully satisfied of the justness of their cause. 2 This triumph on the part of Sharp was the origin of that bitter hatred from the opposite party, which, aggravated by his subsequent change to episcopacy, and promotion to the primacy, never ceased till it had accomplished his destruction.

1659. Cromwell was now dead, and Monk, feeling his importance at the head of a well-appointed army, thought fit to show himself in En

[blocks in formation]

gland, with a view to try the pulse of the nation, and to look after his own interests. But his first object was to leave a quiet kingdom behind him; and accordingly he addressed complimentary letters to the principal Scottish burghs. The following letter to the magistrates of St. Andrews, exhibits, on the part of the general, much cunning and cant, combined with fair promises, which he perhaps never thought of fulfilling; while the answer to it betrays a curious mixture of caution and flattery, and use of the general's own words, though probably in a different sense to what he intended them. 66 Mononday, the fyfth of December, 1659. The counsell was convened anent the returning an answer to the letter sent be General Monk, be the hand of Andro Carstairs, den of gild, as commissioner for this citie to the general, the seventh of November last, of which letter the tenor follows "To my very loving friends, the magistrates of the burgh of St. Androis-Gentlemen, having a call from God and his people, to march into England, to assist and maintain the liberty and rights of the people of these three nations from arbitrary and tyrannical usurpation upon their consciences, persons, and estates, and for a godly ministry; I doe, therefore, expect from you, the magistrats and burgh of St. Androis, that you doe preserve the peace of the commonwealth in your burgh; and I hereby authorise you to suppress all tumults, stirrings, and unlawful assemblies; and that ye hold no correspondence with any of Charles Stewart's parties, or his adherents, but apprehend any such as shall make any disturbance, and send them unto the next guarrison. And I doe farther desyre you to countenance and encourage the godly ministrie, and all that truly fear God in the land; and that you continue faithful to own and assert the interest of the parliamentary government in your several places and stations. I hope my absence will be very short: but I doe assure you that I shall procure from the parliament whatever may be for your good government and relief of this nation; and doubt not but to obtain abatement in your assess, and other public burdens, according to the proportion of England. And what farther service I may be able, I shall not be wanting in what may promote the happiness and peace of this afflicted people. I shall not trouble you farther, but beg your prayers, and desire you to assure yourselves that I am your faithful friend and humble servant, sic subscribitur, George Monk. 15 November, 1659. I desire you to send me word to Berwick, under your hand, how far you will comply with my desire, be the twelft of December next. I desire you that what is behind of the last four months of the twelve months assess, may be in readiness against it is called for.


[ocr errors]

The Answer.

'Right Honourable · We should be justlie accounted ingrate were we not sensible (in the condition which the divyne dispensation hath allotted unto us) of the benefitts of your government amongst us, and of your tenderness of the common affliction which lyes upon this nation (wherein our share is notablie eminent), evidenced by your kynd undertaking to interpose for obtaining relief thereof in due tyme; and being confident that this is in your heart, to effectuate it according to your power, we doe, by these, heartilie express our acknowledgments of your affection to this nation, and shall be always ready to give due testimonie of our sense thereof. Your G. may be confident of our own

ing and assisting, according to our duetie, the just authority and liberty of parliament, both as to its constitution and actings, and all the just rights and freedom of these nations against all tyranie and arbitrary usurpation; and that we will countenance and encourage the godlie ministrie and people in the land; wishing that all who are in a contrarie way may see their errors, and be redeemed. As also it shall be our cair, according to our duetie and power, to maintain peace against all disturbances; although your G. knows under what incapacitie we are, to do any thing effectually that way. And for what is behind of the last four months of the twelve months assess, due diligence shall be used by us to have it in readinesse, so soon as it be had from this fainting and exhausted people. We trouble not your G. farther; but that prosperitie may attend all your next undertakings, we assure, is the true desire of, right honourable, your verie humble servants, the magistrates of St. Androis, sic subscribitur, James Wood provost, David Falconer, Jaines Robertson, Lendrie Sword."

"On the 18th November, Monk began his march towards England; but hearing by the way that Lambert was at Newcastle, with 12,000 men, he stopped at Coldstream, near Berwick, to deliberate on what was to be done. While he lay there, he despatched a messenger to Crail, desiring Mr. James Sharp to come to him with all possible expedition, as he had something to consult with him upon. When Sharp arrived Monk told him both of the design and uncertainty of his undertaking, as he stood in doubt of the inclination of his own officers, and Lambert, his avowed enemy, was in the neighbourhood with a superior force. Upon which Sharp fell to work, and, after maturely weighing what he had heard, drew up a declaration in Monk's name, showing the reasons of his present posture, and proposed march into England; which declaration, without mentioning the king and his interests, was so accommodated to the temper of all the contending parties, that, being read next day at the head of the army, it confirmed them all in their duty and obedience to the general; and at last, reaching Lambert's head quarters, it wrought such an effect there, that the most of his men deserted him, and either joined Monk, or went over to Fairfax, who lay at York, and corresponded with Monk."1

1660. In January, Sharp was deputed by his party in the kirk, the "Resolutioners," to use his endeavours with Monk, and the ruling authorities in London, to get themselves established by law, and "to represent the sinfulness of a lax toleration" in religion. Early in May, he was sent by the same party to Charles II., at Breda, with the same instructions amplified by these clauses "He (the king) needs not declare any liberty to any tender consciences here."-" It is known that in all times of the prevailing of the late party in England, none petitioned here for a toleration, except some inconsiderable naughty men." These passages sufficiently prove that even the moderate Presbyterians were at this time averse to grant toleration to those who differed from them; on which account they had no reason to complain afterwards if they did not receive it themselves.

On the 29th of May, Charles II. returned to his kingdom and throne,

1 Skinner's Ecc. Hist. ii. p. 37.

« السابقةمتابعة »