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successful, are merely sent to punish Scotland's sins : they are the
hangmen of Providence. The " neutrals " and the " assured Scots "
are equally condemned. The clergy are advised to take up arms
in defence of their country ; their slaughter at Pinkie was, however,


discouraging. Though the writer is not- one of "the godly," and
does not desire to break with the Church, he prophesies that
" schism shall never cease, for no statutes, laws, punishments, ban-
ishing, burning, nor torment, . . . till the clergy reform their own
abuses." As for the nobles, the author declares that, whatever plan
may be decided on in Privy Council, is known at Berwick within
twenty hours, and at London in three days later. Probably most
men guessed that Sir George Douglas, or some other traitor, gave
the most secret intelligence to Ormistoun or Brunston. In their
hands, we know, it reached Berwick instantly. The rest was easy.

The sorrows and oppressions of the labourers of the ground are
reckoned to the charge of the nobles, but the labourers themselves
are unworthy of liberty. They frequent noisy public meetings ; all
shout at once ; only the noisiest is heard and followed. The author
(who has an odd interlude of valuable notes on popular songs and
tales) is a patriot first, a deadly foe of England, a preacher of the
duty of imitating Bruce. Only in the second place does he care
for the religious question, and then merely as it is concerned with a
good life, not with dogma and metaphysics. To free Scotland first
of all, and then to care for religious and social reforms, is his desire.
" You are so divided among yourselves," he cries, " that not one
trusts another." He might almost have added, that not one de-
served to be trusted. We shall see how lack of confidence affected
the action of Knox himself.

While the 'Complaynt' utters the ideas of a patriot of culture,
the ' Gude and Godlie Ballatis ' reflect the emotions and aspira-
tions of the ardent middle -class reformers. These poems, in
great part hymns translated from the German ; for the rest,
religious parodies of popular songs, with a few satirical ballads
on the Churchmen, are attributed to the Wedderburns of Dundee.^^
Probably the clergy reckoned the book (of which no copy in
the original edition is known) among the slanderous ballads
prohibited by Arran. The earliest date of the ballatis (in broad-
sheets, perhaps) may be between 1542 and 1546. Others are
obviously later. But Scottish Protestantism had not yet come to
regard with distrust and disapproval such a phrase as " Jesus, Son
of Mary." On the other hand, we read, —

** Next Him to lufe his Mother fair,
With steidfast hart, for ever mair,
Scho bure the byrth, freed us from cair."


But prayer to saints was denounced.

"To pray to Peter, James, or Johne,
Our saulis to saif, power haif they none,
For that belangis to Christ allone,
He deit thairfoir, he deit thairfoir."

In these times, the struggle was between Animism and Theism.
Perhaps from almost the beginning of religion this conflict has
existed. Deity seems abstract and remote ; the souls of the an-
cestral or saintly dead are familiar, kindly, and near at hand.
Hence saint-worship, which the Reformers were forsaking for God,
revealed and incarnated in Christ. The animistic theory of Purga-
tory, with prayers for the dead, and the extortions practised in that
cause, was also a stumbling-block.

" Of the fals fyre of Purgatorie,
Is nocht left in ane sponk :
Thairfoir sayis Gedde, 'woe is me,
Gone is Preist, Freir and Monk.

The reik [smoke] sa wounder deir thay solde,

For money, gold and landis :
Quhill half the ryches on the molde

Is seasit in thair handis.' "

These lines, written after 1560, express the practical grievance: the
wealth of the clergy, based on the payments for masses for the
dead. " Works," too, were condemned.

"Thair is na dedis that can save me,
Thocht thay be never sa greit plentie."

Not that a good life is indifferent.

" Fyre without heit can not be,
Faith will have warkis of suretie,
Als fast as may convenientlie
Be done, but moir."

So far we have spiritual songs, and a satisfying new theology,
grounded in justification by faith, with faith itself as the spontaneous
and inevitable source of righteous conduct. But the " rascal multi-
tude," as apart from the minority of the earnestly godly, was reached
and inflamed by parodies of such popular songs as

"Johne, come kis me now, The Lord thy God I am,

Johne, come kis me now, That Johne dois the call,

Johne, come kis me by and by, Johne representit man

And male no moir adow. Be grace celestiall."



A chant of triumph runs thus, —

" Ye schaw us the heid of Sanct Johne,
With the arm of Sanct Geill [Giles] ;
To rottin banis ye gart us kneill,
And sanit us from neck to heill.
The nycht is neir gone."

