Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

emulate or surpass : but they rose from the humblest level of the community, peasants, fishers, mechanics, and artizans, and soared into a high and stainless immortality by dint of faith and self-devotion alone. They practised as well as preached. They were untouched by pride, and un-degraded by meanness. In a word, they were the truest martyrs, the most perfect servants that ever the story of the world presented, 'lovely in their lives' beyond all who have gone before or after, and consummating their characters in death !

ART. II.- The History of the Rebellion in the year 1715, with

original Papers, and the Characters of the principal Noblemen , and Gentlemen concerned in it. By the Rev. Robert Patten,

formerly Chaplain to Mr. Forster. "The Third Edition. Lon'don, 1745.

The first edition of this work was, we believe, published in the year. 1716; and this third impression was, in all probability, called for by the interest excited by the Rebellion of 1745. Its author, the minister of Allandale, in Northumberland, was one of that numerous class of orthodox clergy, who, in the reign of Queen Anne, maintained, in conjunction with the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance, the divine right of legitimate sovereignty, and the indefeasible title of inheritance to the British throne. Of course, he held revolutionary principles in abhorrence, and regarded the exile Stuart as his lawful king. He did not, like many of his more prudent brethren, allow his political zeal to evaporate in words. When his patron, Mr. Forster, raised the standard of insurrection in Northumberland, of which county, he was one of the representatives in parliament, he girded his cassock about his loins, and accompanied the rebel forces, in the capacity of chaplain to the commander in chief, on their ill-advised incursion into Lancashire, publicly praying for the Pretender in every town which they occupied during their march. At Preston, however, his spiritual functions were abruptly terminated. Being taken prisoner, together with the chiefs of the rebellion, on the surrender of that place, he was, immediately after his arrival in London, put into strict custody. This duress, as he assures us in the preface to his book, now under our consideration, “was of singular use to him.”—“ For," says he," whilst I continued amongst those unfortunate gentlemen whose principles were once my own, I looked no further than esteeming what I had done the least part of my guilt. But no sooner was I removed into the custody of a messenger, and there closely confined, where I had leisure to reflect upon my past life, and especially that of engaging in the rebellion, than a great many scruples offered themselves to my consideration.” In this uncomfortable state of mind, he applied to Lord Townsend, beseeching him to allow him the assistance of a clergyman in the solution of his doubts. His lordship listened graciously to his request, and placed him under the tuition of a certain Doctor Cannon, “a man,” as he describes him, “ of singular good temper and literature.” The reverend tutor set about his task with great zeal and ability. How far his arguments were backed by a bird's-eye view of the gallows, our author does not say,-but the result of the conferences of these two ecclesiastics was a happy one. Doctor Patten was convinced of his political heresies-he repented him of his political sins-and, in proof of the sincerity of his conversion, and of his abhorrence of his late mal-practices, he became an evidence against his associates in rebellion. We, accordingly, find him giving testimony against Lord Wintoun, and against others of the rebel officers, the particulars of whose trials have been left upon record. :

It is a common remark, that the newly converted seldom keep their zeal within due bounds, and that they are particularly acrimonious against the party which they have quitted. So it was with the Reverend Doctor Patten, sometime chaplain to Mr. Forster. In the course of his work, he 'adopts all the loyal slang of a staunch supporter of the House of Hanover. He styles King George “his most sacred Majesty.” He is grateful to Heaven that there exists in the kingdom “a set of reverend, learned, and pious divines ;"—thus he terms the lowchurch clergy, once the objects of his scorn and abomination. He laments those “divisions,” which it had been so long his. glory to promote. He characterizes the report of the danger of the church, which he had formerly been so industrious in propagating, as a “noisy notion.” In his new vocabulary, the House of Hanover is an “illustrious house.” On the contrary, Queen Anne is designated as a “ blinded patron” of the Jacobites. Against the leaders of that party he quotes the old proverb, quos Jupiter vult perdere prius dementat.—He charges them with bribing witnesses, who were to appear at the trials of the rebels. In speaking of some of his late comrades, who underwent the dreadful penalty of the law, he says, without, however, mentioning their names, that “ the former part of their lives had been a direct contradiction to all morality.” His book is inscribed in a fulsome and flattering dedication to Generals Carpenter and Wills, who captured the army of which he was the spiritual adviser, and transmitted his dearest

friends to the scaffold. Nevertheless, his book, being the production of an eye-witness of the matters which it relates, and being written with a clear minuteness of narrative, is by no means devoid of interest; and we shall, therefore, make it the basis of a concise account of the origin, progress, and termination of the Rebellion in the year 1715.

