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take a foot of ground wrongously. He was heard say he never drew sword in his own quarrel. In his youth a prodigal spender; in his old age more wise and worldly, yet never counted for cost in matters of honour. A great householder-a terror to his enemies, whom with his prideful kin he ever held under great fear, subjection, and obedience. In all his bargains just and efauld, and never hard for his true debt.” 1
1 Memorials of the Troubles, i. 73.
THE TWO PARTIES IN THE NORTH-THE POWER OF HUNTLY-FORCES
AVAILABLE IN THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND-GENERAL ALEXANDER LESLIE—THE SCOTS TRAINED IN THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR-COLLECTION OF MONEY AND RECRUITING-THE GREAT GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT GLASGOW-ITS IMPORTANCE AND PICTURESQUENESSTHE RECOVERY OF THE RECORDS-THE ABOLITION OF THE EPISCOPAL HIERARCHY-RECONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH-END OF A GREAT ECCLESIASTICAL CONTROVERSY—A COVENANTING ARMY SENT NORTHWARD-APPEARANCE IN ABERDEEN-MONTROSE AND HUNTLY-CAPTURE AND REMOVAL OF HUNTLY-LORD LEWIS GORDON-TROT OF TURRIFF-FIRST BLOOD DRAWN IN THE GREAT WAR.
WHEN Huntly, the natural leader of the king's party in the north, died in 1636, his son George, the heir of the house, was in France, commanding a company of gens d'armes. He had not long returned home when it became clear that the Royalist and Cavalier party must look to him as the centre of their strength; and soon after the period which we have reached he was appointed the king's lieutenant in the north. At an early stage of the dispute we find the instinct of the Covenanters pointing to him as their natural enemy, but taking a moderate estimate of his power to hurt them. Strong he was, no doubt, in his own place; but he was isolated by barriers not to be broken by any strength at his command. Roxburgh had alluded to danger in that quarter in a conversation with Rothes, “whereto Rothes replied he would not give a salt citron for him; for two Fife lairds could
keep him from crossing Dundee Ferry, and half-a-dozen Angus lairds could keep him from crossing the Cairn o' Month; that three parts of his name is decayed, and he wants the two sheriffships."i This is an allusion to the discountenance of the house of Huntly by the Court of King Charles, and especially to the removal out of its hands of the sheriffship of Aberdeen and the sheriffship of Inverness.
But, if we may credit one who had good means of knowing what he said, though the Covenanting chief thus slighted Huntly's power, the party had made zealous efforts to secure him as an ally. Had they done so, all Scotland would have been theirs before the war had begun; for the community of Aberdeen, even if a few zealous lairds in the neighbourhood had joined them, could not have made even a show of resistance. The young Huntly had been brought up a Protestant, so that no impassable gulf lay between him and the Presbyterians, as in his father's day. Colonel Robert Monro, one of the Scotsmen from the German wars who had taken service with the Covenanters, was sent as their ambassador to Strathbogie. The offers intrusted to him were great : “The sum of his commission to Huntly was, that the noblemen Covenanters were desirous that he should join with them in the common cause; that if he would do so, and take the Covenant, they would give him the first place, and make him leader of their forces; and further, they would make his state and his fortunes greater than ever they were ; and, moreover, they should pay off and discharge all his debts, which they knew to be about ane hundred thousand pounds sterling : that their forces and associates were a hundred, to one with the king; and therefore it was to no purpose to him to take up arms against them, for if he refused this offer and declared against them, they should find means to disable him for to help the king; and, moreover, they knew how to undo him; and bade him expect that they will ruinate his family and estates."
1 Relation, 62, 63.
The reception given by the new marquis to this alternative is told in thorough keeping with the chivalrous character of his father : “To this proposition Huntly gave a short and resolute repartee, that his family had risen and stood by the kings of Scotland ; and for his part, if the event proved the ruin of this king, he was resolved to lay his life, honours, and estate under the rubbish of the king his ruins. But withal thanked the gentleman who had brought the commission and had advised him thereto, as proceeding from one whom he took for a friend and goodwiller, and urged out of a good intention to him.”i.
To note the source whence the chief secular strength on the other side was to be drawn we must pass to a distant scene. England and Scotland had been for many years at peace both with each other and with the rest of the world. Through the affair of the Palatinate, Britain seemed to be drifting into the mighty contests of the Continent. Here, and in the affair of La Rochelle, the peaceful or timid policy of King James kept his dominions out of war, and brought on him the reproach of acting the unnatural father and the indifferent Protestant. The Continent was shaken by the longest and bloodiest war of modern ages. This island seemed to stand serenely aloof from all its horrors; but it was yet to be seen that the Thirty Years' War and its effects would not pass away without leaving a mark on the destinies of Britain. In fact the winding up of that war threw loose the materials that were to revive into the civil wars of Britain.
A political axiom of Chesterfield's that seems always the more accurate the more one reflects on it was, that “the peace of Westphalia is the foundation of all subsequent treaties.” Even the later readjustment of the map of Europe at the congress of Vienna scarcely modifies this character. At the period we have reached the great treaty itself was not yet concluded, but the armies were breaking up, and the war was drawing towards the end. The time was yet distant when Scotland was to reap, in im
1 Gordon's Scots Affairs, i. 49, 50.
proved industry and enlarged riches, the fruit of a good understanding with England. The country was still dependent on foreign enterprise for the employment of its more restless spirits. They were to be found scattered through the armies on both sides of the great war, but chiefly on the Protestant side. Gustavus Adolphus, who knew well what went to make a good soldier, courted them to his standard. It is impossible to approach by an estimate the number of Scots who thus swarmed out of the country in the various leaguers. Gustavus is said to , have had ten thousand at his disposal. That altogether the Scots troopers were a large element in the war we may gather from the strength of specific reinforcements. Thus in 1626 went forth the small army called Mackay's Regiment, said at the time to be four thousand strong, whose deeds have been recorded by their leader, Colonel Robert Monro. Raising these troops was private venture; but King Charles gave his benediction and a contribution of £2000 to the cause, doing so much to strengthen the hand that was to be his enemy's. In 1631 there was another reinforcement of six thousand men to the Protestant host. When the items of reinforcing parties were on a scale like this, it is easy to see how strong a body of Scots trained soldiers the Thirty Years' War left avail. able.1
As the great armies on both sides gradually broke up, Europe became sorely infested with ruffians. Not within the memory of man had soldiers been so long and ceaselessly inured to the great game of war, and excluded from the pursuits of industrial life. While the roads throughout Germany swarmed with robbers, the Scots found that a congenial theatre of exertion was opening for them at home. They brought with them a wonderful experience. Never before had such rapid progress been made in the converse arts of destruction and defence. All operations as to fortified places, even in England--and of course
1 For more information on this subject the author refers to his Scot Abroad, ii. 134 et seq. See, too, Chambers's Domestic Annals, ii. 10, 55.