The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 3 (of 5)
by Thomas Babington Macaulay
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Tyrconnel was altogether incompetent to decide the question on which the French and the Irish differed. The only military qualities that he had ever possessed were personal bravery and skill in the use of the sword. These qualities had once enabled him to frighten away rivals from the doors of his mistresses, and to play the Hector at cockpits and hazard tables. But more was necessary to enable him to form an opinion as to the possibility of defending Limerick. He would probably, had his temper been as hot as in the days when he diced with Grammont and threatened to cut the old Duke of Ormond's throat, have voted for running any risk however desperate. But age, pain and sickness had left little of the canting, bullying, fighting Dick Talbot of the Restoration. He had sunk into deep despondency. He was incapable of strenuous exertion. The French officers pronounced him utterly ignorant of the art of war. They had observed that at the Boyne he had seemed to be stupified, unable to give directions himself, unable even to make up his mind about the suggestions which were offered by others, [746] The disasters which had since followed one another in rapid succession were not likely to restore the tone of a mind so pitiably unnerved. His wife was already in France with the little which remained of his once ample fortune: his own wish was to follow her thither: his voice was therefore given for abandoning the city.

At last a compromise was made. Lauzun and Tyrconnel, with the French troops, retired to Galway. The great body of the native army, about twenty thousand strong, remained at Limerick. The chief command there was entrusted to Boisseleau, who understood the character of the Irish better, and consequently, judged them more favourably, than any of his countrymen. In general, the French captains spoke of their unfortunate allies with boundless contempt and abhorrence, and thus made themselves as hateful as the English, [747]

Lauzun and Tyrconnel had scarcely departed when the advanced guard of William's army came in sight. Soon the King himself, accompanied by Auverquerque and Ginkell, and escorted by three hundred horse, rode forward to examine the fortifications. The city, then the second in Ireland, though less altered since that time than most large cities in the British isles, has undergone a great change. The new town did not then exist. The ground now covered by those smooth and broad pavements, those neat gardens, those stately shops flaming with red brick, and gay with shawls and china, was then an open meadow lying without the walls. The city consisted of two parts, which had been designated during several centuries as the English and the Irish town. The English town stands on an island surrounded by the Shannon, and consists of a knot of antique houses with gable ends, crowding thick round a venerable cathedral. The aspect of the streets is such that a traveller who wanders through them may easily fancy himself in Normandy or Flanders. Not far from the cathedral, an ancient castle overgrown with weeds and ivy looks down on the river. A narrow and rapid stream, over which, in 1690, there was only a single bridge, divides the English town from the quarter anciently occupied by the hovels of the native population. The view from the top of the cathedral now extends many miles over a level expanse of rich mould, through which the greatest of Irish rivers winds between artificial banks. But in the seventeenth century those banks had not been constructed; and that wide plain, of which the grass, verdant even beyond the verdure of Munster, now feeds some of the finest cattle in Europe, was then almost always a marsh and often a lake, [748]

When it was known that the French troops had quitted Limerick, and that the Irish only remained, the general expectation in the English camp was that the city would be an easy conquest, [749] Nor was that expectation unreasonable; for even Sarsfield desponded. One chance, in his opinion, there still was. William had brought with him none but small guns. Several large pieces of ordnance, a great quantity of provisions and ammunition, and a bridge of tin boats, which in the watery plain of the Shannon was frequently needed, were slowly following from Cashel. If the guns and gunpowder could be intercepted and destroyed, there might be some hope. If not, all was lost; and the best thing that a brave and high spirited Irish gentleman could do was to forget the country which he had in vain tried to defend, and to seek in some foreign land a home or a grave.

A few hours, therefore, after the English tents had been pitched before Limerick, Sarsfield set forth, under cover of the night, with a strong body of horse and dragoons. He took the road to Killaloe, and crossed the Shannon there. During the day he lurked with his band in a wild mountain tract named from the silver mines which it contains. Those mines had many years before been worked by English proprietors, with the help of engineers and labourers imported from the Continent. But, in the rebellion of 1641, the aboriginal population had destroyed the works and massacred the workmen; nor had the devastation then committed been since repaired. In this desolate region Sarsfield found no lack of scouts or of guides; for all the peasantry of Munster were zealous on his side. He learned in the evening that the detachment which guarded the English artillery had halted for the night about seven miles from William's camp, on a pleasant carpet of green turf under the ruined walls of an old castle that officers and men seemed to think themselves perfectly secure; that the beasts had been turned loose to graze, and that even the sentinels were dozing. When it was dark the Irish horsemen quitted their hiding place, and were conducted by the people of the country to the place where the escort lay sleeping round the guns. The surprise was complete. Some of the English sprang to their arms and made an attempt to resist, but in vain. About sixty fell. One only was taken alive. The rest fled. The victorious Irish made a huge pile of waggons and pieces of cannon. Every gun was stuffed with powder, and fixed with its mouth in the ground; and the whole mass was blown up. The solitary prisoner, a lieutenant, was treated with great civility by Sarsfield. "If I had failed in this attempt," said the gallant Irishman, "I should have been off to France." [750]

Intelligence had been carried to William's head quarters that Sarsfield had stolen out of Limerick and was ranging the country. The King guessed the design of his brave enemy, and sent five hundred horse to protect the guns. Unhappily there was some delay, which the English, always disposed to believe the worst of the Dutch courtiers, attributed to the negligence or perverseness of Portland. At one in the morning the detachment set out, but had scarcely left the camp when a blaze like lightning and a crash like thunder announced to the wide plain of the Shannon that all was over, [751]

Sarsfield had long been the favourite of his countrymen; and this most seasonable exploit, judiciously planned and vigorously executed, raised him still higher in their estimation. Their spirits rose; and the besiegers began to lose heart. William did his best to repair his loss. Two of the guns which had been blown up were found to be still serviceable. Two more were sent for from Waterford. Batteries were constructed of small field pieces, which, though they might have been useless against one of the fortresses of Hainault or Brabant, made some impression on the feeble defences of Limerick. Several outworks were carried by storm; and a breach in the rampart of the city began to appear.

During these operations, the English army was astonished and amused by an incident, which produced indeed no very important consequences, but which illustrates in the most striking manner the real nature of Irish Jacobitism. In the first rank of those great Celtic houses, which, down to the close of the reign of Elizabeth, bore rule in Ulster, were the O'Donnels. The head of that house had yielded to the skill and energy of Mountjoy, had kissed the hand of James the First, and had consented to exchange the rude independence of a petty prince for an eminently honourable place among British subjects. During a short time the vanquished chief held the rank of an Earl, and was the landlord of an immense domain of which he had once been the sovereign. But soon he began to suspect the government of plotting against him, and, in revenge or in selfdefence, plotted against the government. His schemes failed; he fled to the continent; his title and his estates were forfeited; and an Anglosaxon colony was planted in the territory which he had governed. He meanwhile took refuge at the court of Spain. Between that court and the aboriginal Irish there had, during the long contest between Philip and Elizabeth, been a close connection. The exiled chieftain was welcomed at Madrid as a good Catholic flying from heretical persecutors. His illustrious descent and princely dignity, which to the English were subjects of ridicule, secured to him the respect of the Castilian grandees. His honours were inherited by a succession of banished men who lived and died far from the land where the memory of their family was fondly cherished by a rude peasantry, and was kept fresh by the songs of minstrels and the tales of begging friars. At length, in the eighty-third year of the exile of this ancient dynasty, it was known over all Europe that the Irish were again in arms for their independence. Baldearg O'Donnel, who called himself the O'Donnel, a title far prouder, in the estimation of his race, than any marquisate or dukedom, had been bred in Spain, and was in the service of the Spanish government. He requested the permission of that government to repair to Ireland. But the House of Austria was now closely leagued with England; and the permission was refused. The O'Donnel made his escape, and by a circuitous route, in the course of which he visited Turkey, arrived at Kinsale a few days after James had sailed thence for France. The effect produced on the native population by the arrival of this solitary wanderer was marvellous. Since Ulster had been reconquered by the Englishry, great multitudes of the Irish inhabitants of that province had migrated southward, and were now leading a vagrant life in Connaught and Munster. These men, accustomed from their infancy to hear of the good old times, when the O'Donnel, solemnly inaugurated on the rock of Kilmacrenan by the successor of Saint Columb, governed the mountains of Donegal in defiance of the strangers of the pale, flocked to the standard of the restored exile. He was soon at the head of seven or eight thousand Rapparees, or, to use the name peculiar to Ulster, Creaghts; and his followers adhered to him with a loyalty very different from the languid sentiment which the Saxon James had been able to inspire. Priests and even Bishops swelled the train of the adventurer. He was so much elated by his reception that he sent agents to France, who assured the ministers of Lewis that the O'Donnel would, if furnished with arms and ammunition, bring into the field thirty thousand Celts from Ulster, and that the Celts of Ulster would be found far superior in every military quality to those of Leinster, Munster and Connaught. No expression used by Baldearg indicated that he considered himself as a subject. His notion evidently was that the House of O'Donnel was as truly and as indefeasibly royal as the House of Stuart; and not a few of his countrymen were of the same mind. He made a pompous entrance into Limerick; and his appearance there raised the hopes of the garrison to a strange pitch. Numerous prophecies were recollected or invented. An O'Donnel with a red mark was to be the deliverer of his country; and Baldearg meant a red mark. An O'Donnel was to gain a great battle over the English near Limerick; and at Limerick the O'Donnel and the English were now brought face to face, [752]

While these predictions were eagerly repeated by the defenders of the city, evil presages, grounded not on barbarous oracles, but on grave military reasons, began to disturb William and his most experienced officers. The blow struck by Sarsfield had told; the artillery had been long in doing its work; that work was even now very imperfectly done; the stock of powder had begun to run low; the autumnal rain had begun to fall. The soldiers in the trenches were up to their knees in mire. No precaution was neglected; but, though drains were dug to carry off the water, and though pewter basins of usquebaugh and brandy blazed all night in the tents, cases of fever had already occurred, and it might well be apprehended that, if the army remained but a few days longer on that swampy soil, there would be a pestilence more terrible than that which had raged twelve months before under the walls of Dundalk, [753] A council of war was held. It was determined to make one great effort, and, if that effort failed, to raise the seige.

