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Columbia (Hntoetsitp 



Scotch and Irish Seeds 

In American Soil: 






No. 1334 Chestnut Stkeet. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by 



In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


Westcott & Thomson, 
Stereotypers and Electrotypers, Philada. 


: > 

Two objects have been before my mind while 
preparing this volume: 

First, to show the indebtedness of the Amer- 
ican Presbyterian Church to the churches of 
Scotland and Ireland for the elements which 
entered into its original constitution, as also for 
its subsequent rapid growth and influence. In 
attempting this it was thought to be more im- 
portant to bring clearly to view the principles 
and character of the ministers and members of 
those churches who came to this country, and iden- 
tified themselves with the Presbyterian Church, 
than simply to point out their number or the 
*^ periods of their arrival. Numbers alone might 
£ have been of comparatively little value, as they 
might have proved the means of discord, and 
^ consequently a source of weakness rather than 
j of strength. But if the character of a people is 
strong, reliable, courageous, based on correct prin- 




ciples and built up into symmetry by conscientious 
adherence to convictions of right and duty, their 
numbers may be small and yet their influence 
be powerful and permanent. 

If, then, we would understand how valuable 
was the contribution that Scotland and Ireland 
made to the Presbyterian ism of this country, we 
must consider the previous religious condition of 
each, and the influences, favorable or otherwise, 
under which the religious life of the people was 
developed. In this way we can see how these 
future colonists were educated and disciplined in 
the Old World for the great work God in his 
providence had for them to do in the New. 

The second object was to bring into propel 
prominence and perspicuity the principles of re- 
ligious and civil freedom for which the Presby- 
terians of Scotland and Ireland so long battled, 
and to maintain which all of them were called 
to endure protracted persecution, and many thou- 
sands of them to lay down their lives. As the 
union of Church and State in those countries was 
so close and dependent, so the relation between 
civil and religious liberty was so intimately con- 
joined that those who contended for the one neces- 
sarily promoted the other ; and, as a matter of fact, 


the two have ever existed togethei and neither 
can long survive without the other, The Pros- 
byterians, therefore, while contending even unto 
blood for the headship of Christ over his Church, 
and for its freedom from the yoke of kingly <>r 
priestly authority, were naturally and necessarily 
the friends and supporters of the rights of the 
people as against the usurpations and exactions 
of despotic rulers. 

In the perusal of this history the reader will 
notice : First, that the views of these Presbyte- 
rians were more accurate respecting religious lib- 
erty than were those of the Puritans who settled 
New England. Under the latter a law was en- 
acted in Massachusetts in 1631 uniting the Church 
and State, with the provision that no one should 
vote unless he had been baptized in his youth 
and was a church member. Their desire was to 
found a theocracy, and therefore they adopted 
measures to unite the religious and civil power 
practically. Our Presbyterian fathers, on the 
other hand, distinctly discerned the separate prov- 
ince or sphere of each ; and while unwilling to 
allow the Church to be controlled by the secular 
power, they neither asked its help nor depended 
upon it for authority or support. From their 


entrance into this country, as may be seen by 
their conduct in Virginia and New York, they 
opposed everything that looked like a union of 
Church and State or any dependence of the 
Church on the arm of civil power. 

The second noticeable thing is, that in the long 
contests between these monarchical governments 
and their subjects, the natural and constant allies 
of despotism were the Romish and Episcopal 
hierarchies. These were ever the most danger- 
ous as well as the most inveterate enemies of the 
nonconformists when they were resisting tyrants. 
Presbyterians, at least, had most to dread from 
Episcopal prelates, and from them they suffered 
most. The Episcopal Church was more frequently 
in the ascendant, and had much the greater in- 
fluence with the civil rulers. This influence it 
almost invariably used to oppress all outside of 
its own communion. If, then, in our endeavor 
to present a truthful picture of these times we 
have occasionally spoken with severity of the 
prelates of the Established Church of England 
and Ireland, it is because the facts of history 
have compelled the statements. 

In describing the development of these funda- 
mental principles in these countries I have had 


no wish to undervalue the part taken by the Puri- 
tans from England, the Dutch from Holland, or the 
Huguenots from France, in their steadfast main- 
tenance of those principles both in Europe and in 
this country. While the writer believes that the 
Scotch and the Scotch-Irish had clearer concep- 
tions of the relations which ought to exist between 
the Church and the State, and were consequently 
foremost and most resolute in their defence of the 
same, he freely acknowledges that civil and relig- 
ious liberty in America had no abler champions 
than were the emigrants from those countries. Of 
this fact he would have made more frequent men- 
tion had it come within the scope of the present 
volume, and had not this congenial subject been 
treated already by many and more competent 

It is greatly to be desired that the youth of the 
Presbyterian Church of this country should famil- 
iarize themselves with the history of the perscu- 
tions and sufferings endured by their Scotch and 
Scotch-Irish ancestors, and with the character and 
services of those heroes of the Church who main- 
tained with such fortitude their conscientious views 
of civil and religious liberty, and who, in coming 
to America, brought their principles with them and 


did so much to have them engrafted into our re- 
publican institutions. Such an acquaintance with 
the origin and defence of the great cardinal prin- 
ciples of the polity and government of the Presby- 
terian Church would inevitably lead them to rev- 
erence the memories of the departed worthies of 
the Church, and to love and perpetuate their 
simple and scriptural faith and forms of wor- 

It is impossible to state with any accuracy all 
the sources of information from which I have de- 
rived the materials for this volume. For those 
which pertain to the history of the Scotch and 
Irish churches I am indebted of necessity to the 
standard histories of those countries. The facts 
connected with the emigration from those lands, 
and the influence of the colonists upon Church 
and State in America, have been gleaned from a 
large number of volumes and pamphlets. Not 
unfrequently much care and research have been 
requisite to discover or verify a single incident 
or event; but the labor has been one of love, 
and rendered from a desire to be useful. 




From the Introduction of Christianity to the Act 
of Parliament, 1592, Ratifying the General Assem- 
bly of Scotland. 


Characteristics of Scotch Presbyterianisra — Its three cardi- 
nal principles — Introduction of Christianity — The pope 
asserting his supremacy — Obstacles to the Reformation — 
Defenders of the gospel — Patrick Hamilton — The first mar- 
tyr — Effects of his death — Many embrace the doctrines 
preached — Persecutions by Cardinal Beaton — George Wis- 
hart — His preaching and martyrdom — Beaton's retributive 
death — Warning unheeded by his successor — Death of Wal- 
ter Mill — The first Covenant adopted at Edinburgh — Its pro- 
visions — Conflict between the queen and Reformers — John 
Knox — His great influence — Protestant nobility meet at Perth 
— Duplicity of the queen — Reformers increase — Knox at St. 
Andrews — Meeting of a free Parliament — Petition of Protes- 
tants — First Confession of Fa ith— Necessity of a national 
ecclesiastical organization — The first General Assembly — 
Book of Discipline — Its provisions — Two objects secured — 
Superintendents — Tulchan bishops — Queen Mary's return 
to Scotland — Efforts to restore popery — Her measures re- 
sisted — Knox's successful opposition — The Church prosper- 
ous — Opposition of the queen and regent Morton — Andrew 
Melville returns to Scotland — Chief opponent of Morton — 
A commission reports a system of ecclesiastical polity — 
Second Book of Discipline — Its provisions — Conflict of the 




Assembly with King James and his Parliament — Remon- 
strance presented to the king by Melville — Black Acts of 
Parliament — Clergy obliged to fly — Patriotism and good 
conduct of Presbyterians — Secures more favor from the 
king — His eulogy on the Church of Scotland — Parliament 
ratifies the Constitution of the Church 19 


From the Charter of the Church to the Renewal 
of the National Covenant. 

Bad faith of James — Conspiracy of popish earls — The danger 
averted — Two of the conspirators excommunicated — Roman 
Catholic earls; their proposed recall — Melville confronts the 
king — Deceitful conduct of the king — Assaults the Church 
— King claims absolute power — Resistance by Presbyterians 
— Ministers of Edinburgh expelled — The corrupt Assembly at 
Perth — Advisory council for the king — The Church repre- 
sented in Parliament — Prelacy triumphant — Three ministers 
made bishops — Aberdeen Assembly the last free one — Cler- 
gy banished — Melville summoned to London and banished 
— Bishops appointed permanent moderators of Assembly — 
Their civil jurisdiction restored — Court of High Commission 
— The king visits Scotland — New Confession of Faith — Five 
Articles of Perth ratified — Constitution of the Church sub- 
verted — Persecutions by Court of High Commission — Min- 
isters banished — Congregations left without ordinances — 
Death of King James — Charles I. adopts his father's policy 
— Great revival of religion — Book of Canons and Liturgy 
prepared — Riot at Edinburgh at its introduction — The king- 
dom aroused — People flock to Edinburgh — The National 
Covenant enthusiastically renewed — The Second Reforma- 
tion in Scotland 63 

From Subscribing the Covenant to the Restoration 

of Charles II. 
Despair of prelates, and the defeat of their schemes — Depu- 
tations sent to the king — He tries to negotiate with the 



Covenanters — Failure of Hamilton, the king*! commissioner 
— Concessions made — General Assembly at Glasgow — Efforts 
of Hamilton — The Assembly triumphs — The whole fabric of 
prelacy swept away — Vital principles vindicated — King en- 
raged, and prepares for war — Preparations of Presbyterians 
— They march to Dunse Law — The king hesitates, and ac- 
cedes to articles of peace — The peace a brief one — War again 
determined upon- Covenanters march to the Tweed — Treaty 
of Ripon — Petitions to Parliament for uniformity of worship 
in the two kingdoms — Action of the Assembly — The Cove- 
nanters join their English brethren — The Solemn League 
and Covenant — The Westminster Assembly of Divines — Im- 
portance of their work — Difficulties — Uniformity not secured 
— The General Assembly ratifies the Confession of Faith of 
the Westminster divines — Presbyterian system long unmo- 
lested 86. 


From the Restoration of Charles II. to his Death, 

in 1685. 

Restoration of Charles II. — Xo guarantees exacted — A coun- 
cil of state favors prelacy — The illegal Parliament of 1661 — 
Their despotic acts — Purpose to destroy the Church — Mar- 
quis of Argyle and Guthrie executed — The king, by procla- 
mation, restores prelacy — Four bishops consecrated — Only 
Episcopalians allowed to preach and teach — Act of Glas- 
gow — Four hundred ministers banished — Field-meetings — 
Bishop's drag-net — Court of High Commission again erect- 
ed — Curate spies — Persecution — James Turner and his 
"lambs" — Cruelty of the soldiers — The rising of Pentland 
— Covenanters dispersed — Death of Hugh McKail — Soldiers 
instigated to cruelty by the curates and Archbishop Sharp — 
His death — The persecuted on the defensive — Battle of 
Drumclog — Dissensions — Battle of Bothwell Bridge — Ter- 
rible cruelties — Deaths of Cameron, Cargill and Hackson — 
The Teat Act — Proceedings against the earl of Argyle — 
Further persecutions — Resistance of the persecuted — Their 
da laration— The Bloody Act— Death of Charles II 103 



Fkom the Accession of James VII. to the Emigration 
of Presbyterians to America. 


Accession of James VII. — Proceedings of the new Parliament 
— The king's schemes to restore popery — Attempt of Argyle 
— Capture and death — Presbyterians persecuted and ban- 
ished — Parliament will not yield to the king — Passes three 
acts of indulgence — Clergy return to Scotland — Strict Cove- 
nanters reject the king's acts — Death of Renwick — Landing 
of Prince of Orange — The Revolution — Ineffectual attempts 
to introduce Episcopacy in Scotland — The system a nonde- 
script Church — Slavish and persecuting — Covenanters refuse 
to fellowship prelacy — Meeting of Parliament — Abolishes 
the prelatic Church — Ratines the Confession of Faith and 
establishes the Presbyterian Church — Patronage done away 
— Meeting of the General Assembly — Desire of the king 
that all Protestants unite in same church government — Ori- 
gin of moderate party — The Revolution settlement a calam- 
ity — Connection between religious and civil liberty — The 
principles contended for in Scotland — Dear to them — Brought 
to America — Element of power in the Presbyterian Church 
in America 126 



From the Introduction of the Reformed Religion in 
Ireland to the Great Revival of 1625. 

American Presbyterian Church indebted to the Irish — Gospel 
introduced in Ireland in second century — Irish Church in- 
dependent until twelfth century — Then subjected to pope — 
Remained subject three hundred years — Deplorable condi- 
tion of the people — Henry VIII. asserts supremacy — George 
Brown made archbishop of Dublin — Opposition of Romish 
clergy — Edward VI. — Resistance to the liturgy — English 



ministers unwilling to occupy Irish sees — Bishop Bale — 
His firmness — Queen Mary — Elizabeth — Ireland a place of 
shelter for Protestants — Distracted state of country unfa- 
vorable to religion — Want of Reformed ministers — Descrip- 
tion of the Irish Church — Dublin College established — Its 
purpose — Slow progress of the Reformation — Accession of 
James I. — His pacific and wise measures — Province of Ul- 
ster — Colonizing schemes — Prosperity of these plantations — 
Confession of faith for the Irish Church — Its liberal charac- 
ter — Efficiency of Scotch clergy — Price, Hubbard, Glenden- 
ning, Blair and Hamilton — Their reception by Bishop Ech- 
lin — Revival of religion — Many converts — Welsh, Stewart, 
Dunbar and Livingston come over from Scotland — Liberal- 
ity of Bishop Knox — Labor of Scotch clergy greatly blessed 
— Presbyterian worship and discipline maintained — Roman- 
ists and Bishop Echlin oppose the revival — The latter perse- 
cute Blair and others — They appeal to Archbishop Usher — 
Restored — Again suspended — Apply in vain to the lord- 
deputy of Ireland 147 


From the Accession of Charles I. to the Irish Re- 

Romanism rather than the Reformed faith encouraged — Some 
Protestants think of emigrating to the New World — King 
needs funds for his Irish army — Concessions to Romanists — 
Protest of Irish prelates — Laud and Wentworth favor Roman 
ritual — Bramhall and Leslie promoted — Bedell — Alterations 
in Dublin University — Convocation of the clergy, 1634 — 
Adopt the Thirty-nine Articles of the English Church — Peo- 
ple deceived — High Commission court erected — Condition of 
Presbyterians deplorable — The four ministers that were re- 
stored again deposed — Death of Echlin — The bigot Leslie 
his successor — Suspends five ministers — Sailing of the Eagle- 
wing — Returns — Wentworth's persecutions — Many clergy 
fly to Scotland — Remain there — Discontent in Ulster alarms 
Wentworth — The Black Oath — Cruel imposition of it — 
Sufferings of the Presbyterians — Henry Stewart — Went- 
worth's cruel proceedings — Bishop Adair — Deposed— Op- 



posed by Bishop Bedell — Wentworth created an earl — Raises 
an Irish army to suppress the people of Ulster — Opposition 
— Remonstrance sent to the king — Meeting of the Long Par- 
liament — Earl of Strafford impeached imprisoned and be- 
headed — Presbyterians petition Parliament — Their requests 
granted — Change in administration — Two Puritan lords-jus- 
tices appointed — High Commission court abolished — Peace 
in Ireland 181 


From the Irish Insurrection to the Death of 
Charles I. 
The rebellion incited by Romish priests — Object to destroy 
Protestantism — Plot discovered — Important towns saved 
from capture — Places of refuge— Rebels master of most of 
Ulster — Their cruelties — Universal massacre — Famine and 
pestilence — Sufferings of Protestant clergy — Death of Bishop 
Bedell — As many Presbyterians fled to Scotland, they suffered 
less than Episcopalians — Charles sends commissions to Irish 
Protestant leaders — Lords-justices furnish arms — English 
and Scotch Parliaments send relief — Arrival of regiments — 
Severe engagements — Insurrection subdued — Re-establish- 
ment of the Presbyterian Church — Ministers and people 
return from Scotland — Army chaplains — Presbytery revived 
— Congregations gathered — Petition to the Scotch Assembly 
— Ministers arrive from Scotland — The Church grows rap- 
idly — Many Episcopalians join the Presbyterian Church — 
Giving evidence of repentance — Overruling Providence — 
Peaceful and prosperous state of the Church — Ecclesiasti- 
cal reform in England — Westminster Assembly called — Com- 
missioners sent to Scotland — Solemn League and Covenant — 
Taken in Ireland, Scotland and England — Its effects — Growth 
of the Church — Thirty settled ministers in 1647. 

From the Death of Charles to the Accession of 
James II. 
Ulster Presbyterians protest against his murder — Assent, under 
protest, to Cromwell's government — His judicious measures 



in ireland — Baptist and Independent ministers — Parliament 
favors education and religion — Endowments and salaries — 
Engagement oath — Presbyterian clergy opposed — Oath en- 
forced — Sufferings of ministers — Council of Independents 
and Presbyterians — A public debate — Change of Irish com- 
missioners — Baptists in favor — Forcing Presbyterians to take 
the oath — Appeal to Fleetwood — Appear before the council — 
Dismissed with favor — Cromwell dissolves Parliament — His 
accession to power favorable to Presbyterians — Ministers 
allowed to pursue their calling — Danger from dissensions in 
Church of Scotland — Did not extend to Ulster — Increase of 
ministers — Presbytery divided — Church prosperous — Death 
of Cromwell — Charles II. restored — His efforts to restore prel- 
acy — Bramhall and Leslie restored — Measures employed to 
crush out Presbyterianism — Proclamation against presby- 
tery — Unavailing appeal to the Irish privy-council — Jeremy 
Taylor's intolerant spirit — Ejects thirty-six ministers from 
their churches — Their privations — Meeting of the Irish Par- 
liament — Solemn League and Covenant burned — Duke of 
Ormond's leniency — Ministers for a time not molested — 
Blood's plot — Conspirators apprehended — Presbyterians not 
implicated — Leniency shown them — Ministers return from 
Scotland — Growth of the Church — Presbyteries again or- 
ganized — Lord Robart's administration — Jealousy of Epis- 
copal bishops and clergy — Boyle bishop of Down — Sir Ar- 
thur Forbes shields Presbyterians from persecution — Revi- 
val of religious worship — Regium Donum — Schools and a 
theological seminary established — Insurrection in Scotland — 
Injurious to Ulster Presbyterians — Ormond presses the oath 
of supremacy — Persecution — The prelates active persecutors 
—The condition of Presbyterians such they think of remov- 
ing to America. 

From James II. to Emigration of Presbyterians to 
America, 1725. 

James II.'s policy favors Romanists — Tyrconnel lord-deputy — 
Papists restored to power — Protestants depressed — Act of 
Toleration — Presbyterians enjoy a brief freedom — Calm fol- 
lowed by a storm — Alarm in Ulster — Council appointed — 
Tyrconnel's army seizes the principal towns — Gates of Derry 



and Enniskillen shut — The former a great barrier to James' 
army — Landing of Prince of Orange in England — Promises 
aid to Protestants in Ireland — Numerous battles — Siege of 
Derry — City relieved — Defence of Enniskillen — Retreat of 
the Irish army — King William leads his army — Battle of 
Boyne — Total defeat of Irish army — Different conduct of 
Episcopal and Presbyterian clergy — The king favors Pres- 
byterians — Presbyterianism restored in Ulster — Presby- 
teries and synods again held — Losses by the war — Ulster 
Presbyterians hospitably received in Scotland — Jealousy of 
Irish bishops — King William secures the abolition of the 
oath of supremacy — Its effects — Meeting of the Irish Par- 
liament — Act of Toleration defeated — Controversy of Bishop 
King with Boyse and Craighead — Results — Increased hos- 
tility of Episcopalians — Oppressive measures — Oath of ab- 
juration — Sacramental test — Its effects — Futile efforts to ob- 
tain legal toleration — Half century of civil disabilities — 
Brief periods of relief — Still the Presbyterian Church grows 
— Two synods formed, and become a delegated body — An edu- 
cated ministry — Missions — Church extended — Presbyterians 
excluded from office — Desire to emigrate to America — Causes 
which led to a large emigration of Ulster Presbyterians to 
America 199 


Emigration to America. 

Character of the Scotch emigrants — Causes which led to their 
emigration — The colonists in South Carolina — Virginia, 
Maryland and Delaware — North Carolina — Their sympathy 
for the Presbyterian Church — Scotch-Irish emigration — 
Causes — Religious bigotry, commercial jealousy and oppres- 
sive landlords — Emigration so great as to alarm the Irish 
magistrates — Reasons assigned by the magistrates for the 
emigration — Ports of entry — New England Presbyterians — 



Largest number came to Philadelphia — States in which they 
principally settled — Character of the colonists — Protestants 
and Presbyterians — Rapid growth of the Presbyterian Church 
— The emigrants retain their modes of worship and system 
of church government — The Catechism — Lord's Supper, how 
administered — Influence of this emigration on the Presby- 
terian Church in America 265 



Foreign Ministers in America. 

Larger number from Ireland — Difficulty to determine the na- 
tionality of some ministers — Francis Makemie the first min- 
ister — MacNish and Hampton his associates — Other clergy- 
men from 1685 to 1715 — William Tennent and his sons — 
Robert Cross — James Macgregor — Samuel Blair — Alexan- 
der Craighead — Francis Alison — John Elder — John Craig — 
Charles Beatty — Samuel Finley — Robert Smith — Other min- 
isters previous to 1758 — At union of synods nearly one-half 
of the clergy foreign-born — Formative period of the Church 
— Great indebtedness of the American Presbyterian Church 
to the Scotch and Irish churches 286 



Presbyterians and Education. 

Presbyterians patrons of learning — Public schools in Scotland 
— Early provision for education in America — Action of the 
synod of the Carolinas — Numerous classical schools and 
academies — The Log College — Synod's school at New Lon- 
don — Fagg's Manor school — Nottingham academy — Classi- 
cal academy at Pcqua — Upper Buffalo academy — Schools at 



Elizabethtown, Pencader, Baskinridge, Mendham and Phil- 
adelphia — Schools in Virginia — At Guilford, Thyatira, Wil- 
mington, Sugar Creek, Rocky Hill, Poplar Tent, Bethany, 
and Liberty Hall academy, North Carolina — Schools in 
Tennessee — Principal object of these to educate ministers — 
Higher educational institutions — College of New Jersey — 
Jefferson, Dickinson, Hampden-Sidney and Washington Col- 
leges 299 


Essential principles of liberty — The creed of republics — The 
Scotch and Irish exiles foes to arbitrary power — Reasons 
why the latter distrusted England — Had governed Ireland 
for her own selfish ends — Would do the same with her Amer- 
ican colonies — Friends of civil and religious freedom — Dread 
of Episcopal supremacy — Efforts to establish Episcopacy — 
Religious freedom sought — Civil and religious liberty in- 
separable — Presbyterians first to combine in resistance — Tes- 
timony of Mr. Adolphus — Union with New England against 
the Stamp law — Testimony of Messrs. Reed and Galloway — 
Action of Synod of New York and Philadelphia — North Car- 
olina Presbyterians and Mecklenburg Declaration — Presbyte- 
rians of Western Pennsylvania — Memorial from Cumberland 
county, Pa. — Action of Hanover presbytery, Virginia — 
Presbyterian ministers active and earnest patriots — Efficient 
as statesmen, soldiers, chaplains, etc. — Dr. Witherspoon's ser- 
vices and other ministry — Patriotism of elders and members 
of the Presbyterian Church — Many of them officers — Worthy 
of their lineage — Presbyterians in the civil service — Intro- 
duced elements of their system into the government — Proper 
founders of new States — Not anarchists — Favored constitu- 
tional freedom — Church and State separate — Prized their 
principles — Ready to defend them at every sacrifice 314 





From the Introduction of Christianity to 
the Establishment of the Great Charter 
of the Church. 

The Scotch was one of the most important ele- 
ments which entered into the composition of the 
early Presbyterian churches of America. It pos- 
sessed characteristics which were peculiar to itself, 
and which left a deep impress upon the new com- 
munities, of which it formed no inconsiderable 
part. Its piety was stern and uncompromising, 
for it had learned, through centuries of persecu- 
tion, to dread both papal and prelatic error and 
usurpation. It had been forced to contend, in a 
hand-to-hand conflict, with these alternately domi- 
nant powers for the maintenance of the distinctive 
principles of its faith and order. Out of this pro- 
tracted struggle it finally emerged with the three 
cardinal principles inscribed on its banner of loyalty 



to Christ as the true and only Head of the Church, 
the parity of the clergy, and the right of every 
congregation to a voice in the election of its 
officers. Of the truth and importance of these 
fundamental principles the Scottish Christians 
were so fully and firmly convinced that when 
necessity was laid upon them they did not shrink 
from sufferings, and even death itself, rather than 
renounce or betray their faith. 

It is impossible now to determine when Christi- 
anity was first introduced into Scotland. The best 
authorities favor the belief that it was not later 
than the close of the second century, and that the 
first Christian ministers were men of singularly 
pure and holy lives. They mingled freely with 
the people, instructed them in the doctrines of 
God's word, inculcated the duties of morality and 
virtue, endeavored to check all forms of vice and 
to soften the rough manners which then prevailed. 

This condition of things, however, was not per- 
mitted to continue, even in a country so insulated 
as Scotland. The Church of Rome, which at an 
early period corrupted the simplicity of the Chris- 
tian religion in the other countries of Europe, at 
length cast its baneful influence over the Scotch 
Church. There is reason to believe that as early 
as the fifth century the pope had taken measures 
to regulate the policy of the Scottish Church, and 
there is evidence that the inhabitants from this 
date acknowledged him as the head of the Church. 


Popery, with its false doctrine, its superstitious 
rites and its persecuting spirit, with a wealthy and 
powerful hierarchy that had corrupted the whole 
spirit of religion, and with the people sunk in igno- 
rance and debased by slavery, presented no ordi- 
nary difficulties to be surmounted by the Refor- 
mation, which began in Scotland in the sixteenth 
century. Germany and England had preceded it 
in a successful effort to free themselves from the 
oppression of the papal yoke. But when the doc- 
trines of the Reformers were at length made known 
in Scotland, there were not wanting noble-minded 
men, who proved valiant defenders of the fun- 
damental truths of the gospel, and who, in the 
contest with a corrupt and persecuting Church, 
were honored with the glorious crown of mar- 

Of these Patrick Hamilton, abbot of Feme, was 
the first sufferer. Descended from an illustrious 
family and of noble blood, he had before him all 
the prospects of church preferment which could 
excite the ambition of an aspiring youth. He 
prosecuted his studies at St. Andrews, and subse- 
quently visited Wittenberg and Marbourg, in Ger- 
many. There he held intercourse with Luther, 
Melanchthon and other German Reformers, and be- 
came convinced of the truth of their opinions and 
of the errors of the Church to whose ministry he 
had been destined by his parents. With the con- 
viction that the Reformed doctrines were in accord- 


ance with the word of God, he felt it to be his 
duty to impart to his countrymen the knowledge 
he had acquired. Returning from the Continent 
in 1527, he entered with great zeal upon the duties 
of his ministry. He began at once to expose and 
to reprove the superstitious practices of the Rom- 
ish Church in Scotland, and to preach the doctrine 
of free and complete justification by faith in Christ 
alone. His ministry drew multitudes around him, 
impressed by the power of his fervid appeals, while 
many embraced the truth to the saving of their 
souls. The message was not only new to them, 
but the earnestness and spirituality of the preacher 
contrasted powerfully with the carelessness and 
the vices of the mass of the priesthood. 

Alarmed at the great success of the abbot's 
preaching, the priests determined to silence him, 
if possible, by falsely accusing him of teaching 
heresy. Accordingly, the charge of "Lutheran- 
ism" was preferred against him and the entire 
enginery of their Church employed for his over- 
throw. Under pretence that the archbishop wished 
to consult him, Hamilton was enticed to visit St. 
Andrews, where Alexander Campbell, a Dominican 
friar, was appointed to insinuate himself into his 
confidence and to learn the real nature of the 
opinions which he entertained. These were im- 
mediately communicated to other prelates with 
every aggravation which malice could suggest. As 
soon as a tribunal of the clergy could be assembled 


they pronounced his views heretical ; and having 
ineffectually exhorted him to abandon them, they 
condemned him to be burnt at the stake. With a 
cruelty having scarcely a parallel, on the same 
day upon which he had been condemned he was 
led forth to execution, and with true Christian 
heroism he suffered death before the gate of St. 
Salvator's College. 

The effects produced by this martyr's death were 
very different from those which his persecutors de- 
sired. The terrible retribution that befell Camp- 
bell for his treachery and hypocrisy deepened 
greatly the impression made upon the people by 
the intrepid conduct of Hamilton as he was 
fastened to the stake and while the flames were 
kindling around him. Calling to his betrayer, 
he said, "O thou most iniquitous of men! who 
condemnest those things which thou knowest, and 
didst a few days before confess, to be true,* I sum- 
mon thee to the tribunal of God !" These words 
never ceased to ring in the ears of the perfidious 
man, and he died a raving maniac. Fearing the 
influence upon the people of the severe and unjust 
execution of Hamilton, the prelates secured the 
subscription of those in authority as a sanction of 
the sentence. But all was in vain. The heart of 
the Scottish nation was deeply stirred. Men be- 
gan to inquire as to the nature of the crime for 

* In his conference with Hamilton he iad acknowledged the 
truth of the Reformed doctrines. 


which such punishment had been inflicted upon so 
noble a man, and they were led by a consideration 
of the doctrines fully to embrace them. Not a few 
persons began to question many things which they 
had never before doubted. Inquiry and discussion 
could not be excluded even from the University 
of St. Andrews, and impressions then made were 
never obliterated. Several of the friars began to 
hold and to preach doctrines savoring strongly of 
the Reformation, nor did they hesitate to expose 
the licentious and ungodly lives of the bishops 
and of the clergy. 

All this very naturally alarmed and irritated 
Archbishop Beaton and his satellites, and they 
again resolved to try the effect of persecution to 
silence all opposers. A servant of the archbishop 
sagaciously advised him that if he burned any 
more to burn them in cellars ; " for the smoke," 
said he, " of Mr. Patrick Hamilton hath infected 
as many as it blew upon." This advice, however, 
was not heeded. Other victims were imprisoned, 
and perished at the stake exhibiting a Christian 
heroism that scorned the flames. The mistaken 
and wicked policy of the prelates multiplied rather 
than repressed the number of those who adhered 
to the reform. Their corruption as well as their 
violence excited disgust and opposition. The 
vices of the clergy were not only a scandal to 
religion, but an outrage on common decency. 
Even the bishops were not ashamed to confess 


theii ignorance of the Bible,* save what they 
had learned from their missals. 

These persecutions under Archbishop Beaton 
were mainly instigated by his nephew, David 
Beaton, who, after his uncle's death, in 1539, suc- 
ceeded him in the office, and at the request of 
the king of France was raised by the pope to 
the rank of a cardinal. He was a man of talents, 
of unbounded ambition and of a cruel disposition. 
No sooner had he attained to his office than he 
began to employ the most rigorous measures to 
exterminate the Reformers and their doctrines. 
The better to accomplish his purpose, he en- 
deavored in every way to ingratiate himself with 
King James V. and to secure for his favorites 
stations of dignity and power. And so far had 
he succeeded in his plans that at the death of the 
king, in 1542, it was found that he had already 
prepared and presented for his approval a list of 
some hundreds of persons of various ranks — not a 
few of them nobles and barons — who were sus- 
pected of heresy, and the confiscation of whose 
estates was urged as the means of replenishing 
the king's coifers. 

Defeated in this scheme by the king's death and 
by the appointment of the earl of Arran as regent, 
the baffled cardinal only thirsted the more for 
vengeance upon the Reformers. An act of Parlia- 
ment declaring it lawful for all persons to read 
* Spottiswood, p. 66. 


the Scriptures in their native language, and by 
which thousands of copies of the sacred volume 
were brought into circulation, called forth his 
bitter hostility. He at once bent all his ener- 
gies to acquire an ascendency over the weak and 
fickle regent, who was known to be favorable 
to the Reformed religion. With the aid of two 
other able and designing men, he succeeded only 
too well in his purpose, and the wily cardinal 
soon had all the authority he wished to imprison 
and put to death those suspected of sympathy with 
the Reformed faith. Like a chafed tiger thirsting 
for blood, he entered at once upon his murderous 
work. With barbarous cruelty he put five men 
and one woman to death at Perth. In company 
with the regent, to give the appearance of his 
sanction to the crimes, he made a bloody circuit 
through the kingdom, inflicting fines upon some, 
imprisoning others, and persecuting not a few 
unto death. 

His most distinguished victim was the gentle, 
learned and pious George Wishart. Having been 
banished by the bishop of Brechin, Wishart re- 
sided for some years at the University of Cam- 
bridge. Returning from England in the year 1544, 
he commenced to preach the doctrines of the evan- 
gelical faith, and with such persuasive eloquence 
that he made a profound impression upon his large 
audiences. This was an unpardonable offence in 
the estimation of Beaton. Such a bold heretic 


could not be permitted to live in peace. Hunted 
from place to place as it" he were a wild beast, he 
was finally betrayed into the hands of his perse- 
cutor by the earl of Both well. The cardinal sum- 
moned his prelatical council, and with much osten- 
tation proceeded to the trial and condemnation of 
his v : «tim. After a mock trial, which was but a 
series of insults, Wishart was sentenced to be 
burned on the following day as a heretic. The 
martyi met death with fortitude and holy bold- 
ness, forgiving his enemies and persecutors; but 
before he died he turned toward the cardinal, 
who was witnessing the execution from a window 
of the tower, and said, " He who in such state 
from that high place feedeth his eyes with my 
torments within a few days shall be hanged out 
at the same window, to be seen with as much 
ignominy as he now leaneth there in pride." 
Only a few months passed before this prediction 
was fulfilled. Thus a death which seemed at the 
time the triumph of the cardinal's power proved to 
be the knell summoning him to judgment. John 
Leslie, a brother of the earl of Rothes, headed a 
conspiracy, which surprised Beaton in the castle of 
St. Andrews and slew him in his own bed-cham- 
ber while pleading for mercy and crying, " I am a 
priest ! I am a priest I w and without one word of re- 
pentance or prayer. And to allay a tumult caused 
by the attendants of the castle, and to assure the 
populace of his death, the cardinal's dead body was 


exposed at the very window from which he had 
witnessed Wishart's execution. So perished David 
Beaton, one of the most unscrupulous, treacherous, 
licentious and cruel prelates that ever cursed any 

Though the destruction of this bold, bad man 
was regarded by a large part of the community as 
necessary in order to preserve civil and religious 
liberty, yet upon no Christian principle could such 
an act be justified. Its perpetrators were guilty 
of an infringement of the laws of the kingdom. 
But convinced as they were that the illegality of 
"Wishart's sentence had converted his death into 
murder, and that the civil power was unable or 
unwilling to punish the crime, they believed that 
they were doing God's service and performing a 
patriotic deed in ridding their country of one 
of its worst enemies. 

This misjudged act was calculated to keep alive 
the fierce spirit of the age, and to impede the 
progress of the cause it was intended to promote. 
While it was a warning to the persecutors of 
the Reformers, it alienated many good men, 
who were shocked at the illegal manner and the 
circumstances of the cardinal's death. The warn- 
ing, however, was disregarded by his successor, 
John Hamilton, who, when installed in office, 
adopted Beaton's policy. Unable to wreak his 
vengeance upon the more prominent preachers of 
the Reformed faith, he seized an old priest of four- 


score years, Walter Mill, who had been accused of 
heresy in the days of his predecessor, but at the 
time had escaped. Being discovered by one of the 
archbishop's spies, he was apprehended, brought to 
trial, and burnt at the stake. So great was the 
compassion felt for this venerable man, and such 
the horror awakened by this great outrage, that the 
archbishop was compelled to employ one of his 
own domestics, a dissolute fellow, as the execu- 
tioner. As he expired in the flames the aged 
sufferer uttered these prophetic words : " I trust 
in God I shall be the last that shall suffer death 
in Scotland for this cause." And he was the last 
victim the archbishop was permitted to sacrifice. 
" His death," says Spottiswood, " was the death 
of popery in the realm." 

In the mean time events rapidly culminated. 
The lords and chief gentry who were devoted to 
Protestantism resolved to meet at Edinburgh, and 
there determine what was best to be done in the 
present crisis. On assembling they resolved to 
stand steadfast in the defence of the Reformed 
religion, and entered into a common bond or 
covenant for the support of each other and to 
maintain the gospel. This league was formed 
December 3, 1557, and was subscribed by the 
earls of Argyle, Glencairn and Morton, and by 
a great number of other distinguished men among 
the barons and influential country gentlemen. 

