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II.

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BO O K from the known character of the Princes of Lorrain,

so little scrupulous about the justice of the ends 1558. which they pursued, or of the means which they

employed. For the honour of human nature, how-
ever, it must be observed, that as we can discover
no motive which could induce any man to perpe-
trate such a crime, so there appears no evidence to
prove that it was committed. But the Scots of that
age, influenced by national animosities and preju-
dices, were incapable of examining the circumstances
of the case with calmness, or of judging concern-
ing them with candour. All parties agreed in be-
lieving the French to have been guilty of this detest-
able action; and it is obvious how much this tended
to increase the aversion for them, which was grow-

ing among all ranks of men.
The Re- Notwithstanding the cold reception which their
gent pre- proposal concerning the Crown Matrimonial met
the Parlia- with from the Scottish deputies, the French ven-
grant it. tured to move it in parliament. The partisans of
Nov. 29. the house of Hamilton, suspicious of their designs

upon the succession, opposed it with great zeal.
But a party, which the feeble and unsteady conduct
of their leader had brought under much disreputa-
tion, was little able to withstand the influence of
France, and the address of the Queen Regent, se-
conded, on this occasion, by all the numerous ad-
herents of the Reformation. Besides, that artful
Princess dressed out the French demands in a less
offensive garb, and threw in so many limitations as
seemed to render them of small consequence. These
either deceived the Scots, or removed their scruples;
and in compliance to the Queen they passed an act,

ment to

II.

1558.

conferring the Crown Matrimonial on the Dauphin; B 0 0 K and with the fondest credulity trusted to the frail security of words and statutes, against the dangerous encroachments of powert.

The concurrence of the Protestants with the Continues Queen Regent, in promoting a measure so accepta- the Proble to France, while the Popish clergy, under the testants. influence of the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, opposed it with so much violence“, is one of those singular circumstances in the conduct of parties, for which this period is so remarkable. It may cribed, in some degree, to the dexterous management of the Queen, but chiefly to the moderation of those who favoured the Reformation. The Protestants were by this time almost equal to the Catholics, both in power and in number; and, conscious of their own strength, they submitted with impatience to that tyrannical authority with which the ancient laws armed the ecclesiastics against them. They longed to be exempted from this oppressive jurisdiction, and publicly to enjoy the liberty of profess. ing those opinions, and of exercising that worship, which so great a part of the nation deemed to be founded in truth and to be acceptable to the Deity. This indulgence, to which the whole weight of

to court

be as

+ The act of parliament is worded with the utmost care, with a view to guard against any breach of the order of succession. But the Duke, not relying on this alone, entered a solemn protestation to secure his own right. Keith, 76. It is plain that he suspected the French of having some intention to set aside his right of succession; and, indeed, if they had no design of that kind, the eagerness with which they urged their demand was childish.

u Melv. 47.

II.

BO O K priestly authority was opposed, there were only two

ways of obtaining. Either violence must extort it 1558. from the reluctant hand of their sovereign, or by pru

dent compliances they might expect it from her fa-
vour or her gratitude. The former is an expedient for
the redress of grievances, to which no nation has re-
course suddenly; and subjects seldom venture upon
resistance, which is their last remedy, but in cases of
extreme necessity. On this occasion the Reformers
wisely held the opposite course, and by their zeal in
forwarding the Queen's designs they hoped to merit
her protection, This disposition the Queen en-
couraged to the utmost, and amused them so art-
fully with many promises, and some concessions,
that, by their assistance, she surmounted in parlia-
ment the force of a national and laudable jealousy,
which would otherwise have swayed with the greater
number.

Another circumstance contributed somewhat to
acquire the Regent such considerable influence in
this parliament. In Scotland, all the bishoprics,
and those abbeys which conferred a title to a seat in
parliament, were in the gift of the crown*. From
the time of her accession to the regency, the Queen
had kept in her own hands almost all those which
became vacant, except such as were, to the great
disgust of the nation, bestowed upon foreigners.
Among these, her brother the Cardinal of Lorrain
had obtained the abbeys of Kelso and Melross, two
of the most wealthy foundations in the kingdomy.
By this conduct, she thinned the ecclesiastical

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* See Book I.

y Lesly, 202,

>

II.

1558.

bench?, which was entirely under the influence of B O ÓK the Archbishop of St. Andrew's, and which, by its numbers and authority, usually had great weight in the house, so as to render any opposition it could give at that time of little consequence.

The Earl of Argyll, and James Stewart Prior of St. Andrew's, one the most powerful, and the other the most popular leader of the Protestants, were appointed to carry the crown and other ensigns of royalty to the Dauphin. But from this they were diverted by the part they were called to act in a more interesting scene, which now begins to open.

Before we turn towards this, it is necessary to Elizabeth observe, that on the seventeenth of November, one to the thousand five hundred and fifty-eight, Mary of crown of

England. England finished her short and inglorious reign. Her sister Elizabeth took possession of the throne without opposition; and the Protestant religion was once more established by law in England. The accession of a Queen, who, under very difficult circumstances, had given strong indications of those eininent qualities, which, in the sequel, rendered her reign so illustrious, attracted the eyes of all Europe. Among the Scots, both parties observed her first motions with the utmost solicitude, as they easily foresaw that she would not remain long an indifferent spectator of their transactions.

Under many discouragements and much oppression, the Reformation advanced towards a full esta

z It appears from the rolls of this parliament, which Lesly calls a very full one, that only seven bishops and sixteen abbots were present.

II.

BO O K blishment in Scotland. All the low country, the

most populous, and at that time the most warlike 1558. part of the kingdom, was deeply tinctured with the

Protestant opinions; and if the same impressions were not made in the more distant counties, it was owing to no want of the same dispositions among the people, but to the scarcity of preachers, whose most indefatigable zeal could not satisfy the avidity of those who desired their instructions. Among a people bred to arms, and as prompt as the Scots to act with violence; and in an age when religious passions had taken such strong possession of the human mind, and moved and agitated it with so much violence, the peaceable and regular demeanour of so numerous a party is astonishing. From the death of Mr. Patrick Hamilton, the first who suffered in Scotland for the Protestant religion, thirty years had elapsed, and during so long a period no violation of public order or tranquillity had proceeded from that sect*; and though roused and irritated by the most cruel excesses of ecclesiastical tyranny, they did in no instance transgress those bounds of duty which the law prescribes to subjects. Besides the prudence of their own leaders, and the protection which the Queen Regent, from political motives, afforded them, the moderation of the Archbishop of St. Andrew's encouraged this pacific disposition. That prelate, whose private life cotempo

a The murder of Cardinal Beatoun was occassioned by private revenge ; and being contrived and executed by sixteen persons only, cannot with justice be imputed to the whole Protestant party.

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