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discovered. The "Zealous Brethren" - as a rule small lairds, probably,
and burgesses - were the nucleus of the Revolution. When townsfolk and
yeomen in sufficient number had joined them in arms, then nobles like
Argyll, Lord James, Glencairn, Ruthven, and the rest, put themselves at
the head of the movement, and won the prizes which had been offered to
the "blind, crooked, widows, orphans, and all other poor."

After Parliament was over, at the end of December 1558, the Archbishop of
St. Andrews again summoned the preachers, Willock, Douglas, Harlaw,
Methuen, and Friar John Christison to a "day of law" at St. Andrews, on
February 2, 1559. (This is the statement of the "Historie.") {91} The
brethren then "caused inform the Queen Mother that the said preachers
would appear with such multitude of men professing their doctrine, as was
never seen before in such like cases in this country," and kept their
promise. The system of overawing justice by such gatherings was usual,
as we have already seen; Knox, Bothwell, Lethington, and the Lord James
Stewart all profited by the practice on various occasions.

Mary of Guise, "fearing some uproar or sedition," bade the bishops put
off the summons, and, in fact, the preachers never were summoned,
finally, for any offences prior to this date.

On February 9, 1559, the Regent issued proclamations against eating flesh
in Lent (this rule survived the Reformation by at least seventy years)
and against such disturbances of religious services as the Protest just
described declared to be imminent, all such deeds being denounced under
"pain of death" - as pain of death was used to be threatened against
poachers of deer and wild fowl. {92a}

Mary, however, had promised, as we saw, that she would summon the nobles
and Estates, "to advise for some reformation in religion" (March 7,
1559), and the Archbishop called a Provincial Council to Edinburgh for
March. At this, or some other juncture, for Knox's narrative is
bewildering, {92b} the clergy offered free discussion, but refused to
allow exiles like himself to be present, and insisted on the acceptance
of the Mass, Purgatory, the invocation of saints, with security for their
ecclesiastical possessions. In return they would grant prayers and
baptism in English, if done privately and not in open assembly. The
terms, he says, were rejected; appeal was made to Mary of Guise, and she
gave toleration, except for public assemblies in Edinburgh and Leith,
pending the meeting of Parliament. To the clergy, who, "some say,"
bribed her, she promised to "put order" to these matters. The Reformers
were deceived, and forbade Douglas to preach in Leith. So writes Knox.

Now the "Historie" dates all this, bribe and all, _after the end of
December_ 1558. Knox, however, by some confusion, places the facts,
bribe and all, _before April_ 28, 1558, Myln's martyrdom! {93a} Yet he
had before him as he wrote the Chronicle of Bruce of Earlshall, who
states the bribe, Knox says, at 40,000 pounds; the "Historie" says
"within 15,000 pounds." {93b}

In any case Knox, who never saw his book in print, has clearly dislocated
the sequence of events. At this date, namely March 1559, the preaching
agitators were at liberty, nor were they again put at for any of their
previous proceedings. But defiances had been exchanged. The Reformers
in their Protestation (December 1558) had claimed it as lawful, we know,
that they should enjoy their own services, and put down those of the
religion by law established, until such time as the Catholic clergy "be
able to prove themselves the true ministers of Christ's Church" and
guiltless of all the crimes charged against them by their adversaries.
{93c} That was the challenge of the Reformers, backed by the menace
affixed to the doors of all the monasteries. The Regent in turn had
thrown down her glove by the proclamation of February 9, 1559, against
disturbing services and "bosting" (bullying) priests. How could she
possibly do less in the circumstances? If her proclamation was
disobeyed, could she do less than summon the disobedient to trial? Her
hand was forced.