Such were the ideas of the middle -class reformers, lyrically ex-
pressed, and such were their allurements to the multitude, who were
indignant at the long imposture, as they deemed it, and had all the
joy of the rabble in destroying to-day what yesterday they had
adored. Such hymns may have been sung in private conventicles,
as at the house of Knox's friend Syme. Meanwhile, the pious
wives and mothers were already choosing directors, putting cases
of conscience, and adoring preachers who claimed gifts of pro-
phetic inspiration. The middle classes and the populace being
thus prepared, the godly nobles, as we saw, had been attending the
ministrations of Knox.

It would appear that they already contemplated making a
push for their ideas by force. At Stirling, on March 10, 1557,
a letter was written and despatched to Knox at Geneva. It
was signed by Glencairn, by Lome, Erskine (not of Dun, but
Lord Erskine, keeper of Edinburgh Castle), and Lord James
Stewart. Knox was informed that the faithful not only desired
his presence, but " will be ready to jeopardy lives and goods
in the forward setting of the glory of God " ; persecution, they
said, was slack. The bearers, Knox's friends Syme and Barron,
would say more.^* The letter clearly indicates that Glencairn,
Argj'U, Erskine (later the Regent Mar), and the Lord James were
designing a political movement, and were ready to take all con-
sequences if Knox would join them. Calvin and the rest urged
him to go. He promised to come " with reasonable expedition,"
but did not reach Dieppe till October 24. Though Morton de-
clared that Knox "never feared the face of man," his long delay
showed no zest for his enterprise. By the end of October things
in Scotland were no longer as they had been in March. There
were wars and rumours of war. Knox carefully records certain
portents : one of them is of the kind noted by Livy and the
heathen augurs. There were a comet, lightning, and a two-headed
calf, which was presented to the Regent by one of the godly house
of Ormistoun. But Mary of Guise, with horrid levity, "scripped"


(sneered), and said, " It is but a common thing." And Knox goes
on : " The war began in the end of harvest." He had, two pages
before, denounced the English congregation at Frankfort as " super-
stitious." -^

Lesley mentions the other portents, but not the calf. When
safely out of Scotland, in 1556, Knox had been summoned again,
and burned in efifigy at Edinburgh Cross. That also was a

The war that had been plainly indicated by a comet and a two-
headed calf ran its feeble course in the autumn of 1557. In a
strife between France and Philip of Spain, England had aided
Philip by sending troops to the Low Countries. Philip and Mary
Tudor, doubtless to neutralise Scotland, arranged meetings of Scots
and English Commissioners for the peace of the Border. They
met on the Stark water in June 1557, and the English perceived
that the Scots dreaded being drawn into the war as allies of France.
Westmoreland hinted this danger to Cassilis, who said, " By the
mass, I am no more French than you are a Spaniard. I told you
once, in my lord your father's house, in King Henry VIII. his time,
that we would die, every mother's son of us, rather than be subjects
unto England. Even the Hke shall you find us to keep with
France." -*^ The Bishop of Orkney, and Carnegie, were equally
anxious for peace between Scotland and England, and Carnegie
said that, " as far as we know," the Regent was of the same mind.
But before July 2 English Borderers, such as the Grahams, had
broken the peace, an ordinary event. The Bishop of Orkney was
still full of peaceful words on July 1 3 : on July 1 6 the commissioners
proclaimed peace at Carlisle Cross, and prorogued their meetings
till September 15.^'' However, the Scots made Border raids,
perhaps in reprisals for that of the Grahams of Netherby, before
July 29.-*^ Home was, in revenge, defeated at Blackbreye.^^ Be-
fore that event d'Oysel had fortified Eyemouth, as a counterpoise
to Berwick, from which he expected to be attacked. This act was
in the teeth of the last treaty with England. War was now de-
clared, but at Kelso, Chatelherault, Huntly, Cassilis, Argyll, and
the rest declined to cross Tweed. They had heard of Flodden.
Knox, Leslie, and Arran himself agree in making this refusal the
cause of hatred between the Regent and her nobles. Lesley de-
clares that they now began to make the reformed religion a
stalking-horse for their sedition : Knox avers that " the Evangel of


Jesus Christ began wondrously to flourish." ^"^ Henry II. now tried
to tighten the bonds between France and Scotland, by marrying
the Dauphin to Mary Stuart, and events in Edinburgh illustrate
the progress made by the Evangel.

