The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of Civilization in England, Vol. 3 of 3

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Title: History of Civilization in England, Vol. 3 of 3

Author: Henry Thomas Buckle

Release date: December 28, 2013 [eBook #44495]

Language: English

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Scotland and Spain are very dissimilar in regard to loyalty 1
But are very similar in regard to superstition 4
The Scotch unite liberality in politics with illiberality in religion. This is the largest and most important fact in their history; and the rest of the Volume will be occupied in investigating its causes 5
Influence of physical geography 5–7
Roman invasion of Scotland 7–9
Irish invasion of Scotland 9
Norwegian invasion of Scotland 11–12
English invasion of Scotland 12–17
The injury which these invasions inflicted upon Scotland stopped the growth of towns, and thereby favoured the power of the nobles 18
The power of the nobles was still further favoured by the physical structure of the country 19–20
And by the weakness of the Crown 20–21
Hence their authority had, before the close of the fourteenth century, become enormous. The Crown, completely overshadowed by them, could derive no aid from the citizens, because, owing to the circumstances just mentioned, there were no cities 21–23
For, industry was impossible, and the commonest arts were unknown 23–26
Evidence of the scanty population of the Scotch towns 26–30
They were too feeble and insignificant to elect their own magistrates 32–33
The municipal element being thus imperfect, the only ally, which the Crown could possibly find, was the Church 34–35
Hence, a coalition between the kings and the clergy against the nobles 34
The clergy were the only body who could withstand the nobles. Causes of the great influence of the clergy 35–44
Early in the fifteenth century, the alliance between the Crown and the Church against the nobles, became obvious 45
James I. attacked the nobles, and favoured the Church; hoping thereby to establish the supremacy of the throne 46–47
But his policy failed, because it was opposed by the operation of general causes 47–48
Besides failing, it produced his own destruction 49
Power of the Douglases, who were at the head of the southern nobility 49–50
James II. murdered the chiefs of that family 51–52
The Crown, in its efforts against the nobles, was encouraged by the clergy; and before the middle of the fifteenth century, the Church and the aristocracy were completely estranged from each other 52–54
James III., like James II. and James I., allied himself with the clergy against the nobles 55–56
Their power, however, was too deeply rooted to be shaken; and in 1488, they put the king to death 55
Still, and notwithstanding these successive failures, James IV. followed the same policy as his predecessors 56
So did James V. Consequently the nobles imprisoned him, and ejected the clergy from all offices in the state 57
In 1528, James V. escaped; the Crown and the Church regained the ascendant, and the principal nobles were banished 58
From this moment, the nobles hated the Church more than ever. Their hatred brought about the Reformation 58–59
Active measures of the government against the nobles 60–61
The nobles revenged themselves by becoming Reformers 62
James V., on the other hand, threw himself entirely into the arms of the Church 62–63
As the nobles took the opposite side, and as the people had no influence, the success or failure of the Reformation in Scotland was simply a question of the success or failure of the aristocratic power 65–68
In 1542, the nobles openly refused obedience to James V.; and their treatment of him at this critical period of his life, broke his heart 68–69
Directly he died, they regained authority. The clergy were displaced, and measures favourable to Protestantism were adopted 69–72
In 1546, Cardinal Beaton was assassinated, and Knox began his career[vii] 74–75
Subsequent proceedings of Knox 76–77
While Knox was abroad, the nobles established the Reformation 78
He returned to Scotland in 1559, by which time the struggle was nearly over 79
In 1559, the queen regent was deposed; the nobles became supreme; and, in 1560, the Church was destroyed 80–84
Immediately this revolution was completed, the nobles and the preachers began to quarrel about the wealth of the Church 84
The nobles, thinking that they ought to have it, took it into their own hands 85–88
Thereupon, the Protestant preachers said that the nobles were instigated by the devil 88–90
Morton, who was at the head of the nobility, became enraged at the proceedings of the new clergy, and persecuted them 91–92
A complete rupture between the two classes 93
The clergy, finding themselves despised by the governing class, united themselves heartily with the people, and advocated democratic principles 93
In 1574, Melville became their leader. Under his auspices, that great struggle began, which never stopped until, sixty years later, it produced the rebellion against Charles I. 94
The first manifestations of this rebellious spirit was the attack on the bishops 94
In 1575, the attack began. In 1580, episcopacy was abolished 96–97
But the nobles upheld that institution, because they loved inequality for the same reasons which made the clergy love equality 97–100
Struggle between the upper classes and the clergy respecting episcopacy 100–103
In 1582, James VI. was imprisoned; and his captivity was justified by the clergy, whose democratic principles were now openly proclaimed 103–104
Violent language used by the clergy against the king and against the nobles 104–109
Their leader, Melville, personally insulted the king, and they were probably privy to the Gowrie conspiracy in 1600 110
Still, the clergy, notwithstanding the indecency of their conduct, conferred the greatest of all boons upon Scotland, by keeping alive and nurturing the spirit of liberty 111–114
In 1603, the King of Scotland became also King of England, and determined to use his new resources in curbing and chastising the Scotch clergy 115–122
His cruel treatment of them 122–124
In 1610, James, backed by the power of England, forced episcopacy upon Scotland. Courts of High Commission were also set up 125–127
Tyrannical conduct of the bishops 127–129
Meanwhile, a reaction was preparing 129–132
In 1637, the reaction declared itself, and, in 1638, the bishops were overthrown 132–133
The movement being essentially democratic, could not stop there, but quickly spread from the Church to the State. In 1639, war was made upon Charles I. by the Scotch, who, having defeated the king, sold him to the English, who executed him 134–136
The Scotch, before they would crown Charles II., compelled him to humble himself, and to confess his own errors and the errors of his family 136–137
But, after Charles II. mounted the throne of England, he became powerful enough to triumph over the Scotch. He availed himself of that power to oppress Scotland even more grievously than his two predecessors had done 137–140
Happily, however, the spirit of liberty was strong enough to baffle his attempts to establish a permanent despotism 140
Still, the crisis was terrible, and the people and their clergy were exposed to every sort of outrage 141–146
Now, as before, the bishops aided the government in its efforts to enslave Scotland. Being hated by the people, they allied themselves with the Crown, and displayed the warmest affection towards James II., during whose reign cruelties were perpetrated worse than any previously known 147–150
In 1688, another reaction, in which the Scotch again freed themselves from their oppressors 151
The only powerful friends of this bad government were the Highlanders 151
Reasons which induced the Highlanders to rebel in favour of the Stuarts 151–153
The Highland rebellions of 1715 and 1745 were not the result of loyalty 153–159
After 1745, the Highlanders sank into complete insignificance, and the progress of Scotland was uninterrupted 159[ix]
Beginning of the trading spirit 160–161
Connexion between the rising of the trading spirit and the abolition, in 1748, of hereditary jurisdictions 161–162
The abolition of these jurisdictions was a symptom of the declining power of the Scotch nobles, but not a cause of it 161
One cause of the decline of their power was the union with England, in 1707 162–167
Another cause was the failure of the Rebellion of 1745 167
The nobles being thus weakened, were, in 1748, easily deprived of their right of jurisdiction. In this way, they lost the last emblem of their old authority 169–170
This great democratic and liberating movement was aided by the growth of the mercantile and manufacturing classes 171–172
And their growth was itself assisted by the Union with England 172
Evidence of the rapid progress of the industrious classes in the first half of the eighteenth century 173–183
During the same period, a new and splendid literature arose in Scotland 183–184
But, unfortunately, this literature, notwithstanding its bold and inquisitive spirit, was unable to diminish national superstition 184–186
It is the business of the historian to ascertain the causes of its failure. If he cannot do this, he cannot understand the history of Scotland 186
The first and most essential quality of an historian, is a clear perception of the great scientific doctrine of Law. But whoever seeks to apply this doctrine to the whole course of history, and to elucidate, by its aid, the march and theory of affairs, is met by obstacles which no single mind can remove 186–190
The rest of the Volume will be occupied with a still closer investigation of the double paradox presented by the history of Scotland; namely, 1st, that the same people should be liberal in politics, and illiberal in religion; and, 2nd, that the free and sceptical literature which they produced in the eighteenth century, should have been unable to lessen their religious illiberality 191
Their religious illiberality was the result of the immense power possessed by their clergy in the seventeenth century. The causes of that power will be examined in the present chapter 192[x]
The failure of their literature in diminishing this illiberality during the eighteenth century, was the result of the peculiar method of the inquiry adopted by the Scotch philosophers. The causes of the universal diffusion of that method, the nature of the method, and the consequences of it, will be examined in the next chapter, which will conclude the Volume 192–193
Circumstances in the seventeenth century favourable to the influence of the Scotch clergy 193–197
While the English war against Charles I. was essentially political, the Scotch war against him was essentially religious 197–200
Though this was the effect of Scotch superstition, it was also a cause of its further progress 201–202
Hence, in the seventeenth century, secular interests were neglected, and theological ones became supreme. Illustration of this, from the zeal of the people to hear sermons of inordinate frequency and of terrible length; so that they passed the greater part of their lives in what were erroneously termed religious exercises 203–206
The clergy availed themselves of these habits to extend and consolidate their own authority 205–206
Their great engine of power was the Kirk-Session. Tyranny of the Kirk-Sessions 206–210
Monstrous pretensions of the clergy 210–212
Cases in which it was believed that these pretensions were upheld and vindicated by miracles 212–220
The clergy, becoming elated, indulge in language of extraordinary arrogance 221–227
They asserted that miracles were wrought in their behalf, and often on their persons 228–229
Effect of these proceedings upon the Scotch mind 230–232
The clergy, to intimidate the people, and bring them completely under control, advocated horrible notions concerning evil spirits and future punishments 232–243
With the same object they propounded notions more horrible still, respecting the Deity, whom they represented as a cruel, passionate, and sanguinary Being 245–252
They moreover declared that harmless and even praiseworthy actions were sinful, and would provoke the Divine wrath 251–262
To prevent such imaginary sins, the clergy made arbitrary regulations, and punished those who disobeyed them, sometimes by flogging, and sometimes by branding with hot irons, and sometimes in other ways 262–263
Specimens of the sins which the clergy invented 264–268[xi]
The result was, that all mirth, all innocent gaiety, all demonstrations of happiness, and nearly all physical enjoyments, were destroyed in Scotland 268–269
Hence, the national character was mutilated. For, the pleasures of the body are, in our actual condition, as essential a part of the great scheme of life, and are as necessary to human affairs, as are the pleasures of the mind 269–271
But the clergy, by denouncing these pleasures of the senses, do what they can, in every country, to diminish the total amount of happiness of which humanity is susceptible, and which it has a right to enjoy 271–275
In no Protestant country have the clergy pushed these narrow and unsocial tenets so far as in Scotland 275–276
Indeed, in some respects, the Scotch clergy were more ascetic than those of any branch of the Catholic Church, except the Spanish; since they attempted to destroy the affections, and to sever the holiest ties of domestic love 276–279
The Scotch philosophical literature of the eighteenth century, was a reaction against the theological spirit of the seventeenth 281
But the peculiarity of the philosophy which now arose, is that, instead of being an inductive philosophy, it was a deductive one 281–282
This is well worthy of notice; because the inductive method being essentially anti-theological, it might have been expected that the opponents of the theological spirit would have followed that method 282–284
The truth, however, was, that the theological spirit had taken such hold of the Scotch mind, that it was impossible for the inductive method to gain a hearing 284–289
Hence, the secular philosophy of the eighteenth century, though new in its results, was not new in the method by which those results were obtained 289
In this respect, Scotland is similar to Germany, but dissimilar to England 289–290
Summary of the most important distinctions between induction and deduction 291
The whole of the Scotch philosophy, physical as well as metaphysical, is deductive 291
Hutcheson's philosophy 292–304
Its results and tendency 292–299
Its method 299–304[xii]
Adam Smith's philosophy 304–330
His Theory of Moral Sentiments and his Wealth of Nations are different parts of one subject. To understand either, we must study both 304–305
His deductive method depended upon a suppression of premisses 304–309
Account of his Theory of Moral Sentiments 309–314
Account of his Wealth of Nations 314–330
Hume's philosophy 331–349
His want of imagination 331–332
Importance and novelty of his doctrines 333–337
His method was eminently deductive; and he, like Adam Smith, cared little for experience 337–341
Hence, his injustice to Bacon, whose method was diametrically opposed to his own 338–339
His Natural History of Religion 342–348
Comparison between the method of this work, and the method employed by Cudworth 348
Reid's philosophy 349–361
His timidity made him look at the practical tendency of speculative doctrines, instead of confining himself to the question of their truth or falsehood 349–354
But a philosopher should deem it his business to ascertain new truths, without regard to their consequences 349–350
Reid attacked Hume's method, because he disliked the results to which that method had led 354–355
And yet, in raising his own philosophy, he followed the very same method himself 355–359
Estimate of the value of what Reid effected 359–360
Opposition between the method of Reid and that of Bacon 360–361
In physical philosophy, the deductive method was equally prevalent in Scotland 361–seq.
The laws of heat 362
Indestructibility of force. Interchange of forces 362–365
Black's philosophy 367–377
His theory of latent heat prepared the way for subsequent discoveries 367–371
His method was deductive, and does not come under any of the rules of the Baconian philosophy 371–372
He reasoned from his principles speculatively, instead of occupying himself with a long course of experiments 372–377
To do this was to indulge the imagination, which is deemed dangerous by the inductive school of English physicists. But, in the pursuit of truth, we need all our powers; and the advance of physical science is retarded by our neglect of the imaginative and emotional faculties 377–382
Black, therefore, did immense service by giving free scope, to the imagination. The same plan was pursued by his successor, Leslie 383[xiii]
Leslie's philosophy of heat 383–388
He derived great aid from poetry 385
And was unjust to Bacon, whose inductive views he disliked 388
Fire and water are the two causes which have altered, and are still altering, the crust of the earth. The supposition that volcanic action was formerly more powerful than at present, is quite consistent with the doctrines of an unbroken sequence of events, and of the uniformity of natural laws 388–390
The action of fire and water on the crust of the earth, may be studied deductively, by computing separately the probable operation of each. Or they maybe studied inductively, by observing their united effects, and rising from the effects to the causes; while the deductive plan is to descend from the causes to the effects 390–391
Of these two methods, the English followed the inductive; the Scotch and Germans followed the deductive 391
English geology founded by William Smith 391–393
German geology founded by Werner 393–395
Scotch geology founded by Hutton 396
The English observed effects in order to ascertain causes. The Germans, assuming water to be the cause, reasoned from it to the effects. The Scotch, assuming heat to be the cause, made its principles the first step in their argument 391–396
Reasons which made the Scotch geologists argue from the principles of heat, instead of, like the German geologists, arguing from the principles of water 396
Though Hutton founded the theory of metamorphic rocks, and ascribed such immense importance to heat, he would not take the trouble of examining a single region of active volcanos, where he might have seen those very operations of nature, respecting which he speculated 398
But, by a deductive application of the principles unfolded by Black, he arrived at a conclusion concerning the consolidation of strata by heat 399–400
That conclusion was entirely speculative, and unsupported by experience 399
Though experiment might perhaps verify it, no one had yet made the trial; and Hutton was too averse to the inductive method to undertake the investigation himself 400–401
Sir James Hall afterwards took the matter up, and empirically verified the great idea which Hutton had propounded 401–402
Watt's invention of the steam-engine, and discovery of the composition of water 402–406[xiv]
Contrast between the method by which he, as a Scotchman, discovered the composition of water, and the opposite method by which the Englishman, Cavendish, made the same discovery at the same time 404–406
Nature of the evidence of the supposed difference between the organic and inorganic world. Life is probably a property of all matter 406–410
Assuming, however, for the purposes of classification, that the organic world is fundamentally different from the inorganic, we may divide organic science into physiology and pathology 410–412
The two great Scotch pathologists are Cullen and John Hunter. Hunter, having a larger mind than Cullen, was also a physiologist 412
Account of Cullen's philosophy 413–427
His love of theory 413
Theory, though necessary in science, is dangerous in practice 414–416
Difference between the science of pathology and the art of therapeutics 417–418
Comparison between the method of Cullen's pathology and the method employed by Adam Smith 417–419
Cullen's theory of the solids 420–seq.
He refused to inquire into the truth of the principles from which he argued 421–422
His conclusions, like his premisses, represent only a part of the truth, and were extremely one-sided. Still, their value is unquestionable, forming, as they did, a necessary part of the general progress 423–424
His theory of fever 424–426
His nosology 426–427
The philosophy of John Hunter 428–458
His grandeur, and, unfortunately, his obscurity of language 428–430
In his mind, the inductive and deductive methods struggled for mastery. Their conflict oppressed him. This is one of the causes of the darkness of his thoughts and consequently of his style 429–432
His natural disposition was towards deduction 432
But circumstances made him inductive, and he collected facts with untiring industry 432–434
By this means he made a large number of curious physiological discoveries 434–436
He traced the history of the red globules of the blood, and arrived at the conclusion that their function is to strengthen the system rather than to repair it 436–437
Long after his death, this inference was corroborated by the progress of miscroscopical and chemical researches. It was especially corroborated by Lecanu's comparison of the blood in different sexes, and in different temperaments. 439[xv]
Hunter's inquiries concerning the movements of animals and vegetables 439–441
He recognized the great truth that the sciences of the inorganic world must be the foundation of those of the organic 443
His object was, to unite all the physical sciences, in order to show that, the operations of nature being always uniform, regularity prevails even amidst the greatest apparent irregularity 443–444
Hence, aiming chiefly at a generalization of irregularities, his favourite study was pathology 444
In his pathological inquiries, he took into account the malformations of crystals 445
As a physiologist, he was equalled or excelled by Aristotle; but as a pathologist, he is unrivalled for the grandeur of his views 446–447
In pathology, his love of deduction was more obvious than in physiology 447
His pathological speculations respecting the principles of action and the principles of sympathy 448–452
But his English contemporaries, being eminently inductive, so disliked his method, that he exercised scarcely any influence over them 453
This is the more observable, because his discoveries respecting disease have caused him to be recognized as the founder of modern surgery, and the principal author of the doctrines now taught in the medical profession 454–457
Such were the great results achieved by Scotchmen in the eighteenth century. Difference between this splendid literature and the wretched productions of the Scotch mind in the seventeenth century. 458–460
Notwithstanding this difference, the deductive method was supreme in both centuries 461
The deductive method strikes the senses less than the inductive. Hence, induction being more accessible to average understandings, is more popular than deduction. Hence, too, the teachings of an inductive philosophy are more likely to affect national character than the teaching of a deductive philosophy 461–464
Theology forms the only exception to this rule 464–465
The Scotch literature of the eighteenth century, being essentially deductive, was, on that account, unable to affect the nation. It was, therefore, unable to weaken national superstition 465–469
Superstition and religious illiberality still existing in Scotland 469–471[xvi]
The notions countenanced there respecting the origin of epidemics. Correspondence which, in consequence of those notions, took place, in 1853, between the Scotch Church and the English Government 471–476
These superstitions are eminently irreligious, and are everywhere becoming effaced, as physical science advances. Nothing else can touch them. Hence the gradual liberation of the human mind from the slavish and unmanly fears by which it has long been oppressed 476–482





In the preceding view of the rise and decay of Spain, I have sought to exhibit the successive steps by which what was formerly one of the greatest nations of the earth, was broken, and cast down from its high estate. As we look back on that scene, the picture is, indeed, striking. A country rich in all natural productions, inhabited by a brave, a loyal, and a religious people, removed, too, by its geographical position from the hazards of European revolutions, did, by the operation of those general causes which I have indicated, suddenly rise to unparalleled grandeur; and then, without the occurrence of any new combination, but by a mere continuance of the same causes, fall with an equal velocity. Yet, these vicissitudes, strange and startling as they appear, were perfectly regular. They were the legitimate consequence of a state of society, in which the spirit of protection had reached its highest point, and in which, every thing being done for the people, nothing was done by the people. Whenever this happens, there may be great political progress, but there can be no really national progress. There may be accessions of territory, and vast increase of fame and of power.[2] There may be improvements in the practice of administration, in the management of finances, in the organization of armies, in the art and theory of war, in the tricks of diplomacy, and in those various contrivances by which one nation is able to outwit and insult another. So far, however, from this benefiting the people, it will injure them in two different ways. In the first place, by increasing the reputation of the ruling classes, it encourages that blind and servile respect which men are too apt to feel for those who are above them, and which, wherever it has been generally practised, has been found fatal to the highest qualities of the citizen, and therefore to the permanent grandeur of the nation. And, in the second place, it multiplies the resources of the executive government, and thus renders the country unable, as well as unwilling, to correct the errors of those who are at the head of affairs. Hence, in Spain, as in all countries similarly circumstanced, it was at the very moment when things were most prosperous at the surface, that they were most rotten at the foundation. In presence of the most splendid political success, the nation hastened to its downfall, and the crisis was fast approaching, in which, the whole edifice being overturned, nothing would be left, except a memorable warning of the consequences which must ensue, when the people, giving themselves up to the passions of superstition and loyalty, abdicate their own proper functions, forego their own responsibility, renounce their highest duties, and degrade themselves into passive instruments to serve the will of the Church and the throne.

Such is the great lesson taught by the history of Spain. From the history of Scotland, we may gather another lesson, of a different, and yet of a similar, kind. In Scotland, the progress of the nation has been very slow, but, on the whole, very sure. The country is extremely barren; the executive government has, with rare exceptions, been always weak; and the people have never been burdened with those feelings of loyalty which circumstances had forced upon the Spaniards. Certainly, the last charge that will be brought against the Scotch,[3] is that of superstitious attachment to their princes.[1] We, in England, have not always been very tender of the persons of our sovereigns, and we have occasionally punished them with what some consider excessive severity. With this, we have been frequently taunted by the more loyal nations of the Continent; and, in Spain in particular, our conduct has excited the greatest abhorrence. But, if we compare our history with that of our northern neighbours, we must pronounce ourselves a meek and submissive people.[2] There have been more rebellions in Scotland than in any other country; and the rebellions have been very sanguinary, as well as very numerous. The Scotch have made war upon most of their kings, and put to death many. To mention their treatment of a single dynasty, they murdered James I. and James III. They rebelled against James II. and James VII. They laid hold of James V.,[4] and placed him in confinement. Mary, they immured in a castle, and afterwards deposed. Her successor, James VI., they imprisoned; they led him captive about the country, and on one occasion attempted his life. Towards Charles I., they showed the greatest animosity, and they were the first to restrain his mad career. Three years before the English ventured to rise against that despotic prince, the Scotch boldly took up arms, and made war on him. The service which they then rendered to the cause of liberty it would be hard to overrate; but the singular part of the transaction was, that having afterwards got possession of the person of Charles, they sold him to the English for a large sum of money, of which they, being very poor, had pressing need. Such a sale is unparalleled in history; and although the Scotch might have plausibly alleged that this was the only gain they had derived, or ever could derive, from the existence of their hereditary prince, still the event is one which stands alone; it was unprecedented; it has never been imitated; and its occurrence is a striking symptom of the state of public opinion, and of the feelings of the country in which it was permitted.

While, however, in regard to loyalty, the opposition between Scotland and Spain is complete, there is, strange to say, the most striking similarity between those countries in regard to superstition. Both nations have allowed their clergy to exercise immense sway, and both have submitted their actions, as well as their consciences, to the authority of the Church. As a natural consequence, in both countries, intolerance has been, and still is, a crying evil; and in matters of religion, a bigotry is habitually displayed, discreditable indeed to Spain, but far more discreditable to Scotland, which has produced many philosophers of the highest eminence, who would willingly have taught the people better things, but who have vainly attempted to remove from the national mind that serious blemish which mars its beauty, and tends to neutralize its many other admirable qualities.

Herein lies the apparent paradox, and the real difficulty, of Scotch history. That knowledge should not[5] have produced the effects which have elsewhere followed it; that a bold and inquisitive literature should be found in a grossly superstitious country, without diminishing its superstition; that the people should constantly withstand their kings, and as constantly succumb to their clergy; that while they are liberal in politics, they should be illiberal in religion; and that, as a natural consequence of all this, men who, in the visible and external department of facts and of practical life, display a shrewdness and a boldness rarely equalled, should nevertheless, in speculative life, and in matters of theory, tremble like sheep before their pastors, and yield assent to every absurdity they hear, provided their Church has sanctioned it; that these discrepancies should coexist, seems at first sight a strange contradiction, and is surely a phenomenon worthy of our careful study. To indicate the causes of this anomaly, and to trace the results to which the anomaly has led, will be the business of the remaining part of this volume; and although the investigation will be somewhat lengthy, it will not, I hope, be considered prolix, by those who recognise the importance of the inquiry, and are aware how completely it has been neglected, even by those who have written most fully on the history of the Scottish nation.

In Scotland, as elsewhere, the course of events has been influenced by its physical geography; and by this I mean, not only its own immediate peculiarities, but also its relation to adjoining countries. It is close to Ireland; it touches England; and by the contiguity of the Orkney and Shetland Isles, it was eminently exposed to the attacks of that great nation of pirates, which for centuries inhabited the Scandinavian peninsula. Considered merely by itself, it is mountainous and sterile; nature has interposed such obstacles, that it was long impossible to open regular communications between its different parts, which, indeed, in regard to the Highlands, was not effected till after the middle of the eighteenth century.[3] Finally, and this, as we shall[6] presently see, was a matter of great importance, the most fertile land in Scotland is in the south, and was,[7] therefore, constantly ravaged by the English borderers. Hence, the accumulation of wealth was hindered; the growth of towns was discouraged, by the serious hazards to which they were liable; and it was impossible to develop that municipal spirit, which might have existed, if the districts most favoured by nature had been situated in the north of Scotland, instead of in the south. If the actual state of things had been reversed, so that the Highlands were in the south,[4] and the Lowlands in the north, it can hardly be doubted, that, after the cessation in the thirteenth century of the great Scandinavian invasions, the most fertile parts of Scotland, being comparatively secure, would have been the seat of towns, which the active spirit of the people would have caused to prosper, and the prosperity of which would have introduced a new element into Scotch affairs, and changed the course of Scotch history. This, however, was not to be; and, as we have to deal with events as they actually are, I will now endeavour to trace the consequences of the physical peculiarities which have just been noticed; and by coördinating their results, I will, so far as I am able, show their general meaning, and the way in which they have shaped the national character.

The earliest fact with which we are acquainted respecting the history of Scotland, is the Roman invasion under Agricola, late in the first century. But[8] neither his conquests, nor those of his successors, made any permanent impression. The country was never really subjugated, and nothing was effected except a military occupation, which, in spite of the erection of numerous forts, walls, and ramparts, left the spirit of the inhabitants unbroken. Even Severus, who, in the year 209, undertook the last and most important expedition against Scotland, does not appear to have penetrated beyond the Firth of Moray;[5] and directly he retired, the natives were again in arms, and again independent. After this, nothing was attempted upon a scale large enough to give a chance of success. Indeed, the Romans, far from being equal to such an effort, were themselves deteriorating. In their best days, their virtues were the virtues of barbarians, and even those they were now about to lose. From the beginning, their scheme of life was so one-sided and imperfect, that the increase of wealth, which improves the civilization of really civilized countries, was to the Romans an irreparable mischief; and they were corrupted by luxury, instead of being refined by it. In our time, if we compare the different nations of Europe, we find that the richest are also the most powerful, the most humane, and the most happy. We live in that advanced state of society, in which wealth is both the cause and the effect of progress, while poverty is the fruitful parent of weakness, of misery, and of crime. But the Romans, when they ceased to be poor, began to[9] be vicious. So unstable was the foundation of their greatness, that the very results which their power produced, were fatal to the power itself. Their empire gave them wealth, and their wealth overthrew their empire. Their national character, notwithstanding its apparent strength, was in truth of so frail a texture, that it was ruined by its own development. As it grew, it dwarfed. Hence it was, that, in the third and fourth centuries, their hold on mankind visibly slackened. Their authority being undermined, other nations, of course, stepped in; so that the inroads of those strange tribes which came pouring from the north, and to whose appearance the final catastrophe is often ascribed, were at best the occasion, but by no means the cause, of the fall of the Roman Empire. Towards that great and salutary event, every thing had long been pointing. The scourgers and oppressors of the world, whom a false and ignorant sympathy has invested with noble qualities which they never possessed, had now to look to themselves; and when, after receding on all sides, they, in the middle of the fifth century, withdrew their forces from the whole of Britain, they merely executed a movement, which a train of circumstances, continued through several generations, had made inevitable.

It is at this point that we begin to discern the operation of those physical and geographical peculiarities which I have mentioned as influencing the fortunes of Scotland. The Romans, gradually losing ground, the proximity of Ireland caused repeated attacks from that fertile island, whose rich soil and great natural advantages gave rise to an exuberant, and therefore a restless, population. An overflow, which, in civilized times, is an emigration, is, in barbarous times, an invasion. Hence the Irish, or Scotti as they were termed, established themselves by force of arms in the west of Scotland, and came into collision with the Picts, who occupied the eastern part. A deadly struggle ensued, which lasted four centuries after the withdrawal of the Romans, and plunged the country into the greatest confusion. At length, in the middle of the ninth[10] century, Kenneth M'Alpine, king of the Scotti, gained the upper hand, and reduced the Picts to complete submission.[6] The country was now united under one rule; and the conquerors, slowly absorbing the conquered, gave their name to the whole, which, in the tenth century, received the appellation of Scotland.[7]

But the kingdom was to have no rest. For, in the mean time, circumstances, which it would be tedious to relate, had raised the inhabitants of Norway to be the greatest maritime power in Europe. The use which that nation of pirates made of their strength, forms another and a very important link in the history of Scotland, and moreover illustrates the immense weight, which, in an early period of society, should be assigned to mere geographical considerations. The nearest land to the centre of the long coast of Norway is the Shetland Isles, whence it is an easy sail to the Orkneys. The northern pirates naturally seized these small, but, to them, most useful islands, and, as naturally, made[11] them intermediate stations, from which they could conveniently pillage the coasts of Scotland. Being constantly reinforced from Norway, they, in the ninth and tenth centuries, advanced from the Orkneys, made permanent settlements in Scotland itself, and occupied not only Caithness, but also great part of Sutherland. Another body of them got possession of the Western Islands; and as Skye is only separated from the mainland by a very narrow channel, these pirates easily crossed over, and fixed themselves in Western Ross.[8] From their new abodes, they waged incessant and destructive war against every district within their reach; and, keeping a large part of Scotland in constant alarm, they, for about three centuries, prevented the possibility of its social improvement. Indeed, that unhappy country was never free from the dangers of Norwegian invasion, until the failure of the last great attack, in 1263, when Haco left Norway with a prodigious armament, which he further strengthened by reinforcements from the Orkneys and Hebrides. Scotland could offer but little resistance. Haco, with his allies, sailed along the western coast to the Mull of Kentire, wasted the country with fire and sword, took Arran and Bute, entered the Firth of Clyde, suddenly fell upon Loch Lomond, destroyed all the property on its shores and on its islands, ravaged the whole county of Stirling, and threatened to descend with all his force upon Ayrshire. Fortunately, the inclemency of the weather broke up this great expedition, and scattered or destroyed the entire fleet.[9] After its dispersal, the course of affairs in Norway prevented the attempt from being renewed; and danger from that quarter being[12] over, it might have been hoped that Scotland would now enjoy peace, and would have leisure to develop the natural resources which she possessed, particularly those in the southern and more favoured districts.

This, however, was not to be. For, scarcely were the attacks from Norway at an end, when those from England began. Early in the thirteenth century, the lines of demarcation which separated Normans from Saxons, were, in our country, becoming so obliterated, that in many cases it was impossible to distinguish them.[10] By the middle of the same century, the two races were fused into one powerful nation; and, as that nation had a comparatively feeble neighbour, it was certain that the stronger people would try to oppress the weaker.[11] In an ignorant and barbarous age, military success is preferred to all other kinds of fame; and the English, greedy for conquest, set their eyes upon Scotland, which they were sure to invade at the first opportunity. That Scotland was near, made it tempting; that it was believed to be defenceless, made the temptation irresistible. In 1290, Edward I. determined to avail himself of the confusion into which Scotland was thrown by disputes respecting the succession of the crown. The intrigues which followed, need not be related; it is enough to say, that, in 1296, the sword was drawn, and Edward invaded a country which he had long desired to conquer. But he little recked of the millions of treasure, and the hundreds of thousands of lives, which were to be squandered, before[13] that war was over.[12] The contest that ensued was of unexampled length and severity; and in its sad course, the Scotch, notwithstanding their heroic resistance, and the victories they occasionally gained, had to endure every evil which could be inflicted by their proud and insolent neighbour. The darling object of the English, was to subjugate the Scotch; and if anything could increase the disgrace of so base an enterprise, it would be that, having undertaken it, they ignominiously failed.[13] The suffering, however, was incalculable, and was aggravated by the important fact, that it was precisely the most fertile part of Scotland which was most exposed to the English ravages. This, as we shall presently see, produced some very curious results on the national character; and for that reason, I will, without entering into many details, give a slight summary of the more immediate consequences of this long and sanguinary struggle.

In 1296, the English entered Berwick, the richest town Scotland possessed, and not only destroyed all the property, but slew nearly all the inhabitants.[14] They[14] then marched on to Aberdeen and Elgin; and so completely desolated the country, that the Scotch, flying to the mountains, and stripped of their all, had no resource left but to wage from their native fastnesses a war similar to that which their savage ancestors, twelve centuries earlier, had conducted against the Romans.[15] In 1298, the English again broke in, burnt Perth and St. Andrews, and ravaged the whole territory south and west.[16] In 1310, they invaded Scotland by the eastern march, and carrying off such provisions as were left, caused so terrible a dearth, that the people were forced to feed on horses and other carrion.[17] All over southern Scotland, both east and west, the inhabitants were now reduced to a horrible condition, being[15] for the most part houseless and starved. In 1314, made desperate by their state, they rallied for a moment, and, in the battle of Bannockburn, gloriously defeated their oppressors. But their unrelenting enemy was at hand, and pressed them so hard, that, in 1322, Bruce, in order to baffle an English invasion, was obliged to lay waste all the districts south of the Firth of Forth; the people taking refuge, as before, in the mountains.[18] This time, therefore, when Edward II. reached Edinburgh, he plundered nothing, because, the country being a desert, there was nothing to plunder; but, on his return, he did what he could, and meeting with some convents, which were the only signs of life that he encountered, he fell upon them, robbed the monasteries of Melrose and Holyrood, burnt the abbey of Dryburgh, and slew those monks who, from age or disease, were unable to escape.[19] In 1336, the next king, Edward III., equipped a numerous army, devastated the Lowlands,[16] and great part of the Highlands, and destroyed every thing he could find, as far as Inverness.[20] In 1346, the English overran the districts of Tweeddale, the Merse, Ettrick, Annandale, and Galloway;[21] and in 1355, Edward, in a still more barbarous inroad, burnt every church, every village, and every town he approached.[22] And scarcely were these frightful losses somewhat repaired, when another storm burst upon the devoted land. In 1385, Richard II. traversed the southern counties to Aberdeen, scattering destruction on every side, and reducing to ashes the cities of Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Perth, and Dundee.[23]

By these disasters, the practice of agriculture was every where interrupted, and in many places ceased for several generations.[24] The labourers either fled, or[17] were murdered; and there being no one to till the ground, some of the fairest parts of Scotland were turned into a wilderness, overgrown with briers and thickets. Between the invasions, a few of the inhabitants, taking courage, issued from the mountains, and raised wretched huts in the place of their former abodes. But, even then, they were pursued to their very doors by wolves, searching for food, and maddened with hunger. If they escaped from these famished and ferocious animals, they and their families were exposed to a danger still more horrible. For, in those terrible days, when famine stalked abroad, despair perverted the souls of men, and drove them to new crime. There were cannibals in the land; and we have it on contemporary authority, that a man and his wife, who were at length brought to justice, subsisted during a considerable period on the bodies of children, whom they caught alive in traps, devouring their flesh, and drinking their blood.[25]

Thus the fourteenth century passed away. In the fifteenth century, the devastations of the English[18] became comparatively rare; and although the borders were the scene of constant hostilities,[26] there is no instance, since the year 1400, of any of our kings invading Scotland.[27] An end being put to those murderous expeditions, which reduced the country to a desert, Scotland drew breath, and began to recover her strength.[28] But, though the material losses were gradually repaired; though the fields were again cultivated, and the towns rebuilt, there were other consequences, which were less easy to remedy, and from whose effects the people long smarted. These were inordinate power of the nobles, and the absence of the municipal spirit. The strength of the nobles, and the weakness of the citizens, are the most important peculiarities of Scotland during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; and they, as I am about to show, were directly encouraged by the ravages committed by the English troops. We shall, moreover, see that this combination of events increased the authority of the clergy, weakened the influence of the intellectual classes, and made superstition more prevalent than it[19] would otherwise have been. It is in this way, that in Scotland, as in all other countries, every thing is linked together; nothing is casual or accidental; and the whole march of affairs is governed by general causes, which, owing to their largeness and remoteness, often escape attention, but which, when once recognized, are found to be marked by a simplicity and uniformity, which are the invariable characteristics of the highest truths that the mind of man has reached.

The first circumstance favourable to the authority of the nobles, was the structure of the country. Mountains, fens, lakes, and morasses, which even the resources of modern art have only recently made accessible supplied the great Scottish chieftains with retreats, in which they could with impunity defy the power of the crown.[29] The poverty of the soil also, made it difficult for armies to find means of subsistence; and from this cause alone, the royal troops were often unable to pursue the lawless and refractory barons.[30] During the fourteenth century, Scotland was constantly ravaged by the English; and in the intervals of[20] their absence, it would have been a hopeless undertaking for any king to try to repress such powerful subjects, since he would have had to march through districts so devastated by the enemy, that they no longer yielded the common necessaries of life. Besides this, the war with the English lessened the authority of the crown, absolutely as well as relatively. Its patrimony, lying in the south, was incessantly wasted by the borderers, and before the middle of the fourteenth century, greatly deteriorated in value.[31] In 1346, David II. fell into the hands of the English, and during his captivity of eleven years, the nobles carried all before them, and affected, says an historian, the style and title of princes.[32] The longer the war with England continued, the more these consequences were felt; so that before the close of the fourteenth century, a few of the leading Scotch families had raised themselves to such preëminence, that it was evident, either that a deadly struggle must ensue between them and the crown, or else that the executive government would have to abdicate its most essential functions, and leave the country a prey to these headstrong and ferocious chiefs.[33]

At this crisis, the natural allies of the throne would have been the citizens and free burgesses, who in most European countries were the eager and resolute opponents of the nobles, whose licentious habits interfered not only with their trade and manufactures, but also with their personal liberty. Here again, however, the long war with England was favourable to the aristocracy[21] of Scotland. For, as the invaders ravaged the southern parts of Scotland, which were also the only tolerably fertile parts, it was impossible that towns should flourish in the places which nature had appointed for them. There being no large cities, there was no asylum for the citizens, and there could be no municipal spirit. There being no municipal spirit, the crown was deprived of that great resource, which enabled the English kings to curtail the power of the nobles, and to punish a lawlessness which long impeded the progress of society.

During the middle ages, the Scotch towns were so utterly insignificant, that but few notices have been preserved of them; contemporary writers concentrating their attention upon the proceedings of the nobles and clergy. Respecting the people, who found shelter in such miserable cities as then existed, our best accounts are very imperfect; it is, however, certain that, during the long English wars, the inhabitants usually fled at the approach of the invaders, and the wretched hovels in which they lived were burned to the ground.[34] Hence the population acquired a fluctuating and vagabond character, which prevented the formation of settled habits of industry, and thus took away one reason which men have for congregating together. This applied more especially to the southern Lowlands; for the north, there were other evils equally threatening. The ferocious Highlanders, who lived entirely by plunder, were constantly at hand; and to them were not unfrequently added the freebooters of the Western Isles. Any thing which bore even the semblance of wealth, was an irresistible excitement to their cupidity. They could not know that a man had property, without longing to steal it; and, next[22] to stealing, their greatest pleasure was to destroy.[35] Aberdeen and Inverness were particularly exposed to their assaults; and twice during the fifteenth century, Inverness was totally consumed by fire, besides having to pay at other times a heavy ransom, to save itself from a similar fate.[36]


Such insecurity[37] both on the north and on the south, made peaceful industry impossible in any part of Scotland. No where could a town be built, without being in danger of immediate destruction. The consequence was, that, during many centuries, there were no manufactures; there was hardly any trade; and nearly all business was conducted by barter.[38] Some of the commonest arts were unknown. The Scotch were unable to make even the arms with which they fought. This, among such a warlike people, would have been a very profitable labour; but they were so ignorant of it, that, early in the fifteenth century, most of the armour which they wore was manufactured abroad, as also were their spears, and even their bows and arrows; and the heads of these weapons were entirely imported from[24] Flanders.[39] Indeed, the Flemish artizans supplied the Scotch with ordinary farming implements, such as cart-wheels and wheel-barrows, which, about the year 1475, used to be regularly shipped from the Low Countries.[40] As to the arts which indicate a certain degree of refinement, they were then, and long afterwards, quite out of the question.[41] Until the seventeenth century, no glass was manufactured in Scotland,[42] neither was any soap made there.[43] Even the higher class of citizens would have deemed windows absurd in their[25] wretched abodes;[44] and as they were alike filthy in their persons as in their houses, the demand for soap was too small to induce any one to attempt its manufacture.[45] Other branches of industry were equally backward. In 1620, the art of tanning leather was for the first time introduced into Scotland;[46] and it is stated, on apparently good authority, that no paper was[26] made there until about the middle of the eighteenth century.[47]

In the midst of such general stagnation, the most flourishing towns were, as may be easily supposed, very thinly peopled. Indeed, men had so little to do, that if they had collected in large numbers, they must have starved. Glasgow is one of the oldest cities in Scotland, and is said to have been founded about the sixth century.[48] At all events, in the twelfth century, it was, according to the measure of that age, a rich and prosperous place, enjoying the privilege of holding both a market and a fair.[49] It had also a municipal organization, and was governed by its own provosts and baillies.[50][27] Yet, even this famous town had no kind of trade before the fifteenth century, when the inhabitants began to cure salmon, and export it.[51] That was the only branch of industry with which Glasgow was acquainted. We need not, therefore, be surprised at hearing, that so late as the middle of the fifteenth century, the entire population did not exceed fifteen hundred persons, whose wealth consisted of some small cattle, and a few acres of ill-cultivated land.[52]

Other cities, though bearing a celebrated name, were equally backward at a still more recent period. Dunfermline is associated with many historic reminiscences; it was a favourite residence of Scotch kings, and many Scotch parliaments have been held there.[53] Such events are supposed to confer distinction; but the illusion vanishes, when we inquire more minutely into the condition of the place where they happened. In spite of the pomp of princes and legislators, Dunfermline, which at the end of the fourteenth century was still a poor village, composed of wooden huts,[54] had, by the beginning of the seventeenth century, advanced so slowly that its[28] whole population, including that of its wretched suburbs, did not exceed one thousand persons.[55] For a Scotch town, that was a considerable number. About the same time, Greenock, we are assured, was a village consisting of a single row of cottages, tenanted by poor fishermen.[56] Kilmarnock, which is now a great emporium of industry and of wealth, contained, in 1668, between five and six hundred inhabitants.[57] And, to come down still lower, even Paisley itself, in the year 1700, possessed a population which, according to the highest estimate, did not amount to three thousand.[58]

Aberdeen, the metropolis of the north, was looked up to as one of the most influential of the Scotch towns, and was not a little envied during the Middle Ages, for its power and importance. These, however, like all other words, are relative, and mean different things at different periods. Certainly, we shall not be much struck by the magnitude of that city, when we learn, from calculations made from its tables of mortality, that so late as 1572, it could only boast of about two thousand nine hundred inhabitants.[59] Such a fact will dispel many a[29] dream respecting the old Scotch towns, particularly if we call to mind that it refers to a date, when the anarchy of the Middle Ages was passing away, and Aberdeen had for some time been improving. That city—if so miserable a collection of persons deserves to be termed a city—was, nevertheless, one of the most densely peopled places in Scotland. From the thirteenth century to the close of the sixteenth, no where else were so many Scotchmen assembled together, except in Perth, Edinburgh, and possibly in Saint Andrews.[60] Respecting Saint Andrews, I have been unable to meet with any precise information;[61] but of Perth and Edinburgh, some particulars are preserved. Perth was long the capital of Scotland, and after losing that preëminence, it was still reputed to be the second city in the kingdom.[62][30] Its wealth was supposed to be astonishing; and every good Scotchman was proud of it, as one of the chief ornaments of his country.[63] But, according to an estimate recently made by a considerable authority in these matters, its entire population, in the year 1585, was under nine thousand.[64] This will surprise many readers; though, considering the state of society at that time, the real wonder is, not that there were so few, but that there were so many. For, Edinburgh itself, notwithstanding the officials and numerous hangers-on, which the presence of a court always brings, did not contain, late in the fourteenth century, more than sixteen thousand persons.[65] Of their general condition, a contemporary observer has left us some account. Froissart, who visited Scotland, and records what he saw, as well as what he heard, gives a lamentable picture of the state of affairs. The houses in Edinburgh were mere huts, thatched with boughs; and were so slightly put together, that when one of them was destroyed, it only took three days to rebuild it. As to the people who inhabited these wretched hovels, Froissart, who was by no means given to exaggeration, assures us, that the French, unless they had seen them, could not have believed that such destitution existed, and that now, for the first time, they understood what poverty really was.[66]


After this period, there was, no doubt, considerable improvement; but it was very slow, and even late in the sixteenth century, skilled labour was hardly known, and honest industry was universally despised.[67][32] It is not, therefore, surprising, that the citizens, poor, miserable, and ignorant, should frequently purchase the protection of some powerful noble by yielding to him the little independence that they might have retained.[68] Few of the Scotch towns ventured to elect their chief magistrate from among their own people; but the usual course was, to choose a neighbouring[33] peer as provost or baillie.[69] Indeed, it often happened that his office became hereditary, and was looked upon as the vested right of some aristocratic family.[70] To the head of that family, every thing gave way. His authority was so incontestable, that an injury done even to one of his retainers was resented, as if it had been done to himself.[71] The burgesses who were sent to parliament, were completely dependent on the noble who ruled the town. Down to quite modern times, there was in Scotland no real popular representation. The so-called representatives were obliged to vote as they were ordered; they were, in fact, delegates of the aristocracy; and as they possessed no chamber of their own, they sat and deliberated in the midst of their powerful masters, by whom they were openly intimidated.[72]


Under these circumstances, it would have been idle for the crown to have expected aid from a body of men who themselves had no influence, and whose scanty privileges existed only on sufferance. But there was another class, which was extremely powerful, and to which the Scotch kings naturally turned. That class was the clergy; and the interest which both parties had in weakening the nobles, caused a coalition between the church and the throne, against the aristocracy. During a long period, and indeed until the latter half of the sixteenth century, the kings almost invariably favoured the clergy, and increased their privileges in every way they could. The Reformation dissolved this alliance, and gave rise to new combinations, which[35] I shall presently indicate. But while the alliance lasted, it was of great use to the clergy, by imparting to their claims a legitimate sanction, and making them appear the supporters of order and of regular government. The result, however, clearly proved that the nobles were more than equal to the confederacy which opposed them. Indeed, looking at their enormous power, the only wonder is, that the clergy could have prolonged the contest as they did; since they were not actually overthrown until the year 1560. That the struggle should have been so arduous, and should have extended over so considerable a period, is what, on a superficial view, no one could have expected. The reason of this, I shall now endeavour to explain; and I shall, I trust, succeed in proving, that in Scotland there was a long train of general causes, which secured to the spiritual classes immense influence, and which enabled them, not only to do battle with the most powerful aristocracy in Europe, but to rise up, after what seemed their final defeat, fresh and vigorous as ever, and eventually to exercise, as Protestant preachers, an authority nowise inferior to that which they had wielded as Catholic priests.

Of all Protestant countries, Scotland is certainly the one where the course of affairs has for the longest period been most favourable to the interests of superstition. How these interests were encouraged during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I shall hereafter relate. At present, I purpose to examine the causes of their early growth, and to show the way in which they were not only connected with the Reformation, but gave to that great event some peculiarities which are extremely remarkable, and are diametrically opposed to what happened in England.

If the reader will bear in mind what I have elsewhere stated,[73] he will remember that the two principal sources of superstition are ignorance and danger; ignorance keeping men unacquainted with natural causes, and danger making them recur to supernatural[36] ones. Or, to express the same proposition in other words, the feeling of veneration, which, under one of its aspects, takes the form of superstition, is a product of wonder and of fear;[74] and it is obvious that wonder is connected with ignorance, and that fear is connected with danger.[75] Hence it is, that whatever in any country increases the total amount of amazement, or whatever in any country increases the total amount of peril, has a direct tendency to increase the total amount of superstition, and therefore to strengthen the hands of the priesthood.

By applying these principles to Scotland, we shall be able to explain several facts in the history of that country. In the first place the features of its scenery offer a mark contrast to those of England, and are much more likely, among an ignorant people, to suggest effective and permanent superstitions. The storms and the mists, the darkened sky flashed by frequent lightning, the peals of thunder reverberating from mountain to mountain, and echoing on every side, the dangerous hurricanes, the gusts sweeping the innumerable lakes with which the country is studded, the rolling and impetuous torrent flooding the path of the traveller and stopping his progress, are strangely different to those safer and milder phenomena, among which the English people have developed their prosperity, and built up their mighty cities. Even the belief in witchcraft, one of the blackest superstitions which has ever defaced the human mind, has been affected by these peculiarities; and it has been well observed, that while, according to the old English[37] creed, the witch was a miserable and decrepit hag, the slave rather than the mistress of the demons which haunted her, she, in Scotland, rose to the dignity of a potent sorcerer, who mastered the evil spirit, and, forcing it to do her will, spread among the people a far deeper and more lasting terror.[76]


Similar results were produced by the incessant and sanguinary wars to which Scotland was exposed, and especially by the cruel ravages of the English in the fourteenth century. Whatever religion may be in the ascendant, the influence of its ministers is invariably strengthened by a long and dangerous war, the uncertainties of which perplex the minds of men, and induce them, when natural resources are failing, to call on the supernatural for help. On such occasions, the clergy rise in importance; the churches are more than usually filled; and the priest, putting himself forward as the exponent of the wishes of God, assumes the language of authority, and either comforts the people under their losses in a righteous cause, or else explains to them that those losses are sent as a visitation for their sins, and as a warning that they have not been sufficiently attentive to their religious duties; in other words, that they have neglected rites and ceremonies, in the performance of which the priest himself has a personal interest.

No wonder, therefore, that in the fourteenth century, when the sufferings of Scotland were at their height, the clergy flourished more than ever; so that as the country became poorer, the spiritual classes became richer in proportion to the rest of the nation. Even in the fifteenth, and first half of the sixteenth century, when industry began somewhat to advance, we are assured that notwithstanding the improvement in the position of laymen, the whole of their wealth put together, and including the possessions of all ranks, was barely equal to the wealth of the Church.[77] If the[39] hierarchy were so rapacious and so successful during a period of comparative security, it would be difficult to overrate the enormous harvest they must have reaped in those earlier days, when danger being much more imminent, hardly any one died without leaving something to them; all being anxious to testify their respect towards those who knew more than their fellows, and whose prayers could either avert present evil, or secure future happiness.[78]

Another consequence of these protracted wars was, that a more than ordinary proportion of the population embraced the ecclesiastical profession, because in it alone there was some chance of safety: and the monasteries in particular were crowded with persons who hoped, though frequently in vain, to escape from the burnings and slaughterings to which Scotland was exposed. When the country, in the fifteenth century, began to recover from the effects of these ravages, the[40] absence of manufactures and of commerce, made the Church the best avenue to wealth;[79] so that it was entered by peaceful men for the purpose of security, and by ambitious men as the surest means of achieving distinction.

Thus it was, that the want of great cities, and of that form of industry which belongs to them, made the spiritual classes more numerous than they would otherwise have been; and what is very observable is, that it not only increased their number, but also increased the disposition of the people to obey them. Agriculturists are naturally, and by the very circumstances of their daily life, more superstitious than manufacturers, because the events with which they deal are more mysterious, that is to say, more difficult to generalize and predict.[80] Hence it is, that, as a body, the inhabitants of agricultural districts pay greater respect to the teachings of their clergy than the inhabitants of manufacturing districts. The growth of cities has, therefore, been a main cause of the decline of ecclesiastical power; and the fact that, until the eighteenth century, Scotland had nothing worthy of being called a city, is one of many circumstances which explain the prevalence of Scotch superstition, and the inordinate influence of the Scotch clergy.

To this, we must add another consideration of great moment. Partly from the structure of the country, partly from the weakness of the Crown, and partly from the necessity of being constantly in arms to repel foreign invaders, the predatory habits incidental to an early state of society were encouraged, and consequently the reign of ignorance was prolonged. Little was studied, and nothing was known. Until the fifteenth century, there was not even an university in Scotland, the first having been founded at St. Andrews in 1412.[81] The nobles, when they were not making war upon the[41] enemy, occupied themselves in cutting each other's throats, and stealing each other's cattle.[82] Such was their ignorance, that, even late in the fourteenth century, there is said to be no instance of a Scotch baron being able to sign his own name.[83] And as nothing[42] approaching to a middle class had been yet formed, we may from this gain some idea of the amount of knowledge possessed by the people at large.[84] Their minds must have been immersed in a darkness which we can now barely conceive. No trades, or arts, being practised which required skill, or dexterity, there was nothing to exercise their intellects. They consequently remained so stupid and brutal, that an intelligent observer, who visited Scotland in the year 1360, likens them to savages, so much was he struck by their barbarism and their unsocial manners.[85] Another writer, early in the fifteenth century, uses the same expression; and classing them with the animals which they tended, he declares that Scotland is fuller of savages than of cattle.[86]

By this combination of events, and by this union of ignorance with danger, the clergy had, in the fifteenth century, obtained more influence in Scotland than in any other European country, Spain alone excepted. And as the power of the nobles had increased quite as rapidly, it was natural that the Crown, completely overshadowed by the great barons, should turn for aid to the Church. During the fifteenth century, and part of the sixteenth, this alliance was strictly preserved;[87] and the political history of Scotland is the history of a struggle by the kings and the clergy against the enormous authority of the nobles. The contest, after[43] lasting about a hundred and sixty years, was brought to a close in 1560, by the triumph of the aristocracy, and the overthrow of the Church. With such force, however, had the circumstance just narrated, engrained superstition into the Scotch character, that the spiritual classes quickly rallied, and, under their new name of Protestants, they became as formidable as under their old name of Catholics. Forty-three years after the establishment of the Reformation in Scotland, James VI. ascended the throne of England, and was able to array the force of the southern country against the refractory barons of the northern. From that moment the Scotch aristocracy began to decline; and the equipoise to the clergy being removed, the Church became so powerful, that, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was the most effectual obstacle to the progress of Scotland; and even now it exercises a sway which is incomprehensible to those who have not carefully studied the whole chain of its antecedents. To trace with minuteness the long course of affairs which has led to this unfortunate result, would be incompatible with the object of an Introduction, whose only aim it is to establish broad and general principles. But, to bring the question clearly before the mind of the reader, it will be necessary that I should give a slight sketch of the relation which the nobles bore to the clergy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and of the way in which their relative positions, and their implacable hatred of each other, brought about the Reformation. By this means, we shall perceive, that the great Protestant movement, which, in other countries, was democratic, was in Scotland aristocratic. We shall also see, that, in Scotland, the Reformation, not being the work of the people, has never produced the effects which might have been expected from it, and which it did produce in England. It is, indeed, but too evident, that, while in England Protestantism has diminished superstition, has weakened the clergy, has increased toleration, and, in a word, has secured the triumph of secular interests over ecclesiastical ones, its result in Scotland has been entirely different; and that, in that[44] country, the Church, changing its form, without altering its spirit, not only cherished its ancient pretensions, but unhappily retained its ancient power; and that, although that power is now dwindling away, the Scotch preachers still exhibit, whenever they dare, an insolent and domineering spirit, which shows how much real weakness there yet lurks in the nation, where such extravagant claims are not immediately silenced by the voice of loud and general ridicule.


[1] One of their own historians complacently says, ‘but the Scots were seldom distinguished for loyalty.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 199, edit. 1819. See also p. 366. To the same effect, Brodie (History of the British Empire, Edinburgh, 1822, vol. i. p. 388): ‘The little respect paid to royalty is conspicuous in every page of Scottish history.’ Or, as Wilkes expressed himself in the House of Commons, ‘Scotland seems, indeed, the natural foyer of rebellion, as Egypt is of the plague.’ Parliamentary History, vol. xix. p. 810, London, 1814; and Nimmo (History of Stirlingshire, Edinburgh, 1777, p. 219): ‘Never was any race of monarchs more unfortunate than the Scottish. Their reigns were generally turbulent and disastrous, and their own end often tragical.’

[2] Indeed, a well-known Scotchman of the seventeenth century, scornfully says of the English, ‘such is the obsequiousness, and almost superstitious devotion of that nation towards their prince.’ Baillie's Letters, vol. i. p. 204, edit. Laing, Edinburgh, 1841. This, however, was written in 1639, since which we have effectually wiped off that reproach. On the other hand, an English writer of the seventeenth century, indignantly, though with evident exaggeration, imputes to the Scotch that ‘forty of their kings have been barbarously murdered by them; and half as many more have either made away with themselves, for fear of their torturing of them, or have died miserably in strait imprisonment.’ Account of Scotland in 1670, in Harleian Miscellany, vol. vi. p. 140, edit. Park, 4to, 1810. Compare two curious passages in Shields' Hind let loose, 1687, pp. 8, 9, 15.

[3] In England, the travelling was bad enough; in Scotland, it was far worse. Morer, stating what he saw in 1689, says ‘Stage-coaches they have none; yet there are a few Hackney's at Edinburgh, which they may hire into the country upon urgent occasions. The truth is, the roads will hardly allow 'em those conveniences, which is the reason that their gentry, men and women, chuse rather to use their horses.’ Morer's Account of Scotland, London, 1702, p. 24.

As to the northern parts, we have the following account, written in Inverness, between 1726 and 1730. ‘The Highlands are but little known even to the inhabitants of the low country of Scotland, for they have ever dreaded the difficulties and dangers of travelling among the mountains; and, when some extraordinary occasion has obliged any one of them to such a progress, he has, generally speaking, made his testament before he set out, as though he were entering upon a long and dangerous sea-voyage, wherein it was very doubtful if he should ever return.’ Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, edit. London, 1815, vol. i. p. 4. Between 1720 and 1730, military roads were cut through parts of the Highlands, but they were ‘laid down by a practical soldier, and destined for warlike purposes, with scarcely any view towards the ends for which free and peaceful citizens open up a system of internal transit,’ Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 255. See also Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 36. This is confirmed by the fact, that even between Inverness and Edinburgh, ‘until 1755, the mail was conveyed by men on foot.’ Account of Inverness-shire, in McCulloch's British Empire, London, 1847, vol. i. p. 299; to which I may add, that in Anderson's Essay on the Highlands, Edinburgh, 1827, pp. 119, 120, it is stated, that ‘A postchaise was first seen in Inverness itself in 1760, and was, for a considerable time, the only four-wheeled carriage in the district.’ As to the communications in the country about Perth, see Penny's Traditions of Perth, pp. 131, 132, Perth, 1836; and as to those from Aberdeen to Inverness, and from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, see Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. ii. pp. 269, 270, London, 4to, 1818.

The history of the improvement of the roads during the latter half of the eighteenth century, has never been written; but it is of the greatest importance for its intellectual results, in causing national fusion, as well as for its economical results, in helping trade. Some idea may be formed of the extraordinary energy displayed by Scotland in this matter, by comparing the following passages: Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. pp. 494, 865, 939, vol. iii. pp. 599, 799; Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, part ii. pp. 128, 160; Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, pp. 245, 246; Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 109, 210, 367, 430, 496; vol. ii. p. 498; vol. iii. pp. 331, 352, 353; vol. iv. p. 313; vol. v. pp. 128, 234, 235, 315, 364, 365; vol. vi. pp. 107, 154, 180, 458; vol. vii. pp. 135, 251, 275, 299, 417; vol. viii. pp. 81, 243, 344, 345, 541; vol. ix. pp. 414, 530; vol. x. pp. 221, 237, 238, 466, 618; vol. xi. pp. 127, 380, 418, 432, 522, 541; vol. xii. p. 59; vol. xiii. pp. 42, 141, 488, 542, 663; vol. xiv. pp. 217, 227, 413, 443, 466, 506; vol. xv. pp. 54, 88, 276; vol. xvi. p. 120; vol. xvii. pp. 5, 267, 297, 377, 533; vol. xviii. p. 309; vol. xx. p. 156.

[4] I use the word Highlands, in the common, though improper, sense of including all Scotland from the Pentland Firth to the beginning of the mountains, a few miles north of Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, and Dundee. All such distinctions are necessarily somewhat vague, because the boundaries of nature are never clearly marked. Compare Macky's Scotland, p. 124, London, 1732, with Anderson's Guide to the Highlands, Edinburgh, 1847, pp. 17, 18.

[5] Browne (History of the Highlands, vol. i. p. 33) says that ‘he traversed the whole of North Britain, from the wall of Antoninus to the very extremity of the island.’ The same thing is stated in Pennant's Scotland, vol. i. p. 90. Neither of these writers quote their authority for this; but they probably relied on a passage in Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. iv. p. 94. ‘Neque tamen desideratis quinquaginta millibus (ut scribit Dion) prius ab incœpto destiterunt, quam ad finem insulæ penetrassent.’ I believe, however, that Scotch antiquaries are now agreed that this is wrong, as Chalmers was one of the first to perceive. See his Caledonia, vol. i. p. 187; a very valuable and learned, but unhappily ill-arranged, book, and written in a style which is absolutely afflicting. See also Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, 4to, 1860, p. 14.

[6] The history of Scotland, in this period, is in great confusion, and perhaps will never be recovered. For the statements made in the text, I have chiefly used the following authorities: Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. i.; Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. v. pp. 121–132, and the beginning of the sixth book. Also various parts of Bede; Pinkerton's Enquiry into the Early History of Scotland; Chalmers' Caledonia; the first volume of Browne's History of the Highlands; and, above all, Mr. Skene's acute and learned work on the Highlanders. In the last-named book, the western boundary of the Picts is traced with great ingenuity, though perhaps with some uncertainty. Skene's Highlanders of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 26–33, London, 1837.

[7] Here, again, we are involved in doubt; it being uncertain when the name Scotia was first applied to Scotland. The date, therefore, which I have given, is only intended as an approximative truth. In arriving at it, I have compared the following different, and often conflicting, passages: Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 339. Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. i. p. 34. Pinkerton's Enquiry into the Early History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 253, 254, vol. ii. pp. 151, 228, 237, 240. Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, edit. Russell, 1851, vol. i. p. 16, note, where, however, Pinkerton's authority is appealed to for an assertion which he did not make. Skene's Highlanders, vol. i. pp. 45, 61, 244. Anderson's Prize Essay on the Highlands, p. 34.

[8] Pinkerton's Enquiry into the Early History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 136, 317, vol. ii. pp. 179, 298. Skene's Highlanders, vol. i. pp. 90, 91, 94, 106, 114, 258, 259. Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. pp. 340–347.

[9] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 38–54. The account in Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. i. pp. 399–403, ascribes too much to the prowess of the Scotch, and too little to the elements which dispersed the fleet. Compare Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, second edition, 4to, 1860, pp. 48, 49.

[10] Buckle's History of Civilization, vol. ii. pp. 116, 117.

[11] In Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 18, ‘the early part of the reign’ of Alexander III. is indicated as the period in which ‘the first approaches were made towards the great plan for the reduction of Scotland, by the English.’ Alexander III. came to the throne in 1249. Earlier, the feeling was very different. Thus, late in the twelfth century, ‘the two nations, according to Fordun, seemed one people; Englishmen travelling at pleasure through all the corners of Scotland (?); and Scotchmen in like manner through England.’ Ridpath's Border History, p. 76. Compare Dalrymple's Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 158. At that time, England, being weak, was peaceably disposed.

[12] An old Scotch writer says, with some exaggeration, ‘The year 1296, at which tyme, the bloodyest and longest warr that ever was betwixt two nationes fell out, and continued two hundreth and sextie years, to the undoeing and ruineing of many noble families, with the slaughter of a million of men.’ Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. i. p. 61.

[13] See some just and biting remarks in Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. p. 85.

[14] ‘Anno gratiæ MCCXCVI. tertio kalendas Aprilis, villa et castro de Berevvico, per magnificum regem Angliæ Eadvvardum captis, omnes ibidem inuentos Angli gladio occiderunt, paucis exceptis, qui ipsam villam postmodum abiurarūt.’ Flores Historiarum per Matthæum Westmonasteriensem collecti, Lond. 1570, folio, lib. ii. p. 403. ‘Atque modo prædicto villâ captâ, civibus prostratis, rex Angliæ prædictus nulli ætati parcens aut sexui, duobus diebus rivulis de cruore occisorum fluentibus, septem millia et quingentas animas promiscui sexûs jusserat, in sua tyrannide desæviens, trucidari.’ Fordun's Scotichronicon, curâ Goodall, Edinb. 1775, folio, vol. ii. pp. 159, 160. ‘Secutus Rex cum peditum copiis miserabilem omnis generis cædem edit.’ Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, Abredoniæ, 1762, lib. viii. p. 200. ‘They left not one creature alive of the Scotish blood within all that toune.’ Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, Arbroath, 1805, 4to, vol. i. p. 418. In 1286, that is, only ten years earlier, ‘No other part of Scotland, in point of commercial importance, came near to a comparison with Berwick.’ Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, London, 4to, 1805, vol. i. p. 446. Such were the brutal crimes of our wretched and ignorant ancestors.

[15] ‘The Scots assembled in troops and companies, and betaking themselves to the woods, mountains, and morasses, in which their fathers had defended themselves against the Romans, prepared for a general insurrection against the English power.’ Scott's History of Scotland, London, 1830, vol. i. p. 70. Elgin appears to have been the most northern point of this expedition. See Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 119, and Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 657. The general results are summed up by Buchanan: ‘Hanc stragem ex agrorum incultu consecuta est fames, et famem pestis, unde major quàm è bello clades timebatur.’ Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. viii. p. 203.

[16] ‘The army then advanced into Scotland by moderate marches, wasting and destroying every thing on their way.’ … ‘A party of Edward's army, sent northwards, wasted the country, and burnt Perth and Saint Andrews.’ Ridpath's Border History, pp. 146, 147.

[17] ‘The king entered Scotland by the eastern march with a great army.’ … ‘There was this year so terrible a dearth and scarcity of provisions in Scotland, arising from the havoc of war, that many were obliged to feed on the flesh of horses and other carrion.’ Ibid. pp. 164, 165. See also Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. pp. 242, 243. ‘Quo anno, propter guerrarum discrimina, tanta erat panis inopia et victualium caristia in Scotia, quòd in plerisque locis, compellente famis necessitate, multi carnibus equorum et aliorum pecorum immundorum vescebantur.’

[18] Bruce ‘carefully laid the whole borders waste as far as the Firth of Forth, removing the inhabitants to the mountains, with all their effects of any value. When the English army entered, they found a land of desolation, which famine seemed to guard.’ Scott's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 145. See also Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. viii. p. 218.

[19] ‘Eadwardus, rex Angliæ, intravit Scotiam cum magno exercitu equitum et peditum, ac navium multitudine copiosa, duodecimo die mensis Augusti, et usque villam de Edinburgh pervenit.’ … ‘Spoliatis tamen tunc in reditu Anglorum et prædatis monasteriis Sanctæ Crucis de Edinburgh et de Melros, atque ad magnam desolationem perductis. In ipso namque monasterio de Melros dominus Willelmus de Peblis, ejusdem monasterii Prior, unus etiam monachus tunc infirmus, et duo conversi cæci effecti, in dormitorio eorundem ab eisdem Anglis sunt interfecti, et plures monachi lethaliter vulnerati. Corpus Dominicum super magnum altare fuit projectum, ablatâ pixide argenteâ in quâ erat repositum. Monasterium de Driburgh igne penitùs consumptum est et in pulverem redactum. Ac alia pia loca quamplurima per prædicti regis violentiam ignis flamma consumpsit: quod, Deo retribuente, eisdem in prosperum non cessit.’ Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. p. 278. ‘In redeundo sacra juxta ac prophana spoliata. Monasteria Driburgum et Mulrossia etiam cæsis monachis infirmioribus, qui vel defectu virium, vel senectutis fiducia soli remanserant, incensa,’ Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. viii. p. 219.

[20] Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. pp. 322, 323. Dalrymple's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 232, 447. Scott's History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 187, 188.

[21] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 451.

[22] Dalrymple's Annals, vol. ii. p. 288. Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. pp. 352–354.

[23] ‘Rex Angliæ, Richardus secundus ægrè ferens Scotos et Francos tam atrociter terram suam deprædare, et municipia sua assilire et ad terram prosternere, exercitum collegit grandem, et intravit Scotiam, ætate tunc novemdecim annorum, in multitudine superba progrediens, omnia circumquaque perdens, et nihil salvans; templa Dei et sanctuaria religiosorum monasteria viz. Driburgh, Melros et Newbottel, ac nobilem villam de Edinburgh, cum ecclesia Sancti Ægidii ejusdem, voraci flammâ incineravit; et, destructione permaximâ factâ per eum in Laudonia, ad propria sine damno repatriavit’ Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. p. 401. ‘En ce séjour que le roi Richard fit en Haindebourch les Anglois coururent tout le pays d'environ et y firent moult de desrois; mais nullui n'y trouvèrent; car tout avoient retrait ens ès forts, et ens ès grands bois, et là chassé tout leur bétail.’ … ‘Et ardirent les Anglois la ville de Saint-Jean-Ston en Ecosse, où la rivière du Tay cuert, et y a un bon port pour aller partout le monde; et puis la ville de Dondie; et n'épargnoient abbayes ni moûtiers; tout mettoient les Anglois en feu et en flambe; et coururent jusques à Abredane les coureurs et l'avant-garde.’ Les Chroniques de Froissart, edit. Buchon, vol. ii. pp. 334, 335, Paris, 1835. See also, on this ruffianly expedition, Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. pp. 592, 593, and Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. ix. p. 253: ‘Nulli loco, neque sacro, neque profano, nulli homini, qui modò militari esset ætate, parcebat.’

[24] ‘Agriculture was ruined; and the very necessaries of life were lost, when the principal lords had scarcely a bed to lye on.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 142. See also, in p. 867 of the same volume of this learned work, some curious extracts from Scotch charters and other sources, illustrating the horrible condition of the country. And on the difficulty of obtaining food, compare Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. pp. 242, 324; Dalrymple's Annals, vol. i. p. 307, vol. ii. pp. 238, 330; and Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 94.

[25] Notices of Scotch cannibals will be found in Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicles of Scotland, edit. 1814, vol. i. p. 163; and in Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, 4to, 1805, vol. ii. pp. 16, 99. In Fordun's Scotichronicon, vol. ii. p. 331, the following horrible account is given: it refers to the neighbourhood of Perth in the year 1339: ‘Tota illa patria circumvicina eo tempore in tantum fuit vastata, quòd non remansit quasi domus inhabitata, sed feræ et cervi de montanis descendentes circa villam sæpiùs venabantur. Tanta tunc temporis facta est caristia, et victualium inopia, ut passim plebicula deficeret, et tanquam oves herbas depascentes, in foveis mortua reperirentur. Prope illinc in abditis latitabat quidam robustus rusticus, Crysticleik nomine, cum viragine sua, qui mulierculis et pueris ac juvenibus insidiabantur, et, tanquam lupi eos strangulantes, de ipsorum carnibus victitabant.’

[26] Even when the two nations were at peace, the borderers were at war. See Ridpath's Border History, pp. 240, 308, 394; and for other evidence of this chronic anarchy, compare Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 30. Lesley's History of Scotland, pp. 40, 52, 67. Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. pp. 300, 301, 444, 449. State Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., 4to, 1836, vol. iv. pp. 366, 370, 569, 570, vol. v. pp. 17, 18, 161. Historie of James the Sext, pp. 21, 91, 146.

[27] In 1400, Henry IV. made ‘the last invasion which an English monarch ever conducted into Scotland.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 406. It is said, however, that it was not till the reign of Elizabeth than an English sovereign ‘had the policy to disavow any claim of sovereignty over Scotland.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 650.

[28] But very slowly. Pinkerton (History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 166, 167) says: ‘The frequent wars between Scotland and England, since the death of Alexander III., had occasioned to the former country the loss of more than a century in the progress of civilization. While in England, only the northern provinces were exposed to the Scotish incursions, Scotland suffered in its most civilized departments. It is apparent that in the reign of Alexander III., the kingdom was more abundant in the useful arts and manufactures, than it was in the time of Robert III.’

[29] Owing to this, their castles were, by position, the strongest in Europe; Germany alone excepted. Respecting their sites, which were such as to make them in many instances almost unassailable, see Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. pp. 122, 406, 407, 918, 919, vol. iii. pp. 268, 269, 356–359, 864; Pennant's Scotland, vol. i. pp. 175, 177; Sinclair's Scotland, vol. iii. p. 169, vol. vii. p. 510, vol xi. pp. 102, 212, 407, 408, vol. xii. pp. 25, 58, vol. xiii. p. 598, vol. xv. p. 187, vol. xvi. p. 554, vol. xviii. p. 579, vol. xix. p. 474, vol. xx. pp. 56, 312; Macky's Scotland, pp. 183, 297; and some good remarks in Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, p. 56. Neither England, nor France, nor Italy, nor Spain, afforded such immense natural advantages to their aristocracy.

[30] ‘By retiring to his own castle, a mutinous baron could defy the power of his sovereign, it being almost impracticable to lead an army through a barren country, to places of difficult access to a single man.’ History of Scotland, book i. p. 59, in Robertson's Works, edit. London, 1831. Notwithstanding the immense materials which have been brought to light since the time of Robertson, his History of Scotland is still valuable; because he possessed a grasp of mind which enabled him to embrace general views, that escape ordinary compilers, however industrious they may be.

[31] ‘The patrimony of the Crown had been seriously dilapidated during the period of confusion which succeeded the battle of Durham,’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 86.

[32] ‘During the long captivity of David,’ the nobles had been completely insubordinate, and ‘affected the style and title of princes,’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 85. See also, on the state of the barons under David II., Skene's Highlanders, vol. ii. pp. 63–67.

[33] In 1299, ‘a superior baron was in every respect a king in miniature.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 150. In 1377, ‘the power of the barons had been decidedly increasing since the days of Robert the First,’ p. 332. And, by 1398, it had risen still higher, p. 392.

[34] On this burning of Scotch towns, which appears to have been the invariable practice of our humane forefathers, see Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. pp. 592, 593; Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. pp. 18, 27, 375, vol. ii. p. 304; Mercer's History of Dunfermline, pp. 55, 66; Sinclair's Scotland, vol. v. p. 485, vol. x. p. 584, vol. xix. p. 161; Ridpath's Border History, pp. 147, 221, 265.

[35] A curious description of them is given in a Scotch statute, of the year 1597. ‘They hawe lykwayis throche thair barbarus inhumunitie maid and presentlie makis the saidis hielandis and Iles qlk are maist cōmodious in thame selwes alsueill be the ferteillitie of the ground as be riche fischeingis altogidder vnproffitabill baithe to thame selffis and to all vthuris his hienes liegis within this realme; Thay nathair intertening onie ciuill or honest societie amangis thame selffis neyther, zit admittit vtheris his hienesse lieges to trafficque within thair boundis vithe saiftie of thair liues and gudes; for remeid quhairof and that the saidis inhabitantis of the saidis hilandeis and Iles may the better be reduced to ane godlie, honest, and ciuill maner of living, it is statute and ordanit,’ &c. Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 138, edit. folio, 1816.

These little peculiarities of the Highlanders remained in full force until about the middle of the eighteenth century, as will appear in the course of this history. But without anticipating what will be narrated in a subsequent chapter, I will merely refer the reader to two interesting passages in Pennant's Scotland, vol. i. p. 154, and in Heron's Scotland, vol. i. pp. 218, 219; both of which illustrate the state of things a little before 1745.

[36] Inverness was burned in 1429. Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, p. 36; and again in 1455, Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xi. p. 322. ‘The greatest part’ of it was also burned in 1411. See Anderson on the Highlands, Edinb. 1827, p. 82.

Aberdeen, being richer, was more tempting, but was likewise more able to defend itself. Still, its burgh records supply curious evidence of the constant fear in which the citizens lived, and of the precautions which they took to ward off the attacks, sometimes of the English, and sometimes of the clans. See the Council Register of Aberdeen (published by the Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1844–1848, 4to), vol. i. pp. 8, 19, 60, 83, 197, 219, 232, 268, vol. ii. p. 82. The last entry, which is dated July 31, 1593, mentions ‘the disordourit and lawles helandmen in Birss, Glentanner, and their about, nocht onlie in the onmerciful murthering of men and bairnis, bot in the maisterfull and violent robbing and spulzeing of all the bestiall, guidis, and geir of a gryt pairt of the inhabitantis of theas boundis, rasing of gryt hairschip furth of the samen, being committit to ewous and nar this burgh, within xx mylis theirunto, deuysit and ordanit for preservation of this burgh and inhabitantis theirof, fra the tyrannous invasion of the saidis hieland men, quha has na respect to God nor man; that the haill inhabitantis of this burgh, fensiball persones als weill onfrie as frie, salbe in reddiness weill armit for the defence of this burgh, thair awin lyvis, gudis, and geir, and resisting and repressing of the said heland men, as occasioun salbe offered, at all tymes and houris as thay salbe requirt and chargit.’

Even in 1668 we find complaints that Highlanders had forcibly carried off women from Aberdeen or from its neighbourhood. Records of the Synod of Aberdeen, p. 290. Other evidence of their attacks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, may be seen in Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 133; Spalding's History of the Troubles, vol. i. pp. 25, 217; Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, pp. 62, 73.

[37] Even Perth ceased to be the capital of Scotland, because ‘its vicinity to the Highlands’ made it dangerous for the sovereign to reside there. Lawson's Book of Perth, p. xxxi.

[38] On the prevalence of barter and lack of specie, in Scotland, see the Spalding Club Miscellany, vol. iv. pp. lvii.–lx., Aberdeen, 1849, 4to. In 1492, the treasury of Aberdeen was obliged to borrow 4l. 16s. Scots. Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 61. Compare Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. x. p. 542. Fynes Moryson, who was in Scotland late in the sixteenth century, says, ‘the gentlemen reckon their revenues not by rents of money, but by chauldrons of victuals.’ Moryson's Itinerary, part iii. p. 155, London, folio, 1617; a rare and extremely curious book, which ought to be reprinted. A hundred years after Moryson wrote, it was observed that, ‘in England, the rents are paid in money; in Scotland, they are, generally speaking, paid in kind, or victual, as they call it.’ De Foe's History of the Union, p. 130.

[39] In the reign of James I. (1424–1436), ‘It appears that armour, nay spears, and bows and arrows, were chiefly imported.’ … ‘In particular, the heads of arrows and of spears seem to have been entirely imported from Flanders,’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 163. We learn from Rymer's Fœdera, that, in 1368, two Scotchmen having occasion to fight a duel, got their armour from London. Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 575.

[40] From the Bibel of English Policy, supposed to have been written in the reign of Edward IV., we learn that ‘the Scotish imports from Flanders were mercery, but more haberdashery, cart-wheels, and wheel-barrows,’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 408. In Mercer's History of Dunfermline, p. 61, we are told that, in the fifteenth century, ‘Even in the best parts of Scotland, the inhabitants could not manufacture the most necessary articles. Flanders was the great mart in those times, and from Bruges chiefly, the Scots imported even horse-shoes, harness, saddles, bridles, cart-wheels, and wheel-barrows, besides all their mercery and haberdashery.’