On the twenty-seventh of August, at three in the afternoon, the signal was given. Five hundred grenadiers rushed from the English trenches to the counterscarp, fired their pieces, and threw their grenades. The Irish fled into the town, and were followed by the assailants, who, in the excitement of victory, did not wait for orders. Then began a terrible street fight. The Irish, as soon as they had recovered from their surprise, stood resolutely to their arms; and the English grenadiers, overwhelmed by numbers, were, with great loss, driven back to the counterscarp. There the struggle was long and desperate. When indeed was the Roman Catholic Celt to fight if he did not fight on that day? The very women of Limerick mingled, in the combat, stood firmly under the hottest fire, and flung stones and broken bottles at the enemy. In the moment when the conflict was fiercest a mine exploded, and hurled a fine German battalion into the air. During four hours the carnage and uproar continued. The thick cloud which rose from the breach streamed out on the wind for many miles, and disappeared behind the hills of Clare. Late in the evening the besiegers retired slowly and sullenly to their camp. Their hope was that a second attack would be made on the morrow; and the soldiers vowed to have the town or die. But the powder was now almost exhausted; the rain fell in torrents; the gloomy masses of cloud which came up from the south west threatened a havoc more terrible than that of the sword; and there was reason to fear that the roads, which were already deep in mud, would soon be in such a state that no wheeled carriage could be dragged through them. The King determined to raise the siege, and to move his troops to a healthier region. He had in truth staid long enough; for it was with great difficulty that his guns and waggons were tugged away by long teams of oxen, [754]

The history of the first siege of Limerick bears, in some respects, a remarkable analogy to the history of the siege of Londonderry. The southern city was, like the northern city, the last asylum of a Church and of a nation. Both places were crowded by fugitives from all parts of Ireland. Both places appeared to men who had made a regular study of the art of war incapable of resisting an enemy. Both were, in the moment of extreme danger, abandoned by those commanders who should have defended them. Lauzun and Tyrconnel deserted Limerick as Cunningham and Lundy had deserted Londonderry. In both cases, religious and patriotic enthusiasm struggled unassisted against great odds; and, in both cases, religious and patriotic enthusiasm did what veteran warriors had pronounced it absurd to attempt.

It was with no pleasurable emotions that Lauzun and Tyrconnel learned at Galway the fortunate issue of the conflict in which they had refused to take a part. They were weary of Ireland; they were apprehensive that their conduct might be unfavourably represented in France; they therefore determined to be beforehand with their accusers, and took ship together for the Continent.

Tyrconnel, before he departed, delegated his civil authority to one council, and his military authority to another. The young Duke of Berwick was declared Commander in Chief; but this dignity was merely nominal. Sarsfield, undoubtedly the first of Irish soldiers, was placed last in the list of the councillors to whom the conduct of the war was entrusted; and some believed that he would not have been in the list at all, had not the Viceroy feared that the omission of so popular a name might produce a mutiny.

William meanwhile had reached Waterford, and had sailed thence for England. Before he embarked, he entrusted the government of Ireland to three Lords Justices. Henry Sydney, now Viscount Sydney, stood first in the commission; and with him were joined Coningsby and Sir Charles Porter. Porter had formerly held the Great Seal of the kingdom, had, merely because he was a Protestant, been deprived of it by James, and had now received it again from the hand of William.

On the sixth of September the King, after a voyage of twenty-four hours, landed at Bristol. Thence he travelled to London, stopping by the road at the mansions of some great lords, and it was remarked that all those who were thus honoured were Tories. He was entertained one day at Badminton by the Duke of Beaufort, who was supposed to have brought himself with great difficulty to take the oaths, and on a subsequent day at a large house near Marlborough which, in our own time, before the great revolution produced by railways, was renowned as one of the best inns in England, but which, in the seventeenth century, was a seat of the Duke of Somerset. William was every where received with marks of respect and joy. His campaign indeed had not ended quite so prosperously as it had begun; but on the whole his success had been great beyond expectation, and had fully vindicated the wisdom of his resolution to command his army in person. The sack of Teignmouth too was fresh in the minds of Englishmen, and had for a time reconciled all but the most fanatical Jacobites to each other and to the throne. The magistracy and clergy of the capital repaired to Kensington with thanks and congratulations. The people rang bells and kindled bonfires. For the Pope, whom good Protestants had been accustomed to immolate, the French King was on this occasion substituted, probably by way of retaliation for the insults which had been offered to the effigy of William by the Parisian populace. A waxen figure, which was doubtless a hideous caricature of the most graceful and majestic of princes, was dragged about Westminster in a chariot. Above was inscribed, in large letters, "Lewis the greatest tyrant of fourteen." After the procession, the image was committed to the flames, amidst loud huzzas, in the middle of Covent Garden, [755]

When William arrived in London, the expedition destined for Cork, was ready to sail from Portsmouth, and Marlborough had been some time on board waiting for a fair wind. He was accompanied by Grafton. This young man had been, immediately after the departure of James, and while the throne was still vacant, named by William Colonel of the First Regiment of Foot Guards. The Revolution had scarcely been consummated, when signs of disaffection began to appear in that regiment, the most important, both because of its peculiar duties and because of its numerical strength, of all the regiments in the army. It was thought that the Colonel had not put this bad spirit down with a sufficiently firm hand. He was known not to be perfectly satisfied with the new arrangement; he had voted for a Regency; and it was rumoured, perhaps without reason, that he had dealings with Saint Germains. The honourable and lucrative command to which he had just been appointed was taken from him, [756] Though severely mortified, he behaved like a man of sense and spirit. Bent on proving that he had been wrongfully suspected, and animated by an honourable ambition to distinguish himself in his profession, he obtained permission to serve as a volunteer under Marlborough in Ireland.

At length, on the eighteenth of September, the wind changed. The fleet stood out to sea, and on the twenty-first appeared before the harbour of Cork. The troops landed, and were speedily joined by the Duke of Wirtemberg, with several regiments, Dutch, Danish, and French, detached from the army which had lately besieged Limerick. The Duke immediately put forward a claim which, if the English general had not been a man of excellent judgment and temper, might have been fatal to the expedition. His Highness contended that, as a prince of a sovereign house, he was entitled to command in chief. Marlborough calmly and politely showed that the pretence was unreasonable. A dispute followed, in which it is said that the German behaved with rudeness, and the Englishman with that gentle firmness to which, more perhaps than even to his great abilities, he owed his success in life. At length a Huguenot officer suggested a compromise. Marlborough consented to waive part of his rights, and to allow precedence to the Duke on the alternate days. The first morning on which Marlborough had the command, he gave the word "Wirtemberg." The Duke's heart was won by this compliment and on the next day he gave the word "Marlborough."

But, whoever might give the word, genius asserted its indefeasible superiority. Marlborough was on every day the real general. Cork was vigorously attacked. Outwork after outwork was rapidly carried. In forty-eight hours all was over. The traces of the short struggle may still be seen. The old fort, where the Irish made the hardest fight, lies in ruins. The Daria Cathedral, so ungracefully joined to the ancient tower, stands on the site of a Gothic edifice which was shattered by the English cannon. In the neighbouring churchyard is still shown the spot where stood, during many ages, one of those round towers which have perplexed antiquaries. This venerable monument shared the fate of the neighbouring church. On another spot, which is now called the Mall, and is lined by the stately houses of banking companies, railway companies, and insurance companies, but which was then a bog known by the name of the Rape Marsh, four English regiments, up to the shoulders in water, advanced gallantly to the assault. Grafton, ever foremost in danger, while struggling through the quagmire, was struck by a shot from the ramparts, and was carried back dying. The place where he fell, then about a hundred yards without the city, but now situated in the very centre of business and population, is still called Grafton Street. The assailants had made their way through the swamp, and the close fighting was just about to begin, when a parley was beaten. Articles of capitulation were speedily adjusted. The garrison, between four and five thousand fighting men, became prisoners. Marlborough promised to intercede with the King both for them and for the inhabitants, and to prevent outrage and spoliation. His troops he succeeded in restraining; but crowds of sailors and camp followers came into the city through the breach; and the houses of many Roman Catholics were sacked before order was restored.

