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by their chiefs. By July 22, the Scots heard of the fatal wound of Henri
II., to their encouragement. Both parties were in lack of money, and the
forces of the Congregation were slipping home by hundreds. Mary,
according to Knox, was exciting the Duke against Argyll and Lord James,
by the charge that Lord James was aiming at the crown, in which if he
succeeded, he would deprive not only her daughter of the sovereignty, but
the Hamiltons of the succession. Young and ambitious as Lord James then
was, and heavily as he was suspected, even in England, it is most
improbable that he ever thought of being king.

The Congregation refused to let Argyll and Lord James hold conference
with the Regent. Other discussions led to no result, except waste of
time, to the Regent's advantage; and, on July 22, Mary, in council with
Lord Erskine, Huntly, and the Duke, resolved to march against the
Reformers at Edinburgh, who had no time to call in their scattered levies
in the West, Angus, and Fife. Logan of Restalrig, lately an ally of the
godly, surrendered Leith, over which he was the superior, to d'Oysel; and
the Congregation decided to accept a truce (July 23-24).

At this point Knox's narrative becomes so embroiled that it reminds one
of nothing so much as of Claude Nau's attempts to glide past an awkward
point in the history of his employer, Mary Stuart. I have puzzled over
Knox's narrative again and again, and hope that I have disentangled the
knotted and slippery thread.

It is not wonderful that the brethren made terms, for the "Historie"
states that their force numbered but 1500 men, whereas d'Oysel and the
Duke led twice that number, horse and foot. They also heard from
Erskine, in the Castle, that, if they did not accept "such appointment as
they might have," he "would declare himself their enemy," as he had
promised the Regent. It seems that she did not want war, for d'Oysel's
French alone should have been able to rout the depleted ranks of the
Congregation.

The question is, What were the terms of treaty? for it is Knox's
endeavour to prove that the Regent broke them, and so justified the later
proceedings of the Reformers. The terms, in French, are printed by
Teulet. {141} They run thus: -

1. The Protestants, not being inhabitants of Edinburgh, shall depart
next day.

2. They shall deliver the stamps for coining to persons appointed by the
Regent, hand over Holyrood, and Ruthven and Pitarro shall be pledges for
performance.

3. They shall be dutiful subjects, except in matters of religion.

4. They shall not disturb the clergy in their persons or by withholding
their rents, &c., before January 10, 1560.

5. They shall not attack churches or monasteries before that date.

6. The town of Edinburgh shall enjoy liberty of conscience, and shall
choose its form of religion as it pleases till that date.

7. The Regent shall not molest the preachers nor suffer the clergy to
molest them for cause of religion till that date.

8. Keith, Knox, and Spottiswoode, add that no garrisons, French or
Scots, shall occupy Edinburgh, but soldiers may repair thither from their
garrisons for lawful business.

The French soldiers are said to have swaggered in St. Giles's, but no
complaint is made that they were garrisoned in Edinburgh. In fact, they
abode in the Canongate and Leith.

Now, these were the terms accepted by the Congregation. This is certain,
not only because historians, Knox excepted, are unanimous, but because
the terms were either actually observed, or were evaded, on a stated
point of construction.

1. The Congregation left Edinburgh.

2. They handed over the stamps of the Mint, Holyrood, and the two
pledges.

3. 4, 5. We do not hear that they attacked any clerics or monastery
before they broke off publicly from the treaty, and Knox (i. 381) admits
that Article 4 was accepted.

6. They would not permit the town of Edinburgh to choose its religion by
"voting of men." On July 29, when Huntly, Chatelherault, and Erskine,
the neutral commander of the Castle, asked for a plebiscite, as provided
in the treaty of July 24, the Truth, said the brethren, was not a matter
of human votes, and, as the brethren held St. Giles's Church before the
treaty, under Article 7 they could not be dispossessed. {142a} The
Regent, to avoid shadow of offence, yielded the point as to Article 6,
and was accused of breach of treaty because, occupying Holyrood, she had
her Mass there. Had Edinburgh been polled, the brethren knew that they
would have been outvoted. {142b}

Now, Knox's object, in that part of Book II. of his "History," which was
written in September-October 1559 as a tract for contemporary reading, is
to prove that the Regent was the breaker of treaty. His method is first
to give "the heads drawn by us, which we desired to be granted." The
heads are -

1. No member of the Congregation shall be troubled in any respect by any
authority for the recent "innovation" before the Parliament of January
10, 1560, decides the controversies.