In 1542 and 1543 the people of Edinburgh had been notably
constant to the old faith. They mobbed a Protestant Dominican,
a preacher of Arran's, and, just before Arran's return to Catholicism,
they protected the Black Friars Monastery from his men. But now,
in September 1557, the image of the patron saint of "the Mother
Kirk " of Edinburgh, St Giles', was stolen, ducked in the Nor' Loch
under the castle, and finally burned. Archbishop Hamilton bade
the town replace the image, and the town council appealed against
the judgment.^^ This occurred a year before the great riot against
St Giles' in September 1558; but though the affair of September
1557 was less public, it indicated the change in the popular humour.
"The images were stolen away in all parts of the country," says
Knox. ^2 To us representations of saints, in works of art, are merely
works of art. But processions in which the images were carried, and
the custom of kissing such relics as the arm of St Giles in its silver
case, were instances of mere heathenism and idolatry to the mind of
the Reformers. Thus when Knox, several months after being in-
vited, reached Dieppe in October 24, 1557, the country was engaged,
though slackly, in war with England, and was also full of tumult —
sacred things being destroyed. The circumstances do not suit the
scheme indicated in the invitation to Knox given on March 10. On
arriving at Dieppe, he found awaiting him " two letters not very pleas-
ing to the flesh," One letter informed him that the plan of March
10 was being reconsidered. The other was from a gentleman who
said that in none of the planners " did he find such boldness and
constancy as was requisite for such an enterprise." Some repented,
some were " partly ashamed," others " were able to deny that ever
they did consent to any such purpose, if any trial or question should
be taken thereof." ^^ In fact, as the author of the ' Complaynt ' had
said, no man could trust a neighbour. Knox wrote to the godly
nobles, complaining of their usage of him. He said that the nobles
were betraying the cause and the realm " to the slavery of strangers,"
the French. " I am not ignorant that fearful troubles shall ensue
your enterprise. . . . You ought to hazard your own lives, be it
against Kings or Emperors " (Dieppe, October 27). Mr Hume Brown
infers that Knox had no particular desire to hazard his own life. " At


all events, Knox certainly made the most of" the two unofficial letters.
... In his private correspondence we have another and, doubtless,
a more adequate account of the various motives that led him to turn
his back on Scotland at this time. Thus, next spring (March 16,
1558), he wrote to Mrs Guthrie, " If any object I followed not the
counsel which I give to others, for my fleeing the country declareth
my fear ; I answer, I bind no man to my example." A month later,
he declares that " the cause of my stop I do not to this day clearly
understand. I most suspect my own wickedness." At Dieppe ideas,
perhaps, he thinks, of satanic inspiration, had occurred to him. " I
began to dispute with myself as follows : Shall Christ, the author of
peace, concord, and quietness, be preached where war is proclaimed,
sedition engendered, and tumults appear to rise ? " He would be-
hold civil war, murder, destruction. Had he a right to cause this
ruin, to rouse these passions, in the name of the Author of peace on
earth and goodwill among men? These cogitations "did trouble
and move my wicked heart."

He remained at Dieppe till the early spring of 1558, writing
long letters to the brethren in Scotland, and composing his
famous 'First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regi-
ment of Women,' especially the three Maries. No moment in
Knox's life is more curious. It seems that he was not always
ready to die for his beliefs, and the half-consciousness of this lack
of courage caused him to suspect his own doubts as to the law-
fulness of raising war in the name of the Prince of Peace. ^* As a
matter of fact, Knox would probably have done nothing by the visit
to Scotland which he declined to make As he was urging the
nobles, from Dieppe, to persist in their perilous enterprise, Henry
II., on October 30, was writing to the Queen-Regent and the Estates
to hurry on the marriage between Mary and the Dauphin Francis.
Even the Lord James, and Erskine of Dun, came into a project
detested by Knox. From this point of view, he ought to have
hastened to the scene of peril, stirred up opposition to the French
marriage, and taken his share of danger. He was content, despite
his scruples, to " bid the rest keep fighting." They took his advice,
despite the current negotiations for the French marriage, and alliance
with idolaters. " A common band was made," says Knox, in the
interests of the truth. We have seen bands enough, instruments
denounced by law, in the past history of Scotland. But the band of
Argyll, Glencairn, Morton (son of Sir George Douglas), Lome, and


