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A history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) online

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and knew that they had a strong backing. ^^ The Protestants occu-
pied a strong position ; but Ruthven, Provost of Perth, and later a
murderer of Riccio, joined the Regent. On May 25 the Regent
sent Argyll, Sempill, and the Lord James to confer with the barons
and lairds who headed the Congregation. Of that body Argyll had
been one of the earliest members, and Lord James too was reckoned
godly. In 1558, according to Lesley, Lord James, Prior of St
Andrews and Macon, asked Mary, in France, to give him the
earldom of Murray. Mary, however, tutored by the Regent, advised
him to pursue in a holy spirit the ecclesiastical career for which he
had been trained, and she held out hopes of a bishopric. Conse-
quently Lord James hated the Regent.^* In fact, in 1559, Lord
James was a Protestant, and had nothing of the prior — save the
revenues. He and Argyll, meeting the insurgents at Perth, were
told that these gentlemen demanded nothing but liberty of con-
science (for Protestants) in that town. Lord James said that,
according to the Regent, " they meant no religion but a plain
rebellion." They meant both. Knox told the envoys that " God's
written Word being admitted for judge," he would prove the Regent's
creed to be mere superstition. Of course he was to be himself the
interpreter of God's written Word, and therefore could prove exactly
whatever he pleased.

He added that the Regent's attempt would end in her con-
fusion. She was already in the worst of health. The Queen-
Regent's forces lay at Auchterarder, between Stirling and Perth.
With d'Oysel, their leader, the faithful made an arrangement. No
inhabitant of Perth was to suffer for the recent riot : " religion "
was to " go forward " ; the queen was not to leave French soldiers
in Perth when she passed from it. D'Oysel, knowing that the
brethren of the west, under Glencairn, had reached Perth by forced
marches, spoke peacefully, and Argyll and Lord James began to
arrange terms. Knox lectured these two lords for their desertion
of the godly; however, the terms were settled on May 28, and
on ]\Iay 31 Argyll and Lord James, vowing to join the rebels if
Mary proved false, renewed, and signed, a " band " with the


Congregation. Boyd, Glencairn, and Ochiltree also signed this
league for mutual defence, and for the destruction of idolatry.^^
The faithful then scattered, wrecking churches on their homeward
ways, " breaking down the altars and idols." ^^ Argyll and Lord
James, though sent by Mary to negotiate for her, had actually
signed the band that pledged the godly to commit these outrages !

Soon after the disturbances, which dated from May 1 1 , began,
Mary wrote (May 17) to Henri II. of France. On June i he
replied, expressing his anxiety, promising to send tine bonne force de
gens de guerre on receipt .of her reply. He was determined to
"exterminate traitors," and fight "in the quarrel of God." On
June 1 1 Cardinal Guise advised the Queen Regent, if victorious,
to imitate Mary Tudor, and cut off the heads and chiefs of the
Protestant rebels. This was advice which the good Mary of Guise
would never have taken. ^^

The queen entered the distracted town of Perth on May 29. She
found the religious houses ruinous, the altars destroyed, and, pro-
bably, an excited populace, for all the people of Perth were not
Protestants. A child was shot, perhaps by accident. ^^ The
Catholics celebrated the mass as best they might : the French
were billeted on the town, and, according to Knox (who is not
corroborated by documents), Ruthven was removed from the pro-
vostship and superseded by Charteris of Kinfauns. Between their
families the post had long been a subject of deadly feud.^^ On
departing, the Regent left four companies of Scots in French
service, maintaining that she had only promised not to leave
Frenchmen. There is a decided distinction between Frenchmen
and kindly Scots under French colours, but the Regent is again
accused of perfidy. Even James VI. accepted the charge, quoting
Buchanan. ^^ According to Buchanan (who here often coincides
almost verbally with Knox), the queen's action brought her into
public contempt. Argyll and Lord James left the queen, alleging
that they could not be partakers of her perfidy (June i). What
their own loyalty had been we have noted.

At this point and onwards it is necessary to criticise with perhaps
tedious minuteness the evidence for the charges of perfidy against
Mary of Guise. That she could be double-faced is certain from
Sadleyr's account of her diplomacy in 1543.*^ But historians
have made her broken promises the occasion of all the mischief
which occurred at Perth and was to follow throughout Scotland.


