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Chapter 10


KNOX AND THE SCOTTISH REVOLUTION, 1559


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 have escaped the notice of the Reformer's biographers. A revolt followed in Dieppe. {108b} Meanwhile Knox's doings at Dieppe had greatly exasperated Francois Morel, the chief pastor of the Genevan congregation in Paris, and president of the first Protestant Synod held in that town. The affairs of the French Protestants were in a most precarious condition; persecution broke into fury early in June 1559. A week earlier, Morel wrote to Calvin, "Knox was for some time in Dieppe, waiting on a wind for Scotland." "He dared publicly to profess the worst and most infamous of doctrines: 'Women are unworthy to reign; Christians may protect themselves by arms against tyrants!'" The latter excellent doctrine was not then accepted by the Genevan learned. "I fear that Knox may fill Scotland with his madness. He is said to have a boon companion at Geneva, whom we hear that the people of Dieppe have called to be their minister. If he be infected with such opinions, for Christ's sake pray that he be not sent; or if he has already departed, warn the Dieppe people to beware of him." {109a} A French ex-capuchin, Jacques Trouille, was appointed as Knox's successor at Dieppe. {109b}

Knox's ideas, even the idea that Christians may bear the sword against tyrants, were all his own, were anti-Genevan; and though Calvin (1559-60) knew all about the conspiracy of Amboise to kill the Guises, he ever maintained that he had discouraged and preached against it. We must, therefore, credit Knox with originality, both in his ideas and in his way of giving it to be understood that they had the approval of the learned of Switzerland. The reverse was true.

By May 3, Knox was in Edinburgh, "come in the brunt of the battle," as the preachers' summons to trial was for May 10. He was at once outlawed, "blown loud to the horn," but was not dismayed. On this occasion the battle would be a fair fight, the gentry, under their Band, stood by the preachers, and, given a chance in open field with the arm of the flesh to back him, Knox's courage was tenacious and indomitable. It was only for lonely martyrdom that he never thought himself ready, and few historians have a right to throw the first stone at him for his backwardness.

As for armed conflict, at this moment Mary of Guise could only reckon surely on the small French garrison of Scotland, perhaps 1500 or 2000 men. She could place no confidence in the feudal levies that gathered when the royal standard was raised. The Hamiltons merely looked to their own advancement; Lord James Stewart was bound to the Congregation; Huntly was a double dealer and was remote; the minor noblesse and the armed burghers, with Glencairn representing the south-west, Lollard from of old, were attached to Knox's doctrines, while the mob would flock in to destroy and plunder.

Meanwhile Mary of Guise was at Stirling, and a multitude of Protestants were at Perth, where the Reformation had just made its entry, and had secured a walled city, a thing unique in Scotland. The gentry of Angus and the people of Dundee, at Perth, were now anxious to make a "demonstration" (unarmed, says Knox) at Stirling, if the preachers obeyed the summons to go thither, on May 10. Their strategy was excellent, whether carefully premeditated or not.

The Regent, according to Knox, amused Erskine of Dun with promises of "taking some better order" till the day of May 10 arrived, when, the preachers and their backers having been deluded into remaining at Perth instead of "demonstrating" at Stirling, she outlawed the preachers and fined their sureties ("assisters"). She did not outlaw the sureties. Her treachery (alleged only by Knox and others who follow him) is examined in Appendix A. Meanwhile it is certain that the preachers were put to the horn in absence, and that the brethren, believing themselves (according to Knox) to have been disgracefully betrayed, proceeded to revolutionary extremes, such as Calvin energetically denounced.

If we ask who executed the task of wrecking the monasteries at Perth, Knox provides two different answers.

In the "History" Knox says that after the news came of the Regent's perfidy, and after a sermon "vehement against idolatry," a priest began to celebrate, and "opened a glorious tabernacle" on the high altar. "Certain godly men and a young boy" were standing near; they all, or the boy alone (the sentence may be read either way), cried that this was intolerable. The priest struck the boy, who "took up a stone" and hit the tabernacle, and "the whole multitude" wrecked the monuments of idolatry. Neither the exhortation of the preacher nor the command of the magistrate could stay them in their work of destruction. {111} Presently "the rascal multitude" convened, without the gentry and "earnest professors," and broke into the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. They wrecked as usual, and the "common people" robbed, but the godly allowed Forman, Prior of the Charter House, to bear away about as much gold and silver as he was able to carry. We learn from Mary of Guise and Lesley's "History" that the very orchards were cut down.

