1 There is in the Spanish National Library at Madrid a long memorial from Colonel Semple in 1620 to Philip III., setting forth his services, and saying that if his advice in 1601 had been taken, Scotland and England would have returned to the Catholic faith.
and Fernihurst; and later Prince Henry was to be delivered to Bothwell to hold for the King of Spain. The prayer of Bothwell was seconded by Fernihurst. Dumbarton, Broughty, Blackness and Hermitage were ready to be handed over, and victory was safe and sure in Scotland, and afterwards in England. Fernihurst, too, brought from Scotland a fine plan to reconcile Bothwell to his enemy the King. His heir should marry Huntly's daughter without a dower, the Barony of Colding-ham should be surrendered to Lord Hume, who claimed it; and all feuds should be forgotten, but he must be restored in his estates. Too late ! Too late! The Philips had let their opportunities slip one by one. Elizabeth was on her deathbed ; and before the Committee of the Spanish Council could report on the new proposals of Bothwell and Fernihurst in the name of the Scottish nobles, news came that jubilant James Stuart was speeding south as fast as horses could carry him, to enjoy as he might the heritage for which he had lied and paltered so long. The cause of Catholicism in Scotland was beaten by the chicanery of King James and Bobert Cecil. The new grouping of powers following religious division had deprived Scotland of her ancient ally France, whilst the Philips had been too lethargic, and the English Catholic exiles too jealous, to allow of the new combination with Spain desired by the Scottish nobles for the defence of their faith. For good or for evil the land of the North was thus tied for evermore to her more opulent sister, England.
EILEIN NA H-OIGE
Nam biodh agamsa mo raghuinn
Thaghainn as an Eòrpa Aite tuinidh 'n cois na tuinne
'N Eilein grinn na h-Oige. Lom e 'dhuilleach, lom e 'mhuran,
Lom e 'churachd eòrna; Air a luimead gur a lurach
Leamsa 'h-uile fod dheth.
•Cha'n'eil ionad anns a chruinne
'S inntinniche òigridh. Sunndach cridheil fonn nan nighean
'S binne 'sheinneas òran. Ar cuid bhodach's iad 'tha frogail—
Mòr tha 'thogail còmh' riuth': Sùrd na caileig' air a chaillich,
'S mear an aign' 'tha foipe.
Euaim nam feadan feadh nan creagan,
Leinibh bheaga 'dannsa; Luchd na mara a' sàr-tharruing
Canabhas ri cranntaibh, Eubh nan gillean shios mu'n linnidh
Iad ag iomairt trang ann : Tràigh a's gile, cnuic a's grinne,
Ragha suidhe samhraidh.
Là na gaillinn gur a fallain
Gaoth na mara greanntaidh ; Gasd an sealladh muir a' stealladh
Sad mu mhullach bheanntabh ; Marcan-sìne bharr na Sgrìne
Nuas 'n a mhill's 'na dheann-ruith ; Muir gach ama 'caochladh greana
Gun robh 'n t-eilein stamhnte, 'H-uile duine, 'bh' ann a thuineadh,
Ann an ionad fainge : Ach's e 'chuir air barrachd lurachd—
Air gach tulach's gleann deth,— Dion na tuinne a' bhith uime
'Cumail 'muigh na h-anntlachd.
The odour of Presbyterian sanctity will soon be strong in the Lowlands. At all events, there is shortly to be a great to-do about John Knox, and no doubt all the familiar engines of the " Reformed" religion will soon be drawn from their dusty repositories, and paraded for our inspection.
A few years ago much might have been made of this species of impending religious jollification. But we fear that the engines above-mentioned have become a little rusty by now ; and even in the Lowlands the cult of the disingenuous " Reformer" is not so strong as it was. The zeal of materialism —what Heine called the "brutal materialism"of thenorthernnations—has somewhat consumed thezealof the Presbyterian elect; so that the fattedkineof the " True Kirk of God " have mercifullyshrivelled to half their original proportions. Welive,not in a reign of Presbyterian ecstasy, but inatimeof religious backsliding. The "right" ofprivateinterpretation has produced its inevitable cropofmisunderstandings and misinterpretations, sothatwhere Lowlanders stood in (say) 1560 is nowterra incognita to their more inquiring descendants.We should be sorry to say anything to interruptthe harmony of the threatened proceedings;but we venture mildly to remark that, accordingtoreport, the Presbyterian Church has "progressed" somewhat since the first " Confession ofFaith" was put out. Possibly when our Lowlandneighbours who are of the Presbyterian persuasioncome to drink a health to honest John Knox,they may discover this fact for themselves, thoughtobe sure the "unco' guid" are not commonly thoughttobe overburdened with brains, or unduly handicappedby a sense of humour. At all events, admirersof John Knox, and that worthy himself, havethismuch at least in common, that neither canbesaidtostand upon any ascertainable religious foundation.Wedonot suppose that the coming celebrations willbemuch observed in the Highlands. The hirelingofElizabeth, and the prime Tub-thumper of"theKirk," was never much of a persona grata withus,however desperate the efforts that have
been made to propagate his cult in the glens. The so-called " Eeformation " was not a political process in which the men of our race were much concerned. We had not much stomach for it then; and we doubt if there is much inclination to regard it favourably even now. It is possible that a few panic-stricken individuals, wishing to pass for belated enthusiasts, may seek to create a diversion by bidding us beware of John Knox; but the endeavour to persuade us of his existence by rattling his dry bones in our ears is not like to be attended with any astonishing results. So far as the Highlands are concerned, John Knox can scarcely be said to have lived; and even so far as the Lowlands are concerned, he is as dead (in all senses of the word) as Queen Anne. Why cannot they leave him alone?
