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It may be added that, though the book itself is written in the Dutch language, the documents relating to Charles II. are in French or English.

After Montrose's departure from Scotland in 1646, what little we know of his proceedings shows him chafing against the enforced inaction to which he had been condemned. In the summer of 1648 he obtained from the Emperor Ferdinand III. the rank of a field-marshal and a commission to levy troops in the empire, or, in other words, to rid Germany of some of those ruffianly soldiers who had bled her almost to death in the long agony of the Thirty Years' War, now happily brought to a close. That Montrose should have sought and accepted this commission should open the eyes of those of his biographers who fail to understand the causes of his disasters. Nations like to settle their own disputes without the intervention of foreigners, and Scottish Lowlanders were even less likely to forgive the cruelties which the German soldiers of that day were likely to commit than those committed by Montrose's Highland followers in his former war.

It would, however, be mere pedantry to speak of his conduct in this respect as in any way surprising. He was a man of action, and men of action snatch at the first weapon that comes to hand, without stopping to inquire whether some other weapon might serve them better. He was, moreover, an enthusiast in whom political allegiance had become a religion. Before he reached the Hague, where he intended to explain his plans to the Prince of Wales, he received the news of the execution of Charles I. When once the string of his loyalty was touched, the great warrior was but as a love-sick girl. He fainted away on the spot. When he regained consciousness his first thought was that it behoved him to die like his master. Wishart, who was present, urged him rather to live to avenge his master's enemies. To Montrose, as Wishart himself tells us, the thought of vengeance was sweet. And,' he cried. at last, for that I may endure to live henceforth to avenge the martyred sire, and raise the son to his father's 'throne. I swear it before God, angels, and men.' * After this outburst, Montrose shut himself up in his chamber for two days, refusing to open the door even to his nearest friends. When at length the faithful Wishart obtained ad

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mission, he was shown those lines which, often as they have been quoted, may well be quoted again :--

'Great, good, and just, could I but rate

My grief with thy too rigid fate,

I'd weep the world in such a strain

As it should deluge once again.

But since thy loud-tongued blood demands supplies
More from Briareus' hands, than Argus' eyes,

I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds,

And write thine epitaph with blood and wounds.'

It was easy for one of Montrose's temperament to regard Charles I. as great, good, and just, especially as he had seen so little of him. It would be more difficult to regard Charles II. with the same veneration. The difference between the characters of father and son is one of the commonplaces of history; the most noteworthy, so far as the transactions now before us are concerned, lying in their different attitudes towards the virtue of truthfulness. When Charles I. wanted to deceive anyone, he first persuaded himself either that the false impression his words conveyed might be justified to himself as truthful in some recondite way, or else that there were special circumstances in the case which allowed him in all moral earnestness to deceive. Charles II. never troubled himself with such fine distinctions. When he told a lie it was merely because it was convenient to himself.

Yet, greatly as the mental constitution of the two men differed, they were made akin by one touch of nature. Both regarded politics from the dynastic point of view. Charles I. was brought to the scaffold mainly because he could not conceive that it was unlawful or unadvisable to prop up his personal authority by bringing into England hordes of foreign troops to overpower resistance; Charles II. was precisely of the same opinion. It is true that here, too, the difference between the characters of the father and the son shows itself. Charles I. persuaded himself that the cause of religion and good government was bound up with his own authority; Charles II. shrank from no means of regaining power, because he was tired of wandering over the Continent as a penniless exile. The result in both cases was much the same, and it is not the least of the merits of the founders of the short-lived English Commonwealth that they maintained that the interests of England were only to be entrusted to those who were in touch with the national spirit. The saying attributed, probably without foundation, to Blake, 'It 18 'not for us to mind State affairs, but to keep foreigners from

'fooling us, contains the severest condemnation of the unwise policy of the two Charleses.

When Montrose reached Charles II. at the Hague he was received with open arms. There can be little doubt that Montrose's plan was to use his foreign soldiery much as William III. used his Dutch bands in 1688, to protect his person, till he could rally round him in some part of Scotland some at least of the forces of the three kingdoms attached to his cause. At all events, as early as February 22 he received from Charles a commission not only to be his Lieutenant-Governor in Scotland, but also to be CaptainGeneral of all forces raised in Scotland or which might be brought thither out of England or Ireland. This step of Charles's was the more significant because only two days earlier an emissary from the Argyll Goverment, Sir James Douglas, had landed in Holland to lead him in quite a contrary direction. Sir James Douglas was followed in March by a body of commissioners authorised by the Parliament and Church of Scotland to acknowledge Charles II. as King of Scotland, on condition that he would force the Presbyterian system, without any loophole of toleration, on England and Ireland as well as on Presbyterian Scotland.