If, thanks to the preachers, "no honest man was enriched the value of a groat," apparently dishonest men must have sacked the gold and silver plate of the monasteries; nothing is said by Knox on this head, except as to the Charter House.

Writing to Mrs. Locke, on the other hand, on June 23, Knox tells her that "the brethren," after "complaint and appeal made" against the Regent, levelled with the ground the three monasteries, burned all "monuments of idolatry" accessible, "and priests were commanded under pain of death, to desist from their blasphemous mass." {112} Nothing is said about a spontaneous and uncontrollable popular movement. The professional "brethren," earnest professors of course, reap the glory. Which is the true version?

If the version given to Mrs. Locke be accurate, Knox had sufficient reasons for producing a different account in that portion of his "History" (Book ii.) which is a tract written in autumn, 1559, and in purpose meant for contemporary foreign as well as domestic readers. The performances attributed to the brethren, in the letter to the London merchant's wife, were of a kind which Calvin severely rebuked. Similar or worse violences were perpetrated by French brethren at Lyons, on April 30, 1562. The booty of the church of St. Jean had been sold at auction. There must be no more robbery and pillage, says Calvin, writing on May 13, to the Lyons preachers. The ruffians who rob ought rather to be abandoned, than associated with to the scandal of the Gospel. "Already reckless zeal was shown in the ravages committed in the churches" (altars and images had been overthrown), "but those who fear God will not rigorously judge what was done in hot blood, from devout emotion, but what can be said in defence of looting?"

Calvin spoke even more distinctly to the "consistory" of Nimes, who suspended a preacher named Tartas for overthrowing crosses, altars, and images in churches (July-August, 1561). The zealot was even threatened with excommunication by his fellow religionists. {113a} Calvin heard that this fanatic had not only consented to the outrages, but had incited them, and had "the insupportable obstinacy" to say that such conduct was, with him, "a matter of conscience." "But we" says Calvin, "know that the reverse is the case, for God never commanded any one to overthrow idols, except every man in his own house, and, in public, those whom he has armed with authority. Let that fire-brand" (the preacher) "show us by what title he is lord of the land where he has been burning things."

Knox must have been aware of Calvin's opinion about such outrages as those of Perth, which, in a private letter, he attributes to the brethren: in his public "History" to the mob. At St. Andrews, when similar acts were committed, he says that "the provost and bailies . . . did agree to remove all monuments of idolatry," whether this would or would not have satisfied Calvin.

Opponents of my view urge that Knox, though he knew that the brethren had nothing to do with the ruin at Perth, yet, in the enthusiasm of six weeks later, claimed this honour for them, when writing to Mrs. Locke. Still later, when cool, he told, in his "History," "the frozen truth," the mob alone was guilty, despite his exhortations and the commandment of the magistrate. Neither alternative is very creditable to the prophet.

In the "Historie of the Estate of Scotland," it is "the brethren" who break, burn, and destroy. {113b} In Knox's "History" no mention is made of the threat of death against the priests. In the letter to Mrs. Locke he says, apparently of the threat, perhaps of the whole affair, "which thing did so enrage the venom of the serpent's seed," that she decreed death against man, woman, and child in Perth, after the fashion of Knox's favourite texts in Deuteronomy and Chronicles. This was "beastlie crueltie." The "History" gives the same account of the Regent's threatening "words which might escape her in choler" (of course we have no authority for her speaking them at all), but, in the "History," Knox omits the threat by the brethren of death against the priests--a threat which none of his biographers mentions!

If the menace against the priests and the ruin of monasteries were not seditious, what is sedition? But Knox's business, in Book II. of his "History" (much of it written in September-October 1559), is to prove that the movement was not rebellious, was purely religious, and all for "liberty of conscience"--for Protestants. Therefore, in the "History," he disclaims the destruction by the brethren of the monasteries--the mob did that; and he burkes the threat of death to priests: though he told the truth, privately, to Mrs. Locke.

