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cism. He determined to enlarge the exercise of the prerogative, and to mould the Church of Scotland on the model of the Church of England, if not even to bring it a step nearer to perfection. But was he also one of those who counted it to be sacrilege to permit that an acre of the lands or a coin of the money once dedicated to the Church should ever pass into the hands of a layman? We are not driven to this conclusion by his dealing with England. There, although the benefices of the secular clergy had not been swept off as in Scotland, princely estates had been raised out of the domains of the religious houses; and we have no warrant for adding a design for the restoration of these to the calamitous projects of his reign.
It is certain, however, that in Scotland there remained much uneasy suspicion that the last step in the disposal of the old ecclesiastical revenues had not yet been seen. The recent rapid and comprehensive changes in the condition and ownership of property - changes far from satisfactory to all concerned—had probably a tendency to nourish restlessness and suspicion. To this King Charles refers in the vindication of his conduct which he issued at the commencement of the troubles. He announces his complaint by a very curious and characteristic definition of the laborious compromise which received the sanction of the Estates. The revocation, he says, at first caused alarm and discontent, “ which we made account we had quickly rectified, by showing to all our subjects interested in that revocation our gracious clemency in waiving all the advantages which our laws gave us ir many of their estates; so that after we had made it apparent to our subjects how obnoxious many of them and their estates were unto us and our laws, we likewise did make as apparent unto them our singular grace and
1 A traveller passing through Edinburgh in 1635 says : 66 The clergy of late extend their authority and revenues.” “And as I was informed by some intelligent gentlemen, it is here thought and conceived that they will recover so much of that land and revenues belonging formerly to the abbies, as that they will in a short time pos. sess themselves of the third part of the kingdom.”—Brereton's Travels, 1oo.
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goodness, by remitting not only the rigour but even the equity of our laws; insomuch that none of all our subjects could then, or can now, say that they were damnified in their persons or estates by that our revocation, or anything which ensued upon it: yet for all this, the principal present malcontents did then begin to persuade with such as they thought they might be boldest with a disaffection to our government; and not seeing how they could obtrude upon them the old and usual pretence of discontent - viz., religion-by a strained and far-fetched inference, they did not stick to lay the envy of the procuring that harmless revocation, by which no man suffered, upon the present prelates, who in this were as innocent as the thing itself was.” 1
The Parliament of 1633, which completed the transactions about the Church property, afforded other matter of offence, both in the acts done and the method of doing them, and added the discontent of the minor barons and the burgesses to that of the greater men concerned in the ecclesiastical estates. An impost of the nature of an income-tax, which had been granted some years before as a special temporary aid to the king's brother-inlaw, the Prince Palatine, was continued. It roused many grumblers, who called it an inquisitorial novelty; and, true to a feature of the national character, they complained that it exposed their poverty to the world.
It was observed, too, with some alarm, that the tactic of Parliamentary procedure had weak points which gave facility for the encroachments of the prerogative. We have seen that the Estates, though they consisted of distinct orders, were not divided into two houses like the English Parliament. Thus there was no separate representative body which, like the House of Commons, could withdraw itself from the collective assemblage of Parliament, and transact business in its own peculiar apartment, whence the king was excluded. We have seen that the Estates, as business accumulated on their hands, remitted the working out of details to committees. There thus by
1 Large Declaration concerning the Late Tumults, 6, 7.
degrees arose a predominant committee called the Lords of the Articles, by whom the details of all general legislative measures were adjusted. When they had finished their work, they sent up the several measures to the whole House for a vote of adoption or rejection. It is visible at once that such an arrangement might be so worked as to despoil a majority of great part of its power. There was no opportunity for that useful apparatus of Parliamentary tactic, the “ amendment.” A member of the Estates was perhaps prepared to vote against certain clauses of a measure, had they been separately put to the vote; but he was not prepared to vote against the whole measure because of his opposition to these clauses. Of course this gave opportunity to dexterous politicians so to adjust the measures that they should carry through as much un. popular matter as they could safely be laden with. Hence the English Commons wisely adjusted their practice of transacting in committee of the whole House the kind of business that in Scotland fell into the hands of a select committee.
