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A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second by Charles James Fox

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corrupt judges, if the question had been tried, would have had the
audacity to decide it against the subject. But no resistance was
made; nor did the example of Hampden, which a half century before
had been so successful, and rendered that patriot's name so
illustrious, tempt any one to emulate his fame, so completely had
the crafty and sanguinary measures of the late reign attained the
object to which they were directed, and rendered all men either
afraid or unwilling to exert themselves in the cause of liberty.

On the other hand, addresses the most servile were daily sent to the
throne. That of the University of Oxford stated that the religion
which they professed bound them to unconditional obedience to their
sovereign without restrictions or limitations; and the Society of
Barristers and Students of the Middle Temple thanked his majesty for
the attention he had shown to the trade of the kingdom, concerning
which, and its balance (and upon this last article they laid
particular stress), they seemed to think themselves peculiarly
called upon to deliver their opinion. But whatever might be their
knowledge in matters of trade, it was at least equal to that which
these addressers showed in the laws and constitution of their
country, since they boldly affirmed the king's right to levy the
duties, and declared that it had never been disputed but by persons
engaged, in what they were pleased to call rebellion against his
royal father. The address concluded with a sort of prayer that all
his majesty's subjects might be as good lawyers as themselves, and
disposed to acknowledge the royal prerogative in all its extent.

If these addresses are remarkable for their servility, that of the
gentlemen and freeholders of the county of Suffolk was no less so
for the spirit of party violence that was displayed in it. They
would take care, they said, to choose representatives who should no
more endure those who had been for the Exclusion Bill, than the last
parliament had the abhorrers of the association; and thus not only
endeavoured to keep up his majesty's resentment against a part of
their fellow-subjects, but engaged themselves to imitate, for the
purpose of retaliation, that part of the conduct of their
adversaries which they considered as most illegal and oppressive.

It is a remarkable circumstance, that among all the adulatory
addresses of this time, there is not to be found, in any one of
them, any declaration of disbelief in the popish plot, or any charge
upon the late parliament for having prosecuted it, though it could
not but be well known that such topics would, of all others, be most
agreeable to the court. Hence we may collect that the delusion on
this subject was by no means at an end, and that they who, out of a
desire to render history conformable to the principles of poetical
justice, attribute the unpopularity and downfall of the Whigs to the
indignation excited by their furious and sanguinary prosecution of
the plot, are egregiously mistaken. If this had been in any degree
the prevailing sentiment, it is utterly unaccountable that, so far
from its appearing in any of the addresses of these times, this most
just ground of reproach upon the Whig party, and the parliament in
which they had had the superiority, was the only one omitted in
them. The fact appears to have been the very reverse of what such
historians suppose, and that the activity of the late parliamentary
leaders, in prosecuting the popish plot, was the principal
circumstance which reconciled the nation, for a time, to their other
proceedings; that their conduct in that business (now so justly
condemned) was the grand engine of their power, and that when that
failed, they were soon overpowered by the united forces of bigotry
and corruption. They were hated by a great part of the nation, not
for their crimes, but for their virtues. To be above corruption is
always odious to the corrupt, and to entertain more enlarged and
juster notions of philosophy and government, is often a cause of
alarm to the narrow-minded and superstitious. In those days
particularly it was obvious to refer to the confusion, greatly
exaggerated of the times of the commonwealth; and it was an
excellent watchword of alarm, to accuse every lover of law and
liberty of designs to revive the tragical scene which had closed the
life of the first Charles. In this spirit, therefore, the Exclusion
Bill, and the alleged conspiracies of Sidney and Russell, were, as
might naturally be expected, the chief charges urged against the
Whigs; but their conduct on the subject of the popish plot was so
far from being the cause of the hatred born to them, that it was not
even used as a topic of accusation against them.

In order to keep up that spirit in the nation, which was thought to
be manifested in the addresses, his majesty ordered the declaration,
to which allusion was made in the last chapter, to be published,
interwoven with a history of the Rye House Plot, which is said to
have been drawn by Dr. Spratt, Bishop of Rochester. The principal
drift of this publication was, to load the memory of Sidney and
Russell, and to blacken the character of the Duke of Monmouth, by
wickedly confounding the consultations holden by them with the plot
for assassinating the late king, and in this object it seems in a
great measure to have succeeded. He also caused to be published an
attestation of his brother's having died a Roman Catholic, together
with two papers, drawn up by him, in favour of that persuasion.
This is generally considered to have been a very ill-advised
instance of zeal; but probably James thought, that at a time when
people seemed to be so in love with his power, he might safely
venture to indulge himself in a display of his attachment to his
religion; and perhaps, too, it might be thought good policy to show
that a prince, who had been so highly complimented as Charles had
been, for the restoration and protection of the Church, had, in
truth, been a Catholic, and thus to inculcate an opinion that the
Church of England might not only be safe, but highly favoured, under
the reign of a popish prince.

Partly from similar motives, and partly to gratify the natural
vindictiveness of his temper, he persevered in a most cruel
persecution of the Protestant dissenters, upon the most frivolous
pretences. The courts of justice, as in Charles's days, were
instruments equally ready, either for seconding the policy or for
gratifying the bad passions of the monarch; and Jeffreys, whom the
late king had appointed chief justice of England a little before
Sidney's trial, was a man entirely agreeable to the temper, and
suitable to the purposes, of the present government. He was thought
not to be very learned in his profession; but what might be wanting
in knowledge he made up in positiveness; and, indeed, whatever might
be the difficulties in questions between one subject and another,
the fashionable doctrine, which prevailed at that time, of
supporting the king's prerogative in its full extent, and without
restriction or limitation, rendered, to such as espoused it, all
that branch of law which is called constitutional extremely easy and
simple. He was as submissive and mean to those above him as he was
haughty and insolent to those who were in any degree in his power;
and if in his own conduct he did not exhibit a very nice regard for
morality, or even for decency, he never failed to animadvert upon,
and to punish, the most slight deviation in others with the utmost
severity, especially if they were persons whom he suspected to be no
favourites of the court.

Before this magistrate was brought for trial, by a jury sufficiently
prepossessed in favour of Tory politics, the Rev. Richard Baxter, a
dissenting minister, a pious and learned man, of exemplary
character, always remarkable for his attachment to monarchy, and for
leaning to moderate measures in the differences between the Church
and those of his persuasion. The pretence for this prosecution was
a supposed reference of some passages in one of his works to the
bishops of the Church of England; a reference which was certainly
not intended by him, and which could not have been made out to any
jury that had been less prejudiced, or under any other direction
than that of Jeffreys. The real motive was, the desire of punishing
an eminent dissenting teacher, whose reputation was high among his
sect, and who was supposed to favour the political opinions of the
Whigs. He was found guilty, and Jeffreys, in passing sentence upon
him, loaded him with the coarsest reproaches and bitterest taunts.
He called him sometimes, by way of derision, a saint, sometimes, in
plainer terms, an old rogue; and classed this respectable divine, to
whom the only crime imputed was the having spoken disrespectfully of
the bishops of a communion to which he did not belong, with the
infamous Oates, who had been lately convicted of perjury. He
finished with declaring, that it was a matter of public notoriety
that there was a formed design to ruin the king and the nation, in
which this old man was the principal incendiary. Nor is it
improbable that this declaration, absurd as it was, might gain
belief at a time when the credulity of the triumphant party was at
its height.

Of this credulity it seems to be no inconsiderable testimony, that
some affected nicety which James had shown with regard to the
ceremonies to be used towards the French ambassador, was highly
magnified, and represented to be an indication of the different tone
that was to be taken by the present king, in regard to foreign
powers, and particularly to the court of Versailles. The king was
represented as a prince eminently jealous of the national honour,
and determined to preserve the balance of power in Europe, by
opposing the ambitious projects of France at the very time when he
was supplicating Louis to be his pensioner, and expressing the most
extravagant gratitude for having been accepted as such. From the
information which we now have, it appears that his applications to
Louis for money were incessant, and that the difficulties were all
on the side of the French court. Of the historians who wrote prior
to the inspection of the papers in the foreign office in France,
Burnet is the only one who seems to have known that James's
pretensions of independency with respect to the French king were (as
he terms them) only a show; but there can now be no reason to doubt
the truth of the anecdote which he relates, that Louis soon after
told the Duke of Villeroy, that if James showed any apparent
uneasiness concerning the balance of power (and there is some reason
to suppose he did) in his conversations with the Spanish and other
foreign ambassadors, his intention was, probably, to alarm the court
of Versailles, and thereby to extort pecuniary assistance to a
greater extent; while, on the other hand, Louis, secure in the
knowledge that his views of absolute power must continue him in
dependence upon France, seems to have refused further supplies, and
even in some measure to have withdrawn those which had been
stipulated, as a mark of his displeasure with his dependant, for
assuming a higher tone than he thought becoming.

Whether with a view of giving some countenance to those who were
praising him upon the above mentioned topic, or from what other
motive it is now not easy to conjecture, James seems to have wished
to be upon apparent good terms, at least, with the Prince of Orange;
and after some correspondence with that prince concerning the
protection afforded by him and the states-general to Monmouth, and
other obnoxious persons, it appears that he declared himself, in
consequence of certain explanations and concessions, perfectly
satisfied. It is to be remarked, however, that he thought it
necessary to give the French ambassador an account of this
transaction, and in a manner to apologise to him for entering into
any sort of terms with a son-in-law, who was supposed to be hostile
in disposition to the French king. He assured Barillon that a
change of system on the part of the Prince of Orange in regard to
Louis, should be a condition of his reconciliation: he afterwards
informed him that the Prince of Orange had answered him
satisfactorily in all other respects, but had not taken notice of
his wish that he should connect himself with France; but never told
him that he had, notwithstanding the prince's silence on that
material point, expressed himself completely satisfied with him.
That a proposition to the Prince of Orange, to connect himself in
politics with Louis would, if made, have been rejected, in the
manner in which the king's account to Barillon implies that it was,
there can be no doubt; but whether James ever had the assurance to
make it is more questionable; for as he evidently acted
disingenuously with the ambassador, in concealing from him the
complete satisfaction he had expressed of the Prince of Orange's
present conduct, it is not unreasonable to suppose that he deceived
him still further, and pretended to have made an application, which
he had never hazarded.

However, the ascertaining of this fact is by no means necessary for
the illustration, either of the general history or of James's
particular character, since it appears that the proposition, if
made, was rejected; and James is, in any case, equally convicted of
insincerity, the only point in question being, whether he deceived
the French ambassador, in regard to the fact of his having made the
proposition, or to the sentiments he expressed upon its being
refused. Nothing serves more to show the dependence in which he
considered himself to be upon Louis than these contemptible shifts
to which he condescended, for the purposes of explaining and
apologising for such parts of his conduct as might be supposed to be
less agreeable to that monarch than the rest. An English parliament
acting upon constitutional principles, and the Prince of Orange,
were the two enemies whom Louis most dreaded; and, accordingly,
whenever James found it necessary to make approaches to either of
them, an apology was immediately to be offered to the French
ambassador, to which truth sometimes and honour was always

Mr. Hume says the king found himself, by degrees, under the
necessity of falling into an union with the French monarch, who
could alone assist him in promoting the Catholic religion in
England. But when that historian wrote, those documents had not
been made public, from which the account of the communications with
Barillon has been taken, and by which it appears that a connection
with France was, as well in point of time as in importance, the
first object of his reign, and that the immediate specific motive to
that connection was the same as that of his brother; the desire of
rendering himself independent of parliament, and absolute, not that
of establishing popery in England, which was considered as a more
remote contingency. That this was the case is evident from all the
circumstances of the transaction, and especially from the zeal with
which he was served in it by ministers who were never suspected of
any leaning towards popery, and not one of whom (Sunderland
excepted) could be brought to the measures that were afterwards
taken in favour of that religion. It is the more material to attend
to this distinction, because the Tory historians, especially such of
them as are not Jacobites, have taken much pains to induce us to
attribute the violences and illegalities of this reign to James's
religion, which was peculiar to him, rather than to that desire of
absolute power which so many other princes have had, have, and
always will have, in common with him. The policy of such
misrepresentation is obvious. If this reign is to be considered as
a period insulated, as it were, and unconnected with the general
course of history, and if the events of it are to be attributed
exclusively to the particular character and particular attachments
of the monarch, the sole inference will be that we must not have a
Catholic for our king; whereas, if we consider it, which history
well warrants us to do, as a part of that system which had been
pursued by all the Stuart kings, as well prior as subsequent to the
restoration, the lesson which it affords is very different, as well
as far more instructive. We are taught, generally, the dangers
Englishmen will always be liable to, if, from favour to a prince
upon the throne, or from a confidence, however grounded, that his
views are agreeable to our own notions of the constitution, we in
any considerable degree abate of that vigilant and unremitting
jealousy of the power of the crown, which can alone secure to us the
effect of those wise laws that have been provided for the benefit of
the subject: and still more particularly, that it is in vain to
think of making a compromise with power, and by yielding to it in
other points, preserving some favourite object, such, for instance,
as the Church in James's case, from its grasp.