It appears to myself, under correction, that all this part of the history
of the Reformation has been misunderstood by our older historians. Almost
without exception, they represent the Regent as dissembling with the
Reformers till, on conclusion of the peace of Cateau Cambresis (which
left France free to aid her efforts in Scotland), April 2, 1559, and on
the receipt of a message from the Guises, "she threw off the mask," and
initiated an organised persecution. But there is no evidence that any
such message commanding her to persecute at this time came from the
Guises before the Regent had issued her proclamations of February 9 and
March 23, {94a} denouncing attacks on priests, disturbance of services,
administering of sacraments by lay preachers, and tumults at large. Now,
Sir James Melville of Halhill, the diplomatist, writing in old age, and
often erroneously, makes the Cardinal of Lorraine send de Bettencourt, or
Bethencourt, to the Regent with news of the peace of Cateau Cambresis and
an order to punish heretics with fire and sword, and says that, though
she was reluctant, she consequently published her proclamation of March
23. Dates prove part of this to be impossible. {94b}

Obviously the Regent had issued her proclamations of February-March 1559
in anticipation of the tumults threatened by the Reformers in their
"Beggar's Warning" and in their Protestation of December, and arranged to
occur with violence at Easter, as they did. The three or four preachers
(two of them apparently "at the horn" in 1558) were to preach publicly,
and riots were certain to ensue, as the Reformers had threatened. Riots
were part of the evangelical programme. Of Paul Methuen, who first
"reformed" the Church in Dundee, Pitscottie writes that he "ministered
the sacraments of the communion at Dundee and Cupar, and caused the
images thereof to be cast down, and abolished the Pope's religion so far
as he passed or preached." For this sort of action he was now summoned.

The Regent, therefore, warned in her proclamations men, often challenged
previously, and as often allowed, under fear of armed resistance, to
escape. All that followed was but a repetition of the feeble policy of
outlawing these four or five men. Finally, in May 1559, these preachers
had a strong armed backing, and seized a central strategic point, so the
Revolution blazed out on a question which had long been smouldering and
on an occasion that had been again and again deferred. The Regent, far
from having foreseen and hardened her heart to carry out an organised
persecution and "cut the throats" of all Protestants in Scotland, was, in
fact, intending to go to France, being in the earlier stages of her fatal
malady. This appears from a letter of Sir Henry Percy, from Norham
Castle, to Cecil and Parry (April 12, 1559) {95b} Percy says that the
news in his latest letters (now lost) was erroneous. The Regent, in
fact, "is not as yet departed." She is very ill, and her life is
despaired of. She is at Stirling, where the nobles had assembled to
discuss religious matters. Only her French advisers were on the side of
the Regent. "The matter is pacified for the time," and in case of the
Regent's death, Chatelherault, d'Oysel, and de Rubay are to be a
provisional committee of Government, till the wishes of the King and
Queen, Francis and Mary, are known. Again, in her letter of May 16 to
Henri II. of France, she stated that she was in very bad health, {96a}
and, at about the same date (May 18), the English ambassador in France
mentions her intention to visit that country at once. {96b} But the
Revolution of May 11, breaking out in Perth, condemned her to suffer and
die in Scotland.

This, however, does not amount to proof that no plan of persecution in
Scotland was intended. Throckmorton writes, on May 18, that the Marquis
d'Elboeuf is to go thither. "He takes with him both men of conduct and
some of war; it is thought his stay will not be long." Again (May 23,
24), Throckmorton reports that Henri II. means to persecute extremely in
Poitou, Guienne, and Scotland. "Cecil may take occasion to use the
matter in Scotland as may seem best to serve the turn." {96c} This was
before the Perth riot had been reported (May 26) by Cecil to
Throckmorton. Was d'Elboeuf intended to direct the persecution? The
theory has its attractions, but Henri, just emerged with maimed forces
from a ruinous war, knew that a persecution which served Cecil's "turn"
did not serve _his_. To persecute in Scotland would mean renewed war
with England, and could not be contemplated. If Sir James Melville can
be trusted for once, the Constable, about June 1, told him, in the
presence of the French King, that if the Perth revolt were only about
religion, "we mon commit Scottismen's saules unto God." {97} Melville
was then despatched with promise of aid to the Regent - if the rising was
political, not religious.

It is quite certain that the Regent issued her proclamations without any
commands from France; and her health was inconsistent with an intention
to put Protestants to fire and sword.