[41] Aberdeen was, for a long period, one of the most wealthy, and, in some respects, the most advanced, of all the Scotch cities. But it appears, from the council-registers of Aberdeen, that, ‘in the beginning of the sixteenth century, there was not a mechanic in the town capable to execute the ordinary repairs of a clock,’ Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 99. On the Scotch clocks in the middle of the sixteenth century, compare Mr. Morley's interesting Life of Cardan, London, 1854, vol. ii. p. 128. Cardan was in Scotland in 1552.

[42] About 1619, Sir George Hay ‘set up at the village of Wemyss, in Fife, a small glass-work, being the first known to have existed amongst us.’ Chambers' Annals, vol. i. p. 506. See also p. 428.

[43] ‘Before this time, soap was imported into Scotland from foreign countries, chiefly from Flanders.’ Ibid., vol. i. p. 507, under the year 1619, where mention is made of the manufactory set up at Leith. ‘The sope-workes of Leith’ are noticed in 1650, in Balfour's Annales, vol. iv. p. 68.

[44] Ray, who visited Scotland in 1661, says, ‘In the best Scottish houses, even the king's palaces, the windows are not glazed throughout, but the upper part only; the lower have two wooden shuts or folds to open at pleasure and admit the fresh air.’ … ‘The ordinary country-houses are pitiful cots, built of stone, and covered with turves, having in them but one room, many of them no chimneys, the windows very small holes and not glazed.’ Ray's Itineraries, p. 153, edited by Dr. Lankester, London, 1846. ‘About 1752, the glass window was beginning to make its appearance in the small farm-houses.’ Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. ii. p. 265, Edinburgh, 1797.

[45] In 1650, it was stated of the Scotch, that ‘many of their women are so sluttish, that they do not wash their linen above once a month, nor their hands and faces above once a year.’ Whitelock's Memorials, p. 468, London, 1732, folio. Six or seven years after this, a traveller in Scotland says, ‘the linen they supplied us with, were it not to boast of, was little or nothing different from those female complexions that never washed their faces to retain their christendom.’ Franck's Northern Memoirs, edit. Edinburgh, 1821, p. 94. A celebrated Scotchman notices, in 1698, the uncleanly habits of his countrymen, but gives a comical reason for them; since, according to him, they were in a great measure caused by the position of the capital. ‘As the happy situation of London has been the principal cause of the glory and riches of England, so the bad situation of Edinburgh has been one great occasion of the poverty and uncleanliness in which the greater part of the people of Scotland live.’ Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland, in Fletcher of Saltoun's Political Works, p. 119, Glasgow, 1749. Another Scotchman, among his reminiscences of the early part of the eighteenth century, says, that ‘table and body linen [were] seldom shifted.’ Memoires by Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk, in Spalding Club Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 100, Aberdeen, 1842, 4to. Finally, we have positive proof that in some parts of Scotland, even at the end of the eighteenth century, the people used, instead of soap, a substitute too disgusting to mention. See the account communicated by the Rev. William Leslie to Sir John Sinclair, in Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ix. p. 177, Edinburgh, 1793.

[46] Chambers' Annals, vol. i. p. 512.

[47] A paper-mill was established near Edinburgh in 1675; but ‘there is reason to conclude this paper-mill was not continued, and that paper-making was not successfully introduced into Scotland till the middle of the succeeding century.’ Chambers' Annals, vol. ii. p. 399. I have met with so many proofs of the great accuracy of this valuable work, that I should be loath to question any statement made by Mr. Chambers, when, as in this case, I have only my memory to trust to. But I think that I have seen evidence of paper being successfully manufactured in Scotland late in the seventeenth century, though I cannot recall the passages. However, Arnot, in his History of Edinburgh, p. 599, edit. 4to, says, ‘About forty years ago, printing or writing paper began to be manufactured in Scotland. Before that, papers were imported from Holland, or brought from England,’ As Arnot's work was printed in 1788, this coincides with Mr. Chambers' statement. I may add, that, at the end of the eighteenth century, there were ‘two paper-mills near Perth.’ Heron's Journey through Scotland, vol. i. p. 117, Perth, 1799; and that, in 1751 and 1763, the two first paper-mills were erected north of the Forth. Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ix. p. 593, vol. xvi. p. 373. Compare Lettice's Letters from Scotland in 1792, p. 420.

[48] ‘This city was founded about the sixth century.’ M'Ure's History of Glasgow, edit. 1830, p. 120. Compare Denholm's History of Glasgow, p. 2, Glasgow, 1804.

[49] In 1172, a market was granted to Glasgow; and in 1190, a fair. See the charters in the Appendix to Gibson's History of Glasgow, pp. 299, 302, Glasgow, 1777.

[50] ‘By the sale of land made by Robert de Mythyngby to Mr. Reginald de Irewyne, a.d. 1268, it is evident that the town was then governed by provosts, aldermen, or wardens, and baillies, who seem to have been independent of the bishop, and were possessed of a common seal, distinct from the one made use of by the bishop and chapter.’ Gibson's History of Glasgow, p. 72.

[51] ‘A Mr. William Elphinston is made mention of as the first promoter of trade in Glasgow, so early as the year 1420; the trade which he promoted was, in all probability, the curing and exporting of salmon.’ Gibson's History of Glasgow, p. 203. See also M'Ure's History of Glasgow, p. 93.

[52] Gibson (History of Glasgow, p. 74), with every desire to take a sanguine view of the early state of his own city, says, that, in 1450, the inhabitants ‘might perhaps amount to fifteen hundred;’ and that ‘their wealth consisted in a few burrow-roods very ill-cultivated, and in some small cattle, which fed on their commons.’

[53] ‘Dunfermline continued to be a favourite royal residence as long as the Scottish dynasty existed. Charles I. was born here; as also his sister Elizabeth, afterwards Queen of Bohemia, from whom her present Majesty is descended; and Charles II. paid a visit to this ancient seat of royalty in 1650. The Scottish parliament was often held in it.’ M'Culloch's Geographical Dictionary, London, 1849, vol. i. p. 723. Compare Mercer's History of Dunfermline, 1828, pp. 56, 58, and Chalmers' History of Dunfermline, 1844, p. 264.

[54] In 1385, it was ‘only a sorry wooden village, belonging to the monastery.’ Mercer's History of Dunfermline, p. 62.

[55] See ‘Ms. Annals,’ in Chalmers' History of Dunfermline, p. 327. In 1624, we learn from Balfour's Annales, edit. 1825, vol. ii. p. 99, that ‘the quholl bodey of the towne, which did consist of 120 tenements, and 287 families was brunt and consumed.’

[56] ‘Greenock, which is now one of the largest shipping towns in Scotland, was, in the end of the sixteenth century, a mean fishing village, consisting of a single row of thatched cottages, which was inhabited by poor fishermen.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 806, 4to, 1824.

[57] In May 1668, Kilmarnock was burnt; and ‘the event is chiefly worthy of notice as marking the smallness of Kilmarnock in those days, when as yet, there was no such thing as manufacturing industry in the country. A hundred and twenty families speaks to a population of between five and six hundred.‘ Chambers' Annals, Edinburgh, 1858, vol. ii. p. 320. In 1658, their houses are described by an eye-witness as ‘little better than huts.‘ Franck's Northern Memoirs, reprinted Edinburgh, 1821, p. 101.

[58] ‘Betwixt two and three thousand souls,‘ Denholm's History of Glasgow, p. 542, edit. Glasgow, 1804.

[59] In 1572, the registers of Aberdeen show that seventy-two deaths occurred in the year. An annual mortality of 1 in 40 would be a very favourable estimate; indeed, rather too favourable, considering the habits of the people at that time. However, supposing it to be 1 in 40, the population would be 2880; and if, as I make no doubt, the mortality was more than 1 in 40, the population must of course have been less. Kennedy, in his valuable, but very uncritical, work, conjectures that ‘one fiftieth part of the inhabitants had died annually;’ though it is certain that there was no town in Europe any thing like so healthy as that. On this hypothesis, which is contradicted by every sort of statistical evidence that has come down to us, the number would be 72 × 50 = 3600. See Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 103, London, 1818, 4to.

[60] ‘St. Andrews, Perth, and Aberdeen, appear to have been the three most populous cities before the Reformation.’ Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, 1836, p. 26. The same assertion is made in Lyon's History of St. Andrews, 1843, vol. i. p. 2. But neither of these writers appear to have made many researches on the subject, or else they would not have supposed that Aberdeen was larger than Edinburgh.

[61] I have carefully read the two histories of St. Andrews, by Dr. Grierson and by Mr. Lyon, but have found nothing in them of any value concerning the early history of that city. Mr. Lyon's work, which is in two thick volumes, is unusually superficial, even for a local history; and that is saying much.

[62] ‘Of the thirteen parliaments held in the reign of King James I., eleven were held at Perth, one at Stirling, and one at Edinburgh. The National Councils of the Scottish clergy were held there uniformly till 1459. Though losing its pre-eminence by the selection of Edinburgh as a capital, Perth has uniformly and constantly maintained the second place in the order of burghs, and its right to do so has been repeatedly and solemnly acknowledged.’ Penny's Traditions of Perth, Perth, 1836, p. 231. See also p. 305. It appears, however, from Froissart, that Edinburgh was deemed the capital in the latter half of the fourteenth century.

[63] I find one instance of its being praised by a man who was not a Scotchman. Alexander Necham ‘takes notice of Perth in the following distich, quoted in Camden's Britannia:

Transis ample Tai, per rura, per oppida, per Perth:
Regnum sustentant illius urbis opes.
Thus Englished in Bishop Gibson's Translations of Camden's Book:
Great Tay, through Perth, through towns, through country flies:
Perth the whole kingdom with her wealth supplies.’

Sinclair's Scotland, vol. xviii. p. 511.

[64] 1427 × 6 = 8562, the computed population in 1584 and 1585, exclusive of the extraordinary mortality caused by the plague. Chambers' Annals of Scotland, 1858, vol. i. p. 158.

[65] ‘The inhabitants of the capital, in the reign of Robert II., hardly exceeded sixteen thousand.’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 152.

[66] When the French arrived in Edinburgh, the Scotch said, ‘“Quel diable les a mandés? Ne savons-nous pas bien faire notre guerre sans eux aux Anglois? Nous ne ferons jà bonne besogne tant comme ils soient avec nous. On leur dise que ils s'en revoisent, et que nous sommes gens assez en Escosse pour parmaintenir notre guerre, et que point nous ne voulons leur compagnie. Ils ne nous entendent point, ni nous eux; nous ne savons parler ensemble; ils auront tantôt riflé et mangé tout ce qui est en ce pays: ils nous feront plus de contraires, de dépits, et de dommages, si nous les laissons convenir, que les Anglois ne feroient si ils s'étoient embattus entre nous sans ardoir. Et si les Anglois ardent nos maisons, que peut il chaloir? Nous les aurons tantôt refaites à bon marché, nous n'y mettons au refaire que trois jours, mais que nous ayons quatre ou six estaches et de la ramée pour lier par dessus.”’

‘Ainsi disoient les Escots en Escosse à la venue des seigneurs de France,’ … ‘Et quand les Anglois y chevauchent ou que ils y vont, ainsi que ils y ont été plusieurs fois, il convient que leurs pourvéances, si ils veulent vivre, les suivent toujours au dos; car on ne trouve rien sur le pays: à grand'peine y recuevre-l'en du fer pour serrer les chevaux, ni du cuir pour faire harnois, selles ni brides. Les choses toutes faites leur viennent par mer de Flandre, et quand cela leur défaut, ils n'ont nulle chose. Quand ces barons et ces chevaliers de France qui avoient appris ces beaux hôtels à trouver, ces salles parées, ces chasteaux et ces bons mols lits pour reposer, se virent et trouvèrent en celle povreté, si commencèrent à rire et à dire: “En quel pays nous a ci amenés l'amiral? Nous ne sçumes oncques que ce fût de povreté ni de dureté fors maintenant.”’ Les Chroniques de Froissart, edit. Buchon, Paris, 1835, vol. ii. pp. 314, 315. ‘The hovels of the common people were slight erections of turf, or twigs, which, as they were often laid waste by war, were built merely for temporary accommodation. Their towns consisted chiefly of wooden cottages,’ … ‘Even as late as 1600, the houses of Edinburgh were chiefly built of wood.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 802. Another account, written in 1670, says, ‘The houses of the commonalty are very mean, mudwall and thatch, the best; but the poorer sort live in such miserable huts as never eye beheld.’ … ‘In some parts, where turf is plentiful, they build up little cabbins thereof, with arched roofs of turf, without a stick of timber in it; when the house is dry enough to burn, it serves them for fuel, and they remove to another.’ Harleian Miscellany, vol. vi. p. 139, 4to, 1810.

[67] ‘Our manufactures were carried on by the meanest of the people, who had small stocks, and were of no reputation. These were, for the most part, workmen for home-consumpt, such as masons, house-carpenters, armourers, blacksmiths, taylors, shoemakers, and the like. Our weavers were few in number, and in the greatest contempt, as their employments were more sedentary, and themselves reckoned less fit for war, in which all were obliged to serve, when the exigencies of the country demanded their attendance.’ The Interest of Scotland Considered, Edinburgh, 1733, p. 82. Pinkerton (History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 392), referring to the Sloane manuscripts, says, ‘The author of an interesting memoir concerning the state of Scotland about 1590, observes, that the husbandmen were a kind of slaves, only holding their lands from year to year; that the nobility being too numerous for the extent of the country, there arose too great an inequality of rank and revenue; and there was no middle station between a proud landholder and those who, having no property to lose, were ready for any tumult. A rich yeomanry, numerous merchants and tradesmen of property, and all the denominations of the middle class, so important in a flourishing society, were long to be confined to England.’ Thirteen years later, we are told that the manufactures of Scotland ‘were confined to a few of the coarsest nature, without which the poorest nations are unable to subsist.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 7, under the year 1603.

[68] Thus, for instance, ‘the town of Dunbar naturally grew up under the shelter of the castle of the same name.’ … ‘Dunbar became the town, in demesn, of the successive Earls of Dunbar and March, partaking of their influences, whether unfortunate or happy.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 416. ‘But when the regal government became at any time feeble, these towns, unequal to their own protection, placed themselves under the shelter of the most powerful lord in their neighbourhood. Thus, the town of Elgyn found it necessary, at various periods between the years 1389 and 1452, to accept of many charters of protection, and discharges of taxes, from the Earls of Moray, who held it in some species of vassalage.’ Sinclair's Scotland, vol. v. p. 3. Compare Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 396; and two letters, written in 1543 and 1544, by the magistrates of Aberdeen, to the Earl of Huntly, and printed in the Council Register of Aberdeen, vol. i. pp. 190, 201, Aberdeen, 1844, 4to. They say to him, ‘Ye haf our band as protectour to wss.’

[69] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 225. See also p. 131; and Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 179. Sometimes the nobles did not leave to the citizens even the appearance of a free election, but fought it out among themselves. An instance of this happened at Perth, in 1544, ‘where a claim for the office of provost was decided by arms, between Lord Ruthven on the one side, supported by a numerous train of his vassals, and Lord Gray, with Norman Leslie, master of Rothes, and Charteris of Kinfauns, on the other.’ Tytler, vol. iv. p. 323.

[70] For illustrations of this custom, see Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 230. Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. ii. p. 154. Denholm's History of Glasgow, p. 249. Mercer's History of Dunfermline, p. 83.

[71] ‘An injury inflicted on the “man” of a nobleman was resented as much as if he himself had been the injured party.’ Preface to the Council Register of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. xii.

[72] See, in Macaulay's History of England, vol. i. p. 93, 1st edit., a spirited description of Scotland in 1639. ‘The parliament of the northern kingdom was a very different body from that which bore the same name in England.’ … ‘The three estates sat in one house. The commissioners of the burghs were considered merely as retainers of the great nobles,’ &c. To come down much later, Lord Cockburn gives a terrible account of the state of things in Scotland in 1794, the year in which Jeffrey was called to the bar. ‘There was then, in this country, no popular representation, no emancipated burghs, no effective rival of the established church, no independent press, no free public meetings, and no better trial by jury, even in political cases (except high treason), than what was consistent with the circumstances, that the jurors were not sent into court under any impartial rule, and that, when in court, those who were to try the case were named by the presiding judge. The Scotch representatives were only forty-five, of whom thirty were elected for counties, and fifteen for towns. Both from its price and its nature (being enveloped in feudal and technical absurdities), the elective franchise in counties, where alone it existed, was far above the reach of the whole lower, and of a great majority of the middle, and of many even of the higher, ranks. There were probably not above 1500 or 2000 county electors in all Scotland; a body not too large to be held, hope included, in government's hands. The return, therefore, of a single opposition member was never to be expected.’ … ‘Of the fifteen town members, Edinburgh returned one. The other fourteen were produced by clusters of four or five unconnected burghs electing each one delegate, and these four or five delegates electing the representative. Whatever this system may have been originally, it had grown, in reference to the people, into as complete a mockery as if it had been invented for their degradation. The people had nothing to do with it. It was all managed by town-councils, of never more than thirty-three members; and every town-council was self-elected, and consequently perpetuated its own interests. The election of either the town or the county member was a matter of such utter indifference to the people, that they often only knew of it by the ringing of a bell, or by seeing it mentioned next day in a newspaper; for the farce was generally performed in an apartment from which, if convenient, the public could be excluded, and never in the open air.’ Cockburn's Life of Jeffrey, Edinburgh, 1852, vol. i. pp. 74–76. On the state of Scotch representation between this and the Reform Bill, compare Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, 4to, 1860, pp. 275, 276, with Moore's Memoirs, edited by Lord John Russell, vol. iv. p. 268, vol. vi. p. 163, London, 1853–4.

[73] History of Civilization, vol. i. pp. 125–129, 373–380.

[74] History of Civilization, vol. ii. p. 171.

[75] We must discriminate between wonder and admiration. Wonder is the product of ignorance; admiration is the product of knowledge. Ignorance wonders at the supposed irregularities of nature; science admires its uniformities. The earlier writers rarely attended to this distinction, because they were misled by the etymology of the word ‘admiration.’ The Romans were very superficial thinkers upon all matters except jurisprudence; and their blundering use of ‘admirari’ gave rise to the error, so common among our old writers, of ‘I admire,’ instead of ‘I wonder.’

[76] ‘Our Scottish witch is a far more frightful being than her supernatural coadjutor on the south side of the Tweed. She sometimes seems to rise from the proper sphere of the witch, who is only the slave, into that of the sorcerer, who is master of the demon.’ … ‘In a people so far behind their neighbours in domestic organization, poor and hardy, inhabiting a country of mountains, torrents, and rocks, where cultivation was scanty, accustomed to gloomy mists and wild storms, every impression must necessarily assume a corresponding character. Superstitions, like funguses and vermin, are existences peculiar to the spot where they appear, and are governed by its physical accidents.’ … ‘And thus it is that the indications of witchcraft in Scotland are as different from those of the superstition which in England receives the same name, as the Grampian Mountains from Shooter's Hill or Kennington Common.’ Burton's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. pp. 240–243. This is admirably expressed, and exhausts the general view of the subject. The relation between the superstition of the Scotch and the physical aspects of their country is also touched upon, though with much inferior ability, in Brown's History of the Highlands, vol. i. p. 106, and in Sinclair's Scotland, vol. iv. p. 560. Hume, in his Commentaries on the Laws of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 556, has an interesting passage on the high pretensions of Scotch witchcraft, which never degenerated, as in other countries, into a mere attempt at deception, but always remained a sturdy and deep-rooted belief. He says, ‘For among the many trials for witchcraft which fill the record, I have not observed that there is even one which proceeds upon the notion of a vain or cheating art, falsely used by an impostor to deceive the weak and credulous.’ Further information respecting Scotch witchcraft will be found in Mackenzie's Criminal Laws of Scotland, Edinburgh, folio, 1699, pp. 42–56; Correspondence of Mrs. Grant of Laggan, London, 1844, vol. iii. pp. 186, 187; Southey's Life of Bell, London, 1844, vol. i. p. 52; Vernon Correspondence, edited by James, London, 1841, vol. ii. p. 301; Weld's History of the Royal Society, London, 1848, vol. i. p. 89; Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, edit. 1815, vol. i. pp. 220, 221; The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 41, Edinburgh, 1845; Lyon's History of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, 1843, vol. ii. pp. 56, 57. The work of James I., and that of Sir Walter Scott, need hardly be referred to, as they are well known to every one who is interested in the history of witchcraft; but Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, though less read, are, in every respect, more valuable, on account of the materials they contain for a study of this department of Scotch superstition.

[77] Pinkerton (History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 414) says that, in the reigns of James II. and James III., ‘the wealth of the Church was at least equivalent to that of all the lay interest.’ See also Life of Spottiswoode, p. liii., in vol. i. of his History of the Church of Scotland. ‘The numerous devices employed by ecclesiastics, both secular and regular, for enriching the several Foundations to which they were attached, had transferred into their hands more than half of the territorial property of Scotland, or of its annual produce.’

In regard to the first half of the sixteenth century, it is stated by a high authority, that, just before the Reformation, ‘the full half of the wealth of the nation belonged to the clergy.’ M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 10. And another writer says, ‘If we take into account the annual value of all these abbeys and monasteries, in conjunction with the bishoprics, it will appear at once that the Scottish Catholic hierarchy was more munificently endowed, considering the extent and resources of the kingdom, than it was in any other country in Europe.’ Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, p. 22. See also, respecting the incomes of the Scotch bishops, which, considering the poverty of the country, were truly enormous, Lyon's History of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, 1843, vol. i. pp. 97, 125.

[78] ‘They could employ all the motives of fear and of hope, of terror and of consolation, which operate most powerfully on the human mind. They haunted the weak and the credulous; they besieged the beds of the sick and of the dying; they suffered few to go out of the world without leaving marks of their liberality to the Church, and taught them to compound with the Almighty for their sins, by bestowing riches upon those who called themselves his servants.’ History of Scotland, book ii. p. 89, in Robertson's Works, London, 1831. It is interesting to observe the eagerness with which the clergy of one persuasion expose the artifices of those of another. By comparing their different statements, laymen gain an insight into the entire scheme.

[79] Pinkerton observes, under the year 1514, that ‘ecclesiastical dignities presented almost the only path to opulence.’ History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 123.

[80] Buckle's History of Civilization, vol. i. pp. 376–380.

[81] Arnot (History of Edinburgh, p. 386) says, that the University of St. Andrews was founded in 1412; and the same thing is stated in Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. ii. p. 83. Grierson, in his History of St. Andrews, Cupar, 1838, p. 14, says, ‘In 1410, the city of St. Andrews first saw the establishment of its famous university, the most ancient institution of the kind that exists in Scotland;’ but, at p. 144 of the same work, we are told, that the charter, ‘constituting and declaring it to be a university,’ is ‘dated at St. Andrews, the 27th of February, 1411.’ See also Lyon's History of St. Andrews, vol. i. pp. 203–206, vol. ii. p. 223. At all events, ‘at the commencement of the fifteenth century, no university existed in Scotland; and the youth who were desirous of a liberal education were under the necessity of seeking it abroad.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 211. The charter granted by the Pope, confirming the university, reached Scotland in 1413. Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Edinburgh, 1836, p. 12.

[82] Those were times, when, as a Scotch lawyer delicately expresses himself, ‘thieving was not the peculiar habit of the low and indigent, but often common to them with persons of rank and landed estate.’ Hume's Commentaries on the Law of Scotland, 4to, 1797, vol. i. p. 126. The usual form of robbery being cattle-stealing, a particular name was invented for it; see p. 148, where we learn that it ‘was distinguished by the name of Hership or Herdship, being the driving away of numbers of cattle, or other bestial, by the masterful force of armed people.’

[83] Tytler, who was a great patriot, and disposed to exaggerate the merit of everything which was Scotch, does nevertheless allow that, “from the accession of Alexander III. to the death of David II. (i.e. in 1370), it would be impossible, I believe, to produce a single instance of a Scottish baron who could sign his own name.” Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 239, 240. Early in the sixteenth century, I find it casually mentioned, that ‘David Straiton, a cadet of the house of Laureston,’ … ‘could not read.’ Wodrow's Collections, vol. i. pp. 5, 6. The famous chief, Walter Scott of Harden, was married in 1567; and ‘his marriage contract is signed by a notary, because none of the parties could write their names.’ Chambers' Annals, vol. i. p. 46. Crawfurd (History of Renfrew, part iii. p. 313) says: ‘The modern practice of subscribing names to writes of moment was not used in Scotland till about the year 1540;’ but he forgets to tell us why it was not used. In 1564, Robert Scot of Thirlstane, ‘ancestor of Lord Napier,’ could not sign his name. See Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. iii. p. 394.

[84] A Scotchman, of considerable learning, says: ‘Scotland was no less ignorant and superstitious at the beginning of the fifteenth century, than it was towards the close of the twelfth.’ Dalrymple's Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 428.

[85] ‘Et sont ainsi comme gens sauvages qui ne se savent avoir ni de nulli accointer.’ Les Chroniques de Froissart, edit. Buchon, Paris, 1835, vol. ii. p. 315.

[86] ‘Plus pleine de sauvagine que de bestail.’ Hist. de Charles VI, par Le Laboureur, quoted in Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 149.

[87] Occasionally, we find evidence of it earlier, but it was hardly systematic. Compare Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 66, with Dalrymple's Annals, vol. i. pp. 72, 110, 111, 194, vol. iii. p. 296; Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, p. 88; Chalmers' History of Dunfermline, pp. 133, 134.




Early in the fifteenth century, the alliance between the Crown and the Church, and the determination of that alliance to overthrow the nobles, became manifest. Indications of this may be traced in the policy of Albany, who was Regent from 1406 to 1419, and who made it his principal object to encourage and strengthen the clergy.[88] He also dealt the first great blow upon which any government had ventured against the aristocracy. Donald, who was one of the most powerful of the Scottish chieftains, and who, indeed, by the possession of the Western Isles, was almost an independent prince, had seized the earldom of Ross, which, if he could have retained, would have enabled him to set the Crown at defiance. Albany, backed by the Church, marched into his territories, in 1411, forced him to renounce the earldom, to make personal submission, and to give hostages for his future conduct.[89] So vigorous a proceeding on the part of the executive, was extremely unusual in Scotland;[90] and it was the first of a series of aggressions,[46] which ended in the Crown obtaining for itself, not only Ross, but also the Western Isles.[91] The policy inaugurated by Albany, was followed up with still greater energy by James I. In 1424, this bold and active prince procured an enactment, obliging many of the nobles to show their charters, in order that it might be ascertained what lands they held, which had formerly belonged to the Crown.[92] And, to conciliate the affections of the clergy, he, in 1425, issued a commission, authorizing the Bishop of Saint Andrews to restore to the Church whatever had been alienated from it; while he at the same time directed that the justiciaries should assist in enforcing execution of the decree.[93] This occurred in June; and what shows that it was part of a general scheme is, that in the preceding spring, the[47] king suddenly arrested, in the parliament assembled at Perth, upwards of twenty of the principal nobles, put four of them to death, and confiscated several of their estates.[94] Two years afterwards, he, with equal perfidy, summoned the Highland chiefs to meet him at Inverness, laid hands on them also, executed three, and imprisoned more than forty, in different parts of the kingdom.[95]

By these measures, and by supporting the Church with the same zeal that he attacked the nobles, the king thought to reverse the order of affairs hitherto established, and to secure the supremacy of the throne over the aristocracy.[96] But herein, he overrated his own power. Like nearly all politicians, he exaggerated the value of political remedies. The legislator and the magistrate may, for a moment, palliate an evil; they can never work a cure. General mischiefs depend upon general causes, and these are beyond their art. The symptoms of the disease they can touch, while the disease itself baffles their efforts, and is too often exasperated by their treatment. In Scotland, the power of the nobles was a cruel malady, which preyed on the vitals of the nation; but it had long been preparing; it was a chronic disorder; and, having worked into the general habit, it might be removed by time, it could never be diminished by violence. On the contrary, in[48] this, as in all matters, whenever politicians attempt great good, they invariably inflict great harm. Over-action on one side produces reaction on the other, and the balance of the fabric is disturbed. By the shock of conflicting interests, the scheme of life is made insecure. New animosities are kindled, old ones are embittered, and the natural jar and discordance are aggravated, simply because the rulers of mankind cannot be brought to understand, that, in dealing with a great country, they have to do with an organization so subtle, so extremely complex, and withal so obscure, as to make it highly probable, that whatever they alter in it, they will alter wrongly, and that while their efforts to protect or to strengthen its particular parts are extremely hazardous, it does undoubtedly possess within itself a capacity of repairing its injuries, and that to bring such capacity into play, there is merely required that time and freedom which the interference of powerful men too often prevents it from enjoying.

Thus it was in Scotland, in the fifteenth century. The attempts of James I. failed, because they were particular measures directed against general evils. Ideas and associations, generated by a long course of events, and deeply seated in the public mind, had given to the aristocracy immense power; and if every noble in Scotland had been put to death, if all their castles had been razed to the ground, and all their estates confiscated, the time would unquestionably have come, when their successors would have been more influential than ever, because the affection of their retainers and dependents would be increased by the injustice that had been perpetrated. For, every passion excites its opposite. Cruelty to-day, produces sympathy to-morrow. A hatred of injustice contributes more than any other principle to correct the inequalities of life, and to maintain the balance of affairs. It is this loathing at tyranny, which, by stirring to their inmost depth the warmest feelings of the heart, makes it impossible that tyranny should ever finally succeed. This, in sooth, is the noble side of our nature. This is that part of us, which, stamped with a godlike beauty, reveals its divine origin, and,[49] providing for the most distant contingencies, is our surest guarantee that violence shall never ultimately triumph; that, sooner or later, despotism shall always be overthrown; and that the great and permanent interests of the human race shall never be injured by the wicked counsels of unjust men.

In the case of James I., the reaction came sooner than might have been expected; and, as it happened in his lifetime, it was a retribution, as well as a reaction. For some years, he continued to oppress the nobles with impunity;[97] but, in 1436, they turned upon him, and put him to death, in revenge for the treatment to which he had subjected many of them.[98] Their power now rose as suddenly as it had fallen. In the south of Scotland, the Douglases were supreme,[99] and the earl of that family possessed revenues about equal to those of the Crown.[100] And, to show that his authority was equal to his wealth, he, on the marriage of James II., in 1449, appeared at the nuptials with a train composed of five thousand followers.[101] These were his own retainers, armed and resolute men, bound to obey any command[50] he might issue to them. Not, indeed, that compulsion was needed on the part of a Scotch noble to secure the obedience of his own people. The servitude was a willing one, and was essential to the national manners. Then, and long afterwards, it was discreditable, as well as unsafe, not to belong to a great clan; and those who were so unfortunate as to be unconnected with any leading family, were accustomed to take the name of some chief, and to secure his protection by devoting themselves to his service.[102]

What the Earl of Douglas was in the south of Scotland, that were the Earls of Crawford and of Ross in the north.[103] Singly they were formidable; united they seemed irresistible. When, therefore, in the middle of the fifteenth century, they actually leagued together, and formed a strict compact against all their common enemies, it was hard to say what limit could be set to their power, or what resource remained to the government, except that of sowing disunion among them.[104]


But, in the mean time, the disposition of the nobles to use force against the Crown, had been increased by fresh violence. Government, instead of being warned by the fate of James I., imitated his unscrupulous acts, and pursued the very policy which had caused his destruction. Because the Douglases were the most powerful of all the great families, it was determined that their chiefs should be put to death; and because they could not be slain by force, they were to be murdered by treachery. In 1440, the Earl of Douglas, a boy of fifteen, and his brother, who was still younger than he, were invited to Edinburgh on a friendly visit to the king. Scarcely had they arrived, when they were seized by order of the chancellor, subjected to a mock trial, declared guilty, dragged to the castle-yard, and the heads of the poor children cut off.[105]

Considering the warm feelings of attachment which the Scotch entertained for their chiefs, it is difficult to overrate the consequences of this barbarous murder, in strengthening a class it was hoped to intimidate. But this horrible crime was committed by the government only, and it occurred during the king's minority: the next assassination was the work of the king himself. In 1452, the Earl of Douglas[106] was, with great show of civility, requested by James II. to repair to the court then assembled at Stirling. The Earl hesitated, but James overcame his reluctance by sending to him a safeconduct[52] with the royal signature, and issued under the great seal.[107] The honour of the king being pledged, the fears of Douglas were removed. He hastened to Stirling, where he was received with every distinction. The evening of his arrival, the king, after supper was over, broke out into reproaches against him, and, suddenly drawing his dagger, stabbed him. Gray then struck him with a battle-axe, and he fell dead on the floor, in presence of his sovereign, who had lured him to court, that he might murder him with impunity.[108]

The ferocity of the Scotch character, which was the natural result of the ignorance and poverty of the nation, was, no doubt, one cause, and a very important one, of the commission of such crimes as these, not secretly, but in the open light of day, and by the highest men in the State. It cannot, however, be denied, that another cause was, the influence of the clergy, whose interest it was to humble the nobles, and who were by no means scrupulous as to the means that they employed.[109] As the Crown became more alienated from the aristocracy, it united itself still closer with the Church. In 1443, a statute was enacted, the object of which was, to secure ecclesiastical property from the attacks made upon it by the nobles.[110][53] And although, in that state of society, it was easier to pass laws than to execute them, such a measure indicated the general policy of the government, and the union between it and the Church. Indeed, as to this, no one could be mistaken.[111] For nearly twenty years, the avowed and confidential adviser of the Crown was Kennedy, bishop of Saint Andrews, who retained power until his death, in 1466, during the minority of James III.[112] He was the bitter enemy of the nobles, against whom he displayed an unrelenting spirit, which was sharpened by personal injuries; for the Earl of Crawford had plundered his lands, and the Earl of Douglas had attempted to seize him, and had threatened to put him into irons.[113] The mildest spirit might well have been roused by this; and as James II., when he[54] assassinated Douglas, was more influenced by Kennedy than by any one else, it is probable that the bishop was privy to that foul transaction. At all events, he expressed no disapprobation of it; and when, in consequence of the murder, the Douglases and their friends rose in open rebellion, Kennedy gave to the king a crafty and insidious counsel, highly characteristic of the cunning of his profession. Taking up a bundle of arrows, he showed James, that when they were together, they were not to be broken; but that, if separated, they were easily destroyed. Hence he inferred, that the aristocracy should be overthrown by disuniting the nobles, and ruining them one by one.[114]

In this he was right, so far as the interests of his own order were concerned; but, looking at the interest of the nation, it is evident that the power of the nobles, notwithstanding their gross abuse of it, was, on the whole, beneficial, since it was the only barrier against despotism. The evil they actually engendered, was indeed immense. But they kept off other evils, which would have been worse. By causing present anarchy, they[55] secured future liberty. For, as there was no middle class, there were only three orders in the commonwealth; namely, government, clergy, and nobles. The two first being united against the last, it is certain that if they had won the day, Scotland would have been oppressed by the worst of all yokes, to which a country can be subjected. It would have been ruled by an absolute king and an absolute Church, who, playing into each other's hands, would have tyrannized over a people, who, though coarse and ignorant, still loved a certain rude and barbarous liberty, which it was good for them to possess, but which, in the face of such a combination, they would most assuredly have forfeited.

Happily, however, the power of the nobles was too deeply rooted in the popular mind to allow of this catastrophe. In vain did James III. exert himself to discourage them,[115] and to elevate their rivals, the clergy.[116] Nothing could shake their authority; and, in 1482, they, seeing the determination of the king, assembled together, and such was their influence over their followers, that they had no difficulty in seizing his person, and imprisoning him in the Castle of Edinburgh.[117] After his liberation, fresh quarrels arose;[118][56] and in 1488, the principal nobles collected troops, met him in the field, defeated him, and put him to death.[119] He was succeeded by James IV., under whom the course of affairs was exactly the same; that is to say, on one side the nobles, and on the other side the Crown and the Church. Every thing that the king could do to uphold the clergy, he did cheerfully. In 1493, he obtained an act to secure the immunities of the sees of Saint Andrews and of Glasgow, the two most important in Scotland.[120] In 1503, he procured a general revocation of all grants and gifts prejudicial to the Church, whether they had been made by the Parliament or by the Council.[121] And, in 1508, he, by the advice of Elphinston, bishop of Aberdeen, ventured on a measure of still greater boldness. That able and ambitious prelate induced James to revive against the nobility several obsolete claims, by virtue of which the king could, under certain circumstances, take possession of their estates, and could, in every instance in which the owner held of the Crown, receive nearly the whole of the proceeds during the minority of the proprietor.[122]

To make such claims was easy; to enforce them was impossible. Indeed, the nobles were at this time[57] rather gaining ground than losing it; and, after the death of James IV., in 1513, they, during the minority of James V., became so powerful, that the regent, Albany, twice threw up the government in despair, and at length abandoned it altogether.[123] He finally quitted Scotland in 1524, and with him the authority of the executive seemed to have vanished. The Douglases soon obtained possession of the person of the king, and compelled Beaton, archbishop of Saint Andrews, the most influential man in the Church, to resign the office of chancellor.[124] The whole command now fell into their hands; they or their adherents filled every office; secular interests predominated, and the clergy were thrown completely into the shade.[125] In 1528, however, an event occurred by[58] which the spiritual classes not only recovered their former position, but gained a preëminence, which, as it turned out, was eventually fatal to themselves. Archbishop Beaton, impatient at proceedings so unfavourable to the Church, organized a conspiracy, by means of which James effected his escape from the Douglases, and took refuge in the castle of Stirling.[126] This sudden reaction was not the real and controlling cause, but it was undoubtedly the proximate cause, of the establishment of Protestantism in Scotland. For, the reins of government now passed into the hands of the Church; and the most influential of the nobles were consequently persecuted, and some of them driven from the country. But, though their political power was gone, their social power remained. They were stripped of their honours and their wealth. They became outcasts, traitors, and beggars. Still, the real foundation of their authority was unshaken, because that authority was the result of a long train of circumstances, and was based on the affections of the people. Therefore it was, that the nobles, even those who were exiled and attainted, were able to conduct an arduous,[59] but eventually a successful, struggle against their enemies. The desire of revenge whetted their exertions, and gave rise to a deadly contest between the Scotch aristocracy and the Scotch Church. This most remarkable conflict was, in some degree, a continuation of that which began early in the fifteenth century. But it was far more bitter; it lasted, without interruption, for thirty-two years; and it was only concluded by the triumph of the nobles, who, in 1560, completely overthrew the Church, and destroyed, almost at a blow, the whole of the Scotch hierarchy.

The events of this struggle, and the vicissitudes to which, during its continuance, both parties were exposed, are related, though somewhat confusedly, in our common histories: it will be sufficient if I indicate the salient points, and, avoiding needless detail, endeavour to throw light on the general movement. The unity of the entire scheme will thus be brought before our minds, and we shall see, that the destruction of the Catholic Church was its natural consummation, and that the last act of that gorgeous drama, so far from being a strained and irregular sequence, was in fit keeping with the whole train of the preceding plot.

When James effected his escape in 1528, he was a boy of sixteen, and his policy, so far as he can be said to have had any mind of his own, was of course determined by the clergy, to whom he owed his liberty, and who were his natural protectors. His principal adviser was the Archbishop of Saint Andrews; and the important post of chancellor, which, under the Douglases, had been held by a layman, was now conferred on the Archbishop of Glasgow.[127] These two prelates were supreme; while, at the same time, the Abbot of Holyrood was made treasurer, and the Bishop of Dunkeld was made privy seal.[128] All nobles,[60] and even all followers, of the house of Douglas, were forbidden to approach within twelve miles of the court, under pain of treason.[129] An expedition was fitted out, and sent against the Earl of Caithness, who was defeated and slain.[130] Just before this occurred, the Earl of Angus was driven out of Scotland, and his estates confiscated.[131] An act of attainder was passed against the Douglases.[132] The government, moreover, seized, and threw into prison, the Earl of Bothwell, Home, Maxwell, and two Kerrs, and the barons of Buccleuch, Johnston, and Polwarth.[133]

All this was vigorous enough, and was the consequence of the Church recovering her power. Other measures, equally decisive, were preparing. In 1531, the king deprived the Earl of Crawford of most of his estates, and threw the Earl of Argyle into prison.[134] Even those nobles who had been inclined to follow him, he now discouraged. He took every opportunity of treating them with coldness, while he filled the highest offices with their rivals, the clergy.[135] Finally, he, in[61] 1532, aimed a deadly blow at their order, by depriving them of a large part of the jurisdiction which they were wont to exercise in their own country, and to the possession of which they owed much of their power. At the instigation of the Archbishop of Glasgow, he established what was called the College of Justice, in which suits were to be decided, instead of being tried, as heretofore, by the barons, at home, in their castles. It was ordered that this new tribunal should consist of fifteen judges, eight of whom must be ecclesiastics; and to make the intention still more clear, it was provided that the president should invariably be a clergyman.[136]

This gave the finishing touch to the whole, and it, taken in connexion with previous measures, exasperated the nobles almost to madness. Their hatred of the clergy became uncontrollable; and, in their eagerness for revenge, they not only threw themselves into the arms of England, and maintained a secret understanding with Henry VIII., but many of them went even further, and showed a decided leaning[62] towards the principles of the Reformation. As the enmity between the aristocracy and the Church grew more bitter, just in the same proportion did the desire to reform the Church become more marked. The love of innovation was encouraged by interested motives, until, in the course of a few years, an immense majority of the nobles adopted extreme Protestant opinions; hardly caring what heresy they embraced, so long as they were able, by its aid, to damage a Church from which they had recently received the greatest injuries, and with which they and their progenitors had been engaged in a contest of nearly a hundred and fifty years.[137]

In the mean time, James V. united himself closer than ever with the hierarchy. In 1534, he gratified the Church, by personally assisting at the trial of some heretics, who were brought before the bishops and burned.[138] The next year, he was offered, and he willingly accepted, the title of Defender of the Faith, which was transferred to him from Henry VIII.; that[63] king being supposed to have forfeited it by his impiety.[139] At all events, James well deserved it. He was a stanch supporter of the Church, and his privy-council was chiefly composed of ecclesiastics, as he deemed it dangerous to admit laymen to too large a share in the government.[140] And, in 1538, he still further signalized his policy, by taking for his second wife Mary of Guise; thus establishing an intimate relation with the most powerful Catholic family in Europe, whose ambition, too, was equal to their power, and who made it their avowed object to uphold the Catholic faith, and to protect it from those rude and unmannerly invasions which were now directed against it in most parts of Europe.[141]

This was hailed by the Church as a guarantee for the intentions of the king. And so indeed it proved to be. David Beaton, who negotiated the marriage, became the chief adviser of James during the rest of his reign. He was made Archbishop of Saint Andrews in 1539,[142] and, by his influence, a persecution[64] hotter than any yet known, was directed against the Protestants. Many of them escaped into England,[143] where they swelled the number of the exiles, who were waiting till the time was ripe to take a deadly revenge. They, and their adherents at home, coalesced with the disaffected nobles, particularly with the Douglases,[144] who were by far the most powerful of the Scotch aristocracy, and who were connected with most of the great families, either by old associations, or by the still closer bond of the interest which they all had in reducing the power of the Church.[145]

At this juncture, the eyes of men were turned towards the Douglases, whom Henry VIII. harboured at his court, and who were now maturing their plans.[146] Though they did not yet dare to return to Scotland, their spies and agents reported to them all that was[65] done, and preserved their connexions at home. Feudal covenants, bonds of manrent, and other arrangements, which, even if illegal, it would have been held disgraceful to renounce, were in full force; and enabled the Douglases to rely with confidence on many of the most powerful nobles, who were, moreover, disgusted at the predominance of the clergy, and who welcomed the prospect of any change which was likely to lessen the authority of the Church.[147]


With such a combination of parties, in a country where, there being no middle class, the people counted for nothing, but followed wherever they were led, it is evident that the success or failure of the Reformation in Scotland was simply a question of the success or failure of the nobles. They were bent on revenge. The only doubt was, as to their being strong enough to gratify it. Against them, they had the Crown and the Church. On their side they had the feudal traditions, the spirit of clanship, the devoted obedience of their innumerable retainers, and, what was equally important, that love of names, and of family associations, for which Scotland is still remarkable, but which, in the sixteenth century, possessed an influence difficult to exaggerate.

The moment for action was now at hand. In 1540, the government, completely under the control of the clergy, caused fresh laws to be enacted against the Protestants, whose interests were by this time identical with those of the nobles. By these statutes, no one, even suspected of heresy, could for the future hold any office; and all Catholics were forbidden to harbour, or to show favour to, persons who professed the new opinions.[148] The clergy, now flushed with conquest, and[67] greedy for the destruction of their ancient rivals, proceeded to still farther extremities. So unrelenting was their malice, that, in that same year, they presented to James a list containing the names of upwards of three hundred members of the Scotch aristocracy, whom they formally accused as heretics, who ought to be put to death, and whose estates they recommended the king to confiscate.[149]

These hot and vindictive men little knew of the storm which they were evoking, and which was about to burst on their heads, and cover them and their Church with confusion. Not that we have reason to believe that a wiser conduct would have ultimately saved the Scotch hierarchy. On the contrary, the probability is, that their fate was sealed; for the general causes which governed the entire movement had been so long at work, that, at this period, it would have been hardly possible to have baffled them. But, even if we admit as certain, that the Scotch clergy were doomed, it is also certain that their violence made their fall more grievous, by exasperating the passions of their adversaries. The train, indeed, was laid; their enemies had supplied the materials, and all was ready to explode; but it was[68] themselves who at last applied the match, and sprung the mine to their own destruction.

In 1542, the nobles, seeing that the Church and the Crown were bent on their ruin, took the most decisive step on which they had yet ventured, and peremptorily refused to obey James in making war upon the English. They knew that the war in which they were desired to participate had been fomented by the clergy, with the twofold object of stopping all communication with the exiles, and of checking the introduction of heretical opinions.[150] Both these intentions they resolved to frustrate, and, being assembled on the field, they declared with one voice that they would not invade England. Threats and persuasions were equally useless. James, stung with vexation, returned home, and ordered the army to be disbanded. Scarcely had he retired, when the clergy attempted to rally the troops, and to induce them to act against the enemy. A few of the peers, ashamed at what seemed a cowardly desertion of the king, appeared willing to march. The rest, however, refused; and, while they were in this state of doubt and confusion, the English, taking them unawares, suddenly fell upon their disorderly ranks, utterly routed[69] them, and made a large number prisoners. In this disgraceful action, ten thousand Scotch troops fled before three hundred English cavalry.[151] The news being brought to James, while he was still smarting from the disobedience of the nobles, was too much for his proud and sensitive mind. He reeled under the double shock; a slow fever wasted his strength; he sunk into a long stupor; and, refusing all comfort, he died in December 1542, leaving the Crown to his infant daughter, Mary, during whose reign the great contest between the aristocracy and the Church was to be finally decided.[152]

The influence of the nobles was increased by the death of James V., and yet more by the bad repute into which the clergy fell for having instigated a war, of which the result was so disgraceful.[153] Their party was still further strengthened by the exiles, who, as soon as they heard the glad tidings, prepared to leave England.[154] Early in 1543, Angus and Douglas returned to Scotland,[155] and were soon followed by other nobles, most of whom professed to be Protestants, though, as the result[70] clearly proved, their Protestantism was inspired by a love of plunder and of revenge. The late king had, in his will, appointed Cardinal Beaton to be guardian of the queen, and governor of the realm.[156] Beaton, though an unprincipled man, was very able, and was respected as the head of the national church; he being Archbishop of St. Andrews, and primate of Scotland. The nobles, however, at once arrested him,[157] deprived him of his regency, and put in his place the Earl of Arran, who, at this time, affected to be a zealous Protestant, though, on a fitting occasion, he afterwards changed his opinions.[158] Among the supporters of the new creed, the[71] most powerful were the Earl of Angus and the Douglases. They were now freed from a prescription of fifteen years; their attainder was reversed, and their estates and honours were restored to them.[159] It was evident that not only the executive authority, but also the legislative, had passed from the Church to the aristocracy. And they, who had the power, were not sparing in the use of it. Lord Maxwell, one of the most active of their party, had, like most of them, in their zeal against the hierarchy, embraced the principles of the Reformation.[160] In the spring of 1543, he obtained the sanction of the Earl of Arran, the governor of Scotland, for a proposal which he made to the Lords of the Articles, whose business it was to digest the measures to be brought before Parliament. The proposal was, that the people should be allowed to read the Bible in a Scotch or English translation. The clergy[72] arrayed all their force against what they rightly deemed a step full of danger to themselves, as conceding a fundamental principle of Protestantism. But all was in vain. The tide had set in, and was not to be turned. The proposition was adopted by the Lords of the Articles. On their authority, it was introduced into Parliament. It was passed. It received the assent of the government; and, amid the lamentations of the Church, it was proclaimed, with every formality, at the market-cross of Edinburgh.[161]

Scarcely had the nobles thus attained the upper hand, when they began to quarrel among themselves. They were resolved to plunder the Church; but they could not agree as to how the spoil should be shared. Neither could they determine as to the best mode of proceeding; some being in favour of an open and immediate schism, while others wished to advance cautiously, and to temporize with their opponents, that they might weaken the hierarchy by degrees. The more active and zealous section of the nobles were known as the English party,[162] owing to their intimate connexion with Henry VIII., from whom many of them received supplies of money. But, in 1544, war broke out between the two countries, and the clergy, headed by Archbishop Beaton, roused, with such success, the old feelings of national hatred against the English, that the nobles were compelled for a moment to bend before the storm, and to advocate an alliance with France. Indeed, it seemed for a few months as if the Church and aristocracy had forgotten their old and inveterate hostility, and were about to unite their strength in one common cause.[163]


This, however, was but a passing delusion. The antagonism between the two classes was irreconcilable.[164] In the spring of 1545, the leading Protestant nobles formed a conspiracy to assassinate Archbishop Beaton,[165][74] whom they hated more than any one else, partly because he was the head of the Church, and partly because he was the ablest and most unscrupulous of their opponents. A year, however, elapsed before their purpose could be effected; and it was not till May 1546, that Lesley, a young baron, accompanied by the Laird of Grange, and a few others, burst into Saint Andrews, and murdered the primate in his own castle.[166]

The horror with which the Church heard of this foul and barbarous deed,[167] maybe easily imagined. But the conspirators, nothing daunted, and relying on the support of a powerful party, justified their act, seized the castle of Saint Andrews, and prepared to defend it to the last. And in this resolution they were upheld by a most remarkable man, who now first appeared to public view, and who, being admirably suited to the age in[75] which he lived, was destined to become the most conspicuous character of those troublous times.

That man was John Knox. To say that he was fearless and incorruptible, that he advocated with unflinching zeal what he believed to be the truth, and that he devoted himself with untiring energy to what he deemed the highest of all objects, is only to render common justice to the many noble attributes which he undoubtedly possessed. But, on the other hand, he was stern, unrelenting, and frequently brutal; he was not only callous to human suffering, but he could turn it into a jest, and employ on it the resources of his coarse, though exuberant, humour;[168] and he loved power so inordinately, that, unable to brook the slightest opposition, he trampled on all who crossed his path, or stood even for a moment in the way of his ulterior designs.

The influence of Knox in promoting the Reformation, has indeed been grossly exaggerated by historians, who are too apt to ascribe vast results to individual exertions; overlooking those large and general causes, in the absence of which the individual exertion would be fruitless. Still, he effected more than any single man;[169] although the really important period of his life, in regard to Scotland, was in and after 1559, when the triumph of Protestantism was already secure, and when he reaped the benefit of what had been effected during his long absence from his own country. His first effort was a complete failure, and, more than any one of his actions,[76] has injured his reputation. This was the sanction which he gave to the cruel murder of Archbishop Beaton, in 1546. He repaired to the Castle of Saint Andrews; he shut himself up with the assassins; he prepared to share their fate; and, in a work which he afterwards wrote, openly justified what they had done.[170] For this, nothing can excuse him; and it is with a certain sense of satisfied justice that we learn, that, in 1547, the castle being taken by the French, Knox was treated with great severity, and was made to work at the galleys, from which he was not liberated till 1549.[171]

During the next five years, Knox remained in England, which he quitted in 1554, and arrived at Dieppe.[172] He then travelled abroad; and did not revisit Scotland till the autumn of 1555, when he was eagerly welcomed by the principal nobles and their adherents.[173] From some cause, however, which has not been sufficiently explained, but probably from an unwillingness to play a subordinate part among those proud chiefs, he, in July 1556, again left Scotland, and repaired to Geneva, where he had been invited to take charge of a congregation.[174] He stayed abroad till 1559, by which time the real[77] struggle was almost over; so completely had the nobles succeeded in sapping the foundations of the Church.

For, the course of events having been long prepared, was now rapid indeed. In 1554, the queen dowager had succeeded Arran as regent.[175] She was that Mary of Guise whose marriage with James V. we have noticed as one of the indications of the policy then prevailing. If left alone, she would probably have done little harm;[176] but her powerful and intolerant family exhorted her to suppress the heretics, and, as a natural part of the same scheme, to put down the nobles. By the advice of her brothers, the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, she, in 1555, proposed to establish a standing army, to supply the place of the troops, which consisted of the feudal barons and their retainers. Such a force, being paid by the Crown, would have been entirely under its control; but the nobles saw the ulterior design, and compelled Mary to abandon it, on the ground that they and their vassals were able to defend Scotland, without further aid.[177] Her next attempt was[78] to consolidate the interests of the Catholic party, which she effected, in 1558, by marrying her daughter to the dauphin. This increased the influence of the Guises,[178] whose niece, already queen of Scotland, would now, in the ordinary course of affairs, become queen of France. They urged their sister to extreme measures, and promised to assist her with French troops. On the other hand, the nobles remained firm, and prepared for the struggle. In December 1557, several of them had drawn up a covenant, agreeing to stand by each other, and to resist the tyranny with which they were threatened.[179] They now took the name of Lords of the Congregation, and sent forth their agents to secure the subscriptions of those who wished for a reformation of the Church.[180] They, moreover, wrote to Knox, whose style of preaching, being very popular, would, they thought, be useful in stirring up the people to rebellion.[181] He was then in Geneva, and did not arrive in Scotland till May 1559,[182] by which time the result of the impending[79] contest was hardly doubtful, so successful had the nobles been in strengthening their party, and so much reason had they to expect the support of Elizabeth.

Nine days after Knox entered Scotland, the first blow was struck. On the 11th of May 1559, he preached in Perth. After the sermon, a tumult arose, and the people plundered the churches and pulled down the monasteries.[183] The queen-regent, hastily assembling troops, marched towards the town. But the nobles were on the alert. The Earl of Glencairn joined the congregation with two thousand five hundred men; and a treaty was concluded, by which both sides agreed to disarm, on condition that no one should be punished for what had already happened.[184] Such, however, was the state of the public mind, that peace was impossible. In a few days, war again broke out; and this time the result was more decisive. The Lords of the Congregation mustered in great force. Perth, Stirling, and Linlithgow, fell into their hands. The queen-regent retreated before them. She evacuated Edinburgh; and, on the 29th of June, the Protestants entered the capital in triumph.[185]

All this was done in seven weeks from the breaking out of the first riot. Both parties were now willing to[80] negotiate, with the view of gaining time; the queen-regent expecting aid from France, the Lords expecting it from England.[186] But the proceedings of Elizabeth being tardy, the Protestants, after waiting for some months, determined to strike a decisive blow before the reinforcements arrived. In October, the principal peers, headed by the Duke of Chastelherault, the Earl of Arran, the Earl of Argyle, and the Earl of Glencairn, assembled at Edinburgh. A great meeting was held, of which Lord Ruthven was appointed president, and in which the queen-regent was solemnly suspended from the government, on the ground that she was opposed to ‘the glory of God, to the liberty of the realm, and to the welfare of the nobles.’[187]

In the winter, an English fleet sailed into the Frith, and anchored near Edinburgh.[188] In January 1560, the[81] Duke of Norfolk arrived at Berwick, and concluded, on the part of Elizabeth, a treaty with the Lords of the Congregation, by virtue of which the English army entered Scotland on the 2nd of April.[189] Against this combination, the government could effect nothing, and in July, was glad to sign a peace, by which the French troops were to evacuate Scotland, and the whole power of administration was virtually consigned to the Protestant Lords.[190]

The complete success of this great revolution, and the speed with which it was effected, are of themselves a decisive proof of the energy of those general causes by which the whole movement was controlled. For more than a hundred and fifty years, there had been a deadly struggle between the nobles and the Church: and the issue of that struggle, was the establishment of the Reformation, and the triumph of the aristocracy.[82] They had, at last, carried their point. The hierarchy was overthrown, and replaced by new and untried men. All the old notions of apostolic succession, of the imposition of hands, and of the divine right of ordination, were suddenly discarded. The offices of the Church were performed by heretics, the majority of whom had not even been ordained.[191] Finally, and to crown the whole, in the summer of the same year, 1560, the Scotch parliament passed two laws, which utterly subverted the ancient scheme. By one of these laws, every statute which had ever been enacted in favour of the Church, was at once repealed.[192] By the other law, it was declared that whoever either said mass, or was present while it was said, should, for the first offence, lose his goods; for the second offence be exiled; and, for the third offence, be put to death.[193]

Thus it was, that an institution, which had borne the[83] brunt of more than a thousand years, was shivered, and fell to pieces. And, from its fall, great things were augured. It was believed, that the people would be enlightened, that their eyes were opening to their former follies, and that the reign of superstition was about to end. But what was forgotten then, and what is too often forgotten now, is, that in these affairs there is an order and a natural sequence, which can never be reversed. This is, that every institution, as it actually exists, no matter what its name or pretences may be, is the effect of public opinion far more than the cause; and that it will avail nothing to attack the institution, unless you can first change the opinion. In Scotland, the Church was grossly superstitious; but it did not, therefore, follow, that to overthrow the establishment, would lessen the evil. They who think that superstition can be weakened in this way, do not know the vitality of that dark and ill-omened principle. Against it, there is only one weapon, and that weapon is knowledge. When men are ignorant, they must be superstitious; and wherever superstition exists, it is sure to organize itself into some kind of system, which it makes its home. If you drive it from that home, it will find another. The spirit transmigrates; it assumes a new form; but still it lives. How idle, then, is that warfare which reformers are too apt to wage, in which they slay the carcass, and spare the life! The husk, forsooth, they seek out and destroy; but within that husk is a seed of deadly poison, whose vitality they are unable to impair, and which, shifted from its place, bears fruit in another direction, and shoots up with a fresh, and often a more fatal, exuberance.

The truth is, that every institution, whether political or religious, represents, in its actual working, the form and pressure of the age. It may be very old; it may bear a venerated name; it may aim at the highest objects: but whoever carefully studies its history, will find that, in practice, it is successively modified by successive generations, and that, instead of controlling society, it is controlled by it. When the Protestant Reformation was effected, the Scotch were excessively[84] ignorant, and, therefore, in spite of the Reformation, they remained excessively superstitious. How long that ignorance continued, and what its results were, we shall presently see; but before entering into that inquiry, it will be advisable to trace the immediate consequences of the Reformation itself, in connexion with the powerful class by whose authority it was established.

The nobles, having overthrown the Church, and stripped it of a large part of its wealth, thought that they were to reap the benefit of their own labour. They had slain the enemy, and they wished to divide the spoil.[194] But this did not suit the views of the Protestant preachers. In their opinion, it was impious to secularize ecclesiastical property, and turn it aside to profane purposes. They held, that it was right, indeed, for the lords to plunder the Church; but they took for granted that the proceeds of the robbery were to enrich themselves. They were the godly men; and it was the business of the ruling classes to endow them with benefices, from which the old and idolatrous clergy were to be expelled.[195]

In accordance with these opinions, Knox and his colleagues, in August 1560, presented a petition to[85] Parliament, calling on the nobles to restore the Church property which they had seized, and to have it properly applied to the support of the new ministers.[196] To this request, those powerful chiefs did not even vouchsafe a reply.[197] They were content with matters as they actually stood, and were, therefore, unwilling to disturb the existing arrangement. They had fought the fight; they had gained the victory, and shared the spoil. It was not to be supposed that they would peaceably relinquish what they had won with infinite difficulty. Nor was it likely that, after being engaged in an arduous struggle with the Church for a hundred and fifty years, and having at length conquered their inveterate enemy, they should forego the fruits of their triumph for the sake of a few preachers, whom they had but recently called to their aid; low-born and obscure men, who should rather deem it an honour that they were permitted to associate with their superiors in a common enterprise, but were not to presume on that circumstance, nor to suppose that they, who only entered the field at the eleventh hour, were to share the booty on anything approaching to terms of equality.[198]

But the aristocracy of Scotland little knew the men with whom they had to deal. Still less, did they understand the character of their own age. They did not see that, in the state of society in which they lived, superstition was inevitable, and that, therefore, the spiritual[86] classes, though depressed for a moment, were sure speedily to rise again. The nobles had overturned the Church; but the principles on which Church authority is based, remained intact. All that was done, was to change the name and the form. A new hierarchy was quickly organized, which succeeded the old one in the affections of the people. Indeed, it did more. For, the Protestant clergy, neglected by the nobles, and unendowed by the state, had only a miserable pittance whereupon to live, and they necessarily threw themselves into the arms of the people, where alone they could find support and sympathy.[199] Hence, a closer and more intimate union than would otherwise have been possible. Hence, too, as we shall presently see, the Presbyterian clergy, smarting under the injustice with which they were treated, displayed that hatred of the upper classes, and that peculiar detestation of monarchical government, which they showed whenever they dared. In their pulpits, in their presbyteries, and in their General Assemblies, they encouraged a democratic and insubordinate tone, which eventually produced the happiest results, by keeping alive, at a critical moment, the spirit of liberty; but which, for that very reason, made the higher ranks rue the day, when, by their ill-timed and selfish parsimony, they roused the wrath of so powerful and implacable a class.

The withdrawal of the French troops, in 1560, had left the nobles in possession of the government;[200] and it was for them to decide to what extent the Reformed clergy should be endowed. The first petition, presented[87] by Knox and his brethren, was passed over in contemptuous silence. But the ministers were not so easily put aside. Their next step was, to present to the Privy Council what is known as the First Book of Discipline, in which they again urged their request.[201] To the tenets contained in this book, the council had no objection; but they refused to ratify it, because, by doing so, they would have sanctioned the principle that the new church had a right to the revenues of the old one.[202] A certain share, indeed, they were willing to concede. What the share should be, was a matter of serious dispute, and caused the greatest ill-will between the two parties. At length, the nobles broke silence, and, in December 1561, they declared that the Reformed clergy should only receive one-sixth of the property of the Church; the remaining five-sixths being divided between the government and the Catholic priesthood.[203][88] The meaning of this was easily understood, since the Catholics were now entirely dependent on the government, and the government was, in fact, the nobles themselves, who were, at that period, the monopolizers of political power.

Such being the case, it naturally happened, that, when the arrangement was made known, the preachers were greatly moved. They saw how unfavourable it was to their own interests, and, therefore, they held that it was unfavourable to the interests of religion. Hence, in their opinion, it was contrived by the devil, whose purposes it was calculated to serve.[204] For, now, they who travailed in the vineyard of the Lord, were to be discouraged, and were to suffer, in order that what rightly belonged to them might be devoured by idle bellies.[205] The nobles might benefit for a time, but the vengeance of God was swift, and would most assuredly overtake them.[206] From the beginning to the end, it[89] was nothing but spoliation. In a really Christian land, the patrimony of the Church would be left untouched.[207] But, in Scotland, alas! Satan had prevailed,[208] and[90] Christian charity had waxen cold.[209] In Scotland, property, which should be regarded as sacred, had been broken up and divided; and the division was of the worst kind, since, by it, said Knox, two-thirds are given to the devil, and the other third is shared between God and the devil. It was as if Joseph, when governor of Egypt, had refused food to his brethren, and sent them back to their families with empty sacks.[210] Or, as another preacher suggested, the Church was now, like the Maccabees of old, being oppressed, sometimes by the Assyrians, and sometimes by the Egyptians.[211]

But neither persuasions nor threats[212] produced any[91] effect on the obdurate minds of the Scotch nobles. Indeed, their hearts, instead of being softened, became harder. Even the small stipends, which were allotted to the Protestant clergy, were not regularly paid, but were mostly employed for other purposes.[213] When the ministers complained, they were laughed at, and insulted, by the nobles, who, having gained their own ends, thought that they could dispense with their former allies.[214] The Earl of Morton, whose ability, as well as[92] connexions, made him the most powerful man in Scotland, was especially virulent against them; and two of the preachers, who offended him, he put to death, under circumstances of great cruelty.[215] The nobles, regarding him as their chief, elected him Regent in 1572;[216] and, being now possessed of supreme power, he employed it against the Church. He seized upon all the benefices which became vacant, and retained their profits in his own hands.[217] His hatred of the preachers passed all bounds. He publicly declared, that there would be neither peace nor order in the country, until some of them were hung.[218] He refused to sanction the General Assemblies by his presence; he wished to do away with their privileges, and even with their name; and with such determination did he pursue his measures, that, in the opinion of the historian of the Scotch Kirk,[93] nothing but the special interference of the Deity could have maintained its existing polity.[219]

The rupture between Church and State was now complete. It remained to be seen, which was the stronger side. Every year, the clergy became more democratic; and, after the death of Knox, in 1572, they ventured upon a course which even he would hardly have recommended, and which, during the earlier period of the Reformation, would have been impracticable.[220] But, by this time, they had secured the support of the people; and the treatment they were receiving from the government, and from the nobles, embittered their minds, and drove them into desperate counsels. While their plans were yet immature, and while the future was looming darkly before them, a new man arose, who was well qualified to be their chief, and who at once stepped into the place which the death of Knox left vacant. This was Andrew Melville, who, by his great ability, his boldness of character, and his fertility of resource, was admirably suited to be the leader of the Scottish Church in that arduous struggle in which it was about to embark.[221]


In 1574, Melville, having completed his education abroad, arrived in Scotland.[222] He quickly rallied round him the choicest spirits in the Church; and, under his auspices, a struggle began with the civil power, which continued, with many fluctuations, until it culminated, sixty years later, in open rebellion against Charles I. To narrate all the details of the contest, would be inconsistent with the plan of this Introduction; and, notwithstanding the extreme interest of the events which now ensued, the greater part of them must be omitted; but I will endeavour to indicate the general march, and to put the reader in possession of such facts as are most characteristic of the age in which they occurred.

Melville had not been in Scotland many months, before he began his opposition, at first by secret intrigues, afterwards with open and avowed hostility.[223] In the time of Knox, episcopacy had been recognized as part of the Protestant Church, and had received the sanction of the leading Reformers.[224] But that institution did[95] not harmonize with the democratic spirit which was now growing up. The difference of ranks between the bishops and the inferior clergy was unpleasant, and the ministers determined to put an end to it.[225] In 1575, one of them, named John Dury, was instigated, by Melville, to bring the subject before the General Assembly at Edinburgh.[226] After he had spoken, Melville also expressed himself against episcopacy; but, not being yet sure of the temper of the audience, his first proceedings were somewhat cautious. Such hesitation was, however, hardly necessary; for, owing to the schism between the Church and the upper classes, the ministers were becoming the eager enemies of those maxims of obedience, and of subordination, which they[96] would have upheld, had the higher ranks been on their side. As it was, the clergy were only favoured by the people; they, therefore, sought to organize a system of equality, and were ripe for the bold measures proposed by Melville and his followers. This was clearly shown, by the rapidity of the subsequent movement. In 1575, the first attack was made in the General Assembly at Edinburgh. In April 1578, another General Assembly resolved, that, for the future, bishops should be called by their own names, and not by their titles.[227] The same body also declared, that no see should be filled up, until the next Assembly.[228] Two months afterwards, it was announced that this arrangement was to be perpetual, and that no new bishop should ever be made.[229] And, in 1580, the Assembly of the Church at Dundee, pulling the whole fabric to the ground, unanimously resolved that the office of bishop was a mere human invention; that it was unlawful; that it must be immediately done away with; and that every bishop should at once resign his office, or be excommunicated if he refuse to do so.[230]


The minister and the people had now done their work, and, so far as they were concerned, had done it well.[231] But the same circumstances which made them desire equality, made the upper classes desire inequality.[232] A collision, therefore, was inevitable, and was hastened by this bold proceeding of the Church. Indeed, the preachers, supported by the people, rather courted a contest, than avoided it. They used the most inflammatory language against episcopacy; and, shortly before abolishing it, they completed, and presented to[98] Parliament, the Second Book of Discipline, in which they flatly contradicted what they had asserted in their First Book of Discipline.[233] For this, they are often taunted with inconsistency.[234] But the charge is unjust. They were perfectly consistent; and they merely changed their maxims, that they might preserve their principles. Like every corporation, which has ever existed, whether spiritual or temporal, their supreme and paramount principle was to maintain their own power. Whether or not this is a good principle, is another matter; but all history proves that it is an universal one. And when the leaders of the Scotch Church found that it was at stake, and that the question at issue was, who should possess authority, they, with perfect consistency, abandoned opinions that they had formerly held, because they now perceived that those opinions were unfavourable to their existence as an independent body.

When the First Book of Discipline appeared, in 1560, the government was in the hands of the nobles, who had just fought on the side of the Protestant preachers, and were ready to fight again on their side. When the Second Book of Discipline appeared, in 1578, the government was still held by the nobles; but those ambitious men had now thrown off the mask, and, having effected their purpose in destroying the old hierarchy, had actually turned round, and attacked the new one. The circumstances having changed, the Church changed with them; but in the change there was nothing inconsistent. On the contrary, it would have been the height of inconsistency for the ministers to have retained their former notions of obedience and of subordination; and it was perfectly natural that, at this crisis, they should advocate the democratic idea of[99] equality, just as before they had advanced the aristocratic idea of inequality.

Hence it was, that, in their First Book of Discipline, they established a regularly ascending hierarchy, according to which the general clergy owed obedience to their ecclesiastical superiors, to whom the name of superintendents was given.[235] But, in the Second Book of Discipline, every vestige of this was swept away; and it was laid down in the broadest terms, that all the preachers being fellow-labourers, all were equal in power; that none had authority over others; and that, to claim such authority, or to assert preëminence, was a contrivance of man, not to be permitted in a divinely constituted Church.[236]


The government, as may be supposed, took a very different view. Such doctrines were deemed, by the upper classes, to be anti-social, and to be subversive of all order.[237] So far from sanctioning them, they resolved, if possible, to overthrow them; and, the year after the General Assembly had abolished episcopacy, it was determined that, upon that very point, a trial of strength should be made between the two parties.

In 1581, Robert Montgomery was appointed archbishop of Glasgow. The ministers who composed the chapter of Glasgow refused to elect him; whereupon the Privy Council declared that the King, by virtue of his prerogative, had the right of nomination.[238] All was now confusion and uproar. The General Assembly[101] forbad the archbishop to enter Glasgow.[239] He refused to obey their order, and threw himself upon the support of the Duke of Lennox, who had obtained the appointment for him, and to whom he, in return, had surrendered nearly all the revenues of the see, reserving for himself only a small stipend.[240] This was a custom which had grown up within the last few years, and was one of many contrivances by which the nobles plundered the Church of her property.[241]

This, however, was not the question now at issue.[242] The point to be decided was one, not of revenue, but of power. For the clergy knew full well, that if they established their power, the revenue would quickly follow. They, therefore, adopted the most energetic proceedings. In April 1582, the General Assembly met at St. Andrews, and appointed Melville as Moderator.[243] The government, fearing the worst, ordered the members, on pain of rebellion, to take no steps respecting the archbishopric.[244] But the representatives of the Church were[102] undaunted. They summoned Montgomery before them; they ratified the sentence by which he had been suspended from the ministry; and they declared that he had incurred the penalties of despotism and of excommunication.[245]

A sentence of excommunication was, in those days, so ruinous, that Montgomery was struck with terror at the prospect before him. To avoid the consequences, he appeared before the Assembly, and solemnly promised that he would make no further attempt to possess himself of the archbishopric.[246] By doing this, he probably saved his life; for the people, siding with their clergy, were ripe for mischief, and were determined, at all hazards, to maintain what they considered to be the rights of the Church, in opposition to the encroachments of the State.

The government, on the other hand, was equally resolute.[247] The Privy Council called several of the ministers before them; and Dury, one of the most active, they banished from Edinburgh.[248] Measures still more violent were about to be taken, when they were[103] interrupted by one of those singular events which not unfrequently occurred in Scotland, and which strikingly evince the inherent weakness of the Crown, notwithstanding the inordinate pretensions it commonly assumed.

This was the Raid of Ruthven, which happened in 1582, and in consequence of which the person of James VI. was held in durance for ten months.[249] The clergy, true to the policy which now governed them, loudly approved of the captivity of the king, and pronounced it to be a godly act.[250] Dury, who had been driven from his pulpit, was brought back to the capital in triumph;[251] and the General Assembly, meeting at Edinburgh, ordered that the imprisonment of James should be justified by every minister to his own congregation.[252]


In 1583, the king recovered his liberty, and the struggle became more deadly than ever; the passions of both parties being exasperated by the injuries each had inflicted on the other. The Ruthven conspiracy, having been declared treason, as it undoubtedly was, Dury preached in its favour, and openly defended it; and although, under the influence of momentary fear, he afterwards withdrew what he had said,[253] it was evident, from other circumstances, that his feelings were shared by his brethren.[254] A number of them being summoned before the king for their seditious language, bad him take heed what he was about, and reminded him that no occupant of the throne had ever prospered after the ministers had begun to threaten him.[255] Melville, who exercised immense influence over both clergy and people, bearded the king to his face, refused[105] to account for what he had delivered in the pulpit, and told James that he perverted the laws both of God and of man.[256] Simpson likened him to Cain, and warned him to beware of the wrath of God.[257] Indeed, the spirit now displayed by the Church was so implacable, that it seemed to delight in venting itself in the most repulsive manner. In 1585, a clergyman, named Gibson, in a sermon which he preached in Edinburgh, denounced against the king the curse of Jeroboam, that he should die childless, and that his race should end with him.[258] The year after this happened, James, finding that Elizabeth was evidently determined to take his mother's life, bethought him of what was valued in that age as an unfailing resource, and desired the clergy to offer up prayers on behalf of Mary. This, they almost unanimously refused.[259] And not only did they abstain from[106] supplication themselves, but they resolved that no one else should do what they had declined. The archbishop of Saint Andrews being about to officiate before the king, they induced a certain John Cowper to station himself in the pulpit beforehand, so as to exclude the prelate. Nor was it until the captain of the guard threatened to pull Cowper from the place he had usurped, that the service could go on, and the king be allowed to hear his own mother prayed for, in this sad crisis of her fate, when it was still uncertain whether she would be publicly executed, or whether, as was more generally believed, she would be secretly poisoned.[260]


In 1594, John Ross stated in the pulpit, that the advisers of the king were all traitors, and that the king himself was likewise a traitor. He was also a rebel and a reprobate. That such should be the case, was not surprising, considering the parentage of James. For, his mother was a Guise, and a persecutor of the saints. He avoided open persecution, and spoke them fair; but his deeds did not correspond to his words; and, so great was his dissimulation, that he was the most arrant hypocrite then living in Scotland.[261]

In 1596, David Black, one of the most influential of the Protestant ministers, delivered a sermon, which made much noise. He said, in his discourse, that all kings were children of the devil; but that in Scotland the head of the court was Satan himself. The members of the council, he added, were cormorants, and the lords of the session miscreants. The nobility had degenerated: they were godless; they were dissemblers; they were the enemies of the Church. As to the queen of England, she was nothing but an atheist. And as to the queen of Scotland, all he would say was, that they might pray for her if they list, and because it was the fashion to do so; but that there was[108] no reason for it, inasmuch as no good would ever come from her to them.[262]

For preaching this sermon, Black was summoned by the privy-council. He refused to attend, because it was for a spiritual tribunal, and not for a temporal one, to take notice of what was uttered in the pulpit. The Church, to be sure, he would obey; but, having received his message from God, he was bound to deliver it, and it would be a dereliction of duty, if he were to allow the civil power to judge such matters.[263] The king,[109] greatly enraged, ordered Black to be cast into prison; and it is difficult to see what other course was open to him; though it was certain that neither this, nor any measure he could adopt, would tame the indomitable spirit of the Scotch Church.[264]

In December the same year, the Church proclaimed a fast; and Welsh preached in Edinburgh a sermon, with the view of rousing the people against their rulers. The king, he told his audience, had formerly been possessed by a devil, and that devil being put out, seven worse ones had come in its place. It was, therefore, evident that James was demented, and it became lawful to take the sword of justice from his hands; just as it would be lawful for servants or children to seize the head of their family, if it had pleased heaven to afflict him with madness. In such case, the preacher observed, it would be right to lay hold of the madman, and to tie him hand and foot, that he might do no further harm.[265]

The hatred felt by the clergy was at this period so bitter, and the democratic spirit in them so strong,[266][110] that they seemed unable to restrain themselves; and Andrew Melville, in an audience with the king, in 1596, proceeded to personal insults, and, seizing him by the sleeve, called him God's silly vassal.[267] The large amount of truth contained in this bitter taunt, increased its pungency. But the ministers did not always confine themselves to words.[268] Their participation in the Ruthven conspiracy is unquestionable; and it is probable that they were privy to the last great peril to which James was exposed, before he escaped from that turbulent land, which he was believed to govern. Certain it is, that the Earl of Gowrie, who, in 1600, entrapped the king into his castle in order to murder him, was the hope and the mainstay of the Presbyterian clergy, and was intimately associated with their ambitious schemes.[269] Such, indeed, was their infatuation on behalf of the assassin, that, when his conspiracy was defeated, and he himself slain, several of the ministers propagated a report that Gowrie had fallen a victim to the royal[111] perfidy, and that, in point of fact, the only plot which ever existed was one concocted by the king, with fatal art, against his mild and innocent host.[270]

An absurdity of this sort[271] was easily believed in an ignorant, and, therefore, a credulous, age. That the clergy should have propagated it, and that in this, as in many other cases, they should have laboured with malignant industry to defame the character of their prince,[272] will astonish no one who knows how quickly the wrath of the Church can be roused, and how ready the spiritual classes always are to cover, even with the foulest calumny, those who stand in their way. The evidence which has been collected, proves that the Presbyterian ministers carried their violence against the constituted authorities of the state, to an indecent, if not to a criminal, length; and we cannot absolve them from the charge of being a restless and unscrupulous body, greedy after power, and grossly intolerant of whatever opposed their own views. Still, the real cause of their conduct was, the spirit of their age, and the peculiarities of their position. None of us can be sure that, if we were placed exactly as they were placed, we should have acted differently. Now, indeed, we cannot read of their proceedings, as they are recorded in their own Assemblies, and by the historians of their own Church, without an uneasy feeling of dislike, I had almost said of disgust, at finding ourselves in presence of so much of superstition, of chicanery, of low, sordid arts, and yet, withal, of arrogant and unbridled insolence. The truth, however,[112] is, that in Scotland, the age was evil, and the evil rose to the surface. The times were out of joint, and it was hard to set them right. The long prevalence of anarchy, of ignorance, of poverty, of force, of fraud, of domestic tumult, and of foreign invasion, had reduced Scotland to a state which is scarcely possible for us to realize. Hereafter, I shall give some evidence of the effect which this produced on the national character, and of the serious mischief which it wrought. In the mean time, we should, in fairness to the Scotch clergy, admit that the condition of their country affords the best explanation of their conduct. Everything around them was low and coarse; the habits of men, in their daily life, were violent, brutal, and utterly regardless of common decency; and, as a natural consequence, the standard of human actions was so depressed, that upright and well-meaning persons did not shrink from doing what to us, in our advanced state of society, seems incredible. Let us, then, not be too rash in this matter. Let us not be too forward in censuring the leading actors in that great crisis through which Scotland passed, during the latter half of the sixteenth century. Much they did, which excites our strongest aversion. But one thing they achieved, which should make us honour their memory, and repute them benefactors of their species. At a most hazardous moment, they kept alive the spirit of national liberty.[273] What the nobles and the crown had[113] put in peril, that did the clergy save. By their care, the dying spark was kindled into a blaze. When the light grew dim, and flickered on the altar, their hands trimmed the lamp, and fed the sacred flame. This is their real glory, and on this they may well repose. They were the guardians of Scotch freedom, and they stood to their post. Where danger was, they were foremost. By their sermons, by their conduct, both public and private, by the proceedings of their Assemblies, by their bold and frequent attacks upon persons, without regard to their rank, nay, even by the very insolence with which they treated their superiors, they stirred up the minds of men, woke them from their lethargy, formed them to habits of discussion, and excited that inquisitive and democratic spirit, which is the only effectual guarantee the people can ever possess against the tyranny of those who are set over them. This was the work of the Scotch clergy; and all hail to them who did it. It was they who taught their countrymen to scrutinize, with a fearless eye, the policy of their rulers. It was they who pointed the finger of scorn at kings and nobles, and laid bare the hollowness of their pretensions. They ridiculed their claims, and jeered at their mysteries. They tore the veil, and exposed the tricks of the scene which lay behind. The great ones of the earth, they covered with contempt; and those who were above them, they cast down. Herein, they did a deed which should compensate for all their offences, even were their offences ten times as great. By discountenancing that pernicious and degrading respect which men are too apt to pay to those whom accident, and not merit, has raised above them, they facilitated the growth of a proud and sturdy independence, which was sure to do good service at a time of need. And that time came quicker than any one had expected. Within a very few years, James became master of the resources of England, and attempted, by their aid, to subvert the liberties of Scotland. The shameful enterprise, which he began, was continued by his cruel and superstitious son. How their attempts failed; how Charles I., in the effort, shipwrecked his fortune, and provoked a rebellion, which brought to the[114] scaffold that great criminal, who dared to conspire against the people, and who, as the common enemy and oppressor of all, was at length visited with the just punishment of his sins, is known to every reader of our history. It is also well known, that, in conducting the struggle, the English were greatly indebted to the Scotch, who had, moreover, the merit of being the first to lift their hand against the tyrant. What, however, is less known, but is undoubtedly true, is, that both nations owe a debt they can never repay to those bold men who, during the latter part of the sixteenth century, disseminated, from their pulpits and Assemblies, sentiments which the people cherished in their hearts, and which, at a fitting moment, they reproduced, to the dismay, and eventually to the destruction, of those who threatened their liberties.


