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HISTORY

OF THK

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

CHAPTER XVI.

GENERAL ASSEMBLIES.

PRESBYTERY AND THE SOLEMN LEAGUE AND COVENANT.

1639. First steps of the Covenanters.—Proceedings of King's College, Aber.

deen.- War determined on.-The king's reply to the Assembly's letter.-A convention at Edinburgh-their proceedings.--Capture of Edinburgh, Dal. keith, and Dumbarton Castles.-Loyalty of Aberdeen.-The earl of Montrosehis successes.—Bishop Bellenden and the clergy of Aberdeen.—Military movements. The king's movements-secures Berwick.-King and the army encamp at Birks.—Rebels advance to Dunse-Law-operations of the army.-Hamilton's inactivity.-Covenanters petition—the answer-negociations-articles agreed to. The king remains at Berwick.-Concessions.—The protests of the Tables—their bad faith.—The king remonstrates—the answer of the Tables.Edinburgh Castle surrendered to the king his officers assaulted-a preconcerted riot.—Citizens of Aberdeer renounce the covenant-subdued by Mon. trose.- Preparations for the meeting of the Assembly and parliament.--Traquair appointed commissioner-his instructions.—The bishops advise a prorogationthe king's reply to them. The bishops' declinature.-Covenanters disperse scandalous pamphlets.--Meeting of the Assembly-preliminary business.Removal of ministers.--Bishop Graham's renunciation and disclaimer.-Dalhousie's protest.-Causes and remedies of the late revolution.--Henderson's inconsistency. - Commissioner's declaration. — Approbation of Jobnston's registers.-Act for receiving the submissions of the episcopal clergy.-Several acts of Assembly-their supplication-answer of the privy council.—The commissioner signs the covenant--and admits the truth of their causes of evils.The chairs in the universities filled up.--Ancient cross.—The king displeased VOL. II,

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with Traquair- bis further instructions.--Assembly's letter to the king. Meeting of parliament, the revolutionary tendency of their proceedings.Acts of the Assembly ratified. The king orders Traquair to prorogue the parliament-members protest.-Traquair goes to court.—Proceedings of the Tables.-- 1640.--Committee of parliament appointed.-Parliament in England-their proceedings. The peers subscribe to a loan.-Lord Pembroke's letter to Rothes. -Puritans and covenanters unite.-The ministers preach for the collection of money-money borrowed.-Meeting of parliament.—The constitution remodelled-farther proceedings.- Argyle's expedition.-Monroe sent against Aberdeen-his operations.-A provincial synod in London.General Assembly—their acts.—Tables levy troops.—Plate melted down.Letter to the French king.-Lord Loudon arrested-committed to the Towerenlarged-and commissioned by the king.

1639.-The CovenaNTERS“ published bitter invectives against the bishops and the whole government of the church, which they were not contented to send only into England, to kindle the same fire there, but with their letters sent them to all the reformed churches, by which they raised so great a prejudice to the king, that too many of them believed that the king had a real design to change religion, and to introduce popery. .... So that by this means, and the interposition of all those of that nation who attended upon his majesty in his bed-chamber, and in several offices at court, who all undertook to know, by their intelligences, that all was quiet, or would speedily be so, his majesty ... hardly prevailed with himself to believe that he could receive any disturbance from thence, till he found all his condescensions had raised their insolence, all his offers rejected, and his proclamation of pardon slighted and contemned, and that they were listing men towards the raising an army, under the obligation of their covenant, and had already chosen COLONEL LESLIE, a soldier of that nation, of long experience and eminent command under the king of Sweden, in Germany, to be their general, who being lately disobliged (as they called it) by the king, that is, denied somewhat he had a mind to hare, which to that people was always the highest injury, had accepted of the command. Then at last the king thought it time to resort to other counsels, and to provide force to chastise them who had so much despised all his gentler remedies ?.”

On the dispersion of the late Assembly the members intimated its conclusions to all parts of the country; but the authorities of the King's College, at Aberdeen, sharply rebuked

i Clarendon's History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars, i. 183-184.

