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the then barbarous country of Russia, was as much feared for his cruelty and indifference to human life and human sufferings, as respected for his steady loyalty and undaunted valour. This man was second in command to Monmouth, and the horse were commanded by Claverhouse, burning with desire to revenge the death of his nephew, and his defeat at Drumclog. To these accounts was added the most formidable and terrific description of the train of artillery and the cavalry force with which the royal army took the field.8
Large bodies, composed of the Highland clans, having in language, religion, and manners, no connexion with the insurgents, had been summoned to join the royal army under their various chieftains; and these Amorites, or Philistines, as the insurgents termed them, came like eagles to the slaughter. In fact, every person who could ride or run at the King's command, was summoned to arms, apparently with the purpose of forfeiting and fining such men of property whom their principles might deter from joining the royal standard, though prudence prevented them from joining that of the insurgent Presbyterians. In short, every rumour tended to increase the apprehension among the insurgents, that the King's vengeance had only been delayed in order that it might fall more certain and more heavy.
Morton endeavoured to fortify the minds of the common people, by pointing out the probable exaggeration of these reports, and by reminding them of the strength of their own situation, with an unfordable river in front, only passable by a long and narrow bridge. He called to their remembrance their victory over Claverhouse when their numbers were few, and then much worse disciplined and appointed for battle than now; showed them that the ground on which they lay afforded, by its undulation and the thickets which intersected it, considerable protection against artillery, and even against cavalry, if stoutly defended ; and that their safety, in fact, depended on their own spirit and resolution.
But while Morton thus endeavoured to keep up the courage of the army at large, he availed himself of those discouraging rumours to endeavour to impress on the iiilnus of the lcadf? the necessity of proposing to the gov
ernment moderate terms of accommodation, while they were still formidable as commanding an unbroken and numerous army. He pointed out to them, that, in the present humour of their followers, it could hardly be expected that they would engage, with advantage, the well-appointed and regular force of the Duke of Monmouth ; and that, if they chanced, as was most likely, to be defeated and dispersed, the insurrection in which they had engaged, so far from being useful to the country, would be rendered the apology for oppressing it more severely. Pressed by these arguments, and feeling it equally dangerous to remain together, or to dismiss their forces, most of the leaders readily agreed, that if such terms could be obtained as had been transmitted to the Duke of Monmouth by the hands of Lord Evandale, the purpose for which they had taken up arms would be, in a great measure, accomplished. They then entered into similar resolutions, and agreed to guarantee the petition and remonstrance which had been drawn up by Morton. On the contrary, there were still several leaders, and those men whose influence with the people exceeded that of persons of more apparent consequence, who regarded every proposal of treaty, which did not proceed on the basis of the Solemn League and Covenant of 1640, as utterly null and void, impious, and unchristian. These men diffused their feelings among the multitude, who had little foresight and nothing to lose, and persuaded many that the timid counsellors who recommended peace upon terms short of the dethronement of the royal family, and the declared independence of the church with respect to the state, were cowardly labourers, who were about to withdraw their hands from the plough, and despicable trimmers, who sought only a specious pretext for deserting their brethren in arms. These contradictory opmions were fiercely argued in each tent of the insurgent army, or rather in the huts or cabins which served in the place of tents. Violence in language often led to open quarrels and blows, and the divisions into which the army of sufferers was rent, served as too plain a presage of their future fate. 14* vOL. ii.
The curse of growing factions and divisions
The prudence of Morton found sufficient occupation in stemming the furious current of these contending parties, when, two days after his return to Hamilton, he was visited by his friend and colleague, the Reverend Mr. Poundtext, flying, as he presently found, from the face of John Balfour of Burley, whom we left not a little incensed at the share he had taken in the liberation of Lord Evandale. When the worthy divine had somewhat recruited his spirits, after the hurry and fatigue of his journey, he proceeded to give Morton an account of what had passed in the vicinity of Tillietudlem after the memorable morning of his departure.
