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dispense with his oaths. However disgusted with BOOK the presbyterians during his residence in Scotland, the king himself was indifferent to religion; but Clarendon, whose mind was contracted and soured by religious bigotry, was irreconcileable to the very existence of their church. That upright and able, but not enlightened statesman, had already prepared the most intolerant measures for the revival of the hierarchy, which he urged the king to restore in Scotland, by a violation of those solemn engagements which his own conscience would never have infringed. The earls of Glencairn and Middleton concurred in the same design; and, at a time when the majority of the nation were rigid presbyterians, they did not hesitate to assert, that the people were disgusted with the insolence of the ecclesiastical courts, and desirous of a change. They returned with instructions to examine the sentiments of the people, and to prepare them for the subsequent introduction of prelates; while Sharp, to appease the suspicions of the public resolutioners, whom, on the offer of the primacy, Deferred. he had secretly deserted, procured a letter from Charles that confirmed their assemblies, and promised to preserve the government of the church inviolate, as established by law. As the presbyterian was then the established religion, the resolutioners were easily deceived by a mean equivocation unworthy of a king; or were gratified perhaps by the persecution of the remonstrants, whom


BOOK the committee of estates had imprisoned or dis



Jan. 1.

The parliament was opened by Middleton, with



Its charac- a splendor to which the nation had been long unaccustomed. The elections had been secured by the chancellor's management. Obnoxious candidates were imprisoned or summoned to appear as delinquents; and the nobility vied with the commons in their devotion to the crown. The original covenanters were mostly extinguished. A new generation had arisen under the English government, inured to servitude, educated in penury, or impoverished by forfeitures; and as an indemnity was still ungenerously withheld from Scotland, they were either exposed to punishment from their past compliances, or were insatiate and eager to procure confiscations and fines. A new spirit appeared in the nation, whose fervid genius is ever in extremes; if submissive, prone to adulation and the utmost servility; when attached to civil or religious liberty, fierce, ardent, and enthusiastic in the pursuit. Not a few were estranged from the severe morals which the covenant prescribed; but the intemperance and excesses of the royalists were offensive to the people, whose disgust was increas


3 Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. p. 7. 13. Crawford's History, MS. vol. ii. 1. 5. 420. Clarendon's Life, ii. 101.

Baillie, ii. 449. Wodrow, i. 21. the late Revolution in the Church, MS.

Kirkton's History of
Advocates' Library.


public re

ed by an unforeseen disaster which the nation in- BOOK curred. The crown and sceptre, during the usur. pation, had been secreted in the North; but the 1661. public records, which Monk had removed to Lon- Loss of the don, were detained by Clarendon till the summer cords. had elapsed, to discover the original covenant and declarations which the king had subscribed. They were shipped for Scotland after a fruitless search; but the vessel was wrecked in the winter season, and the records of the kingdom were irrecoverably lost. A disaster which it is impossible to estimate, is naturally exaggerated, and we deplore the loss. of those historical memorials which escaped the destructive policy of Edward I. Yet if a few historical records have perished, an impure and enormous mass of judicial proceedings does not deserve regret.5


When the parliament proceeded to public busi- Prerogative ness, the first consideration was, how to restore and assert the prerogative to its full extent. The chancellor was received as official president; the nomination of judges, counsellors, and officers. of state, was declared a branch of the divine prerogative, inherent in kings. The command of the militia, the power of declaring war, the right to summon or dissolve conventions, parliaments, and public assemblies, were acknowledged to reside in

5 Wodrow, i. 18. Burnet, i. 157. Ayloff's Calendars of Charters, p. 354,



BOOK the crown alone; and as the happiness of the people consists in maintaining the prerogative entire, to oppose, or impugn the authority of the act, was converted into treason. Illegal convocations, leagues, and bonds, were severally prohibited. The covenant was indirectly repealed, by an act to prevent its renewal without the king's consent. His supremacy was indirectly established by an oath of allegiance, that the sovereign was supreme governor in all cases, over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil; and although the chancellor protested that no authority was implied in communion or in discipline, the presbyterians demanded in vain, that the explanation of supreme civil governor, should be inserted in the oath. An ample recognition of the prerogative was required from persons in public office; but the oath of allegiance was imposed indiscriminately, as a fruitful source of persecution, on all persons, at the pleasure of the council, under the penalty of incapacitation from public trust. Instead of the monthly assessments exacted by Cromwell, an, excise of forty thousand pounds a-year was conferred on the king for life, to preserve the public tranquillity by a military force." To restore the prerogative of which the crown had been despoiled, was perhaps unexceptionable; but in these acts, the late proceedings of the nation were indiscriminately

Parl. 1661, ch. 5. 7. 11, 12. 14. 34.

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condemned, and the prerogative was magnified BOOK by rhetorical flourishes, to the most exalted des- Ly potism.


from the

of the civil

The commissioner had been selected as exempt Former parliaments from scruples, and although his natural violence rescinded was heightened by intemperance, an obsequious beginning parliament was prepared to yield to his most ex-wars. travagant demands. The lords of articles became impatient and tired of particular reversals: but there were two parliaments whose acts it was difficult, yet necessary to repeal, in order to absolve the king from his promise to preserve the established church. His father had presided in the one, and himself in the other. The presbyterian church was confirmed by the acts of both; the repeal of which might excite a spirit of remonstrance, sufficient to deter the king from the introduction of prelates. A general rescissory act was suggested, to annul the parliaments themselves, from the year one thousand six hundred and thirty-three, as injurious to the prerogative, or defective in form; and a proposal made in jest, was adopted in earnest, from the feverish intoxication of Middleton and his friends. The constraint under which the crown was supposed to labour, had no place in the parlia

7 Middleton was of a good family in the North, but of no estate; and rose from a pikeman in Hepburn's regiment in France. Kirkton, MS. His father was murdered sitting in his chair, by Montrose's soldiers, when they overrun the country in 1645. Wodrow.

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