No commander has ever understood better than Marlborough how to improve a victory. A few hours after Cork had fallen, his cavalry were on the road to Kinsale. A trumpeter was sent to summon the place. The Irish threatened to hang him for bringing such a message, set fire to the town, and retired into two forts called the Old and the New. The English horse arrived just in time to extinguish the flames. Marlborough speedily followed with his infantry. The Old Fort was scaled; and four hundred and fifty men who defended it were all killed or taken. The New Fort it was necessary to attack in a more methodical way. Batteries were planted; trenches were opened; mines were sprung; in a few days the besiegers were masters of the counterscarp; and all was ready for storming, when the governor offered to capitulate. The garrison, twelve hundred strong, was suffered to retire to Limerick; but the conquerors took possession of the stores, which were of considerable value. Of all the Irish ports Kinsale was the best situated for intercourse with France. Here, therefore, was a plenty unknown in any other part of Munster. At Limerick bread and wine were luxuries which generals and privy councillors were not always able to procure. But in the New Fort of Kinsale Marlborough found a thousand barrels of wheat and eighty pipes of claret.

His success had been complete and rapid; and indeed, had it not been rapid, it would not have been complete. His campaign, short as it was, had been long enough to allow time for the deadly work which, in that age, the moist earth and air of Ireland seldom failed, in the autumnal season, to perform on English soldiers. The malady which had thinned the ranks of Schomberg's army at Dundalk, and which had compelled William to make a hasty retreat from the estuary of the Shannon, had begun to appear at Kinsale. Quick and vigorous as Marlborough's operations were, he lost a much greater number of men by disease than by the fire of the enemy. He presented himself at Kensington only five weeks after he had sailed from Portsmouth, and was most graciously received. "No officer living," said William, "who has seen so little service as my Lord Marlborough, is so fit for great commands." [757]

In Scotland, as in Ireland, the aspect of things had, during this memorable summer, changed greatly for the better. That club of discontented Whigs which had, in the preceding year, ruled the Parliament, browbeaten the ministers, refused the supplies and stopped the signet, had sunk under general contempt, and had at length ceased to exist. There was harmony between the Sovereign and the Estates; and the long contest between two forms of ecclesiastical government had been terminated in the only way compatible with the peace and prosperity of the country.

This happy turn in affairs is to be chiefly ascribed to the errors of the perfidious, turbulent and revengeful Montgomery. Some weeks after the close of that session during which he had exercised a boundless authority over the Scottish Parliament, he went to London with his two principal confederates, the Earl of Annandale and the Lord Ross. The three had an audience of William, and presented to him a manifesto setting forth what they demanded for the public. They would very soon have changed their tone if he would have granted what they demanded for themselves. But he resented their conduct deeply, and was determined not to pay them for annoying him. The reception which he gave them convinced them that they had no favour to expect. Montgomery's passions were fierce; his wants were pressing; he was miserably poor; and, if he could not speedily force himself into a lucrative office, he would be in danger of rotting in a gaol. Since his services were not likely to be bought by William, they must be offered to James. A broker was easily found. Montgomery was an old acquaintance of Ferguson. The two traitors soon understood each other. They were kindred spirits, differing widely in intellectual power, but equally vain, restless, false and malevolent. Montgomery was introduced to Neville Payne, one of the most adroit and resolute agents of the exiled family, Payne had been long well known about town as a dabbler in poetry and politics. He had been an intimate friend of the indiscreet and unfortunate Coleman, and had been committed to Newgate as an accomplice in the Popish plot. His moral character had not stood high; but he soon had an opportunity of proving that he possessed courage and fidelity worthy of a better cause than that of James and of a better associate than Montgomery.

The negotiation speedily ended in a treaty of alliance, Payne confidently promised Montgomery, not merely pardon, but riches, power and dignity. Montgomery as confidently undertook to induce the Parliament of Scotland to recall the rightful King. Ross and Annandale readily agreed to whatever their able and active colleague proposed. An adventurer, who was sometimes called Simpson and sometimes Jones, who was perfectly willing to serve or to betray any government for hire, and who received wages at once from Portland and from Neville Payne, undertook to carry the offers of the Club to James. Montgomery and his two noble accomplices returned to Edinburgh, and there proceeded to form a coalition with their old enemies, the defenders of prelacy and of arbitrary power, [758]

The Scottish opposition, strangely made up of two factions, one zealous for bishops, the other zealous for synods, one hostile to all liberty, the other impatient of all government, flattered itself during a short time with hopes that the civil war would break out in the Highlands with redoubled fury. But those hopes were disappointed. In the spring of 1690 an officer named Buchan arrived in Lochaber from Ireland. He bore a commission which appointed him general in chief of all the forces which were in arms for King James throughout the kingdom of Scotland. Cannon, who had, since the death of Dundee, held the first post and had proved himself unfit for it, became second in command. Little however was gained by the change. It was no easy matter to induce the Gaelic princes to renew the war. Indeed, but for the influence and eloquence of Lochiel, not a sword would have been drawn for the House of Stuart. He, with some difficulty, persuaded the chieftains, who had, in the preceding year, fought at Killiecrankie, to come to a resolution that, before the end of the summer, they would muster all their followers and march into the Lowlands. In the mean time twelve hundred mountaineers of different tribes were placed under the orders of Buchan, who undertook, with this force, to keep the English garrisons in constant alarm by feints and incursions, till the season for more important operations should arrive. He accordingly marched into Strathspey. But all his plans were speedily disconcerted by the boldness and dexterity of Sir Thomas Livingstone, who held Inverness for King William. Livingstone, guided and assisted by the Grants, who were firmly attached to the new government, came, with a strong body of cavalry and dragoons, by forced marches and through arduous defiles, to the place where the Jacobites had taken up their quarters. He reached the camp fires at dead of night. The first alarm was given by the rush of the horses over the terrified sentinels into the midst Of the crowd of Celts who lay sleeping in their plaids. Buchan escaped bareheaded and without his sword. Cannon ran away in his shirt. The conquerors lost not a man. Four hundred Highlanders were killed or taken. The rest fled to their hills and mists, [759]

This event put an end to all thoughts of civil war. The gathering which had been planned for the summer never took place. Lochiel, even if he had been willing, was not able to sustain any longer the falling cause. He had been laid on his bed by a mishap which would alone suffice to show how little could be effected by a confederacy of the petty kings of the mountains. At a consultation of the Jacobite leaders, a gentleman from the Lowlands spoke with severity of those sycophants who had changed their religion to curry favour with King James. Glengarry was one of those people who think it dignified to suppose that every body is always insulting them. He took it into his head that some allusion to himself was meant. "I am as good a Protestant as you." he cried, and added a word not to be patiently borne by a man of spirit. In a moment both swords were out. Lochiel thrust himself between the combatants, and, while forcing them asunder, received a wound which was at first believed to be mortal, [760]

So effectually had the spirit of the disaffected clans been cowed that Mackay marched unresisted from Perth into Lochaber, fixed his head quarters at Inverlochy, and proceeded to execute his favourite design of erecting at that place a fortress which might overawe the mutinous Camerons and Macdonalds. In a few days the walls were raised; the ditches were sunk; the pallisades were fixed; demiculverins from a ship of war were ranged along the parapets, and the general departed, leaving an officer named Hill in command of a sufficient garrison. Within the defences there was no want of oatmeal, red herrings, and beef; and there was rather a superabundance of brandy. The new stronghold, which, hastily and rudely as it had been constructed, seemed doubtless to the people of the neighbourhood the most stupendous work that power and science united had ever produced, was named Fort William in honour of the King, [761]

By this time the Scottish Parliament had reassembled at Edinburgh. William had found it no easy matter to decide what course should be taken with that capricious and unruly body. The English Commons had sometimes put him out of temper. Yet they had granted him millions, and had never asked from him such concessions as had been imperiously demanded by the Scottish legislature, which could give him little and had given him nothing. The English statesmen with whom he had to deal did not generally stand or serve to stand high in his esteem. Yet few of them were so utterly false and shameless as the leading Scottish politicians. Hamilton was, in morality and honour, rather above than below his fellows; and even Hamilton was fickle, false and greedy. "I wish to heaven," William was once provoked into exclaiming, "that Scotland were a thousand miles off, and that the Duke of Hamilton were King of it. Then I should be rid of them both."

After much deliberation William determined to send Melville down to Edinburgh as Lord High Commissioner. Melville was not a great statesman; he was not a great orator; he did not look or move like the representative of royalty; his character was not of more than standard purity; and the standard of purity among Scottish senators was not high; but he was by no means deficient in prudence or temper; and he succeeded, on the whole, better than a man of much higher qualities might have done.

