Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

terians: and so far had he been from showing any inclination to resistance that, when the Covenanters had been persecuted into insurrection, he had brought into the field a large body of his dependents to support the government.

Such had been his political course until the Duke of York came down to Edinburgh armed with the whole regal authority. The despotic viceroy soon found that he could not expect entire support from Argyle. Since the most powerful chief in the kingdom could not be gained, it was thought necessary that he should be destroyed. On grounds so frivolous that even the spirit of party and the spirit of chicane were ashamed of them, he was brought to trial for treason, convicted, and sentenced to death. The partisans of the Stuarts afterwards asserted that it was never meant to carry this sentence into effect, and that the only object of the prosecution was to frighten him into ceding his extensive jurisdiction in the Highlands. Whether James designed, as his enemies suspected, to commit murder, or only, as his friends affirmed, to commit extortion by threatening to commit murder, cannot now be ascertained. "I know nothing of the Scotch law," said Halifax to King Charles; "but this I know, that we should not hang a dog here on the grounds on which my Lord Argyle has been sentenced."*

Argyle escaped in disguise to EngUnd, and thence passed over to Fries'uni In that secluded province his tather had bought a small estate, as a place of refuge for the family in civil '-roubles. It was said, among the Scots, that this purchase had been made in ransequence of the predictions of a Celtic seer, to whom it had been regaled that Mac Callum More would one day be driven forth from the ancient mansion of his race at Lrverary.f But

'Proceedings against Argyle in the Collects ot State Trials; Burnet, i. 521.; A true tad plain Account of the Discoveries made in fratimd. 1684; The Scotch Mist Cleared ; Sir ( "rge Mackenzie's Vindication ; Lord Foun*^ianalTe Chronological Notes.

t Information of Robert Smith in the Appendix to Sprat's True Account.

it is probable that the politic Marquess had been warned rather by the signs of the times than by the visions of any prophet. In Friesland Earl Archibald resided during some time so quietly that it was not generally known whither he had fled. From his retreat he carried on a correspondence with his friends in Great Britain, was a party to the Whig conspiracy, and concerted with the chiefs of that conspiracy a plan for invading Scotland.* This plan had been dropped upon the detection of the Eye House Plot, but became again the subject of his thoughts after the demise of the crown.

He had, during his residence on the Continent, reflected much more deeply on religious questions than in the preceding years of his life. Di one respect the effect of these reflections on his mind had been pernicious. His partiality for the synodical form of church government now amounted to bigotry. When he remembered how long he had conformed to the established worship, he was overwhelmed with shame and remorse, and showed too many signs of a disposition to atone for his defection by violence and intolerance. He had, however, in uo long time, an opportunity of proving that the fear and love of a higher Power had nerved him for the most formidable conflicts by which human nature can be tried.

To his companions in adversity his assistance was of the highest moment. Though proscribed and a fugitive, he was still, in some sense, the most powerful subject in the British dominions. In wealth, even before his attainder, he was probably inferior, not only to the great English nobles, but to some of the opulent esquires of Kent and Norfolk. But his patriarchal authority, an authority which no wealth could give and which no attainder could take away, made him, as a leader of an insurrection, truly formidable. No southern lord could feel any confidence that, if he ventured to resist the government, even his own gamekeepers and huntsmen would stand by him. An

* True and plain Account of the Discoveries made in Scotland.

Earl of Bedford, an Earl of Devonshire, could not engage to bring ten men into the field. Mac Callum More, penniless and deprived of his earldom, might, at any moment, raise a serious civil war. He had only to 6how himself on the coast of Lorn; and an army would, in a few days, gather round him. The force, which, in favourable circumstances, he could bring into the field, amounted to five thousand fighting men, devoted to his service, accustomed to the use of target and broadsword, not afraid to encounter regular troops even in the open plain, and perhaps superior to regular troops in the qualifications requisite for the defence of wild mountain passes, hidden in mist, and torn by headlong torrents. What such a force, well directed, could effect, even against veteran regiments and skilful commanders, was proved, a few years later, at Killiecrankie.