In the records of the Provincial Council of March 1559, the foremost
place is given to "Articles" presented to the Regent by "some temporal
Lords and Barons," and by her handed to the clergy. They are the
proposals of conservative reformers. They ask for moral reformation of
the lives of the clergy: for sermons on Sundays and holy days: for due
examination of the doctrine, life, and learning of all who are permitted
to preach. They demand that no vicar or curate shall be appointed unless
he can read the catechism (of 1552) plainly and distinctly: that
expositions of the sacraments should be clearly pronounced in the
vernacular: that common prayer should be read in the vernacular: that
certain exactions of gifts and dues should be abolished. Again, no one
should be allowed to dishonour the sacraments, or the service of the
Mass: no unqualified person should administer the sacraments: Kirk
rapine, destruction of religious buildings and works of art, should not
be permitted.

The Council passed thirty-four statutes on these points. The clergy were
to live cleanly, and not to keep their bastards at home. They were
implored, "in the bowels of Christ" to do their duty in the services of
the Church. No one in future was to be admitted to a living without
examination by the Ordinary. Ruined churches were to be rebuilt or
repaired. Breakers of ornaments and violators or burners of churches
were to be pursued. There was to be preaching as often as the Ordinary
thought fit: if the Rector could not preach he must find a substitute who
could. Plain expositions of the sacraments were made out, were to be
read aloud to the congregations, and were published at twopence ("The
Twopenny Faith"). Administration of the Eucharist except by priests was
to be punished by excommunication. {98a} Knox himself desired _death_
for others than true ministers who celebrated the sacrament. {98b} His
"true ministers," about half-a-dozen of them at this time, of course came
under the penalty of the last statute.

He says, with the usual error, that _after_ peace was made between France
and England, on April 2, 1559 (the treaty of Cateau Cambresis), the
Regent "began to spew forth and disclose the latent venom of her double
heart." She looked "frowardly" on Protestants, "commanded her household
to use all abominations at Easter," she herself communicated, "and it is
supposed that after that day the devil took more violent and strong
possession in her than he had before . . . For incontinent she caused
our preachers to be summoned."

But _why_ did she summon the same set of preachers as before, for no old
offence? The Regent, says the "Historie," made proclamation, during the
Council (as the moderate Reformers had asked her to do), "that no manner
of person should . . . preach or minister the sacraments, except they
were admitted by the Ordinary or a Bishop on no less pain than death."
The Council, in fact, made excommunication the penalty. Now it was for
ministering the sacrament after the proclamation of March 13, for
preaching heresy, and stirring up "seditions and tumults," that Methuen,
Brother John Christison, William Harlaw, and John Willock were summoned
to appear at Stirling on May 10, 1559. {99a}

How could any governor of Scotland abstain from summoning them in the
circumstances? There seems to be no new suggestion of the devil, no
outbreak of Guisian fury. The Regent was in a situation whence there was
no "outgait": she must submit to the seditions and tumults threatened in
the Protestation of the brethren, the disturbances of services, the
probable wrecking of churches, or she must use the powers legally
entrusted to her. She gave insolent answers to remonstrances from the
brethren, says Knox. She would banish the preachers (not execute them),
"albeit they preached as truly as ever did St. Paul." Being threatened,
as before, with the consequent "inconvenients," she said "she would
advise." However, summon the preachers she did, for breach of her
proclamations, "tumults and seditions." {99b}

Knox himself was present at the Revolution which ensued, but we must now
return to his own doings in the autumn and winter of 1558-59. {100}


While the inevitable Revolution was impending in Scotland, Knox was
living at Geneva. He may have been engaged on his "Answer" to the
"blasphemous cavillations" of an Anabaptist, his treatise on
Predestination. Laing thought that this work was "chiefly written" at
Dieppe, in February-April 1559, but as it contains more than 450 pages it
is probably a work of longer time than two months. In November 1559 the
English at Geneva asked leave to print the book, which was granted,
provided that the name of Geneva did not appear as the place of printing;
the authorities knowing of what Knox was capable from the specimen given
in his "First Blast." There seem to be several examples of the Genevan
edition, published by Crispin in 1560; the next edition, less rare, is of
1591 (London). {101}