2. Idolatry shall not be restored where, on the day of treaty, it has
been suppressed.

3. Preachers may preach wherever they have preached and wherever they
may chance to come.

4. No soldiers shall be in garrison in Edinburgh.

5. The French shall be sent away on "a reasonable day" and no more
brought in without assent of the whole Nobility and Parliament. {143a}

These articles make no provision for the safety of Catholic priests and
churches, and insist on suppression of idolatry where it has been put
down, and the entire withdrawal of French forces. Knox's party could not
possibly denounce these terms which they demanded as "things unreasonable
and ungodly," for they were the very terms which they had been asking
for, ever since the Regent went to Dunbar. Yet, when the treaty was
made, the preachers did say "our case is not yet so desperate that we
need to grant to things unreasonable and ungodly." {143b} Manifestly,
therefore, the terms actually obtained, as being "unreasonable and
ungodly," were _not_ those for which the Reformers asked, and which,
_they publicly proclaimed_, had been conceded.

Knox writes, "These our articles were altered, and another form
disposeth." And here he translates the terms as given in the French,
terms which provide for the safety of Catholics, the surrender of
Holyrood and the Mint, but say nothing about the withdrawal of the French
troops or the non-restoration of "idolatry" where it has been suppressed.

He adds, "This alteration in words and order was made" (so it actually
_was_ made) "without the knowledge and consent of those whose counsel we
had used in all cases before" - clearly meaning the preachers, and also
implying that the consent of the noble negotiators for the Congregation
_was_ obtained to the French articles.

Next day the Congregation left Edinburgh, after making solemn
proclamation of the conditions of truce, in which they omitted all the
terms of the French version, except those in their own favour, and stated
(in Knox's version) that all of their own terms, except the most
important, namely, the removal of the French, and the promise to bring in
no more, had been granted! It may be by accident, however, that the
proclamation of the Lords, as given by Knox, omits the article securing
the departure of the French. {144a} There exist two MS. copies of the
proclamation, in which the Lords dare to assert "that the Frenchmen
should be sent away at a reasonable date, and no more brought in except
by assent of the whole nobility and Parliament." {144b}

Of the terms really settled, except as regards the immunity of their own
party, the Lords told the public not one word; they suppressed what was
true, and added what was false.

Against this formal, public, and impudent piece of mendacity, we might
expect Knox to protest in his "History"; to denounce it as a cause of
God's wrath. On the other hand he states, with no disapproval, the
childish quibbles by which his party defended their action.

On reading or hearing the Lords' proclamation, the Catholics, who knew
the real terms of treaty, said that the Lords "in their proclamation had
made no mention of anything promised to _them_," and "had proclaimed more
than was contained in the Appointment;" among other things, doubtless,
the promise to dismiss the French. {145a}

The brethren replied to these "calumnies of Papists" (as Calderwood
styles them), that they "proclaimed nothing that was not _finally_ agreed
upon, _in word and promise_, betwixt us and those with whom the
Appointment was made, _whatsoever their scribes had after written_,
{145b} who, in very deed, had altered, both in words and sentences, our
Articles, _as they were first conceived_; and yet if their own writings
were diligently examined, the self same thing shall be found _in
substance_."

This is most complicated quibbling! Knox uses his ink like the cuttle-
fish, to conceal the facts. The "own writings" of the Regent's party are
before us, and do not contain the terms proclaimed by the Congregation.
Next, in drawing up the terms which the Congregation was compelled to
accept, the "scribes" of the Regent's party necessarily, and with the
consent of the Protestant negotiators, altered the terms proposed by the
brethren, but not granted by the Regent's negotiators. Thirdly, the
Congregation now asserted that "_finally_" an arrangement in conformity
with their proclamation was "agreed upon _in word and promise_"; that is,
verbally, which we never find them again alleging. The game was to foist
false terms on public belief, and then to accuse the Regent of perfidy in
not keeping them.

