Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

193

CHAPTER

II.

1685.

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 transac- Observations. , tions, 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 the 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 Catholick religion had no share. For it is to be on the disposiobserved, and carefully kept in mind, that the church,

tion of James.

* Burnet. Woodrow. Laing.

II.

1685.

CHAPTER of which he not only recommends the support, but

which he showed himself ready to maintain, by the most violent means, is the Episcopalian church of the 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 hereticks excommunicated by the Pope, as of dissenters from the church of England, and irreconcileable 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.

CHAPTER

II.

1685.

object of his government.

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 on the primary every

other consideration as subordinate to that primary object, must nevertheless subscribe, is, that the most confidential advisers, as well as the most furious supporters, of the measures we have related, were not Roman Catholicks. Lauderdale and Queensberry were both Protestants. There is no reason, therefore, to impute any of James's violence afterwards to the suggestions of his Catholick 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 on the state of 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.

Scotland.

April 28.

The affairs of Scotland being in the state which we Proceedings of have described, it is no wonder that the King's letter liament. was received with acclamations of applause, and that the parliament opened, not only with approbation of the government, but even with an enthusiastick zeal, to signalize their loyalty, as well by a perfect acquiescence

CHAPTER

II.

1685.

to the King's demands, as by the most fulsome expressions of adulation. “ IVhat Prince in Europe, or in the 6 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 me

mory, shall rather raise in us ardent desires to exceed “ whatever we have done formerly, than make us con“ sider 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 de

grees 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 pro“ cured to us : and having the honour to be the first

1685.

66

“ Parliament which meets by your Royal Authority, of CHAPTER “ 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 fa-, “ mily, 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 any thing un-“ done for extirpating all fanaticism, but especially " those fanatical murtherers and assassins, and for de

tecting 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 affec66 tion 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 66 be for ever exemplary, but above all, your Majesty's “ free and cheerful securing to us our religion, when

you were the late King's, your Royal Brother's Com

missioner, now again renewed, when you are our So66 vereign, are what your subjects here can never forget,

66

[ocr errors]

>

« VorigeDoorgaan »