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office; some of them were required to surrender themselves prisoners ; the fencible men throughout the kingdom were commanded to take arms; and troops were levied and posted on the borders. The English ambassador, finding that neither the public manifesto which he had delivered to the convention, nor his private cabals with the nobles, could excite them to arms, fled in the night time out of Scotland, where libels against him had been daily published, and even attempts made upon his life. In both kingdoms every thing wore an hostile aspect. But Elizabeth, though she wished to have intimidated the Scottish king by her preparations, had no inclination to enter into a war with him ; and the troops on the borders, which had given such um. brage, were soon dispersed.
The greater solicitude Elizabeth discovered for Morton's safety, the more eagerly did his enemies drive on their schemes for his destruction. Captain Stewart, his accuser, was first appointed tutor to the earl of Arran, and soon after both the title and estate of his unhappy ward, to which he advanced some frivolous claim, were conferred upon him. The new-made peer was commanded to conduct Morton from Dunbarton to Edinburgh, and, by that choice, the earl was not only warned what fate he might expect, but had the cruel mortification of seeing his mortal enemy already loaded with honours, in reward of the malice with which he had contributed to his ruin.
The records of the court of justiciary at this period are lost. The account which our historians give of Morton's trial is inaccurate and unsatisfac. tory. The whole proceedings seem to have been violent, irregular, and oppressive. Arran, in order to extort evidence, tortured several of the earl's domestics with unusual cruelty. During the trial, great bodies of armed men were drawn up in dif
ferent parts of the city. The jury was composed of the earl's known enemies; and though he challenged several of them, his objections were overruled. After a short consultation, his peers found him guilty of concealing, and of being art and part in the conspiracy against the life of the late king. The first part of the verdict did not surprise him, but he twice repeated the words
art and part with some vehemence, and added, “God knows it is not so." The doom which the law decrees against a traitor was pronounced. The king, however, remitted the cruel and ignominious part of the sentence, and appointed that he should suffer death next day, by being beheaded.
During that awful interval, Morton possessed the utmost composure of mind. He supped cheerfully; slept a part of the night in his usual manner, and employed the rest of his time in religious conferences, and in acts of devotion with some ministers of the city. The clergymen who attended him, dealt freely with his conscience, and pressed his crimes home upon him. What he confessed with regard to the crime for which he suffered, is remarkable, and supplies, in some measure, the imperfection of our records. He acknowledged, that on his return from England, after the death of Rizio, Bothwell had informed him of the conspiracy against the king, which the queen, as he told him, knew of and approved ; that he solicited him to concur in the execution of it, which at that time he absolutely declined; that soon after, Bothwell himself, and Archibald Douglas, in his name, renewing their solicitations to the same purpose, he had required a warrant under the queen's hand, authorizing the attempt, and as that had never been produced, he had refused to be any farther concerned in the matter. 6 But," continued he, “ as I neither consented to this treasonable act, nor assisted in the committing of it, so it was impossible for me to reves or to prevent it. To whom could I make the covery? The queen was the author of the en prise. Darnly was such a changeling that no see could be safely communicated to him. Huntly Bothwell, who bore the chief sway in the kingdon were themselves the perpetrators of the crime. These circumstances, it must be confessed, go some length towards extenuating Morton's guilt; and though his apology for the favour he had shewn to Archibald Douglas, whom he knew to be one of the conspirators, be far less satisfactory, no uneasy reflections seem to have disquieted his own mind on that account. When his keepers told him that the guards were attending, and all things in readiness, “I praise my God," said he, “I am ready likewise." Arran commanded these guards; and even in those moments, when the most implacable hatred is apt to relent, the malice of his enemies could not forbear this insult. On the scaffold his behaviour was calm ; his countenance and voice unaltered ; and after some time spent in devotion, he suffered death with the intrepidity which became the name of Douglas. His head was placed on the public gaol of Edinburgh ; and his body, after lying till sunset on the scaffold, covered with a beggarly cloak, was carried by common porters to the usual burial-place of criminals. None of his friends durst accompany it to the grave, or discover their gratitude and respect by any symptoms of sorrow,
This eminent man was the hero of the reformation in Scotland. At an early period of life he imbibed the principles of the protestants from the famous George Wishart. Instead of being intimi
dated by his martyrdom, he became more bold and intrepid. Upon the death of cardinal Beatoun, he preached openly in St. Andrew's against the absurdities of popery; and having attached himself to the murderers of the cardinal, upon their surrender, he was with them conveyed into France.
While there, he wrote a confession of his faith, and sent it home to his friends in Scotland. Not long after this he returned home, and preached privately at Edinburgh, at the time of Mary's return into Scotland. According as the cause of reformation acquired strength, he increased in fervid opposition to popery, became the soul of the party, and communicated his feelings and sentiments to the rest.
Speaking of the conduct of that parliament, who sanctioned the confession of faith, and settled some other articles favourable to the reformation ; Robertson says, The vigorous zeal of the parliament overturned in a few days the ancient system of religion which had been established so many ages. In reforming the doctrine and discipline of the church, the nobles kept pace with the ardour and expectations even of Knox himself. But their proceedings, with respeot to these, were not more rapid and impetuous, than they were slow and dilatory, when they entered on the consideration of ecclesiastical revenues. Among the lay members, some were already enriched with the spoils of the church, and others devoured in expectation the wealthy benefices which still remained untouched. The alteration in religion had afforded many of the dignified ecclesiastics themselves an opportunity of gratifying their avarice or ambition. The demolition of the monasteries having set the monks at liberty from their confinement, they instantly dispersed all over the kingdom, and commonly betook themselves to some secular employment.
The abbot, if he had been so fortunate as to embrace the principles of the reformation from conviction, or so cunning as to espouse them out of policy, seized the whole revenues of the fraternity, and, except what he allowed for the subsistence of a few superannuated monks, applied them entirely to his own use. The proposal made by the reformed teachers, for applying these revenues towards the maintenance of ministers, the education of youth, and the support of the poor, was equally dreaded by all these orders of men. They opposed it with the utmost warmth, and by their numbers and authority easily prevailed on the parliament to give no ear to such a disagreeable demand. Zealous as the first reformers were, and animated with a spirit superior to the low considerations of interest, they beheld these early symptoms of selfishness and avarice among their adherents with indignation ; and we find Knox expressing the utmost sensibility of that contempt with which they were treated by many from whom he expected a more generous concern for the success of religion, and the honour of its ministers.
About this time the protestant church in Scotland began to assume a regular form. Its principles had obtained the sanction of public authority, and some fixed external policy became necessary for the government and preservation of the infant society. The model introduced by the reformers differed extremely from that which had been so long established. The motives which induced them to depart so far from the ancient system deserve to be explained.
As the vices of the clergy had, at first, excited the indignation of mankind, and roused that spirit of inquiry, which proved so fatal to the whole popish system ; and, as this disgust at the vices of ecclesiastics was soon transferred to their persons,