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justice. She now fell on Knox's employment of the word "cruelty." He
instantly started on a harangue about "pestilent Papists," when the Queen
once more introduced a personal question; he had caused her to weep, and
he recounted all their interview after he attacked her marriage from the

He was allowed to go home - it might not have been safe to arrest him, and
the Lords, unanimously, voted that he had done no offence. They repeated
their votes in the Queen's presence, and thus a precedent for "mutinous
convocation" by Kirkmen was established, till James VI. took order in
1596. We have no full narrative of this affair except that of Knox. It
is to be guessed that the nobles wished to maintain the old habit of
mutinous convocation which, probably, saved the life of Lethington, and
helped to secure Bothwell's acquittal from the guilt of Darnley's murder.
Perhaps, too, the brethren who filled the whole inner Court and
overflowed up the stairs of the palace, may have had their influence.

This was a notable triumph of our Reformer, and of the Kirk; to which, on
his showing, the Queen contributed, by feebly wandering from the real
point at issue. She was no dialectician. Knox's conduct was, of course,
approved of and sanctioned by the General Assembly. {235} He had, in his
circular, averred that Cranstoun and Armstrong were summoned "that a door
may be opened to execute cruelty upon a greater multitude." To put it
mildly, the General Assembly sanctioned contempt of Court. Unluckily for
Scotland contempt of Court was, and long remained, universal, the country
being desperately lawless, and reeking with blood shed in public and
private quarrels. When a Prophet followed the secular example of
summoning crowds to overawe justice, the secular sinners had warrant for
thwarting the course of law.

As to the brethren and the idolaters who caused these troubles, we know
not what befell them. The penalty, both for the attendants at Mass and
for the disturbers thereof, should have been death! The dear brethren,
if they attacked the Queen's servants, came under the Proclamation of
October 1561; so did the Catholics, for _they_ "openly made alteration
and innovation of the state of religion. . . . " They ought "to be
punished to the death with all rigour." Three were outlawed, and their
sureties "unlawed." Twenty-one others were probably not hanged; the
records are lost. For the same reason we know not what became of the
brethren Armstrong, Cranstoun, and George Rynd, summoned with the other
malefactors for November 13. {236}

CHAPTER XVII: KNOX AND QUEEN MARY (continued), 1564-1567

During the session of the General Assembly in December 1563, Knox was
compelled to chronicle domestic enormities. The Lord Treasurer,
Richardson, having, like Captain Booth, "offended the law of Dian," had
to do penance before the whole congregation, and the sermon
(unfortunately it is lost, probably it never was written out) was
preached by Knox. A French apothecary of the Queen's, and his mistress,
were hanged on a charge of murdering their child. {237a} On January 9,
1564-65, Randolph noted that one of the Queen's Maries, Mary Livingstone,
is to marry John Sempill, son of Robert, third Lord Sempill, by an
English wife. Knox assures us that "it is well known that shame hastened
marriage between John Sempill, called 'the Dancer,' and Mary Livingstone,
surnamed 'the Lusty.'" The young people appear, however, to have been in
no pressing hurry, as Randolph, on January 9, did not expect their
marriage till the very end of February; they wished the Earl of Bedford,
who was coming on a diplomatic mission, to be present. {237b} Mary, on
March 9, 1565, made them a grant of lands, since "it has pleased God to
move their hearts to join together in the state of matrimony." {237c} She
had ever since January been making the bride presents of feminine finery.

These proceedings indicating no precipitate haste, we may think that Mary
Livingstone, like Mary of Guise, is only a victim of the Reformer's taste
for "society journalism." Randolph, though an egregious gossip, says of
the Four Maries, "they are all good," but Knox writes that "the ballads
of that age" did witness to the "bruit" or reputation of these maidens.
As is well known the old ballad of "Mary Hamilton," which exists in more
than a dozen very diverse variants, in some specimens confuses one of the
Maries, an imaginary "Mary Hamilton," with the French maid who was hanged
at the end of 1563. The balladist is thus responsible for a scandal
against the fair sisterhood; there was no "Mary Hamilton," and no "Mary
Carmichael," in their number - Beaton, Seton, Fleming, and Livingstone.

