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an -conformity to their own prejudices and the policy of the King's father. Unhappily their counsel prevailed. Middleton, who was sent down as King's commissioner, obtained from an obsequious parliament, not only the measures which had been proposed at court, but an act annulling the four parliaments which had sate since the year 1633. The bishops, too, were restored, not as they had been during the reign of Charles the First, subject to the controul of a presbytery and synod, but invested with supreme and exclusive jurisdiction in ecclesiastical affairs. All ministers who refused or neglected to secure induction from a bishop were displaced. Three hundred and fifty clergymen were in this manner ejected from their livings. But thd people, sincerely attached to the presbyterian worship, followed their pastors, and as they had not houses large enough to hold their congregations, conventicles were held in the open fields. The lukewarm and irregular behaviour of the new clergy tended to promote the secession of their flocks. Upon this proof
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of the determined spirit of the people, the severities of the government were increased. By an order of the privy council, the ejected clergy were forbidden to approach within twenty miles of their former parishes; declared seditious if they attempted to preach; and all those \vi\o presumed to give them subsistence, sub"jected to the same penalties. And although Middleton was soon afterwards supplanted by Lauderdale, these acts were confirmed, and others still more severe added by the parliament which he assembled. On separation or absence from the parish church, the penalty for landholders was the forfeiture of a fourth part of their rents; for citizens the loss of a fourth part of their substance, the freedom of their corporations, and the privilege of trade; besides which, all were made liable to whatever corporal punishment the privy council might choose to inflict. The severity of these laws was exceeded by the rigour of their execution. An ecclesiastical commission went round the countrv, bound by no form of law, and filling the gaols with those who refused to take the oath of supremacy. In the western counties, a military persecution was introduced, and the recusants were ruined by fines arbitrarily imposed, and the still more indefinite exactions of the soldiery. After three years' continuance of extreme oppression, the people were driven into an insurrection, but their force was easily beaten and dispersed on the Pentland hills.
frequent executions, often preceded by torture, took place on that occasion, both irt Edinburgh and the country, till an order arrived from court to stop the effusion of blood; and even then the two~[archbishops, Sharp and Burnet, withheld the order till they had taken away the life of a young preacher named Maccail, whom they barbarously tortured. He expired in the midst of his agony, exclaiming, with sublime enthusiasm, "Farewell, thou sun and moon! the world, and all its delights, farewell! Welcome God, my Father! welcome Christ, my Redeemer! welcome glory and eternal life! welcome death!"
These judicial murders were equalled, if not surpassed, by the military executions in the west, where General Dalziel put to death a son for refusing to discover his father, and a woman for being accessary to the escape of her husband. After this, the King relaxed the severity of his government, and Scotland seems to have enjoyed some repose. In 1669, indeed, the Parliament, always subservient, gave the King a more express power to regulate the church than he had hitherto possessed. This is supposed to have been an artful step of Lauderdale, to pave the way for Popery. In the following year, the storm of persecution rose again with fresh violence. The act against conventicles wait renewed, and the preachers were subjected to confiscation and death.' The penalties on attending conventicles were made a source of revenue. A youth from school, and a gentleman whose wife had attended a field-meeting, compounded for fifteen hundred pounds sterling. Ten gentlemen, in the shire of Renfrew, were ordered to pay thirty thousand pounds; and many instances are related of similar extortion. But it would be endless to detail the various oppressions and abuses which Lauderdale in* troduced during his administration in Scotland. Letters of intercommuning, a kind of excommunication then obsolete, were revived, by Which thousands of persons were ordered to be left without "meat, drink, house, harbour, or victuals." This active persecution, as might be expected, served only to exasperate. Field conventicles continued to be held, but those who attended them, sallying from hiding-places in the mountains, and furnished with arms for their defence, acquired the habits and ferocity of barbarians. Sharp, finding himself generally hated, and wishing to strike terror into his enemies, brought on the trial of one Mitchel, who, upon a promise of pardon, had, four years jan. before, confessed an attempt to murder 1678. him. This man was now brought out of prison, and four lords of the privy council, Sharp, Lauderdale, Rothes, and Hatton, did not hesitate to deny all knowledge of their own former promise, in order to procure his condemnation. A copy of the very act of council which assured him of his life was produced, hut Lauderdale would not suffer the original to be sought for, saying, that four lords of council came not there to be accused of perjury.
It was not long after this, that Sharp, who had pressed the execution of Mitchel, even against the wish of Lauderdale, was barbarously murdered by some fanatics, employed in watching for one Carmicliael, a man noted for his cruelty in the execution of his office of commissioner to exterminate conventicles. This savage action, charged by the privy council on the whole body of fanatics, exasperated the minds of the royalists. The field conventicles were ordained to be treasonable, and troops were sent against them, to suppress religion by the sword. The rebellion which followed need scarcely be wondered at. And there is every reason to believe, from the joint testimony of Wodrow and Barillon, that an insurrection was looked to by the court as the best pretext for increasing the army, and a convenient step to the establishment of despotic power. It is certain, that a numerous body of Highlanders was let loose upon the West early this year; and that no pains were spared to provoke to resistance the unoffending inhabitants. *
* Wodrow. Laing.