While these charges are dubious, or exaggerated, there is no doubt
at all about the duplicity of her Protestant opponents. It must be
remembered that this part of Knox's History was written, perhaps
as a kind of manifesto, as early as October 1559.''^ The author has
to conceal, and even to deny flatly, such matters as his own and his
party's intrigues with England. He labours to prove that his faction
was no\. politically disloyal — which it was. By way of palliation, he
has to insist on the perfidy of the Regent. Indeed he did so from
the pulpit, before the ink of the Arrangement of Perth was dry. He
said, " I am assured that no part of this promise made shall be longer
kept than till the queen and her Frenchmen have the upper hand."
He was quite right; the articles were pre-adjusted with a defect
which gave the means of discarding them.*^

To St Andrews Argyll and Lord James, after leaving Mary, went,
summoning their alhes. Whether they were honestly indignant, or
merely were seeking the first pretext for returning to their old allies,
is debated. Was the Regent to abandon the priests of her faith in
Perth to the death denounced by the Protestants ? ** And if her
co-religionists were to be protected, as Mary had no feudal array,
and had promised to trust no Frenchmen, whom could she leave
except Scots in French service ? This difficulty is only evaded
by ignoring the Protestant death-sentence on priests. The Regent,
of course, had other reasons for holding so strong a post as Perth, a
walled city.

The godly now did unto St Andrews even as they had done unto
Perth. They called the Perth rioters into St Andrews for June 3.
They came, with Knox in their company. He preached at Crail
and Anstruther: the usual destruction followed.*^ By this time, if not
before, Knox knew what effect followed his sermons : he no longer
writes, "neither could the exhortation of the preachers, nor the
commandment of the magistrate, stay them from destroying of the
places of idolatry." The Archbishop, riding into the town with
a hundred spearmen, vainly tried to deter Knox by threats from
preaching at St Andrews. The Queen-Regent with her forces was
at Falkland, the temper of the town was uncertain, but Knox
declined to be intimidated. On Sunday he preached on the
purging of the temple.*^ "The Magistrates, the Provost and
Bailies, as the commonalty for the most part within the town, did
agree to remove all monuments of idolatry, which also they did
with expedition." "Their idols were burned in their presence,"


says Knox to Mrs Locke, speaking of the clergy. Concerning the
details of the destruction little is known. " In this time all church-
men's goods were spoiled and reft from them, in every place where
the same could be apprehended, for every man for the most part
that could get anything pertaining to any churchmen thought the
same as well-won gear." So writes the ' Diurnal of Occurrents ' on
July 14, 1559 (p. 269). The Cathedral of St Andrews, the Mother
Church of Scotland, contained, like the temples of ancient Greece,
objects of priceless value and of immense antiquity. The crucifix
of St Margaret; the arm-bone of the apostle in its golden case,
adorned with jewels of gold by Edward I. ; with other gifts of
royal and noble donors, had been, and probably still were, in the
cathedral. We have no catalogue of these treasures. But we
have a MS. catalogue of " the geir of St Salvator's College." The
same document mentions objects retained in private hands for con-
cealment. We read of " six chalices of the best, the Holy Cross,
the beryl cross, ten chandeliers, the embroidered cushions in the
meikle kist in the Provost's stable." We hear of tapestry, cloth-
of-gold, "the big and little tyaste of beryl, with pearls about it."
There is also Bishop Kennedy's silver-gilt mace, with figures in
relief, representing all orders of spirits in the universe. This
mace was decidedly " idolatrous," but such maces alone, with
mangled heads of the Redeemer and a saint, discovered by Lord
Bute in the drain of the sub-prior's house, survive to attest the
wealth and art of St Andrews. The very lead of bishops' coffins
has been stolen. The shattered chapel of the Dominicans remains :
the Franciscan monastery has vanished. The cathedral is the most
gaunt of ruins. We need not suppose that it was destroyed in
a day. When once the lead was riven from the roof, the weather,
and the use of the place as a quarry, would do the rest.