An offended Deity now sent frost in January 1564, and an aurora borealis
in February, Knox tells us, and "the threatenings of the preachers were
fearful," in face of these unusual meteorological phenomena. {238}

Vice rose to such a pitch that men doubted if the Mass really was
idolatry! Knox said, from the pulpit, that if the sceptics were right,
_he_ was "miserably deceived." "Believe me, brethren, in the bowels of
Christ, it is possible that you may be mistaken," Cromwell was to tell
the Commissioners of the General Assembly, on a day that still was in the
womb of the future; the dawn of common sense rose in the south.

On March 20, much to the indignation of the Queen, the banns were read
twice between Knox and a lady of the Royal blood and name, Margaret
Stewart, daughter of Lord Ochiltree, a girl not above sixteen, in January
1563, when Randolph first speaks of the wooing. {239} The good Dr.
M'Crie does not mention the age of the bride! The lady was a very near
kinswoman of Chatelherault. She had plenty of time for reflection, and
as nobody says that she was coerced into the marriage, while Nicol Burne
attributes her passion to sorcery, we may suppose that she was in love
with our Reformer. She bore him several daughters, and it is to be
presumed that the marriage, though in every way _bizarre_, was happy.
Burne says that Knox wished to marry a Lady Fleming, akin to
Chatelherault, but was declined; if so, he soon consoled himself.

At this time Riccio - a valet de chambre of the Queen in 1561-62 - "began
to grow great in Court," becoming French Secretary at the end of the
year. By June 3, 1565, Randolph is found styling Riccio "only governor"
to Darnley. His career might have rivalled that of the equally low-born
Cardinal Alberoni, but for the daggers of Moray's party.

In the General Assembly of June 1564, Moray, Morton, Glencairn, Pitarro,
Lethington, and other Lords of the Congregation held aloof from the
brethren, but met the Superintendents and others to discuss the recent
conduct of our Reformer, who was present. He was invited, by Lethington,
to "moderate himself" in his references to the Queen, as others might
imitate him, "albeit not with the same modesty and foresight," for
Lethington could not help bantering Knox. Knox, of course, rushed to his
doctrine of "idolatry" as provocative of the wrath of God - we have heard
of the bad harvest, and the frost in January. It is not worth while to
pursue in detail the discourses, in which Knox said that the Queen
rebelled against God "in all the actions of her life." Ahab and Jezebel
were again brought on the scene. It profited not Lethington to say that
all these old biblical "vengeances" were "singular motions of the Spirit
of God, and appertain nothing to our age." If Knox could have understood
_that_, he would not have been Knox. The point was intelligible;
Lethington perceived it, but Knox never chose to do so. He went on with
his isolated texts, Lethington vainly replying "the cases are nothing
alike." Knox came to his old stand, "the idolater must die the death,"
and the executioners must be "the people of God." Lethington quoted many
opinions against Knox's, to no purpose, opinions of Luther, Melanchthon,
Bucer, Musculus, and Calvin, but our Reformer brought out the case of
"Amasiath, King of Judah," and "The Apology of Magdeburg." As to the
opinion of Calvin and the rest he drew a distinction. They had only
spoken of the godly who were suffering under oppression, not of the godly
triumphant in a commonwealth. He forgot, or did not choose to remember,
a previous decision of his own, as we shall see.

When the rest of the party were discussing the question, Makgill, Clerk
Register, reminded them of their previous debate in November 1561, when
{240} Knox, after secretly writing to Calvin, had proposed to write to
him for his opinion about the Queen's Mass, and Lethington had promised
to do so himself. But Lethington now said that, on later reflection, as
Secretary of the Queen, he had scrupled, without her consent, to ask a
foreigner whether her subjects might prevent her from enjoying the rites
of her own religion - for that was what the "controversies" between her
Highness and her subjects really and confessedly meant. {241a}

Knox was now requested to consult Calvin, "and the learned in other
Kirks, to know their judgment in that question." The question, judging
from Makgill's interpellation, was "whether subjects might lawfully take
her Mass from the Queen." {241b} As we know, Knox had already put the
question to Calvin by a letter of October 24, 1561, and so had the
anonymous writer of November 18, 1561, whom I identify with Arran. Knox
now refused to write to "Mr. Calvin, and the learned of other Kirks,"
saying (I must quote him textually, or be accused of misrepresentation),
"I myself am not only fully resolved in conscience, but also I have heard
the judgments in this, and all other things that I have affirmed in this
Realm, of the most godly and most learned that be known in Europe. I
come not to this Realm without their resolution; and for my assurance I
have the handwritings of many; and therefore if I should move the same
question again, what else should I do but either show my own ignorance
and forgetfulness, or else inconstancy?" {241c} He therefore said that
his opponents might themselves "write and complain upon him," and so
learn "the plain minds" of the learned - but nobody took the trouble.
Knox's defence was worded with the skill of a notary. He said that he
had "heard the judgments" of "the learned and godly"; he did not say what
these judgments were. Calvin, Morel, Bullinger, and such men, we know,
entirely differed from his extreme ideas. He "came not without their
resolution," or approval, to Scotland, but that was not the question at