This is truly a remarkable document, especially 


when we consider the times and circumstances in 
which it was drawn up. The demands made in 
it upon the queen-regent were few and moderate, 
showing both their loyalty and their desire to 
avoid all conflict with the civil power. The sub- 
scribers insisted, however, that the curates and 
pastors should discard the use of Latin in their 
services and perform them in the English lan- 
guage, which the people understood, and they 
promised to apply their " whole power, substance 
and their very lives," to maintain " faithful min- 
isters who would purely and truly minister Christ's 
evangel and sacraments to his people." Subse- 
quently, they claimed that the election of minis- 
ters should be made by the people, according to 
the custom of the primitive Church, and that great 
diligence should be exercised by those who pre- 
sided at such elections, so that men of unholy 
lives or holding erroneous doctrines should not 
be retained in the sacred office. It was also after- 
ward provided by act of council that "it should 
be lawful for every one that could read, to use the 
English version of the Bible until the prelates 
should publish a more correct one." Continued 
and strenuous efforts also were made by the no- 
bility and gentry to suppress all superstitious rites 
and practices — including the mass — which seek "to 
destroy the evangel of Christ and his congrega- 

The time of conflict now drew nigh when these 


principles would he subjected to the severest test 
in the persons of their adherents. The queen, un- 
der the influence of her brothers, the princes of the 
French house of Lorraine, was to be used as the in- 
strument for the suppression of the Reformation, not 
only in Scotland, but throughout Europe. As Mary 
was also the nearest heir to the English crown, it 
was thought that the best method to secure their 
design would be first to suppress the Reformation 
and establish the French and papal powers in her 
realm, and from thence assail England. In order 
to accomplish this, it was necessary that the crown- 
matrimonial of Scotland should be secured to 
Mary's husband, the son of the king of France and 
heir to the throne. The queen employed every arti- 
fice in her power to induce the Protestant nobility 
to consent to recognize her husband Francis and 
herself as king and queen of Scotland. By her sol- 
emn promise that she would "protect their preach- 
ers and themselves from the malice and hatred of 
the bishops and promote the reformation of relig- 
ion," she succeeded only too well in her scheme. 

But the mask she wore was thrown aside so 
soon as she had gained her purpose. At once she 
adopted measures to banish or silence the Protes- 
tant ministers. Though overawed in her plans 
for a time by the resolute attitude of the nobility, 
she only awaited a more favorable opportunity to 
renew the attempt. Four of the preachers of the 
Reformed doctrines, distinguished for their elo- 


quence and boldness, were summoned to appeal 
before the court at Stirling, May 10, 1558, tc 
stand trial for "usurping the ministerial office and 
exciting seditions and tumults among the people." 

At this critical period the Protestant cause re- 
ceived a most important accession of strength in 
the person of John Knox, who had returned from 
the Continent at the earnest entreaty of the Scotch 
nobility, they promising to jeopardize their lives 
in the cause of true religion. His arrival at this 
opportune moment produced consternation in the 
hearts of the prelates. • Already they had felt the 
keenness of his blade, and their corrupt system 
still reeled under the terrible blows he had dealt 
it. Instead of attacking the outposts, Knox had 
turned his heavy artillery on the very citadel of the 
enemy, boldly maintaining that the papal Church 
of Rome was Antichrist. Disdaining all compro- 
mises with the apostate Church, rejecting every- 
thing in doctrine and government which had no 
higher authority than was derived from its teach- 
ing or practice, his final and sole appeal was to 
the word of God. From Knox's appearance on 
the scene we may date the real beginning of the 
Reformation in Scotland. 

After the death of Wishart, Knox had gone to 
England, and finally to the Continent, where he 
found a welcome refuge in the little republic of 
Geneva. Here he formed an intimacy with Cal- 
vin, a kindred spirit to his own, and in friendly 


conference and Scripture study matured his views 
of Church reform. Here, too, he found a system 
of order and discipline combined with pure doc- 
trine which excited his greatest admiration. The 
more he studied it, the more enthusiastic was his 
approval of it, and from this period he became 
convinced that the Presbyterian form of church 
government was the one best adapted to his own 
country. And all the lessons which he learned 
by observation and through intercourse with the 
Genevan Reformers were garnered up for the ser- 
vice of the Church in his native land. 

It was but the week previous to the trial of the 
ministers at Stirling that Knox landed at Leith. 
From the hour of his arrival he became the rul- 
ing spirit in the councils of the Lords of the Con- 
gregation. His presence encouraged his friends, 
and his words inspired them with his own zeal 
and firmness. Their antagonists could scarcely 
have been more disconcerted by the news of ar? 
invading army; for, while the papal fraternity 
were engaged in their deliberations in the mon- 
astery of Grayfriars, one of their number rushed 
in pale with terror, exclaiming in broken words, 
"John Knox! John Knox is come ! he is come! 
He slept last night at Edinburgh !" They ceased 
to deliberate, broke up the council, and dispersed 
in confusion. 

It was in vain that the queen-regent proclaim- 
ed him an outlaw and a rebel. His voice could 


neither be silenced nor his influence suppressed. 
Communicating his own courage in a large degree 
to the Protestant nobility, they resolved to defend 
their right of liberty of worship and to protect 
their pastors who had been put on trial. For this 
purpose they assembled at Perth with arms to en- 
force their just demands. But again were they de- 
ceived by the false promise of the queen-regent, who 
agreed that " if they would quietly disperse no 
steps should be taken against their ministers." No 
sooner, however, had the Protestants returned to 
their homes than their pastors were denounced as 
rebels for not appearing for trial on the day 
originally named in the summons, and all per- 
sons were prohibited, " under pain of rebellion, to 
assist, comfort, receive or maintain them in any 

The duplicity of the queen excited in the minds 
of Protestants the utmost contempt, and in that of 
the people at large a total loss of confidence. The 
prior of St. Andrews and the earl of Argyle re- 
tired in disgust from her councils and joined 
themselves to the Protestant cause. Strengthened 
by these and other valuable accessions, the Lords 
of the Congregation " framed and subscribed an- 
other bond, pledging them to mutual support and 
defence in the cause of religion." They resolved, 
also, to abolish the idolatrous rites of popery, and 
to establish Protestant worship wherever the au- 
thority of the nobility or the favor of the people 


sanctioned it. Lord James Stewart, the prior of 
St. Andrews, who had recently joined the Reformers, 
invited Knox to preach publicly in the abbey on a 
certain day. The invitation was eagerly accepted, 
and on the 9th of June the preacher arrived at St. 
Andrews. The archbishop was enraged. He 
threatened that if John Knox should dare to 
appear in the pulpit of the cathedral "he should 
be saluted with a dozen of culverings, whereof the 
most part should light on his nose." Fearing to ex- 
pose the life of the preacher, as well as their own 
lives, to such imminent peril, some were disposed to 
retreat. But when Knox was consulted, he en- 
treated them not to hinder him from preaching, 
for this was an opportunity for which he had 
longed and prayed and hoped ; and " as for the 
fear of danger that may come to me, let no man 
be solicitous, for my life is in the custody of 
Him whose glory I seek. I desire the hand and 
weapon of no man to defend me. I only crave 

This language was becoming him " who never 
feared the face of man." The call he regarded 
as one of sacred duty, and his dauntless courage 
so inspired the lords that they ceased to think of 
danger. On the appointed day Knox appeared 
in the pulpit and preached to a large audience, 
including the archbishop and many of the in- 
ferior clergy, and no "culverings" were fired at 
him, for God restrained the fury of his enemies, 


while his Spirit subdued the hearts of the people. 
His subject was our Lord's driving the traders 
from the temple, which he applied to the duty of 
Christians to purify the Church and remove from 
it all the corruptions of papacy. For three days 
he preached in the same place, and the result was 
that the Reformed worship was established in the 
city, and the magistracy and people stripped the 
church of images and pictures. 

Information of what had taken place not only 
a< St. Andrews, but in the other parts of the king- 
dom, led the queen-regent to adopt vigorous meas- 
ures to suppress the Lords of the Congregation. 
She raised an army, which was met by armed 
resistance on the part of the Protestants. After 
alternate reverses of both parties and a long war 
of diplomacy, the Protestants applied to Queen 
Elizabeth of England for aid, and with the assist- 
ance afforded by her army and fleet the French 
troops were driven from Scotland. In the treaty 
which followed it was stipulated that a free Par- 
liament should be convened, which assembled in 
August, 1560. Both the circumstances in which 
they met and the subjects on which they were 
called to deliberate, constitute this the most im- 
portant meeting of the estates of the kingdom that 
had as yet been held in Scotland. A petition by a 
number of Protestants was presented to this body, 
praying "that the anti-Christian doctrine main- 
tained in the Popish Church should be discarded ; 


that means should be used to restore purity of 
worship and primitive discipline; and that the 
ecclesiastical revenues should be applied to the 
support of a pious and active ministry, to the 
promotion of learning and to the relief of the 
poor." In this petition we have the assertion of 
several great principles — purity of worship, return 
to primitive discipline and the proper support of 
a pious and devoted ministry — which subsequent- 
ly were put into operation in the Scottish Church 
and made it a blessing and a power in the king- 

With respect to the first request of the peti- 
tioners, that of purity of worship, the Parliament 
required the Reformed ministers to lay before 
them a summary of doctrines agreeable to the 
Scriptures and which they wished established. 
This they did in a confession of twenty-five arti- 
cles. It was read first before the lords of arti- 
cles and then before the whole Parliament, and 
after due examination it was formally ratified by 
the Parliament, only three noblemen voting against 
it. This body also, August 24th, abolished the 
papal jurisdiction, prohibited the celebration of 
mass, and rescinded all the laws against the Re- 
formed faith. 

Thus, by the act of the State, the Protestant 
religion became the national religion of Scotland. 
But Parliament, though it had annulled the papal 
jurisdiction, created no ecclesiastical authoiity in 


its stead. During these distracted times little 
comparatively had been done to organize even 
local churches. Converted priests and laymen 
taught the doctrines which they had received as 
opportunity offered. There were very few sta- 
tioned preachers. Most of those capable of pre- 
senting the Reformed faith in a suitable manner 
to the people itinerated in different parts of the 
kingdom. But the circumstances had so changed 
that all felt there was a pressing necessity to adopt 
measures for a national ecclesiastical organization. 
The vacant field was in need of diligent and wise 
cultivation ; it was plainly their duty to secure 
the vantage-ground gained for the Reformation. 

To this end the first General Assembly of 
Scotland was convened at Edinburgh, December 
20, 1560. It owed its authority to no earthly 
power, and hence was free to adopt a system of 
doctrines and a form of government which it con- 
sidered most consonant to the Scriptures. Scot- 
land escaped for the present the evil under which 
the English Church had long suffered — the forced 
acknowledgment of the supremacy of the civil 
power as her spiritual head. But the principle 
which was now conceded was afterward to become 
an object of fierce and protracted conflict. 

The Assembly consisted of but forty members, 
and only six of these were ministers. While few 
in number, however, the clergy were men of abil- 
ity and piety and raised up by God for the work 


given them to do. Great simplicity and unanim- 
ity characterized the proceedings. Seven differ- 
ent meetings were held without a moderator or 
president. The Assembly in many of its features 
resembled a missionary organization, having been 
called into being by the exigences of the occasion. 
The papal organization had been abolished, and 
they were under the necessity of making imme- 
diate provision for the spiritual instruction of the 
people. And as the purity of the Church was 
essential to its well-being, and as this could in 
their view only be maintained by the power of 
discipline, their first work was to draw up a com- 
plete system of ecclesiastical government. This 
task was devolved upon the same eminent men 
who had framed the Confession of Faith which 
had been ratified by Parliament — John Knox, 
John Mirriam, John Spottiswood, John Douglas, 
John Row and John Willock. The work they 
divided among themselves; and having finished 
their several parts and examined the whole to- 
gether, they laid it before the General Assembly, 
by whom it was approved. Whether it was for- 
mally adopted, as opposition was made by some of 
the nobility with whose selfish schemes it inter- 
fered, there is some reason to doubt. The prob- 
abilities are that it was adopted at a meeting held 
in the following January. This much we do 
know — that this, the First Book of Discipline, 
was afterward referred to and regarded as the 


standard book of the Church, regulating her prac- 
tice and guiding her decisions. 

As this is the constitution of the Church of 
Scotland and contains the matured opinions of the 
Scotch Reformers, it is very desirable that we have 
clear views respecting its provisions. The lead- 
ing ideas of the book of discipline were suggested 
by Knox, who was at the head of the commission, 
and the principles of church government embod- 
ied in it bore a striking resemblance to those of the 
Genevan Reformers. Nor is this surprising. For 
years Knox and Calvin had been intimately associ- 
ated, and we have before seen that their views were 
remarkably accordant in doctrine, as they were now 
respecting the polity of the Church. These two 
great men, in common with the early Puritans, 
recognized four classes of church officers — pastors, 
who were to preach the gospel and administer the 
sacraments; doctors or teachers, whose province it 
was to interpret Scripture and refute error and to 
teach theology in schools and universities; ruling 
elders, who assisted the pastor in exercising disci- 
pline; and deacons, who had special charge of 
the revenue of the church and of the poor. 
But in the Scottish as in other Presbyterian 
and Congregational churches, the distinct office 
of teacher fell into disuse. As merely academi- 
cal or theological, or of the nature of an aid to 
the pastor, as in the Congregational churches of 
New England, it lacked the position and promi- 


nence which were essential to its permanent rec- 

The session, consisting of the pastor, elders and 
deacons, managed the affairs of the individual 
congregation. They were chosen by the people, 
and met weekly or oftener for the transaction of 
business. There was also held in every princi- 
pal town a meeting, called the " weekly exercise," 
composed of ministers, teachers and educated men 
in the vicinity. This was subsequently converted 
into the presbytery and had the oversight of the 
neighboring churches. The provincial synod dis- 
charged kindred duties, only on a wider field. The 
General Assembly, which was composed of min- 
isters and elders commissioned for the purpose, 
and meeting twice or thrice a year, attended to 
the general interests of the national Church. 

Two great objects were sought to be secured 
by these arrangements — the one the freedom and 
vigor of the individual congregation, the other 
a system of order and discipline common to all 
the churches. The first was vindicated by de- 
claring it as a principle founded upon the word 
of God that " it appertairieth to the people and to 
every several congregation to elect their minister." 
The last was promoted through the influence ex- 
erted by synods and the General Assembly, con- 
stituting as they did the missionary and aggressive 
organization for all the churches. Public worship 
was held twice on the Sabbath, and in every town 


a sermon was preached also on one other day of 
the week. Baptism, when administered, was ac- 
companied with preaching, and the Lord's Supper 
was observed four times a year with appropriate 
sermons and instruction. A school was to be 
established in every parish, and in every " notable 
town" it was proposed to erect a college for the 
higher education of the youth. Measures were 
adopted to secure the instruction of all classes, 
those who were able being obliged to do it at 
their own expense, while a fund was provided to ed- 
ucate the children of the poor. To carry all these 
important measures into effect, the patrimony of the 
former ecclesiastical establishment was divided be- 
tween the ministry, the schools and the poor. 

These were the principal features of the govern- 
ment and discipline of the Church of Scotland 
as set forth in the book of discipline. As thus 
constituted, the Church was purely Presbyterian. 
It had, it is true, one peculiar feature — that of 
a system of superintendence , which some have 
claimed favored a modified form of episcopacy. 
But the office of a superintendent had little if 
anything in common With that of a bishop. 
Superintendents were required to be preachers 
and to remain in a particular place for months, 
exercising the pastoral office, and were subject to 
the censure and control of the clergy. While 
visiting the churches they were to preach not less 
than three times weekly, were not to relax their 

history OF THE scotch CHURCH. 43 

efforts until all the churches were supplied with 
ministers, and if condemned for any offence they 
were deprived of their office like any ordinary 
pastor. All these restrictions are inconsistent with 
the privileges and the dignity of the office of a 
prelatic bishop. 

Their duties more nearly resembled those of a 
sy nodical missionary than of any other officer in the 
Church of the present day. They exercised a gen- 
eral supervision over extended districts — a pro- 
vision greatly needed at that time, owing to the 
want of properly qualified ministers and the desti- 
tute condition of the congregations. The superin- 
tendents were not a separate order of the clergy, 
and their authority was carefully guarded, so as not 
to infringe upon the parity of the ministry. Yet 
their own usurpations of power and authority, to- 
gether with the intrigues of certain of the nobility, 
who wished to use them for their selfish purposes, 
and with this object in view conceded to them 
episcopal titles, soon rendered the office very ob- 
noxious with the people. By way of derision they 
were called tulchan bishops, and a more contempt- 
uous term than this could scarcely have been 
devised. The "tulchan" was a calf's skin stuffed 
with straw, which was laid beside the cow to in- 
duce her to give her milk more freely. "The 
bishop," it was said, " had the title, but my lord 
had the milk." 

The plan to make them bishops was not owing 


to any zeal for episcopacy on the part of the peo- 
ple, but, as before stated, grew out of the avarice of 
the nobility, who were anxious to get hold of the 
episcopal revenues. At the period when the at- 
tempt was made to invest the superintendents with 
the title and authority of bishops Knox was on 
his deathbed, and his last hours were embittered 
by a knowledge of the proposed innovation. He 
gave his "dead hand and dying voice" against it. 
Like Calvin, he was willing to allow expediency a 
large place in the outward constitution of the 
Church, and he saw nothing unscriptural in the 
appointment of superintendents who should super- 
vise large districts in the capacity of missionaries 
in order to provide the means of grace to destitute 
congregations, and to organize churches where they 
were needed, but to the very last he steadfastly 
refused to acknowledge them as a distinct order of 
the ministry, and would never give his consent to 
their ordination as such. 

On the 5th of December, 1560, her young hus- 
band, Francis II., who occupied the throne but for 
a few months, died, and Mary returned to her native 
country from France. She landed at Leith, and was 
conducted to Holyrood House with many demon- 
strations of joy by a people who were ready to be 
loyal to their queen, provided they could at the same 
time maintain their higher allegiance to the King of 
kings. From motives of policy, and with the de- 
sign to secure the confidence of the Protestants, she 


■was led to make many concessions to them, since 
tlx-v were the predominant party in the kingdom. 
But in all these measures the queen was insincere, 
and was distrusted by the Protestant party. It 
was known that she still adhered to the tenets of 
the Romish faith and was at heart a bigoted papist, 
and her subsequent conduct confirmed the worst 
fears of Knox and the other Reformers. She re- 
fused to ratify the acts of Parliament that had 
established the Reformation, she repeatedly at- 
tempted to restore to the papal prelates their 
civil jurisdiction, and in 1563 she sent a letter 
to the Council of Trent, professing her submission 
to its authority, and expressing the hope that she 
would succeed in time in bringing both England 
and Scotland under the dominion of the Roman 
see. To the petition of her Protestant subjects 
for the suppression of the superstitious rites and 
worship of the papal Church she in great anger 
replied that "she hoped before another year to 
restore the mass throughout Scotland." But her 
crowning act of perfidy was her subscribing the 
treaty of Bayonne, formed between the queen- 
regent of France, the queen of Spain and the 
duke of Alva, which contemplated the total and 
universal extermination of the Protestants by fire 
and sword.* Thus, with a duplicity character- 
istic of Romanism in all ages, Mary, by procla- 
mations and acts of councils, wished to be re- 
* Hume. 


garded as favoring the Reformed ministers, while 
she was secretly negotiating for the subversion 
of the Protestant religion throughout Europe. 

A determined resistance was made against these 
and all other measures intended to restore the spir- 
itual domination of Rome. At the same time the 
Scottish Reformers displayed equal zeal in main- 
taining their religious liberties. Foremost among 
these was John Knox, who launched his fiercest 
invectives against the queen for her deceptive 
conduct, and against certain of the nobility, 
who, through the bribes of power and the loose 
manners to which they had become accustomed at 
a licentious court, were ready to betray the inter- 
ests of Protestantism. Wherever the contest was 
the fiercest, wherever the assault was most deter- 
mined and persistent, and wherever boldness and 
inflexible courage, combined with prudence and 
great wisdom, were needed, there stood the in- 
trepid Reformer, ready to resist successfully all 
the attacks of the enemy, until, worn out by anx- 
iety of mind and his long and arduous labors, he 
died on the 29th day of October, 1572. 

To the very last he evinced the same faithful 
intrepidity to truth and principle. Addressing the 
wicked regent, Morton, he boldly told him: "God 
has beautified you with many benefits which he 
has not given to every man, and therefore, in 
the name of God, I charge you to use all these 
benefits aright, and better in time to come than 


ye have done in times by the past. If ye shall 
do so, God bless yon and honor yon ; but if ye 
do not, God shall spoil you of these benefits, and 
your end shall be ignominy and shame." How 
prophetic these words ! and how forcibly must they 
have recurred to the regent's mind as he lay in 
prison and was subsequently led to the scaffold ! 

Scarcely could a higher or more just eulogy 
have been uttered than was pronounced by Mor- 
ton when Knox's body was lowered into the grave : 
" There lies he who never feared the face of man." 
" He was the greatest living Scotchman," says the 
historian Froude, "and the full measure of his 
greatness no man in his day could estimate. The 
spirit of Knox created and saved Scotland ; and 
if Scotland had been Catholic again, neither the 
wisdom of Elizabeth's ministers, nor the teachings 
of her bishops, nor her own chicaneries, would 
have preserved England from revolution." Car- 
lyle calls him "the bravest of all Scotchmen" — 
"the one Scotchman to whom, of all others, his 
country and the world owe a debt." 

While his age and his contemporaries may not 
have been able to measure his greatness, his coun- 
trymen were not insensible of their indebtedness to 
him. Sincere and heartfelt grief was felt at his 
death by every Protestant throughout the kingdom, 
for they were. painfully conscious that a grievous 
calamity had fallen upon the Church of Scotland. 

Notwithstanding the Church had been obliged 


for the last quarter of a century to maintain an 
incessant struggle with the court, which was anx- 
ious to establish a spurious prelacy and to make 
the spiritual subordinate to and a vassal of the 
civil power, yet was it a period of great prosper- 
ity to the Church. Though encountering either 
direct persecution or the secret stratagems of insid- 
ious foes, its General Assemblies were convened 
frequently, by means of which its ecclesiastical 
organization was speedily perfected, purity of doc- 
trine maintained, a suitable ministry provided, the 
destitute parishes supplied with pastors, and its 
forms of divine worship established. When the 
first Assembly met, in 1560, it is stated that there 
were but twelve Protestant ministers in Scotland ; 
while in 1567, just seven years afterward, there were 
two hundred and fifty-two, and in addition to these 
there were six hundred and twenty-one readers and 
exhorters. The order of supplying destitute con- 
gregations was first the reader, then the exhorter, 
and lastly the minister; and at the beginning the 
cases were rare, except in the larger towns, where 
more than one of these agents were employed. But 
the fact that in 1576, only nine years after this, one 
hundred and sixteen out of the two hundred and 
eighty-nine Presbyterian parishes were supplied 
with both a minister and a reader is a clear indi- 
cation of the wonderful growth of the Church. 
The rapid and general diffusion of the truths of 
the Scriptures by means of these several church 


officers led the people speedily to abandon the 
superstitions of the papacy. That this was well- 
nigh universal throughout the kingdom may be 
inferred from the language of the complaint pre- 
sented to the General Assembly in 1588, which 
stated that there were still "twelve papists in 
Dumfries and its neighborhood, ten in Angus and 
Mearns, three in the Lothians," etc. How shall 
we account for so great an external growth, ac- 
companied as it was by an equally remarkable 
improvement in doctrine and discipline? Such 
energy as was shown and such wondrous deeds 
as were achieved by the Church of Scotland can 
only be accounted for on the supposition that the 
ministry was largely imbued with the Spirit of 
their divine Master, and that their exertions to 
enlighten and save the people were accompanied by 
the Holy Ghost. " Not by might, nor by power, 
but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts;" and 
thus only could so great and so gracious a change 
have been wrought throughout an entire kingdom. 
It should be borne in mind, too, that this great 
progress of the Church was achieved in the face of 
strong opposition. The ill-timed pretensions of 
Mary to the crown of England and her bigoted 
attachment to popery had kept the kingdom in a 
state of constant disturbance ; and when her power 
to annoy and harass the ministers had ceased and 
the regent Morton succeeded to the civil authority, 
their trials and difficulties were by no means at an 



end. The latter — a bold, wicked man and an adept 
in all manner of intrigue — was more to be dread- 
ed than an open enemy. As direct violence had 
proven ineffectual to suppress the Reformed faith, 
he resolved to try what could be accomplished by 
more subtle and insidious measures. His efforts 
were directed to these two things — first, to change 
the constitution of the Church of Scotland, mak- 
ing it prelatic, like that of England, and subject 
to the civil power; and second, to impoverish the 
Church in order to enrich himself. The former 
was to be reached by exalting and confirming the 
power of his " tulchan " bishops and placing the 
most sycophantic and unprincipled of them in in- 
fluential positions; the latter, by gaining control 
of the thirds of the benefices, under pretence that 
the stipends of the ministers should be paid more 
regularly and satisfactorily. But no sooner had he 
obtained the money than he joined several parishes 
together and appointed over them one of his tul- 
chan bishops, paying him as if he had only a sin- 
gle charge and retaining for his own the balance 
of the funds. 

It was against such hindrances and such oppo- 
sition as this that the Protestant ministry had con- 
stantly to contend. The struggle knew no inter- 
mission and it was for the right of existence. 
The clear judgment and intrepid spirit of John 
Knox were at this period greatly missed in their 
councils. Had that skillful pilot been at the 


wheel, the storm-tossed vessel would have been 
spared from encountering many of those tumul- 
tous waves which frequently threatened to engulph 
it. True, there were not wanting many excellent 
men sincerely attached to the principles of the 
Reformation and capable in more peaceful times 
of defending them, but they w r ere unable success- 
fully to surmount the new difficulties against 
which they had to contend at the hands of the 
subtle and stern regent. 

At this juncture (1574) Andrew Melville re- 
turned from Geneva to his native land. During 
his residence of ten years on the Continent he 
enjoyed the acquaintance and counsels of Beza, 
the successor of Calvin. With the firmness, cour- 
age and integrity of Knox, and with more than 
his learning, being a distinguished Oriental scholar 
and familiar with law and the great principles of 
civil government, Melville was the man for the 
crisis. His presence infused a new life and vigor 
into the Protestant cause. He at once began a 
spirited opposition to the machinations of Morton, 
and in the Assembly of 1575 discussed freely and 
fearlessly the question of the lawfulness of episco- 
pacy, affirming " that none ought to be office- 
bearers in the Church whose titles were not found 
in the book of God ; that, though the appellation 
of bishop was used in Scripture, it was not to be 
understood in the sense usually affixed to it, there 
being no superiority amongst ministers aFowed 


by Christ ; that Jesus was the only Lord of the 
Church, all his servants being equal in degree and 
power; and that the corruptions which had crept 
into the state of bishops (tulchan bishops) were so 
great that, unless they were removed, it could 
neither go well with the Church, nor could religion 
be preserved in purity." 

The question respecting the lawfulness of episco- 
pacy continued to agitate the Church for several 
years. In 1576 the Assembly had advanced in 
its solution so far as to declare, with a good degree 
of unanimity, " that the name of bishop is common 
to all who are appointed to take charge of a par- 
ticular flock, and that preaching the word, ad- 
ministering the sacraments and exercising disci- 
pline with the consent of their elders, are their 
chief duties according to the word of God." 
The contest between Morton and the Church 
knew no abatement in 1577, the former being 
determined to retain and extend his favorite tul- 
chan system, and the latter as fully resolved to 
put an end to it. Even after Morton had re- 
signed and King James had assumed the reins 
of government, this subject was the chief topic of 
dispute in the succeeding Assemblies, until in 1580 
it was declared " that the office of a bishop, as it 
was then used and commonly understood, was des- 
titute of warrant and authority from the word of 
God, was of mere human invention, introduced by 
folly and corruption, and tended to the great in- 

jury of the Church." It was further ordained 
" that all such persons as were in possession of 
said pretended < ffice should be charged to demit 

In this long and important conflict Melville 
was the most distinguished opponent of the civil 
power, which had sought first to corrupt and then 
to destroy the influence and authority of the min- 
istry of the Church. The sagacious Morton early 
discerned his great abilities and that he was des- 
tined to wield an extensive influence, and accord- 
ingly had attempted to secure him as his agent to 
prosecute his own designs. With this object in 
view, he requested him to act as domestic instruc- 
tor to the regent, and promised him advancement 
whenever a vacancy should occur. His next bribe 
was the living of Govan, and finally he offered 
him the archbishopric of St. Andrews upon the 
death of Douglass. But all his bribes were alike 
ineffectual, and Melville remained the most stren- 
uous, as he was the ablest, opponent of the regent's 
wicked policy. 

He next attempted to intimidate him. In de- 
fending from the Scriptures their right to meet 
as an Assembly in 1577, to frame a system of 
faith and to exercise discipline in the Church of 
Christ without asking permission of the civil 
magistrate, he incurred the bitter anger of Mor- 
ton, who told him that "there will never be quiet- 
ness i 1 this country till half a dozen of you be 


hanged or banished." " Tush, sir !" replied Mel- 
ville; "threaten your courtiers after that manner. 
It is the same to me whether I rot in the air or in 
the ground. The earth is the Lord's. My coun- 
try is wherever goodness is. I have been ready 
to give my life where it would not have been half 
so well expended, at the pleasure of my God. Let 
God be glorified ; it will not be in your power to 
hang or exile his truth." The regent was greatly 
incensed, but did not dare to put his threats into 
execution. The seizure of the bold Reformer 
would only have ensured his own defeat. 

The previous discussions, growing out of certain 
inconsistencies in the constitution of the Church, 
made it desirable that its powers should be more 
accurately defined. A committee had been en- 
gaged in this work for some years ; and when the 
Assembly met in 1578, it proceeded to consider 
the system of ecclesiastical polity which this com- 
mittee reported. The articles were read one by 
one, and after long and deliberate discussion were 
approved and adopted by the Assembly, and the 
system thus formally ratified is known as the Sec- 
ond Book of Discipline. It defines the gov- 
ernment of the Church more precisely than did 
the first book of discipline, which was hastily 
drawn up. It makes the line of distinction clear 
between civil and ecclesiastical power, vindicates 
the rights of church courts as independent of the 
civil magistrate, asserts the parity of the minis- 

HISTORY OF THE semen dirndl. 55 

tiy, the right of congregations to select their own 
officers, protests against the intrusion of lay- 
men into the ministerial office, and defines the 
proper courts of the Church, as sessions, presby- 
teries, synods and General Assemblies. It thus 
presents the order and principles to which the 
Presbyterian Church has since adhered. Although 
not at first contended for as jure divino, the assaults 
made upon them by kingcraft and by Episcopal 
prelates led their defenders to maintain their 
scriptural authority, and their superiority in this 
respect to any other system taken, not " from the 
pure fountains of God's holy word," but from 
" the systems of men's invention." 

Even those who most earnestly dissent from the 
claim of divine authority for the system are fore- 
most in their praise of its wisdom and its exceed- 
ing usefulness. As it is " the great design of every 
ecclesiastical establishment to disseminate the doc- 
trines and the precepts of religion, and to afford 
the most effectual aid for the formation of a pious 
and virtuous character, it provides an efficient and 
resident clergy, unites them with the people, whom 
they are to instruct and comfort and for whose 
welfare they are bound to labor, devoting their 
time and their talents to advance the moral and 
religious improvement of all classes of the com- 
munity, and guards the office of the ministry from 
being assumed by men who had not received a 
liberal education and attained that proficiency in 


human science which is necessary for explaining 
and defending the records of revelation. More- 
over, it does not leave the absolute decision of any 
important point to one man or to one society of 
men; but constituting a regular gradation of judi- 
catories, to which all had access, it gives every 
security which could be afforded for the exami- 
nation of whatever affects the character or the 
happiness of those who acknowledge its authority. 
And it is most favorable to the prevalence of that 
political liberty and that independence of mind 
which cannot be too highly valued."* Refer- 
ring to this same system, another writer says : " It 
has ultimately proved itself eminently adapted for 
preserving political freedom, for defending the 
truths of religion, and for conveying in a most 
impressive manner to the great part of the com- 
munity that interesting instruction which all eccle- 
siastical orders and systems were intended to im- 

The Church of Scotland continued to have many 
severe struggles with the king and his Parliament 
up to the year 1585, when the papal influence was 
finally destroyed by the expulsion of the earl of Ar- 
ran from the councils of the young king, James VI. 
Through the influence of Morton, who had once 
more gained an ascendency in the councils of the 
nation and a large influence with the king, the 
latter had scarcely agreed to the National Covenant, 
* Cook's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 289. 


abjuring popery and solemnly engaging to support 
the Protestant religion, before he turned baek and 
attempted to revive the policy of the former regent. 
As the Assembly claimed and exercised the right 
to control the "tulchan" bishops manufactured by 
Morton, the king was persuaded to arrest the execu- 
tion of its acts by means of orders in council. If 
the bishops were amenable to the authority of the 
Assembly, then one of the easiest and best methods 
of subjecting the Church to the civil power would 
not be available. And it was to prevent this that 
the king and his courtiers bent all their energies. 
If, on the other hand, bishops were created by the 
king and allowed a place in Parliament, they being 
his favorites and cringing sycophants, the task of 
at least indirectly controlling the Church would be 
comparatively easy. Through the prelatic element 
he could manage the Assembly and at the same 
time gratify the avarice of the nobility, who were 
anxious to grasp the revenues of the Church. This 
attempt upon their rights the Assembly boldly 
withstood. It forbade any one to accept the office 
of bishop under the penalty of excommunication. 
There was, of course, an immediate collision between 
the jurisdictions, civil and ecclesiastical. The ques- 
tion was a vital one to the Church, being nothing 
more or less than whether it would surrender its 
spiritual independence. To force it to yield, all the 
terrors as well as all the bribes the court could 
offer were brought into requisition. But the As- 


sembly was firm and equal to the emergency. A 
spirited remonstrance was drawn up, and a deputa- 
tion appointed, with Andrew Melville at its head, 
to present it to the king. In this remarkable 
paper they address him in these bold and coura- 
geous words : " Your Majesty, by device of some 
councillors, is caused to take upon you a spiritual 
power and authority which properly belongeth 
unto Christ as only King and Head of the Church, 
the ministry and the execution whereof is only 
given unto such as bear office in the ecclesiastical 
government in the same, so that in Your High- 
ness' person some men press to erect a new pope- 
dom." When the remonstrance was presented and 
read to the king in council, the earl of Arran, with 
a threatening countenance, asked, " Who dares sub- 
scribe these treasonable articles ?" " We dare !" 
replied Melville; and advancing to the table, he 
took the pen from the clerk and subscribed. The 
other commissioners followed his example. 

This was a bold deed, and it provoked the ven- 
geance of the court. Though the deputation es- 
caped personal violence, the matter was not allowed 
to rest. The chief oifender was summoned to ap- 
pear before the privy-council to answer for sedi- 
tious and treasonable speeches, which it was charged 
he had uttered in his sermon and prayers on a fast- 
day ; and although declining the jurisdiction of the 
court because his judges were not capable of decid- 
ing according to Scripture upon his ministerial 


conduct, he was found guilty in the absence of all 
criminating evidence, and sentenced to be im- 
prisoned in Blackness castle and punished in his 
person and goods at His Majesty's pleasure. By 
the importunity of his friends Melville was in- 
duced to fly to Berwick, and thus escape punish- 

The ensuing Parliament, May, 1584, proceeded 
by a series of acts to destroy altogether the inde- 
pendence of the Church. By these it was made 
treasonable to impugn the power and authority 
of the three estates of the kingdom, by which all 
that the Assemblies had done to abolish prelacy 
was condemned ; no ecclesiastical court could be 
held without the special command and license of 
the king, thus rendering unlawful the meetings of 
presbyteries, synods and General Assemblies; and 
it was forbidden, under the severest penalties, that 
any one, either in public or private, should presume 
to censure the conduct of the king or his council. 
These despotic acts, generally spoken of as the 
Black Acts, struck a blow at once at civil and 
ecclesiastical freedom. Yet were they basely sub- 
mitted to by the nobility, barons and gentry. Not 
so, however, were they treated by the ministers. 
They denounced them and protested against them 
in the name of the Church of Scotland. Presby- 
terianisra in this sad crisis, as afterward, was the 
standard-bearer of the liberties of the nation. 

The danger t) the State, as well as the Church, 


was imminent. Such was the violence of those in 
power that more than twenty ministers were 
obliged to save their lives by flight. And when 
direct persecution ceased, the king still proceeded 
in his measures to establish episcopacy. But the 
tide of popular feeling was against him; and when 
this was reinforced by the patriotism shown by 
the ministers and members of the Church at the 
appearance of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and 
by the prudent administration of the affairs of the 
kingdom by Robert Bruce, one of the Edinburgh 
ministers, who had been made an extraordinary 
member of the privy-council, the king was in- 
duced to desist from the rash and foolish project 
of restoring prelacy. 

