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THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION, A.D. 1688. (JAMES II.)
A REBELLION was raised in the west, at the head of which was the Duke of Monmouth, a natural son of Charles II., for the purpose of overthrowing King James II. Loyalty, however, was still a more powerful feeling than regard for religious freedom, and the insurrection was speedily quelled. James sent down the Chief Justice Jeffries, who left memorials of his progress in hundreds of victims condemned to the scaffold. Nothing was admitted in mitigation of having assisted the enemies of the king. An old lady, of nearly eighty years of age, was condemned to the axe for having harboured for a single night two of the refugees from the field of battle. She refused to acknowledge the justice of the sentence, and resisted the headsman when he approached to slay her. She fled round the scaffold, her long white hair streaming in the wind, and the enraged executioner following her with ineffectual blows till he succeeded at last in mangling her to death. She was not aware that the refugees whom she had allowed to remain under her roof a few hours, and then dismissed to escape, had been present at the battle. The Duke of Monmouth, the leader of the attempt, was taken. He was nephew to the king—a weak and presumptuous man. He was now brought before him, and made humble supplication. for mercy. James cast him off with no hope of pardon.
In England, James persecuted the adherents of the Common Prayer. In Scotland he put to death as many as would not adopt it. Two women he drowned in the Solway for refusing to repeat the Creed. He tied them to stakes in the sand at low water. The tide comes up at the rate of twelve miles an hour. Far off the women heard the roll of the sea as it rushed through the mouth of the estuary and spread itself over the expanse. They continued steadfast. One of them, who was farther out, was rapidly overwhelmed. The other, who was young and pretty, and was loved by many, and had therefore ties to life, was taken out after the waters had reached her chin. She refused still, and again she was fixed to the stake; and the impetuous current closed over the head of the poor peasant girl.
Terrified at the man's tyranny, scandalised at the man's manners, the bishops presented a petition to his majesty against their being forced to read in church a declaration of the dispensing power which he claimed as a prerogative of the crown,—that is, a power of excusing his subjects from obedience to the laws. And they told him, that though they did not disapprove of the present exercise of it as regarded the rights of conscience, they still thought it illegal and subversive of the liberties of the nation. The king took the petition from the bishop's hand, and trembled with rage. He said it was a libel, and tried them for the crime. All England rose again in favour of its Church, when it began to be oppressed. Crowds attended the bishops * into the court of justice. After a most agitating and interesting trial, the bishops were acquitted. Advances were made by the leaders of the Protestant and popular interest to the Prince of Orange, the nephew and son-in-law of the king,—connected thus to the throne by marriage and blood, but more intimately connected with the people by community in politics and religion. Often defeated, never subdued, William of Orange and the states of Holland were the bulwark which France, Rome, the whole world, found impossible to break through. Negotiations were begun; terms were entered into limiting the sovereign power, if he should attain it, to the reasonable bounds within which it has ever since flowed. An expedition was fitted out in the Dutch ports. The English nation, with the exception of one man, and he the most interested in the event, the king himself, knew what was coming; and when the Prince of Orange landed in Torbay, on the 5th of November, 1688, it was felt that at last the liberties of England were placed upon an enduring foundation, and that what had been fought for under the four Stuart kings, was now for ever secured under the dynasty of Orange-Nassau. James heard in Whitehall of the arrival of the Deliverer, fled to the coast, and was permitted to make his escape, leaving the throne vacant.—White's ‘Landmarks of the History of England.'
MASSACRE OF GLENCOE. (WILLIAM III.)
AMONG the different clans of Highlanders, the most tardy in his submission to William was Macdonald of Glencoe. The Earl of Breadalbane, the mortal enemy of this chieftain, represented him to the Court as an incorrigible rebel, a ruffian inured to bloodshed and rapine, who would never be obedient to the laws of his country, nor live peaceably under any sovereign. He observed that he paid no regard to the proclamation of the king offering indemnity to those who should surrender on a certain day, and proposed that he, his family, and dependents, should be destroyed by military execution. This advice was adopted, and an order, signed and countersigned by the king's own hand, was transmitted to the Master of Stair, Secretary of Scotland, who gave particular and urgent directions to put the inhabitants of Glencoe to the sword, charging the officer to take no prisoners, that the example might be the more terrible. In the month of February, Captain Campbell, of Glen Lyon, marched into the valley of Glencoe with a company of soldiers, on pretence of levying the arrears of land-tax and the hearth money. When Macdonald asked whether they came as friends, or enemies, he answered as friends, and gave him the most solemn pledge that neither he nor his people should sustain the least injury. In consequence of this declaration, he and his men were received with the greatest hospitality, and for fifteen days they lived with the Glencoe men apparently in the most unreserved friendship. At length the fatal period approached. Macdonald and Campbell having passed the day together, parted about seven in the evening, with mutual professions of the warmest affection. The younger Macdonald, perceiving the guards doubled, began to suspect some treachery, and communicated his suspicion to his brother, but neither he nor his father would harbour the least doubt about Campbell's sincerity: nevertheless the two young men went forth privately to make further observations. They overheard the common soldiers say they liked not the work; that though they would willingly have fought the Macdonalds of the Glen fairly in the field, they held it base to murder them in cold blood, but that their officers were answerable for the treachery. When the youths hasted back to apprise their father of the impending danger, they saw the house already surrounded: they heard the discharge of muskets, and the shrieks of women and children, and being destitute of arms, secured their own lives by immediate flight. The savage ministers of vengeance had entered the old man's chamber, and shot him through the head. He fell down dead in the arms of his wife, who died next day distracted by the horror of her husband's fate. The Laird of Auchingtrincken, Macdonald's guest, who had three months before this period submitted to the Government, and at this very time had a protection in his pocket, was put to death without question. A boy of eight years, who fell at Campbell's feet, imploring mercy, was stabbed to the heart by one Drummond, a subaltern officer. Eight-and-thirty suffered in this manner, the greater part of whom were surprised in their beds. The design was to butcher all the males under seventy that lived in the valley; but some of the detachments did not arrive soon enough to secure the passes, so that one hundred and sixty escaped.