These false terms were not only publicly proclaimed by the Congregation
with sound of trumpets, but they were actually sent, by Knox or
Kirkcaldy, or both, to Croft at Berwick, for English reading, on July 24.
In a note I print the letter, signed by Kirkcaldy, but in the holograph
of Knox, according to Father Stevenson. {146} It will be remarked that
the genuine articles forbidding attacks on monasteries and ensuring
priests in their revenues are here omitted, while the false articles on
suppression of idolatry, and expulsion of the French forces are inserted,
and nothing is said about Edinburgh's special liberty to choose her
religion.

The sending of this false intelligence was not the result of a
misunderstanding. I have shown that the French terms were perfectly well
understood, and were observed, except Article 6, on which the Regent made
a concession. How then could men professionally godly venture to
misreport the terms, and so make them at once seem more favourable to
themselves and less discouraging to Cecil than they really were, while at
the same time (as the Regent could not keep terms which she had never
granted) they were used as a ground of accusation against her?

This is the point that has perplexed me, for Knox, no less than the
Congregation, seems to have deliberately said good-bye to truth and
honour, unless the Lords elaborately deceived their secretary and
diplomatic agent. The only way in which I can suppose that Knox and his
friends reconciled their consciences to their conduct is this:

Knox tells us that "when all points were communed and agreed upon by mid-
persons," Chatelherault and Huntly had a private interview with Argyll,
Glencairn, and others of his party. They promised that they would be
enemies to the Regent if she broke any one jot of the treaty. "As much
promised the duke that _he_ would do, if in case that she would not
remove her French at a reasonable day . . . " the duke being especially
interested in their removal. But Huntly is not said to have made _this_
promise - the removal of the French obviously not being part of the
"Appointment." {148a}

Next, the brethren, in arguing with the Catholics about their own
mendacious proclamation of the terms, said that "we proclaimed nothing
which was not _finally_ agreed upon, _in word and promise_, betwixt us
and those with whom the Appointment was made. . . . " {148b}

I can see no explanation of Knox's conduct, except that he and his
friends pacified their consciences by persuading themselves that
non-official words of Huntly and Chatelherault (whatever these words may
have been), spoken after "all was agreed upon," cancelled the treaty with
the Regent, became the real treaty, and were binding on the Regent! Thus
Knox or Kirkcaldy, or both, by letter; and Knox later, orally in
conversation with Croft, could announce false terms of treaty. So great,
if I am right, is a good man's power of self-persuasion! I shall welcome
any more creditable theory of the Reformer's behaviour, but I can see no
alternative, unless the Lords lied to Knox.

That the French should be driven out was a great point with Cecil, for he
was always afraid that the Scots might slip back from the English to the
old French alliance. On July 28, after the treaty of July 24, but before
he heard of it, he insisted on the necessity of expelling the French, in
a letter to the Reformers. {149a} He "marvels that they omit such an
opportunity to help themselves." He sent a letter of vague generalities
in answer to their petitions for aid. When he received, as he did, a
copy of the terms of the treaty of July 24, in French, he would
understand.

As further proof that Cecil was told what Knox and Kirkcaldy should have
known to be untrue, we note that on August 28 the Regent, weary of the
perpetual charges of perfidy anew brought against her, "ashamed not,"
writes Knox, to put forth a proclamation, in which she asserted that
nothing, in the terms of July 23-24, forbade her to bring in more French
troops, "as may clearly appear by inspection of the said Appointment,
which the bearer has presently to show." {149b}

Why should the Regent have been "ashamed" to tell the truth? If the
bearer showed a false and forged treaty, the Congregation must have
denounced it, and produced the genuine document with the signatures. Far
from that, in a reply (from internal evidence written by Knox), they
admit, "neither do we _here_ {149c} allege the breaking of the
Appointment made at Leith (which, nevertheless, has manifestly been
done), but" - and here the writer wanders into quite other questions.
Moreover, Knox gives another reply to the Regent, "by some men," in which
they write "we dispute not so much whether the bringing in of more
Frenchmen be violating of the Appointment, which the Queen and her
faction cannot deny to be manifestly broken by them in more cases than
one," in no way connected with the French. One of these cases will
presently be stated - it is comic enough to deserve record - but, beyond
denial, the brethren could not, and did not even attempt to make out
their charge as to the Regent's breach of truce by bringing in new, or
retaining old, French forces.