At this period James was very favorably dis- 
posed toward the Presbyterian system and ready 
to adopt wiser and more moderate views. He 
attended one of the sessions of the Assembly 
(1590), and in reply to the request that he would 
confirm the liberties of the Church, banish the 
papists and provide a proper support for all par- 
ish ministers, he said, "The first were confirmed 
by Parliament, the second had ever been his en- 
deavor, and he wished a committee appointed to 
meet with his council to devise a plan by which 
the third object might be secured." In answer to 
an English divine who expressed great surprise 
that the Church of Scotland was never troubled 
with heresy, he is said to have replied in sub- 


stance that it was owing entirely to the fact of 
that Church having well-defined and reglllarly- 
graded courts for the trial of all offenders; and 
if not discovered and punished by the session, 
presbytery or synod, the General Assembly. " I'll 
warrant you, will not spare him." It was also in 
response to overtures of the Assembly of 1590 
that he pronounced his well-known panegyric of 
the Church of Scotland : " I praise God that I 
was born in such a time, to such a place, as to 
be king of such a Kirk, the sincerest Kirk of the 
world;" and then, declaring it to be superior to 
either the churches of Geneva or England, he 
exhorts ministers and people to preserve its purity, 
and closes with pledging himself, "so long as he 
brooked his life and crown, to maintain the same 
against all deadly."* 

In consequence of the friendly disposition of 
the king, Presbyterians, through their Assembly, 
were emboldened to ask, and Parliament at once 
passed, an act ratifying the form of government 
as then administered by General Assemblies, syn- 
ods, presbyteries and sessions, defining the pow- 
ers of these judicatories and reversing all acts 
inconsistent with this polity. Thus was Presby- 
tery legally declared to be the Constitution of 
the Church of Scotland. This parliamentary 
sanction was in the highest degree satisfactory 
and valuable to the ministers. Secured against 
* Cook, vol. i., p. 4- r )0. 


opposition, they were in a much better position to 
promote the public welfare, and could now de- 
vote themselves to the spiritual interests of the 


From the Charter of the Church to the 
Renewing of the Covenant. 

The state of tranquillity arising from the estab- 
lishment of the Presbyterian Church was of short 
duration, owing to the vacillating policy of the 
king. The principles, spirit and discipline of the 
Protestant Church just established were too pure 
and sacred to suit the crafty and despotic monarch 
or his avaricious and dissolute courtiers. His past 
experience had taught him that he could neither 
deceive by his arts nor overawe by his threaten- 
ings the high-souled ministers of the Presbyte- 
rian Church. Their freedom, therefore, must be 
circumscribed as far as possible, and their influ- 
ence diminished, even if it periled the safety of 
the kingdom. Accordingly, papists were again 
restored to favor at court, and priests and Jesuits 
became once more active in the government. Soon 
another conspiracy was formed, under the lead of 
certain popish earls, who were promised assistance 
in their efforts to suppress Protestantism and estab- 
lish the Romish religion in Scotland. An army 



furnished by the king of Spain was relied upon as 
their efficient ally. 

The ministers, as usual, were the first to appre- 
hend the danger, the most forward in their loy- 
alty to the king and most valiant in the defence of 
the kingdom against the threatened invasion. But 
notwithstanding that the conspiracy was detected 
and exposed and the popish noblemen apprehended, 
the king exerted his powerful influence to shield 
them from merited punishment; and when the 
General Assembly proceeded to excommunicate 
two of the conspirators, who by a former sub- 
scription to the Confession of Faith were amenable 
to its jurisdiction, the act was highly displeasing to 
the monarch. His resentment to these and other 
measures proposed was so great that he threat- 
ened to call a Parliament for the purpose of over- 
throwing Presbyterian ism and restoring prelacy. 
He was shrewd enough to perceive that he could 
more readily bend to his crafty design prelates 
upon whom he had conferred wealth and titles 
than ministers who derived nothing from him, 
and who owed him only natural allegiance. 

In 1596 the design was seriously entertained of 
recalling the popish earls who had been compelled 
to fly the country for being concerned in the late 
conspiracy. The Protestant ministers earnestly 
remonstrated "against receiving into favor con- 
victed traitors and popish apostates, enemies at 
once of their country and of the gospel." Their 


boldness and persistence offended the king. At 
one of their conferences with him he charged them 
with holding seditious meetings and unreasonably 
alarming the country. At this juncture Andrew 
Melville stepped to the front and boldly confront- 
ed the king. Seizing him by the sleeve of his 
robe and calling him "God's silly vassal," he 
addressed him in a tone such as rarely salutes a 
royal ear from the lips of a loyal subject. "Sir," 
said he, u as divers times before I have told you, 
so now again I must tell you, there are two kings 
and two kingdoms in Scotland : there is King 
James, the head of the commonwealth, and there 
is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose 
subject James VI. is, and of whose kingdom 
he is not a king nor a lord nor a head, but 
a member. Sir, those whom Christ has called 
and commanded to watch over his Church have 
power and authority from Him to govern his spir- 
itual kingdom, the which no Christian king or 
prince should control and discharge, but fortify 
and assist. We will yield to you your place and 
give you all due obedience, but again I say you 
are not the head of the Church ; you cannot give 
us that eternal life which we seek for even in this 
world, and you cannot deprive us of it. Permit 
us, then, fi-eely to meet in the name of Christ and 
attend to the interests of that Church of which 
you are chief member." 

These were certainly very plain as well as bold 



sentiments to address to a monarch. But the oc- 
casion rendered the language justifiable. Under 
their power the king's passion cooled ; his heart 
was awed and he showed that, he felt the influence 
of the truth which had been so clearly and forci- 
bly presented. He did not attempt to dispute the 
principle to which he had just listened, but de- 
clared that the popish earls had returned to Scot- 
land without his knowledge, and finally dismissed 
the ministers with fair promises. The Church was 
once more proving itself the guardian of civil 
while contending for religious liberty. The lattei 
cannot long exist without producing the former, 
and civil freedom cannot long survive spiritual 

The promises of the king were soon found un- 
reliable. Measures were adopted to restore the 
popish conspirators and to admit Romish adhe- 
rents to royal favor. These were strongly pro- 
tested against by the Assembly, which appointed 
a day of humiliation and prayer in view of the 
imminent danger, and summoned an extraordi- 
nary council of the Church to consult as to what 
was needed to avert the peril. The contest soon 
became an avowed one on the part of the king, 
who perceived that deceit could not secure his de- 
sign ; and as the freedom of ecclesiastical meetings 
was becoming more and more offensive to him, 
he determined to make an open assault upon this 
privilege of the Church. In an interview with 


some of the ministers he told them plainly that 
there could be no agreement between them and 
him "till the marches of their jurisdiction were 
rid," and he claimed that no Assembly should 
be convened except by his special command, and 
that nothing that was done should be valid until 
ratified by him. Nor were they left in doubt 
as to his ultimate purpose. In his work enti- 
tled Free Law of Free Monarchies he distinctly 
claimed that " a king was free to do what he 
pleases," that his will "is above all law with a 
parliament," whose duty it is to execute his com- 
mands and for the people passively to obey ; and in 
his Basilicon Doron, wherein he gives instructions 
to his son Henry, James asserts "that the office 
of a king is of a mixed kind, civil and ecclesias- 
tical, and that a principal part of his function con- 
sists in ruling the Church." To these claims the 
Presbyterians of Scotland would not for a single 
moment yield. With protestations of loyalty as 
civil subjects, they repudiated the iniquitous claim 
of the monarch to ecclesiastical control. They 
stood ready to sacrifice all else before the supreme 
headship of Christ. 

The contest which was now fairly entered upon, 
was a long and arduous one. At first the king and 
his council endeavored to carry their ends by vio- 
lence. One of the most zealous of the Presby- 
terian clergy was put on trial for treasonable words 
said to have been used in a sermon, and, by order 


of the court, was banished. The ministers of 
Edinburgh were obliged to withdraw from their 
parishes to avoid punishment for the stand they 
had taken. All these things, however, were un- 
availing, and were, besides, not in accordance with 
the king's taste. He much preferred to accom- 
plish his designs by the use of kingcraft. Ac- 
cordingly, he caused to be drawn up fifty-five 
questions concerning the government and disci- 
pline of the Church and published them in his 
name, and called a convention of estates and a 
meeting of the General Assembly in Perth to 
consider these questions. Having no hope of 
securing an acquiescence in his scheme on the 
part of men who had shown a willingness to suf- 
fer and die rather than violate their duty to God, 
he brought into requisition his kingcraft, and 
sought to gain his ends by the introduction of 
ambitious and unprincipled men into the As- 

A messenger from the court was sent to the north- 
ern part of the kingdom to induce the ministers 
from these remote districts to meet at Perth on the 
day appointed by the king. By artful misrepre- 
sentations, by flatteries and by exciting a spirit of 
jealousy against their brethren in the south, the 
royal emissary succeeded in gaining a majority of 
the members of the Assembly. Was this a law- 
ful body ? This question was decided, after a 
three days' debate, in the affirmative, and then 


answers ^ere given to the leading propositions 
submitted to them by His Majesty, which he was 
pleased to regard as the sanction of the Church to 
his measures. In this way he partly accomplished 
by stratagem what force and persecution could not 

His next step was to induce the Assembly to ap- 
point a committee of fourteen ministers, with whom 
he might advise u in all affairs concerning the weal 
of the Church." Through this, his ecclesiastical 
council, he was able more leisurely to mature his 
devices and introduce them into the Church. Nor 
was he slow to use this advantage. At the very 
next meeting of the Assembly he induced this 
council to petition Parliament, requesting that the 
Church might be represented in that body and 
have a voice in its decisions. The petition, 
through the king's influence, was granted by Par- 
liament, and prelacy was declared the third estate 
of the kingdom. The spiritual power of the 
prelates who were raised to this dignity was subse- 
quently to be arranged by the king and the Gen- 
eral Assembly. In this insidious way episcopacy 
was introduced, "a wedge being taken out of the 
Church to rend her with her own forces." * 

The more clear-sighted of the ministers saw 

through the artful measure and protested against 

it. The venerable Ferguson denounced it as the 

Trojan ho se, and Davidson, making use of this 

* Calderwood. 


illustration, said, "Busk, busk him as bonilie as 
ye can, and bring him in as fairly as ye will, we 
see him well enough ; we see the horns of his 
mitre." Bruce and James Melville also stren- 
uously opposed the royal scheme, Andrew Mel- 
ville having been prohibited by the king from 
taking his seat in the Assembly. But by menaces 
and by bribes, and by the removal of the Assembly 
to Dundee for the convenience of the northern 
ministers, a bare majority was secured in favor of 
the project to make the clergy the third estate in 
the kingdom. 

The permission of the Assembly, which had been 
secured chiefly through the votes of the elders, was 
guarded by many wise restrictions, but the king dis- 
regarded them whenever it was his interest so to do. 
These restrictions were designed to protect the liber- 
ties of the Church, especially against the encroach- 
ments of prelacy. The title of bishop was not to be 
applied to those holding a seat in Parliament, but 
that of commissioner. Six were to be nominated 
by the Assembly in each province, one of whom 
should be chosen by the king, as its ecclesiastical 
representative, and it was provided that they were 
not to propose anything to Parliament without the 
Church's express warrant and direction. They 
were also to render an account of their work to 
the Assembly, and in all parts of ecclesiastical 
government and discipline they were not to claim 
any more power than what belonged to other 


ministers. All these restrictions, however, availed 
nothing. At a meeting of the commissioners in 
the following October, while certain of the most 
decided opponents of the king's scheme were ab- 
sent from the house, James summarily nominated 
David Lindsay, Peter Blackburn and George 
Gladstanes to the vacant bishoprics of Ross, 
Aberdeen and Caithness. These men afterward 
took their place in Parliament, and voted in direct 
violation of the " caveats " or cautions to which 
they had but recently consented. Still, the free 
spirit of the Assembly was a great check upon 
them. The struggle went on for tire next twenty 
years with scarcely an intermission. Leading 
ministers were either banished or imprisoned, 
many others were intimidated or bribed, until, by 
the aid of the nobility and a subservient Parlia- 
ment, the king won a victory disgraceful alike to 
the vanquished and to the victor. 

One of the first measures of the monarch in this 
long tissue of trickery was to summon and dis- 
miss Assemblies by virtue of his royal prerogative. 
This was a plain infringement of the rights of 
the Church, for the act of 1592 stipulated that the 
Assembly should meet at least once a year, and 
that the commissioners were annually to render to 
:t an account of their conduct. After proroguing 
and altering the times of Assemblies at pleasure, 
James at last ventured to prorogue indefinitely the 
one which should have met at Aberdeen in 1605. 


To all persons it was now clear that the king was 
resolved to suppress the Presbyterian Church and to 
set up prelacy in its place. But a few faithful men 
were determined that the liberties of the Church 
should not be surrendered without one more strug- 
gle, and accordingly they met at Aberdeen at the 
time appointed. When the king heard of the 
meeting, he ordered his commissioner to dissolve 
it. But the Assembly resolved to constitute itself 
before reading the communication. A moderator 
was chosen, and the message was then listened to. 
But while the reading was going on a messenger- 
at-arms arrived and ordered the Assembly to dis- 
perse on pain of rebellion. The members consented 
to do so if the commissioner would name a place 
for the next meeting of the Assembly. This he 
refused to do. The reason was obvious, and the 
Assembly itself made an appointment. 

When informed of their action, His Majesty was 
greatly incensed. Such a bold measure could not 
be overlooked. By his orders fourteen of the 
ministers, including John Forbes, the moderator, 
and John Welsh, son-in-law of Knox, were appre- 
hended, cast into prison, and put on trial before 
the privy-council for high treason. A packed jury, 
by a majority of three, found six of them guilty, 
who, after suffering fourteen months' confinement 
in the castle of Blackness, were banished to 
France. The others, by a like perversion of law 
and justice, would have shared their fate had not 


public sympathy for the sufferers made it evident 
that it was unsafe to proceed with their trial. For 
most of them, however, the respite was very brief. 
Before the next Parliament six of the most distin- 
guished of them, including both the Mel vi lies, 
were commanded to meet the king in London (for 
James was now king both of England and Scot- 
land), on the pretext that he wished to treat with 
them "respecting such things as would settle the 
peace of the Church." When admitted to an audi- 
ence, they were questioned about the Aberdeen As- 
sembly, and such a construction put upon their re- 
plies as furnished the desired pretence for instituting 
judicial proceedings. On a despicable charge An- 
drew Melville was arraigned for trial ; and, not- 
withstanding his able and eloquent defence, he 
was committed to the Tower of London. After 
four years' imprisonment he was banished to 
France, where he remained until his death. His 
nephew, James Melville, was prohibited from re- 
turning to Scotland, and the remaining four minis- 
ters to their parishes. In this way the perfidious 
monarch was enabled to secure the triumph of his 
scheme by striking down the free-spirited men who 
had resisted it. Surely nothing more is needed to 
form a correct judgment between the two systems of 
presbytery and prelacy than the methods which it 
was found necessary to employ to establish each in 
Scotland. The former won the hearts of the peo- 
ple by the faithful preaching of the word and by the 


pure, pious and self-sacrificing lives of its minis- 
ters ; the latter was forced upon them by arbitrary 
power, by treachery, by corruption and by per- 

Other steps in this succession of intrigue, intimi- 
dation and bribery were to appoint the bishops 
constant moderators in all meetings of presbyteries 
and synods, to restore to the bishops the civil 
jurisdiction formerly held by the popish prelates ; 
and that they might exercise the power thus con- 
ferred, the Court of High Commission was 

This court was composed of prelates, noblemen, 
knights and ministers. It was regulated by no 
fixed laws or forms of justice, and was armed with 
all the power of civil and ecclesiastical despotism. 
It could receive appeals from church courts, de- 
pose and excommunicate, fine and imprison. But 
such was the public feeling excited by these meas- 
ures of the prelates that for several years the court 
prudently did but little business. Thus one right 
of the Church after another was trampled under 
foot by the imperious monarch 'and his obsequious 
retainers. The bishops acknowledged themselves 
his creatures. Archbishop Gladstanes crouched 
before the king with all the menial servility of 
an Eastern slave. He repaired, he said, to His 
Majesty's most gracious face, " that so unworthy 
a creature might both see, bless and thank my 
earthly creator. " 


In 1617 the king indulged what he called his 
"natural and salmon-like affection to see the place 
of his breeding" by a visit to his native and an- 
cient kingdom. The chapel of Holyrood House 
was repaired, an organ was sent down from Lon- 
don, and English carpenters began to set up carved 
and gilded statues of the apostles. The people 
murmured, the bishops were alarmed, and at their 
solicitation the apostles were dispensed with. The 
liturgy, however, was daily read, and the purpose 
was openly avowed that the royal example should 
be imitated throughout the kingdom. An obse- 
quious Parliament, aided and abetted by venal 
bishops, gave him full authority to enact eccle- 
siastical laws for the government of the Church. 
With this sanction of his power, he no longer con- 
cealed his plans. He declared he would never 
more consent to have matters ruled as they had 
been in General Assemblies. " The bishops," he 
said, " must rule the ministers, and the king rule 

Against all these usurpations a large body of 
ministers protested. The cowardice of one, how- 
ever, prevented their petition from being placed 
in the hands of the king. But meeting with a 
copy of it, he flew into a great passion and de- 
nounced the petitioners. Some of the ministers 
were subsequently treated with great cruelty, and 
even the bishops were severely reprimanded and 
called dolts and deceivers for inducing him to be- 


lieve that the people of Scotland were in favor of 
prela ;y. 

In the Assembly which met at Aberdeen in 
1616 the prelatical party presented a new Confes- 
sion of Faith. The articles were afterward put 
into form and submitted for adoption to the As- 
sembly of Perth, 1618, which was ordered to meet 
by royal mandate. Every possible device which 
a despot could employ was brought into requisi- 
tion to ensure a majority of commissioners favor- 
able to his scheme. The prelates addressed the 
Assembly in a domineering tone, and in the name 
of their master threatened those who should re- 
fuse to adopt the articles, that their names would 
be marked and sent to His Majesty for punish- 
ment. Though thus menaced, there were forty- 
five ministers who stood true to their principles, 
and the Five Articles of Perth, as they are called, 
were adopted by but a small majority. These 
articles were kneeling at the communion, the ob- 
servance of holidays, episcopal confirmation and 
the private dispensation of the Lord's Supper. 
Parliament three years after sanctioned these rites, 
and thus by its vote was the constitution of the 
Presbyterian Church of Scotland subverted. This 
day, the 25th of July, 1621, was marked by low- 
ering clouds, deepening gloom, hail and tempest, 
and was long known as the Black Saturday — 
" black," says Calderwood, " with man's guilt and 
w'th the frowns of Heaven." 

WTSTOR Y OF THE S( '01 1 7/ ( 7/ 1 'IK 'If. i i 

The ratification of the five articles of Pertli by 
Parliament gave the bishops the constitutional 
sanction they desired. They at once began to 
enforce the obnoxious rites. But civil and eccle- 
siastical authority combined were unequal to im- 
pose them on an unwilling people, as the unavail- 
ing contest for the next twenty years proved. The 
court of High Commission, urged by the king, pro- 
ceeded against those ministers who refused to con- 
form to the recent acts of Parliament. The cruel 
treatment of John Welsh and Robert Bruce indi- 
cated the spirit with which submission would be 
enforced. It was not the fathers alone, but every 
eminent minister in the kingdom was persecuted. 
If they could be induced to subscribe the Perth 
articles, the prelates hoped their people would 
either yield to their example or become alienated 
from them. Pursuing their cruel plan, they sum- 
moned before them Messrs. Dickson, Dunbar, Row, 
Murray and Johnstone — men eminent for their piety 
and talents, and greatly beloved in their parishes. 
At first entreaty and then threats were used to in- 
duce them to submit, and their refusal was followed 
by banishment to different parts of the kingdom. 
Attention was next directed to the universities, 
and the principal of Edinburgh College, the 
celebrated Robert Boyd, was forced to resign, and 
Robert Blair was deprived of his professorship in 
Glasgow and obliged to retire to Ireland. Stu- 
dents, moreover, were constrained to take an oath 


to submit to the prelatic form of church govern- 
ment before they were allowed to preach. Non- 
conforming ministers continued to be displaced, 
congregations were compelled to do without the 
ordinances unless they would receive them con- 
joined with superstitious rites, and all the oppres- 
sive enactments of previous years were enforced 
during the remainder of James' reign. 

After his death, which took place 1625, minis- 
ters and people had a brief respite from persecu- 
tion. This they owed to the fact that the court 
of High Commission expired with the king who 
had created it. But his successor, Charles I., be- 
gan almost immediately to carry out the policy 
of his father. He directed that the affairs of the 
Church should proceed as in the previous reign, 
and, inspired by that despicable creature Laud, he 
instituted new measures to harass Protestants and 
to restore the prelates to their possession of church 
property, while to all the just grievances of a suf- 
fering people he turned a deaf ear. 

Being refused relief and redress by their earthly 
monarch, the more fervent were the supplications 
of the persecuted to the King of kings. As very 
many of the best and most pious ministers were 
prohibited from laboring in their own parishes, 
they went from one district to another throughout 
the kingdom, kindling the sacred fire that burned 
so brightly on the altar of their own hearts. Soon 
a powerful revival of religion began under the 


preaching 01 such men as Bruce, Dickson and 
Livingstone, which continued for several years and 
extended over a wide region and to all classes of 
society. While the latter was preaching at the 
kirk of Shotts the converting power of the Spirit 
was so graciously displayed that nearly five hun- 
dred persons were born again. This fresh baptism 
of the Spirit was what the people needed to con- 
firm their resolution and inspire them with cour- 
age for the impending conflict with prelacy and 

The struggle was near at hand. It was precipi- 
tated by the infatuation of the enemies of the 
Church. Though unable to enforce obedience 
to the Perth articles, except to a very limited ex- 
tent, the more ardent and least wise of the prelatists 
urged that a book of canons and a liturgy should 
be prepared for the government and worship of 
the Church. This was done; and after Laud's 
supervision and amendment, the canons were con- 
firmed under the great seal in 1635. Among other 
things, the canons pronounced excommunication 
upon all who denied the king's supremacy in 
ecclesiastical matters, or who asserted that the pre- 
latic form of church government was unscriptural. 
Every minister was obliged to adhere to the forms 
prescribed in the liturgy under penalty of depo- 
sition; which liturgy was not at the tine in exist- 
ence. No General Assembly could be called 
except by the king, and no private, meetings 


could be held by the ministers for expounding 
the Scriptures. Thus was it attempted, at one 
and the same time, by this book of canons, to 
subvert the entire constitution of the Church of 
Scotland. The despotic acts were unsparingly 
denounced by all Presbyterians, and the nobility 
were pleased to see the offensive measures adopted, 
knowing well that all attempts to enforce the pro- 
visions of the book of canons would react upon 
the prelates, whose power they wished diminished, 
as they had usurped so many of the highest offices 
in the State. 

A liturgy or book of public worship was com- 
pleted in 1636, which all faithful subjects were 
commanded by the king to receive and observe, 
and an order was obtained from the privy-council 
requiring ministers in every parish to provide two 
copies of the Service-Book for the use of their peo- 
ple. Edinburgh was the place chosen where the 
public use of the book was to be commenced. On 
the 23d day of July, 1637, the perilous experiment 
was made by the dean of that city in the cathedral 
church of St. Giles. The church was crowded, 
and "a deep melancholy calm brooded over the 
congregation," presaging the fierce tempest which 
was about to sweep away every barrier. At length 
the dean, attired in his surplice, began to read the 
liturgy, but his voice was speedily drowned in 
tumultuous clamor. An old woman, Jenny Ged- 
des, was the heroine of the occasion. " Villain !" 


she cried; "dost thou say mass at my lug?" and 
with these words hurled the stool on which she 
had been sitting at the dean's head. Others 
quickly followed her example. Missiles of every 
kind flew, while some of the more impetuous 
rushed toward the desk to seize the offender. 
Terrified by this sudden outburst of popular 
anger, the dean threw off his surplice and fled. 
The bishop attempted to allay the tumult, but 
was greeted with shouts of " A pope ! a pope ! 
Antichrist ! Stone him ! Pull him down !" and he 
was with great difficulty rescued by the magis- 
trates. This unexpected storm of public indig- 
nation surprised and terrified the court-party. 
They were prepared for and expected resistance 
from some ministers, and these they intended to 
crush into the dust, but they were stupefied by 
the exhibition of the violence of the pent-up 
feelings of the populace. And great as were 
their fears, they did not exaggerate the danger. 
This unlooked-for tumult was the deathblow to 
the liturgy in Scotland. Intelligence of what had 
transpired in Edinburgh soon spread through 
the kingdom, and was the signal of open resist- 
ance in other towns and cities. At Glasgow, 
Ayr and other places it was found absolutely 
necessary to suspend the use of the ser\ A *e. The 
people would no longer tamely submit to see the 
institutions of their fathers wantonly violated and 


Petitions from ministers and letters from noble- 
men and gentlemen from all parts of the country 
were addressed to the privy-council, requesting that 
the reading of the liturgy might not be forcibly 
imposed. To these a favorable reply was received, 
which very much enraged the prelates, as they 
felt that the nobility were about to desert them. 
Through false representations and the influence 
of Laud they induced the king to write a sharp, 
reproving letter to the privy-council. This "acted 
like a spark thrown upon a train of gunpowder." 
It roused all who had the welfare of the country 
at heart. Crowds of noblemen and gentlemen, as 
well as ministers, flocked to Edinburgh, where 
they awaited the king's answer to their petition 
to suspend the use of the liturgy. The answer 
was delayed, but when it did come it showed 
that the king meant to support the prelates in 
their demands. It enjoined obedience to the 
canons and the instant reception of the service- 
book, condemning all dissent under pain of trea- 
son. The crisis was upon them, and they recog- 
nized the fact that they must prepare to defend 
their rights or bow their necks to the despotism 
of Church and State. 

Their resolution was taken at once. The Na- 
tional Covenant was renewed, with a mutual bond 
on the part of The Four Tables to resist all inno- 
vations, and by all lawful means recover the purity 
*nd liberty of the gospel. The Covenant consisted 


of three parts — the old covenant of 1581, the acts 
of Parliament condemning popery, and an appli- 
cation of the whole to the present circumstances. 
This proved to be the Magna Charta of Scottish 
liberties. It set up an effectual barrier to the 
encroachments of royal and prelatical prerogative. 
The day appointed for renewing the Covenant 
was the 28th of February, and the place Gray- 
friars' church, Edinburgh. Here, at daybreak, 
the commissioners met; the covenant was read over 
and all parts of it deliberately examined. As the 
hour approached for signing the bond of union 
the church and churchyard were packed with the 
wisest and best of Scotland's men and women. 
Henderson opened the meeting with an earnest 
prayer, and the earl of Loudon explained and 
vindicated the object of their assembling. John- 
stone then in a clear and distinct manner read the 
covenant, while the vast multitude listened with 
deep yet subdued feelings difficult of restraint. 
A solemn stillness followed, which was finally 
broken by the earl of Rothes announcing that if 
any had objections to offer, if they would state 
them, the commissioners would then and there en- 
deavor to remove them. Another pause ensued. 
Was it from any lack of resolution ? Having 
gone so far, did they hesitate to put their names 
to the bond? Far from it. They modestly de- 
ferred to each other the high honor of being the 
first to subscribe. At last the venerable earl of 


Sutherland slowly and reverentially came forward, 
and with trembling hand put his signature to the 
Covenant. Then name followed name in rapid 
succession, until all within the church had signed. 
It was then removed to the churchyard and spread 
out on a gravestone, where a still more impressive 
scene was witnessed. Some as they subscribed 
wept aloud, others added the words "till death" 
to their names, others opened a vein in their arms 
and wrote their subscription with their blood. The 
signatures were added while there was space left 
for even the initial letters to be subscribed ; and 
this being no longer possible, the people, with faces 
bathed in tears and moved as by one impulse, 
lifted up their right hands to heaven and solemnly 
appealed to God as to the sincerity of their motives 
and their future fidelity to the cause of Christ. 

On the next day the Covenant was again read, 
when three hundred ministers at once added their 
names to the large numbers that had previously 
subscribed. It was then carried to different parts 
of the city for signature, and wherever it appear- 
ed it was received with great joy. Copies were 
afterward sent to every part of the kingdom, and 
before the first of May there were few parishes in 
which the Covenant had not been signed by nearly 
all of competent age and character. No compul- 
sion was required or permitted, the subscribers re- 
garding it a high honor and a solemn duty. The 
subscription was frequently accompanied by evi- 


dent tokens of the Spirit's presence and power. 
"I was present," says the celebrated Livingstone, 
"at Lanark and at several other parishes when 
on Sunday, after the forenoon sermon, the Cove- 
nant was v ead and sworn, and I may truly say 
that in all my lifetime, excepting at the kirk of 
Schotts, I never saw such motions from the Spirit 
of God." The sacred pledge thus mutually given 
to be faithful to their country and their God awed 
and hallowed the souls of the signers. From the 
subscription to this renewed Covenant, we may 
date the Second Reformation in Scotland. 


From the Signing of the National Cove- 
nant to the Restoration of Charles II., 

The unanimity and cordiality with which the 
Covenant had been received by the Scottish people 
led the prelates almost to despair of their cherished 
schemes. Spotiswood, who better than any other 
understood those with whom they had to deal, ex- 
claimed : " Now all that we have been doing these 
thirty years past is thrown down at once." All 
parties — the privy-council, the prelates and the 
Presbyterians — sent deputations to the king in Lon- 
don to acquaint him with the real state of affairs 
in the kingdom. But, as usual, he heeded only 
the partial and false statements of the bishops. 
Their pernicious advice induced him to enter upon 
measures which finally involved his kingdom in 
the miseries of revolution, and cost the monarch 
his life. 

Satisfied that it was too dangerous at present to 
attempt to compel obedience by force of arms, the 
king abandoned all such measures. His resort was 
to negotiation, whereby he hoped to divide the 
Covenanters ; and failing in this, he would gain 



time to make the requisite preparations for war. Pie 
appointed, therefore, a commissioner to treat with 
his Scottish subjects, selecting for this purpose the 
marquis of Hamilton. He was authorized to em- 
ploy every method, however base, even to pretend 
friendship and compassion for the Covenanters, 
only that he might better deceive, circumvent 
and overpower them. On June 19, 1638, the 
commissioner made his public entry into Edin- 
burgh in great state. Approaching the city, sixty 
thousand people received him, ranged for miles in 
ranks along the seaside. These were in large part 
composed of nobles and gentry from all parts of 
the country, and the ministers and people who had 
signed the Covenant; and while thus showing their 
loyalty to their king in things temporal, they be- 
sought Hamilton with tears to persuade him to 
grant a redress of their grievances. But Charles 
and his bishops were not to be dissuaded. The 
Covenanters demanded that a free General Assembly 
should be called, where the conduct of the prelates 
should be investigated, and a Parliament, by which 
all unconstitutional acts might be rescinded. Then 
began a long series of measures by the monarch and 
his commissioner, designed to outwit, intimidate, 
divide or gain over the adherents to the Covenant. 
All their efforts, however, proved a failure. The 
Presbyterians remained united and stood firmly by 
their principles. The king was most reluctantly 
constrained to allow the convening of " a free 


General Assembly" at Glasgow, and the meeting 
of a Parliament at Edinburgh, " for settling and 
confirming peace in Church and State." In the 
mean time, he prohibited the enforcement of the 
Book of Canons, the Liturgy and the Five Articles 
of Perth, and abolished the court of High Commis- 
sion. These were indeed great concessions ; and 
had the Covenanters been able to place any reli- 
ance upon the king's sincerity, they would have 
been generally satisfactory. But the act itself 
convening the Assembly was open to suspicion, in 
that the religion to be maintained was what was 
" at present professed ;" and besides, the bishops 
whose conduct was to be investigated were made 
constituent members of the very court that was 
to try them. 

Care was taken by the Presbyterians to have the 
Assembly constituted according to the principles 
of their Church. Deputations were sent to the 
presbyteries with instructions how to act in the 
emergency. They were successful in securing the 
return as commissioners of the ablest of the minis- 
ters, and the most influential of the nobility and 
gentry as ruling elders. 

The Assembly met November 21, 1638, in Glas- 
gow, and consisted of two hundred and thirty- 
eight members, of whom three-fifths were minis- 
ters. Alexander Henderson, acknowledged to be 
'-.he fittest man by reason of his self-command and 

HISTORY OF Till': scutch CHURCH. 89 

sound judgment, was chosen moderator. The 
king's commissioner appeared, and contested every 
step of the Assembly's proceedings. Among other 
things he wished to have the paper from the prel- 
ates declining the jurisdiction of the Assembly 
read before the body was properly constituted. 
But this was negatived, as had been his other pro- 
posals. As soon as the commissions of the mem- 
bers were examined and the integrity of the court 
rendered sure, the declinature of the bishops was 
presented by their procurator, Dr. Hamilton. To 
this a committee made answer, and the Assembly 
by a vote declared itself competent to judge the 
bishops. The commissioner at once forbade the 
Assembly to proceed, and in the name of the king 
required it to dissolve. 

It was a critical moment. Should the Assem- 
bly recede from the position which it had just 
taken or surrender its rights to the dictate of the 
royal commissioner? If the members receded, 
they might just as well admit all the claims of 
the monarch to control the Church. Against this 
act of Hamilton, Henderson, Loudon and Rothes, 
all ably reasoned and expressed their regret; and 
while the commissioner was retiring, having once 
more declared the Assembly dissolved, a protest 
was read by the clerk against his proceedings, the 
protestors maintaining it to be their duty to re- 
main in session until the important duties were 
done for which they had been called together. 


And when the question came to a vote, it was 
carried almost unanimously in the Assembly. 

With the exception of one or two, all the mem- 
bers remained at their posts. With great promp- 
titude the Assembly nullified the six corrupt 
Assemblies from 1606-1618, by which prelacy 
had been introduced, and declared all the changes 
and innovations made by them illegal ; condemned 
the Five Articles of Perth, the Canons, Liturgy and 
Book of Ordination, and the High Commission; 
declared prelacy abjured by the National Covenant 
and contrary to the principles of the Church of 
Scotland ; and finally, in the name of the Church, 
voted its removal and the substitution of the Pres- 
byterian government and worship to their former 
integrity. The prelates' conduct, after a full and 
impartial investigation, was declared to be of a 
character to render them worthy of censure, and 
eight of them were deposed and excommunicated, 
four simply deposed, and two deposed from the 
prelatic station, but permitted to hold the office 
of pastor over a single parish. Having finished 
its business, this memorable Assembly closed its 
labors on the twentieth day of December. In 
pronouncing the Assembly dissolved the moder- 
ator added these words : " We have now cast 
down the walls of Jericho. Let him that re- 
buildeth them beware of the curse of Hiel the 

Thus by a single month's work was swept away 


the whole fabric of prelacy, which had been labo- 
riously erected by the king and his ecclesiastical 
minions, and on which more than thirty years of 
kingcraft and priestcraft had been expended. Not 
a vestige remained. The General Assembly was 
reinstated in the exercise of its legitimate author- 
ity, and everything moved forward in as orderly a 
manner "as if the thirty years' suppression had 
been only a semi-annual adjournment." "No 
Church, except one constituted on the Presbyterian 
model, could have borne such a testimony or gained 
such a triumph." It should not, therefore, be a mat- 
ter of surprise that a Church which had maintained 
a successful struggle against the despotic claims of 
kings and prelates for more than half a century, 
and had vindicated its scriptural simplicity of 
church order and worship, should be regarded by 
not a few as possessing jure divino authority. Some 
of the principles which had been so boldly and 
successfully vindicated were unquestionably vital 
to spiritual freedom and the progress of the gos- 
pel. The independence of church courts of civil 
control, the right of the congregation to the choice 
of its own officers and the parity of the ministry, 
were too essential to the freedom, if not the very 
life of the Church, to allow them to be regarded 
as of secondary importance; and these fundamen- 
tal principles of the Presbyterian system invest it 
with claims which, in no offensive sense, confer upon 
it the peculiar distinction of being most accordant 


with the Scriptures and the genius of civil and 
religious liberty. 

While the Covenanters had calmly and firmly 
taken their position, from which they could not 
be driven, they were anxious to avoid any conflict 
with the monarch. Before the marquis of Hamil- 
ton left Edinburgh several of their leading men 
waited upon him to solicit his friendly mediation. 
This failing, they sent a supplication to the king 
himself, in reading which he indignantly said, 
"When they have broken my head, they will put 
on my cowl." He was greatly enraged at what he 
considered an insult to his royal prerogative, and 
immediately resolved upon the suppression of the 
offenders. He began at once his preparations for 
war, receiving his chief supply of money from the 
liberal contributions of the English bishops. Most 
reluctantly the Presbyterians engaged in the con- 
flict which they saw was inevitable, for the king 
would not pardon the offence of the Assembly, 
and Scotland would not recede from the stand 
which had been taken in the name of the nation. 
In the minds of many Christians there were grave 
doubts concerning the propriety of even a defen- 
sive war. But when the question was clearly seen 
to be, as it really was, whether, in obeying the 
monarch, they must disobey God, they soon arrived 
at the conclusion "that a Christian people were 
entitled to take up arms in defence of their relig- 
ious liberties against any assailant." They did 


not hesitate — nay, were forward — to yield obedience 
to the king in all things pertaining to the State, 
and even to submit to civil wrongs after a simple 
protest or remonstrance, but they were convinced 
that religious liberty could not be yielded without 
committing grievous sin. 

