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September, and did not reach Dieppe on his way to Scotland till October
24. Three days later he wrote to the nobles who had summoned him seven
months earlier. He had received, he said, at Dieppe two private letters
of a discouraging sort; one correspondent said that the enterprise was to
be reconsidered, the other that the boldness and constancy required "for
such an enterprise" were lacking among the nobles. Meanwhile Knox had
spent his time, or some of it, in asking the most godly and the most
learned of Europe, including Calvin, for opinions of such an adventure,
for the assurance of his own conscience and the consciences of the Lord
James, Erskine, Lorne, and the rest. {76a} This indicates that Knox
himself was not quite sure of the lawfulness of an armed rising, and
perhaps explains his long delay. Knox assures us that Calvin and other
godly ministers insisted on his going to Scotland. But it is quite
certain that of an armed rising Calvin absolutely disapproved. On April
16, 1561, writing to Coligny, Calvin says that he was consulted several
months before the tumult of Amboise (March 1560) and absolutely
discouraged the appeal to arms. "Better that we all perish a hundred
times than that the name of Christianity and the Gospel should come under
such disgrace." {76b} If Calvin bade Knox go to Scotland, he must have
supposed that no rebellion was intended. Knox tells his correspondents
that they have betrayed themselves and their posterity ("in conscience I
can except none that bear the name of nobility"), they have made him and
their own enterprise ridiculous, and they have put him to great trouble.
What is he to say when he returns to Geneva, and is asked why he did not
carry out his purpose? He then encourages them to be resolute.

Knox "certainly made the most," says Professor Hume Brown, "of the two
letters from correspondents unknown to us." He at once represented them
as the cause of his failure to keep tryst; but, in April 1558, writing
from Geneva to "the sisters," he said, "the cause of my stop to this day
I do not clearly understand." He did not know why he left England before
the Marian persecutions; and he did not know why he had not crossed over
to Scotland in 1557. "It may be that God justly permitted Sathan to put
in my mind such cogitations as these: I heard such troubles as appeared
in that realm;" - troubles presently to be described.

Hearing, at Dieppe, then, in October 1557, of the troubles, and of the
faint war with England, and moved, perhaps, he suggests, by Satan, {77a}
Knox "began to dispute with himself, as followeth, 'Shall Christ, the
author of peace, concord, and quietness, be preached where war is
proclaimed, and tumults appear to rise? What comfort canst thou have to
see the one part of the people rise up against the other,'" and so forth.
These truly Christian reflections, as we may think them, "yet do trouble
and move my wicked heart," says Knox. He adds, hypothetically, that
perhaps the letters received at Dieppe "did somewhat discourage me."
{77b} He was only certain that the devil was at the bottom of the whole

The "tumults that appear to arise" are probably the dissensions between
the Regent and the mutinous nobles who refused to invade England at her
command. D'Oysel needed a bodyguard; and he feared that the Lords would
seize and carry off the Regent. Arran, in 1564, speaks of a plot to
capture her in Holyrood. Here were promises of tumults. There were also
signs of a renewed feud between the house of Hamilton and the Stewart
Earl of Lennox, the rival claimant of the crown. There seems, moreover,
to have been some tumultuary image-breaking. {78}

Knox may have been merely timid: he is not certain, but his delay passed
in consulting the learned, for the satisfaction of his conscience, and
his confessed doubts as to whether Christianity should be pushed by civil
war, seem to indicate that he was not always the prophet patron of modern
Jehus, that he did, occasionally, consult the Gospel as well as the
records of pre-Christian Israel.

The general result was that, from October 1557 to March 1558, Knox stayed
in Dieppe, preaching with great success, raising up a Protestant church,
and writing.

His condition of mind was unenviable. He had been brought all the way
across France, leaving his wife and family; he had, it seems, been met by
no letters from his noble friends, who may well have ceased to expect
him, so long was his delay. He was not at ease in his conscience, for,
to be plain, he was not sure that he was not afraid to risk himself in
Scotland, and he was not certain that his new scruples about the
justifiableness of a rising for religion were not the excuses suggested
by his own timidity. Perhaps they were just that, not whisperings either
of conscience or of Satan. Yet in this condition Knox was extremely
active. On December 1 and 17 he wrote, from Dieppe, a "Letter to His
Brethren in Scotland," and another to "The Lords and Others Professing
the Truth in Scotland." In the former he censures, as well he might,
"the dissolute life of (some) such as have professed Christ's holy
Evangel." That is no argument, he says, against Protestantism. Many
Turks are virtuous; many orthodox Hebrews, Saints, and Patriarchs
occasionally slipped; the Corinthians, though of a "trew Kirk," were
notoriously profligate. Meanwhile union and virtue are especially
desirable; for Satan "fiercely stirreth his terrible tail." We do not
know what back-slidings of the brethren prompted this letter.