Mary did not move at once. The Hamiltons joined her, and she had her French soldiers, perhaps 1500 men. On May 22 "The Faithful Congregation of Christ Jesus in Scotland," but a few gentlemen being concerned, wrote from Perth, which they were fortifying, to the Regent. If she proceeds in her "cruelty," they will take up the sword, and inform all Christian princes, and their Queen in France, that they have revolted solely because of "this cruel, unjust, and most tyrannical murder, intended against towns and multitudes." As if they had not revolted already! Their pretext seems to mean that they do not want to alter the sovereign authority, a quibble which they issued for several months, long after it was obviously false. They also wrote to the nobles, to the French officers in the Regent's service, and to the clergy.

What really occurred was that many of the brethren left Perth, after they had "made a day of it," as they had threatened earlier: that the Regent called her nobles to Council, concentrated her French forces, and summoned the levies of Clydesdale and Stirlingshire. Meanwhile the brethren flocked again into Perth, at that time, it is said, the only wall-girt town in Scotland: they strengthened the works, wrote everywhere for succour, and loudly maintained that they were not rebellious or seditious.

Of these operations Knox was the life and soul. There is no mistaking his hand in the letter to Mary of Guise, or in the epistle to the Catholic clergy. That letter is courteously addressed "To the Generation of Anti-Christ, the Pestilent Prelates and their Shavelings within Scotland, the Congregation of Jesus within the same saith."

The gentle Congregation saith that, if the clergy "proceed in their cruelty," they shall be "apprehended as murderers." "We shall begin that same war which God commanded Israel to execute against the Canaanites . . . " This they promise in the names of God, Christ, and the Gospel. Any one can recognise the style of Knox in this composition. David Hume remarks: "With these outrageous symptoms commenced in Scotland that hypocrisy and fanaticism which long infested that kingdom, and which, though now mollified by the lenity of the civil power, is still ready to break out on all occasions." Hume was wrong, there was no touch of hypocrisy in Knox; he believed as firmly in the "message" which he delivered as in the reality of the sensible universe.

A passage in the message to the nobility displays the intense ardour of the convictions that were to be potent in the later history of the Kirk. That priests, by the prescription of fifteen centuries, should have persuaded themselves of their own power to damn men's souls to hell, cut them off from the Christian community, and hand them over to the devil, is a painful circumstance. But Knox, from Perth, asserts that the same awful privilege is vested in the six or seven preachers of the nascent Kirk with the fire-new doctrine! Addressing the signers of the godly Band and other sympathisers who have not yet come in, he (if he wrote these fiery appeals) observes, that if they do not come in, "ye shall be excommunicated from our Society, and from all participation with us in the administration of the Sacraments . . . Doubt we nothing but that our church, and the true ministers of the same, have the power which our Master, Jesus Christ, granted to His apostles in these words, 'Whose sins ye shall forgive, shall be forgiven, and whose sins ye shall retain, shall be retained' . . . " Men were to be finally judged by Omnipotence on the faith of what Willock, Knox, Harlaw, poor Paul Methuen, and the apostate Friar Christison, "trew ministeris," thought good to decide! With such bugbears did Guthrie and his companions think, a century later, to daunt "the clear spirit of Montrose."

While reading the passages just cited, we are enabled to understand the true cause of the sorrows of Scotland for a hundred and thirty years. The situation is that analysed by Thomas Luber, a Professor of Medicine at Heidelberg, well or ill known in Scottish ecclesiastical disputes by his Graecised name, Erastus. He argued, about 1568, that excommunication has no certain warrant in Holy Writ, under a Christian prince. Erastus writes:--

"Some men were seized on by a certain excommunicatory fever, which they did adorn with the name of 'ecclesiastical discipline.' . . . They affirmed the manner of it to be this: that certain presbyters should sit in the name of the whole Church, and should judge who were worthy or unworthy to come to the Lord's Supper. I wonder that then they consulted about these matters, when we neither had men to be excommunicated, nor fit excommunicators; for scarcely a thirtieth part of the people did understand or approve of the reformed religion." {117}

"There was," adds Erastus, "another fruit of the same tree, that almost every one thought men had the power of opening and shutting heaven to whomsoever they would."

