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want of provisions, and the total incapacity of the general under whose charge the whole was placed, it also returned, having, with the exception of the loss of eight ships, with all that were aboard them, accomplished nothing. *
Under all these mortifications, which they must have felt very keenly, they could yet console themselves, that they were making considerable progress towards a reconciliation with France, which was of the first importance to their present plans, and to their ulterior prospects. The projected peace was advancing apace, in the hands of Mr. St. John, lord Dartmouth, and Matthew Prior; the house of commons was every thing they could wish, their principal opponents being expelled, and though the house of lords was not quite so complacent, they already contemplated measures for rendering it equally subservient to their views, as we shall see in the sequel.t
But, to return more particularly to the affairs of Scotland ---the parliament having been occupied as we have already related, had little time to bestow upon her, and that little was employed rather to her disadvantage than otherwise. The first object that came to be debated, in which she was more particularly interested, was a bill imposing a duty upon the exportation of linen, the debates upon which, were managed with great heat, and in a manner that showed distinctly that, on either side, national prejudices were yet far from being extinguished. Many members, indeed, spoke of Scotland as if she had been a conquered rather than an allied country. “ Have not we,” said Harley, “ bought them (the Scots], and a right to tax them. And pray, for what did we give them the equivalent ?” He was replied to with great warmth by the Scotish members, particularly by Lockhart of Carnwath, who, with all his faults, was certainly, in his own way, zealous for the honour of his country. The bill was, nevertheless, carried, in defiance of all opposition. An attempt was also made for promoting the trade of Scotland, by placing the transportation of naval stores from that country upon the same footing as from the American colonies, but it was not successful.
# Memoirs of the four last years of Queen Anne, p. 118. + Burnet's History of his Own Times.
In the mean time the assembly of the church of Scotland convened at Edinburgh, upon the tenth of May, 1711, and after sermon by Mr. William Mitchell, late moderator, made choice of Mr. William Carstares, principal of the college of Edinburgh, as their moderator-the commissioner on this occasion was William, marquis of Annandale. Notwithstanding the violent encroachments which the episcopalians were in many places making upon the rights of the Scotish church, and the openly avowed intention of the Jacobites to have all these encroachments legalized, the letter of the queen was soft and soothing, breathing even more than her accus, tomed piety, and promising, on her part, every thing that could be desired. “ We are," she says, “ persuaded, from your prudent and calm proceedings in former assemblies, that at this time you will go on in the same way; and that you will take care to plant vacant churches with learned, diligent, and pious ministers; to promote religion, suppress vice and impiety, and prevent the growth of popery and atheism. And nothing shall be wanting on our part, to convince you of our royal intentions to protect and maintain you in the full possession of your rights and privileges, as by law established."* Taken in connexion with the spirit of her present administration, these professions on the part of the queen, with the Calderwoods, the Bruces, the Knoxes, and the Hendersons of former days, would most probably have been considered as intended to cajole, rather than to satisfy and confirm doubtful minds, and must have been by them treated accordingly; but the church of Scotland had now fallen into the hands of men of easy faith and accommodating tempers, under whose tutelage the assembly was made to reply with the most infantine simplicity. 66 The assurances that your majesty in your great goodness has been pleased to give us of your royal intentions, to protect and maintain us in the full possession of all our rights and privileges, as established by law, do make us easy amidst all the vain confidence of those amongst us, who separate from our communion, to whom the advantages we enjoy under your majesty's just and gracious
* Qucen's letter to the General Assembly, 1711.
administration are an eye-sore; and shall oblige us to carry ourselves so, as your majesty may ever have reason to continue more and more satisfied with our conduct. It is our grief, that your majesty's zeal for promoting of piety, suppressing immorality and profaneness, and for bearing down atheism, popish idolatry, and superstition, hath not obtained the success we are assured your majesty doth earnestly desire, and we heartily wish for; but, when your majesty is not discouraged from renewing your injunctions as to this important affair, we shall be inexcusable, if we do not, with our utmost endeavours, second your majesty's pious inclinations.