If Knox had received from Calvin favourable replies to his own letter,
and Arran's, of October 24, November 18, 1561, can any one doubt that he
would now have produced them, unless he did not wish the brethren to find
out that he himself had written without their knowledge? We know what
manner of answers he received, in 1554, orally from Calvin, in writing
from Bullinger, to his questions about resistance to the civil power.
{242a} I am sceptical enough to suppose that, if Knox had now possessed
letters from Calvin, justifying the propositions which he was
maintaining, such as that "the people, yea, _or ane pairt of the people_,
may execute God's jugementis against their King, being ane offender,"
{242b} he would have exhibited them. I do not believe that he had any
such letters from such men as Bullinger and Calvin. Indeed, we may ask
whether the question of the Queen's Mass had arisen in any realm of
Europe except Scotland. Where was there a Catholic prince ruling over a
Calvinistic state? If nowhere, then the question would not be raised,
except by Knox in his letter to Calvin of October 24, 1561. And where
was Calvin's answer, and to what effect?

Knox may have forgotten, and Lethington did not know, that, about 1558-
59, in a tract, already noticed (pp. 101-103 supra), of 450 pages against
the Anabaptists, Knox had expressed the reverse of his present opinion
about religious Regicide. He is addressing the persecuting Catholic
princes of Europe: " . . . Ye shall perish, both temporally and for ever.
And by whom doth it most appear that temporally ye shall be punished? By
_us_, whom ye banish, whom ye spoil and rob, whom cruelly ye persecute,
and whose blood ye daily shed? {243a} There is no doubt, but as the
victory which overcometh the world is our faith, so it behoveth us to
possess our souls in our patience. We neither privily nor openly deny
the power of the Civil Magistrate. . . . "

The chosen saints and people of God, even when under oppression, lift not
the hand, but possess their souls in patience, says Knox, in 1558-59. But
the idolatrous shall be temporally punished - by other hands. "And what
instruments can God find in this life more apt to punish you than those"
(the Anabaptists), "that hate and detest all lawful powers? . . . God
will not use his saints and chosen people to punish you. _For with them
there is always mercy_, yea, even although God have pronounced a curse
and malediction, as in the history of Joshua is plain." {243b}

In this passage Knox is speaking for the English exiles in Geneva. He
asserts that we "neither publicly nor privately deny the power of the
Civil Magistrate," in face of his own published tracts of appeal to a
Jehu or a Phinehas, and of his own claim that the Prophet may preach
treason, and that his instruments may commit treason. To be sure all the
English in Geneva were not necessarily of Knox's mind.

It is altogether a curious passage. God's people are more merciful than
God! Israel was bidden to exterminate all idolaters in the Promised
Land, but, as the Book of Joshua shows, they did not always do it: "for
with them is always mercy"; despite the massacres, such as that of Agag,
which Knox was wont to cite as examples to the backward brethren! Yet,
relying on another set of texts, not in Joshua, Knox now informed
Lethington that the executors of death on idolatrous princes were "the
people of God" - "the people, or a part of the people." {244a}

Mercy! Happily the policy of carnal men never allowed Knox's "people of
God" to show whether, given a chance to destroy idolaters, they would
display the mercy on which he insists in his reply to the Anabaptist.

It was always useless to argue with Knox; for whatever opinion happened
to suit him at the moment (and at different moments contradictory
opinions happened to suit him), he had ever a Bible text to back him. On
this occasion, if Lethington had been able to quote Knox's own statement,
that with the people of God "there is always mercy" (as in the case of
Cardinal Beaton), he could hardly have escaped by saying that there was
always mercy, _when the people of God had not the upper hand in the
State_, {244b} when unto them God has _not_ "given sufficient force." For
in the chosen people of God "there is _always_ mercy, yea even although
God have pronounced a curse and malediction."