* The seven “non-juroring bishops," as they are called, were Sancroft of Canterbury, Lloyd of St. Asaph, Turner of Ely, Ken of Bath and Wells, Lake of Chichester, White of Peterborough, and Trelawney of Bristol.
Campbell having perpetrated this brutal massacre, ordered all the houses to be burned, made a prey of the cattle and effects that were found in the valley, and left the helpless women and children, whose fathers he had murdered, without covering, food, or shelter, in the midst of the snow that covered the whole face of the country; at the distance of six long miles from an inhabited place, distracted with grief and horror, surrounded with the shades of night, shivering with cold, and appalled with the apprehension of death from the assassins of their friends and kinsmen, they could not endure such a complication of calamities, but generally perished in the waste before they could receive the least comfort or assistance. Such was the massacre of Glencoe, which fixes an indelible blot on the character of King William.-Bishop Burnet.
DESCRIPTION OF THE VALLEY OF GLENCOE,
MAC IAN dwelt in the mouth of a ravine situated not far from the southern shore of Lochleven, an arm of the sea, which deeply indents the western coast of Scotland, and separates Argyleshire from Inverness-shire. Near his house were two or three small hamlets inhabited by his tribe. The whole population which he governed was not supposed to exceed two hundred souls. In the neighbourhood of the little cluster of villages was some copse-wood and some pasture-land; but a little further up the defile no sign of population or of fruitfulness was to be seen. In the Gaelic tongue, Glencoe signifies the Glen of Weeping; and in truth, that pass is the most dreary and melancholy of all the Scottish passes—the very Valley of the Shadow of Death. Mists and storms brood over it through the greater part of the finest summer; and even on those rare days when the sun is bright, and when there is no cloud in the sky, the impression made by the landscape is sad and awful. The path lies along a stream which issues from the most sullen and gloomy of mountain-pools. Huge precipices of naked stone frown on both sides. Even in July, the streaks of snow may often be discerned in the rifts near the summits. All down the sides of the crags heaps of ruin mark the headlong paths of the torrents. Mile after mile the traveller looks in vain for the smoke of one hut, or for one human form wrapped in a plaid, and listens in vain for the bark of a shepherd's dog or the bleat of a lamb. Mile after mile the only sound that indicates life, is the faint cry of a bird of prey from some storm-beaten pinnacle of rock. The progress of civilisation, which has turned so many wastes into fields yellow with harvests or gay with apple-blossoms, has only made Glencoe more desolate. All the science and industry of a peaceful age can extract nothing valuable from that wilderness ; but in an age of violence and rapine the wilderness itself was valued on account of the shelter it afforded to the plunderer and his plunder.-Lord Macaulay's 'History of England.'
RELIEF OF LONDONDERRY. (WILLIAM III.) *
It was the 30th of July. The sun had just set; the evening sermon in the cathedral was over; and the heartbroken congregation had separated, when the sentinels on the tower saw the sails of three vessels coming up the Foyle. Soon there was a stir in the Irish camp. The besiegers were on the alert for miles along both shores. The ships were in extreme peril, for the river was low; and the only navigable channel ran very near to the left bank, where the head-quarters of the enemy had been fixed, and where the batteries were most numerous. Leaket performed his duty with a skill and spirit worthy of his noble profession, exposed his frigate to cover the merchantmen, and
* The generals of James II., who had abdicated the throne of England, had besieged Londonderry with an army composed chiefly of Irish; but the inbabitants, though suffering from hunger and suspense, would not give up the town, but remained true to William III., Prince of Orange, who had succeeded James.
+ Captain John Leake, afterwards Admiral Leake, commanded the Dartmouth, a thirty-six gun frigate.