[88] ‘The Church was eminently favoured by Albany.’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 86. But Pinkerton misunderstands his policy in regard to the nobles.

[89] Skene's Highlanders, vol. ii. pp. 72–74; Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. i. p. 162, vol. iv. pp. 435, 436.

[90] Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. i. pp. 826, 827), referring to the state of things before Albany, says, ‘There is not a trace of any attempt by Robert II. to limit the power of the nobles, whatever he may have added, by his improvident grants, to their independence. He appears not to have attempted to raise the royal prerogative from the debasement in which the imprudence and misfortunes of David II. had left it.’ And, of his successor, Robert III., ‘So mild a prince, and so weak a man, was not very likely to make any attempt upon the power of others, when he could scarcely support his own.’

[91] In 1476, ‘the Earldom of Ross was inalienably annexed to the Crown; and a great blow was thus struck at the power and grandeur of a family which had so repeatedly disturbed the tranquillity of Scotland.’ Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, Edinburgh, 1836, p. 50. In 1493, ‘John, fourth and last Lord of the Isles, was forfeited, and deprived of his title and estates.’ Ibid. p. 58.

[92] As those who held crown lands were legally, though not in reality, the king's tenants, the act declared, that ‘gif it like the king, he may ger sūmonde all and sindry his tenand at lauchfull day and place to schawe thar chartis.’ The Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 4, § 9, edit. folio, 1814.

[93] ‘On the 8th June, 1425, James issued a commission to Henry, bishop of St. Andrews, authorising him to resume all alienations from the Church, with power of anathema, and orders to all justiciaries to assist.’ This curious paper is preserved in Harl. Ms. 4637, vol. iii. f. 189. Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 116. Archbishop Spottiswoode, delighted with his policy, calls him a ‘good king,’ and says that he built for the Carthusians ‘a beautiful monastery at Perth, bestowing large revenues upon the same.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 113. And Keith assures us that, on one occasion, James I. went so far as to give to one of the bishops ‘a silver cross, in which was contained a bit of the wooden cross on which the apostle St. Andrew had been crucified.’ Keith's Catalogue of Scotch Bishops, Edinburgh, 1755, 4to, p. 67.

[94] Compare Balfour's Annales, vol. i. pp. 153–156, with Pinkerton's History, vol. i. pp. 113–115. Between these two authorities there is a slight, but unimportant, discrepancy.

[95] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 95–98; Skene's Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 75; and an imperfect narrative in Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, p. 35.

[96] Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 126), under the year 1433, says: ‘In the midst of his labours for the pacification of his northern dominions, and his anxiety for the suppression of heresy, the king never forgot his great plan for the diminution of the exorbitant power of the nobles.’ See also p. 84. ‘It was a principle of this enterprising monarch, in his schemes for the recovery and consolidation of his own power, to cultivate the friendship of the clergy, whom he regarded as a counterpoise to the nobles.’ Lord Somerville (Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. i. p. 173) says, that the superior nobility were ‘never or seldome called to counsell dureing this king's reign.’

[97] Compare Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 263, with Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. x. p. 286.

[98] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 157, 158.

[99] Lindsay of Pitscottie (Chronicles, vol. i. p. 2) says, that directly after the death of James I., ‘Alexander, Earle of Douglas, being uerie potent in kine and friendis, contemned all the kingis officeris, in respect of his great puissance.’ The best account I have seen of the rise of the Douglases is in Chalmers' learned, but ill-digested, work, Caledonia, vol. i. pp. 579–583.

[100] In 1440, ‘the chief of that family had revenues perhaps equivalent to those of the Scottish monarch.’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 192.

[101] ‘It may give us some idea of the immense power possessed at this period by the Earl of Douglas, when we mention, that on this chivalrous occasion, the military suite by which he was surrounded, and at the head of which he conducted the Scottish champions to the lists, consisted of a force amounting to five thousand men.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 215. The old historian of his family says: ‘He is not easy to be dealt with; they must have mufles that would catch such a cat. Indeed, he behaved himself as one that thought he would not be in danger of them; he entertained a great family; he rode ever well accompanied when he came in publick; 1000 or 2000 horse were his ordinary train.’ Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. pp. 273, 274, reprinted Edinburgh, 1743.

[102] In the seventeenth century, ‘To be without a chief, involved a kind of disrepute; and those who had no distinct personal position of their own, would find it necessary to become a Gordon or a Crichton, as prudence or inclination might point out.’ Burton's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. p. 207. Compare Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. iii. p. 250, on ‘the protective surname of Douglas;’ and Skene's Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 252, on the extreme importance attached to the name of Macgregor.

[103] ‘Men of the greatest puissance and force next the Douglases that were in Scotland in their times.’ Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. p. 344. The great power of the Earls of Ross in the north, dates from the thirteenth century. See Skene's Highlanders, vol. i. pp. 133, 134, vol. ii. p. 52.

[104] In 1445, the Earl of Douglas concluded ‘ane offensiue and defensiue league and combinatione aganist all, none excepted, (not the king himselue), with the Earle of Crawfurd, and Donald, Lord of the Isles; wich was mutually sealled and subscriued by them three, the 7 day of Marche.’ Balfour's Annales, vol. i. p. 173. This comprised the alliance of other noble families. ‘He maid bandis with the Erle of Craufurd, and with Donald lorde of the Ylis, and Erle of Ross, to take part every ane with other, and with dyvers uther noble men also.’ Lesley's History of Scotland, from 1436 to 1561, p. 18.

[105] An interesting account of this dastardly crime is given in Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. pp. 274–288, where great, but natural, indignation is expressed. On the other hand, Lesley, bishop of Ross, narrates it with a cold-blooded indifference, characteristic of the ill-will which existed between the nobles and the clergy, and which prevented him from regarding the murder of two children as an offence. ‘And eftir he was set doun to the burd with the governour, chancellour, and otheris noble men present, the meit was sudantlie removed, and ane bullis heid presented, quhilk in thay daies was ane signe of executione; and incontinent the said erle, David his broder, and Malcolme Fleming of Cummernald, wer heidit before the castell yett of Edenburgh.’ Lesley's History, p. 16.

[106] The cousin of the boys who were murdered in 1440. See Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. pp. 297, 816.

[107] ‘With assurance under the broad seal.’ Hume's House of Douglas, vol. i. p. 351. See also Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, Edinb. 1777, pp. 246, 322, 323.

[108] Hume's House of Douglas, vol. i. pp. 351–353. The king ‘stabbed him in the breast with a dagger. At the same instant Patrick Gray struck him on the head with a pole-ax. The rest that were attending at the door, hearing the noise, entred, and fell also upon him; and, to show their affection to the king, gave him every man his blow after he was dead.’ Compare Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicles of Scotland, vol. i. p. 103. ‘He strak him throw the bodie thairwith; and thairefter the guard, hearing the tumult within the chamber, rusched in and slew the earle out of hand.’

[109] In Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, pp. 99, 100, the alienation of the nobles from the Church is dated ‘from the middle of the fifteenth century;’ and this is perhaps correct in regard to general dislike, though the movement may be clearly traced fifty years earlier.

[110] See Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 33, edit. folio, 1814; respecting the ‘statute of haly kirk quhilk is oppressit and hurt.’

[111] In 1449, James II., ‘with that affectionate respect for the clergy, which could not fail to be experienced by a prince who had successfully employed their support and advice to escape from the tyranny of his nobles, granted to them some important privileges.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 226. See also p. 309. Among many similar measures, he conceded to the monks of Paisley some important powers of jurisdiction that belonged to the Crown. Charter, 13th January, 1451–2, in Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 823.

[112] Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 188, 209, 247, 254. Keith's Catalogue of Scotch Bishops, p. 19. Ridpath's Border History, p. 298. Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 101. In Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. i. p. 213, it is stated, under the year 1452, that fear of the great nobles ‘had once possest his majestie with some thoughts of going out of the countrey; but that he was perswaded to the contrary by Bishop Kennedie, then Archbishop of Saint Andrewes, whose counsell at that tyme and eftirward, in most things he followed, which at length proved to his majesties great advantage.’ See also Lesley's History, p. 23. ‘The king wes put to sic a sharp point, that he wes determinit to haif left the realme, and to haif passit in Fraunce by sey, were not that bischop James Kennedy of St. Androis causit him to tarrye.’

[113] ‘His lands were plundered by the Earl of Crawford and Alexander Ogilvie of Inveraritie, at the instigation of the Earl of Douglas, who had farther instructed them to seize, if possible, the person of the bishop, and to put him in irons.’ Memoir of Kennedy, in Chambers' Lives of Scotchmen, vol. iii. p. 307, Glasgow, 1834. ‘Sed Kennedus et ætate, et consilio, ac proinde auctoritate cæteros anteibat. In eum potissimum ira est versa. Crafordiæ comes et Alexander Ogilvius conflato satis magno exercitu, agros ejus in Fifa latè populati, dum prædam magis, quam causam sequuntur, omni genere cladis in vicina etiam prædia grassati, nemine congredi auso pleni prædarum in Angusiam revertuntar. Kennedus ad sua arma conversus comitem Crafordiæ disceptationem juris fugientem diris ecclesiasticis est prosecutus.’ Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xi. p. 306.

[114] ‘This holie bischop schew ane similitud to the king, quhilk might bring him to experience how he might invaid againes the Douglass, and the rest of the conspiratouris. This bischop tuik furth ane great scheife of arrowes knitt togidder werrie fast, and desired him to put thame to his knie, and break thame. The king said it was not possible, becaus they war so many, and so weill fastened togidder. The bischop answeired, it was werrie true, bot yitt he wold latt the king sea how to break thame: and pulled out on be on, and tua be tua, quhill he had brokin thame all; then said to the king, “Yea most doe with the conspiratouris in this manner, and thair complices that are risen againes yow, quho are so many in number, and so hard knit togidder in conspiracie againes yow, that yea cannot gett thame brokin togidder. Butt be sick pratick as I have schowin yow be the similitud of thir arrowes, that is to say, yea must conqueis and break lord by lord be thamselffis, for yea may not deall with thame all at once.”’ Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicles of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 172, 173.

[115] ‘He wald nocht suffer the noblemen to come to his presence, and to governe the realme be thair counsell.’ Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 48. ‘Wald nocht use the counsall of his nobilis.’ p. 55. ‘Excluding the nobility.’ Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. ii. p. 33. ‘The nobility seeing his resolution to ruin them.’ p. 46. ‘Hes conteming his nobility.’ Balfour's Annales, vol. i. p. 206.

[116] Also to aggrandize them. See, for instance, what ‘has obtained the name of the golden charter, from the ample privileges it contains, confirmed to Archbishop Shevez by James III. on 9th July 1480.’ Grierson's History of Saint Andrews, p. 58, Cupar, 1838.

[117] ‘Such was the influence of the aristocracy over their warlike followers, that the king was conveyed to the castle of Edinburgh, without commotion or murmur.’ Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 308.

[118] ‘The king and his ministers multiplied the insults which they offered to the nobility.’ … ‘A proclamation was issued, forbidding any person to appear in arms within the precincts of the court; which, at a time when no man of rank left his own house without a numerous retinue of armed followers, was, in effect, debarring the nobles from all access to the king.’ … ‘His neglect of the nobles irritated, but did not weaken them.’ History of Scotland, book i. p. 68, in Robertson's Works, edit. London, 1831.

[119] Balfour's Annales, vol. i. pp. 213, 214; Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xii. p. 358. Lindsay of Pitscottie (Chronicles, vol. i. p. 222) says: ‘This may be ane example to all kingis that cumes heirefter, not to fall from God.’ … ‘or, if he had vsed the counsall of his wyse lordis and barrones, he had not cum to sick disparatioun.’

[120] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, folio, 1814, vol. ii. p. 232. ‘That the said abbaceis confirmit be thame sall neid na prouisioun of the court of Rome.’

[121] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 240; and the summary of the statute (p. 21), ‘Revocation of donations, statutis, and all uthir thingis hurtand the croune or hali kirk.’ In the next year (1504), the king ‘greatly augmented’ the revenues of the bishoprick of Galloway. Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 417.

[122] Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 63; Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. viii. p. 135, edit. Wodrow Society, Edinburgh, 1849. The latter authority states, that ‘The bishop devysed wayes to King James the Fourth, how he might attaine to great gaine and profit. He advised him to call his barons and all those that held any lands within the realme, to show their evidents by way of recognition; and, if they had not sufficient writings for their warrant, to dispone upon their lands at his pleasure; for the which advice he was greatlie hated. But the king, perceaving the countrie to grudge, agreed easilie with the possessors.’

[123] The Regency of Albany, little understood by the earlier historians, has been carefully examined by Mr. Tytler, in whose valuable, though too prolix, work, the best account of it will be found. Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 98–160, Edinburgh, 1845. On the hostility between Albany and the nobles, see Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, p. 99; and, on the revival of their power in the north, after the death of James IV., see Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, pp. 114, 115.

[124] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 180–182: ‘Within a few months, there was not an office of trust or emolument in the kingdom, which was not filled by a Douglas, or by a creature of that house.’ See also pp. 187, 194; and Keith's Catalogue of Scotch Bishops, pp. 22, 23. Beaton, who was so rudely dispossessed of the chancellorship, that, according to Keith, he was, in 1525, obliged ‘to lurk among his friends for fear of his life,’ is mentioned, in the preceding year, as having been the main supporter of Albany's government; ‘that most hath favoured the Duke of Albany.’ State Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., vol. iv. p. 97, 4to, 1836.

[125] The complete power of the Douglases lasted from the cessation of Albany's regency to the escape of the king, in 1528. Keith's History of the Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, edit. Edinburgh, 1835, vol. i. pp. 33–35. Compare Balfour's Annales, vol. i. p. 257. ‘The Earle of Angus violentley takes one him the gouerniment, and retanes the king in effecte a prisoner with him; during wich tyme he, the Earle of Lennox, and George Douglas, his auen brother, frely disposses vpone all affaires both of churche and staite.’

[126] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 195, 196. The curious work, entitled A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 10, says, ‘In the zeir of God 1500, tuantie aucht zeiris, the kingis grace by slicht wan away fra the Douglassis.’ From Stirling, he repaired to Edinburgh, on 6th July 1528, and went to ‘the busshop of Sainct Andros loegeing.’ See a letter written on the 18th of July 1528, by Lord Dacre to Wolsey, in State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. iv. p. 501, 4to, 1836. Compare a proclamation on 10th September 1528, in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. part i. pp. 138*, 139*, Edinburgh, 4to, 1833. I particularly indicate these documents, because Lindsay of Pitscottie (in his Chronicles of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 335) erroneously places the flight of James in 1527; and he is generally one of the most accurate of the old writers, if indeed he be the author of the work which bears his name.

[127] State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. iv. p. 501.

[128] ‘Archibald was depryvit of the thesaurarie, and placit thairin Robert Cairncorse, abbot of Halyrudhous. And als was tane fra the said Archibald the privie seill, and was givin to the bischope of Dunkell.’ A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 11.

[129] Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 196) says: ‘His first act was to summon a council, and issue a proclamation, that no lord or follower of the house of Douglas should dare to approach within six miles of the court, under pain of treason.’ For this, no authority is cited; and the historian of the Douglas family distinctly states, ‘within twelve miles of the king, under pain of death.’ Hume's House of Douglas, vol. ii. p. 99. See also Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 10: ‘that nane of thame nor thair familiaris cum neir the king be tuelf myllis.’ The reason was, that ‘the said kingis grace haid greit suspicioun of the temporall lordis, becaus thaj favourit sum pairt the Douglassis.’ Diurnal, p. 12.

[130] ‘The Erle of Caithnes and fyve hundreth of his men wes slayne and drownit in the see.’ Lesley's History of Scotland, p. 141.

[131] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 203, 204.

[132] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 324, edit. folio, 1814.

[133] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 207.

[134] Tytler, vol. iv. p. 212.

[135] ‘His preference of the clergy to the temporal lords disgusted these proud chiefs.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 230. See also p. 236. His reasons are stated by himself, in a curious letter, which he wrote so late as 1541, to Henry VIII. ‘We persaif,’ writes James, ‘be zoure saidis writingis yat Ze ar informyt yat yair suld be sum thingis laitlie attemptat be oure kirkmen to oure hurte and skaith, and contrar oure mynde and plesure. We can nocht understand, quhat suld move Zou to beleif the samyn, assuring Zou We have nevir fund bot faithfull and trew obedience of yame at all tymes, nor yai seik nor attemptis nouthir jurisdictioun nor previlegijs, forthir nor yai have usit sen the first institutioun of the Kirk of Scotland, quhilk We may nocht apoun oure conscience alter nor change in the respect We have to the honour and faith of God and Halikirk, and douttis na inconvenient be yame to come to Ws and oure realme yerthrou; for sen the Kirk wes first institute in our realme, the stait yairof hes nevir failzeit, bot hes remanyt evir obedient to oure progenitouris, and in our tyme mair thankefull to Ws, nor evir yai wer of before.’ This letter, which, in several points of view, is worth reading, will be found in State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. pp. 188–190, 4to, 1836.

[136] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 212, 213, and Arnot's History of Edinburgh, 4to, 1788, p. 468: ‘fifteen ordinary judges, seven churchmen, seven laymen, and a president, whom it behoved to be a churchman.’ The statute, as printed in the folio edition of 1814 (Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 335) says ‘xiiij psouñs half spūale half temporall wt ane president.’ Mr. Lawson (Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Edinburgh, 1836, p. 81) supposes that it was the Archbishop of St. Andrews who advised the erection of this tribunal.

[137] Keith, who evidently does not admire this part of the history of his country, says, under the year 1546, ‘Several of our nobility found it their temporal interest, as much as their spiritual, to sway with the new opinions as to religious matters.’ Keith's Affairs of Church and State, vol. i. pp. 112, 113. Later, and with still more bluntness: ‘The noblemen wanted to finger the patrimony of the kirkmen.’ vol. iii. p. 11.

[138] ‘In the month of August (1534), the bishops having gotten fitt opportunitie, renewed their battell aganest Jesus Christ. David Stratilon, a gentelman of the House of Lawrestoune, and Mr. Norman Gowrlay, was brought to judgement in the Abby of Halyrudhouse. The king himself, all cloathed with reid, being present, grait pains war taken upon David Stratoun to move him to recant and burn his bill; bot he, ever standing to his defence, was in end adjudged to the fire. He asked grace at the king. The bishops answred proudlie, that “the king's hands war bound, and that he had no grace to give to such as were by law condemned.” So was he, with Mr. Norman, after dinner, upon the 27th day of Agust, led to a place beside the Rude of Greenside, between Leth and Edinbrug, to the intent that the inhabitants of Fife, seeing the fire, might be striken with terrour and feare.’ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. part i. p. 210*. Also Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 106, 107.

[139] ‘It appears, by a letter in the State-paper Office, that Henry remonstrated against this title being given to James.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 223. See also p. 258.

[140] In 1535, ‘his privy council were mostly ecclesiastics.’ Ibid. vol. iv. p. 222. And Sir Ralph Sadler, during his embassy to Scotland in 1539–40, writes: ‘So that the king, as far as I can perceive, is of force driven to use the bishops and his clergy as his only ministers for the direction of his realm. They be the men of wit and policy that I see here; they be never out of the king's ear. And if they smell any thing that in the least point may touch them, or that the king seem to be content with any such thing, straight they inculk to him, how catholic a prince his father was, and feed him both with fair words and many, in such wise as by those policies they lead him (having also the whole governance of his affairs) as they will.’ State Papers and Letters of Sir Ralph Sadler, Edinb., 1809, 4to, vol. i. p. 47.

[141] State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 128. A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 22. The Reverend Mr. Kirkton pronounces that the new queen was ‘ane egge of the bloody nest of Guise.’ Kirkton's History of the Church of Scotland, edited by Sharpe, Edinburgh, 1817, 4to, p. 7.

[142] ‘At his return home, he was made coadjutor, and declared future successor to his uncle in the primacy of St. Andrews, in which see he came to be fully invested upon the death of his uncle the next year, 1539.’ Keith's Catalogue of Scotch Bishops, pp. 23, 24.

[143] M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 20. Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 139. Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, p. 178. Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of the Reformers, vol. i. p. 100.

[144] Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 241) says, that the cruelties of 1539 forced ‘many of the persecuted families to embrace the interests of the Douglases.’

[145] It is asserted of the Douglases, that, early in the sixteenth century, their ‘alliances and power were equal to one-half of the nobility of Scotland.’ Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. i. p. 8. See also, on their connexions, Hume's House of Douglas, vol. i. pp. xix. 252, 298, vol. ii. p. 293.

[146] Henry VIII., ‘in the year 1532, sought it directly, among the conditions of peace, that the Douglas, according to his promise, should be restored. For King Henry's own part, he entertained them with all kind of beneficence and honour, and made both the Earl and Sir George of his Privy Council.’ Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. ii. pp. 105, 106. James was very jealous of any communication taking place between the Douglases and his other subjects; but it was impossible for him to prevent it. See a letter which he wrote to Sir Thomas Erskine (in Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. ii. p. 193, Aberdeen, 1842, 4to), beginning, ‘I commend me rycht hartly to yow, and weit ye that it is murmuryt hyr that ye sould a spolkyn with Gorge and Archebald Dougles in Ingland, quhylk wase again my command and your promys quhan we departyt.’ See also the cases of Lady Trakware, John Mathesone, John Hume, and others, in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. part i. pp. 161*, 177*, 202*, 243*, 247*.

[147] ‘The Douglases were still maintained with high favour and generous allowances in England; their power, although nominally extinct, was still far from being destroyed; their spies penetrated into every quarter, followed the king to France, and gave information of his most private motions; their feudal covenants and bands of manrent still existed, and bound many of the most potent nobility to their interest; whilst the vigour of the king's government, and his preference of the clergy to the temporal lords, disgusted these proud chiefs, and disposed them to hope for a recovery of their influence from any change which might take place.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 229, 230. These bonds of manrent, noticed by Tytler, were among the most effective means by which the Scotch nobles secured their power. Without them, it would have been difficult for the aristocracy to have resisted the united force of the Crown and the Church. On this account, they deserve special attention. Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. i. p. 824) could find no bond of manrent earlier than 1354; but in Lord Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, edit. Edinburgh, 1815, vol. i. p. 74, one is mentioned in 1281. This is the earliest instance I have met with; and they did not become very common till the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Compare Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. ii. p. 19. Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. i. p. 234. Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. iii. p. 83. Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, pp. 142, 143. Skene's Highlanders, vol. ii. p. 186. Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, p. 126. Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. i. p. 55. Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. ii. pp. cvi. 93, 251, vol. iv. pp. xlviii. 179. As these covenants were extremely useful in maintaining the balance of power, and preventing the Scotch monarchy from becoming despotic, acts of parliament were of course passed against them. See one in 1457, and another in 1555, respecting ‘lige’ and ‘bandis of manrent and mantenance,’ in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, folio, 1814, vol. ii. pp. 50, 495. Such enactments being opposed to the spirit of the age, and adverse to the exigencies of society, produced no effect upon the general practice, though they caused the punishment of several individuals. Manrent was still frequent until about 1620 or 1630, when the great social revolution was completed, by which the power of the aristocracy was subordinated to that of the Church. Then, the change of affairs effected, without difficulty, and indeed spontaneously, what the legislature had vainly attempted to achieve. The nobles, gradually sinking into insignificance, lost their spirit, and ceased to resort to those contrivances by which they had long upheld their order. Bonds of manrent became every year less common, and it is doubtful if there is any instance of them after 1661. See Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. pp. 32, 33. It is, however, so dangerous to assert a negative, that I do not wish to rely on this date, and some few cases may exist later; but if so, they are very few, and it is certain that, speaking generally, the middle of the seventeenth century is the epoch of their extinction.

[148] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 370, 371. ‘That na mañ quhatsūeuir stait or conditiouñ he be luge ressauve cherish nor favor ony heretike.’ … ‘And alswa that na persouñ that hes bene suspectit of heresie howbeit thai be ressauit to pēnance and grace sall in this realme exers haif nor brouk ony honest estait degre office nor judicator spūall nor tēporale in burgh nor wtout nor na salbe admittit to be of ouŕ counsale.’

[149] Lindsay of Pitscottie (Chronicles, vol. ii. p. 383) says, that they ‘devysed to put ane discord and variance betwixt the lordis and gentlmen with thair prince; for they delaited, and gave vp to the king in writt, to the number of thrittie scoir of earles, lordis, and barrones, gentlmen and craftismen, that is, as thei alledgit, wer all heretickis, and leived not after the Pope's lawis, and ordinance of the hollie kirk; quhilk his grace sould esteme as ane capitall cryme, to ony man that did the same’ … ‘all thair landis, rentes, guidis, and geir apperteanis propperlie to your grace, for thair contempt of our hollie father the Pope, and his lawis, and high contempt of your grace's authoritie.’ This document was found among the king's papers after his death, when it appeared that, of the six hundred names on the list, more than three hundred belonged to the principal nobility: ‘Eum timorem auxerunt codicilli post regis interitum reperti, e quibus supra trecentorum è prima nobilitate nomina continebantur.’ Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xv. p. 424. Compare Sadler's State Papers, 1809, vol. i. p. 94; and Watson's Historicall Collections of Ecclesiastick Affairs in Scotland, 1657, p. 22. According to Watson, it ‘was called the bloudy scroll.’

[150] In the autumn of 1542, James ‘was encouraged by the clergy to engage in a war against King Henry, who both assured him of victory, since he fought against an heretical prince, and advanced an annuity of 50,000 crowns for prosecuting the war.’ Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, 1782, 4to, part i. p. 48. Compare, in State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 154, a letter written, in 1539, by Norfolk to Cromwell: ‘By diverse other waies I am advertised that the clergie of Scotlande be in such feare that their king shold do theire, as the kinges highnes hath done in this realme, that they do their best to bring their master to the warr; and by many waies I am advertised that a great parte of the temporaltie there wold their king shold followe our insample, wich I pray God yeve hym grace to come unto.’ Even after the battle of Solway, the policy of the clergy was notoriously the same. ‘And undoubtedlie, the kyrkemen labor, by all the meanes they can, to empeche the unitie and establishment of thiese two realmes; uppon what groundes ye can easelie conjecture.’ Letter from Sadler to Parr, dated Edinburgh, 27th March 1543, in State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 271, 4to, 1836.

[151] ‘Ten thousand Scottish troops fled at the sight of three hundred English cavalry, with scarce a momentary resistance.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 264.

[152] The best account of these events will be found in Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 260–267. I have also consulted Ridpath's Border History, pp. 372, 373. Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. ii. pp. 207–209. Lesley's History, pp. 163–166. Lindsay of Pitscottie's Chronicles, vol. ii. pp. 399–406. Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 145–152. Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xiv. pp. 420, 421.

[153] ‘This defeat being so very dishonourable, especially to the clergy, who stirred up the king to that attempt, and promised him great success from it; and there being such a visible evidence of the anger of God, fighting by his providence against them, all men were struck with fear and astonishment; the bishops were ashamed to show their faces for a time.’ Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, reprinted, Edinburgh, 1840, p. 30.

[154] We may readily believe the assertion of an old chronicler, that ‘the nobilitie did not greatlie take his death grievouslie, because he had fined manie, imprisoned more, and caused no small few (for avoiding his displeasure) to flie into England, and rather to commit themselves to the enemie than to his anger.’ Hollinshead's Scottish Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 210.

[155] Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. ii. p. 111.

[156] It has been often said, that this will was forged; but for such an assertion I cannot find the slightest evidence, except the declaration of Arran (Sadler's State Papers, Edinburgh, 1809, vol. i. p. 138), and the testimony, if testimony it can be called, of Scotch historians, who do not profess to have examined the handwriting, and who, being themselves Protestants, seem to suppose that the fact of a man being a cardinal, qualifies him for every crime. There is no doubt that Beaton was thoroughly unprincipled, and therefore was capable of the forgery. Still, we have no proof; and the will is such as we might have expected from the king. In regard to Arran, his affirmation is not worth the paper it is written on: for he hated Beaton; he was himself very unscrupulous; and he succeeded to the post which Beaton had to vacate on the ground that the will was forged. If such circumstances do not disqualify a witness, some of the best-established principles of evidence are false. The reader who cares to look further into this subject, may compare, in favour of the will being forged, Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xv. p. 422, Abredoniæ, 1762; Knox's History of the Reformation, edit. Laing, Edinburgh, 1846, vol. i. pp. 91, 92; Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, second edition, 4to, 1860, p. 102; and, in favour of its being genuine, Lyon's History of St. Andrews, Edinburgh, 1843, vol. i. pp. 304, 305. Some other writers on the subject leave it doubtful: Tytler's History of Scotland, 1845, vol. iv. p. 274; Lawson's Roman Church in Scotland, 1836, p. 99; and a note in Keith's Church and State in Scotland, 1844, vol. i. p. 63.

[157] On the 26th of January 1542–3, ‘the said cardinall was put in pressoune in Dalkeith.’ A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 26. See also, respecting his imprisonment, a letter written, on the 16th of March, by Angus and Douglas, in State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 263. He was then in ‘firmance.’

[158] His appointment was confirmed by Parliament on the 12th of March. Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 411: ‘tutor lautfull to the quenis grace and gounour of this realme.’ He excluded the clergy from power. On 20th March, in the same year, Sir Ralph Sadler writes to Henry VIII., that Sir George Douglas ‘brought me into the council-chamber, where I found a great number of noblemen and others at a long board, and divers standing, but not one bishop nor priest among them. At the upper end of the board sat the governour.’ Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 78.

[159] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 415, 419, 424, 423*; and Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 285.

[160] ‘Had become a convert to its doctrines.’ Tytler's Hist. of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 286. But he, as well as the other nobles, neither knew nor cared much about doctrines; and he was, moreover, very venal. In April 1543, Sir Ralph Sadler writes to Henry VIII.: ‘And the lord Maxwell told me apart, “That, indeed, he lacked silver, and had no way of relief but to your majesty;” which he prayed me to signify unto the same. I asked him what would relieve him? and he said, 300l.; “for the which,” he said, “as your majesty seemed, when he was with your grace, to have him in more trust and credit than the rest of your majesty's prisoners, so he trusted to do you as good service as any of them; and amongst them they will do you such service, as, if the war succeed, ye shall make an easy conquest of this realm; as for his part he shall deliver into your hands, at the entry of your army, the keys of the same on the west marches, being all the strongholds there in his custody.” I offered him presently to write to my lord of Suffolk for 100l. for him if he would; but he said, “he would stay till he heard again from your majesty in that behalf.”’ Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 165.

[161] Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 415, 425. Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 83. Knox, in his History of the Reformation (edit. Laing, vol. i p. 100), archly says, ‘The cleargy hearto long repugned; butt in the end, convicted by reassonis, and by multitud of votes in thare contrare, thei also condiscended; and so, by Act of Parliament, it was maid free to all man and woman to reid the Scriptures in thair awin toung, or in the Engliss toung; and so war all Actes maid in the contrair abolished.’

[162] Or, as Keith calls them, ‘English Lords.’ History of the Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, vol. i. p. 80.

[163] In May 1544 the English attacked Scotland, Tytler's History, vol. iv. p. 316; and in that same month, the ‘Anglo-Scottish party’ consisted only of the Earls of Lennox and of Glencairn, since even ‘Angus, George Douglas, and their numerous and powerful adherents, joined the cardinal.’ p. 319. As to the part taken by the Scotch clergy, see, in Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 173, a letter to Henry VIII., written on the 1st of May 1543: ‘And as to the kirk-men, I assure your majesty they seek the war by all the means they can, and do daily entertain the noblemen with money and rewards to sustain the wars, rather than there should be any agreement with your majesty; thinking, verily, that if peace and unity succeed, that they shall be reformed, and lose their glory, which they had rather die, and put all this realm in hazard, than they would forego.’ See also p. 184, note.

[164] Buchanan records a very curious conversation between the regent and Douglas, which, as I do not remember to have met with elsewhere, I shall transcribe. The exact date of it is not mentioned, but, from the context, it evidently took place in 1544 or 1545. ‘Ibi cum Prorex suam deploraret solitudinem, et se a nobilitate derelictum quereretur, Duglassius ostendit “id ipsius culpa fieri, non nobilium, qui et fortunas omnes et vitam ad publicam salutem tuendam conferrent, quorum consilio contempto ad sacrificulorum nutum circumageretur, qui foris imbelles, domi seditiosi, omniumque periculorum expertes alieni laboris fructu ad suas voluptates abuterentur. Ex hoc fonte inter te et proceres facta est suspitio, quæ (quòd neutri alteris fidatis) rebus gerendis maxime est impedimento.”’ Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xv. p. 435. Buchanan was, at this time, about thirty-eight years old; and that some such conversation as that which he narrates actually took place, is, I think, highly probable, though the historian may have thrown in some touches of his own. At all events, he was too great a rhetorician to invent what his contemporaries would deem unlikely to happen; so that, from either point of view, the passage is valuable as an evidence of the deep-rooted hostility which the nobles bore towards the Church.

[165] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 337. ‘The plot is entirely unknown either to our Scottish or English historians; and now, after the lapse of nearly three centuries, has been discovered in the secret correspondence of the State-paper Office.’ The first suggestion of the murder was in April 1544. See State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 377, and the end of the Preface to vol. iv. But Mr. Tytler and the editor of the State Papers appear to have overlooked a still earlier indication of the coming crime, in Sadler's Papers. See, in that collection, vol. i. p. 77, a conversation, held in March 1543, between Sir Ralph Sadler and the Earl of Arran; Sadler being conducted by the Earl of Glencairn. On that occasion, the Earl of Arran used an expression concerning Beaton, the meaning of which Sir Ralph evidently understood. ‘“By God,” quoth he, “he shall never come out of prison whilst I may have mine own will, except it be to his farther mischief.” I allowed the same well’ (replied Sadler), ‘and said, “It were pity, but he should receive such reward as his merits did require.”’

[166] State Papers of Henry VIII., vol. v. p. 560. A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 42. Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 221–223. Lindsay of Pitscottie (Chronicles, vol. ii. p. 484) relates a circumstance respecting the murder, which is too horrible to mention, and of which it is enough to say, that it consisted of an obscene outrage committed on the corpse of the victim. Though such facts cannot now be published, they are so characteristic of the age, that they ought not to be passed over in complete silence.

[167] Respecting which, two Scotch Protestant historians have expressed themselves in the following terms: ‘God admonished men, by this judgement, that he will in end be avenged upon tyranns for their crueltie, howsoever they strenthen themselves.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. p. 224. And, whoever considers all the circumstances, ‘must acknowledge it was a stupendous act of the judgment of the Lord, and that the whole was overruled and guided by Divine Providence.’ Stevenson's History of the Church and State of Scotland, p. 38.

[168] Even the editor of M'Crie's Life of Knox, Edinburgh, 1841, p. xxxv., notices ‘the ill-timed merriment he displays in relating the foul deed’ of Beaton's murder.

[169] Shortly before his death, he said, with honest and justifiable pride, ‘What I have bene to my countrie, albeit, this vnthankfull aige will not knowe, yet the aiges to come wilbe compelled to bear witnes to the treuth.’ Bannatyne's Journal, Edinburgh, 1806. p. 119. Bannatyne was Knox's secretary. It is to be regretted that no good life of Knox should have yet been published. That by M'Crie is an undistinguishing and injudicious panegyric, which, by provoking a reaction of opinion, has damaged the reputation of the great reformer. On the other hand, the sect of Episcopalians in Scotland are utterly blind to the real grandeur of the man, and unable to discern his intense love of truth, and the noble fearlessness of his nature.

[170] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 374, 375. M'Crie's Life of Knox, pp. 27, 28. Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, p. 154. Presbytery Displayed, 1663, 4to, p. 28. Shields' Hind let loose, 1687, pp. 14, 39, 638. In his History of the Reformation, edit. Laing, vol. i. pp. 177, 180, he calls it a ‘godly fact,’ and says, ‘These ar the workis of our God;’ which, in plain language, is terming the Deity an assassin. But, bad as this is, I agree with M'Crie, that there is no trustworthy evidence for deeming him privy to the murder. Compare, however, A Diurnal of Occurrents p. 42, with Lyon's History of St. Andrews, vol. ii. p. 364.

[171] M'Crie's Life of Knox, pp. 38, 43, 350. Argyll's Presbytery Examined, 1848, p. 19.

[172] M'Crie's Life of Knox, pp. 44, 71.

[173] Ibid. p. 99. As to the nobles, who received him, and heard him preach, see p. 102.

[174] ‘Influenced by motives which have never been fully comprehended, he departed to Geneva, where, for a time, he became pastor of a Protestant congregation.’ Russell's History of the Church in Scotland, 1834, vol. i. p. 193. M'Crie, who sees no difficulty, simply says, ‘In the month of July 1556, he left Scotland, and, having arrived at Dieppe, he proceeded with his family to Geneva.’ Life of Knox, p. 107.

[175] Knox, in his savoury diction, likens her appointment to putting a saddle on the back of a cow. ‘She maid Regent in the year of God 1554; and a croune putt upone hir head, als seimlye a sight (yf men had eis), as to putt a sadill upone the back of ane unrewly kow.’ I copy this passage from Mr. Laing's excellent edition of Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. i. p. 242; but in Watson's Historicall Collections of Ecclesiastick Affairs in Scotland, 1657, p. 73, there is a slightly different version. ‘“As seemly a sight,” saith John Knox, in the new gospel language, “as to put the saddle upon the back of an unruly sow.”’

[176] The Duke of Argyll, in his Presbytery Examined, p. 9, calls her ‘ambitious and intriguing.’ Not only, however, is she praised by Lesley (History, pp. 289, 290), which might have been expected, but even Buchanan does justice to her, in a passage unusually gracious for so Protestant and democratic a writer. ‘Mors ejus varie mentes hominum affecit. Nam et apud quosdam eorum, quibuscum armis contendit, non mediocre sui desiderium reliquit. Erat enim singulari ingenio prædita, et animo ad æquitatem admodum propenso.’ Buchanan, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xvi. p. 487.

[177] History of Scotland, book ii. p. 91, in Robertson's Works, 1831. Tytler's History, vol. v. pp. 22, 23. It appears, from Lesley (History, pp. 254, 255), that some of the nobles were in favour of this scheme, hoping thereby to gain favour. ‘Albeit sum of the lordis of the nobilitie for pleasour of the quene seamed to aggre thairto for the tyme, yit the barronis and gentill men was nathing content thairwith’ … ‘affirming that thair foirfatheris and predicessouris had defendit the samyn’ (i.e. the realm) ‘mony hundreth yeris, vailyeantlie with thair awin handis.’

[178] ‘It completed the almost despotic power of the house of Guise.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. v. p. 27.

[179] This covenant, which marks an important epoch in the history of Scotland, is dated 3rd of December 1557. It is printed in Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 47; in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. i. pp. 326, 327; and in Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. i. pp. 273, 274.

[180] In 1558, ‘the lords of the congregation had sent agents through the kingdom to solicit the subscriptions of those who were friendly to a reformation.’ Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, London, 1848, vol. i. p. 58.

[181] Keith (Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, vol. iii. p. 82) calls him ‘a trumpeter of rebellion,’ which he undoubtedly was, and very much to his credit too, though the courtly bishop imputes it to him as a fault. The Scotch, if it had not been for their rebellious spirit, would long since have lost their liberties.

[182] ‘He sailed from Dieppe on the 22nd of April 1559, and landed safely at Leith in the beginning of May.’ M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 139. Knox himself says, ‘the secound of Maij.’ History of the Reformation, edit. Laing, vol. i. p. 318. ‘He was called home by the noblemen that enterprised the Reformation.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, edit. Russell, vol. ii. p. 180.

[183] Penny's Traditions of Perth, p. 310. Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. i. pp. 321–323. Lyon's History of St. Andrews, vol. i. p. 329; and a spirited narrative in Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xvi. pp. 471, 472. Some interesting circumstances are also preserved in Lesley's History, pp. 271, 272; but, though Lesley was a contemporary, he erroneously places the riot in 1558. He, moreover, ascribes to Knox language more inflammatory than that which he really used.

[184] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. v. pp. 59, 62, 63. Of the Earl of Glencairn, Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 485) says, that he was a ‘religious ruffian, who enjoyed pensions from Henry VIII., for injuring the country of his birth, and benefits.’ This, besides being ungrammatical, is foolish. Glencairn, like the other aristocratic leaders of the Reformation, was, no doubt, influenced by sordid motives; but, so far from injuring his country, he rendered it great service.

[185] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. v. pp. 64–73.

[186] It is stated of the queen-regent, that, in July 1559, ‘shee had sent alreadie to France for more men of warr.’ See the curious pamphlet entitled ‘A Historie of the Estate of Scotland, from July 1558 to April 1560,’ in Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, p. 63, Edinburgh, 1844. All sorts of rumours were circulated; and a letter, dated 12th October 1559, says, ‘Summe thinke the regent will departe secretlie. Summe that she will to Ynchkeith, for that three shippes are a preparing. Summe saye that she is verie sicke. Summe saye the devill cannot kill her.’ Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 499.

[187] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. v. p. 104. This was on the 22nd of October 1559. Compare Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 512. ‘This Mondaye, the 22 of October, was the douagier deprived from her authoritie by commen consent of all lords and barons here present.’ On this occasion, ‘Johne Willocke,’ the preacher, delivered himself of a discourse in favour of her deposition. Among other arguments, he said, ‘that in deposing of princes, and these that have beene in authoritie, God did not alwayes use his immediat power, but sometimes he used other meanes, which his wisdome thought good, and justice approved. As by Asa, He removed Maacha, his owne mother, from honour and authoritie, which before she had used; by Jehu He destroyed Joram, and the whole posteritie of Achab.’ Therefore ‘he (the orator) could see no reasoun why they, the borne counsellers, the nobilitie and barons of the realme, might not justlie deprive her from all regiment.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. i. pp. 540, 541; and Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. i. pp. 442, 443.

[188] The Diurnal of Occurrents, pp. 55, 272, says, that the fleet arrived on 24th of January, 1559–60; ‘aucht greit schippis of Ingland in the raid of Leith.’ And a letter (in Sadler's State Papers, vol. i. p. 697) dated the 23rd of January, says, ‘the shippes arrived yesterdaye in the Frythe to the nomber of ix. or x., as yet, and the remanent followith.’ The date, therefore, of the 10th of January, given in a note to Keith's Church and State in Scotland, vol. i. p. 255, is evidently erroneous. Important as the event was, its exact date is not mentioned either by Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. v. pp. 114, 115), or by Chalmers (Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 631).

[189] Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. ii. p. 632. Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 57. The Berwick treaty, in February, is printed in Keith's Church and State in Scotland, vol. i. pp. 258–262. So great was the influence of the nobles, that the English troops were well received by the people, in spite of the old and bitter animosity between the two nations. ‘Especially in Fyfe they were thankfully receaved, and well entreated, with such quietnes and gentle entertainement betwixt our nation and them, as no man would have thought that ever there had beine any variance.’ A Historie of the Estate of Scotland, from 1558 to 1560, in Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, p. 78.

[190] ‘Vpoun the vi. day of Julij, it wes concludit and finallie endit betuix the saids ambassatouris, tuitching all debaittis, contraversies and materis concernyng the asseiging of Leith, depairting of the Frenchemen thairfra, and randering of the same; and the said peax daitit this said day.’ A Diurnal of Occurrents, pp. 277, 278. See also p. 60; and Keith's Affairs of Church and State in Scotland, vol. i. p. 295.

[191] ‘That Knox himself was in priest's orders, is a fact which his biographer, the late Dr. M'Crie, has placed beyond dispute; and some of the other leaders were also priests; but the greater number of the preachers, and all those who subsequently became ministers, were totally without any orders whatever, not even such as the superintendents could have given them; for their own supposed call, the election of the people, and the civil ceremony of induction to the living, was all that was then “judged necessary.”’ Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, 1848, vol. i. pp. 145, 146. ‘A new-fashioned sort of ministry, unknown in the Christian Church for all preceding generations.’ Keith's Church and State in Scotland, vol. iii. p. 204. Compare Argyll's Presbytery Examined, pp. 34–36.

[192] ‘The thre estaitis of parliament hes ānullit and declarit all sik actes maid in tymes bipast not aggreing wt goddis word and now contrair to the confessiouñ of oure fayt according to the said word publist in this parliament. Tobe of nane avale force nor effect. And decornis the said actis and every ane of thame tu haue na effect nor strenth in tyme to cum.’ Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1814, folio, vol. ii. p. 535. This was on 24th August 1560.

[193] ‘That na maner of person nor personis say mess nor zit heir mess nor be pñt thairat vnder the pane of confiscatiouñ of all thair gud movable and vnmovable and pvneissing of thair bodeis at the discretiouñ of the magistrat within quhais jurisdictiouñ sik personis happ[=y]nis to be apprehendit ffor the first falt: Banissing of the Realme for the secund falt, and justifying to the deid for the thrid falt.’ Ibid., 24th August 1560, vol. ii. p. 525.

[194] As Robertson says, in his measured, and somewhat feeble, style, ‘Among the Scottish nobility, some hated the persons, and others coveted the wealth, of the dignified clergy; and by abolishing that order of men, the former indulged their resentment, and the latter hoped to gratify their avarice.’ History of Scotland, book iii. p. 116, in Robertson's Works, edit. 1831. The contemporary narrative, in A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 269, sounds much more vigorous to my ear. ‘In all this tyme’ (1559), ‘all kirkmennis goodis and geir wer spoulzeit and reft fra thame, in euerie place quhair the samyne culd be apprehendit; for euerie man for the maist pairt that culd get any thing pertenyng to any kirkmen, thocht the same as wele won geir.’

[195] ‘Knox never dreamed that the revenues of the Church were to be secularized; but that he and his colleagues were simply to remove the old incumbents, and then take possession of their benefices.’ Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 106. ‘The ecclesiastical revenues, which they never contemplated for a moment were to be seized by the Protestant nobility.’ Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, p. 233.

[196] Compare Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. pp. 89–92, with M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 179. Of this document, M'Crie says, ‘There can be no doubt that it received the sanction, if it was not the composition, of the Reformer.’ … ‘It called upon them’ (the nobles) ‘to restore the patrimony of the Church, of which they had unjustly possessed themselves.’

[197] ‘Making no answer to the last point.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 327. ‘Without taking any notice.’ Keith's Affairs of Church and State, vol. i. p. 321.

[198] ‘They viewed the Protestant preachers as low-born individuals, not far raised above the condition of mechanics or tradesmen, without influence, authority, or importance.’ Lawson's Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, p. 251. ‘None were more unmercifull to the poore ministers than they that had the greatest share of the kirk rents.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 42.

[199] In 1561, ‘Notwithstanding the full establishment of the Reformation, the Protestant ministers were in a state of extreme poverty, and dependent upon the precarious assistance of their flocks.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. v. p. 207. Compare a letter, written by Knox, in 1566, ‘on the extreame povertie wherein our ministers are brought.’ Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 542.

[200] ‘The limited authority which the Crown had hitherto possessed, was almost entirely annihilated, and the aristocratical power, which always predominated in the Scottish Government (?), became supreme and incontrollable.’ Russell's History of the Church in Scotland, 1834, vol. i. p. 223.

[201] See the First Book of Discipline, reprinted in A Compendium of the Laws of the Church of Scotland, part i., second edition, Edinburgh, 1837. They summed up their requests in one comprehensive passage (p. 119), that ‘the haill rentis of the Kirk abusit in Papistrie sal be referrit againe to the Kirk.’ In another part (p. 106), they frankly admit that, ‘we doubt not but some of our petitions shall appeare strange unto you at the first sight.’

[202] ‘The form of polity recommended in the First Book of Discipline never obtained the proper sanction of the State, chiefly in consequence of the avarice of the nobility and gentry, who were desirous of securing to themselves the revenues of the Church.’ Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, p. 324. See also Argyll's Presbytery Examined, p. 26. Many of the nobles, however, did sign it (Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 129); but, says Spottiswoode (History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 373), ‘Most of those that subscribed, getting into their hands the possessions of the Church, could never be induced to part therewith, and turned greater enemies in that point of church patrimony than were the papists, or any other whatsoever.’

[203] M'Crie's Life of Knox, p. 204. Knox's History of the Reformation, vol ii. pp. 298–301, 307–309. Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia, lib. xvii. p. 500. The nominal arrangement, which was contrived with considerable art, was, that one-third of the church revenues should be divided into two parts; one part for the government, and another part for the preachers. The remaining two-thirds were gravely assigned to the Catholic priesthood, who, at that very moment, were liable, by Act of Parliament, to the penalty of death, if they performed the rites of their religion. Men, whose lives were in the hands of the government, were not likely to quarrel with the government about money matters; and the result was, that nearly every thing fell into the possession of the nobles.

[204] ‘The Ministeris, evin in the begynnyng, in publict Sermonis opponed thame selves to suche corruptioun, for thei foir saw the purpose of the Devill.’ Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 310.

[205] ‘For it seemeth altogether unreasonable that idle belleis sail devoure and consume the patrimonie of the Kirk, whill the faithfull travellers in the Lord's vineyarde suffer extreme povertie, and the needie members of Christ's bodie are altogether neglected.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. ii. pp. 484, 485. This was in 1569; and, in 1571, the celebrated Ferguson, in one of his sermons, declared that the holders of church property, most of whom were the nobility, were ‘ruffians.’ See an extract from his sermon, in Chalmers' History of Dunfermline, p. 309, Edinburgh, 1844. ‘For this day Christ is spuilzeit amang us, quhil yt quhilk aucht to mantene the Ministerie of the Kirk and the pure, is geuin to prophane men, flattereris in court, ruffianes, and hyrelingis.’

[206] In September 1571, John Row ‘preiched, wha in plane pulpet pronounced to the lordis, for thair covetusnes, and becaus they wold not grant the just petitiones of the Kirk, Godis heastie vengeance to fall upon them; and said, moreover, “I cair not, my lordis, your displeasour; for I speik my conscience befoir God, wha will not suffer sic wickitnes and contempt vnpunished.”’ Bannatyne's Journal, edit. Edinburgh, 1806, p. 257.

[207] In 1576, the General Assembly declared, that their right to ‘the patrimonie of the Kirk’ was ‘ex jure divino.’ Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. p. 360, Edinburgh, 1839, 4to. More than a hundred years later, a Scotch divine evinces how deeply the members of his profession felt this spoliation of the Church, by going out of his way to mention it. See Jacob's Vow, by Dr. John Cockburn, Edinburgh, 1696, pp. 422, 423, 425. But this is nothing in comparison to a recent writer, the Reverend Mr. Lyon, who deliberately asserts that, because these and similar acts occurred in the reign of Mary, therefore the queen came to a violent end; such being the just punishment of sacrilege. ‘The practice’ (of saying masses for the dead) ‘ceased, of course, at the Reformation; and the money was transferred by Queen Mary to the civil authorities of the town. This was, undoubtedly, an act of sacrilege; for, though sacrificial masses for the dead was an error, yet the guardians of the money so bequeathed, were under an obligation to apply it to a sacred purpose. This, and other sacrilegious acts on the part of Mary, of a still more decided and extensive character, have been justly considered as the cause of all the calamities which subsequently befell her.’ History of St. Andrews, by the Rev. C. J. Lyon, M.A., Presbyter of the Episcopal Church, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, 1843, vol. i. p. 54. Elsewhere (vol. ii. p. 400) the same divine mentions, that the usual punishment for sacrilege is a failure of male issue. ‘The following examples, selected from the diocese of St. Andrews, according to its boundaries before the Reformation, will corroborate the general doctrine contended for throughout this work, that sacrilege has ever been punished in the present life, and chiefly by the failure of male issue.’ The italics are in the text. See also vol. i. p. 118. For the sake of the future historian of public opinion, it may be well to observe, that the work containing these sentiments is not a reprint of an older book, but was published for the first time in 1843, having apparently been just written.

[208] ‘The General Assemblie of the Kirk of Scotland, convenit at Edinburgh the 25 of December 1566, to the Nobilitie of this Realme that professes the Lord Jesus with them, and hes renouncit that Roman Antichryst, desyre constancie in faith, and the spirit of righteous judgement. Seeing that Sathan, be all our negligence, Right Honourable, hes so farre prevailit within this Realme within these late dayes, that we doe stand in extream danger, not only to lose our temporall possessions, but also to be depryvit of the glorious Evangell,’ &c. Keith's Church and State, vol. iii. pp. 154, 155.

[209] In 1566, in their piteous communication to the English bishops and clergy, they said ‘The days are ill; iniquitie abounds; Christian charity, alas, is waxen cold.’ Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. p. 87, Edinburgh, 1839, 4to.

[210] ‘I see twa partis freely gevin to the Devill, and the thrid maun be devided betwix God and the Devill: Weill, bear witnes to me, that this day I say it, or it be long the Devill shall have three partis of the thrid; and judge you then what Goddis portioun shallbe.’ … ‘Who wold have thought, that when Joseph reulled Egypt, that his brethren should have travailled for vittallis, and have returned with empty seckis unto thair families? Men wold rather have thought that Pharao's pose, treasure, and garnallis should have bene diminished, or that the houshold of Jacob should stand in danger to sterve for hungar.’ Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. pp. 310, 311.

[211] In May 1571, ‘This Sonday, Mr. Craig teiched the 130 Psalme; and, in his sermond, he compared the steat of the Kirk of God in this tovne vnto the steat of the Maccabeis; wha were oppressed sumtymes by the Assyrianis and sumtymes by the Egiptianis.’ Bannatyne's Journal, p. 150.

[212] The first instance I have observed of any thing like menace, is in 1567, when ‘the Assembly of the Church being convened at Edinburgh,’ admonished all persons ‘as well noblemen as barons, and those of the other Estates, to meet and give their personal appearance at Edinburgh on the 20th of July, for giving their advice, counsel, and concurrence in matters then to be proponed; especially for purging the realm of popery, the establishing of the policy of the Church, and restoring the patrimony thereof to the just possessors. Assuring those that should happen to absent themselves at the time, due and lawful advertisement being made, that they should be reputed hinderers of the good work intended, and as dissimulate professors be esteemed unworthy of the fellowship of Christ's flock.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 64. This evidently alludes to the possibility of excommunicating those who would not surrender to the Protestant preachers, the property stolen from the Catholic Church; and, in 1570, we find another step taken in the same direction. Under that year, the following passage occurs in Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. p. 181. ‘Q. If those that withold the duty of the Kirk, wherethrough Ministers want their stipends, may be excommunicate? A. All things beand done that the civill ordour requyres of them that withhaldis the duetie of the Kirk, quherby Ministers wants their stipends; the Kirk may proceed to excommunication, for their contempt.’

[213] In 1526, ‘the poore ministers, exhorters, and readers, compleaned at church assembleis, that neither were they able to live upon the stipends allowed, nor gett payment of that small portioun which was allowed.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. ii. p. 172. Compare Acts of the General Assemblies, 1839, 4to, vol. i. p. 53; ‘To requyre payment to ministers of there stipends for the tyme by past, according to the promise made.’ This was in December 1564. In December 1565, the General Assembly said (p. 71), ‘that wher oft and divers tymes promise hes bein made to us, that our saids brethren, travelers and preachers in the Kirk of God, sould not be defraudit of their appointit stipends, neither zet in any wayes sould be molestit in their functioun; zet nottheless universallie they want ther stipends appointit for diverse tymes by past.’ On the state of things in 1566, see ‘The Supplication of the Ministers to the Queen,’ in Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 529. See also, in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. iv. pp. 92–101, Aberdeen, 1849, 4to, a letter written by John Erskine in December 1571, especially p. 97; ‘the gretest of the nobilitie haifing gretest rentis in possessione, and plaicet of God in maist hie honouris, ceasis nocht, maist wiolentlie blindit with awarice, to spoilye and draw to thame selfis the possessiones of the Kirk.’

[214] ‘The ministers were called proud knaves, and receaved manie injurious words from the lords, speciallie from Morton, who ruled all. He said, he sould lay their pride, and putt order to them.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. pp. 137, 138. This was in 1571.

[215] Chambers' Annals of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 79, 80.

[216] ‘The nobilitie wnderwrittin convenit in Edinburgh, and chesit and electit James erle of Mortoun regent.’ A Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 320.

[217] In 1573, ‘when any benefeces of Kirk vaikit, he keapit the proffet of thair rents sa lang in his awin hand, till he was urgit be the Kirk to mak donatioun tharof, and that was not gevin but proffeit for all that.’ The Historie and Life of King James the Sext, edit. Edinburgh, 1825, 4to, p. 147. Even in 1570, when Lennox was regent, ‘the Earle of Mortoun was the chiefe manager of every thing under him;’ and was ‘master of the church rents,’ and made ‘gifts of them to the nobility.’ Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of the Reformers of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. part i. pp. 27, 126, Glasgow, 1834, 4to.

[218] ‘During all these Assembleis and earnest endeavoures of the brethrein, the regent was often required to give his presence to the Assemblie, and further the caus of God. He not onlie refused, but threatned some of the most zealous with hanging, alledging, that otherwise there could be no peace nor order in the countrie.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. pp. 393, 394. ‘Uses grait thretning against the maist zelus breithring, schoring to hang of thame, utherwayes ther could be na peace nor ordour in the countrey.’ The Autobiography and Diary of James Melvill, edited by R. Pitcairn, Edinburgh, 1842, pp. 59, 60.

[219] ‘He mislyked the Generall Assembleis, and would have had the name changed, that he might take away the force and priviledge thereof; and no questioun he had stayed the work of policie that was presentlie in hands, if God had not stirred up a factioun against him.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 396. See also The Autobiography of James Melvill, p. 61.

[220] ‘During the two years following the death of Knox, each day was ripening the more determined opposition of the Church. The breach between the clergy with the great body of the people, and the government or higher nobility, was widening rapidly.’ Argyll's Presbytery Examined, p. 70.

[221] ‘Next to her Reformer, who, under God, emancipated her from the degrading shackles of papal superstition and tyranny, I know no individual from whom Scotland has received such important services, or to whom she continues to owe so deep a debt of national respect and gratitude, as Andrew Melville.’ M'Crie's Life of Andrew Melville, vol. ii. p. 473, Edinburgh, 1819. His nephew, himself a considerable person, says, ‘Scotland receavit never a graitter benefit at the hands of God nor this man.’ The Autobiography of James Melvill, p. 38.

[222] He left Scotland in 1564, at the age of nineteen, and returned ‘in the beginning of July 1574, after an absence of ten years from his native country.’ M'Crie's Life of Andrew Melville, vol. i. pp. 17, 57. See also Scot's Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk of Scotland, edit. Wodrow Society, p. 34; and Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 111, Glasgow, 1781.

[223] He appears to have first set to work in November 1574. See Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 261, London, 1848.

[224] ‘The compilers of the Book of Discipline’ (i.e. the First Book, in 1560) ‘were distinguished by prelatical principles to the end of their days.’ … ‘That Knox himself was no enemy to prelacy, considered as an ancient and apostolical institution, is rendered clear by his “Exhortation to England for the speedy embracing of Christ's Gospel.”’ Russell's History of the Church in Scotland, 1834, vol. i. p. 240. ‘The associates of Knox, it is obvious, were not Presbyterians, and had no intention of setting up a system of parity among the ministers of their new establishment.’ p. 243. See also p. 332. Even in 1572, the year of Knox's death, I find it stated that ‘the whole Diocie of Sanct Andrews is decerned be the Assembly to pertain to the Bishop of the same.’ Acts and Proceedings of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. i. p. 264, 4to. 1839. The Scotch Presbyterians have dealt very unfairly with this part of the history of their Church.

[225] Some little time after this, David Fergusson, who died in 1598, and was minister at Dunfermline, said very frankly to James VI., ‘Yes, Sir, ye may have Bishops here, but ye must remember to make us all equall; make us all Bishops, els will ye never content us.’ Row's History of the Kirk of Scotland from 1558 to 1637, edit. Wodrow Society, p. 418. Compare Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iv. p. 214: in 1584 ‘these monstruous titles of superioritie.’ In 1586, ‘that tyrannicall supremacie of bishops and archbishops over ministers.’ p. 604.

[226] ‘He stirred up John Dury, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, in an Assembly which was then convened, to propound a question touching the lawfulness of the episcopal function, and the authority of chapters in their election. He himself, as though he had not been acquainted with the motion, after he had commended the speaker's zeal, and seconded the purpose with a long discourse of the flourishing estate of the church of Geneva, and the opinions of Calvin and Theodore Beza concerning church government, came to affirm, “That none ought to be esteemed office-bearers in the Church whose titles were not found in the book of God. And, for the title of bishops, albeit the same was found in Scripture, yet was it not to be taken in the sense that the common sort did conceive, there being no superiority allowed by Christ amongst ministers,”’ &c. Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 200. See also Acts of the General Assemblies, vol. i. p. 331, where it appears that six bishops were present on this memorable occasion. The question raised was, ‘Whither if the Bischops, as they are now in the Kirk of Scotland, hes thair function of the word of God or not, or if the Chapiter appointit for creating of them aucht to be tollerated in this reformed Kirk.’ p. 340.

[227] ‘It was ordained, That Bischops and all vthers bearand Ecclesiasticall functioun, be callit bethair awin names, or Brethren, in tyme comeing.’ Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 404.

[228] ‘Therfor the Kirk hes concludit, That no Bischops salbe electit or made heirafter, befor the nixt Generall Assemblie.’ Ibid. vol. ii. p. 408.

[229] ‘Anent the Act made in the last Assemblie, the 28 of Aprile 1578, concerning the electioun of Bischops, suspendit quhill this present Assemblie, and the farther ordour reservit thereto: The General Assemblie, all in ane voyce, hes concludit, That the said act salbe extendit for all tymes to come, ay and quhill the corruptioun of the Estate of Bischops be alluterlie tane away.’ Ibid. vol. ii. p. 413.

[230] ‘Forsameikle as the office of a Bischop, as it is now vsit, and commounly takin within this realme, hes no sure warrand, auctoritie, nor good ground out of the (Book and) Scriptures of God; but is brocht in by the folie and corruptions of (men's) invention, to the great overthrow of the Kirk of God: The haill Assemblie of the Kirk, in ane voyce, after libertie givin to all men to reason in the matter, none opponing themselves in defending the said pretendit office, Finds and declares the samein pretendit office, vseit and termeit, as is above said, vnlaufull in the selfe, as haveand neither fundament, ground nor warrant within the word of God: and ordaines, that all sick persons as bruiks, or sall bruik heirafter the said office, salbe chargeit simpliciter to demitt, quyt and leave of the samein, as ane office quhervnto they are not callit be God; and siclyke to desist and cease from all preaching, ministration of the sacraments, or vsing any way the office of pastors, quhill they receive de novo admission from the Generall Assemblie, vnder the paine of excommunicatioun to be denuncit agains them; quherin if they be found dissobedient, or contraveine this act in any point, the sentence of excommunicatioun, after dew admonitions, to be execute agains them.’ Acts of the General Assemblies, vol. ii. p. 453.

[231] As Calderwood triumphantly says, ‘the office of bishops was damned.’ History of the Kirk, vol. iii. p. 469. ‘Their whole estat, both the spirituall and civill part, was damned.’ p. 526. James Melville (Autobiography, p. 52) says that, in consequence of this achievement, his uncle Andrew ‘gatt the nam of επισκομαστιξ, Episcoporum exactor, the flinger out of Bischopes.’

[232] Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 302) observes that, while ‘the great body of the burghers, and middle and lower classes of the people,’ were Presbyterians, ‘a large proportion of the nobility supported episcopacy.’ Instead of ‘a large proportion,’ he would not have been far wrong, if he had said ‘all.’ Indeed, ‘Melville himself says the whole peerage was against him.’ Stephen's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 269. Forbes ascribes the aristocratic movement against presbytery to ‘godles atheists,’ who insisted ‘that there could be nothing so contrair to the nature of a monarchie,’ &c., ‘than that paritie of authoritie in pastours.’ Forbes, Certaine Records touching the Estate of the Kirk, p. 349, edit. Wodrow Society. See also p. 355. ‘That Democratie (as they called it) whilk allwayes behoved to be full of sedition and troubble to ane Aristocratie, and so in end to a Monarchie.’ The reader will observe this important change in the attitude of classes in Scotland. Formerly, the clergy had been the allies of the crown against the nobles. Now, the nobles allied themselves with the crown against the clergy. The clergy, in self-defence, had to ally themselves with the people.

[233] On the difference between the two productions, there are some remarks worth looking at, in Argyll's Presbytery Examined, 1848, pp. 38–43. But this writer, though much freer from prejudice than most Presbyterian authors, is unwilling to admit how completely the Second Book of Discipline contradicts the First.

[234] By the Scotch episcopalians.

[235] See the First Book of Discipline, reprinted in the first volume of A Compendium of the Laws of the Church of Scotland, 2d edit., Edinburgh, 1837. The superintendents were ‘to set, order, and appoint ministers,’ p. 61; and it would seem (p. 88) that no minister could be deposed without the consent of his superintendent; but this could hardly be intended to interfere with the supreme authority of the General Assembly. See also the summary, p. 114, where it is said of the superintendents, that ‘in thair visitatioun thei sal not onlie preiche, but als examine the doctrine, life, diligence, and behavior of the ministeris, reideris, elderis, and deaconis.’ According to Spottiswoode (History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 167), ‘the superintendents held their office during life, and their power was episcopal; for they did elect and ordain ministers, they presided in synods, and directed all church censures, neither was any excommunication pronounced without their warrant.’ See further, on their authority, Knox's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 161. ‘That punyschment suld be appointed for suche as dissobeyid or contemned the superintendentes in thair functioun.’ This was in 1561; and, in 1562, ‘It was ordained, that if ministers be disobedient to superintendents in anything belonging to edification, they must be subject to correction.’ Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk, vol. i. p. 14. Compare p. 131: ‘sick things as superintendents may and aught decyde in their synodall conventiouns.’

[236] ‘For albeit the Kirk of God be rewlit and governit be Jesus Christ, who is the onlie King, hie Priest, and Heid thereof, yit he useis the ministry of men, as the most necessar middis for this purpose.’ … ‘And to take away all occasion of tyrannie, he willis that they sould rewl with mutuall consent of brether and equality of power, every one according to thair functiones.’ Second Book of Discipline, in A Compendium of the Laws of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 126, 127. ‘As to Bischops, if the name επισκοπος be properly taken, they ar all ane with the ministers, as befoir was declairit. For it is not a name of superioritie and lordschip, bot of office and watching.’ p. 142. To understand the full meaning of this, it should be mentioned, that the superintendents, established by the Kirk in 1560, not unfrequently assumed the title of ‘Lordship,’ as an ornament to the extensive powers conferred upon them. See, for instance, the notes to Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of the Reformers of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. part ii. p. 461. But, in the Second Book of Discipline, in 1578, the superintendents are, if I rightly remember, not even once named.

[237] Just as in England, we find that the upper classes are mostly Episcopalians; their minds being influenced, often unconsciously, by the, to them, pleasing spectacle of an inequality of rank, which is conventional, and does not depend upon ability. On the other hand, the strength of the Dissenters lies among the middle and lower classes, where energy and intellect are held in higher respect, and where a contempt naturally arises for a system, which, at the mere will of the sovereign or minister of the day, concedes titles and wealth to persons whom nature did not intend for greatness, but who, to the surprise of their contemporaries, have greatness thrust upon them. On this difference of opinion in Scotland, corresponding to the difference of social position, see the remarks on the seventeenth century, in Hume's Commentaries on the Law of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 544, Edinburgh, 1797, 4to.

[238] Record of Privy Council, in M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 267. ‘The brethrein of Glasgow were charged, under paine of horning, to admitt Mr. Robert Montgomrie.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. p. 596.

[239] ‘Charges the said Mr. Robert to continue in the ministrie of the Kirk of Striveling,’ &c. Acts of the General Assemblies, vol. ii. p. 547. This was in October 1581; the Record of the Privy Council was in April 1582. Moysie, who was a contemporary, says that, in March 1581, 2, not only the dean and chapter, but all the clergy (the ‘haill ministrie’) declared from the pulpit that Montgomery's appointment ‘had the warrand of the deuill and not of the word of God, bot wes damnit thairby.’ Moysie's Memoirs, Edinburgh, 1830, 4to, p. 36.

[240] ‘The title whereof the said duke had procured to him, that he, having the name of bishop, and eight hundred merks money for his living and sustentatioun, the whole rents, and other duteis of the said benefice, might come to the duke's utilitie and behove.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iv. p. 111. See also p. 401.

[241] Scot's Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk, pp. 24, 25. Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. p. 302. Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of the Reformers, vol. i. part i. p. 206. Lyon's History of St. Andrews, vol. i. p. 379. Gibson's History of Glasgow, p. 59. Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. ii. pp. 216, 217. Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 624.

[242] ‘But the Church passing this point’ (i.e. the simony) ‘made quarrel to him for accepting the bishopric.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 282.

[243] Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk, vol. ii. p. 548.

[244] ‘A messenger-at-arms entered the house, and charged the moderator and members of the assembly, on the pain of rebellion, to desist from the process.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 268.

[245] ‘The Assemblie and brether present, after voteing in the said matter, depryvit the said Mr. Robert from all functioun of the Ministrie in the Kirk of God, dureing the will of the Kirk of God; and farther, descernit the fearefull sentence of excommunicatioun to be pronuncit against him in the face of the haill Assemblie, be the voyce and mouth of the Moderatour present; to the effect, that, his proud flesh being cast into the hands of Satan, he may be win againe, if it be possible, to God; and the said sentence (to) be intimat be every particular minister, at his awin particular kirk, solemnelie in the first sermoun to be made be them, after thair returning.’ Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk, vol. ii. p. 562.

[246] Ibid., vol. ii. p. 565. Calderwood (History of the Kirk, vol. iii. p. 604) says, ‘After long reluctatioun, at lenth he condescended.’

[247] M'Crie (Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 274) says, ‘In all these contendings, the ministers had no countenance or support from any of the nobility.’ It would have been strange if they had, seeing that the whole movement was essentially democratic.

[248] Melville's Autobiography, p. 129. Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. p. 620. M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 270.

[249] He was seized in August 1582, and was let loose again in June 1583. Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. pp. 321, 360. It is a pity that this valuable, and really able, work should be so superficial in regard to the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland. Mr. Tytler appears not to have studied at all the proceedings of the presbyteries, or even of the General Assemblies; neither does he display any acquaintance with the theological literature of his country. And yet, from the year 1560 to about 1700, these sources disclose more of the genuine history of the Scotch people than all other sources put together.

[250] ‘The pulpit resounded with applauses of the godly deed.’ Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 37.

[251] ‘As he is comming from Leith to Edinburgh, upon Tuisday the 4th of September, there mett him at the Gallow Greene two hundreth men of the inhabitants of Edinburgh. Their number still increased, till he came within the Neather Bow. There they beganne to sing the 124 Psalme, “Now may Israel say,” &c, and sang in foure parts, knowne to the most part of the people. They came up the street till they came to the Great Kirk, singing thus all the way, to the number of two thowsand. They were muche moved themselves, and so were all the beholders. The duke was astonished, and more affrayed at that sight than at anie thing that ever he had seene before in Scotland, and rave his beard for anger.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. iii. pp. 646, 647.

[252] Acts of the General Assemblies, vol. ii. pp. 595, 596. This was ordered by the General Assembly which met at Edinburgh on the 9th of October 1582, p. 585. See also Watson's Historicall Collections of Ecclesiastick Affairs in Scotland, p. 192, ‘requiring the ministers in all their churches to commend it unto the people.’

[253] Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 308.

[254] James, after his escape, ‘convocat all his peaceabill Prelatis and Nobles, and thair he notefeit unto thayme the greif that he consavit of his unlaughfull detentioun the yeir bygayne, and tharefore desyrit thame to acknawlege the same; and thay be thair generall voittis decernit the rayd of Ruthven to be manifest treasoun. The Ministers on the uther part, perswadit the people that it was a godly fact, and that whasoever wald not allow thareof in his hart, was not worthie to be estemit a Christien.’ The Historie of King James the Sext, p. 202, published by the Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1825, 4to.

[255] ‘Disregard not our threatening; for there was never one yet in this realm, in the place where your grace is, who prospered after the ministers began to threaten him.’ Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 364. See also, in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. pp. 540, 541, a letter from one of the clergy in Fife, addressed to the king, in 1597. ‘And now, Sir, lett me be free with you in writting other men's reports, and that of the wisest politicians. They say, our bygane historeis report, and experience teacheth, that raro et fere nunquam has a king and a prince continued long together in this realme; for Filius ante diem patrios inquirit in annos. And they say, Sir, farther, that whatsoever they were of your Majestie's predecessors in governement that oppouned themselves directlie or indirectlie to God's ordinance in his Kirk, it has beene their wracke and subversioun in the end. I might herein be more particular; but I leave it to your Majestie's owne grave and modest consideratioun, for it concerneth you most neere.’

[256] ‘Saying, “He perverted the laws both of God and man.”’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 309. Also Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 371.

[257] ‘Mr. Patrick Simson, preaching before the king upon Gen. iv. 9, “The Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel, thy brother?” said to the king, before the congregation, “Sir, I assure you, in God's name, the Lord will ask at you where is the Earl of Moray, your brother?” The king replyed, before all the congregation, “Mr. Patrik, my chalmer doore wes never steeked upon you: ye might have told me anything ye thought in secret.” He replyed, “Sir, the scandall is publict.”’ Row's History of the Kirk, p. 144. ‘Having occasion, anno 1593, to preach before the king, he publicly exhorted him to beware that he drew not the wrath of God upon himself in patronizing a manifest breach of divine laws.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 120.

[258] ‘Saying, “That Captain James, with his lady Jesabel, and William Stewart (meaning the colonel), were taken to be the persecutors of the Church; but that now it was seen to be the king himself, against whom he denounced the curse that fell on Jeroboam—that he would die childless, and be the last of his race.”’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 335.

[259] ‘The king, perceiving by all these letters, that the death of his mother was determined, called back his ambassadors, and at home gave order to the ministers to remember her in their public prayers, which they denied to do.’ … ‘Upon their denial, charges were directed to command all bishops, ministers, and other office-bearers in the Church to make mention of her distress in their public prayers, and commend her to God in the form appointed. But of all the number only Mr. David Lindsay at Leith and the king's own ministers gave obedience.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church, vol. ii. pp. 355, 356. ‘They, with only one exception, refused to comply.’ Russell's History of the Church in Scotland, vol. ii. p. 23. Compare Watson's Historicall Collections of Ecclesiastick Affairs in Scotland, p. 208; and Historie of James the Sext, p. 225.

[260] ‘They stirred up Mr. John Cowper, a young man not entered as yet in the function, to take the pulpit before the time, and exclude the bishop. The king coming at the hour appointed, and seeing him in the place, called to him from his seat, and said, “Mr. John, that place is destined for another; yet since you are there, if you will obey the charge that is given, and remember my mother in your prayers, you shall go on.” He replying, “that he would do as the Spirit of God should direct him,” was commanded to leave the place: and making as though he would stay, the captain of the guard went to pull him out; whereupon he burst forth in these speeches: “This day shall be a witness against the king in the great day of the Lord:” and then denouncing a wo to the inhabitants of Edinburgh, he went down, and the bishop of St. Andrews entering the pulpit did perform the duty required.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 356. ‘The Kingis Majestie, to testifie his earnest and naturall affection to his mother, causit pray for hir oppinly efter him selff; quhairvpone arrose a great dissensioun betuix sum of the ministrie and his Majestie, namely the ministrie of Edinburgh. Quhairvpone the king appoynted Patrik, archbischop of St. Androis to teache, bot he wes preuented be Mr. John Covpar minister, quho come befoir and filled the pulpit. And as the said Mr. John wes beginnand the prayer, the Kingis Majestie commandit him to stay: so as Mr. John raschit michtely vpone the pulpit, saying, “This day sail bear witnes aganis yow in the day of the lord: woe be to ye Edinburgh, for the last of xi plaiges salbe the worst.”’ Moysie's Memoirs, p. 59.

[261] See The Historie of King James the Sext, pp. 316–318, from ‘a just copie of his sermon’ supplied by Ross himself. ‘His text was upon the 6 chapter of the Prophet Jeremias, verse 28. “Brethren, we have manie, and almaist innumerable enormiteis in this cuntrie to be lamentit, as the misgovernement of our king be sinistrous counsall of sum particular men. They ar all rebellious traitors, evin the king the maist singular person, and particularlie everie estait of the land.” … “Our king in sindrie poyntis hes bene rebellious aganis the Majestie of God.” … “To this howre, we gat never gude of the Guysien blude, for Queyne Marie his mother was an oppin persecutor of the sanctis of God, and althoght the king be not an oppin persecutor, we have had many of his fayre wordis, wharein he is myghtie aneugh, bot for his gude deiddis, I commend me to thayme.” … “Admit, that our king be a Christien king, yit but amen dement, he is a reprobat king. Of all the men in this nation, the king himself is the maist fynest, and maist dissembling hypocreit.”’ A very short notice of this sermon is given by Calderwood (History of the Kirk, vol. v. p. 299), who probably had not seen the original notes.

[262] The accusation, which was fully proved, was, that ‘he had publictlie sayd in pulpit, that the papist erles wes come home be the kingis knavledge and consent, quhairin his Hienes treacherie wes detectit; that all kingis war deuilis and come of deuilis; that the deuill wes the head of the court and in the court; that he pray it for the Queine of Scotland for the faschione, because he saw na appearance of guid in hir tyme,’ Moysie's Memoirs, p. 128. ‘Having been heard to affirm, that the popish lords had returned into the country by the king's permission, and that thereby the king had discovered the “treacherous hypocrisy of his heart” that “all kings were the devil's bairns, and that the devil was in the court, and the guiders of it.” He was proved to have used in his prayer these indecent words, when speaking of the queen, “We must pray for her for fashion's sake; but we might as well not, for she will never do us any good,” He called the queen of England an atheist, and the Lords of Session bribers; and said that the nobility at large “were degenerate, godless, dissemblers, and enemies to the church.”’ Grierson's History of Saint Andrews, p. 30, Cupar, 1838. Among the charges against him were, ‘Fourthly, that he had called the queen of England an atheist. Fifthly, that he had discussed a suspension granted by the lords of session in pulpit, and called them miscreants and bribers. Sixthly, that, speaking of the nobility, he said they were “degenerated, godless, dissemblers, and enemies to the church.” Likewise, speaking of the council, that he had called them “holiglasses, cormorants, and men of no religion.”’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church, vol. iii. p. 21.

