Page images
PDF
EPUB

they, for fourscore years together, had been preaching and writing to little purpose, but these gentlemen in a trice brought on the cry of 'no bishop, no prelacy! These were their tutors throughout the whole chapter they were to learn, beginning with a godly and thorough reformation, and ending with Curse ye Meroz,' and 'the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.'” By these means the affections of the citizens were alienated from the king before the meeting of parliament. A cessation of hostilities having been agreed to at Rippon, the Covenanters remained in their quarters at Newcastle; but the better feelings of Montrose and some other noblemen began to operate, and their eyes to be opened to the designs of their confederates. Montrose had been in secret correspondence with the king, and copies of their letters had been regularly forwarded by their friends about the king to the Covenanter chiefs, and they now accordingly challenged him as a secret friend to the king; but he found means for the time being to deprecate their wrath.

On the 3d of November the fatal LONG PARLIAMENT of England met, and began, as formerly, with an enumeration of grievances, which, with the assistance of their Scottish allies, were now exceedingly aggravated, and the addition of an alarm that the king intended to subvert the whole frame of the English constitution. Encouraged by the king's weak compliances, they began to pour out their indignation on the earl of Strafford and the archbishop of Canterbury, both of whom they eventually brought to the block. The king prohibited by proclamation all papists from approaching the court, or within ten miles of London; and he also commanded a day to be set apart for general fasting and humiliation. While the king was vainly endeavouring to conciliate the Scottish Covenanters and English puritans, the former were busy in augmenting their army, and in levying contributions on those counties of which they had military possession. A reinforcement of 4000 men, under the command of Monro, was sent to Newcastle by the Tables, and the earl of Eglinton, with another division, was held in readiness to march. The parliament also met at Edinburgh on the 19th of November, and adjourned till the 14th of January, 1641. No commissioner appearing, lord Burleigh was again elected president. The king himself prorogued the parliament, by letter, till the 13th of April, to the effect that he might in the meantime maturely

· Balfour's Annals, ii. 424.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

conclude and resolve upon such things as might most conduce for the good of his service, and the peace and true happiness of his ancient kingdom.

In the end of this year, sir William Boswell discovered, through the medium of Mr. Andrew ab Habernfield, a secret convert from popery, that there was a deep and extensive plot devised and conducted by the jesuits, having its seats at Rome, Brussels, and London. In his letter to archbishop Laud, he states,-3. That the Scottish troubles are raised to the end that under this pretext the king and the archbishop might be destroyed. 6. That a certain society hath conspired, which attempts the death of the king, the archbishop, and the convulsion of the whole realm.

10. That very many about the king, who are accounted most faithful and intimate, to whom likewise the most secret things are entrusted, are traitors to the king, corrupted with a foreign pension, who communicate all secrets of greater or lesser moment to a foreign power. The chief agents were a Monsieur Conn, who lived in London as the pope's legate, and cardinal Barbarino, who resided at Brussels. Habernfield also stated, that all those factions with which christendom is at this day shaken, do arise from the jesuitical offspring of Cham, of which four orders abound in the world :-1. The first order are ecclesiastics, whose office is to take care of things promoting religion. 2. The second order are politicians, whose office it is by any means to shake, trouble, and reform the state of kingdoms and republics. 3. The third order are seculars, whose property is to intrude themselves into offices with kings and princes, to insinuate and immix themselves in court businesses, bargains, and sales, and to be busied in civil affairs. 4. The fourth order are intelligencers or spies, men of inferior condition, who submit themselves to the services of great men, princes, barons, noblemen, citizens, to deceive or corrupt the minds of their masters. ..... 2. A society of so many orders the kingdom of England nourisheth: for scarce all Spain, France, and Italy, can yield so great a multitude of jesuits as London alone; where are found more than fifty Scottish jesuits. There the said society hath elected to itself a seat of iniquity, and hath conspired against the king, and the most faithful to the king, especially the lord archbishop of Canterbury, and likewise against both kingdoms. 3. For it is more certain than certainty itself, that the forenamed society hath determined to effect an universal reformation of the kingdoms of England and

| Balfour's Annals, ii. 426.

Scotland. 4. Therefore, to promote their undertaken villainy, the said society dubbed itself with the title of the “ CONGREGATION FOR PROPAGATING THE FAITH,” which acknowledges the pope of Rome the head of the college, and cardinal Barbarino his substitute and executor. 5. The chief patron of the society at London is the pope's legate; into whose bosom these dregs of traitors weekly deposit all their intelligences. 6. Master Cuneus (Conn] did at that time enjoy the office of pope's legate, an universal agent of the conjured society, and a serious promoter of the business; whose secrets, as likewise those of all the other intelligencers, the present good man, the communicator of all these things, did receive and expedite whither the business required.