The Lords, in the other letter, are reminded that they had resolved to
hazard life, rank, and fortune for the delivery of the brethren: the
first step must be to achieve a godly frame of mind. Knox hears rumours
"that contradiction and rebellion is made by some to the Authority" in
Scotland. He advises "that none do suddenly disobey or displease the
established authority in things lawful," nor rebel from private motives.
By "things lawful" does he mean the command of the Regent to invade
England, which the nobles refused to do? They may "lawfully attempt the
extremity," if Authority will not cease to persecute, and permit
Protestant preaching and administration of the Sacraments (which usually
ended in riot and church-wrecking). Above all, they are not to back the
Hamiltons, whose chief, Chatelherault, had been a professor, had fallen
back, and become a persecutor. "Flee all confederacy with that
generation," the Hamiltons; with whom, after all, Knox was presently to
be allied, though by no means fully believing in the "unfeigned and
speedy repentance" of their chief. {80a}

All the movements of that time are not very clear. Apparently Lorne,
Lord James, and the rest, in their letter of March 10, 1557, intended an
armed rising: they were "ready to jeopardise lives and goods" for "the
glory of God." If no more than an appeal to "the Authority" for
tolerance was meant, why did Knox consult the learned so long, on the
question of conscience? Yet, in December 1557, he bids his allies first
of all seek the favour of "the Authority," for bare toleration of

From the scheme of March 10, of which the details, unknown to us, were
_orally_ delivered by bearer, he appears to have expected civil war.

Again, just when Knox was writing to Scotland in December 1557, his
allies there, he says, made "a common Band," a confederacy and covenant
such as the Scots usually drew up before a murder, as of Riccio or
Darnley, or for slaying Argyll and "the bonny Earl o' Murray," under
James VI. These Bands were illegal. A Band, says Knox, was now signed
by Argyll, Lorne, Glencairn, Morton, and Erskine of Dun, and many others
unknown, on December 3, 1557. It is alleged that "Satan cruelly doth
rage." Now, how was Satan raging in December 1557? Myln, the last
martyr, was not pursued till April 1558, by Knox's account.

The first godly Band being of December 1557, {80b} and drawn up, perhaps,
on the impulse of Knox's severe letter from Dieppe of October 27, in that
year; just after they signed the Band, what were the demands of the
Banders? They asked, apparently, that the Second Prayer Book of Edward
VI. should be read in all parish churches, with the Lessons: _if the
curates are able to read_: if not, then by any qualified parishioner.
Secondly, preaching must be permitted in private houses, "without great
conventions of the people." {81a} Whether the Catholic service was to be
concurrently permitted does not appear; it is not very probable, for that
service is idolatrous, and the Band itself denounces the Church as "the
Congregation of Satan." Dr. M'Crie thinks that the Banders, or
Congregation of God, did not ask for the universal adoption of the
English Prayer Book, but only requested that they themselves might bring
it in "in places to which their authority and influence extended." They
took that liberty, certainly, without waiting for leave, but their demand
appears to apply to all parish churches. War, in fact, was denounced
against Satan's Congregation; {81b} if it troubles the Lords'
Congregation, there could therefore be little idea of tolerating their
nefarious creed and ritual.

