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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

How the Presbyterian Church would regard this


not yet entirely conquered, and the next Parliament showed that they had the greater part of the nobility on their side. No one wished to be too severe on them;[304] even the legal advisers of the crown recommended the King not to commence a suit against them, in which they might probably be acquitted. It is impossible to describe the displeasure which affected Elizabeth on this turn of affairs, which she ascribed to the pusillanimous and negligent government of James. Did he not know, she asked, that the religion of the rebels was only a cloak for treason? Would he trust men who had so often betrayed him? He could never expect them to keep their plighted faith in the future, if their great offences in the past were not even acknowledged: a lax government set all turbulent spirits in motion, and led to shipwreck. With this advice, and similar suggestions from the clergy, came the news of fresh commotion. Francis Stuart, who had been made Earl of Bothwell by James, but who after this had given great trouble by frequently changing sides, had now joined the Catholic lords; and a plan had been concerted between them to deal with James as they had formerly dealt with his mother, to make him prisoner, and to put the prince just born to him in his place. At last in September 1594 we find the King again in the field. The young Argyle, whom he sent before him as his lieutenant, was met by the earls in open fight, but they did not venture to encounter the King himself. He took Strathbogie, the splendid seat of the Earls of Huntly; Slaines, the principal castle of the Earls of Errol; some strongholds in Angus; Newton, a castle of the Gordons; and had most of them razed. Even in these districts he proceeded at last to erect a regular government in the name of the King. His superiority was so decided that the earls left Scotland in the spring of 1595; Father Gordon also followed them reluctantly, after he had once more said mass at Elgin. But even this was not such a defeat of the Catholic party as might have been followed by their annihilation. The earls felt the hardships of exile with double force from the loss of the consideration which they had enjoyed at home; and when they offered their submission to the King, and satisfaction to the Scottish Church, James and his Privy Council were quite ready to accede to their offer: for they thought that disunion with his most powerful lieges lessened the reputation of the crown, and might be very dangerous at some future time if the throne of England became vacant; as these important personages might then, like Coriolanus, side with the enemy.

The only question now was, how the Presbyterian Church would regard this. James had come to a general understanding with the Church, when they made common cause against the League. In the year 1592 an agreement was arrived at, by which the King gave a general recognition to Presbyterianism, although he still left some grave questions undecided; for instance, that of the rights of the Crown, and the General Assemblies. But in proportion


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