During these excesses where were the Catholics of Scotland?
As a force, ready to defend their sacred things, they did not exist.
They could only move under the nobles, and the nobles were Re-
formers, or neutral, or mere intriguers. Beaton, Archbishop of
Glasgow, carried to France some of the sacred things of his Church.
Others, from Aberdeen, intrusted to Huntly, later fell into Mary's

Chatelherault and the Archbishop now joined the Regent at
Falkland. With d'Oysel they were to march on St Andrews, by
Cupar, but Cupar was already seized by the Brethren, They out-


numbered the Regent's force, and on June 13 an arrangement had
to be made. Mary was obHged to remove her French, except three
sea-board garrisons, out of Fife. A pause of eight days was allowed
for a discussion, but Mary sent no envoys to St Andrews. ^''^ Argyll
and Murray wrote to Mary, complaining of the garrison of Scots under
French colours in Perth. They say, " Suppose that it " (the clause
in the Perth treaty) " was spoken of French soldiers only, yet we
took it otherwise, as we still do." They then coerced the garrison
in Perth, which evacuated the town (June 25). The abbey and the
palace of Scone were next sacked, in spite of the strenuous efforts
of Knox and the nobles. Stirling was handled in similar style.
Mary retreated to Dunbar, the Congregation entered Edinburgh,
found the religious houses already wrecked, and seized Holyrood
and the stamps at the mint. On this Mary issued a paper, assert-
ing that religion was a mere cloak for rebellion, and that she had
offered to establish liberty of conscience till a Parliament could be
held in January, or sooner, — " a manifest lie," writes Knox. Mary
declared that the Congregation was intriguing with England, and
had seized the stamps at the mint and her palace of Holyrood.
Writing four months later, Knox has the assurance to say, " There
is never a sentence of the narrative true." They had seized the
stamps, but that was to stop the utterance of debased coin. Now
the "narrative" is true. As to Mary's concessions, Kirkcaldy says
to Percy (June 25) that the Regent "is like to grant the other
party " (his party) " all they desire, which in part she has offered
already." ^^ Are we to believe Knox, or Kirkcaldy? As to the
dealings with England, which Mary alleged, Knox had proposed
to Kirkcaldy a union with England as against France (June 23).
Knox, on June 28, had asked for an interview with Cecil: he was
trying, in his own way, to soothe Elizabeth's anger against him,
awakened by his blast against "the Monstrous Regiment of Women."
It is thus plain that Knox's vehement giving of the lie to Mary
is not justified. Indeed he lets out the fact in a later page.*^
He and Kirkcaldy were, as Mary said, intriguing with England.
Knox avers that Mary said "they sought nothing but her life,"
and quotes her proclamation, in which she does not say so. The
Reformers were, apparently, aiming at nothing less than to alter
the succession to the throne.

The eldest son of Chatelherault, Arran, was captain of the
Scots Guard in France, and was a Protestant. Henri II. writes


that Arran has caused scandals in Poitou, and has fled to escape
arrest. ^'^ He reached Geneva, and was conducted home by agents
of Elizabeth. As early as June 14, Croft, from Berwick, wrote
to Cecil on this subject. Arran " is very well bent to religion,
and, next his father, he is the only help of the realm." If all
their imaginations may take place, they intend to presume to
motion a marriage, " You know where." That is, the Reformers,
asking the aid of England, in contravention of the recent treaty
of peace, wished Elizabeth to marry Arran. The result, if suc-
cessful, must be to place the house of Hamilton on the throne. ^^
On June 28 Throckmorton wrote that Whitlowe (an old Scots
agent of England under Somerset) proposed a marriage between
the queen (Elizabeth) and the Earl of Arran. Mary Stuart under-
stood the situation. She told Mompesat (who had been hunting
for Arran) that " he could not do her a greater pleasure than to
use Arran as an arrant traitor." ^^ These intrigues prove that the
Reformers looked to Arran, not to the Lord James, as their future
king. Lord James was suspected of aiming at the Crown, but it is
probable that this remarkable statesman had no such ambition.

Meanwhile, by occupying Edinburgh, Knox's party had destroyed
any shadowy chance of accommodation. Indeed none such could
be : to them universal toleration was abhorrent, even had the Regent
been in earnest. By July i, Chatelherault, "with almost the whole
nobility," says Kirkcaldy, had joined the Brethren. The Second
Prayer-Book of Edward VI. was appointed to be read in churches.
The property of the Church was to be, for the present, "bestowed
upon the faithful ministers." Knox's hatred of the prayer-book soon
swept it away ; nor did the faithful ministers get " all the fruits of the
abbeys." The Reformers would be content with nothing from the
Regent but a general Reformation and the dismissal of the French,
which some expected her to grant. This letter of Kirkcaldy's is of
July I, the same day as Mary's charges against the Reformers, which
Kirkcaldy may not yet have seen.^^ She continued to negotiate :
she had again won over Chatelherault, Knox says, by insisting that
Argyll and Lord James were not allowed to meet her in private. A
larger meeting at Preston had no efifect. Mary insisted that, where
she was, preachers should be silent, and she should have her mass.
The Reformers had just told her that they desired "liberty of
conscience." ^^ They now added that she must not expect this
satisfaction ; " neither could we suffer that the risrht administration


of Christ's true sacraments should give place to manifest idolatry." ^^
There was no possibility of dealing with men so intolerant ; and
Mary temporised, trusting that the levies of the Congregation would
break up, as they began to do. Thus July slipped past, the Re-
formers dealing with England, while in France the desire was to
help the Regent.

