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ton's kinsman, imprisoned as accessary to the in- BOOK surrection at Bothwell, had been twice produced at the bar, and accused of treason; but although the day was frequently prefixed, his trial was deferred. When restored to liberty, he discovered by diligent investigation, that two prisoners, taken at Bothwell, were suborned by Hatton, by the earl of Murray, and sir John Dalrymple, to give false evidence against his life. Their depositions, in which duke Hamilton was also implicated, were prepared beforehand: they were promised a share of the confiscated estates, but whenever the trial approached, their conscience revolted against the crime. Bargeny's evidence was ready to be produced. Perjury and subornation, charged in open parliament against a supreme judge and an officer of state, demanded public investigation, a condign punishment, or the most ample retribution; but the duke of York interposed, to prevent enquiry; though not displeased that Lauderdale and his brother were exposed to public infamy, he was. satisfied that they should both remain at the mercy of the crown 35.
33 Burnet, ii. 325. Wodrow, ii. 125. Cuningham of Mongrennan's Declaration (subjoined to the Original Papers on the Scotch Plot, 1701); a curious picture of the corruption of the times. He was suborned with his servant; but as he failed to deserve a pardon by perjury, he was convicted two years afterwards of the insurrection at Bothwell. Wodrow, ii. 292.
3+ Fountainhall's Dec. i. 150.
The act of succession had passed, on the promise of the two brothers to grant every security for the protestant faith which the parliament should require; but the performance of this public and solemn assurance does no credit to the sincerity of James. When demanded so loudly that it could no longer be withheld, the security of the protesTest. tant religion was insidiously converted into a test
Opposed with vio. lence.
of passive obedience, for the security of the throne. A declaration from persons in office, of their adherence to the protestant religion, was at first proposed. The court party subjoined a recognition of the supremacy, a disavowal of the covenant, and an obligation never to assemble in order to deliberate on civil or ecclesiastical affairs, without the king's permission; never to rise in arms without his authority, nor otherwise to endeavour an alteration of government in church or state. The oath was to be received under the penalty of confiscation, and to be sworn according to its literal acceptation, by all persons in civil, military, or ecclesiastical offices; the king's legitimate brothers or sons excepted: and as the test was meant 'to incapacitate the presbyterians, it was extended to the whole body of electors, and members elected to serve in parliament 35.
Such a violent invasion of their privileges excited fierce debates. The presbyterians would have dispensed with the security of religion, to 35 Fountainhall's Memoirs, MS. Burnet, ii. 329.
avoid a test which the duke urged as a political BOOK engine, and which the bishops regarded as a salutary expedient for the preservation of their order, 1681. against the danger to be apprehended from a pręsbyterian parliament. Lord Belhaven observed that, however secure from the effects of innovations which themselves might attempt, they had no provision to preserve their religion against a popish or fanatical successor; but the words were no sooner uttered than he was sent to the castle. Argyle, with more moderation, deplored the frequency of religious oaths, but opposed the exemp tion of the royal family, as a permission, if not an encouragement, for men to depart from the na tional church. If an exemption were to be made, he proposed that it should be expressly confined to the duke; but when the latter rose to resist the motion, Argyle declared in conclusion, that the exception was pernicious to the protestant faith; and notwithstanding a previous intimation which he had given, that he would oppose whatsoever was adverse to religion, his words were observed to produce a deep and indelible impres sion upon James. But the opposition to the test was ineffectual, nor was a delay admitted for a single night. As it was difficult to ascertain, or to define with accuracy, what was the precise standard of the protestant religion, Dalrymple, the president, suggested as the rule of faith, the earliest confession of the first reformers, framed to expose
BOOK the errors of popery, and to justify their resistance to the queen regent; and ratified by the first parliament of James VI. when Mary was compelled to resign her crown. It was artfully proposed as irreconcileable to the test, and had been disused so long to make way for the Westminster confession, that the contents of it were unknown to the illiterate prelates; and were adopted without being understood or even read. The test was accordingly framed, and approved by a majority of seven Its contra- votes. It appeared when examined, to be a mass of the most absurd contradictions. A long inconsistent oath was prescribed, to adhere, according to this obsolete confession, to the protestant faith, yet by the recognition of supremacy, to conform to whatsoever religion the king might appoint; to maintain the former presbyterian discipline, yet to attempt no alteration in the present episcopal form of the church; to abjure the doctrines, and to renounce the right of resistance, but at the same time, as a religious duty incumbent by the confession upon good subjects, to repress the ty ranny and to resist the oppression of kings. No sincere presbyterian could subscribe the oath. None of the episcopal persuasion could assent conscientiously to the confession of faith. A papist could accept of neither. But when both were conjoined, and when every explication different from the literal sense was disavowed, it was impos sible, without perjury, either to receive the test or
to reconcile the contradictory terms in which it BOOK was framed 35.
tions of the
The parliament concluded with little credit to the reputation of James., Whatever were his Explana moral or his private qualities, it was observed that test, he inherited all the obstinacy, and the same species of political insincerity, which his father possessed; but, in the management of parliament, discovered little capacity for the nice conduct of public affairs 37. To evade the promise of an additional security for the protestant faith, he deceived and endeavoured to entangle the presbyterians in an ensnaring test. From his own violence, he was over-reached by Dalrymple, and the oath intended to exclude the presbyterians, was rendered adverse and equally irreconcileable to every religious per suasion and sect. A test contradicted throughout by the confession of faith, was expected to be abandoned; but the court party was inured to political oaths. The duke was determined not to forego the political advantages of a test from which he was relieved himself; a strange example of the nature of persecution, and of his character, in exacting from the presbyterians an acknowledgment of the ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown, which his own religion disavowed, and did
36 Burnet, 331. Fountainhall's Mem. MS. Dec. i. 149. Wodrow, ii. 195. Argyle's Case, p. 3. written by Sir James Stewart.
37 Fountainhall's Dec. i. 157.