[263] See the original papers on ‘The Declinatour of the King and Counsel's Judicatour in Maters Spirituall, namelie in Preaching of the Word,’ in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. pp. 457–459, 475–480. Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 326–332) has given extracts from them, and made some remarks on their obvious tendency. See also on the Declinature of Jurisdiction claimed by the Scotch Church, Hallam's Constitutional History, 4th edit. 1842, vol. ii. p. 461; and Mackenzie's Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal, Edinburgh, 1699, folio, pp. 181, 182.

[264] M'Crie, in his Life of Melville, vol. ii. pp. 70 seq., has given an account of the punishment of Black, but, as usual, conceals the provocation; or, at least, softens it down until it hardly becomes a provocation. According to him, ‘David Black had been served with a summons to answer before the privy council for certain expressions used by him in his sermons.’ Certain expressions, indeed! But why name the penalty, and suppress the offence? This learned writer knew perfectly well what Black had done, and yet all the information bestowed on the reader is a note at p. 72, containing a mutilated extract from Spottiswoode.

[265] ‘Saying, “He was possessed with a devil; that one devil being put out, seven worse were entered in place; and that the subjects might lawfully rise, and take the sword out of his hand:” which he confirmed by the example of a father that falling into a frenzy, might be taken by the children and servants of the family, and tied hand and foot from doing violence.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 34. See also Arnot's History of Edinburgh, pp. 46, 47.

[266] This did not escape the attention of the English government; and Elizabeth, who was remarkably well informed respecting Scotch affairs, wrote to James, in 1590, a warning, which was hardly necessary, but which must have added to his fears. ‘And lest fayre semblance, that easely may begile, do not brede your ignorance of suche persons as ether pretend religion or dissemble deuotion, let me warne you that ther is risen, bothe in your realme and myne, a secte of perilous consequence, suche as wold have no kings but a presbitrye, and take our place while the inioy our privilege, with a shade of Godes word, wiche none is juged to folow right without by ther censure the be so demed. Yea, looke we wel unto them.’ Letters of Elizabeth and James VI., edited by John Bruce, Camden Society, 1849, 4to, p. 63.

[267] The Reverend James Melville, who was present at the scene, describes it with exuberant delight. ‘To the quhilk, I beginning to reply, in my maner, Mr. Andro doucht nocht abyd it, bot brak af upon the king in sa zealus, powerfull, and unresistable a maner, that whowbeit the king used his authoritie in maist crabbit and colerik maner, yit Mr. Andro bure him down, and outtered the Commission as from the mightie God, calling the king bot “God's sillie vassall:” and taking him be the sleive,’ &c. Autobiography and Diary of James Melvill, p. 370. See also Shields' Hind let loose, 1687, p. 52; and M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 66.

[268] In 1593, 4, some of them formed a plot to seize him. See the evidence from the State-paper Office, in Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 249, edit. Edinburgh, 1845.

[269] ‘He was the darling hope of the Presbyterian party.’ Ibid., vol. vii. p. 410.

[270] ‘Gowry's conspiracy was by them charged on the king, as a contrivance of his to get rid of that earl.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, edit. Oxford, 1823, vol. i. p. 31. See also Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 439, 440; and on the diffusion of ‘this absurd hallucination,’ see The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 320, Edinburgh, 1845.

[271] See a good note in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. ii. p. 179, Edinburgh, 1833, 4to. Compare Lawson's Book of Perth, Edinburgh, 1847, p. xxxix.

[272] Their language, and their general bearing, so enraged James, as to extort from him a passionate declaration, in 1592, that ‘it would not be weill till noblemen and gentlemen gott licence to breake ministers' heads.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. p. 148.

[273] ‘At the period of which we speak’ (about the year 1584) ‘the pulpit was, in fact, the only organ by which public opinion was, or could be, expressed; and the ecclesiastical courts were the only assemblies in the nation which possessed anything that was entitled to the name of liberty or independence. Parliament had its business prepared to its hand, and laid before it in the shape of acts which required only its assent. Discussion and freedom of speech were unknown in its meetings. The courts of justice were dependent on the will of the sovereign, and frequently had their proceedings regulated, and their decisions dictated, by letters or messages from the throne. It was the preachers who first taught the people to express an opinion on the conduct of their rulers; and the assemblies of the Church set the earliest example of a regular and firm opposition to the arbitrary and unconstitutional measures of the court.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. i. p. 302.




Scarcely had James mounted the throne of England, when he began seriously, and on a large scale, to attempt to subjugate the Scotch Church, which, as he clearly saw, was the principal obstacle that stood between him and despotic power. While he was merely King of Scotland, he made several efforts, which were constantly baffled; but now that he wielded the vast resources of England, the victory seemed easy.[274] As early as 1584, he had gained a temporary triumph, by forcing many of the clergy to recognize episcopacy.[275] But that institution was so repugnant to their levelling and democratic principles, that nothing could overcome their abhorrence of it;[276] and, completely overawing the king, they[116] compelled him to give way, and to retrace his steps. The result was, that, in 1592, an Act of Parliament was passed, which subverted the authority of the bishops, and established Presbyterianism; a scheme based on the idea of equality, and, therefore, suited to the wants of the Scotch Church.[277]

To this statute, James had assented with the greatest reluctance.[278] Indeed, his feeling respecting it was so strong, that he determined, on the first opportunity, to[117] procure its repeal, even if he used force to effect his purpose. The course he adopted, was characteristic both of the man and of the age. In December 1596, one of those popular tumults arose in Edinburgh, which are natural in barbarous times, and which, under ordinary circumstances, would have been quelled, and nothing more thought of it.[279] But James availed himself of this, to strike what he deemed a decisive blow. His plan was nothing less than to turn into the capital of his own monarchy, large bodies of armed and licensed banditti, who, by threatening to plunder the city, should oblige the clergy and their flocks to agree to whatever terms he chose to dictate. This magnanimous scheme was well worthy of the mind of James, and it was strictly executed. From the north, he summoned the Highland nobles, and from the south, the border barons, who were to be accompanied by their fierce retainers,—men who lived by pillage, and whose delight it was to imbrue their hands in blood. At the express command of James, these ferocious brigands, on the 1st of January 1597, appeared in the streets of Edinburgh, gloating over the prospect before them, and ready, when their sovereign gave the word, to sack the capital, and raze it to the ground.[280] Resistance was hopeless. Whatever the king demanded, was conceded; and James supposed that the time was now come, in which he could firmly establish the authority of the bishops, and, by their aid, control the clergy, and break their refractory spirit.[281]


In this undertaking, three years were consumed. To insure its success, the king, supported by the nobles, relied, not only on force, but also on an artifice, which now seems to have been employed for the first time. This was, to pack the General Assemblies, by inundating them with clergymen drawn from the north of Scotland, where, the old clannish and aristocratic spirit being supreme, the democratic spirit, found in the south, was unknown. Hitherto, these northern ministers had rarely attended at the great meetings of the Church; but James, in 1597, sent Sir Patrick Murray on a special mission to them, urging them to be present, in order that they might vote on his side.[282] They, being a very ignorant body, knowing little or nothing of the questions really at issue, and being, moreover, accustomed to a state of society in which men, notwithstanding their lawlessness, paid the most servile obedience to their immediate superiors, were easily worked upon, and induced to do what they were bid. By their help, the crown and the nobles so strengthened their party in the General Assembly, as to obtain in many instances a majority; and innovations were gradually introduced, calculated to destroy the democratic character of the Scotch Church.[283]

In 1597, the movement began. From then, until 1600, successive Assemblies sanctioned different changes, all of which were marked by that aristocratic tendency which seemed about to carry everything before it. In[119] 1600, the General Assembly met at Montrose; and government determined on making a final effort to compel the Church to establish an episcopal polity. Andrew Melville, by far the most influential man in the Church, and the leader of the democratic party, had been elected, as usual, a member of the Assembly; but the king, arbitrarily interposing, refused to allow him to take his seat.[284] Still, neither by threats, nor by force, nor by promises, could the court carry their point. All that they obtained was, that certain ecclesiastics should be allowed to sit in parliament; but it was ordered that such persons should every year lay their commissions at the feet of the General Assembly, and render an account of their conduct. The Assembly was to have the power of deposing them; and, to keep them in greater subjection, they were forbidden to call themselves bishops, but were to be content with the inferior title of Commissioners of the Church.[285]


After sustaining this repulse, James seems to have been disheartened; as he made no further effort, though he still laboured underhand at the restoration of episcopacy.[286] If he had persevered, it might have cost him his crown. For, his resources were few; he was extremely poor;[287] and recent events had shown that the clergy were stronger than he had supposed. When he thought himself most sure of success, they had subjected him to a mortifying defeat; and this was the more remarkable, as it was entirely their own work;[121] they being by this time so completely separated from the nobles, that they could not rely upon even a single member of that powerful body.

While affairs were in this state, and while the liberties of Scotland, of which the Church was the guardian, were trembling in the balance, Elizabeth died, and the King of Scotland became also King of England. James at once determined to employ the resources of his new kingdom to curb his old one. In 1604, that is, only the year after his accession to the English throne, he aimed a deadly blow at the Scotch Church, by attacking the independence of their Assemblies; and, by his own authority, he prorogued the General Assembly of Aberdeen.[288] In 1605, he again prorogued it; and, to make his intentions clear, he, this time, refused to fix a day for its future meeting.[289] Hereupon, some of the ministers,[122] deputed by presbyteries, took upon themselves to convene it, which they had an undoubted right to do, as the act of the king was manifestly illegal. On the day appointed, they met in the session-house of Aberdeen. They were ordered to disperse. Having, as they conceived, by the mere fact of assembling, sufficiently asserted their privileges, they obeyed. But James, now backed by the power of England, resolved that they should feel the change of his position, and, therefore, of theirs. In consequence of orders which he sent from London, fourteen of the clergy were committed to prison.[290] Six of them, who denied the authority of the privy-council, were indicted for high treason. They were at once put upon their trial. They were convicted. And sentence of death was only deferred, that the pleasure of the king might first be taken, as to whether he would not be satisfied with some punishment that fell short of sacrificing the lives of these unhappy men.[291]

Their lives, indeed, were spared; but they were subjected to a close imprisonment, and then condemned to perpetual exile.[292] In other parts of the country, similar[123] measures were adopted. Nearly all over Scotland, numbers of the clergy were either imprisoned or forced to fly.[293] Terror and proscription were universal. Such was the panic, that it was generally believed that nothing could prevent the permanent establishment of despotism, unless there were some immediate and providential interference on behalf of the Church and the people.[294]

Nor can it be denied that there were plausible[124] grounds for these apprehensions. The people had no friends except among the clergy, and the ablest of the clergy were either in prison or in exile.[295] To deprive the Church entirely of her leaders, James, in 1606, summoned to London, Melville and seven of his colleagues, under pretence of needing their advice.[296] Having got possession of their persons, he detained them in England.[297] They were forbidden to return to Scotland; and Melville, who was most feared, was committed to custody. He was then imprisoned in the Tower, where he remained four years, and from which he was only liberated on condition of living abroad, and abandoning altogether his native country.[298] The seven ministers who had accompanied him to London were also imprisoned; but, being considered less dangerous than their leader, they, after a time, were allowed to return home. The nephew of Melville was, however, ordered not to travel more than two miles from Newcastle; and his six companions were confined in different parts of Scotland.[299]

Everything now seemed ripe for the destruction of those ideas of equality of which, in Scotland, the Church was the sole representative. In 1610, a General Assembly was held at Glasgow; and, as the members of it[125] were nominated by the crown,[300] whatever the government wished was conceded. By their vote, episcopacy was established, and the authority of the bishops over the ministers was fully recognized.[301] A little earlier, but in the same year, two courts of High Commission were erected, one at Saint Andrews, and one at Glasgow. To them, all ecclesiastical courts were subordinate. They were armed with such immense power, that they could cite any one they pleased before them, could examine him respecting his religious opinions, could have him excommunicated, and could fine or imprison him, just as they thought proper.[302] Finally, and to complete the[126] humiliation of Scotland, the establishment of episcopacy was not considered complete, until an act was performed, which nothing but its being very ignominious, could have saved from being ridiculed as an idle and childish farce. The archbishop of Glasgow, the bishop of Brechin, and the bishop of Galloway, had to travel all the way to London, in order that they might be touched by some English bishops. Incredible as it may appear, it was actually supposed that there was no power in Scotland sufficiently spiritual to turn a Scotchman into a prelate. Therefore it was, that the archbishop of Glasgow and his companions performed what was then an arduous journey to a strange and distant capital, for the sake of receiving some hidden virtue, which, on their return home, they might communicate to their brethren. To the grief and astonishment of[127] their country, these unworthy priests, abandoning the traditions of their native land, and forgetting the proud spirit which animated their fathers, consented to abjure their own independence, to humble themselves before the English Church, and to submit to mummeries, which, in their hearts, they must have despised, but which were now inflicted upon them by their ancient and inveterate foes.[303]

We may easily imagine what would be the future conduct of men, who, merely for their own aggrandizement, and to please their prince, could thus renounce the cherished independence of the Scotch Church. They who crouch to those who are above them always trample on those who are below them. Directly they returned to Scotland, they communicated the consecration they had received in England to their fellow-bishops,[304] who were of the like mould to themselves, in so far as all of them aided James in his attempt to subjugate the liberties of their native country. Being now properly ordained, their spiritual life was complete; it remained for them to secure the happiness of their temporal life. This they did, by gradually monopolizing all authority, and treating with unsparing severity those who opposed them. The fall triumph of the bishops was reserved for the reign of Charles I., when a number of them obtained seats in the privy-council, where they behaved with such overbearing insolence, that even Clarendon, notwithstanding[128] his notorious partiality for their order, censures their conduct.[305] In the time, however, of James I., they carried nearly everything before them.[306] They deprived the towns of their privileges, and forced them to receive magistrates of their own choosing.[307] They accumulated wealth, and made an ostentatious display of it; which was the more disgraceful, as the country was miserably poor, and their fellow-subjects were starving around them.[308] The Lords of the Articles, without whose sanction[129] no measure could be presented to parliament, had been hitherto elected by laymen; but the bishops now effected a change, by virtue of which the right of nomination devolved on themselves.[309] Having thus gained possession of the legislature, they obtained the enactment of fresh penalties against their countrymen. Great numbers of the clergy they suspended; others they deprived of their benefices; others they imprisoned. The city of Edinburgh, being opposed to the rites and ceremonies lately introduced, and being, like the rest of the country, hostile to episcopacy, the bishops fell on it also, displaced several of its magistrates, seized some of the principal citizens, and threatened to deprive it of the courts of justice, and of the honour of being the seat of government.[310]

In the midst of all this, and while things seemed to be at their worst, a great reaction was preparing. And the explanation of the reaction is to be found in that[130] vast and pregnant principle, on which I have often insisted, but which our common historians are unable to understand; namely, that a bad government, bad laws, or laws badly administered, are, indeed, extremely injurious at the time, but can produce no permanent mischief; in other words, they may harm a country, but can never ruin it. As long as the people are sound, there is life, and while there is life, there will be reaction. In such case, tyranny provokes rebellion, and despotism causes freedom. But if the people are unsound, all hope is gone, and the nation perishes. In both instances, government is, in the long run, inoperative, and is nowise responsible for the ultimate result. The ruling classes have, for the moment, immense power, which they invariably abuse, except when they are restrained, either by fear, or by shame. The people may inspire them with fear; public opinion may inspire them with shame. But whether or not that shall happen, depends on the spirit of the people, and on the state of opinion. These two circumstances are themselves governed by a long chain of antecedents, stretching back to a period, always very distant, and sometimes so remote as to baffle observation. When the evidence is sufficiently abundant, those antecedents may be generalized; and their generalization conducts us to certain large and powerful causes, on which the whole movement depends. In short periods, the operation of these causes is imperceptible, but in long periods, it is conspicuous and supreme; it colours the national character; it controls the great sweep and average of affairs. In Scotland, as I have already shown, general causes made the people love their clergy, and made the clergy love liberty. As long as these two facts coëxisted, the destiny of the nation was safe. It might be injured, insulted, and trampled upon. It might be harmed in various ways; but the greater the harm, the surer the remedy, because the higher the spirit of the country would be roused. All that was needed was, a little more time, and a little more provocation. We, who, standing at a distance, can contemplate these matters from an elevation, and see how events pressed on and thickened,[131] cannot mistake the regularity of their sequence. Notwithstanding the apparent confusion, all was orderly and methodical. To us, the scheme is revealed. There is the fabric, and it is of one hue, and one make. The pattern is plainly marked, and fortunately it was worked into a texture, whose mighty web was not to be broken, either by the arts, or the violence, of designing men.

It was, therefore, of no avail that tyranny did her utmost. It was of no avail that the throne was occupied by a despotic and unscrupulous king, who was succeeded by another, more despotic and more unscrupulous than himself. It was of no avail that a handful of meddling and intrusive bishops, deriving their consecration from London, and supported by the authority of the English church, took counsel together, and conspired against the liberties of their native land. They played the part of spies and of traitors, but they played it in vain. Yet, everything that government could give them, it gave. They had the law on their side, and they had the right of administering the law. They were legislators, councillors, and judges. They had wealth; they had high-sounding titles; they had all the pomp and attributes for which they bartered their independence, and with which they hoped to dazzle the eyes of the vulgar. Still, they could not turn back the stream; they could not even stop it; they could not prevent it from coming on, and swallowing them up in its course. Before that generation passed away, these little men, big though they were in their own conceit, succumbed, and fell. The hand of the age was upon them, and they were unable to resist. They were struck down, and humbled; they were stripped of their offices, their honours, and their splendour: they lost all which minds like theirs hold most dear. Their fate is an instructive lesson. It is a lesson, both to the rulers of nations, and to those who write the history of nations. To rulers, in so far as it is one of many proofs how little they can do, and how insignificant is the part which they play in the great drama of the world. To historians, the result should be especially instructive, as convincing them that the[132] events on which they concentrate their attention, and which they believe to be of supreme importance, are in reality of trifling value, and, so far from holding the first rank, ought to be made subservient to those large and comprehensive studies, by whose aid alone, we can ascertain the conditions which determine the tread and destiny of nations.

The events that now happened in Scotland, may be quickly told. The patience of the country was well-nigh exhausted, and the day of reckoning was at hand.[311] In 1637, the people began to rise. In the summer of that year, the first great riot broke out in Edinburgh.[312] The flame quickly spread, and nothing could stop it. By October, the whole nation was up, and an accusation was preferred against the bishops, which was signed by nearly every corporation, and by men of all ranks.[313] In November, the Scotch, in defiance of the Crown, organized a system of representation of their own, in which every class had a share.[314] Early in 1638, the National Covenant was framed; and the eagerness with which it was sworn to, showed that the people were determined, at all hazards, to vindicate their rights.[315][133] It was now evident that all was over. During the summer of 1638, preparations were made, and, in the autumn, the storm broke. In November, the first General Assembly seen in Scotland for twenty years, met at Glasgow.[316] The Marquis of Hamilton, the king's commissioner, ordered the members to separate.[317] They refused.[318] Nor would they disband, until they had done the work expected from them.[319] By their vote, the democratic institution of presbyteries was restored to its old power; the forms of consecration were done away with; the bishops were degraded from their functions, and episcopacy was abolished.[320]

Thus, the bishops fell, even more rapidly than they had risen.[321] As, however, their fall was merely a part[134] of the democratic movement, matters could not stop there.[322] Scarcely had the Scotch expelled their bishops, when they made war upon their king. In 1639, they took up arms against Charles. In 1640, they invaded England. In 1641, the king, with the hope of appeasing them, visited Scotland, and agreed to most of their demands. It was too late. The people were hot, and a cry for blood had gone forth. War again broke out. The Scotch united with the English, and Charles was every where defeated. As a last chance, he threw himself upon the mercy of his northern subjects,[323] But his offences were of that rank and[135] luxuriant growth, that it was impossible to forgive them. Indeed, the Scotch, instead of pardoning him, turned him to profit. He had not only trampled on their liberties, he had also put them to an enormous expense. For the injury, he could offer no adequate atonement; but the expense they had incurred, might be defrayed. And as it is an old and recognized maxim, that he who cannot pay with his purse, shall pay with his body, the Scotch saw no reason why they should not derive some advantage from the person of their sovereign, particularly as, hitherto, he had caused them nothing but loss and annoyance. They, therefore, gave him up to the English, and, in return, received a large sum of money, which they claimed as arrears due to them for the cost of making war on him.[324] By this arrangement, both of the contracting parties benefited. The Scotch, being very poor, obtained what they most[136] lacked. The English, a wealthy people, had indeed to pay the money, but they were recompensed by getting hold of their oppressor, against whom they thirsted for revenge; and they took good care never to let him loose, until they had exacted the last penalty of his great and manifold crimes.[325]

After the execution of Charles I., the Scotch recognized his son as his successor. But before they would crown the new king, they subjected him to a treatment which hereditary sovereigns are not much accustomed to receive. They made him sign a public declaration, expressing his regret for what had happened, and acknowledging that his father, moved by evil counsels, had unjustly shed the blood of his subjects. He was also obliged to declare, that by these things he felt humbled in spirit. He had, moreover, to apologize for his own errors, which he ascribed partly to his inexperience, and partly to the badness of his education.[326][137] To evince the sincerity of this confession, and in order that the confession might be generally known, he was commanded to keep a day of fasting and humiliation, in which the whole nation would weep and pray for him, in the hope that he might escape the consequences of the sins committed by his family.[327]

The spirit, of which acts like these are but symptoms, continued to animate the Scotch during the rest of the seventeenth century. And fortunately for them it did so. For, the reigns of Charles II. and James II. were but repetitions of the reigns of James I. and Charles I. From 1660 to 1688, Scotland was again subjected to a[138] tyranny, so cruel, and so exhausting, that it would have broken the energy of almost any other nation.[328] The nobles, whose power had been slowly but constantly declining,[329] were unable to resist the English, with[139] whom, indeed, they rather seemed willing to combine, in order that they might have a share in plundering and oppressing their own country.[330] In this, the most unhappy period through which Scotland had passed since the fourteenth century, the government was extremely powerful; the upper classes, crouching before it, thought only of securing their own safety; the judges were so corrupt, that justice, instead of being badly administered, was not administered at all;[331] and the parliament, completely overawed, consented to what was termed the recissory act, by which, at a single[140] stroke, all laws were repealed which had been enacted since 1633; it being considered that those twenty-eight years formed an epoch of which the memory should, if possible, be effaced.[332]

But, though the higher ranks ignominiously deserted their post, and destroyed the laws which upheld the liberties of Scotland, the result proved that the liberties themselves were indestructible. This was because the spirit remained, by which the liberties had been won. The nation was sound at the core; and while that was the case, legislators could, indeed, abolish the external manifestations of freedom, but could by no means touch the causes on which the freedom depended. Liberty was prostrate, but yet it lived. And the time would surely come, when a people, who loved it so dearly, would vindicate their rights. The time would come, when, in the words of the great poet of English liberty, the nation would rouse herself like a strong man after sleep, and, shaking her invincible locks, would be as an eagle muing her mighty youth, kindling her undazzled eyes at the midday beam, and purging and unscaling her sight at the heavenly fountain; while the timorous birds of her evil destiny, loving the twilight, should flutter about, amazed at what she meant.


Still, the crisis was sad and dangerous. The people, deserted by every one except their clergy, were ruthlessly plundered, murdered, and hunted, like wild-beasts, from place to place. From the tyranny of the bishops, they had so recently smarted, that they abhorred episcopacy more than ever; and yet that institution was not only forced upon them, but government put at its head Sharp, a cruel and rapacious man, who, in 1661, was raised to the archbishopric of St. Andrews.[333] He set up a court of ecclesiastical commission, which filled the prisons to overflowing; and when they would hold no more, the victims were transported to Barbadoes, and other unhealthy settlements.[334] The people, being[142] determined not to submit to the dictation of government respecting their religious worship, met together in private[143] houses; and, when that was declared illegal, they fled from their houses to the fields. But there, too, the bishops were upon them.[335] Lauderdale, who, for many years, was at the head of affairs, was greatly influenced by the new prelates, and aided them with the authority of the executive.[336] Under their united auspices, a new contrivance was hit upon; and a body of soldiers, commanded by Turner, a drunken and ferocious soldier, was let loose upon the people.[337] The sufferers, galled[144] to madness, rose in arms. This was made the pretence, in 1667, for fresh military executions, by which some of the fairest parts of western Scotland were devastated, houses burned, men tortured, women ravished.[338] In 1670, an act of parliament was passed, declaring that whoever preached in the fields without permission should be put to death.[339] Some lawyers were found bold[145] enough to defend innocent men, when they were tried for their lives; it was therefore determined to silence them also, and, in 1674, a great part of the Faculty of Advocates was expelled from Edinburgh.[340] In 1678, by the express command of government, the Highlanders were brought down from their mountains, and, during three months, were encouraged to slay, plunder, and burn at their pleasure, the inhabitants of the most populous and industrious parts of Scotland. For centuries, the bitterest animosity had existed between the Highlanders and Lowlanders; and now these savage mountaineers were called from their homes, that they might take full revenge. And well they glutted their ire. During three months, they enjoyed every license. Eight thousand[341] armed Highlanders, invited by the English government, and receiving beforehand an indemnity for every excess,[342] were left to work their will upon the towns and villages of Western Scotland. They spared neither age nor sex. They deprived the people of their property; they even stripped them of their clothes, and sent them out naked to die in the fields. Upon many, they inflicted the most horrible tortures.[146] Children, torn from their mothers, were foully abused; while both mothers and daughters were subjected to a fate, compared to which death would have been a joyful alternative.[343]

It was in this way, that the English government sought to break the spirit, and to change the opinions, of the Scotch people. The nobles looked on in silence, and, so far from resisting, had not even the courage to remonstrate. The parliament was equally servile, and sanctioned whatever the government demanded. Still, the people were firm. Their clergy, drawn from the middle classes, clung to them; they clung to their clergy, and both were unchanged. The bishops were hated as allies of the government, and were with reason regarded as public enemies. They were known to have favoured, and often to have suggested, the atrocities which had been committed;[344] and they were so pleased with the[147] punishment inflicted upon their opponents, that no one was surprised, when, a few years later, they, in an address to James II., the most cruel of all the Stuarts, declared that he was the darling of heaven, and hoped that God might give him the hearts of his subjects, and the necks of his enemies.[345]

The character of the prince, whom the bishops thus delighted to honour, is now well understood. Horrible as were the crimes which had been perpetrated, they were surpassed by what occurred, when he, in 1680, assumed the direction of affairs.[346] He had worked himself to that pitch of iniquity, as to derive actual enjoyment from witnessing the agonies of his fellow-creatures. This is an abyss of wickedness, into which even the most corrupt natures rarely fall. There have been, and always will be, many men who care nothing for human suffering, and who will inflict any amount of pain, in order to gain certain ends. But to take delight in the spectacle, is a peculiar and hideous abomination. James, however, was so dead to shame, that he did not care even to conceal his horrible tastes. Whenever torture was inflicted, he was sure to be present, feasting his eyes, and revelling with a fiendish joy.[347] It makes[148] our flesh creep to think that such a man should have been the ruler of millions. But what shall we say to the Scotch bishops, who applauded him, of whose conduct they were daily witnesses? Where can we find language strong enough to stigmatize those recreant priests, who, having passed years in attempting to subjugate the liberties of their country, did, towards the close of their career, and just before their final fall, band together, and employ their united authority, as ministers of a holy and peaceful religion, to stamp with public approval, a prince, whose malignant cruelty made him loathed by his contemporaries, and whose revolting predilections, unless we ascribe them to a diseased brain, are not only a slur upon the age which tolerated them, but a disgrace to the higher instincts of our common nature?

So utterly corrupt, however, were the ruling classes in Scotland, that such crimes seem hardly to have excited indignation. The sufferers were refractory subjects, and against them every thing was lawful. The usual torture, which was called the torture of the boots, was to place the leg in a frame, into which wedges were driven, until the bones were broken.[348] But when James[149] visited Scotland, an opinion began to grow up, that this was too lenient, and that other means must be devised. The spirit which he communicated to his subordinates, animated his immediate successors, and, in 1684, during his absence, a new instrument was introduced, termed the thumbikins. This was composed of small steel screws, arranged with such diabolical art, that not only the thumb, but also the whole hand, could be compressed by them, producing pain more exquisite than any hitherto known, and having, moreover, the advantage of not endangering life; so that the torture could be frequently repeated on the same person.[349]

After this, little more need be said.[350] From the mere[150] mention of such things, the mind recoils with disgust. The reader of the history of that time sickens and faints at the contrivances by which these abject creatures sought to stifle public opinion, and to ruin, for ever, a gallant and high-spirited people. But now, as before, they laboured in vain. More yet was, however, to be borne. The short reign of James II. was ushered in by an act of singular barbarity. A few weeks after this bad man came to the throne, all the children in Annandale and Nithsdale, between the ages of six and ten, were seized by the soldiers, separated from their parents, and threatened with immediate death.[351] The next step was, to banish, by wholesale, large numbers of adults, who were shipped off to unhealthy settlements; many[151] of the men first losing their ears, and the women being branded, some on the hand, some on the cheek.[352] Those, however, who remained behind, were equal to the emergency, and were ready to do what remained to be done. In 1688, as in 1642, the Scotch people and the English people united against their common oppressor, who saved himself by sudden and ignominious flight. He was a coward as well as a despot, and from him there was no further danger. The bishops, indeed, loved him; but they were an insignificant body, and had enough to do to look to themselves. His only powerful friends were the Highlanders. That barbarous race thought, with regret, of those bygone days when the government had not only allowed them, but had ordered them, to plunder and oppress their southern neighbours. For this purpose, Charles II. had availed himself of their services; and it could hardly be doubted, that if the Stuart dynasty were restored, they would be again employed, and would again enrich themselves by pillaging the Lowlanders.[353] War was their chief amusement; it was also their livelihood; and it was the only thing that they understood.[354] Besides this, the mere fact that[152] James no longer possessed authority, wonderfully increased their loyalty towards him. The Highlanders flourished by rapine, and traded in anarchy.[355] They, therefore, hated any government which was strong enough to punish crime; and the Stuarts being now far away, this nation of thieves loved them with an ardour which nothing but their absence could have caused. From William III., they feared restraint; but the exiled prince could do them no hurt, and would look on their excesses as the natural result of their zeal. Not that they cared about the principle of monarchical succession, or speculated on the doctrine of divine right.[356] The only succession that interested them, was that of their chiefs. Their only notion of right, was to do what[153] those chiefs commanded. Being miserably poor,[357] they, in raising a rebellion, risked nothing except their lives, of which, in that state of society, men are always reckless. If they failed, they encountered a speedy, and, as they deemed it, an honourable death. If they succeeded, they gained fame and wealth. In either case, they were sure of many enjoyments. They were sure of being able, for a time at least, to indulge in pillage and murder, and to practise, without restraint, those excesses which they regarded as the choicest guerdon of a soldier's career.

So far, therefore, from wondering at the rebellions of 1715 and 1745,[358] the only wonder is, that they did not break out sooner, and that they were not better supported. In 1745, when the sudden appearance of the rebels struck England with terror, and when they penetrated even to the heart of the kingdom, their numbers, even at their height, including Lowland and English recruits, never reached six thousand men. The ordinary amount was five thousand;[359] and they cared[154] so little about the cause for which they professed to fight, that, in 1715, when they numbered much stronger than in 1745, they refused to enter England, and make head against the government, until they were bribed by the promise of additional pay.[360] So, too, in 1745, after they had won the battle of Preston-pans, the only result of that great victory was, that the Highlanders, instead of striking a fresh blow, deserted in large[155] bodies, that they might secure the booty they had obtained, and which alone they valued. They heeded not whether Stuart or Hanoverian gained the day; and at this critical moment, they were unable, says the historian, to resist their desire to return to their glens, and decorate their huts with the spoil.[361]

There are, indeed, few things more absurd than that lying spirit of romance, which represents the rising of the Highlanders as the outburst of a devoted loyalty. Nothing was further from their minds than this. The Highlanders have crimes enough to account for, without being burdened by needless reproach. They were thieves and murderers; but that was in their way of life, and they felt not the stigma. Though they were ignorant and ferocious, they were not so foolish as to be personally attached to that degraded family, which, before the accession of William III., occupied the[156] throne of Scotland. To love such men as Charles II. and James II., may, perhaps, be excused as one of those peculiarities of taste of which one sometimes hears. But to love all their descendants; to feel an affection so comprehensive as to take in the whole dynasty, and, for the sake of gratifying that eccentric passion, not only to undergo great hardships, but to inflict enormous evil upon two kingdoms, would have been a folly as well as a wickedness, and would convict the Highlanders of a species of insanity alien to their nature. They burst into insurrection, because insurrection suited their habits, and because they hated all government and all order.[362] But, so far from caring for a monarch, the very institution of monarchy was repulsive to them. It was contrary to that spirit of clanship to which they were devoted; and, from their earliest childhood, they were accustomed to respect none but their chiefs, to whom they paid a willing obedience, and whom they considered far superior to all the potentates of the earth.[363] No one, indeed, who is really acquainted with[157] their history, will think them capable of having spilt their blood on behalf of any sovereign, be he whom he might; still less can we believe that they would quit their native land, and undertake long and hazardous marches, with the object of restoring that corrupt and tyrannical dynasty, whose offences smelt to heaven, and whose cruelties had, at length, kindled the anger even of humble and meek-minded men.

The simple fact is, that the outbreaks of 1715 and 1745 were, in our country, the last struggle of barbarism against civilization. On the one side, war and confusion. On the other side, peace and prosperity. These were the interests for which men really fought; and neither party cared for Stuarts or for Hanoverians. The result of such a contest in the eighteenth century, could hardly be doubtful. At the[158] time, the rebellions caused great alarm, both from their suddenness, and from the strange and ferocious appearance of the Highland invaders.[364] But the knowledge we now possess, enables us to see, that, from the beginning, success was impossible. Though the government was extremely remiss, and, notwithstanding the information it received, allowed itself on both occasions to be taken by surprise, there was no real danger.[365][159] The English, not being particularly enamoured either with the Highlanders or with the Stuarts, refused to rise;[366] and it cannot be seriously supposed, that a few thousand half-naked banditti had it in their power to prescribe to the people of England what sovereign they should obey, and under what sort of government they should live.

After 1745, there was no further interruption. The interests of civilization, that is, the interests of knowledge, of liberty, and of wealth, gradually assumed the upper hand, and reduced men like the Highlanders to utter insignificance. Roads were cut through their country; and, for the first time, travellers from the south began to mingle with them in their hitherto inaccessible wilds.[367] In those parts, the movement[160] was, indeed, very slow; but, in the Lowlands, it was much more rapid. For, the traders and inhabitants of towns were now becoming prominent, and their authority helped to neutralize the old warlike and anarchical habits. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, a taste for commercial speculation sprung up, and a large amount of the energy of Scotland was turned into this new channel.[368] Early in the eighteenth[161] century, the same tendency was displayed in literature; and works on mercantile and economical subjects became common.[369] A change in manners was also perceptible. About this period, the Scotch began to lose something of that rugged ferocity which had distinguished them of old. This improvement was evinced in several ways; one of the most remarkable being an alteration, which was first observed in 1710, when it was noticed that men were leaving off armour, which had hitherto been worn by every one who could afford it, as a useful precaution in a barbarous, and therefore a warlike society.[370]

To trace the general progress in its various parts, or even to indicate the immediate consequences, would require a separate volume. One of the results is, however, too conspicuous to be passed over in silence, though it does not deserve all the importance that has been attached to it. This is, the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions, which, after all, was but a symptom of the great movement, and not a cause of it; being itself due, partly to the growth of the industrial spirit, and partly to that diminution of the power of the aristocracy, which had been visible as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century. During many ages, certain persons of noble birth had enjoyed the privilege of trying offences, and even of inflicting capital punishment, simply because their ancestors had done so before them; the judicial power being, in fact, part of their patrimony, and descending to them like the rest of their property.[371] An[162] institution of this sort, which made a man a judge, not because he was apt for the office, but because he was born under particular circumstances, was a folly which the revolutionary temper of the eighteenth century was not likely to spare. The innovating spirit for which that age was remarkable, could hardly fail to attack so preposterous a custom; and its extinction was facilitated, both by the decline of the nobles who possessed the privilege, and by the rise of their natural opponents, the trading and commercial classes. The decay of the Scotch nobility, in the eighteenth century, may be traced to two special causes, in addition to those general causes, which were weakening the aristocracy nearly all over Europe. With the general causes, which were common to England and to most parts of the Continent, we are not now concerned. It is enough to say, that they were entirely dependent on that advance of knowledge, which, by increasing the authority of the intellectual class, undermines, and must eventually overthrow, mere hereditary and accidental distinctions. But those causes which were confined to Scotland, had a more political character, and though they were purely local, they harmonized with the whole train of events, and ought to be noticed, as links of a vast chain, which connects the present state of that singular country with its past history.

The first cause was the union of Scotland with England, in 1707, which struck a heavy blow at the Scotch aristocracy. By it, the legislature of the smaller country was absorbed in that of the larger, and the hereditary[163] legislators suddenly sunk into insignificance. In the Scotch parliament, there were a hundred and forty-five peers, all of whom, except sixteen, were, by the Act of Union, deprived of the power of making laws.[372] These sixteen were sent off to London, and took their seats in the House of Lords, of which they formed a small and miserable fraction. On every subject, however important to their own country, they were easily outvoted; their manners, their gesticulations, and particularly their comical mode of pronouncing English, were openly ridiculed;[373] and the chiefs of this old and powerful aristocracy found themselves, to their utter amazement, looked on as men of no account, and they were often obliged to fawn and cringe at the levee of the minister, in order to procure a place for some needy dependent. Their friends and relations applied to them for offices, and generally applied in vain. Indeed, the Scotch nobles, being very poor, wanted for themselves more than the English government was inclined to give, and, in the eagerness of their clamour, they lost both dignity[164] and reputation.[374] They were exposed to mortifying rebuffs, and their true position being soon known, weakened their influence at home, among a people already prepared to throw off their authority. To this,[165] however, they were comparatively indifferent, as they looked for future fortune, not to Scotland, but to England. London became the centre of their intrigues and their hopes.[375] Those who had no seat in the House of[166] Lords, longed to have one, and it was notorious, that the darling object of nearly every Scotch noble was to be made an English peer.[376] The scene of their ambition being shifted, they were gradually weaned from their old associations. Directly this was apparent, the foundation of their power was gone. From that moment, their real nationality vanished. It became evident that their patriotism was but a selfish passion. They ceased to love a country which could give them nothing, and, as a natural consequence, their country ceased to love them.

Thus it was that this great tie was severed. In this, as in all similar movements, there were, of course, exceptions. Some of the nobles were disinterested, and some of their dependents were faithful. But, looking at the Lowlands as a whole, there can be no doubt that, before the middle of the eighteenth century, that bond of affection was gone, which, in former times, made tens of thousands of Scotchmen ready to follow their superiors in any cause, and to sacrifice their lives at a nod. That spirit, which was once deemed ardent and generous, but which a deeper analysis shows to be mean and servile, was now almost extinct, except among the barbarous Highlanders, whose ignorance of affairs long prevented them from being influenced by the stream of events. That the proximate cause of this change was[167] the Union, will probably be denied by no one who has minutely studied the history of the period. And that the change was beneficial, can only be questioned by those sentimental dreamers, with whom life is a matter rather of feeling than of judgment, and who, despising real and tangible interests, reproach their own age with its material prosperity, and with its love of luxury, as if they were the result of low and sordid desires unknown to the loftier temper of bygone days. To visionaries of this sort, it may well appear that the barbarous and ignorant noble, surrounded by a host of devoted retainers, and living with rude simplicity in his own dull and wretched castle, forms a beautiful picture of those unmercenary and uncalculating times, when men, instead of seeking for knowledge, or for wealth, or for comfort, were content with the frugal innocence of their fathers, and when, protection being accorded by one class, and gratitude felt by the other, the subordination of society was maintained, and its different parts were knit together by sympathy, and by the force of common emotions, instead of, as now, by the coarse maxims of a vulgar and selfish utility.

Those, however, whose knowledge gives them some acquaintance with the real course of human affairs, will see that in Scotland, as in all civilized countries, the decline of aristocratic power forms an essential part of the general progress. It must, therefore, be esteemed a fortunate circumstance, that, among the Scotch, where that power had long been enormous, it was weakened in the eighteenth century, not only by general causes, which were operating elsewhere, but also by two smaller and more special causes. The first of these minor causes was, as we have just seen, the Union with England. The other cause was, comparatively speaking, insignificant, but still it produced decided effect, particularly in the northern districts. It consisted in the fact, that some of the oldest Highland nobles were concerned in the rebellion of 1745, and that, when that rebellion was put down, those who escaped from the sword were glad to save their lives by flying abroad,[168] leaving their dependents to shift for themselves.[377] They became attached to the court of the Pretender, or, at all events, intrigued for him. That, indeed, was their only chance, their estates at home being forfeited. For nearly forty years, several great families were in exile, and although, about 1784, they began to return,[378] other associations had been formed during their absence, and new ideas had arisen, both in their own minds, and in the minds of their retainers. A fresh generation had grown up, and fresh influences had been brought to bear. Strangers, with whom the people had no sympathy, had intruded upon the estates of the nobles, and though they might receive obedience, it was an obedience unaccompanied by deference. The real reverence was gone; the homage of the heart was no more. And as this state of things lasted for about forty years, it interrupted the whole train of thought; and the former habits were so completely broken, that, even when the chiefs were restored to their forfeited honours, they found that there was another part of their inheritance which they were unable to recover, and that they had lost for ever that unreserved submission, which, in times of yore, had been willingly paid to their fathers.[379]


Owing to these circumstances, the course of affairs in Scotland, during the eighteenth century, and especially during the first half of it, was marked by a more rapid decline of the influence of the higher ranks than was seen in any other country. It was, therefore, an easy task for the English government to procure a law, which, by abolishing hereditary jurisdictions, deprived the Scotch aristocracy, in 1748, of the last great ensign of their power.[380] The law, being suited to the spirit of the times, worked well; and in the Highlands, in particular, it was one immediate cause of the establishment of something like the order of a settled state.[381] But in this instance, as in every other, the real and[170] overruling cause is to be found in the condition of the surrounding society. A few generations earlier, hardly any one would have thought of abolishing these mischievous jurisdictions, which were then deemed beneficial, and were respected, as belonging to the great families by natural and inalienable right. Such an opinion was the inevitable result of the state of things then existing. This being the case, it is certain that, if the legislature had, at that time, been so rash as to lay its hand on what the nation respected, popular sympathy would have been aroused, and the nobles would have been strengthened by what was intended to weaken them.[382] In 1748, however, matters were very different. Public opinion had changed; and this change of opinion was not only the cause of the new law, but was the reason of the new law being effective. And so it always is. They, indeed, whose knowledge is almost confined to what they see passing around them, and who, on account of their ignorance, are termed practical men, may talk as they will about the reforms which government has introduced, and the improvement to be expected from legislation. But whoever will take a wider and more commanding view of affairs, will soon discover that such hopes are chimerical. They will learn that lawgivers are nearly always the obstructors of society, instead of its helpers; and that, in the extremely few cases in which their measures have turned out well, their success has been owing to the fact, that, contrary to their usual custom, they have implicitly obeyed the spirit of their time, and have been, as they always should be, the mere servants of the people, to whose wishes they are bound to give a public and legal sanction.

Another striking peculiarity of Scotland, during the[171] remarkable period we are now considering, was the sudden rise of trading and manufacturing interests. This preceded, by a whole generation, the celebrated statute of 1748, and was one of the causes of it, in so far as it weakened the great families, against whom that statute was directed. The movement may be traced back, as I have already noticed, to the end of the seventeenth century, and it was in active operation before the first twenty years of the eighteenth century had passed away. A mercantile and money-making spirit was diffused to an extent formerly unknown, and men becoming valued for their wealth as well as for their birth, a new standard of excellence was introduced, and new actors appeared on the scene. Heretofore, persons were respected solely for their parentage; now they were also respected for their riches. The old aristocracy, made uneasy by the change, did every thing they could to thwart and discourage these young and dangerous rivals.[383] Nor can we wonder at their feeling somewhat sore. The tendency which was exhibited, was, indeed, fatal to their pretensions. Instead of asking who was a man's father, the question became, how much he had got. And certainly, if either question is to be put, the latter is the more rational. Wealth is a real and substantial thing, which ministers to our pleasures, increases our comfort, multiplies our resources, and not unfrequently alleviates our pains. But birth is a dream and a shadow, which, so far from benefiting either body or mind, only puffs up its possessor with an imaginary excellence, and teaches him to despise those whom nature has made his superiors, and who, whether engaged in adding to our knowledge or to our wealth, are, in either case, ameliorating the condition of society, and rendering to it true and valuable service.

This antagonism between the aristocratic and trading spirit, lies in the nature of things, and is essential, however it may be disguised at particular periods.[172] Therefore it is, that the history of trade has a philosophic importance in reference to the progress of society, quite independent of practical considerations. On this account I have called the attention of the reader to what otherwise would be foreign to the objects of the present Introduction; and I will now trace, as briefly as possible, the beginning of that great industrial movement, to the extension of which the overthrow of the Scotch aristocracy is to be partly ascribed.

The Union with England, which was completed in 1707, produced immediate and striking effects on trade. Its first effect was, to throw open to the Scotch a new and extensive commerce with the English colonies in America. Before the Union, no goods of any kind could be landed in Scotland from the American plantations, unless they had first been landed in England, and paid duty there; nor even, in that case, might they be conveyed by any Scotch vessel.[384] This was one of many foolish regulations by which our legislators interfered with the natural course of affairs, and injured the interests of their own country, as well as those of their neighbours. Formerly, however, such laws were considered to be extremely sagacious, and politicians were constantly contriving protective schemes of this sort, which, with the best intentions, inflicted incalculable[173] harm. But if, as seems probable, one of their objects, in this instance, was to retard the improvement of Scotland, they were more than usually successful in effecting the purpose at which they aimed. For, the whole of the western coast, being cut off from direct intercourse with the American colonies, was debarred from the only foreign trade it could advantageously follow; since the European ports lay to the east, and could not be reached by the inhabitants of Western Scotland without a long circumnavigation, which prevented them from competing, on equal terms, with their countrymen, who, sailing from the other side, were already near the chief seats of commerce. The consequence was, that Glasgow and the other western ports remained almost stationary; having comparatively few means of gratifying that enterprising spirit, which rose among them late in the seventeenth century, and not daring to trade with those prosperous colonies which were just before them across the Atlantic, but from which they were entirely excluded by the jealous precautions of the English parliament.[385]

When, however, by the Act of Union, the two countries became one, these precautions were discontinued, and Scotland was allowed to hold direct intercourse with America and the West India Islands. The result which this produced on the national industry, was almost instantaneous, because it gave vent to a spirit which had begun to appear among the people late in the seventeenth century, and because it was aided by those still more general causes, which, in most parts of Europe, predisposed that age to increased industry. The west of Scotland, being nearest to America, was the first to feel the movement. In 1707, the inhabitants of[174] Greenock, without the interference of government, imposed on themselves a voluntary assessment, with the object of constructing a harbour. In this undertaking, they displayed so much zeal, that, by the year 1710, the whole of the works were completed; a pier and capacious harbour were erected, and Greenock was suddenly raised from insignificance to take an important part in the trade of the Atlantic.[386] For a while, the merchants were content to carry on their traffic with ships hired from the English. Soon, however, they became bolder; they began to build on their own account; and, in 1719, the first vessel belonging to Greenock sailed for America.[387] From that moment, their commerce increased so rapidly, that, by the year 1740, the tax which the citizens had laid on themselves sufficed, not only to wipe off the debt which had been incurred, but also to leave a considerable surplus available for municipal purposes.[388] At the same time, and by the action of the same causes, Glasgow emerged from[175] obscurity. In 1718, its enterprising inhabitants launched in the Clyde the first Scotch vessel which ever crossed the Atlantic; thus anticipating the people of Greenock by one year.[389] Glasgow and Greenock became the two great commercial outlets of Scotland, and the chief centres of activity.[390] Comforts, and, indeed, luxuries, hitherto only attainable at enormous cost, began to be[176] diffused through the country. The productions of the tropics could now be procured direct from the New World, which, in return, offered a rich and abundant market for manufactured goods. This was a further stimulus to Scotch industry, and its effects were immediately apparent. The inhabitants of Glasgow, finding a great demand among the Americans for linen, introduced its manufacture into their city in 1725, whence it extended to other places, and, in a short time, gave employment to thousands of workmen.[391] It is also from the year 1725, that Paisley dates its rise. So late as the beginning of the eighteenth century, this rich and prosperous city was still a straggling village, containing only a single street.[392] But, after the Union, its poor, and hitherto idle, inhabitants began to be moved by the activity which they saw on every side. Gradually, their views expanded; and the introduction among them, in 1725, of the manufacture of thread, was the first step in that great career in which they never stopped, until they had raised Paisley to be a vast emporium of industry, and a successful promoter of every art by which industry is nurtured.[393]


Nor was it merely in the west, that this movement was displayed. In Scotland generally, the spirit of trade became so rife, that it began to encroach on the old theological spirit, which had long been supreme. Hitherto, the Scotch had cared for little except religious polemics. In every society, these had been the chief subjects of conversation; and on them, men had wasted their energies, without the least benefit either to themselves or to others. But, about this time it was observed, that the improvement of manufactures became a common topic of discourse.[394] Such a statement, made by a well-informed writer, who witnessed what he relates, is a curious proof of the change which was beginning, though very faintly, to steal over the Scotch mind. It shows that there was, at all events, a tendency to turn aside from subjects which are inaccessible to our understanding, and the discussion of which has no effect except to exasperate those who dispute, and to make them more intolerant than ever of theological opinions different from their own. Unhappily, there were, as I shall presently point out, other causes at work, which prevented this tendency from producing all the good that might have been expected. Still, so far as it went, it was a clear gain. It was a blow to superstition, inasmuch as it was an attempt to occupy the human mind with mere secular considerations. In a country like Scotland, this alone was extremely important. We must also add, that, though it was the effect of increased industry, it, as often happens,[178] reacted upon, and strengthened, its cause. For, by diminishing, however little, the inordinate respect formerly paid to theological pursuits, it was, in the same proportion, an inducement to ambitious and enterprising men to abstain from those pursuits, and to engage in temporal matters, where ability, being less fettered by prejudice, has more scope, and enjoys more freedom of action. Of those men, some rose to the first rank in literature; while others, taking a different but equally useful turn, became as eminent in trade. Hence, Scotland, during the eighteenth century, possessed, for the first time, two powerful and active classes, whose aim was essentially secular—the intellectual class, and the industrial class. Before the eighteenth century, neither of these classes exercised an independent sway, or could, indeed, be said to have a separate existence. The intellect of the country was absorbed by the church; the industry of the country was controlled by the nobles. The effect which this change produced on the literature of Scotland will be traced in the last chapter of the present volume. Its effect on industry was equally remarkable, and, for the well-being of the nation, was equally valuable. But it does not possess that general scientific interest which belongs to the intellectual movement; and I shall, therefore, in addition to the evidence already given, confine myself to a few more facts illustrative of the history of Scotch industry down to the middle of the eighteenth century, by which time there was no longer any doubt that the flood of material prosperity had fairly set in.

During the seventeenth century, the only Scotch manufacture of any importance was that of linen, which, however, like every other branch of industry, was very backward, and was exposed to all sorts of discouragement.[395] But, after the Union, it received a[179] sudden impetus, from two causes. One of these causes, as I have already noticed, was the demand from America, consequent upon the trade of the Atlantic being thrown open. The other cause was, the removal of the duty which England had imposed upon the importation of Scotch linen. These two circumstances, occurring nearly at the same time, produced such effect on the national industry, that De Foe, who had a wider knowledge of the details of trade than any man of that age, said that it seemed as if, for the future, the Scotch poor could never lack employment.[396] Unfortunately, this was not the case, and never will be, until society is radically changed. But the movement which provoked so bold a remark from so cautious an observer as De Foe, must have been very striking; and we know, from other sources, that, between 1728 and 1738, the manufacture of linen for exportation alone was more than doubled.[397] After that period, this and other departments of Scotch industry advanced with a constantly accelerating speed. It is mentioned, by a contemporary who was likely to be well informed, that, between 1715 and 1745, the trade and manufactures of Scotland increased more than they had done for ages before.[398] Such a statement, though valuable as[180] corroborating other evidence, is too vague to be entirely relied on; and historians, who usually occupy themselves with insignificant details about courts and princes and statesmen, desert us in matters which are really important, so that it is now hardly possible to reconstruct the history of the Scotch people during this, the first epoch of their material prosperity. I have, however, gathered a few facts, which appear to rest on good authority, and which supply us with something like precise information as to dates. In 1739, the manufacture of linen was introduced into Kilbarchan,[399] and, in 1740, into Arbroath.[400] From the year 1742, the manufactures of Kilmarnock date their rise.[401] In 1748, the first linen was manufactured in Cullen;[402] and in the same year in Inverary.[403] In 1749, this great branch of industry and source of wealth was established, on a large scale, in Aberdeen;[404] while, about 1750, it began to diffuse itself in Wemyss, in the county of Fife.[405] These things happening, within eleven years, in parts of the country so distant from each other, and so totally[181] unconnected, indicate the existence of general causes, which governed the whole movement; though in this, as in all instances, every thing is popularly ascribed to the influence of a few powerful individuals. We have, however, other proofs that the progress was essentially national. Even in Edinburgh, where hitherto no claims had been respected except those of the nobles or clergy, the voice of this new trading interest began to be heard. In that poor and warlike capital, a society was now first established for the encouragement of manufactures; and we are assured that this was but a single manifestation of the enthusiasm which was generally felt on the subject.[406] Coinciding with this movement, and indeed forming part of it, we can discern the earliest symptoms of a monied class, properly so called. In 1749, there was established, at Aberdeen, the first county bank ever seen in Scotland; and, in the very same year, a similar establishment was formed at Glasgow.[407] These represented the east and the west, and, by the advances which they were able to make, each assisted the trade of its own district. Between eastern and western Scotland, the intercourse, as yet, was difficult and costly. But this likewise was about to[182] be remedied by an enterprise, the mere conception of which would formerly have excited ridicule. After the Union, the idea arose of uniting the east with the west by a canal, which should join the Forth to the Clyde. The plan was deemed chimerical, and was abandoned. As soon, however, as the manufacturing and commercial classes had gained sufficient influence they adopted it, with that energy which is characteristic of their order, and which is more common among them than among any other rank of society. The result was, that, in 1768, the great work was fairly begun;[408] and the first step was taken towards what, in a material point of view, was an enterprise of vast importance, but, in a social and intellectual point of view, was of still superior value, inasmuch as, by supplying a cheap and easy transit through the heart of the most populous part of Scotland, it had a direct tendency to make different districts and different places feel that each had need of others, and thus encouraging the notion that all belonged to one common scheme, it assisted in diminishing local prejudice and assuaging local jealousy; while, in the same proportion, by enticing men to move out of the narrow circle in which they had habitually lived, it prepared them for a certain enlargement of mind, which is the natural consequence of seeing affairs under various aspects, and which is never found in any country in which the means of travelling are either very hazardous or very expensive.

Such was the state of Scotland towards the middle of the eighteenth century; and surely a fairer prospect was never opened to any country. The land was at peace. It had nothing to fear, either from foreign[183] invasion, or from domestic tyranny. The arts, which increase the comfort of man, and minister to his happiness, were sedulously cultivated; wealth was being created with unexampled speed, and the blessings which follow in the train of wealth were being widely diffused; while the insolence of the nobility was so effectually curbed, that industrious citizens could, for the first time, feel their own independence, could know that what they earned, that likewise they should enjoy, and could hold themselves erect, and with a manly brow, in the presence of a class before whom they had long crouched in abject submission.

Besides this, a great literature now arose, a literature of rare and surpassing beauty. To narrate the intellectual achievements of the Scotch during the eighteenth century, in a manner at all commensurate with their importance, would require a separate treatise, and I cannot now stop even to mention what all educated persons are at least partly acquainted with; each student recognizing the value of what was done in his own pursuit. In the last chapter of this volume, I shall, however, attempt to give some idea of the general results considered as a whole; at present, it is enough to say, that in every branch of knowledge this once poor and ignorant people produced original and successful thinkers. What makes this the more remarkable, is its complete contrast to their former state. Down even to the beginning of the eighteenth century, Scotland could only boast of two authors whose works have benefited mankind. They were Buchanan and Napier. Buchanan was the first political writer who held accurate views respecting government, and who clearly defined the true relation between the people and their rulers. He placed popular rights on a solid basis, and vindicated, by anticipation, all subsequent revolutions. Napier, equally bold in another department, succeeded, by a mighty effort of genius, in detecting, and pushing to its extreme consequence, a law of the progression of numbers, which is so simple and yet so potent, that it unravels the most tedious and intricate calculations, and, thus economizing the labours of the brain, has saved an enormous and[184] incalculable waste. These two men were, indeed, great benefactors of their species; but they stand alone, and if all the other authors Scotland produced down to the close of the seventeenth century had never been born, or if, being born, they had never written, society would have lost nothing, but would be in exactly the same position as it now is.

Early, however, in the eighteenth century, a movement was felt all over Europe, and in that movement Scotland participated. A spirit of inquiry was abroad, so general and so searching, that no country could entirely escape from its action. Sanguine men were excited, and even grave men were stirred. It seemed as if a long night were about to close. Light broke forth where before there was nothing but darkness. Opinions which had stood the test of ages were suddenly questioned; and in every direction doubts sprung up, and proofs were demanded. The human mind, waxing bold, would not be satisfied with the old evidence. Things were examined at their foundation, and the basis of every belief was jealously scrutinized. For a time, this was confined to the higher intellects; but soon the movement spread, and, in the most advanced countries, worked upon nearly all classes. In England and in France, the result was extremely beneficial. It might have been hoped, that in Scotland likewise, the popular mind would gradually have become enlightened. But not so. Time rolled on; one generation succeeded another; the eighteenth century passed away; the nineteenth century came; and still the people made no sign. The gloom of the middle ages was yet upon them. While all around was light, the Scotch, enveloped in mist, crept on, groping their way, dismally and with fear. While other nations were shaking off their old superstitions, this singular people clung to theirs with undiminished tenacity. Now, indeed, their grasp is gradually slackening, but with extreme slowness, and threatening reactions frequently appear. This, as it always has been, and still is, the curse of Scotland, so also is it the chief difficulty with which the historian of Scotland has to contend. Everywhere else, when the[185] rise of the intellectual classes, and that of the trading and manufacturing classes, have accompanied each other, the invariable result has been, a diminution of the power of the clergy, and, consequently, a diminution of the influence of superstition. The peculiarity of Scotland is, that, during the eighteenth century, and even down to the middle of the nineteenth century, the industrial and intellectual progress has continued without materially shaking the authority of the priesthood.[409] Strange and unequal combination! The country of bold and enterprising merchants, of shrewd manufacturers, of far-seeing men of business, and of cunning artificers; the country, too, of such fearless thinkers as George Buchanan, David Hume, and Adam Smith, is awed by a few noisy and ignorant preachers, to whom it allows a license, and yields a submission, disgraceful to the age, and incompatible with the commonest notions of liberty. A people, in many respects very advanced, and holding upon political subjects enlightened views, do, upon all religious subjects, display a littleness of mind, an illiberality of sentiment, a heat of temper, and a love of persecuting others, which shows that the Protestantism of which they boast has done them no good; that, in the most important matters, it has left them as narrow as it found them; and that it has been unable to free them from prejudices which make them the laughing-stock of Europe, and which have turned the very name of the Scotch Kirk into a by-word and a reproach among educated men.

I shall now endeavour to explain how all this arose, and how such apparent inconsistencies are to be reconciled. That they may be reconciled, and that the inconsistencies are merely apparent and not real, will be[186] at once admitted by whoever is capable of a scientific conception of history. For, in the moral world, as in the physical world, nothing is anomalous; nothing is unnatural; nothing is strange. All is order, symmetry, and law. There are opposites, but there are no contradictions. In the character of a nation, inconsistency is impossible. Such, however, is still the backward condition of the human mind, and with so evil and jaundiced an eye do we approach the greatest problems, that not only common writers, but even men from whom better things might be hoped, are on this point involved in constant confusion, perplexing themselves and their readers by speaking of inconsistency, as if it were a quality belonging to the subject which they investigate, instead of being, as it really is, a measure of their own ignorance. It is the business of the historian to remove this ignorance, by showing that the movements of nations are perfectly regular, and that, like all other movements, they are solely determined by their antecedents. If he cannot do this, he is no historian. He may be an annalist, or a biographer, or a chronicler, but higher than that he cannot rise, unless he is imbued with that spirit of science which teaches, as an article of faith, the doctrine of uniform sequence; in other words, the doctrine that certain events having already happened, certain other events corresponding to them will also happen. To seize this idea with firmness, and to apply it on all occasions, without listening to any exceptions, is extremely difficult, but it must be done by whoever wishes to elevate the study of history from its present crude and informal state, and do what he may towards placing it in its proper rank, as the head and chief of all the sciences. Even then, he cannot perform his task unless his materials are ample, and derived from sources of unquestioned credibility. But if his facts are sufficiently numerous; if they are very diversified; if they have been collected from such various quarters that they can check and confront each other, so as to do away with all suspicion of their testimony being garbled; and if he who uses them possesses that faculty of generalization, without which nothing great can be achieved, he will[187] hardly fail in bringing some part of his labours to a prosperous issue, provided he devotes all his strength to that one enterprise, postponing to it every other object of ambition, and sacrificing to it many interests which men hold dear. Some of the most pleasurable incentives to action, he must disregard. Not for him, are those rewards which, in other pursuits, the same energy would have earned; not for him, the sweets of popular applause; not for him, the luxury of power; not for him, a share in the councils of his country; not for him, a conspicuous and honoured place before the public eye. Albeit conscious of what he could do, he may not compete in the great contest; he cannot hope to win the prize; he cannot even enjoy the excitement of the struggle. To him, the arena is closed. His recompense lies within himself, and he must learn to care little for the sympathy of his fellow-creatures, or for such honours as they are able to bestow. So far from looking for these things, he should rather be prepared for that obloquy which always awaits those, who, by opening up new veins of thought, disturb the prejudices of their contemporaries. While ignorance, and worse than ignorance, is imputed to him, while his motives are misrepresented, and his integrity impeached, while he is accused of denying the value of moral principles, and of attacking the foundation of all religion, as if he were some public enemy, who made it his business to corrupt society, and whose delight it was to see what evil he could do; while these charges are brought forward, and repeated from mouth to mouth, he must be capable of pursuing in silence the even tenor of his way, without swerving, without pausing, and without stepping from his path to notice the angry outcries which he cannot but hear, and which he is more than human if he does not long to rebuke. These are the qualities, and these the high resolves, indispensable to him, who, on the most important of all subjects, believing that the old road is worn out and useless, seeks to strike out a new one for himself, and, in the effort, not only perhaps exhausts his strength, but is sure to incur the enmity of those who are bent on maintaining the ancient scheme unimpaired. To[188] solve the great problem of affairs; to detect those hidden circumstances which determine the march and destiny of nations; and to find, in the events of the past, a key to the proceedings of the future, is nothing less than to unite into a single science all the laws of the moral and physical world. Whoever does this, will build up afresh the fabric of our knowledge, re-arrange its various parts, and harmonize its apparent discrepancies. Perchance, the human mind is hardly ready for so vast an enterprise. At all events, he who undertakes it will meet with little sympathy, and will find few to help him. And let him toil as he may, the sun and noontide of his life shall pass by, the evening of his days shall overtake him, and he himself have to quit the scene, leaving that unfinished which he had vainly hoped to complete. He may lay the foundation; it will be for his successors to raise the edifice. Their hands will give the last touch; they will reap the glory; their names will be remembered when he is forgotten. It is, indeed, too true, that such a work requires, not only several minds, but also the successive experience of several generations. Once, I own, I thought otherwise. Once, when I first caught sight of the whole field of knowledge, and seemed, however dimly, to discern its various parts and the relation they bore to each other, I was so entranced with its surpassing beauty, that the judgment was beguiled, and I deemed myself able, not only to cover the surface, but also to master the details. Little did I know how the horizon enlarges as well as recedes, and how vainly we grasp at the fleeting forms, which melt away and elude us in the distance. Of all that I had hoped to do, I now find but too surely how small a part I shall accomplish. In those early aspirations, there was much that was fanciful; perhaps there was much that was foolish. Perhaps, too, they contained a moral defect, and savoured of an arrogance which belongs to a strength that refuses to recognize its own weakness. Still, even now that they are defeated and brought to nought, I cannot repent having indulged in them, but, on the contrary, I would willingly recall them, if I could. For, such hopes belong to that joyous and sanguine period of life, when[189] alone we are really happy; when the emotions are more active than the judgment; when experience has not yet hardened our nature; when the affections are not yet blighted and nipped to the core; and when the bitterness of disappointment not having yet been felt, difficulties are unheeded, obstacles are unseen, ambition is a pleasure instead of a pang, and the blood coursing swiftly through the veins, the pulse beats high, while the heart throbs at the prospect of the future. Those are glorious days; but they go from us, and nothing can compensate their absence. To me, they now seem more like the visions of a disordered fancy, than the sober realities of things that were, and are not. It is painful to make this confession; but I owe it to the reader, because I would not have him to suppose that either in this, or in the future volumes of my History, I shall be able to redeem my pledge, and to perform all that I promised. Something, I hope to achieve, which will interest the thinkers of this age; and something, perhaps, on which posterity may build. It will, however, only be a fragment of my original design. In the two last chapters I have attempted, and in the two next chapters I shall still further attempt, to solve a curious problem in the history of Scotland, which is intimately connected with other problems of a yet graver import: but though the solution will, I believe, be complete, the evidence of the solution will, most assuredly, be imperfect. I regret to add, that such imperfection is henceforth an essential part of my plan. It is essential, because I despair of supplying those deficiencies in my knowledge, of which I grow more sensible in proportion as my views become more extensive. It is also essential, because, after a fair estimate of my own strength, of the probable duration of my life, and of the limits to which industry can safely be pushed, I have been driven to the conclusion, that this Introduction, which I had projected as a solid foundation on which the history of England might subsequently be raised, must either be greatly curtailed, and consequently shorn of its force, or that, if not curtailed, there will hardly be a chance of my being able to narrate, with the amplitude and fulness of detail which they[190] richly deserve, the deeds of that great and splendid nation with which I am best acquainted, and of which it is my pride to count myself a member. It is with the free, the noble, and the high-minded English people, that my sympathies are most closely connected; on them my affections naturally centre; from their literature, and from their example, my best lessons have been learnt; and it is now the most cherished and the most sacred desire of my heart, that I may succeed in writing their history, and in unfolding the successive phases of their mighty career, while I am yet somewhat equal to the task, and before my faculties have begun to dwindle, or the power of continuous attention has begun to decay.


[274] Lord Dartmouth says (Note in Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 15): ‘The Earl of Seafield told me that King James frequently declared that he never looked upon himself to be more than King of Scotland in name, till he came to be King of England; but now, he said, one kingdom would help him to govern the other, or he had studied kingcraft to very little purpose from his cradle to that time.’ Compare Burnet's Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, Oxford, 1852, p. 36. ‘No sooner was he happily settled on the throne of England, but he went more roundly to work.’

[275] Compare Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 430, with Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 303, § 20; also the Act (p. 293, § 4), likewise in 1584, limiting the power of the General Assemblies. James, who flattered himself that he had now settled everything, signalized his triumph by personally abusing the clergy; ‘calling them lownes, smaicks, seditious knaves, and so furth.’ See a letter, dated 2nd of January 1585–6, in Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, p. 438, Edinburgh, 1844.

[276] ‘Bishops were alwayes looked at with a frown.’ Kirkton's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 129.

[277] See this remarkable statute, in Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 541, 2. As some of the historians of the Scotch Church have greatly misrepresented it, I will quote that part which expressly repeals the Act of 1584, in favour of the bishops. ‘Item oure said souerane lord and estaittis of Parliament foirsaid, abrogatis cass and anullis the xx act of the same pliamēt haldin at Edinburgh the said zeir 1584 zeiris granting cōmissioun to bishoppis and vtheris iuges constitute in ecclesiastical causs To ressaue his hienes presentatioun to benefices, To gif collatioun thairvpoun and to put ordor in all causs ecclesiasticall qlk his Maiestie and estaittis foirsaid declairis to be expyrit in the self and to be null in tyme cuming and of nane availl force nor effect.’

[278] ‘The King repented after that he had agreed unto it.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. p. 162. But this gives a faint idea of his real feelings. It is perhaps hardly necessary to adduce evidence of the opinions entertained on this point, by a prince, one of whose favourite sayings was, ‘No Bishop, no King.’ The reader will, however, find, in the Clarendon State Papers (vol. ii. p. 260 Oxford, 1773, folio), a letter from Charles I., which is worth looking at, because it frankly avows that James, in loving episcopacy and hating presbyterianism, was actuated rather by political motives than by religious ones. Charles writes: ‘The prudentiall part of any consideration will never be found opposit to the conscientious, nay heere, they go hand in hand; for (according to lawyers lodgique) show me any president where ever Presbiteriall government and Regall was together, without perpetuall rebellions. Which was the cause that necessitated the King, my Father, to change that governement in Scotland.’ Compare what is said by a Scotch Presbyterian of the seventeenth century, in Biographies edited for the Wodrow Society by the Rev. W. K. Tweedie, Edinburgh, 1845, vol. i. p. 13. ‘The reason why King James was so violent for bishops was neither their divine institution (which he denied they had), nor yet the profit the Church should reap by them (for he knew well both the men and their communications), but merely because he believed they were useful instruments to turn a limited monarchy into absolute dominion, and subjects into slaves, the design in the world he minded most.’

[279] ‘Had it not been laid hold of by designing politicians as a handle for accomplishing their measures, it would not now have been known that such an event had ever occurred.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 85. ‘Harmless as this uproar was, it afforded the court a pretext for carrying into execution its designs against the liberties and government of the Church.’ p. 89.

[280] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 342–345. Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. pp. 514, 515, 530, 531.

[281] ‘Intimidated by these menaces, and distressed at the loss of the courts of justice, they came to the resolution of making surrender of their political and religious liberties to the king.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 92. This is said of the magistrates of Edinburgh. Among other threats, one was, the ‘razing and ploughing of Edinburgh, and sowing it with salt.’ Wodrow's Life of Bruce, p. 48, prefixed to Bruce's Sermons, edited by the Rev. William Cunningham, Edinburgh, 1843. On this occasion, Elizabeth wrote a letter to James, which is printed in Letters of Queen Elizabeth and James VI., 1849, 4to, pp. 120, 121.

[282] M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 100. Scot (Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk, p. 88) says, ‘Sir Patrick Murray, the diligent apostle of the North, made their acquaintance with the King.’ Also, The Autobiography and Diary of James Melville, p. 403.

[283] Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 350, 359. But by far the best account of the influence of these northern clergy will be found in M'Crie's Life of Melville (vol. ii. pp. 100–105, 109, 131, 152), drawn, in several instances, from manuscript authorities. Compare Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. v. p. 625.

[284] This is related by his nephew, James Melville. ‘Mr. Andro Melvill come to the Assembly, by Commissoune of his Presbytrie, but wes commandit to keip his ludgeing; quho, being callit to the King in private, and demandit, Quhy he wes so trublesume as to come to the Assembly being dischairgit? He answerit, He had a calling in the Kirk of God, and of Jesus Chryst, the King of kings, quhilk he behovit to dischairge at all occasiounes, being orderlie callit thairto, as he wes at this tyme; and that for feir of a grytter punischment then could any earthly King inflict.’ The Autobiography and Diary of James Melvill, p. 542.

[285] As, owing to the passions of the rival classes, every step of this part of Scotch history is the subject of angry controversy, and as even Mr. Tytler (History of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 360) asserts that ‘the final establishment of Episcopacy’ took place at the Assembly of Montrose, in 1600. I subjoin a few extracts from the enactments of that Assembly, in order that the reader may judge for himself, and may test the accuracy of what I have stated in the text. ‘Concerning the maner of choosing of him that sall have vote in Parliament in name of the Kirk: It is condiscendit vpon, that he sall first be recommendit be the Kirk to his Majestie; and that the Kirk sall nominat sixe for every place that sall have neid to be filled, of quhom his Majestie sall choose ane, of quhom he best lykes; and his Majestie promises, obleises, and binds himselfe to choose no vther but ane of that number: And in cace his Majestie refuses the haill vpon ane just reason of ane insufficiency, and of greater sufficiencie of vthers that are not recommendit, the Kirk sall make ane new recommendatioun of men according to the first number, of the quhilk, ane salbe chosin be his Majestie without any farther refuisall or new nominatioun; and he that salbe chosin be his Majestie, salbe admittit be the Synods.’ Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 954. ‘As to the cautions to keip him, that sall have vote in Parliament, from corruptiouns: They be these following: 1. That he presume not, at any tyme, to propone at Parliament, Counsell or Conventioun, in name of the Kirk, any thing without expresse warrand and directioun from the Kirk, and sick things as he sall answer (for) to be for the weill of the Kirk, vnder the paine of depositioun from his office.’ … 2. ‘He sall be bound at every Generall Assemblie, to give ane accompt anent the discharge of his commissioun sen the Assemblie gangand befor; and sall submitt himselfe to thair censure, and stand at thair determinatioun quhatsumever, without appellatioun; and sall seik and obtain ratificatioun of his doings at the said Assemblie, vnder the paine of infamie and excommunicatioun.’ … 6. ‘In the administration of discipline, collatioun of benefices, visitatioun, and all vther points of ecclesiasticall government, he sall neither vsurpe nor acclaime to himselfe any power or jurisdictioun farther than any vther of the rest of his breither, unlesse he be imployit be his breither, vnder the paine of deprivatioun.’ p. 955. ‘Anent his name that for the Kirk sall (have) vote in Parliament: It is advyseit, be vniforme consent of the haill brether, that he salbe callit Commissioner of such a place.’ p. 956. ‘Therfor the Generall Assemblie having reasonit at length the said questioun, tuiching the continuance of him that sall have vote in Parliament, after votting of the same, finds and decernes, that he sall annuatim give count of his commission obtainit from the Assemblie, and lay downe the samein at thair feitt, to be continuit or alterit therfra be his Maiestie and the Assemblie, as the Assemblie, with consent of his Maiestie, sall think most expedient for the weill of the Kirk.’ p. 959.

[286] ‘While James remained in Scotland, the scheme of introducing episcopacy, though never lost sight of, was cautiously prosecuted.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 178.

[287] James, during the whole of his reign, was chiefly dependent on the money which Elizabeth gave him, and which she dealt out rather niggardly. Such were his necessities, that he was forced to pawn his plate, and, even then, he was often unable to defray his ordinary household expenses. See Tytler's History of Scotland, vol. vi. pp. 265, 266, 272, vol. vii. pp. 158, 378–380. Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. ii. pp. xlv. 114. Gregory's History of the Western Highlands, pp. 241, 277. See also a clamorous begging-letter from James to Elizabeth, written in 1591, in Letters of Queen Elizabeth and James VI., 1849, 4to, pp. 68, 69. In 1593, she apologizes for sending him only a small sum: ‘The small token you shall receave from me I desire yt may serve to make you remember the tyme and my many weighty affaires, wich makes it les than else I would, and I dowt nothing but when you heare all, yow will beare with this.’ p. 84. A letter from James Hudson, written about the year 1591, states that ‘both the king's table and queen's had like to have been unserved by want; and that the king had nothing he accounted certain to come into his purse, but what he had from the Queen of England.’ Ridpath's Border History, p. 465, Berwick, 1848, 4to.

[288] Laing's History of Scotland, edit. 1819, vol. iii. p. 28. Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vi. pp. 264, 323. Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 175, Edinburgh, 1817. Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 88.

[289] ‘Adde thereunto, that the letter of the commissioner and last moderator, conteaned no certane tyme nor day whereto the said Assemblie sould be prorogued; so that it imported a casting loose and deserting, yea, and tyning of the possessioun of our Assemblie; than the which what could be more dangerous to the libertie and freedom of the Kirk of Jesus Christ, at suche a tyme, namelie of the treatie of the Unioun, when all the estates of the realme, and everie particular are zealous and carefull of their rights and possessiouns?’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vi. pp. 309, 310.

[290] See a list of them in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vi. p. 347, where the fourteen names are preserved with pious care.

[291] Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 494–502. Forbes' Certaine Records touching the Estate of the Kirk, edit. Wodrow Society, Edinburgh, 1846, pp. 463–496. ‘Delayed the giving forth of the sentence of condemnation till the King's mind were further knowne.’ See also Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vi. pp. 434, 449. When they were found guilty, ‘the peiple said, “Certainely this wes a worke of darknes, to mak Chrystis faithfull Ministeres tratouris to the King! God grant he be niver in greater dangeris nor off sic traitouris.”’ Melvill's Autobiography and Diary, p. 626.

[292] M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. pp. 207, 208. Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. ii. p. 504. In connexion with these transactions, a letter is preserved in the Winwood Papers, which is much too curious to be passed over in silence. It is addressed by the Earl of Salisbury to Sir Charles Cornwallis, and is dated 12th September 1605. Salisbury, who was then at the head of affairs, writes, ‘True it is that his Majestie seeking to adorne that kingdome of Scotland with Prelates as they are in England, some of the Ministers have spurned against it; and althouge his Majestie had ever warranted their calling of General Assemblies upon no other condition, then that they should make him acquainted, receive his warrant, and a commissioner for his Majestie resident in their councells, yet have they (followed with some poor plebecall numbers) presumed to hold their General Assemblies in some parte of the Realme contrarie to his commandement. Whereupon his Majestie hath shewed himself displeased, and cyted divers of them before his councell,’ &c. Memorials of Affairs of State, from the Papers of Sir Ralph Winwood, London, 1725, folio, vol. ii. p. 132. And yet the man who could write such nonsense as this, and who could only see, in the great democratic movement of the Scotch mind, a disinclination to the adornment of episcopacy, was deemed one of the most eminent statesmen of his time, and his reputation has survived him. If great statesmen discern so little of what is before them and around them, we are tempted to inquire, how much confidence ought to be placed in the opinions of those average statesmen by whom countries are ruled. For my own part, I can only say, that I have had occasion to read many thousand letters written by diplomatists and politicians, and I have hardly ever found an instance of one of them who understood the spirit and tendency of the age in which he lived.

[293] ‘Ministers in all parts of the country were thrown into prison, or declared rebels, and forced to abscond.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 250. Liberty of speech was so completely suppressed, that, in 1605, when the most zealous and intelligent clergy were banished, ‘a strait command’ (was) ‘gevin to magistrats, and uther officiers of burrowis, that in cace any preacher sould speik opinlie aganis that baneisment, or for defence or mentenence of that assemblie, or pray publiklie for ther saiftie, that they sould be noted and manifested to the secret counsell, and corrected for their fault.’ The Historie of King James the Sext, p. 380.

[294] See an eloquent and touching passage, in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vi. pp. 696, 697.

[295] ‘The godliest, wisest, learnedest, and most zealous men of the ministrie in Scotland, were either banished, warded, or detained in Ingland, of purpose that they might not be a lett to the grand designe in hand.’ Row's History of the Kirk, p. 238.