The Anabaptist whom Knox is discussing had been personally known to him,
and had lucid intervals. "Your chief Apollos," he had said, addressing
the Calvinists, "be persecutors, on whom the blood of Servetus crieth a
vengeance. . . . They have set forth books affirming it to be lawful to
persecute and put to death such as dissent from them in controversies of
religion. . . . Notwithstanding they, before they came to authority,
were of another judgment, and did both say and write that no man ought to
be persecuted for his conscience' sake. . . ." {102a} Knox replied that
Servetus was a blasphemer, and that Moses had been a more wholesale
persecutor than the Edwardian burners of Joan of Kent, and the Genevan
Church which roasted Servetus {102b} (October 1553). He incidentally
proves that he was better than his doctrine. In England an Anabaptist,
after asking for secrecy, showed him a manuscript of his own full of
blasphemies. "In me I confess there was great negligence, that neither
did retain his book nor present him to the magistrate" to burn. Knox
could not have done that, for the author "earnestly required of me
closeness and fidelity," which, probably, Knox promised. Indeed, one
fancies that his opinions and character would have been in conflict if a
chance of handing an idolater over to death had been offered to him.

The death of Mary Tudor on November 17, 1558, does not appear to have
been anticipated by him. The tidings reached him before January 12,
1559, when he wrote from Geneva a singular "Brief Exhortation to England
for the Spedie Embrasing of Christ's Gospel heretofore by the Tyrannie of
Marie Suppressed and Banished."

The gospel to be embraced by England is, of course, not nearly so much
Christ's as John Knox's, in its most acute form and with its most
absolute, intolerant, and intolerable pretensions. He begins by
vehemently rebuking England for her "shameful defection" and by
threatening God's "horrible vengeances which thy monstrous unthankfulness
hath long deserved," if the country does not become much more puritan
than it had ever been, or is ever likely to be. Knox "wraps you all in
idolatry, all in murder, all in one and the same iniquity," except the
actual Marian martyrs; those who "abstained from idolatry;" and those who
"avoided the realm" or ran away. He had set one of the earliest examples
of running away: to do so was easier for him than for family men and
others who had "a stake in the country," for which Knox had no relish. He
is hardly generous in blaming all the persons who felt no more "ripe" for
martyrdom than he did, yet stayed in England, where the majority were,
and continued to be, Catholics.

Having asserted his very contestable superiority and uttered pages of
biblical threatenings, Knox says that the repentance of England
"requireth two things," first, the expulsion of "all dregs of Popery" and
the treading under foot of all "glistering beauty of vain ceremonies."
Religious services must be reduced, in short, to his own bare standard.
Next, the Genevan and Knoxian "kirk discipline" must be introduced. No
"power or liberty (must) be permitted to any, of what estate, degree, or
authority they be, either to live without the yoke of discipline by God's
word commanded," or "to alter . . . one jot in religion which from God's
mouth thou hast received. . . . If prince, king, or emperor would
enterprise to change or disannul the same, that he be of thee reputed
enemy to God," while a prince who erects idolatry . . . "must be adjudged
to death."

Each bishopric is to be divided into ten. The Founder of the Church and
the Apostles "all command us to preach, to preach." A brief sketch of
what The Book of Discipline later set forth for the edification of
Scotland is recommended to England, and is followed by more threatenings
in the familiar style.

England did not follow the advice of Knox: her whole population was not
puritan, many of her martyrs had died for the prayer book which Knox
would have destroyed. His tract cannot have added to the affection which
Elizabeth bore to the author of "The First Blast." In after years, as we
shall see, Knox spoke in a tone much more moderate in addressing the
early English nonconformist secessionists (1568). Indeed, it is as easy
almost to prove, by isolated passages in Knox's writings, that he was a
sensible, moderate man, loathing and condemning active resistance in
religion, as to prove him to be a senselessly violent man. All depends
on the occasion and opportunity. He speaks with two voices. He was very
impetuous; in the death of Mary Tudor he suddenly saw the chance of
bringing English religion up, or down, to the Genevan level, and so he
wrote this letter of vehement rebuke and inopportune advice.

Knox must have given his biographers "medicines to make them love him."
The learned Dr. Lorimer finds in this epistle, one of the most fierce of
his writings, "a programme of what this Reformation reformed should be - a
programme which was honourable alike to Knox's zeal and his moderation."
The "moderation" apparently consists in not abolishing bishoprics, but
substituting "ten bishops of moderate income for one lordly prelate."
Despite this moderation of the epistle, "its intolerance is extreme,"
says Dr. Lorimer, and Knox's advice "cannot but excite astonishment."
{104} The party which agreed with him in England was the minority of a
minority; the Catholics, it is usually supposed, though we have no
statistics, were the majority of the English nation. Yet the only
chance, according to Knox, that England has of escaping the vengeance of
an irritable Deity, is for the smaller minority to alter the prayer book,
resist the Queen, if she wishes to retain it unaltered, and force the
English people into the "discipline" of a Swiss Protestant town.