Erskine of Dun (a commissioner for the marriage) is probably the
first godly band. The date is Edinburgh, December 3, 1557. The
banded nobles are to resist no one less than Satan, " even unto the
death." Before God and the Congregation they vow to peril their
very lives in establishing the most blessed Word of God and his
Congregation. They will defend faithful ministers against "all
wicked power that does intend tyranny." They renounce idolatry
and the congregation of Satan, that is, the Church as by law estab-
lished. Of the signatories, Argyll, after denouncing English godli-
ness as a hypocritical cloak of greed, had sold himself for 1000
crowns. He died in autumn 1558. Glencairn was the Kilmaurs
whom Henry VHI. had found so shifty. Morton was to show his
form of godliness by murder, by being art and part in Darnley's
assassination, and by robbing and insulting the reformed Kirk
through his " tulchan bishops." Lome's course was to be sufficiently
ambiguous, and Erskine of Dun had begun his career by slaying a
priest in the bell-tower of Montrose. Erskine's father paid the
blood-price, or assythment. These were strange instruments of
reform in the Church of Christ. They decided that the common
prayers (the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI.) should be read
weekly in churches by the curates, if read they could, if not, by
some qualified person. Preaching should be quiet, without great

Very shortly after the letter of Henry H. to the Scots Estates
was despatched, on November 29, Parliament met, and instructed
Commissioners to deal with France on the basis of Henry's letter.
The Protestant party was represented on the commission mainly by
Erskine of Dun, and the Lord James Stewart, Prior of St Andrews.
Perhaps " Protestant " is too definite a term, at least for Lord James ;
but he had been a hearer of Knox, and had resolved on a Protestant
enterprise. The prelates of Glasgow, Ross, and Orkney represented
the Church ; Rothes, Cassilis, Fleming, and Seton were probably of
open mind as to the religious question. The Commissioners were
enjoined "of new to contract and agree" to preserve all the ancient
rights, liberties, and privileges of the country. If Mary died without
issue, " the righteous blood of the Crown of Scotland " was to
succeed — that is, the House of Hamilton. Chatelherault acquiesced
in these arrangements, as he told Sir Harry Percy, who approached
him in the English interests.^^ Sir Harry's letter shows Chatelherault
again as in 1542, zealous for " the maintenance of the Word of God."


Apparently his brother, the Archbishop, could not keep this waverer
constant. As to safeguarding the freedom of Scotland, the marriage-
contract (April 19, 1558) ratified the treaty of Haddington, in which
these rights were secured. The Scottish Commissioners were to
give their fealty to the Dauphin " a cause de la ditte Royne sa com-
pagne et consort.''' The Dauphin was, in his capacity as Mary's hus-
band, to bear the name, title, and arms of the King of Scotland.
But Francis was no more loyal now than Edward I. had been con-
stant to the Treaty of Birgham. On April 4 documents to a very
different effect had been signed by Mary. If she died without issue,
she left Scotland in free gift to the King of France, with all her con-
ceivable rights to the English crown. A second deed made Scotland
responsible, in the case foreseen, for a million, or whatever other
expense France had incurred in defending the country. Thirdly,
she declared that her assent to the Scottish articles as to the succes-
sioii, if she died without issue, was to be of no effect.^^ These
dealings, due to the scheming of Mary's uncles, the Guises, were
merely infamous. How far the young queen understood, or looked
into, the papers which she signed, we do not know : she was in-
telligent enough to understand their purport. The Commissioners,
ignorant of the secret clauses signed by Mary, declined to have
"the Honours of Scotland," the Regalia, brought over to the
Dauphin. On April 24 the royal marriage was celebrated with
great pomp, masques, and dances. ^^ Thus at last the "queen
of many wooers " had found a lord : she for whose unconscious
hand such rivers of blood had flowed, so many men had died.
In the mythical background of the history of Helen, while yet
a child, before Ilios and its leaguer were dreamed of, there are
legends of murders and manslayings, sieges and invasions, for
her beauty's sake. Mary was the Helen of the modern world.
Discord came to her christening with the apple of strife, the one
fatal gift among many gifts so goodly : beauty, charm, courage, and
loyal heart. Round her cradle men and women intrigued and lied;
many a time her grand-uncle had practised to carry the infant away
from her guarded castle. For her sake the Border again and
again was ravaged, and Beaton was slain, and corpses lay in thou-
sands on the 'field of Pinkie Cleugh. Once removed to France,
who shall say how early the scandals of the godly pursued her
maiden name ? Says Knox, " The Cardinal of Lorane gat her
in his keeping, a morsel, I assure you, meet for his own mouth." ^^