“ The planting of vacant churches with pious and learned ministers hath always been, and shall be our most serious endeavour; but we cannot conceal from your majesty, that in some places we meet with too open and designed opposition; however, we are resolved, that how inhumane soever these insults be, they shall not discourage us from obeying God and your majesty, in promoting so good a work, not doubting, but that your majesty's so gracious and plain declaration of your royal pleasure, to maintain and support us, with the care of those intrusted under you, shall be able, through the influence of your royal authority, to give an effectual check to such as openly contemn your laws, and have too little regard to the public peace. That your majesty may be compassed about with divine favour, 'as with a shield, and always preserved both from deceit and violence, for the protection and comfort of the protestant churches, the happiness of your people, the security of the liberties of Europe, and for procuring thereto a safe and honourable peace, and defeating all the hopes that adversaries may have, of imposing a popish successor upon your dominions: that, after a long and happy reign upon earth, your majesty may be possessed of a glorious immortality, and that the succession to the throne after your majesty, and the heirs of your body, in the protestant line of the illustrious family of Hanover, by law established, may be firm and sure, are, and shall be the prayers of &c. &c.”* In the same spirit, “ The General Assembly did, by an unanimous vote, recommend
• Answer of the General Assembly to the Queen's letter, 1711.
to all the ministers of this church, that in their public prayers, after praying for her majesty, queen Anne, they do expressly mention the princess Sophia, electress, and dutchess dowager of Hanover, and the protestant line in that family, upon whom the succession to the crown of these dominions is by law established; or that they pray in such terms as their congregations may understand that they mean the princess Sophia, and the heirs of her body, being protestants."* This recommendation gave great offence to many serious presbyterians, both ministers and people, and it may very reasonably be doubted, if it gave any satisfaction to her majesty. Of much more importance, and more suitable to the character of the assembly, were two recommendations, which are still as necessary as they were then, perhaps more so, the one for the more regular dispensation of the Lord's supper, so as that it might be enjoyed through the several months of the year; the other that the worship of God, in all its parts, should be set up in every family, “ according to former acts of assembly, and directions given concerning the same."
This assembly also passed an “ act concerning probationers, and settling ministers, with questions to be proposed to, and engagements to be taken of them,” which, as it took no particular notice of already attained to reformation, between the years 1638 and 1649, gave additional grounds of jealousy to those who were previously doubtful of the strict propriety of the revolution settlement. Were these regulations, however, faithfully enforced, and were every candidate for office in the established church able to answer the questions with a good conscience, there would be fewer grass-grown paths around our decaying parish churches, much less noise about the rights of conscience, but a much more evident display of its legitimate exercise in the general business of life. To the commission of the assembly was left, as usual, the maintenance of unity, and the suppression of error and schism in the church, the notice of what misrepresentations shall be made, either at home or abroad, of the doctrine, worship, discipline, or constitution of this church, and to take all decent and proper methods for the
* Acts of the General Assembly, 1711.
vindication thereof,”--the care of erecting schools—the corresponding with the society for propagating christian knowledge the consideration of the case of Mr. John Mackmillan, late minister of Balmaghie-the censuring of Mr. John Macniel,
who continues to preach, after his licence has been declared null”—the assisting Mr. Mackie to obtain possession of the kirk and stipend of Balmaghie—the receiving of such curates as may apply for ministerial communion, &c. &c. and in fine, the care and preservation of all the rights and privileges of the church. The errors of Antonietta Bourignon were also, by this assembly, again recommended to professors of divinity, to be confuted, and it was dissolved in the usual form on the twenty-third of May, having appointed the next meeting to be at Edinburghi, on the first Thursday of May, one thousand seven hundred and twelve years. *
The General Assembly of the church of Scotland, which, degraded as it was, and sunk in the estimation of the people, compared with what it had formerly been, had the power to have enkindled a prodigious flame in the nation, being thus tranquilly got over, the Jacobites were left at liberty to pursue their insidious purposes without fear, and they, no doubt, hoped, that before another assembly would be convened, its opposition would be, from the progress of events, still feebler, and less likely to be effective. Nor did their hopes appear to be without a solid foundation. In England, the fanatic Sacheveral, aided by all those arts which political duplicity and superstitious bigotry have ever at command, had effected every thing that high church policy could desire. The stream of popular opinion, swollen to an irresistible torrent, was sweeping before it, in mass, or in rapid succession, all those ameliorating maxims, the salutary offspring of pure religion and sound philosophy, which had for ages been the chief source of the glory and growing felicity of the nation. Fifty additional churches, too, had just been ordered to be built and endowed by the new ministry,t which, while it impressed the unthinking vulgar with exalted notions of their piety, by extending their patronage, gave them a great increase of influence in the church.
* Acts of Assembly, 1711.