But, strong as was the claim of sir Patrick Argyle to the confidence of Humo. the exiled Scots, there was a faction among them which regarded him with no friendly feeling, and which wished to make use of his name and influence, without entrusting to him any real power. The chief of this faction was a lowland gentleman, who had been implicated in the Whig plot, and had with difficulty eluded the vengeance of the court, Sir Patrick Hume, of Polwarth, in Berwickshire. Great doubt has been thrown on his integrity, but without sufficient reason. It must, however, be admitted that he injured his cause by perverseness as much as he could have done by treachery. He was a man incapable alike of leading and of following, conceited, captious, and wrongheaded, an endless talker, a sluggard in action against the enemy, and active only against his own allies. With Hume was closely connected another Scottish sir John exile of great note, who had Cochrane, many of the same faults, Sir John Cochrane, second son of the Earl of Dundonald.

A far higher character belonged to Fietchcrof Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a Saiioun. man distinguished by learning and eloquence, distinguished also by

courage, disinterestedness, and public spirit, but of an irritable and impracticable temper. Like many of his most illustrious contemporaries, Milton for example, Harrington, Marvel, and Sidney, Fletcher had, from the misgovernment of several successive princes, conceived a strong aversion to hereditary monarchy. Yet he was no democrat. He was the head of an ancient Norman house, and was proud of his descent. He was a fine speaker and a fine writer, and was proud of his intellectual superiority. Both in his character of gentleman, and in his character of scholar, he looked down with disdain on the common people, and was so little disposed to entrust them with political power that he thought them unfit even to enjoy personal freedom. It is a curious circumstance that this man, the most honest, fearless, and uncompromising republican of his time, should have been the author of a plan for reducing a large part of the working classes of Scotland to slavery. He bore, in truth, a lively resemblance to those Eoman Senators who, while they hated the name of King, guarded the privileges of their order with inflexible pride against the encroachments of the multitude, and governed their bondmen and bondwomen by means of the stocks and the scourge.

Amsterdam was the place where the leading emigrants, Scotch and English, assembled. Argyle repaired thither from Friesland, Monmouth from Brabant. It soon appeared that the fugitives had scarcely anything in common except hatred of James and impatience to return from banishment. The Scots were jealous of the English, the English of the Scots. Monmouth's high pretensions were offensive to Argyle. who, proud of ancient nobility and of a legitimate descent from kings, was by no means inclined to do homage to the offspring of a vagrant and ignoble love. But of all the dissensions by which the little band of outlaws was distracted

the most serious was that which v r

arose between Argyle and a »bl"TM^. portion of his own followers, s^ics Some of the Scottish exiles """**• had, in a long course of opposition to tyranny, been excited into a morbid state of understanding and temper, which made the most just and necessary restraint insupportable to them. They knew that -without Argyle they could do nothing. They ought to have known that, unless they wished to run headlong to ruin, they must either repose full confidence in their leader, or relinquish all thoughts of military enterprise. Experience has fully proved that in war erery operation, from the greatest to the smallest, ought to be under the absolute direction of one mind, and that every subordinate agent, in his degree, ought to obey implicitly, strenuously, and with the show of cheerfulness, orders which he disapproves, or of which the reasons are kept secret from him. Representative assemblies, public discussions, and all the other checks by which, in civil affairs, rulers are restrained from abasing power, are out of place in a camp. Machiavel justly imputed many of the disasters of Venice and Florence to the jealousy which led those republics to interfere with every act of their generals.* The Duteh practice of sending to an army deputies, without whose consent no great blow could be struck, was almost equally pernicious. It is undoubtedly by no means certain that a captain, who has been entrusted with dictatorial power in the hour of peril, will quietly surrender that power in the hour of triumph; and this is one of the many considerations which ought to make men hesitate long before they resolve to vindicate public liberty by the sword. But, if they determine to try the chance of war, they will, if they are wise, entrust to their chief that plenary authority without which war cannot be well conducted. It is possible that, if they give him that authority, he may turn out a Cromwell or a Napoleon. But it is almost certain that, if they withhold from him that authority, their enterprises will end like the enterprise of Argyle.