"Although the Reformation was undoubtedly one of the most important events in Scottish history," says Gregory,1 " yet its progress is to be traced almost exclusively in the history of the Lowlands. At least, the history of the Highlands and Isles presents little that is interesting on this subject. It is not to be supposed, however, that the great Highland barons were slow to follow the example of their Lowland neighbours in seizing the lands and revenues of the Church. On the contrary, the deplorable state in which the Highlands and Isles were found to be, in a religious point of view, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, was evidently owing to this cause. But in such proceedings the bulk of the Highland population, if we except the vassals of the Earl of Argyle, seem to have taken little interest; and
1 History of the Western Highlands of Scotland.
many of them long continued to adhere, as a portion still do, to the worship of their fathers." So much for Gregory, a Protestant, and justly esteemed 1' one of the most level-headed of cian historians ". Hear, also, What another Protestant writer, Skelton, has to say on the same subject. " The new doctrines failed to cross the mountain barrier, and in Highland glen and Western island the people continued to worship as their fathers worshipped before the days of Knox."
Consequently, we feel ourselves the more at liberty to have our say concerning this John Knox, and the approaching celebrations which, in the Lowlands, are to be associated with his name. No doubt there are many Highlanders at the present day who are just as zealous Presbyterians (perhaps more so) as any that are to be found on the wrong side of the hills; but, after all, we need not stand on much ceremony if we venture to make some impression upon their religious understandings. Their defection is infinitely less excusable than the defection of the Gall, blameworthy in the extreme though his may be. The Anglo-Scot or Lowland half-breed naturally took a man like Knox to his psalm-singing bosom; but the Highlander's desertion of the faith of his forefathers is far less comprehensible, and much more inexcusable. The latter, at least, had not the former's excuse of identity of language and of race when he turned his coat and accepted the nostrums of his oppressors, in lieu of the priceless heritage which the Church had left him. Consciences should be respected, no doubt, but a religious debacle of the kind that visited the Highlands during the latter pait of the eighteenth century is a phenomenon which invites plain speaking.
We have seen that at the time of its making] the so-called Reformation did not affect the Highlands. If any one doubt the truth of this assertion^ he has but to turn to the history of Scotland ana read for himself. Whilst Knox was engaged in tha congenial task of haranguing the rascal multitude! inciting them to violence, and rudely setting tha authority of his sovereign at defiance, the High! landers, regardless of all that was passing among the smug burgesses of the towns and cities, were] killing one another in prosecution of some of those] extravagant and contemptible feuds which renden much of Highland history fit perusal for swash! bucklers only or modern recruiting-peers. Affl isolation so complete, an indifference so profound,] cannot but excite wondering remark.
In truth, whether seduced by Moray, or the] bubble of her own slender political capacity and] foresight, we know not, but one cannot but regret that Queen Mary did not take advantage of so favourable a conjuncture to crush the religious and political insurrection which, unless she was posi-3 tively blind, she must have seen to be actually confronting her. Her failure to do anything of the kind, her vain shifts to pursue a temporising policy,] and to embrace that most foolish and disastrous o| all political subterfuges, the via media, as oppow tunists call it, stamp the Queen as politically incom-j petent. A vigorous attempt to unite the Highlands] at so important, nay vital, a conjuncture could now fail to have been attended with the most gratifying results, more especially as the religion de now was] as yet, even if realised or grasped, an abomination to the Celts, who would readily have flocked to Mary's standard to " ding down " the new-fangled Church, and to return John Knox to his approì priate sphere—the galleys.
We do not know that we are particularly concerned with the private character of John Knox. He may have been all that Nau and our established historians tell us concerning him; and touching such an infelicity, there need surely be no great hesitation in believing the worst that can be said of him. But it is by his religious and political fruits •that we judge him ; and as these were of nauseating flavour, rank and abundant, we base our repugnance to his character on these alone.
Apparently much may be forgiven a " reformer," if he take care to cloak his designs under a show -of piety—that " piety " being, preferably, such as is founded on hatred of "Rome". The charity which covereth a multitude of sins is nowhere more freely rendered or abundantly exercised than where it is exerted to screen a popular scoundrel from the just condemnation which is due to his acts. The treason and treachery of John Knox stand confessed before history, in a form and to a [degree as flagrant and shameless as any that are to befound,1 yet so strong is the popular delusion, so