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CHAPTER XIX.

GENERAL ASSEMBLIES.

PRESBYTERY, THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT, AND THE GRAND

REBELLION.

1642.- Treaty with the Long Parliament completed. —A fast.-The Banders

petition.—The Incident.—The Covenanters petition.-Hamilton sent as commissioner.-A GENERAL ASSEMBLY—king's letter—a thin attendance—the episcopal clergy-presbyterian tyranny—the translation of ministers—patronage -act against papists.-Assembly's letter to the king.–Long Parliament's letter to the Assembly.--Letter from the Scots commissioners.--Assembly's letter to the English parliament—and to the Scots commissioners.—Letter from puritan ministers—and answer.-A fast.–First institution of the COMMISSION OF THE KIRK.—Meeting of the commission.-Brownism.-Activity of the ministers.- - 1643.-Montrose solicits a commission.-Hamilton's advice adopted.—The commission appoint a fast-present a remonstrance to the committee of estates.-Convention of estates.-Meeting of the commission.Another remonstrance.—Some troops raised.-A deputation from the Long Parliament. - A treaty.-AN ASSEMBLY - Henderson moderator.- King's letter.—Irish presbyterians.—Witches.—Commissioners from the Long Parliament.-Negociations on the basis of the covenant.—The SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.—Letter from English presbyterians.-The covenant signed. Commissioners appointed to the Westminster Assembly. The Directory.-Act against excommunicated persons.-Letter to the king.–Answer to the Long Parliament—and to the Westminster Assembly-dissolution of the Assembly.-Convention ratifies the League.--Proclamation in the king's name.League signed at London.--Orders sent to the presbyteries for signing the League.-Hamilton arrested. The ministers' regiment embodied.—A fast.

-1644.–Balmerino's excise scheme.-Commission excommunicate Huntly and others.--Letter from the peers of England.-Dr. Forbes, of Corse.GENERAL ASSEMBLY.—Letter from the presbytery of the army.-Petition from Irish presbyterians.-The royalists excommunicated. The Assembly dissolved.--A parliament summoned to meet at Oxford.-Scottish parliament meet.-Band burnt at the cross.- -Parliament adjourned.---Lord Haddo's trial —and execution.-More executions.-A fast, and its causes.-- Reflections.New customs in public worship introduced.

1642.--"THE LIP-SERVICE TO God and their king cost the Covenanters nothing, and they were ever lavish of that. But two years had now elapsed since Baillie wrote a fine sentiment, which has sometimes been appealed to with admiration, and his disinterested and patriotic party had received three hundred thousand pounds sterling, a pretty sum in our land,' for their brotherly assistance they had virtually deprived the king of his crown in Scotland—they were glutted with honours and emoluments—and the chair of Fergus was filled by 'king Campbell ?.” About the beginning of this year, the Scottish commissioners at London informed Argyle, who was at the head of the usurped government, that they had completed a treaty with the Long Parliament, in which it was agreed that ten thousand men should be transported from Scotland to the north of Ireland, under pretence of assisting to repress the rebellion there; but in reality to be in readiness, and in a proper state of equipment, to take the field against the king, when matters were ripe for such a course. The earl of Leven was appointed to the command of this army, and all the military Covenanters held subordinate commands; and both the Covenanter who was meditating armed rebellion, and the papist who was in actual revolt, were alike hypocritically “taking God to witness, that they designed not the least diminution of his majesty's greatness, but only to seek their own peace.”

Whilst the king's affairs were drawing to a crisis in England, the Covenanters at Edinburgh ordered a fast to be kept in the month of May throughout the whole kingdom, lest, as they said, the king should suffer any diminution of his greatness ! But, says Guthry, “it being ordinary, whensoever any plot was in hand, to grace it with a fast, it made all men to expect some great thing

to follow, which was, that they sent up the chancellor to York, to deliver their advice to his majesty, and offer his pains for accommodation 2" Stevenson says, “ The Covenanters, fearing lest the Banders should prevail with the council to take part with the king against the [Long] parliament, set earnestly about the duty of fasting and prayer for averting the threatened storm, and imploring directions as to the present duty; and Warriston, in the entry of that meeting, took care to disperse a letter, which, though expressed in general terms, and with a degree of caution becoming its author, tended to dissuade from speedy measures on either hand, and was of use to inform the minds and determine the judgment of many who, till then, were unresolved 3.” Those, called Banders , were Montrose and other conservative noblemen, who penetrated the designs of the Covenanters and saw

1 Napier's Montrose and the Covenanters, ii. 167. Memoirs, 99.

3 Church and State, 501

the king's danger. The council met on the 25th of May, and about twenty-four Banders met and presented a petition, which Mr. Napier has given from the original manuscript, desiring them to remember their national oath, and their oath of allegiance to his majesty, and as good and loyal subjects to defend the king'sroyal prerogatives, which were now encroached upon by the English parliament. It was designed to shew that the late treaty of peace did not affect the allegiance which his Scottish subjects owed to the king: “or that thereby we are in any other condition in those necessary duties tu our sovereign than we and our ancestors were, and have been, these many ages and descents, before the meeting of the said act, or before the swearing or subscribing of our late covenant; by which we have solemnly sworn and do swear, not only our mutual concurrence and assistance for the cause of religion, and to the utmost of our power, with our means and lives, to stand to the defence of our dread sovereign, his person and authority, in the preservation of religion, liberty, and laws of this church and kingdom, but also in every cause which may concern his majesty's honour, we shall, according to the laws of this kingdom and the duty of subjects, concur with our friends and followers in quiet manner, or in arms, as we shall be required of his majesty, or his council, or any having his authority?” Johnstone's letter, before mentioned, however, had the effect of pre-engaging men's minds in favour of the parliament. Argyle again got up a sham plot, called an Incident, for effecting his assassination, of which there never was any intention; but it proved a colourable excuse for collecting a considerable number of his partizans in the capital, to be in readiness when their services might be required.