Probably Knox, at Dieppe in 1557 and early in 1558, did not know about
the promising Band made in Scotland. He was composing his "First Blast
of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women." In England and
in Scotland were a Catholic Queen, a Catholic Queen Mother, and the Queen
of Scotland was marrying the idolatrous Dauphin. It is not worth while
to study Knox's general denunciation of government by ladies: he allowed
that (as Calvin suggested) miraculous exceptions to their inability might
occur, as in the case of Deborah. As a rule, a Queen was an "idol," and
that was enough. England deserved an idol, and an idolatrous idol, for
Englishmen rejected Kirk discipline; "no man would have his life called
in trial" by presbyter or preacher. A Queen regnant has, ex officio,
committed treason against God: the Realm and Estates may have conspired
with her, but her rule is unlawful. Naturally this skirl on the trumpet
made Knox odious to Elizabeth, for to impeach her succession might cause
a renewal of the wars of the Roses. Nothing less could have happened, if
a large portion of the English people had believed in the Prophet of God,
John Knox. He could predict vengeance on Mary Tudor, but could not see
that, as Elizabeth would succeed, his Blast would bring inconvenience to
his cause; or, seeing it, he stood to his guns.

He presently reprinted and added to his letter to Mary of Guise, arguing
that civil magistrates have authority in religion, but, of course, he
must mean only as far as they carry out his ideas, which are the truth.
In an "Appellation" against the condemnation of himself, in absence, by
the Scottish clergy, he labours the same idea. Moreover, "no idolater
can be exempted from punishment by God's law." Now the Queen of Scotland
happened to be an idolater, and every true believer, as a private
individual, has a right to punish idolaters. That right and duty are not
limited to the King, or to "the chief Nobility and Estates," whom Knox
addresses. "I would your Honours should note for the first, that no
idolater can be exempted from punishment by God's Law. The second is,
that the punishment of such crimes as are idolatry, blasphemy, and
others, that touch the Majesty of God, doth not appertain to kings and
chief rulers only" (as he had argued that they do, in 1554), "but also to
the whole body of that people, and to every member of the same, according
to the vocation of every man, and according to that possibility and
occasion which God doth minister to revenge the injury done against His
glory, what time that impiety is manifestly known. . . . _Who dare be so
impudent as to deny this to be most reasonable and just_?" {83}

Knox's method of argument for his doctrine is to take, among other texts,
Deuteronomy xiii. 12-18, and apply the sanguinary precepts of Hebrew
fanatics to the then existing state of affairs in the Church Christian.
Thus, in Deuteronomy, cities which serve "other gods," or welcome
missionaries of other religions, are to be burned, and every living thing
in them is to be destroyed. "To the carnal man, . . . " says Knox, "this
may rather seem to be pronounced in a rage than in wisdom." God wills,
however, that "all creatures stoop, cover their faces, _and desist from
reasoning_, when commandment is given to execute his judgement." Knox,
then, desists from reasoning so far as to preach that every Protestant,
with a call that way, has a right to punish any Catholic, if he gets a
good opportunity. This doctrine he publishes to his own countrymen. Thus
any fanatic who believed in the prophet Knox, and was conscious of a
"vocation," might, and should, avenge God's wrongs on Mary of Guise or
Mary Stuart, "he had a fair opportunity, for both ladies were idolaters.
This is a plain inference from the passage just cited.

Appealing to the Commonalty of Scotland, Knox next asked that he might
come and justify his doctrine, and prove Popery "abominable before God."
Now, could any Government admit a man who published the tidings that any
member of a State might avenge God on an idolater, the Queen being,
according to him, an idolater? This doctrine of the right of the
Protestant individual is merely monstrous. Knox has wandered far from
his counsel of "passive resistance" in his letter to his Berwick
congregation; he has even passed beyond his "Admonition," which merely
prayed for a Phinehas or Jehu: he has now proclaimed the right and duty
of the private Protestant assassin. The "Appellation" containing these
ideas was published at Geneva in 1558, with the author's, but without the
printer's name on the title-page.

"The First Blast" had neither the author's nor printer's name, nor the
name of the place of publication. Calvin soon found that it had given
grave offence to Queen Elizabeth. He therefore wrote to Cecil that,
though the work came from a press in his town, he had not been aware of
its existence till a year after its publication. He now took no public
steps against the book, not wishing to draw attention to its origin in
Geneva, lest, "by reason of the reckless arrogance of one man" ('the
ravings of others'), "the miserable crowd of exiles should have been
driven away, not only from this city, but even from almost the whole
world." {84} As far as I am aware, no one approached Calvin with
remonstrance about the monstrosities of the "Appellation," nor are the
passages which I have cited alluded to by more than one biographer of
Knox, to my knowledge. Professor Hume Brown, however, justly remarks
that what the Kirk, immediately after Knox's death, called "Erastianism"
(in ordinary parlance the doctrine that the Civil power may interfere in
religion) could hardly "be approved in more set terms" than by Knox. He
avers that "the ordering and reformation of religion . . . doth
especially appertain to the Civil Magistrate . . . " "The King taketh
upon him to command the Priests." {85} The opposite doctrine, that it
appertains to the Church, is an invention of Satan. To that diabolical
invention, Andrew Melville and the Kirk returned in the generation
following, while James VI. held to Knox's theory, as stated in the