Previous to meeting his English parliament, James directed a
parliament which had been summoned in the preceding reign, to
assemble at Edinburgh, and appointed the Duke of Queensbury his
commissioner. This appointment is, in itself, a strong indication
that the king's views, with regard to Scotland at least, were
similar to those which I have ascribed to him in England; and that
they did not at that time extend to the introduction of popery, but
were altogether directed to the establishment of absolute power as
the END, and to the support of an episcopal church, upon the model
of the Church of England, as the MEANS. For Queensbury had
explained himself to his majesty in the fullest manner upon the
subject of religion; and while he professed himself to be ready (as,
indeed, his conduct in the late reign had sufficiently proved) to go
any length in supporting royal power and in persecuting the
Presbyterians, had made it a condition of his services, that he
might understand from his majesty that there was no intention of
changing the established religion; for if such was the object, he
could not make any one step with him in that matter. James received
this declaration most kindly, assured him he had no such intention,
and that he would have a parliament, to which he, Queensbury, should
go as commissioner, and giving all possible assurances in the matter
of religion, get the revenue to be settled, and such other laws to
be passed as might be necessary for the public safety. With these
promises the duke was not only satisfied at the time, but declared,
at a subsequent period, that they had been made in so frank and
hearty a manner, as made him conclude that it was impossible the
king should be acting a part. And this nobleman was considered, and
is handed down to us by contemporary writers, as a man of a
penetrating genius, nor has it ever been the national character of
the country to which he belonged to be more liable to be imposed
upon than the rest of mankind.

The Scottish parliament met on the 23rd of April, and was opened by
the commissioner, with the following letter from the king:-

"My Lords and Gentlemen,--The many experiences we have had of the
loyalty and exemplary forwardness of that our ancient kingdom, by
their representatives in parliament assembled, in the reign of our
deceased and most entirely beloved brother of ever blessed memory,
made us desirous to call you at this time, in the beginning of our
reign, to give you an opportunity, not only of showing your duty to
us in the same manner, but likewise of being exemplary to others in
your demonstrations of affection to our person and compliance with
our desires, as you have most eminently been in times past, to a
degree never to be forgotten by us, nor (we hope) to be contradicted
by your future practices. That which we are at this time to propose
unto you is what is as necessary for your safety as our service, and
what has a tendency more to secure your own privileges and
properties than the aggrandising our power and authority (though in
it consists the greatest security of your rights and interests,
these never having been in danger, except when the royal power was
brought too low to protect them), which now we are resolved to
maintain, in its greatest lustre, to the end we may be the more
enabled to defend and protect your religion as established by law,
and your rights and properties (which was our design in calling this
parliament) against fanatical contrivances, murderers, and
assassins, who having no fear of God, more than honour for us, have
brought you into such difficulties as only the blessing of God upon
the steady resolutions and actings of our said dearest royal
brother, and those employed by him (in prosecution of the good and
wholesome laws, by you heretofore offered), could have saved you
from the most horrid confusions and inevitable ruin. Nothing has
been left unattempted by those wild and inhuman traitors for
endeavouring to overturn your peace; and therefore we have good
reason to hope that nothing will be wanting in you to secure
yourselves and us from their outrages and violence in time coming,
and to take care that such conspirators meet with their just
deservings, so as others may thereby be deterred from courses so
little agreeable to religion, or their duty and allegiance to us.
These things we considered to be of so great importance to our
royal, as well as the universal, interest of that our kingdom, that
we were fully resolved, in person, to have proposed the needful
remedies to you. But things having so fallen out as render this
impossible for us, we have now thought fit to send our right trusty
and right entirely beloved cousin and councillor, William, Duke of
Queensbury, to be our commissioner amongst you, of whose abilities
and qualifications we have reason to be fully satisfied, and of
whose faithfulness to us, and zeal for our interest, we have had
signal proofs in the times of our greatest difficulties. Him we
have fully intrusted in all things relating to our service and your
own prosperity and happiness, and therefore you are to give him
entire trust and credit, as you now see we have done, from whose
prudence and your most dutiful affection to us, we have full
confidence of your entire compliance and assistance in all those
matters, wherein he is instructed as aforesaid. We do, therefore,
not only recommend unto you that such things be done as are
necessary in this juncture for your own peace, and the support of
our royal interest, of which we had so much experience when amongst
you, that we cannot doubt of your full and ample expressing the same
on this occasion, by which the great concern we have in you, our
ancient and kindly people, may still increase, and you may transmit
your loyal actions (as examples of duty) to your posterity. In full
confidence whereof we do assure you of your royal favour and
protection in all your concerns, and so we bid you heartily

This letter deserves the more attention because, as the proceedings
of the Scotch parliament, according to a remarkable expression in
the letter itself, were intended to be an example to others, there
is the greatest reason to suppose the matter of it must have been
maturely weighed and considered. His majesty first compliments the
Scotch parliament upon their peculiar loyalty and dutiful behaviour
in past times, meaning, no doubt, to contrast their conduct with
that of those English parliaments who had passed the Exclusion Bill,
the Disbanding Act, the Habeas Corpus Act, and other measures
hostile to his favourite principles of government. He states the
granting of an independent revenue, and the supporting the
prerogative in its greatest lustre, if not the aggrandising of it,
to be necessary for the preservation of their religion, established
by law (that is, the Protestant episcopacy), as well as for the
security of their properties against fanatical assassins and
murderers; thus emphatically announcing a complete union of
interests between the crown and the Church. He then bestows a
complete and unqualified approbation of the persecuting measures of
the last reign, in which he had borne so great a share; and to those
measures, and to the steadiness with which they had been persevered
in, he ascribes the escape of both Church and State from the
fanatics, and expresses his regret that he could not be present, to
propose in person the other remedies of a similar nature, which he
recommended as needful in the present conjuncture.

Now it is proper in this place to inquire into the nature of the
measures thus extolled, as well for the purpose of elucidating the
characters of the king and his Scottish minsters, as for that of
rendering more intelligible the subsequent proceedings of the
parliament, and the other events which soon after took place in that
kingdom. Some general notions may be formed of that course of
proceedings which, according to his majesty's opinion, had been so
laudably and resolutely pursued during the late reign, from the
circumstances alluded to in the preceding chapter, when it is
understood that the sentences of Argyle and Laurie of Blackwood were
not detached instances of oppression, but rather a sample of the
general system of administration. The covenant, which had been so
solemnly taken by the whole kingdom, and, among the rest, by the
king himself, had been declared to be unlawful, and a refusal to
abjure it had been made subject to the severest penalties.
Episcopacy, which was detested by a great majority of the nation,
had been established, and all public exercise of religion, in the
forms to which the people were most attached, had been prohibited.
The attendance upon field conventicles had been made highly penal,
and the preaching at them capital, by which means, according to the
computation of a late writer, no less remarkable for the accuracy of
his facts than for the force and justness of his reasonings, at
least seventeen thousand persons in one district were involved in
criminality, and became the objects of persecution. After this
letters had been issued by government, forbidding the intercommuning
with persons who had neglected or refused to appear before the Privy
Council, when cited for the above crimes, a proceeding by which not
only all succour or assistance to such persons, but, according to
the strict sense of the word made use of, all intercourse with them,
was rendered criminal, and subjected him who disobeyed the
prohibition to the same penalties, whether capital or others, which
were affixed to the alleged crimes of the party with whom he had

These measures not proving effectual for the purpose for which they
were intended, or, as some say, the object of Charles II.'s
government being to provoke an insurrection, a demand was made upon
the landholders in the district supposed to be most disaffected of
bonds, whereby they were to become responsible for their wives,
families, tenants, and servants, and likewise for the wives,
families, and servants of their tenants, and, finally, for all
persons living upon their estates, that they should not withdraw
from the Church, frequent or preach at conventicles, nor give any
succour, or have any intercourse with persons with whom it was
forbidden to intercommune; and the penalties attached to the breach
of this engagement, the keeping of which was obviously out of the
power of him who was required to make it, were to be the same as
those, whether capital or other, to which the several persons for
whom he engaged might be liable. The landholders, not being willing
to subscribe to their own destruction, refused to execute the bonds,
and this was thought sufficient grounds for considering the district
to which they belonged as in a state of rebellion. English and
Irish armies were ordered to the frontiers; a train of artillery and
the militia were sent into the district itself; and six thousand
Highlanders, who were let loose upon its inhabitants, to exercise
every species of pillage and plunder were connived at, or rather
encouraged, in excesses of a still more atrocious nature.

The bonds being still refused, the government had recourse to an
expedient of a most extraordinary nature, and issued what the Scotch
called a writ of Lawburrows against the whole district. This writ
of Lawburrows is somewhat analogous to what we call "swearing the
peace" against any one, and had hitherto been supposed, as the other
is with us, to be applicable to the disputes of private individuals,
and to the apprehensions which, in consequence of such disputes,
they may mutually entertain of each other. A government swearing
the peace against its subjects was a new spectacle; but if a private
subject, under fear of another, hath a right to such a security, how
much more the government itself? was thought an unanswerable
argument. Such are the sophistries which tyrants deem satisfactory.
Thus are they willing even to descend from their loftiness into the
situation of subjects or private men, when it is for the purpose of
acquiring additional powers of persecution; and thus truly
formidable and terrific are they, when they pretend alarm and fear.
By these writs the persons against whom they were directed were
bound, as in case of the former bonds, to conditions which were not
in their power to fulfil, such as the preventing of conventicles and
the like, under such penalties as the Privy Council might inflict,
and a disobedience to them was followed by outlawry and

The conduct of the Duke of Lauderdale, who was the chief actor in
these scenes of violence and iniquity, was completely approved and
justified at court; but in consequence probably of the state of
politics in England at a time when the Whigs were strongest in the
House of Commons, some of these grievances were in part redressed,
and the Highlanders, and writs of Lawburrows were recalled. But the
country was still treated like a conquered country. The Highlanders
were replaced by an army of five thousand regulars, and garrisons
were placed in private houses. The persecution of conventicles
continued, and ample indemnity was granted for every species of
violence that might be exercised by those employed to suppress them.
In this state of things the assassination and murder of Sharp,
Archbishop of St. Andrews, by a troop of fanatics, who had been
driven to madness by the oppression of Carmichael, one of that
prelate's instruments, while it gave an additional spur to the
vindictive temper of the government, was considered by it as a
justification for every mode and degree of cruelty and persecution.
The outrage committed by a few individuals was imputed to the whole
fanatic sect, as the government termed them, or, in other words, to
a description of people which composed a great majority of the
population in the Lowlands of Scotland; and those who attended field
or armed conventicles were ordered to be indiscriminately massacred.

