« AnteriorContinuar »
castle as he ought to have done, but suffered the same to be lost, that so he might the more incense the English against the Scots ;” and then, in another turn of inconsistency, it was said he forced his subordinate Conway to fight the Scots at Newburn with a force insufficient for resistance, “ out of a malicious desire to engage the kingdoms of England and Scotland in a national and bloody war.” The managers showed their sense of the weakness of the Scots items in the charge by combining them in the prosecution with some of the heavier articles, an arrangement against which the accused protested.1
It was encouraging and exciting, no doubt, to see one whose spirit was so inimical to theirs, and who would have crushed them if he could, hunted down before their eyes; but Laud was the proper victim to offer up to the Scots commissioners. Baillie speedily found “Episcopacy itself beginning to be cried down and a Covenant to be cried up, and the Liturgy to be scorned. The town of London and a world of men minds to present a petition, which I have seen, for the abolition of bishops, deans, and all their appurtenances. It is thought good to delay it till the Parliament have pulled down Canterbury and sone prime bishops, which they mind to do so soon as the king has a little digested the bitterness of his lieutenant's censure. Huge things are here in working—the mighty hand of God be about this great work! We hope this shall be the joyful harvest of the tears that these many years have been sown in these kingdoms. All here are weary of bishops. This day a committee of ten noblemen and three of the most innocent bishops—Carlisle, Salisbury, Winchester—are appointed to cognosce by what means our pacification was broken, and who advised the king, when he had no money, to enter in war without consent of his State. We hope all shall go well above our hopes. I hope they will not neglect me. Prayer is our best help; for albeit all things goes on here above our expectation, yet how soon, if God would but wink, might
the devil and his manifold instruments here watching turn our hopes in fear !" 1
But in the midst of these separate triumphs the commissioners did not neglect their treaty, and the large pecuniary interests depending on it. It was contested on both sides with a harassing obstinacy, which it would be tedious to follow step by step. It came to a conclusion on the 7th of August 1641. The principal provisions of the treaty were, that the king was to admit as Acts of Parliament those of the Estates who sat in 1640 without the sanction of royalty. The “incendiaries,” or “those who had been the authors and causes of the late and present combustions and troubles," were in each nation to be punished by Parliament-a demand accepted by the king, with the explanation that “his majesty believeth he hath none such about him." All libels against the king's “ loyal. and dutiful subjects of Scotland” were to be suppressed. When the Scots army came to be disbanded, the fortresses of Berwick and Carlisle were to be reduced to their old condition. Not least important was “ the brotherly assistance" to be given by England to the Scots for their sufferings and services; this was fixed at £300,000. The armies were then disbanded; and when this process was completed, the city of London held solemn rejoicings for deliverance from the war that had impended.
There comes now one of those incoherent turns in the tenor of the Court policy which make it so unsatisfactory a task to endeavour to find in it a natural unity of sequence, one political condition preceding another, as external cause precedes external effect. The king, when the harassing business of the Long Parliament had thickened round him, was to visit Scotland and hold a Parliament there. He was not to go as the offended monarch, to take stern account of those whom he had been charging as traitorous and disobedient subjects; but in a
1 Letters, i. 274.
3 See Report of the Treaty brought up to the Scots Estates ; Act. Parl., v. 337 et seq.
spirit of geniality and loving-kindness, especially towards those who had most grievously offended him.
Some secondary passages in the struggle had occurred within Scotland even at the time when its larger results were looked to in the question which the Scots were to try in England. The strength of the ruling party was materially reduced by the removal of a large army into England. It was naturally in the north-east that symptoms of restlessness first appeared ; and there the Committee of Estates, with prompt energy, determined to use what force they could command, to aid the Earl Marischal, and other supporters of the Covenant, who were by themselves in a minority. In May 1640 a body of about a thousand men marched into Aberdeen under the command of General Monro. He, like Leslie, had been trained in the great European war; but he was a man of inferior grade and nature, and brought with him a touch of the rapacity and cruelty that had grown up in the thirty years' teaching. He weeded the district of ablebodied Malignants by impressing them and sending them to join the army in England. In a similar policy he removed all things that might be turned to warlike purpose —not only arms, but tools adapted to sapping and mining. The garrulous Spalding renders with deplorable minuteness the various items of exaction to which his unfortunate city was again subjected. Monro left behind him, as a memorial of his visit, one of those "wooden mares” which had been invented by the ingenuity of the German
1 The baxters and brewsters to have in readiness “12,000 weight of good bisket-bread, together with 1000 gallons of ale and beer.” The commander desired that the citizens, “in testimony of their bon accord with the Soldatista that has come so far a march for their safeties from the invasion of foreign enemies, and the slavery they or their posterity may be brought under, they may be pleased, out of their generosity accustomed, and present thankfulness to the Solda. tista for keeping good order and eschewing of plundering, to provide for them 1200 pair of shoes, together with 3000 ells of harden ticking or sail canvas, for making of tents to save the Soldatista from great inundation of rains accustomed to fall out under this northern climate."-Spalding's Memorials, i. 275.
