網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

best days, may be more easily imagined than de. scribed.

On the present occasion, after Knox had preached, and some of the congregation had retired, it appears that some “ godly men ” remained in the church. A priest had the imprudence to venture in among them, and to commence saying mass. A young man called out that such idolatry was intolerable, upon which it is said that the priest struck him. The young man retorted, by throwing a stone, which injured one of the pictures. The affair soon became general. The enraged people fell upon the altars and images, and in a short time nothing was left undemolished but the bare walls of the church. The Reformers throughout the city, hearing of these proceedings, speedily collected, and attacking the monasteries of the Gray and Black Friars, along with the costly edifice of the Carthusian Monks, left not a vestige of what they considered idolatrous and profane worship in any of them. The example thus set at Perth was speedily followed almost everywhere throughout the country.

These outrages greatly incensed the Queen Regent, and were looked upon with horror by the Catholics in general. To this day, the loss of many a fine building, through the zeal of the early Reformers, is a common subject of regret and complaint. It is to be remembered, however, that no revolution can be effected without paying a price for it. If the Reformation was a benefit, how could the Catholic superstition be more successfully attacked, than by knocking down those gorgeous temples, which were of themselves sufficient to render invincible the pride and inveterate bigotry of its votaries? The saying of John Knox, though a homely, was a true one,-“ Pull down their nests, and the rooks will fly away.” It is not improbable, as MCrie conjectures, that had these buildings been allowed to remain in their former splendour, the Popish clergy might bave long continued to indulge hopes, and to make efforts, to be restored to them. Victories over an enemy are celebrated with public rejoicings, notwithstanding the thousands of our fellow-countrymen who may have fallen in the contest. Why should the far more important victory, over those who had so long held in thraldom the human mind, be robbed of its due praise, because some statues were mangled, some pictures torn, and some venerable towers overthrown ? *

With as little delay as possible, the Queen Regent appeared with an army before Perth, and made herself mistress of the town. The Reformers, however, were not to be intimidated; and their strength having, by this time, much increased,-it was deemed prudent by the Regent not to push matters to an extremity. Both parties agreed to disband their forces, and to refer the controversy to the next Parliament. As was to be expected, this temporary truce was not of long duration. Incessant mutual recrimination

* The Biographer of Knox goes perhaps a little too far, when he proposes to alleviate the sorrow felt for the loss of these architectural monuments of superstition, by reminding the antiquarian that Ruins inspire more lively sentiments of the sublime and beautiful than more perfect remains. This is a piece of ingenuity, but not of sound reasoning. It is rather a curious doctrine, that a Cathedral or Monastery does not look best with all its walls standing.-M.Crie's Life of Knox, vel I. p. 271.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

and aggression, soon induced both sides to concentrate their forces once more. Perth was re-taken by the Reformers, who shortly afterwards marched into Edinburgh. After remaining there for some time, they were surprised by a sudden march which the Queen made upon them from Dunbar, and were compelled to fall back upon Stirling. .

A belief was at this time prevalent at the court of France, that the Prior of St Andrews, who was the principal military leader of the Congregation, had views of a treasonable nature even upon the crown itself, and that he hoped the flaw in his legitimacy might be forgotten, in consideration of his godly exertions in support of the true faith. A new reinforcement of French soldiers arrived at Leith, which they fortified; and the French ambassador was commanded to inform the Prior, that the King, his master, would rather spend the crown of France, than not be revenged of the seditious persons in Scotland.

The civil war now raged with increased bitterness, and with various success, but without any decisive advantage on either side for some time. The Reformers applied for assistance to Queen Elizabeth, who favoured their cause for various reasons, and would, no doubt, much rather have seen Murray in possession of the Scottish crown, than her own personal rival, Mary. The Congregation having found it impossible, by their own efforts, to drive the French out of Leith, Elizabeth, in the beginning of the year 1560, fitted out a powerful fleet, which, to the astonishment of the Queen Regent and her French allies, sailed up the Firth of Forth, and anchored in the Roads, before even the purpose for which it had

come was known. A treaty was soon afterwards concluded at Berwick between the Lords of the Congregation and Elizabeth's Commissioner, the Duke of Norfolk, by which it was agreed, on the part of the former, that no alliance should ever be entered into by them with France ; and on that of the latter, that an English army should march into Scotland early in spring, for the purpose of aiding in the expulsion of the French troops. .. This army came at the time appointed, and was soon joined by the forces of the Reformers. The allies marched directly for Leith, which they invested without loss of time. The siege was conducted with great spirit, but the town was very resolutely defended by the French. So much determination was displayed upon both sides, that it is difficult to say how the natter might have ended, had not the death of the Queen Regent, which took place at this juncture, changed materially the whole aspect of affairs. She had been ill for some time, and during her sickness resided in the Castle of Edinburgh. Perceiving that her end was approach ing, she requested an interview with some of the leaders of the Congregation. The Duke of Chatelherault, the Prior of St Andrews, or the Lord James, as he was commonly called, and others, waited upon her in her sick-chamber. She expressed to them her sincere grief for the troubles which existed in the country, and advised that both the English and French troops should be sent home. She entreated that they would reverence and obey their native and lawful sovereign, her daughter Mary. She told them how deeply attached she was to Scotland and its interests, although by birth a Frenchwoman; and at the conclusion, she burst

into tears, kissing the nobles one by one, and asking pardon of all whom she had in any way offended. The day after this interview, Mary of Guise died. Her many excellent qualities were long remembered in Scotland ; for even those who could not love, respected her. In private life, if this term can be used with propriety when speaking of a Queen, she appears to have been most deservedly esteemed. She set an example to all her maids of honour, of piety, modesty, and becoming gravity of deportment; she was exceedingly charitable to the poor ; and had she fallen upon better days, her life would have been a happier one for herself, and her memory more generally prized by posterity. Her body was carried over to France, and buried in the Benedictine Monastery at Rheims. *

• It is worth while observing with what a total want of all Christian charity Knox speaks of the death of Mary of Guise. Alluding to her burial, he says :-" The question was moved of her burial: the preachers boldly gainstood that any superstitious rites should be used within that realm, which God of his mercy had begun to purge ; and so was she clapped in a coffin of lead, and kept in the Castle from the 9th of June until the 19th of October, when she, by Pinyours, was carried to a ship, and so carried to France. What pomp was used there, we neither hear nor yet regard; but in it we see that she, that delighted that others lay without burial, got it neither so soon as she herself (if she had been of the counsel in her life) would have required it, neither yet so honourable in this realm as sometimes she looked for. It may perchance be a pronosticon, that the Guisean blood cannot have any rest within this realm.” Elsewhere he says" Within few days after, began her belly and loathsome legs to swell, and so continued till that God did execute his judgment upon her.” And again—" God, for his mercy's sake, rid us of the rest of the Guisean blood. Amen.” As Keith

VOL. 1.

« 上一頁繼續 »