By such means an insurrection was at last produced, which, from the
weakness, or, as some suppose, from the wicked policy of an
administration eager for confiscations, and desirous of such a state
of the country as might, in some measure, justify their course of
government, made such a progress that the insurgents became masters
of Glasgow and the country adjacent. To quell these insurgents,
who, undisciplined as they were, had defeated Graham, afterwards
Viscount Dundee, the Duke of Monmouth was sent with an army from
England; but, lest the generous mildness of his nature should
prevail, he had sealed orders which he was not to open till in sight
of the rebels, enjoining him not to treat with them, but to fall
upon them without any previous negotiation. In pursuance of these
orders the insurgents were attacked at Bothwell Bridge, where,
though they were entirely routed and dispersed, yet because those
who surrendered at discretion were not put to death, and the army,
by the strict enforcing of discipline, were prevented from plunder
and other outrages, it was represented by James, and in some degree
even by the king, that Monmouth had acted as if he had meant rather
to put himself at the head of the fanatics than to repel them, and
were inclined rather to court their friendship than to punish their
rebellion. All complaints against Lauderdale were dismissed, his
power confirmed, and an act of indemnity, which had been procured at
Monmouth's intercession, was so clogged with exceptions as to be of
little use to any but to the agents of tyranny. Several persons,
who were neither directly nor indirectly concerned in the murder of
the archbishop, were executed as an expiation for that offence; but
many more were obliged to compound for their lives by submitting to
the most rapacious extortion, which at this particular period seems
to have been the engine of oppression most in fashion, and which was
extended not only to those who had been in any way concerned in the
insurrection, but to those who had neglected to attend the standard
of the king, when displayed against what was styled, in the usual
insulting language of tyrants, a most unnatural rebellion.

The quiet produced by such means was, as might be expected, of no
long duration. Enthusiasm was increased by persecution, and the
fanatic preachers found no difficulty in persuading their flocks to
throw off all allegiance to a government which afforded them no
protection. The king was declared to be an apostate from the
government, a tyrant, and an usurper; and Cargill, one of the most
enthusiastic among the preachers, pronounced a formal sentence of
excommunication against him, his brother the Duke of York, and
others, their ministers and abettors. This outrage upon majesty
together with an insurrection contemptible in point of numbers and
strength, in which Cameron, another field-preacher, had been killed,
furnished a pretence which was by no means neglected for new
cruelties and executions; but neither death nor torture were
sufficient to subdue the minds of Cargill and his intrepid
followers. They all gloried in their sufferings; nor could the
meanest of them be brought to purchase their lives by a retractation
of their principles, or even by any expression that might be
construed into an approbation of their persecutors. The effect of
this heroic constancy upon the minds of their oppressors was to
persuade them not to lessen the numbers of executions, but to render
them more private, whereby they exposed the true character of their
government, which was not severity, but violence; not justice, but
vengeance: for example being the only legitimate end of punishment,
where that is likely to encourage rather than to deter (as the
government in these instances seems to have apprehended), and
consequently to prove more pernicious than salutary, every
punishment inflicted by the magistrate is cruelty, every execution
murder. The rage of punishment did not stop even here, but
questions were put to persons, and in many instances to persons
under torture, who had not been proved to have been in any of the
insurrections, whether they considered the archbishop's
assassination as murder, the rising at Bothwell Bridge rebellion,
and Charles a lawful king. The refusal to answer these questions,
or the answering of them in an unsatisfactory manner, was deemed a
proof of guilt, and immediate execution ensued.

These last proceedings had taken place while James himself had the
government in his hands, and under his immediate directions. Not
long after, and when the exclusionists in England were supposed to
be entirely defeated, was passed (James being the king's
commissioner), the famous bill of succession, declaring that no
difference of religion, nor any statute or law grounded upon such,
or any other pretence, could defeat the hereditary right of the heir
to the crown, and that to propose any limitation upon the future
administration of such heir was high treason. But the Protestant
religion was to be secured; for those who were most obsequious to
the court, and the most willing and forward instruments of its
tyranny, were, nevertheless, zealous Protestants. A test was
therefore framed for this purpose, which was imposed upon all
persons exercising any civil or military functions whatever, the
royal family alone excepted; but to the declaration of adherence to
the Protestant religion was added a recognition of the king's
supremacy in ecclesiastical matters, and a complete renunciation in
civil concerns of every right belonging to a free subject. An
adherence to the Protestant religion, according to the confession of
it referred to in the test, seemed to some inconsistent with the
acknowledgment of the king's supremacy and that clause of the oath
which related to civil matters, inasmuch as it declared against
endeavouring at any alteration in the Church or State, seemed
incompatible with the duties of a counsellor or a member of
parliament. Upon these grounds the Earl of Argyle, in taking the
oath, thought fit to declare as follows:-

"I have considered the test, and I am very desirous to give
obedience as far as I can. I am confident the parliament never
intended to impose contradictory oaths; therefore I think no man can
explain it but for himself. Accordingly I take it, as far as it is
consistent with itself and the Protestant religion. And I do
declare that I mean not to bind up myself in my station, and in a
lawful way, to wish and endeavour any alteration I think to the
advantage of the Church or State, not repugnant to the Protestant
religion and my loyalty. And this I understand as a part of the
oath." And for this declaration, though unnoticed at the time, he
was in a few days afterwards committed, and shortly after sentenced
to die. Nor was the test applied only to those for whom it had been
originally instituted, but by being offered to those numerous
classes of people who were within the reach of the late severe
criminal laws, as an alternative for death or confiscation, it might
fairly be said to be imposed upon the greater part of the country.

Not long after these transactions James took his final leave of the
government, and in his parting speech recommended, in the strongest
terms, the support of the Church. This gracious expression, the
sincerity of which seemed to be evinced by his conduct to the
conventiclers and the severity with which he had enforced the test,
obtained him a testimonial from the bishops of his affection to
their Protestant Church, a testimonial to which, upon the principle
that they are the best friends to the Church who are most willing to
persecute such as dissent from it, he was, notwithstanding his own
nonconformity, most amply entitled.

Queensbury's administration ensued, in which the maxims that had
guided his predecessors were so far from being relinquished, that
they were pursued, if possible, with greater steadiness and
activity. Lawrie of Blackwood was condemned for having holden
intercourse with a rebel, whose name was not to be found in any of
the lists of the intercommuned or proscribed; and a proclamation was
issued, threatening all who were in like circumstances with a
similar fate. The intercourse with rebels having been in great
parts of the kingdom promiscuous and universal, more than twenty
thousand persons were objects of this menace. Fines and extortions
of all kinds were employed to enrich the public treasury, to which,
therefore, the multiplication of crimes became a fruitful source of
revenue; and lest it should not be sufficiently so, husbands were
made answerable (and that too with a retrospect) for the absence of
their wives from church; a circumstance which the Presbyterian
women's aversion to the episcopal form of worship had rendered very

This system of government, and especially the rigour with which
those concerned in the late insurrections, the excommunication of
the king, or the other outrages complained of, were pursued and
hunted sometimes by bloodhounds, sometimes by soldiers almost
equally savage, and afterwards shot like wild beasts, drove some of
those sectaries who were styled Cameronians, and other proscribed
persons, to measures of absolute desperation. They made a
declaration, which they caused to be affixed to different churches,
importing, that they would use the law of retaliation, and "we
will," said they, "punish as enemies to God, and to the covenant,
such persons as shall make it their work to imbrue their hands in
our blood; and chiefly, if they shall continue obstinately and with
habitual malice to proceed against us," with more to the like
effect. Upon such an occasion the interference of government became
necessary. The government did indeed interfere, and by a vote of
council ordered, that whoever owned, or refused to disown, the
declaration on oath, should be put to death in the presence of two
witnesses, though unarmed when taken. The execution of this
massacre in the welvet counties which were principally concerned,
was committed to the military, and exceeded, if possible, the order
itself. The disowning the declaration was required to be in a
particular form prescribed. Women, obstinate in their fanaticism,
lest female blood should be a stain upon the swords of soldiers
engaged in this honourable employment, were drowned. The
habitations, as well of those who had fled to save themselves, as of
those who suffered, were burnt and destroyed. Such members of the
families of the delinquents as were above twelve years old were
imprisoned for the purpose of being afterwards transported. The
brutality of the soldiers was such as might be expected from an army
let loose from all restraint, and employed to execute the royal
justice, as it was called, upon wretches. Graham who has been
mentioned before, and who, under the title of Lord Dundee, a title
which was probably conferred upon him by James for these or similar
services, was afterwards esteemed such a hero among the Jacobite
party, particularly distinguished himself. Of six unarmed fugitives
whom he seized, he caused four to be shot in his presence, nor did
the remaining two experience any other mercy from him than a delay
of their doom; and at another time, having intercepted the flight of
one of these victims, he had him shown to his family, and then
murdered in the arms of his wife. The example of persons of such
high rank, and who must be presumed to have had an education in some
degree correspondent to their station, could not fail of operating
upon men of a lower order in society. The carnage became every day
more general and more indiscriminate, and the murder of peasants in
their houses, or while employed at their usual work in the fields,
by the soldiers, was not only not reproved or punished, but deemed a
meritorious service by their superiors. The demise of King Charles,
which happened about this time, caused no suspension or relaxation
in these proceedings, which seemed to have been the crowning
measure, as it were, or finishing stroke of that system, for the
steady perseverance in which James so much admired the resolution of
his brother.

It has been judged necessary to detail these transactions in a
manner which may, to some readers, appear an impertinent digression
from the narrative in which this history is at present engaged, in
order to set in a clearer light some points of the greatest
importance. In the first place, from the summary review of the
affairs of Scotland, and from the complacency with which James looks
back to his own share of them, joined to the general approbation he
expressed of the conduct of government in that kingdom, we may form
a pretty just notion, as well of his maxims of policy, as of his
temper and disposition in matters where his bigotry to the Roman
Catholic religion had no share. For it is to be observed and
carefully kept in mind, that the Church, of which he not only
recommends the support, but which be showed himself ready to
maintain by the most violent means, is the Episcopalian Church of
the Protestants; that the test which he enforced at the point of the
bayonet was a Protestant test, so much so indeed, that he himself
could not take it; and that the more marked character of the
conventicles, the objects of his persecution, was not so much that
of heretics excommunicated by the Pope, as of dissenters from the
Church of England, and irreconcilable enemies to the Protestant
liturgy and the Protestant episcopacy. But he judged the Church of
England to be a most fit instrument for rendering the monarchy
absolute. On the other hand, the Presbyterians were thought
naturally hostile to the principles of passive obedience, and to one
or other, or with more probability to both of these considerations,
joined to the natural violence of his temper, is to be referred the
whole of his conduct in this part of his life, which in this view is
rational enough; but on the supposition of his having conceived thus
early the intention of introducing popery upon the ruins of the
Church of England, is wholly unaccountable, and no less absurd, than
if a general were to put himself to great cost and pains to furnish
with ammunition and to strengthen with fortifications a place of
which he was actually meditating the attack.

The next important observation that occurs, and to which even they
who are most determined to believe that this prince had always
popery in view, and held every other consideration as subordinate to
that primary object, must nevertheless subscribe, is that the most
confidential advisors, as well as the most furious supporters of the
measures we have related, were not Roman Catholics. Lauderdale and
Queensbury were both Protestants. There is no reason, therefore, to
impute any of James's violence afterwards to the suggestions of his
Catholic advisers, since he who had been engaged in the series of
measures above related with Protestant counsellors and coadjutors,
had surely nothing to learn from papists (whether priests, jesuits,
or others) in the science of tyranny. Lastly, from this account we
are enabled to form some notion of the state of Scotland at a time
when the parliament of that kingdom was called to set an example for
this, and we find it to have been a state of more absolute slavery
than at that time subsisted in any part of Christendom.