During the first days of the Session, the friends of the government desponded, and the chiefs of the opposition were sanguine. Montgomery's head, though by no means a weak one, had been turned by the triumphs of the preceding year. He believed that his intrigues and his rhetoric had completely subjugated the Estates. It seemed to him impossible that, having exercised a boundless empire in the Parliament House when the Jacobites were absent, he should be defeated when they were present, and ready to support whatever he proposed. He had not indeed found it easy to prevail on them to attend: for they could not take their seats without taking the oaths. A few of them had some slight scruple of conscience about foreswearing themselves; and many, who did not know what a scruple of conscience meant, were apprehensive that they might offend the rightful King by vowing fealty to the actual King. Some Lords, however, who were supposed to be in the confidence of James, asserted that, to their knowledge, he wished his friends to perjure themselves; and this assertion induced most of the Jacobites, with Balcarras at their head, to be guilty of perfidy aggravated by impiety, [762]

It soon appeared, however, that Montgomery's faction, even with this reinforcement, was no longer a majority of the legislature. For every supporter that he had gained he had lost two. He had committed an error which has more than once, in British history, been fatal to great parliamentary leaders. He had imagined that, as soon as he chose to coalesce with those to whom he had recently been opposed, all his followers would imitate his example. He soon found that it was much easier to inflame animosities than to appease them. The great body Of Whigs and Presbyterians shrank from the fellowship of the Jacobites. Some waverers were purchased by the government; nor was the purchase expensive, for a sum which would hardly be missed in the English Treasury was immense in the estimation of the needy barons of the North, [763] Thus the scale was turned; and, in the Scottish Parliaments of that age, the turn of the scale was every thing; the tendency of majorities was always to increase, the tendency of minorities to diminish.

The first question on which a vote was taken related to the election for a borough. The ministers carried their point by six voices, [764] In an instant every thing was changed; the spell was broken; the Club, from being a bugbear, became a laughingstock; the timid and the venal passed over in crowds from the weaker to the stronger side. It was in vain that the opposition attempted to revive the disputes of the preceding year. The King had wisely authorised Melville to give up the Committee of Articles. The Estates, on the other hand, showed no disposition to pass another Act of Incapacitation, to censure the government for opening the Courts of justice, or to question the right of the Sovereign to name the judges. An extraordinary supply was voted, small, according to the notions of English financiers, but large for the means of Scotland. The sum granted was a hundred and sixty-two thousand pounds sterling, to be raised in the course of four years, [765]

The Jacobites, who found that they had forsworn themselves to no purpose, sate, bowed down by shame and writhing with vexation, while Montgomery, who had deceived himself and them, and who, in his rage, had utterly lost, not indeed his parts and his fluency, but all decorum and selfcommand, scolded like a waterman on the Thames, and was answered with equal asperity and even more than equal ability by Sir John Dalrymple, [766]

The most important acts of this Session were those which fixed the ecclesiastical constitution of Scotland. By the Claim of Right it had been declared that the authority of Bishops was an insupportable grievance; and William, by accepting the Crown, had bound himself not to uphold an institution condemned by the very instrument on which his title to the Crown depended. But the Claim of Right had not defined the form of Church government which was to be substituted for episcopacy; and, during the stormy Session held in the summer of 1689, the violence of the Club had made legislation impossible. During many months therefore every thing had been in confusion. One polity had been pulled down; and no other polity had been set up. In the Western Lowlands, the beneficed clergy had been so effectually rabbled, that scarcely one of them had remained at his post. In Berwickshire, the three Lothians and Stirlingshire, most of the curates had been removed by the Privy Council for not obeying that vote of the Convention which had directed all ministers of parishes, on pain of deprivation, to proclaim William and Mary King and Queen of Scotland. Thus, throughout a great part of the realm, there was no public worship except what was performed by Presbyterian divines, who sometimes officiated in tents, and sometimes, without any legal right, took possession of the churches. But there were large districts, especially on the north of the Tay, where the people had no strong feeling against episcopacy; and there were many priests who were not disposed to lose their manses, and stipends for the sake of King James. Hundreds of the old curates, therefore, having been neither hunted by the populace nor deposed by the Council, still performed their spiritual functions. Every minister was, during this time of transition, free to conduct the service and to administer the sacraments as he thought fit. There was no controlling authority. The legislature had taken away the jurisdiction of Bishops, and had not established the jurisdiction of Synods, [767]

To put an end to this anarchy was one of the first duties of the Parliament. Melville had, with the powerful assistance of Carstairs, obtained, in spite of the remonstrances of English Tories, authority to assent to such ecclesiastical arrangements as might satisfy the Scottish nation. One of the first laws which the Lord Commissioner touched with the sceptre repealed the Act of Supremacy. He next gave the royal assent to a law enacting that those Presbyterian divines who had been pastors of parishes in the days of the Covenant, and had, after the Restoration, been ejected for refusing to acknowledge episcopal authority, should be restored. The number of those Pastors had originally been about three hundred and fifty: but not more than sixty were still living, [768]

The Estates then proceeded to fix the national creed. The Confession of Faith drawn up by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, the Longer and Shorter Catechism, and the Directory, were considered by every good Presbyterian as the standards of orthodoxy; and it was hoped that the legislature would recognise them as such, [769] This hope, however, was in part disappointed. The Confession was read at length, amidst much yawning, and adopted without alteration. But, when it was proposed that the Catechisms and the Directory should be taken into consideration, the ill humour of the audience broke forth into murmurs. For that love of long sermons which was strong in the Scottish commonalty was not shared by the Scottish aristocracy. The Parliament had already been listening during three hours to dry theology, and was not inclined to hear any thing more about original sin and election. The Duke of Hamilton said that the Estates had already done all that was essential. They had given their sanction to a digest of the great principles of Christianity. The rest might well be left to the Church. The weary majority eagerly assented, in spite of the muttering of some zealous Presbyterian ministers who had been admitted to hear the debate, and who could sometimes hardly restrain themselves from taking part in it, [770]

The memorable law which fixed the ecclesiastical constitution of Scotland was brought in by the Earl of Sutherland. By this law the synodical polity was reestablished. The rule of the Church was entrusted to the sixty ejected ministers who had just been restored, and to such other persons, whether ministers or elders, as the Sixty should think fit to admit to a participation of power. The Sixty and their nominees were authorised to visit all the parishes in the kingdom, and to turn out all ministers who were deficient in abilities, scandalous in morals, or unsound in faith. Those parishes which had, during the interregnum, been deserted by their pastors, or, in plain words, those parishes of which the pastors had been rabbled, were declared vacant, [771]

To the clause which reestablished synodical government no serious opposition appears to have been made. But three days were spent in discussing the question whether the Sovereign should have power to convoke and to dissolve ecclesiastical assemblies; and the point was at last left in dangerous ambiguity. Some other clauses were long and vehemently debated. It was said that the immense power given to the Sixty was incompatible with the fundamental principle of the polity which the Estates were about to set up. That principle was that all presbyters were equal, and that there ought to be no order of ministers of religion superior to the order of presbyters. What did it matter whether the Sixty were called prelates or not, if they were to lord it with more than prelatical authority over God's heritage? To the argument that the proposed arrangement was, in the very peculiar circumstances of the Church, the most convenient that could be made, the objectors replied that such reasoning might suit the mouth of an Erastian, but that all orthodox Presbyterians held the parity of ministers to be ordained by Christ, and that, where Christ had spoken, Christians were not at liberty to consider what was convenient, [772]

With much greater warmth and much stronger reason the minority attacked the clause which sanctioned the lawless acts of the Western fanatics. Surely, it was said, a rabbled curate might well be left to the severe scrutiny of the sixty Inquisitors. If he was deficient in parts or learning, if he was loose in life, if he was heterodox in doctrine, those stern judges would not fail to detect and to depose him. They would probably think a game at bowls, a prayer borrowed from the English Liturgy, or a sermon in which the slightest taint of Arminianism could be discovered, a sufficient reason for pronouncing his benefice vacant. Was it not monstrous, after constituting a tribunal from which he could scarcely hope for bare justice, to condemn him without allowing him to appear even before that tribunal, to condemn him without a trial, to condemn him without an accusation? Did ever any grave senate, since the beginning of the world, treat a man as a criminal merely because he had been robbed, pelted, hustled, dragged through snow and mire, and threatened with death if he returned to the house which was his by law? The Duke of Hamilton, glad to have so good an Opportunity of attacking the new Lord Commissioner, spoke with great vehemence against this odious clause. We are told that no attempt was made to answer him; and, though those who tell us so were zealous Episcopalians, we may easily believe their report; for what answer was it possible to return? Melville, on whom the chief responsibility lay, sate on the throne in profound silence through the whole of this tempestuous debate. It is probable that his conduct was determined by considerations which prudence and shame prevented him from explaining. The state of the southwestern shires was such that it would have been impossible to put the rabbled minister in possession of their dwellings and churches without employing a military force, without garrisoning every manse, without placing guards round every pulpit, and without handing over some ferocious enthusiasts to the Provost Marshal; and it would be no easy task for the government to keep down by the sword at once the Jacobites of the Highlands and the Covenanters of the Lowlands. The majority, having made up their minds for reasons which could not well be produced, became clamorous for the question. "No more debate," was the cry: "We have heard enough: a vote! a vote!" The question was put according to the Scottish form, "Approve or not approve the article?" Hamilton insisted that the question, should be, "Approve or not approve the rabbling?" After much altercation, he was overruled, and the clause passed. Only fifteen or sixteen members voted with him. He warmly and loudly exclaimed, amidst much angry interruption, that he was sorry to see a Scottish Parliament disgrace itself by such iniquity. He then left the house with several of his friends. It is impossible not to sympathize with the indignation which he expressed. Yet we ought to remember that it is the nature of injustice to generate injustice. There are wrongs which it is almost impossible to repair without committing other wrongs; and such a wrong had been done to the people of Scotland in the preceding generation. It was because the Parliament of the Restoration had legislated in insolent defiance of the sense of the nation that the Parliament of the Revolution had to abase itself before the mob.