His majesty was made acquainted with this intelligence at York, by the archbishop, in the most secret manner, lest the gentlemen of his bed-chamber should discover the letter, and communicate its contents to the plotters. It is a decided vindication of both the king and the archbishop from the calumny attempted to be fixed upon them of having a design to introduce popery; and it shows how deeply Richlieu and the jesuits were implicated in the rebellions in both kingdoms, and that popery was the fatal originator and agent that plunged these kingdoms into the miseries of the grand rebellion, and brought these two illustrious men to violent deaths. For these serpents, the jesuits, who crawled about in disguise both in the court and country, mutually exasperated them against each other. They animated the king against his subjects as if conspiring against his crown and dignity; and they inflamed the subjects against the king, as if he had designed to subvert the religion, the laws, and liberties of his people. Sir William Boswell informed the archbishop, that one James Murray, a Scotchman, and John Napper, a Yorkshireman, who pretended to be puritans, were principal agents in fomenting the troubles in Scotland. “The main drift of their intentions," and of the jesuits, “is to pull down the English episcopacy, as being the chief support of the imperial crown of our nation; for which purpose above sixty clergymen are gone, within these two years, out of the monasteries of the French king's dominions to preach up the Scotch covenant, and Mr. Knox's descriptions and rules within that kirk, and so spread the same about the northern counties of England. ... There are great preparations making against the liturgy and the ceremonies of the church of England; and all evil contrivances here, and in France, and in

· Nalson's Collections, i. 476.

other protestant holdings, to make your grace and episcopacy odious to all reformed protestants abroad.”

Conn made great efforts to insinuate himself into the friendship and confidence of archbishop Laud; and, in order to allure him to popery, he had pontifical authority to offer him a cardinal's hat; but which he indignantly rejected. When Conn saw that Laud was not to be corrupted,“ his malice, and the whole society's, waxed boiling hot. Soon after ambushes began to be prepared, wherewith the lord archbishop, together with the king, should be taken. Likewise a sentence is passed against the king, because nothing is hoped from him which might seem to promote the popish religion." The punishment of the leading puritans, Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton, gave the first impulse to the treason, and which “ was so much exaggerated by the papists to the puritans, that if it remained, they said, unrevenged, it would be thought a blemish to their religion—the flames of which fire the subsequent book of prayer (for Scotland) increases.” It was the design of Conn and his party to have poisoned the king; but the malice of their pupils, the puritans, took another method of dispatching him. Richlieu supplied the Covenanters with arms, and sent a jesuit, of the name of Chamberlain, into Scotland, who assisted in propagating the covenant, and who maintained an influence over the marquis of Hamilton, through the medium of one of his chaplains.

The Commons of England impeached the earl of Strafford, who made an excellent defence, although his papers had been seized, and detained from him; and he made it evident, that though he had used an excess of power while lord-lieutenant of Ireland, yet that he had not been guilty of treason. So strong in innocence was Strafford, that it became necessary to charge those lawyers who pleaded his cause as conspirators in the same treason of which they accused him. Both the houses agreed to sit together in the large outer hall of Westminster; that the lower house shall sit there mittee, without their speaker, to remove when they will to their own house; that they shall manage the process and witnesses as they find meet; that for matter of fact there shall be no counsel; that in matter of right, when his counsel shall interpret a law against their mind, in that case they will retire to their own house, and as they are undoubtedly conjunct makers of laws with the peers, they will also be conjunct interpreters of any controverted law. 'Mr. Stroud, the other day, fell on a notion, to which the most did greedily grip [lay hold]

that they had charged Strafford of high treason; that

... as a com

they had found the articles of the charge treasonable; that they had voiced their witnesses' depositions to be satisfactory: so it concerned them to charge as conspirators in the same treason all who had before, or should thereafter plead in that cause!" Baillie, in evident delight, says, “if this hold, Strafford's counsel will be rare.

When at once the head of Strafford and the root of episcopacy is stroken at, there are some blind fears that the king, not yet being able to abide it, may yet hazard the breaking up of the parliament ?." The impeachment was turned into an attainder, and both Houses passed the bill without much opposition. The king refused to accede to such manifest injustice; but his scruples were overcome by a most jesuitical distinction, which was pressed upon him by bishop Williams, betwixt his public and his private conscience, on which the noble marquis was beheaded. So greedily was the blood of Strafford and of Laud thirsted after by the covenanters, that Principal Baillie, in one of his letters from London to the presbytery of Irvine, says, “but that which is the great remora to all matters is the head of Strafford; as for poor Canterbury, he is so contemptible, that all cast him out of their thoughts as a pendicle to the lieutenant's ear2."

Although the parliament had withheld all supplies for the service of the king, yet they voted a sum of £300,000 to the Scottish rebels, who still kept military possession of the north of England. This money was borrowed from the city, and its repayment was made a pretext for holding triennial parliaments, and afterwards for perpetuating the present one. Baillie, in one of his letters giving an account of the proceedings in England, says, “ The other day it passed the House unanimously, that they should have annual parliaments, or at least triennial; and if the king did not call them, the sheriffs should give out letters for choosing commissioners in the shires against such a day. If the sheriff did not summon, and if the persons chosen did not appear at the time and place named, it should be felony, loss of life and lands; that for fifty days, upon no discharge, they should rise :-a terrible act! nothing yet done in Scotland that seems to strike so much at royal prerogative. It is thought it will pass the higher House also, albeit with some more difficulty.”

Acts were then passed for regulating the power of the privy council, and for abolishing the star-chamber—for taking away the high commission court-for voiding the proceedings in the matter of ship-money—and for taking away the bishop's'

1 Letters, i. 309.

2 Baillie's Letters, i. 309.

« PreviousContinue »