Cecil had every wish to aid the Reformers, though Knox, at
great length, had demonstrated that he richly deserved damna-
tion.^^ Cecil felt that England needed Scotland in opposition to
France, where Mary and the Dauphin had assumed the title of
King and Queen, and had quartered the arms of England,^'^ which
implied that Elizabeth was illegitimate. Moreover, Cecil had heard
from Throckmorton, in Paris, that the Guises advised death and
confiscation against Argyll, Lord James, and others.^^ Cecil, there-
fore, cautiously encouraged Knox and Kirkcaldy. His difficulty was
*with Elizabeth. She detested Knox and all rebels against royal
authority. Noailles advised Henri to send Mary and the Dauphin
to Scotland, where their presence might be pacifying. Arran's flight
from Poitou, the mortal wound of Henri H. in a tournament, and
news of a French expedition to Scotland, coincided, early in July.
On the 8th Cecil bade the Protestants do what they had to do
quickly. ^^ On the death of Henri, Throckmorton reported that the
new queen, Mary Stuart, " trusts to be Queen of Scotland " (July
ii). On July 19 the Lords of the Congregation appealed form-
ally to Elizabeth for aid.*^*^ But as England delayed, and many of
the Congregation were scattered, while Erskine, in the castle, threat-
ened to fire on them, the Brethren on July 24 evacuated Leith and
Edinburgh, d'Oysel occupying Leith. An arrangement of the most
confused kind had been made. The terms are thus stated : —

1. All Protestants, except the inhabitants, shall leave Edinburgh

on the 24th.

2. They shall give up the mint stamps and Holy rood ; offering

hostages for fulfilment.

3. They shall obey the laws, except as to faith.

4. They shall not molest the clergy, or their incomes, before

January 10, nor seize their rents.

5. Nor attack churches or monasteries.

6. Till January 10 Edinburgh shall have what religion it chooses-

7. The Regent shall not molest the preachers, nor allow the

clergy to do so.*"^


Knox says that his party drew up other articles to this effect : —

1. That no member of the Congregation should in any way be

molested for the late innovations, before the holding of a
Parliament on January 10.

2. That idolatry should not be erected where it was, at the

moment, suppressed.

3. That the preachers should have freedom to preach everywhere

they chanced to come.

4. That Edinburgh should not be garrisoned.

5. That the French should he sent away, " at a reasonable day,"

and no more brought in, without assent of the nobles and

Knox then writes, " But these our articles were altered, and another
form disposeth, as after follows," and then cites the articles of which
we have given the substance (p. 58). He goes on, "This alteration
in words and order was made without counsel and consent of those
whose counsel we had used in all cases before." He appears to
mean that he himself, and perhaps other preachers, were not con-
sulted. Before leaving Edinburgh, the Lords published, as the real
agreement, a totally different version. It is not the real agreement,
it is merely the arrangement originally proposed by the Protestants,
but without the article that the French shall be all dismissed by
a reasonable day. The Catholics remonstrating against this bad
faith, the Brethren declared that these were the actual terms agreed
upon, "whatsoever their scribes had after written." Yet Knox
calmly admits that the fourth article of the treaty, as given above,
securing the clergy from outrages, was suppressed, as " to proclaim
anything in their favours we thought it not necessary, knowing that
in that behalf they themselves should be diligent enough." This is
remarkable conduct in persons so sensitive on the point of honour.
Not only did the godly accept one treaty, and proclaim that they
had accepted another, but they accused the Regent's scribes of
fraudulently altering the very treaty which they had accepted, and
then themselves had altered.^^ Moreover Knox, in a History written
almost at the moment, proclaims this complicated iniquity with
cynical candour. The charge which Knox and his party made
against " the scribes " is untrue, and Knox knew it. For on July
24, Kirkcaldy, writing to Croft from Edinburgh, announced that
his faction had accepted the terms of the Seven Articles as we give
them.^^ We need no longer criticise charges of perfidy against