Some of the Scottish emigrants, heated with republican enthusiasm, and utterly destitute of the skill necessary to the conduct of great affairs, employed all

•Discorsi EcpralaprimaDecadiTitoLivio, ub. il. cap. S5. *

their industry and ingenuity, not in collecting means for the attack which they were about to make on a formidable enemy, but iu devising restraints on their leader's power and securities against his ambition. The selfcomplacent stupidity with which they insisted on organising an army as if they had been organising a commonwealth would be incredible if it had not been frankly and even boastfully recorded by one of themselves.*

At length all differences were compromised. It was determined Arn|w. that an attempt should be forth- TM'^tor with made on the western coast f rapt <m of Scotland, and that it should £d Kbe promptly followed by a de- 1*nd' scent on England.

Argyle was to hold the nominal command in Scotland: but he was placed under the control of a Committee which reserved to itself all the most important parts of the military administration. This Committee was" empowered to determine where the expedition should land, to appoint officers, to superintend the levying of troops, to dole out provisions and ammunition. All that was left to the general was to direct the evolutions of the army in the field, and he was forced to promise that even in the field, except in the case of a surprise, he would do nothing without the assent of a council of war.

Monmouth was to command in England. His soft mind had, as usual, taken an impress from the society which surrounded him. Ambitious hopes, which had seemed to be extinguished, revived in his bosom. He remembered the affection with which he had been constantly greeted by the common people in town and country, and expected that they would now rise by hundreds of thousands to welcome him. He remembered the good will which the soldiers had always borne him, and flattered himself that they would come over to him by regiments. Encouraging messages reached him in quick succession from London. He was assured that the violence and injustice with which the elections had been carried on had

* See Sir Patrick Hume's Narrative, passim.

driven the nation mad, that the prudence of the leading Whigs had with difficulty prevented a sanguinary outbreak on the day of the coronation, and that all the great Lords who had supported the ExelusionBill were impatient to rally round him. Wildman, who loved to talk treason in parables, sent to say that the Earl of Eichmond, just two hundred years before, had landed in England with a handful of men, and had a few days later been crowned, on the field of Bosworth, with the diadem taken from the head of Richard. Danvers undertook to raise the City. The Duke was deceived into the belief that, as soon as he set up his standard, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Cheshire would rise in arms.* He consequently became eager for the enterprise from which a few weeks before he had shrunk. His countrymen did not impose on him restrictions so elaborately absurd as those which the Scotch emigrants fiad devised. All that was required of him was to promise that he would not assume the regal title till his pretensions had been submitted to the judgment of a free Parliament.

It was determined that two Englishmen, Ayloffe and Bumbold, should accompany Argyle to Scotland, and that Fletcher should go with Monmouth to England. Fletcher, from the beginning, had augured ill of the enterprise: but his chivalrous spirit would not suffer him to decline a risk which his friends seemed eager to encounter. When Grey repeated with approbation what Wildman had said about Eichmond and Richard, the well read and thoughtful Scot justly remarked that there was a great difference between the fifteenth century and the seventeenth. Eichmond was assured of the support of barons, each of whom could bring an army of feudal retainers into the field; and Eichard had not one regiment of regular soldiers.f

The exiles were able to raise, partly from their own resources and partly from the contributions of well wishers

* Grey's Narrative; Wade's Confession, Harl. MS. 0845. t Burnet, i. C31.

in Holland, a sum sufficient for the two expeditions. Very little was obtained from London. Six thousand pounds had been expected thence. But instead of the money came excuses from Wildman, which ought to have opened the eyes of all who were not wilfully blind. The Duke made up the deficiency by pawning his own jewels and those of Lady Wentworth. Arms, ammunition, and provisions were bought, and several ships which lay at Amsterdam were freighted.*