Dr Hay Fleming remarks, " Before Mary's second marriage, he who
was to be her third husband was alleged to have called her ' Cardinal's
whore.'"*** Bothwell is accused of having circulated the slander
which, perhaps through him, reached the Reformer. Of Mary's
education and early life in France not much is known. Certainly
she was not always secluded in a convent : she often followed the
Court, and was kindly treated by Diane de Poitiers, and was in the
society of Catherine de' Medici, the queen. What manner of Court
was kept by Henri II. is unknown to none. What slur or stain fell
on Mary's own disposition is matter of conjecture. She was well
taught in accomplishments — riding, embroidery, dancing, music : she
had some Latin, less than the really learned ladies of her age. Her
frank dignity of bearing, her courage, and her womanly charm and
tact, are attested even by jealous diplomatists, or at least by the
diplomatists of jealous Powers. That she was beautiful is more
clearly proved by her history than by her portraits. "A fire comes
out from her that consumes many." No woman not divinely fair
could have been as a devouring flame. She was, in brief, the Helen
or the Cleopatra of the modern ages. If her likenesses disappoint,
we may safely ascribe the fault to artists who could not portray a
beautiful woman. Marguerite of Valois fares no better at their
hands. For the word of God Argyll and Morton professed themselves
ready to imperil " their very lives." For Mary men poured out their
lives like water. She was more to them than a woman ; she was a
religion and an ideal.* But Fate, from her cradle, lay so heavy upon
her that no conceivable conduct of hers could have steered her
safely through the plotting crowns and creeds, the rival dissemblers,
bigots, hypocrites, and ruffians who, with jealousy, and hatred, and
desire, on every side surrounded her. Joyous by nature and by
virtue of her youth, she was condemned to a life of tears, and
destined to leave a stained and contested honour. Such was, and
was to be, the bride of Francis of France, the bride of Darnley, the
bride of Bothwell.

* This rather apphes to the CathoHc youth of England tlian to Mary's friends
in Scotland.



^ Lingard, v. 285, citing Strype, ii. 141. ^ Calendar, i. 140-145.

^ De Selve, pp. 474, 477. * Hamilton Papers, ii. 622.

^ Privy Council, i. 126. ^ Lesley, pp. 482, 483.

^ Calendar, i. 190. September 24, 1552. ^ Calendar, i. 191.

^ Act. Pari., ii. 604, 605. ^^ Hume Brown, Knox, i. iii.

^^ Knox, iii. 277. ^'^ Knox, iii. 122. ^^ Knox, iv. 43.

" Knox, iii. 281. ^^ Knox, iii. 244. ^^ Knox, iii. 263-330.

^^ Knox, iii. 309. ^^ Hume Brown, Knox, i. 161.

^* Knox, iv. 41-49. His account of these troubles.

^^ T. G. Law, Preface to Catechism.

■^1 Knox, i. 245-252. The Pasquil is in Knox, iv., in two editions, 1556 and

-^ Early English Text Society, 1872. Edited by Dr Murray.

^^ Gtede and Godlie Ballatis. Edited by the late Dr Mitchell for the Scottish
Text Society, 1897. Whether one of the brothers, Robert, was author of the
'Complaynt' or not, is disputed, op. cit., xxv, xxvi.

-^ Knox, i. 267, 268. '^'° Knox, i. 253-255.

-^ Martyn to Mary Tudor, June 11, 1557. Calendar, i. 198.

^^ Calendar, i. 200, 201.

-8 Council to Wharton, July 29, 1557. Tytler, v. 24. Not calendared by
Thorpe or Bain.

-^ Stevenson, Illustrations, p. 70. ^^ Knox, i. 256; Lesley, 491.

^^ Laing, in ' Knox,' i. 560. ^^ Knox, i. 256.

^^ Knox, i. 269. ^^ Hume Brown, Knox, i. 205-212.

^^ Knox, i. 273, 275, and note 6. ^^ January 22, 1559. Keith, i. 364-368.

^' Labanoff, Recueil, i. 52-56. ^^ Teulet, i. 302-311.

^' Knox, i. 219.

^^ Hay Fleming, p. 206, citing 'Foreign Calendar, Elizabeth,' 1564-65,315,
320, 325-




Almost at the very time of the royal marriage the clerical party in
Scotland achieved their last, their most cruel, and most impolitic act
of persecution. After the making of the band of the Congregation,
in December 1557, there had arisen a controversy, courteous in
terms, between Archbishop Hamilton and the aged Earl of Argyll.
A preacher named Douglas was entertained by the Earl : the Arch-
bishop remonstrated, and Argyll replied. He knew that Hamilton
was unpopular with the clergy " for non-pursuing of poor simple
Christians " ; he knew that if the Archbishop listened to his clerical
advisers, there would be burnings. Against these he warned his
correspondent. The letters passed between the end of March and
the first week in April 1558.^ As Argyll's character has not been

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 60)