Mary of Guise. They are matched by the confessed perfidy of the

The Brethren retired to StirHng, made a new band, and kept on
asking for EngUsh aid. Knox, in his History, says that this was
done because they distrusted the Regent. He does not here say
that he and his party had long been practising with Cecil. In
Edinburgh the Protestants held St Giles' Church, and were shocked
when the Regent heard mass in the abbey. In the first days of
August Knox visited Berwick, His instructions as to dealing with
Croft included political and military matters. Alliance and aid, in
men and money, were desired. Knox returned, with Alexander
Whitelaw, an English spy, on August 3. Whitelaw was unlucky.
Lord Seton, mistaking him for Knox, broke a chair on him, " with-
out any occasion offered to him." Knox reports the fact, but does
not here say that he himself had been in England.^* As Laing
observes, in the part of Knox's History which was written almost at
the time of the events, " the application made for aid from England
is scarcely alluded to."^^ Naturally, for Knox was denying that
they dealt with England. Little was got from Cecil : with what
" authority " in Scotland could he treat ? He hinted that Arran, or
Lord James, might be selected. However, the Congregation were
not wholly neglected. Elizabeth sent Sadleyr to Berwick, and
permitted him to expend ;^3ooo in the interests of the Brethren.
He was to be very secret, so as not to be found infringing the
recent treaty of peace (August).^*"

Thus began a revival of the old English aid to the Protestant
party. On the very day when Elizabeth thus enabled Sadleyr
to foster rebellion in Scotland, she also wrote to Mary of Guise.
She said that Francis II. had informed her that her Border
officials had been dealing with " the rebels." She asked for exact
information, " that we may take order for punishing the guilty."^''
Elizabeth continued to fable : the Congregation and the Regent
issued proclamations and counter -proclamations : French troops
arrived at Leith : Arran passed from France through England,
and met Elizabeth. She did not lose her heart to him. He
joined the Congregation at Stirling : thence the Lords passed to
Chatelherault, at Hamilton, where it was determined to resist the
fortification of Leith by the Regent.^^ Of all things the Lords
wanted more money from England. They bade Mary discontinue
the fortification of Leith : she declined, and on October 1 5


Chatelherault, Arran, Argyll, Glencairn, Lord James, and others
entered Edinburgh. The Regent was at Leith. There began a
war of proclamations. The Brethren, among other grievances,
denounced as ruinous the introduction of French soldiers and the
fortifying of Leith. Mary replied that she had not brought in
Frenchmen till the Congregation dealt with England ; that the
attitude of the Hamiltons, next heirs to the Crown, caused sus-
picion ; that the godly had seized and fortified Broughty Castle,
commanding the Tay, Perth, and Dundee. This enterprise had
been suggested by Knox to Croft at Berwick on July 31. Finally,
that she had a natural right to provide herself with a city of refuge
at Leith. In answer, the nobles, barons, and burghers, on October
21, deposed Mary of Guise, in the name of her daughter and
son-in-law, Francis IL and Mary Stuart.*^^

The Regent had now against her the force of the country, the
prestige of the Hamiltons, and the genius of Lethington, who
had deserted her. Having been in England for much of the year
on the matter of the peace, he soon succeeded Knox as secretary
to the Congregation. But that body had its internal dissensions.
First, scaling-ladders for the attack of Leith were being made in
St Giles' Church, " so that preaching was neglected." This did
not suit the preachers. " God would not suffer such contempt of
His Word long to be unpunished." The Reeent had good spies.
Chatelherault was timid, and demoralised the other Protestants,
The men of war had already mutinied for want of pay, and
threatened to serve any man that would set up the mass again.
These were not earnest professors, and now they mutinied afresh.
"A collection was made," but few subscribed. Ormistoun was
sent to bring money from Sadleyr and Croft, but Bothwell way-
laid and wounded him, and took 4000 crowns. After the Dundee
contingent had been defeated, with loss of its guns, on November
5, the Congregation were severely handled, and lost the Provost
of Dundee. In spite of Lethington's advice, the Brethren fled to
StirUng, much railed upon by the ungodly of Edinburgh.™ The
Catholics in Edinburgh seem to have been numerous, even at a
much later date, but they were unwarlike. Lethington was now .

Online LibraryAndrew LangA history of Scotland from the Roman occupation (Volume 2) → online text (page 7 of 60)