The truth is that Knox contemplates a State in which the civil power
shall be entirely and absolutely of his own opinions; the King, as
"Christ's silly vassal," to quote Andrew Melville, being obedient to such
prophets as himself. The theories of Knox regarding the duty to revenge
God's feud by the private citizen, and regarding religious massacre by
the civil power, ideas which would justify the Bartholomew horrors,
appear to be forgotten in modern times. His address to the Commonalty,
as citizens with a voice in the State, represents the progressive and
permanent element in his politics. We have shown, however, that, before
Knox's time, the individual Scot was a thoroughly independent character.
"The man hath more words than the master, and will not be content unless
he knows the master's counsel."

By March 1558, Knox had returned from Dieppe to Geneva. In Scotland,
since the godly Band of December 1557, events were moving in two
directions. The Church was continuing in a belated and futile attempt at
reformation of manners (and wonderfully bad manners they confessedly
were), and of education from within. The Congregation, the Protestants,
on the other hand, were preparing openly to defend themselves and their
adherents from persecution, an honest, manly, and laudable endeavour, so
long as they did not persecute other Christians. Their preachers - such
as Harlaw, Methuen, and Douglas - were publicly active. A moment of
attempted suppression must arrive, greatly against the personal wishes of
Archbishop Hamilton, who dreaded the conflict.

In March 1558, Hamilton courteously remonstrated with Argyll for
harbouring Douglas. He himself was "heavily murmured against" for his
slackness in the case of Argyll, by churchmen and other "well given
people," and by Mary of Guise, whose daughter, by April 24, 1558, was
married to the Dauphin of France. Argyll replied that he knew how the
Archbishop was urged on, but declined to abandon Douglas.

"It is a far cry to Loch Awe"; Argyll, who died soon after, was too
powerful to be attacked. But, sometime in April 1558 apparently, a poor
priest of Forfarshire, Walter Myln, who had married and got into trouble
under Cardinal Beaton, was tried for heresy, and, without sentence of a
secular judge, it is said, was burned at St. Andrews, displaying serene
courage, and hoping to be the last martyr in Scotland. Naturally there
was much indignation; if the Lords and others were to keep their Band
they must bestir themselves. They did bestir themselves in defence of
their favourite preachers - Willock, Harlaw, Methuen; a ci-devant friar,
Christison; and Douglas. Some of these men were summoned several times
throughout 1558, and Methuen and Harlaw, at least, were "at the horn"
(outlawed), but were protected - Harlaw at Dumfries, Methuen at Dundee - by
powerful laymen. At Dundee, as we saw, by 1558, Methuen had erected a
church of reformed aspect; and "reformed" means that the Kirk had already
been purged of altars and images. Attempts to bring the ringleaders of
Protestant riots to law were made in 1558, but the precise order of
events, and of the protests of the Reformers, appears to be dislocated in
Knox's narrative. He himself was not present, and he seems never to have
mastered the sequence of occurrences. Fortunately there exists a
fragment by a well-informed writer, apparently a contemporary, the
"Historie of the Estate of Scotland" covering the events from July 1558
to 1560. {87a} There are also imperfect records of the Parliament of
November-December 1558, and of the last Provincial Council of the Church,
in March 1559.

For July 28 {87b} four or five of the brethren were summoned to "a day of
law," in Edinburgh; their allies assembled to back them, and they were
released on bail to appear, if called on, within eight days. At this
time the "idol" of St. Giles, patron of the city, was stolen, and a great
riot occurred at the saint's fete, September 3. {87c}

Knox describes the discomfiture of his foes in one of his merriest
passages, frequently cited by admirers of "his vein of humour." The
event, we know, was at once reported to him in Geneva, by letter.