What men have this power in Scotland in 1559? Why, some five or six persons who, being fluent preachers, have persuaded local sets of Protestants to accept them as ministers. These preachers having a "call"--it might be from a set of perfidious and profligate murderers--are somehow gifted with the apostolic grace of binding on earth what shall be bound in heaven. Their successors, down to Mr. Cargill, who, of his own fantasy, excommunicated Charles II., were an intolerable danger to civilised society. For their edicts of "boycotting" they claimed the sanction of the civil magistrate, and while these almost incredibly fantastic pretentions lasted, there was not, and could not be, peace in Scotland.

The seed of this Upas tree was sown by Knox and his allies in May 1559. An Act of 1690 repealed civil penalties for the excommunicated.

To face the supernaturally gifted preachers the Regent had but a slender force, composed in great part of sympathisers with Knox. Croft, the English commander at Berwick, writing to the English Privy Council, on May 22, anticipated that there would be no war. The Hamiltons, numerically powerful, and strong in martial gentlemen of the name, were with the Regent. But of the Hamiltons it might always be said, as Charles I. was to remark of their chief, that "they were very active for their own preservation," and for no other cause. For centuries but one or two lives stood between them and the throne, the haven where they would be. They never produced a great statesman, but their wealth, numbers, and almost royal rank made them powerful.

At this moment the eldest son of the house, the Earl of Arran, was in France. As a boy, he had been seized by the murderers of Cardinal Beaton, and held as a hostage in the Castle of St. Andrews. Was he there converted to the Reformers' ideas by the eloquence of Knox? We know not, but, as heir to his father's French duchy of Chatelherault, he had been some years in France, commanding the Scottish Archer Guard. In France too, perhaps, he was more or less a pledge for his father's loyalty in Scotland. He was now a Protestant in earnest, had retired from the French Court, had refused to return thither when summoned, and fled from the troops who were sent to bring him; lurking in woods and living on strawberries. Cecil despatched Thomas Randolph to steer him across the frontier to Zurich. He was a piece in the game much more valuable than his father, whose portrait shows us a weak, feebly cunning, good-natured, and puzzled-looking old nobleman.

Till Arran returned to Scotland, the Hamiltons, it was certain, would be trusty allies of neither faith and of neither party. When the Perth tumult broke out, Lord James rode with the Regent, as did Argyll. But both had signed the godly Band of December 3, 1557, and could no more be trusted by the Regent than the Hamiltons.

Meanwhile, the gentry of Fife and Forfarshire, with the town of Dundee, joined Knox in the walled town of Perth, though Lord Ruthven, provost of Perth, deserted, for the moment, to the Regent. On the other hand, the courageous Glencairn, with a strong body of the zealots of Renfrewshire and Ayrshire, was moving by forced marches to join the brethren. On May 24, the Regent, instead of attacking, halted at Auchterarder, fourteen miles away, and sent Argyll and Lord James to parley. They were told that the brethren meant no rebellion (as the Regent said and doubtless thought that they did), but only desired security for their religion, and were ready to "be tried" (by whom?) "in lawful judgment." Argyll and Lord James were satisfied. On May 25, Knox harangued the two lords in his wonted way, but the Regent bade the brethren leave Perth on pain of treason. By May 28, however, she heard of Glencairn's approach with Lord Ochiltree, a Stewart (later Knox's father-in-law); Glencairn, by cross roads, had arrived within six miles of Perth, with 1200 horse and 1300 foot. The western Reformers were thus nearer Perth than her own untrustworthy levies at Auchterarder. Not being aware of this, the brethren proposed obedience, if the Regent would amnesty the Perth men, let their faith "go forward," and leave no garrison of "French soldiers." To Mrs. Locke Knox adds that no idolatry should be erected, or alteration made within the town. {120} The Regent was now sending Lord James, Argyll, and Mr. Gawain Hamilton to treat, when Glencairn and his men marched into Perth. Argyll and Lord James then promised to join the brethren, if the Regent broke her agreement; Knox and Willock assured their hearers that break it she would--and so the agreement was accepted (May 28).