Mr. Lundin, their commissioner, for remaining and deliberating in the Assembly after it had been dissolved by the king's commissioner. That loyal body farther made an act, that when the Assembly's committee for the visitation of their university should appear, their gates should be shut against them; and that none of their members should acknowledge their authority, under pain of deprivation.

On the 9th of January, the chiefs of the covenanters sent Mr. George Winram, of Libberton, an advocate, with the Assembly's letter to the king, which was read in the Scottish council at London on the 15th; to which his majesty replied, that for the better settling of Scottish affairs, he would be at York by the 1st of April, and would summon his Scottish council to meet him there, and give him their advice. “Notwithstanding hereof,” says bishop Guthry, “ the noblemen and ministers that remained at Edinburgh, and had the leading of the business, professed to have intelligence that the king intended nothing but war, and was using his endeavours to raise an army wherewith to invade this land; and upon that ground (albeit as yet there was 'no answer from Mr. Winram, who returned not before the 21st of March) they called a general meeting of noblemen and of commissioners from the other estates, to meet at Edinburgh upon the 20th of February, for resolving upon a defensive war 2.” Of the Assembly's letter, however, which his council declared to be “most humble and wellpenned," the king said, “ We confess we were amazed at, and aggrieved with their horrible impudence, expressed in their last petition sent unto us, in which they did invocate the name of God, calling him not only as a witness, but as an approver of their actions; at their pretended assurance of our justification of them all, when they undoubtedly know that we do abhor and detest them all, as rebellious and treasonable; at their shameless asseveration of their confidence that their neighbour churches will approve all their proceedings; that they are afraid they should be thought to have offended in nothing so much as in lenity, when they have proceeded to the deposition and excommunication of the bishops and others their opposers, which is the utmost of that power which ever any church did yet challenge to itsel.; and many more such audacious untruths, which, after we once heard read, we resolved never to answer, and now do answer it only thus—That in the main points of it there is not one true word; to say nothing of the boldness of this petition, which expecteth our

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answers in such terms, as it doth not only seem to require our approbation of their wicked proceedings, but almost to command it; and, lastly, it is subscribed only by the hands of the moderator and clerk of the Assembly, as if it were an ordinary citation served upon the meanest subject of that our kingdom. And, besides all these, we would know what ecclesiastical Assembly, just or pretended, did ever use any coercive power but that which was ecclesiastical; viz. suspension, deprivation, degradation, or excommunication. But this pretended Assembly hath, besides all these, enforced her acts with arms, and all manner of violence, both against the persons and fortunes of such as do not agree unto them, but continue loyal unto us 1.”

But the chiefs of the Covenanters had now gone too far to recede, or even to remain inactive. They therefore spread abroad a false and malicious report, that the king intended to invade the kingdom with English troops : upon this ground they summoned a meeting, or convention, of the noblemen and cominissioners of burghs, to meet at Edinburgh on the 20th of February. At this convention a paper was read, which had been drawn up by Balmerino, Hope (the king's advocate), and Henderson (moderator of the late Assembly), recommending an appeal to arms, and using such arguments for its justification as tended to inflame the passions and prejudices of the meeting. The reasons adduced were declared to be so convincing, to men whose minds were previously made up, that “ instantly all of them, with one voice, consented to the listing of an army, and voted general Leslie to be the commander thereof." The reasons which had been submitted to the convention, and had been found so convincing to them, were immediately published and dispersed to all parts of the kingdom, and the convention ordained, that every minister should read this treasonable document from their pulpits, and frame their discourses so as to procure an universal consent amongst their parishioners 2.

Leslie accepted the command, and his first commencement of hostilities was the capture of Edinburgh Castle, which was yielded by Haldon, the constable, without any resistance, as there were neither troops nor provisions in it; an unaccountable oversight, if it was not a designed treason, on the part of the late commissioner. The following day he took possession of Dalkeith, a castle then belonging to the king, and in which he had deposited a considerable quantity of gunpowder and military stores, which he had sent from London, under the

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