Some time after October, if we rightly construe Knox, {88a} a petition
was delivered to the Regent, from the Reformers, by Sandilands of Calder.
{88b} They asserted that they should have defended the preachers, or
testified with them. The wisdom of the Regent herself sees the need of
reform, spiritual and temporal, and has exhorted the clergy and nobles to
employ care and diligence thereon, a fact corroborated by Mary of Guise
herself, in a paper, soon to be quoted, of July 1559. {88c} They ask, as
they have the reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular, for common
prayers in the same. They wish for freedom to interpret and discuss the
Bible "in our conventions," and that Baptism and the Communion may be
done in Scots, and they demand the reform of the detestable lives of the
prelates. {88d}

Knox's account, in places, appears really to refer to the period of the
Provincial Council of March 1559, though it does not quite fit that date

The Regent is said on the occasion of Calder's petition, and after the
unsatisfactory replies of the clergy (apparently at the Provincial
Council, March 1559), to have made certain concessions, till Parliament
established uniform order. But the Parliament was of November-December
1558. {89a} Before that Parliament, at all events (which was mainly
concerned with procuring the "Crown Matrimonial" for the Dauphin, husband
of Mary Stuart), the brethren offered a petition, in the first place
shown to the Regent, asking for (1) the suspension of persecuting laws
till after a General Council has "decided all controversies in
religion" - that is, till the Greek Calends. (2) That prelates shall not
be judges in cases of heresy, but only accusers before secular tribunals.
(3) That all lawful defences be granted to persons accused. (4) That the
accused be permitted to explain "his own mind and meaning." (5) That
"none be condemned for heretics unless by the manifest Word of God they
be convicted to have erred from the faith which the Holy Spirit witnesses
to be necessary to salvation." According to Knox this petition the
Regent put in her pocket, saying that the Churchmen would oppose it, and
thwart her plan for getting the "Crown Matrimonial" given to her son-in-
law, Francis II., and, in short, gave good words, and drove time. {89b}

The Reformers then drew up a long Protestation, which was read in the
House, but not enrolled in its records. They say that they have had to
postpone a formal demand for Reformation, but protest that "it be lawful
to us to use ourselves in matters of religion and conscience as we must
answer to God," and they are ready to prove their case. They shall not
be liable, meanwhile, to any penalties for breach of the existing Acts
against heresy, "nor for violating such rites as man, without God's
commandment or word, hath commanded." They disclaim all responsibility
for the ensuing tumults. {90a} In fact, they aver that they will not
only worship in their own way, but prevent other people from worshipping
in the legal way, and that the responsibility for the riots will lie on
the side of those who worship legally. And this was the chief occasion
of the ensuing troubles. The Regent promised to "put good order" in
controverted matters, and was praised by the brethren in a letter to
Calvin, not now to be found.

Another threat had been made by the brethren, in circumstances not very
obscure. As far as they are known they suggest that in January 1559 the
zealots deliberately intended to provoke a conflict, and to enlist "the
rascal multitude" on their side, at Easter, 1559. The obscurity is
caused by a bookbinder. He has, with the fatal ingenuity of his trade,
cut off the two top lines from a page in one manuscript copy of Knox's
"History." {90b} The text now runs thus (in its mutilated condition): "
. . . Zealous Brether . . . upon the gates and posts of all the Friars'
places within this realm, in the month of January 1558 (1559), preceding
that Whitsunday that they dislodged, which is this . . . "

Then follows the Proclamation.

Probably we may supply the words: ". . . Zealous Brethren caused a paper
to be affixed upon the gates and posts," and so on. The paper so
promulgated purported to be a warning from the poor of Scotland that,
before Whitsunday, "we, the lawful proprietors," will eject the Friars
and residents on the property, unlawfully withheld by the religious - "our
patrimony." This feat will be performed, "with the help of God, _and
assistance of his Saints on earth, of whose ready support we doubt not_."

As the Saints, in fact, were the "Zealous Brether . . ." who affixed the
written menace on "all the Friars' places," they knew what they were
talking about, and could prophesy safely. To make so many copies of the
document, and fix them on "all the Friars' places," implies organisation,
and a deliberate plan - riots and revolution - before Whitsunday. The
poor, of course, only exchanged better for worse landlords, as they soon

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