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which," he adds, “ I have now before me, yet, instead of restoring them to their ancient privileges, those glorious confessors were put off with a faint request by our managers, that such of them as are confined to galleys or other prisons, might be set at liberty; and I have not yet heard that they obtained so much."*
In unison with their address, the assembly passed “ an act for maintaining the unity and peace of the church,” referring to the oath of abjuration, which had made, as we have seen, and was still making so much noise in Scotland. The object of this act was to inculcate forbearance with regard to taking or not taking that oath, and, after the full elucidation it had now received, still maintained it to be a matter of indifference. This act is a curious document, and shows most distinctly that it is no new thing, even in the church of Scotland, for men to cover the most glaring departures from the simplicity of christian faith, the purity of gospel practice, and that unity which the scriptures more especially inculcate, by a pretension of zeal for the success of the gospel, and the interests of practical godliness.t This assembly also, “ for the more decent performance of the public praises of God, do recommend to presbyteries, to use endeavours to have such schoolmasters chosen as are capable to teach the common tunes; and that presbyteries take care that children be taught to sing the said common tunes; and that the said schoolmasters, not only pray with their scholars, but also sing a part of a psalm with them, at least once every day.” The books of the society for propagating christian knowledge were also examined by a committee of members appointed from each synod, their managements entirely approved of, and a recommendation to presbyteries passed in favours of the society.
A number of important matters were, no doubt, transacted by this assembly, but, taking all the circumstances of the case into consideration, this was, perhaps, the least faithful of any assembly since the revolution, and one from which the public
* Rae's History of the Rebellion, pp. 28, 29. + Vide Printed Acts of Assembly, 1713.
interests of religion seem to have derived almost no benefit. The disputes between the jurant and nonjurant presbyterians, instead of abating were becoming still more violent, and threatened a disruption, the consequences of which appeared to both parties terrible. The insolence of trafficking priests, however, especially in the north, where popery was found to be greatly on the increase, with that of the episcopal clergy in the same bounds, who lived with these priests upon the most brotherly terms, while they could not so much as bear the sight of a presbyterian minister,* awakened in the commission of this assembly, a lively feeling of danger, and determined them to publish a serious warning against the errors and dangers of popery, and to address the queen, in a style of great plainness, to have the laws put in execution against these incendiaries, who were undermining the foundations of the constitution, civil and ecclesiastical. So far, indeed, were the ministers of the church of Scotland, in general, from being in unison with the assembly, in respect of the queen's care of foreign protestants, that when the thanksgiving, for “the safe and honourable peace" was appointed, because the poor Catalans, as well as the protestants of France and Germany, * Rae's History of the Rebellion.
+“The Catalans [inhabitants of Catalonia) were a people who had enjoyed several rights and immunities while Spain was subject to the house of Austria. As they had a just value for their privileges, they were desirous to secure them for themselves, and transmit them safe to their posterity. Accordingly, in the year 1705, having received several assurances from Mr. Crow, queen Anne's minister at Genoa, from the earl of Peterborough, and Sir Cloudesly Shovel, that if they would acknowledge Charles III. as king of Spain, and renounce the house of Bourbon, her British majesty would use her utmost endeavours to procure the establishment and confirmation of their rights and privileges, and the settlement of them on a lasting foundation; the Catalans acknowledged and received that prince as their sovereign, raised men and money for his service, and, during a war which abounded with extraordinary turns of fortune, gave signal proofs of their unshaken fidelity and zeal for the cause they had espoused. After king Charles came to the imperial crown, and Spain was at last given up to the house of Bourbon, the Catalans, far from being guided by a spirit of obstinacy and rebellion, as has been represented, were willing to acknowledge king Philip V. for their lawful sovereign. At the same time, as they hoped to be protected by the emperor, a prince for whom they had exposed their lives and fortunes, and, as they relied upon the repeated assurances they had received that England would never abandon
had been deserted by it, they, almost to a man, refused to keep it.
But to return to the parliament-after various discussions, respecting the peace, and other matters, which, however important, do not belong to Scotish history, the house came at length to the providing the supplies, when the malt tax, being renewed, was now for the first time extended to Scotland. This occasioned the most acrimonious debates in both houses. The Scotish members, declared the bill to be a violation of the treaty of Union, which, it was affirmed, stipulated expressly, that no duty should be imposed on malt in Scotland, during the war,* and the war, they contended, was not yet finished, Spain not being included in the treaty, that had so lately been signed. And, even though the war had been really ended, as, by the very words of the proposed act, the money raised by it, was to be applied to pay debts contracted the previous year, it was alleged, that it might with equal propriety, have been raised within that year, which no one would deny, would have been a manifest breach of treaty. It was also, from the alleged inferiority of the Scotish malt, stated to be unequal and oppressive,t and from the poverty of the country, such as it could them, they insisted upon the enjoyment of their former privileges. The inhabitants of Barcelona, being summoned by the duke of Popoli to surrender to king Philip, answered, ' That though they would rather die than be slaves, yet, if their ancient liberties were confirmed, they would open their gates and receive him with joy. But the Catalans being abandoned both by the emperor and by England, the court of Spain would be absolute. What happened afterwards; how vigorous and heroic a defence the Catalans made against the joiot efforts of France and Spain; what miseries they underwent; how many of them perished by the sword; how many of them were hanged or shot to death; and how many persons of figure were thrown into dungeons, there to lead out the remainder of their lives, will appear in the sequel. And here we cannot forbear lamenting the fate of a brave unfortunate people, who fought and suffered merely for their liberties and privileges, and have immortalised their name, by the noble though unsuccessful stand they made against usurpation and arbitrary power.”—Life of the Duke of Berwick, Note, pp. 385, 386.