Our historians, and the biographers of Knox, have not taken the trouble
to unravel this question of the treaty of July 24. But the behaviour of
the Lords and of Knox seems characteristic, and worthy of examination.

It is not argued that Mary of Guise was, or became, incapable of worse
than dissimulation (a case of forgery by her in the following year is
investigated in Appendix B). But her practices at this time were such as
Knox could not throw the first stone at. Her French advisers were in
fact "perplexed," as Throckmorton wrote to Elizabeth (August 8). They
made preparations for sending large reinforcements: they advised
concession in religion: they waited on events, and the Regent could only
provide, at Leith (which was jealous of Edinburgh and anxious to be made
a free burgh), a place whither she could fly in peril. Meantime she
would vainly exert her woman's wit among many dangers.

Knox, too, was exerting his wit in his own way. Busied in preaching and
in acting as secretary and diplomatic agent to the Congregation as he
was, he must also have begun in or not much later than August 1559, the
part of his "History" first written by him, namely Book II. That book,
as he wrote to a friend named Railton {150} on October 23, 1559 (when
much of it was already penned), is meant as a defence of his party
against the charge of sedition, and was clearly intended (we reiterate)
for contemporary reading at home and abroad, while the strife was still
unsettled. This being so, Knox continues his policy of blaming the
Regent for breach of the misreported treaty of July 24: for treachery,
which would justify the brethren's attack on her before the period of
truce (January 10, 1559) ran out.

One clause, we know, secured the Reformers from molestation before that
date. Despite this, Knox records a case of "oppressing" a brother,
"which had been sufficient to prove the Appointment to be plainly
violated." Lord Seton, of the Catholic party, {151a} "broke a chair on
Alexander Whitelaw as he came from Preston (pans) accompanied by William
Knox . . . and this he did supposing that Alexander Whitelaw had been
John Knox."

So much Knox states in his Book II., writing probably in September or
October 1559. But he does not here say what Alexander Whitelaw and
William Knox had been doing, or inform us how he himself was concerned in
the matter. He could not reveal the facts when writing in the early
autumn of 1559, because the brethren were then still taking the line that
they were loyal, and were suffering from the Regent's breaches of treaty,
as in the matter of the broken chair.

The sole allusion here made by Knox to the English intrigues, before they
were manifest to all mankind in September, is this, "Because England was
of the same religion, and lay next to us, it was judged expedient first
to prove them, which we did by one or two messengers, as hereafter, in
its own place, more amply shall be declared." {151b} He later inserted
in Book III. some account of the intrigues of July-August 1559, "in its
own place," namely, in a part of his work occupied with the occurrences
of January 1560. {152a}

Cecil, prior to the compact of July 24, had wished to meet Knox at
Stamford. On July 30 Knox received his instructions as negotiator with
England. {152b} His employers say that they hear that Huntly and
Chatelherault have promised to join the Reformers if the Regent breaks a
jot of the treaty of July 24, the terms of which Knox can declare. They
ask money to enable them to take Stirling Castle, and "strength by sea"
for the capture of Broughty Castle, on Tay. Yet they later complained of
the Regent when she fortified Leith. They actually _did_ take Broughty
Castle, and then had the hardihood to aver that they only set about this
when they heard in mid-September of the fortification of Leith by the
Regent. They aimed at it six days after their treaty of July 24. They
asked for soldiers to lie in garrison, for men, ships, and money for
their Lords.

Bearing these instructions Knox sailed from Fife to Holy Island, near
Berwick, and there met Croft, the Governor of that town. Croft kept him,
not with sufficient secrecy, in Berwick, where he was well known, while
Whitelaw was coming from Cecil with his answers to the petitions of the
brethren. Meanwhile Croft held converse with Knox, who, as he reports,
says that, as to the change of "Authority" (that is of sovereignty,
temporary at least), the choice of the brethren would be subject to
Elizabeth's wishes. Yet the brethren contemplated no change of
Authority! Arran ought to be kept secretly in England "till wise men
considered what was in him; if misliked he put Lord James second." As to
what Knox told Croft about the terms of treaty of July 24, it is best to
state the case in Croft's own words. "He (Knox) excusys the
Protestantes, for that the French as commyng apon them at Edynbrogh when
theyr popoll were departed to make new provysyon of vytaylles, forcyd
them to make composycyon wyth the quene. Whereyn (sayeth he) the
frenchmen ar apoynted to departe out of Scotland by the xth of thys
monthe, and they truste verely by thys caus to be stronger, for that the
Duke, apon breche of promys on the quene's part, wyll take playne parte
withe the Protestantes." {153}