1 Having thus concluded, they began their prep- 
arations to defend their rights. Full executive 
powers were given to the committee in Edinburgh, 
arms and ammunition were collected, and expe- 
rienced officers were employed to instruct those 
who were willing to serve in the army; and as 
the forces of Charles were already assembling at 
York, the precaution was taken to seize the strong 
fortresses of Edinburgh and Dumbarton. Dal- 
keith was also taken possession of, and Leith for- 
tified to protect the capital from assault by sea. 
All attempts at compromise having failed, the in- 
fatuated monarch demanded the renunciation of 
the Covenant and the Glasgow Assembly, and an 
unconditional submission to his royal will. Orders 
were issued by the committee for the Scottish army 
to march to headquarters. The chief command 
was entrusted to the experienced and veteran sol- 
dier, General Leslie, and the army moved forward 
in two divisions to Dunse Law, where it encamped 
within sight of Charles' forces. The level summit 
of the hill on which the Scottish troops had taken 
up their position bristled with cannon. Around 
it were pitched the tents of the soldiers, and at the 


door of each captain's tent a staff was planted, 
from which floated a banner with the inscription 
in golden letters, " For Christ's Crown and 
Covenant." Attached to each regiment was an 
able and honored minister, who regularly, morn- 
ing and evening, conducted devotional services in 
the presence of the assembled troops. The army 
was composed mainly of peasants, to whom relig- 
ious liberty was dear, and who were ready to sac- 
rifice their lives in its defence. These were led 
by their time-honored nobility, encouraged by their 
beloved pastors, and rendered invincible in their 
own estimation by the righteous cause for which 
thev contended. Fearing; God, thev feared not 
the face of man. 

No wonder that the king hesitated before risk- 
ing battle with so formidable and resolute an ene- 
my, particularly as he must have known that the 
English had little heart to engage in what was 
justly regarded as the bishops' war. Accord- 
ingly, he made it known that he was ready and 
anxious to receive proposals for peace from his 
aggrieved subjects. These were promptly made, 
since the Covenanters were not moved by pride 
and were only desirous to have their religious free- 
dom assured. After protracted negotiations the 
king acceded to articles of peace, in which the 
requests of the aggrieved party were virtually 
granted. Then followed the signing of a treaty, 
the disbanding of the armies, and the restor- 


ing to the king of the castles that had been 

Short-lived was the peace thus inaugurated. 
Kingcraft was again invoked, and was employed 
in every possible manner to thwart the wishes of 
the loyal subjects of the realm. The Assembly 
that met in Edinburgh that same year abolished 
all the prelatic innovations which again had been 
forced upon the Church, and made provision for 
the annual meeting of Assemblies and the regu- 
lar meeting of synods, presbyteries, and kirk ses- 
sions. The National Covenant was also renewed, 
and the privy-council petitioned to sanction it 
and to require all subjects to subscribe it. This 
was done, the whole council subscribing as well as 
the king's commissioner. 

These acts of the Assembly and the council in- 
censed the monarch, who resolved once more on 
war. By great exertions his exhausted treasury 
was replenished, and he took the field with an 
army of over twenty thousand men. As usual, 
the Covenanters tried every pacific measure before 
engaging even in a defensive war. But convinced 
of the uselessness of all their efforts, the alarm was 
again sounded, and was answered by the mustering to 
their former station, Dunse Law, of thousands of the 
nobility and ministers and brave peasantry. After 
remaining inactive for a time, no enemy appearing, 
they resolved to advance in a peaceful manner 
toward the royal army. Disclaiming all hostile 


intentions against the English nation, they marched 
to the Tweed, and then, crossing the Tyne, took 
possession of Newcastle after a feeble resistance on 
the part of the royal forces. The latter were al- 
lowed to retire unmolested to show their pacific 
intentions, and a petition was presented to the king 
urging him to grant their just requests and thus 
restore peace to his distracted kingdom. The 
treaty of Ripon was the result of the decisive 
stand taken by the Covenanters, and was suc- 
ceeded by the meeting of the Long Parliament, 
so memorable in the annals of the nation, and 
which continued its sessions until English episco- 
pacy was overthrown. 

The English nation had become weary of the des- 
potic rule of their prelates. The residence of the 
commissioners in Scotland w T hile the treaty of Ripon 
was being concluded, and the free intercourse which 
some of the principal ministers of Scotland enjoyed 
with all classes of society in London while acting 
as chaplains to the Scottish commissioners, had a 
powerful influence in recommending the Presby- 
terian form of church government. Petitions be- 
gan to be presented to Parliament. Some of these 
prayed for the total abolition of the prelatic sys- 
tem, others only for a reformation in the liturgy, 
discipline and government. The desire was wide- 
spread for a change, and the hope was general that 
uniformity of worship might be established in the 
three kingdoms. Following out this idea, which 


had boon first suggested by t lie commissioners in 

London, the Assembly of 1641 appointed its modera- 
tor, Henderson, to the duty of framing a confession 
of faith, a catechism and a directory for public 
worship, that might meet all the requirements of 
a regularly constituted national Church. But be- 
fore much progress had been made in this matter, 
the breach between the king and his Parliament 
took place. The Scotch commissioners attempted 
an amicable adjustment of the points in dispute, 
but their mediation was rejected by the king, who 
regarded them as the chief cause of all his trou- 
bles, from the example they had set of successful 
resistance to his despotic measures. 

The position was a difficult one for the Covenant- 
ers. They were disposed to remain neutral in the 
contest. Loyalty to their sovereign kept them 
from all overt acts of hostility to him, while all 
their sympathies were naturally with those who 
were striving to maintain civil and religious lib- 
erty. But the progress of events soon rendered 
neutrality impossible. A common sense of dan- 
ger compelled them to take sides with their Eng- 
lish brethren, that conjointly they might avert the 
perils of their country. When, therefore, the Eng- 
lish commissioners sought a conference with the 
members of the Edinburgh Assembly, August, 
1643, it was granted, and as the result of their 
deliberations that ever memorable and remarkable 
document was adopted styled "The Solemn 



League and Covenant/' This bound the 
united kingdoms to preserve the Reformed relig- 
ion in the Church of Scotland ; to labor for the 
reformation of religion in England and Ireland 
according to the word of God and the example 
of the best Reformed churches ; and for the extir- 
pation of popery and prelacy, while the king's 
person, authority and honor were to be carefully 
guarded. This document was first approved by 
the Assembly, in which it originated, afterward 
unanimously ratified by the Convention of Estates, 
and then carried to London, where it was accepted 
and subscribed by the English Parliament and the 
Westminster Assembly of Divines. 

This latter body deserves very special mention 
in this connection. It was convened by an ordi- 
nance of Parliament issued on the 12th of June, 
1643, to devise some method whereby uniformity 
might be secured in faith, discipline and worship 
in the two kingdoms. It numbered one hundred 
and fifty-one members, of which one hundred and 
twenty-five were divines, the others being lords 
and commoners. Of this list about twenty-five 
never met with the Assembly, having either died 
before the meeting, or absented themselves through 
fear of the displeasure of the king, or from prefer- 
ence for episcopacy. To supply the vacancies thus 
caused the Parliament summoned twenty-one ad- 
ditional members, and requested the Church of 
Scotland to send commissioners to assist them in 


their deliberations. Upon this commission the 
General Assembly of that Church placed four of 
its most eminent ministers, and two elders. Of the 
thirty-two lay assessors and the one hundred and 
fifty-two divines, including those sent by Scotland, 
but sixty-nine appeared the first day, and gen- 
erally the attendance ranged between sixty and 
eighty. They met July 1st in the Abbey church, 
Westminster, and organized by appointing Dr. 
Twisse prolocutor, who opened the meeting with 
an able sermon. 

The Assembly was peculiar in many respects. 
It was neither a Convocation called to meet by 
episcopal authority, nor a General Assembly 
convened according to the rules in force among 
Presbyterians. The prelatic form of church gov- 
ernment had been abolished, and there was no 
other yet in existence. The Church was in a 
transition state, and the civil power, recognizing 
Christianity as it did, called together a large num- 
ber of Christian men to deliberate respecting those 
questions of faith and order which were essential 
to the highest welfare of the people. The prob- 
lem to be solved was : On what terms could a na- 
tional Church be formed so as neither to encroach 
upon civil liberty, nor surrender those inherent 
spiritual rights and privileges essential to a 
Church of Christ? 

That the Parliament wished to act with fairness 
and impartiality in this important matter, is evi- 

1 1 M ) St <>T(_ 'R AND IRISH SEEDS. 

dent from the fact that they named men of all 
shades of opinion in matters of church govern- 
ment. Their intention was to have the whole 
subject fully discussed, and with this in view four 
bishops were selected, besides many others well 
known for their talents and their attachment to In- 
dependency. Though the purpose was a laudable 
one, yet this was the chief element of weakness in 
the Assembly. The great diversity of opinions pre- 
vented that unity of action which was necessary 
to accomplish the work given them to do. From 
the very beginning of the Assembly three parties 
appeared. The first held that it was the province 
of the civil magistrate alone to inflict church cen- 
sure, and that he is the proper head and source 
of all power, ecclesiastical as well as civil. The 
second held that every congregation of Christians 
lias entire and complete authority over its mem- 
bers in all religious matters. The third, the Pres- 
byterians, who formed the majority of the Assem- 
bly, held firmly to the opinions and principles 
which were in practice in the Scottish Church. 

The first difference arose respecting the headship 
of the Church, the majority contending that Christ 
was the Head, and having ascended from the earth 
committed the rule of his Church to properly des- 
ignated officers. This proposition was opposed 
by those who claimed that the infliction of church 
censure belonged to the king, by reason of his civil 
magistracy. Though overruled in the Assembly, 


they triumphed in Parliament, which refused to 
sanction the proposition. The struggle with the 
Independents was more protracted, as they derived 
much of their strength from active friends and 
sympathizers in Parliament and in the army. 
With their aid " they contrived to embarrass, re- 
tard and overreach the Assembly, till they were 
able to subvert all its labors, so far as England 
was concerned ; they kept the Parliament in a 
state of confusion and indecision with their in- 
trigues till they had power to suppress it; and they 
contrived to paralyze both king and Parliament 
until the opportunity occurred of putting to death 
their monarch, and placing the sceptre in the iron 
grasp of military despotism.'' 

The uniformity in religious worship in England 
and Scotland which had been attempted was thus 
indefinitely postponed. While the jure divino 
claims urged in behalf of Presbyterianism may 
have had some influence in preventing an agree- 
ment, yet to those who claimed for the civil 
magistrate ecclesiastical control likewise, and to 
the policy of Cromwell, who encouraged the In- 
dependents in their factious opposition, the prin- 
cipal share of the blame must be attributed. 

For nearly twenty years from the time of tl e 
revival of the General Assemblies, and embracii g 
the period of the flight of Charles I. in disguise to 
Scotland, the defeat of his army by Cromwell, liis 
death and the steps taken to secure a successor to 


the vacant throne, the Presbyterian system was 
left for the most part unmolested. The General 
Assembly of 1647 ratified the Confession of Faith 
of the Westminster divines, and in 1649 passed 
an act defining the method of electing ministers, 
and their installation over parishes. These meas- 
ures were necessary to perfect the organization of 
the Church and prepare it for the protracted and 
terrible conflict which it had to encounter upon the 
restoration, May, 1660, of Charles II. to the throne 
of his father. 


From the Restoration of Charles II. to 
his Death, in 1685. 

After the death of Oliver Cromwell a "strange 
frenzy of extravagant royalty seized upon the whole 
kingdom like some uncontrollable epidemic," and 
Charles was placed upon the throne without the 
exaction from him of any of the promises or con- 
ditions that had been demanded of his predecessors. 
Against this fatal error the Church of Scotland 
could make no successful resistance, owing to its 
weakness, caused by internal dissensions. The 
power most dreaded by politicians being thus par- 
alyzed, measures were almost immediately taken 
to establish an arbitrary government. A Council 
of State was formed for Scotland, composed of 
men hostile to Presbyterian ism and in favor of 
the prelatic system. As preparatory to its attempt- 
ed introduction, some of the most powerful sup- 
porters of the Covenant had to be removed out of 
the way ; and orders were therefore given for the 
imprisonment of certain of the chief nobles and 
ministers. Proclamations were issued against the 
holding of what were designated as unlawful meet- 


ings, and the people were commanded to bring all 
seditious books in their possession that they might 
be burned. Those who were suffering from any 
grievance whatever were prohibited from presenting 
addresses or petitions to any source for redress, but 
to the Parliament or the Committee of Estates. 

A new but clearly an illegal Parliament was 
held in 1661, and its members took an oath of 
allegiance which acknowledged the king's suprem- 
acy in ecclesiastical as well as civil affairs. Hav- 
ing accorded this, they proceeded at once with their 
despotic acts. Among these it was declared to be 
the prerogative of the king to choose all officers of 
the State, to call and dissolve all Parliaments and 
meetings, and that no convocations or leagues could 
be made without the sovereign. And to remove 
every obstruction, so that absolute despotism might 
have unimpeded sway, the members of Parliament 
were absolved from the obligation to subscribe the 
Solemn League and Covenant, and were required, 
if they filled any public office, to take the oath of 
allegiance and acknowledge the king's prerogative. 
As if this were not sufficient to bind the yoke upon 
the necks of submissive subjects, these minions of 
arbitrary power annulled all the proceedings of 
the Parliaments held since 1633; thus by a single 
stroke abolishing not only all the laws made in 
favor of the Church of Scotland, but also those in 
favor of civil liberty, which had been passed dur- 
ing the late reign. 


Should it seem impossible that aets like these 
could be passed by any Parliament composed of 
men not themselves slaves, the solution is to be 
sought id what Burnet has to say of the morals of 
the people : " Vices of all sorts were the open 
practices of those about the earl of Middleton.* 
Drinking was the most notorious of all, which was 
often continued through the whole night till the 
next morning. This extravagant act was only fit 
to be concluded after a drunken bout." The pur- 
pose was to destroy the Presbyterian Church, but in 
attempting this they were compelled to destroy all 
the existing laws of the land, as well as all the 
security which law itself can give. It is no won- 
der that such vile creatures as these were the active 
enemies of religious freedom, and stood ready to 
sacrifice civil liberty also at the bidding of a des- 
pot, and the fact that it was necessary to make use 
of such agencies to introduce prelacy into Scotland, 
places the stamp of infamy upon the system itself. 
The next step was to inflict the extreme penalty 
of these destructive acts upon some of the most 
honored of the Presbyterians. The marquis of 
Argyle and James Guthrie, minister of Stirling, 
were the first victims. The first, when he re- 
ceived his sentence, said, "I had the honor to set 
the crown upon the king's head, and now he has- 
tens me to a better crown than his own ;" and on 
taking leave of his friends on the day of execution, 
* The commissioner for holding the Parliament. 


with a calm courage that justified his words, he 
said, " I could die like a Roman, but choose rather 
to die as a Christian." The second, when con- 
demned to die as a traitor, said to the judge, " My 
conscience 1 cannot submit, but this old crazy- 
body and mortal flesh I do submit to do with it 
whatsoever you will ; only I beseech you to ponder 
well what profit there is in my blood. My blood 
will contribute more for the propagation of the 
Covenant and the work of reformation than my 
life or liberty could do;" and when standing on 
the scaffold and about to yield to the axe of the 
executioner, he lifted the napkin from his face, and 
cried, " The covenants, the covenants shall yet be 
Scotland's reviving." 

The next victim marked for slaughter was "the 
heavenly-minded Rutherford." But death cheat- 
ed his enemies. In answer to their summons to 
appear at Edinburgh and stand trial for high trea- 
son, he replied : " I have received a summons 
already to appear before a superior Judge and 
judicatory, and I behove to answer my first sum- 
mons ; and ere your day arrive I will be where few 
kings and great folks come." Other ministers 
distinguished for their piety and talents were ap- 
prehended and imprisoned by the order of Parlia- 
ment, and finally banished. 

In the judgment of many persons, the time had 
now fully come when it would be safe to attempt 
to introduce episcopacy into Scotland. They 


pressed the king to proceed with the intended 
change, and he, disregarding his many oaths and 
declarations to maintain and defend the Presbyte- 
rian Church of Scotland, sent a letter to the privy- 
council, in which he declared it "his firm resolu- 
tion to interpose his royal authority for restoring 
the Church of Scotland to its rightful government 
by bishops." Four men were consecrated to the 
episcopal office, at the head of whom was James 
Sharp, a renegade Presbyterian. Following this 
was a letter from the king to his council, pro- 
hibiting the meeting of synods, presbyteries and 
sessions, unless authorized by the bishops, and 
requiring all persons to respect their office and 
the authority entrusted to them. On the arrival 
of the bishops at Edinburgh a deputation from 
Parliament was sent to invite them to take their 
seats as the third estate of the realm, and the first 
act passed — and that on the very next day — restored 
them to their ancient prerogatives, spiritual and 
temporal. Other acts of Parliament made all 
covenants and leagues for reformation treasonable, 
and prohibited any person to teach in universities 
or to preach, keep schools or to be tutors to per- 
sons of quality, who did not admit the prelatic 
government and obtain a license from the bishops. 
Notwithstanding these grievous oppressions, the 
ministers continued to occupy their pulpits, and 
refused to acknowledge the authority of the bish- 
ops. An act was passed at the instigation of the 


archbishop of Glasgow requiring them to attend 
the bishops' courts under pain of being held con- 
temners of royal authority, and the council en- 
forced the order by decreeing banishment against 
all ministers who refused to comply. The latter, 
rather than violate their conscience, submitted to 
the cruel penalty. Nearly four hundred resigned 
their livings and bade farewell to their congrega- 
tions, who, in parting with their loved pastors, 
could not repress their feelings, but wept aloud. 
A third part of the pulpits of Scotland were in 
the course of a few months vacated. 

To supply the place of these exiled ministers 
was an impossibility. The attempt to do so, re- 
sulted in bringing into the parishes many persons 
who were a reproach to the profession. " They 
were the worst preachers I ever heard," says Bish- 
op Burnet. "They were ignorant to a reproach, 
and many of them were openly vicious. They 
were a disgrace to their orders and the sacred func- 
tions, and indeed were the dregs and refuse." These 
were not the men to reconcile the people to the 
loss of their beloved pastors. It is not strange 
that their entrance to the churches should have 
been resisted, or that they were very soon left 
without hearers. The bishops, in forcing them 
upon the unwilling people, only made themselves 
more odious. At Edinburgh only a single pulpit 
continued to be occupied by the former incumbent. 
Large numbers of the pastors retired to the most 


secluded parts of the country, while not a few fled 
to Holland. 

Since the Glasgow act, as it was called, included 
only those ministers who had succeeded to charges 
since J 649, a number of aged pastors were for a 
time left in possession of their churches. To these 
the people, who had been deprived of the services 
of their own ministers, flocked from great distances ; 
and as some of the ejected clergy were allowed 
to remain in their parishes, though not permitted 
to discharge the duties of their office, their former 
parishioners were accustomed to collect in large 
numbers in their houses at the hour for family 
worship, in order that they might enjoy their 
private expositions and prayers. Frequently such 
numbers assembled that no room was large enough 
to hold the worshipers, and necessity constrained 
them to hold the meeting in the open air. This 
was the origin of the field-meetings — or conventicles, 
as they were derisively called — which were first 
held in 1663. But even those who sought in this 
quiet way to worship God were subjected to the 
rage of their persecutors. The rude soldiery, in- 
stigated by the vile curates, intercepted the people 
on their way to these private meetings, and im- 
posed a fine upon them for not attending the pre- 
latic church. 

As before stated, others of the ejected ministers, 
when banished from their homes, took refuge in 
the wilder and less accessible parts of Scotland, 


where they met many of their own people, whc 
had fled from their homes, and at their earnest 
desire they instructed them in the word of God. 
To meet this new phase of affairs an act was passed 
called the bishops' drag-net. It punished as sedi- 
tious all who ventured to preach without the per- 
mission of the bishops, and fined those who neg- 
lected to attend the parish church. Proclamations 
were also issued against conventicles, prohibiting 
ministers from preaching or holding even private 
meetings for worship, and magistrates were obliged 
to sign a bond to pay a certain sum if a conventi- 
cle should be held within their jurisdiction. An- 
other act was passed, which provided that those 
who refused to sign the declaration condemning 
the Covenanters should "forfeit all the privileges 
of merchandising and trading." And, as if this 
was not sufficient, the court of High Commission 
was again erected, and the perjured apostate Arch- 
bishop Sharp put at its head. Power was given 
to it to summon before it and punish with fines and 
imprisonment all deposed ministers who presumed 
to preach, and all persons who attended conventi- 
cles, or who kept meetings at fasts and the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper, and to employ magis 
trates and military force for seizing their victims. 
The curates were organized spies* to give informa- 

* If any one supposes that I have used stronger terms than 
the truth of history will warrant, I would refer him to Hal- 
lam's Constitutional History of England. Speaking of the prel- 


tion to the Commission of all sincere, and therefore 
obnoxious, Presbyterians. These were summoned 
to appear before the Court, and, generally without 
the formality of calling witnesses or hearing evi- 
dence, they were sentenced to pay a ruinous fine or 
were sent to prison. Some were reduced to abject 
poverty, some died of loathsome diseases contract- 
ed in their prisons, some were banished the king- 
dom, and some were sold as slaves. And as a 
refinement of the other cruel deeds, all persons 
were forbidden to extend any assistance to those 
actually starving for want of food, under the pain 
of being regarded as movers of sedition. 

In the enforcement of these iniquitous measures 
the army was actively employed. The soldiers 
were encouraged by the prelates in their work of 
plunder and death, and their conduct was rather 
that of fiends than of men. James Turner, a selfish, 
cruel, military adventurer, and his u lambs," as his 
troops were called, were sent to the west and south 
of Scotland to levy fines and compel submission to 

ates and their efforts to crush out dissenters, he says : " It 
was very possible that episcopacy might be of apostolical 
institution; but for this institution houses had been burned 
and fields laid waste, and the gospel had been preached in the 
wilderness, and its ministers had been shot in their prayers, 
and husbands had been murdered before their wives, and vir- 
gins had been defiled, and many had died by the executioner 
and by massacre; it was a religion of the boot and the thumb- 
screw, which a good man must be very cold-blooded indeed if 
he did not hate." — Hnllnm, vol. iii., p. 442. 


the bishops and curates. If a Presbyterian refused 
to pay the imposed fine, they at once quartered 
themselves in his house, where they reveled in 
riot and drunkenness and inflicted every species 
of outrage, without distinction of age or sex. Sta- 
tioning themselves at the doors of churches, when 
the congregation came out they demanded of each 
person upon oath whether he belonged to that par- 
ish. Those who did not were at once fined ; and if 
the fine was not promptly paid, the soldiers seized 
upon their Bibles, hats, plaids, or any part of their 
clothing which could be readily carried away and 
sold. Thus the soldiers robbed the poor people, 
devoured or wasted their provisions and reduced 
them to starvation. Complaints but served to in- 
crease their abuse. The extent of this robbery 
may be judged from the historical statement that 
" in the course of a few weeks the sum of fifty 
thousand pounds Scots was raised in the west" by 
the joint efforts of the curates and soldiers. 

These intolerable wrongs could not longer be 
endured, and a spark kindled the flame of insur- 
rection. The attempt, by four w r andering coun- 
trymen, to rescue a poor old man from the bar- 
barous abuse of the soldiers brought on a conflict. 
This being considered an act of rebellion, they 
knew they had no mercy to expect from the civil 
authorities. To yield was certain death to them ; 
to act in self-defence could but be death. They 
preferred the latter course, and were joined by 


many of their persecuted countrymen. The rising 
was unpremeditated and ill-timed, and in an 
enterprise of so much importance should not 
have been underraken without consultation and 
without well-matured plans, to secure a general 
movement throughout the country. For this 
reason the band of insurgents did not receive the 
encouragement they expected ; and after marching 
from place to place, they encamped in the vicinity 
of the Pentland Hills, where they were met by 
the enemy's army, at least thrice as numerous as 
their own. A sharp and bloody encounter fol- 
lowed. Fifty of the Covenanters were slain in 
battle, as many more taken prisoners, and the 
remainder driven from the well-fought field by 
DalziePs cavalry. Though so summarily sup- 
pressed, the rising showed the feelings of an 
oppressed people, and should have been a signifi- 
cant warning to those whose w T icked policy had 
produced these evil results. 

The prisoners were dragged to Edinburgh for 
trial, where sixteen of them were summarily con- 
demned to be hanged, and to have their heads and 
right hands cut off and exposed to public gaze in 
different parts of the kingdom. Among the suf- 
ferers were several distinguished citizens. John 
Neil son of Corsack was a gentleman of property, 
fine talents and unblemished character, who had 
been exposed to the malice and exactions of 
the curates and Turner's " lambs," and who had 


saved Turner's life when he was captured by the 
insurgents. He was put to the torture of the booty 
with the hope to extract from him a confession of 
a widespread conspiracy, in order that the number 
of victims whose estates could be confiscated and 
whose lives should be forfeited might be increased. 

Another of these sufferers was the eloquent and 
eminently pious preacher Hugh M'Kail, who said 
as he mounted the ladder, "I care no more to go 
up this ladder and over it than if I were going to 
my father's house." " Friends," said he, turning 
to the multitude before him, "be not afraid ; every 
step in the ladder is a degree nearer heaven." 
" Welcome, God and Father ; welcome, sweet 
Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant; wel- 
come, blessed Spirit of grace and God of all con- 
solation ; welcome, glory ; welcome, eternal life ; 
welcome, death." Thus died, with these sublime 
words on his lips, one of the purest and noblest 
of Scotland's sons, a victim to prelatic tyranny. 
Thus, too, did judicial vengeance revel in the 
blood of these defenceless prisoners. But their 
cruel execution only exasperated the feelings of 
their sympathizing countrymen, and increased the 
detestation in which the bishops and curates were 
held by the people. The dying speeches of these 
Christian martyrs, and particularly of M'Kail, were 
remembered with fervent admiration by every true 
Scottish Presbyterian. 

Wherever the people refused to attend the 


churches of the prelates or to acknowledge their au- 
thority, there the soldiery were seut with full powers 
to perpetrate whatever barbarities they pleased. Sus- 
picion was all that was required for the infliction of 
any punishment which caprice or cruelty might dic- 
tate. From some money was extorted, others were 
reduced to starvation, and many more crowded into 
dungeons, where they could only stand upright day 
and night, though sick and dying from the fetid and 
pestilential vapors. The recital, even, of such deeds 
as were committed in the name of religion stirs the 
blood with horror, and we cannot dwell upon them. 
Through many more years and with slight inter- 
missions and unimportant alleviations, the perse- 
cutions against the Covenanters continued. Con- 
venticles were still more sternly repressed, and it 
was made a capital offence for ministers to attend 
them. Gentlemen were held responsible if their 
wives, children, servants or tenantry were found in 
attendance upon them, and were ruined by the ex- 
orbitant fines exacted. But all these unjust and 
cruel measures, as well as the vigilance of the 
curates and dragoons, failed to suppress the as- 
semblages. As a necessary precaution those who 
attended them went armed, and their numbers 
were frequently large enough to overawe the 
soldiers sent to disperse them. Yet wherever 
vengeance could be exercised it was unsparingly 
indulged. Fiends in human shape like Dalziel 
and Claverhouse were the readv tools of the cruel 


policy of which Archbishop Sharp was the ruling 
spirit. At the solicitation of the latter, repeated 
orders were issued by the council against field- 
meetings, each one more oppressive and cruel than 
the preceding. At length war was virtually de- 
clared against the ministers and all who should 
attend their meetings and protect them, and the 
barbarities attendant upon the execution of these 
orders drove the people to desperation. Nine 
gentlemen took it upon themselves to rid the 
country of this arch-enemy. Meeting him un- 
expectedly — for they were looking for his tool, 
Carmichael — they made him leave his coach ; and 
notwithstanding his offers of money, his promise 
to abandon his prelatic office and his cries for 
mercy, they first shot him and then pierced him 
with their swords. So perished the guilty apos- 
tate who, by his repeated acts of perjury, and by 
eighteen years of bloodshed, had brought untold 
woe and ruin upon his country, and who finally 
fell a victim to the indignation which his merci- 
less proceedings had aroused in the breasts of 
his countrymen. 

Large but ineffectual rewards were offered for 
the apprehension of the murderers. The king was 
greatly incensed, and sent a proclamation to his 
council expressing regret for his past clemency, and 
a determination to wage a war of extermination in 
future against conventicles. He and his council, 
for their own purposes, chose to represent the per- 


secuted Presbyterians as approving of the death 
of Sharp, while they could not but know that their 
oft-avowed principles would never sanction private 
individuals in taking the law into their own hands 
even to redress the greatest wrongs. But the time 
when endurance ceased to be a virtue had nearly 
come. The persecuted had either to submit to live 
as abject slaves or to rise up in defence of civil 
and religious liberty. Some of the more impetu- 
ous, judging themselves entitled by the laws of 
God and nature to defend their own lives when 
assailed, banded themselves together for this pur- 
pose. In their declaration of principles, however, 
they not only asserted this right, but censured the 
conduct of those who had brought the great evils 
upon the country. This was construed into an 
act of rebellion against the government, and an 
armed force was dispatched to apprehend those 
who had made the manifesto. Claverhouse was in 
command of the king's troops; and meeting two 
hundred Covenanters, who were protecting a field- 
meeting near Loudon hill, he ordered his men to 
fire upon them. The fire was returned with vigor 
by the Presbyterian party, who at last rushed upon 
their assailants, putting them to flight and leaving 
forty of the soldiers dead upon the field of battle. 
This spirited and successful contest is known in 
history as the battle of Drumclog. 

With the victors the question to be decided was 
whether to disperse, or to remain together in older 


to protect each other. The latter course was de- 
cided upon, and the insurgents were joined by large 
numbers. Unhappily, however, there had been 
no previous plans or concert of action agreed upon, 
and differences of opinion paralyzed the assembled 
forces. One party was for asserting their loyalty 
to the king, although such oppressive tyranny had 
been practiced in his name; the other declared 
that when kings violate their solemn engagements 
with their subjects and become tyrants, the people 
are released from their obligations to support and 
defend those who thus oppress them. Neither 
party would submit to the other, and the scenes 
of contention which arose discouraged those already 
in arms, prevented many from joining the army, 
and led others to abandon the cause. After seiz- 
ing Glasgow the insurgents marched toward Ed- 
inburgh, then returned to their former camp on 
Hamilton Moor, near Bothwell Bridge. Here they 
were met by the royal army in command of the 
duke of Monmouth, who ordered them to lay 
down their arms and submit themselves to the 
king's clemency. The half hour given them for 
consultation having passed, and they not yielding, 
their position was charged by a detachment, which 
attempted to wrest the bridge from them. It was 
defended with great bravery, but want of proper 
support and a superior force obliged them at last 
to yield this, the key of the position. The enemy, 
crossing the bridge and charging the undisciplined 


and poorly commanded army of Covenanters, put 
them to flight, hewing down large numbers of 
them in the defenceless rout. While but few fell 
during the conflict, four hundred were slain in their 
flight, and twelve hundred were taken prisoners, 
many of whom afterward perished upon the scaf- 
fold. Such was the result of the battle of Both- 
wki/l Bridge. 

The Presbyterians owed their defeat mainly to 
their divided councils. Some of their clergy were 
among the " indulged," and had been restored to 
their pulpits by a defection from their principles, 
as some of their brethren understood it. Others 
had consented, under protest, to pay the tax levied 
for the support of the troops engaged in plunder- 
ing the adherents of the Covenant, while many 
persistently refused to pay it. These irreconcila- 
ble opinions, not to say dissensions, rendered their 
overthrow inevitable. 

But disastrous as was the battle, it was followed 
by still more terrible horrors. The prisoners, bound 
together two and two, were driven to Edinburgh as 
cattle to the slaughter. Arriving there, they were 
confined for five months in Grayfriars' church- 
yard, half naked and half starved, without any 
protection from the cold and rain except the tomb- 
stones, and at the best a few rude huts. Some of 
them were hanged, others kept a long time in vile 
prisons, while two hundred of them were crowded 
into a small vessel to be transported to Barbadoes 


and sold for slaves. Upon the western and south- 
ern counties "the bloody Claverhouse" and his 
cruel soldiers were let loose to fine, imprison, tor- 
ture and murder all suspected of aiding or approv- 
ing of the late rising. Indiscriminate carnage fol- 
lowed. The country was put under martial law, 
and unparalleled atrocities were committed by the 
licentious soldiery. The people who fled from 
their homes were shot down in the fields, while 
their houses were pillaged and burnt ; aged men of 
threescore and ten were dashed to the ground and 
trampled under foot ; the sick were dragged from 
their beds and murdered ; women were subjected 
to brutal violence worse than death itself; and 
tender youth were tortured with the hope to wring 
from them the place of concealment of their pa- 
rents. In a word, complete desolation reigned 
wherever the fierce exterminators went. 

Even yet the persecutors were not weary of their 
merciless but fruitless work. The following year 
they were allowed to glut their vengeance upon 
such distinguished victims as Richard Cameron, 
Donald Cargill and Hackson of Rathillet, whose 
heads and hands were cut off, and the former fixed 
on spikes above two of the gates of Edinburgh. 
In 1681 a new engine of tyranny was devised. 
This was the infamous Test Act — a long, complex 
oath, which bound those who took it to acknow- 
ledge the supremacy of the king in all cases, eccle- 
siastical as well as civil, to renounce the Covenants, 


and to promise that under no circumstances they 

would attempt the alteration of the government of 
either Church or State. This last of necessity 
implied on the part of Presbyterians a complete 
abandonment of the principles for which they had 
so long contended. Portions of the oath, more- 
over, were inconsistent with other parts, and a com- 
pliance with it was therefore impracticable. But 
it was required to be taken by all, papists alone 
excepted. Some of the prelatic clergy — to their 
credit be it said — refused to take the test, and re- 
signed their livings rather than perjure themselves. 
Large numbers of the nobility, and some of the 
bishops even, had to take it with explanations. 
But these were not in all cases allowed. The oath 
was designed originally only for persons occupying 
places of public trust, but it was discovered to be 
so comprehensive, and so convenient a tool of per- 
secution, that it was determined to impose it upon 
all. The earl of Argyle, who had become sus- 
pected by the duke of York and the Scottish 
council of being too friendly to the Covenanters, 
was the first victim of the test act, and only 
escaped the vengeance of his enemies by flying 
in disguise to Holland. All his past services to 
his country, his high rank and that of his distin- 
guished ancestors, availed nothing with those who 
sought his ruin. His offer to relinquish his heredi- 
tary possessions and evince his loyalty as a private 
citizen would not satisfy his enemies. His decli- 


nature to take the absurd and impious bond was 
sufficient ground to proceed against him as a crimi- 
nal, and to compel him to seek refuge in a foreign 

Notwithstanding the espionage of the curates, 
who continued to be diligently employed as in- 
formers, and the activity of the civil magistrates, 
who were equally zealous in inflicting punishment 
upon all violators of the unjust and absurd acts of 
the king and council, field-meetings and meetings 
for consultation were occasionally held in the more 
secluded parts of the country. The holding of 
such a meeting in 1682 was made the occasion 
for issuing a violent proclamation, making the fail- 
ure to give information of such assemblages a 
crime equal in magnitude to that of those who 
took part in them. As most persons objected to 
be employed as spies and informers, military offi- 
cers were commissioned, on whom was conferred 
both judicial and executive authority. They could 
call before them any suspected person and pass 
sentence upon him, and even execute those whom 
they chose. Here we have the very essence of 
despotism. And our abhorrence is increased when 
we learn the nature of the offences which these 
military judges punished. By them it was ad- 
judged a crime for any person not to attend on 
the ministry of the persecuting prelates, or to speak 
in terms of respect or pity of those who had suf- 
fered for their religion, or to be seen reading the 


Bible in private, or heard conducting family wor- 
ship in one's own house. For these and similar 
offences great numbers were impoverished by ex- 
orbitant fines, or thrown into prison, or banished. 
The estates of others were confiscated under the 
false charge of constructive treason, which latter 
proceeding caused such dismay among landholders 
that many of them seriously thought of abandon- 
ing their native land. The threat of the popish 
duke of York, that " Scotland would never have 
peace till the whole country south of the Forth 
was turned into a hunting-field," was yet, they 
feared, to be put into execution. 

An event occurred in 1684 which deserves spe- 
cial mention. It was a warning to all "intelli- 
gencers and informers," by the persecuted and 
outlawed Covenanters, that the limits of Chris- 
tian endurance had at last been reached, and that 
retaliation would follow any further acts of perse- 
cution. Having been hunted like wild beasts 
and obliged to make their abodes in caves upon 
the mountains, or in rocky glens and impenetrable 
thickets — and even in these their wild retreats they 
were not secure from the keen scent of the blood- 
hound informer — it is no wonder that they had 
finally, "like a stag at bay," turned upon their 
pursuers. Their very remarkable paper, or " apol- 
ogetical declaration," they caused to be affixed 
on the market-crosses of the chief towns of Scot- 


The effect of this declaration upon the inform- 
ers, curates and others was most salutary. These 
base emissaries showed a wholesome fear of men 
rendered desperate by long and intolerable oppres- 
sion. They dared not follow them to their deso- 
late retreats and furnish lists of them to the mili- 
tary judges. But the fury of the council knew no 
bounds, and it hastened to forge and put in opera- 
tion another terrible weapon of persecution. This 
is known as " the Bloody Act," which ordained that 
every person should be put to death " who owns 
or does not disown the late traitorous declaration." 
Commissions were issued to several noblemen, gen- 
tlemen and military officers, requiring them to as- 
semble all the inhabitants, men and women, above 
fourteen years of age ; and if any owned the late 
declaration, they were to be immediately executed; 
while those who were absent were to have their 
houses burned and their goods seized. The " ab- 
juration oath" was also framed and put in force, 
and a proclamation issued forbidding any one to 
travel without having a certificate of his loyalty, 
which was based on his taking the last-named 
oath. All indulgences were recalled, and minis- 
ters were obliged to give bonds not to preach or 
teach in Scotland. 