The night march of Morton had been accomplished with such dexterity, and the men were so faithful to their trust, that Burley received no intelligence of what had happened until the morning was far advanced. His first inquiry was, whether Macbriar and Kettledrummle had arrived, agreeably to the summons which he had despatched at midnight. Macbriar had come, and Kettledrummle, though a heavy traveller, might, he was informed, be instantly expected. Burley then despatched a messenger to Morton's quarters, to summon him to an immediate council. The messenger returned with news that he had left the place. Poundtext was next summoned ; but he, thinking, as he said himself, that it was ill dealing with fractious folk, had withdrawn to his own quiet manse, preferring a dark ride, though he had been on horseback the whole preceding day, to a renewal in the morning of a (controversy with Burley, whose ferocity overawed him when unsupported by the firmness of Morton. Burley's next inquiries were directed after Lord Evandale; and great was his rage when he learned that he had been conveyed away over night by a party of the marksmen of Milnwood, under the immediate command of Henry Morton himself.
"The villain !" exclaimed Burley, addressing himself to Macbriar; " the base, mean-spirited traitor, to curry favour for himself with the government, hath set at liberty the prisoner taken by my own right hand, through means of whom, I have little doubt, the possession of the place of strength, which hath wrought us such trouble, might now have been in our hands!"
"But is it not in our hands V said Macbriar, looking up towards the Keep of the Castle; " and are not these the colours of the Covenant that float over its walls V
"A stratagem—a mere trick," said Burley, " an insult over our disappointment, intended to aggravate and embitter our spirits."
He was interrupted by the arrival of one of Morton's followers, sent to report to him the evacuation of the place, and its occupation by the insurgent forces. Burley was rather driven to fury than reconciled by the news of this success.
"I have watched," he said—" I have fought—I have plotted—1 have striven for the reduction of this place—1 have forborne to seek to head enterprizes of higher command and of higher honour—I have narrowed their .outgoings, and cut off the springs, and broken the staff of bread within their walls; and when the men were about to yield themselves to my hand, that their sons might be bondsmen, and their daughters a laughing-stock to our whole camp, cometh this youth, without a beard on his chin, and takes it on him to thrust his sickle into the harvest, and to rend the prey from the spoiler! Surely the labourer is worthy of his hire, and the city, with its captives,should be given to him that wins it."
"Nay," said Macbriar, who was surprised at the degree of agitation which Balfour displayed, " chafe not thyself because of the ungodly. Heaven will use its own instruments ; and who knows but this youth"
"Hush! hush !" said Burley; "do not discredit thine own better judgment. It was thou that first badest me beware of this painted sepulchre—this lacquered piece of copper, that passed current with me for gold. It fares ill, even with the elect, when they neglect the guidance of such pious pastors as thou. But our carnal affections will mislead us—this ungrateful boy's father was mine ancient friend. They must be as earnest in their struggles as thou, Ephraim Macbriar, that would shake themselves clear of the clogs and chains of humanity."
This compliment touched the preacher in the most sensible part; and Burley deemed, therefore, he should find little difficulty in moulding his opinions to the support of his own views, more especially as they agreed exactly in their high-strained opinions of church government.
"Let us instantly," he said, " go up to the Tower; there is that among the records in yonder fortress, which, well used as I can use it, shall be worth to us a valiant leader and an hundred horsemen."
"But will such be the fitting aids of the children of the Covenant?" said the preacher. "We have already among us too many who hunger after lands, and silver and gold, rather than after the word; it is not by such- that our deliverance shall be wrought out."
"Thou errest," said Burley ; " we must work by means, and these worldly men shall be our instruments. At all events, the Moabitish woman shall be despoiled of her inheritance, and neither the malignant Evandale, nor the Erastian Morton, shall possess yonder castle and lands, though they may seek in marriage the daughter thereof.'
So saying, he led the way to Tillietudlem, where he seized upon the plate and other valuables for the use ol the army, ransacked the charter-room, and other receptacles for family papers, and treated with contempt the remonstrances of those who reminded him, that the terms granted to the garrison had guaranteed respect to private prooerty.