When Hamilton and his adherents had retired, one of the preachers who had been admitted to the hall called out to the members who were near him; "Fie! Fie! Do not lose time. Make haste, and get all over before he comes back." This advice was taken. Four or five sturdy Prelatists staid to give a last vote against Presbytery. Four or five equally sturdy Covenanters staid to mark their dislike of what seemed to them a compromise between the Lord and Baal. But the Act was passed by an overwhelming majority, [773]

Two supplementary Acts speedily followed. One of them, now happily repealed, required every officebearer in every University of Scotland to sign the Confession of Faith and to give in his adhesion to the new form of Church government, [774] The other settled the important and delicate question of patronage. Knox had, in the First Book of Discipline, asserted the right of every Christian congregation to choose its own pastor. Melville had not, in the Second Book of Discipline, gone quite so far; but he had declared that no pastor could lawfully be forced on an unwilling congregation. Patronage had been abolished by a Covenanted Parliament in 1649, and restored by a Royalist Parliament in 1661. What ought to be done in 1690 it was no easy matter to decide. Scarcely any question seems to have caused so much anxiety to William. He had, in his private instructions, given the Lord Commissioner authority to assent to the abolition of patronage, if nothing else would satisfy the Estates. But this authority was most unwillingly given; and the King hoped that it would not be used. "It is," he said, "the taking of men's property." Melville succeeded in effecting a compromise. Patronage was abolished; but it was enacted that every patron should receive six hundred marks Scots, equivalent to about thirty-five pounds sterling, as a compensation for his rights. The sum seems ludicrously small. Yet, when the nature of the property and the poverty of the country are considered, it may be doubted whether a patron would have made much more by going into the market. The largest sum that any member ventured to propose was nine hundred marks, little more than fifty pounds sterling. The right of proposing a minister was given to a parochial council consisting of the Protestant landowners and the elders. The congregation might object to the person proposed; and the Presbytery was to judge of the objections. This arrangement did not give to the people all the power to which even the Second Book of Discipline had declared that they were entitled. But the odious name of patronage was taken away; it was probably thought that the elders and landowners of a parish would seldom persist in nominating a person to whom the majority of the congregation had strong objections; and indeed it does not appear that, while the Act of 1690 continued in force, the peace of the Church was ever broken by disputes such as produced the schisms of 1732, of 1756, and of 1843, [775]

Montgomery had done all in his power to prevent the Estates from settling the ecclesiastical polity of the realm. He had incited the zealous Covenanters to demand what he knew that the government would never grant. He had protested against all Erastianism, against all compromise. Dutch Presbyterianism, he said, would not do for Scotland. She must have again the system of 1649. That system was deduced from the Word of God: it was the most powerful check that had ever been devised on the tyranny of wicked kings; and it ought to be restored without addition or diminution. His Jacobite allies could not conceal their disgust and mortification at hearing him hold such language, and were by no means satisfied with the explanations which he gave them in private. While they were wrangling with him on this subject, a messenger arrived at Edinburgh with important despatches from James and from Mary of Modena. These despatches had been written in the confident expectation that the large promises of Montgomery would be fulfilled, and that the Scottish Estates would, under his dexterous management, declare for the rightful Sovereign against the Usurper. James was so grateful for the unexpected support of his old enemies, that he entirely forgot the services and disregarded the feelings of his old friends. The three chiefs of the Club, rebels and Puritans as they were, had become his favourites. Annandale was to be a Marquess, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, and Lord High Commissioner. Montgomery was to be Earl of Ayr and Secretary of State. Ross was to be an Earl and to command the guards. An unprincipled lawyer named James Stewart, who had been deeply concerned in Argyle's insurrection, who had changed sides and supported the dispensing power, who had then changed sides a second time and concurred in the Revolution, and who had now changed sides a third time and was scheming to bring about a Restoration, was to be Lord Advocate. The Privy Council, the Court of Session, the army, were to be filled with Whigs. A Council of Five was appointed, which all loyal subjects were to obey; and in this Council Annandale, Ross and Montgomery formed the majority. Mary of Modena informed Montgomery that five thousand pounds sterling had been remitted to his order, and that five thousand more would soon follow. It was impossible that Balcarras and those who had acted with him should not bitterly resent the manner in which they were treated. Their names were not even mentioned. All that they had done and suffered seemed to have faded from their master's mind. He had now given them fair notice that, if they should, at the hazard of their lands and lives, succeed in restoring him, all that he had to give would be given to those who had deposed him. They too, when they read his letters, knew, what he did not know when the letters were written, that he had been duped by the confident boasts and promises of the apostate Whigs. He imagined that the Club was omnipotent at Edinburgh; and, in truth, the Club had become a mere byword of contempt. The Tory Jacobites easily found pretexts for refusing to obey the Presbyterian Jacobites to whom the banished King had delegated his authority. They complained that Montgomery had not shown them all the despatches which he had received. They affected to suspect that he had tampered with the seals. He called God Almighty to witness that the suspicion was unfounded. But oaths were very naturally regarded as insufficient guarantees by men who had just been swearing allegiance to a King against whom they were conspiring. There was a violent outbreak of passion on both sides; the coalition was dissolved; the papers were flung into the fire; and, in a few days, the infamous triumvirs who had been, in the short space of a year, violent Williamites and violent Jacobites, became Williamites again, and attempted to make their peace with the government by accusing each other, [776]

Ross was the first who turned informer. After the fashion of the school in which he had been bred, he committed this base action with all the forms of sanctity. He pretended to be greatly troubled in mind, sent for a celebrated Presbyterian minister named Dunlop, and bemoaned himself piteously: "There is a load on my conscience; there is a secret which I know that I ought to disclose; but I cannot bring myself to do it." Dunlop prayed long and fervently; Ross groaned and wept; at last it seemed that heaven had been stormed by the violence of supplication; the truth came out, and many lies with it. The divine and the penitent then returned thanks together. Dunlop went with the news to Melville. Ross set off for England to make his peace at court, and performed his journey in safety, though some of his accomplices, who had heard of his repentance, but had been little edified by it, had laid plans for cutting his throat by the way. At London he protested, on his honour and on the word of a gentleman, that he had been drawn in, that he had always disliked the plot, and that Montgomery and Ferguson were the real criminals, [777]

Dunlop was, in the mean time, magnifying, wherever he went, the divine goodness which had, by so humble an instrument as himself, brought a noble person back to the right path. Montgomery no sooner heard of this wonderful work of grace than he too began to experience compunction. He went to Melville, made a confession not exactly coinciding with Ross's, and obtained a pass for England. William was then in Ireland; and Mary was governing in his stead. At her feet Montgomery threw himself. He tried to move her pity by speaking of his broken fortunes, and to ingratiate himself with her by praising her sweet and affable manners. He gave up to her the names of his fellow plotters. He vowed to dedicate his whole life to her service, if she would obtain for him some place which might enable him to subsist with decency. She was so much touched by his supplications and flatteries that she recommended him to her husband's favour; but the just distrust and abhorrence with which William regarded Montgomery were not to be overcome, [778]

Before the traitor had been admitted to Mary's presence, he had obtained a promise that he should be allowed to depart in safety. The promise was kept. During some months, he lay hid in London, and contrived to carry on a negotiation with the government. He offered to be a witness against his accomplices on condition of having a good place. William would bid no higher than a pardon. At length the communications were broken off. Montgomery retired for a time to France. He soon returned to London, and passed the miserable remnant of his life in forming plots which came to nothing, and in writing libels which are distinguished by the grace and vigour of their style from most of the productions of the Jacobite press, [779]

Annandale, when he learned that his two accomplices had turned approvers, retired to Bath, and pretended to drink the waters. Thence he was soon brought up to London by a warrant. He acknowledged that he had been seduced into treason; but he declared that he had only said Amen to the plans of others, and that his childlike simplicity had been imposed on by Montgomery, that worst, that falsest, that most unquiet of human beings. The noble penitent then proceeded to make atonement for his own crime by criminating other people, English and Scotch, Whig and Tory, guilty and innocent. Some he accused on his own knowledge, and some on mere hearsay. Among those whom he accused on his own knowledge was Neville Payne, who had not, it should seem, been mentioned either by Ross or by Montgomery, [780]