Nothing was now wanting, as it would seem, to 
ensure the work of exterminating the Presbyte- 
rians. If a minister preached the gospel, he was 
either imprisoned, exiled or hanged. Those who 


refused to take the impious and contradictory oath 
were visited with instant death by the lawless mili- 
tary commissions. Those who, on calls of duty or 
business, were obliged to travel, were in danger of 
being shot down by the soldiers, without even the 
formality of an inquiry as to whether they had the 
required pass. This may w T ell be called, as it has 
been designated in the history of the period, "the 
killing-time." Without a recital of individual 
instances of cruelty and slaughter, we will sum- 
marize what is needed to be said, and that in the 
words of another: "All the terrible enginery of 
persecution was now brought into full operation, 
and the practiced hands and callous hearts of the 
oppressors wielded their murderous weapons with- 
out remorse. When disappointed in one instance, 
their savage spirits thirsted the more intensely for 
a deeper draught of blood from some less protected 
source. Public judicial murders gave sanction and 
encouragement to that indiscriminate slaughter per- 
petrated by the soldiery throughout the country, 
till the entire west and south of Scotland was one 
field of blood." 


From the Accession of James II. to the 
Revolution Settlement and the Emigra- 
tion to America. 

The death of Charles IT., February 6, 1685, 
occasioned a brief pause in the dreadful persecu- 
tion which the Presbyterians endured. His death 
was attributed to apoplexy, but it was strongly 
suspected that he died of poison. Thus perished 
a monarch ungrateful, unprincipled and treacher- 
ous, and whose reign was mean, disgraceful and 
tyrannical. So soon as the intelligence of the 
king's death reached Scotland, his brother, the 
duke of York, was proclaimed sovereign, and in 
terms which recognized him as the source of all 
law, civil and sacred. Nor was he reluctant to 
use the despotic pow T er thus acknowledged to be his 
by divine right. A prelatic, and consequently an 
obsequious, Parliament was called, which at his roy- 
al bidding passed a number of the most infamous 
acts imaginable. By these the giving or taking the 
National Covenant, or owning that it or the Solemn 
League and Covenant was lawful or obligatory, was 


HISTORY OF THE scon '11 CHURCH. 127 

a treasonable proceeding. So also was the giving 
food to, or concealing those who had been declared 
traitors, and the punishment of death was to be 
extended to hearers as well as preachers at conven- 
ticles. It was an act of treason, also, if at family 
worship five individuals more than the members 
of the household were present, and the test oath 
was imposed upon all, papist* alone excepted. 

It was apparent that James was determined to 
remove all limits to the royal prerogative and to 
force upon Scotland his own religion. But the time 
had not yet come for an avowal of his design to 
root out the established faith j for though many 
were ready to promise abject submission to the 
king's will, he knew the nation was at heart de- 
cidedly Protestant and that his throne would be 
endangered if he openly attacked the Church. The 
better to conceal his real and ultimate purpose, an 
indemnity was published, which was, however, so 
framed as to shut out all nonconformists from the 
advantages of the indulgence. The bishops and 
magistrates w T ere instigated to employ still harsher 
measures toward the Presbyterians, and the same 
murderous system which, before the death of his 
brother, had excited the greatest horror, was con- 
tinued. Drummond, one of the most cruel of the 
generals, was given a commission authorizing him 
to hold courts at his pleasure, to exact fines, and to 
inflict summary punishment upon all persons who 
had performed any of the most common acts of 


humanity for the proscribed, and to call to his as- 
sistance the "Highland Host" — soldiers composed 
of the very refuse of society in that uncivilized 
region. This part of Scotland, being now put 
under military law, was exposed to all the ex- 
cesses and to the devastation which would natu- 
rally be committed by undisciplined and savage 
men, guided by passion and stimulated by love 
of plunder. 

While this infamous persecution was in progress, 
intelligence was received that the earl of Argvle 
had left Holland, and had entered the kingdom 
" for the purpose of recovering the religion, rights 
and liberties " of the people. This dangerous en- 
terprise was undertaken without proper consulta- 
tion or preparation, the earl expecting that his 
rank and personal influence, combined with the 
justice of the cause, would induce the disaffected 
to flock to his standard. He soon found that he 
had greatly erred in his estimate of the assistance 
expected. He was distrusted by the Covenanters, 
both as to his principles and his military talents, 
and they refused to unite with him. His own 
forces, few in number and much dispirited, were 
soon dispersed, and their leader, having been taken 
prisoner, was brought in triumph to Edinburgh, 
where he was afterward executed. The intrepidity 
and tranquillity of spirit with which the earl met 
his fate served to deepen the impression in the 
public mind of his patriotism and his personal 


piety, and to cause him to be regarded as a noble 
martyr in the sacred cause of civil and religious 

When the apprehension occasioned by the re- 
bellion had passed away, the persecution against 
the Presbyterians was renewed with merciless 
severity, for the king believed that they were 
secretly friendly to Argyle, though they had de- 
clined to join his standard. Multitudes were 
forced into banishment, many of them after their 
persons had been disfigured by torture; others 
were put into dark subterranean dungeons full 
of mire and filth, where they were denied every 
comfort, and where many of them died for want 
of food and air; others still were wantonly mur- 
dered in the fields and their families stripped of 
all their possessions. But there was soon to be an 
end to these fiend-like outrages, and we are to be 
spared the recital of horrors that make humanity 
shudder. Although some instances of cruelty oc- 
curred in the two following years, a change in the 
government took place which happily brought im- 
mediate relief to those who had endured all things, 
not even "counting their lives dear unto them," in 
order to uphold constitutional liberty and the right 
to worship their Maker as their enlightened con- 
sciences dictated. 

The king, through his exterminating process with 
the Covenanters, had so far reduced the number of 
his victims, and had succeeded in so enlarging his 


prerogative by means of a purely prelatic Parlia- 
ment, that he believed the time had come when he 
could with safety enter upon his schemes in favor 
of popery. Having already, as we have seen, ex- 
empted the papists from the operation of the Test 
oath, his next step was to remove all their civil 
disabilities. But the English Parliament refused 
to repeal the penal statutes against them, believing 
that if tolerated they would subvert the religion 
of the kingdom. Foiled in England, James had 
recourse to the Parliament of Scotland. At last, 
however, some of this obsequious body saw the 
danger which threatened. Even the subservient 
prelates who had been most forward in offering 
the incense of non-resistance to the royal nostrils 
when the king's enemies were theirs, were now con- 
vinced that if the penal statutes against Roman 
Catholics should be repealed, and all offices of trust 
and authority be opened to them, the Church of 
Rome, with all its intolerance and superstitions, 
would soon be restored. Laying aside, therefore, 
their animosities to the Presbyterians, they joined 
them in resisting the demands of a popish ruler. 
The most that could be wrung from the Parliament 
by the king's commissioner was that His Majesty's 
commands would be taken into "serious and duti- 
ful consideration," all being agreed that papists 
should be protected in their civil rights and 
should be free from punishment for privately ex- 
ercising their religion. No compromise was pro- 


posed or made that could endanger the Protestant 
faith, and it was, moreover, enacted that the stat- 
utes which the king wished set aside "should con- 
tinue in full force, strength and effect." The 
Parliament, proving unyielding, was prorogued, 
and King James sent a letter to the council, in 
which he claimed "his undoubted right and pre- 
rogative " to " take the Roman Catholics under 
his royal protection, allowing to them the free 
exercise of their religion and giving to them 
the chapel of Holyrood House for a place of 
public worship." He thus wielded in behalf of 
popery the formidable weapon which had been 
placed in his hands by the prelatic party, who had 
so repeatedly declared that the will of the sovereign 
was the fountain of all law, which no subject could 
question or resist. 

The monarch was undoubtedly much surprised 
at the opposition his scheme encountered from 
Episcopalians. He supposed — and not without 
good reason — from their passive obedience to the 
royal will heretofore, that they would not resist a 
change which simply made the pope instead of 
the king the head of the Church. In this he 
was greatly mistaken, for the Episcopal Church 
was still Protestant, though prelatic. The resist- 
ance of the prelates, joined with that of Parlia- 
ment, determined James to make a total change in 
his mode of procedure. Instead of continuing a 
fierce persecutor of nonconformists, he adopted the 


policy of universal toleration. He was forced to 
this course as the only available way in which he 
could extend the protection he desired to those of 
his own faith. Three acts of indulgence were 
published, avowedly to relieve dissenters from the 
disabilities they were under, and to allow liberty 
of conscience to all, but evidently to render pap- 
ists eligible to places of public trust; and hence 
care was taken, in the very first of these acts, to 
annul all laws that had been passed in Parliament 
against Roman Catholics. Each of these acts, too, 
affirmed in behalf of the king a dispensing and 
absolute power, at direct variance with all civil 
and religious liberty. Their language was, "By 
his sovereign authority, prerogative royal and abso- 
lute power " these favors were granted. The pur- 
pose was so plain that it would seem no one could 
be deceived by the king's pretences. The despotic 
authority assumed in these acts of toleration 
should have induced their rejection by all who 
were unwilling to surrender the liberty of their 
country, and the favor shown to the papists 
should have led all true Protestants to combine 
in order to prevent the triumph of popery, and to 
save themselves from the thralldom of the papal 

The last act of indulgence was framed with the 
intention of pleasing, and possibly winning over, 
the less scrupulous Presbyterians. Hence it sus- 
pended all penal laws made against nonconformity 


to the established religion, and allowed Presbyte- 
rians " to meet and serve God after their own way 
and manner, be it in private houses, chapels, or places 
purposely hired or built for that purpose." The 
only limitation was that of field-preaching, against 
which the laws were left in full force. It should 
not surprise any one that this sudden deliverance 
from persecution, and the granting of these unusual 
privileges, made a deep impression upon those to 
whom they were extended, or that in the vehe- 
mence of their feelings, caused by the longing de- 
sire once more to preach the blessed gospel to their 
former congregations, some ministers overlooked the 
dangerous exertion of power to which they were 
indebted. A large portion of the Presbyterian 
ministers in Scotland embraced the opportunity to 
resume public worship and to collect again their 
scattered flocks. Several who had fled to Hol- 
land came back and renewed their labors in their 
former parishes. Many of the people, released 
from prison or coming from their places of con- 
cealment, returned to their former homes, and en- 
gaged anew in their work of building up the 
Presbyterian Church. And while, in accepting 
this clemency, they made at least a partial ac- 
knowledgment of the royal supremacy in matters 
spiritual, " they refused to make the slightest 
compliance which could give any advantage to 
popery, and they were even charged with in- 
gratitude for the boldness and the success with 


which Jiey warned their hearers against its intro- 

But the strict Covenanters were more consistent 
in their course, and adhered more resolutely to 
Presbyterian principles. They promptly rejected 
every indulgence or toleration of " man's inalien- 
able right to worship God according to his revealed 
will and the dictates of an enlightened conscience," 
especially when such indulgence is founded upon 
" the unlimited prerogative and absolute power of 
the monarch — a principle equally inconsistent with 
the laws of God and the liberties of mankind." 
Defying the king's threats and spurning his favors, 
they kept on their course. Their field -preaching 
was continued, and they disregarded the laws which 
were still in force against conventicles. Renwick, 
one of their most revered and courageous preach- 
ers, was apprehended and publicly executed — a man 
of heroic mould, " inflexible as Knox and vehement 
as Melville" — closing by his death that long list of 
martyrs who sealed with their blood their testimony 
in behalf of civil and religious liberty in Scotland. 

While James was persecuting in Scotland all 
who dared oppose his wishes to introduce the 
Roman Catholic religion, whether Covenanters, 
the indulged ministers, or the seven prelatic bish- 
ops, whom he confined in the Tower for petitioning 
against being compelled to read one of his arbi- 
trary indulgences from the pulpit, he was at the 
same time, by his despotic acts in England, alienat- 


ing the feelings of the people and inciting them 
to resist his arbitrary rule. The nation was ready 
for a change, and the great majority of those who 
still loved freedom instinctively turned to William, 
prince )f Orange, the son-in-law of James, as the 
defender of the Protestant faith and of constitu- 
tional law and liberty. That prince, having close- 
ly watched the state of affairs in Britain, was con- 
vinced that the favorable moment had come when 
it was his duty to attempt to save the nation. 

Making his preparations as speedily as was 
possible, William set sail for England, and land- 
ed at Torbay, November 5, 1688, without opposi- 
tion. He issued a proclamation which contained 
the reasons that had induced him to appear in 
arms. These were, in brief, his desire to pre- 
serve the Protestant religion and restore the laws 
and the liberties of the kingdom. At first few 
joined him and there seemed but little desire for 
the change which he sought to accomplish. The 
prospect, however, soon brightened. The procla- 
mation was spread throughout the length and 
breadth of the land by the zealous Covenanters, 
and made a deep impression upon the public mind. 
Most of the nobility and gentlemen of Scotland 
declared for the prince, and these were followed by 
the army and navy of the kingdom. The king, 
after some feeble attempts to assert his authority 
and to regain the affection of his people, fled, an 
exile from his throne and kingdom, and the prince 


of Orange became the successful vindicator of the 
liberties of England. Thus the Revolution was 
accomplished, and the Presbyterian Church was 
again established in Scotland. The formidable 
structure which the two tyrants, Charles and 
James, with the willing assistance of the prelates, 
had spent twenty-eight years in erecting, and 
which had been cemented with the blood of ten 
thousand victims, was thus overthrown almost in 
a moment. 

During all this stormy period of persecution 
the exertions of the bishops and the mandates 
and violence of despotic power had failed to make 
any real progress in bringing over the people of 
Scotland to the episcopal Church. For nearly 
thirty years prelacy had had almost unlimited 
sway, with its hard task lightened by govern- 
mental aid. It had been armed with influence 
and dignity, the offices of trust and honor in the 
kingdom had been largely filled by prelates, and 
the civil and military power of the nation had 
been employed to do its bidding. With this power 
and prestige, is it not a remarkable fact that dur- 
ing all this period it never ventured to attempt to 
introduce the ceremonies of the English Church? 
It instinctively knew that this would have been a 
perilous undertaking. As a matter of fact, the 
form of worship differed little from the Presby- 
terian. There was no liturgy, no ceremonies, no 
surplice, no altars, no crossing in baptism. Even 


the Perth articles were very generally ignored. 
Nor was there any new confession of faith intro- 
duced, nor any new standard of doctrine or disci- 
pline, except the will of the bishops, themselves the 
creatures of the will of the king. It was truly, as 
some one has said, a " nondescript " Church — as 
much so as is possible to be conceived ; for it was 
neither popery, prelacy nor presbytery, but a 
strange jumble of all three, with the king for 
pope, his council for cardinals, the bishops for 
moderators, and the dragoons of Dalziel, Turner 
and Claverhouse (as Makenzie called them) for 
"ruling elders." Not less absurd were some of 
the statutes enacted by this great politico-ecclesias- 
tical authority. During its supreme reign a law 
was passed forbidding ministers lecturing, in which 
method of instruction it was discovered Presby- 
terian divines excelled. A preacher might speak 
all day or all night, provided he selected but a 
single verse of Scripture for a text ; but if he chose 
two or more verses, he exposed himself to the pen- 
alties of treason. 

Prelacy in Scotland showed itself to the very 
last to be a slavish, intolerant, irreligious and per- 
secuting system as well as a foe to civil and relig- 
ious freedom. When the fortunes of the prince of 
Orange were for a brief time obscured by disaster, 
the Scottish prelates, with the exception of two, 
hastened to send the tyrant James a letter con- 
taining the most extravagant eulogiums of him 


and his government; avowing their steadfast alle- 
giance to him, they concluded by wishing him 
"the hearts of his subjects and the necks of his 
enemies." When we remember that this letter 
was addressed to a sovereign who had clearly 
shown his intention to subvert the freedom and 
the religion of the kingdom, and was designed to 
defeat a prince who had inscribed upon his ban- 
ners, " The Protestant religion and the liberties of 
England," and who had come to put an end to the 
system of tyranny which had deluged the country 
with blood, it is difficult to conceive anything more 
base and servile. It was followed, too, by resistance 
to the rightful authority of William, by maintaining 
a secret correspondence with the exiled tyrant, and 
by furnishing him information and supplies of men 
and money. It was only the inflexible adherence 
to right principles on the part of Presbyterians, 
their fortitude in enduring every extremity of 
suffering under long and relentless persecution, 
and their united and earnest support of a Protes- 
tant prince, that prevented Scotland from being 
reduced to a state of abject slavery. 

Looking, then, upon prelacy as the enemy of 
civil and religious freedom, as they were forced to 
do, it would have been strange indeed if Presby- 
terians had not refused to fellowship the prelates 
when restored to their former rights and privi- 
leges. It was to be expected also that when they 
had the power they would embrace the opportunity 


to expel the prelatic curates from the positions into 
which they had intruded, and deprive them of the 
parish property which they had unlawfully seized. 
Some of these merciless persecutors, they turned 
out of their usurped residences, and, taking them 
to the boundaries of their parishes, sent them away, 
without offering them further violence. The won- 
der is that many of these wretched men had not to 
atone with their lives for the system of espionage 
which they had employed, and the cruelties they 
had been instrumental in having inflicted upon 
their defenceless Protestant brethren. The clem- 
ency of the Presbyterians toward their enemies, 
in this the hour of their triumph, is one of the 
strongest evidences that can be adduced of their 
humane disposition and that they possessed the 
true spirit of the gospel — a gospel of peace and 
brotherly kindness. 

The English people united with those of Scot- 
land, in declaring that James had violated the fun- 
damental laws of the kingdom and had forfeited his 
right to the government, and in placing the prince 
of Orange on the vacant throne. William lost no 
time in calling together the leading Scottish noble- 
men and gentlemen who were in London, to coun- 
sel with them as to the best method to secure the 
civil and religious liberties of the country. They 
advised that a representative convention should be 
held in Edinburgh, and that in the selection of 
members all Protestants should have the right of 


ballot and of serving as members. The convention 
met on the 14th of March, 1689, when it ratified 
the acts of the English legislature and adopted 
measures for settling the government. In the 
Claim of Right, which forms the basis of the set- 
tlement to which they gave their assent, it is assert- 
ed u that prelacy and the superiority of any office 
in the Church above presbyters is and hath been a 
great and insupportable grievance and trouble to 
this nation, and contrary to the inclinations of the 
generality of the people ever since the Reforma- 
tion, they having been reformed from popery by 
presbyters, and therefore ought to be abolished. " 
And when the convention assumed the status of a 
Parliament by permission of the king, they passed 
an act "abolishing prelacy and all superiority of 
any office in the Church above presbyters," and 
rescinded all acts of previous Parliaments by which 
prelacy had been established. Through the de- 
sire of the king, who favored, for State reasons, a 
union of the prelatic clergy and the Presbyterian 
ministers in one and the same Church, the complete 
settlement of the question of church government 
was deferred until the next Parliament. 

This met in April, 1690, and was chiefly occu- 
pied with ecclesiastical matters. The act of suprem- 
acy, the fruitful source of persecution in previous 
reigns, and against which the Presbyterian Church 
steadily and uniformly protested, was formally re- 
pealed. The ejected Presbyterian ministers who 


yet survived were restored to their churches, and 
the prelatic incumbents were ordered to be removed 
from the usurped parishes. Sixty of those who 
had been compelled to give up their parishes in 
1661 were still living, and were by this act allowed 
to enter upon their duties and receive their salaries. 
The fines and forfeitures of the persecuted were re- 
moved, and the laws against conventicles and non- 
conformity, as well as all the tests and oaths, with 
their fearful penalties, were repealed. On the 7th 
of June, 1690, the memorable act was passed 
"ratifying the Confession of Faith and settling 
Presbyterian church government." The Presby- 
terian government is characterized in this act as 
" the government of Christ's Church within this 
nation agreeable to the word of God, and most 
conducive to the advancement of true piety and 
godliness;" and taking the statute of 1592 a*, the 
model, the different courts, sessions, presbyteries, 
synods and General Assemblies were restored. 
The members of these courts were declared to 
be the Presbyterian ministers who had been 
ejected and who were now restored to then liv- 
ings, and such ministers and elders as they have 
or may hereafter admit. 

By the ratification of the Confession of Faith the 
great principle that Christ is the sole Head of the 
Church, and — its direct consequence — the Church's 
spiritual independence of an earthly sovereign, were 
affirmed. This was one of the chief principles 


for which the Presbyterian Church had to long 
contended, and no settlement could be satisfactory 
to Presbyterians that did not secure the Church 
her freedom. It was now necessary, as the next 
most important legislative measure, to protect, as 
far as possible, the religious rights and privileges of 
the members of the churches. This was done by 
an act which made void the power of presenting 
ministers to vacant churches, and transferred to the 
people the right of selecting their pastors. By this 
it was intended to abolish patronage entirely, and 
to permit the voice of the people to be supreme in 
the choice of ministers. Thus the independence 
of the Church and State, in their respective spheres, 
was clearly defined and asserted, while the many 
causes for jealousy between them, and which had 
produced so much friction in past times, were now 
happily removed. 

To give effect to these legislative enactments, a 
General Assembly was called, to meet in Edin- 
burgh in October. Many and formidable were the 
difficulties it had to face and overcome. Within 
the Assembly were many jarring and discordant 
elements, scarcely possible to be reconciled ; while 
without, and pressing for consideration, were the 
well-known wishes of the king for a union be- 
tween the prelatic clergy and the restored Presby- 
terian ministers, under the same form of church 
government. Within the Church were three par- 
ties — the ejected ministers, numbering about sixty ; 


the Cameronians, only throe in number; and the 
indulged ministers, who had conformed more or 
less to prelacy, and whose numbers were more 
than twice that of both the other classes com- 
bined. It was evident, therefore, that no measure 
could be carried in the Assembly by the more 
strict and faithful ministers if the latter party 
should resolve to oppose it; and it was too much 
to expect that men who had submitted to the 
tyrannous acts of the preceding reigns would 
forfeit the favor of William, by opposing his de- 
sire to have the prelatic clergy included in the 
established Church. 

We have referred to these things, not to excuse 
the weak policy of those who temporized at this 
important juncture, but to show the causes which 
were in operation, and which led to the compro- 
mise finally made. It was the duty of the Assembly 
to see that none of the inherent and essential prin- 
ciples of the Presbyterian Church should be over- 
borne or sacrificed through any plea of expediency. 
By yielding to the policy of William, and adopting 
measures of comprehension that retained large 
numbers of the prelatic clergy within the national 
Church, a grievous error was committed, and its 
disastrous influence was long felt in Scotland. 
These Episcopalians were not overscrupulous. 
They did not hesitate to subscribe with alacrity 
the Confession of Faith in order to retain their 
positions. But their presence in the Church and 


their influence acted as a poison in the Presby- 
terian system. It was the noxious seed of " mod- 
eratism," which proved in the succeeding century 
the upas tree of the Church of Scotland. Her 
jure divino Presbyterianism on one hand, and her 
Arminian, if not worldly, moderatism on the other, 
were most disastrous to her peace and purity. But 
while we regret that the revolution settlement was 
imperfect in this respect, we must never cease to be 
grateful to the persecuted Presbyterian Church of 
Scotland, which maintained the great principle of 
the spiritual independence of the Church of Christ 
and the right of Christian people to choose their 
own spiritual advisers, and in this way secured an 
amount of civil and religious freedom, in both the 
Church and the kingdom, far greater than had 
ever before been enjoyed. 

In tracing this history from the introduction of 
the Reformation in Scotland to the revolution, where 
we now leave it, we have constantly been reminded 
of the intimate connection between civil and re- 
ligious liberty, and that the latter not only influ- 
enced, but produced, the former. It is true that the 
resistance of the Scottish Church proceeded from a 
higher principle than simply to assert and maintain 
the civil liberties of the country. The contest, on its 
part, was waged in defence of the central principle 
of religious freedom — that the Lord Jesus Christ is 
the sole Head and King of the Church, and that, 
within its domain, the civil magistrate has no right 


to intrude with his authority. This great principle, 
when fully recognized by the civil ruler, preserves 
the consciences of men free from the control of 
external power ; and where the conscience is free, 
the subject cannot be made a slave. This fact 
was most clearly perceived by the brother tyrants 
Charles and James, and they employed the oath of 
supremacy as their chief weapon to destroy this 
grand and fundamental principle of religious 
liberty. If it could be overthrown, it would be 
easy to build upon its ruins a despotic govern- 
ment. But our Presbyterian fathers, recognizing 
the fact that civil and religious liberty exist or 
perish together, were constrained to contend 
equally for both ; and what the world to-day 
enjoys of both, it owes very largely to the un- 
conquerable fortitude with which they encoun- 
tered the perils and endured the sufferings which 
cruel, persecuting and despotic rulers inflicted. 

With such a history and with such a providen- 
tial training, it would indeed have been strange if 
the descendants of these heroic defenders of the 
faith should not manifest a strong attachment to 
the Presbyterian form of doctrine and government 
wherever they made their homes in America. Past 
experience had shown their fathers, even if they 
themselves had not learned it by personal experience, 
that prelacy and Romanism were the natural allies 
of the despot — that they had always been ready to 
bend their supple knees to secure royal favor, and 


to submit their necks to the yoke of bondage which 
the oath of supremacy imposed upon the subject — 
and consequently both were to be distrusted and 
opposed. With a zeal, therefore, born of know- 
ledge, they not only made very strenuous efforts, 
but endured many privations, in order to success- 
fully establish Presbyterian ism in the New World, 
for they felt assured that in its extension, all could 
enjoy freedom of conscience and constitutional 
liberty. The principles which moulded their cha- 
racters, and the spirit which actuated those who 
came from Scotland to this country, made them 
not only an important element in the Presbyte- 
rian Church, but a tower of strength to the young 
nation when it was compelled to resist the exercise 
of arbitrary power by England. 



From the Introduction of the Reformed 
Religion to the Great Revival of 1625. 

During the first half century of its history, 
American Presbyterian ism was largely indebted 
for its growth and efficiency to the pious and wor- 
thy immigrants who sought refuge in this country. 
Holland, France, England, Scotland and Ireland 
all made liberal contributions of their very best 
people. These colonists, while diverse in their 
origin, were singularly harmonious in their politi- 
cal principles and their religious faith. Doubt- 
less this was owing to the fact that they were per- 
secuted heroes who had suffered in common for 
their resistance to despotic power; and as exiles 
for conscience' sake, they were agreed in their 
wishes to found a commonwealth where civil and 
religious freedom could be enjoyed. 

To no one of these countries was the Presbyte- 
rian Church in America, in its origin and its rapid 
growth, so largely indebted as to the north of Ire- 



land. A large proportion of those who composed 
its membership, and of those who occupied its pul- 
pits, were previously connected with the Presbyte- 
rian Church of Ireland. To form a just estimate 
of their character, their spirit and their influence 
— a work which it is here proposed to do — it will 
be requisite to pass in review the prominent cir- 
cumstances and features in the history of the Irish 

It would appear from the most ancient records 
that Ireland was visited with the gospel as early 
as the second century. Nor was it planted there 
by the agents of the Romish Church, as is com- 
monly claimed. On the contrary, the evidence is 
abundant and clear that the Irish people for ages 
resisted all the encroachments of the papacy. The 
forms of Christianity that prevailed in Ireland were 
those of the Eastern churches, and were introduced, 
it is probable, by Greek, and not Roman, mission- 
aries. " I strongly suspect," says Dr. O'Hallo- 
ran, a Roman Catholic historian of high author- 
ity, "that by Asiatic or African missionaries, or, 
through them, by Spanish ones, were our ances- 
tors instructed in Christianity, because they rig- 
idly adhered to their customs as to the tonsure 
and the time of Easter. Certain it is that Pat- 
rick found a hierarchy established in Ireland" So 
much for the claim that St. Patrick was the first 
gospel missionary in Ireland. 

Archbishop Usher has adduced convincing evi- 


dence that until the twelfth century, when popery- 
was first introduced, the bishops and clergy of the 
Irish Church were married men ; that the com- 
munion service of Rome was not in its liturgy, and 
that the Lord's Supper was received by it in both 
kinds ; that auricular confession and the doctrine 
of transubstantiation were unknown to it; that 
image-worship was not permitted ; that it neither 
prayed to dead men nor for them, and had no 
fixed service for the dead ; and that it refused 
to pay tithes to the Romish see. 

History assigns the first place among the early 
propagators of a pure faith, in the ancient Irish 
Church, to Columba, who died at Iona, Scotland, 
in 597, a distinguished missionary of the gospel 
in Scotland and England as well as in his own 
country. The people were simple in their mode 
of life and evangelical in their religious faith and 
methods of worship. For nearly seven hundred 
years more, and until the twelfth century, in the 
reign of Henry II., the Irish Church remained 
independent.* It was by the latter sovereign, and 
by the aid of a council of clergy assembled at 
Cashel in 1172, that the Church of Ireland was 
brought into obedience to the Roman pontiff — a 
disastrous day for that country, followed by a series 
of calamities rendered only the more painful by 

* " Celtic Ireland was neither papal nor inclined to submit 
to the papacy till Henry II. riveted the Roman yoke upon 
it."— Fronde, vol. i., p. 30. 


contrast with its prosperous career from the days 
of St. Patrick to the council of Cashel. Most of 
its members continued to practice the rites of their 
ancient religion, and to resist as best they could the 
bondage of Rome. But the latter, with the help 
of English money and English arms, finally suc- 
ceeded in making Ireland a chief stronghold of 
" the man of sin," and for three centuries Rome there 
maintained an almost undisputed dominion. Large 
numbers of monasteries were erected and liberally 
endowed, and nothing was left undone that power 
and money could effect, to obliterate the cherished 
associations of the people for their more simple 
faith and worship, and to reconcile them to the spir- 
itual supremacy of the pope. This state of things 
continued to the period when Henry VIII., with 
the consent of its nobles, was proclaimed "king 
of Ireland and supreme head of the Church" 

Most deplorable was the condition of the entire 
country at this time. It is described by Fronde 
" as shared out between sixty Irish chiefs of the 
old blood and thirty great captains of the English 
noble folk, who lived by the sword and obeyed no 
temporal power, but only himself that was strong. 
The cattle and human beings lived herded to- 
gether, even in the latter half of the sixteenth 
century." Without education and but partially 
civilized, enslaved by error and debased by super- 
stition, the dupes of designing monks and the 
slaves of bigoted priests, the people were in the 


grossest ignorance and irreligion. Even the heads 
of clans and the feudal lords were raised but little, 
if at all, above the common level of the community. 
They were turbulent, irreligious, vicious, and con- 
stantly engaged in scenes of violence or dishonor- 
able conspiracies. If it suited their purposes, or in 
any way was conducive to their personal ambitions, 
they did not hesitate to destroy the temples of Re- 
ligion, or to gratify their revenge upon those who 
ministered at her altars. The unsettled and dis- 
tracted state of the island was, of course, very 
unfavorable to anything like a reformation in 

Such was the social and religious condition of the 
people when Henry VIII. sent his commissioners 
to Ireland to proclaim the royal supremacy and 
demand the subjection of the Irish prelates to his 
own ecclesiastical control. In this he was not in- 
fluenced by any love that he cherished for the 
doctrines of the Reformation, but by a desire to 
overthrow the power of the pope. Hence but 
little was accomplished for Protestantism besides 
the establishment of English supremacy and the 
suppression of some of the numerous monasteries. 
The chief agent employed by the king was an 
Augustinian monk, George Browne, on whom the 
king, in 1535, had conferred the title of archbish- 
op of Dublin. His selection for this delicate and 
important work was due to his previous opposition to 
some of the doctrinal errors of the Romish Church 


while provincial of his order in England. His 
zeal against popery seems to have been fervent and 
sincere. Charged with the royal commission, he 
repaired at once to Dublin, where, in a conference 
with the principal nobility and clergy, and in 
obedience to his royal instructions, he demanded 
that the Roman Catholic prelates should acknow- 
ledge the king's supremacy. Cromer, archbishop 
of Armagh, and his suffragan clergy, met this 
demand with prompt and spirited opposition. 
Thus matters remained for nearly a year, until 
the calling of a Parliament in 1537. In the mean 
time, the vigorous means adopted by the clergy to 
excite the nobility to resist the attempted usurpa- 
tion were so far successful that the question was 
with great difficulty carried in the Irish Parlia- 
ment. The laws necessary for the required altera- 
tion of the national faith were, however, passed. 
Among these were enactments declaring the king 
supreme head of the Church ; renouncing the 
authority of the pope and declaring his supporters 
guilty of high treason; forbidding all appeals to 
Rome, together with the payment of dues and the 
purchasing of dispensations; also, several of the 
religious houses were dissolved and their revenues 
vested in the Crown. 

The exercise of this authority had but little in- 
fluence on the advancement of the great truths of 
the Reformation. While public opposition was 
silenced wherever British power prevailed, the 


attachment of the Romish clergy to their Church 
continued as strong as ever. Acting under injunc- 
tions from Rome, they steadfastly resisted the 
claims of the king, and the archbishop declared 
those accursed who should acknowledge any power 
superior to that of the pope. The change was 
merely nominal, and the order sent from England 
to the archbishop of Dublin, to purge the churches 
of his province of their images, relics and super- 
stitious rites, was successfully evaded. As new 
bishops were elevated to the vacant sees they were 
prompt to promise obedience to the king, but were 
powerless to carry out the views of the new gov- 
ernment. The people and the inferior clergy con- 
tinued ignorant and bigoted in their religion, and 
were indignant at the orders of Lord Cromwell, 
whom they called, in derision, "the blacksmith's 

The accession of Edward VI., while it was 
favorable for the advancement of the reform in 
England, accomplished very little for Ireland. In 
the former it was diligently fostered, and, meeting 
with only slight opposition, made rapid progress. 
A book of homilies was composed for the use of 
the clergy, English Bibles were placed in every 
parish church, the mass was changed for the com- 
munion in both elements, tables were substituted 
for altars, divine worship was conducted in Eng- 
lish, and a book of common prayer compiled. But 
a single one of these various methods of promot- 


ing the Reformation was adopted in Ireland, and 
this was accompanied by an inexcusable artifice, 
designed to impose upon the ignorance of the 
clergy and people. A proclamation was issued in 
1551, requiring the English common prayer-book 
to be used throughout the kingdom in the cele- 
bration of divine worship. Anticipating resist- 
ance to the order on the part of the Romish clergy, 
the council represented the new liturgy as " a mere 
translation of the Romish service," thus attempt- 
ing to conceal its real character. It was in vain 
that the priests c were commanded to use it. Dow- 
dal, the primate, contended earnestly against the 
proposed innovation; the lord- deputy was firm, 
and on Easter-day the new liturgy was read in 
the cathedral of Christ church, Dublin, in the 
presence of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. 
Little advantage, however, resulted to the truth 
from this change in public worship brought about 
by civil power. Only four of the bishops adopt- 
ed the liturgy, and their example had but slight 
influence upon their own suffragans. Even though 
more conciliatory measures were subsequently em- 
ployed, they were not successful. The primate 
refusing to yield, harsher methods were at last 
brought into requisition. In order to mortify 
him and his partisans, the primacy of Ireland 
was transferred from Armagh to Dublin. This 
deprived the popish party of its most influential 
leader, but the want of Reformed preachers, even 


in the metropolis, prevented the Reformation 
from making any marked progress. 

Several of the Irish sees, as well as the pri- 
macy, becoming vacant, efforts were made in Eng- 
land to find proper persons to fill these important 
places. Richard Turner, of Canterbury, on the 
recommendation of Archbishop Cranmer, was se- 
lected by the king for archbishop of Armagh. He, 
however, declined to accept the honorable situation, 
giving as the chief reason that his ignorance of the 
Irish language, which he was not disposed to learn, 
would forbid him access to the minds of the na- 
tive population and compel him to preach "to 
the walls and stalls." Nor could Cranmer over- 
come his reluctance to accept the office. If it was 
so difficult to fill an archbishopric, it was more 
hopeless to provide gospel-preachers for humbler 

Two of the vacant sees were at length filled by 
men in every way qualified for the office, and who 
were willing to make the needed sacrifices for the 
gospel's sake. These were Hugh Goodacre and 
John Bale. The first was raised to the see of Ar- 
magh, but within three months was poisoned at 
Dublin, " by procurement of certain priests of his 
diocese, for preaching God's verity and rebuking 
their common vices." Of Bale, who occupied the 
see of Ossory, we have honorable testimony. He 
is said to have been learned and pious as a re- 
former, energetic and courageous as a champion 


of the truth. For his honest boldness in expos- 
ing the errors of popery he had been twice impris- 
oned in England by the ruling clergy. Released 
by Lord Cromwell, he fled to the Continent upon 
the death of his patron, where for eight years he 
enjoyed opportunities of converse and intimate 
friendship with Luther, Calvin and other distin- 
guished Reformers. 