The petition of the royalists was rejected with scorn by the council, whereas one from the covenanters, praying "that nothing should be enacted prejudicial to the work of reformation, and the treaty of union betwixt the nations which had been ratified in parliament," was well accepted, and the council gave those who presented it thanks for this proof of their patriotism. The commission vented their wrath on this petition, published a paper against it, which they ordered to be read in ail the parish churches, and“ preached damnation from the pulpit to all who had subscribed it.” The king now began to perceive that a storm was rising in the north ; and to see the value of his concessions and suicidal attempts to conciliate men who had set their affections on his crown.

· Napier's Montrose, ü. 180–185.—Stevenson's Church and State, 499. VOL. II.

He again unfortunately relied on the treacherous Hamilton, and sent him down with extraordinary powers to reconcile the more open and able traitor, Argyle, to his duty; but they were in secret correspondence together, and even contracted a family alliance by marriage, and Hamilton united with him in his treason. William Murray, a gentleman of the king's bedchamber, and to whom the king was much attached, also betrayed his sovereign, and gave Argyle secret information of all the king's intentions. Montrose warned Charles of the intrigues and treachery of this man, and also of Hamilton, and even offered to impeach the latter; but such was the infatuation of the king, that, where he had placed his affections, his heart clung with such tenacity, that it was impossible to dispel the charm.

The Last GENERAL ASSEMBLY appointed the next to be holden at St. Andrews, on the last Wednesday of July of this year; accordingly, on the 27th of that month, the Assembly met at St. Andrews. The earl of Dumfermline was present as his majesty's commissioner, and ROBERT Douglas, minister of Kirkaldy, was chosen moderator. The commissioner presented his majesty's letter, which was replete with gracious expressions of his affection, and in turn reminded them of the many favours he had bestowed on them, and as the only recompense he desired that they would labour to keep his subjects in their obedience, both by their doctrine and example.

“ CHARLES R. “ In the midst of our great and weighty affairs of our other kingdoms, which God Almighty, who is privy to our intentions, and in whom we trust, will, in his own time, bring to a wished and peaceable conclusion, we are not unmindful of that duty which we owe to that our ancient and native kingdom, and to the kirks there, now met together by their commissioners in a national Assembly. God, whose vicegerent we are, hath made us a king over divers kingdoms, and we have no other desire, nor design, but to govern them by their own laws, and the kirks in them by their own canons and constitutions. Where any thing is found to be amiss, we will endeavour a reformation in a fair and orderly way; and where a reformation is settled, we resolve, with that authority wherewith God hath invested us, to maintain and defend it in peace and liberty against all trouble that can come from without,

4 Burnet's Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, 196.

and against all heresies, sects, and schisms, which may arise from within, nor do we desire any thing more in that kingdom (and when we shall hear of it, it shall be a delight and matter of gladness to us), than that the gospel be faithfully preached throughout the whole kingdom to the utmost skirts and borders thereof; knowing that to be the mean of honour to God, of happiness unto the people, and of true obedience unto us; and for this effect, that holy and able men be put in places of the ministry, and that schools and colleges may flourish in learning and true piety. Some things for advancing of those ends we did of our own accord promise in our letter to the last Assembly, and we make ourselves judges who were witnesses to our actions while we were there in

person, whether we did not perform them, both in point of presentations, which are in our hands, and in the liberal provision of all the universities and colleges of the kingdom, not only abore that which any of our progenitors had done before us, but also above your own hopes and expectations. We do not make commemoration of this our beneficence either to please ourselves or to stop the influence of our royal goodness and bounty afterwards, but that by these real demonstrations of our unfeigned desires and delight to do good, you may be the more confident to expect from us whatsoever in justice we can grant, or what may be expedient for you to obtain. We have given express charge to our commissioner to. see that all things be done there orderly and peaceably, as if we were present in our own person ; not doubting, but in thankfulness for your present estate and condition, you will abstain from every thing that may make any new disturbance, and that

you will be more wise than to be the enemies of your own peace, which would but stumble others, and ruin yourselves. We have also commanded our commissioner to receive from you just and reasonable desires, for what may further serve for the good of religion, that taking them to our consideration, we may omit nothing which may witness us to be indeed a nursing father of that kirk wherein we were born and baptized, and that if ye be not bappy, you may blame not us but yourselves. And now what do we again require of you, but that which otherwise you owe to us as your sovereign lord and king, even that ye pray for our prosperity and the peace of our kingdoms, that ye use the best means to keep our people in obedience to us and our laws, which doth very much, in our personal absence from that our kingdom, depend upon your preaching and exemplary loyalty and faithfulness, and that against all such jealousies, suspicions, and sinister

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