In writing against Anabaptists (1558-59), Knox wanted to make _them_, not
merciful Calvinists, the objects of the fear and revenge of Catholic
rulers. He even hazarded one of his unfulfilled prophecies: Anabaptists,
wicked men, will execute those divine judgments for which Protestants of
his species are too tender-hearted; though, somehow, they make exceptions
in the cases of Beaton and Riccio, and ought to do so in the case of Mary

Lethington did not use this passage of our Reformer's works against him,
though it was published in 1560. Probably the secretary had not worked
his way through the long essay on Predestination. But we have, in the
book against the Anabaptists and in the controversy with Lethington, an
example of Knox's fatal intellectual faults. As an individual man, he
would not have hurt a fly. As a prophet, he deliberately tried to
restore, by a pestilent anachronism, in a Christian age and country, the
ferocities attributed to ancient Israel. This he did not even do
consistently, and when he is inconsistent with his prevailing mood, his
biographers applaud his "moderation"! If he saw a chance against an
Anabaptist, or if he wanted to conciliate Mary of Guise, he took up a
Christian line, backing it by texts appropriate to the occasion.

His influence lasted, and the massacre of Dunavertie (1647), and the
slaying of women in cold blood, months after the battle of Philiphaugh,
and the "rouping" of covenanted "ravens" for the blood of cavaliers taken
under quarter, are the direct result of Knox's intellectual error, of his
appeals to Jehu, Phinehas, and so forth.

At this point the Fourth Book of Knox's "History" ends with a remark on
the total estrangement between himself and Moray. The Reformer continued
to revise and interpolate his work, up to 1571, the year before his
death, and made collections of materials, and notes for the continuation.
An uncertain hand has put these together in Book V. But we now miss the
frequent references to "John Knox," and his doings, which must have been
vigorous during the troubles of 1565, after the arrival in Scotland of
Darnley (February 1565), and his courtship and marriage of the Queen.
These events brought together Moray, Chatelherault, and many of the Lords
in the armed party of the Congregation. They rebelled; they were driven
by Mary into England, by October 1565, and Bothwell came at her call from
France. The Queen had new advisers - Riccio, Balfour, Bothwell, the
eldest son of the late Huntly, and Lennox, till the wretched Darnley in a
few weeks proved his incapacity. Lethington, rather neglected, hung
about the Court, as he remained with Mary of Guise long after he had
intended to desert her.

Mary, whose only chance lay in outstaying Elizabeth in the policy of
celibacy, had been driven, or led, by her rival Queen into a marriage
which would have been the best possible, had Darnley been a man of
character and a Protestant. He was the typical "young fool," indolent,
incapable, fierce, cowardly, and profligate. His religion was dubious.
After his arrival (on February 26, 1565) he went with Moray to hear Knox
preach, but he had been bred by a Catholic mother, and, on occasion,
posed as an ardent Catholic. {246} It is unfortunate that Randolph is
silent about Knox during all the period of the broils which preceded and
followed Mary's marriage.

On August 19, 1565, Darnley, now Mary's husband, went to hear Knox preach
in St. Giles's, on the text, "O Lord our God, other lords than Thou have
ruled over us." "God," he said, "sets in that room (for the offences and
ingratitude of the people) boys and women." Ahab also appeared, as
usual. Ahab "had not taken order with that harlot, Jezebel." So Book V.
says, and "harlot" would be a hit at Mary's alleged misconduct with
Riccio. A hint in a letter of Randolph's of August 24, may point to
nascent scandal about the pair. But the printed sermon, from Knox's
written copy, reads, not "harlot" but "idolatrous wife." At all events,
Darnley was so moved by this sermon that he would not dine. {247a} Knox
was called "from his bed" to the Council chamber, where were Atholl,
Ruthven, Lethington, the Justice Clerk, and the Queen's Advocate. He was
attended by a great crowd of notable citizens, but Lethington forbade him
to preach for a fortnight or three weeks. He said that, "If the Church
would command him to preach or abstain he would obey, so far as the Word
of God would permit him."

It seems that he would only obey even the Church as far as he chose.

