Imagens das páginas

sidered as sufficiently secured against the en, croachment of a popish sovereign. It was res cessary to exclude papists from all offices of trust and places under government. For this purpose, the parliament introduced that capital act. concerning religion, called the test-act. By this it was proposed, that no person should be capable of holding any office in church and state ; of electing, or being eleeted members of parliament or privy councillor; without taking an oath, declaring their firm adherence to the protestant religion established by law.

The court party could not prevent the introduction of a law so popular. They endeavoured therefore to embarrass it in its progress by adding contradictory clauses : such as condemning resistance of any sort, or under any pretence; renouncing the covenant and an exemption in favour of the king's brothers and SODS.

The act in such a form pleased no party. The president of the session, who had framed the test, voted against it. Argyle remonstrated ; and lord Lelhaven moved for a provision against a popish or fanatic successor to the throne; but he was committed to prison, from whence he was liberated only on acknowledging his fault, and asking pardon on bis knee. The act passed by a majority of seven; yet the sensivie part of the nation refused it, and at last it was given up by all parties

indefensible. The earl of Argyle had rennered himselt particularly obnoxious to James by anti-papistical zeal. He was cast into prison lur refusing the test, tried and condemned, but


made his escape to Holland, where he was well received by the prince of Orange.

Lord Hatton was another whose overthrow was atchieved by the duke of York. Lauderdale, his brother, had not forfeited the king's favour, but was fast sinking into the grave. He died unlamented in the year 1682. Hatton had been the minister of his brother's unpopular power, and had been guilty of several acts of avarice and corruption. He was dismissed from his office and amerced in a sum of twenty thousand pounds.

The remnant of the old covenanters assembled again, and published a treasonable declaration against the test and all the measures of government. The magistrates of Lanerk were fined for not opposing the conventicle; some of the most enthusiastic were put to death; but this served only to increase the party. It is not to be denied, that many of these unhappy people were dangerous fanatics. Their preachers had persuaded them that they rendered themselves guilty of idolatry by saying “ God save the king,” because the king by declaring himself the head of the church had dethroned Jesus Christ. Many thousands of their followers to this day refuse to acknowledge the king because he has not taken the covenant.

The best expedient that could be suggested at once to free these unhappy people from a govern, ment inconsistent with their principles, and to rid the nation of endless trouble, was to settle a co. lony of them in Carolina. Cromwell had adopted a similar plan; many of their English brethrea had emigrated under James and Charles I. The duke of York, therefore, readily approved of this scheme, which was proposed by the leaders of the suffering dissidents. Accordingly, a treaty was set on foot between them and the English lords, proprietors of Carolina, which undoubtedly served for the purpose of meeting frequently with the mal-contenis in England, who now began to throw their eyes on the Scotch in case they should be obliged to take arms.

duke toleration firs:

All the measures of this administration hitherto mentioned are faithfully extracted from writers who favour most the subsequent revolution, and who on that account seek to brand the memory of the unfortunate James with disgrace and infamy. That revolution, however, stands on better grounds. In itself highly expedient, if not necessary to the peace and prosperity of the kingdom, in its effects productive of a constitution the admiration and envy of the world, it rests not on the personal merits or demerits either of James or William, but on the broad basis of the national will, the national rights and liberties.

It must be acknowledged, say these writers, that the affairs of Scotland were managed with unusual dexterity by the duke of York. He understood commerce and navigation, and proposed many plausible schemes for the improvement of trade and manufactures, which gained him popularity with the mercantile part of the nation. But James was an infatuated papist; he must needs kave priests and jesuits about his court and person; his princess was a bigot, his confidential ininisters, Perth and Melfort, were apostates from the protestant faith. His mildness was considered as dissimulation taught him by his priests; the toleration granted to the covenanters was the prelude of the same, and greater favours to be granted to the papists; the restoration had removed every barrier against arbitrary power, and the civil and religious liberties were soon to lie at the mercy of a popish despot.

In such circumstances it was impossible that the fears and mutual jealousies of James and his future subjects should not be wrought up to the highest pitch. A Russel and a Sidney conspired to vindicate the throne from the encroachments of a papist. They perished in the attempt; but in their fall many of the friends of liberty in Scote land were implicated. The detection of a trea. sonable correspondence with the English malcontents, with the prince of Orange, and the exiled Monmouth and Argyle, called forth the rage governinent on the unfortunate covenanters with more oppressive measures than ever had been practised before. Orders were issued for fining, banishing, or executing presbyterians. The officers of the army were vested with powers for barrassing and even putting to death any person who would not disavow all treasonable declarations, or who would not answer the following question: Do you own the king's authority?" In short, the southern counties were treated like a conquered country or a land of rebels. But how could it be otherwise, when a great proportion of the nation! had views, principles, and interests directly oppo-site to those of the court? A. D.

For some time James had been ab 1685.

sent from Scotland, while these vioJames VII.

Jent measures pursued in his name obliterated every remembrance of his first popularity. The death of his brother prevented his return, and called him to a throne from which he was soon to be precipitated by his own bigotry and the artful ambition of his daughter's husband.

Though the people of England, as well as the parliament of Scotland, made a surrender to the crown of all their constitutional rights, yet the history of this reign proves how little dependence s to be had on those professions when put to the est. King James's first proclamation clearly xpressed his claims to a divine indefeasible right. it was signed by twenty-six privy councillors, imong whom appear the most forward instrunents of the revolution. He told his parliament, hat the aggrandizing his power and authority vas necessary for their safety. His parliament, in very act they passed, confirmed the king's despotic lower, and declared their abhorrence of all reistance by deed, word, or writing, upon any preext whatever. By counsels so servile or so reacherous as these, was this infatuated prince irged on to his ruin, firmly persuaded of the ustice and onnipotence of his prerogative.

He was no stranger to the intrigues and ambiion of his son-in-law. Monmouth, Argyle, Dalymple, afterwards earl of Stair, Burnet, soon to o be bishop of Sarum, and all the English and scotch exiles had found refuge with him. The ing demanded of the prince of Orange that Monmouth should be dismissed out of Holland. William, not prepared to throw of the mask, omplied, but secretly sent Monmouth money to "pport himself in Brussels, and to forward an pedition against his uncle. Argyle, burning VOL. XXI.



« AnteriorContinuar »