marauders as an instrument of torture at once simple and effective.
Monro having paid visits of the same character to the country districts afflicted with Malignancy, removed his force. A very small body stationed in permanence, with casual visits from auxiliaries, might now keep the troublesome district of the north-east in due order; but the soldiers themselves were sufferers by the general poverty they had created. If the army sent to England was honourably distinguished for piety and decorum, the Government had now come down to the dregs of their available forces. Of the performances of the Covenanting troops occasionally posted in Aberdeen, we hear from the commissary-clerk of “ daily deboshing” and “ drinking,” “night-walking, combating, swearing, and bringing sundry honest women-servants to great misery.” It was the hard fate of these unfortunates, that after they had become the victims of the profligacy of the Covenanting soldiery, they came under the rigid discipline of the Covenanting clergy for the expiation of their frailties.
In other parts of the country the Malignants were chastised by a rod of a different kind. The prospect of an invasion by an army of the wild Irish, sent by Strafford, gave occasion for guarding the west coast. It fell to the two chief potentates of the district, Eglinton and Argyle, to command the troops embodied for that purpose, who were chiefly, if not entirely, their own vassals
1 So the Lord Sinclair, coming with a party of five hundred, “his allowances was spent, and the soldiers put to their shifts. Aberdeen would grant them no quarters, since the Colonel Master of Forbes's regiment was already quartered there. Whereupon ilk soldier began to deal and do for himself. Some came over to the old town, where they got nothing but hunger and cauld. Others spread through the country here and there about the town, specially to Papist's lands, plundering their food, both horse-meat and man's meat, where they could get it.”—Spalding's Memorials, i. 352.
3 “Sixty-five of this honest sisterhood were delated before the Church courts ; twelve of them, after being paraded through the streets by the hangman, were banished from the burgh. Several were imprisoned in a loathsome vault, while others more fortunate found safety in flight."-Book of Bon Accord, 68.
or followers. Of Eglinton, who kept a force ready in the Ayrshire Lowlands, we hear nothing ; but Argyle, having a force so conveniently in hand for which there was no immediate work, took the occasion to harry the territories of his feudal and political enemies.
The warrant on which he acted was that savage writ so aptly named “a commission of fire and sword.” It was issued by the Committee of Estates. It set forth how “the Earl of Athole and the Lord Ogilvie, with their accomplices "—the Farquharsons on the Braes of Mar, and the inhabitants of Badenoch, Lochaber, and Rannoch—had “not only proven enemies to religion, but also had proven unnatural to their country." Therefore it was meet that Argyle should "pursue them, and every one of them, in all hostile manner by fire and sword, aye and until he should either bring them to their bounden duty, and give assurance of the same by pledges or otherwise, or else to the utter subduing and rooting them out of the country." To this end he raised four thousand men. He swept the mountain district lying between his own territories and the east coast, and came down upon the half-Highland districts of the Braes of Angus, where he attacked the Ogilvies in their strongholds. It appears to have been in this expedition that the Castle of Airlie was burned-an incident giving rise to one of the most stirring of the Scots ballads of the heroic type. We have little knowledge of the actual events of this raid, except from the two northern annalists, who were no friends of Argyle and his cause.
In all such affairs there was limitless plunder, destruction, and bloodshed. The northern authorities, however, are surely to be doubted when they say that subordinates desired to spare, but the leader was obdurate. Whatever
i Act of Ratification and Exoneration in favours of the Earl of Argyle ; Act. Parl., v. 398.
Gordon's Scots Affairs, iii. 165; Spalding's Memorials, i. 291. 3 The following passage deserves attention, as attesting the bitterness of spirit in the age when one whom many adored as a saint and martyr could be so spoken of. Argyle had sent one of his followers called Sergeant Campbell to attack Craigie, the house of Lord John