The affairs of Scotland being in the state which we have described,
it is no wonder that the king's letter was received with
acclamations of applause, and that the parliament opened, not only
with approbation of the government, but even with an enthusiastic
zeal to signalise their loyalty, as well by a perfect acquiescence
to the king's demands, as by the most fulsome expressions of
adulation. "What prince in Europe, or in the whole world," said the
chancellor Perth, "was ever like the late king, except his present
majesty, who had undergone every trial of prosperity and adversity,
and whose unwearied clemency was not among the least conspicuous of
his virtues? To advance his honour and greatness was the duty of
all his subjects, and ought to be the endeavour of their lives
without reserve." The parliament voted an address, scarcely less
adulatory than the chancellor's speech.

"May it please your sacred majesty--Your majesty's gracious and kind
remembrance of the services done by this, your ancient kingdom, to
the late king your brother, of ever glorious memory, shall rather
raise in us ardent desires to exceed whatever we have done formerly,
than make us consider them as deserving the esteem your majesty is
pleased to express of them in your letter to us dated the twenty-
eighth of March. The death of that our excellent monarch is
lamented by us to all the degrees of grief that are consistent with
our great joy for the succession of your sacred majesty, who has not
only continued, but secured the happiness which his wisdom, his
justice, and clemency procured to us: and having the honour to be
the first parliament which meets by your royal authority, of which
we are very sensible, your majesty may be confident that we will
offer such laws as may best secure your majesty's sacred person, the
royal family and government, and be so exemplary loyal, as to raise
your honour and greatness to the utmost of our power, which we shall
ever esteem both our duty and interest. Nor shall we leave anything
undone for extirpating all fanaticism, but especially those
fanatical murderers and assassins, and for detecting and punishing
the late conspirators, whose pernicious and execrable designs did so
much tend to subvert your majesty's government, and ruin us and all
your majesty's faithful subjects. We can assure your majesty, that
the subjects of this your majesty's ancient kingdom are so desirous
to exceed all their predecessors in extraordinary marks of affection
and obedience to your majesty, that (God be praised) the only way to
be popular with us is to be eminently loyal. Your majesty's care of
us, when you took us to be your special charge, your wisdom in
extinguishing the seeds of rebellion and faction amongst us, your
justice, which was so great as to be for ever exemplary, but above
all, your majesty's free and cheerful securing to us our religion,
when your were the late king's, your royal brother's commissioner,
now again renewed, when you are our sovereign, are what your
subjects here can never forget, and therefore your majesty may
expect that we will think your commands sacred as your person, and
that your inclination will prevent our debates; nor did ever any who
represented our monarchs as their commissioners (except your royal
self) meet with greater respect, or more exact observance from a
parliament, than the Duke of Queensbury (whom your majesty has so
wisely chosen to represent you in this, and of whose eminent loyalty
and great abilities in all his former employments this nation hath
seen so many proofs) shall find from

"May it please your sacred majesty, your majesty's most humble, most
faithful, and most obedient subjects and servants, "PERTH, Cancell."

Nor was this spirit of loyalty (as it was then called) of abject
slavery, and unmanly subservience to the will of a despot, as it has
been justly denominated by the more impartial judgment of posterity,
confined to words only. Acts were passed to ratify all the late
judgments, however illegal or iniquitous, to indemnify the privy
council, judges, and all officers of the crown, civil or military,
for all the violences they had committed; to authorise the privy
council to impose the test upon all ranks of people under such
penalties as that board might think fit to impose; to extend the
punishment of death which had formerly attached upon the preachers
at field conventicles only, to all their auditors, and likewise to
the preachers at house conventicles; to subject to the penalties of
treason all persons who should give or take the covenant, or write
in defence thereof, or in any other way own it to be obligatory; and
lastly, in a strain of tyranny, for which there was, it is believed,
no precedent, and which certainly has never been surpassed, to enact
that all such persons as being cited in cases of high treason, field
or house conventicles, or church irregularities, should refuse to
give testimony, should be liable to the punishment due by law to the
criminals against whom they refused to be witnesses. It is true
that an act was also passed for confirming all former statutes in
favour of the Protestant religion as then established, in their
whole strength and tenour, as if they were particularly set down and
expressed in the said act; but when we recollect the notions which
Queensbury at that time entertained of the king's views, this
proceeding forms no exception to the general system of servility
which characterised both ministers and parliament. All matters in
relation to revenue were of course settled in the manner most
agreeable to his majesty's wishes and the recommendation of his

While the legislature was doing its part, the executive government
was not behindhand in pursuing the system which had been so much
commended. A refusal to abjure the declaration in the terms
prescribed, was everywhere considered as sufficient cause for
immediate execution. In one part of the country information having
been received that a corpse had been clandestinely buried, an
inquiry took place; it was dug up, and found to be that of a person
proscribed. Those who had interred him were suspected, not of
having murdered, but of having harboured him. For this crime their
house was destroyed, and the women and children of the family being
driven out to wander as vagabonds, a young man belonging to it was
executed by the order of Johnston of Westerraw. Against this murder
even Graham himself is said to have remonstrated, but was content
with protesting that the blood was not upon his head; and not being
able to persuade a Highland officer to execute the order of
Johnston, ordered his own men to shoot the unhappy victim. In
another county three females, one of sixty-three years of age, one
of eighteen, and one of twelve, were charged with rebellion; and
refusing to abjure the declaration, were sentenced to be drowned.
The last was let off upon condition of her father's giving a bond
for a hundred pounds. The elderly woman, who is represented as a
person of eminent piety, bore her fate with the greatest constancy,
nor does it appear that her death excited any strong sensations in
the minds of her savage executioners. The girl of eighteen was more
pitied, and after many entreaties, and having been once under water,
was prevailed upon to utter some words which might be fairly
construed into blessing the king, a mode of obtaining pardon not
unfrequent in cases where the persecutors were inclined to relent.
Upon this it was thought she was safe, but the merciless barbarian
who superintended this dreadful business was not satisfied; and upon
her refusing the abjuration, she was again plunged into the water,
where she expired. It is to be remarked that being at Bothwell
Bridge and Air's Moss were among the crimes stated in the indictment
of all the three, though, when the last of these affairs happened,
one of the girls was only thirteen, and the other not eight years of
age. At the time of the Bothwell Bridge business, they were still
younger. To recite all the instances of cruelty which occurred
would be endless; but it may be necessary to remark that no
historical facts are better ascertained than the accounts of them
which are to be found in Woodrow. In every instance where there has
been an opportunity of comparing these accounts with records, and
other authentic monuments, they appear to be quite correct.

The Scottish parliament having thus set, as they had been required
to do, an eminent example of what was then thought duty to the
crown, the king met his English parliament on the 19th of May, 1685,
and opened it with the following speech:-

"My lords and gentlemen,--After it pleased Almighty God to take to
his mercy the late king, my dearest brother, and to bring me to the
peaceable possession of the throne of my ancestors, I immediately
resolved to call a parliament, as the best means to settle
everything upon these foundations as may make my reign both easy and
happy to you; towards which I am disposed to contribute all that is
fit for me to do.

"What I said to my privy council at my first coming there I am
desirous to renew to you, wherein I fully declare my opinion
concerning the principles of the Church of England, whose members
have showed themselves so eminently loyal in the worst of times in
defence of my father and support of my brother (of blessed memory),
that I will always take care to defend and support it. I will make
it my endeavour to preserve this government, both in Church and
State, as it is by law established: and as I will never depart from
the just rights and prerogatives of the crown, so I will never
invade any man's property; and you may be sure that having
heretofore ventured my life in the defence of this nation, I will
still go as far as any man in preserving it in all its just rights
and liberties.

"And having given this assurance concerning the care I will have of
your religion and property, which I have chose to do in the same
words which I used at my first coming to the crown, the better to
evidence to you that I spoke them not by chance, and consequently
that you may firmly rely upon a promise so solemnly made, I cannot
doubt that I shall fail of suitable returns from you, with all
imaginable duty and kindness on your part, and particularly to what
relates to the settling of my revenue, and continuing it during my
life, as it was in the lifetime of my brother. I might use many
arguments to enforce this demand for the benefit of trade, the
support of the navy, the necessity of the crown, and the well-being
of the government itself, which I must not suffer to be precarious;
but I am confident your own consideration of what is just and
reasonable will suggest to you whatsoever might be enlarged upon
this occasion.

"There is one popular argument which I foresee may be used against
what I ask of you, from the inclination men have for frequent
parliaments, which some may think would be the best security, by
feeding me from time to time by such proportions as they shall think
convenient. And this argument, it being the first time I speak to
you from the throne, I will answer, once for all, that this would be
a very improper method to take with me; and that the best way to
engage me to meet you often is always to use me well.

"I expect, therefore, that you will comply with me in what I have
desired, and that you will do it speedily, that this may be a short
session, and that we may meet again to all our satisfactions.

"My lords and gentlemen,--I must acquaint you that I have had news
this morning from Scotland that Argyle is landed in the West
Highlands, with the men he brought with him from Holland: that
there are two declarations published, one in the name of all those
in arms, the other in his own. It would be too long for me to
repeat the substance of them; it is sufficient to tell you I am
charged with usurpation and tyranny. The shorter of them I have
directed to be forthwith communicated to you.

"I will take the best care I can that this declaration of their own
faction and rebellion may meet with the reward it deserves; and I
will not doubt but you will be the more zealous to support the
government, and give me my revenue, as I have desired it, without

The repetition of the words made use of in his first speech to the
privy council shows that, in the opinion of the court, at least,
they had been well chosen, and had answered their purpose; and even
the haughty language which was added, and was little less than a
menace to parliament if it should not comply with his wishes, was
not, as it appears, unpleasing to the party which at that time
prevailed, since the revenue enjoyed by his predecessor was
unanimously, and almost immediately, voted to him for life. It was
not remarked, in public at least, that the king's threat of
governing without parliament was an unequivocal manifestation of his
contempt of the law of the country, so distinctly established,
though so ineffectually secured, by the statute of the sixteenth of
Charles II., for holding triennial parliaments. It is said Lord-
keeper Guildford had prepared a different speech for his majesty,
but that this was preferred, as being the king's own words; and,
indeed, that part of it in which he says that he must answer once
for all that the Commons giving such proportions as they might think
convenient would be a very improper way with him, bears, as well as
some others, the most evident marks of its royal origin. It is to
be observed, however, that in arguing for his demand, as he styles
it, of revenue, he says, not that the parliament ought not, but that
he must not, suffer the well-being of the government depending upon
such revenue to be precarious; whence it is evident that he intended
to have it understood that if the parliament did not grant, he
purposed to levy a revenue without their consent. It is impossible
that any degree of party spirit should so have blinded men as to
prevent them from perceiving in this speech a determination on the
part of the king to conduct his government upon the principles of
absolute monarchy, and to those who were not so possessed with the
love of royalty, which creates a kind of passionate affection for
whoever happens to be the wearer of the crown, the vindictive manner
in which he speaks of Argyle's invasion might afford sufficient
evidence of the temper in which his power would be administered. In
that part of his speech he first betrays his personal feelings
towards the unfortunate nobleman, whom, in his brother's reign, he
had so cruelly and treacherously oppressed, by dwelling upon his
being charged by Argyle with tyranny and usurpation, and then
declares that he will take the best care, not according to the usual
phrases to protect the loyal and well disposed, and to restore
tranquillity, but that the declaration of the factious and
rebellions may meet with the reward it deserves, thus marking out
revenge and punishment as the consequences of victory, upon which he
was most intent.