This is quite explicit. Knox, as envoy of the Lords, declares that in
the treaty it is "appointed" that the French force shall leave Scotland
on August 10. (The printed calendars are not accurate.) No such matter
occurred in the treaty "wyth the quene." Knox added, next day, that he
himself "was unfit to treat of so great matters," and Croft appears to
have agreed with him, for, by the Reformer's lack of caution, his doings
in Holy Island were "well known and published." Consequently, when
Whitelaw returned to Knox with Cecil's reply to the requests of the
brethren, the performances of Knox and Whitelaw were no secrets, in
outline at least, to the Regent's party. For this reason, Lord Seton,
mistaking Whitelaw for Knox (who had set out on August 3 to join the
brethren at Stirling), pursued and broke a chair on the harmless Brother
Whitelaw. Such was the Regent's treacherous breach of treaty!

During this episode in his curious adventures as a diplomatist, Knox
recommended Balnaves, author of a treatise on "Justification by Faith,"
as a better agent in these courses, and with Balnaves the new envoy of
Elizabeth, Sadleir, a veteran diplomatist (wheedled in 1543 by Mary of
Guise), transacted business henceforth. Sadleir was ordered to Berwick
on August 6. Elizabeth infringed the treaty of Cateau Cambresis, then
only four months old, by giving Sadleir 3000 pounds in gold, or some such
sum, for the brethren. "They were tempting the Duke by all means
possible," {154a} but he will only promise neutrality if it comes to the
push, and they, Argyll and Lord James say (Glasgow, August 13), are not
yet ready "to discharge this authority," that is, to depose the Regent.
Chatelherault's promise was less vigorous than it had been reported!

Knox, who now acted as secretary for the Congregation, was not Sir Henry
Wotton's ideal ambassador, "an honest man sent to lie abroad for his
country." When he stooped to statements which seem scarcely candid, to
put it mildly, he did violence to his nature. He forced himself to
proclaim the loyalty of his party from the pulpit, when he could not do
so without some economy of truth. {154b} He inserted things in his
"History," and spoke things to Croft, which he should have known to be
false. But he carried his point. He did advance the "union of hearts"
with England, if in a blundering fashion, and we owe him eternal
gratitude for his interest in the match, though "we like not the manner
of the wooing." The reluctant hand of Elizabeth was now inextricably
caught in the gear of that great machine which broke the ancient league
of France and Scotland, and saved Scotland from some of the sorrows of
France.

The papers of Sadleir, Elizabeth's secret agent with the Scots, show the
godly pursuing their old plan of campaign. To make treaty with the
Regent; to predict from the pulpit that she would break it; to make false
statements about the terms of the treaty; to accuse her of their
infringement; to profess loyalty; to aim at setting up a new sovereign
power; to tell the populace that Mary of Guise's scanty French
reinforcements - some 1500 men - came by virtue of a broken treaty; to tell
Sadleir that they were very glad that the French _had_ come, as they
would excite popular hatred; to make out that the fortification of Leith
was breach of treaty; - such, in brief, were the methods of the Reformers.
{155}

They now took a new method of proving the Regent's breach of treaty, that
she had "set up the Mass in Holyrood, which they had before suppressed."
_They_ were allowed to have their sermons in St. Giles's, but _she_ was
not to have her rites in her own abbey. Balnaves still harped on the non-
dismissal of the French as a breach of treaty!

Arran, returning from Switzerland, had an interview with Elizabeth in
England, in mid-September, was smuggled across the Border with the astute
and unscrupulous Thomas Randolph in his train. With Arran among them,
Chatelherault might waver as he would. Meanwhile Knox and Willock
preached up and down the country, doubtless repeating to the people their
old charges against the Regent. Lethington, the secretary of that lady,
still betrayed her, telling Sadleir "that he attended upon the Regent no
longer than he might have a good occasion to revolt unto the Protestants"
(September 16).

Balnaves got some two to three thousand pounds in gold (the sum is


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Online LibraryAndrew LangJohn Knox and the Reformation → online text (page 10 of 20)