[296] Scot's Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk, pp. 164, 165. Compare The Autobiography and Diary of James Melvill, pp. 642–645.

[297] ‘Quhen we wer gone out of the Palice a lytle way towards Kingstoune, Mr. Alexander Hay sendis back for us, and withall, in the Uttir Court, reidis to us a chairge from the King not to returne to Scotland, nor to com neire the King, Quein, nor Prince their Courtis, without a speciall calling for and licence.’ Melvill's Autobiography, p. 661.

[298] M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. pp. 246, 252, 260, 337–339, 403, 407–411, 414. This truly great and fearless man died in exile, in 1622. p. 458.

[299] Melvill's Autobiography and Diary, p. 709. Scot's Apologetical Narration, p. 194. M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. pp. 252, 253, 267, 268.

[300] ‘Royal missives were sent to the presbyteries, nominating the individuals whom they should chuse as their representatives to it.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. pp. 387, 388. On the character of its members, compare Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, edit. Glasgow, 1838, vol. i. p. 256. Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, pp. 320, 321. Crookshank's Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1812, vol. i. p. 28; and Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vii. pp. 97, 98.

[301] Acts of the General Assemblies of the Kirk, vol. iii. pp. 1096, 1097. The Assembly even forbad the democratic notion of equality to be advocated. See p. 1101. ‘Because it is vncivill that laws and constitutiouns, either Civill or Ecclesiasticall, being anes establischit and in force, by publick and opin consent, sould be controllit and callit in questioun by any person: therfor, it is statute by vniforme consent of this haill Assemblie, that none of the Ministrie either in pulpitt in his preaching, or in the publick exercise, speake and reason against the acts of this present Assemblie, nor dissobey the same, vnder the paine of deprivatioun, being tryit and convict thereof; and speciallie, that the questioun of equalitie and inequalitie in the Kirk, be not treattit in pulpitt vnder the said paine.’

[302] Mr. Russell (History of the Church in Scotland, vol. ii. p. 88), misled, probably, by a passage in Spottiswoode's History of the Church, vol. iii. p. 210, says, ‘A Court of High Commission was instituted.’ But it is certain that there were two such courts; one for the diocese of Saint Andrews, and one for that of Glasgow. See the ‘commissioun givin under the great seale to the two archbishops,’ dated 15th of February 1610, in Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vii. pp. 57–62. See also p. 210. They were not united till December 1615. See Scot's Apologetical Narration of the State of the Kirk, pp. 218, 239; and Crookshank's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 28. By the royal commission, these despotic tribunals were authorized (Calderwood, vol. vii. p. 59) ‘to call before them at suche tymes and places as they salle thinke meete, anie person or persons dwelling and remaining within their provinces respective above writtin of St. Andrews or Glasgow, or within anie dioceis of the same, being offenders ather in life or religioun, whom they hold anie way to be scandalous, and that they take tryell of the same; and if they find them guiltie and impenitent, refusing to acknowledge their offence, they sall give command to the preacher of that parish where they dwell, to proceed with sentence of excommunication against them; which, if it be protracted, and their command by that minister be not presentlie obeyed, they sall conveene anie suche minister before them, and proceed in censuring of him for his disobedience, ather by suspensioun, deprivatioun, or wairding, according as in their discretioun they sall hold his obstinacie and refuse of their directioun to have deserved. And further, to fyne at their discretiouns, imprisoun, or warde anie suche persoun, who being convicted before them, they sall find upon tryell to have deserved anie suche punishment.’ Hereupon, Calderwood justly remarks, p. 62: ‘This commissioun and executioun thereof, as it exalted the aspyring bishops farre above any prelat that ever was in Scotland, so it putt the king in possessioun of that which he had long tyme hunted for; to witt, of the royall prerogative, and absolute power to use the bodeis and goods of the subjects at pleasure, without forme or processe of the commoun law, even then when the Lower Hous in England was compleaning in their parliament upon the injurie therof. So our bishops were fitt instruments to overthrow the liberteis both of the Kirk and countrie.’

[303] See Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 93, and Kirkton's History, p. 15. Kirkton indignantly says, that James ‘perswaded a few unworthy men to perjure themselves, and after their episcopall consecration by the English bishops in England, to exercise that odious office in Scotland against their own oath and the consciences of their brethren.’ Compare the contemptuous notice, in Row's History of the Kirk, p. 283, on the ‘anoynting of oyle and other ceremonies,’ and on ‘the foolish guyses in it.’ Indeed, on this subject, every Scotch writer who cared for the liberty of his country, expressed himself either with contempt or indignation.

[304] Calderwood, with ill-suppressed bitterness, says, ‘efter the same maner that they were consecrated themselfs, als neere as they could imitate.’ History of the Kirk, vol. vii. p. 152. Compare Wodrow's Collections, vol. i. part i. p. 293. ‘The Bishops ordeaned in England keeped as near the manner taken with themselves there as they could.’

[305] ‘Some of them, by want of temper, or want of breeding, did not behave themselves with that decency in their debates, towards the greatest men of the kingdom, as in discretion they ought to have done, and as the others reasonably expected from them.’ Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, edit. Oxford, 1843, p. 35. In 1633, ‘nine of them were privy councillors;’ and ‘their pride was cried out upon as unsupportable.’ Burnet's Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, p. 38. Sir John Scot imputes to them ‘insolence, pride, and avarice.’ Scot's Staggering State of the Scots Statesmen, Edinburgh, 1754, p. 41. See also Spalding's History of the Troubles, vol. i. pp. 46, 47, Edinburgh, 1828, 4to.

[306] So early as 1613, a letter from James Inglish (preserved in Wodrow's Collections, vol. ii. part i. p. 110, Glasgow, 1845, 4to) complains that ‘the libertys of the Lord's Kirk are greatly abridged by the pride of Bishops, and their power daily increases over her.’ Civil rights were equally set at nought by the bishops; and, among other enactments which they obtained, one was, ‘that no man should be permitted to practise or profess any physic, unless he had first satisfied the bishop of the diocese touching his religion.’ Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 236. This at once gave them the control of the whole medical profession.

[307] ‘Not satisfied with ruling the church-courts, they claimed an extensive civil authority within their dioceses. The burghs were deprived of their privileges, and forced to receive such magistrates as their episcopal superiors, in concert with the court, were pleased to nominate.’ … ‘Archbishop Gladstanes, in a letter to the King, June the 9th 1611, says: “It was your pleasure and direction, that I sould be possessed with the like privileges in the electione of the magistrats there (in St. Andrews), as my lord of Glasgow is endued with in that his city. Sir, whereas they are troublesome, I will be answerable to your Majesty and Counsell for them, after that I be possessed of my right.” Ms. in Bibl. Jurid. Edin. M. 6, 9. no. 72.’ M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 422.

[308] And their prodigality was equal to their rapacity. When Archbishop Gladstanes died, in 1615, it was ascertained that, ‘notwithstanding of the great rent of his bishoprick, he died in the debt of twentie thowsand pounds.’ Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vii. p. 197. See also p. 303. Also the case of the Bishop of Galloway, who died in 1619, and of whom Calderwood says (History of the Kirk, vol. vii. p. 350), ‘It is thought, that if just calculation were made of the commoditie extorted by him through his diocie, by advice of his two covetous counsellours, Andro Couper, his brother, and Johne Grilmour, wrytter in Edinburgh, for his use and theirs, by racting of rents, getting of grassoumes, setting of tacks, of teithes, and other like meanes, wold surmount the soume of an hundreth thousand merks, or, in the opinion of others, almost the double; so that manie within that diocie, and the annexed prelacies, sall hardlie recover their estates in their time.’ Compare Stevenson's History of the Church, pp. 212, 392.

[309] On this change, which was completed in 1621, see Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 88; Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vii. p. 490; and Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. i. p. 486, edit. Laing, Edinburgh, 1841.

[310] Calderwood's History of the Kirk, vol. vii. pp. 472–474, 507, 509, 511, 517–520, 530–543, 549–553, 566, 567, 614, 621. Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 90, 91. Laing, very unjustly, accuses the bishops of being so merciful as to disapprove of some of these transactions. But whoever has read much of the Scotch literature of the seventeenth century, will cheerfully exonerate the bishops from a charge, which they would themselves have repelled, and to which they are nowise amenable.

[311] In October 1637, Baillie, who was carefully watching the course of affairs, writes, ‘No man may speak any thing in publick for the king's part, except he would have himself marked for a sacrifice to be killed one day. I think our people possessed with a bloody devill, farr above any thing that ever I could have imagined, though the masse in Latine had been presented.’ And, in a postscript, dated 3rd October, he adds: ‘My fears in my former went no farther then to ane ecclesiastik separation, but now I am more affrayit for a bloudie civill warr.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, edit. Laing, Edinburgh, 1841, vol. i. pp. 23, 25.

[312] Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 131. Chambers' Annals, vol. ii. pp. 101–104. Spalding's History of the Troubles in Scotland, vol. i. pp. 47, 48.

[313] ‘The accusation, among themselves a bond of union, and to their enemies a signal of hostility, was subscribed by the nobility, the gentry, the clergy, and afterwards by all ranks, and almost by every corporation in the kingdom.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 137.

[314] Ibid., vol. iii. p. 138.

[315] ‘It was signed by a large majority of the people, in a paroxysm of enthusiasm beyond all example in our history.’ Chambers' Annals, vol. ii. p. 105. Kirkton, who was a contemporary, says, ‘And though only eleven private men (and some of them very inconsiderable) had the boldness first to begin this work, without ever asking leave of king or council, yet was it very quickly taken by all the people of Scotland, with hands lifted up in most solemn manner.’ Kirkton's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 33. Lord Somerville, taking a somewhat different view of affairs, remarks, that ‘the generalitie of the natione entered into a hellish covenant, wherein they mutually obleidged themselves to extirpate episcopacy, and to defend each other against all persones whatsoever, noe not excepting the persone of his sacred majestie; but upon conditiones of ther oune frameing.’ Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. ii. p. 187.

[316] There had been no General Assembly since 1618. Argyll's Presbytery Examined, p. 102; and the Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. i. p. 88. But ‘the provincial synods, presbyteries, and sessions still remained, and in these, good men mutually comforted one another.’ Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 162.

[317] ‘The assembly went on at such a rate, that the marquis judged it no longer fit to bear with their courses.’ Burnet's Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, p. 128. ‘In end, seeing nothing said in reason did prevail, he, in his majesty's name, dissolved the assembly, and discharged their further proceeding under pain of treason.’ p. 135.

[318] Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 310.

[319] ‘Notwithstanding the Proclamation, the Assembly presently thereafter met, and sat daily for divers weeks, until they had done their affairs, and were themselves pleas'd to dissolve.’ Guthry's Memoirs, p. 41, edit. London, 1702.

[320] Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, from 1638 to 1842, Edinburgh, 1843, pp. 9–18. Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, pp. 332, 338.

[321] See, on their fall, some highly characteristic remarks in Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. i. p. 168. In 1639, Howell writes from Edinburgh, ‘The Bishops are all gone to wrack, and they have had but a sorry funeral; the very name is grown so contemptible, that a black dog, if he hath any white marks about him, is called Bishop. Our Lord of Canterbury is grown here so odious, that they call him commonly in the pulpit, the Priest of Baal, and the Son of Belial.’ Howell's Letters, edit. London, 1754, p. 276.

[322] ‘That people, after they had once begun, pursued the business vigorously, and with all imaginable contempt of the government.’ Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, p. 45. Now, for the first time, the English government began to tremble. On 13th December 1639, Secretary Windebank writes, ‘His Majesty near these six weeks last past hath been in continual consultations with a select Committee of some of his Council (of which I have had the honour to be one), how to redress his affairs in Scotland, the fire continuing there, and growing to that danger, that it threatens not only the Monarchical Government there, but even that of this kingdom.’ Clarendon State Papers, vol. ii. p. 81, Oxford, 1773, folio. This is the earliest intimation I have met with of Charles and his advisers being aware of their real peril. But though the king was capable of fear, he was incapable of compunction. There is no evidence on record, to show that he even felt remorse for having planned and executed those arbitrary and unprincipled measures, by which he inflicted immense misery upon Scotland and England, but more especially upon Scotland.

[323] ‘The kinge was now so waik, haueing nether toune, fort, nor armie, and Oxford being a waik and onfortified toune, from whence he looked daylie to be taken perforce, he therefor resolues to cast himself into the arms of the Scots; who, being his natine people, and of late so ongratfullie dealt with by the Inglish, he hoped their particular credit, and the credit of the wholl natione depending thereupon, they would not baslie rander him to the Inglish.’ Gordon's Britane's Distemper, p. 193, published by the Spalding Club, Aberdeen, 1844, 4to.

[324] That it may not be supposed, that, as an Englishman, I misrepresent this transaction by looking at it from an English point of view, I will merely quote what Scotch writers have said respecting it. ‘Giveing up the king to the will and pleasure of the English parliament, that soe they might come by ther money.’ Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. ii. p. 366. ‘The Scots sold their unfortunate king, who had fled to them for protection, to the commissioners of the English Parliament, for 200,000l. sterling.’ Lyon's History of St. Andrews, vol. ii. p. 38. ‘The incident itself was evidence of a bargain with a quid pro quo.’ Burton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 493. ‘The sale of the king to the parliament.’ Napier's Life of Montrose, Edinburgh, 1840, p. 448. ‘The king was delivered up, or rather sold, to the parliament's commissioners.’ Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. i. p. 91. ‘Their arrears were undoubtedly due; the amount was ascertained before the dispute concerning the disposal of his person, and the payment was undertaken by the English parliament, five months previous to the delivery, or surrender of the king. But the coincidence, however unavoidable, between that event and the actual discharge and departure of their army, still affords a presumptive proof of the disgraceful imputation of having sold their king; “as the English, unless previously assured of receiving his person, would never have relinquished a sum so considerable as to weaken themselves, while it strengthened a people with whom such a material question remained to be discussed.”’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 369, 370.

[325] A letter from Sir Edw. Hyde to Lord Hatton, dated April 12, 1649 (in the Clarendon State Papers, vol. ii. p. 479, Oxf. 1773, fol.), says of Charles II., that the Scotch ‘sold his father to those who murdered him.’ But this is not true. Charles I., though certainly bought by the English, was not murdered by them. He was tried in the face of day; he was found guilty; he was executed. And most assuredly never did a year pass, without men far less criminal than he, suffering the same fate. Possibly, they are right who deem all capital punishment needless. That, however, has never been proved; and if this last and most terrible penalty is ever to be exacted, I cannot tell where we should find a more fitting subject to undergo it, than a despot who seeks to subjugate the liberties of the people over whom he is called to rule, inflicts cruel and illegal punishment on those who oppose him, and, sooner than renounce his designs, engages in a civil war, setting fathers against their children, disorganizing society, and causing the land to run with blood. Such men are outlaws; they are the enemies of the human race; who shall wonder if they fall, or, having fallen, who shall pity them?

[326] The declaration was signed by Charles on the 16th August 1650. An abridgment of it is given in Balfour's Annales of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 92–94; but the entire document is preserved by Sir Edward Walker. See Journal of Affairs in Scotland, in Walker's Historical Discourses, London, folio, 1705, pp. 170–176. In it Charles is made to state that, ‘though his Majesty as a dutiful son be obliged to honour the memory of his Royal Father, and have in estimation the person of his Mother; yet doth he desire to be deeply humbled and afflicted in spirit before God, because of his Father's hearkening unto and following evil councils, and his opposition to the work of reformation, and to the solemn league and covenant by which so much of the blood of the Lord's people hath been shed in these kingdoms.’ He went on to say, that though he might palliate his own misconduct by pleading ‘his education and age,’ he thinks it better to ‘ingeniously acknowledge all his own sins and the sins of his father's house.’ Burnet (History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 97) says of this declaration: ‘In it there were many hard things. The king owned the sin of his father in marrying into an idolatrous family: he acknowledged the bloodshed in the late wars lay at his father's door: he expressed a deep sense of his own ill education,’ &c.

[327] In reference to this event the following entry occurs in Lamont's Journal: ‘1650, Dec. 22.—The fast appointed by the commission of the kirke to be keiped througe the kingdome before the coronatione, was keiped att Largo the forsaide day by Mr. Ja. Magill; his lecture, Reu. 3. from v. 14 to the end of the chapt.; his text Reu. 2. 4, 5. Vpon the Thursday following, the 26 of this instant, the fast was keiped in likemaner; his lecture 2. Chro. 29 to v. 12; his text 2. Chron. 12, 12. The causes of the first day (not read) was, the great contempt of the gospell, holden forth in its branches; of the second day (which were read), the sinns of the king, and of his father's house, where sundry offences of K. James the 6 were aknowledged, and of K. Charles the 1, and of K. Ch. the 2, nowe king.’ The Diary of Mr. John Lamont of Newton, p. 25, Edinburgh, 1830, 4to. See also Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. iii. p. 107; Nicoll's Diary, Edinburgh, 4to, 1836, p. 38; Row's Continuation of Blair's Autobiography, edit. Wodrow Society, p. 255; Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 253; Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, edit. Spalding Club, p. 169; and, above all, the Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, published by the Abbotsford Club, Edinburgh, 1839, 4to, pp. 88, 89.

[328] Wodrow, who had before him the records of the Privy Council, besides other evidence now lost, says, that the period from 1660 to 1688 was ‘a very horrid scene of oppression, hardships, and cruelty, which, were it not incontestably true, and well vouched and supported, could not be credited in after ages.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution, vol. i. p. 57. And the Reverend Alexander Shields, quaintly, but truly, observes, ‘that the said Government was the most untender, unpeaceable, tyrannical, arbitrary and wicked, that ever was in Scotland in any age or period.’ Shields' Scots Inquisition, Edinburgh, 1745, p. 24.

[329] When James I. ascended the throne of England, ‘the principal native nobility’ accompanied him; and ‘the very peace which ensued upon the union of the crowns, may be considered as the commencement of an era in which many of our national strongholds were either transformed into simple residences or utterly deserted.’ Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, 4to, 1860, pp. 137, 166. The nobles ‘had no further occasion to make a figure in war, their power in vassalage was of little use, and their influence of course decayed. They knew little of the arts of peace, and had no disposition to cultivate them.’ The Interest of Scotland Considered, Edinburgh, 1733, p. 85. Under Charles I., the movement continued; ‘which fell out, partly through the giddiness of the times, but more by the way his Majesty had taken at the beginning of his reign; at which time he did recover from divers of them their hereditary offices, and also pressed them to quit their tithes (which formerly had kept the gentry in a dependance upon them), whereby they were so weaken'd that now when he stood most in need of them (except the chief of the clans) they could command none but their vassals.’ Guthry's Memoirs, edit. 1702, pp. 127, 128. Then came the civil wars, and the rule of Cromwell, during which they suffered both in person and in property. Compare Chambers' Annals, vol. ii. p. 225, with Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 515, 516. In 1654, Baillie writes (Letters and Journals, vol. iii. p. 249): ‘Our nobilitie, weell near all, are wracked.’ In 1656, ‘Our nobles lying up in prisons, and under forfaultries, or debts, private or publict, are for the most part either broken or breaking.’ Ibid., p. 317. And, in 1658, the same observer writes (vol. iii. p. 387): ‘Our noble families are almost gone: Lennox hes little in Scotland unsold; Hamilton's estate, except Arran and the Baronrie of Hamilton, is sold; Argyle can pay little annuelrent for seven or eight hundred thousand merks; and he is no more drowned in debt than publict hatred, almost of all, both Scottish and English; the Gordons are gone; the Douglasses little better; Eglintoun and Glencairn on the brink of breaking; many of our chief families estates are cracking; nor is there any appearance of any human relief for the tyme.’

The result of all this is thus described by Wodrow, under the year 1661: ‘Our nobility and gentry were remarkably changed to the worst: it was but few of such, who had been active in the former years, were now alive, and those few were marked out for ruin. A young generation had sprung up under the English government, educated under penury and oppression; their estates were under burden, and many of them had little other prospect of mending their fortunes, but by the king's favour, and so were ready to act that part he was best pleased with.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 89.

[330] ‘At the Restoration, Charles II. regained full possession of the royal prerogative in Scotland; and the nobles, whose estates were wasted, or their spirit broken, by the calamities to which they have been exposed, were less able and less willing than ever to resist the power of the crown. During his reign, and that of James VII., the dictates of the monarch were received in Scotland with most abject submission. The poverty to which many of the nobles were reduced, rendered them meaner slaves and more intolerable tyrants than ever. The people, always neglected, were now odious, and loaded with every injury, on account of their attachment to religious and political principles, extremely repugnant to those adopted by their princes.’ Robertson's History of Scotland, book viii. pp. 257, 258.

[331] A writer of great authority, speaking of the time of William III., says: ‘It is scarcely possible to conceive how utterly polluted the fountain of justice had become during the two preceding reigns. The Scottish bench had been profligate and subservient to the utmost conceivable extent of profligacy and subserviency.’ Burton's History of Scotland, from 1689 to 1748, London, 1853, vol. i p. 72. See also vol. ii. p. 37; and Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. i. p. 194, Glasgow, 1795.

[332] Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 10. Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. iii. p. 458. As few persons take the trouble to read Scotch Acts of Parliament, I will extract from this one, its most argumentative passage. ‘And forasmuch as now it hath pleased Almighty God, by the power of his oune right hand, so miracoulously to restore the Kings Maiestie to the Government of his Kingdomes, and to the exercise of his Royall power and Soveranity over the same: The estates of Parliat doe conceave themselffs obleidged in dischairge of ther duetie and conscience to God and the Kings Maiestie, to imploy all their power and interest for vindicateing his Maiesties Authority from all these violent invasions that have been made upon it; And so far as is possible to remove out of the way every thing that may retaine any remembrance of these things which have been so enjurious to his Màtie and his Authority, so prejudiciall and dishonourable to the kingdome, and distructive to all just and true interests within the same.’ … ‘Not to retaine any remembrance thairof, but that the same shall be held in everlasting oblivion.’ Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 87, edit. folio, 1820. The date of this Act is 28th March 1661.

[333] He was made ‘primate’ in 1661, but did not arrive in Scotland till April 1662. Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 236, 247; and Nicoll's Diary, pp. 363, 364. ‘That he was decent, if not regular, in his deportment, endued with the most industrious diligence, and not illiterate, was never disputed; that he was vain, vindictive, perfidious, at once haughty and servile, rapacious and cruel, his friends have never attempted to disown.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 98, 99. The formal establishment of episcopacy was in the autumn of 1661, as we learn from an entry in Lamont's Diary. ‘1661. Sept. 5 being Thursday, (the chancelour, Glencairne, and the E. of Rothes, haueing come downe from court some dayes before,) the cownsell of state satt att Edb., and the nixt day, being Fryday, they caused emitte and be proclaimed ouer the Crosse, a proclamation in his Maj. name, for establishing Episcopacie againe in the church of Scotlande; which was done with great solemnitie, and was afterwarde printed. All persons, wither men or weomen, were discharged to speake against that office, under the paine of treason.The Diary of Mr. John Lamont, p. 140. This, as we learn from another contemporary, was on account of ‘the Kinges Majestie having stedfastlie resolvit to promove the estait, power, and dignitie of Bischops, and to remove all impedimentes contrary thairto.’ Nicoll's Diary, 4to, p. 353; on 21st November 1661. This curious diary, written by John Nicoll, and extending from 1650 to 1667, was printed at Edinburgh, in 1836, by the Bannatyne Club, and is now not often met with.

[334] Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 383, 390–395. Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 38: ‘A court of ecclesiastical commission was procured by Sharp.’ See also p. 41: ‘Under the influence of Sharp and the prelates, which Lauderdale's friends were unable to resist, the government seemed to be actuated by a blind resentment against its own subjects.’ Compare Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 365. ‘The truth is, the whole face of the government looked liker the proceedings of an inquisition than of legal courts; and yet Sharp was never satisfied.’ Another contemporary, Kirkton, says of these Commissioners: ‘For ought I could hear, never one appeared before them that escapt without punishment. Their custom was without premonition or lybell, to ask a man a question, and judge him presently, either upon his silence or his answer.’ … ‘They many times doubled the legal punishment; and not being satisfied with the fyne appointed by law, they used to add religation to some remote places, or deportation to Barbadoes, or selling into slavery.’ Kirkton's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 206. See also Naphtali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland, 1667, pp. 126–130. But as particular cases bring such matters more clearly before the mind, I will transcribe, from Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 154, the sentences pronounced on a single occasion by this episcopal court. ‘The treatment of some of the parishioners of Ancrum is not to be omitted. When their excellent minister, Mr. Livingstone, was taken from them, one Mr. James Scot, who was under the sentence of excommunication, was presented to that charge. On the day fixed for his settlement, several people did meet together to oppose it; and particularly a country woman, desiring to speak with him in order to dissuade him from intruding himself upon a reclaiming people, pulled him by the cloak, intreating him to hear her a little; whereupon he turned and beat her with his staff. This provoked two or three boys to throw a few stones, which neither touched him nor any of his company. However, it was presently looked upon as a treasonable tumult, and therefore the sheriff and justices of the peace in that bounds fined and imprisoned some of these people, which, one would think, might atone for a crime of this nature. But the high-commission, not thinking that sufficient, ordered those criminals to be brought before them. Accordingly, the four boys and this woman, with two brothers of hers of the name of Turnbull, were brought prisoners to Edinburgh. The four boys confessed, that, upon Scot's beating the woman, they had thrown each his stone. The commissioner told them that hanging was too good for them. However, the sentence of this merciless court only was, that they should be scourged through the city of Edinburgh, burnt in the face with a hot iron, and then sold as slaves to Barbadoes. The boys endured their punishment like men and Christians, to the admiration of multitudes. The two brothers were banished to Virginia; and the woman was ordered to be whipped through the town of Jedburgh. Burnet, bishop of Glasgow, when applied to that she might be spared lest she should be with child, mildly answered, That he would make them claw the itch out of her shoulders.’

[335] They were invested with such immense power, that ‘the old set of bishops made by the parliament, 1612, were but pigmies to the present high and mighty lords.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 262. See also, at p. 286, the remarks of Douglas: ‘It is no wonder then the complaint against their bishops be, that their little finger is thicker than the loins of the former.’

[336] In 1663, Middleton was dismissed; and was succeeded by Lauderdale, who ‘was dependent upon the prelates, and was compelled to yield to their most furious demands.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 33. ‘The influence, or rather the tyranny, which was thus at the discretion of the prelates, was unlimited; and they exercised it with an unsparing hand.’ Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 284.

[337] ‘Sir James Turner, that commanded them, was naturally fierce, but was mad when he was drunk; and that was very often.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 364. Kirkton (History of the Church, p. 221) says: ‘Sir James Turner hade made ane expedition to the west countrey to subdue it to the bishops, in the year 1664; another in the year 1665; and a third in the year 1666; and this was the worst.’ Full particulars will be found in Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 373–375, 411, vol. ii. pp. 8, 17, vol. iii. pp. 264, 265. ‘This method of dragooning people to the church, as it is contrary to the spirit of Christianity, so it was a stranger in Scotland, till Bishop Sharpe and the prelates brought it in.’ vol. i. p. 401.

Sir James Turner, whose Memoirs, written by himself, were not published till thirty years ago, relates an anecdote of his own drunkenness in a strain of maudlin piety well worthy of his career. Turner's Memoirs of his own Life, Edinburgh, 1829, 4to, pp. 42, 43. At p. 206, this impudent man writes: ‘And yet I confesse, my humour never was, nor is not yet, one of the calmest; when it will be, God onlie knoues; yet by many sad passages of my life, I know that it hath beene good for me to be afflicted.’ Perhaps, however, he may take the benefit of his assertion (p. 144), ‘that I was so farre from exceeding or transgressing my commission and instructions, that I never came the full length of them.’ Considering the cruelties he committed, what sort of instructions could his superiors have given to him?

[338] ‘Sir James Turner lately had forced Galloway to rise in arms, by his cruelty the last and former years; but he was an easy master, compared with General Dalziel, his ruffians, and Sir William Bannatyne, this year.’ Wodrow's Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 62. Dalziel ‘cruelly tortured whom he would.’ p. 63. One woman ‘is brought prisoner to Kilmarnock, where she was sentenced to be let down to a deep pit, under the house of the dean, full of toads and other vile creatures. Her shrieks thence were heard at a great distance.’ p. 64. Two countrymen were ‘bound together with cords, and hanged up by their thumbs to a tree, there to hang all night.’ Ibid. Sir William Bannatyne's soldiers seized a woman, ‘and bound her, and put lighted matches betwixt her fingers for several hours; the torture and pain made her almost distracted; she lost one of her hands, and in a few days she died.’ Ibid. ‘Oppressions, murders, robberies, rapes.’ p. 65. ‘He made great fires, and laid down men to roast before them, when they would not, or could not, give him the money he required, or the information he was seeking.’ p. 104. See also Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 204–207. The History is based upon Wodrow's great work, but contains many facts with which Wodrow was unacquainted. See Crookshank, vol. i. p. 11. Respecting the outrages in 1667, there are some horrible details in a book published in that very year, under the title of Naphtali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland. See, especially, the summary at p. 174: ‘wounding, beating, stripping and imprisoning mens persons, violent breaking of their houses both by day and night, and beating and wounding of wives and children, ravishing and deflowring of women, forcing wives and other persons by fired matches and other tortures to discover their husbands and nearest relations, although it be not within the compass of their knowledge, and driving and spoiling all their goods that can be carried away, without respect to guilt or innocency.’

[339] ‘That whosoever without licence or authoritie forsaid shall preach, expound Scripture, or pray at any of these meetings in the ffeild, or in any house wher ther be moe persons nor the house contains, so as some of them be without doors (which is hereby declared to be a feild conventicle), or who shall convocat any number of people to these meetings, shall be punished with death and confiscation of ther goods.’ Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol. viii. p. 9, edit. 1820, folio. This was on the 13th August 1670.

[340] The immediate pretence being, to do away with appeals. See Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 72–74.

[341] ‘Savage hosts of Highlanders were sent down to depopulate the western shires, to the number of ten or eleven thousand, who acted most outrageous barbarities, even almost to the laying some counties desolate.’ A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ, edit. Glasgow, 1779, p. 18. But most authorities state the number to have been eight thousand. See Kirkton's History, p. 386; Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 154; Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. ii. p. 134; Denholm's History of Glasgow, p. 67; and Life and Sufferings of John Nisbet, in Select Biographies, published by the Wodrow Society, vol. ii. p. 381. Chalmers, however, in his Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 592, says 10,000.

[342] ‘They were indemnified against all pursuits, civil and criminal, on account of killing, wounding, apprehending, or imprisoning, such as should oppose them.’ Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 337, 338.

[343] Short and imperfect notices of this ‘Highland Host,’ as it was called at the time, may be found in Kirkton's History, pp. 385–390, and in Crookshank's History, vol. i. pp. 354, 355. But the fullest account of the enormities committed by these barbarians, is in Wodrow's great work, collected from authentic and official documents. See his History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 375–413, 421–432, vol. iii. pp. 76, 79, 486. They were provided beforehand with implements of torture. ‘They had good store of iron shackles, as if they were to lead back vast numbers of slaves, and thumb-locks, as they call them’ (i.e. thumb-screws), ‘to make their examinations and trials with.’ vol. ii. p. 389. ‘In some places they tortured people, by scorching their bodies at vast fires, and other wise,’ vol. ii. p. 422. Compare Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 88. ‘Neither age nor sex was exempt from outrage, and torture was freely employed to extort a confession of hidden wealth.’ And, at p. 91, ‘The Highlanders, after exacting free quarters, and wasting the country for three months, were dismissed to their hills with impunity and wealth.’

[344] ‘Indeed, the whole of the severity, hardships, and bloodshed from this year’ (1661), ‘until the revolution, was either actually brought on by the bishops, procured by them, or done for their support.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 223. ‘It was our prelates who pushed the council to most of their severities.’ p. 247. ‘The bishops, indeed, violently pushed prosecutions.’ Crookshank's History of the Church, vol. i. p. 298. In 1666, ‘As to the prelates, they resolved to use all severities, and to take all imaginable cruel and rigorous ways and courses, first against the rest of the prisoners, and then against the whole west of Scotland.’ Row's Continuation of Blair's Autobiography, pp. 505, 506, edit. Edinburgh, 1848. This interesting work is edited by Dr. M'Crie, and published by the Wodrow Society.

[345] In 1688, ‘the bishops concurred in a pious and convivial address to James, as the darling of heaven, that God might give him the hearts of his subjects and the necks of his enemies.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 193.

[346] ‘After the Duke of York came down in October’(1680), ‘the persecution turned yet more severe.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. iii. p. 225. ‘Persecution and tyranny, mainly promoted by the Duke of York's instigation.’ Shields' Hind let loose, p. 147. ‘Immediately upon his mounting the throne, the executions and acts prosecuting the persecution of the poor wanderers, were more cruel than ever.’ p. 200.

[347] This was well known in Scotland; and is evidently alluded to by a writer of that time, the Rev. Alexander Shields, who calls James, not a man, but a monster. See Shields' Hind let loose, 1687, p. 365. ‘This man, or monster rather, that is now mounted the throne.’ And a monster surely he was. Compare Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 66, where it is mentioned that, when Spreul was tortured, ‘the Duke of York was pleased to gratify his eyes with this delightful scene.’ Also, Wodrow's History, vol. iii. p. 253, and Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 116. ‘According to Burnet, the duke's pleasure at witnessing human agony was a cold, and, as it were, a speculative pleasure, as if he were present for the purpose of contemplating some curious experiment. But James was so excitable a man, that this is hardly likely. At all events, the remarks of Burnet have a painful interest for those who study these dark, and, as we may rejoice to think, these very rare, forms of human malignity.’ ‘When any are to be struck in the boots, it is done in the presence of the council; and upon that occasion, almost all offer to run away. The sight is so dreadful, that without an order restraining such a number to stay, the board would be forsaken. But the duke, while he had been in Scotland, was so far from withdrawing, that he looked on all the while with an unmoved indifference, and with an attention, as if he had been to look on some curious experiment. This gave a terrible idea of him to all that observed it, as of a man that had no bowels nor humanity in him.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. ii. pp. 416, 417.

[348] Shields (A Hind let loose, p. 186) describes the boots, as ‘a cruel engine of iron, whereby, with wedges, the leg is tortured, until the marrow come out of the bone.’ Compare Naphtali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland, 1667, p. 268: ‘the extraordinary compression both of flesh, sinews, and bones, by the force of timber wedges and hammer.’

[349] In 1684, Carstairs was subjected to this torture. See his own account, in a letter printed in Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 96–100. He writes (p. 99): ‘After this communing, the king's smith was called in, to bring in a new instrument to torture by the thumbkins, that had never been used before. For whereas the former was only to screw on two pieces of iron above and below with finger and thumb, these were made to turn about the screw with the whole hand. And under this torture, I continued near an hour and a half.’ See also the case of Spence, in the same year, in Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. ii. p. 418. ‘Little screws of steel were made use of, that screwed the thumbs with so exquisite a torment, that he sunk under this; for Lord Perth told him, they would screw every joint of his whole body, one after another, till he took the oath.’ Laing (History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 143) says, ‘the thumbikins; small screws of steel that compressed the thumb and the whole hand with an exquisite torture;’ an invention brought by Drummond and Dalziel from Russia. For other notices, see Fountainhall's Notes of Scottish Affairs from 1680 till 1701, Edinburgh, 4to, 1822, pp. 41, 97, 101; Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. ii. p. 30; Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 192; A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ, edit. Glasgow, 1779, p. 371; and Life of Walter Smith, p. 85, in the second volume of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana, Edinburgh, 1827.

[350] ‘In 1684, the Scottish nation was in the most distressing and pitiable situation that can be imagined.’ … ‘The state of society had now become such, that, in Edinburgh, attention to ordinary business was neglected, and every one was jealous of his neighbour.’ Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 307.

[351] ‘Upon the 10th of March, all freeholders, heritors, and gentlemen in Nithsdale and Annandale, and, I suppose, in most other shires of the kingdom, but I name those as being the scene of the severities now used, were summoned to attend the king's standard; and the militia in the several shires were raised. Wherever Claverhouse came, he resolved upon narrow and universal work. He used to set his horse upon the hills and eminences, and that in different parties, that none might escape; and there his foot went through the lower, marshy, and mossy places, where the horse could not do so well. The shire he parcelled out in so many divisions, and six or eight miles square would be taken in at once. In every division, the whole inhabitants, men and women, young and old, without distinction, were all driven into one convenient place.’ … ‘All the children in the division were gathered together by themselves, under ten years, and above six years of age, and a party of soldiers were drawn out before them. Then they were bid pray, for they were going to be shot. Some of them would answer, Sir, we cannot pray.’ … ‘At other times, they treated them most inhumanly, threatening them with death, and at some little distance would fire pistols without ball in their face. Some of the poor children were frighted almost out of their wits, and others of them stood all out with a courage perfectly above their age. These accounts are so far out of the ordinary way of mankind, that I would not have insert them, had I not before me several informations agreeing in all these circumstances, written at this time by people who knew the truth of them.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. iv. pp. 255, 256.

[352] ‘Numbers were transported to Jamaica, Barbadoes, and the North American settlements; but the women were not unfrequently burnt in the cheek, and the ears of the men were lopt off, to prevent, or to detect, their return,’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 162. ‘Great multitudes banished,’ Wodrow's History of the Church, vol. iv. p. 211. In July 1685, ‘the men are ordered to have their ears cropt, and the women to be marked in their hand.’ p. 217. ‘To have the following stigma and mark, that they may be known as banished persons if they shall return to this kingdom, viz. that the men have one of their ears cut off by the hand of the hangman, and that the women be burnt by the same hand on the cheek with a burned iron.’ p. 218. These are extracts from the proceedings of the privy-council.

[353] ‘James II. favoured the Highland clans,’ Note in Fountainhall's Scottish Affairs from 1680 till 1701, p. 100. He could hardly do otherwise. The alliance was natural, and ready-made for him.

[354] Except robbing, which, however, in one form or other, is always a part of war. In this, they were very apt. Burnet (History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 67) pithily describes them as ‘good at robbing;’ and Burton (Lives of Lovat and Forbes, p. 47) says, ‘To steal even vestments was considerably more creditable than to make them.’ Otherwise, they were completely absorbed by their passion for war. See Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, vol. ii. pp. 175, 176, London, 1845.

[355] ‘Revenge was accounted a duty, the destruction of a neighbour a meritorious exploit, and rapine an honourable employment.’ Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. iv. p. 395. ‘The spirit of rivalry between the clans kept up a taste for hostility, and converted rapine into a service of honour.’ Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, vol. ii. p. 229.

[356] Hence, looking, as they did, merely at the physical qualities of individuals, the appearance of the Pretender in 1715 disgusted them, notwithstanding his splendid lineage. See some excellent remarks in Burton's History of Scotland, from 1689 to 1748, London, 1853, vol. ii. pp. 198, 199. At p. 383, Mr. Burton justly observes, that ‘those who really knew the Highlanders were aware that the followers were no more innate supporters of King James's claim to the throne of Britain, than of Maria Theresa's to the throne of Hungary. They went with the policy of the head of the clan, whatever that might be; and though upwards of half a century's advocacy of the exiled house’ (this refers to the last rebellion in 1745) ‘had made Jacobitism appear a political creed in some clans, it was among the followers, high and low, little better than a nomenclature, which might be changed with circumstances.’ Since Robertson, Mr. Burton and Mr. Chambers are, I will venture to say, the two writers who have taken the most accurate and comprehensive views of the history of Scotland. Robertson's History stops short where the most important period begins; and his materials were scanty. But what he effected with those materials was wonderful. To my mind, his History of Scotland is much the greatest of his works.

[357] A curious description of their appearance, given by the Derby Mercury in 1746 (in Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, vol. iii. p. 115), may be compared with the more general statement in Anderson's Prize Essay on the Highlands, Edinburgh, 1827, p. 128. ‘Cattle were the main resources of the tribe—the acquisition of these the great object of their hostile forrays. The precarious crops gave them wherewithal to bake their oaten cakes, or distil their ale or whisky. When these failed, the crowded population suffered every extreme of misery and want. At one time in particular, in Sutherland, they were compelled to subsist on broth made of nettles, thickened with a little oatmeal. At another, those who had cattle, to have recourse to the expedient of bleeding them, and mixing the blood with oatmeal, which they afterwards cut into slices and fried.’

[358] Several writers erroneously term them ‘unnatural.’ See, for instance, Rae's History of the Rebellion, London, 1746, pp. 158, 169: and Home's History of the Rebellion, London, 1802, 4to, p. 347.

[359] ‘When the rebels began their march to the southward, they were not 6000 men complete,’ Home's History of the Rebellion in the Year 1745, 4to, p. 137. At Stirling, the army, ‘after the junction was made, amounted to somewhat more than 9000 men, the greatest number that Charles ever had under his command,’ p. 164. But the actual invaders of England were much fewer. ‘The number of the rebels when they began their march into England was a few above 5000 foot, with about 500 on horseback.’ Home, p. 331. Browne (History of the Highlands, vol. iii. p. 140) says: ‘When mustered at Carlisle, the prince's army amounted only to about 4500 men;’ and Lord George Murray states that, at Derby, ‘we were not above five thousand fighting men, if so many.’ Jacobite Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745, edited by Robert Chambers, Edinburgh, 1834, p. 54. Another writer, relying mainly on traditional evidence, says, ‘Charles, at the head of 4000 Highlanders, marched as far as Derby.’ Brown's History of Glasgow, vol. ii. p. 41, Edinburgh, 1797. Compare Johnstone's Memoirs of the Rebellion, 3rd edit., London, 1822, pp. xxxvii. xxxviii. 30–32, 52. Johnstone says, p. 60, ‘M. Patullo, our muster-master, reviewed our army at Carlisle, when it did not exceed four thousand five hundred men.’ Afterwards, returning to Scotland, ‘our army was suddenly increased to eight thousand men, the double of what it was when we were in England.’ p. 111.

[360] ‘Orders were given to proceed in the direction of Carlisle, and recall the detachment sent forward to Dumfries. The Highlanders, still true to their stagnant principles, refused obedience.’ … ‘Pecuniary negotiations were now commenced, and they were offered sixpence a day of regular pay—reasonable remuneration at that period to ordinary troops, but to the wild children of the mountain a glittering bribe, which the most steady obstinacy would alone resist. It was partly effective.’ Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 168. ‘And from this day, the Highlanders had sixpence a head per day payed them to keep them in good order and under command.’ Patten's History of the late Rebellion, London, 1717, p. 73. See also, on the unwillingness of the Highlanders to enter England, Rae's History of the Rebellion, London, 1746, 2d edit. pp. 270, 271. Browne says (History of the Highlands, vol. ii. pp. 300, 304): ‘The aversion of the Highlanders, from different considerations, to a campaign in England, was almost insuperable;’ but ‘by the aid of great promises and money, the greater part of the Highlanders were prevailed upon to follow the fortunes of their commander.’

[361] ‘Few victories have been more entire. It is said that scarcely two hundred of the infantry escaped.’ … ‘The Highlanders obtained a glorious booty in arms and clothes, besides self-moving watches, and other products of civilisation, which surprised and puzzled them. Excited by such acquisitions, a considerable number could not resist the old practice of their people to return to their glens, and decorate their huts with their spoil.’ Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 465. Compare Home's History of the Rebellion, p. 123. This was an old practice of theirs, as Montrose found out, a century earlier, ‘when many of the Highlanders, being loaded with spoil, deserted privately, and soon after returned to their own country.’ Wishart's Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose, Edinburgh, 1819, p. 189. So, too, Burnet (Memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton, p. 272): ‘Besides, any companies could be brought down from the Highlands might do well enough for a while, but no order could be expected from them, for as soon as they were loaded with plunder and spoil, they would run away home to their lurking holes, and desert those who had trusted them.’ See also p. 354. A more recent writer, drawing a veil over this little infirmity, remarks, with much delicacy, that ‘the Highlanders, brave as they were, had a custom of returning home after a battle.’ Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, London, 1845, vol. i. p. 122. Not unfrequently they first robbed their fellow-soldiers. In 1746, Bisset writes: ‘The Highlanders, who went off after the battel, carried off horses and baggage from their own men, the Lowlanders.’ Diary of the Reverend John Bisset, in Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. i. p. 377, Aberdeen, 1841, 4to.

[362] ‘Whoever desired, with the sword, to disturb or overturn a fixed government, was sure of the aid of the chiefs, because a settled government was ruinous to their power, and almost inimical to their existence. The more it cultivated the arts of peace, and throve on industrially created well-being, the more did it drive into an antagonist position a people who did not change their nature, who made no industrial progress, and who lived by the swords which acquired for them the fruits of other men's industry. With their interests, a peaceful, strong government was as inconsistent as a well-guarded sheepfold with the interest of wolves.’ Burton's History of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 105, 106. ‘The Highlanders, in all reigns, have been remarkable for disturbing the established government of Scotland by taking up arms on every invasion for the invaders.’ Marchant's History of the present Rebellion, London, 1746, p. 18. See also Macky's Journey through Scotland, London, 1732, p. 129; and a short, but very curious, account of the Highlanders, in 1744, in The Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. ii. pp. 87–89.

[363] An observer, who had excellent opportunities of studying their character between the rebellion of 1715 and that of 1745, writes, ‘The ordinary Highlanders esteem it the most sublime degree of virtue to love their chief, and pay him a blind obedience, although it be in opposition to the government, the laws of the kingdom, or even to the law of God. He is their idol; and as they profess to know no king but him (I was going farther), so will they say, they ought to do whatever he commands, without inquiry.’ Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, edit. London, 1815, vol. ii. pp. 83, 84. ‘The Highlanders in Scotland are, of all men in the world, the soonest wrought upon to follow their leaders or chiefs into the field, having a wonderful veneration for their Lords and Chieftains, as they are called there: Nor do these people ever consider the validity of the engaging cause, but blindly follow their chiefs into what mischief they please, and that with the greatest precipitation imaginable.’ Patten's History of the Rebellion, London, 1717, p. 151. ‘The power of the chiefs over their clans was the true source of the two rebellions. The clansmen cared no more about the legitimate race of the Stuarts, than they did about the war of the Spanish succession.’ … ‘The Jacobite Highland chiefs ranged their followers on the Jacobite side—the Hanoverians ranged theirs on the side of government. Lovat's conduct was a sort of experimentum crucis; he made his clan Hanoverian in one rebellion, and Jacobite in another.’ Burton's Lives of Lovat and Forbes, p. 150. Compare the change of side of the Mackintoshes, in Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. ii. p. 285. Even so late as the American war, the sovereign was deemed subordinate to the chief. ‘One Captain Frazer from the northern district, brought down a hundred of his clan, all of the name of Frazer. Few of them could understand a word of English; and the only distinct idea they had of all the mustering of forces which they saw around them, was that they were going to fight for King Frazer and George ta Three.’ Penny's Traditions of Perth, pp. 49, 50, Perth, 1836.

[364] Which gave rise to a report that they were cannibals. ‘The late Mr. Halkston of Rathillet, who had been in this expedition’ (the Rebellion of 1745), ‘told Mr. Young that the belief was general among the people of England, that the Highlanders ate children.’ Johnstone's Memoirs of the Rebellion, 3rd edit. London, 1822, p. 101. Such a rumour, notwithstanding its absurdity, was made somewhat plausible by the revolting conduct of the Highlanders in the first rebellion of 1715, when they committed, in the Lowlands, horrible outrages on corpses which they dug up. See the contemporary evidence, in Correspondence of the Rev. Robert Wodrow, published by the Wodrow Society, vol. ii. pp. 86, 87, 93. ‘They have even raised up some of my Lord Rothes's children and mangled their dead bodies’ … ‘till the stench put them away.’ In 1745, they signalized their entrance into England in the following manner. ‘The rebels, during their stay in Carlisle, committed the most shocking detestable villanies; for, not contented with robbing families of their most valuable effects, they scrupled not to act their brutal insolence on the persons of some young ladies, even in the presence of their parents. A gentleman, in a letter to his friend in London, writes thus: “That, after being in a manner stripped of every thing, he had the misery to see three of his daughters treated in such a manner that he could not relate it.”’ Marchant's History of the present Rebellion, London, 1746, pp. 181, 182.

[365] Even when they had penetrated to Derby, the best informed of their own party despaired of success. See the Jacobitical account in The Lockhart Papers, London, 4to, 1817, vol. ii. p. 458: ‘The next thing to be considered of, was what was now to be done; they were now at Derby, with an army not half the number of what they were reported to be, surrounded in a manner with regular troops on all sides, and more than double their number. To go forward, there was no encouragement, for their friends (if they had any) had kept little or no correspondence with them from the time they entered England.’ The Chevalier de Johnstone, who took an active part in the Rebellion, frankly says, ‘If we had continued to advance to London, and had encountered all the troops of England, with the Hessians and Swiss in its pay, there was every appearance of our being immediately exterminated, without the chance of a single man escaping.’ Johnstone's Memoirs of the Rebellion in 1745 and 1746, p. 79.

[366] Lord George Murray, the commander-in-chief in 1745, was unwilling to advance far south of Carlisle, ‘without more encouragement from the country than we had hitherto got.’ See his own account, in The Jacobite Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745, edited by R. Chambers, Edinburgh, 1834, p. 48. But his prudent advice was overruled. The Highlanders pressed on; and that happened, which any one, tolerably acquainted with England, might have foreseen. Johnstone (Memoirs of the Rebellion, p. 70) says, ‘In case of a defeat in England, no one in our army could by any possibility escape destruction, as the English peasants were hostile towards us in the highest degree; and, besides, the army of Marshal Wade was in our rear, to cut us off from all communication with Scotland.’ And at p. 81, ‘In every place we passed through, we found the English very ill disposed towards us, except at Manchester, where there appeared some remains of attachment to the house of Stuart.’ The champion of arbitrary power would find a different reception now, in that magnificent specimen of English prosperity, and of true, open-mouthed, English fearlessness. But a century ago, the men of Manchester were poor and ignorant; and the statement of Johnstone respecting them is confirmed by Home, who says, ‘At Manchester, several gentlemen, and about 200 or 300 of the common people, joined the rebel army; these were the only Englishmen (a few individuals excepted) who joined Charles in his march through the country of England.’ Home's History of the Rebellion in 1745, London, 1802, 4to, p. 145. In 1715, the English equally held back, except at Manchester. See Patten's History of the late Rebellion, London, 1717, pp. 89, 108.

[367] The establishment of roads caused great displeasure. Pennant, who visited Scotland in 1769, says, ‘These publick works were at first very disagreeable to the old chieftains, and lessened their influence greatly: for by admitting strangers among them, their clans were taught that the Lairds were not the first of men.’ Pennant's Tour in Scotland, 4th edit. Dublin, 1775, vol. i. p. 204. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, this feeling began to die away. ‘Till of late, the people of Kintail, as well as other Highlands, had a strong aversion to roads. The more inaccessible, the more secure, was their maxim.’ Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 244, Edinburgh, 1793.

[368] ‘Soon after the establishment of the revolution settlement, the ardent feelings of the Scottish people were turned out of their old channels of religious controversy and war in the direction of commercial enterprise.’ Burton's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. i. p. 104. Compare Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. iv. pp. 286, 287, 418; and the note (at p. 419): ‘The lords and commons of Scotland were then desirous of getting into trade.’ This is under the year 1699. In 1698, Fletcher of Saltoun writes: ‘by no contrivance of any man, but by an unforeseen and unexpected change of the genius of this nation, all their thoughts and inclinations, as if united and directed by a higher power, seemed to be turned upon trade, and to conspire together for its advancement.’ First Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland, in Fletcher of Saltoun's Political Works, Glasgow, 1749, p. 57. At this, the clergy were uneasy. In 1709, the Reverend Robert Wodrow expresses an opinion, in one of his letters, that ‘the sin of our too great fondness for trade, to the neglecting of our more valuable interests, I humbly think will be written upon our judgment.’ Wodrow's Correspondence, Edinburgh, 1842, 8vo, vol. i. p. 67. In the same year, some ships being taken by the French, part of the loss fell upon Glasgow. Thereupon, Wodrow writes: ‘It's said that in all there is about eighty thousand pound sterling lost there, whereof Glasgow has lost ten thousand pound. I wish trading persons may see the language of such a Providence. I am sure the Lord is remarkably frouning upon our trade, in more respects than one, since it was put in the room of religion, in the late alteration of our constitution.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 218, 4to, published by the Maitland Club.

[369] Laing (History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 296), under the year 1703, says: ‘Ever since the projected settlement at Darien, the genius of the nation had acquired a new direction; and as the press is the true criterion of the spirit of the times, the numerous productions on political and commercial subjects, with which it daily teemed, had supplanted the religious disputes of the former age.’ Unfortunately for Scotland, they were by no means supplanted. Still, the movement was great, and not to be mistaken.

[370] ‘It was only in 1710, that they began to throw off their armour, and allow the soldier to merge into the quiet and industrious craftsman.’ Penny's Traditions of Perth, p. 335, Perth, 1836. This particularly applies to the citizens of Perth.

[371] On these ‘hereditary or proprietary jurisdictions,’ which conferred the right, or, I would rather say, the power, of putting people to death, see Burton's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 425, vol. ii. p. 402. The technical term for so monstrous a privilege, was the right ‘of pit and gallows.’ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials in Scotland, vol. ii. p. 94; and Mackenzie's Laws and Customs of Scotland in Matters Criminal, pp. 70, 100, 187, 210. This meant, that men were to be hung, and women to be drowned. See also Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 224; Fountainhall's Notes of Scottish Affairs, p. 139; Hume's History of the House of Douglas, vol. i. p. 346; Lettice's Scotland, p. 271; Sinclair's Scotland, vol. i. p. 417, vol. iv. p. 478, vol. vi. pp. 195, 258, vol. viii. pp. 129, 348, vol. xiii. p. 563, vol. xiv. p. 34, vol. xvii. pp. 442, 600, vol. xviii. p. 473.

[372] Laing (History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 345) says, that in 1706, ‘the commons in the Scottish parliament were 160; the peers 145.’ Of these peers, the Treaty of Union declared that ‘sixteen shall be the number to sit and vote in the House of Lords.’ De Foe's History of the Union between England and Scotland, London, 1786, 4to, pp. 205, 538. The English House of Lords consisted of 179 members. See The Lockhart Papers, London, 1817, 4to, vol. i. pp. 343, 547. It was impossible to mistake the result of this sweeping measure, by which, as was said at the time, ‘Scotland was to retrench her nobility.’ De Foe's History of the Union, p. 495. Compare p. 471: ‘The nobility being thereby, as it were, degraded of their characters.’ In 1710, a Scotchman writes in his journal: ‘It was one of the melancholyest sights to any that have any sense of our antient Nobility, to see them going throu for votes, and making partys, and giving their votes to others who once had their oun vote; and I suspect many of them reu the bargain they made, in giving their oun pouer away.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 308.

[373] The Scotch, consequently, became so eager to do away with this source of mirth, that even as late as the year 1761, when the notorious lecturer, Sheridan, visited Edinburgh, ‘such was the rage for speaking with an English accent, that more than three hundred gentlemen, among whom were the most eminent in the country for rank and learning, attended him.’ Ritchie's Life of Hume, London, 1807, p. 94. It was, however, during about twenty years immediately after the Union, that the Scotch members of Parliament, both Lords and Commons, were most jeered at in London, and were treated with marked disrespect, socially and politically. Not only were they mocked and lampooned, but they were also made tools of. In September 1711, Wodrow writes (Analecta, vol. i. p. 348, 4to, 1842): ‘In the beginning of this (month), I hear a generall dissatisfaction our Nobility, that wer at last Parliament, have at their treatment at London. They complean they are only made use of as tools among the English, and cast by when their party designes are over.’ The next year (1712), the Scotch members of the House of Commons met together, and expressed their ‘high resentment of the uncivil, haughty treatment they mett with from the English.’ The Lockhart Papers, London, 1817, 4to, vol. i. p. 417. See, further, Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 27. ‘Without descending to rudeness, the polished contemporaries of Wharton and St. John could madden the sensitive and haughty Scots by light shafts of raillery, about their pronunciation or knowledge of parliamentary etiquette.’ Some curious observations upon the way in which the Scotch pronounced English, late in the seventeenth century, will be found in Morer's Short Account of Scotland, London, 1702, pp. 13, 14. The author of this book was chaplain to a Scotch regiment.

[374] Among many illustrations with which contemporary memoirs abound, the following is by no means the worst. Burnet, as a Scotchman, thinks proper to say that those of his countrymen who were sent to parliament, ‘were persons of such distinction, that they very well deserved’ the respect and esteem with which they were treated. To which, Lord Dartmouth adds: ‘and were very importunate to have their deserts rewarded. A Scotch earl pressed Lord Godolphin extremely for a place. He said there was none vacant. The other said, his lordship could soon make one so, if he pleased. Lord Godolphin asked him, if he expected to have any body killed to make room? He said, No; but Lord Dartmouth commonly voted against the court, and every body wondered that he had not been turned out before now. Lord Godolphin told him, he hoped his lordship did not expect that he should be the person to propose it; and advised him never to mention it any more, for fear the queen should come to hear of it; for if she did, his lordship would run great risk never to have a place as long as she lived. But he could not forbear telling every where, how ill the lord treasurer had used him.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. v. p. 349, Oxford, 1823. Compare the account, in 1710, in Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 293. ‘Argyle is both picked (i.e. piqued) at Marlburrou, and his brother Yla, for refusing him a regiment; and Godolphin should have said to the queen that my Lord Yla was not to be trusted with a regiment! The Earl of Marr was one of the greatest cronnies Godolphine had, till the matter of his pension, after the Secretary office was taken from him, came about. Godolphine caused draw it during pleasure; Marr expected it during life, which the Treasurer would not yield to, and therefore they brake.’ The history of the time is full of these wretched squabbles, which show what the Scotch nobles were made of. Indeed, their rapacity was so shameless, that, in 1711, several of them refused to perform their legislative duties in London, unless they received some offices which they expected. ‘About the midle of this moneth, I hear ther was a meeting of severall of our Scots Peers, at the Viscount of Kilsyth's, where they concerted not to goe up to this parliament till peremptorly writ for; and (also) some assurance be given of the places they were made to hope for last session and have missed.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 365. In 1712, the same Scotchman writes (Analecta, vol. ii. p. 8): ‘Our Scots Peers' secession from the House of Peers makes much noise; but they doe not hold by it. They sometimes come and sometimes goe, and they render themselves base in the eyes of the English.’ See also a letter ‘concerning the Scots Peerage,’ in Somers' Tracts, vol. xii. p. 607, edit. Scott, London, 1814, 4to.

[375] A Scotch writer, twenty years after the Union, says: ‘Most of our gentlemen and people of quality, who have the best estates in our country, live for the most part at London.’ Reasons for improving the Fisheries and Linen Manufacture of Scotland, London, 1727, p. 22. I do not know who wrote this curious little treatise; but the author was evidently a native of Scotland. See p. 25. I have, however, still earlier evidence to adduce. A letter from Wodrow, dated 9th of August 1725, complains of ‘the general sending our youth of quality to England:’ and a letter to him, in 1716, describes the Anglicizing process going on among the Scotch aristocracy, only nine years after the Union. ‘Most of our Lords and others here do so much depend on the English for their posts, and seeking somewhat or other, that their mouths are almost quite stopped; and really most of them go into the English way in all things.’ Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 196, vol. iii. p. 224. The Earl of Mar lost popularity in Scotland, on account of the court he paid to Lord Godolphin; for, he ‘appears to have passed much more time in intrigues in London than among the gardens of Alloa.’ Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, vol. i. p. 36. Even Earl Ilay, in his anxiety to advance himself at the English court, ‘used to regret his being a Scots peer, and to wish earnestly he was a commoner.’ Letters of Lord Grange, in The Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. iii. p. 39, Aberdeen, 4to, 1846.

[376] Indeed, their expectation ran so high, as to induce a hope, not only that those Commissioners of the Union who were Scotch peers should be made English ones, but that ‘the whole nobility of Scotland might in time be admitted.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 346. Compare The Lockhart Papers, vol. i. pp. 298, 343: ‘the Scots Peerage, many of whom had been bubled with the hopes of being themselves created British Peers.’ Also The Gordon Letters, in The Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. iii. pp. 227, 228.

[377] The Chevalier de Johnstone, in his plaintive remarks on the battle of Culloden, says: ‘The ruin of many of the most illustrious families in Scotland immediately followed our defeat.’ Johnstone's Memoirs of the Rebellion in 1745, p. 211. He, of course, could not perceive that, sad as such ruin was to the individual sufferers, it was an immense benefit to the nation. Mr. Skene, referring to the year 1748, says of the Highlanders: ‘their long-cherished ideas of clanship gradually gave way under the absence and ruin of so many of their chiefs.’ Skene's Highlanders, vol. i. p. 147.

[378] ‘About 1784, the exiled families began to return.’ Penny's Traditions of Perth, p. 41. See also Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. iv. p. 53. In 1784, ‘a bill passed the Commons without opposition,’ to restore the ‘Forfeited Estates’ in the north of Scotland. See Parliamentary History, vol. xxiv. pp. 1316–1322. On that occasion, Fox said (p. 1321) the proprietors ‘had been sufficiently punished by forty years' deprivation of their fortunes for the faults of their ancestors.’

[379] Dean Ramsay, in his Reminiscences (5th edit. Edinburgh, 1859, p. 57), notices that, owing to ‘transfers of property and extinction of old families in the Highlands, as well as from more general causes,’ the old clannish affection ‘is passing away.’ But this intelligent observer has not indicated the connexion between so important a fact and the Rebellion of 1745. In 1792, Heron writes: ‘The prejudices of clanship have almost died away.’ … ‘The dependents of the family of Kenmure are still attached to its representative with much of that affection and respect with which the tribes of the Highlands have till lately been accustomed to adhere to their lord.’ Heron's Journey through the Western Counties of Scotland, 2nd edit. Perth, 1799, vol. i. p. 248, vol. ii. p. 154. See also the remarks made, in the same year, in Lettice's Letters on a Tour through various parts of Scotland, London, 1794, p. 340. To trace the movement back still further, Pennant writes, in 1769: ‘But in many parts of the Highlands, their character begins to be more faintly marked; they mix more with the world; and become daily less attached to their chiefs.’ … ‘During the feudal reign, their love for their chieftain induced them to bear many things, at present intolerable.’ These two important passages are in the 4th edition of Pennant's Tour in Scotland, vol. i. p. 194, vol. ii. p. 307, Dublin, 1775. They prove that, twenty-four years after the Rebellion of 1745, the decay of affection was so manifest, as to strike a candid and careful, but by no means philosophic, observer. For Pennant to have discerned these changes, they must already have risen to the surface. Other and corroborative evidence will be found in Sinclair's Account of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 545, Edinburgh, 1792; and vol. iii. pp. 377, 437, vol. xiii. p. 310, vol. xv. p. 592, vol. xx. p. 33.

[380] Burton's History of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 535–537. Struthers' History of Scotland, Glasgow, 1828, vol. ii. pp. 519–525.

[381] Macpherson (Annals of Commerce, vol. iii. p. 259) says, ‘This excellent statute may not unfitly be termed a new magna charta to the free people of Scotland.’

[382] I cannot, therefore, agree with Macpherson, who asserts, in his valuable work, that the abolition of these jurisdictions ‘should undoubtedly have been made an essential preliminary of the consolidating union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland, concluded forty years before.’ Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. iii. p. 257. Compare De Foe's History of the Union between England and Scotland, pp. 458, 459, London, 1786, 4to.

[383] In 1740, ‘the rising manufacturing and trading interests of the country’ were ‘looked down upon and discouraged by the feudal aristocracy.’ Burton's Lives of Lovat and Forbes, p. 361.

[384] ‘Whereas Scotland had, before this, prohibited all the English woollen manufactures, under severe penalties, and England, on the other hand, had excluded the Scots from trading with Scots ships to their colonies in America, directly from Scotland, and had confiscated even their own English ships trading to the said colonies from England, if navigated or manned with above one-third Scots seamen,’ &c. De Foe's History of the Union, p. 603. In 1696, the wise men in our English Parliament passed a law, ‘that on no pretence whatever any kind of goods from the English American plantations should hereafter be put on shore, either in the kingdoms of Ireland or Scotland, without being first landed in England, and having also paid the duties there, under forfeiture of ship and cargo.’ Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. ii. p. 684. Certainly, the more a man knows of the history of legislation, the more he will wonder that nations should have been able to advance in the face of the formidable impediments which legislators have thrown in their way.

[385] ‘A spirit for commerce appears to have been raised among the inhabitants of Glasgow between the periods of 1660 and 1707, when the union with England took place.’ … But, ‘whatever their trade was, at this time, it could not be considerable; the ports to which they were obliged to trade, lay all to the eastward; the circumnavigation of the island would, therefore, prove an almost insurmountable bar to the commerce of Glasgow; the people upon the east coast, from their situation, would be in possession of almost the whole commerce of Scotland.’ Gibson's History of Glasgow, p. 205, Glasgow, 1777.

[386] ‘The importance of the measure induced the inhabitants of Greenock to make a contract with the superior, by which they agreed to an assessment of 1s. 4d. sterling on every sack of malt, brewed into ale, within the limits of the town; the money so levied to be applied in liquidating the expence of forming a proper harbour at Greenock. The work was begun at the epoch of the Union, in 1707; and a capacious harbour, containing upwards of ten Scottish acres, was formed by building an extensive circular pier, with a straight pier, or tongue, in the middle, by which the harbour was divided into two parts. This formidable work, the greatest of the kind, at that time, in Scotland, incurred an expence of more than 100,000 marks Scots.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 807, London, 1824, 4to. In M'Culloch's Geographical and Statistical Dictionary, London, 1849, vol. i. p. 930, it is stated, that ‘the inhabitants took the matter (1707) into their own hands, and agreed with their superior to assess themselves at a certain rate, to build a proper pier and harbour. The work was finished in 1710, at an expence of 5,555l.

[387] ‘The trade of Greenock has kept pace with the improvements made on its harbour. The union of the kingdoms (1707) opened the colonies to the enterprising inhabitants of this town, and generally of the west of Scotland; but it was not till 1719 that the first vessel belonging to Greenock crossed the Atlantic.’ M'Culloch's Geographical and Statistical Dictionary, vol. i. p. 930.

[388] ‘Such was the effect of the new harbour in increasing the trade, and the population, of the town, that the assessment, and port dues, cleared off the whole debt before 1740, and left, in that year, a clear surplus of 27,000 marks Scots, or 1,500l. sterling.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 807. ‘After the Union, however, the trade of the port increased so rapidly, that, in the year 1740, the whole debt was extinguished, and there remained a surplus, the foundation of the present town's funds, of 27,000 marks.’ Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. v. p. 576, Edinburgh, 1793.

[389] ‘By the Union, however, new views were opened up to the merchants of the city; they thereby obtained the liberty of a free commerce to America and the West Indies, from which they had been before shut out; they chartered English vessels for these voyages, having none at first fit for the purpose; sent out cargoes of goods for the use of the colonies, and returned home laden with tobacco. The business doing well, vessels were built belonging to the city, and in the year 1718, the first ship, the property of Glasgow, crossed the Atlantic.’ Denholm's History of Glasgow, p. 405, 3rd edit. Glasgow, 1804. Brown (History of Glasgow, vol. ii. p. 330, Edinburgh, 1797) says, that the Glasgow merchants ‘chartered Whitehaven ships for many years:’ but that, ‘in 1716, a vessel of sixty tons burden was launched at Crawford's dike, being the first Clyde ship that went to the British Settlements in America with goods and a supercargo.’ But this date is probably two years too early. Mr. M'Culloch, in his excellent Geographical and Statistical Dictionary, London, 1849, vol. ii. p. 659, says: ‘But for a while, the merchants of Glasgow, who first embarked in the trade to America, carried it on by means of vessels belonging to English ports; and it was not till 1718 that a ship built in Scotland (in the Clyde), the property of Scotch owners, sailed for the American colonies.’ Gibson, also (History of Glasgow, 1777, p. 206), says: ‘In 1718, the first vessel of the property of Glasgow crossed the Atlantic.’ And, to the same effect, Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. v. p. 498, Edinburgh, 1793.

[390] The progress was so rapid, that, in a work printed in 1732, it is stated, that ‘this city of Glasgow is a place of the greatest trade in the kingdom, especially to the Plantations; from whence they have twenty or thirty sail of ships every year, laden with tobacco and sugar; an advantage this kingdom never enjoyed till the Union. They are purchasing a harbour on the Frith, near Alloway, to which they have but twelve miles by land; and then they can re-ship their sugars and tobacco, for Holland, Germany, and the Baltick Sea, without being at the trouble of sailing round England or Scotland.’ Macky's Journey through Scotland, pp. 294, 295, 2nd edit. London, 1732. The first edition of this book was also printed in 1732. See Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica, vol. i. p. 631 m., Edinburgh, 1824, 4to.

[391] Gibson, who was a Glasgow merchant, says, in his History of Glasgow, p. 236, ‘that the commerce to America first suggested the idea of introducing manufactures into Glasgow, is to me very evident; and that they were only attempted to be introduced about the year 1725 is apparent.’ Denholm (History of Glasgow, p. 412) says: ‘The linen manufacture, which began here in the year 1725, was, for a long time, the staple, not only of this city, but of the west of Scotland.’ Compare Heron's Journey through the Western Counties of Scotland, Perth, 1799, vol. ii. p. 412.

[392] ‘Consisting only of one principal street about half a mile in length.’ Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 62. But the local historian mentions, with evident pride, that this one street contained ‘handsome houses.’ Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, part iii. p. 305, edit. Paisley, 1782, 4to.

[393] Denholm's History of Glasgow, pp. 546, 547; and Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 62–64. See also, on the rise of Paisley, Heron's Journey through the Western Counties of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 399, 400; Pennant's Tour in Scotland, vol. ii. p. 144; and Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, part iii. p. 321. At an earlier period, Paisley was famous in a different way. In the middle ages it swarmed with monks. Keith (Catalogue of Scotch Bishops, p. 252, Edinburgh, 1755, 4to) tells us that, ‘it formerly was a Priory, and afterwards changed into an Abbey of Black Monks.’

[394] The author of The Interest of Scotland Considered, Edinburgh, 1733, says (p. xvi.) that since 1727, ‘we have happily turned our eyes upon the improvement of our manufactures, which is now a common subject in discourse, and this contributes not a little to its success.’

[395] Morer, who was in Scotland in 1688 and 1689, says: ‘But that which employs great part of their land is hemp, of which they have mighty burdens, and on which they bestow much care and pains to dress and prepare it for making their linen, the most noted and beneficial manufacture of the kingdom.’ Morer's Short Account of Scotland, London, 1702, pp. 3, 4.

[396] ‘The duties upon linen from Scotland being taken off in England, made so great a demand for Scots linen more than usual, that it seemed the poor could want no employment.’ De Foe's History of the Union between England and Scotland, p. 604. Compare Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, vol. ii. p. 736: ‘a prodigious vent, not only in England, but for the American plantations.’ This concerns a later period.

[397] ‘The surplus of linen made above the consumption, was, in 1728, 2,183,978 yards; in 1738, 4,666,011.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. i. p. 873. On the increase between 1728 and 1732, see the Table in The Interest of Scotland Considered, Edinburgh, 1733, p. 97. In a work published in 1732, it is stated that ‘they make a great deal of linnen all over the kingdom, not only for their own use, but export it to England, and to the Plantations. In short, the women are all kept employ'd, from the highest to the lowest of them.’ Macky's Journey through Scotland, London, 1732, p. 271. This refers merely to the women of Scotland, whom Macky represents as much more industrious than the men.

[398] In 1745, Craik writes to Lord Nithisdale, ‘The present family have now reigned over us these thirty years, and though during so long a time they may have fallen into errors, or may have committed faults, (as what Government is without?) yett I will defy the most sanguine zealot to find in history a period equal to this in which Scotland possessed so uninterrupted a felicity, in which liberty, civil and religious, was so universally enjoyed by all people of whatever denomination—nay, by the open and avowed ennemys of the family and constitution, or a period in which all ranks of men have been so effectually secured in their property. Have not trade, manufactures, agriculture, and the spirit of industry in our country extended themselves further during this period and under this family than for ages before?’ Thomson's Memoirs of the Jacobites, London, 1845, vol. ii. pp. 60, 61.

[399] Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, part ii. p. 114.

[400] Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 341, compared with vol. xii. pp. 176, 177.

[401] Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 483.

[402] Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xii. p. 145.

[403] Ibid. vol. v. p. 297.

[404] Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, vol. ii. pp. 199, 200.

[405] Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xvi. p. 520: ‘About the year 1750.’ I need hardly say, that some of these dates, depending upon tradition, are given by the authors approximatively.

[406] ‘Betwixt the year 1750 and 1760, a great degree of patriotic enthusiasm arose in Scotland to encourage arts and manufactures; and the Edinburgh Society was established in 1755 for the express purpose of improving these.’ Bower's History of the University of Edinburgh, vol. iii. pp. 126, 7.

[407] ‘The first county-bank that anywhere appeared, was the Aberdeen Bank, which was settled in 1749: it was immediately followed by a similar establishment in Glasgow during the same year.’ Chalmers' Caledonia, vol. iii. p. 9, 4to, 1824. Kennedy (Annals of Aberdeen, 4to, 1818, vol. ii. p. 195) says: ‘Banking was originally projected in Aberdeen about the year 1752, by a few of the principal citizens who were engaged in commerce and manufactures. They commenced business, upon a limited scale, in an office on the north side of the Castle Street, issued notes of hand, of five pounds and of twenty shillings sterling, and discounted bills and promissory notes, for the accommodation of the public.’ It is uncertain if Chalmers knew of this passage; but he was a more accurate writer than Kennedy, and I, therefore, prefer his authority. Besides, Kennedy vaguely says, ‘about the year 1752.’

[408] ‘After having been frequently proposed, since the Union, this canal was at length begun in 1768, and finished in 1790. The trade upon it is already great, and is rapidly increasing.’ Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 279, 280, Edinburgh, 1792. See also vol. xii. p. 125; Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, 1860, 4to, p. 247; and an interesting contemporary notice in Nimmo's History of Stirlingshire, Edinburgh, 1777, pp. 468–481. In 1767, Watt was employed as a surveyor. See Muirhead's Life of Watt, 2nd edit. London, 1859, p. 167.

[409] I will quote, in a single passage, the opinions of an eminent German and of an eminent Scotchman. ‘Dr. Spurzheim, when he last visited Scotland, remarked that the Scotch appeared to him to be the most priest-ridden nation in Europe; Spain and Portugal not excepted. After having seen other countries, I can understand the force of this observation.Notes on the United States of North America by George Combe, vol. iii. p. 32, Edinburgh, 1841.




The remaining part of this volume, I purpose to devote to an attempt to unravel still further that two-fold paradox, which forms the prominent peculiarity of the history of Scotland. The paradox consists, as we have seen, in the fact, first, that the same people have long been liberal in politics, and illiberal in religion; and, secondly, that the brilliant, inquisitive, and sceptical literature which they produced in the eighteenth century, was unable to weaken their superstition, or to instil into them wiser and larger maxims on religious matters. From an early period, there were, as I have endeavoured to show, many circumstances which predisposed the Scotch to superstition, and, so far, had a general connexion with the subject before us. But the remarkable phenomenon with which we are immediately concerned, may, I think, be traced to two distinct causes. The first cause was, that, for a hundred and twenty years after the establishment of Protestantism, the rulers of Scotland either neglected the Church or persecuted it, thereby driving the clergy into the arms of the people, from whom alone they could obtain sympathy and support. Hence an alliance between the two parties, more intimate than would otherwise have been possible; and hence, too, the rise of that democratic spirit which was the necessary consequence of such an union, and which the clergy encouraged, because they were opposed and thwarted by the upper classes. So far, the result was extremely beneficial, as it produced a love of independence and a hatred of tyranny, which, twice during the seventeenth century, saved the country from[192] the yoke of a cruel despotism. But these very circumstances, which guarded the people against political despotism, exposed them all the more to ecclesiastical despotism. For, having no one to trust except their preachers, they trusted them entirely and upon all subjects. The clergy gradually became supreme, not only in spiritual matters, but also in temporal ones. Late in the sixteenth century, they had been glad to take refuge among the people; before the middle of the seventeenth century, they ruled the people. How shamefully they abused their power, and how, by encouraging the worst kind of superstition, they prolonged the reign of ignorance, and stopped the march of society, will be related in the course of this chapter; but, in fairness to them, we ought to acknowledge, that the religious servitude into which the Scotch fell during the seventeenth century, was, on the whole, a willing one, and that, mischievous as it was, it had at least a noble origin, inasmuch as the influence of the Protestant clergy is mainly to be ascribed to the fearlessness with which they came forward as leaders of the people, at a period when that post was full of danger, and when the upper classes were ready to unite with the crown in destroying the last vestiges of national liberty.

To trace the operation of this cause of Scotch superstition, will be the business of the present chapter; while, in the next and concluding chapter, I shall examine the other cause, which I have as yet hardly mentioned. This latter inquiry will involve some considerations respecting the philosophy of method, still imperfectly appreciated among us, and on which the history of the Scotch mind will throw considerable light. For, it will appear, that, during the eighteenth century, the ablest Scotchmen, with hardly an exception, adopted a method of investigating truth, which cut them off from the sympathies of their countrymen, and prevented their works from producing the effect which they might otherwise have done. The result was, that though a very sceptical literature was produced, scepticism made no progress, and therefore[193] superstition was undiminished. The highly-educated minds, indeed, were affected; but they formed a class apart, and there were no means of communication between them and the people. That this was owing to the method which literary men employed, I hope to prove in the next chapter; and if I succeed in doing so, it will be evident, that I have been guilty of no exaggeration in terming this the second great cause of the prolongation of Scotch superstition, since it was sufficiently powerful to prevent the intellectual classes from exercising their natural functions as the disturbers of old opinions.

We have already seen, that almost immediately after the Reformation, ill-feeling arose between the upper classes and the spiritual leaders of the Protestant church, and that this ill-feeling increased until, in 1580, it vented itself by the abolition of episcopacy. This bold and decisive measure made the breach irreparable. The preachers had now committed themselves too far to recede, even if they had desired to do so; and from that moment, uniting themselves heartily with the people, they took up a position which they have never since abandoned. During the remaining twenty-three years that James was in Scotland, they were occupied in exciting the people against their rulers; and as they became more democratic, so did the crown and nobles grow more hostile, and display, for the first time, a disposition to combine together in defence of their common interests. In 1603, James ascended the throne of England, and the struggle began in earnest. It lasted, with few interruptions, eighty-five years, and, during its continuance, the Presbyterian clergy never wavered; they were always steady to the good cause; always on the side of the people. This greatly increased their influence; and what favoured it still more was, that, besides being the champions of popular liberty, they were also the champions of national independence. When James I. and the two Charles's attempted to force episcopacy upon Scotland, the Scotch rejected it, not only because they hated the institution, but also because they looked on it as the mark of a foreign domination, which[194] they were determined to resist. Their nearest and most dangerous enemy was England; and they spurned the idea of receiving bishops who must, in the first instance, be consecrated in London, and who, it was certain, would never have been admitted into Scotland unless England had been the stronger country. It was, therefore, on patriotic, as well as religious, grounds, that the Scotch clergy, during the seventeenth century, struggled against episcopacy;[410] and when they overthrew it, in 1638, their bold and determined conduct associated, in the popular mind, the love of country with the love of the church. Subsequent events strengthened this association.[411] In 1650, Cromwell invaded Scotland, overthrew the Scotch in the battle of Dunbar, and intrusted to Monk the task of curbing their spirit, by building fortresses, and establishing a long chain of military posts.[412] The nation, cowed and broken, gave[195] way, and, for the first time for three centuries, felt the pressure of a foreign yoke. The clergy alone remained firm.[413] Cromwell, who knew that they were the chief obstacle to completing his conquest, hated them, and did every thing he could to ruin them.[414] But their power was too deeply seated to be shaken. From their pulpits, they continued to influence and animate the people. In face of the invaders, and in spite of them, the Scotch church continued to hold its General Assemblies, until the summer of 1653. Then, indeed, they[196] had to yield to brute force; and the people, to their unutterable grief, beheld the venerated representatives of the Scotch kirk driven from their place of meeting by English soldiers, and led like criminals through the streets of Edinburgh.[415]

Thus it was that in Scotland, after the latter part of the sixteenth century, every thing tended to increase[197] the reputation of the clergy, by raising them to the foremost rank among the defenders of their country. And it was but natural that the spiritual classes, finding themselves in the ascendant, should conduct the contest according to views habitual to their profession, and should be anxious for religious advantages, rather than for temporal benefits. The war which the Scotch waged against Charles I. partook more of the character of a crusade than any war ever carried on by a Protestant nation.[416] The main object was, to raise up presbyters, and to destroy bishops. Prelacy was the accursed thing, and that must be rooted out at every hazard. To this, all other considerations were subordinate.[417] The Scotch loved liberty, and hated England. Yet, even these two passions, notwithstanding their[198] strength, were as nothing, in comparison with their intense desire to extend and to propagate, if need be at the point of the sword, their own Presbyterian polity. This was their first and paramount duty. They fought, indeed, for freedom, but, above all, they fought for religion. In their eyes, Charles was the idolatrous head of an idolatrous church, and that church they were resolved to destroy. They felt that their cause was holy, and they went forth full of confidence, convinced that the sword of Gideon was drawn on their side, and that their enemies would be delivered up to them.