It is impossible that in a House of Commons, however composed, there
should not have been many members who disapproved the principles of
government announced in the speech, and who were justly alarmed at
the temper in which it was conceived. But these, overpowered by
numbers, and perhaps afraid of the imputation of being concerned in
plots and insurrections (an imputation which, if they had shown any
spirit of liberty, would most infallibly have been thrown on them),
declined expressing their sentiments; and in the short session which
followed there was an almost uninterrupted unanimity in granting
every demand, and acquiescing in every wish of the government. The
revenue was granted without any notice being taken of the illegal
manner in which the king had levied it upon his own authority.
Argyle was stigmatised as a traitor; nor was any desire expressed to
examine his declarations, one of which seemed to be purposely
withheld from parliament. Upon the communication of the Duke of
Monmouth's landing in the west that nobleman was immediately
attainted by bill. The king's assurance was recognised as a
sufficient security for the national religion; and the liberty of
the press was destroyed by the revival of the statute of the 13th
and 14th of Charles II. This last circumstance, important as it is,
does not seem to have excited much attention at the time, which,
considering the general principles then in fashion, is not
surprising. That it should have been scarcely noticed by any
historian is more wonderful. It is true, however, that the terror
inspired by the late prosecutions for libels, and the violent
conduct of the courts upon such occasions, rendered a formal
destruction of the liberty of the press a matter of less importance.
So little does the magistracy, when it is inclined to act
tyrannically, stand in need of tyrannical laws to effect its
purpose. The bare silence and acquiescence of the legislature is in
such a case fully sufficient to annihilate, practically speaking,
every right and liberty of the subject.

As the grant of revenue was unanimous, so there does not appear to
have been anything which can justly be styled a debate upon it,
though Hume employs several pages in giving the arguments which, he
affirms, were actually made use of, and, as he gives us to
understand, in the House of Commons, for and against the question;
arguments which, on both sides, seem to imply a considerable love of
freedom and jealousy of royal power, and are not wholly unmixed even
with some sentiments disrespectful to the king. Now I cannot find,
either from tradition, or from contemporary writers, any ground to
think that either the reasons which Hume has adduced, or indeed any
other, were urged in opposition to the grant. The only speech made
upon the occasion seems to have been that of Mr. (afterwards Sir
Edward) Seymour, who, though of the Tory party, a strenuous opposer
of the Exclusion Bill, and in general supposed to have been an
approver, if not an adviser, of the tyrannical measures of the late
reign, has the merit of having stood forward singly, to remind the
House of what they owed to themselves and their constituents. He
did not, however, directly oppose the grant, but stated, that the
elections had been carried on under so much court influence, and in
other respects so illegally, that it was the duty of the House first
to ascertain who were the legal members, before they proceeded to
other business of importance. After having pressed this point, he
observed that if ever it were necessary to adopt such an order of
proceeding, it was more peculiarly so now, when the laws and
religion of the nation were in evident peril; that the aversion of
the English people to popery, and their attachment to the laws were
such, as to secure these blessings from destruction by any other
instrumentality than that of parliament itself, which, however,
might be easily accomplished, if there were once a parliament
entirely dependent upon the persons who might harbour such designs;
that it was already rumoured that the Test and Habeas Corpus Acts,
the two bulwarks of our religion and liberties, were to be repealed;
that what he stated was so notorious as to need no proof. Having
descanted with force and ability upon these and other topics of a
similar tendency, he urged his conclusion, that the question of
royal revenue ought not to be the first business of the parliament.
Whether, as Burnet thinks, because he was too proud to make any
previous communication of his intentions, or that the strain of his
argument was judged to be too bold for the times, this speech,
whatever secret approbation it might excite, did not receive from
any quarter either applause or support. Under these circumstances
it was not thought necessary to answer him, and the grant was voted
unanimously, without further discussion.

As Barillon, in the relation of parliamentary proceedings,
transmitted by him to his court, in which he appears at this time to
have been very exact, gives the same description of Seymour's speech
and its effects with Burnet, there can be little doubt but their
account is correct. It will be found as well in this, as in many
other instances, that an unfortunate inattention on the part of the
reverend historian to forms has made his veracity unjustly called in
question. He speaks of Seymour's speech as if it had been a motion
in the technical sense of the word, for inquiring into the
elections, which had no effect. Now no traces remaining of such a
motion, and, on the other hand, the elections having been at a
subsequent period inquired into, Ralph almost pronounces the whole
account to be erroneous; whereas the only mistake consists in giving
the name of motion to a suggestion, upon the question of a grant.
It is whimsical enough, that it should be from the account of the
French ambassador that we are enabled to reconcile to the records
and to the forms of the English House of Commons, a relation made by
a distinguished member of the English House of Lords. Sir John
Reresby does indeed say, that among the gentlemen of the House of
Commons whom he accidentally met, they in general seemed willing to
settle a handsome revenue upon the king, and to give him money; but
whether their grant should be permanent, or only temporary, and to
be renewed from time to time by parliament, that the nation might be
often consulted, was the question. But besides the looseness of the
expression, which may only mean that the point was questionable, it
is to be observed, that he does not relate any of the arguments
which were brought forward even in the private conversations to
which he refers; and when he afterwards gives an account of what
passed in the House of Commons (where he was present), he does not
hint at any debate having taken place, but rather implies the

This misrepresentation of Mr. Hume's is of no small importance,
inasmuch as, by intimating that such a question could be debated at
all, and much more, that it was debated with the enlightened views
and bold topics of argument with which his genius has supplied him,
he gives us a very false notion of the character of the parliament
and of the times which he is describing. It is not improbable, that
if the arguments had been used, which this historian supposes, the
utterer of them would have been expelled, or sent to the Tower; and
it is certain that he would not have been heard with any degree of
attention or even patience.

The unanimous vote for trusting the safety of religion to the king's
declaration passed not without observation, the rights of the Church
of England being the only point upon which, at this time, the
parliament were in any degree jealous of the royal power. The
committee of religion had voted unanimously, "That it is the opinion
of the committee, that this House will stand by his majesty with
their lives and fortunes, according to their bounden duty and
allegiance, in defence of the reformed Church of England, as it is
now by law established; and that an humble address be presented to
his majesty, to desire him to issue forth his royal proclamation, to
cause the penal laws to be put in execution against all dissenters
from the Church of England whatsoever." But upon the report of the
House, the question of agreeing with the committee was evaded by a
previous question, and the House, with equal unanimity, resolved:
"That this House doth acquiesce, and entirely rely, and rest wholly
satisfied, on his majesty's gracious word, and repeated declaration
to support and defend the religion of the Church of England, as it
is now by law established, which is dearer to us than our lives."
Mr. Echard, and Bishop Kennet, two writers of different principles,
but both churchmen, assign, as the motive of this vote, the
unwillingness of the party then prevalent in parliament to adopt
severe measures against the Protestant dissenters; but in this
notion they are by no means supported by the account, imperfect as
it is, which Sir John Reresby gives of the debate, for he makes no
mention of tenderness towards dissenters, but states as the chief
argument against agreeing with the committee, that it might excite a
jealousy of the king; and Barillon expressly says, that the first
vote gave great offence to the king, still more to the queen, and
that orders were, in consequence, issued to the court members of the
House of Commons to devise some means to get rid of it. Indeed, the
general circumstances of the times are decisive against the
hypothesis of the two reverend historians; nor is it, as far as I
know, adopted by any other historians. The probability seems to be,
that the motion in the committee had been originally suggested by
some Whig member, who could not, with prudence, speak his real
sentiments openly, and who thought to embarrass the government, by
touching upon a matter where the union between the church party and
the king would be put to the severest test. The zeal of the Tories
for persecution made them at first give into the snare; but when,
upon reflection, it occurred that the involving of the Catholics in
one common danger with the Protestant dissenters must be displeasing
to the king, they drew back without delay, and passed the most
comprehensive vote of confidence which James could desire.

Further to manifest their servility to the king, as well as their
hostility to every principle that could by implication be supposed
to be connected with Monmouth or his cause, the House of Commons
passed a bill for the preservation of his majesty's person, in
which, after enacting that a written or verbal declaration of a
treasonable intention should be tantamount to a treasonable act,
they inserted two remarkable clauses, by one of which to assert the
legitimacy of Monmouth's birth, by the other, to propose in
parliament any alteration in the succession of the crown, were made
likewise high treason. We learn from Burnet, that the first part of
this bill was strenuously and warmly debated, and that it was
chiefly opposed by Serjeant Maynard, whose arguments made some
impression even at that time; but whether the serjeant was supported
in his opposition, as the word CHIEFLY would lead us to imagine, or
if supported, by whom, that historian does not mention; and,
unfortunately, neither of Maynard's speech itself, nor indeed of any
opposition whatever to the bill, is there any other trace to be
found. The crying injustice of the clause which subjected a man to
the pains of treason merely for delivering his opinion upon a
controverted fact, though he should do no act in consequence of such
opinion, was not, as far as we are informed, objected to or at all
noticed, unless indeed the speech above alluded to, in which the
speaker is said to have descanted upon the general danger of making
words treasonable, be supposed to have been applied to this clause
as well as to the former part of the bill. That the other clause
should have passed without opposition or even observation, must
appear still more extraordinary, when we advert, not only to the
nature of the clause itself, but to the circumstances of there being
actually in the House no inconsiderable number of members who had in
the former reign repeatedly voted for the Exclusion Bill.

It is worthy of notice, however, that while every principle of
criminal jurisprudence, and every regard to the fundamental rights
of the deliberative assemblies, which make part of the legislature
of the nation, were thus shamelessly sacrificed to the eagerness
which, at this disgraceful period, so generally prevailed of
manifesting loyalty, or rather abject servility to the sovereign,
there still remained no small degree of tenderness for the interests
and safety of the Church of England, and a sentiment approaching to
jealousy upon any matter which might endanger, even by the most
remote consequences, or put any restriction upon her ministers.
With this view, as one part of the bill did not relate to treasons
only, but imposed new penalties upon such as should, by writing,
printing, preaching, or other speaking, attempt to bring the king or
his government into hatred or contempt, there was a special proviso
added, "that the asserting and maintaining, by any writing,
printing, preaching, or any other speaking, the doctrine,
discipline, divine worship, or government of the Church of England
as it is now by law established, against popery or any other
different or dissenting opinions, is not intended, and shall not be
interpreted or construed to be any offence within the words or
meaning of this Act." It cannot escape the reader, that only such
attacks upon popery as were made in favour of the doctrine and
discipline of the Church of England, and no other, were protected by
this proviso, and consequently that, if there were any real occasion
for such a guard, all Protestant dissenters who should write or
speak against the Roman superstition were wholly unprotected by it,
and remained exposed to the danger, whatever it might be, from which
the Church was so anxious to exempt her supporters.

This bill passed the House of Commons, and was sent up to the House
of Lords on the 30th of June. It was read a first time on that day,
but the adjournment of both houses taking place on the 2nd of July,
it could not make any further progress at that time; and when the
parliament met afterwards in autumn, there was no longer that
passionate affection for the monarch, nor consequently that ardent
zeal for servitude which were necessary to make a law with such
clauses and provisoes palatable or even endurable.

It is not to be considered as an exception to the general
complaisance of parliament, that the Speaker, when he presented the
Revenue Bill, made use of some strong expressions, declaring the
attachment of the Commons to the national religion. Such sentiments
could not be supposed to be displeasing to James, after the
assurances he had given of his regard for the Church of England.
Upon this occasion his majesty made the following speech:-

"My lords and gentlemen,--I thank you very heartily for the bill you
have presented me this day; and I assure you, the readiness and
cheerfulness that has attended the despatch of it is as acceptable
to me as the bill itself.