Of this most audacious proposal, as well as of Argyll's moral character and political action, the editors of The 'Deeds of Montrose' write in terms of the severest condemnation:

'Let those,' they conclude, who crawl on the base level of so-called expediency defend Argyll's statesmanship if they will, and condemn his victim as an impracticable visionary in politics. Yet Montrose's principles have triumphed, even in the Church, whose misguided zeal has condoned Argyll's practices. Set the men side by side, action by action, face to face-" Hyperion to a satyr!

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We have no wish to undertake the difficult task of clearing Argyll's moral character. Intriguing and unscrupulous, he was always ready to make his political influence subserve his personal aims. His timidity in the field was equalled by his timidity in the Council. He did not join the Covenanters till their cause had become triumphant, and in his subsequent career he modified his actions in accordance not with his own convictions but with the pressure put upon him by those who happened to have influence at the time. Never once in his lifetime did he stand forward in defence of un

*Deeds of Montrose,' Preface, xli,

popular ideas. He was the type of the adroit party leader who is moved by his party but never succeeds in guiding it. Nevertheless, at the risk of being condemned as crawling on the base level of so-called expediency,' we venture to assert that Argyll's statesmanship, so far as it can be distinguished from attempts at statesmanship forced upon him by others, proceeded on the right lines. Every nation, at any given epoch, has some prevailing aim in its domestic and foreign policy, and the prevailing aim of Scotland had long been the depression of the exorbitant power of the nobility at home and the maintenance of her independence against her powerful neighbour in the south. If the conditions had been favourable, we should probably have seen the establishment in Scotland of a strong monarchy like the Tudor monarchy in England. As the conditions were not favourable, the task of organising the Scottish people in resistance to the feudal nobility fell into the hands of the Kirk. We can warmly sympathise with all that our editors have to say about the tyrannical interference of the ministers with private life and their unlucky meddling with politics. It still remains true that neither Montrose nor any one else had any organisation to suggest which was capable of replacing the Kirk, and that it was the action of the Kirk upon the generations which succeeded Montrose and Argyll which has gone far to produce that special Scottish type of life and character which has enabled a people, scanty in population as it is, to hold its own amongst the great nations of Europe. If Argyll had done nothing else, he would have deserved credit for the Parliamentary reforms of 1640, when, after wresting power from the King and the nobility, he placed it in the hands of the lesser gentry and the burghers.

It was, however, Argyll's policy in supporting the Solemn League and Covenant, and his consequent resolution to send an army to support the English Parliament against the King, which roused the special ire of Montrose; and his indignation finds an echo in the pages of the editors of Montrose's biography :

The Solemn League of 1643,' write Messrs. Murdoch and Simpson, 'was an unprovoked invasion of England on the part of Presbyterian propagandists, seeking by help of a faction in England to impose on that country an alien form of Church discipline-the very thing which had aroused such vigorous and successful opposition in Scotland in 1637. It was an attempt to force Presbyterianism on England and Ireland at the sword's point, As such it stands condemned by the

common-sense of modern times, happily expressed in the practice of all denominations.'*

With the exception of the phrase which condemns the party of Pym and Cromwell to the position of a faction, there is nothing in this argument, so far as the facts are stated, to which exception can reasonably be taken. The attempt of the Scots to mould the religion of the other two kingdoms according to the system most suitable to themselves was an insane undertaking, the consequences of which recoiled on their own heads at Dunbar and Worcester. It does not, however, follow that those who supported it were themselves insane, or that they judged otherwise than reasonable, though fallible men, might be expected to judge under the circumstances.

The truth is that Messrs. Murdoch and Simpson have left out of consideration two facts-first, that the character of Charles I. was such that if he gained the victory in England there was every probability that he would use the power he acquired to remodel the ecclesiastical and political institutions of Scotland; and, secondly, that the chances of his gaining such a victory were very great in the summer of 1643, when the Solemn League and Covenant came into being. Charles's former attempt to mould the ecclesiastical institutions of Scotland and Ireland according to his own ideas had, as Von Ranke pointed out long ago, started the problem of the relations between the three kingdoms. Fearing the revival of the ill-omened struggle of 1637, Scottish statesmen -it was not merely the fanatics of the Kirk who urged on the League-may be excused if they thought that the only way to secure the independence of the smaller kingdom was to prevent Charles from gaining a predominant military power, and that the best way to maintain the independence of Scotland in the future was to secure such a similarity in the ecclesiastical system of both countries as should take away from England all motives of interference. It is easy for us in the nineteenth century, with all the resources of historical investigation at our command, to say that this was impracticable. There were plenty of Englishmen at that day who thought it quite practicable, and we can hardly be surprised if there were Scotsmen who thought so too.

Events, as is often the case, took an unexpected turn. The predominant military power in England turned out to be, not Charles, but the army of Fairfax and Cromwell.

* 'Preface,' xxxix.


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