The Town Council protested against the deprivation, and we do not know
how long Knox desisted from preaching. Laing thinks that, till Mary
fell, he preached only "at occasional intervals." {247b} But we shall
see that he did presently go on preaching, with Lethington for a
listener. He published his sermon, without name of place or printer. The
preacher informs his audience that "in the Hebrew there is no conjunction
copulative" in a certain sentence; probably he knew more Hebrew than most
of our pastors.

The sermon is very long, and, wanting the voice and gesture of the
preacher, is no great proof of eloquence; in fact, is tedious. Probably
Darnley was mainly vexed by the length, though he may have had
intelligence enough to see that he and Mary were subjects of allusions.
Knox wrote the piece from memory, on the last of August, in "the terrible
roaring of guns, and the noise of armour." The banded Lords, Moray and
the rest, had entered Edinburgh, looking for supporters, and finding
none. Erskine, commanding the Castle, fired six or seven shots as a
protest, and the noise of these disturbed the prophet at his task. As a
marginal note says, "The Castle of Edinburgh was shooting against the
exiled for Christ Jesus' sake" {248a} - namely, at Moray and his company.
Knox prayed for them in public, and was accused of so doing, but
Lethington testified that he had heard "the sermons," and found in them
no ground of offence. {248b}

[Mary Stuart. From the portrait in the collection of the Earl of Morton:

Moray, Ochiltree, Pitarro, and many others being now exiles in England,
whose Queen had subsidised and repudiated them and their revolution,
things went hard with the preachers. For a whole year at least (December
1565-66) their stipends were not paid, the treasury being exhausted by
military and other expenses, and Pitarro being absent. At the end of
December, Knox and his colleague, Craig, were ordered by the General
Assembly to draw up and print a service for a general Fast, to endure
from the last Sunday in February to the first in March, 1566. One cause
alleged is that the Queen's conversion had been hoped for, but now she
said that she would "maintain and defend" {248c} her own faith. She had
said no less to Knox at their first interview, but now she had really
written, when invited to abolish her Mass, that her subjects may worship
as they will, but that she will not desert her religion. {249a} It was
also alleged that the godly were to be destroyed all over Europe, in
accordance with decrees of the Council of Trent. Moreover, vice,
manslaughter, and oppression of the poor continued, prices of commodities
rose, and work was scamped. The date of the Fast was fixed, not to
coincide with Lent, but because it preceded an intended meeting of
Parliament, {249b} a Parliament interrupted by the murder of Riccio, and
the capture of the Queen. No games were to be played during the two
Sundays of the Fast, which looks as if they were still permitted on other
Sundays. The appointed lessons were from Judges, Esther, Chronicles,
Isaiah, and Esdras; the New Testament, apparently, supplied nothing
appropriate. It seldom did. The lay attendants of the Assembly of
Christmas Day which decreed the Fast, were Morton, Mar, Lindsay,
Lethington, with some lairds.

The Protestants must have been alarmed, in February 1566, by a report, to
which Randolph gave circulation, that Mary had joined a Catholic League,
with the Pope, the Emperor, the King of Spain, the Duke of Savoy, and
others. Lethington may have believed this; at all events he saw no hope
of pardon for Moray and his abettors - "no certain way, unless we chop at
the very root, you know where it lieth" (February 9). {249c} Probably he
means the murder of Riccio, not of the Queen. Bedford said that Mary had
not yet signed the League. {249d} We are aware of no proof that there
was any League to sign, and though Mary was begging money both from Spain
and the Pope, she probably did not expect to procure more than tolerance
for her own religion. {250a} The rumours, however, must have had their
effect in causing apprehension. Moreover, Darnley, from personal
jealousy; Morton, from fear of losing the Seals; the Douglases, kinsmen
of Morton and Darnley; and the friends of the exiled nobles, seeing that
they were likely to be forfeited, conspired with Moray in England to be
Darnley's men, to slay Riccio, and to make the Queen subordinate to
Darnley, and "to fortify and maintain" the Protestant faith. Mary,
indeed, had meant to reintroduce the Spiritual Estate into Parliament, as
a means of assisting her Church; so she writes to Archbishop Beaton in
Paris. {250b}

Twelve wooden altars, to be erected in St. Giles's, are said by Knox's
continuator to have been found in Holyrood. {250c}

Mary's schemes, whatever they extended to, were broken by the murder of
Riccio in the evening of March 9. He was seized in her presence, and
dirked by fifty daggers outside of her room. Ruthven, who in June 1564
had come into Mary's good graces, and Morton were, with Darnley, the

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