His firmness was put to the trial on the occa- 
sion of his consecration to his office. The dean 
of the cathedral insisted upon using the popish 
form, and even Goodacre, the primate-elect, was 
disposed to acquiesce for the sake of peace, as were 
also the other assembled prelates. But Bale was 
decided in his opposition, and would not consent 
to adopt the ritual of so corrupt a Church, and 
his firmness secured the adoption of the Reformed 
ritual. The apprehended tumult did not follow, 
and the people were permitted for the first time 
to make the acquaintance of a man whose consist- 
ent course won respect for the doctrines which 
he preached. His views and his conduct on this 
memorable occasion had doubtless been somewhat 
shaped by his long and familiar intercourse with 
the Genevan Reformers. His zeal was untiring and 
his labors in his diocese abundant. He abolished 
the service of the mass and sought to lead the 
clergy and the people to a knowledge of the true 

The death of Edward VI. and the accession of 


Queen Mary drove him from Ireland. Five of 
his servants were murdered before the doors of 
his residence, and it was only from the fact that 
a large escort of his affectionate people gathered 
around him and protected him from violence that 
he escaped with his life from the hands of his 
persecutors. After many perils he reached the 
Continent; but when he returned to England on 
the accession of Elizabeth, nothing could induce 
him to accept a bishopric. His sympathies were 
on the side of the nonconformists. 

Under Mary the Roman Catholic religion was 
formally restored by Parliament, and the pope's 
supremacy acknowledged. Eight prelates who had 
professed the Reformed doctrines returned at once 
to the Church of Rome. Others were prevented 
from a similar apostasy for the reason that they 
were married. The people speedily relapsed into 
their former condition, and scarce a trace of the 
Reformation could be seen in Ireland. 

Indeed, the general adherence of the people to 
the Romish faith made Ireland a place of shelter 
for some of the persecuted Protestants of England. 
The bigotry of the queen was not directed against 
them, owing to their limited numbers, and for the 
same reason they did not excite the suspicion of 
the papal clergy. Several small colonies of Eng- 
lish Protestants, accompanied by their ministers, 
consequently found an asylum for years on Irish 
soil; and when at length Dean Cole, in 1558, was 


dispatched by the queen with a persecuting corn- 
mission to punish these Protestants, the brief re- 
spite secured through the substitution of a pack of 
cards in place of his commission by a friend of the 
persecuted people deferred all hostile measures 
until the accession of Elizabeth. The dean, much 
to his surprise and dismay, on presenting to the 
council of Dublin the box which was supposed to 
contain his commission, that it might be formally 
read, found in place of it only a pack of cards 
with the knave of clubs faced upward. Evidently 
not displeased at being thus relieved from the dis- 
charge of his invidious office, he humorously re- 
plied, " Let us have a new commission, and we will 
shuffle the cards in the mean time. 7 ' Another com- 
mission was procured, but unfavorable winds pre- 
vented the sailing of the vessel from England 
until after the death of the queen, and thus God 
preserved the Protestants. 

The reign of Elizabeth was favorable to the 
spread of the truth in Ireland, but owing to the 
distracted state of the kingdom its beneficial effects 
were not apparent at once. Many of the ecclesi- 
astical arrangements adopted by Bloody Mary were 
reversed, and an order was sent to the dean of 
Christ's church, Dublin, to remove from the walls 
of his cathedral all relics, images, pictures, and 
other memorials of Romanism, and to substitute 
in their place appropriate texts of Scripture. The 
credulous multitude were more readily reconciled 


to this change owing to the exposure of a gross 
imposition that had long been practiced by the 
priests of the cathedral — that of making an image 
of our Saviour sweat drops of blood by means 
of a sponge saturated with blood concealed in the 
head of the image. Soon after this change was 
made, Heath, archbishop of York, sent over two 
large English Bibles to be fixed in the centre of 
the choirs of the cathedral, to be read not only in 
divine service, but to be accessible at all times to 
the people. They came in crowds to hear the 
word of God read, and eagerly availed themselves 
of the opportunity to peruse it after the congrega- 
tions were dismissed. In this way knowledge was 
increased, and a large demand for Bibles sprung 
up. One bookseller, in less than two years, dis- 
posed of more than seven thousand copies, to which 
the progress of the Reformation in Ireland was 
largely due. 

Much less, however, was accomplished than 
might have been had the government adopted a 
wiser policy. In removing the sanction of the 
law from the Romish faith, as was done by the 
Parliament of 1560, and substituting the prayer- 
book for the missal, provision should have been 
made for that large class of persons who were igno- 
rant of the English language. The first necessity 
was to have divine service conducted in a language 
understood by the worshipers. In the place, how- 
ever, of providing for the translation of the prayer- 


book into Irish, the absurd order was given that 
the public service should be conducted in Latin, 
which neither English nor Irish understood. Sure- 
ly, prudent and wise rulers who had the welfare 
of the community at heart, and who wished to pro- 
mote the truth, would not have kept the masses in 
ignorance and cut them off from the benefits of 
public worship. Nor was it of much service to 
Protestantism that of the nineteen prelates who 
had conformed to popery under Queen Mary only 
two adhered to their Romish profession. All the 
others took the oath of supremacy in order to re- 
tain their places. But their adherence to the doc- 
trines of the Reformation was merely nominal, and 
their conformity in worship was but to escape the 
penalties that were inflicted for neglecting to attend 
the Established Church. And so indifferent were 
the civil authorities to the spiritual condition of 
the native population that even the prominent sees, 
including the primacy, were left vacant for years, 
and those who controlled the more remote offices 
cultivated intimacy with the pope rather than with 
the English Church. So that, between shameful 
neglect on the one hand and harsh and violent 
measures to secure external conformity on the part 
of a prejudiced and ignorant people on the other, 
the Irish Establishment only alienated those whose 
confidence and affection it should have endeavored 
to win. Even if Elizabeth and her ministers had 
had the religious welfare of Ireland at heart — which 


they did not have — their time was almost exclu- 
sively occupied with measures of defence against 
Irish chiefs instigated to rebellion by the Holy See. 
As fear and interest were the chief agents in effect- 
ing the changes in favor of Protestantism, no sooner 
did the queen's political power begin to be menaced 
by Spain than the priests became bold and active 
in their opposition, and in every possible manner 
fomented the discord which had always existed 
between the natives and the English. A few zeal- 
ous and benevolent individuals did what they could 
to remedy this deplorable condition of things. A 
translation of the New Testament was partly com- 
pleted and the translation of the Liturgy in the 
Irish tongue commenced, but neither was ren- 
dered available during Elizabeth's reign. The 
greatest of all hindrances to the Reformation was 
the want of learned and pious ministers, since noth- 
ing short of sound scriptural teaching could over- 
come the deep-rooted errors and superstitions of 
more than three hundred years. 

We have a description of the deplorable state of 
the Irish Church in 1576 by Sir Henry Sidney in 
a letter sent to Queen Elizabeth on the subject of 
an evangelical ministry, wherein he proposes that 
she shall adopt the means which he suggests for 
the removal of this great evil. In a diocese of 
two hundred and twenty-four parish churches, 
only eighteen of the curates were found able to 
speak English ; " the rest are Irish priests, or rather 


Irish rogues, having very little Latin, and less 
learning and civility, and were wont to live upon 
the gain of masses, dirges, shriving, and such-like 
trumpery." Nearly all the parish churches were 
in a ruinous condition, and many of them were 
necessarily abandoned. Earnest and pressing were 
Sir Henry's recommendations to have these sad 
deficiencies supplied; especially did he insist upon 
the necessity of repairing the neglected churches 
and supplying the parishes with Reformed minis- 
ters. But though coming from so influential a 
quarter, no attention was given to these recom- 
mendations, and the religious condition of Ireland 
was altogether neglected. How could the gospel 
be expected to prevail against prejudice and igno- 
rance without the presence of ministers to make 
known its doctrines and illustrate the excellency 
of its principles? 

At a subsequent date, 1590, a measure of much 
importance to Ireland was carried into effect. 
This was the establishment of the University of 
Dublin. Its chief object was to educate ministers 
for the national Church, the want of which, as we 
have seen, had been the main obstacle in the advance 
of the Reformed doctrines. It was founded on 
very liberal principles. Those questions which 
had divided the Church in England into con- 
formists and nonconformists were suffered to rest 
in Ireland, and whatever preacher of the gospel 
made his appearance in the latter kingdom was 


gladly received and left unmolested in his work. 
He might verge almost to Romanism or he might 
be a zealous Puritan, and yet be undisturbed by 
any authoritative imposition of terms of conform- 
ity. In the early history of the University of 
Dublin this liberal spirit was freely displayed. 
Its first elected fellows were two Scotch Presby- 
terians, one of them tutor to the celebrated Usher. 
Its first two regular and official provosts, Travers 
and Alvey, were also nonconformists. The latter, 
persecuted in England by Whitgift for his noncon- 
formity, found refuge and freedom and honor in 
Ireland. The presence of both men was wel- 
comed, and their services were in demand and 
were valuable to the country in the honored 
positions they occupied. There was truly great 
need in that country of educated men, and par- 
ticularly of a pious clergy who would care for the 
spiritual welfare of the people. Even so late as 1596 
the poet Spenser, describing the people of Ire- 
land, says : " Not one amongst an hundred knoweth 
any ground of religion or any article of his faith, 
but can, perhaps, say his Paternoster or his Ave 
Maria without any knowledge of what one word 
thereof meaneth." The common clergymen he 
represents as leading disorderly lives and guilty 
of the grossest vices, while the bishops in the re- 
moter dioceses retain the benefices in their own 
possession " and set their own servants to take 
up their tythes and fruits." 


This was the deplorable condition of the Irish 
Church in the closing years of Elizabeth's reign 
and after seventy years had passed since Protestant- 
ism was introduced into the kingdom. For the 
very limited progress which the Reformation had 
made two causes are apparent — the first, the 
formidable rebellions which almost constantly 
agitated the kingdom, and which produced a state 
of things most unfavorable to the spread of the 
truth ; the second, the inadequate means employed 
for its propagation, the defence of the kingdom 
occupying the almost exclusive attention of the 
government. But peace was at length restored 
through the military triumphs of the English 
forces, the authority of the laws was extended 
over the entire island, and Elizabeth left to her 
successor the more pleasing duty of promoting 
peace and social order among the inhabitants 
and diffusing throughout the community the 
blessings of education and of true religion. 

A better era dawned upon the Protestant Church 
of Ireland when James I. ascended the throne, 
April 5, 1603. His claims were recognized by all 
parties, and the country enjoyed great tranquillity. 
The victories in the former reign had prepared the 
way for the adoption of a more peaceful, humane 
and civilizing policy, which the king's love of 
peace and his attachment to religion disposed 
him to take advantage of and improve to the 
utmost. He accordingly adopted the wisest and 


most conciliatory measures toward the natives. 
He proclaimed a general pardon to all who had 
been concerned in the late rebellions, and admit- 
ted the natives for the first time to the privileges 
of subjects. The estates of the nobility, held on 
precarious titles, were now secured to them by the 
formalities of law. Courts were renewed in the 
southern provinces and established for the first 
time in the north, and the administration of jus- 
tice secured to all classes. 

These prudent measures to promote civil order 
met the general approval of the people. The only 
exceptions were some of the northern nobles, who, 
instigated by the Romish clergy, entered into con- 
spiracies against the king; and being subdued, their 
lands were forfeited to the Crown. The most of 
this territory James resolved to plant with English 
and Scottish colonies. In this way the lands 
would be rendered more valuable by skillful culti- 
vation, peace and prosperity would be promoted and 
the Reformed faith more speedily disseminated. The 
province of Ulster, where this scheme of coloniza- 
tion was first tried, had been reduced to a truly 
wretched condition. It had been the chief seat of 
the rebellions, and the inhabitants were rendered 
destitute and the country desolate by the ravages 
of war. Except a few fortified cities, its towns and 
villages had been leveled to the ground; scarcely 
a building remained in the country except the 
native huts, which were too poor to be plundered ; 


and the remnant of the inhabitants suffered the 
horrors of both pestilence and famine. The grain 
and the cattle, in which the wealth of the people 
consisted, had been destroyed by the rebels, so that 
the few remaining proprietors were without even 
the means to cultivate their lands. And the moral 
and religious state of the province was still worse. 
In some parts religious worship had entirely dis- 
appeared, and in most others, in consequence of the 
indolence or the vices of the clergy, or the ruinous 
condition of the church -edifices, " divine service 
had not for years together been used in any parish 
church, except in some city or principal towns." 
In 1610 the colonization scheme began to be 
generally carried into effect, especially in Ulster. 
Sir Arthur Chichester, lord-deputy of the king- 
dom, on whom the king had conferred a large 
estate, was the chief agent. His first act was to 
have a careful survey made of the forfeited lands, 
and then to draw up a plan for their settlement. 
They were allotted to three classes, under certain 
and fixed regulations of occupancy. First were 
voluntary emigrants from England and Scotland, 
then servants of the Crown, consisting of civil 
and military officers, and finally natives, whom it 
was hoped this liberality would make orderly and 
loyal subjects. The colonists were bound to erect 
substantial dwellings, to clear the lands and culti- 
vate them ; and to do this they were obliged to 
procure and induce to settle on their estates a 


number of families proportional to the extent of 
their possessions. Especial care was taken by the 
king for the support of the Church. He restored 
to the sees all their ecclesiastical possessions, 
parochial churches were repaired, glebes allotted 
to ministers, and a free school was endowed in 
the principal town of each diocese. 

Owing to the nearness of Scotland to Ulster, as 
well as to the enterprise of the Scotch, the larger 
part of the colonists came from that kingdom. At 
first they occupied the northern part of the prov- 
ince, but subsequently spread themselves over the 
remoter districts. The southern and western parts 
were settled chiefly by emigrants from England. 
Londoners gave its name to Londonderry. Other 
cities bore titles indicating the preponderance of 
the Scotch element. By means of this scheme 
the almost deserted cities were again peopled with 
inhabitants; towns were built and manufactures 
and trade revived ; the lands were cleared of 
woods and brought under cultivation ; farmhouses 
and homesteads took the place of robbers' castles, 
wattled huts and ruined cabins ; and everywhere 
the industry and the peaceable character of the new 
occupants were apparent. Religion in a good de- 
gree also flourished. The sees were filled with Prot- 
estant prelates, and a convocation of the clergy was 
summoned in 1615. Its principal work was to draw 
up a Confession of Faith for the Irish Church. It 
was at first proposed to adopt the Tl : rty-nine Articles 


of the sister- Church of England, but the majority 
decided to have a new confession of their own. 
Dr. James Usher, already distinguished for his 
theological learning, and as professor of divinity 
in the College of Dublin, was entrusted with this 
duty. This he discharged to the entire satisfac- 
tion of all the parties concerned, and the Confes- 
sion was ratified by the king in council, and also 
by his deputy in Dublin. 

The difference in the religious sentiments of 
England and Ireland appears very clearly in this 
important document. In the former a rigid con- 
formity was enforced, the hierarchy refusing to 
consult the scruples of the Puritans. Instead 
of seeking by some comprehensive plan to retain 
within the Church the learning and piety of the 
nonconforming clergy, new tests were devised to 
detect them and to punish them or compel their 
removal from the kingdom. But in Ireland a dif- 
ferent and a wiser policy was pursued. Many of 
the exiled clergymen of Scotland, who had ac- 
companied their countrymen to Ulster, had been 
promoted to high offices in the Church and were 
universally esteemed, and the confession of faith 
now adopted indicated the presence and influence 
of the Scotch and nonconformist element in the 
Irish Church. It was an honest and praiseworthy 
effort to compromise the differences between the 
High Church clergy and the nonconformists. Cal- 
vinistic in doctrine, it retained, almost word for 


word, the Nine Articles of Lambeth, which the 
English Puritans vainly sought to have adopted at 
the Hampton Court Conference in 1604. It asserts 
strongly the morality of the Sabbath and clearly 
implies the validity of ordination by presbyters, 
while many other tenets cherished by the Puritan 
party in the Church are set forth in the Confession. 
It is remarkable also in that it claims no authority 
for framing or enforcing ecclesiastical canons or 
decreeing rites and ceremonies, and makes no allu- 
sion to the mode of consecrating the higher orders 
of the clergy. Nor was this an unintentional omis- 
sion. It was designed to sink out of sight that 
distinction between bishops and presbyters which 
was so much opposed by nonconformists. To pre- 
vent future trouble, the convocation decreed that 
there should be no public teaching of any doctrine 
contrary to the articles thus solemnly agreed upon. 
Such was the comprehensive foundation upon 
which the Irish Church was settled. Its terms of 
communion were limited only in respect of doc- 
trine. It embraced all faithful ministers of the 
gospel, neither compelling them to submit to ob- 
jectionable ceremonies nor unchurching them for 
conscientious scruples respecting the government or 
methods of worship in the Church. This spirit 
of mutual forbearance showed an honest desire to 
have devoted ministers settle and exercise their 
office among the people, however they might dif- 
fer on minor questions of ecclesiastical discipline. 


Nor was it long before this liberal plan bore abun- 
dant and precious fruit. Many ministers speedily 
removed to Ireland, and especially to Ulster, in- 
duced by the security they were promised and by 
the great need of their services. 

Among the most efficient and useful of these 
clergymen were the Presbyterian ministers from 
Scotland. Persecuted at home, they found a refuge 
and a welcome across the Channel. Of these pio- 
neer laborers were — Edward Brice, who for oppos- 
ing Archbishop Spotiswood's attempt to introduce 
prelacy into Scotland was obliged to leave the king- 
dom ; Robert Cunningham, of whom Livingstone 
said that " he was the one man who most resem- 
bled the meekness of Jesus Christ in all his car- 
riage that I ever saw ;" James Glendenning, under 
whose preaching the great revival of 1625 began; 
the celebrated Robert Blair, formerly professor in 
the College of Glasgow; and the devoted James 
Hamilton, nephew of Lord Claneboy. Hubbard 
and Ridge, natives of England, were men of kin- 
dred spirit. These seven brethren possessed the true 
missionary spirit, and began at once the work of 
evangelizing the land, and with extraordinary suc- 
cess. The spirit in which they were received, even 
by the highest clergy in the Church, is to be seen 
by the conduct of Bishop Echlin, who was him- 
self a native of Scotland. It was known to both 
Mr. Blair's patron, Lord Claneboy, and to the bish- 
op, that Mr. Blair had conscientious scruples re- 


specting episcopal ordination. But when the latter 
applied for ordination, the bishop said to him, "I 
hear good of you, and will impose no conditions 
on you. I am old and can teach you ceremonies, 
and you can teach me substances, only I must or- 
dain you, to comply with the law. Whatever you 
account of episcopacy, yet I know you account 
a presbytery to have divine warrant. Will you 
not receive ordination from Mr. Cunningham and 
the adjacent brethren, and let me come in among 
them in no other relation than that of a presby- 
ter?" "This," said Blair, "I could not refuse, 
and so the matter was performed." 

The labors of these faithful and pious ministers 
were remarkably blessed. A revival of religion 
soon occurred, which, in some of its features, re- 
sembled the great work of grace that subsequently 
attended the ministry of Whitefield and Wesley in 
England, and a similar awakening in this country 
at a later period. It began in connection with the 
preaching of Mr. Glendenning, the weakest and 
the least discreet of the seven pioneer ministers, 
and extended over nearly the entire northern part 
of Ireland. Almost his only theme in preaching, 
says Blair, was " law, wrath and the terrors of 
God for sin." "And, indeed, for this only was he 
fitted, for hardly could he preach any other tiiiig. 
He was a man who would never have been chosen 
by a wise assembly of ministers, nor sent to begin 
a reformation in this land. Yet this was the 


Lord's choice to begin with him the admirable 
work of God." The truths which he proclaimed 
were what was needed " to awaken the consciences 
of a lewd and secure people." Wonderful spirit- 
ual results followed. Multitudes were brought to 
see their sinful and lost condition, and to cry out 
in their anguish of soul for deliverance. "I have 
seen them myself," says Blair, "stricken into a 
swoon by the word — yea, a dozen in one day carried 
out of doors as dead — so marvelous was the power 
of God, smiting their hearts for sin, condemning 
and killing." Some of the boldest and most in- 
corrigible, who had attended the meetings to scoff 
and oppose, were subdued and cried out for mercy. 
The same authority states that "multitudes who 
sinned and still gloried in it, because they feared 
no man, became patterns in society, fearing to sin 
because they feared God." 

The revival spread rapidly in all directions. 
Some of high rank and standing were numbered 
among the converts. The ministers made the most 
of these favorable opportunities to sow the seed, and 
reaped an abundant harvest. The awakened and 
inquiring people thronged to hear them preach, and 
by the judicious counsels and labors of the clergy 
the converts were instructed and established in the 
faith. Monthly meetings were appointed at con- 
venient points, at which large numbers assembled. 
The hearers sometimes carm even from a distance 
of thirty or forty miles. 


Intelligence of the remarkable awakening hav- 
ing reached Scotland, a number of prudent and 
faithful ministers came over to the help of the ex- 
hausted laborers. Among these was Josias Welsh, 
a grandson of John Knox, formerly professor in 
the University of Glasgow, which situation he 
resigned on account of his nonconformist princi- 
p!es. His spirit resembled in no slight degree 
that of the illustrious Scotch Reformer, Knox, as 
the testimony of Blair shows: "The last time I 
was in Scotland I met him; and finding of how 
zealous a spirit he was, I exhorted him to hasten 
over to Ireland, where he would find work enough, 
and I hoped success too. A great measure of that 
spirit which wrought in and by the father" and 
the grandfather "rested on the son." Acting on 
Mr. Blair's advice, he came to Ireland in 1626, 
and took charge of Mr. Glendenning's parish, 
which had become vacant by the latter's departure 
to visit the seven churches of Asia. Here and 
at Templepatrick " he convinced the secure and 
sweetly comforted those that were dejected, and 
had many seals to his ministry." 

Other clergymen of like spirit followed Welsh. 
Of these were Andrew Stewart, George Dunbar, 
Henry Colwort, John McClelland, John Semple, 
and the celebrated John Livingstone, whose name 
has become historic from his connection with the 
kirk of Schotts. These additional ministers wire 
of great service to the settled pastors, and through 


them the revival was greatly extended. Most of 
them were from Scotland, where they had suffered 
from prelatical bigotry ; and finding freedom in 
their land of exile, they labored with great zeal 
and success. Livingstone was ordained by Bishop 
Knox, and with an indulgence most honorable to 
that distinguished prelate. With letters from Lord 
Claneboy, the earl of Wigton and others, he re- 
paired to the bishop, who at once divined the object 
of his visit. "He told me," writes Livingstone, 
"that he knew my errand, that I came to him be- 
cause I had scruples against episcopacy and cere- 
monies, as Welsh and some others had done before, 
and that he thought his old age was prolonged ior 
little other purpose but to do such offices ; that if 
I scrupled to call him ' my lord' he cared not much 
for it; all he would desire of me, because they got 
there but few sermons, was that I would preach 
at Ramallen the first Sabbath, and that he would 
send for Mr. Cunningham and two or three other 
neighboring ministers to be present, who after ser- 
mon should give me imposition of hands; but 
although they performed the work, he behoved 
to be present." The latter was necessary to fulfill 
the requirement of the government. To accom- 
modate still further the scruples of Mr. Living- 
stone, the bishop gave him the book of ordination 
and desired him to draw a line over whatever he 
objected to, and assured him it should not be read. 
" But," says Livingstone, " I found it so marked 

HISTORY OF THE 11 1 is 1 1 CHURCH 175 

l>\ some others before that I needed not mark any- 

Such liberality on the part of the ecclesiastics 
left the preachers with the necessary freedom to 
prosecute their work successfully. Their labors 
for the instruction of the people were indefatigable. 
With singleness of purpose, with intensity of de- 
sire and with untiring diligence, they gave them- 
selves to their sacred duties. Through their 
instrumentality the Church of Christ increased 
rapidly, and far and wide a marked change was 
visible in the character of the whole population. 

While carrying forward this work of reform, 
Blair and his brethren were careful to maintain 
Presbyterian discipline. " In my congregation," 
writes Blair, " we had both deacons for the poor 
and elders for discipline, and so long as we were 
permitted to exercise it the Lord blessed that or- 
dinance." Livingstone adopted the same method, 
and speaks of his session meeting weekly, adjudi- 
cating cases of discipline and debarring unworthy 
persons from the communion-table. The com- 
munion was observed twice a year in each church, 
and it was customary for the people of the neigh- 
boring parishes to attend with their pastors. The 
same custom was afterward transferred to Amer- 
ica, and memorable scenes were witnessed here 
also in connection with these communis n-seasons. 
Nearly all the clergy of the north of Inland were 
nonconformists, and generally strict Presbyterians. 


While comprehended within the pale of the estab- 
lished Episcopal Church, its liberality toward them 
was then such that they were enabled to exercise 
their office without violence to their scruples, and 
to introduce and maintain, as we have seen, the 
peculiarities both of discipline and worship of 
the Scotch Church. For their firmness and zeal, 
our grateful regard is due to them as the found- 
ers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. 

Though these Presbyterian ministers were for a 
considerable period unmolested by Episcopal prel- 
ates, yet was the progress of the gospel impeded 
by other obstructions. The first opposers were 
Romanists. Two friars from Salamanca, Spain, 
challenged the clergy to a public dispute; but when 
Blair and Welsh accepted the challenge and ap- 
peared at the appointed time and place, the friars 
shrunk from the contest. Again they were assailed 
by Separatists from London, allured to Ireland by 
the promise of religious freedom, and subsequently 
by English conformists zealous for Arminian tenets. 
All these in turn were discomfited and were 
obliged to withdraw, and these several trials were 
overruled for good, and finally served to exhibit 
more clearly the eminent piety, learning and 
prudence of these remarkable men. 

But other and more formidable difficulties were 
soon to be encountered by these honored ministers. 
From being their friend and patron, Bishop Echlin 
became their determined opponent. This change 


was caused by jealousy and dislike, arising from 
the great success attending their labors. His ani- 
mosity was first manifested by a refusal to ordain 
any more ministers unless they would promise strict 
conformity to the English Church. He next set 
a trap to catch Mr. Blair, hoping either to silence 
him or impair his influence. But one of the lords- 
justices interposed, and he escaped. Disappointed 
in this scheme, the bishop suspended both Blair 
and Livingstone for their alleged irregular preach- 
ing at the kirk of Schotts. These brethren were 
visiting their friends in Scotland, and being pres- 
ent on the Sabbath assisted at the celebration of 
the Lord's Supper, and, on Monday, Livingstone 
preached with great power to a vast concourse 
of people. The envy of the prelatical clergy was 
excited ; and charging these Irish ministers with 
uncanonical and schismatic conduct, they prevailed 
upon Bishop Echlin to suspend them from the ex- 
ercise of their offices. This was the first open 
blow directed against the Presbyterian clergy of 

The suspended ministers at once applied for re- 
lief to Archbishop Usher, and not in vain. He 
immediately interested himself in their behalf, and, 
convinced of their piety and prudence, wrote to 
Echlin " to relax his erroneous censure." And in 
a conference with Blair, after expressing the fear 
that there were those who would endeavor to mar 
their ministry, he added "that it would break his 


heart it uv successful ministry in the north were 

Though foiled in their endeavor, the enemies of 
these devoted pastors did not cease their opposition. 
The next resort was to the English court, for they 
feared that an appeal to the civil powers of Ireland 
might result no more favorably to their wishes than 
had their representations to Primate Usher. Their 
charges were laid before the king himself, and they 
depended upon his co-operation, knowing as they 
did that he was guided in religious matters by 
Laud. The infatuated sovereign gave ready ear to 
their charges, and sent letters to the lords-justices 
of Ireland, directing them to enjoin the bishops of 
Down and Conner to try, and if found guilty cen- 
sure, the alleged "fanatical disturbers of the peace 
of his diocese." Accordingly, Blair, Livingstone, 
Dunbar and Welsh were cited to appear before the 
bishop; and upon their refusing to conform, on the 
ground that there was no law or canon requiring 
it, they were deposed from the office of the minis- 
try. Again application was made to Archbishop 
Usher. " But he told us," says Blair, " that he 
could not interpose, because the two lords-justices 
had an order from the king respecting us." And 
when the justices were applied to, they referred 
them to the king, who alone could remedy their 
grievance. But from this source they had little to 
expect by a direct appeal. Yet so anxious were 
they for a reversal of their unjust sentence in order 


that they might engage in their loved work that 
they resolved to make one more effort. Living- 
stone visited Scotland and obtained recommenda- 
tory letters to their friends at court from several 
of the Scotch nobility. Taking these, with others, 
which he himself had procured from his Irish 
friends, Blair visited London, and was granted the 
privilege of laying his case before the king. A 
favorable letter was written in his behalf by 
King Charles, which, though it did not take off 
the sentence of deposition, enabled these ministers 
to labor unmolested among their people under cer- 
tain restrictions. These Livingstone could not 
endure ; and seeing no hope of relief, he left the 
country and retired to Scotland. 

The other clergymen continued to teach their 
flocks as before, only refraining from entering 
their pulpits when they preached. This they did 
with the expectation that on the arrival of 
Lord- Deputy Wentworth, the famous earl of Straf- 
ford, to govern Ireland, he would put an end to 
their privations. In this, however, they were 
grievously disappointed, for a more unfortunate 
choice of a deputy, as respects Presbyterian in- 
terests, could not possibly have been made. 
Haughty in manner, vindictive in temper and 
intolerant in his religious opinions, he was inca- 
pable of the least sympathy for those who suffer- 
ed for any scruple of conscience. Soon after his 
arrival in Dublin, Blair laid before him the king's 


favorable letter, but in place of the relief expected 
the overbearing deputy replied "that he had His 
Majesty's mind in his own breast," and began at 
once to "revile the Church of Scotland" and up- 
braid Blair, " bidding him come to his right wits, 
and then he should be regarded." This was all 
the answer he deigned to give to the petition. 
Blair went with this intelligence to Usher, who, 
as he listened to the reply of the bold, vindictive 
man, shed tears. 


From the Accession of Charles I. to the 
Irish Rebellion. 

Gloomy in the extreme were the prospects of 
Presbyterian ministers in Ireland on the accession 
of Charles I., and little or no hope remained that 
those deposed would ever be restored. The policy 
of the king, both in England and Scotland, favored 
a rigid imposition of Episcopal forms. Nor could 
it reasonably be expected, therefore, that the mean 
and truckling Wentworth would show any leniency 
to nonconformists. So far as it was thought po- 
litic to do so, Romanists were recipients of kingly 
favors. They were encouraged to exercise their 
former ecclesiastical jurisdiction, new religious 
houses were opened, and even in the metropolis 
a college was founded for the training of priests. 
On the other hand, Protestants were so impeded in 
their work, and their freedom of worship so re- 
stricted, that large numbers of the people, together 
with their pastors, began to turn their attention 
toward a home in the New World. The visit of 
a son of Governor Winthrop of New England, 
at this time, afforded them an opportunity to learn 



of the prospects which America offered to emi- 
grants who wished to enjoy religious freedom. So 
impressed were they by his statements that they 
resolved to send a minister and a layman thither 
to report upon the country, and, if desirable, to 
select a place of settlement. Livingstone and 
Wallace set out upon this mission, but were pre- 
vented from leaving England. On their return to 
Ulster their brethren determined to endure these 
privations with what patience they could, and 
await the further developments of the policy of 
the government. 

Charles, by reason of his expensive wars with 
Spain and Austria, found it difficult to secure the 
funds necessary to maintain an adequate army in 
Ireland, and had recourse to the landed proprie- 
tors for assistance. As many of these were Roman 
Catholics, who were aware of the king's pecuniary 
embarrassment, they conceived that it would be a 
favorable opportunity to secure the abolition of 
the penal statutes which were in force against 
them. The king was disposed to yield to their 
demands, and on their proffering a large volun- 
tary subsidy he promised to grant them the soli- 
cited privileges. Under the impression that the 
toleration of the Romish faith was about to be 
purchased by a contribution to the State, Arch- 
bishop Usher and the most influential of the Irish 
prelates protested strongly against the measure. 
This retarded for a time the proposed project. 


But as the sovereign's needs were pressing, and 
the Romanists firm in their demands for conces- 
sions favorable to their religion, the execution of 
the penal laws was still further relaxed. This 
indulgence both offended and alarmed the Prot- 
estants, and led to a tumult in Dublin, where an 
attempt was made to disperse a meeting of Car- 
melite friars, and afterward instructions were sent 
to the English consul to suppress all such assem- 
blies and to dissolve their religious houses. 

At the instigation of the sycophantic and despotic 
Laud, the deputy turned his attention from civil 
to ecclesiastical affairs. The former had encour- 
aged the introduction of superstitious rites into 
divine worship in the English Church, such as 
changing the communion-table into an altar and 
adorning it with candlesticks and crucifixes, and 
placing pictures and images in the churches. He 
now solicited the willing aid of Wentworth to carry 
forward like changes in the Irish Church, so as 
to have its service approximate as nearly as pos- 
sible to that of the Romish ritual. The first and 
most important measure was to fill the sees with 
men who would be in sympathy with the scheme, 
and who would be ready to obey the orders of 
Wentworth as he received them from Archbishop 
Laud. The place of the mild and tolerant Knox 
was filled by the violent churchman John Leslie. 
The pious Downham, bishop of Derry, was suc- 
ceeded by Bramhall, a servile creature of Laud's, 


whom he so resembled in spirit and in his intoler- 
ance of Puritans that he was styled " the Canter- 
bury of Ireland." Usher was compelled to do 
the bidding of these bad men, who ordered him 
to call in and suppress a work on the covenant 
of grace which had been issued by the bishop of 
Derry, condemning Arminianism. Rather than 
comply, and thus stain his own fair fame by evin- 
cing so timid and irresolute a spirit, he should 
have maintained and defended the standards of 
the Church of which he was a custodian. Bedell, 
the saintly bishop, who resigned his office the bet- 
ter to promote reform in his diocese, and whose 
earnest Christian efforts to spread the gospel will 
ever be memorable in Ireland, was constantly 
thwarted in his self-denying labors. In prepar- 
ing young men to preach in Irish to the natives, 
in establishing schools in every parish, in compil- 
ing and printing scriptural books, and in translat- 
ing the Bible into the language of the country, he 
displayed an untiring zeal. These benevolent and 
valuable services for his adopted countrymen, in 
connection with his well-known liberal sentiments 
toward nonconformists, made him a shining mark 
for the poisoned arrows of Laud and Went worth. 
They resolved that the work of reformation, which 
he was carrying forward so successfully, should be 
brought to an end, and to accomplish their purpose 
suits at law were instituted against him. Though 
of too frivolous a character to justify his suspen- 


sion, they served to place obstacles in the way of 
his work of evangelization. When thus oppressed 
by the civil authorities, he turned for sympathy to 
Usher; but Usher declined to extend to him the 
friendly assistance which he had a right to expect, 
assigning as a reason that " the tide went so high 
against him." Bedell replied nobly "that he was 
resolved, by the help of God, to try if he could 
stand by himself." Still, his solitary efforts could 
accomplish but little for the Church. 

Attention was next directed to the University 
of Dublin. There was too large a Puritan ele- 
ment in its management to suit the Romanizing 
party in England. Laud had already introduced 
innovations at Oxford in favor of popery, and was 
resolved that a similar change should be made at 
Dublin. Its provost, Dr. Robert Usher, a rela- 
tive of the archbishop, and holding the same lib- 
eral sentiments, was removed, and a violent Armin- 
ian from England was put in his place. The 
statutes of the university were subjected to the 
revision of Laud and altered to suit his wishes, 
and under his direction the new provost urged 
conformity with unsparing intolerance. 

One thing more was needed in order to accom- 
plish the work on which the archbishop and the 
deputy had set their hearts. This was to bring 
the Church of Ireland into a more perfect con- 
formity to the English Establishment. The latter 
undertook 'he task, and accomplished it in a sum- 


mary manner. By his order a convocation of the 
clergy was summoned to meet in November, 1634, 
and in furtherance of his designs he did not hesi- 
tate to employ intrigue, deception and menace. 
The Calvinistic confession, prepared by Usher, 
adopted by the Irish Church, and ratified by Par- 
liament twenty years before, was the chief obsta- 
cle in the way of the deputy. In order merely 
to manifest the agreement between the Churches 
of England and Ireland, he proposed to Usher 
that the Thirty-nine Articles of the former should 
be received and recognized, and promised that this 
should not displace or in any way interfere with 
the Confession of the Irish Church. Obtaining the 
assent of Usher, the Thirty-nine Articles were re- 
ceived. But no sooner were they adopted than 
it was claimed that they were the sole accredited 
standard of the Church's faith, and that the Irish 
articles, by construction, had been wholly abro- 
gated. The deception was discovered too late to 
correct the error, though an effort to do so was 
immediately made by attempting to amend the 
English canons. The convocation was overruled 
by Wentworth in the most arbitrary and insulting 
manner. He sent immediately for the chairman, 
and commanded him to bring the book of canons, 
together with the draft of the proposed changes, 
and as soon as he had read these he began to pour 
out on him the vials of his fierce wrath. He told 
him that "certainly not a dean of Limerick, but 


an Ananias, had sat in the chair." He was "sure 
an Ananias had been there in spirit, if not in body, 
with all the fraternities and conventicles of Am- 
sterdam." Hamilton was the boldest champion 
of the independence of the Church. But his in- 
fluence, with that of kindred men in the convoca- 
tion, was crushed by the despotic will of the dep- 
uty, ably seconded as he was by Bramhall and 
Leslie. In this violent and summary manner was 
the constitution of the Irish Episcopal Church 
finally settled. The Thirty-nine Articles of the 
English Church became the standard of the for- 
mer, and the clergy were forced to accept them 
with their Arminian interpretation. 