"After so happy a beginning, you may believe I would not call upon
you unnecessarily for an extraordinary supply; but when I tell you
that the stores of the navy and ordnance are extremely exhausted,
that the anticipations upon several branches of the revenue are
great and burthensome; that the debts of the king, my brother, to
his servants and family, are such as deserve compassion; that the
rebellion in Scotland, without putting more weight upon it than it
really deserves, must oblige me to a considerable expense
extraordinary: I am sure, such considerations will move you to give
me an aid to provide for those things, wherein the security, the
ease, and the happiness of my government are so much concerned. But
above all, I must recommend you to the care of the navy, the
strength and glory of this nation; that you will put it into such a
condition as may make us considered and respected abroad. I cannot
express my concern upon this occasion more suitable to my own
thoughts of it than by assuring you I have a true English heart, as
jealous of the honour of the nation as you can be; and I please
myself with the hopes that by God's blessing and your assistance, I
may carry the reputation of it yet higher in the world than ever it
has been in the time of any of my ancestors; and as I will not call
upon you for supplies but when they are of public use and advantage,
so I promise you, that what you give me upon such occasions shall be
managed with good husbandry; and I will take care it shall be
employed to the uses for which I ask them."

Rapin, Hume, and Ralph observe upon this speech, that neither the
generosity of the Commons' grant, nor the confidence they expressed
upon religious matters, could extort a kind word in favour of their
religion. But this observation, whether meant as a reproach to him
for his want of gracious feeling to a generous parliament, or as an
oblique compliment to his sincerity, has no force in it. His
majesty's speech was spoken immediately upon, passing the bills
which the Speaker presented, and he could not therefore take notice
of the Speaker's words unless he had spoken extempore; for the
custom is not, nor I believe ever was, for the Speaker to give
beforehand copies of addresses of this nature. James would not
certainly have scrupled to repeat the assurances which he had so
lately made in favour of the Protestant religion, as he did not
scruple to talk of his true English heart, honour of the nation,
&c., at a time when he was engaged with France; but the speech was
prepared for an answer to a money bill, not for a question of the
Protestant religion and church, and the false professions in it are
adapted to what was supposed to be the only subject of it.

The only matter in which the king's views were in any degree
thwarted was the reversal of Lord Stafford's attainder, which,
having passed the House of Lords, not without opposition, was lost
in the House of Commons; a strong proof that the popish plot was
still the subject upon which the opposers of the court had most
credit with the public. Mr. Hume, notwithstanding his just
indignation at the condemnation of Stafford, and his general
inclination to approve of royal politics, most unaccountably
justifies the Commons in their rejection of this bill, upon the
principle of its being impolitic at that time to grant so full a
justification of the Catholics, and to throw so foul an imputation
upon the Protestants. Surely if there be one moral duty that is
binding upon men in all times, places, and circumstances, and from
which no supposed views of policy can excuse them, it is that of
granting a full justification to the innocent; and such Mr. Hume
considers the Catholics, and especially Lord Stafford, to have been.
The only rational way of accounting for this solitary instance of
non-compliance on the part of the Commons is either to suppose that
they still believed in the reality of the popish plot, and
Stafford's guilt, or that the Church party, which was uppermost, had
such an antipathy to popery, as indeed to every sect whose tenets
differed from theirs, that they deemed everything lawful against its

On the 2nd of July parliament was adjourned for the purpose of
enabling the principal gentlemen to be present in their respective
counties at a time when their services and influence might be so
necessary to government. It is said that the House of Commons
consisted of members so devoted to James, that he declared there
were not forty in it whom he would not himself have named. But
although this may have been true, and though from the new modelling
of the corporations, and the interference of the court in elections,
this parliament, as far as regards the manner of its being chosen,
was by no means a fair representative of the legal electors of
England, yet there is reason to think that it afforded a tolerably
correct sample of the disposition of the nation, and especially of
the Church party, which was then uppermost.

The general character of the party at this time appears to have been
a high notion of the king's constitutional power, to which was
superadded a kind of religious abhorrence of all resistance to the
monarch, not only in cases where such resistance was directed
against the lawful prerogative, but even in opposition to
encroachments which the monarch might make beyond the extended
limits which they assigned to his prerogative. But these tenets,
and still more the principle of conduct naturally resulting from
them, were confined to the civil, as contra-distinguished from the
ecclesiastical polity of the country. In Church matters they
neither acknowledged any very high authority in the crown, nor were
they willing to submit to any royal encroachment on that side; and a
steady attachment to the Church of England, with a proportionable
aversion to all dissenters from it, whether Catholic or Protestant,
was almost universally prevalent among them. A due consideration of
these distinct features in the character of a party so powerful in
Charles's and in James's time, and even when it was lowest (that is,
during the reigns of the two first princes of the House of
Brunswick), by no means inconsiderable, is exceedingly necessary to
the right understanding of English history. It affords a clue to
many passages otherwise unintelligible. For want of a proper
attention to this circumstance, some historians have considered the
conduct of the Tories in promoting the revolution as an instance of
great inconsistency. Some have supposed, contrary to the clearest
evidence, that their notions of passive obedience, even in civil
matters, were limited, and that their support of the government of
Charles and James was founded upon a belief that those princes would
never abuse their prerogative for the purpose of introducing
arbitrary sway. But this hypothesis is contrary to the evidence
both of their declarations and their conduct. Obedience without
reserve, an abhorrence of all resistance, as contrary to the tenets
of their religion, are the principles which they professed in their
addresses, their sermons, and their decrees at Oxford; and surely
nothing short of such principles could make men esteem the latter
years of Charles II., and the opening of the reign of his successor,
an era of national happiness and exemplary government. Yet this is
the representation of that period, which is usually made by
historians and other writers of the Church party. "Never were
fairer promises on one side, nor greater generosity on the other,"
says Mr. Echard. "The king had as yet, in no instance, invaded the
rights of his subjects," says the author of the Caveat against the
Whigs. Thus, as long as James contented himself with absolute power
in civil matters, and did not make use of his authority against the
Church, everything went smooth and easy; nor is it necessary, in
order to account for the satisfaction of the parliament and people,
to have recourse to any implied compromise by which the nation was
willing to yield its civil liberties as the price of retaining its
religious constitution. The truth seems to be, that the king, in
asserting his unlimited power, rather fell in with the humour of the
prevailing party than offered any violence to it. Absolute power in
civil matters, under the specious names of monarchy and prerogative,
formed a most essential part of the Tory creed; but the order in
which Church and king are placed in the favourite device of the
party is not accidental, and is well calculated to show the genuine
principles of such among them as are not corrupted by influence.
Accordingly, as the sequel of this reign will abundantly show, when
they found themselves compelled to make an option, they preferred,
without any degree of inconsistency, their first idol to their
second, and when they could not preserve both Church and king,
declared for the former.

It gives certainly no very flattering picture of the country to
describe it as being in some sense fairly represented by this
servile parliament, and not only acquiescing in, but delighted with
the early measures of James's reign; the contempt of law exhibited
in the arbitrary mode of raising his revenue; his insulting menace
to the parliament, that if they did not use him well, he would
govern without them; his furious persecution of the Protestant
dissenters, and the spirit of despotism which appeared in all his
speeches and actions. But it is to be remembered that these
measures were in nowise contrary to the principles or prejudices of
the Church party, but rather highly agreeable to them; and that the
Whigs, who alone were possessed of any just notions of liberty, were
so outnumbered and discomforted by persecution, that such of them as
did not think fit to engage in the rash schemes of Monmouth or
Argyle, held it to be their interest to interfere as little as
possible in public affairs, and by no means to obtrude upon
unwilling hearers opinions and sentiments which, ever since the
dissolution of the Oxford parliament, in 1681, had been generally
discountenanced, and of which the peaceable, or rather triumphant,
accession of James to the throne was supposed to seal the


Attempts of Argyle and Monmouth--Account of their followers--
Argyle's expedition discovered--His descent in Argyleshire--
Dissensions among his followers--Loss of his shipping--His army
dispersed, and himself taken prisoner--His behaviour in prison--His
execution--The fate of his followers--Rumbold's last declaration
examined--Monmouth's invasion of England--His first success and
reception--His delays, disappointment, and despondency--Battle of
Sedgmoor--He is discovered and taken--His letter to the king--His
interview with James--His preparations for death--Circumstances
attending his execution--His character.

It is now necessary to give some account of those attempts in
Scotland by the Earl of Argyle, and in England by the Duke of
Monmouth, of which the king had informed his parliament in the
manner recited in the preceding chapter. The Earl of Argyle was son
to the Marquis of Argyle, of whose unjust execution, and the
treacherous circumstances accompanying it, notice has already been
taken. He had in his youth been strongly attached to the royal
cause, and had refused to lay down his arms till he had the exiled
king's positive orders for that purpose. But the merit of his early
services could neither save the life of his father, nor even procure
for himself a complete restitution of his family honours and
estates; and not long after the restoration, upon an accusation of
leasing-making, an accusation founded, in this instance, upon a
private letter to a fellow-subject, in which he spoke with some
freedom of his majesty's Scottish ministry, he was condemned to
death. The sentence was suspended and finally remitted, but not
till after an imprisonment of twelve months and upwards. In this
affair he was much assisted by the friendship of the Duke of
Lauderdale, with whom he ever afterwards lived upon terms of
friendship, though his principles would not permit him to give
active assistance to that nobleman in his government of Scotland.
Accordingly, we do not, during that period, find Argyle's name among
those who held any of those great employments of State to which, by
his rank and consequence, he was naturally entitled. When James,
then Duke of York, was appointed to the Scottish government, it
seems to have been the earl's intention to cultivate his royal
highness's favour, and he was a strenuous supporter of the bill
which condemned all attempts at exclusions or other alterations in
the succession of the crown. But having highly offended that prince
by insisting, on the occasion of the test, that the royal family,
when in office, should not be exempted from taking that oath which
they imposed upon subjects in like situations, his royal highness
ordered a prosecution against him, for the explanation with which he
had taken the test oath at the council-board, and the earl was, as
we have seen, again condemned to death. From the time of his escape
from prison he resided wholly in foreign countries, and was looked
to as a principal ally by such of the English patriots as had at any
time entertained thoughts, whether more or less ripened, of
delivering their country.

James, Duke of Monmouth, was the eldest of the late king's natural
children. In the early parts of his life he held the first place in
his father's affections; and even in the height of Charles's
displeasure at his political conduct, attentive observers thought
they could discern that the traces of paternal tenderness were by no
means effaced. Appearing at court in the bloom of youth, with a
beautiful figure and engaging manners, known to be the darling of
the monarch, it is no wonder that he was early assailed by the arts
of flattery; and it is rather a proof that he had not the strongest
of all minds, than of any extraordinary weakness of character, that
he was not proof against them. He had appeared with some
distinction in the Flemish campaigns, and his conduct had been
noticed with the approbation of the commanders as well as Dutch as
French, under whom he had respectively served. His courage was
allowed by all, his person admired, his generosity loved, his
sincerity confided in. If his talents were not of the first rate,
they were by no means contemptible; and he possessed, in an eminent
degree, qualities which, in popular government, are far more
effective than the most splendid talents; qualities by which he
inspired those who followed him, not only with confidence and
esteem, but with affection, enthusiasm, and even fondness. Thus
endowed, it is not surprising that his youthful mind was fired with
ambition, or that he should consider the putting himself at the head
of a party (a situation for which he seems to have been peculiarly
qualified by so many advantages) as the means by which he was most
likely to attain his object.

Many circumstances contributed to outweigh the scruples which must
have harassed a man of his excellent nature, when he considered the
obligations of filial duty and gratitude, and when he reflected that
the particular relation in which he stood to the king rendered a
conduct, which in any other subject would have been meritorious,
doubtful, if not extremely culpable in him. Among these, not the
least was the declared enmity which subsisted between him and his
uncle, the Duke of York. The Earl of Mulgrave, afterwards Duke of
Buckinghamshire, boasted in his "Memoirs," that this enmity was
originally owing to his contrivances; and while he is relating a
conduct, upon which the only doubt can be, whether the object or the
means were the most infamous, seems to applaud himself as if he had
achieved some notable exploit. While, on the one hand, a prospect
of his uncle's succession to the crown was intolerable to him, as
involving in it a certain destruction of even the most reasonable
and limited views of ambition which he might entertain, he was
easily led to believe, on the other hand, that no harm, but the
reverse, was intended towards his royal father, whose reign and life
might become precarious if he obstinately persevered in supporting
his brother; whereas, on the contrary, if he could be persuaded, or
even forced, to yield to the wishes of his subjects, he might long
reign a powerful, happy, and popular prince.

