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their exercise with great agility and regularity; and declares their foot were the lystiest he ever saw, and that they kept their ranks in the most wretched roads and bad weather. He mentions also the blasphemous but characteristic language in which one of their preachers, called Robinson, required, rather than besought Omnipotence to be their second ; • and if,' said he, thou wilt not be our secondarie we will not fight for thee at all; for it is not our cause but thine own; and if thou wilt not fight for it neither will we.'
They say,” added he,' that dukes, earls, and lords are coming with the king's general against us, but they shall be nothing but a threshing to us. This will remind our readers of the language of the presbyterian clergymen before the battle of Dunbar.
On the skirt of Pentland-hills, this handful of insurgents were doomed to stand the assault of the royal regular forces, augmented by many volunteers. Two of their preachers, posted on a hill at a tolerably safe distance, ejaculated, The God of Jacob! the God of Jacob! so often as their party seemed to have any advantage. Two Irish divines, whose zeal was more fervent, gave active assistance with their weapons, and were both slain. The insurgents behaved with great spirit in repelling the two or three first parties sent against them, but were routed and dispersed when pressed by the main body of Dalzell's infantry. Several of the prisoners were executed, though quarter had been given, upon the pretext so often used in civil war, that quarter only saves from the immediate edge of the sword, not from judicial proceedings for treason. The revival of torture
this occasion added to the general horror entertained against the severities of the Scottisli rulers of the period. Dreadful cruelties were perpetrated by the soldiers in consequence of this insurrection; and the privy council, in which was vested the whole power and government of Scotland, came to resemble a court-martial so exactly, that Dalzell called the Duke of Hamilton, Ritt-master (i. e. Captain) Hamilton, the Earls of Rothes and Linlithgow, Rit-master Leslie and Colonel Livingstone, and so forth, as if military rank and distinctions were alone in observance and request. The insurgents, however, found to their cost, that there were civil as well as military exactions to be complied with. What the locust had spared the palmer-worm devoured, and, to use the language of the poet,
‘Statutes glean'd the refuse of the sword.' The various prosecutions at law which followed the affair of Pentland were severe and vexatious in the extreme; besides which, the accusation was kept up and protracted to a leugth of time equally unjust and impolitic. Treason is the most dangerous crime to the commonwealth, but it may happen to be, in a moral point of view, the most excusable in individuals, since it is often incurred from imaginary though false views of duty. Such examples as
are necessary to prevent its recurrence should therefore be made while the sense of the danger incurred by the community, and the necessity of preventing such evils, is fully imprinted in the mind of all men. Beyond this period, the prosecution of ancient political offences can only be ascribed to vindictive hatred, and the compas sion which attends the sufferers is, in respect to the government, a more dangerous feeling than any encouragement which could be exácted from the apparent apathy of the rulers. On the point of moral justice, we have already said, that in our opinion, punishment of
every kind is only so far legitimate as it is useful to the community, and becomes always criminal when it has its source merely in the desire of vengeance, a passion, the gratification of wbich is proscribed in an especial degree by Christianity, and even by sound policy and philosophy.
We pause at this part of our retrospect of Scottish history, because we shall speedily have an opportunity to resume the subject, and, also, because, at the period of the Pentland insurrection, the presbyterians acted with an unanimity of principle which never afterwards appeared among them. The insurgents, on that occasion, owned the royal authority, and limited their contendings and testimonies by declaring they were only directed against the military law unjustly exercised on their persons, and the tyranny to which their consciences were subjected. A bolder class followed, who asserted the indefeasible bond incurred by the national covenant, and the impossibility of again adopting episcopacy in face of those national engagements by which it had been renounced. The affair of the Indulgence made a separation of many different shades betwixt the non-conformists. There were divisions and sub-divisions, and endless splittings of these sub-divisions, neither common dauger nor joint suffering preventing persons whose grounds of difference seem to have been always obscure, and now are almost imperceptible, from reviling each other with the bitterest animosity and in the grossest language, always under pretence of zeal, tenderness of conscience and straightness in the cause; and each petty coterie assuming to itself the exclusive title of the lovely remnant, and only remaining faithful followers of the church of Scotland. These divisions, and their causes, real or imaginary, may hereafter be treated at more length than we can at present afford. We therefore leave Kirkton at this period of his history.
In general we conceive this publication to be highly valuable and important. It has been quoted by every Scottish historian of the period as the work of an honest and well-informed man; and the historian Wodrow, wbom Mr. Fox introduced to the knowledge of the English, (raising the price of his two ponderous volumes from ten shillings to two or three guineas,) has quoted whole passages from
Kirkton, using in general his very words. And although as a suffering presbyterian minister Kirkton cannot be esteemed an impartial writer, yet his very prejudices often afford us the means of discovering the truth. His style is that of the period and class to which he belonged-diffuse and prolix on affairs of little moment, yet not without point, compression, and force on more important occasions; exhibiting some pretence to learning and logical argument, intermixed with a caustic turn towards personal satire, only allayed by the writer's profession, and animated by the zeal of an ancient covenanter. It remains to inquire bow far this venerable champion of presbyterianism has been fortunate in an editor-a question the more important, since, as we have already hinted, Mr. Kirkpatrick Sharpe and his author differ diametrically in civil and religious politics.
