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1664. blame, but either the earl of Lauderdale or Rothes. And so they came to Scotland, where a very furious scene of illegal violence was opened. Sharp governed lord Rothes, who abandoned himself to pleasure: [and was more barefaced in some indecent courtships, than that kingdom had ever seen before.] And, when some censured this, all the answer that was made was a severe piece of raillery, that the king's commissioner ought to represent his person.
1665. The government of Scotland as to civil matters levm pro- was very easy. All were quiet and obedient. But Scotland." ^ those counties that lie towards the west became
very fierce and intractable: and the whole work of the council was to deal with them, and to subdue them. It was not easy to prove any thing against any of them, for they did stick firm to one another. The people complained of the new set of ministers that was sent among them, as immoral, stupid, and ignorant. Generally they forsook their churches. And, if any of them went to church, they said they were little edified with their sermons. And the whole country was full of strange reports of the weakness of their preaching, and of the indecency of their whole deportment. The people treated them with great contempt, and with an aversion that broke out often into violence and injustice. But their ministers on their parts were not wanting in their complaints, aggravating matters, and possessing the bishops with many stories of designs and plottings against the state. So, many were brought before the council, and the new ecclesiastical commission, for pretended riots, and for using their ministers ill, but chiefly for not coming to church, and for holding conventicles. The proofs were often de- 1665. fective, and lay rather in presumptions, than clear evidence: and the punishments proposed were often arbitrary, not warranted by law. So the judges and other lawyers, that were of those courts, were careful to keep proceedings according to forms of law: upon which Sharp was often complaining, that favour was shown to the enemies of the church, under the pretence of law. It was said that the people of the country were in such a combination, that it was not possible to find witnesses to prove things fully: and he often said, Must the church be ruined for punctilios of law? When he could not carry matters by a vote, as he had a mind, he usually looked to the earl of Rothes; who upon that was ever ready to say, he would take it upon him to order the matter as Sharp proposed, and would do it in the king's name. Great numbers were cast in prison, where they were kept long, and ill used: and sometimes they were fined, and the younger sort whipped about the streets. The people grew more sullen on all this ill usage. Many were undone by it, and went over to the Scots in Ulster, where they were well 211 received, and had all manner of liberty as to their way of religiond.
Burnet was sent up to possess the king with the apprehensions of a rebellion in the beginning of the Dutch war. He proposed that about twenty of the chief gentlemen of those counties might be secured: and he undertook for the peace of the country, if they were clapped up. This was plainly illegal. But the lord Lauderdale opposed nothing. So it was done: but with a very ill effect. For those gentled The more the pity. S.
1665. men, knowing how obnoxious they were, had kept 'measures a little better: but they being put in pri
son, both their friends and tenants laid all to the door of the clergy, and hated them the more, and used them the worse for it. The earls of Argile, Tweedale, and Kincardin, who were considered as the lord Lauderdale's chief friends, were cold in all those matters. They studied to keep proceedings in a legal channel, and were for moderate censures. Upon which Sharp said, they appeared to be the friends and favourers of the enemies of the church. Turner exe- Wherever the people had generally forsaken their laws in a churches, the guards were quartered through the way.1"7 country. Sir James Turner, that commanded them, was naturally fierce, but was mad when he was drunk; and that was very often. So he was ordered by the lord Rothes to act according to such directions as Burnet should send him. And he went about the country, and received such lists as the ministers brought him, of those who came not to church: and, without any other proof, or any legal conviction, he set such a fine on them as he thought they could pay, and sent soldiers to lie on them till it was paid. I knew him well afterwards, when he came to himself, being out of employment. He was a learned man; but had been always in armies, and knew no other rule but to obey orders. He told me, he had no regard to any law, but acted, as he was commanded, in a military way. He confessed, it went often against the grain with him to serve such a debauched and worthless company, as the clergy generally were; and that sometimes he did not act up to the rigour of his orders; for which he was often chid, both by lord Rothes and Sharp, but was never checked for his illegal and violent proceedings. 1665. And though the complaints of him were very high, so that, when he was afterwards seized on by the party, they intended to make a sacrifice of him; yet, when they looked into his orders, and found that his proceedings, how fierce soever, fell short of these, they spared him, as a man that had merited by being so gentle among them.
The truth is, the whole face of the government 212 looked liker the proceedings of an inquisition, than of legal courts: and yet Sharp was never satisfied. So lord Rothes and he went up to court in the first year of the Dutch war. When they waited first on the king, Sharp put him in mind of what he had said at his last parting, that if their matters went not well, none must be blamed for it, but either the earl of Lauderdale, or of Rothes: and now he came to tell his majesty, that things were worse than ever: and he must do the earl of Rothes the justice to say, he had done his part. Lord Lauderdale was all on fire at this, but durst not give himself vent before the king. So he only desired that Sharp would come to particulars: and then he should know what he had to say. Sharp put that off in a general charge; and said, he knew the party so well, that, if they were not supported by secret encouragements, they would have been long ago weary of the opposition they gave the government. The king had no mind to enter farther into their complaints. So lord Rothes and he withdrew: and were observed to look very pleasantly upon one another, as they went away. Lord Lauderdale told the king he was now accused to his face: but he would quickly let him see what a man Sharp was. So he obtained a message from the
1665. king to him, of which he himself was to be the bearer, requiring him to put his complaints in writing, and to come to particulars. He followed Sharp home, who received him with such a gayety, as if he had given him no provocation. But lord Lauderdale was more solemn; and told him, it was the king's pleasure, that he should put the accusation with which he had charged him in writing. Sharp pretended he did not comprehend his meaning. He answered, the matter was plain: he had accused him to the king: and he must either go through with it, and make it out, otherwise he would charge him with leasing-making: and spoke in a terrible tone to him. Upon that, as he told me, Sharp fell a trembling and weeping: he protested, he meant no harm to him: he was only sorry that his friends were upon all occasions pleading for favour to the fanatics: (that was become the name of reproach.) Lord Lauderdale said, that would not serve turn: he was not answerable for his friends, except when they acted by directions from him. Sharp offered to go with him presently to the king, and to clear the whole matter. Lord Lauderdale had no mind to break openly with him. So he accepted of this, and carried him to the king; where he retracted all he had said, in so gross a manner, that the king 213 said afterwards, lord Lauderdale was ill natured to press it so heavily, and to force Sharp on giving himself the lie in such coarse terms. sharp stu- This went to Sharp's heart: so he made a propobring Mi- sition to the earl of Dunfreis, who was a great fnt^bu- friend of the lord Midletoun's, to try if a reconciliaagaTn ^ion cou^ be made between him and the earl of Rothes, and if he would be content to come into