It was not without considerable difficulty, that, even after the flight of James II. from England, the principles of liberty triumphed in the memorable year 1688. Even some of those noblemen and gentlemen who had invited the Prince of Orange to come over into this country, for the purpose of redressing the grievances of the nation, when they saw their monarch driven into exile, were, like Macbeth, “ afraid to think of what they had done." The Roman Catholics, at that time a numerous body, were, of course, attached to a king who had lost his crown in consequence of his zeal for their religion ; and the genuine sons of the Church of England, who, in their animosity against the Protestant Dissenters, had fiercely maintained, and severely enforced, the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance, were horrified at the idea of the triumph of the principles of the Parliament of 1640; and even their attachment to their temporalities only slightly mitigated the pang which they felt at the spectacle of a legitimate sovereign cashiered for his violation of the fundamental laws of the realm, and for his infringements upon the “original contract between King and People."* Hence the embarrassments which obstructed the earliest proceedings of the Convention Parliament, when the House of Lords, for a time, refused to concur in the vote of the Commons, that King James had “ abdicated” the crown, and that “ the throne was consequently vacant." The conference which took place between the Lords and Commons on that important subject, affords a fine instance of ability in special pleading. The circumstances of the times, however, enabled the blunt honesty of Serjeant Maynard to gain the victory over the subtlety of the Earl of Nottingham and the Bishop of Ely; the throne was filled by William III., and the Bill of Rights was passed, to secure in future the liberties of the subjecte

Though the government of William was occasionally disturbed by the intrigues of the Jacobites and the Tories, his reiga, upon the wbole, passed on in more tranquillity than might have been expected. The vigour of the Wbig ministry of Queen Anne, also, for a long time held the enemies of Ree volution doetrines in check. But, when that ministry began

* Such are the express words of the resolution passed by the House of Commons on the 28th of January, 1988.

to totter, the spirit of its adversaries broke forth into fury. A hot-headed zealot of the priestly order, whose abilities were, beneath contempt, raised the populace in insurrection on behalf of their own slavery; and when he was impeached before the Lords, he boldly maintained, by himself and his counsel, principles which impugned the Queen's title to the throne. The temper manifested on this occasion by many of the peers of the realm, and by the court, afforded every possible encouragement to the Tories, and the friends of the exiled family. The accession of Harley's Tory ministry to power raised the expectations of the latter to the highest pitch. On the irresolution of Harley, indeed, they could not depend; but the able and profligate Bolingbroke had tampered with treason, and they relied upon his decision of character for the annulling of the act of settlement, and the translation of the court of the Pretender from Lorrain to St. James's. Their plans were, however, happily frustrated by the sudden death of Queen Anne, and George I. took undisturbed possession of the throne.

. Upon the arrival of that monarch in England, he was received with the demonstrations of respect and joy which are usually exhibited on the accession of a new sovereign. But many of the professions of loyalty which he received on this occasion were hollow and deceitful. Of the hundred and upwards of lords and gentlemen, who, on the death of Anne, signed the proclamation, announcing him as the rightful heir to the throne, several, in less than a year, entered into treasonable plots against him. To this they were encouraged by their view of the state of parties. The leading men in Scotland were discontented by the loss of their power and influence, consequent upon the merging of the great council of their nation in the English Parliament, by the Act of Union. The Tory party, who had ruled with predominant sway during the last years of the late Queen's reign, were alarmed by the proceedings which were adopted against their chiefs, and were also naturally disgusted by the prospect which they had before them of a long and rigid exclusion from power. In the tolerant principles of the new sovereign, the High-Church Clergy either saw, or affected to see, great danger to the established religion. The country gentlemen, who are so admirably typified by Fielding in the character of Squire Western, entertained a genuine English antipathy to foreigners. The magistracy were so tainted with Jacobitism, that when six men were found guilty of having been concerned in a seditious riot, which took place at Bristol on the day of the King's coronation, and the watch-word for which was “' Sacheverel and Ormond for ever, and damn all foreign governments,” though their crime was aggravated by the destroying and plundering the house

whiad guilty tainted with antipat

of a reputed friend to the House of Hanover, they were only condemned to a fine of twenty nobles, and three months' imprisonment. That venerable seat of orthodoxy, the Cniversity of Oxford, had manifested such a spirit of hostility to the Act of Settlement, that, on the occasion of its members waiting on his Majesty with an address, they were peremptorily apprised, that “ his Majesty expected that their constituents should satisfy him better of their loyalty by their future behaviour, before they attempted it by words.”

To counterbalance these elements of mischief, the King confidently looked for support to the powerful party of the Whigs, to the army, to the low-churchmen and the Protestant dissenters, and to the mercantile and trading interests. And, on one important point, he was in a great degree free from uneasiness. The kingdom enjoyed the blessings of peace; and no foreign power was prepared to second any attempts which might be made against his crown and dignity by his discontented subjects. - Notwithstanding the full exertion of the influence of government on the election of members to serve in the first Parliament of this reign, about a third part of those returned to the House of Commons were Tories. These, headed by Sir William Wyndbam, maintained, in the great council of the nation, a kind of guerilla war against the government; and though they could not carry any point in debate, they divided with respectable minorities, embarrassed the proceedings of the administration, and thus kept up the spirits, and cherished the hopes, of the discontented.

In the summer of 1715, the effects of the machinations of the Jacobites were manifest in England by serious riots and tumults, in which several Dissenting meeting-houses were pulled down. The government were not insensible to these signs of the times. They were aware of the impending danger, and, on the circulation of a manifesto from the Pretender, in pursuance of an address from the House of Commons to the throne, they immediately proceeded to raise an army of seven thousand men, in addition to the ordinary guards and garrisons. On this occasion they wisely availed themselves of the popularity of the Duke of Marlborough with the military, in delegating to him and the Duke of Argyle, and the Generals Stanhope and Cadogan, the nomination of the officers who were to command these forces.

These preparations seem to have accelerated the movements of the rebels ; for, at the latter end of August, 1715, the Earl of Mar, who, to cloak his treasonable designs, had, on the accession of the king, taken the oath of allegiance, and had even offered him his services, began to assemble his forces in

« ZurückWeiter »