On the present occasion it appeared to suspicious onlookers that the precedence of the prelates, which had been treated somewhat as a vain show, was put to practical service by the Crown. The committee was to consist of eight from each Estate. Eight prelates were chosen by the nobles or greater barons, and of these, eight were in turn chosen by the prelates. This looked like an equal reciprocity, but it was not. Of the prelates there were but twelve present, so that the choice was limited, while the eight nobles were picked out of an attendance of more than sixty. And indeed had there been a wider choice among the prelates it would not have been material, for on the chief questions at issue they were all on one side. The sixteen thus appointed from the two higher Estates met, and selected eight from the lesser barons or representatives of the landowners, and eight from the burgesses or representatives of the municipalities.
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this ingenious arrangement put the selection of the committee of Lords of the Articles entirely into the hands of the prelates, since they could surely count on eight out of more than sixty of the nobles co-operating with them.
The “Supplication” prepared after the conclusion of the Parliament treated this arrangement as an innovation, since it had been the practice for each Estate to choose its own share of the committee, and for the persons so chosen to discuss the business freely with their constituents. They could not, however, state a practice supported by precedent with such precision that their account of it could not be contradicted from the other side ; and here was an instance of the impulsive irregularity of procedure which opened the business of the Scots Estates to the interference of the prerogative. 1
The king gave diligent attendance on the meetings of Lords of the Articles as they brought the several Acts to maturity. They were then brought up to be adopted or rejected by the Estates at large. For the first time in the history of the Scots Estates, we have distinct vestiges of a constitutional Parliamentary Opposition. A remonstrance was prepared and signed by several members, representing that the Committee of Articles were understood to be maturing measures, some of which were believed to be pernicious and oppressive, and desiring that there might be opportunity for a full discussion of
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i State Trials, iii. 606, 607. The method of electing the Lords of the Articles shifted from time to time in a manner too characteristic of Scots Parliamentary practice, when compared with the uni. formity and adherence to precedent of the English. The arrangements in successive Parliaments are so indistinct that they provide matter rather for archäological inquiry than historical statement. On the present occasion, however, the method of election is distinctly entered on the record. That there was a different method in the Parliament attended by King James in 1617, may be inferred from what Archbishop Spottiswood says : “The king having closed, and the Lords gone apart to choose those that should be upon the Articles, the humours of some discontented lords began to kithe ; for whosoever were by the king recommended as fit persons were passed by as men suspected, and others named who stood worse affected to his majesty's service.”—P. 531.
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their details in open Parliament. But the Estates were assembled for their conclusive meeting before this document was fully signed and ready for presentation.
There was some discussion at the meeting, and the tactic of including provisions offensive to the Opposition in the same Act with others for which they were prepared to vote was censured. There was an Act especially which embraced two things—a general acknowledgment of the royal prerogative, which all readily accepted; and a provision for the apparel of Churchmen, about the application of which there were grave suspicions; the Act authorised the king to dictate the apparel, and we shall see how he used his power. The measure professed to be but a renewal of certain laws adopted in the reign of King James; but it was noticed that it embraced in one Act matters which had been then so separated that in the Supplication it is pleaded : “Your supplicants have great reason to suspect a snare in the subtle junction of the Act 1609 concerning apparel with that of 1606 anent your royal prerogative, which by a sophistical article should oblige us either to vote undutifully in the sacred point of prerogative, or unconscionably on Church novations.” 2
It was said at the time that in some votes the Opposition had the real majority, and that the Clerk-register, by order of the king, had made false entries of the divisions. There is nothing of this in the Supplication ; but then it begins with this curious reference to another rumour, that the king took notes of the speeches and votes : “That the notes which your majesty put upon the names of a number of your supplicants in voting about these Acts, which did imply a secret power to innovate the order and government long continued in the Reformed Church of Scotland; and your majesty's refusing to receive from some of your supplicants their reasons for dissenting from the said Acts before your majesty and in your hearing in Parliament, [did tend]
Row's History, 304Row, 367.
1 See the Remonstrances in Row's History, 364.