It is remarkable that the most illustrious and the mostgrosslyinjured John man among the British exiles Locl"stood far aloof from these rash counsels. John Locke hated tyranny and persecution as a philosopher; but his intellect and his temper preserved him from the violence of a partisan. He had lived on confidential terms with Shaftesbury, and had thus incurred the displeasure of the court. Locke's prudence had, however, been such that it would have been to little purpose to bring him even before the corrupt and partial tribunals of that age. In one point, however, he was vulnerable. He was a student of Christ Church in the University of Oxford. It was determined to drive from that celebrated college the greatest man of whom it could ever boast But this was net easy. Locke had, at Oxford, abstained from expressing any opinion on the politics of the day. Spies had been set about him. Doctors of Divinity and Masters of Arts had not been ashamed to perform the vilest of all offices, that of watching the lips of a companion in order to report his words to his ruin. The conversation in the hall had been purposely turned to irritating topics, to the Exclusion Bill, and to the character of the Earl of Shaftesbury, but in vain. Locke neither broke out nor dissembled, bnt maintained such steady silence and composure as forced the tools of power to own with vexation that never man was so complete a master of his tongue and of his passions. When it was found that treachery could do nothing,

* Grey's Narrative.

arbitrary power was used. After vainly trying to inveigle Locke into a fault, the government resolved to punish him without one. Orders came from Whitehall that he should be ejected; and those orders the Dean and Canons made haste to obey.

Locke was travelling on the Continent for his health when he learned that he had been deprived of his home and of his bread without a trial or even a notice. The injustice with which he had been treated would have excused him if he had resorted to violent methods of redress. But he was not to be blinded by personal resentment: he augured no good from the schemes of those who had assembled at Amsterdam; and he quietly repaired to Utrecht, where, while his partners in misfortune were planning their own destruction, he employed himself in writing his celebrated letter on Toleration.*

The English Government was early n^m. apprised that something was «mn,ia. m agitation among the outlaws. owl for An invasion of England seems ?STM* not to have been at first ex** pected: but it was apprehended that Argyle would shortly appear in arms among his clansmen. A proclamation was accordingly issued directing that Scotland should be put into a state of defence. The militia was ordered to be in readiness. All the clans hostile to the name of Campbell were set in motion. John Murray, Marquess of Athol, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Argyleshire, and, at the head of a great body of his followers, occupied the castle of Inversry. Some suspected persons were arrested. Others were compelled to jive hostages. Ships of war were sent to cruise near the isle of Bute; and

le Clerc's Life of Locke; Lord King's life of Locke; Lord Grenville's Oxford and Ueke. Locke must not be confounded with lie Anabaptist Nicholas Look, whose name is 'Pelt Locke in Grey's Confession, and who is mentioned in the Lansdowne MS. 1152., and fa the Buccleuch narrative appended to Mr. Base's dissertation. I should hardly think it necessary to make this remark, but that the similarity of the two names appears to have misled a man so well acquainted with the history of those times as Speaker Onslow. See k» note on Burnet, i. 629.

part of the army of Ireland was moved to the coast of Ulster.*

While these preparations were making in Scotland, James ConTeria_ called into his closet Arnold tion of Van Citters, who had long re- STftaSa' sided in England as Ambassa- J^JJJ; dor from the United Provinces, and Everard Van Dykvelt, who, after the death of Charles, had been sent by the States General on a special mission of condolence and congratulation. The King said that he had received from unquestionable sources intelligence of designs which were forming against his throne by his banished subjects in Holland. Some of the exiles were cutthroats, whom nothing but the special providence of God had prevented from committing a foul murder; and among them was the owner of the spot which had been fixed for the butchery. "Of all men living," said the King, "Argyle has the greatest means of annoying me; and of all places Holland is that whence a blow may be best aimed against me." The Dutch envoys assured His Majesty that what he had said should instantly be communicated to the government which they represented, and expressed their full confidence that every exertion would be made to satisfy him.f

They were justified in expressing this confidence. Both the jofSm. Prince of Orange and the States g*,^ General were, at this time, "i"£""" most desirous that the hospi- froSsaiitality of their country should '■* not be abused for purposes of which the English government could justly complain. James had lately held language which encouraged the hope that he would not patiently submit to the ascendency of France. It seemed probable that he would consent to form a close alliance with the United Provinces and the House of Austria. There was, therefore, at the Hague, an extreme anxiety to avoid all that could give him offence. The personal interest of

* Wodrow, book iii. chap. ix.; London Gazette, May 11.1685 ; Barillon, May 11.

t Register of the Proceedings of the States General, May ^. 1685.

« EdellinenJatka »