It is also reasonable to believe, that with those personal and
private motives others might co-operate of a public nature and of a
more noble character. The Protestant religion, to which he seems to
have been sincerely attached, would be persecuted, or perhaps
exterminated, if the king should be successful in his support of the
Duke of York and his faction. At least, such was the opinion
generally prevalent, while, with respect to the civil liberties of
the country, no doubt could be entertained, that if the court party
prevailed in the struggle then depending they would be completely
extinguished. Something may be attributed to his admiration of the
talents of some, to his personal friendship for others among the
leaders of the Whigs, more to the aptitude of a generous nature to
adopt, and, if I may so say, to become enamoured of those principles
of justice, benevolence, and equality, which form the true creed of
the party which he espoused. I am not inclined to believe that it
was his connection with Shaftesbury that inspired him with ambitious
views, but rather to reverse cause and effect, and to suppose that
his ambitious views produced his connection with that nobleman; and
whoever reads with attention Lord Grey's account of one of the party
meetings at which he was present, will perceive that there was not
between them that perfect cordiality which has been generally
supposed; but that Russell, Grey, and Hampden, were upon a far more
confidential footing with him. It is far easier to determine
generally, that he had high schemes of ambition, than to discover
what was his precise object; and those who boldly impute to him the
intention of succeeding to the crown, seem to pass by several
weighty arguments, which make strongly against their hypothesis;
such as his connection with the Duchess of Portsmouth, who, if the
succession were to go to the king's illegitimate children, must
naturally have been for her own son; his unqualified support of the
Exclusion Bill, which, without indeed mentioning her, most
unequivocally settled the crown, in case of a demise, upon the
Princess of Orange; and, above all, the circumstance of his having,
when driven from England, twice chosen Holland for his asylum. By
his cousins he was received, not so much with the civility and
decorum of princes, as with the kind familiarity of near relations,
a reception to which he seemed to make every return of reciprocal
cordiality. It is not rashly to be believed, that he, who has never
been accused of hardened wickedness, could have been upon such terms
with, and so have behaved to, persons whom he purposed to disappoint
in their dearest and best grounded hopes, and to defraud of their

Whatever his views might be, it is evident that they were of a
nature wholly adverse, not only to those of the Duke of York, but to
the schemes of power entertained by the king, with which the support
of his brother was intimately connected. Monmouth was therefore, at
the suggestion of James, ordered by his father to leave the country,
and deprived of all his offices, civil and military. The pretence
for this exile was a sort of principle of impartiality, which
obliged the king, at the same time that he ordered his brother to
retire to Flanders, to deal equal measure to his son. Upon the Duke
of York's return (which was soon after), Monmouth thought he might
without blame return also; and persevering in his former measures
and old connections, became deeply involved in the cabals to which
Essex, Russell, and Sidney fell martyrs. After the death of his
friends, he surrendered himself; and upon a promise that nothing
said by him should be used to the prejudice of any of his surviving
friends, wrote a penitentiary letter to his father, consenting, at
the same time, to ask pardon of his uncle. A great parade was made
of this by the court, as if it was designed by all means to goad the
feelings of Monmouth: his majesty was declared to have pardoned him
at the request of the Duke of York, and his consent was required to
the publication of what was called his confession. This he
resolutely refused at all hazards, and was again obliged to seek
refuge abroad, where he had remained to the period of which we are
now treating.

A little time before Charles's death he had indulged hopes of being
recalled; and that his intelligence to that effect was not quite
unfounded, or if false, was at least mixed with truth, is clear from
the following circumstance: --From the notes found when he was
taken, in his memorandum book, it appears that part of the plan
concerted between the king and Monmouth's friend (probably Halifax),
was that the Duke of York should go to Scotland, between which, and
his being sent abroad again, Monmouth and his friends saw no
material difference. Now in Barillon's letters to his court, dated
the 7th of December, 1684, it appears that the Duke of York had told
that ambassador of his intended voyage to Scotland though he
represented it in a very different point of view, and said that it
would not be attended with any diminution of his favour or credit.
This was the light in which Charles, to whom the expressions, "to
blind my brother, not to make the Duke of York fly out," and the
like, were familiar, would certainly have shown the affair to his
brother, and therefore of all the circumstances adduced, this
appears to me to be the strongest in favour of the supposition, that
there was in the king's mind a real intention of making an
important, if not a complete, change in his councils and measures.

Besides these two leaders, there were on the continent at that time
several other gentlemen of great consideration. Sir Patrick Hume,
of Polworth, had early distinguished himself in the cause of
liberty. When the privy council of Scotland passed an order,
compelling the counties to pay the expense of the garrisons
arbitrarily placed in them, he refused to pay his quota, and by a
mode of appeal to the court of session, which the Scotch lawyers
call a bill of suspension, endeavoured to procure redress. The
council ordered him to be imprisoned, for no other crime, as it
should seem, than that of having thus attempted to procure, by a
legal process, a legal decision upon a point of law. After having
remained in close confinement in Stirling Castle for near four
years, he was set at liberty through the favour and interest of
Monmouth. Having afterwards engaged in schemes connected with those
imputed to Sidney and Russell, orders were issued for seizing him at
his house in Berwickshire; but having had timely notice of his
danger from his relation, Hume of Ninewells, a gentleman attached to
the royal cause, but whom party spirit had not rendered insensible
to the ties of kindred and private friendship, he found means to
conceal himself for a time, and shortly after to escape beyond sea.
His concealment is said to have been in the family burial-place,
where the means of sustaining life were brought to him by his
daughter, a girl of fifteen years of age, whose duty and affection
furnished her with courage to brave the terrors, as well
superstitious as real, to which she was necessarily exposed in an
intercourse of this nature.

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a young man of great spirit, had
signalised himself in opposition to Lauderdale's administration of
Scotland, and had afterwards connected himself with Argyle and
Russell, and what was called the council of six. He had, of course,
thought it prudent to leave Great Britain, and could not be supposed
unwilling to join in any enterprise which might bid fair to restore
him to his country, and his countrymen to their lost liberties,
though, upon the present occasion, which he seems to have judged to
be unfit for the purpose, he endeavoured to dissuade both Argyle and
Monmouth from their attempts. He was a man of much thought and
reading, of an honourable mind, and a fiery spirit, and from his
enthusiastic admiration of the ancients, supposed to be warmly
attached, not only to republican principles, but to the form of a
commonwealth. Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree had fled his country
on account of the transactions of 1683. His property and
connections were considerable, and he was supposed to possess
extensive influence in Ayrshire and the adjacent counties.

Such were the persons of chief note among the Scottish emigrants.
Among the English, by far the most remarkable was Ford, Lord Grey of
Wark. A scandalous love intrigue with his wife's sister had fixed a
very deep stain upon his private character; nor were the
circumstances attending this affair, which had all been brought to
light in a court of justice, by any means calculated to extenuate
his guilt. His ancient family, however, the extensive influence
arising from his large possessions, his talents, which appear to
have been very considerable, and above all, his hitherto unshaken
fidelity in political attachments, and the general steadiness of his
conduct in public life, might in some degree countervail the odium
which he had incurred on account of his private vices. Of Matthews,
Wade, and Ayloff, whose names are mentioned as having both joined
the preliminary councils, and done actual service in the invasions,
little is known by which curiosity could be either gratified or

Richard Rumbold, on every account, merits more particular notice.
He had formerly served in the republican armies; and adhering to the
principles of liberty which he had imbibed in his youth, though
nowise bigoted to the particular form of a commonwealth had been
deeply engaged in the politics of those who thought they saw an
opportunity of rescuing their country from the tyrannical government
of the late king. He was one of the persons denounced in Keeling's
narrative, and was accused of having conspired to assassinate the
royal brothers in their road to Newmarket, an accusation belied by
the whole tenor of his life and conduct, and which, if it had been
true, would have proved him, who was never thought a weak or foolish
man, to be as destitute of common sense as of honour and probity.
It was pretended that the seizure of the princes was to take place
at a farm called Rye House, which he occupied in Essex, for the
purposes of his trade as maltster; and from this circumstance was
derived the name of the Rye House Plot. Conscious of having done
some acts which the law, if even fairly interpreted and equitably
administered, might deem criminal, and certain that many which he
had not done would be both sworn and believed against him, he made
his escape, and passed the remainder of Charles's reign in exile and
obscurity; nor is his name, as far as I can learn, ever mentioned
from the time of the Rye House Plot to that of which we are now

It is not to be understood that there were no other names upon the
list of those who fled from the tyranny of the British government,
or thought themselves unsafe in their native country, on account of
its violence, besides those of the persons above mentioned, and of
such as joined in their bold and hazardous enterprise. Another
class of emigrants, not less sensible probably to the wrongs of
their country, but less sanguine in their hopes of immediate
redress, is ennobled by the names of Burnet the historian and Mr.
Locke. It is difficult to accede to the opinion which the first of
these seems to entertain, that though particular injustices had been
committed, the misgovernment had not been of such a nature as to
justify resistance by arms. But the prudential reasons against
resistance at that time were exceedingly strong; and there is no
point in human concerns wherein the dictates of virtue and worldly
prudence are so identified as in this great question of resistance
by force to established government. Success, it has been
invidiously remarked, constitutes in most instances the sole
difference between the traitor and the deliverer of his country. A
rational probability of success, it may be truly said, distinguishes
the well-considered enterprise of the patriot, from the rash schemes
of the disturber of the public peace. To command success is not in
the power of man; but to deserve success, by choosing a proper time,
as well as a proper object, by the prudence of his means, no less
than by the purity of his views, by a cause not only intrinsically
just, but likely to insure general support, is the indispensable
duty of him who engages in an insurrection against an existing
government. Upon this subject the opinion of Ludlow, who, though
often misled, appears to have been an honest and enlightened man, is
striking and forcibly expressed. "We ought," says he, "to be very
careful and circumspect in that particular, and at least be assured
of very probable grounds to believe the power under which we engage
to be sufficiently able to protect us in our undertaking; otherwise
I should account myself not only guilty of my own blood, but also,
in some measure, of the ruin and destruction of all those that I
should induce to engage with me, though no cause were never so
just." Reasons of this nature, mixed more or less with
considerations of personal caution, and in some, perhaps, with
dislike and distrust of the leaders, induced many, who could not but
abhor the British government, to wait for better opportunities, and
to prefer either submission at home, or exile, to an undertaking
which, if not hopeless, must have been deemed by all hazardous in
the extreme.