Having carried out his plan with such wonder- 
ful success, it might be supposed that Wentworth 
would be content. But not so. He desired in- 
creased power. Accordingly, he applied to Laud 
and Charles for authority to erect a High Com- 
mission court in Dublin. In his letter he says : 
"I hold it most fit that there were a High Com- 
mission settled here in Dublin to support eccle- 
siastical courts and officers, to bring the people 
here to a conformity in religion, and in the way 
of all these to raise perhaps a good revenue to the 
Crown." In this proposal the wily statesman bids 
for the sanction of the prelate by his expressed in- 
tention of persecuting nonconformists, and for that 
of the king by the hope of augmented revenues. 
The authority* sought was granted, and with this 


unconstitutional tribunal he subjected the freedom 
and property of every individual to his arbitrary 
will and pleasure, and by its summary processes, 
from whose judgment there was no appeal, he was 
enabled to crush out the slightest opposition to 
his tyrannical measures.* 

The Presbyterians of Ulster were soon made to 
feel the power that had been thus entrusted to the 
deputy, and their condition grew worse day by day. 
The four ministers suspended by Echlin were de- 
nied a fair trial, which they had requested, and were 
reproached for their unwillingness to conform. For 
a brief period, and as a matter of public policy, 
and not because of any favor entertained for these 
pastors, their sentence of suspension was relaxed. 
They were restored for six months to the office of 
the ministry, with the hope that this might allay 
the irritated feelings of the Scotch planters, whose 
lands had been threatened with confiscation. But 
at the expiration of this period their license was 
revoked, and at the instigation of Bramhall they 
were formally deposed. 

Bishop Echlin, dying in July, 1635, was suc- 
ceeded by that violent bigot, Henry Leslie, who 
immediately began the work of persecuting non- 

* " A High Commission court sat in Dublin, canons were 
passed for ecclesiastical government, and dissent, under any 
Protestant form, was utterly prohibited. All who refused to 
obey the bishops and introduce and use the English liturgy, 
were deprived of their cures."— Froude, vol. i., p. 77. 


conformists. On his requiring from the clergy of 
his diocese their subscription to the canons, five of 
the most zealous and influential of them refused to 
comply. For this reason alone these faithful min- 
isters were summarily deposed from their office, 
deprived of their support, and finally obliged to 
leave the kingdom. These unjust and arbitrary 
proceedings still more fully convinced Presby- 
terians that there was no liberty to be expected 
by either pastors or people so long as they were 
subjected to prelacy, and that it was their duty to 
abandon a country in which their religious privi- 
leges were so flagrantly violated. Accordingly, they 
determined to carry out their previous design to re- 
move to New England, and commenced work at once 
on a ship called the Eaglewing, in which they pro- 
posed to embark in the spring. After many dis- 
appointments and much delay the preparations for 
the voyage were completed, and one hundred and 
forty emigrants, accompanied by Blair, Livingstone 
and Hamilton, set sail from Loch Fergus in Sep- 
tember, 1636. But contrary winds and a fierce 
tempest, that caused the loss of the rudder and 
the ship to spring aleak, compelled them to re- 
turn to Ireland, and convinced them " that it 
was not God's will that they should go to New 

But there was no rest for them in Ireland while 
the Episcopal authorities, through the po'ver of 
the High Commission, could arrest and imprison 


all persons at their pleasure. Numbers were com- 
mitted to prison or forced to fly the country. 
Armed with extraordinary powers by the English 
court, Wentworth pursued his rapacious schemes 
with new energy. He subjected the titles of the 
Ulster colonists to a rigorous examination ; and 
where they had failed to fulfill in any particular 
the numerous and expensive conditions of their 
grants, he obliged them to renew their patents, for 
which he extorted large sums of money. Not only 
were the rights of property violated, but the per- 
sonal liberty of the people was invaded and the 
lives of the highest in the realm endangered if they 
dared to oppose the deputy's authority. Severe and 
unwarranted punishment was inflicted at his mere 
caprice. He authorized the bishop of Down to ar- 
rest and imprison in a summary manner all who 
refused to subscribe to the canons. Suffering under 
these great grievances, both civil and religious, 
many of the Presbyterians of Ulster fled to the 
west of Scotland, where a number of their former 
pastors, who had preceded them, were settled over 
parishes. This served to keep up frequent com- 
munication between the two countries, and enabled 
the people to be of mutual service to each other 
in the common struggle for civil and religious lib- 
erty. Not a few of these Ulster Presbyterians, 
when visiting their native country, had subscribed 
the Covenant. Witnessing the beneficial results 
of the victory which had been obtained over 


prelacy by their Scotch brethren, they were the 
more dissatisfied with the tyranny under which 
they were living, and the more determined in 
their resistance. 

Such was the spirit manifested that AVentworth 
became alarmed lest the people of Ulster should 
openly resist his authority. He, therefore, took 
measures to cut off all correspondence with Scot- 
land, and to collect an army either to invade Scot- 
land in co-operation with Charles, or to hold in 
subjection the Scotch residents in Ulster. He also 
called to his aid the prelates, and directed them to 
enforce conformity, to preach against the Covenant, 
and to obstruct the settlement of any more Scotch 
ministers within their dioceses. His final expe- 
dient was the imposition upon all the Scots of 
North Ireland of an oath called The Black Oath, 
from the terrible evils it occasioned. It was a sug- 
gestion of Charles I. to his obedient deputy, and it 
is scarcely possible to conceive of anything more 
objectionable than this oath, or more in conflict 
with the principles of the civil and religious rights 
of subjects. It compelled the party to swear never 
to oppose any of the king's commands and to ab- 
jure all covenants and oaths to the contrary. All 
the Scotch residents in Ulster over sixteen years 
of age were required to take it on their knees and 
swearing " upon the holy evangelists," without 
even the privilege of perusing it in most instances. 
Women as well as men were sworn ; the only ex- 


ception was in favor of those Scots who professed 
to be Roman Catholics. In administering the 
oath the commissioners were required to proceed 
in the most expeditious manner possible, and per- 
mit no one to evade them from any want of vigi- 
lance on their part. The ministers and church- 
wardens were obliged to make a return of all the 
Scots who resided in their parishes. If any re- 
fused to take the oath, their names were forwarded 
to Dublin, when officers were dispatched by Went- 
worth to execute his pleasure on the recusants. 

The deputy supposed that the people would 
generally, through fear, take the obnoxious oath. 
They had no objection to pledge their allegiance 
to their king, but very many refused to yield 
unconditional obedience to all that he might com- 
mand, whether just or unjust. On these the high- 
est penalties of the law, short of death, were fre- 
quently inflicted. Many were fined, others were 
cast into dungeons, while multitudes deserted their 
homes and fled to the woods, leaving their valuable 
properties to speedy ruin. So many of the laboring 
population fled to Scotland that it was found very 
difficult to gather the ripened grain in the fields. 
The severity of the sufferings endured by these 
Christian patriots may be inferred from the pun- 
ishment meted out to a Mr. Stewart, who refused 
to swear to the unconditional terms of the oath. 
He and his family were dragged up to Dublin, 
placed in close confinement, speedily brought to 

HISTORY OF Till, llllsll CHURCH. 193 

trial in the Star-Chamber — a court in which even 
the forms of law and justice were despised — and 
fined in the sum of sixteen thousand pounds, and 
were ordered to be imprisoned at their own charges 
until the exorbitant fine was paid. This sentence 
they were told to consider as an act of leniency on 
the part of their judges, for had they been pun- 
ished as they deserved they would have been de- 
clared worthy of death for treason. Among their 
judges was Primate Usher, who, while evincing 
more moderation than the other prelates in the 
trial, was swept along by the power and fear of 
royal prerogative, and led to concur in the judg- 
ment required by the cruel Wentworth, who then 
and there expressed his determination to prosecute 
"to the blood" all who declined the oath and drive 
them "root and branch" out of the kingdom; 
and he was as good as his word, for he imposed 
it with the greatest cruelty upon all ages, ranks 
and sexes of the nonconformists in Ireland. 

For the time being the power of the deputy was 
irresistible. No one dared to oppose his oppres- 
sive measures. If any person evinced the least 
sympathy for those persecuted for their religious 
scruples in taking the oath, it was sufficient to in- 
cur his severest censures. Archibald Adair, bishop 
of Killala, having expressed his contempt of the 
conduct of a renegade Scotchman who had reviled 
his brethren for their attachment to the Covenant, 
was committed to prison and tried before the High 


Commission court. At the instigation of Bram- 
hall, and with the consent of the other bigoted and 
sycophantic prelates, lie was deprived of his see, 
fined two thousand pounds and ordered to be im- 
prisoned during the pleasure of the court. Bishop 
Bedell was alone in his opposition to this despotic 
measure, and by an able argument founded on the 
scriptural qualifications of a bishop sought to be- 
friend his calumniated and injured brother. 

Charles did not fail to reward the services of 
his unscrupulous and faithful servant, Wentworth. 
He was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland, ele- 
vated to the rank of an earl, and received other 
marks of royal approval and confidence. In re- 
turn he entered with ardor into the king's plans, 
contributed largely to them out of his own private 
fortune, and immediately issued orders to raise an 
army to occupy Ulster and to aid his master, who 
had resolved to renew the war in Scotland when- 
ever the opportune time should arrive. This army, 
consisting of eight thousand foot and one thousand 
horse, was almost entirely composed of Roman 
Catholics. It was stationed at several points along 
the coast where it could be employed to crush out 
any popular rising of the nonconformists, or, if 
needed, could be readily transported to Scotland 
for the purpose of an invasion of that country. 

These unresisted efforts to keep the north of 
Ireland in peace and submission, Strafford hoped 
would prove effectual. In this belief he retired to 


England to consult with his sovereign and mature 
further plans for maintaining the royal cause, leav- 
ing the government in the charge of a deputy. But 
scarcely had he taken his departure when a spirit 
of resolute opposition manifested itself. Those 
who had long suffered in silence under the most 
severe oppressions began to complain of their 
grievances and burdens. The evils of his admin- 
istration were freely exposed, and the people earn- 
estly and forcibly demanded relief from its in- 
tolerable abuses. Equal discontent prevailed in 
England, and for very similar causes. This led 
to frequent communications between English patri- 
ots and their oppressed brethren in Ireland, where 
were found many congenial spirits who not only 
valued civil and religious liberty, but stood ready 
to resist the usurpations of the Crown. Well was 
it for Great Britain that there arose at this time a 
party who both held correct views of constitution- 
al freedom and had the cournge to maintain them. 
Though the epithet "Puritans" had been derisively 
applied to them, yet even Hume himself was 
obliged to make the remarkable admission, "So 
absolute was the authority of the Crown that the 
precious spark of liberty had been kindled and 
was preserved by the Puritans alone, and it was 
to this sect that the English owe the whole free- 
dom of their constitution."* 

Their brethren in Ireland had finally resolved 
* History of Enyland, vol. v., p. 134. 


upon bold measures. They drew up a Remon- 
strance, setting forth the evils they had suffered 
during the government of Strafford, and appointed 
a committee of six to present it to the king in per- 
son, and to demand that their worst grievances 
should be speedily redressed. At this opportune 
moment the Long Parliament met, having been 
called together by the king to supply his urgent 
need of money. But instead of voting the re- 
quired sums of money, one of the first motions 
made was to take into consideration the affairs of 
Ireland. The result was the bold measure of im- 
peaching Strafford for high treason. A committee 
was appointed to prepare charges against him, and 
the same day he was formally impeached, seques- 
tered from his seat and committed to the Tower, 
and in the following May, in less than six months 
from the time he was in the zenith of his power, 
he was beheaded on Tower Hill — a memorable ex- 
ample to all unprincipled statesmen. 

Freed from the restraints of the earl of Straf- 
ford's presence and authority, and encouraged by 
their friends in England, the nonconformists of 
Ulster now earnestly sought deliverance from the 
evils under which they had so long suffered. 
They drew up a petition detailing their many 
grievances, both civil and religious, and pray- 
ing for the enjoyment of liberty of conscience. 
This was presented to the Long Parliament, and 
nelped to swell the tide of national indignation 


that was rising against royal and prelatical usur- 
pation. In this petition the northern Presbyte- 
rians evinced their strong attachment to their own 
faith and order, for, next to the privilege of wor- 
shiping God as their consciences approved, they 
asked for the restoration of their banished pastors 
Without an educated and pious ministry, they felt 
there could not be permanent peace and prosperity 
in the kingdom ; and while they had been deprived 
of the services of their honored ministers, who were 
obliged to escape to Scotland, the more learned of 
the laity were accustomed to call their neighbors 
together and expound the Scripture to them. By 
this means the knowledge and love of the truth 
were preserved among the people, and they were 
eager to embrace the first opportunity which offered 
to engage again in the methods of worship to which 
they had been accustomed. 

The representations contained in this petition, 
reciting as they did the persecutions to which they 
had been subjected, were not unavailing. They 
had great influence in securing the conviction of 
Wentworth for violating the fundamental laws of 
the kingdom during his tyrannical administration, 
and in obtaining in 1641 a complete change in the 
government of Ireland. Two lords-justices were 
appointed, both belonging to the Puritan party, 
who labored earnestly to repair the evils wrought 
by the former rulers, in which work they received 
the hearty co-operation of the English Parliament. 


The High Commission court was summarily abol- 
ished, many of the illegal penalties imposed by ec- 
clesiastical courts were declared null and void, 
Bishop Adair and five Presbyterian ministers of 
the diocese of Down were restored to their of- 
fices, the sentence of confiscation of the lands in 
the county of Londonderry was rescinded, and the 
army which Strafford had collected in Ulster to 
overawe the nonconformists was disbanded. The 
removal of these and kindred evils ensured a peace 
and tranquillity in Ireland such as had not b(«n 
known for a long period. 


From the Irish Rebellion to the Death 
of Charles I. 

The immunities and privileges secured through 
the overthrow of Wentworth and the High Com- 
mission court were shared equally by Roman Cath- 
olics and Protestants, as was both just and right. 
While the Romanists were suffering the common 
grievances resulting from the wicked government 
of the earl of Strafford, they were ready to make 
common cause with the Protestants. But when 
they were freed from the oppression they had so 
long endured, and their religion and their clergy 
were no longer molested in their religious rites, 
they began to cherish the hope that they might 
attain to that political ascendency which their pre- 
ponderance of numbers seemed to warrant. Incited 
alike by their own ambitious leaders, their hatred 
of Protestantism and the promises and intrigues of 
the king, they ere long aimed at nothing less than 
the entire overthrow of the British power in Ire- 
land. The native Irish, many of whom were de- 
scendants of the ancient chieftains, and who were 



the hereditary enemies of the English, joined in 
the insurrection, with the expectation of recover- 
ing their forfeited landed property, and from a 
desire to re-establish Romanism. They were 
encouraged by promised assistance from their 
friends on the Continent, by whose aid they 
hoped to drive out all English usurpers and 
to restore the nation to its former independence. 
They were incited to rebellion also by the priests, 
who had taught them to hate and abhor both the 
persons and religion of the Protestants, and their 
prejudices, as also the great ignorance in which 
they were kept by their spiritual advisers, ren- 
dered them the easy dupes of designing leaders. 
The priests, in their turn, were instigated by the 
emissaries of the pope, ambitious to recover his 
supremacy over a country which had been regard- 
ed as " the especial patrimony of the Romish see." 
A prominent object, therefore, of the rebellion was 
the destruction of Protestantism, and from the 
first the watchword was the extirpation of all 

The plan contemplated, on a certain fixed day, 
the simultaneous seizure of Dublin and the princi- 
pal forts and castles throughout the kingdom, and 
the disarming and securing those who would not 
join in the insurrection. Though the conspirators 
carried on their proceedings with the utmost cau- 
tion and secrecy, the lords-justices and some of the 
Protestant nobility received information of the plot 


in time to secure the safety of the metropolis and 
some of the most important castles and towns. 
Through intelligence furnished by a converted 
Romanist who had been urged to join the con- 
spirators, measures were hastily adopted whereby 
Belfast, Enniskillen, Deny, Coleraine, Carrick- 
fergus and the town and castle of Antrim were 
secured against capture and pillage by the rebels. 
These towns served as places of refuge for the per- 
secuted and famishing Protestants who were driven 
from their desolated homes, and where the Scots 
of Ulster rallied and held in check the insurgents 
in their otherwise unimpeded progress until Eng- 
lish arms could be sent to aid in their subjection. 

Notwithstanding these precautionary measures, 
such was the success of the uprising that in little 
more than a fortnight from its commencement the 
rebels were masters of the greater part of Ulster, 
together with the two neighboring counties, and 
had collected a force of thirty thousand men act- 
uated by hatred of the English as conquerors and 
heretics, and thirsting for their blood. The undis- 
ciplined and revengeful soldiers were encouraged to 
give free scope to their worst passions by the na- 
tive Irish leaders, who aimed at nothing less than 
the extirpation of all Protestants. Their orders 
were, u Spare neither man, woman nor child. The 
English are meat for dogs; there shall not be one 
drop of English blood left within the kingdom." 
Well did they obey the commands of their supe- 


riors. The havoc was terrible. "An unhersal 
massacre ensued ; nor age, nor sex, nor infancy- 
was spared ; all conditions were involved in the 
general ruin. In vain did the unhappy victim 
appeal to the sacred ties of humanity, hospitality, 
family connection, and all the tender obligations 
of social commerce ; companions, friends, relatives, 
not only denied protection, but dealt with their 
own hands the fatal blow." The houses of the 
victims were either consumed with fire or lev- 
eled with the ground. Their cattle, because they 
had belonged to abhorred heretics, were either 
killed or covered with wounds and turned loose 
to abide a lingering, painful end. Their valuable 
stores of grain were wantonly squandered and des- 
troyed, so that famine ensued, owing to the scarcity 
of food. The refusal of the rebels to bury the 
corpses of their murdered victims in many places 
induced a pestilential fever, which carried off great 
numbers of the inhabitants who had escaped the 
fury of their enemies. So destructive was the 
pestilence that it was computed that in Coleraine 
six thousand died in four months, in Carrickfergus 
two thousand jive hundred, in Belfast and Malone 
above two thousand, and in Antrim and other 
places a like proportion. 

But we will not dwell upon this terrible scene 
of blood, which rivaled in its carnage that of St. 
Bartholomew. History records no more dreadful 
massacres than were perpetrated by the blood- 


thirsty savages who were let loose upon Ulster. 
Not satisfied with slaying defenceless women and 
children, they took a fiendish delight in first tor- 
menting them, and their appeals for mercy and cries 
of pain were answered with re vi lings and insults.* 

* Lest any one may think we have exaggerated the horrors 
of this insurrection, we append what the historian Froude says 
respecting it : " The order was to drive the English settlers 
and their families from their houses and strip men, women and 
children even of the clothes upon their backs. . . . On the 
morning of the fatal Saturday there appeared before the houses 
of the settlers gangs of armed Irish, who demanded instant 
possession, and on being admitted ejected the entire families, 
and stripped most of them to the skin. Many resisted and 
were killed, many sought shelter in the houses of their Irish 
neighbors, with whom they had lived in intimacy. The doors 
of their neighbors were opened in seeming hospitality, but 
within they were not human beings — not even human savages 
— but ferocious beasts. The priests had so charmed the Irish, 
and laid such bloody impressions on them, that it was held a 
mortal sin to give relief or protection to the English. . . . 
Savage creatures of both sexes, yelping in chorus and bran- 
dishing their skenes, boys practicing their young hands in stab- 
bing and torturing the English children, — these were the scenes 
which were witnessed daily throughout all parts of Ulster. 
The distinction between Scots and English soon vanished. 
Religion was made the new dividing-line, and the one crime 
was to be a Protestant. . . . The priests told the people ' that 
the Protestants were worse than dogs — they were devils and 
served the devil — and the killing of them was a meritorious 
act.'"— Froude, vol. i., pp.97, 107, 108. 

Roman Catholic historians in vain deny these charges. De- 
positions filling forty volumes are still preserved in the library 
of Trinity College which tell the tale with perfect distin 'tness 
and consistency. 


On no class did these sufferings fall more heavily 
than on the Protestant ministers. Being marked 
out specially for persecution by the priests who 
instigated the rebellion, they were shown no quar- 
ter. In a small part of Ulster alone thirty were 
murdered, while a much larger number died in 
circumstances of extreme wretchedness and pov- 
erty. Bishop Bedell was the only Englishman 
in the whole county of Cavan who was permitted 
to live undisturbed in his own house. Even he, 
though he had labored so earnestly for the good 
of the Irish people, and with a humility and dis- 
interestedness that had commanded the respect of 
the most bigoted Romanists in his diocese, was at 
last arrested and imprisoned, and only released a 
few weeks before his death. As an evidence of 
the respect entertained for him, the privilege of 
burial by the side of his wife in the churchyard 
of Kilmore was granted, and a large force of reb- 
els attended his funeral, who, when they fired a 
volley over his grave, expressed the wish that the 
last of the English might rest in peace. Having 
esteemed him as the best of the English bishops 
who had labored among them, they were resolved 
he should be the last left in Ireland. 

No trustworthy record remains of the number 
of Protestants who perished in the rebellion by 
the sword, or from famine and pestilence. Suf- 
fice it to say that the lowest possible estimate to be 
made presents an awful sacrifice of human life. 


In Ulster the devastation produced by the exter- 
minating warfare, which was carried on for months, 
was so terrible that the Presbyterian interest was 
well nigh destroyed. Yet the Presbyterians, as a 
body, did not Buffer so severely as the Episcopa- 
lians. The reason for this was that the previous 
persecutions of Wentworth, by his agents Leslie 
and Bramhall and the court of High Commission, 
had compelled many of the most influential Pres- 
byterian clergy and nobility to retire to Scotland, 
where the pastors had been joined by many of 
their parishioners, who were induced to go mainly 
by a desire to attend upon their ministry. Thus 
multitudes were providentially preserved, and what 
was designed to ruin the Presbyterian Church 
proved in the end its preservation. But those 
who did remain and were saved from the terrible 
carnage were rendered poor in property, and were 
destitute of the public ordinances of religion. 
They, however, continued steadfast in their love 
of their Church; and when the rebellion was finally 
subdued and peace restored, they heartily united 
with their brethren who returned from Scotland 
in re-establishing the Presbyterian Church in 

After the devastation had continued several 
months, Charles, by reason of the intelligence con- 
veyed to him at Edinburgh, was induced to issue 
commissions for the raising of regiments to defend 
the kingdom, and the lords-justices adopted meas- 


ures to furnish arras to the levies that were ordered. 
These regiments were commanded by men who had 
the respect and confidence of their soldiers. This 
was especially true of Sir William and Sir Robert 
Stewart, who had command of the forces raised 
in the counties of Deny and Donegal, which were 
afterward known as the Lagan Forces. With 
these the insurgents were held in check. Learn- 
ing more fully the dangerous situation of the Prot- 
estants in the north of Ireland, the Scottish Parlia- 
ment offered a supply of three thousand stand of 
arms and ten thousand men for their relief. Be- 
fore these, however, could become available, it was 
necessary to obtain the sanction of the English 
authorities, and their aid in supporting the army. 
This was promptly given, and the English Com- 
mons not only voted a liberal supply of money, 
but an additional levy of men. Still, owing to 
many vexatious delays, it was some months before 
these latter regiments arrived in Ireland and joined 
tHe forces operating against the insurgents. After 
their junction an active warfare was prosecuted, 
but it was not until several fierce conflicts had 
taken place that the rebellion was subdued. 
Finding that they could not oppose successfully 
the combined forces of the Scotch and English, 
the principal leaders resolved to disband their 
followers and seek safety in flight. 

The cessation of hostilities, though partial and 
temporary, prepared the way for the re-establish- 


merit of religion. The Episcopal Church, which 
had been so arrogant and intolerant in the day of 
prosperity, was now overthrown. Not a single 
bishop and but very few of her clergy continued 
to live within the province. Most of the Prot- 
estant laity who remained and had survived the 
rebellion were not in heart friends of the Irish 
Episcopal Church, having been constrained by 
penal laws to conform to its service. Con- 
sequently, when previous restraints were with- 
drawn, the great majority of them naturally re- 
turned to the Church of their choice — the Scot- 
tish Church, with whose forms they were familiar. 
Others, who were from preference Episcopalians, 
forsook the Establishment, because they had seen 
that their prelates and clergy were hostile to the 
cause of civil liberty. Thus out of the ruins, and 
largely from the incongruous fragments tempo- 
rarily incorporated into the Episcopal Church of 
Ireland, arose speedily the simpier fabric of Pres- 
byterianism. The Presbyterian element increased 
rapidly by the return to the country of the 
original Scottish settlers who had fled from Ire- 
land ; and being largely in the majority, they at 
once began the re-establishing of Presbyterian 
churches in Ulster. In this they were assisted 
by the chaplains of the Scottish regiments, who 
were strongly attached to the doctrines, worship 
and government of their national Church, the cha- 
racteristic features of which were preserved in the 


Irish. These chaplains were ordained ministers 
and having received calls from congregations to 
settle, they remained in the country after the re- 
turn home of their regiments. By their prudence 
and zeal they rendered valuable aid in the organ- 
ization of the Irish Presbyterian Church upon 
the scriptural foundation which it has ever since 

It was by these clergymen that the first regu- 
larly constituted presbytery was held in Ireland, 
which met at Carrickfergus, June 10, 1642. Five 
ministers and four ruling elders were in attend- 
ance, the elders representing the sessions previously 
constituted in four of the regiments. Correspond- 
ence was opened with Lords Claneboy and Mont- 
gomery, the commanding officers of two other 
regiments, requesting permission for their chap- 
lains to attend the meetings of presbytery. This 
privilege was freely granted, and was accompanied 
with the assurance that they would support the 
measures of the presbytery in establishing anew 
the Protestant Church in Ulster. 

Intelligence having gone abroad that a presby- 
tery had been formed, applications immediately be- 
gan to be received from destitute parishes, for the 
organization of churches and for the supply of min- 
isters. These requests were granted so far as the 
presbytery had the ability to comply. It was soon 
found, however, that it was impossible to provide 
ministers for all the places destitute of preaching, 


and whore the people were desirous of enjoying the 
regular services of a pastor. A petition for aid 
was sent to the Scottish Assembly; and in response 
to the request of their Irish brethren, it commis- 
sioned six of its best-qualified ministers, giving 
them instructions to proceed to Ireland and labor 
for a period of four months each, " there to visit, 
comfort, instruct and encourage the scattered flocks 
of Christ, to employ themselves to the uttermost, 
with all faithfulness and singleness of heart, in 
planting and watering according to the direction 
of Jesus Christ, and according to the doctrine and 
discipline of this Church in all things." 

In compliance with the appointment of the 
General Assembly, Rev. Messrs. Blair and Ham- 
ilton returned to Ireland in September, 1642, and 
were very warmly received by the brethren of 
the presbytery. The commission which they bore 
from the Assembly was ordered to be preserved 
among their records and inserted in their minutes. 
For three months they itinerated, performing mis- 
sionary labor, organizing churches and preaching 
almost daily. Through the efforts of these expe- 
rienced ministers, who were intimately acquainted 
with the circumstances and needs of the country, 
Presbyterian ism rapidly revived. The seed pre- 
viously sown now began to spring up with a vigor 
and a fruitage that gladdened the hearts of the 
laborers. Everywhere the people received these 
ministers witli the utmost respect and gratitude. 



Multitudes who formerly belonged to the Episco- 
pal Church declared themselves in favor of the 
Presbyterian, and asked to be permitted to join 
her standards and partake of the privileges of her 
communion. In a brief period numerous Presby- 
terian congregations were gathered, and many of 
the Episcopal clergy came forward and united 
with the newly-formed presbytery. These were 
received into fellowship, but not until they had 
openly professed repentance for their former evil 
ways, and particularly for taking the Black Oath, 
and for their persecutions of the nonconformists. 
In all these proceedings we are to notice and 
admire the overruling providence of God. These 
ministers, restrained by Scottish prelates from the 
exercise of their ministry in their native country, 
removed to Ireland, and there introduced Presbyte- 
rianism. Banished from their adopted country, they 
returned to Scotland, where they were the chief 
instruments in overthrowing prelacy and re-estab- 
lishing the Presbyterian Church ; and now, the 
sword of the rebels having either slain or driven 
away the most noted and violent of their persecu- 
tors, they are recalled to Ireland to accept the 
acknowledgments and repentance of the few re- 
maining conformists, and to aid for the third 
time in reconstructing the Presbyterian Church on 
the ruins of prelacy. This duty they discharged 
with eminent prudence and faithfulness, and with 
such success that a peaceful and prosperous career 


now seemed open to the Presbyterian Church of 

Freed from the restraints hitherto imposed, and 
encouraged by the policy now predominant in 
England, the Presbyterian ministers, increased in 
numbers by the kind sympathy and aid afforded 
by the General Assembly of Scotland, were abun- 
dant in labors and successful in gathering con- 
gregations. Few disturbing influences were felt, 
apart from the turbulence of the Roman Catholic 
Irish, and the local conflicts growing out of the 
rebellion, which had been only half suppressed. 
Two Baptist preachers at Antrim, where a few 
Separatists still lived, attempted to spread their 
peculiar principles, but found such small encour- 
agement that they soon abandoned their fruitless 
mission. Meanwhile, the subject of ecclesiastical 
reform had assumed such importance in England, 
and opposition to prelacy had become so general 
and decided, that Parliament passed an ordinance 
convening an assembly of divines at Westminster, 
with the hope of establishing uniformity of doc- 
trine, worship and government throughout the 
entire empire. Though they did not accomplish 
all that was hoped, they did succeed in framing 
a confession of faith which served as a bond 
of union to Presbyterians throughout the three 

This was followed by sending commissioners to 
Scotland to the convention of Estates and the Gen- 


eral Assembly, for the purpose of securing a civil 
league between the two kingdoms. The Scots 
would not assent unless it was made also a relig- 
ious covenant. The result of the negotiations was 
"The Solemn League and Covenant/' which 
was ordered to be taken in England and Scotland 
by all persons over the age of eighteen years, under 
pain of being punished as the enemies to religion 
and the peace of the kingdom. 

As Ireland was included in its provisions, meas- 
ures were promptly taken to transmit it thither, and 
to furnish the inhabitants an opportunity to sub- 
scribe it. This they did with becoming solemnity 
and deliberation, when presented for their approval 
by the ministers who were sent over for this purpose 
from Scotland. Its effects were the same in Ul- 
ster as in England and Scotland. It served to 
make known and to unite the friends of civil and 
religious liberty, and inspired them with fresh 
courage to resist their enemies. It increased the 
attachment felt for the cause of Presbyterianism, 
and aided in re-establishing the Church where it 
had been overthrown either by prelacy or the re- 
bellion. But, what was of much greater moment, 
the Covenant was the means of so reviving true 
religion, and of promoting the zeal and efficiency 
of both ministers and people, that from this pe- 
riod the Reformation made rapid progress, and a 
marked improvement of society was everywhere 


During succeeding years, and up to the time 
when the Rump Parliament proceeded to the trial 
and execution of Charles I. in 1649, the interests 
of religion continued on the whole to advance, 
notwithstanding the ever- recurring hindrances aris- 
ing out of the unsettled state of Ireland. The 
ministers of the presbytery were very zealous in 
their efforts to repress immorality and vice, and to 
establish throughout the province the regular ad- 
ministration of religious ordinances so far as their 
influence extended. Their successive petitions, ad- 
dressed to the General Assembly of Scotland for 
more pastors, attest the increasing number of the 
congregations and the prosperous condition of the 
Presbyterian Church. As these ministers arrived, 
after a period of trial, they were ordained and in- 
stalled over congregations, and sessions in each 
church were regularly constituted. Such was the 
growth of Presbyterianism, even in these trou- 
blous times, that at the beginning of the year 1647 
there were, besides several chaplains of Scottish 
regiments and the occasional supplies sent over 
from Scotland, nearly thirty ordained ministers 
permanently settled in Ulster. 

The presbytery of Ulster, though surrounded by 
the anti-monarchical party, did not hesitate to ex- 
press their detestation of the murder of Charles 
and the overthrow of lawful authority in England. 
Irish Presbyterians sympathized with their brethren 
in Scotland in their preference for a hereditary 


and limited monarchy, if the proper securities of 
civil and religious freedom could be obtained. 
But they were not disposed to resort to any violent 
measures in behalf of Charles IT. The rapid and 
decisive victories of Cromwell soon led them to 
assent, under protest, to the government de facto ; 
and as they saw more of the man, and understood 
better his motives and his measures, they were less 
inclined to place obstructions in the way of his 

Cromwell's course with respect to Ireland while 
lord-lieutenant, though open to censure in some par- 
ticulars, was on the whole quite judicious.* The 
ignorant and vicious Romanists were made to 
tremble at the terror of his name. He was ever 
ready to listen to any proposal which promised to 
promote the spread of Protestant truth, and he 
was careful to secure to the clergy and the people 
full liberty of worship. And when once assured of 
their good and peaceable disposition, he was not 
rigorous in imposing any oath of allegiance. He 
seemed at least to respect the scruples of those 
who preferred the recognition of Charles II. as 
king, but were content to live quietly under his 
own government. He had prosecuted the war 

* " He meant to rule Ireland for Ireland's good, and all tes- 
timony agrees that Ireland never prospered as she prospered in 
the three years of the Protectorate. Ireland's interests were 
not sacrificed to England's commercial jealousies. He recog- 
nized no difference between the two countries." — Froude, vol. i., 
p. 137. 


with such vigor and with such resources, from 
the very day of his landing in Ireland, that the 
royalists were speedily dispossessed of all their 
garrisons in Ulster, and the republicans became 
masters of the province, which they continued to 
hold till the Restoration. 

In connection with Cromwell's army there came 
over large numbers from England who were 
strong adherents of Independency. John Owen, 
their most noted divine, accompanied him as 
chaplain, and preached regularly in Dublin. 
Many of these Independents were more zealous 
than discreet, and relied mainly for the advance- 
ment of their interests upon the patronage of the 
government. Considering the condition of parties 
in England at this period, it was very natural that 
differences should arise between some of these new 
comers and the older clergy. The most of their 
number, however, were more devoted to the spread 
of gospel truth than to the triumph of party prin- 
ciples, and with all these the Irish Presbyterian 
ministers strongly sympathized and were ready to 
co-operate. To promote education and religion in 
Ireland a bill was passed by Parliament to in- 
crease the endowments of colleges and schools, to 
abolish the hierarchy and the use of the Common 
Prayer-book, and to "send over forthwith six able 
ministers to dispense the gospel in the city of 
Dublin." To each of these ministers it voted a 
liberal salary of two hundred pounds per annum, 


to be paid out of the public revenue of Ireland. 
So anxious was Cromwell to secure an adequate 
supply of ministers that he wrote to New Eng- 
land, offering most liberal inducements to such as 
would come over to Ulster. How many, if any, 
were persuaded to come there is no method of 
ascertaining, but it is known that a number of 
Independent and Baptist preachers were admitted 
to officiate, to the exclusion of the Presbyterian 
clergy, in the few garrison-towns. 

One of the first measures adopted by Parlia- 
ment after the death of Charles was the Engage- 
ment Oath, requiring all persons to swear to be 
" faithful to the Commonwealth of England as now 
established, without a king or House of Lords." 
To taking this oath many of the Presbyterian cler- 
gy were opposed, and so great was their popularity 
among the people, and so fully did they justify 
their refusal, that the attempt to enforce it proved 
a failure at the time. But the opportunity was 
seized by the sectaries, who in their councils urged 
the government to summon the recusant ministers 
and compel them either to take the oath or with- 
draw from the country. The crowning of Charles 
II. at Scone by the Scottish nobles, January 1, 1651, 
only increased the jealousy felt toward the Presby- 
terians and subjected their ministers to still severer 
treatment. The engagement was pressed with much 
greater rigor. As a result, many Presbyterian cler- 
gy were violently excluded from their r.ulpits, and 


their means of subsistence withdrawn ; and, by 
a council of war held in March, 1651, some of 
them were formally banished from the kingdom. 
Those who ventured to remain, being deprived 
of their stipends and the houses of worship in 
which they were accustomed regularly to officiate, 
were forced to preach in the fields or in barns 
and glens. 