It was thus necessary for the brethren to allege that the covenant was broken; and it was not easy for Mary to secure order in Perth without taking some step that could be seized on as a breach of her promise; Argyll and Lord James could then desert her for the party of Knox. The very Band which Argyll and Lord James signed with the Congregation provided that the godly should go on committing the disorders which it was the duty of the Regent to suppress, and they proceeded in that holy course, "breaking down the altars and idols in all places where they came." {121a} "At their whole powers" the Congregations are "to destroy and put away all that does dishonour to God's name"; that is, monasteries and works of sacred art. They are all to defend each other against "any power whatsoever" that shall trouble them in their pious work. Argyll and Lord James signed this new Band, with Glencairn, Lord Boyd, and Ochiltree. The Queen's emissaries thus deserted her cause on the last day of May 1559, or earlier, for the chronology is perplexing. {121b}

As to the terms of truce with the Regent, Knox gives no document, but says that no Perth people should be troubled for their recent destruction of idolatry "and for down casting the places of the same; that she would suffer the religion begun to go forward, and leave the town at her departing free from the garrisons of French soldiers." The "Historie" mentions no terms except that "she should leave no men of war behind her."

Thus, as it seems, the brethren by their Band were to go on wrecking the homes of the Regent's religion, while she was not to enjoy her religious privileges in the desecrated churches of Perth, for to do that was to prevent "the religion begun" from "going forward." On the Regent's entry her men "discharged their volley of hackbuts," probably to clear their pieces, a method of unloading which prevailed as late as Waterloo. But some aimed, says Knox, at the house of Patrick Murray and hit a son of his, a boy of ten or twelve, "who, being slain, was had to the Queen's presence." She mocked, and wished it had been his father, "but seeing that it so chanced, we cannot be against fortune." It is not very probable that Mary of Guise was "merry," in Knox's manner of mirth, over the death of a child (to Mrs. Locke Knox says "children"), who, for all we know, may have been the victim of accident, like the Jacobite lady who was wounded at a window as Prince Charles's men discharged their pieces when entering Edinburgh after the victory of Prestonpans. (This brave lady said that it was fortunate she was not a Whig, or the accident would have been ascribed to design.) This event at Perth was called a breach of terms, so was the attendance at Mass, celebrated on any chance table, as "the altars were not so easy to be repaired again." The soldiers were billeted on citizens, whose houses were "oppressed by" the Frenchmen, and the provost, Ruthven (who had anew deserted to the Congregation), and the bailies, were deposed.

These magistrates probably had been charged with the execution of priests who dared to do their duty; at least in the following year, on June 10, 1560, we find the provost, bailies, and town council of Edinburgh decreeing death for the third offence against idolaters who do not instantly profess their conversion. {122} The Edinburgh municipality did this before the abolition of Catholicism by the Convention of Estates in August 1560. It does not appear that any authority in Perth except that of the provost and bailies could sentence priests to death; was their removal, then, a breach of truce? At all events it seemed necessary in the circumstances, and Mary of Guise when she departed left no French soldiers to protect the threatened priests, but four companies of Scots who had been in French service, under Stewart of Cardonell and Captain Cullen, the Captain of Queen Mary's guard after the murder of Riccio. The Regent is said by Knox to have remarked that she was not bound to keep faith with heretics, and that, with as fair an excuse, she would make little scruple to take the lives and goods of "all that sort." We do not know Knox's authority for these observations of the Regent.

The Scots soldiers left by Mary of Guise may have been Protestants, they certainly were not Frenchmen; and, in a town where death had just been threatened to all priests who celebrated the Mass, Mary could not abandon her clerics unprotected.

Taking advantage of what they called breach of treaty as regards the soldiers left in Perth, Lord James and Argyll, with Ruthven, had joined the brethren, accompanied by the Earl of Menteith and Murray of Tullibardine, ancestor of the ducal house of Atholl. Argyll and Lord James went to St. Andrews, summoning their allies thither for June 3. Knox meanwhile preached in Crail and Anstruther, with the usual results. On Sunday, June 11, {123a} and for three days more, despising the threats of the Archbishop, backed by a hundred spears, and referring to his own prophecy made when he was in the galleys, he thundered at St. Andrews. The poor ruins of some sacred buildings "are alive to testify" to the consequences, and a head of the Redeemer found in the latrines of the abbey is another mute witness to the destruction of that day. {123b}

It is not my purpose to dilate on the universal destruction of so much that was beautiful, and that to Scots, however godly, should have been sacred. The tomb of the Bruce in Dunfermline, for example, was wrecked by the mob, as the statue of Jeanne d'Arc on the bridge of Orleans was battered to pieces by the Huguenots. Nor need we ask what became of church treasures, perhaps of great value and antiquity. In some known cases, the magistrates held and sold those of the town churches. Some of the plate and vestments at Aberdeen were committed to the charge of Huntly, but about 1900 ounces of plate were divided among the Prebendaries, who seem to have appropriated them. {124} The Church treasures of Glasgow were apparently carried abroad by Archbishop Beaton. If Lord James, as Prior, took possession of the gold and silver of St. Andrews, he probably used the bullion (he spent some 13,000 crowns) in his defence of the approaches to the town, against the French, in December 1559. A silver mace of St. Salvator's College escaped the robbers.