Payne, pursued by messengers and warrants, was so ill advised as to take refuge in Scotland. Had he remained in England he would have been safe; for, though the moral proofs of his guilt were complete, there was not such legal evidence as would have satisfied a jury that he had committed high treason; he could not be subjected to torture in order to force him to furnish evidence against himself; nor could he be long confined without being brought to trial. But the moment that he passed the border he was at the mercy of the government of which he was the deadly foe. The Claim of Right had recognised torture as, in cases like his, a legitimate mode of obtaining information; and no Habeas Corpus Act secured him against a long detention. The unhappy man was arrested, carried to Edinburgh, and brought before the Privy Council. The general notion was that he was a knave and a coward, and that the first sight of the boots and thumbscrews would bring out all the guilty secrets with which he had been entrusted. But Payne had a far braver spirit than those highborn plotters with whom it was his misfortune to have been connected. Twice he was subjected to frightful torments; but not a word inculpating himself or any other person could be wrung out of him. Some councillors left the board in horror. But the pious Crawford presided. He was not much troubled with the weakness of compassion where an Amalekite was concerned, and forced the executioner to hammer in wedge after wedge between the knees of the prisoner till the pain was as great as the human frame can sustain without dissolution. Payne was then carried to the Castle of Edinburgh, where he long remained, utterly forgotten, as he touchingly complained, by those for whose sake he had endured more than the bitterness of death. Yet no ingratitude could damp the ardour of his fanatical loyalty; and he continued, year after year, in his cell, to plan insurrections and invasions, [781]

Before Payne's arrest the Estates had been adjourned after a Session as important as any that had ever been held in Scotland. The nation generally acquiesced in the new ecclesiastical constitution. The indifferent, a large portion of every society, were glad that the anarchy was over, and conformed to the Presbyterian Church as they had conformed to the Episcopal Church. To the moderate Presbyterians the settlement which had been made was on the whole satisfactory. Most of the strict Presbyterians brought themselves to accept it under protest, as a large instalment of what was due. They missed indeed what they considered as the perfect beauty and symmetry of that Church which had, forty years before, been the glory of Scotland. But, though the second temple was not equal to the first, the chosen people might well rejoice to think that they were, after a long captivity in Babylon, suffered to rebuild, though imperfectly, the House of God on the old foundations; nor could it misbecome them to feel for the latitudinarian William a grateful affection such as the restored Jews had felt for the heathen Cyrus.

There were however two parties which regarded the settlement of 1690 with implacable detestation. Those Scotchmen who were Episcopalians on conviction and with fervour appear to have been few; but among them were some persons superior, not perhaps in natural parts, but in learning, in taste, and in the art of composition, to the theologians of the sect which had now become dominant. It might not have been safe for the ejected Curates and Professors to give vent in their own country to the anger which they felt. But the English press was open to them; and they were sure of the approbation of a large part of the English people. During several years they continued to torment their enemies and to amuse the public with a succession of ingenious and spirited pamphlets. In some of these works the hardships suffered by the rabbled priests of the western shires are set forth with a skill which irresistibly moves pity and indignation. In others, the cruelty with which the Covenanters had been treated during the reigns of the last two kings of the House of Stuart is extenuated by every artifice of sophistry. There is much joking on the bad Latin which some Presbyterian teachers had uttered while seated in academic chairs lately occupied by great scholars. Much was said about the ignorant contempt which the victorious barbarians professed for science and literature. They were accused of anathematizing the modern systems of natural philosophy as damnable heresies, of condemning geometry as a souldestroying pursuit, of discouraging even the study of those tongues in which the sacred books were written. Learning, it was said, would soon be extinct in Scotland. The Universities, under their new rulers, were languishing and must soon perish. The booksellers had been half ruined: they found that the whole profit of their business would not pay the rent of their shops, and were preparing to emigrate to some country where letters were held in esteem by those whose office was to instruct the public. Among the ministers of religion no purchaser of books was left. The Episcopalian divine was glad to sell for a morsel of bread whatever part of his library had not been torn to pieces or burned by the Christmas mobs; and the only library of a Presbyterian divine consisted of an explanation of the Apocalypse and a commentary on the Song of Songs, [782] The pulpit oratory of the triumphant party was an inexhaustible subject of mirth. One little volume, entitled The Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Displayed, had an immense success in the South among both High Churchmen and scoffers, and is not yet quite forgotten. It was indeed a book well fitted to lie on the hall table of a Squire whose religion consisted in hating extemporaneous prayer and nasal psalmody. On a rainy day, when it was impossible to hunt or shoot, neither the card table nor the backgammon board would have been, in the intervals of the flagon and the pasty, so agreeable a resource. Nowhere else, perhaps, can be found, in so small a compass, so large a collection of ludicrous quotations and anecdotes. Some grave men, however, who bore no love to the Calvinistic doctrine or discipline, shook their heads over this lively jest book, and hinted their opinion that the writer, while holding up to derision the absurd rhetoric by which coarseminded and ignorant men tried to illustrate dark questions of theology and to excite devotional feeling among the populace, had sometimes forgotten the reverence due to sacred things. The effect which tracts of this sort produced on the public mind of England could not be fully discerned, while England and Scotland were independent of each other, but manifested itself, very soon after the union of the kingdoms, in a way which we still have reason, and which our posterity will probably long have reason to lament.

The extreme Presbyterians were as much out of humour as the extreme Prelatists, and were as little inclined as the extreme Prelatists to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary. Indeed, though the Jacobite nonjuror and the Cameronian nonjuror were diametrically opposed to each other in opinion, though they regarded each other with mortal aversion, though neither of them would have had any scruple about persecuting the other, they had much in common. They were perhaps the two most remarkable specimens that the world could show of perverse absurdity. Each of them considered his darling form of ecclesiastical polity, not as a means but as an end, as the one thing needful, as the quintessence of the Christian religion. Each of them childishly fancied that he had found a theory of civil government in his Bible. Neither shrank from the frightful consequences to which his theory led. To all objections both had one answer,—Thus saith the Lord. Both agreed in boasting that the arguments which to atheistical politicians seemed unanswerable presented no difficulty to the Saint. It might be perfectly true that, by relaxing the rigour of his principles, he might save his country from slavery, anarchy, universal ruin. But his business was not to save his country, but to save his soul. He obeyed the commands of God, and left the event to God. One of the two fanatical sects held that, to the end of time, the nation would be bound to obey the heir of the Stuarts; the other held that, to the end of time, the nation would be bound by the Solemn League and Covenant; and thus both agreed in regarding the new Sovereigns as usurpers.

The Presbyterian nonjurors have scarcely been heard of out of Scotland; and perhaps it may not now be generally known, even in Scotland, how long they continued to form a distinct class. They held that their country was under a precontract to the Most High, and could never, while the world lasted, enter into any engagement inconsistent with that precontract. An Erastian, a latitudinarian, a man who knelt to receive the bread and wine from the hands of bishops, and who bore, though not very patiently, to hear anthems chaunted by choristers in white vestments, could not be King of a covenanted kingdom. William had moreover forfeited all claim to the crown by committing that sin for which, in the old time, a dynasty preternaturally appointed had been preternaturally deposed. He had connived at the escape of his father in law, that idolater, that murderer, that man of Belial, who ought to have been hewn in pieces before the Lord, like Agag. Nay, the crime of William had exceeded that of Saul. Saul had spared only one Amalekite, and had smitten the rest. What Amalekite had William smitten? The pure Church had been twenty-eight years under persecution. Her children had been imprisoned, transported, branded, shot, hanged, drowned, tortured. And yet he who called himself her deliverer had not suffered her to see her desire upon her enemies, [783] The bloody Claverhouse had been graciously received at Saint James's. The bloody Mackenzie had found a secure and luxurious retreat among the malignants of Oxford. The younger Dalrymple who had prosecuted the Saints, the elder Dalrymple who had sate in judgment on the Saints, were great and powerful. It was said by careless Gallios, that there was no choice but between William and James, and that it was wisdom to choose the less of two evils. Such was indeed the wisdom of this world. But the wisdom which was from above taught us that of two things, both of which were evil in the sight of God, we should choose neither. As soon as James was restored, it would be a duty to disown and withstand him. The present duty was to disown and withstand his son in law. Nothing must be said, nothing must be done that could be construed into a recognition of the authority of the man from Holland. The godly must pay no duties to him, must hold no offices under him, must receive no wages from him, must sign no instruments in which he was styled King. Anne succeeded William; and Anne was designated, by those who called themselves the remnant of the true Church, as the pretended Queen, the wicked woman, the Jezebel. George the First succeeded Anne; and George the First was the pretended King, the German Beast, [784] George the Second succeeded George the First; George the Second too was a pretended King, and was accused of having outdone the wickedness of his wicked predecessors by passing a law in defiance of that divine law which ordains that no witch shall be suffered to live, [785] George the Third succeeded George the Second; and still these men continued, with unabated stedfastness, though in language less ferocious than before, to disclaim all allegiance to an uncovenanted Sovereign, [786] So late as the year 1806, they were still bearing their public testimony against the sin of owning his government by paying taxes, by taking out excise licenses, by joining the volunteers, or by labouring on public works, [787] The number of these zealots went on diminishing till at length they were so thinly scattered over Scotland that they were nowhere numerous enough to have a meeting house, and were known by the name of the Nonhearers. They, however, still assembled and prayed in private dwellings, and still persisted in considering themselves as the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, which, amidst the common degeneracy, alone preserved the faith of a better age. It is by no means improbable that this superstition, the most irrational and the most unsocial into which Protestant Christianity has ever been corrupted by human prejudices and passions, may still linger in a few obscure farmhouses.

