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self to be deceived in English affairs, it is not won. derful that he should have been misled in regard to Scotland--a country narrow in itself, and so aristocratic as to give a few families great ascendancy. It was from that country, however, that his illegal government had received so remarkable a check ; and, though the late events in England might have taught him that the crisis there had only been hastened, not created, by the Scottish appeal to arms, he had deemed the Scottish army the grand impediment to the most desperate measures against the Parliament, and, consequently, against the whole privileges of the commonwealth. He had assiduously laboured, therefore, to gain leading men in Scotland, that, with their assistance, joined to that of certain individuals who, as incendiaries, had been reserved for judicial procedure, he might destroy the rest, when he doubted not his ability to accomplish a complete revolution which would also recover his ground in the south, particularly as he was promised from Scotland the grounds of a capital prosecution against those whom he most dread. ed in England. The Scottish commissioners, however, with the exception of Rothes, whom an offer of a place in the bed-chamber, and the promise of a great marriage, had so won, that it is extremely probable, in spite of his professions to his old friends, a premature death alone rescued from the disgrace of apostacy*, had been proof against all
* Clar. vol. i. p. 280. Baillie's Let. MS, vol. ii. p. 1205. Baillie, in a letter to his wife, dated the 2d of June, which, for what reason I cannot guess, the Editor has not thought worthy of publication,
Montrose. the arts of the court *. But the King had in Mon
trose a fund of hope which sufficiently buoyed him up amid other disappointments. This nobleman, who had supposed himself neglected by the court, being destitute of either pub. lic or private principle, early joined the covenanters, with the indiscriminate keenness of a man who regards politics merely as a medium of self-exaltation ; and his presumptuous ambi. tion had flattered him with the hope of standing at the head of both the civil and military af. fairs in the approaching struggle. But the nomination of Leslie to the chief command disappointed him in the latter ; while the influence and abilities of Argyle, whose conciliatory policy at the outset had probably suggested the idea of want of decision, by soon setting him at the head of the former, likewise frustrated the hopes of Montrose in that department. His presumptuous expectations being thus blasted, he embraced the first opportunity to earn the royal favour by testifying his aptitude to betray his party; and even at Dunse. Law had, it is said, proffered his services to have given over the whole north to the enemy t.
writes that a Scotch nobleman would probably change all the
+ Hailes' Let. p. 147.
Though he thenceforth still affected steadiness to his professions against the royal measures, he secretly corresponded with the court, and endeavoured to raise up a faction against Argyle that should, under the pretext of adhering to the covenant, in reality subvert it. For this purpose, he had drawn a bond, or band, as it was called, for a counter association before the expedition to England, and had procured to it the signatures of no less than nineteen peers.
On the expedition to England, the committee of estates had wisely enacted that, without the consent of three at least of their number, none should, on pain of death, hold any correspondence with the court; and as Montrose, whose motions were watched, for nothing escaped the vigilance of these men, was detected in such a correspondence, he might have instantly been proceeded against capitally : But, as the union which had been so remarkably displayed by the Scots, had, in effect, been the foundation of their strength, so it would have been imprudent and hazardous, at that critical juncture, when the confidence of success was necessary to secure it, to have given any unequivocal proof of want of faith amongst themselves, and Montrose had intimated that he was not singular in maintaining such a correspondence. The matter, therefore, upon his submission, was hushed up * ; but his practices continued, till he fell on a
* Burnet's Mem. of the Hamiltons, p. 178, 9. Baillie, vol. i. p.
device for affording the monarch a pretext of law to cut off, by judicial forms, not only Argyle, who was justly deemed the most formidable man in Scotland, but Rothes, whose subsequent conduct, had he lived, would have likely acquired the royal protection ; and even the Marquis Hamilton himself, whose political, unprincipled dexterity was such, that, when he perceived the ascendancy of the popular party, and dreaded a prosecution as an incendiary, he had, notwithstanding all that had passed, acquired the countenance of the covenanters, a favour which, however, he partly merited for procuring the release of Loudon *. But, with that, he had lost his credit at court. To ruin these individuals, Montrose incited a gentleman of the name of Stewart to accuse them of an intention to depose Charles,-a species of charge which did not fall within the indemnity provided by the treaty; and this wicked instrument alleged against Argyle, in particular, that he had heard him say before certain men, that the opinions of lawyers and divines had been taken about the lawfulness of deposing the present king, and that, as they were agreed upon the subject, the states contemplated the measure. The allegation was unfounded, and, before Charles could leave England, the matter was investigated—when Stewart, perceiving himself clearly detected in an unfounded state
* Burnet's Memoirs, p. 148–71. Nalson, vol. i. p. 681. Clar. vol. i. p. 152–89. Hardwicke's State Papers, vol. ii. p. 141. See the Sidney Papers regarding Hamilton, vol. ii. p. 654, 657.
ment of so atrocious a nature, confessed his crime. The statutes about leasing-making had provided a capital punishment for the offence ; yet as, except in the case of Balmerino, to whose condemnation they had been so iniquitously perverted, they had never been enforced, many scruples arose regarding their validity, but at last the bench pronounced them efficient, and Stewart was sentenced to an ignominious death. It is very likely, however, that the punishment never would have been inflicted, had it not been for the pertinacious wicked. ness of Montrose, who privately circulated, that the confession of Stewart had been procured by the undue practices of Argyle, who had promised the convict his life, and was too sensible of the justness of the charge against himself to hazard a farther disclosure by allowing the sentence to be executed. This alarmed the whole party afresh, who saw that their own fate was involved in the accusation of their leader, and that the pardoning of the calumniator would give every advantage to Montrose. They therefore strenuously urged on the convict's fate, and he suffered the statutory punishment *.
* Baillie's Ms. Let. vol. ii. p. 1208. He writes to his cousin Strang on the 16th July, 1641 : “ When we came to Edinburgh we found ane very evil spirit had been stirring and much prevailing both in church and state. A wicked plot, desperate, devilish, and new, to have accused, in presence of the king and parliament, Hamilton, Argyle, Rothes, of words, at best, of highest treason, and to have proven them by suborned witnesses : The grounds of this are not yet found out; you shall hear more of it at once : but, had it succeeded, we had fallen into a woful misery, and ane bloody butchery; but God strangely discovering it, hasade it evanish and turn much to our