• So their speeches are reported by the most of our historians. For our parts, we have looked again and again, over the articles of the treaty of Union, and have not been able to discover this stipulation.
+ Lockhart has depicted in strong colours the selfish motives that actuated those who chiefly opposed this measure, though he was probably not aware
not possibly bear. Many of the English members were satisfied with the equity of those grounds, the Scotish members went upon, but a majority were of a contrary opinion, and the bill passed.
The debates upon, and the passing of this bill, awakened in the bosoms of Scotishmen, all those national prejudices and animosities, that had as yet, been only partially laid asleep, and the members for Scotland, of both houses, after mature deliberation, determined, that laying aside all party distinctions, they should unite in carrying through the legislature, a legal but an immediate dissolution of the Union. In prosecution of this design, the duke of Argyle, the earl of Marr, Lockhart of Carnwath, and Mr. Cockburn of Ormiston, two peers, and two commoners of each party, were deputed to lay their grievances before the queen, and request her concurrence with a measure, which they stated to be absolutely “necessary for the welfare and honour of her ancient kingdom.” Her majesty listened to their verbal remonstrance with evident surprise. sorry," she said, “ that the Scots believed they had reason to complain, but she was of opinion, they were driving their resentments too far, and wished they might not have reason to repent their conduct;" at the same time, with her characteristic good nature, she promised to endeavour to make all things easy.* In the meantime, every artifice was employed, to bring over to their views, the leaders of the different parties among the English, and especially to inflame the minds of the people of Scotland, that they might be ready for any desperate enterprise in behalf of the pretender, for whose sake, princi
66 She was
that he was doing so. “ The Scots,” says he, “ represented that this tax, though as easy and convenient for England, as any other, which raised so great a sum, in so far as it came directly off the farmer, and being thereby diffused into many other parts, became less burdensome and sensible, yet was quite otherwise in Scotland, where a great part of the rents, being paid in kind, it fell heavy, and immediately on the heritors, who could get no relief by raising the price, because, in that case, the brewers must raise the price of their eal, which brought them out of the frying-pan into the fire, for then they must pay the high excise, though in truth, the eal was no better than the English small beer, according to which, it is now valued and taxed.” Lockhart Papers, p. 415.
• Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 433.
pally all this uproar was created; and on the first of June, a motion for dissolving the Union, was made, in the house of lords, by the earl of Findlater, at that time chancellor for Scotland. His lordship had been one of the commissioners for the treaty of Union, which he was particularly active in accomplishing, and for his zeal and services therein had a pension allowed him, out of the post-office, of three thousand a year. Scotish independence, he valued so little, that at the rising of her last parliament, he jestingly exclaimed, “ Now there is an end of an old song:"* Lockhart may therefore be fully credited, when he affirms, that “it is impossible to express his lordship’s uneasiness during his speech; he made so many apologies for what he was to do, that it quite spoiled the grace of it, there being no appearance of that zeal and earnestness which a subject of this nature did require, and seeming more like a party motion and measure, than that it proceeded from a real conviction and sense of the calamities and injuries he complained of.”+
His lordship's conviction of these injuries, could not be deep, as they were in a great measure imaginary, some of them, indeed, benefits of no ordinary magnitude. The whole he reduced to four heads. The want of a privy council—the being subjected to the treason laws of England—the incapacitation of Scotish peers for being peers of Great Britain; and the extension of the malt tax, which he contended would be a most intolerable burden to the poor in Scotland, and would confine them entirely to water for their drink, which he ought to have known had been effectually done already, by their own lords and lairds, who had but very rarely allowed them any thing else.
The motion was seconded by the earl of Marr, and supported by the duke of Argyle, the earls of Ilay, Eglinton, Nottingham, and Sunderland, the lords Townshend, Halifax, Powlet, Scarborough, and Scarsdale; the principal speakers in opposition to it, were the lords North and Gray, the earl of Peterborough, the lord chief justice Trevor, and the lord
• Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, vol. i. p. 586. + Lockhart Papers, vol. i. p. 435.