The King was but half satisfied with the manner in which the ecclesiastical polity of Scotland had been settled. He thought that the Episcopalians had been hardly used; and he apprehended that they might be still more hardly used when the new system was fully organized. He had been very desirous that the Act which established the Presbyterian Church should be accompanied by an Act allowing persons who were not members of that Church to hold their own religious assemblies freely; and he had particularly directed Melville to look to this, [788] But some popular preachers harangued so vehemently at Edinburgh against liberty of conscience, which they called the mystery of iniquity, that Melville did not venture to obey his master's instructions. A draught of a Toleration Act was offered to the Parliament by a private member, but was coldly received and suffered to drop, [789]

William, however, was fully determined to prevent the dominant sect from indulging in the luxury of persecution; and he took an early opportunity of announcing his determination. The first General Assembly of the newly established Church met soon after his return from Ireland. It was necessary that he should appoint a Commissioner and send a letter. Some zealous Presbyterians hoped that Crawford would be the Commissioner; and the ministers of Edinburgh drew up a paper in which they very intelligibly hinted that this was their wish. William, however, selected Lord Carmichael, a nobleman distinguished by good sense, humanity and moderation, [790] The royal letter to the Assembly was eminently wise in substance and impressive in language. "We expect," the King wrote, "that your management shall be such that we may have no reason to repent of what we have done. We never could be of the mind that violence was suited to the advancing of true religion; nor do we intend that our authority shall ever be a tool to the irregular passions of any party. Moderation is what religion enjoins, what neighbouring Churches expect from you, and what we recommend to you." The Sixty and their associates would probably have been glad to reply in language resembling that which, as some of them could well remember, had been held by the clergy to Charles the Second during his residence in Scotland. But they had just been informed that there was in England a strong feeling in favour of the rabbled curates, and that it would, at such a conjuncture, be madness in the body which represented the Presbyterian Church to quarrel with the King, [791] The Assembly therefore returned a grateful and respectful answer to the royal letter, and assured His Majesty that they had suffered too much from oppression ever to be oppressors, [792]

Meanwhile the troops all over the Continent were going into winter quarters. The campaign had everywhere been indecisive. The victory gained by Luxemburg at Fleurus had produced no important effect. On the Upper Rhine great armies had eyed each other, month after month, without exchanging a blow. In Catalonia a few small forts had been taken. In the cast of Europe the Turks had been successful on some points, the Christians on other points; and the termination of the contest seemed to be as remote as ever. The coalition had in the course of the year lost one valuable member and gained another. The Duke of Lorraine, the ablest captain in the Imperial service, was no more. He had died, as he had lived, an exile and a wanderer, and had bequeathed to his children nothing but his name and his rights. It was popularly said that the confederacy could better have spared thirty thousand soldiers than such a general. But scarcely had the allied Courts gone into mourning for him when they were consoled by learning that another prince, superior to him in power, and not inferior to him in capacity or courage, had joined the league against France.

This was Victor Amadeus Duke of Savoy. He was a young man; but he was already versed in those arts for which the statesmen of Italy had, ever since the thirteenth century, been celebrated, those arts by which Castruccio Castracani and Francis Sforza rose to greatness, and which Machiavel reduced to a system. No sovereign in modern Europe has, with so small a principality, exercised so great an influence during so long a period. He had for a time submitted, with a show of cheerfulness, but with secret reluctance and resentment, to the French ascendency. When the war broke out, he professed neutrality, but entered into private negotiations with the House of Austria. He would probably have continued to dissemble till he found some opportunity of striking an unexpected blow, had not his crafty schemes been disconcerted by the decision and vigour of Lewis. A French army commanded by Catinat, an officer of great skill and valour, marched into Piedmont. The Duke was informed that his conduct had excited suspicions which he could remove only by admitting foreign garrisons into Turin and Vercelli. He found that he must be either the slave or the open enemy of his powerful and imperious neighbour. His choice was soon made; and a war began which, during seven years, found employment for some of the best generals and best troops of Lewis. An Envoy Extraordinary from Savoy went to the Hague, proceeded thence to London, presented his credentials in the Banqueting House, and addressed to William a speech which was speedily translated into many languages and read in every part of Europe. The orator congratulated the King on the success of that great enterprise which had restored England to her ancient place among the nations, and had broken the chains of Europe. "That my master," he said, "can now at length venture to express feelings which have been long concealed in the recesses of his heart, is part of the debt which he owes to Your Majesty. You have inspired him with the hope of freedom after so many years of bondage." [793]

It had been determined that, during the approaching winter a Congress of all the powers hostile to France should be held at the Hague. William was impatient to proceed thither. But it was necessary that he should first hold a Session of Parliament. Early in October the Houses reassembled at Westminster. The members had generally come up in good humour. Those Tories whom it was possible to conciliate had been conciliated by the Act of Grace, and by the large share which they had obtained of the favours of the Crown. Those Whigs who were capable of learning had learned much from the lesson which William had given them, and had ceased to expect that he would descend from the rank of a King to that of a party leader. Both Whigs and Tories had, with few exceptions, been alarmed by the prospect of a French invasion and cheered by the news of the victory of the Boyne. The Sovereign who had shed his blood for their nation and their religion stood at this moment higher in public estimation than at any time since his accession. His speech from the throne called forth the loud acclamations of Lords and Commons, [794] Thanks were unanimously voted by both Houses to the King for his achievements in Ireland, and to the Queen for the prudence with which she had, during his absence, governed England, [795] Thus commenced a Session distinguished among the Sessions of that reign by harmony and tranquillity. No report of the debates has been preserved, unless a long forgotten lampoon, in which some of the speeches made on the first day are burlesqued in doggrel rhymes, may be called a report, [796] The time of the Commons appears to have been chiefly occupied in discussing questions arising out of the elections of the preceding spring. The supplies necessary for the war, though large, were granted with alacrity. The number of regular troops for the next year was fixed at seventy thousand, of whom twelve thousand were to be horse or dragoons. The charge of this army, the greatest that England had ever maintained, amounted to about two million three hundred thousand pounds; the charge of the navy to about eighteen hundred thousand pounds. The charge of the ordnance was included in these sums, and was roughly estimated at one eighth of the naval and one fifth of the military expenditure, [797] The whole of the extraordinary aid granted to the King exceeded four millions.

The Commons justly thought that the extraordinary liberality with which they had provided for the public service entitled them to demand extraordinary securities against waste and peculation. A bill was brought in empowering nine Commissioners to examine and state the public accounts. The nine were named in the bill, and were all members of the Lower House. The Lords agreed to the bill without amendments; and the King gave his assent, [798]

The debates on the Ways and Means occupied a considerable part of the Session. It was resolved that sixteen hundred and fifty thousand pounds should be raised by a direct monthly assessment on land. The excise duties on ale and beer were doubled; and the import duties on raw silk, linen, timber, glass, and some other articles, were increased, [799] Thus far there was little difference of opinion. But soon the smooth course of business was disturbed by a proposition which was much more popular than just or humane. Taxes of unprecedented severity had been imposed; and yet it might well be doubted whether these taxes would be sufficient. Why, it was asked, should not the cost of the Irish war be borne by the Irish insurgents? How those insurgents had acted in their mock Parliament all the world knew; and nothing could be more reasonable than to mete to them from their own measure. They ought to be treated as they had treated the Saxon colony. Every acre which the Act of Settlement had left them ought to be seized by the state for the purpose of defraying that expense which their turbulence and perverseness had made necessary. It is not strange that a plan which at once gratified national animosity, and held out the hope of pecuniary relief, should have been welcomed with eager delight. A bill was brought in which bore but too much resemblance to some of the laws passed by the Jacobite legislators of Dublin. By this bill it was provided that the property of every person who had been in rebellion against the King and Queen since the day on which they were proclaimed should be confiscated, and that the proceeds should be applied to the support of the war. An exception was made in favour of such Protestants as had merely submitted to superior force; but to Papists no indulgence was shown. The royal prerogative of clemency was limited. The King might indeed, if such were his pleasure, spare the lives of his vanquished enemies; but he was not to be permitted to save any part of their estates from the general doom. He was not to have it in his power to grant a capitulation which should secure to Irish Roman Catholics the enjoyment of their hereditary lands. Nay, he was not to be allowed to keep faith with persons whom he had already received to mercy, who had kissed his hand, and had heard from his lips the promise of protection. An attempt was made to insert a proviso in favour of Lord Dover. Dover, who, with all his faults, was not without some English feelings, had, by defending the interests of his native country at Dublin, made himself odious to both the Irish and the French. After the battle of the Boyne his situation was deplorable. Neither at Limerick nor at Saint Germains could he hope to be welcomed. In his despair, he threw himself at William's feet, promised to live peaceably, and was graciously assured that he had nothing to fear. Though the royal word seemed to be pledged to this unfortunate man, the Commons resolved, by a hundred and nineteen votes to a hundred and twelve, that his property should not be exempted from the general confiscation.