Dr. Lorimer, a most industrious and judicious writer, adds that, in these
matters of "discipline," and of intolerance, Knox "went to a tragical
extreme of opinion, of which none of the other leading reformers had set
an example;" also that what he demanded was substantially demanded by the
Puritans all through the reign of Elizabeth. But Knox averred publicly,
and in his "History," that for everything he affirmed in Scotland he had
heard the judgments "of the most godly and learned that be known in
Europe . . . and for my assurance I have the handwritings of many." Now
he had affirmed frequently, in Scotland, the very doctrines of discipline
and persecution "of which none of the other leading Reformers had set an
example," according to Dr. Lorimer. Therefore, either they agreed with
Knox, or what Knox told the Lords in June 1564 was not strictly accurate.
{105} In any case Knox gave to his country the most extreme of

The death of Mary Tudor, and the course of events at home, were now to
afford our Reformer the opportunity of promulgating, in Scotland, those
ideas which we and his learned Presbyterian student alike regret and
condemn. These persecuting ideas "were only a mistaken theory of
Christian duty, and nothing worse," says Dr. Lorimer. Nothing could
possibly be worse than a doctrine contrary in the highest degree to the
teaching of Our Lord, whether the doctrine was proclaimed by Pope,
Prelate, or Calvinist.

Here it must be observed that a most important fact in Knox's career, a
most important element in his methods, has been little remarked upon by
his biographers. Ever since he failed, in 1554, to obtain the adhesion
of Bullinger and Calvin to his more extreme ideas, he had been his own
prophet, and had launched his decrees of the right of the people, of part
of the people, and of the individual, to avenge the insulted majesty of
God upon idolaters, not only without warrant from the heads of the
Calvinistic Church, but to their great annoyance and disgust. Of this an
example will now be given.


Knox had learned from letters out of Scotland that Protestants there now
ran no risks; that "without a shadow of fear they might hear prayers in
the vernacular, and receive the sacraments in the right way, the impure
ceremonies of Antichrist being set aside." The image of St. Giles had
been broken by a mob, and thrown into a sewer; "the impure crowd of
priests and monks" had fled, throwing away the shafts of the crosses they
bore, and "hiding the golden heads in their robes." Now the Regent
thinks of reforming religion, on a given day, at a convention of the
whole realm. So William Cole wrote to Bishop Bale, then at Basle,
without date. The riot was of the beginning of September 1558, and is
humorously described by Knox. {107}

This news, though regarded as "very certain," was quite erroneous except
as to the riot. One may guess that it was given to Knox in letters from
the nobles, penned in October 1558, which he received in November 1558;
there was also a letter to Calvin from the nobles, asking for Knox's
presence. It seemed that a visit to Scotland was perfectly safe; Knox
left Geneva in January, he arrived in Dieppe in February, where he
learned that Elizabeth would not allow him to travel through England. He
had much that was private to say to Cecil, and was already desirous of
procuring English aid to Scottish reformers. The tidings of the Queen's
refusal to admit him to England came through Cecil, and Knox told him
that he was "worthy of Hell" (for conformity with Mary Tudor); and that
Turks actually granted such safe conducts as were now refused to him.
{108a} Perhaps he exaggerated the amenity of the Turks. His "First
Blast," if acted on, disturbed the succession in England, and might beget
new wars, a matter which did not trouble the prophet. He also asked
leave to visit his flock at Berwick. This too was refused.

Doubtless Knox, with his unparalleled activity, employed the period of
delay in preaching the Word at Dieppe. After his arrival in Scotland, he
wrote to his Dieppe congregation, upbraiding them for their Laodicean
laxity in permitting idolatry to co-exist with true religion in their
town. Why did they not drive out the idolatrous worship? These epistles
were intercepted by the Governor of Dieppe, and their contents appear to

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