Mr. Sharpe is already known to the public by a volume of legendary poetry, of which the verse exbibited talents not only for ihe heroic ballad, but for that arch and playful style of poetry which helps to add feathers to' the lightsome hours of pleasant society. The notes in that work indicate the same talents which we meet in those on Kirkton's work. They evince extensive antiquarian research through the most wearisome and dull volumes, with the singular talent necessary for distinguishing and extracting from them whatever is interesting in point of manners or curious as an elucidation of principles, and for seasoning the whole with a strong turn for hunour seldom exhibited by professed antiquaries. The quantity of curious matter, political, genealogical, and satirical, which he has exhibited in these notes, adds an important value to the edition. To some men these advantages may be counterbalanced by the contrast which the comments afford to the text, for Mr. Kirkpatrick Sharpe, though residing in the land of presbytery, is an episcopalian and a tory, or rather an old cavalier, with much of the respect for high family, contempt of the covenanters, and dislike of democratical principles proper to that designation. Of course hehas not escaped the censure of those industrious literary gentlemen of opposite principles, who have suffered a work always relied upon as one of their chief authorities, to lie dormant for a hundred and forty years, and are now mortified that it should be published by a person of opposite opinions in politics and church-government, as if he had usurped an office to which they had an exclusive title. We cannot listen to these querulous outcries, unless they alleged (which would be most groundless) that the work had suffered through the infidelity of the editor. In every point of view, we conceive that Kirkton's History has received, from the liveliness of Mr. Sharpe's illustrations upon a subject which is sometimes uncommonly dull, from the art with which he has contrasted the same facts as told by different people, and illustrated heavy details by interesting esamVOL. XVIII. N0. XXXVI.
ples or comments, a value which, edited by some great admirer and worshipper of his own system, it would never have attained.
This is not all, however. Although we consider the experiment of setting up episcopacy as a fair one at the time when it was made, yet now that the experience of nearly a century and a half has shewn (what might have been justly doubted in 1660) that the presbyterian form of church policy is in every respect reconcileable to good order, liberty of conscience, and a limited monarchy, we are disposed to rejoice that the experiment, however promising, did not succeed.
What had been is unknown-what is appears. Conveying ourselves back to that period, we might bave dreaded the revival of that solemn league which carried intolerance and religious persecution in its train, and whose obligations were capable of receiving an interpretation inconsistent with the peace of society; and we might have feared the presbyterian principle, which, as then explained, gave the rulers of the church a perpetual pretext for interfering with the civil and even with the military measures of the legislature and secular government. But, in the present day, when we hear no more of the League and Covenant, with its obligations to extirpate heresy, and when the general assemblies of the church only exercise their necessary and useful jurisdiction in the spiritual affairs which properly fall under their cognizance, we cannot desire that a system so simple, unexpensive, acceptable to the public, and honourable to those by whom it is upheld, should be superseded by any other whatever. Were it necessary to say more, the kirk might appeal to the general moral and respectable conduct of her pastors, as well as to many illustrious names among them, to shew that she needs, for restraining corruption or encouraging merit, no other jurisdiction or power of reward or punishment than she herself possesses upon her present system.
While we say this we are far from uniting our own views of the subject with those of Mr. Sharpe. He has in general attempted the vindication of Charles's administration, (indirectly at least,) by recriminating on the Whigamoors. He opens an account of murder with them, and reckons confiscation for confiscation and blood for blood. He contrasts the military and civil executions by the triumphant cavaliers with the dreadful cruelty of the covenanters after the victory at Philiphaugh, where they massacred their prisoners in cold blood, with the atrocities after taking the fort at Dunaverty, in the Highlands, where, instigated by a wretch called John Nave, the chaplain of the Earl of Loudoun, Collkittock, with nearly two hundred men, who had surrendered on terms of quarter, were put to the sword, and with the judicial murders of Montrose, Gordon of Haddow, Hay, Nathaniel Gordon, the Marquis of Huntley, and much more gentle and noble blood spilled for defending the king and
the episcopal church which they found established in the kingdom. All these counter-charges may be true, and they may diminish our personal commiseration for men like Argyle and others, who, active in those dreadful scenes while they hrad power, became, when subdued, in their turn the miserable victims of similar cruelties. But justice is immutable, and no degree of guilt committed by the one party authorizes or vindicates similar atrocities on the part of the other. In fact, although there may remain in Scotland many trueblue whigs and staunch cavaliers, to be excessively offended at our neutrality, we must say, that we regard neither party in that ancient kingdom as playing a respectable part during this tumultuous period. Both sides indeed had champions, who fought and suffered with the obstinate valour peculiar to the country; but the peculiarities of either faction, as they existed in England, were inflamed and exaggerated among her less civilized neighbours. The Scottiski civil dissensions were stained with crimes and cruelties to which those of England were strangers. The detestable period of the popish plot, when so much blood was so wantonly and unjustly shed, and the after-game of sham-plots set up by the court, did indeed authorize the historian to say that the two predominating parties in England,' actuated by mutual rage, but cooped up within the narrow limits of the law, levelled with poisoned daggers the most deadly blows against each other's breast, and buried in their factious divisions all regard to truth, honour, and humanity.' Still, while subject justly to these reproaches, the headlong torrent whose ravages we deplore wus confined within the boundaries of the law; but in Scotland, reasons of state policy, the thirst of vengeance, the avarice of spoil, the keen and sharpened rage of polemical hatred, the selfish and greedy pursuit of private ends, so often the ruling motives in a delegated government, together with a disregard of personal character peculiar to that age, burst over every restraint, and levelled every bulwark that preserves either rights or liberties. If during their brief domination, the tyranny of the covenanting rulers was more open and avowed ; if their clergy maintained spies in the houses of the nobles, and, forgetting their own peaceful profession, embroiled and deepened by their exhortations the horrors of war; if, in their prosperity, they sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind—and in their adversity, were humbled without being humble, it must be acknowledged that the presbyterians had circunstances of delusion and temptation, as well as of provocation, which the episcopalians could not allege for the perpetration of similar cruelties and violences after the Restoration. They were almost inevitably engaged in war, and they found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly placed at the head of a martial nation. But the episcopalians used the same rigours in the time of profound peace, and when there was little chance of resistance, saving that which they themselves might