In the situation in which these two noblemen, Argyle and Monmouth,
were placed, it is not to be wondered at if they were naturally
willing to enter into any plan by which they might restore
themselves to their country; nor can it be doubted but they honestly
conceived their success to be intimately connected with the welfare,
and especially with the liberty of the several kingdoms to which
they respectively belonged. Monmouth, whether because he had begun
at this time, as he himself said, to wean his mind from ambition, or
from the observations he had made upon the apparently rapid turn
which had taken place in the minds of the English people, seems to
have been very averse to rash counsels, and to have thought that all
attempts against James ought at least to be deferred till some more
favourable opportunity should present itself. So far from esteeming
his chance of success the better, on account of there being in
James's parliament many members who had voted for the Exclusion
Bill, he considered that circumstance as unfavourable. These men,
of whom, however, he seems to have over-rated the number, would, in
his opinion, be more eager than others to recover the ground they
had lost, by an extraordinary show of zeal and attachment to the
crown. But if Monmouth was inclined to dilatory counsels, far
different were the views and designs of other exiles, who had been
obliged to leave their country on account of their having engaged,
if not with him personally, at least in the same cause with him, and
who were naturally enough his advisers. Among these were Lord Grey
of Wark, and Ferguson; though the latter afterwards denied his
having had much intercourse with the duke, and the former, in his
"Narrative," insinuates that he rather dissuaded than pressed the

But if Monmouth was inclined to delay, Argyle seems, on the other
hand, to have been impatient in the extreme to bring matters to a
crisis, and was of course anxious that the attempt upon England
should be made in cooperation with his upon Scotland. Ralph, an
historian of great acuteness as well as diligence, but who falls
sometimes into the common error of judging too much from the event,
seems to think this impatience wholly unaccountable; but Argyle may
have had many motives which are now unknown to us. He may not
improbably have foreseen that the friendly terms upon which James
and the Prince of Orange affected at least to be, one with the
other, might make his stay in the United Provinces impracticable,
and that, if obliged to seek another asylum, not only he might have
been deprived, in some measure, of the resources which he derived
from his connections at Amsterdam, but that the very circumstance of
his having been publicly discountenanced by the Prince of Orange and
the states-general, might discredit his enterprise. His eagerness
for action may possibly have proceeded from the most laudable
motives, his sensibility to the horrors which his countrymen were
daily and hourly suffering, and his ardour to relieve them. The
dreadful state of Scotland, while it affords so honourable an
explanation of his impatience, seems to account also, in a great
measure, for his acting against the common notions of prudence, in
making his attack without any previous concert with those whom he
expected to join him there. That this was his view of the matter is
plain, as we are informed by Burnet that he depended not only on an
army of his own clan and vassals, but that he took it for granted
that the western and southern counties would all at once come about
him, when he had gathered a good force together in his own country;
and surely such an expectation, when we reflect upon the situation
of those counties, was by no means unreasonable.

Argyle's counsel, backed by Lord Grey and the rest of Monmouth's
advisers, and opposed by none except Fletcher of Saltoun, to whom
some add Captain Matthews, prevailed, and it was agreed to invade
immediately, and at one time, the two kingdoms. Monmouth had raised
some money from his jewels, and Argyle had a loan of ten thousand
pounds from a rich widow in Amsterdam. With these resources, such
as they were, ships and arms were provided, and Argyle sailed from
Vly on the 2nd of May with three small vessels, accompanied by Sir
Patrick Hume, Sir John Cochrane, a few more Scotch gentlemen, and by
two Englishmen, Ayloff, a nephew by marriage to Lord Chancellor
Clarendon, and Rumbold, the maltster, who had been accused of being
principally concerned in that conspiracy which, from his farm in
Essex, where it was pretended Charles II. was to have been
intercepted in his way from Newmarket, and assassinated, had been
called the Rye House Plot. Sir Patrick Hume is said to have advised
the shortest passage, in order to come more unexpectedly upon the
enemy; but Argyle, who is represented as remarkably tenacious of his
own opinions, persisted in his plan of sailing round the north of
Scotland, as well for the purpose of landing at once among his own
vassals, as for that of being nearer to the western counties, which
had been most severely oppressed, and from which, of course, he
expected most assistance. Each of these plans had, no doubt, its
peculiar advantages; but, as far as we can judge at this distance of
time, those belonging to the earl's scheme seemed to preponderate;
for the force he carried with him was certainly not sufficient to
enable him, by striking any decisive stroke, to avail himself even
of the most unprepared state in which he could hope to find the
king's government. As he must, therefore, depend entirely upon
reinforcements from the country, it seemed reasonable to make for
that part where succour was most likely to be obtained, even at the
hazard of incurring the disadvantage which must evidently result
from the enemy's having early notice of his attack, and,
consequently, proportionable time for defence.

Unfortunately this hazard was converted into a certainty by his
sending some men on shore in the Orkneys. Two of these, Spence and
Blackadder, were seized at Kirkwall by the bishop of the diocese,
and sent up prisoners to Edinburgh, by which means the government
was not only satisfied of the reality of the intended invasion, of
which, however, they had before had some intimation, but could guess
with a reasonable certainty the part of the coast where the descent
was to take place, for Argyle could not possibly have sailed so far
to the north with any other view than that of making his landing
either on his own estate, or in some of the western counties. Among
the numberless charges of imprudence against the unfortunate Argyle,
charges too often inconsiderately urged against him who fails in any
enterprise of moment, that which is founded upon the circumstance
just mentioned appears to me to be the most weighty, though it is
that which is the least mentioned, and by no author, as far as I
recollect, much enforced. If the landing in the north was merely
for the purpose of gaining intelligence respecting the disposition
of the country, or for the more frivolous object of making some few
prisoners, it was indeed imprudent in the highest degree. That
prisoners, such as were likely to be taken on this occasion, should
have been a consideration with any man of common sense is
impossible. The desire of gaining intelligence concerning the
disposition of the people was indeed a natural curiosity, but it
would be a strong instance of that impatience which has been often
alleged though in no other case proved to have been part of the
earl's character, if, for the sake of gratifying such a desire, he
gave the enemy any important advantage. Of the intelligence which
he sought thus eagerly, it was evident that he could not in that
place and at that time make any immediate use; whereas, of that
which he afforded his enemies, they could and did avail themselves
against him. The most favourable account of this proceeding, and
which seems to deserve most credit, is, that having missed the
proper passage through the Orkney Islands, he thought proper to send
on shore for pilots, and that Spence very imprudently took the
opportunity of going to confer with a relation at Kirkwall; but it
is to be remarked that it was not necessary for the purpose of
getting pilots, to employ men of note, such as Blackadder and
Spence, the latter of whom was the earl's secretary; and that it was
an unpardonable neglect not to give the strictest injunctions to
those who were employed against going a step further into the
country than was absolutely necessary.

Argyle, with his wonted generosity of spirit, was at first
determined to lay siege to Kirkwall, in order to recover his
friends; but, partly by the dissuasions of his followers, and still
more by the objections made by the masters of the ships to a delay
which might make them lose the favourable winds for their intended
voyage, he was induced to prosecute his course. In the meantime the
government made the use that it was obvious they would make of the
information they had obtained, and when the earl arrived at his
destination, he learned that considerable forces were got together
to repel any attack that he might meditate. Being prevented by
contrary winds from reaching the Isle of Islay, where he had
purposed to make his first landing, he sailed back to Dunstafnage in
Lorn, and there sent ashore his son, Mr. Charles Campbell, to engage
his tenants and other friends and dependants of his family to rise
in his behalf; but even there he found less encouragement and
assistance than he had expected, and the laird of Lochniel, who gave
him the best assurances, treacherously betrayed him, sent his letter
to the government, and joined the royal forces under the Marquis of
Athol. He then proceeded southwards, and landed at Campbelltown in
Kintyre, where his first step was to publish his declaration, which
appears to have produced little or no effect.

This bad beginning served, as is usual in such adventures, rather to
widen than to reconcile the differences which had early begun to
manifest themselves between the leader and his followers. Hume and
Cochrane, partly construing, perhaps too sanguinely, the
intelligence which was received from Ayrshire, Galloway, and the
other Lowland districts in that quarter, partly from an expectation
that where the oppression had been most grievous, the revolt would
be proportionably the more general, were against any stay, or, as
they termed it, loss of time in the Highlands, but were for
proceeding at once, weak as they were in point of numbers, to a
country where every man endowed with the common feelings of human
nature must be their well-wisher, every man of spirit their
coadjutor. Argyle, on the contrary, who probably considered the
discouraging accounts from the Lowlands as positive and distinct,
while those which were deemed more favourable appeared to him to be
at least uncertain and provisional, thought the most prudent plan
was to strengthen himself in his own country before he attempted the
invasion of provinces where the enemy was so well prepared to
receive him. He had hopes of gaining time, not only to increase his
own army, but to avail himself of the Duke of Monmouth's intended
invasion of England, an event which must obviously have great
influence upon his affairs, and which, if he could but maintain
himself in a situation to profit by it, might be productive of
advantages of an importance and extent of which no man could presume
to calculate the limits. Of these two contrary opinions it may be
difficult at this time of day to appreciate the value, seeing that
so much depends upon the degree of credit due to the different
accounts from the Lowland counties, of which our imperfect
information does not enable us to form any accurate judgment. But
even though we should not decide absolutely in favour of the cogency
of these reasonings which influenced the chief, it must surely be
admitted that there was, at least, sufficient probability in them to
account for his not immediately giving way to those of his
followers, and to rescue his memory from the reproach of any
uncommon obstinacy, or of carrying things, as Burnet phrases it,
with an air of authority that was not easy to men who were setting
up for liberty. On the other hand, it may be more difficult to
exculpate the gentlemen engaged with Argyle for not acquiescing more
cheerfully, and not entering more cordially into the views of a man
whom they had chosen for their leader and general; of whose honour
they had no doubt, and whose opinion even those who dissented from
him must confess to be formed upon no light or trivial grounds.

The differences upon the general scheme of attack led, of course, to
others upon points of detail. Upon every projected expedition there
appeared a contrariety of sentiment, which on some occasions
produced the most violent disputes. The earl was often thwarted in
his plans, and in one instance actually over-ruled by the vote of a
council of war. Nor were these divisions, which might of themselves
be deemed sufficient to mar an enterprise of this nature, the only
adverse circumstances which Argyle had to encounter. By the forward
state of preparation on the part of the government, its friends were
emboldened; its enemies, whose spirit had been already broken by a
long series of sufferings, were completely intimidated, and men of
fickle and time-serving dispositions were fixed in its interests.
Add to all this, that where spirit was not wanting, it was
accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly
inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose
experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty
of persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of
liberty, rather to compromise upon some points with those who have
in the main the same views with themselves, than to give power (a
power which will infallibly be used for their own destruction) to an
adversary of principles diametrically opposite; in other words,
rather to concede something to a friend, than everything to an
enemy. Hence, those even whose situation was the most desperate,
who were either wandering about the fields, or seeking refuge in
rocks and caverns, from the authorised assassins who were on every
side pursuing them, did not all join in Argyle's cause with that
frankness and cordiality which was to be expected. The various
schisms which had existed among different classes of Presbyterians
were still fresh in their memory. Not even the persecution to which
they had been in common, and almost indiscriminately subjected, had
reunited them. According to a most expressive phrase of an eminent
minister of their church, who sincerely lamented their disunion, the
furnace had not yet healed the rents and breaches among them. Some
doubted whether, short of establishing all the doctrines preached by
Cargill and Cameron, there was anything worth contending for; while
others, still further gone in enthusiasm, set no value upon liberty,
or even life itself, if they were to be preserved by the means of a
nobleman who had, as well by his serviced to Charles the Second as
by other instances, been guilty in the former parts of his conduct
of what they termed unlawful compliances.

Perplexed, no doubt, but not dismayed, by these difficulties, the
earl proceeded to Tarbet, which he had fixed as the place of
rendezvous, and there issued a second declaration (that which has
been mentioned as having been laid before the House of Commons),
with as little effect as the first. He was joined by Sir Duncan
Campbell, who alone, of all his kinsmen, seems to have afforded him
any material assistance, and who brought with him nearly a thousand
men; but even with this important reinforcement, his whole army does
not appear to have exceeded two thousand. It was here that he was
over-ruled by a council of war, when he proposed marching to
Inverary; and after much debate, so far was he from being so self-
willed as he is represented, that he consented to go over with his
army to that part of Argyleshire called Cowal, and that Sir John
Cochrane should make an attempt upon the Lowlands; and he sent with
him Major Fullarton, one of the offices in whom he most trusted, and
who appears to have best deserved his confidence. This expedition
could not land in Ayrshire, where it had at first been intended,
owing to the appearance of two king's frigates, which had been sent

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