The rebellion, therefore, against Charles, which, on the part of the English, was essentially secular,[418] was, on the part of the Scotch, essentially religious. This was because with us, the laymen were stronger than the clergy; while with them, the clergy were stronger than the laymen. In 1643, both nations having united against the king, it was thought advisable that an intimate alliance should be concluded; but, in the negotiations which followed, it is noticed, by a contemporary observer, that though the English merely wished for a civil league, the Scotch demanded a religious covenant.[419] And as they would only continue the war on condition that this was granted, the English were obliged to give way. The result was the Solemn League and Covenant, by which what seemed a cordial union was effected between the two countries.[420] Such a compact was, however, sure to be short-lived, as each[199] party had different objects; the aim of the English being political, while that of the Scotch was religious. The consequences of this difference were soon apparent. In January 1645, negotiations having been opened with the king, commissioners met at Uxbridge, with the view of concluding a peace. The attempt failed, as might have been expected, seeing that, not only were the pretensions of the king irreconcilable with those of his opponents, but that the pretensions of his opponents were irreconcilable with each other. At Uxbridge, during the conferences, the Scotch expressed their readiness to concede to him what he required, if he would gratify them in regard to the Church; while the English, occupying themselves with civil and political questions, cared less, says Clarendon, for what concerned the Church than for anything else.[421] A better illustration could hardly be found of the secular character of the English rebellion, as compared with the spiritual character of the Scotch rebellion. Indeed, the Scotch, so far from concealing this, boasted of it, and evidently thought that it proved how superior they were to their worldly-minded neighbours. In February 1645, the General Assembly issued an address to the nation, including not only those who were at home, but also those who served in armies out of Scotland. In this document, which, proceeding from such a quarter, necessarily exercised great influence, political considerations,[200] as having to do merely with the temporal happiness of men, are treated as insignificant, and almost despicable. That Rupert was defeated, and that York and Newcastle were taken, were but trifling matters. They were only the means of accomplishing an end, and that end was the reformation of religion in England, and the establishment there of the pure Presbyterian polity.[422]

A war, undertaken with such holy objects, and conceived in so elevated a spirit, was supposed to be placed under the immediate protection of the Deity, on whose behalf it was carried on. In the language of the time, it was a war for God, and for God's church. Every victory that was obtained, was the result, not of the[201] skill of the general, nor of the valour of the troops, but was an answer to prayer.[423] When a battle was lost, it was either because God was vexed at the sins of the people,[424] or else to show them that they must not trust to the arms of the flesh.[425] Nothing was natural; all was supernatural. The entire course of affairs was governed, not by their own antecedents, but by a series of miracles. To assist the Scotch, winds were changed,[202] and storms were lulled. Such intelligence as was important for them to receive, was often brought by sea; and, on those occasions, it was expected that, if the wind were unfavourable, Providence would interfere, would shift it from one quarter to another, and, when the news had safely arrived, would allow it to return to its former direction.[426]

It was in this way that, in Scotland, every thing conspired to strengthen that religious element which the force of circumstances had, at an early period, made prominent, and which now threatened to absorb all the other elements of the national character. The clergy were supreme; and habits of mind natural and becoming to themselves, were diffused among all classes. The theories of a single profession outweighed those of all other professions; and not only war, but also trade, literature, science, and art, were held of no account unless they ministered to the general feeling. A state of society so narrow and so one-sided, has never been seen in any other country equally civilized. Nor did there appear much chance of abating this strange monopoly. As the seventeenth century advanced, the same[203] train of events was continued; the clergy and the people always making common cause against the crown, and being, by the necessity of self-preservation, forced into the most intimate union with each other. Of this, the preachers availed themselves to strengthen their own influence; and for upwards of a century their exertions stopped all intellectual culture, discouraged all independent inquiry, made men in religious matters fearful and austere, and coloured the whole national character with that dark hue, which, though now gradually softening, it still retains.

The Scotch, during the seventeenth century, instead of cultivating the arts of life, improving their minds, or adding to their wealth, passed the greater part of their time in what were called religious exercises. The sermons were so long and so frequent, that they absorbed all leisure, and yet the people were never weary of hearing them. When a preacher was once in the pulpit, the only limit to his loquacity was his strength. Being sure of a patient and reverential audience, he went on as long as he could. If he discoursed for two hours without intermission, he was valued as a zealous pastor, who had the good of his flock at heart; and this was about as much as an ordinary clergyman could perform, because, in uttering his sentiments, he was expected to display great vehemence, and to evince his earnestness by toiling and sweating abundantly.[427] This boundary[204] was, however, often passed by those who were equal to the labour; and Forbes, who was vigorous as well as voluble, thought nothing of preaching for five or six hours.[428] But, in the ordinary course of nature, such feats were rare; and, as the people were in these matters extremely eager, an ingenious contrivance was hit upon whereby their desires might be satisfied. On great occasions, several clergymen were present in the same church, in order that, when one was fatigued, he might leave the pulpit, and be succeeded by another, who, in his turn, was followed by a third; the patience of the hearers being apparently inexhaustible.[429] Indeed, the Scotch, by the middle of the seventeenth century, had grown accustomed to look up to their minister as if he were a god, and to dwell with rapture upon every word that dropt from his lips. To hear a favourite preacher, they would incur any fatigue, and would undertake long journeys without sleep or food.[430] Their power of[205] attention was marvellous. The same congregation would sometimes remain together for ten hours, listening to sermons and prayers, interspersed with singings and readings.[431] In an account of Scotland in 1670, it is stated that, in a single church in Edinburgh, thirty sermons were delivered every week.[432] Nor is this at all unlikely, considering the religious enthusiasm of the age. For, in those times, the people delighted in the most harassing and ascetic devotions. Thus, for instance, in 1653, when the sacrament was administered, they pursued the following course. On Wednesday, they fasted, and listened to prayers and sermons for more than eight hours. On Saturday they heard two or three sermons; and on Sunday, the number of sermons was so great that they stayed in church more than twelve hours; while, to conclude the whole, three or[206] four additional ones were preached on Monday by way of thanksgiving.[433]

Such eagerness, and yet such patience, indicate a state of society altogether peculiar, and for which we find no parallel in the history of any civilized country. This intense desire to hear whatever the preachers had to say, was, in itself, a homage of the most flattering kind, and was naturally accompanied by a belief that they were endowed with a light which was withheld from their less gifted countrymen. It is not surprising that the clergy, who, at no period, and in no nation, have been remarkable for their meekness, or for a want of confidence in themselves, should, under circumstances so eminently favourable to their pretensions, have been somewhat elated, and should have claimed an authority even greater than that which was conceded to them. And as this is intimately connected with the subsequent history of Scotland, it will be necessary to collect some evidence respecting their conduct, which will have the further advantage of exhibiting the true character of spiritual domination, and of showing how it works, not only on the intellectual, but also on the practical, life of a people.

According to the Presbyterian polity, which reached its height in the seventeenth century, the clergyman of the parish selected a certain number of laymen on whom he could depend, and who, under the name of elders, were his councillors, or rather the ministers of his authority. They, when assembled together, formed what was called the Kirk-Session, and this little court, which enforced the decisions uttered in the pulpit, was so supported by the superstitious reverence of the people, that[207] it was far more powerful than any civil tribunal. By its aid, the minister became supreme. For, whoever presumed to disobey him was excommunicated, was deprived of his property, and was believed to have incurred the penalty of eternal perdition.[434] Against such weapons, in such a state of society, resistance was impossible. The clergy interfered with every man's private concerns, ordered how he should govern his family, and often took upon themselves the personal control of his household.[435] Their minions, the elders, were everywhere;[208] for each parish was divided into several quarters, and to each quarter one of these officials was allotted, in order that he might take special notice of what was done in his own district.[436] Besides this, spies were appointed, so that nothing could escape their supervision.[437][209] Not only the streets, but even private houses, were searched, and ransacked, to see if any one was absent from church while the minister was preaching.[438] To him, all must listen, and him all must obey. Without the consent of his tribunal, no person might engage himself, either as a domestic servant, or as a field labourer.[439] If any one incurred the displeasure of the clergy, they did not scruple to summon his servants and force them to state whatever they knew respecting him, and whatever they had seen done in his house.[440] To speak disrespectfully of a preacher was a grievous offence;[441] to differ from him was a[210] heresy;[442] even to pass him in the streets without saluting him, was punished as a crime.[443] His very name was regarded as sacred, and not to be taken in vain. And that it might be properly protected, and held in due honour, an Assembly of the Church, in 1642, forbad it to be used in any public paper unless the consent of the holy man had been previously obtained.[444]

These and similar proceedings, being upheld by public opinion, were completely successful. Indeed, they could hardly have been otherwise, seeing that it was generally believed that whoever gainsaid the clergy, would be visited, not only with temporal penalties, but also with spiritual ones. For such a crime, there was punishment here, and there was punishment hereafter. The preachers willingly fostered a delusion by which[211] they benefited. They told their hearers, that what was spoken in the pulpit was binding upon all believers, and was to be regarded as immediately proceeding from the Deity.[445] This proposition being established, other propositions naturally followed. The clergy believed that they alone were privy to the counsels of the Almighty, and that, by virtue of this knowledge, they could determine what any man's future state would be.[446] Going still further, they claimed the power, not only of foretelling his future state, but also of controlling it; and they did not scruple to affirm that, by their censures, they could open and shut the kingdom of heaven.[447] As[212] if this were not enough, they also gave out that a word of theirs could hasten the moment of death, and by cutting off the sinner in his prime, could bring him at once before the judgment-seat of God.[448]

Utterly horrible as such a pretension now appears, it was made, not only with impunity, but with advantage; and numerous instances are recorded, in which the people believed that it was strictly enforced. The celebrated John Welsh, sitting one night at table, round which a party were assembled at supper, began to discourse to the company respecting the state of their souls. Those who were present listened with humility; but to this general feeling there was one exception. For, it so happened that a Roman Catholic was in the room, and he, of course, disagreed with the opinions expressed by the Presbyterian divine. If he had been a cautious man, he would have kept his disagreement to himself; but being a hot-headed youth, and being impatient at seeing a single person engross the conversation, he lost his temper, and not only ridiculed Welsh, but actually made faces at him. Thereupon, Welsh charged the company to take heed, and see what the Lord was about to do to him who mocked. Scarcely had this[213] threat been uttered, when it was carried into execution. He who had dared to jest at the minister, suddenly fell, sank under the table, and died there in presence of the whole party.[449]

This happened early in the seventeenth century, and being bruited abroad, it became a great terror to all evil-doers. But, after a time, its effect appears to have been weakened; since another man was equally rash some forty or fifty years afterwards. It seems that a Scotch clergyman of considerable repute, Mr. Thomas Hog, was, like Welsh, sitting at supper, when it so[214] chanced that the servants forgot to lay the knives. Mr. Hog, thinking the opportunity a favourable one, observed that such forgetfulness was of little moment, and that, while we thought so much of our comforts here, it was far more necessary to consider our condition hereafter. A gentleman present, amused, either by the manner of Mr. Hog, or by the skill with which he introduced the topics of his own profession, was unable to restrain himself, and burst out into a violent fit of laughter. The minister, however, was not to be checked, and he continued after such a fashion, that the laughter was repeated louder than ever. At length Mr. Hog turned round, and told his merry comrade that very shortly he should seek for mercy, but find it not. That same night, the scoffer was taken ill, and in great alarm sent for Mr. Hog. It was, however, useless. Before the clergyman could reach his room, the sinner was lying dead, a lost and ruined man.[450]


Nor was it merely in private houses that such examples were made. Sometimes the clergyman denounced the offender from the pulpit, and the punishment was as public as the offence. It is said that Gabriel Semple, when preaching, had a strange habit of putting out his tongue, and that this excited the mirth of a drunken man, who went into the church, and, by way of derision, put out his tongue also. But, to his horror, he found that, though he could put it out, he could not draw it in again. The result was, that the tongue stiffened; it lost all sensibility; and, paralysis coming on, the man died a few days after his transgression.[451]

Occasionally, the penalty was less severe, though the miracle was equally conspicuous. In 1682, a certain woman took upon herself to scold the famous divine, Peden, who was justly regarded as one of the great lights of the Scotch Church. ‘I wonder,’ said that[216] eminent man, ‘I wonder your tongue is not sore with so much idle clatter.’ She indignantly replied, that she had never suffered, either from a sore tongue, or from a sore mouth. He told her that she soon would. And the consequence of his saying so was, that her tongue and gums swelled to that degree, that for some days she was unable to take her usual food.[452]

She escaped with her life; others were more sharply handled. A clergyman was interrupted in the midst of his sermon by three gentlemen leaving the church. It is not stated that there was any thing offensive in their manner; but their object in going was to amuse themselves at some fair or race, and the minister, no doubt, thought that they should have been content with the gratification of hearing him. At all events, he was dissatisfied, and, after the sermon was over, he censured their conduct, and threatened them with the divine displeasure. His words were remembered, and, to the awe of his parishioners, every tittle was fulfilled. Of the three gentlemen, all died violent deaths; one of them broke his neck by falling from his horse, and another was found in his room with his throat cut.[453]


Cases of this sort were frequent during the seventeenth century; and as in that credulous age they were firmly believed and widely circulated, the power of the clergy was consolidated by them. The Laird of Hilton once ventured to pull a minister out of a pulpit which was not his own, and into which he had unlawfully intruded. ‘For the injury you have done to the servant of God,’ cried the enraged preacher, ‘you shall be brought into this church like a sticked sow.’ And so indeed he was. Yet a little while, and Hilton became entangled in a quarrel, was run through the body, and his corpse, still bleeding, was carried into the very church where the outrage had been committed.[454]


Even when a clergyman was in prison, he retained the same power. His authority was delegated to him from on high, and no temporal misfortune could curtail it. In 1673, the Reverend Alexander Peden, when in confinement, heard a young girl laughing at him outside the door of his room, while he was engaged in those vociferous devotions for which he was celebrated. The mirth of the poor child cost her dear. Peden denounced against her the judgment of God. In consequence of that denunciation, the wind blew her from a rock on which she was walking, and swept her into the sea, where she was quickly drowned.[455]

Sometimes the vengeance of the clergy extended to the innocent offspring of the man who had offended them. A certain minister, whose name has not been preserved, met with opposition in his parish, and fell into pecuniary and other difficulties. He applied for aid to a trader, who, being wealthy, ought, he thought, to afford him assistance. The trader, however, thought otherwise, and refused. Upon this, the clergyman declared that God would visit him. The result was, that his business not only declined, but his mind became impaired, and he died an idiot. He had two sons and two daughters. Both his sons went mad. One of his daughters, likewise, lost her reason. The other daughter being married, even her husband became destitute, and the children of that marriage became beggars, that the heinous crime might be visited to the third generation.[456]


To prosecute a minister, or even to assert one's rights against him before a civil tribunal, was not only a hazard, but a certain ruin. About the year 1665, James Fraser was sued in a court of law for a large sum of money, said[220] to be due from his father's estate. As usually happens in these cases, the party sued, considered that he was unjustly treated, and that his opponent had no right to make the claim. So far, all was natural. But the peculiarity was, that Fraser, against whom the action was brought, was a young man preparing for the ministry, and, therefore, under the immediate protection of Providence. Such an one was not to be vexed with impunity; and we are assured by Fraser himself that God specially interposed to prevent his ruin; that one of his opponents was made unable to appear in court, and that the Lord, laying his hand upon the others, put them to death, in order that every obstacle might be at once removed.[457]

While stories of this sort were generally believed, it was but natural that an opinion should grow up that it was dangerous to meddle with a minister, or in any way to interfere with his conduct.[458] The clergy, intoxicated[221] by the possession of power, reached to such a pitch of arrogance, that they did not scruple to declare, that whoever respected Christ, was bound, on that very account, to respect them.[459] They denounced the judgments of God upon all who refused to hear the opinions they propounded in their pulpits.[460] Nor did this apply[222] merely to persons who usually formed their audience. Such was their conceit, and so greedy were they after applause, that they would not allow even a stranger to remain in their parish, unless he, too, came to listen to what they chose to say.[461] Because they had adopted[223] the Presbyterian polity, they asserted that the Almighty had never failed to punish every one who tried to supersede it;[462] and as this was the perfection of the church, those who were blind to its merits, were given over to wrath, and were, indeed, the slaves of Satan.[463] The clergy, who held this language respecting their opponents, exhausted the choicest epithets of praise on themselves, and on their own pursuits. When one of them got into the pulpit, or took a pen in his hand, he seemed as if he could not find words strong enough to express his sense of the surpassing importance of that class of which he was himself a member.[464] They alone[224] knew the truth; they alone were able to inform and enlighten mankind. They had their instruction direct from heaven; they were, in fact, the ambassadors of Christ; from him they received their appointment; and since no one else could reward them, so no one else had a right to rule them.[465] As they were messengers sent by the Almighty, they were rightly termed angels, and it was the duty of the people to listen to their minister, as if he really were an angel who had descended upon earth.[466][225] His parishioners, therefore, were bound, not only to acknowledge him and provide for him, but also to submit to him.[467] Indeed, no one could refuse obedience, who considered who the clergy were, and what functions they performed. Besides being ambassadors and angels, they were watchmen, who spied out every danger, and whose sleepless vigilance protected the faithful.[468] They were[226] the joy and delight of the earth. They were musicians, singing the songs of sweetness; nay, they were sirens, who sought to allure men from the evil path, and save them from perishing.[469] They were chosen arrows, stored up in the quiver of God.[470] They were burning lights and shining torches. Without them, darkness would prevail; but their presence illumined the world, and made things clear.[471] Hence they were called stars, which title also expressed the eminence of their office, and its superiority over all others.[472] To make this still[227] more apparent, prodigies were vouchsafed, and strange lights might occasionally be seen, which, hovering round the form of the minister, confirmed his supernatural mission.[473] The profane wished to jest at these things, but they were too notorious to be denied; and there was a well-known case, in which, at the death of a clergyman, a star was miraculously exhibited in the firmament, and was seen by many persons, although it was then midday.[474]

Nor was this to be regarded as a solitary occurrence. On the contrary, it usually happened, that when a Scotch minister departed from this life, the event was accompanied by portents, in order that the people might understand that something terrible was going on, and that they were incurring a serious, perhaps an irretrievable, loss. Sometimes the candles would be mysteriously extinguished, without any wind, and without any one touching them.[475] Sometimes, even when the clergyman[228] was preaching, the supernatural appearance of an animal would announce his approaching end in face of the congregation, who might vainly mourn what they were unable to avert.[476] Sometimes the body of the holy man would remain for years unchanged and undecayed; death not having the power over it which it would have had over the corpse of a common person.[477] On other occasions, notice was given to him of his death, years before it occurred;[478] and, to strike greater awe into the public mind, it was remarked, that when one minister died, others were taken away at the same time, so that, the bereavement being more widely felt, men might, by the magnitude of the shock, be rendered sensible of the inestimable value of those preachers whose lives were happily spared.[479]


It was, moreover, generally understood, that a minister, during his abode in this world, was miraculously watched over and protected. He was peculiarly favoured by angels, who, though they did good offices to all members of the true church, were especially kind to the clergy;[480] and it was well known, that the celebrated Rutherford, when only four years old, having fallen into a well, was pulled out by an angel, who came there for the purpose of saving his life.[481] Another clergyman, who was in the habit of oversleeping himself, used to be roused to his duty in the morning, by three mysterious knocks at his door, which, if they did not produce a proper effect, were repeated close to his bed. These knocks never failed on Sunday, and on days when he had to administer the communion; and they lasted during the whole of his ministry, until he became old and infirm, when they entirely ceased.[482]


By the propagation of these and similar stories, in a country already prepared for their reception, the Scotch mind became imbued with a belief in miraculous interposition, to an extent which would be utterly incredible if it were not attested by a host of contemporary and unimpeachable witnesses. The clergy, partly because they shared in the general delusion, and partly because they derived benefit from it, did every thing they could to increase the superstition of their countrymen, and to familiarize them with notions of the supernatural world, such as can only be paralleled in the monastic legends of the middle ages.[483] How they[231] laboured to corrupt the national intellect, and how successful they were in that base vocation, has been hitherto known to no modern reader; because no one has had the patience to peruse their interminable discourses, commentaries, and the other religious literature in which their sentiments are preserved. As, however, the preachers were, in Scotland, more influential than all other classes put together, it is only by comparing their statements with what is to be found in the general memoirs and correspondence of the time, that we can at all succeed in reconstructing the history of a period, which, to the philosophic student of the human mind, is full of great, though melancholy, interest. I shall, therefore, make no apology for entering into still further details respecting these matters; and I hope to put the reader in possession of such facts as will connect the past history of Scotland with its present state, and will enable him to understand why it is, that so great a people are, in many respects, still struggling in darkness, simply because they still live under the shadow of that long and terrible night, which for more than a century, covered the land. It will also appear, that their hardness and moroseness of character, their want of gaiety, and their indifference to many of the enjoyments of life, are traceable to the same cause, and are the natural product of the gloomy and ascetic opinions inculcated by their religious teachers. For, in that age, as in every other, the clergy, once possessed of power, showed themselves harsh and unfeeling masters. They kept the people in a worse than Egyptian bondage, inasmuch as they enslaved mind as well as body, and not only deprived men of innocent amusements, but taught them that those amusements were sinful. And so thoroughly did they do their work, that, though a hundred and fifty years have elapsed since their supremacy began to wane, the imprint of their hands is everywhere[232] discernible. The people still bear the marks of the lash; the memory of their former servitude lives among them; and they crouch before their clergy as they did of old, abandoning their rights, sacrificing their independence, and yielding up their consciences, to the dictates of an intolerant and ambitious priesthood.

Of all the means of intimidation employed by the Scotch clergy, none was more efficacious than the doctrines they propounded respecting evil spirits and future punishment. On these subjects they constantly uttered the most appalling threats. The language, which they used, was calculated to madden men with fear, and to drive them to the depths of despair. That it often had this consequence, and produced most fatal results, we shall presently see. And, what made it more effectual was, that it completely harmonized with those other gloomy and ascetic notions which the clergy inculcated, and according to which, pleasures being regarded as sinful, sufferings were regarded as religious. Hence that love of inflicting pain, and that delight in horrible and revolting ideas, which characterized the Scotch mind during the seventeenth century. A few specimens of the prevailing opinions will enable the reader to understand the temper of the time, and to appreciate the resources which the Scotch clergy could wield, and the materials with which they built up the fabric of their power.

It was generally believed, that the world was overrun by evil spirits, who not only went up and down the earth, but also lived in the air, and whose business it was to tempt and hurt mankind.[484] Their number was[233] infinite, and they were to be found at all places and in all seasons. At their head was Satan himself, whose delight it was to appear in person, ensnaring or terrifying every one he met.[485] With this object, he assumed various forms. One day, he would visit the earth as a black dog;[486] on another day, as a raven;[487] on another, he would be heard in the distance, roaring like a[234] bull.[488] He appeared sometimes as a white man in black clothes;[489] and sometimes he came as a black man in black clothes, when it was remarked that his voice was ghastly, that he wore no shoes, and that one of his feet was cloven.[490] His stratagems were endless. For, in the opinion of divines, his cunning increased with his age; and having been studying for more than five thousand years, he had now attained to unexampled dexterity.[491] He could, and he did, seize both men and[235] women, and carry them away through the air.[492] Usually, he wore the garb of laymen, but it was said, that, on more than one occasion, he had impudently attired himself as a minister of the gospel.[493] At all events, in one dress or other, he frequently appeared to[236] the clergy, and tried to coax them over to his side.[494] In that, of course, he failed; but, out of the ministry, few, indeed, could withstand him. He could raise storms and tempests; he could work, not only on the mind, but also on the organs of the body, making men hear and see whatever he chose.[495] Of his victims, some[237] he prompted to commit suicide,[496] others to commit murder.[497] Still, formidable as he was, no Christian was considered to have attained to a full religious experience, unless he had literally seen him, talked to him, and fought with him.[498] The clergy were constantly preaching about him, and preparing their audience for an interview with their great enemy. The consequence was, that the people became almost crazed with fear. Whenever the preacher mentioned Satan, the consternation was so great, that the church resounded with sighs and groans.[499] The aspect of a Scotch congregation in those days, is, indeed, hard for us to conceive. Not unfrequently the people, benumbed and stupefied with awe, were rooted to their seats by the horrible fascination exercised over them, which compelled them to listen, though they are described as gasping for breath, and with their hair standing on end.[500] Such impressions were not easily[238] effaced. Images of terror were left on the mind, and followed the people to their homes, and in their daily pursuits. They believed that the devil was always, and literally, at hand; that he was haunting them, speaking to them, and tempting them. There was no escape. Go where they would, he was there. A sudden noise, nay, even the sight of an inanimate object, such as a stone, was capable of reviving the association of ideas, and of bringing back to the memory the language uttered from the pulpit.[501]

Nor is it strange that this should be the case. All over Scotland, the sermons were, with hardly an exception, formed after the same plan, and directed to the same end. To excite fear, was the paramount object.[502] The clergy boasted, that it was their special[239] mission to thunder out the wrath and curses of the Lord.[503] In their eyes, the Deity was not a beneficent being, but a cruel and remorseless tyrant. They declared that all mankind, a very small portion only excepted, were doomed to eternal misery. And when they came to describe what that misery was, their dark imaginations revelled and gloated at the prospect. In the pictures which they drew, they reproduced and heightened the barbarous imagery of a barbarous age. They delighted in telling their hearers, that they would be roasted in great fires, and hung up by their tongues.[504] They were to be lashed with scorpions, and see their companions writhing and howling around[240] them.[505] They were to be thrown into boiling oil and scalding lead.[506] A river of fire and brimstone, broader than the earth, was prepared for them;[507] in that, they were to be immersed; their bones, their lungs, and their liver, were to boil, but never be consumed.[508] At the same time, worms were to prey upon them; and while these were gnawing at their bodies, they were to be surrounded by devils, mocking and making pastime of their pains.[509] Such were the first stages of suffering, and they were only the first. For the torture, besides being unceasing, was to become gradually worse. So refined was the cruelty, that one hell was succeeded by another; and, lest the sufferer should grow callous, he was, after a time, moved on, that he might undergo fresh agonies in fresh places, provision being made that the torment should not pall on the sense, but should be varied in its character, as well as eternal in its duration.[510]


All this was the work of the God of the Scotch clergy.[511] It was not only his work, it was his joy and his pride. For, according to them, hell was created before man came into the world; the Almighty, they did not scruple to say, having spent his previous leisure in preparing and completing this place of torture, so that, when the human race appeared, it might be ready for their reception.[512] Ample, however, as the arrangements were, they were insufficient; and hell, not being big enough to contain the countless victims incessantly poured into it, had, in these latter days, been enlarged.[513] There was now sufficient room. But in that vast expanse there was no void, for the whole of it reverberated with the shrieks and yells of undying agony.[514] They rent the air with horrid sound, and, amid their pauses, other scenes occurred, if possible, still more excruciating. Loud reproaches filled the ear: children reproaching their parents, and[242] servants reproaching their masters. Then, indeed, terror was rife, and abounded on every side. For, while the child cursed his father, the father, consumed by remorse, felt his own guilt; and both children and fathers made hell echo with their piercing screams, writhing in convulsive agony at the torments which they suffered, and knowing that other torments more grievous still were reserved for them.[515]

Even now such language freezes the blood, when we consider what must have passed through the minds of those who could bring themselves to utter it. The enunciation of such ideas unfolds the character of the men, and lays bare their inmost spirit. We shudder, when we think of the dark and corrupted fancy, the vindictive musings, the wild, lawless, and uncertain thoughts which must have been harboured by those who could combine and arrange the different parts of this hideous scheme. No hesitation, no compunction, no feelings of mercy, ever seem to have entered their breasts. It is evident, that their notions were well matured; it is equally evident, that they delighted in them. They were marked by a unity of conception, and were enforced with a freshness and vigour of language, which shows that their heart was in their work. But before this could have happened, they must have been dead to every emotion of pity and tenderness. Yet, they were the teachers of a great nation, and were, in every respect, the most influential persons in that nation. The people, credulous and[243] grossly ignorant, listened and believed. We, at this distance of time, and living in another realm of thought, can form but a faint conception of the effect which these horrible conceits produced upon them. They were convinced that, in this world, they were incessantly pursued by the devil, and that he, and other evil spirits, were constantly hovering around them, in bodily and visible shape, tempting them, and luring them on to destruction. In the next world, the most frightful and unheard-of punishments awaited them; while both this world and the next were governed by an avenging Deity, whose wrath it was impossible to propitiate. No wonder that, with these ideas before them, their reason should often give way, and that a religious mania should set in, under whose influence they, in black despair, put an end to their lives.[516]


Little comfort, indeed, could men then gain from their religion. Not only the devil, as the author of all evil, but even He whom we recognise as the author of[245] all good, was, in the eyes of the Scotch clergy, a cruel and vindictive being, moved with anger like themselves. They looked into their own hearts, and there they found the picture of their God. According to them, He was a God of terror, instead of a God of love.[517] To Him they imputed the worst passions of their own peevish and irritable nature. They ascribed to Him, revenge, cunning, and a constant disposition to inflict pain. While they declared that nearly all mankind were sinners beyond the chance of redemption, and were, indeed, predestined to eternal ruin, they did not scruple to accuse the Deity of resorting to artifice against these unhappy victims; lying in wait for them, that He might catch them unawares.[518] The Scotch clergy taught their hearers, that the Almighty was so sanguinary, and so prone to anger, that He raged even against walls and houses and senseless creatures, wreaking His fury more than ever, and scattering desolation on every side.[519] Sooner than miss His fell and malignant purpose, He would, they said, let loose avenging angels, to fall upon men and upon their families.[520] Independently of this resource, He had various ways whereby He could at once content Himself and plague His creatures, as was particularly shown in the devices which He employed to bring famine on a people.[521] When a country was[246] starving, it was because God, in His anger, had smitten the soil, had stopped the clouds from yielding their moisture, and thus made the fruits of the earth to wither.[522] All the intolerable sufferings caused by a want of food, the slow deaths, the agony, the general misery, the crimes which that misery produced, the anguish of the mother as she saw her children wasting away and could give them no bread, all this was His act, and the work of His hands.[523] In His anger, He would sometimes injure the[247] crops by making the spring so backward, and the weather so cold and rainy, as to insure a deficiency in the coming harvest.[524] Or else, he would deceive men, by sending them a favourable season, and, after letting them toil and sweat in the hope of an abundant supply, He would, at the last moment, suddenly step in, and destroy the corn just as it was fit to be reaped.[525] For, the God of the Scotch Kirk was a God who tantalized His creatures as well as punished them; and when He was provoked, He would first allure men by encouraging their expectations, in order that their subsequent misery might be more poignant.[526]

Under the influence of this horrible creed, and from the unbounded sway exercised by the clergy who advocated it, the Scotch mind was thrown into such a state, that, during the seventeenth, and part of the eighteenth, century, some of the noblest feelings of which our nature is capable, the feelings of hope, of love, and of gratitude, were set aside, and were replaced by the dictates of a servile and ignominous fear. The physical sufferings to which the human frame is liable, nay, even the very accidents to which we are casually exposed, were believed to proceed, not from our ignorance, nor from our carelessness, but from the rage of the Deity. If a fire[248] chanced to break out in Edinburgh, the greatest alarm was excited, because it was the voice of God crying out against a luxurious and dissolute city.[527] If a boil or a sore appeared on your body, that, too, was a divine punishment, and it was more than doubtful whether it might lawfully be cured.[528] The small-pox, being one of the most fatal as well as one of the most loathsome of all diseases, was especially sent by God; and, on that account, the remedy of inoculation was scouted as a profane attempt to frustrate His intentions.[529] Other disorders, which, though less terrible, were very painful, proceeded from the same source, and all owed their[249] origin to the anger of the Almighty.[530] In every thing, His power was displayed, not by increasing the happiness of men, nor by adding to their comforts, but by hurting and vexing them in all possible ways. His hand, always raised against the people, would sometimes deprive them of wine by causing the vintage to fail;[531] sometimes, would destroy their cattle in a storm;[532] and[250] sometimes, would even make dogs bite their legs when they least expected it.[533] Sometimes, He would display His wrath by making the weather excessively dry;[534] sometimes, by making it equally wet.[535] He was always punishing; always busy in increasing the general suffering, or, to use the language of the time, making the creature smart under the rod.[536] Every fresh war was the result of His special interference; it was not caused by the meddling folly or insensate ambition of statesmen, but it was the immediate work of the Deity, who was thus made responsible for all the devastations, the murders, and other crimes more horrible still, which war produces.[537] In the intervals of peace, which, at that period, were very rare, He had other means of vexing mankind. The shock of an earthquake was a mark of[251] His displeasure;[538] a comet was a sign of coming tribulation;[539] and when an eclipse appeared, the panic was so universal, that persons of all ranks hastened to church to deprecate His wrath.[540] What they heard there, would increase their fear, instead of allaying it. For the clergy taught their hearers, that even so ordinary an event as thunder, was meant to excite awe, and was sent for the purpose of showing to men with how terrible a master they had to deal.[541] Not to tremble at thunder, was, therefore, a mark of impiety; and, in this respect, man was unfavourably contrasted with the lower animals, since they were invariably moved by this symptom of divine power.[542]


These visitations, eclipses, comets, earthquakes, thunder, famine, pestilence, war, disease, blights in the air, failures in the crops, cold winters, dry summers, these, and the like, were, in the opinion of the Scotch divines, outbreaks of the anger of the Almighty against the sins of men; and that such outbreaks were incessant is not surprising, when we consider that, in the same age, and according to the same creed, the most innocent, and even praiseworthy, actions were deemed sinful, and worthy of chastisement. The opinions held on this subject are not only curious, but extremely instructive. Besides forming an important part of the history of the human mind, they supply decisive proof of the danger of allowing a single profession to exalt itself above all other professions. For, in Scotland, as elsewhere, directly the clergy succeeded in occupying a more than ordinary amount of public attention, they availed themselves of that circumstance to propagate those ascetic doctrines, which, while they strike at the root of human happiness, benefit no one except the class which advocates them. That class, indeed, can hardly fail to reap advantage from a policy, which, by increasing the apprehensions to which the ignorance and timidity of men make them too liable, does also increase their eagerness to fly for support to their spiritual advisers. And the greater the apprehension, the greater the eagerness. Of this, the Scotch clergy, who were perfect masters of their own art, were well aware. Under their influence, a system of morals was established, which, representing nearly every act as sinful, kept the people in perpetual dread, lest unwittingly they were committing some enormous offence, which would bring upon their heads a signal and overwhelming punishment.

According to this code, all the natural affections, all social pleasures, all amusements, and all the joyous instincts of the human heart were sinful, and were to be rooted out. It was sinful for a mother to wish to have sons;[543] and, if she had any, it was sinful to be anxious[253] about their welfare.[544] It was a sin to please yourself, or to please others; for, by adopting either course, you were sure to displease God.[545] All pleasures, therefore, however slight in themselves, or however lawful they might appear, must be carefully avoided.[546] When mixing in society, we should edify the company, if the gift of edification had been bestowed upon us; but we should by no means attempt to amuse them.[547] Cheerfulness,[254] especially when it rose to laughter, was to be guarded against; and we should choose for our associates grave and sorrowful men, who were not likely to indulge in so foolish a practice.[548] Smiling, provided it stopped short of laughter, might occasionally be allowed; still, being a carnal pastime, it was a sin to smile on Sunday.[549] Even on week-days, those who were most imbued with religious principles hardly ever smiled, but sighed, groaned, and wept.[550] A true Christian would[255] be careful, in his movements, to preserve invariable gravity, never running, but walking soberly, and not treading out in a brisk and lively manner, as unbelievers are wont to do.[551] So, too, if he wrote to a friend, he[256] must beware lest his letter should contain any thing like jocoseness; since jesting is incompatible with a holy and serious life.[552]

It was, moreover, wrong to take pleasure in beautiful scenery; for a pious man had no concern with such matters, which were beneath him, and the admiration of which should be left to the unconverted.[553] The unregenerate might delight in these vanities, but they who were properly instructed, saw Nature as she really was, and knew that as she, for about five thousand years, had been constantly on the move, her vigour was well-nigh spent, and her pristine energy had departed.[554] To the[257] eye of ignorance, she still seemed fair and fresh; the fact, however, was, that she was worn out and decrepit; she was suffering from extreme old age; her frame, no longer elastic, was leaning on one side, and she soon would perish.[555] Owing to the sin of man, all things were getting worse, and nature was degenerating so fast, that already the lilies were losing their whiteness, and the roses their smell.[556] The heavens were waxing old;[557] the very sun, which lighted the earth, was becoming feeble.[558] This universal degeneracy was sad to think of; but the profane knew it not. Their ungodly eyes were still pleased by what they saw. Such was the result of their obstinate determination to indulge the senses, all of which were evil; the eye being, beyond comparison, the most wicked. Hence, it was especially marked out for divine punishment; and, being constantly sinning, it was afflicted with fifty-two different diseases, that is, one disease for each week in the year.[559]


On this account, it was improper to care for beauty of any kind; or, to speak more accurately, there was no real beauty. The world afforded nothing worth looking at, save and except the Scotch Kirk, which was incomparably the most beautiful thing under heaven.[560] To look at that was a lawful enjoyment, but every other pleasure was sinful. To write poetry, for instance, was a grievous offence, and worthy of especial condemnation.[561] To listen to music was equally wrong; for men had no right to disport themselves in such idle recreation. Hence the clergy forbade music to be introduced even during the festivities of a marriage;[562] neither would they permit, on any occasion, the national entertainment of pipers.[563] Indeed, it was sinful to look at any exhibition in the streets, even though you only looked at it from your own window.[564] Dancing was so[259] extremely sinful, that an edict, expressly prohibiting it, was enacted by the General Assembly, and read in every church in Edinburgh.[565] New Year's Eve had long been a period of rejoicing in Scotland, as in other parts of Europe. The Church laid her hands on this also, and ordered that no one should sing the songs usual on that day, or should admit such singers into his own private house.[566]

At the christening of a child, the Scotch were accustomed to assemble their relations, including their distant cousins, in whom, then as now, they much abounded. But this caused pleasure, and pleasure was sinful. It was, therefore, forbidden; the number of guests was limited; and the strictest supervision was exercised by the clergy, to prevent the possibility of any one being improperly happy on such occasions.[567]


Not only at baptisms, but also at marriages, the same spirit was displayed. In every country, it has been usual to make merry at marriages; partly from a natural feeling, and partly, perhaps, from a notion that a contract so often productive of misery, might, at all events, begin with mirth. The Scotch clergy, however, thought otherwise. At the weddings of the poor, they would allow no rejoicing;[568] and at the weddings of the rich, it was the custom for one of them to go for the express purpose of preventing an excess of gaiety. A better precaution could hardly be devised; but they did not trust exclusively to it. To check the lusts of the flesh, they, furthermore, took into account the cookery, the choice of the meats, and the number of the dishes. They were, in fact, so solicitous on these points, and so anxious that the nuptial feast should not be too attractive that they fixed its cost, and would not allow any[261] person to exceed the sum which they thought proper to name.[569]

Nothing escaped their vigilance. For, in their opinion, even the best man was, at his best time, so full of turpitude, that his actions could not fail to be wicked.[570] He never passed a day without sinning, and the smallest sin deserved eternal wrath.[571] Indeed, every thing he did was sinful, no matter how pure his motives.[572] Man had been gradually falling lower and lower, and had now sunk to a point of debasement, which made him inferior to the beasts that perish.[573] Even before he was born, and while he was yet in his mother's womb, his guilt began.[574] And when he grew up, his crimes multiplied thick and fast; one of the most heinous of them being the practice of teaching children new words,—a horrible custom, justly visited by divine wrath.[575] This,[262] however, was but one of a series of innumerable and incessant offences; so that the only wonder was, that the earth could restrain herself at the hideous spectacle which man presented, and that she did not open her mouth, as of old, and swallow him even in the midst of his wickedness.[576] For, it was certain, that in the whole creation, there was nothing so deformed and monstrous as he.[577]

Such being the case, it behoved the clergy to come forward, and to guard men against their own vices, by controlling their daily actions, and forcing them to a right conduct. This they did vigorously. Aided by the elders, who were their tools and the creatures of their power, they, all over Scotland, organized themselves into legislative bodies, and, in the midst of their little senate, they enacted laws which the people were bound to obey. If they refused, woe be to them. They became unruly sons of the Church, and were liable to be imprisoned, to be fined, or to be whipped,[578] or to be branded with a hot iron,[579] or to do penance before the whole congregation,[263] humbling themselves, bare-footed, and with their hair cut on one side,[580] while the minister, under pretence of rebuking them, enjoyed his triumph.[581] All this was natural enough. For the clergy were the delegates of heaven, and the interpreters of its will. They, therefore, were the best judges of what men ought to do; and any one whom they censured was bound to submit with humility and repentance.[582]

The arbitrary and irresponsible tribunals, which now sprung up all over Scotland, united the executive authority with the legislative, and exercised both functions at the same time. Declaring that certain acts ought not to be committed, they took the law into their own hands, and punished those who had committed them. According to the principles of this new jurisprudence, of which the clergy were the authors, it became a sin for any Scotchman to travel in a Catholic country.[583] It was a sin for[264] any Scotch innkeeper to admit a Catholic into his inn.[584] It was a sin for any Scotch town to hold a market either on Saturday or on Monday, because both days were near Sunday.[585] It was a sin for a Scotch woman to wait at a tavern;[586] it was a sin for her to live alone;[587] it was also a sin for her to live with unmarried sisters.[588] It[265] was a sin to go from one town to another on Sunday, however pressing the business might be.[589] It was a sin to visit your friend on Sunday;[590] it was likewise sinful either to have your garden watered,[591] or your beard shaved.[592] Such things were not to be tolerated in a Christian land. No one, on Sunday, should pay attention to his health, or think of his body at all. On that day, horse-exercise was sinful;[593] so was walking in the fields, or in the meadows, or in the streets, or enjoying the fine weather by sitting at the door of your house.[594] To go to sleep on Sunday, before the duties[266] of the day were over, was also sinful, and deserved church censure.[595] Bathing, being pleasant as well as wholesome, was a particularly grievous offence; and no man could be allowed to swim on Sunday.[596] It was, in fact, doubtful whether swimming was lawful for a Christian at any time, even on week-days, and it was certain that God had, on one occasion, shown His disapproval, by taking away the life of a boy while he was indulging in that carnal practice.[597]

That it was a sin to cleanse one's body, might, indeed,[267] have been taken for granted; seeing that the Scotch clergy looked on all comforts as sinful in themselves, merely because they were comforts.[598] The great object of life was, to be in a state of constant affliction.[599] Whatever pleased the senses, was to be suspected.[600] A Christian must beware of enjoying his dinner; for none but the ungodly relished their food.[601] By a parity of reasoning, it was wrong for a man to wish to advance himself in life, or in any way to better his condition.[602] Either to make money, or to save it, was unsuited to Christians; and even to possess much of it was objectionable, because it not only ministered to human pleasures, but encouraged those habits of foresight and of provision for the future, which are incompatible with complete resignation to the Divine will. To wish for more than was necessary to keep oneself alive, was a sin[268] as well as a folly, and was a violation of the subjection we owe to God.[603] That it was contrary to His desire, was, moreover, evident, from the fact that He bestowed wealth liberally upon misers and covetous men; a remarkable circumstance, which, in the opinion of Scotch divines, proved that He was no lover of riches, otherwise He would not give them to such base and sordid persons.[604]

To be poor, dirty, and hungry, to pass through life[269] in misery, and to leave it with fear, to be plagued with boils, and sores, and diseases of every kind, to be always sighing and groaning, to have the face streaming with tears, and the chest heaving with sobs, in a word, to suffer constant affliction, and to be tormented in all possible ways; to undergo these things was deemed a proof of goodness, just as the contrary was a proof of evil. It mattered not what a man liked; the mere fact of his liking it, made it sinful. Whatever was natural, was wrong. The clergy deprived the people of their holidays, their amusements, their shows, their games, and their sports; they repressed every appearance of joy, they forbade all merriment, they stopped all festivities, they choked up every avenue by which pleasure could enter, and they spread over the country an universal gloom.[605] Then, truly, did darkness sit on the land. Men, in their daily actions and in their very looks, became troubled, melancholy, and ascetic. Their countenance soured, and was downcast. Not only their opinions, but their gait, their demeanour, their voice, their general aspect, were influenced by that deadly blight which nipped all that was genial and warm. The way of life fell into the sear and yellow leaf; its tints gradually deepened; its bloom faded, and passed off; its spring, its freshness, and its beauty, were gone; joy and love either disappeared or were forced to hide themselves in obscure corners, until at length the fairest and most endearing parts of our nature, being constantly repressed, ceased to bear fruit, and seemed to be withered into perpetual sterility.

Thus it was, that the national character of the Scotch was, in the seventeenth century, dwarfed and mutilated.[270] With nations, as with individuals, the harmony and free development of life can only be attained by exercising its principal functions boldly and without fear. Those functions are of two kinds; one set of them increasing the happiness of the mind, another set increasing the happiness of the body. If we could suppose a man completely perfect, we should take for granted that he would unite these two forms of pleasure in the highest degree, and would extract, both from body and mind, every enjoyment consistent with his own happiness, and with the happiness of others. But, as no such character is to be found, it invariably occurs, that even the wisest of us are unable to hold the balance; we, therefore, err, some in over-indulging the body, some in over-indulging the mind. Comparing one set of indulgences with the other, there can be no doubt that the intellectual pleasures are, in many respects, superior to the physical; they are more numerous, more varied, more permanent, and more ennobling; they are less liable to cause satiety in the individual, and they produce more good to the species. But for one person who can enjoy intellectual pleasures, there are at least a hundred who can enjoy physical pleasures. The happiness derived from gratifying the senses, being thus diffused over a wider area, and satisfying, at any given moment, a greater number of persons than the other form of happiness is capable of, does, on that account, possess an importance which many who call themselves philosophers are unwilling to recognize. Too often have philosophic and speculative thinkers, by a foolish denunciation of such pleasures, done all in their power to curtail the quantity of happiness of which humanity is susceptible. Forgetting that we have bodies as well as minds, and forgetting, too, that in an immense majority of instances the body is more active than the mind, that it is more powerful, that it plays a more conspicuous part, and is fitted for greater achievements, such writers commit the enormous error of despising that class of actions to which ninety-nine men out of every hundred are most prone, and for which they are best fitted. And for committing this[271] error they pay the penalty of finding their books unread, their systems disregarded, and their scheme of life adopted, perhaps, by a small class of solitary students, but shut out from that great world of reality for which it is unsuited, and in which it would produce the most serious mischief.

If, then, we review the history of opinion in connexion with the history of action, we may probably say, that the ascetic notions of philosophers, such, for instance, as the doctrines of the Stoics, and similar theories of mortification, have not worked the harm which might have been expected, and have not succeeded in abridging, to any perceptible extent, the substantial happiness of mankind. There are, I apprehend, two reasons why they have failed. In the first place, these philosophers have, with hardly an exception, had little real acquaintance with human nature, and have, therefore, been unable to touch those chords, and appeal to those hidden motives, by influencing which one man gains over another to his side. And, in the second place, they, fortunately for us, have never possessed authority, and have, therefore, been unable either to enforce their doctrine by penalties, or to recommend it by rewards.

But, though philosophers have failed in their effort to lessen the pleasures of mankind, there is another body of men, who, in making the same attempt, have met with far greater success. I mean, of course, the theologians, who, considered as a class, have, in every country and in every age, deliberately opposed themselves to gratifications which are essential to the happiness of an overwhelming majority of the human race. Raising up a God of their own creation, whom they hold out as a lover of penance, of sacrifice, and of mortification, they, under this pretence, forbid enjoyments which are not only innocent, but praiseworthy. For, every enjoyment by which no one is injured, is innocent; and every innocent enjoyment is praiseworthy, because it assists in diffusing that spirit of content and of satisfaction which is favourable to the practice of benevolence towards others. The theologians,[272] however, for reasons which I have already stated, cultivate an opposite spirit, and, whenever they have possessed power, they have always prohibited a large number of pleasurable actions, on the ground that such actions are offensive to the Deity. That they have no warrant for this, and that they are simply indulging in peremptory assertions on subjects respecting which we have no trustworthy information, is well known to those who, impartially, and without preconceived bias, have studied their arguments, and the evidence which they adduce. On this, however, I need not dilate; for, inasmuch as men are, almost every year, and certainly every generation, becoming more accustomed to close and accurate reasoning, just in the same proportion is the conviction spreading, that theologians proceed from arbitrary assumptions, for which they have no proof, except by appealing to other assumptions, equally arbitrary and equally unproven. Their whole system reposes upon fear, and upon fear of the worst kind; since, according to them, the Great Author of our being has used His omnipotence in so cruel a manner as to endow his creatures with tastes, instincts, and desires, which He not only forbids them to gratify, but which, if they do gratify, shall bring on themselves eternal punishment.

What the theologians are to the closet, that are the priests to the pulpit. The theologians work upon the studious, who read; the clergy act upon the idle, who listen. Seeing, however, that the same man often performs both offices, and seeing, too, that the spirit and tendency of each office are the same, we may, for practical purposes, consider the two classes as identical; and, putting them together, and treating them as a whole, it must be admitted by whoever will take a comprehensive view of what they have actually done, that they have been, not only the most bitter foes of human happiness, but also the most successful ones. In their high and palmy days, when they reigned supreme, when credulity was universal and doubt unknown, they afflicted mankind in every possible way; enjoining fasts, and penances, and pilgrimages, teaching their simple and[273] ignorant victims every kind of austerity, teaching them to flog their own bodies, to tear their own flesh, and to mortify the most natural of their appetites. This was the state of Europe in the middle ages. It is still the state of every part of the world where the priesthood are uncontrolled. Such ascetic and self-tormenting observances are the inevitable issue of the theological spirit, if that spirit is unchecked. Now, and owing to the rapid march of our knowledge, it is constantly losing ground, because the scientific and secular spirit is encroaching on its domain. Therefore, in our time, and especially in our country, its most repulsive features are disguised, and it is forced to mask its native ugliness. Among our clergy, a habit of grave and decent compromise has taken the place of that bold and fiery war which their predecessors waged against a sensual and benighted world. Their threats have perceptibly diminished. They now allow us a little pleasure, a little luxury, a little happiness. They no longer tell us to mortify every appetite, and to forego every comfort. The language of power has departed from them. Here and there, we find vestiges of the ancient spirit; but this is only among uneducated men, addressing an ignorant audience. The superior clergy, who have a character to lose, are grown cautious; and, whatever their private opinion may be, they rarely venture on those terrific denunciations with which their pulpits once resounded, and which, in times of yore, made the people shrink with fear, and humbled every one except him by whom the denunciation was uttered.

Still, though much of this has vanished, enough remains to show what the theological spirit is, and to justify a belief, that nothing but the pressure of public opinion prevents it from breaking out into its former extravagance. Many of the clergy persist in attacking the pleasures of the world, forgetting that, not only the world, but all which the world contains, is the work of the Almighty, and that the instincts and desires, which they stigmatise as unholy, are part of his gifts to man. They have yet to learn, that our appetites, being as much a portion of ourselves as any other quality we[274] possess, ought to be indulged, otherwise the whole individual is not developed. If a man suppresses part of himself, he becomes maimed and shorn. The proper limit to self-indulgence is, that he shall neither hurt himself nor hurt others. Short of this, everything is lawful. It is more than lawful; it is necessary. He who abstains from safe and moderate gratification of the senses, lets some of his essential faculties fall into abeyance, and must, on that account, be deemed imperfect and unfinished. Such an one is incomplete; he is crippled; he has never reached his full stature. He may be a monk; he may be a saint; but a man he is not. And now, more than ever, do we want true and genuine men. No previous age has had so much work to do, and, to accomplish that work, we need robust and vigorous natures, whose every function has been freely exercised without let or hindrance. Never before, was the practice of life so arduous; never were the problems presented to the human mind so numerous, or so complicated. Every addition to our knowledge, every fresh idea, opens up new difficulties, and gives birth to new combinations. Under this accumulated pressure, we shall assuredly sink, if we imitate the credulity of our forefathers, who allowed their energies to be cramped and weakened by those pernicious notions, which the clergy, partly from ignorance, and partly from interest, have, in every age, palmed on the people, and have, thereby, diminished the national happiness, and retarded the march of national prosperity.

In the same way, we constantly hear of the evils of wealth, and of the sinfulness of loving money; although it is certain that, after the love of knowledge, there is no one passion which has done so much good to mankind as the love of money. It is to the love of money that we owe all trade and commerce; in other words, the possession of every comfort and luxury which our own country is unable to supply. Trade and commerce have made us familiar with the productions of many lands, have awakened curiosity, have widened our ideas by bringing us in contact with nations of various manners, speech, and thought, have supplied an outlet[275] for energies which would otherwise have been pent up and wasted, have accustomed men to habits of enterprise, forethought, and calculation, have, moreover, communicated to us many arts of great utility, and have put us in possession of some of the most valuable remedies with which we are acquainted, either to save life or to lessen pain. These things we owe to the love of money. If theologians could succeed in their desire to destroy that love, all these things would cease, and we should relapse into comparative barbarism. The love of money, like all our appetites, is liable to abuse; but to declaim against it as evil in itself, and, above all, to represent it as a feeling, the indulgence of which provokes the wrath of God, is to betray an ignorance, natural, perhaps, in former ages, but shameful in our time, particularly when it proceeds from men who give themselves out as public teachers, and profess that it is their mission to enlighten the world.

Injurious, however, as all this is to the best interests of society, it is nothing in comparison with the doctrines formerly advocated by the Scotch divines. What their ideas were, I have shown from their own sermons, the reading of which has been the most painful literary task I ever undertook, since, in addition to the narrowness and the dogmatism which even the best of such compositions contain, there is, in these productions, a hardness of heart, an austerity of temper, a want of sympathy with human happiness, and a hatred of human nature, such as have rarely been exhibited in any age, and, I rejoice to think, have never been exhibited in any other Protestant country. These things, I have resuscitated from the oblivion in which they had long been buried, partly because it was necessary to do so in order to understand the history of the Scotch mind, and partly because I desired to show what the tendency of theologians is, when that tendency is uncontrolled. Protestants, generally, are too apt to suppose that there is something in their creed which protects them against those hurtful extravagances which have been, and, to a certain extent, still are, practised in the Catholic Church. Never was a greater mistake. There is but one[276] protection against the tyranny of any class; and that is, to give that class very little power. Whatever the pretensions of any body of men may be, however smooth their language, and however plausible their claims, they are sure to abuse power, if much of it is conferred on them. The entire history of the world affords no instance to the contrary. In Catholic countries, France alone excepted, the clergy have more authority than in Protestant countries. Therefore, in Catholic countries, they do more harm than in Protestant countries, and their peculiar views are developed with greater freedom. The difference depends, not on the nature of the creed, but on the power of the class. This is very apparent in Scotland, where the clergy, being supreme, did, Protestants though they were, imitate the ascetic, the unsocial, and the cruel doctrines, which, in the Catholic Church, gave rise to convents, fastings, scourgings, and all the other appliances of an uncouth and ungenial superstition.

Indeed, the Scotch divines, in some of their theories, went beyond any section of the Catholic Church, except the Spanish. They sought to destroy, not only human pleasures, but also human affections. They held that our affections are necessarily connected with our lusts, and that we must, therefore, wean ourselves from them as earthly vanities.[606] A Christian had no business with love or sympathy. He had his own soul to attend to, and that was enough for him. Let him look to himself. On Sunday, in particular, he must never think of benefiting others; and the Scotch clergy did not hesitate to teach the people, that on that day it was sinful to save a vessel in distress, and that it was a proof of religion to leave ship and crew to perish.[607] They might go; none[277] but their wives and children would suffer, and that was nothing in comparison with breaking the Sabbath. So, too, did the clergy teach, that on no occasion must food or shelter be given to a starving man, unless his opinions were orthodox.[608] What need for him to live? Indeed, they taught that it was a sin to tolerate his notions at all, and that the proper course was, to visit him with sharp and immediate punishment.[609] Going yet further, they broke the domestic ties, and set parents against[278] their offspring. They taught the father to smite the unbelieving child, and to slay his own boy sooner than allow him to propagate error.[610] As if this were not enough, they tried to extirpate another affection, even more sacred and more devoted still. They laid their rude and merciless hands on the holiest passion of which our nature is capable, the love of a mother for her son. Into that sanctuary, they dared to intrude; into that, they thrust their gaunt and ungentle forms. If a mother held opinions of which they disapproved, they did not scruple to invade her household, take away her children, and forbid her to hold communication with them.[611] Or if, perchance, her son had incurred their displeasure, they were not satisfied with forcible separation, but they laboured to corrupt her heart, and harden it against her child, so that she might be privy to the act. In one of these cases, mentioned in the records of the church of Glasgow, the Kirk-Session of that town summoned before them a woman, merely because she had received into her house her own son, after the clergy had excommunicated him. So effectually did they work upon her mind, that they induced her to promise, not only that she would shut her door against her child, but that she would aid in bringing him to punishment. She had sinned in loving him; she had sinned, even, in giving him shelter; but, says the record, ‘she promised not to do it again,[279] and to tell the magistrates when he comes next to her.’[612]

She promised not to do it again. She promised to forget him, whom she had born of her womb and suckled at her breast. She promised to forget her boy, who had ofttimes crept to her knees, who had slept in her bosom, and whose tender frame she had watched over and nursed. All the dearest associations of the past, all that the most exquisite form of human affection can give or receive, all that delights the memory, all that brightens the prospect of life, all vanished, all passed away from the mind of this poor woman, at the bidding of her spiritual masters. At one fell swoop, all were gone. So potent were the arts of these men, that they persuaded the mother to conspire against her son, that she might deliver him up to them. They defiled her nature, by purging it of its love. From that day her soul was polluted. She was lost to herself, as well as lost to her son. To hear of such things is enough to make one's blood surge again, and raise a tempest in our inmost nature. But to have seen them, to have lived in the midst of them, and yet not to have rebelled against them, is to us utterly inconceivable, and proves in how complete a thraldom the Scotch were held, and how thoroughly their minds, as well as their bodies, were enslaved.

What more need I say? What further evidence need I bring to elucidate the real character of one of the most detestable tyrannies ever seen on the earth? When the Scotch Kirk was at the height of its power, we may search history in vain for any institution which can compete with it, except the Spanish Inquisition. Between these two, there is a close and intimate analogy. Both were intolerant, both were cruel, both made war upon the finest parts of human nature, and both destroyed[280] every vestige of religions freedom. One difference, however, there was, of vast importance. In political matters, the Church, which was servile in Spain, was rebellious in Scotland. Hence the Scotch always had one direction in which they could speak and act with unrestrained liberty. In politics, they found their vent. There, the mind was free. And this was their salvation. This saved them from the fate of Spain, by securing to them the exercise of those faculties which otherwise would have lain dormant, if, indeed, they had not been entirely destroyed by that long and enfeebling servitude in which their clergy retained them, and from which, but for this favourable circumstance, no escape would have been open.


[410] In 1638, one of the most eminent of the Scotch clergy writes: ‘Our maine feare’ is ‘to have our religion lost, our throats cutted, our poore countrey made ane English province, to be disposed upon for ever hereafter at the will of a Bishope of Canterburie.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. i. p. 66. Compare p. 450. ‘This kirk is a free and independant kirk, no less then the kingdom is a free and independant kingdom; and as our own Patriots can best judge what is for the good of the kingdom, so our own Pastors should be most able to judge what form of worship beseemeth our Reformation, and what serveth most for the good of the People.’ Two generations later, one of the most popular arguments against the Union was, that it might enable the English to force episcopacy upon Scotland. See De Foe's History of the Union between England and Scotland, pp. 222, 284, 359. ‘The danger of the Church of Scotland, from the suffrages of English bishops,’ &c.

[411] The hatred which the Scotch naturally felt against the English for having inflicted so much suffering upon them, was intense about the middle of the seventeenth century, notwithstanding the temporary union of the two nations against Charles. In 1652, ‘the criminal record is full of cases of murder of English soldiers. They were cut off by the people whenever a fitting opportunity occurred, and were as much detested in Scotland as the French soldiers were in Spain during the Peninsular war.’ The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 98, Edinburgh, 1845. See also p. 167: ‘a nationall quarrell, and not for the Stuarts.’

[412] Browne's History of the Highlands, vol. ii. pp. 75–77: ‘the English army was augmented to twenty thousand men, and citadels erected in several towns, and a long train of military stations drawn across the country to curb the inhabitants.’

[413] Clarendon, under the year 1655, says, ‘Though Scotland was vanquished, and subdued, to that degree, that there was no place nor person who made the least show of opposing Cromwell; who, by the administration of Monk, made the yoke very grievous to the whole nation; yet the preachers kept their pulpit license; and, more for the affront that was offered to presbytery, than the conscience of what was due to majesty, many of them presumed to pray for the king; and generally, though secretly, exasperated the minds of the people against the present government.’ Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, p. 803.

[414] And, what they must have felt very acutely, he would not go to hear them preach. A writer of that time informs us that, even in 1648, when Cromwell was in Edinburgh, ‘he went not to their churches; but it is constantle reported that ewerie day he had sermons in his oune ludginge, himself being the preacher, whensoewer the spirit came upon him; which took him lyk the fitts of an ague, somtyms twise, sometyms thryse in a day.’ Gordon's Britane's Distemper, p. 212. In 1650, according to another contemporary, ‘he made stables of all the churches for hes horsses quhersoeuer he came, and burned all the seatts and pewes in them; riffled the ministers housses, and distrayed ther cornes.’ Balfour's Annales of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 88. The clergy, on the other hand, employing a resource with which their profession has always been familiar, represented Cromwell as opposing Providence, because he was opposing them. Rutherford (Religious Letters, reprinted Glasgow, 1824, p. 346) says, that he fought ‘against the Lord's secret ones;’ and Row (Continuation of Blair's Autobiography, p. 335), under the year 1658, triumphantly observes: ‘In the beginning of September this year, the Protector, that old fox, died. It was observed, as a remarkable cast of divine providence, that he died upon the 3d of September, which he, glorying of routing of our armies at Dunbar and Worcester on that day, used to call his day. On that same very day the Just Judge called him to an account,’ &c.

[415] See contemporary notices of this, in Nicoll's Diary, p. 110; and in The Diary of Mr. John Lamont of Newton, pp. 56, 57. But the best account is that given by Baillie, in a letter to Calamy, dated Glasgow, 27th July 1653. He writes: ‘That on the 20th of July last, when our Generall Assemblie was sett in the ordinarie tyme and place, Lieutenant-Colonell Cotterall besett the church with some rattes of musqueteirs and a troup of horse; himself (after our fast, wherein Mr. Dickson and Mr. Dowglas had two gracious sermons) entered the Assemblie-house, and immediately after Mr. Dickson the Moderator his prayer, required audience; wherein he inquired, If we did sitt there by the authority of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England? or of the Commanders-in-chiefe of the English forces? or of the English Judges in Scotland? The Moderator replyed, That we were ane Ecclesiasticall synod, ane Spirituall court of Jesus Christ, which medled not with anything Civile; that our authoritie wes from God, and established by the lawes of the land yet standing unrepealed; that, by the Solemn League and Covenant, the most of the English army stood obliedged to defend our Generall Assemblie. When some speeches of this kind had passed, the Lieutenant-Colonell told us, his order was to dissolve us; whereupon he commanded all of us to follow him, else he would drag us out of the rowme. When we had entered a Protestation of this unheard-of and unexampled violence, we did ryse and follow him; he ledd us all through the whole streets a myle out of the towne, encompassing us with foot-companies of musqueteirs, and horsemen without; all the people gazing and mourning as at the saddest spectacle they had ever seen. When he had ledd us a myle without the towne, he then declared what further he had in commission, That we should not dare to meet any more above three in number; and that against eight o'clock to-morrow, we should depart the towne, under paine of being guiltie of breaking the publick peace: And the day following, by sound of trumpet, we were commanded off towne under the paine of present imprisonment. Thus our Generall Assemblie, the glory and strength of our Church upon earth, is, by your souldiarie, crushed and trod under foot, without the least provocatione from us, at this time, either in word or deed.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. iii. pp. 225, 226.

[416] In August 1640, the army marched into England; and ‘it was very refreshfull to remark, that after we came to ane quarter at night, there was nothing almost to be heard throughout the whole army but singing of Psalms, prayer, and reading of Scripture by the souldiers in their severall hutts.’ Select Biographies, edited by Mr. Tweedie for the Wodrow Society, vol. i. p. 163. ‘The most zealous among them boasted, they should carry the triumphant banners of the covenant to Rome itself.’ Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 124. In 1644, the celebrated divine, Andrew Cant, was appointed by the Commissioners of the General Assembly, ‘to preach at the opening of the Parliament, wherein he satisfied their expectation fully. For, the main point he drove at in his sermon, was to state an opposition betwixt King Charles and King Jesus (as he was pleased to speak) and upon that account to press resistance to King Charles for the interest of King Jesus. It may be wondered that such doctrine should have relish'd with men brought up in the knowledge of the Scriptures; and yet, such was the madness of the times, that none who preach'd in public since the beginning of the Troubles, had been so cried up as he was for that sermon.’ Guthry's Memoirs, pp. 136, 137.

[417] ‘The rooting out of prelacy and the wicked hierarchy therein so obviously described, is the main duty.’ Naphtali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland, pp. 53, 54. This refers to the Covenant of 1643. So, too, the continuator of Row's History of the Kirk, p. 521, says, under the year 1639, that the object of the war was, ‘to withstand the prelaticall faction and malignant, countenanced by the kinge in his owne persone.’ Compare the outbreak of the Reverend Samuel Rutherford, against ‘the accursed and wretched prelates, the Antichrist's first-born, and the first fruit of his foul womb.’ Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 179.

[418] Our civil war was not religious; but was a struggle between the Crown and the Parliament. See a note in Buckle's History of Civilization, vol. i. p. 359.

[419] In September 1643, Baillie, writing an account of the proceedings of the Westminster Assembly in the preceding month, says, ‘In our committees also we had hard enough debates. The English were for a civill League, we for a religious Covenant.’ Letter to Mr. William Spang, dated 22nd September 1643, in Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. ii. p. 90.

[420] ‘The Solemn League and Covenant,’ which ‘is memorable as the first approach towards an intimate union between the kingdoms, but, according to the intolerant principles of the age, a federal alliance was constructed on the frail and narrow basis of religious communion.’ Laing's History of Scotland, vol. iii. pp. 258, 259. The passage, however, which I have quoted, in the last note, from Baillie, shows that England was not responsible for the intolerant principles, or, consequently, for the narrow basis.

[421] The Chancellor of Scotland ‘did as good as conclude “that if the king would satisfy them in the business of the Church, they would not concern themselves in any of the other demands.”’ … ‘And it was manifest enough, by the private conferences with other of the commissioners, that the parliament took none of the points in controversy less to heart, or were less united in, than in what concerned the Church.’ Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, edit. Oxford, 1843, p. 522. See also p. 527: ‘that the Scots would insist upon the whole government of the Church, and in all other matters would defer to the king.’

[422] See this extraordinary document in Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1638 to 1842, pp. 122–128, Edinburgh, 1843. It is entitled ‘A solemne and seasonable warning to the noblemen, barons, gentlemen, burrows, ministers, and commons of Scotland; as also to armies without and within this kingdom.’ In it (p. 123) occurs the following passage: ‘And for our part, our forces sent into that kingdom, in pursuance of that Covenant, have been so mercifully and manifestly assisted and blessed from heaven (though in the mids of many dangers and distresses, and much want and hardship), and have been so farre instrumentall to the foyling and scattering of two principall armies; first, the Marquesse of Newcastle his army; and afterwards Prince Rupert's and his together; and to the reducing of two strong cities, York and Newcastle, that we have what to answer the enemy that reproacheth us concerning that businesse, and that which may make iniquitie it self to stop her mouth. But which is more unto us than all victories or whatsomever temporall blessing, the reformation of religion in England, and uniformity therein between both kingdoms (a principal end of that Covenant), is so far advanced, that the English Service-Book with the Holy-Dayes and many other ceremonies contained in it, together with the Prelacy, the fountain of all these, are abolished and taken away by ordinance of parliament, and a directory for the worship of God in all the three kingdoms agreed upon in the Assemblies, and in the Parliaments of both kingdoms, without a contrary voice in either; the government of the kirk by congregational elderships, classical presbyteries, provincial and national assemblies, is agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, which is also voted and concluded in both Houses of the Parliament of England.’

[423] In 1644, ‘God ansuered our Wednesday's prayers: Balfour and Waller had gotten a glorious victorie over Forth and Hopton, and routed them totallie, horse and foot.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. ii. p. 155. In the same year, thanksgivings being offered at Aberdeen for the victory of Leslie over Rupert, ‘oure minister Mr. William Strathauchin declairit out of pulpit that this victory wes miraculous, wrocht by the fynger of God.’ Spalding's History of the Troubles, vol. ii. p. 254. In 1648, the Commissioners of the General Assembly, in an address to the Prince of Wales, stated that the Deity had been ‘fighting for his people;’ meaning by his people, the Scotch people. They added, that the fact of their enemies having been repulsed, was a proof of ‘how sore the Lord hath been displeased with their way.’ Clarendon State Papers, vol. ii. p. 424, Oxford, 1773, folio.

[424] Two Scotch notices are now before me of the fatal battle of Dunbar. According to one, the defeat was intended to testify against ‘the great sin and wickedness’ of the people. Naphtali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland, p. 75. According to the other, it was owing to the anger of the Deity at the Scotch showing any favour to the partizans of Charles. For, says the Reverend Alexander Shields, ‘both at that time, and since that time, the Lord never countenanced an expedition where that malignant interest was taken in unto the state of the quarrel. Upon this, our land was invaded by Oliver Cromwell, who defeat our army at Dunbar, where the anger of the Lord was evidently seen to smoke against us, for espousing that interest.’ Shields' Hind let loose, p. 75. These opinions were formed after the battle. Before the battle, a different hypothesis was broached. Sir Edward Walker, who was in Scotland at the time, tells us, that the clergy assured the people that ‘they had an army of saints, and that they could not be beaten.’ Journal of Affairs in Scotland in 1650, in Walker's Historical Discourses, London, 1705, folio, p. 165.

[425] ‘Each new victory of Montrose was expressly attributed to the admonitory “indignation of the Lord” against his chosen people for their sin, in “trusting too much to the arm of flesh.”’ Napier's Life of Montrose, Edinburgh, 1840, p. 283. Compare Guthrie's Considerations contributing unto the Discovery of the Dangers that threaten Religion, pp. 274, 275, reprinted Edinburgh, 1846. Guthrie was at the height of his reputation in the middle of the seventeenth century. Lord Somerville says of the Scotch, when they were making war against Charles I., that it was ‘ordinary for them, dureing the wholl tyme of this warre, to attribute ther great successe to the goodnesse and justice of their cause, untill Divyne Justice trysted them with some crosse dispensatione, and then you might have heard this language from them, that it pleased the Lord to give his oune the heavyest end of the tree to bear, that the saints and people of God must still be sufferers while they are here away; that that malignant party was God's rod to punish them for their unthankfullnesse,’ &c. Somerville's Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. ii. pp. 351, 352.

[426] Baillie mentions, in 1644, an instance of these expectations being fulfilled. He says (Letters and Journals, vol. ii. p. 138), ‘These things were brought in at a very important nick of time, by God's gracious providence: Never a more quick passage from Holy Island to Yarmouth in thirtie houres; they had not cast anchor halfe an houre till the wind turned contrare.’ Compare p. 142: ‘If this were past, we look for a new lyfe and vigoure in all affaires, especiallie if it please God to send a sweet northwind, carrying the certain news of the taking of Newcastle, which we dailie expect.’

[427] No one, perhaps, carried this further than John Menzies, the celebrated professor of divinity at Aberdeen. ‘Such was his uncommon fervour in the pulpit, that, we are informed, he “used to change his shirt always after preaching, and to wet two or three napkins with tears every sermon.”’ Note in Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 222. James Forbes, also, was ‘an able and zealous preacher, who after every sermon behooved to change his shirt, he spoke with such vehemency and sweating.’ Select Biographies, published by the Wodrow Society, vol. i. p. 333. Lord Somerville, who wrote in 1679, mentions ‘their thundering preachings.’ Memorie of the Somervilles, vol. ii. p. 388. A traditionary anecdote, related by the Dean of Edinburgh, refers to a later period, but is characteristic of the class. ‘Another description I have heard of an energetic preacher more forcible than delicate—“Eh, our minister had a great power o' watter, for he grat, and spat, and swat like mischeef.”’ Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, by E. B. Ramsay, Dean of Edinburgh, p. 201.

[428] He ‘was a very learned and pious man; he had a strange faculty of preaching five or six hours at a time.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 38. Even early in the eighteenth century, when theological fervour was beginning to decline, and sermons were consequently shorter, Hugh Thomson came near to Forbes. ‘He was the longest preacher ever I heard, and would have preached four (or) five hours, and was not generally under two hours; that almost every body expected.’ … ‘He was a piouse good man, and a fervent affectionat preacher, and, when I heard him, he had a vast deal of heads, and a great deal of matter, and generally very good and practicall, but very long.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iv. p. 203.

[429] In 1653, Lamont casually mentions, in his journal, that ‘the one came doune from the pulpit and the other went vp, in the tyme that the psalme after the first sermon was singing, so that ther was no intermission of the exercise, nether were the peopell dismissed till both sermons were ended.’ The Diary of Mr. John Lamont of Newton, p. 58. Burnet (History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 92) says, ‘I remember in one fast day there were six sermons preached without intermission. I was there myself, and not a little weary of so tedious a service.’

[430] When Guthrie preached at Fenwick, ‘his church, although a large country one, was overlaid and crowded every Sabbath-day, and very many, without doors, from distant parishes, such as Glasgow, Paisley, Hamilton, Lanerk, Kilbryde, Glasford, Strathaven, Newmills, Egelsham and many other places, who hungered for the pure gospel preached, and got a meal by the word of his ministry. It was their usual practice to come to Fenwick on Saturday, and to spend the greatest part of the night in prayer to God, and conversation about the great concerns of their souls, to attend the public worship on the Sabbath, to dedicate the remainder of that holy day in religious exercises, and then to go home on Monday the length of ten, twelve or twenty miles without grudging in the least at the long way, want of sleep or other refreshments; neither did they find themselves the less prepared for any other business through the week.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, 2nd edit., Glasgow, 1781, p. 311. One woman went forty miles to hear Livingstone preach. See her own statement, in Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. p. 249.

[431] Spalding gives the following account of what happened at Aberdeen in 1644. ‘So heir in Old Abirdene, upone the sevint of July, we had ane fast, entering the churche be nyne houris, and continewit praying and preiching whill tua houris. Efter sermon, the people sat still heiring reiding whill efternone's sermon began and endit, whiche continewit till half hour to sex. Then the prayer bell rang to the evening prayeris, and continewit whill seven.’ Spalding's History of the Troubles, vol. ii. p. 244, edit. Edinburgh, 1829, 4to. See also p. 42: ‘the people keipit churche all day.’ This was also at Aberdeen, in 1642.

[432] ‘Out of one pulpit now they have thirty sermons per week, all under one roof.’ A Modern Account of Scotland, in The Harleian Miscellany, vol. vi. p. 138, edit. Park, London, 1810, 4to.

[433] ‘But where the greatest part was more sound, they gave the sacrament with a new and unusual solemnity. On the Wednesday before, they held a fast day, with prayers and sermons for about eight or ten hours together: on the Saturday they had two or three preparation sermons: and on the Lord's day they had so very many, that the action continued above twelve hours in some places: and all ended with three or four sermons on Monday for thanksgiving.’ Burnet's History of his own Time, vol. i. p. 108.

[434] ‘The power of those kirk-sessions, which are now private assemblages, in whose meetings and proceedings the public take no interest whatever, is defined to be the cognizance of parochial matters and cases of scandal; but in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially during the Covenanting reign of terror after the outbreak of the Civil War against Charles I., the kirk-sessions of Scotland were the sources of excessive tyranny and oppression—were arbitrary, inquisitorial, and revengeful, to an extent which exceeds all belief. It is truly stated by the author of the “Memoirs of Locheill”—“Every parish had a tyrant, who made the greatest Lord in his district stoop to his authority. The kirk was the place where he kept his court; the pulpit his throne or tribunal from whence he issued out his terrible decrees; and twelve or fourteen sour ignorant enthusiasts, under the title of Elders, composed his council. If any, of what quality soever, had the assurance to disobey his orders, the dreadful sentence of excommunication was immediately thundered out against him, his goods and chattels confiscated and seized, and he himself being looked upon as actually in the possession of the devil, and irretrievably doomed to eternal perdition.”’ Introduction to The Kirk-Session Register of Perth, in The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. pp. 229–230, Edinburgh, 1845. In regard to the perdition which the sentence of excommunication was supposed to involve, one of the most influential Scotch divines of that time merely expresses the prevailing notion, when he asserts, that whoever was excommunicated was thereby given up to Satan. ‘That he who is excommunicated may be truly said to be delivered to Sathan is undeniable.’ Gillespie's Aaron's Rod Blossoming, or the Divine Ordinance of Church Government Vindicated, 1646, 4to, p. 239. ‘Excommunication, which is a shutting out of a Church-member from the Church, whereby Sathan commeth to get dominion and power over him.’ Ibid. p. 297. ‘Sure I am an excommunicate person may truly be said to be delivered to Sathan.’ p. 424.

[435] Clarendon, under the year 1640, emphatically says (History of the Rebellion, p. 67), ‘The preacher reprehended the husband, governed the wife, chastised the children, and insulted over the servants, in the houses of the greatest men.’ The theory was, that ‘ministers and elders must be submitted unto us as fathers.’ Shields' Enquiry into Church Communion, 2nd edit., Edinburgh, 1747, p. 66. In the middle of the seventeenth century, one of the most famous of the Scotch preachers openly asserted the right of his profession to interfere in family matters, on the ground that such was the custom in the time of Joshua. ‘The Ministers of God's house have not only the ministry of holy things, as Word and Sacraments, committed to their charge, but also the power of ecclesiastical government to take order with scandalous offences within the familie; both these are here promised to Joshua and the Priests.’ Hutchison's Exposition of the Minor Prophets, vol. iii. p. 72, London, 1654. In 1603, the Presbytery of Aberdeen took upon themselves to order that every master of a house should keep a rod, that his family, including his servants, might be beaten if they used improper language. ‘It is concludit that thair salbe in ewerie houss a palmar.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, printed for the Spalding Club, 4to, Aberdeen, 1846, p. 194. It also appears (p. 303) that, in 1674, the clergyman was expected to exercise supervision over all visitors to private houses; since he ought to be informed, ‘iff ther be anie persone receaved in the familie without testimoniall presented to the minister.’

