dered, and is handed down to us by contemporary CHARTER 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 23d of April, and The King's letewas opened by the Commissioner, with the following letter from the King:


“ The many experiences we have had of the loyalty, “ and exemplary forwardness of that our ancient

kingdom, by their representatives in parliament assem

bled, 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 demon“ strations 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 se





cure your own privileges and properties, than the

aggrandising our power and authority, (though in it “ consists the greatest security of your rights and inte“ rests, 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 de“ fend and protect your religion as established by law; “ and your rights and properties (which was our design “ in calling this parliament) against fanatical contriv

ances, 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 prose6 cution of the good and wholesome laws, by you here“ tofore 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 com

ing; 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,





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 counsellor, 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 entrusted in all things relating to our service, “ and your own prosperity and happiness, and there. “ fore, 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 confi“ dence 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 in

terest, of which we had so much experience when amongst you, that we cannot doubt of


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 trans“ mit your loyal actions, (as 'examples of duty,) to your

posterity. In full confidence whereof we do assure



you of our royal favour and protection, in all your “ concerns; and so we bid you beartily farewell.”


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 independant revenue, and the supporting the prerogative in its greatest lustre, if not the aggrandizing 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




propose in

both church and state from the fanaticks, and ex. presses his regret that he could not be present, to

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 enquire into the Transactions in nature of the measures thus extolled, as well for the purpose of elucidating the characters of the King and his Scottish ministers, 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 publick exercise of religion, in the forms to which the

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