There is no sign of the possession of much specie by the Congregation in the months that followed the sack of so many treasuries of pious offerings. Lesley says that they wanted to coin the plate in Edinburgh, and for that purpose seized, as they certainly did, the dies of the mint. In France, when the brethren sacked Tours, they took twelve hundred thousand livres d'or; the country was enriched for the moment. Not so Scotland. In fact the plate of Aberdeen cathedral, as inventoried in the Register, is no great treasure. Monasteries and cathedrals were certain to perish sooner or later, for the lead of every such roof except Coldingham had been stripped and sold by 1585, while tombs had been desecrated for their poor spoils, and the fanes were afterwards used as quarries of hewn stone. Lord James had a peculiar aversion to idolatrous books, and is known to have ordered the burning of many manuscripts;--the loss to art was probably greater than the injury to history or literature. The fragments of things beautiful that the Reformers overlooked, were destroyed by the Covenanters. An attempt has been made to prove that the Border abbeys were not wrecked by Reformers, but by English troops in the reign of Henry VIII., who certainly ravaged them. Lesley, however, says that the abbeys of Kelso and Melrose were "by them (the Reformers) broken down and wasted." {125a} If there was nothing left to destroy on the Border, why did the brethren march against Kelso, as Cecil reports, on July 9, 1559? {125b}

After the devastation the Regent meant to attack the destroyers, intending to occupy Cupar, six miles, by Knox's reckoning, from St. Andrews. But, by June 13, the brethren had anticipated her with a large force, rapidly recruited, including three thousand men under the Lothian professors; Ruthven's horse; the levies of the Earl of Rothes (Leslie), and many burgesses. Next day the Regent's French horse found the brethren occupying a very strong post; their numbers were dissembled, their guns commanded the plains, and the Eden was in their front. A fog hung over the field; when it lifted, the French commander, d'Oysel, saw that he was outnumbered and outmanoeuvred. He sent on an envoy to parley, "which gladly of us being granted, the Queen offered a free remission for all crimes past, so that they would no further proceed against friars and abbeys, and that no more preaching should be used publicly," for that always meant kirk-wrecking. When Wishart preached at Mauchline, long before, in 1545, it was deemed necessary to guard the church, where there was a tempting tabernacle, "beutyfull to the eie."

The Lords and the whole brethren "refused such appointment" . . . says Knox to Mrs. Locke; they would not "suffer idolatrie to be maintained in the bounds committed to their charge." {126a} To them liberty of conscience from the first meant liberty to control the consciences and destroy the religion of all who differed from them. An eight days' truce was made for negotiations; during the truce neither party was to "enterprize" anything. Knox in his "History" does not mention an attack on the monastery of Lindores during the truce. He says that his party expected envoys from the Regent, as in the terms of truce, but perceived "her craft and deceit." {126b}

In fact, the brethren were the truce-breakers. Knox gives only the assurances signed by the Regent's envoys, the Duke of Chatelherault and d'Oysel. They include a promise "not to invade, trouble, or disquiet the Lords," the reforming party. But, though Knox omits the fact, the Reformers made a corresponding and equivalent promise: "That the Congregation should enterprise nothing nor make no invasion, for the space of six days following, for the Lords and principals of the Congregation read the rest on another piece of paper." {126c}

The situation is clear. The two parties exchanged assurances. Knox prints that of the Regent's party, not that, "on another piece of paper," of the Congregation. They broke their word; they "made invasion" at Lindores, during truce, as Knox tells Mrs. Locke, but does not tell the readers of his "History." {127a} It is true that Knox was probably preaching at St. Andrews on June 13, and was not present at Cupar Muir. But he could easily have ascertained what assurances the Lords of the Congregation "read from another piece of paper" on that historic waste. {127b}


Andrew Lang

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