[436] In 1650, it was ordered, ‘That everie paroche be divydit in severall quarteris, and each elder his owne quarter, over which he is to have speciall inspectioun, and that everie elder visit his quarter once everie month at least, according to the act of the Generall Assemblie, 1649, and in thair visitatioun tak notice of all disorderlie walkeris, especiallie neglectouris of God's worship in thair families, sueareris, haunteris of aill houses, especiallie at vnseasonable tymes, and long sitteris thair, and drinkeris of healthis; and that he dilate these to the Sessioun.’ Selections from the Minutes of the Synod of Fife, printed for the Abbotsford Club, Edinburgh, 1837, 4to, p. 168. ‘The elders each one in his own quarter, for trying the manners of the people.’ The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1690, p. 14. This scarce little volume is reprinted from the edition of 1641. See the advertisement at the beginning.

[437] In 1652, the Kirk-Session of Glasgow ‘brot boyes and servants before them, for breaking the Sabbath, and other faults. They had clandestine censors, and gave money to some for this end.’ Wodrow's Collections, vol. ii. part ii. p. 74, Glasgow, 1848, 4to.

[438] ‘It is thocht expedient that ane baillie with tua of the sessioun pas throw the towne everie Sabboth day, and nott sic as thay find absent fra the sermones ather afoir or efter none; and for that effect that thay pas and sersche sic houss as they think maist meit, and pas athort the streittis.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 26. ‘To pas throw the towne to caus the people resort to the hering of the sermones.’ p. 59. ‘Ganging throw the towne on the ordinar preiching dayes in the weik, als weill as on the Saboth day, to caus the people resort to the sermones.’ p. 77. See also p. 94; and Wodrow's Collections, vol. ii. part ii. p. 37: ‘the Session allous the searchers to go into houses and apprehend absents from the kirk.’

[439] ‘Another peculiarity was the supervision wielded over the movements of people to such a degree that they could neither obtain lodging nor employment except by a licence from the Kirk-Session, or, by defying this police court, expose themselves to fine and imprisonment.’ Lawson's Book of Perth, p. xxxvii. Edinburgh, 1847.

[440] In 1652, Sir Alexander Irvine indignantly writes, that the presbytery of Aberdeen, ‘when they had tried many wayes, bot in vaine, to mak probable this their vaine imaginatione, they, at lenthe, when all other meanes failed thame, by ane unparalelled barbaritie, enforced my serwandis to reweall upon oathe what they sawe, herd, or knewe done within my house, beyond which no Turkische inquisitione could pase.’ The Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. iii. p. 206, Aberdeen, 1846, 4to.

[441] In 1656, a servant was ordered to be brought before the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen ‘for her rayleing againest Mr. Andrew Cant, minister, in saying that becaus the said Mr. Andrew spak againest Yuill, he spak lyke ane old fool.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 138. In 1642, the Presbytery of Lanark had up a certain James Baillie, because he stated the extremely probable circumstance, ‘that two fooles mett togither, when the Minister and his sone mett togither.’ Selections from the Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, printed for the Abbotsford Club, Edinburgh, 1839, 4to, p. 30.

[442] In 1644, ‘If you dissent from them in a theological tenet, it is heresy.’ Presbytery Displayed, 1644, p. 39, reprinted London, 1663, 4to. In 1637, ‘If ye depart from what I taught you in a hair-breadth for fear or favour of men, or desire of ease in this world, I take heaven and earth to witness, that ill shall come upon you in end.’ Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 116. In 1607, ‘Mr. William Cowper, Minister, complained upon Robert Keir that he had disdainfully spoken of his doctrine. The (Kirk) Session ordained him to be warned to the morrow.’ Lawson's Book of Perth, p. 247.

[443] In 1619, a man was summoned before the Kirk-Session of Perth, because, among other things, he would not perform ‘that civil duty of salutation, as becomes him to his pastor;’ but ‘passed by him without using any kind of reverence.’ The Chronicle of Perth, Edinburgh, 1831, 4to, p. 80. The complaint was preferred by the minister himself. Indeed, the Scotch clergy took these things so much to heart, that they set up a theory to the effect that whoever showed them any disrespect, was prompted thereto by Satan. ‘It is Satan's great engine to draw men to contemne God and his word, under pretext of disrespect and prejudice against the Messengers only.’ … ‘It may let us see their guilt who despise most eminent ordinary Messengers.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Minor Prophets, vol. i. pp. 205, 233.

[444] The General Assembly of Saint Andrews, in 1642, passed ‘an act against using ministers' names in any of the public papers, without their own consent.’ Stevenson's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 503.

[445] ‘Directions for a believer's walk, given by Christ's ministers from his word, are his own, and are accounted by him as if he did immediately speak them himself.’ Durham's Exposition of the Song of Solomon, p. 102. I quote from the Glasgow reprint of 1788. That my references may be easily verified, and any error, if error there be, detected, I mention that the exact edition used will, in every case, be found specified in the List of Authors at the beginning of this work. But, if it will give the reader any additional confidence, I will venture to observe, that I am always scrupulously careful in reference to quotations, having looked out each passage afresh, as the sheets came from the printers hands. Some of the circumstances narrated in this chapter are so monstrous, that I hope to be excused in saying that I have taken all possible pains to secure their literal accuracy.

[446] ‘Yea, such was their arrogance, that, as if they had been privy to the councils of God, or the dispensers of his vengeance to the world, they presumed to pronounce upon their future state, and doomed them, both body and soul, to eternal torments.’ Wishart's Memoirs of the Marquis of Montrose, p. 237. ‘Ye heard of me the whole counsel of God. Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 16. 'I am free from the blood of all men; for I have communicated to you the whole counsel of God.’ Ibid. p. 191. ‘This is the great business of Gospel Ministers, to declare the whole counsel of God.’ Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 4. ‘Asserting that he had declared the whole counsel of God, and had keeped nothing back.’ Life of the Rev. A. Peden, p. 41, in vol. i. of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana.

[447] ‘The power of the keys is given to the Ministers of the church, wherewith not only by the preaching of the word, but also to church censures (sic) they open and shut the kingdom of heaven.’ Dickson's Truth's Victory over Error, p. 282. ‘To preach the Word, impugne, rebuik, admonishe, exhort and correct, and that under no less paine then casting both bodie and soull into eternall hell's fire.’ Forbes' Certaine Records touching the Estate of the Kirk, p. 519. ‘The next words, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven,” being spoken to the Apostles, and in them to other Ministers of Jesus Christ.’ Gillespie's Aaron's Rod Blossoming, p. 366. ‘The keys of the kingdom of Heaven’ … ‘are committed and intrusted to the pastors and other ruling officers of the Church.’ Ibid. p. 260.

[448] ‘Gird up the loins of your mind, and make you ready for meeting the Lord; I have often summoned you, and now I summon you again, to compear before your Judge, to make a reckoning of your life.’ Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 235. ‘Mr. Cameron, musing a little, said, “You, and all who do not know my God in mercy, shall know him in his judgments, which shall be sudden and surprising in a few days upon you; and I, as a sent servant of Jesus Christ, whose commission I bear, and whose badge I wear upon my breast, give you warning, and leave you to the justice of God.” Accordingly, in a few days after, the said Andrew, being in perfect health, took his breakfast plentifully, and before he rose fell a-vomiting, and vomited his heart's blood in the very vessel out of which he had taken his breakfast; and died in a most frightful manner.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 406.

[449] ‘Sitting at supper with the Lord Ochiltree (who was uncle to Mr. Welsh's wife), as his manner was, he entertained the company with godly and edifying discourse, which was well received by all the company save only one debauched Popish young gentleman, who sometimes laughed, and sometimes mocked and made faces; whereupon Mr. Welsh brake out into a sad abrupt charge upon all the company to be silent, and observe the work of the Lord upon that profane mocker, which they should presently behold; upon which immediately the profane wretch sunk down and died beneath the table, but never returned to life again, to the great astonishment of all the company.’ History of Mr. John Welsh, Minister of the Gospel at Ayr, in Select Biographies, vol. i. p. 29. ‘Mr. Welsh being by the Captaine, set at the upper end, intertained the company with grave and edifying discourse which all delighted to hear, save this young Papist, who, with laughter and derision, laboured to silence him, which was little regarded by Mr. Welsh. But after supper, while the guests sate a little, this youth stood up at the lower end of the table, and while Mr. Welsh proceeded from grave to gracious entertainment of his company, the youth came to that height of insolence as with the finger to point at him and with the face to make flouting grimaces, whereby he grieved the holy man, so as on a suddain he was forced to a silence. The whole company, who had heard him with delight, were silent with him. Within a little, Mr. Welsh, as moved by the spirit of God, broke forth into these words: “Gentlemen, the spirit of God is provoked against us, and I shall intreat you not to be afraid to see what God shall do among you before you rise from the table, for he will smite some of you with death before you go hence.” All were silently astonished, waiting to see the issue with fear. And while every man feared himselfe, except the insolent youth, he fel down dead suddenly at the foot of the table to shew the power of God's jealousie against the mockers of his Spirit and the offers of his grace.’ Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, pp. 374, 375.

[450] ‘When they sat doun to supper, it seems, knives were forgote; and when the servant was rebuked, Mr. Hogg said, there was noe matter, for he had one in his pocket, and it was a necessary companion for a travailer; and, as his use was upon evry thing, he took occasion to raise a spirituall discourse from it: “If we wer soe carefull about accommodations in our way here, what care should we take in our spirituall journey!” and the like; at which the factour takes a kink of laughing. Mr. Hogg looked at him with a frown, and went on in his discourse. Within a little, at somewhat or other, he laughed out yet louder, and Mr. Hogg stoped a litle, and looked him very stern in the face, and went on in his discourse, upon the free grace of God; and, at some expression or other, the man fell a laughing and flouting very loud: Upon which Mr. Hogg stoped, and directed his discourse to him, to this purpose: “Alace!” sayes he, “my soul is afflicted to say what I must say to you, sir, and I am constrained and pressed in spirit to say it, and cannot help it. Sir, you nou dispise the grace of God, and mock at it; but I tell you, in the name of the Lord, that the time is coming, and that very shortly, when you (will) seek ane offer of grace, but shall not find it!” Upon which the man arose, laughing and flouting, and went to his room. After he was away, the lady asked Mr. Hogg, What he thought would come upon him? He answered, he kneu noe more then he had said, and that he was constrained and oblidged to say it against his inclination; and he could not accompt for some of these impressions he sometimes felt, and after Providences would clear, and that shortly; but what it was, when, or where, he kneu not. The man told some of the servants that a phanatick Minister had been pronouncing a curse on him, but he did not value him nor it either. After Mr. Hogg had been somtime with the lady, he went to his room; and after he had, as he used to doe, spent some time in prayer, he putt off his cloaths, and just as he was stepping into his bedd, a servant comes and knocks at the dore and cryes, “For the Lord's sake, Mr. Hogg, come doun staires, presently, to the factour's room!” He put on his cloaths, as quickly as possible, and came doun, but the wretch was dead before he reached him!’ Analecta, or Materials for a History of Remarkable Providences, mostly relating to Scotch Ministers and Christians, by the Rev. Robert Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 265, 266. Compare The Life of Mr. Thomas Hog, in Howie's Biographia, p. 543, where a version is given, slightly different, but essentially the same.

[451] ‘He tells me, that when in the South country, he heard this story, which was not doubted about Geddart’ (i.e. Jedburgh): ‘Mr. Gabriel Semple had gote a habite, when speaking and preaching, of putting out his tongue, and licking his lipps very frequently. Ther was a fellou that used to ape him, in a way of mock; and one day, in a druken caball, he was aping him and putting out his tongue; and it turned stiffe and sensless, and he could not drau it in again, but in a feu dayes dyed. This accompt is soe odd, that I wish I may have it confirmed from other hands.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. p. 187.

[452] ‘About the same time, wading Douglas-water very deep,’ (he) ‘came to a house there; the good wife of the house insisted (as most part of women do not keep a bridle-hand) in chiding of him; which made him to fret, and said, I wonder that your tongue is not sore with so much idle clatter. She said, I never had a sore tongue nor mouth all my days. He said, It will not be long so. Accordingly, her tongue and gooms swelled so, that she could get no meat taken for some days.’ Account of the Life and Death of Mr. Walter Smith, p. 93, in vol. ii. of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana.

[453] ‘I hear from Lady Henriett Campbell, who was present at a Communion at Jeddart (Jedburgh), some years before Mr. Gabriel Semple's death, that, either on the fast day, or Saturnday, ther wer three gentlmen either in the parish or noturely knouen thereabout, who rose in the time of the last sermon, and with their servants went out of (the church), either to some fair or some race, not farr off. After sermon, when Mr. Semple rose to give the ordinary advertisments, he began with taking nottice of this, and said, he had remarked three gentlmen rise in time of sermon, and contemptuously and boldly leave God's service to goe to a fair, or race, as he supposed; but sayes, “It's born in upon me, and I am perswaded of it, the Lord will not suffer them to goe off time, without some remarkable judgment, and I am much mistaken if the most part that have seen them committ the sin, will not hear of the punishment of such open despite to the ordinances of Christ.” This peremptoryness did very much surprize Lady H(enriett), and coming home from sermon with my Lord Lothian and his Lady, in coach, she expressed her surprize at it. My Lord Lothian said, “The Minister is a man of God, and I am perswaded not one word of his will fall to the ground!” Within some feu moneths, my Lord or my Lady, writing to Lady H(enriett), signifyed to her, that one of these gentlmen was found in his room, (if I forgett not), with his throat cutt; and a second, being drunk, fell off his horse, and broke his neck; and some while after, shee heard the third had dyed some violent death.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. pp. 344, 345.

[454] ‘In the time of sermon, the Laird of Hiltoun comes in, and charges him in the midst of his work, to come out of (the) pulpite, in the king‘s name. Mr. Douglasse refused; whereupon the Laird comes to the pulpit, and pulls him out by force! When he sau he behoved to yeild, he said, “Hiltoun, for this injury you have done to the servant of God, knou what you are to meet with! In a litle time you shall be brought into this very church, like a sticked sou!” And in some litle time after, Hilton was run throu the body, and dyed by, if I mistake not, Annandale‘s brother, either in a douell or a drunken toilzie, and his corpes wer brought in, all bleeding, into that church. “Touch not mine annoynted, and doe my prophets noe harm!”’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. p. 154. In the same work (vol. iv. p. 268) the Reverend Mr. Wodrow writes, that he had been subsequently informed, ‘that the story is very true about the denuntiation upon the Laird of Hiltoun, as I have (I think) published it; and ther is a man yet alive who was witness to it, and in the church at the time.’

[455] ‘While prisoner in the Bass, one Sabbath morning, being about the publick worship of God, a young lass, about the age of thirteen or fourteen years, came to the chamber-door, mocking with loud laughter: He said, Poor thing, thou mocks and laughs at the worship of God; but ere long, God shall write such a sudden, surprising judgment on thee, that shall stay thy laughing, and thou shalt not escape it. Very shortly thereafter, she was walking upon the rock, and there came a blast of wind, and sweeped her off the rock into the sea, where she was lost.’ Life and Death of Mr. Alexander Peden, p. 43, in vol. i. of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana. See also Howie's Biographia Presbyteriana, p. 487.

[456] ‘He (Mr. Fordyce, in Aberdeen) tells me this following accompt, which he had from personall observation: When he lived near Frazerburge, in the North, there was a minister settled there, jure devoluto, the toun being biggotted against Presbytery to a pitch, and only two or three that had any seeming liking that way. After the Minister is setled, he expected much encouragement from one Ougstoun, I think his name was, who had professed much respect for him in that way. A while after, in some difficulty, the Minister came to him, and desired his countenance and assistance in the difficulty. He at first put the Minister off with delay: and within a litle plainly mocked him, and would doe nothing. The Minister came from him to my informer, who lived a litle from the place, and gave him ane account (of) what had befallen him, and said, “I expected much from that man, and reaconed upon his help and assistance, in soe comfortless a setlement as I have ventured on; and he has not only disappointed me, but mocked me!” And the Minister was like to sink under the thoughts of this carriage; and after some silence, he said, very peremptorly, “I am much mistaken, yea, I'le say it, God hath sent me, and spoken by me. God will visite that man, and something more than ordinary will befall him and his!” My informer was very much stunned and greived at such a peremptory declaration. However, it was accomplished, to my informer's personall knowledge. The man was a trader, who was very rich, worth near four or five thousand pounds sterling in stock. He had two sons and two daughters. Within some litle time, one of his sons turned distracted, and I think continues soe still. The other son, in some distemper, turned silly, and litle better, and dyed. His daughters, one was maryed, and her husband lost all his stock at sea, twice or thrice; his goodfather stocked him once or twice, and all was still lost, and they and their children are miserable. The other daughter fell into a distemper, wherein she lost her reason. The man himself, after that time, never throve; his means wasted away insensibly; and throu all things, he fell under melancholy, and turned silly, and dyed stupide. All this fell out in some feu years after what passed above; and my relator kneu all this particularly, and had occasion to be upon the man's bussiness and affairs.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. pp. 175, 176. See also, in another work by this eminent Scotch divine, an account of what happened, when ‘a rash young man’ having destroyed the property of a clergyman, named Boyd, ‘it was observed that that family did never thrive afterwards, but were in a decaying condition till they are reduced almost to nothing.’ Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. part. i. p. 215.

[457] See Fraser's Life of Himself, in vol. ii. of Select Biographies, edited by the Rev. W. K. Tweedie. ‘Nothing now remained of all my father's great fortune but a small wadset of sixteen chalders, liferented likewise by my mother. And about the same time a new (though an unjust) adversary charges both her and me for 36,000 merks, and a reduction of our rights; so that our whole livelihood was either gone or at the stake. For four years did this adversary vex us, and was like to have undone us as to our temporal condition, had not the Lord prevented.’ p. 196. ‘I, ignorant what defences to make, had in my company a registrate horning, which I accidentally and without premeditation (God putting it in my mind at the same time) did cast in, by which he, being the king's rebel, was incapacitate from pursuing me. And the Lord so ordered it that he never after compeared to trouble me, by which means I was delivered from a loss and a fashery, and had but one court to wait upon.’ p. 202. ‘My condition during this time was a wrestling condition with the sons of Zeruiah that were too strong for me; little or no overcoming, yet violent wrestling.’ … ‘For I humbled myself under the sense of the calamities of our family, and my own particular wants; I besought him to keep us from utter destruction. And the Lord was pleased to hear; he destroyed by death my chief adversaries, I found shifts to pay my many petty debts, gained our law-action, and was restored to some of my ancient possessions again.’ pp. 227, 228.

[458] ‘So hazardous a thing it is to meddle with Christ's sent servants.’ Life of Mr. William Guthrie, Minister at Fenwick, by the Rev. William Dunlop, reprinted in Select Biographies, vol. ii. p. 62. To arrest a clergyman on a civil or criminal process, was an act full of danger, inasmuch as the Deity would hardly fail to avenge it. This applied even to the officers who executed the arrest, as well as to him by whom it was ordered. See, for instance, Some Remarkable Passages of the Life and Death of Mr. John Semple, Minister of the Gospel, p. 171 (in Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana, vol. i.). ‘Some time thereafter, he gat orders to apprehend Mr. Semple; he intreated to excuse him, for Mr. Semple was the minister and man he would not meddle with; for he was sure, if he did that, some terrible mischief would suddenly befal him. Mr. Arthur Coupar, who was Mr. Semple's precentor, told these passages to a Reverend Minister in the church, yet alive, worthy of all credit, who told me.’ Durham boasts that, ‘when Ministers have most to do, and meet with most opposition, God often furnisheth them accordingly with more boldnesse, gifts, and assistance than ordinary. Christ's witnesses are a terrible party; for as few as these witnesses are, none of their opposits do gain at their hand; whoever hurteth them shall in this manner be killed. Though they be despicable in sackcloth, yet better oppose a king in his strength, and giving orders from his throne covered in cloath of state, than them: though they may burn some and imprison others, yet their opposers will pay sickerly for it. This is not because of any worth that is in them, or for their own sake; But 1. for His sake and for His authority that sendeth them. 2. for the event of their word, which will certainly come to passe, and that more terribly, and as certainly, as ever any temporall judgement was brought on by Moses or Elias.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 416.

[459] ‘These who are trusted by Christ to be keepers of the vineyard, and his ministers, ought also to be respected by the people over whom they are set; and Christ allows this on them. Where Christ is respected and gets his due, there the keepers will be respected and get their due.’ Durham's Exposition of the Song of Solomon, pp. 450, 451. Fergusson complacently says, that to affront a clergyman by not believing his statement, or ‘message,’ as he terms it, is a ‘dishonour done to God.’ Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 422.

[460] ‘As it is true concerning vs, that necessitie lyeth vpon vs to preach, and woe will bee to vs if wee preach not; so it is true concerning you, that a necessitie lyeth vpon you to heare, and woe will be to you if you heare not.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 156.

[461] The following order was promulgated by the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen on the 12th July 1607. ‘The said day, in respect it wes delatit to the sessioun that thair is sindrie landvart gentillmen and vtheris cum to this towne, quha mackis thair residence thairin, and resortis not to the preching nather on Saboth nor vlk dayes; thairfor, it is ordanit that thrie elderis of everie quarter convene with the ministrie in the sessioun hous, immediatlie efter the ending of the sermone on Tuysday nixt, and thair tak vp the names of the gentillmen and vtheris skipperis duelling in this burgh, quha kepis nocht the Kirk, nor resortis not to the hering of Godis word; and thair names being taken vp, ordains ane off the ministeris, with a baillie, to pas vnto thame and admoneis thame to cum to the preichingis, and keip the Kirk, vthervayes to remowe thame aff the towne.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 58. It was not enough to go occasionally to church; the attendance must be regular; otherwise the clergy were dissatisfied, and punished the delinquents. In the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie it is recorded that, on the 29th September 1649, ‘Mr. Johne Reidfurd being posed quhat diligence he had vsed to the Lady Frendraught, reported, shoe had hard three sermons, and so, as he thought, shoe intended to continow ane hearer. The bretheren, considering her long continowed contumacie and delay of her process, by heiring a sermon now and then, thought not that kind of heiring satufactorie, quherfor Mr. Robert Watson, and Mr. Robert Irving, ver ordained to goe with Mr. Johne Reidfurd, and requyre the said Lady to subscryv the Covenant, quherby shoe might testifie her conformitie vith the Kirk of Scotland, quhilk, if shoe refused, the said Mr. Johne vas ordained to pronounce the sentence of excommunicatioun against hir before the Provinciall Assemblie, as he vold be answerable therto.’ Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, p. 115. Neither distance, nor illness, might be pleaded as a valid excuse. Under no circumstances, would the preachers tolerate the affront of any one displaying an unwillingness to hear their sermons. In 1650, ‘compeired the Lord Oliphant, being summondit for not keeping his parish kirk of Abercherdour, vho declared his inabilitie of bodie many tymes, and the want of houses for accommodating him and his familie so farr distant from the same, vas the onlie caus, quhilk he promised to amend in tym comming. Mr. John Reidfurd ordained to report the same to the presbytrie, and vpon his continowed absence, to processe him.’ Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, p. 149. See more on this subject in Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, pp. 5, 33, 67; Minutes of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar, pp. 67, 68, 90, 153; Minutes of the Synod of Fife, pp. 18, 55, 132; and Spalding's History of the Troubles, vol. ii. p. 57. Spalding also mentions (p. 114) that at Aberdeen, in 1643, the clergy discoursed every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, in the afternoon; on which occasions, ‘the people is compellit to attend their Lectureis, or ther cryit out against.’

[462] ‘And it may be truly said, as the Church of Scotland hath had no detractors, but such as were ignorant of her, or misinformed about her, or whom faction, partiality, prejudice, wickedness, or love of unlawful liberty did inspire; so no person or party hath endeavoured hithertil to root out Presbytery, but the Lord hath made it a burdensome stone unto them.’ Naphtali, sig. B 2 rev. ‘The Lord's wrath shall so meet his enemies in the teeth, wheresoever they turn, that they shall be forced to forsake their pursuing of the Church.’ Dickson's Explication of the First Fifty Psalms, p. 115.

[463] ‘The true children of the Kirk are indeed the excellent ones of the earth, and princes indeed, wherever they live, in comparison of all other men who are but the beastly slaves of Satan.’ Dickson's Explication of the First Fifty Psalms, p. 312. Another high authority carefully identifies ‘the true religion’ with ‘the true presbyterial profession.’ See An Enquiry into Church Communion by Mr. Alexander Shields, Minister of the Gospel at Saint Andrews, p. 126. His remark applies to the ‘Burgess-oaths.’

[464] Fergusson gives an ingenious turn to this, and says that it was their duty to praise their own profession, not for their own sake, but for the sake of others. ‘It is the duty of Christ's ministers to commend and magnify their office, not for gaining praise and esteem to themselves, 2 Cor. iii. 1, but that the malice of Satan and his instruments may be hereby frustrated, 2 Cor. xi. 12, who labours to bring that sacred calling into contempt; that so it may have the less of success upon people's hearts.’ Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 180.

[465] ‘Neither is there any mediate authoritie betweene the Lord and his ambassadours, in the affaires of their message; he only sendeth them; he alone gives them to be pastors and doctors, etc.; he alone shall judge them; he alone shall reward them; to him alone they must give an accompt of their dispensation; and he himselfe alone doth immediatlie rule them by his spirit and word.’ Forbes' Certaine Records touching the Estate of the Kirk, p. 435. In reference to these amazing pretensions, the Scotch clergy were constantly terming themselves the ambassadors of the Deity; thereby placing themselves infinitely above all other men. See, for instance, Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, pp. 86, 100, 160. Durham's Law Unsealed, pp. 85, 96. Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 402. Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, pp. 17, 273. Shields' Enquiry into Church Communion, p. 72. Binning's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 118, vol. iii. p. 178. Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 122. Monro's Sermons, p. 207. Gillespie's Aaron's Rod Blossoming, pp. 240, 413. Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 166. Rutherford's Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 41. Dickson's Truth's Victory over Error, p. 274. Gray's Great and Precious Promises, pp. 50, 74. Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 429. Cockburn's Jacob's Vow, or Man's Felicity and Duty, p. 401. Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, pp. 461, 479.

[466] ‘Ministers are called Angels, because they are God's Messengers, intrusted by Him with a high and heavenly imployment; and it is a title that should put Ministers in mind of their duty, to do God's will on earth as the Angels do it in heaven, in a spiritual and heavenly way, cheerfully, willingly and readily: and it should put people in mind of their duty, to take this word off Ministers hands, as from Angels.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 496. ‘Therefore are Ministers called Angels, and Angels, Ministers,’ p. 596. Cockburn says that this is the reason why ‘we should behave ourselves decently and reverently’ in church; ‘for if the presence of Kings overawe us, how much more should the presence of God and Angels.’ Cockburn's Jacob's Vow, or Man's Felicity and Duty, p. 356. Another Scotch divine asserts that he and his brethren are able to instruct the angels, and free them from their ignorance. See the audacious passage in Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 180: ‘This may commend the ministers of the gospel not a little unto men, and beget reverence in them towards the same, that even the blessed angels are in some sort bettered by it, and that it is therefore respected by them: for Paul commendeth his office from this, that by occasion thereof “unto the principalities and powers, was made known the manifold wisdom of God.” Though angels be most knowing creatures, as enjoying the immediate sight and presence of God, Matt. xviii. 10, yet they are ignorant of some things, which, by God's way of dispensing the Gospel to his church, they come to a more full knowledge off.’ After this, it is a slight matter to find Monro insisting that ‘the people should consider our character as the most difficult and most sacred.’ Monro's Sermons, p. 202.

[467] ‘He is obliged to minister unto them in the gospel; and they are obliged to submit to him, strengthen him, acknowledge him, communicate to him in all good things, and to provide for him,’ &c. Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 90. That the clergy are ‘rulers and governors,’ and that their business is ‘ruling and watching over the flock,’ is likewise affirmed in Gillespie's Aaron's Rod Blossoming, pp. 172, 313. Compare The Correspondence of the Rev. Robert Wodrow, vol. i. p. 181: ‘rule over the people and speak the word;’ and Rutherford's Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 41: ‘the commanding power in the Ambassadour of Christ.’ See also the ‘reverential estimation’ inculcated in Boston's Sermons, p. 186.

[468] ‘Called watchmen by a name borrowed from the practice of centinels in armies or cities.’ They are ‘Satan's greatest eyesores.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Minor Prophets, vol. ii. p. 158, vol. iii. p. 208. ‘They being made watchmen, do thereby become the butt of Satan's malice.’ … ‘The Enemy's principal design is sure to be against the watchman, because he prevents the surprising of his people by Satan,’ at least ‘tis his business to do so.’ Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 24. Compare Guthrie's Considerations contributing unto the Discovery of the Dangers that threaten Religion, p. 259; Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, pp. 97, 106; Durham's Exposition of the Song of Solomon, pp. 278, 443, and Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 84, 244.

[469] One of the most popular of the Scotch preachers in the seventeenth century, actually ranks himself, in this respect, as doing the same work as the Son of God. ‘Christ and his ministers are the musicians that do apply their songs to catch men's ears and hearts, if so be they may stop their course and not perish. These are blessed syrens that do so.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 265.

[470] Rutherford terms himself, ‘a chosen arrow hid in his quiver.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 230. To read the coarse materialism contained in this and other extracts, will, I know, shock, and so far offend, many pure and refined minds, whose feelings I would not needlessly wound. But no one can understand the history of the Scotch intellect, who refuses to enter into these matters; and it is for the reader to choose whether or not he will remain ignorant of what I, as an historian, am bound to disclose. His remedy is easy. He has only either to shut the book, or else to pass on at once to the next chapter.

[471] ‘The Lord calleth men to be preachers, and hath them in his hand as starres, holding them out sometime to one part of the world, and sometime to another, that we may communicate light to them that are sitting in darkness.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 360.

[472] ‘Ministers are called Stars, for these reasons: I. To signifie and point out the eminence and dignity of the office, that it is a glorious and shineing office. II. To point out what is the especiall end of this office; It is to give light: as the use of Stars is to give light to the world; so it's Ministers main imployment to shine and give light to others; to make the world, which is a dark night, to be lightsome.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 43. See also pp. 151, 368; and Dickson's Truth's Victory over Error, p. 176.

[473] The Rev. James Kirton says of the Rev. John Welsh, that some one who observed him walking, ‘saw clearly a strange light surround him, and heard him speak strange words about his spiritual joy.’ Select Biographies, edited by the Rev. W. K. Tweedie, vol. i. p. 12. But more than this remains to be told. The hearts of the Scotch clergy were so lifted up with pride, that they believed—horrible to relate—that they had audible and verbal communications from the Almighty God, which bystanders could hear. One of these stories, relating also to Welsh, will be found, as tradition handed it down, in Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 148. I cannot quote such blasphemy; and those who doubt my statement had better refer to the second edition of Howie's work, published at Glasgow in 1781. It may probably be met with in the British Museum.

[474] ‘Mr. Johne M'Birnie at Aberdeen, (but first at the South Ferrie, over aganis the Castell of Broughtie,) a most zealous and painfull pastor, a great opposer of hierarchie. He was a shyning torch and a burning starre; wherefore the Lord miraculouslie made, at his death, a starre to appeare in heaven at the noonetyde of the day; whilk many yit alive testifies that they did evidentlie see it (at Whitsunday 1609).’ Row's History of the Kirk of Scotland, p. 421.

[475] Mr. James Stirling, minister of Barony, Glasgow, writes respecting his father, Mr. John Stirling, minister at Kilbarchan, that the ‘day he was burryed ther wer two great candles burning in the chamber, and they did go out most surprisingly without any wind causing them to go out.’ Analecta, or Materials for a History of Remarkable Providences, by the Rev. Robert Wodrow, vol. iii. p. 37.

[476] ‘This night, Glanderston told me, that it was reported for a truth at Burroustoness, that about six weeks since Mr. David Williamson was preaching in his own church in Edinburgh, and in the midle of the sermon, a ratton came and sat doun on his Bible. This made him stope; and after a little pause, he told the congregation that this was a message of God to him, and broke off his sermon, and took a formall fareweel of his people, and went home, and continoues sick.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 12.

[477] ‘The same person’ (i.e. the Rev. Mr. White) ‘adds, that some years ago, when Mr. Bruce's grave was opened, to lay in his grandchild, his body was almost fresh and uncorrupted, to the great wonder of many; and if I right remember, the grave was again filled up, and another made. The fresh body had no noisome smell. It was then nearly eighty years after he was buried. My informer was minister of Larbert when this happened.’ Wodrow's Life of Bruce, p. 150, prefixed to Bruce's Sermons.

[478] ‘He’ (John Lockhart) ‘tells me Mr. Robert Paton, minister at Barnweel, his father-in-lau, had a particular for-notice, seven or eight years before, of his death: That he signifyed so much to my informer.’ … ‘When my informer came, he did not apprehend any hazard, and signifyed so much to his father-in-lau, Mr. Paton. He answered, ‘John, John, I am to dye at this time; and this is the time God warned me of, as I told you.’ In eight or ten dayes he dyed. Mr. Paton was a man very much (beloved) and mighty in prayer.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iii. p. 451. Compare the case of Henderson (in Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 33), where the notice was much shorter, but ‘all fell out as he had foretold.’

[479] ‘Generally, I observe that Ministers' deaths are not single, but severall of them together.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iii. p. 275.

[480] The Rev. William Row (in his Continuation of Blair's Autobiography, p. 153) says, ‘Without all doubt, though it cannot be proven from Scripture, that every one has a tutelar angel, yet it is certain that the good angels do many good offices to the people of God, especially to his ministers and ambassadors, which we do not see, and do not remark or know.’

[481] ‘Mr. James Stirling, and Mr. Robert Muir, and severall others in the company, agreed on this accompt of Mr. Rutherford. When about four years old, he was playing about his father's house, and a sister of his, somewhat older than he, with him. Mr. Rutherford fell into a well severall fathoms deep, and not full, but faced about with heuen stone, soe that it was not possible for any body to get up almost, far less a child. When he fell in, his sister ran into the house near by, and told that Samuell was fallen into the well; upon which his father and mother ran out, and found him sitting on the grasse beside the well; and when they asked him, Hou he gote out? he said, after he was once at the bottome, he came up to the tope, and ther was a bonny young man pulled him out by the hand. Ther was noe body near by at the time; and soe they concluded it was noe doubt ane angell. The Lord had much to doe with him.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 57. See also vol. iii. pp. 88, 89, where this circumstance is again mentioned as ‘a tradition anent him’ in the place of his birth.

[482] ‘Mr. William Trail, minister at ****, tells me that his father, Mr. William Trail, minister at Borthwick, used every morning, when he had publick work on his hand, to hear three knocks at his chamber dore; and if, throu wearynes, or heaviness, he did sitt these, ther wer ordinarily three knocks at his bed-head, which he never durst sitt, but gott up to his work. This was ordinarily about three in the morning. This, at first, in his youth, frighted him; but at lenth it turned easy to him, and he believed these knocks and awaknings proceed from a good art. That these never failed him on Sabbaths and at Communions, when he was obliged to rise early: That when he turned old and infirm, towards the close of his dayes, they intirely ceased and left him.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. p. 307. This work, in four quarto volumes, is invaluable for the history of the Scotch mind; being a vast repertory of the opinions and traditions of the clergy, during the seventeenth, and early part of the eighteenth, century. Wodrow was a man of ability, certainly above the average; his honesty is unimpeachable, as the jealous scrutiny which the episcopalians have made of his great work on the History of the Church of Scotland, decisively proves; and he was in the constant habit of personal and epistolary communication with the leading characters of his age. I have, therefore, freely used his Analecta; also his Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, which is likewise in four quarto volumes; and his Correspondence, in three thick octavo volumes. It would be difficult to find a more competent witness respecting the sentiments of his ecclesiastical brethren. It would be impossible to find a more candid one.

[483] In illustration of this, a volume might be filled with extracts from the writings of the Scotch divines of the seventeenth century. The following passage is, perhaps, as good as any. ‘Yea, it can hardly be instanced any great change, or revolution in the earth, which hath not had some such extraordinary herald going before. Can the world deny how sometimes these prodigious signes have been shaped out to point at the very nature of the stroke then imminent, by a strange resemblance to the same, such as a flaming sword in the air, the appearance of armies fighting even sometimes upon the earth, to the view of many most sober and judicious onlookers, also showers of blood, the noise of drummes, and such like, which are known usually to go before warr and commotions.’ Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, 1681, p. 216.

[484] Durham, after mentioning ‘old abbacies or monasteries, or castles when walls stand and none dwelleth in them,’ adds, ‘If it be asked, If there be such a thing, as the haunting of evill spirits in these desolate places? We answer 1. That there are evill spirits rangeing up and down through the earth is certain, even though hell be their prison properly, yet have they a sort of dominion and abode both in the earth and air; partly, as a piece of their curse, this is laid on them to wander; partly as their exercise to tempt men, or bring spirituall or temporall hurt to them,’ &c. Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 582. So, too, Hutcheson (Exposition of the Book of Job, p. 9): ‘We should remember that we sojourn in a world where Devils are, and do haunt among us;’ and Fleming (Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 217): ‘But the truth itself is sure, that such a party is at this day, encompassing the earth, and trafficking up and down there, to prove which by arguments were to light a candle to let men see that it is day, while it is known what ordinary familiar converse many have therewith.’ One of their favourite abodes was the Shetland Islands, where, in the middle of the seventeenth century, ‘almost every family had a Brouny or evil spirit so called.’ See the account given by the Rev. John Brand, in his work entitled A Brief Description of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland-Firth, and Caithness, pp. 111, 112, Edinburgh, 1701.

[485] ‘There is not one whom he assaulteth not.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 101. ‘On the right hand and on the left.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 273. Even early in the eighteenth century, the ‘most popular divines’ in Scotland, affirmed that Satan ‘frequently appears clothed in a corporeal substance.’ Memoirs of Charles Lee Lewes, written by Himself, vol. iii. pp. 29, 30, London, 1805.

[486] ‘This night James Lochheid told me, that last year, if I mistake not, at the Communion of Bafrou, he was much helped all day. At night, when dark somewhat, he went out to the feilds to pray; and a terrible slavish fear came on him, that he almost lost his senses. Houever, he resolved to goe on to his duty. By (the time) he was at the place, his fear was off him; and lying on a knou-side, a black dogg came to his head and stood. He said he kneu it to be Satan, and shooke his hand, but found nothing, it evanishing.’ … ‘Lord help against his devices, and strenthen against them!’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 24. The Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, p. 77, contain a declaration, in 1650, that ‘the devill appeared like a little whelpe,’ and afterwards, ‘like a brown whelpe.’

[487] The celebrated Peden was present when ‘there came down the appearance of a raven, and sat upon one man's head.’ … Thereupon, ‘going home, Mr. Peden said to his land-lord, I always thought there was Devilry among you, but I never thought that he did appear visibly among you, till now I have seen it. O, for the Lord's sake quit this way,’ The Life and Death of Mr. Alexander Peden, late Minister of the Gospel at New Glenluce in Galloway, pp. 111, 112, in vol. i. of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana.

[488] ‘I heard a voice just before me on the other side of the hedge, and it seemed to be like the groaning of an aged man. It continued so some time. I knew no man could be there; for, on the other side of the hedge, where I heard the groaning, there was a great stank or pool. I nothing doubted but it was Satan, and I guessed his design; but still I went on to beg the child's life. At length he roared and made a noise like a bull, and that very loud. From all this I concluded, that I had been provoking God some way or other in the duty, and that he was angry with me, and had let the enemy loose on me, and might give him leave to tear me in pieces. This made me intreat of God, to shew me wherefore he contended, and begged he would rebuke Satan. The enemy continued to make a noise like a bull, and seemed to be coming about the hedge towards the door of the summer-seat, bellowing as he came along.’ Stevenson's Rare, Soul-Strengthening, and Comforting Cordial for Old and Young Christians, p. 29. This book was published, and prepared for the press, by the Rev. William Cupples. See Mr. Cupples' letter at the beginning.

[489] In 1684, with ‘black cloaths, and a blue band, and white handcuffs.’ Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 8.

[490] ‘He observed one of the black man's feet to be cloven, and that the black man's apparel was black, and that he had a blue band about his neck, and white hand-cuffs, and that he had hoggers upon his legs without shoes; and that the black man's voice was hollow and ghastly.’ Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 9. ‘The devil appeared in the shape of a black man,’ p. 31. See also Brand's Description of Orkney, p. 126: ‘all in black.’

[491] ‘The acquired knowledge of the Devill is great, hee being an advancing student, and still learning now above five thousand yeares.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himselfe, p. 204. ‘He knowes very well, partly by the quicknesse of his nature, and partly by long experience, being now very neere six thousand yeeres old.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 219. ‘Hee, being compared with vs, hath many vantages; as that he is more subtill in nature, being of greater experience, and more ancient, being now almost sixe thousand yeeres old.’ Ibid. p. 403. ‘The diuell here is both diligent and cunning, and (now almost of sixe thousand yeeres) of great experience.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 142. ‘Satan, such an ingenious and experimented spirit.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. i. p. 67. ‘His great sleight and cunning.’ Ibid. p. 110. Other eulogies of his skill may be seen in Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 475; and in Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 45. A ‘minister,’ whose name is not mentioned, states that he is ‘of an excellent substance, of great natural parts, long experience, and deep understanding.’ Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 78.

[492] In Professor Sinclair's work (Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 141), we find, in 1684, ‘an evident instance, that the devil can transport the bodies of men and women through the air. It is true, he did not carry her far off, but not for want of skill and power.’ Late in the seventeenth century, it was generally believed that one of Satan's accomplices was literally ‘strangled in his chair by the devil, least he should make a confession to the detriment of the service.’ Crawfurd's History of the Shire of Renfrew, part iii. p. 319.

[493] See the account of a young preacher being deceived in this way, in Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. pp. 103, 104. The Rev. Robert Blair detected the cheat, and ‘with ane awful seriousness appearing in his countenance, began to tell the youth his hazard, and that the man whom he took for a Minister was the Divel, who had trepanned him, and brought him into his net; advised him to be earnest with God in prayer, and likewise not to give way to dispair, for ther was yet hope.’ The preacher had, on this occasion, been so far duped as to give the devil ‘a written promise’ to do whatever he was requested. As soon as the Rev. Mr. Blair ascertained this fact, he took the young man before the Presbytery, and narrated the circumstance to the members. ‘They were all strangely affected with it, and resolved unanimously to dispatch the Presbitry business presently, and to stay all night in town, and on the morrow to meet for prayer in one of the most retired churches of the Presbitry, acquainting none with their business, (but) taking the youth alongst with them, whom they keeped alwise close by them. Which was done, and after the Ministers had prayed all of them round, except Mr. Blair, who prayed last, in time of his prayer there came a violent rushing of wind upon the church, so great that they thought the church should have fallen down about their ears, and with that the youth's paper and covenant’ (i.e. the covenant which he had signed at the request of Satan) ‘droops down from the roof of the church among the Ministers.’

[494] ‘The devil strikes at them, that in them he may strike at the whole congregation.’ Boston's Sermons, p. 186. Fleming (Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 379) gives an account of his appearing to one of the Scotch clergy. Compare Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iv. p. 110. In 1624, Bruce writes, ‘I heard his voice as vively as ever I heard any thing, not being sleeping, but waking.’ Life of Bruce, p. 8, prefixed to Bruce's Sermons. The only remedy was immediate resistance. ‘It is the duty of called ministers to go on with courage in the work of the Lord, notwithstanding of any discouragement of that kind, receiving manfully the first onset chiefly of Satan's fury, as knowing their ceding to him will make him more cruel.’ Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 74. In the seventeenth century, the Scotch clergy often complimented each other on having baffled him, and thereby put him in a passion. Thus, in 1626, Dickson writes to Boyd: ‘The devil is mad against you, he fears his kingdom.’ Life of Robert Boyd, in Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, vol. ii. part i. p. 238. See also pp. 165, 236.

[495] ‘He can delude ears, eyes, &c., either by misrepresenting external objects, or by inward disturbing of the faculties and organes, whereby men and women may, and do often, apprehend that they hear, see, &c. such and such things, which, indeed, they do not.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 128. ‘Raise tempests.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. i. p. 122. ‘His power and might, whereby through God's permission, he doth raise up storms, commove the elements, destroy cattle,’ &c. Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 264. ‘Hee can work curiously and strongly on the walls of bodily organs, on the shop that the understanding soule lodgeth in, and on the necessary tooles, organs, and powers of fancie, imagination, memory, humours, senses, spirits, bloud,’ &c. Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 212. Semple, giving notice of his intention to administer the sacrament, told the congregation ‘that the Devil would be so envious about the good work they were to go about, that he was afraid he would be permitted to raise a storm in the air with a speat of rain, to raise the waters, designing to drown some of them; but it will not be within the compass of his power to drown any of you, no not so much as a dog.’ Remarkable Passages of the Life and Death of Mr. John Semple, Minister of the Gospel, pp. 168, 169, in vol. i. of Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana.

[496] Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 137. Memoirs of the Life and Experiences of Marion Laird of Greenock, with a Preface by the Rev. Mr. Cock, pp. 43, 44, 45, 84, 85, 172, 222, 223.

[497] ‘I shall next show how the murderer Satan visibly appeared to a wicked man, stirred him up to stab me, and how mercifully I was delivered therefrom.’ The Autobiography of Mr. Robert Blair, Minister of St. Andrews, p. 65. See also Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, pp. 379, 380.

[498] ‘One Mr. Thomas Hogg, a very popular presbyterian preacher in the North, asked a person of great learning, in a religious conference, whether or not he had seen the Devil? It was answered him, “That he had never seen him in any visible appearance.” “Then, I assure you,” saith Mr. Hogg, “that you can never be happy till you see him in that manner; that is, until you have both a personal converse and combat with him.”’ Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, pp. 28, 29.

[499] ‘Ye go to the kirk, and when ye hear the devil or hell named in the preaching, ye sigh and make a noise.’ The Last and Heavenly Speeches of John, Viscount Kenmure, in Select Biographies, vol. i. p. 405.

[500] Andrew Gray, who died in 1656, used such language, ‘that his contemporary, the foresaid Mr. Durham, observed, That many times he caused the very hairs of their head to stand up.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 217. James Hutcheson boasted of this sort of success. ‘As he expressed it, “I was not a quarter of ane hour in upon it, till I sau a dozen of them all gasping before me.” He preached with great freedome all day, and fourteen or twenty dated their conversion from that sermon.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 131. When Dickson preached, ‘many were so choaked and taken by the heart, that through terrour, the spirit in such a measure convincing them of sin, in hearing of the word they have been made to fall over, and thus carried out of the church.’ Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 347. There was hardly any kind of resource which these men disdained. Alexander Dunlop ‘entered into the ministry at Paislay, about the year 1643 or 1644.’ … ‘He used in the pulpit, to have a kind of a groan at the end of some sentences. Mr. Peebles called it a holy groan.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iii. pp. 16, 21.

[501] A schoolmaster, recording his religious experiences (Wodrow's Analecta, vol. i. p. 246), says: ‘If any thing had given a knock, I would start and shiver, the seeing of a dogg made me affrayed, the seeing of a stone in the feild made me affrayed, and as I thought a voice in my head saying, “It's Satan.”’

[502] Only those who are extensively read in the theological literature of that time, can form an idea of this, its almost universal tendency. During about a hundred and twenty years, the Scotch pulpits resounded with the most frightful denunciations. The sins of the people, the vengeance of God, the activity of Satan, and the pains of hell, were the leading topics. In this world, calamities of every kind were announced as inevitable; they were immediately at hand; that generation, perhaps that year, should not pass away without the worst evils which could be conceived, falling on the whole country. I will merely quote the opening of a sermon which is now lying before me, and which was preached, in 1682, by no less a man than Alexander Peden. ‘There is three or four things that I have to tell you this day; and the first is this, A bloody sword, a bloody sword, a bloody sword, for thee, O Scotland, that shall reach the most part of you to the very heart. And the second is this, Many a mile shall ye travel in thee, O Scotland! and shall see nothing but waste places. The third is this, The most fertile places in thee, O Scotland! shall be waste as the mountain tops. And fourthly, The women with child in thee, O Scotland! shall be dashed in pieces. And fifthly, There hath been many conventicles in thee, O Scotland! but ere it be long, God shall have a conventicle in thee, that shall make thee Scotland tremble. Many a preaching hath God wared on thee, O Scotland! but ere it be long God's judgments shall be as frequent in Scotland as these precious meetings, wherein he sent forth his faithful servants to give faithful warning in his name of their hazard in apostatizing from God, and in breaking all his noble vows. God sent out a Welsh, a Cameron, a Cargill, and a Semple to preach to thee; but ere long God shall preach to thee by a bloody sword.’ Sermons by Eminent Divines, pp. 47, 48.

[503] To ‘thunder out the Lord's wrath and curse.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 191. ‘It is the duty of Ministers to preach judgments.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 93. ‘If ministers when they threaten be not the more serious and fervent, the most terrible threatening will but little affect the most part of hearers.’ Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 421.

[504] The clergy were not ashamed to propagate a story of a boy who, in a trance, had been mysteriously conveyed to hell, and thence permitted to revisit the earth. His account, which is carefully preserved by the Rev. Robert Wodrow (Analecta, vol. i. p. 51) was, that ‘ther wer great fires and men roasted in them, and then cast into rivers of cold water, and then into boyling water; others hung up by the tongue.’

[505] ‘Scortched in hell-fire and hear the howling of their fellow-prisoners, and see the ugly devils, the bloody scorpions with which Satan lasheth miserable soules.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, pp. 491, 492.

[506] ‘Boiling oil, burning brimstone, scalding lead.’ Sermons by Eminent Divines, p. 362.

[507] ‘A river of fire and brimstone broader than the earth.’ Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 35. ‘See the poor wretches lying in bundles, boiling eternally in that stream of brimstone.’ Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 53.

[508] ‘Tongue, lungs, and liver, bones and all, shall boil and fry in a torturing fire.’ Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 17. ‘They will be universal torments, every part of the creature being tormented in that flame. When one is cast into a fiery furnace, the fire makes its way into the very bowels, and leaves no member untouched: what part then can have ease, when the damned swim in a lake of fire burning with brimstone?’ Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, p. 458.

[509] ‘While wormes are sporting with thy bones, the devils shall make pastime of thy paines.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 97. ‘They will have the society of devils in their torments, being shut up with them in hell.’ Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, p. 442. ‘Their ears filled with frightful yellings of the infernal crew.’ Ibid. p. 460.

[510] This fundamental doctrine of the Scotch divines is tersely summed up in Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 130: ‘You shall go out of one hell into a worse; eternity is the measure of its continuance, and the degrees of itself are answerable to its duration.’ The author of these sermons died in 1653.

[511] And, according to them, the barbarous cruelty was the natural result of His Omniscience. It is with pain, that I transcribe the following impious passage. ‘Consider, Who is the contriver of these torments. There have been some very exquisite torments contrived by the wit of men, the naming of which, if ye understood their nature, were enough to fill your hearts with horror; but all these fall as far short of the torments ye are to endure, as the wisdom of man falls short of that of God.’ … ‘Infinite wisdom has contrived that evil.’ The Great Concern of Salvation, by the late Reverend Mr. Thomas Halyburton, edit. Edinburgh, 1722, p. 154.

[512] ‘Men wonder what he could be doing all that time, if we may call it time which hath no beginning, and how he was employed.’ … ‘Remember that which a godly man answered some wanton curious wit, who, in scorn, demanded the same of him—“He was preparing hell for curious and proud fools,” said he.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. i. p. 194.

[513] ‘Hell hath inlarged itselfe.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 146.

[514] ‘Eternal shriekings.’ Sermons by Eminent Divines, p. 394. ‘Screakings and howlings.’ Gray's Great and Precious Promises, p. 20. ‘O! the screechs and yels that will be in hell.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 654. ‘The horrible scrieches of them who are burnt in it.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 175.

[515] ‘When children and servants shall go, as it were, in sholes to the Pit, cursing their parents and their masters who brought them there. And parents and masters of families shall be in multitudes plunged headlong in endless destruction, because they have not only murdered their own souls, but also imbrued their hands in the blood of their children and servants. O how doleful will the reckoning be amongst them at that day! When the children and servants shall upbraid their parents and masters. “Now, now, we must to the Pit, and we have you to blame for it; your cursed example and lamentable negligence has brought us to the Pit.”’ … ‘And on the other hand, how will the shrieks of parents fill every ear? “I have damn'd myself, I have damn'd my children, I have damn'd my servants. While I fed their bodies, and clothed their backs, I have ruined their souls, and brought double damnation on myself.”’ Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, pp. 527, 528. See this further worked out in Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, pp. 378, 379: ‘curses instead of salutations, and tearing of themselves, and raging against one another, instead of the wonted embraces.’

[516] William Vetch, ‘preaching in the town of Jedburg to a great congregation, said, “There are two thousand of you here to day, but I am sure fourscore of you will not be saved;” upon which, three of his ignorant hearers being in despair, despatch'd themselves soon after.’ Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, p. 23. See also the life, or rather panegyric, of Vetch in Howie's Biographia Scoticana, where this circumstance is not denied, but, on the contrary, stated to be no ‘disparagement to him,’ p. 606. The frame of mind which the teachings of the clergy encouraged, and which provoked self-murder, is vividly depicted by Samuel Rutherford, the most popular of all the Scotch divines of the seventeenth century. ‘Oh! hee lieth down, and hell beddeth with him; hee sleepeth, and hell and hee dreame together; hee riseth, and hell goeth to the fields with him; hee goes to his garden, there is hell.’ … ‘The man goes to his table, O! hee dare not eat, hee hath no right to the creature; to eat is sin and hell; so hell is in every dish. To live is sinne, hee would faine chuse strangling; every act of breathing is sin and hell. Hee goes to church, there is a dog as great as a mountaine before his eye: Here be terrors.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, 1647, 4to, pp. 41, 42. Now, listen to the confessions of two of the tortured victims of the doctrines enunciated by the clergy; victims who, after undergoing ineffable agony, were more than once, according to their own account, tempted to put an end to their lives. ‘The cloud lasted for two years and some months.’ … ‘The arrows of the Almighty did drink up my spirits; night and day his hand lay heavy upon me, so that even my bodily moisture was turned into the drought of summer. When I said sometimes that my couch would ease my complaint, I was filled with tossings to the dawning of the day.’ … ‘Amidst all my downcastings, I had the roaring lion to grapple with, who likes well to fish in muddy waters. He strongly suggested to me that I should not eat, because I had no right to food; or if I ventured to do it, the enemy assured me, that the wrath of God would go down with my morsel; and that I had forfeited a right to the divine favour, and, therefore, had nothing to do with any of God's creatures.’ … ‘However, so violent were the temptations of the strong enemy, that I frequently forgot to eat my bread, and durst not attempt it; and when, through the persuasion of my wife, I at any time did it, the enemy through the day did buffet me in a violent way, assuring me that the wrath of God had gone over with what I had taken.’ … ‘The enemy after all did so pursue me, that he violently suggested to my soul, that, some time or other, God would suddenly destroy me as with a thunderclap: which so filled my soul with fear and pain, that, every now and then, I looked about me, to receive the divine blow, still expecting it was a coming; yea, many a night I durst not sleep, lest I had awakened in everlasting flames.’ Stevenson's Rare Cordial, pp. 11–13. Another poor creature, after hearing one of Smiton's sermons, in 1740, says, ‘Now, I saw myself to be a condemned criminal; but I knew not the day of my execution. I thought that there was nothing between me and hell, but the brittle thread of natural life.’ … ‘And in this dreadful confusion, I durst not sleep, lest I had awakened in everlasting flames.’ … ‘And Satan violently assaulted me to take away my own life, seeing there was no mercy for me.’ … ‘Soon after this, I was again violently assaulted by the tempter to take away my own life; he presented to me a knife therewith to do it; no person being in the house but myself. The enemy pursued me so close, that I could not endure so much as to see the knife in my sight, but laid it away.’ … ‘One evening, as I was upon the street, Satan violently assaulted me to go into the sea and drown myself; it would be the easiest death. Such a fear of Satan then fell upon me, as made my joints to shake, so that it was much for me to walk home; and when I came to the door, I found nobody within; I was afraid to go into the house, lest Satan should get power over me.’ Memoirs of the Life and Experiences of Marion Laird of Greenock, pp. 13, 14, 19, 45, 223, 224.

[517] Binning says, that ‘since the first rebellion’ (that is, the fall of Adam), ‘there is nothing to be seen but the terrible countenance of an angry God.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 254.

[518] ‘He will, as it were, lie in wait to take all advantages of sinners to undo them.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 247.

[519] ‘His wrath rages against walls, and houses, and senselesse creatures more now then at that time’ (i.e. at the time when the Old Testament was written). ‘See what desolation he hath wrought in Ireland, what eating of horses, of infants, and of killed souldiers, hath beene in that land, and in Germany.’ Rutherford's Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, pp. 244, 245.

[520] ‘Albeit there were no earthly man to pursue Christ's enemies; yet avenging angels, or evil spirits shall be let forth upon them and their families to trouble them.’ Dickson's Explication of the First Fifty Psalms, p. 229.

[521] ‘God hath many wayes and meanes whereby to plague man, and reach his contentments.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 286. ‘God hath variety of means whereby to plague men, and to bring upon them any affliction he intendeth against them; and particularly he hath several wayes whereby to bring on famine. He can arme all his creatures to cut off men's provision, one of them after another; he can make the change of aire, and small insects do that worke when he pleaseth.’ Ibid., vol. i. p. 422. The same divine, in another elaborate treatise, distinctly imputes to the Deity a sensation of pleasure in injuring even the innocent. ‘When God sends out a scourge, of sword, famine, or pestilence, suddenly to overthrow and cut people off, not only are the wicked reached thereby (which is here supposed), but even the innocent, that is such as are righteous and free of gross provocations; for, in any other sense, none are innocent, or free of sin, in this life. Yea, further, in trying of the innocent by these scourges, the Lord seems to act as one delighted with it, and little resenting the great extremities wherewith they are pressed.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, 1669, folio, p. 123. Compare p. 359. ‘It pleaseth the Lord to exercise great variety in afflicting the children of men,’ &c. But, after all, mere extracts can give but a faint idea of the dark and malignant spirit which pervades these writings.

[522] ‘The present dearth and famine quhilk seases vpon many, quhairby God his heavie wrath is evidentlie perceaved to be kindlit against vs.’ Selections from the Minutes of the Synod of Fife, p. 98. ‘Smiting of the fruits of the ground.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 277. ‘Makes fruits to wither.’ Ibid., vol. ii. p. 183. ‘Hee restraines the clouds, and bindeth up the wombe of heaven, in extreme drought.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 52. ‘Sometime hee maketh tho heauen aboue as brasse, and the earth beneath as iron; so that albeit men labour and sow, yet they receiue no increase: sometime againe hee giues in due season the first and latter raine, so that the earth renders abundance, but the Lord by blasting windes, or by the caterpillar, canker-worme and grasse-hopper doth consume them, who come out as exacters and officers sent from God to poind men in their goods.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 433.

[523] ‘Under the late dearth this people suffered greatly, the poor were numerous, and many, especially about the town of Kilsyth, were at the point of starving; yet, as I frequently observed to them, I could not see any one turning to the Lord who smote them, or crying to him because of their sins, while they howled upon their beds for bread.’ Robe's Narratives of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, p. 68.

[524] Nicoll's Diary, pp. 152, 153. Much rain in the autumn, was ‘the Lord's displeasure upon the land.’ Minutes of the Presbyteries of Saint Andrews and Cupar, p. 179.

[525] ‘Men sweat, till, sow much, and the sun and summer, and clouds, warme dewes and raines smile upon cornes and meddowes, yet God steppeth in betweene the mouth of the husbandman and the sickle, and blasteth all.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 87. Compare Baillie's Letters, vol. iii. p. 52, on the ‘continuance of very intemperate rain upon the corns,’ as one of the ‘great signs of the wrath of God.’

[526] ‘When the Lord is provoked, he can not only send an affliction, but so order it, by faire appearances of a better lot, and heightening of the sinners expectation and desire, as may make it most sad.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. iii. pp. 9, 10.

[527] In 1696, there was a fire in Edinburgh; whereupon Moncrief, in his sermon next day, ‘told us, “That God's voice was crying to this city, and that he was come to the very ports, and was crying over the walls to us; that we should amend our ways, lest he should come to our city, and consume us in a terrible manner.” I cannot tell what this Dispensation of Providence wrought on me,’ &c. Memoirs or Spiritual Exercises of Elizabeth West, written by her own Hand, pp. 41, 42. See also, at pp. 122, 123, the account of another conflagration, where it is said, ‘there was much of God to be seen in this fire.’ Compare a curious passage in Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. vii. pp. 455, 456.

[528] The Rev. James Fraser had a boil, and afterwards a fever. ‘During this sickness he miraculously allayed the pain of my boil, and speedily, and that without means, cured it; for however I bought some things to prevent it, yet, looking on it as a punishment from God, I knew not if I could be free to take the rod out of his hand, and to counterwork him.’ Memoirs of the Rev. James Fraser of Brea, Minister of the Gospel at Culross, written by Himself, in Select Biographies, vol. ii. p. 223. Durham declaims against ‘Sinful shunning and shifting off suffering;’ and Rutherford says, ‘No man should rejoice at weakness and diseases; but I think we may have a sort of gladness at boils and sores, because, without them, Christ's fingers, as a slain Lord, should never have touched our skin.’ Durham's Law Unsealed, p. 160; Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 265. I do not know what effect these passages may produce upon the reader; but it makes my flesh creep to quote them. Compare Stevenson's Rare, Soul-strengthening, and Comforting Cordial, p. 35.

[529] It was not until late in the eighteenth century, that the Scotch clergy gave up this notion. At last, even they became influenced by the ridicule to which their superstition exposed them, and which produced more effect than any argument could have done. The doctrines, however, which they and their predecessors had long inculcated, had so corrupted the popular mind, that instances will, I believe, be found even in the nineteenth century, of the Scotch deeming precautions against small-pox to be criminal, or, as they called it, flying in the face of Providence. The latest evidence I can at this moment put my hand on, is in a volume published in 1797. It is stated by the Rev. John Paterson, that, in the parish of Auldearn, in the county of Nairn, ‘Very few have fallen a sacrifice to the small-pox, though the people are in general averse to inoculation, from the general gloominess of their faith, which teaches them, that all diseases which afflict the human frame are instances of the Divine interposition, for the punishment of sin; any interference, therefore, on their part, they deem an usurpation of the prerogative of the Almighty.’ Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xix. p. 618, Edinburgh, 1797. See also vol. xiv. p. 52, Edinburgh, 1795. This is well said. No doubt, so abject, and so pernicious, a superstition among the people, was the result of ‘the general gloominess of their faith.’ But the Rev. John Paterson has forgotten to add, that the gloominess of which he complains, was in strict conformity with the teachings of the most able, the most energetic, and the most venerated of the Scotch clergy. Mr. Paterson renders scant justice to his countrymen, and should rather have praised the tenacity with which they adhered to the instructions they had long been accustomed to receive.

[530] The Rev. John Welsh, when suffering from a painful disorder, and also from other troubles, writes: ‘My douleurs ar impossible to expresse.’ … ‘It is the Lord's indignation.’ See his letter, in Miscellany of the Wodrow Society, vol. i. p. 558. See also Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 128. A pain in one's side was the work of ‘the Lord’ (Memoirs of Marion Laird, p. 95); so was a sore throat (Wast's Memoirs, p. 203); and so was the fever in pleurisy. Robe's Narratives of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, p. 66.

[531] In January 1653, ‘This tyme, and mony monethis befoir, thair wes great skairshtie of wynes. In this also appered Godis justice toward this natioun for abusing of that blissing many yeiris befoir.’ Nicoll's Diary, p. 105.

[532] This idea was so deeply rooted, that we actually find a public fast and humiliation ordered, on account of ‘this present uncouth storme of frost and snaw, quhilk hes continewit sa lang that the bestiall ar dieing thik fauld.’ Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 82.

[533] ‘There was a dog bit my leg most desperately. I no sooner received this, but I saw the hand of God in it.’ Wast's Memoirs, p. 114.

[534] ‘The evident documentis of Goddis wrath aganes the land, be the extraordinarie drouth.’ Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 78.

[535] ‘The hynous synnes of the land produced much takines of Godis wraith; namelie, in this spring tyme, for all Februar and a great pairt of Marche wer full of havie weittis.’ Nicoll's Diary, p. 152.

[536] Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 85. Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, pp. 101, 149, 176. Balfour's , vol. i. p. 169. Boston's Sermons, p. 52. Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, pp. 67, 136. Memoirs of Marion Laird, pp. 63, 90, 113, 163. Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, pp. 62, 91, 140, 187, 242, 310, 449, 471, 476, 527, 528.

[537] ‘War is one of the sharp scourges whereby God punisheth wicked nations; and it cometh upon a people, not accidentally, but by the especial providence of God, who hath peace and war in his own hand.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. ii. p. 3. In 1644, ‘Civill war wracks Spaine, and lately wracked Italie: it is coming by appearance shortlie upon France. The just Lord, who beholds with patience the wickednesse of nations, at last arises in furie.’ … ‘The Swedish and Danish fleets, after a hott fight, are making for a new onsett: great blood is feared shall be shortly shed there, both by sea and land. The anger of the Lord against all christendome is great.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. ii. pp. 190, 223.

[538] ‘Earthquakes, whereby God, when he is angry, overthrows and overturns very mountains.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, p. 114. ‘The ministris and sessioun convening in the sessioun hous, considdering the fearfull erthquak that wes yisternicht, the aucht of this instant, throughout this haill citie about nine houris at evin, to be a document that God is angrie aganes the land and aganes this citie in particular, for the manifauld sinnis of the people,’ &c. Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, p. 64.

[539] ‘Whatever natural causes may be adduced for those alarming appearances, the system of comets is yet so uncertain, and they have so frequently preceded desolating strokes and turns in public affairs, that they seem designed in providence to stir up sinners to seriousness. Those preachers from heaven, when God's messengers were silenced, neither prince nor prelate could stop.’ Wodrow's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 421.

[540] ‘People of all sortes rane to the churches to deprecat God's wrath.’ Balfour's Annales, vol. i. p. 403. This was in 1598.

[541] ‘By it, he manifests his power and shows himself terrible.’ Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, p. 33. Compare Row's History of the Kirk, p. 333; and a passage in Laird's Memoirs, p. 69, which shows how greedily their credulous hearers imbibed such notions: ‘There were several signal evidences that the Lord's righteous judgments were abroad in the earth; great claps of thunder,’ &c.

[542] ‘The stupidity and senselessnesse of man is greater than that of the brute creatures, which are all more moved with the thunder, then the hearts of men for the most part.’ Dickson's Explication of the First Fifty Psalms, p. 193. Hutcheson makes a similar remark concerning earthquakes. ‘The shaking and trembling of insensible creatures, when God is angry, serves to condemn men, who are not sensible of it, nor will stoop under his hand.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, p. 115.

[543] Lady Colsfeild ‘had born two or three daughters, and was sinfully anxious after a son, to heir the estate of Colsfeild.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iii. p. 293.

[544] Under the influence of this terrible creed, the amiable mother of Duncan Forbes, writing to him respecting his own health and that of his brother, speaks ‘of my sinful God-provoking anxiety, both for your souls and bodies.’ Burton's Lives of Lovat and Forbes, p. 724. The theological theory, underlying and suggesting this, was, that ‘grace bridles these affections.’ Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, p. 184. Hence its rigid application on days set apart for religious purposes. The Rev. Mr. Lyon (History of Saint Andrews, vol. i. p. 458) mentions that some of the Scotch clergy, in drawing up regulations for the government of a colony, inserted the following clause: ‘No husband shall kiss his wife, and no mother shall kiss her child on the Sabbath day.’

[545] ‘The more you please yourselves and the world, the further you are from pleasing God.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 55. Elsewhere (vol. ii. p. 45): ‘Amity to ourselves is enmity to God.’

[546] ‘Pleasures are most carefully to be auoided: because they both harme and deceiue.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 251. At p. 268, the same authority says, ‘Beate downe thy body, and bring it to subiection by abstaining, not only from vnlawfull pleasures, but also from lawfull and indifferent delights.’

[547] According to Hutcheson's Exposition of Job, p. 6, ‘there is no time wherein men are more ready to miscarry, and discover any bitter root in them, then when they are about the liberal use of the creatures, and amidst occasions of mirth and cheerfulness.’ How this doctrine ripened, cannot be better illustrated than from the sentiments entertained, so late as the early part of the eighteenth century, by Colonel Blackader, a Scotch officer, who was also an educated man, who had seen much of the world, and might, to some degree, be called a man of the world. In December 1714, he went to a wedding, and, on his return home, he writes: ‘I was cheerful, and perhaps gave too great a swing to raillery, but I hope not light or vain in conversation. I desire always to have my speech seasoned with salt, and ministering profit to the hearers. Sitting up late, and merry enough, though I hope innocent; but I will not justify myself.’ The Life and Diary of Lieut.-Col. J. Blackader, by Andrew Crichton, p. 453. On another occasion (p. 511), in 1720, he was at an evening party. ‘The young people were merry. I laid a restraint upon myself for fear of going too far, and joined but little, only so as not to show moroseness or ill-breeding. We sat late, but the conversation was innocent, and no drinking but as we pleased. However, much time is spent; which I dare not justify. In all things we offend.’ At p. 159, he writes, ‘I should always be mixing something that may edify in my discourse;’ and, says his biographer (p. 437), ‘Conversation, when it ceased to accomplish this object, he regarded as degenerating into idle entertainment, which ought to be checked rather than encouraged.’

[548] ‘Frequent the gravest company, and the fellowship of those that are sorrowfull.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 416. Compare the attacks on ‘too much carnal mirth and laughter,’ in Durham's Law Unsealed, p. 323; in Fleming's Fulfilling of the Scripture, p. 226; and in Fergusson's Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 227. See also Gray's Spiritual Warfare, p. 42. Cowper says, ‘Woe be unto them that now laugh, for assuredly they shall weepe, the end of their joy shall be endleese mourning and gnashing of teeth, they shall shed tears abundantly with Esau, but shall find no place for mercy.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 271. Hutcheson, in a train of unusual liberality, permits occasional laughter. He says, ‘There is a faculty of laughing given to men, which certainly is given for use, at least at sometimes; and diversions are sometime needfull for men who are serious and employed in weighty affairs.’ … ‘And particularly, laughter is sometimes lawful for magistrates and others in publick charge, not only that they may recreate themselves, but that, thereby, and by the like insinuating carriage, they may gain the affection of the people.’ Hutcheson‘s Exposition of the Book of Job, edit. folio, 1669, pp. 389, 390.

[549] In 1650, when Charles II. was in Scotland, ‘the clergy reprehended him very sharply, if he smiled on those days’ (Sundays). Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, book xiii. p. 747, edit. Oxford, 1843.

[550] It is said of Donald Cargill, that, ‘his very countenance was edifying to beholders; often sighing with deep groans.’ A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ, p. 423. The celebrated James Durham was ‘a person of the utmost gravity, and scarce smiled at anything.’ Howie's Biographia Scoticana, p. 226. Of Livingston, we are told ‘that he was a very affectionate person, and weeped much; that it was his ordinary way, and might be observed almost every Sabbath, that when he came into the pulpite he sate doun a litle, and looked first to the one end of the kirk, and then to the other; and then, ordinarly, the tear shott in his eye, and he weeped, and oftimes he began his preface and his work weeping.’ Wodrow's Analecta, vol. ii. p. 249. James Alexander ‘used to weep much in prayer and preaching; he was every way most savoury.’ Ibid., vol. iii. p. 39. As to the Rev. John Carstairs, ‘his band in the Sabbath would have been all wett, as if it had been douked, with tears, before he was done with his first prayer.’ p. 48. Aird, minister of Dalserf, ‘weeping much’ (Ibid., vol. iii. p. 56), ‘Mr. James Stirling tells me he was a most fervent, affectionat, weeping preacher.’ p. 172; and the Rev. Alexander Dunlop was noted for what was termed ‘a holy groan,’ vol. iii. p. 21. See also, on weeping as a mark of religion, Wast's Memoirs, pp. 83, 84; and Robe's Narrative of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, pp. 21, 31, 75, 150. One passage from the most popular of the Scotch preachers, I hesitate as to the propriety of quoting; but it is essential that their ideas should be known, if the history of Scotland is to be understood. Rutherford, after stating whom it is that we should seek to imitate, adds: ‘Christ did never laugh on earth that we read of, but he wept.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, 1647, 4to, p. 525. I publish this with no irreverent spirit; God forbid that I should. But I will not be deterred from letting this age see the real character of a system which aimed at destroying all human happiness, exciting slavish and abject fear, and turning this glorious world into one vast theatre of woe.

[551] ‘Walk with a sober pace, not “tinkling with your feet.”’ Memoirs of the Rev. James Fraser, written by Himself, in Select Biographies, vol. ii. p. 280. ‘It is somewhat like this, or less than this, which the Lord condemneth, Isa. iii. 16, ‘Walking and mincing, or tripping and making a tinkling with their feet.’ What is that but disdaining the grave way of walking, to affect an art in it? as many do now in our days; and shall this be displeasing to the Lord, and not the other? seeing he loveth, and is best pleased with, the native way of carrying the body.’ Durham's Law Unsealed, p. 324. ‘The believer hath, or at least ought to have, and, if he be like himself, will have, a well ordered walk, and will be in his carriage stately and princely.’ Durham's Exposition of the Song of Solomon, p. 365.

[552] ‘At home, writing letters to a friend. My vein is inclined to jest and humour. The letter was too comical and jocose; and after I had sent it away, I had a check that it was too light, and jesting foolishly. I sent and got it back, and destroyed it. My temper goes too far that way, and I ought to check it, and be more on my guard, and study edification in every thing.’ Crichton's Life and Diary of Blackader, pp. 536, 537. Even amongst young children, from eight years old and upwards, toys and games were bad; and it was a good sign when they were discarded. ‘Some very young, of eight and nine years of age, some twelve and thirteen. They still inclined more and more to their duty, so that they meet three times a day, in the morning, at night, and at noon. Also they have forsaken all their childish fancies and plays; so these that have been awakened are known by their countenance and conversation, their walk and behaviour.’ Robe's Narratives of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, pp. 79, 80.

[553] ‘To the unmortified man, the world smelleth like the garden of God’ … ‘the world is not to him an ill-smelled stinking corps.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 498. But those who were properly mortified, knew that ‘the earth is but a potter's house’ (Ibid., p. 286); ‘an old thred-bare-worn case’ (Ibid., p. 530); a ‘smoky house’ (Rutherford's Religious Letters, p. 100); a ‘plaistered, rotten world’ (Ibid., p. 132); and ‘an ashy and dirty earth’ (Ibid., p. 169). ‘The earth also is spotted (like the face of a woman once beautifull, but now deformed with scabs of leprosie) with thistles, thornes, and much barren wilderness.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 255.

[554] ‘Wearinesse and motion is laid on Moon and Sunne, and all creatures on this side of the Moon. Seas ebbe and flow, and that's trouble; winds blow, rivers move, heavens and stars these five thousand yeares, except one time, have not had sixe minutes rest.’ … ‘The Sunne that never rests, but moves as swiftly in the night as in the day.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, pp. 12, 157. ‘This is the world's old age; it is declining; albeit it seem a fair and beautiful thing in the eyes of them who know no better, and unto them who are of yesterday and know nothing, it looks as if it had been created yesterday; yet the truth is, and a believer knows, it is near the grave.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 372.

[555] ‘This, then, I say, is the state all things ye see are in,—it is their old age. The creation now is an old rotten house that is all dropping through and leaning to the one side.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 398.

[556] ‘The lilies and roses, which, no doubt, had more sweetnesse of beauty and smell, before the sin of man made them vanity-sick.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 185.

[557] ‘The heavens that are supposed to be incorruptible, yet they wax old as doth a garment.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. i. p. 95.

[558] ‘The neerer the sun drawes to the end of his daily course, the lesse is his strength, for we see the Sunne in the evening decayes in heat; so it is, the longer by reuolution he turnes about in his sphere, he waxes alway the weaker; and, to vse the similitude of the holy spirit, as a garment the older it groweth becomes the lesse beautifull.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 255.

[559] ‘It is so delicate by nature, that since it was the first sense that offended, it is, aboue all the rest, made subject (as a condigne punishment) to as many maladies, as there are weekes in a yeere.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 501. The Scotch divines were extremely displeased with our eyes. Rutherford contemptuously calls them ‘two clay windows.’ Rutherford's Christ Dying, p. 570. Gray, going still further, says, ‘these cursed eyes of ours.’ Gray's Great and Precious Promises, p. 53.

[560] ‘The true visible Kirk where God's ordinances are set up, as he hath appointed, where his word is purely preached, is the most beautifull thing under heaven.’ Dickson's Explication of the First Fifty Psalms, p. 341.

[561] I have one very late, and, on that account, very curious, instance of the diffusion of this feeling in Scotland. In 1767, a vacancy occurred in the mastership of the grammar-school of Greenock. It was offered to John Wilson, the author of ‘Clyde.’ But, says his biographer, ‘the magistrates and minister of Greenock thought fit, before they would admit Mr. Wilson to the superintendance of the grammar school, to stipulate that he should abandon “the profane and unprofitable art of poem-making.”’ Lives of Eminent Scotsmen by the Society of Ancient Scots, 1821, vol. v. p. 169.

[562] ‘Sept. 22. 1649.—The quhilk day the Sessioune caused mak this act, that ther sould be no pypers at brydels, and who ever sould have a pyper playing at their brydell on their mariage day, sall loose their consigned money, and be farder punisched as the Sessioune thinks fitt.’ Extracts from the Registers of the Presbytery of Glasgow, and of the Kirk Sessions of the Parishes of Cambusnethan Humbie and Stirling, p. 34. This curious volume is a quarto, and without date; unless, indeed, one of the title-pages is wanting in my copy.

[563] See the Minutes of the Kirk Session of Glasgow, in Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, vol. ii. part ii. p. 76; also the case of ‘Mure, pyper,’ in Selections from the Minutes of the Presbyteries of Saint Andrews and Cupar, p. 72.

[564] This notion lingered on, probably to the beginning of this century; certainly to late in the last. In a work published in Scotland in 1836, it is stated, that a clergyman was still alive, who was ‘severely censured,’ merely because, when Punch was performing, ‘the servant was sent out to the showman to request him to come below the windows of her master's house, that the clergyman and his wife might enjoy the sight.’ Traditions of Perth by George Penny, Perth, 1836, p. 124.

[565] ‘17 Feb. 1650. Ane act of the commissioun of the Generall Assemblie wes red in all the churches of Edinburgh dischargeing promiscuous dansing.’ Nicoll's Diary, p. 3. See also Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1638–1842, p. 201; Register of the Kirk Session of Cambusnethan, p. 35; Minutes of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar, pp. 55, 181; Minutes of the Synod of Fife, pp. 150, 169, 175; and a choice passage in A Collection of Sermons by Eminent Divines, p. 51.

[566] See Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, pp. 77, 78, forbidding any one to ‘giwe ony meatt or drink to these sangsteris or lat thame within thair houss.’ The singers were to be ‘put in prisoun.’