The bill went up to the Peers, but the Peers were not inclined to pass it without considerable amendments; and such amendments there was not time to make. Numerous heirs at law, reversioners, and creditors implored the Upper House to introduce such provisoes as might secure the innocent against all danger of being involved in the punishment of the guilty. Some petitioners asked to be heard by counsel. The King had made all his arrangements for a voyage to the Hague; and the day beyond which he could not postpone his departure drew near. The bill was therefore, happily for the honour of English legislation, consigned to that dark repository in which the abortive statutes of many generations sleep a sleep rarely disturbed by the historian or the antiquary, [800]

Another question, which slightly and but slightly discomposed the tranquillity of this short session, arose out of the disastrous and disgraceful battle of Beachy Head. Torrington had, immediately after that battle, been sent to the Tower, and had ever since remained there. A technical difficulty had arisen about the mode of bringing him to trial. There was no Lord High Admiral; and whether the Commissioners of the Admiralty were competent to execute martial law was a point which to some jurists appeared not perfectly clear. The majority of the judges held that the Commissioners were competent; but, for the purpose of removing all doubt, a bill was brought into the Upper House; and to this bill several Lords offered an opposition which seems to have been most unreasonable. The proposed law, they said, was a retrospective penal law, and therefore objectionable. If they used this argument in good faith, they were ignorant of the very rudiments of the science of legislation. To make a law for punishing that which, at the time when it was done, was not punishable, is contrary to all sound principle. But a law which merely alters the criminal procedure may with perfect propriety be made applicable to past as well as to future offences. It would have been the grossest injustice to give a retrospective operation to the law which made slavetrading felony. But there was not the smallest injustice in enacting that the Central Criminal Court should try felonies committed long before that Court was in being. In Torrington's case the substantive law continued to be what it had always been. The definition of the crime, the amount of the penalty, remained unaltered. The only change was in the form of procedure; and that change the legislature was perfectly justified in making retrospectively.

It is indeed hardly possible to believe that some of those who opposed the bill were duped by the fallacy of which they condescended to make use. The feeling of caste was strong among the Lords. That one of themselves should be tried for his life by a court composed of plebeians seemed to them a degradation of their whole order. If their noble brother had offended, articles of impeachment ought to be exhibited against him: Westminster Hall ought to be fitted up: his peers ought to meet in their robes, and to give in their verdict on their honour; a Lord High Steward ought to pronounce the sentence and to break the staff. There was an end of privilege if an Earl was to be doomed to death by tarpaulins seated round a table in the cabin of a ship. These feelings had so much influence that the bill passed the Upper House by a majority of only two, [801] In the Lower House, where the dignities and immunities of the nobility were regarded with no friendly feeling, there was little difference of opinion. Torrington requested to be heard at the bar, and spoke there at great length, but weakly and confusedly. He boasted of his services, of his sacrifices, and of his wounds. He abused the Dutch, the Board of Admiralty, and the Secretary of State. The bill, however, went through all its stages without a division, [802]

Early in December Torrington was sent under a guard down the river to Sheerness. There the Court Martial met on board of a frigate named the Kent. The investigation lasted three days; and during those days the ferment was great in London. Nothing was heard of on the exchange, in the coffeehouses, nay even at the church doors, but Torrington. Parties ran high; wagers to an immense amount were depending; rumours were hourly arriving by land and water, and every rumour was exaggerated and distorted by the way. From the day on which the news of the ignominious battle arrived, down to the very eve of the trial, public opinion had been very unfavourable to the prisoner. His name, we are told by contemporary pamphleteers, was hardly ever mentioned without a curse. But, when the crisis of his fate drew nigh, there was, as in our country there often is, a reaction. All his merits, his courage, his good nature, his firm adherence to the Protestant religion in the evil times, were remembered. It was impossible to deny that he was sunk in sloth and luxury, that he neglected the most important business for his pleasures, and that he could not say No to a boon companion or to a mistress; but for these faults excuses and soft names were found. His friends used without scruple all the arts which could raise a national feeling in his favour; and these arts were powerfully assisted by the intelligence that the hatred which was felt towards him in Holland bad vented itself in indignities to some of his countrymen. The cry was that a bold, jolly, freehanded English gentleman, of whom the worst that could be said was that he liked wine and women, was to be shot in order to gratify the spite of the Dutch. What passed at the trial tended to confirm the populace in this notion. Most of the witnesses against the prisoner were Dutch officers. The Dutch real admiral, who took on himself the part of prosecutor, forgot himself so far as to accuse the judges of partiality. When at length, on the evening of the third day, Torrington was pronounced not guilty, many who had recently clamoured for his blood seemed to be well pleased with his acquittal. He returned to London free, and with his sword by his side. As his yacht went up the Thames, every ship which he passed saluted him. He took his seat in the House of Lords, and even ventured to present himself at court. But most of the peers looked coldly on him; William would not see him, and ordered him to be dismissed from the service, [803]

There was another subject about which no vote was passed by either of the Houses, but about which there is reason to believe that some acrimonious discussion took place in both. The Whigs, though much less violent than in the preceding year, could not patiently see Caermarthen as nearly prime minister as any English subject could be under a prince of William's character. Though no man had taken a more prominent part in the Revolution than the Lord President, though no man had more to fear from a counterrevolution, his old enemies would not believe that he had from his heart renounced those arbitrary doctrines for which he had once been zealous, or that he could bear true allegiance to a government sprung from resistance. Through the last six months of 1690 he was mercilessly lampooned. Sometimes he was King Thomas and sometimes Tom the Tyrant, [804] William was adjured not to go to the Continent leaving his worst enemy close to the ear of the Queen. Halifax, who had, in the preceding year, been ungenerously and ungratefully persecuted by the Whigs, was now mentioned by them with respect and regret; for he was the enemy of their enemy, [805] The face, the figure, the bodily infirmities of Caermarthen, were ridiculed, [806] Those dealings with the French Court in which, twelve years before, he had, rather by his misfortune than by his fault, been implicated, were represented in the most odious colours. He was reproached with his impeachment and his imprisonment. Once, it was said, he had escaped; but vengeance might still overtake him, and London might enjoy the long deferred pleasure of seeing the old traitor flung off the ladder in the blue riband which he disgraced. All the members of his family, wife, son, daughters, were assailed with savage invective and contemptuous sarcasm, [807] All who were supposed to be closely connected with him by political ties came in for a portion of this abuse; and none had so large a portion as Lowther. The feeling indicated by these satires was strong among the Whigs in Parliament. Several of them deliberated on a plan of attack, and were in hopes that they should be able to raise such a storm as would make it impossible for him to remain at the head of affairs. It should seem that, at this time, his influence in the royal closet was not quite what it had been. Godolphin, whom he did not love, and could not control, but whose financial skill had been greatly missed during the summer, was brought back to the Treasury, and made First Commissioner. Lowther, who was the Lord President's own man, still sate at the board, but no longer presided there. It is true that there was not then such a difference as there now is between the First Lord and his colleagues. Still the change was important and significant. Marlborough, whom Caermarthen disliked, was, in military affairs, not less trusted than Godolphin in financial affairs. The seals which Shrewsbury had resigned in the summer had ever since been lying in William's secret drawer. The Lord President probably expected that he should be consulted before they were given away; but he was disappointed. Sidney was sent for from Ireland; and the seals were delivered to him. The first intimation which the Lord President received of this important appointment was not made in a manner likely to soothe his feelings. "Did you meet the new Secretary of State going out?" said William. "No, Sir," answered the Lord President; "I met nobody but my Lord Sidney." "He is the new Secretary," said William. "He will do till I find a fit man; and he will be quite willing to resign as soon as I find a fit man. Any other person that I could put in would think himself ill used if I were to put him out." If William had said all that was in his mind, he would probably have added that Sidney, though not a great orator or statesman, was one of the very few English politicians who could be as entirely trusted as Bentinck or Zulestein. Caermarthen listened with a bitter smile. It was new, he afterwards said, to see a nobleman placed in the Secretary's office, as a footman was placed in a box at the theatre, merely in order to keep a seat till his betters came. But this jest was a cover for serious mortification and alarm. The situation of the prime minister was unpleasant and even perilous; and the duration of his power would probably have been short, had not fortune, just at this moment, put it in his power to confound his adversaries by rendering a great service to the state, [808]

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17     Next Part
Home - Random Browse