[567] In 1643 the Presbytery of St. Andrews ordered that ‘because of the great abuse that is likewayes among them by conveening multitudes at baptismes and contracts, the ministers and sessions are appointed to take strict order for restraineing these abuses, that in number they exceid not sixe or seven. As also ordaines that the hostlers quho mak such feists salbe censured by the sessions.’ Minutes of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar, p. 11. See also Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen, pp. 109, 110, complaining of the custom ‘that everie base servile man in the towne, when he has a barne to be baptesed, invitis tuelff or sextene persones to be his gossopes and godfatheris to his barne,’ &c.; and enacting ‘that it shall not be lesume to any inhabitant within this burt quhasoever, to invite any ma persones to be godfatheris to thair barne in ony tyme cumming bot tua or four at the most, lyk as the Kirk officier is expresslie commandit and prohibitt that from hence furth he tak vp no ma names to be godfatheris, nor giwe any ma vp to the redar bot four at the most, vnder all hiest censure he may incur be the contrairie, and this ordinance to be intimat out of pulpitt, that the people pretend no ignorance thairof.’

[568] They forbade music and dancing; and they ordered that not more than twenty-four persons should be present. See the enactment, in 1647, respecting ‘Pennie bryddells,’ in Minutes of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar, p. 117. In 1650, ‘The Presbyterie being sadly weghted with the report of the continwance, and exhorbitant and unnecessarly numerous confluences of people at pennie brydles, and of inexpedient and wnlawfull pypeing and dancing at the same, so scandalous and sinfull in this tyme of our Churches lamentable conditioun; and being apprehensive that ministers and Kirk Sessiouns have not bein so vigilant and active (as neid werre), for repressing of these disorders, doe therfor most seriously recommend to ministers and Kirk Sessiouns to represse the same.’ Ibid. pp. 169, 170. See, further, Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, p. 29; and Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, pp. 4, 144.

[569] See two curious instances of limitation of price, in Irving's History of Dumbartonshire, p. 567; and in Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, vol. ii. part ii. p. 34.

[570] ‘What a vile, haughty, and base creature he is—how defiled and desperately wicked his nature—how abominable his actions; in a word, what a compound of darkness and wickedness he is—a heap of defiled dust, and a mass of confusion—a sink of impiety and iniquity, even the best of mankind, those of the rarest and most refined extraction, take them at their best estate.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 302. Compare Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, pp. 26, 27.

[571] ‘The least sin cannot but deserve God's wrath and curse eternally.’ Dickson's Truth's Victory over Error, p. 71. ‘All men, even the regenerate, sin daily.’ Ibid. p. 153.

[572] ‘Our best works have such a mixture of corruption and sin in them, that they deserve his curse and wrath.’ Ibid. p. 130.

[573] ‘But now, falling away from God, hee hath also so farre degenerated from his owne kind, that he is become inferiour to the beasts.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 251. ‘O! is not man become so brutish and ignorant, that he may be sent unto the beasts of the field to be instructed of that which is his duty?’ Gray's Spiritual Warfare, p. 28. ‘Men are naturally more bruitish than beasts themselves.’ Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, p. 58. ‘Worse than the beast of the field.’ Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 71.

[574] ‘Infants, even in their mother's belly, have in themselves sufficient guilt to deserve such judgments;’ i.e. when women with child are ‘ript up.’ Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 255.

[575] ‘And in our speech, our Scripture and old Scots names are gone out of request; instead of Father and Mother, Mamma and Papa, training children to speak nonsense, and what they do not understand. These few instances, amongst many that might be given, are additional causes of God's wrath.’ The Life and Death of Mr. Alexander Peden, late Minister of the Gospel at New Glenluce, in Galloway, in Walker's Biographia Presbyteriana, vol. i. p. 140.

[576] ‘Yea, if the Lord did not restraine her, shee would open her mouth and swallow the wicked, as she did Corah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ Cowper's Heaven Opened, p. 257. Compare Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. i. p. 507.

[577] ‘There is nothing so monstrous, so deformed in the world, as man.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. i. p. 234. ‘There is not in all the creation such a miserable creature as man.’ Ibid. vol. iii. p. 321. ‘Nothing so miserable.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 37.

[578] ‘December 17th, 1635. Mention made of a correction house, which the Session ordeans persons to be taken to, both men and women, and appoints them to be whipt every day during the Session's will.’ Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, vol. ii. part ii. p. 67.

[579] On the 22nd October 1648, the Kirk Session of Dunfermline ordered that a certain Janet Robertson ‘shall be cartit and scourged through the town, and markit with an hot iron.’ Chalmers' History of Dunfermline, p. 437.

[580] ‘As they punish by pecuniary fines, so corporally too, by imprisoning the persons of the delinquents, using them disgracefully, carting them through cities, making them stand in logges, as they call them, pillaries (which in the country churches are fixed to the two sides of the main door of the Parish Church), cutting the halfe of their hair, shaving their beards, &c., and it is more than ordinary, by their “original” and “proper power,” to banish them out of the bounds and limits of the parish, or presbytery, as they list to order it.’ Presbytery Displayd, p. 4.

[581] The Scotch clergy of the seventeenth century were not much given to joking; but on one of these occasions a preacher is said to have hazarded a pun. A woman, named Ann Cantly, being made to do penance, ‘Here’ (said the minister), ‘Here is one upon the stool of repentance, they call her Cantly; she saith herself, she is an honest woman, but I trow scantly.’ Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, p. 125. From what I have read of Scotch theology, I can bear testimony to the accuracy of this book, so far as its general character is concerned. Indeed, the author, through fear of being entirely discredited, has often rather understated his case.

[582] As Durham says, in his Exposition of the Song of Solomon, p. 451, ‘It is no burden to an honest believer to acknowledge Christ's ministers, to obey their doctrine, and submit to their censures.’

[583] A man, named Alexander Laurie, was brought before the Kirk Session of Perth, ‘and being inquired by the minister if, in his last being out of this country, he had been in Spain, answered that he was in Portugal, but was never present at mass, neither gave reverence to any procession, and that he was never demanded by any concerning his religion. The said Alexander being removed and censured, it was thought good by the (Kirk) Session that he should be admonished not to travel in these parts again, except that they were otherwise reformed in religion.’ Extracts from the Kirk-Session Register of Perth, in The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 274. Still earlier, that is, in 1592, the clergy attempted to interfere even with commerce, ‘allegeing that the marchands could not mak vayage in Spayne without danger of their sawlis, and tharefore willit thayme in the nayme of God to absteyne.’ The Historie of King James the Sext, p. 254.

[584] See the case of Patrick Stewart, and Mr. Lawson's note upon it, in Lawson's Book of Perth, p. 238. In this instance, the ‘Roman Catholic gentleman’ had been excommunicated, which made matters still worse.

[585] The Presbytery of Edinburgh, ‘by their transcendent sole authority, discharged any market to be kept on Monday; the reason was, because it occasioned the travelling of men and horse the Lord's-day before, which prophaned the Sabbath.’ Presbytery Displayd, p. 10. In 1650, Saturday was also taken in by another ecclesiastical senate. ‘The Presbyterie doe appoint the severall brethren in burghes, to deale with such as have not changed ther Mondayes and Satterdayes mercats to other dayes of the weeke, that they may doe the same primo quoque tempore.’ Minutes of the Presbyteries of St. Andrews and Cupar, p. 53.

[586] In 1650, ‘For “the down-bearing of sin,” women were not allowed to act as waiters in taverns, but “allenarly men-servands and boys.”’ Chambers' Annals, vol. ii. p. 196. This order ‘wes red and publictlie intimat in all the kirkis of Edinburgh.’ Nicoll's Diary, p. 5.

[587] ‘Forsameikle as dilatation being made, that Janet Watson holds an house by herself where she may give occasion of slander, therefore Patrick Pitcairn, elder, is ordained to admonish her in the session's name, either to marry, or then pass to service, otherwise that she will not be suffered to dwell by herself.’ Kirk-Session Records of Perth, in The Chronicle of Perth, p. 86.

[588] ‘Ordains the two sisters, Elspith and Janet Stewart, that they be not found in the house again with their sister, but every one of them shall go to service, or where they may be best entertained without slander, under the penalty of warding their persons and banishment of the town.’ Kirk-Session Register, in Lawson's Book of Perth, p. 169.

[589] ‘Compeirit William Kinneir, and confest his travelling on the Sabbath day, which he declairit was out of meer necessitie, haveing two watters to croce, and ane tempestuos day, quhilk moowit him to fear that he wold not get the watters crost, and so his credit might faill. He was sharpelie admonished, and promist newer to doe the lyke again.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen, p. 136.

[590] ‘Compearit Thomas Gray, and confest that one Sunday in the morning, he went to Culter to visit a friend, and stayed thair all night. The sessioune warnit him, apud acta, to the next day, and appointed Patrick Gray, his master, to be cited to the next day, to give furder informatioune in the matter. (Sharply rebuked before the pulpit.)’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen, p. 146.

[591] ‘It was reported that Margaret Brotherstone did water her kaill wpon the Sabbath day, and thairwpon was ordained to be cited.’ … ‘Compeired Margaret Brotherstone, and confessed her breach of Sabbath in watering of her kaill, and thairwpon ordained to give evidence in publick of her repentance the next Lord's day.’ Extracts from the Register of the Kirk-Session of Humbie, p. 42.

[592] Even so late as the middle of the eighteenth century, ‘clergymen were sometimes libelled’ … ‘for shaving’ on Sunday. Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xvi. p. 34, Edinburgh, 1795. At an earlier period, no one might be shaved on that day. See The Spottiswoode Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 276; and Lawson's Book of Perth, pp. 224, 225.

[593] ‘Compeired John Gordon of Avachie, and confessed that he had transgressed in travailing on the Sabbath day with horse, going for a milston. Referred to the session of Kinor for censure.’ Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, p. 236. See also the case mentioned in Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, vol. i. p. 172; ‘This riding on horseback of a Sunday was deemed a great scandal.’

[594] In 1647, the punishment was ordered of whoever was guilty of ‘sitting or walking idle upon the streetes and feildes’ on Sunday. Selections from the Minutes of the Synod of Fife, p. 152. In 1742, ‘sitting idle at their doors’ and ‘sitting about doors’ was profane. Robe's Naratives of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, pp. 109, 110. In 1756, at Perth, ‘to stroll about the fields, or even to walk upon the inches, was looked upon as extremely sinful, and an intolerable violation of the fourth commandment.’ Penny's Traditions of Perth, p. 36.

[595] In 1656, ‘Cite Issobell Balfort, servand to William Gordone, tailyeor, beeing found sleeping at the Loche side on the Lord's day in tyme of Sermon.’ Selections from the Records of the Kirk-Session of Aberdeen. p. 137. It was a sin even for children to feel tired of the interminable sermons which they were forced to hear. Halyburton, addressing the young people of his congregation, says, ‘Have not you been glad when the Lord's day was over; or, at least, when the preaching was done, that ye might get your liberty. Has it not been a burden to you, to sit so long in the church? Well, this is a great sin.’ See this noticeable passage, in Halyburton's Great Concern of Salvation, p. 100.

[596] In 1719, the Presbytery of Edinburgh indignantly declares, ‘Yea, some have arrived at that height of impiety, as not to be ashamed of washing in waters, and swimming in rivers upon the holy Sabbath.’ Register of Presbytery of Edinburgh, 29th April 1719, in Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 204.

[597] So late as 1691, the Kirk-Session of Glasgow attempted to prevent all boys from swimming, whatever the day might be. But as the Church was then on the decline, it was necessary to appeal to the civil authority for help. What the result was, I have not been able to ascertain. There is, however, a curious notice, in Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers, vol. ii. part ii. p. 77, stating that, on ‘August 6th, 1691, the Session recommends it to the magistrates to think on some overtures for discharging boyes from swimming, in regard one was lately lost.’ I have met with other evidence respecting this; but I cannot remember the passages.

[598] The Rev. James Fraser says, ‘The world is a dangerous thing and a great evil, and the comforts of it a hell.’ Select Biographies, vol. ii. p. 220. Compare Gray's Spiritual Warfare, p. 22.

[599] ‘It is good to be continually afflicted here.’ Select Biographies, vol. ii. p. 220. Gray, advocating the same doctrine, sums up his remarks by a suggestion, that, ‘I think David had never so sweet a time as then, when he was pursued as a partridge by his son Absalom.’ Gray's Great and Precious Promises, p. 14.

[600] ‘Suspect that which pleaseth the senses.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 63.

[601] Durham, in his long catalogue of sins, mentions as one, ‘the preparing of meat studiously, that is, when it is too riotously dressed, for pleasing men's carnal appetite and taste, or palate, by the fineness of it, and other curiosities of that kind.’ Durham's Law Unsealed, p. 333. See also p. 48, on ‘palate-pleasers;’ and Dickson's opinion of the ‘rarest dishes and best meats.’ Dickson's Explication of the Psalms, p. 84. According to another of the Scotch divines, whoever makes one good meal and has enough left for a second, is in imminent peril. ‘He that is full, and hath enough to make him fuller, will easily deny God, and be exalted against him: his table shall be a snare to his body, and a snare to his soule.’ Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 421.

[602] For, says Abernethy (Physicke for the Soule, p. 488), ‘men are loth to lend their eare to the Word, when they abound in prosperity.’ So, too, Hutcheson, in his Exposition of the Book of Job, p. 387: ‘Such is the weakness even of godly men, that they can hardly live in a prosperous condition, and not be overtaken with some security, carnal confidence, or other miscarriage.’

[603] See this theory worked out in Cockburn's Jacob's Vow, or Man's Felicity and Duty, pp. 71–75. He says, ‘And certainly to crave and be desirous of more than what is competent for the maintenance and support of our lives, is both inconsistent with that dependence and subjection we owe to God, and doth also bespeak a great deal of vanity, folly, and inconsiderateness.’ Boston, striking at the very foundation of that practice of providing for the future, which is the first and most important maxim in all civil wisdom, and which peculiarly distinguishes civilized nations from barbarians, asks his hearers, ‘Why should men rack their heads with cares how to provide for to-morrow, while they know not if they shall then need anything?’ Boston's Human Nature in its Four-fold State, p. 300. Hutcheson thinks that those who are guilty of such impious prudence, deserve to be starved. ‘When men are not content with food and rayment, but would still heap up more, it is just with God to leave them not so much as bread; and to suffer men to have an evil eye upon them, and to pluck at them, even so long as they have meat.’ Hutcheson's Exposition of the Book of Job, p. 296. Binning, going still further, threatens eternal ruin. ‘Ye may have things necessary here,—food and raiment; and if ye seek more, if ye will be rich, and will have superfluities, then ye shall fall into many temptations, snares, and hurtful lusts which shall drown you in perdition.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 355.

[604] ‘If God loved riches well, do ye think he would give them so liberally, and heap them up upon some base covetous wretches? Surely no.’ Binning's Sermons, vol. iii. p. 366. Gray, in his zeal against wealth, propounds another doctrine, which I do not remember to have seen elsewhere. He says, ‘All that the owner of riches hath, is, the seeing of them; which a man, who is a passer by, may likeways have, though he be not possessor of them.’ Gray's Spiritual Warfare, p. 128. I hope that the reader will not suspect me of having maliciously invented any of these passages. The books from which they are quoted, are, with only two or three exceptions, all in my library, and may be examined by persons who are curious in such matters.

[605] ‘The absence of external appearances of joy in Scotland, in contrast with the frequent holidayings and merry-makings of the continent, has been much remarked upon. We find in the records of ecclesiastical discipline clear traces of the process by which this distinction was brought about. To the puritan kirk of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, every outward demonstration of natural good spirits was a sort of sin, to be as far as possible repressed.’ … ‘The whole sunshine of life was, as it were, squeezed out of the community.’ Chambers' Annals of Scotland, vol. i. p. 336, vol. ii. p. 156.

[606] ‘A Christian should mortifie his affections, which are his predominant lusts, to which our affections are so much joined, and our soul doth so much go out after.’ Gray's Spiritual Warfare, p. 29. ‘That blessed work of weaning of affections from all things that are here.’ Gray's Great and Precious Promises, p. 86.

[607] ‘One of our more northern ministers, whose parish lies along the coast between Spey and Findorn, made some fishermen do penance for sabbath-breaking, in going out to sea, though purely with endeavour to save a vessel in distress by a storm.’ Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, vol. i. p. 173.

[608] ‘The master of a family may, and ought to, deny an act of humanity or hospitality to strangers that are false teachers.’ Rutherford's Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 176. ‘The Holy Ghost forbiddeth the master of every Christian family to owne a hereticke as a guest.’ Ibid., p. 219. See also p. 235.

[609] ‘We hold that tolleration of all religions is not farre from blasphemy.’ Rutherford's Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 20. ‘If wolves be permitted to teach what is right in their own erroneous conscience, and there be no “Magistrate to put them to shame,” Judg. xviii. 7, and no King to punish them, then godlinesse and all that concernes the first Table of the Law must be marred.’ Ibid., p. 230. ‘Wilde and atheisticall liberty of conscience,’ p. 337. ‘Cursed toleration,’ p. 400. See also, in the same work (pp. 110, 244), Rutherford's remarks on the murder of Servetus. In 1645, Baillie, who was then in London, writes, ‘The Independents here plead for a tolleration both for themselfes and other sects. My Dissuasive is come in time to doe service here. We hope God will assist us to remonstrate the wickedness of such an tolleration.’ And on account of the Independents wishing to show common charity towards persons who differed in opinions from themselves, Baillie writes next year (1646), ‘The Independents has the least zeale to the truth of God of any men we know.’ Baillie's Letters and Journals, vol. ii. pp. 328, 361. Blair, who was in London in 1649, was sorely vexed with ‘the most illegal, irreligious, and wicked proceedings and actings of the sectarian army;’ one of their crimes being the attempt ‘to ruin religion by their toleration.’ Continuation of the Autobiography of Mr. Robert Blair, Minister of St. Andrews, p. 213. For other evidence of this persecuting spirit, see Dickson's Truth's Victory over Error, pp. 159, 163, 199–202; Abernethy's Physicke for the Soule, p. 215; Durham's Exposition of the Song of Solomon, p. 147; Durham's Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation, pp. 141, 143, 330; and Shields' Hind let loose, p. 168.

[610] ‘A third benefit (which is a branch of the former), is zeal in the godly against false teachers, who shall be so tender of the truth and glory of God, and the safety of the Church (all which are endangered by error), that it shall overcome natural affection in them; so that parents shall not spare their own children, being seducers, but shall either by an heroick act (such as was in Phinehas, Numb. XXV. 8), themselves judge him worthy to die, and give sentence and execute it, or cause him to be punished, by bringing him to the Magistrate,’ &c…. ‘The toleration of a false religion in doctrine or worship, and the exemption of the erroneous from civil punishment, is no more lawful under the New Testament than it was under the Old.’ An Exposition of the Prophecie of Zechariah, in Hutcheson's Exposition on the Minor Prophets, vol. iii. p. 203, 8vo. 1654.

[611] Selections from the Registers of the Presbytery of Lanark, pp. X. 33, 56, 63, 65, 73.

[612] I copy the exact words from Wodrow's Collections upon the Lives of Ministers of the Church of Scotland, vol. ii. part ii. p. 71. An order had been previously obtained from the government, ‘requiring the magistrates to expell furth of the Toun all excomunicated persons.’




To complete the history and analysis of the Scotch mind, I have now to examine the peculiar intellectual movement which appeared in the eighteenth century, and which, for several reasons, deserves careful attention. It was essentially a reaction against that theological spirit which predominated during the seventeenth century. Such a reaction would hardly have been possible, except for the fact which I have already noticed, namely, that the political activity which produced the rebellion against the Stuarts, saved the Scotch mind from stagnating, and prevented that deep slumber into which the progress of superstition would naturally have thrown it. The long and stubborn conflict with a despotic government, kept alive a certain alertness and vigour of understanding, which survived the struggle that gave it birth. When the contest was ended, and peace was restored, the faculties which, for three generations, had been exercised in resisting the executive authority, sought other employment, and found another field in which they could disport themselves. Hence it was, that the boldness which, in the seventeenth century, was practical, became, in the eighteenth century, speculative, and produced a literature, which attempted to unsettle former opinions, and to disturb the ancient landmarks of the human mind. The movement was revolutionary, and bore the same relation to ecclesiastical tyranny, which the previous movement had borne to political tyranny. But this new rebellion had one striking characteristic. In nearly every other country, when the intellect has fairly arrayed itself against the exclusive[282] pretensions of the Church, it has happened that the secular philosophy, which has been engendered, has been an inductive philosophy, taking for its basis individual and specific experience, and seeking, by that means, to overthrow the general and traditional notions, on which all church power is founded. The plan has been, to refuse to accept principles which could not be substantiated by facts; while the opposite and theological plan is, to force the facts to yield to the principles. In the former case, experience precedes theory; in the latter case, theory precedes experience, and controls it. In theology, certain principles are taken for granted; and, it being deemed impious to question them, all that remains for us is to reason from them downwards. This is the deductive method. On the other hand, the inductive method will concede nothing, but insists upon reasoning upwards, and demands that we shall have the liberty of ascertaining the principles for ourselves. In a complete scheme of our knowledge, and when all our resources are fully developed and marshalled into order, as they must eventually be, the two methods will be, not hostile, but supplementary, and will be combined into a single system. At present, however, we are very far from such a result; and not only is every mind more prone to one method than to another, but we find, historically, that different ages and different countries have been characterised by the extent to which one of these two schemes has predominated; and we also find, that a study of this antagonism is the surest way of understanding the intellectual condition of any period.

That the inductive philosophy is even more marked by its secular tendencies than by its scientific ones, will be evident to whoever observes the epochs in which it has been most active, and has possessed most adherents. Of this, the history of the French mind, in the eighteenth century, affords a good instance, where, after the death of Louis XIV., we may clearly trace the connexion between the growth of the inductive method, and the subsequent overthrow of the Gallican Church. In England, too, the rise of the Baconian philosophy, with its determination to subordinate ancient principles to modern[283] experience, was the heaviest blow which has ever been inflicted on the theologians, whose method is to begin, not with experience, but with principles, which are said to be inscrutable, and which we are bound to believe without further difficulty. And I need hardly remind the reader, that scarcely was that philosophy established among us, when it produced those bold inquiries which quickly ended in the downfall of the English Church under Charles I. From that terrible defeat, our clergy did, for a time, partly rally; but as their apparent success, in the reign of Charles II., was owing to political changes, and not to social ones, they were unable to recover their hold over society, and, unless the nation should retrograde, there is no possibility that they ever should recover it. Over the inferior order of minds, they still wield great influence; but the Baconian philosophy, by bringing their favourite method into disrepute, has sapped the very base of their system. From the moment that their mode of investigation was discredited, the secret of their power was gone. From the moment that men began to insist on inquiring into the validity of first principles, instead of accepting them without inquiry, and humbly submitting to them as matters of faith and of necessary belief; from that moment, the theologians, driven from one post to another, and constantly receding before the pressure of advancing knowledge, have been forced to abandon entrenchment after entrenchment, until what they have retained of their former territory is hardly worth the struggle. As a last resource, they, at the close of the eighteenth century, determined to use the weapons of their opponents; and Paley and his successors, enlarging the scheme which Ray and Derham had feebly sketched, endeavoured, by a skilful employment of the inductive method, to compensate their party for the failure of the deductive one. But their project, though ably conceived, has come to naught. It is now generally admitted, that nothing can be made of it, and that it is impossible to establish the old theological premises by a chain of inductive reasoning. Respecting this, the most eminent philosophers agree with the most eminent theologians; and, since the[284] time of Kant in Germany, and of Coleridge in England, none of our ablest men, even among divines themselves, have recurred to a plan which Paley, indeed, pursued with vigour, but of which our Bridgewater Treatises, our Prize-Essays, and such schoolboy productions, are poor and barren imitations.[613] No great thinkers now follow this course in matters of religion. On the contrary, they prefer the safer, as well as the more philosophic, method, of dealing with these subjects on transcendental grounds, frankly confessing that they elude the grasp of that inductive philosophy which, in the department of science, has achieved such signal triumphs.

The opposition of these two methods, and the inapplicability of the inductive method to theological pursuits being thus apparent, it is not strange that the Scotch should have adopted one of the methods with great zeal, and to the almost complete exclusion of the other. Scotland, being essentially theological, followed the theological plan. The intellectual history of that country, in the seventeenth century, is almost entirely the history of theology. With the single exception of Napier, who was born in the middle of the sixteenth century, all the most vigorous thinkers were divines. In physical science, scarcely anything was done.[614] There was no poetry, no drama, no original[285] philosophy, no fine compositions, no secular literature, now worth reading.[615] The only men of real[286] influence were the clergy. They governed the nation and the pulpit was the chief engine of their power. From the pulpit, they moved all classes and all sorts intellects; the highest as well as the lowest. There, they instructed them, and threatened them; saying whatever they liked, and knowing that what they said would be believed.[616] But all their sermons, and all their controversial writings, are eminently deductive; not of them attempts an inductive argument. The idea of such a thing never entered their heads. They assumed the truth of their own religion and moral notions, most of which they had borrowed from antiquity; they made those notions the major premises of their syllogisms, and from them they reasoned downwards till they obtained their conclusions. They never suspected that premises, taken from ancient times might be the result of the inductions of those times and that, as knowledge advanced, the inductions might need revising. They assumed, that God has given us first principles, and that He, having revealed them it would ill become us to scrutinize them. That He had revealed them, they took for granted, and deemed it unnecessary to prove.[617] Their method being entirely deductive, all they were concerned with was to beware that no error crept in between the premises and the conclusions. And this part of their task they accomplished with great ability. They were acute[287] dialecticians, and rarely blundered in what is termed the formal part of logic. In dealing with their premises after they obtained them, they were extremely skilful; how they obtained them, they were very heedless. That was a point they never examined with anything approaching to impartiality. According to their method, all that was requisite was, to draw inferences from what had been supernaturally communicated. On the other hand, the inductive method would have taught them that the first question was, whether or not they had been supernaturally communicated? They, as deductive reasoners, assumed the very preliminaries which inductive reasoners would have disputed. They proceeded from generals to particulars, instead of from particulars to generals. And they would not allow either themselves or others to sift the general propositions, which were to cover and control the particular facts. It was enough for them that the wider propositions were already established, and were to be treated according to the rules of the old and syllogistic logic. Indeed, they were so convinced of the impropriety of the inductive method, that they did not hesitate to assert, that it was by means of the syllogism that the Deity communicated His wishes to man.[618]

It was naturally to be expected, that the clergy, holding these views respecting the best means of arriving at truth, should do all in their power to bring over the nation to their side, and should labour to make their own method of investigation entirely supersede the opposite method. Nor was this a very difficult task. The prevailing credulity was one great point in their favour, inasmuch as it made men more willing to accept propositions than to scrutinise them. When the propositions were accepted, nothing was left but to reason from them; and the most active intellects in[288] Scotland, being constantly engaged in this process, acquired complete mastery over it, and the dexterity they displayed increased its repute. Besides this, the clergy, who were its zealous champions, had monopolized all the sources of education, both public and private. In no other Protestant country, have they exercised such control over the universities; not only the doctrines taught, but also the mode of teaching them, being, in Scotland, placed under the supervision of the Church.[619] This power they, of course, used to propagate their own plan of obtaining truth; and, as long as their power remained undiminished, it was hardly possible that the opposite, or inductive, plan should gain a hearing. Over grammar-schools, the clergy possessed an authority fully equal to that which they had in the universities.[620] They also appointed and removed, at their own pleasure, teachers of every grade, from village schoolmasters to tutors in private families.[621][289] In this way, each generation, as it arose, was brought under their influence, and made subject to their notions. Taking the mind of Scotland while it was young and flexible, they bent it to their own method. Hence, that method became supreme; it reigned every where; not a voice was lifted up against it; and no one had an idea that there was more than one path by which truth could be reached, or that the human understanding was of any use, except to deal deductively with premisses, which were not to be inductively examined.

The inductive or analytic spirit being thus unknown, and the deductive or synthetic spirit being alone favoured, it happened that, when, early in the eighteenth century, the circumstances already mentioned gave rise to a great intellectual movement, that movement, though new in its results, was not new in the method by which the results were obtained. A secular philosophy was, indeed, established, and the ablest men, instead of being theological, became scientific. But so completely had the theological plan occupied Scotland, that even philosophers were unable to escape from its method, and, as I am about to show, the inductive method exercised no influence over them. This most curious fact is the key to the history of Scotland in the eighteenth century, and explains many events which would otherwise appear incompatible with each other. It also suggests an analogy with Germany, where the deductive method has, for a long period, been equally prevalent, owing to precisely the same causes. In both countries, the secular movement of the eighteenth century was unable to become inductive; and this intellectual affinity between two such otherwise different nations, is, I have no doubt, the principal reason why the Scotch and German philosophies have so remarkably acted and reacted upon each other; Kant and Hamilton being the most finished specimens of their[290] intercourse. To this, England forms a complete contrast. For more than a hundred and fifty years after the death of Bacon, the greatest English thinkers, Newton and Harvey excepted, were eminently inductive; nor was it until the nineteenth century that signs were clearly exhibited of a counter-movement, and an attempt was made to return in some degree to the deductive method.[622] This we are, in many respects, justified in doing, because, in the progress of our knowledge, we have, by a long course of induction, arrived at several conclusions which we may safely treat deductively; that is to say, we may make them the major premisses of new arguments. The same process has been seen in France, where the exclusively inductive philosophy of the eighteenth century preceded a partial resuscitation of deductive philosophy in the nineteenth century. In Scotland, however, there have been no such vicissitudes. In that country, men have always been deductive; even the most original thinkers being unable to liberate themselves from the universal tendency, and being forced to accept a method which time had consecrated, and which was interwoven with all the associations of the national mind.

To understand the investigation into which we are about to enter, the reader must firmly seize, and keep[291] before his eyes, the essential difference between deduction, which reasons from principles, and induction, which reasons to principles. He must remember, that induction proceeds from the smaller to the greater; deduction, from the greater to the smaller. Induction is from particulars to generals, and from the senses to the ideas; deduction is from generals to particulars, and from the ideas to the senses. By induction, we rise from the concrete to the abstract; by deduction, we descend from the abstract to the concrete. Accompanying this distinction, there are certain qualities of mind, which, with extremely few exceptions, characterize the age, nation, or individual, in which one of these methods is predominant. The inductive philosopher is naturally cautious, patient, and somewhat creeping; while the deductive philosopher is more remarkable for boldness, dexterity, and often rashness. The deductive thinker invariably assumes certain premisses, which are quite different from the hypotheses essential to the best induction. These premisses are sometimes borrowed from antiquity; sometimes they are taken from the notions which happen to prevail in the surrounding society; sometimes they are the result of a man's own peculiar organization; and sometimes, as we shall presently see, they are deliberately invented, with the object of arriving, not at truth, but at an approximation to truth. Finally, and to sum up the whole, we may say that a deductive habit, being essentially synthetic, always tends to multiply original principles or laws; while the tendency of an inductive habit is to diminish those laws by gradual and successive analysis.

These being the two fundamental divisions of human inquiry, it is surely a most remarkable fact in the history of Scotland, that, during the eighteenth century, all the great thinkers belonged to the former division, and that, in the very few instances of induction which their works contain, it is evident, from the steps they subsequently took, that they regarded such inductions as unimportant in themselves, and as only valuable in so far as they supplied the premisses for another and deductive investigation. As the various departments of our knowledge have never yet been co-ordinated and treated as a whole,[292] probably no one is aware of the universality of this movement in Scotland, and of the extent to which it pervaded every science, and governed every phase of thought. To prove, therefore, the force with which it acted, I now purpose to examine its working in all the principal forms of speculation, whether physical or moral, and to show that in each the same method was adopted. In doing this, I must, for the sake of clearness, proceed according to a natural arrangement of the different topics; but I will, whenever it is possible, also follow the chronological order in which the Scotch mind unfolded itself; so that we may understand, not only the character of that remarkable literature, but likewise the steps of its growth, and the astonishing vigour with which it emancipated itself from the shackles which superstition had imposed.

The beginning of the great secular philosophy of Scotland is undoubtedly due to Francis Hutcheson.[623] This eminent man, though born in Ireland, was of Scotch family, and was educated in the University of Glasgow, where he received the appointment of Professor of Philosophy in the year 1729.[624] By his lectures, and by his works, he diffused a taste for bold inquiries into subjects of the deepest importance, but concerning which it had previously been supposed nothing fresh was to be learned; the Scotch having hitherto been taught, that all truths respecting our own nature, which were essential to be known, had been already revealed. Hutcheson, however, did not fear to construct a system of morals according to a plan entirely secular, and no example of which had been exhibited in Scotland before[293] his time. The principles from which he started, were not theological, but metaphysical. They were collected from what he deemed the natural constitution of the mind, instead of being collected, as heretofore, from what had been supernaturally communicated. He, therefore, shifted the field of study. Though he was a firm believer in revelation, he held that the best rules of conduct could be ascertained without its assistance, and could be arrived at by the unaided wit of man; and that, when arrived at, they were, in their aggregate, to be respected as the Law of Nature.[625] This confidence in the power of the human understanding was altogether new in Scotland, and its appearance forms an epoch in the national literature. Previously, men had been taught that the understanding was a rash and foolish thing, which ought to be repressed, and which was unfit to cope with the problems presented to it.[626] Hutcheson, however, held that it was quite able to deal with them, but that, to do so, it must be free and unfettered. Hence, he strenuously advocated that right of private judgment which the Scotch Kirk had not only assailed, but had almost destroyed. He insisted that each person had a right to form his opinion according to the evidence he possessed, and that, this right being inalienable, none but weak minds would abstain from exercising it.[627] Every one[294] was to judge according to his own light, and nothing could be gained by inducing men to profess sentiments contrary to their convictions.[628] So far, however, was this from being understood, that we found all the little sects quarrelling among themselves, and abusing each other, merely because their views were different. It was strange to hear how the professors of one creed would stigmatize the professors of other creeds as idolatrous, and would demand that penalties should be inflicted on them. In point of fact, all had much that was good; and their only real evil was, this love of persecution.[629] But the vulgar deemed every one a heretic who did not[295] believe what they believed; and this way of thinking had been too much countenanced by the clergy, many of whom felt their vanity offended at the idea of laymen pretending to be wiser than their spiritual teachers, and venturing to disagree with what they said.[630]

Such large views of liberty were far in advance of the country in which they were propounded, and could exercise no influence, except over a few thinking men. These, and similar doctrines, were, however, repeated by Hutcheson, in his lectures, every year.[631] And strange, indeed, they must have seemed. To those who received them, they were utterly subversive of the prevailing theological spirit, which regarded toleration as impious, and which, seeking to confine the human mind within the limits of foregone conclusions, deemed it a duty to chastise those who overstepped them. In opposition to this, Hutcheson let in the elements of inquiry, of discussion, and of doubt. There is also another point in which his philosophy is memorable, as the beginning of the great rebellion of the Scotch intellect. We saw, in the last chapter, how successfully the teachers of the people had inculcated doctrines of the darkest asceticism, and how naturally those doctrines had arisen out of the enormous authority possessed by the Church. Against such notions, Hutcheson set his face strenuously. He rightly supposed, that an admiration of every kind of beauty, so far from being sinful, is essential to a complete and well-balanced mind; and the most original part of his philosophy consists of the inquiries which he made into the working and origin of our ideas on that subject.[296] Hitherto, the Scotch had been taught that the emotions which beauty excites, were owing to the corruption of our nature, and ought to be repressed. Hutcheson, on the other hand, insisted that they were good in themselves; that they were part of the general scheme of human affairs, and that they deserved a special and scientific study.[632] And with such skill did he investigate them, that, in the opinion of one of the highest living authorities, he is the originator of all subsequent inquiries into these matters; his being the first attempt to deal with the subject of beauty in a broad and comprehensive spirit.[633]

Not only in speculative views, but also in practical recommendations, Hutcheson displayed the same tendency; every where endeavouring to break down that gloomy fabric which superstition had built up.[634] His[297] predecessors, and, indeed, nearly all his contemporaries who exercised much influence, represented pleasure as immoral, and opposed themselves to the fine arts, which they considered dangerous, as ministering to our pleasures, and thereby distracting our minds from serious concerns. Hutcheson, however, declared that the fine arts were to be cherished; for, he said, they are not only agreeable, but also reputable, and to employ our time with them is honourable.[635] That such is the case is obvious enough to us, but it was long, indeed, since similar language had been heard in Scotland from a great public teacher, and it was completely opposed to the prevailing notions. But Hutcheson went even further. Not content with raising his voice in favour of wealth,[636] which the Scotch clergy stigmatized as one of the most pernicious and carnal of all things, he fearlessly asserted that all our natural appetites are lawful, and that the gratification of them is consistent with the highest virtue.[637] In his eyes, they were lawful, because they[298] were natural; while, according to the theological theory, their being natural made them unlawful. And here lies the fundamental difference between the practical views of Hutcheson and those previously received. He, like every great thinker since the seventeenth century, loved human nature, and respected it; but he neither loved nor respected those who unduly trammelled it, and thereby weakened its vigour, as well as impaired its beauty. He placed more confidence in mankind, than in the rulers of mankind. The Scotch divines, who preceded him, were the libellers of their species; they calumniated the whole human race. According to them, there was nothing in us but sin and corruption; and, therefore, all our desires were to be checked. It is the peculiar glory of Hutcheson, that he was the first man in Scotland who publicly combated these degrading notions. With a noble and lofty aim did he undertake his task. Venerating the human mind, he was bent on vindicating its dignity against those who disputed its titles. Unhappily, he could not succeed; the prejudices of his time were too strong. Still, he did all that was in his power. He opposed the tide which he was unable to stem; he attacked what it was impossible to destroy; and he cast from his philosophy, with vehement scorn, those base prejudices, which, by aspersing all that is great and magnanimous, had long blinded the eyes of their contemporaries, and, by bringing into fresh prominence the old and mischievous dogma of moral degeneracy, had represented our nature as a compound of vices, and had been unable to see how many virtues we really possess, how much of the spirit of self-sacrifice, and of free disinterested benevolence has always existed; how much of good even the worst of us retain; and how, among the ordinary and average characters of whom the world is composed, the desire of benefiting others is more frequent than the desire of hurting them, kindness is more common than cruelty, and the number of good deeds[299] does, on the whole, far outweigh the number of bad ones.[638]

Thus much as to the tendency of Hutcheson's philosophy.[639] We have now to ascertain his method, that is[300] to say, the plan which he adopted in order to obtain his results. This is a very important part of our present inquiry; and we shall find that, in the study of moral philosophy, as in the study of all subjects not yet raised to sciences, there are not only two methods, but that each method leads to different consequences. If we proceed by induction, we arrive at one conclusion; if we proceed by deduction, we arrive at another. This difference in the results, is always a proof that the subject, in which the difference exists, is not yet capable of scientific treatment, and that some preliminary difficulties have to be removed, before it can pass from the empirical stage into the scientific one. As soon as those difficulties are got rid of, the results obtained by induction, will correspond with those obtained by deduction; supposing, of course, that both lines of argument are fairly managed. In such case, it will be of no importance whether we reason from particulars to generals, or from generals to particulars. Either plan will yield the same consequences, and this agreement between the consequences, proves that our investigation is, properly speaking, scientific. Thus, for instance, in chemistry, if, by reasoning deductively from general principles, we could always predict what would happen when we united two or more elements, even supposing those elements were new to us; and if, by reasoning inductively from each element, we could arrive at the same conclusion, one process would corroborate the other, and, by their mutual verification, the science would be complete. In chemistry, we cannot do this; therefore, chemistry is not yet a science, although, since the introduction into it, by Dalton, of the ideas of weight and number, there is every prospect of its becoming one. On the other hand, astronomy is a science, because, by employing the deductive weapon of mathematics, we can compute the motions and perturbations of bodies; and, by employing the inductive weapon[301] of observation, the telescope reveals to us the accuracy of our previous, and, as it were, foregone, inferences. The fact agrees with the idea; the particular event confirms the general principle; the principle explains the event; and their unanimity authorizes us to believe that we must be right, since, proceed as we may, the conclusion is the same; and the inductive plan, of striking averages, harmonizes with the deductive plan, of reasoning from ideas.

But, in the study of morals there is no such harmony. Partly from the force of prejudice, and partly from the complexity of the subject, all attempts at a scientific investigation of morals have failed. It is not, therefore, surprising that, in this field, the inductive inquirer arrives at one conclusion, and the deductive inquirer at another. The inductive inquirer endeavours to attain his object by observing the actions of men, and subjecting them to analysis, in order to learn the principles which regulate them. The deductive inquirer, beginning at the other end, assumes certain principles as original, and reasons from them to the facts which actually appear in the world. The former proceeds from the concrete to the abstract; the latter, from the abstract to the concrete. The inductive moralist looks at the history of past society, or at the condition of the present, and takes for granted that the first step is, to assemble the facts, and then to generalize them. The deductive inquirer, using the facts rather to illustrate his principles, than to suggest them, appeals, in the first place, not to external facts, but to internal ideas, and he makes those ideas the major premiss of a syllogistic argument. Both parties agree, that we have the power of judging some actions to be right, and others to be wrong. But as to how we get that power, and as to what that power is, they are at utter variance. The inductive philosopher says, that its object is happiness, that we get it by association, and that it is due to the action and reaction of social causes, which are susceptible of analysis. The deductive philosopher says, that this power of distinguishing between right and wrong, aims, not at happiness, but at truth; that it is inherent, that it cannot be analyzed, that it is[302] a primary conviction, and that we may assume it and reason from it, but can never hope to explain it by reasoning to it.

It requires but a slight acquaintance with the works of Hutcheson to see that he belongs to the latter of these two schools. He assumes, that all men have what he terms a moral faculty, which, being an original principle, does not admit of analysis.[640] He further assumes, that the business of this faculty is to regulate all our powers.[641] From these two assumptions, he reasons downwards to the visible facts of our conduct, and deductively constructs the general scheme of life. His plan being entirely synthetic, he depreciates the analytic method, and complains of it as an artful attempt to diminish the number of our perceptive powers.[642] The truth is, that every such diminution would have taken away some of his original principles, and would thereby have prevented him from using them as the major premisses of separate arguments. And if you deprive a deductive reasoner of his major premisses, you leave him nothing on which to stand. Hutcheson, therefore, like all the philosophers of his school, was extremely jealous of the invasions of the inductive spirit, with its constant tendency to attack convictions supposed to be primary, and seek to resolve them into their elements. He repulsed such encroachments upon his major premisses, because the power and beauty of his method were displayed in reasoning from the premisses, and not in reasoning to them. According to him, the moral faculty, and the authority which it exercised, were impervious to analysis; it was impossible to track them higher, or to resolve them into simpler constituents; and it was in vain that many attempted[303] to refer them to circumstances external to themselves, such as education, custom, or the association of ideas.[643]

Hence, the judgments which men pass upon the conduct of others, or of themselves, are, in their origin, altogether inexplicable; each judgment being merely a different form of one great moral faculty. Inasmuch, however, as that faculty escapes observation, and is only known by its results, it is evident that, for all purposes of reasoning, the judgments must be deemed primary, and arguments are to be constructed from them, as if they were the ultimate and highest conditions of our nature. In this way, Hutcheson was led to that love of multiplying original principles, which Sir James Mackintosh has justly noticed as a characteristic of his philosophy, and, after him, of the Scotch philosophy in general;[644] though the distinguished author of this remark has failed to perceive that such characteristic was but a single part of a far larger scheme, and was intimately connected with those habits of deductive thought which a long train of preceding circumstances had indelibly imprinted on the Scotch mind.

In Hutcheson, the tendency was so strong, as to make him believe, that, by arguing from a certain number of original principles, he could construct the theory and explain the march of human affairs, with little or no aid from the experience of the past, or, indeed, of the present. His views, for instance, respecting the nature and objects of legislation, criminal, as well as civil, might have been written by a recluse who had never quitted his hermitage, and whose purity was still unsoiled by the realities of the world. Starting from the so-called nature of things, his first steps were ideal, and from them[304] he sought to advance to the actual. In his account of the duties of life, as they existed before the power of government was consolidated, he quotes no evidence to show what really happened among barbarous tribes who were in that state; but he contents himself with deductive inferences from the principles he had previously laid down.[645] Difficult questions relating to the laws of property, are treated in the same manner; that is to say, the conclusions respecting them are arrived at on speculative grounds, and not by comparing how the different enactments have worked in different countries.[646] Experience is either shut out, or made subordinate to theory; and facts are adduced to illustrate the inference, but not to suggest it. So, too, the proper relation between the people and their rulers, and the amount of liberty which the people should possess, instead of being inductively generalized from an historical inquiry into the circumstances which had produced most happiness, might, in the opinion of Hutcheson, be ascertained by reasoning from the nature of government, and from the ends for which it was instituted.[647]

The next great attempt to study the actions of men scientifically, and to generalize the principles of their conduct without the intervention of supernatural ideas, was made by Adam Smith, who, in 1759, published his Theory of Moral Sentiments, and, in 1776, his Wealth of Nations. To understand the philosophy of this, by far the greatest of all the Scotch thinkers, both works must be taken together, and considered as one; since[305] they are, in reality, the two divisions of a single subject. In the Moral Sentiments, he investigates the sympathetic part of human nature; in the Wealth of Nations, he investigates its selfish part. And as all of us are sympathetic as well as selfish; in other words, as all of us look without as well as within, and as this classification is a primary and exhaustive division of our motives to action, it is evident, that if Adam Smith had completely accomplished his vast design, he would at once have raised the study of human nature to a science, leaving nothing for subsequent inquirers except to ascertain the minor springs of affairs, all of which would find their place in this general scheme, and be deemed subordinate to it. In his attempt to perform this prodigious task, and to traverse the enormous field which he saw lying before him, he soon perceived that an inductive investigation was impossible, because it would require the labour of many lives even to assemble the materials from which the generalization was to be made. Moved by this reflection, and, probably, moved still more by the intellectual habits which prevailed around him, he resolved on adopting the deductive method instead of the inductive; but, in seeking for the premisses from which he was to reason, and on which his structure was to be built, he resorted to a peculiar artifice, which is perfectly valid, and which he had an undoubted right to employ, though, to make it available, requires such delicate tact, and involves so many refinements, that extremely few writers have used it with effect on social questions either before or since.

The plan to which I allude is, that when any subject becomes unmanageable by the inductive method, whether from the impossibility of experimenting upon it, or from its extreme natural complexity, or from the presence of immense and bewildering details collected around it, we may, in all such cases, make an imaginary separation of inseparable facts; and reason upon trains of events which have no real and independent existence, and which are nowhere to be found except in the mind of the inquirer. A result obtained in this way, cannot be strictly true; but, if we have reasoned accurately, it[306] will be as near truth as were the premisses from which we started. To make it perfectly true, we must confront it with other results, which we have arrived at in a similar way, and from the same subject. These separate inferences may eventually be coördinated into a single system; so that, while each inference contains only an imperfect truth, the whole of the inferences, when put together, will contain perfect truth.

Such hypothetical arguments are evidently based upon an intentional suppression of facts; and the artifice is necessary, because, without the suppression, the facts would be unmanageable. Each argument leads to a conclusion which approximates to truth; hence, whenever the premisses are so comprehensive as almost to exhaust the facts to which they refer, the conclusion will be so near to complete truth as to be of the greatest value, even before it is coördinated with other conclusions drawn from the same department of inquiry.

Geometry exhibits the most perfect example of this logical stratagem. The object of the geometrician is, to generalize the laws of space; in other words, to ascertain the necessary and universal relations of its various parts. Inasmuch, however, as space would have no parts unless it were divided, the geometrician is forced to assume such a division; and he takes the simplest possible form of it, a division by lines. Now, a line considered as a fact, that is, as it is found in the actual world, must always have two qualities, length and breadth. However slight these qualities may be, every line has them both. But if the geometrician took both into consideration, he would find himself in the presence of a problem too complicated for the resources of the human understanding to deal with; or, at all events, too complicated for the present resources of our knowledge. He, therefore, by a scientific artifice, deliberately strikes off one of these qualities, and asserts that a line is length without breadth. He knows that the assertion is false, but he also knows that it is necessary. For, if you deny it, he can prove nothing. If you insist upon his letting into his premisses the idea of[307] breadth, he is unable to proceed, and the whole fabric of geometry falls to the ground. Since, however, the breadth of the faintest line is so slight as to be incapable of measurement, except by an instrument used under the microscope, it follows that the assumption, that there can be lines without breadth, is so nearly true, that our senses, when unassisted by art, cannot detect the error. Formerly, and until the invention of the micrometer, in the seventeenth century, it was impossible to detect it at all. Hence, the conclusions of the geometrician approximate so close to truth, that we are justified in accepting them as true. The flaw is too minute to be perceived. But that there is a flaw, appears to me certain. It appears certain, that whenever something is kept back in the premisses, something must be wanting in the conclusion. In all such cases, the field of inquiry has not been entirely covered; and part of the preliminary facts being suppressed, it must, I think, be admitted, that complete truth is unattainable, and that no problem in geometry has yet been exhaustively solved.[648]

Still, the amazing triumphs effected in this branch of mathematics, show how powerful a weapon that form of deduction is, which proceeds by an artificial separation of facts, in themselves inseparable. So little, however, is the philosophy of the method understood, that when, late in the eighteenth century, political economy assumed a scientific form, many persons, who were otherwise well instructed, reproached its cultivators with their hard-heartedness; such objectors being unable to see, that the science could not be constructed if[308] it were necessary to take in the whole range of generous and benevolent affections. The political economist aims at discovering the laws of wealth, which are far too complicated to be studied under every aspect. He, therefore, selects one of those aspects, and generalizes the laws as they are exhibited in the selfish parts of human nature. And he is right in doing so, simply because men, in the pursuit of wealth, consider their own gratification oftener than the gratification of others. Hence, he, like the geometrician, blots out one part of his premisses, in order that he may manipulate the remaining part with greater ease. But we must always remember, that political economy, though a profound and beautiful science, is only a science of one department of life, and is founded upon a suppression of some of the facts in which all large societies abound. It suppresses, or, what comes to the same thing, it ignores, many high and magnanimous feelings which we could ill afford to lose. We are not, therefore, to allow its conclusions to override all other conclusions. We may accept them in science, and yet reject them in practice. Thus, the political economist, when confining himself to his own department, says, with good reason, that it is both absurd and mischievous for government to undertake to supply the working-classes with employment. This assertion, he, as a political economist, can prove; and yet, notwithstanding its scientific truth, it may be practically right for a government to do the exact opposite. It may be right for a government to supply the employment, when the people are so ignorant as to demand it, and when, at the same time, they are so powerful as to plunge the country into anarchy if the demand is refused. Here, the view of the politician takes in all the premisses of which the political economist had only taken in a portion. In the same way, as a matter of economic science, it is wrong for any one to relieve the poor; since nothing is better established, than that to relieve poverty increases it, by encouraging improvidence. But, in spite of this, the antagonistic principle of sympathy will come into play, and will, in some minds, operate with such force, as to make it[309] advisable, that he who feels it should give alms, because, if he abstains from giving them, the violence which he does to his own nature may inflict more mischief on himself, than his bestowal of charity would inflict on the general interests of society.

It will not, I hope, be considered that, in these remarks, I have digressed from the main argument of the present chapter, since, although, in making them, I have aimed at clearing up a general question respecting the nature of scientific proof, I have only done so with the more particular object of illustrating the philosophy of Adam Smith, and of explaining the method which that most profound and original thinker pursued. We shall now be able to see how entirely his plan was deductive, and what a peculiar form of deduction it was. In his two great works, he first lays down certain ideas, and from them he marches on to the facts of the external world. And, in each work, he reasons from only part of his premisses; supplying the other part in the other work. None of us are exclusively selfish, and none of us are exclusively sympathetic. But Adam Smith separates in speculation qualities which are inseparable in reality. In his Moral Sentiments, he ascribes our actions to sympathy; in his Wealth of Nations, he ascribes them to selfishness. A short view of these two works will prove the existence of this fundamental difference, and will enable us to perceive that each is supplementary to the other; so that, in order to understand either, it is necessary to study both.

In the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith lays down one great principle from which he reasons, and to which all the others are subordinate. This principle is, that the rules which we prescribe to ourselves, and which govern our conduct, are solely arrived at by observing the conduct of others.[649] We judge ourselves,[310] because we had previously judged them. Our notions are obtained from without, and not from within. If, therefore, we lived entirely alone, we could have no idea of merit or demerit, and it would be impossible for us to form an opinion as to whether our sentiments were right or wrong.[650] To acquire this knowledge, we must look abroad. Inasmuch, however, as we have no direct experience of what other persons actually feel, we can only gain the information by conceiving what we should feel if we were in their place.[651] Hence, all men are, in imagination, constantly changing situations with others; and though the change is ideal, and lasts but for a moment, it is the foundation of that great and universal impulse which is called Sympathy.[652]

By proceeding from these premisses, a vast number of social phenomena may be explained. We naturally sympathize with joy more than with sorrow.[653] Hence,[311] that admiration for prosperous and successful persons, which is quite independent of any benefit we expect from them; and hence, too, the existence of different ranks and of social distinctions, all of which emanate from the same source.[654] Hence, also, the feeling of loyalty, which is a product, not of reason, nor of fear, nor of a sense of public convenience, but rather of sympathy with those above us, begetting an extraordinary compassion for even their ordinary sufferings.[655] Custom and fashion play a great part in the world, but they owe their origin entirely to sympathy;[656] and so do the various systems of philosophy which have flourished at different times, the disagreement between which depends on the fact, that each philosopher has sympathized with different ideas, some sympathizing with the notion of fitness or congruity, some with that of prudence, some with that of benevolence, and every one developing the conception paramount in his own mind.[657] To sympathy, again, we must ascribe the establishment of rewards and punishments, and the whole of our criminal laws, none of which would have existed but for our disposition to sympathize with those who either do good or suffer harm; for the circumstance of society being protected by penal laws, is a subsequent and subordinate[312] discovery, which confirms our sense of their propriety, but did not suggest it.[658] The same principle causes the difference of character exhibited by different classes, such as the irritability of poets, compared with the coolness of mathematicians;[659] it likewise causes that social difference between the sexes, which makes men more remarkable for generosity, and women for humanity.[660] All these results illustrate the workings of sympathy, and are the remote, but still the direct, operations of that principle. Indeed, we can trace to it some of the minutest divisions of character; pride and vanity, for instance, being dependent on it, although those two passions are often confused together, and are sometimes strangely blended in the same mind.[661]

Sympathy, then, is the main-spring of human conduct. It arises, not so much from witnessing the passions of other persons, as from witnessing the situation which excites those passions.[662] To this single process we are indebted, not only for the highest principles, but[313] also for the deepest emotions. For, the greatest affection of which we are capable, is merely sympathy fixed into habit; and the love which exists between the nearest relations, is not inherent, but is derived from this mighty and controlling principle, which governs the whole course of affairs.[663]

By this bold hypothesis, Adam Smith, at one stroke, so narrowed the field of inquiry, as to exclude from it all considerations of selfishness as a primary principle, and only to admit its great antagonist, sympathy. The existence of the antagonism, he distinctly recognizes. For, he will not allow that sympathy is in any way to be deemed a selfish principle.[664] Although he knew that it is pleasurable, and that all pleasure contains an element of selfishness, it did not suit the method of his philosophy to subject the principle of sympathy to such an inductive analysis as would reveal its elements. His business was, to reason from it, and not to it. Concentrating his energy upon the deductive process, and displaying that dialectic skill which is natural to his countrymen, and of which he himself was one of the most consummate masters the world has ever seen, he constructed a system of philosophy, imperfect indeed, because the premisses were imperfect, but approaching truth as closely as it was possible for any one to do who abstained from giving due consideration to the selfish part of human nature. Into the workings of its sympathetic part, he looked with a minuteness, and he reasoned from it with a subtlety, which make his work the most important that has ever been written on this[314] interesting subject. But, inasmuch as his plan involved a deliberate suppression of preliminary and essential facts, the results which he obtained do not strictly correspond to those which are actually observed in the world.[665] This, however, as I have shown, is not a valid objection; since such discrepancy between the ideal and the actual, or between the abstract and the concrete, is the necessary consequence of that still early condition of our knowledge, which forces us to study complicated questions piecemeal, and to raise them to sciences by separate and fragmentary investigations.

That Adam Smith saw this necessity, and that his seeing it was the cause of the method he pursued, is evident from the fact, that in his next great work he followed the same plan, and, though he argued from new premisses, he carefully avoided arguing from any of the old ones. Convinced that, in his theory of morals, he had reasoned as accurately as possible from the principles supplied by sympathy, his capacious and insatiable mind, deeming that nothing had been done while aught remained to do, urged him to pass on to the opposite passion of selfishness, and treat it in the same manner, so that the whole domain of thought might be covered. This he did in his Wealth of Nations, which, though even a greater work than his Moral Sentiments, is equally one-sided, in reference to the principles which it assumes. It assumes that selfishness is the main regulator of human affairs, just as his previous work had assumed sympathy to be so. Between the two works there elapsed an interval of seventeen years; the Wealth of Nations not being published till 1776. But what shows that to their author both were part of a single scheme, is the notable circumstance,[315] that, so early as 1753, he had laid down the principles which his later work contains.[666] This was while his former work was still in meditation, and before it had seen the light. It is, therefore, clear, that the study which he made, first of one passion, and then of its opposite, was not a capricious or accidental arrangement, but was the consequence of that vast idea which presided over all his labours, and which, when they are rightly understood, gives to them a magnificent unity. And a glorious object of ambition it was. His aspiring and comprehensive genius, sweeping the distant horizon, and taking in the intermediate space at a glance, sought to traverse the whole ground in two separate and independent directions, indulging the hope, that, by supplying in one line of argument the premisses which were wanting in the other, their opposite conclusions would be compensatory rather than hostile, and would serve as a broad and permanent basis on which one great science of human nature might be safely built.

The Wealth of Nations is, as I have elsewhere observed,[667] probably the most important book which has ever been written, whether we consider the amount of original thought which it contains, or its practical influence. Its practical recommendations were extremely favourable to those doctrines of freedom which the eighteenth century ushered in; and this secured to them an attention which otherwise they would not have received. While, therefore, the Wealth of Nations was the proximate cause of a great change in legislation,[668] a deeper analysis will show, that the success of the book, and, consequently, the alteration of the laws, depended[316] upon the operation of more remote and general causes. It must also be confessed, that those same causes predisposed the mind of Adam Smith to the doctrines of liberty, and gave him a sort of prejudice in favour of conclusions which limited the interference of the legislator. Thus much he borrowed from his age; but one thing he did not borrow. His wide and organizing mind was all his own. This would have made him great under any circumstances; to make him powerful, required a peculiar conjunction of events. That conjunction he enjoyed, and he turned it to good account. The influence of his contemporaries was enough to make him liberal; his own capacity was enough to make him comprehensive. He had, in a most remarkable degree, that exuberance of thought, which is one of the highest forms of genius, but which leads those who possess it into distant excursions, which, though they have one common aim, are often stigmatized as digressions, simply because they who criticize are unable to discern the great principle which pervades the whole, and unites the various parts into a single scheme. This has been especially the case with Adam Smith, whose immortal work has often been exposed to such shallow objections. And certainly, the Wealth of Nations displays a breadth of treatment which those who cannot sympathize with, are very likely to ridicule. The phenomena, not only of wealth, but also of society in general, classified and arranged under their various forms; the origin of the division of labour, and the consequences which that division has produced; the circumstances which gave rise to the invention of money, and to the subsequent changes in its value; the history of those changes traced in different ages, and the history of the relations which the precious metals bear to each other; an examination of the connection between wages and profits, and of the laws which govern the rise and fall of both; another examination of the way in which these are concerned, on the one hand, with the rent of land, and, on the other hand, with the price of commodities; an inquiry into the reason why profits vary in different trades, and at different times; a succinct, but comprehensive, view[317] of the progress of towns in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire; the fluctuations, during several centuries, in the prices of the food of the people, and a statement of how it is, that, in different stages of society, the relative cost of land and of meat varies; the history of corporation laws and of municipal enactments, and their bearing on the four great classes of apprentices, manufacturers, merchants, and landlords; an account of the immense power and riches formerly enjoyed by the clergy, and of the manner in which, as society advances, they gradually lose their exclusive privileges; the nature of religious dissent, and the reason why the clergy of the established Church can never contend with it on terms of equality, and, therefore, call on the State to help them, and wish to persecute when they cannot persuade; why some sects profess more ascetic principles, and others more luxurious ones; how it was, that, during the feudal times, the nobles acquired their power, and how that power has, ever since, been gradually diminishing; how the rights of territorial jurisdiction originated, and how they died away; how the sovereigns of Europe obtained their revenue, what the sources of it are, and what classes are most heavily taxed in order to supply it; the cause of certain virtues, such as hospitality, flourishing in barbarous ages, and decaying in civilized ones; the influence of inventions and discoveries in altering the distribution of power among the various classes of society; a bold and masterly sketch of the peculiar sort of advantages which Europe derived from the discovery of America and of the passage round the Cape; the origin of universities, their degeneracy from their original plan, the corruption which has gradually crept over them, and the reason why they are so unwilling to adopt improvements, and to keep pace with the wants of the age; a comparison between public and private education, and an estimate of their relative advantages;—these, and a vast number of other subjects, respecting the structure and development of society, such as the feudal system, slavery, emancipation of serfs, origin of standing armies, and of mercenary troops, effects produced by tithes, laws of primogeniture, sumptuary[318] laws, international treaties concerning trade, rise of European banks, national debts, influence of dramatic representations over opinions, influence of foreign travels over opinions, colonies, poor-laws,—all topics of a miscellaneous character, and many of them diverging from each other,—all are fused into one great system, and irradiated by the splendour of one great genius. Into that dense and disorderly mass, did Adam Smith introduce symmetry, method, and law. At his touch, anarchy disappeared, and darkness was succeeded by light. Much, of course, he took from his predecessors, though nothing like so much as is commonly supposed. On this sort of borrowing, the best and strongest of us are dependent. But, after making every possible allowance for what he gathered from others, we must honestly say, that no single man ever took so great a step upon so important a subject, and that no single work which is now preserved, contains so many views, which were novel at the time, but which subsequent experience has ratified. What, however, for our present purpose, is most important to observe, is, that he obtained these results by arguing from principles which the selfish part of human nature exclusively supplied, and that he omitted those sympathetic feelings of which every human being possesses at least some share, but which he could not take into consideration, without producing a problem, the number of whose complications it would have been hopeless to unravel.

To avoid, therefore, being baffled, he simplified the problem, by erasing from his view of human nature those premisses which he had already handled in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. At the beginning of the Wealth of Nations, he lays down two propositions: 1st, that all wealth is derived, not from land, but from labour; and 2d, that the amount of the wealth depends, partly on the skill with which the labour is conducted, and partly on the proportion between the number of those who labour and the number of those who do not labour. The rest of the work, is an application of these principles, to explain the growth and mechanism of society. In applying them, he everywhere assumes, that the great moving[319] power of all men, all interests, and all classes, in all ages, and in all countries, is selfishness. The opposite power of sympathy he entirely shuts out; and I hardly remember an instance in which even the word occurs in the whole course of his work. Its fundamental assumption is, that each man exclusively follows his own interest, or what he deems to be his own interest. And one of the peculiar features of his book is, to show that, considering society as a whole, it nearly always happens that men, in promoting their own interest, will unintentionally promote the interest of others. Hence, the great practical lesson is, not to restrain selfishness, but to enlighten it; because there is a provision in the nature of things, by which the selfishness of the individual accelerates the progress of the community. According to this view, the prosperity of a country depends on the amount of its capital; the amount of its capital depends on the habit of saving, that is, on parsimony, as opposed to generosity; while the habit of saving is, in its turn, governed by the desire we all feel of bettering our condition,—a desire so inherent in our nature, that it comes with us from the womb, and only leaves us in the grave.[669]

This constant effort of every man, to better his own condition, is so salutary, as well as so powerful, that it is often capable of securing the progress of society, in spite of the folly and extravagance of the rulers of mankind.[670] If it were not for this propensity, improvement[320] would be impossible. For human institutions are constantly stopping our advance, by thwarting our natural inclinations.[671] And no wonder that this should be the case, seeing that the men who are at the head of affairs, and by whom the institutions are contrived, have, perhaps, a certain rough and practical sagacity; but being, from the narrowness of their understandings, incapable of large views, their councils are determined by those mere casual fluctuations which alone they are able to perceive.[672] They do not see that we have prospered, not on account of their enactments, but in the teeth of them; and that the real cause of our prosperity is the fact that we enjoy undisturbed the fruit of our own labour.[673] Whenever this right is tolerably secure, every man will be bent on procuring for himself either present enjoyment or future profit; and if he does not aim at one of these objects, he is void of common understanding.[674] If he possess capital, he will probably aim at[321] both, but, in doing so, he will never consider the interest of others; his sole motive will be his own private profit.[675] And it is well that such should be the case. For, by thus pursuing his personal interest, he aids society more than if his views were generous and exalted. Some people affect to carry on trade for the good of others; but this is mere affectation, though, to say the truth, it is an affectation not very common among merchants, and many words are not needed to dissuade them from so foolish a practice.[676]

In this way, Adam Smith completely changes the premisses which he had assumed in his earlier work. Here, he makes men naturally selfish; formerly, he had made them naturally sympathetic.[677] Here, he represents them as pursuing wealth for sordid objects, and for the narrowest personal pleasures; formerly he represented them as pursuing it out of regard to the sentiments of others, and for the sake of obtaining their sympathy.[678] In the Wealth of Nations, we hear no more of this conciliatory and sympathetic spirit; such amiable maxims are altogether forgotten, and the affairs of the world are regulated by different principles. It now appears that benevolence and affection have no influence over our actions. Indeed, Adam Smith will[322] hardly admit common humanity into his theory of motives. If a people emancipate their slaves, it is a proof, not that the people are acted on by high moral considerations, nor that their sympathy is excited by the cruelty inflicted on these unhappy creatures. Nothing of the sort. Such inducements to conduct are imaginary, and exercise no real sway. All that the emancipation proves, is, that the slaves were few in number, and, therefore, small in value. Otherwise, they would not have been emancipated.[679]

So, too, while in his former work, he had ascribed the different systems of morals to the power of sympathy, he, in this work, ascribes them entirely to the power of selfishness. He observes, that, among the lower ranks of society, dissipation is more fatal to individuals, than it is among the higher ranks. The extravagance which dissipation produces, may injure the fortune of a wealthy man, but the injury is usually capable of being repaired, or, at all events, he can indulge his vices for years without completely destroying his fortune, and without bringing himself to utter ruin. To the labourer, a similar indulgence would be fatal in a single week; it would not merely reduce him to beggary, and perhaps send him to jail, but it would destroy his future prospects, by taking away that character for sobriety and regularity on which his employment depends. Hence, the better class of common people, guided by their interest, look with aversion on excesses which they know to be fatal; while the upper ranks finding that a moderate amount of vice hurts neither their purse nor their reputation consider such license to be one of the advantages which their fortune confers, and they value, as one of the privileges belonging to their station, the liberty of indulging themselves without being censured. Therefore it is, that they who dissent from the established Church have a purer[323] system of morals, or, at all events, an austerer one, than they who agree with it. For, new religious sects usually begin among the common people, the thinking part of whom are, by their interest, driven to strict views of the duties of life. Consequently, the advocates of the new opinion profess a similar strictness, seeing that it is the surest means of increasing their proselytes. Thus it is that sectaries and heretics, governed by interest rather than by principle, adopt a code of morals which is suited to their own purpose, and the rigidity of which is strongly contrasted with the laxer code of more orthodox believers.[680] Owing to the operation of the same[324] principle, we also find, that, among the orthodox themselves, the clergy embrace a stricter system of morals in countries where church benefices are nearly equal than they do in countries where the benefices are very unequal. This is because, when all the benefices are nearly equal, none can be very rich, and, consequently, even the most conspicuous among the clergy will have but small incomes. But a man who has little to spend can have no influence, unless his morals are exemplary. Having no wealth to give him weight the vices of levity would make him ridiculous. To avoid contempt, and also to avoid the expense which a looseness of conduct occasions, and which his narrow circumstances cannot afford, he has but one remedy, and that remedy he adopts. He retains his influence, and saves his pocket, by protesting against pleasures which he cannot conveniently enjoy; in this, as in all other cases, pursuing that plan of life which his own interest urges him to follow.[681]


In these striking generalizations, which, though they contain a large amount of truth, are far from containing the whole truth, no room is left for the magnanimous parts of our nature to act; but the system of morals, prevailing at any one time or in any one class, is solely ascribed to the dictates of unalloyed selfishness. Adam Smith, by reasoning from this principle, with that exquisite subtlety which characterized his mind, explains many other circumstances which society presents, and which at first sight appear incongruous. According to the old notions, which, indeed, are not yet quite extinct, those who received wages were under a personal obligation to those who paid them; that is to say, they were under a moral obligation, over and above the obligation of performing certain services. It was believed that a master could not only select what servants he chose, but could pay them what he chose; or, at all events, that it was the will of the masters, considered as a body, which fixed the usual and average rate of wages.[682] The lower classes were, therefore, much indebted to the higher ones for giving them so much as they did; and it was incumbent upon all persons, who received wages, to take them with humble thankfulness, and with a feeling of gratitude, on account of the favour bestowed upon them by the generosity of their superiors.

This doctrine, so convenient to the upper classes of society, and so natural to the universal ignorance which formerly prevailed on these matters, began to be shaken by the speculative thinkers of the seventeenth century; but it was reserved for the eighteenth century to[326] overthrow it, by letting in the great idea of necessity, and proving, that the rate of wages established in a country, was the inevitable consequence of the circumstances in which that country was placed, and had no connexion with the wishes of any individual, or, indeed, with the wishes of any class. To all instructed persons, this is now a familiar truth. Its discovery has excluded the notion of gratitude from the pecuniary relation between employers and employed, and has made known that servants or workmen who receive wages, have no more reason to be grateful than those who pay them. For, no choice having been exercised in fixing the wages, no favour can be conferred in their payment. The whole process is compulsory, and is the result of what had previously happened. Scarcely had the eighteenth century passed away, when this most important discovery was completed. It was decisively proved, that the reward of labour depends solely on two things; namely, the magnitude of that national fund out of which all labour is paid, and the number of the labourers among whom the fund is to be divided.

This vast step in our knowledge is due, mainly, though not entirely, to Malthus, whose work on Population, besides marking an epoch in the history of speculative thought, has already produced considerable practical results, and will probably give rise to others more considerable still. It was published in 1798; so that Adam Smith, who died in 1790, missed what to him would have been the intense pleasure of seeing how, in it, his own views were expanded rather than corrected. Indeed, it is certain, that without Smith there would have been no Malthus; that is, unless Smith had laid the foundation, Malthus could not have raised the superstructure. It was Adam Smith, who, far more than any other man, introduced the conception of uniform and necessary sequence into the apparently capricious phenomena of wealth, and who studied those phenomena by the aid of principles, of which selfishness alone supplied the data. According to his view, the employers of labour have, as employers, no benevolence, no sympathy, no virtue of any kind. Their sole aim is, their[327] own selfish interest. They are constantly engaged in a tacit, if not in an open, combination, to prevent the lower ranks from being benefited by a rise of wages; and they sometimes combine for the purpose even of depressing those wages below their actual rate.[683] Having no bowels, they think only of themselves. The idea of their wishing to mitigate the inequalities of fortune, is to be exploded as one of the chimeras of that protective spirit, which imagined that society could not go on, unless the richer classes relieved the poorer ones, and sympathized with their troubles. This antiquated notion is further rebutted by the fact, that wages are always higher in summer than in winter, although the expenses which a labourer incurs in winter, being heavier than in summer, he ought, on principles of common humanity, to receive more money during the more expensive season.[684] In the same way, in years of scarcity, the dearness of food causes many persons to go to service, in order to support their families. The masters, instead of charitably paying such servants more on account of the unfortunate position in which they are placed, avail themselves of that position to[328] pay them less. They make better terms for themselves; they lower wages just at the moment when sympathy for misfortune would have raised them; and, as they find that their servants, besides being worse remunerated, are, by poverty, made more submissive, they consider that scarcity is a blessing, and that dear years are to be commended as more favourable to industry than cheap ones.[685]

Adam Smith, therefore, though he failed in grasping the remote cause of the rate of wages, clearly saw that the approximate cause was, not the generosity of human nature, but its selfishness, and that the question was one of supply and demand; each side striving to extract as much as possible from the other.[686] By the aid of the same principle, he explained another curious fact, namely, the extravagant rewards bestowed on some of the most despicable classes of society, such, for instance, as opera-dancers, who always receive enormous pay for insignificant services. He observes, that one of the reasons why we pay them so highly, is, because we despise them. If to be a public dancer were a creditable occupation, more persons would be brought up to it, and the supply of public dancers becoming greater, competition would lower their wages. As it is, we look on them disdainfully. By way of compensating the disdain, we have to bribe them largely to induce them to follow their pursuit.[687] Here we see, that the reward which one class bestows on another, instead of being increased by sympathy, is increased by scorn; so[329] that the more we contemn the tastes and the way of life of our fellow-creatures, the more liberal we are in recompensing them.

Passing to another, and somewhat different, class, Adam Smith threw new light on the cause of that hospitality for which the clergy were famous during the Middle Ages, and for the magnificence of which they have received great praise. He shows that, although they undoubtedly relieved a large amount of distress, this is not to be ascribed to them as a merit, since it resulted from the peculiarity of their position, and since, moreover, they did it for their own advantage. In the Middle Ages, the clergy possessed enormous wealth, and their revenues were mostly paid, not in money, but in kind, such as corn, wine, and cattle. Trade and manufactures being hardly known, the clergy could find no use for these commodities except to feed other people. By employing them in that way, they benefited themselves in the most effectual manner. They gained a reputation for extensive charity; they increased their influence; they multiplied the number of their adherents; and they not only advanced themselves to temporal power, but they secured to their spiritual threats a respect, which, without this contrivance, it would have been impossible for them to obtain.[688]

The reader will now be able to understand the nature[330] of that method of investigation which is adopted in the Wealth of Nations, and of which I have given more instances than I should otherwise have done, partly because the question of philosophic method lies at the very root of our knowledge, and partly because no attempt has hitherto been made to analyze the intellect of Adam Smith, by considering his two great works as the opposite, but yet the compensatory, parts of a single scheme. And, as he is by far the greatest thinker Scotland has produced, I need hardly apologize, in a history of the Scotch mind, for devoting so much attention to his system, and endeavouring to examine it at its base. But, having done so, it would be a needless prolixity to treat with equal fulness the productions of those other eminent Scotchmen who lived at the same time, and nearly all of whom pursued a method essentially, though not entirely, the same; that is to say, they preferred the deductive process of reasoning from principles, to the inductive process of reasoning to them. In that peculiar form of deduction which consists in a deliberate suppression of part of the principles, Adam Smith stands alone. For, though others attempted to follow that plan, they did so irregularly, and at intervals, and did not, like him, see the importance of keeping close to their method, and of invariably abstaining from letting into the premisses of their arguments, considerations which would complicate the problem that they wished to solve.


Among the contemporaries of Adam Smith, one of the first, in eminence, as well as in reputation, is David Hume. His views respecting political economy were published in 1752,[689] that is, the very year in which Adam Smith taught the principles subsequently unfolded in the Wealth of Nations. But Hume, though a most accomplished reasoner, as well as a profound and fearless thinker, had not the comprehensiveness of Adam Smith, nor had he that invaluable quality of imagination without which no one can so transport himself into past ages as to realize the long and progressive movements of society, always fluctuating, yet, on the whole, steadily advancing. How unimaginative he was, appears, not only from the sentiments he expressed, but likewise from many traits in his private life.[690] It appears, also, in the very colour and mechanism of his language; that beautiful and chiselled style in which he habitually wrote, polished as marble, but cold as marble too, and wanting that fiery enthusiasm and those bursts of tempestuous eloquence, which, ever and anon, great objects naturally inspire, and which rouse men to their inmost depths. This it was, which, in his History of England,—that exquisite production of art, which, in spite of its errors, will be admired as long as taste remains among us,—prevented him from sympathizing with those bold and generous natures, who, in the seventeenth century, risked their all to preserve the liberty of their country. His imagination was not strong enough to picture the whole of that great century, with its vast discoveries, its longings after the unknown, its splendid literature, and what was better than all these, its stern determination to vindicate freedom, and to put down tyranny. His clear and powerful understanding saw these things separately, and in their various parts, but could not fuse them into a single form, because he lacked that peculiar faculty which assimilates the past to the present, and enables the mind to discern both with almost equal ease.[332] That Great Rebellion, which he ascribed to the spirit of faction, and the leaders of which he turned into ridicule, was but the continuation of a movement which can be clearly traced to the twelfth century, and of which such events as the invention of printing, and the establishment of the Reformation, were merely successive symptoms. For all this, Hume cared nothing. In regard to philosophy, and in regard to the purely speculative parts of religious doctrines, his penetrating genius enabled him to perceive that nothing could be done, except by a spirit of fearless and unrestrained liberty. But this was the liberty of his own class; the liberty of thinkers, and not of actors. His absence of imagination prevented him from extending the range of his sympathy beyond the intellectual classes, that is, beyond the classes of whose feelings he was directly cognizant. It would, therefore, appear, that his political errors were due, not, as is commonly said, to his want of research, but rather to the coldness of his temperament.[691] It was this which made him stop where he did, and which gave to his works the singular appearance of a profound and original thinker, in the middle of the eighteenth century, advocating practical doctrines, so illiberal, that, if enforced, they would lead to despotism, and yet, at the same time, advocating speculative[333] doctrines, so fearless and enlightened, that they were not only far in advance of his own age, but have, in some degree, outstripped even the age in which we live.

Among his speculative views, the most important are his theory of causation as discarding the idea of power, and his theory of the laws of association. Neither of these theories are, in their primary conception, quite original, but his treatment made them as valuable as if they had been entirely his own. His theory of miracles, in connexion, on the one hand, with the principles of evidence, and, on the other hand, with the laws of causation, is worked out with consummate skill, and, after having received the modifications subsequently imposed by Brown, has now become the foundation on which the best inquirers into these matters take their stand.[692] His work on the principles of morals, by generalizing the laws of expediency, prepared the way for Bentham, who afterwards incorporated with them an estimate of the more remote consequences of human actions; Hume, having chiefly confined himself to their more immediate consequences. The doctrine of utility was common to each; but while Hume applied it mainly to the individual, Bentham applied it to the surrounding society. Though Bentham was more comprehensive, yet Hume, having come first, was more original. The praise of originality must also be accorded to his economical theories, in which he advocated those principles of free trade, which politicians began to adopt many years after his death.[693] In opposition to the notions then[334] prevailing, he distinctly asserted, that all commodities, though apparently bought by money, are in reality bought by labour.[694] Money, therefore, is not the subject of commerce, and is of no use except to facilitate it.[695] Hence, it is absurd for a nation to trouble itself[335] about the balance of trade, or to make regulations to discourage the exportation of the precious metals.[696] Neither does the average rate of interest depend on their scarcity or abundance, but upon the operation of more general causes.[697] As a necessary consequence of these positions, Hume inferred that the established policy was wrong, which made trading states look upon each other as rivals, while, in point of fact, the question, if considered from a certain height, was one, not of rivalry, but of coöperation; every country being benefited by the increasing wealth of its neighbours.[698] Those who know the character of commercial legislation, and the opinions of even the most enlightened statesmen a century ago, will consider these views as extremely remarkable to have been propounded in the year 1752. But what is more remarkable still, is, that their author[336] subsequently detected the fundamental error which Adam Smith committed, and which vitiates many of his conclusions. The error consists in his having resolved price into three components, namely, wages, profit, and rent; whereas it is now known that price is a compound of wages and profit, and that rent is not an element of it, but a result of it. This discovery is the corner-stone of political economy; but it is established by an argument so long and so refined, that most minds are unable to pursue it without stumbling, and the majority of those who acquiesce in it are influenced by the great writers to whom they pay deference, and whose judgment they follow. It is, therefore, a striking proof of the sagacity of Hume, that in an age when the science was but dawning, and when he could receive little help from his predecessors, he should have discovered a mistake of this sort, which lies so far beneath the surface. Directly the Wealth of Nations appeared, he wrote to Adam Smith, disputing his position that rent is a