An event took place at this time which deserves 
mention, for it shows the religious state of the 
country. While these faithful men were endur- 
ing great privations, the Independent ministers 
invited them to a conference at Antrim with the 
professed purpose to arrange some plan of agree- 
ment or accommodation between them. This 
invitation was accepted ; but when the Presbyte- 
rians arrived at the place of conference, they found, 
to their surprise, that the Independent clergy de- 
signed to use the occasion to hold a public dis- 
cussion before a large assembly respecting the 
merits of the two systems of church government. 
With very great reluctance the Presbyterian min- 
isters engaged in the debate; and though wholly 
unprepared for the discussion, the result proved 
favorable to them. They were adjudged by the 
public to have had the best of the argument, and 
on returning to their people were left for a period 

An unfavorable change for Presbyterians had 
recently taken place in the Board of Commission- 


ers for Ireland, the majority of whom were now 
strong adherents of the Baptists. Already a num- 
ber of Baptist preachers had come over from Eng- 
land, and, propagating their peculiar tenets with 
great zeal, had gathered several churches. Among 
the most active of these propagandists were Thomas 
Patient, a former chaplain in Cromwell's army, 
now residing at Waterford ; Christopher Black- 
wood, who accompanied Fleetwood when he came 
to Ireland in 1652, and who settled in Dublin; 
and Claudius Gilbert, another of Fleetwood's favor- 
ites, who was pastor of the church at Limerick. 
At their instigation, and influenced by political in- 
terest, the new deputy and commissioners resolved 
to silence or banish all the Presbyterian ministers 
in Ulster who refused to take the engagement oath. 
But in this attempt they failed. The ministers 
declined to subscribe, while they professed a dis- 
position to do all they could to promote peace and 
order in the kingdom. The matter was brought 
before Fleetwood at Dublin, who referred it to a 
council of officers. From the known character of 
the army, it might have been supposed that all 
measures of persecution would have been abjured ; 
but when the accused placed their refusal to take 
the oath on the ground of conscience, Allen, an 
Anabaptist, replied, a A papist would and might 
say as much for himself, and pretend conscience 
as well as they." To this charge Adair, one of 
their number, responded that "their consciences 


could digest to kill Protestant kings, but so would 
not ours, to which our principles are contrary." 
This was a home-thrust, and silenced the council. 
Some who were in heart opposed to the execution 
of the king drew their hats down over their faces, 
and others were angry because of the reflection on 
their conduct. The ministers were not called to 
appear again before the council, and were permitted 
to leave Dublin, though no pledge was given them 
that they would in future be secure from perse- 

The respite enjoyed was very brief, for in six 
weeks from their dismissal by the council the com- 
missioners sent a party of soldiers to each minis- 
ter's house, to seize all papers and letters they could 
find. They had determined to press the engage- 
ment upon all classes, beginning with their pastors. 
The danger was imminent, and they only escaped 
by the opportune arrival of the news of the disso- 
lution of Parliament by Cromwell. This intel- 
ligence stayed the hands of the commissioners. 
Their authority was now at an end, and they dared 
not proceed. Accordingly, the ministers were per- 
mitted to return to their homes with fair words, 
and blessing God for the unexpected deliverance 
from their troubles. 

Cromwell's accession to supreme power brought 
great relief to Nonconformists. Differences existed 
among themselves which produced no little fiiction 
in their final adjustment. But they were freed 


from persecution by Romanists and by the High 
Church party. Henry Cromwell was sent over to 
Ireland by the Protector to ascertain the condition 
of affairs, especially the disposition of the army 
toward the new government. His visit did much 
to allay the violence of parties and restore peace 
to the country. The suspicions which Cromwell 
at first entertained respecting the loyalty of the 
Presbyterian ministers were allayed, and they 
were permitted to pursue their proper calling with- 
out any serious restraints. Under their culture the 
churches began to revive and new ones were estab- 
lished, and during the Protectorate of Cromwell 
Presbyterian isni in Ireland enjoyed almost unin- 
terrupted prosperity. Many of those ministers 
who had fled to Scotland again returned. The 
differences which so divided their brethren in the 
Church of Scotland were not permitted to enter 
the Irish Church and work a division in it. It 
required, however, the utmost prudence and vigi- 
lance to guard the Church against the ruinous 
schism, since there was constant danger that the 
causes of dissension would be introduced by the 
return of the exiled ministers and the accession 
of new men from Scotland. Great caution was 
observed in receiving candidates for the ministry. 
If from abroad, they were required to produce tes- 
timonials as to their piety, their literary attain- 
ments and their theological views, and none were 
received until they could furnish ample proofs of 


their qualifications for the sacred office. Accepted 
candidates were put for a time on special trial, and 
appointed to preach not only in the congregations 
which wished to call them, but in neighboring ones 
also, so that ministers and people might have an 
opportunity to judge of their gifts. If they passed 
this scrutiny, approving themselves good and faith- 
ful preachers of the word, the presbytery gave its 
assent to their settlement, and proceeded to ordain 
and install them over the parish. 

These wise and faithful measures were successful 
not only in preserving harmony in the presbytery, 
but in promoting the growth and spirituality of 
its churches. The gospel was preached in places 
which it had never reached before, and churches 
were multiplied and very generally had the ser- 
vices of a regular pastor. While in 1653 the num- 
ber of ministers was only twenty-four, in a few 
years it reached eighty. The presbytery, having 
become too large to meet conveniently in one place, 
and extending over too large a district of country 
to provide properly for destitute places and main- 
tain strict discipline in its churches, was divided so 
as to compose "five meetings." The order of the 
Church of Scotland, as heretofore, was carefully 
observed. Though these "meetings" were not 
strictly presbyteries acting on their own author- 
ity, but by commission, yet they performed most 
of the duties of such bodies, visiting congrega- 
tions, giving advice to sessions and seeing that 


ministers, elders and congregations performed their 
respective duties. Thus they greatly facilitated 
the work of the presbytery, and helped to main- 
tain a proper oversight of the wide and rapidly 
extending field. It was during this period of 
comparative tranquillity, extending to the death 
of the Protector, September 3, 1658, that the Pres- 
byterian Church of Ireland was established on a 
permanent foundation. 

Richard Cromwell, who succeeded his father in 
the Protectorate, soon proved himself wholly in- 
capable of holding the reins of government, and 
Charles II. was invited to resume the crown as 
his hereditary right. But a fatal mistake was 
made when the king was invested with power 
without assigning proper limits to the royal pre- 
rogative, and thus protecting the freedom of his 
subjects. Unfettered by any conditions, Charles 
II. soon exhibited the same disposition to exercise 
arbitrary authority which his father had attempted, 
and with like results. 

Notwithstanding his fair promises to Presbyte- 
rians, who, having so steadily refused to take the 
engagement oath, were surely entitled to his favor, 
it was soon apparent that they were to expect noth- 
ing but severity at his hands. Everything indi- 
cated the approach of a season of suffering and 
persecution. In the face of all his solemn decla- 
rations, he determined to replace the Episcopal 
ChuP3h on its former basis, and only desired to 


quiet all opposition until he could carry out his 
resolution. The effects of his policy were soon 
felt in Ulster, when Bramhall and Leslie, who 
still survived, were returned to their vacant sees 
and began to evince all the bitterness of their old 
intolerance. Other bishops were appointed, and 
measures adopted for crushing out the very exist- 
ence of the Presbyterian Church. At the instiga- 
tion of the bishops, the lords-justices issued a proc- 
lamation forbidding all unlawful assemblies and 
directing the sheriffs to prevent or disperse them. 
The object was to prevent the meeting not only of 
presbyteries, but also of congregations. Among 
the very foremost to incite the persecution of the 
Presbyterians, were those members of the court who 
had formerly renounced their allegiance to Charles 
I. and held office under Cromwell and his son 
Richard. These mercenary men were now the 
most active in denouncing, as disloyal and unwor- 
thy of toleration, those same ministers whom they 
had before persecuted for their loyalty and attach- 
ment to monarchy, when they themselves were the 
supporters of the usurper Cromwell. 

While the bishops were preparing to put in force 
the proclamation of the lords-justices, the Presby- 
terian ministers held a meeting, and sent four of 
their number from their several presbyteries to 
Dublin, to remind the justices of the king's prom- 
ises to them, and to remonstrate against the cruel 
measures contemplated to be employed. They 


reminded them also of their loyalty and suffer- 
ings under the Pretender, their present loyalty 
to Charles II., which was shown by the readiness 
with which they had welcomed him back to his 
throne, and their past peaceable spirit and their 
future resolution to remain loyal and dutiful sub- 
jects. But it was all to no purpose. The reply 
returned to the petition from the members of the 
presbyteries requesting liberty to exercise their 
ministry in their respective parishes, as they had 
formerly done, clearly indicated that nothing less 
than entire conformity to prelacy was intended by 
the council, instigated, as they were, by such bish- 
ops as Bramhall and Leslie. In their answer they 
said, " We neither could nor would allow any 
discipline to be exercised in church affairs but 
what was warranted and commanded by the laws 
of the land," and they told the ministers that 
"they were punishable for having exercised any 

Even the celebrated Jeremy Taylor, bishop of 
Down and Connor, exhibited the same exclusive 
and intolerant spirit. The author of the elo- 
quent work entitled Liberty of Prophesying tar- 
nished his fair reputation by repudiating his 
avowed principles. In his conference with the 
nonconformist clergy he treated them sharply, and 
even rudely ; and in reply to the conscientious 
scruples which they had assigned for not appear- 
ing at his visitation services, he declared that" a 


Jew or a Quaker would say so much for his opin- 
ions." The Presbyterian ministers, though griev- 
ously disappointed with their reception, returned 
to their congregations resolved to breast as best 
they could the coming storm. Nor had they long 
to wait; for this bishop shortly afterward, in a 
single day, declared thirty-six of their churches 
vacant, and sent curates to take possession of part 
of them, while in others the regular pastors were 
violently arrested as they were entering their 

The situation of these ministers was peculiarly 
distressing. They were not only excluded from 
their pulpits and deprived of their means of liv- 
ing, but were forbidden, under heavy penalties, to 
preach, baptize or publicly exhort among their 
people. These privations, however, they willingly 
endured rather than violate their consciences and 
submit to a form of government and worship 
which they considered unscriptural. 

Other prelates of the Established Church speed- 
ily followed the example set by Jeremy Taylor 
— "the impersonation and special jewel of An- 
glicanism," as Froude calls him — so that in Ul- 
ster alone sixty-one Presbyterian ministers were 
deposed from the ministry and ejected from their 
charges. Of these, sixteen were of the presbytery 
of Down, fourteen of Antrim, ten of Route, eight 
of Tyrone and thirteen of Lagan. 

Of the Act of Uniformity, which was thus en- 



forced, Mr. Froude says : " To insist that none 
should officiate who had not been ordained by a 
bishop was to deprive two-thirds of the Protest- 
ant inhabitants of the only religions ministrations 
which they would accept, and to force on them 
the alternative of exile or submission to a ritual 
which they abhorred as much as popery, while, to 
enhance the absurdity, there were not probably a 
hundred episcopal ly ordained clergy in the whole 
island. Yet this was what the bishops deliber- 
ately thought it wise to do. . . . Every clergy- 
man had to subscribe a declaration that a subject, 
under no pretence, might bear arms against the 
king, and that the oath to the League and Cove- 
nant was illegal and impious. . . . Nonconform- 
ists became at once the objects of an unrelenting 
and unscrupulous persecution." 

Only seven out of nearly seventy clergymen 
conformed to prelacy. The trials and hardships 
of the ejected ministers, though terrible, were 
heroically endured. " They set an example," says 
the historian, "of fortitude and integrity which 
prepared and encouraged their brethren in the sis- 
ter-kingdoms to act with similar magnanimity, 
for they enjoyed the painful though honorable pre- 
eminence of being the first to suffer in the three 
kingdoms, and are therefore eminently entitled to 
the admiration and gratitude of posterity." Had 
they proved faithless in their day of trial, Pres- 
byterian ism in Ireland would have scarcely sur- 


vived the subsequent persecutions of the prelates 
and the disastrous wars of the Revolution. 

After an interval of nearly twenty years the 
Irish Parliament assembled in 1661. In the 
mean time, the prelatical party had acquired such 
ascendency that there was but a single member in 
the House of Lords, Lord Massareene, who sym- 
pathized with the persecuted Presbyterians. In 
the Commons also they had but few favorable to 
their interests, so strongly did the tide run in 
favor of prelacy. Many were anxious to remove 
all suspicion of their new-born loyalty by de- 
nouncing and punishing those who declined to 
conform, and therefore were ready to support the 
measures of the bishops and to enable them to en- 
act just such laws as they desired. Parliament 
passed an act for burning the Solemn League and 
Covenant, ordering it to be burned in all cities 
and towns by the common hangman, and requir- 
ing the chief magistrate of the place to be present 
and see the order executed. It was further de- 
clared " that whosoever shall by word or deed, by 
sign or writing, defend or justify the said treason- 
able Covenant, shall be esteemed as an enemy to His 
Sacred Majesty, and to the peace and tranquillity 
of his Church and kingdom." In all cities and 
towns throughout the kingdom the Covenant was 
burned, the magistrates directing and witnessing 
the proceedings. 

All hope of relief seemed to have fled. No 


matter how loyal and well disposed their past his- 
tory showed them to have been, nor what were 
their conscientious scruples to prelacy, there was 
not the least leniency extended to any of their 
number. The wickedness and obduracy of heart 
of their fellow-men made prayer their only re- 
source, and "the ministers in this juncture gave 
themselves especially to prayer and did cry to 
God for help." Though forbidden the public ex- 
ercise of their ministry, they deemed it to be their 
duty to remain with their people, and to embrace 
such opportunities as they had to converse with them 
in their homes, and to instruct them in the Word as 
they might assemble in small private companies. 

During the brief administration of the duke 
of Ormond the persecution of Presbyterians was 
somewhat relaxed. Through the influence of 
their noble friend, Lord Massareene, the duke was 
led to sympathize with them for their previous suf- 
ferings in behalf of the king, and was disposed to 
be lenient toward them so long as they lived peace- 
ably and did nothing to excite the jealousy of the 
bishops. Though denied the right of preaching 
in public, they were not molested in the discharge 
of their more private duties in their respective 
parishes. But this condition of peace and free- 
dom was ere long disturbed by a secret conspiracy 
which was formed by a few restless spirits, chiefly 
those who had been attached to the Pretender's 
party, and with whom one or two ministers in 


Ulster chanced to be very remotely connected. 
This is known in history as Blood's Plot. Not- 
withstanding the conspirators met with no encour- 
agement from the Presbyterians of the north, with 
the single exception noted above, yet some of the 
ministers were arrested on mere suspicion, and 
many more exposed to great inconvenience and 
suffering. The apprehension of danger was so 
great that orders were issued to disarm all the 
Scotch in the country, which was done in the most 
summary manner. Before the disorder caused by 
the conspiracy had subsided, the jealousy and ani- 
mosity excited against the ministry were so great 
that the larger part of them were obliged to re- 
turn to Scotland, or retire into some obscure part 
of the country. But when the most rigid scru- 
tiny had failed to identify them with the plot, and 
had shown that they had been quiet and peaceable 
citizens, the duke was induced to grant them cer- 
tain indulgences, and to relax somewhat the severity 
of the penal statutes respecting conformity to Epis- 
copacy. Bramhall dying at this time, his succes- 
sor, a man of mild spirit, wishing to ingratiate him- 
self with the people, continued to be lenient in his 
treatment, and the lords-justices, when not insti- 
gated by the prelates, were not inclined to trouble 
the people for nonconformity. 

The little liberty granted them they received 
with thankfulness and used with prudence. By 
degrees those who had remained began to exercise 


their ministry in their own congregations. Seeing 
that their brethren were not molested, some of those 
banished to Scotland again returned to their for- 
mer parishes and resumed their labors. Growing 
bolder by reason of the indifference of the civil 
rulers, they began to preach more publicly in barns 
and other places, administering the sacrament to 
the people at night, until finally, in 1668, they 
ventured to build " preaching-houses." Their 
monthly meetings also were revived. The mag- 
istrates, convinced of their loyalty and peaceable- 
ness, grew less jealous of them. Their old con- 
gregations, observing and admiring their constancy 
and fidelity during their severe trials, eagerly gath- 
ered around them and gladly listened to the gospel. 
As early as the beginning of the year 1669 the 
church in Ulster, by almost imperceptible advances, 
had attained a considerable degree of freedom. 
Presbyteries were again organized, though, as a 
precautionary measure, they were held in private 
houses and without the attendance of ruling el- 
ders. Parishes were supplied, as far as possible, 
with regular preaching, and the ordinances of the 
gospel were administered publicly to large congre- 
gations. New buildings were erected to accommo- 
date the crowds of people who flocked to hear their 
old pastors, and sessions and presbyteries once more 
began to exercise discipline on offenders, and finally, 
with much caution, the presbyteries again ventured 
to license and ordain candidates for the ministry. 


The administration of Lord Robarte, the succes- 
sor of the duke of Onnond as lord-lieutenant of 
Ireland, was, on the whole, favorable to the Non- 
conformists. While a strict Episcopalian himself, 
he was indisposed to press the statutes passed in 
the interests of the bishops, and used his influence, 
moreover, to restrain them in their intolerant meas- 
ures. The chancellor urged him to suppress the 
meetings of Nonconformists in Dublin, but he told 
him that " if they were not papists, and were peace- 
ble and civil, he had no commission to meddle with 
them." This leniency toward Presbyterians, en- 
couraging them to use the little liberty they had 
enjoyed under the former administration, joined 
with his enforcing strict discipline upon the officers 
of the army and his discountenancing all forms 
of vice, rendered Lord Robarts' government un- 
popular with the dominant party, and led to his 
early return to England. 

Even during this period, while the ministers 
were left to exercise their ministry for the most 
part without disturbance, they had no permanent 
security, for their freedom depended on the caprice 
of the bishops and the use they made of the almost 
unlimited power committed to them. One of their 
number, Bishop Leslie, envying the limited liberty 
and ease which these faithful pastors now enjoyed, 
imprisoned four of them for a period of six years. 
Another bishop would have excommunicated twelve 
of them if he had not been restrained by a Letter 


from the archbishop, who was prevailed upon by 
Sir Arthur Forbes, an enlightened statesman and 
a friend of Presbyterians, to interpose and prevent 
the persecution. This seasonable interposition, at 
a time when conventicles both in England and 
Scotland were violently suppressed, was of great 
service to the Irish Church. It put a check upon 
the persecuting policy of the bishops and inspired 
the ministers with confidence and hope. Shortly 
after this, measures were taken by the lords-justices 
whereby the four ministers who had been confined 
for refusing to conform were released, and Ireland 
for a brief period became a refuge for the more 
severely oppressed brethren of the sister-kingdoms. 
The minor grievances which the Presbyterians 
still suffered did not seriously impede the revival 
of religious worship and discipline, so that the 
Irish Church for several years had a steady growth. 
Occasional differences which sprung up in its eccle- 
siastical affairs were speedily settled, and the dis- 
creet and loyal conduct of the ministry won the 
favor of the king. Such representations were made 
at court of their orderly lives, and of their suffer- 
ings on account of poverty, that Charles resolved 
to give them an expression of his approbation. 
Sending for Sir Arthur Forbes, their friend and 
protector, he informed him that it was his wish 
that twelve hundred j>ounds should be taken from 
the revenue of Ireland and given to those worthy 
ministers whose congregations were unable to pro- 


vide them a comfortable subsistence. Such was 
the destitution of most of them, and so great were 
the necessities of the widows and orphans of those 
who had been removed by death, that they were 
frequently in great straits both for food and cloth- 
ing. They therefore accepted with grateful feel- 
ings the king's contribution to their support. Al- 
though the pension only amounted to six hundred 
pounds* — and this was not paid regularly — it 
proved a timely aid to these ministers, not only re- 
lieving their temporal wants, but stimulating them 
to greater labors for the spiritual improvement of 
their congregations, and to supply destitute places 
with the ordinances of religion. They also en- 
couraged the organization of schools and estab- 
lished a seminary of theology at Antrim, and had 
the good fortune to secure as the president of the 
same the celebrated John Howe, Lord Massareene's 
chaplain. For several years he labored in this ex- 
tended sphere of usefulness, for which he was so 
eminently fitted, impressing his large views and 
earnest, devoted spirit upon the future ministry 
of the Church. 

The unfortunate enterprise of the persecuted 
Presbyterians of Scotland, which terminated in 
the disastrous battle of Bothwell Bridge, June 22, 
1679, had an unfavorable effect upon their breth- 
ren in Ireland. Ormond, who had again sueceed- 

* After examination the secretary of the revenue reported 
that only ssix hundred pounds were available for this object. 


ed to the office of lord-lieutenant, was alarmed at 
the news of the insurrection, and took measures to 
stop all communication between the two kingdoms. 
Exaggerated reports were spread by their enemies 
to their prejudice; and though the Presbyterians 
of Ulster endeavored to remove these unfounded 
suspicions by presenting an address to Ormond, 
vindicating themselves from all the aspersions of 
want of loyalty, yet they only in part allayed his 
apprehensions. He pressed the oath of supremacy 
anew, and with great rigor. The soldiers of La- 
gan, who were mostly Presbyterians, refused to 
take it, except with certain explanations. These 
were not admitted. The magistrates believing 
that they were influenced in their conduct by 
their ministers, some of the latter were summon- 
ed before them and examined, and subsequently 
brought before the court at Dublin and indicted 
for holding a fast which was declared illegal. 
A packed jury of High Churchmen found them 
guilty, sentenced them to pay a fine of twenty 
pounds each, and required them to subscribe an 
engagement not to offend in this way again. Re- 
fusing to comply with this, they were imprisoned. 

This action of the government encouraged the 
prelates to renew their persecution of the Noncon- 
formists. The Presbyterian meeting-houses were 
closed and the public exercise of their worship 
was interdicted. Penalties for recusancy were in- 
flicted with great severity both upon ministers and 


people. For the two following years harassing 
restrictions were continued. A servile compliance 
with the will of the court was demanded, and to be 
a friend of civil or religious freedom was sufficient 
to incur the suspicion and hatred of those in power. 
So deplorable was the condition of the Presbyte- 
rians in the counties of Derry and Donegal in the 
year 1684 that the greater number of ministers 
belonging to the presbytery of Lagan intimated 
to the other presbyteries their intention of remov- 
ing to America, whither some of them had been 
already invited. They were brought to this deter- 
mination " because of persecution and general pov- 
erty abounding in those parts, and on account of 
their straits and little or no access to their minis- 
try." From this purpose they were dissuaded by 
the death of Charles II. in the following year and 
the appointment of Lord Granard as one of the 
lords justices. These events led to a mitigation of 
the pressing evils under which they then suffered. 

At first no very manifest change took place in 
Irish affairs on the accession of James II. (1685) 
to the throne. But it was not long before it was 
clear that a change of policy in favor of Roman- 
ists had been resolved upon by the king, and the 
successive steps taken to effect his designs rendered 
clear his ultimate purpose to overthrow Protest- 
antism in Ireland. Any doubt on this point has 
long since been removed by the production of a 
letter written by the king himself to the Pope, 


in which he avowed his intention. In the prose- 
cution of this scheme Lord Clarendon was recalled 
and the notorious Tyrconnel was sworn into office 
as lord-deputy. His appointment was the most 
objectionable to the Protestants that possibly could 
have been made. He was the most obnoxious Ro- 
manist in the empire, violent, bigoted, and ready 
to disregard law and justice when they inter- 
fered with the royal projects to establish the 
papal Church. "Chancellor Porter was dismissed 
and his office given to Sir Alexander Fitton, 
who had been convicted and imprisoned for for- 
gery."* Tyrconnel's first step was to remodel 
the army. Protestant officers were weeded out 
and their places filled exclusively with Roman 
Catholics, while priests were advanced to mili- 
tary chaplaincies. Having succeeded in placing 
the army of the State under the control of Ro- 
manists, his next effort was to transfer to the 
same party the civil authority of the kingdom 
Three vacant bishoprics were virtually suppressed 
and their revenues ordered to be paid into the 
treasury to create a fund for the ultimate endow- 
ment of the Catholic hierarchy. All controver- 
sial discourses against the tenets of popery were 
forbidden. Three irreproachable judges were su- 
perseded in the most summary manner, and their 
places filled with Roman Catholic lawyers. In 
defiance of the law, Romanists were admitted mem- 
* Harris' Life of William II. 


hers of the privy-council and of corporations, and 
allowed to act as magistrates and sheriffs without 
taking the oath prescribed by Parliament. Of 
the high sheriffs but one was a Protestant, and he 
owed his appointment to a mistake. The corpo- 
rate rights of towns and cities were disregarded with 
impunity. Where intimidation or flattery could 
not induce them to surrender their charters, these 
were wrested from them by process of law, the ser- 
vile judges promptly obeying the wishes of their 
superiors in authority. Charters were recalled and 
new corporations formed, and their control vested 
in the hands of the Romanist party. Strahane. 
Deny, Newry, Armagh and Belfast were in this 
way subjected to their power. 

The papal clergy were exultant over these 
changes. Liberal pensions were granted their 
prelates out of the revenues of the vacant episco- 
pal sees, and in some instances priests appropri- 
ated the tithes of the legal incumbents of parishes 
to their own use. To all Protestants it was a 
period of gloom and depression, for all these acts 
of the court w r ere especially detrimental to them. 
While done under the guise of toleration, their 
evident design was to give the Roman Catholic 
party complete ascendency, knowing that as soon 
as it acquired the necessary power it would use it 
to the prejudice of Protestantism. The popular 
feeling, moreover, was continually aggravated by 
new acts of usurpation in the interest of Rome, 


so that the very word toleration became offensive 
to those who had labored and prayed for liberty 
of conscience and worship. 

But notwithstanding the insidious designs of 
James and the illegal nature of his declaration in 
April, 1687, suspending "the execution of all the 
penal laws for religious offences and prohibiting 
the imposition of religious tests as qualifications 
for office," the Presbyterians were for a time re- 
lieved from persecution. Nor did they fail to take 
advantage of the leniency which they now shared 
in common with Romanists. Places of worship 
which had been shut for years were once more 
opened. Stated meetings of presbytery were pub- 
licly held, and ruling elders again took their seats 
as members. The fears of the Episcopalians for 
their own Church induced them rather to court 
the assistance of Nonconformists than to inflict 
severities upon them. 

Thus for a brief period religious freedom was 
enjoyed. But it rested on a very precarious and 
unconstitutional basis. It depended upon the ille- 
gal declaration of a king obnoxious to and dis- 
trusted equally by both Presbyterians and Epis- 
copalians, while it encouraged those whom they 
had every reason to regard as their common enemy. 
It was not long before the measures of the court 
began to work disaster in Ireland. Through the 
solicitations of Tyrconnel and his agents, some of 
the nonconformist bodies were prevailed upon to 


forward addresses to the king, thanking him for 
the indulgence. The greater part of the Presby- 
terians, however, felt that the declaration was an 
unwarrantable exercise of the royal prerogative, 
and cither declined signing such addresses or were 
careful to qualify their language so as not even by in- 
ference to approve of the illegal measure. Though 
peace was restored, yet there w r ere many things that 
indicated that it could not be lasting, and that the 
present calm would soon be followed by a storm. 
A despotic and bigoted monarch was employing 
all the means at his command to destroy the con- 
stitutional rights of the people, and all of the lat- 
ter, with the exception of the favored Romanists, 
were now of one mind in their resistance to arbi- 
trary power. Yet they could do but little more 
than patiently observe the progress of events. 

An incident occurred, December 3, 1688, which 
roused the Protestants to a sense of their immi- 
nent danger and constrained them to resort to 
active measures for their own protection. An 
anonymous letter addressed to the earl of Mount- 
Alexander was found in the streets of Comber, 
warning him that a general massacre of the Prot- 
estants by the Irish was to take place on the fol- 
lowing Sunday. Letters of similar purport w r ere 
addressed to others, and scattered through the 
neighboring towns. Fearful apprehensions were 
everywhere excited lest the horrid scenes which 
took place in 1641 were about to be again wit- 


nessed. The intelligence of the expected massacre 
was quickly conveyed to all parts of the kingdom, 
and Protestants armed themselves and stood pre- 
pared for any emergency. Protestant associations 
were formed in the several counties, which elected 
councils of war and a commander-in-chief for each 
county. A general council of union was appointed, 
composed of members from all the associations of 
Ulster. These county councils collected voluntary 
contributions for their defence and nominated offi- 
cers to command the organized regiments, and the 
Presbyterian ministers exerted their influence to in- 
duce their people to enrol themselves in the ranks. 
Fortunately, no massacre was attempted, but the 
alarm had the good eifect to put the Protestants on 
their guard, and it led them to adopt measures 
which were of the greatest importance in their 
bearing upon the interests of the three kingdoms. 
While the Nonconformists were adopting these 
precautions for their own security, Tyrconnel was 
rapidly strengthening his army by forced levies 
of Romanists, who subsisted mainly by plundering 
the defenceless inhabitants. Detachments were 
sent to seize the principal fortified towns and cas- 
tles before the Protestants were prepared to offer 
a successful resistance. Some of them, however, 
having received timely warning of what was con- 
templated, closed their gates and refused admission 
to the king's soldiers. The most important of 
these were Enniskillen and Derry. The inhabit- 


ants of the former, though deserted by their mag- 
istrates, resolved to shut their gates against the 
Romish troops that had been sent by Tyreonnel to 
occupy their garrison. They were encouraged to 
take this decisive step by a Presbyterian minister 
by the name of Kelso, who, like the rest of his 
brethren, " labored both publicly and privately in 
animating his hearers to take up arms and stand 
upon their own defence, showing example himself 
by wearing arms and marching at the head of them 
when together." 

Derry was a still more important place to hold 
for the king, and the garrisoning of it was entrust- 
ed by Tyreonnel to a regiment composed exclu- 
sively of Romanists, under command of a Catho- 
lic nobleman, Lord Antrim. On the approach of 
these troops, the Rev. James Gordon, a Presbyterian 
minister, advised that they should not be allowed 
to enter the city. Its bishop, Hopkins, though Pur- 
itan in doctrine, was a non-resistant, and strongly 
opposed the closing of the gates. But Presbyte- 
rian zeal could not be restrained. Several young 
men took forcible possession of the keys and closed 
the gates against the earl of Antrim's "Redshanks," 
who were about to enter. In vain did the bishop 
and the more grave and prudent portion of the 
citizens urge them to desist from their bold and 
hazardous enterprise. They were resolute in their 
purpose, and by this decisive step they saved Derry 
to the Protestants ; and in preserving this import- 



ant pjst, an effectual barrier was raised between 
the victorious armies of the king and the pur- 
posed invasion of Scotland. Had a popish garri- 
son occupied the city of Deny, James' soldiers 
would have had an easy conquest of all Ulster, 
from whence they would have passed without 
obstruction into Scotland, to the possible over- 
throw of the religion and liberties of the three 

While these events were taking place in Ireland, 
the prince of Orange had landed in England. The 
Presbyterian ministers of Ulster were the first in 
the kingdom to hail his arrival, and to transmit an 
address to him congratulating him on his success and 
beseeching him to take speedy care for their preser- 
vation and relief. To their petition an answer was 
returned, addressed to the Protestants in the north 
of Ireland, approving of their past conduct and 
promising them effectual support. On the recep- 
tion of this communication, they proclaimed Wil- 
liam king in all the towns subject to their author- 
ity, and Ireland now became the grand scene of 
conflict for the sovereignty of the three kingdoms. 
Here the power of James was predominant, and 
here he hoped to regain his throne. But to at- 
tempt to give an account of the various battles 
between the troops of the two contestants for the 
possession of the country would lead us away from 
the purpose of this sketch. The superiority in 


numbers and discipline of Tyrconnel's army en- 
abled him to overrun most of the kingdom, only 
a few fortified places, which had been seized at the 
first alarm of the massacre, being held by the Prot- 

Of these, as previously stated, Deny was by far 
the most important, and every preparation was 
made by their enemies to wrest it from them. 
King James and his formidable army laid siege 
to it on the 18th of April, 1689, and continued 
the investituer for a period of one hundred and five 
days. The siege was closely pressed and the city 
subjected to frequent bombardments, but it was 
valorously defended by its brave garrison. By far 
the larger number of the officers were Episcopa- 
lians, while among the soldiers and citizens there 
were fifteen Presbyterians for one Episcopalian. 
So resolute and successful was their defence that 
the enemy resorted to an inhuman expedient to 
secure the surrender of the city. All the Prot- 
estants who could be collected within ten miles, 
men, women and children, were driven under the 
walls, and ordered to be kept there without shelter, 
protection or food until the terms of capitulation 
should be accepted. This barbarous act was of 
no avail, for the governor of the city erected a gal- 
lows on the walls and threatened to hang the Irish 
prisoners in his possession unless these wretched 
people were permitted to return to their homes. 
But the garrison, as well as the inhabitants, were 


new suffering from scarcity of provisions.* Near- 
ly all their resources of food had been exhausted, 
such had been the closeness of the blockade main- 
tained by the enemy, and the relief sent to the 
people from England had failed to reach them by 
reason of the incompetency or treachery of the 
commander of the squadron. Although disap- 
pointed in their expectations of relief from the fleet 
from day to day, and with their numbers fearfully 
reduced by famine and sickness and death, the 
brave garrison resolved to perish rather than sur- 
render the city. History shows few parallels to the 
valor and endurance exhibited on this occasion, 
and rarely have more memorable services been 
performed in behalf of civil liberty than by the 
brave and heroic defenders of Derry.f At length, 
through the urgent representations and remon- 
strances of the Rev. James Gordon, Major-General 

* Speaking of the endurance of these brave men, Fronde 
says : " Fever, cholera and famine came to the aid of the be- 
siegers. Rats came to be dainties, and hides and shoe-leather 
were the ordinary fare. They saw their children pine away and 
die. They were wasted themselves till they could scarcely 
handle their firelocks on their ramparts." 

f "Now was again witnessed what Calvinism, though its fire 
was waning, could still do in making common men into heroes. 
Deserted by the English regiments, betrayed by their own com- 
manders, without stores and half armed, the shopkeepers and 
apprentices of a commercial town prepared to defend an un- 
fortified city against a disciplined army of twenty-five thou- 
sand men, led by trained officers and amply provided with 
artillery."— Froude, vol. i., pp. 81, 82. 


Kirk was induced to permit an attempt to be made 
to relieve the city, and two vessels of the English 
fleet, the Mounrjoy and Phosnix, reached the quay 
in safety, to the great joy of the famishing garrison. 
Two days afterward the Irish army abandoned their 
trenches and raised the siege of the city. 

Enniskillen was defended with similar bravery 
and success. Its stubborn defence compelled James 
to divide his forces in order to cut off all commu- 
nication between Derry and the former place, and 
this division contributed to the security of both. 
In one of their many severe conflicts with the ene- 
my, and only three days after Derry had been re- 
lieved, the Protestants gained a decisive victory over 
the Irish, routing their army, whose strength was 
three times that of their own, and killing nearly 
two thousand men, besides capturing the general 
and most of the officers. After this signal defeat 
the several sections of James' army that had been 
engaged in the sieges of Enniskillen and Derry 
beat a hasty retreat, plundering and burning every- 
thing in their way. Inspirited by this success, 
the adherents of William employed more vigorous 
means to drive the enemy out of the country. In 
this they were aided by the arrival of a formidable 
armament from England, consisting of ten thou- 
sand horse and foot commanded by the duke of 
Sehomberg. Most of the strongholds of the ene- 
my were quickly wrested from him, and James 
and his Irish forces retired to Dublin. 


Although defeated and driven to take shelter 
in Dublin, the forces of James were still formida- 
ble, and he had the promise of large reinforcements 
from France to assist him to subdue his rebel- 
lious subjects. At this juncture King William 
announced his purpose to repair to Ireland and 
conduct the war in person. He was received on 
landing with every possible demonstration of joy 
and welcome, and one week after his arrival he 
took the field and conducted his military opera- 
tions with his characteristic vigor. Within a fort- 
night the two armies were brought face to face in 
battle array on the banks of the Boyne. Here, on 
the first day of July, 1690, was fought that mem- 
orable battle the results of which were the total 
defeat of the Irish army, the flight of James to 
Dublin, his subsequent retirement to France, and 
the occupation of the metropolis of Ireland by the 
troops of King William. Thus was the power 
of James II. finally overthrown, and in the very 
quarter where he expected an easy triumph, and 
the prince of Orange secured in possession of the 
crown, and the liberties of the empire once more 
established on a constitutional basis. During all 
these troubles and conflicts the Irish Presbyterians 
vindicated their claims to the sympathy and grati- 
tude of the English king, as well as the English 

Episcopal bishops and curates hastened to con- 
gratulate King William just as soon as they saw that 


victory perched upon his banners. Within a day 
or two after reaching Dublin he was waited upon 
in his tent by an Episcopalian committee, who, in 
their address, assured him that during King James' 
reign in Ireland they had been "guilty of no com- 
pliances but such as were the effects of prudence and 
self-preservation" and that they now acknowledged 
William to be their king and prayed for his pros- 
perity. Such an assurance was certainly needed, 
for only a few months before, nearly the same per- 
sons had presented an address to James in which 
they declared their " resolution to continue firm to 
that loyalty which the principles of their Church 
obliged them to, and which, in pursuance of those 
principles, they had hitherto practiced." Whatever 
may be thought of the sincerity of their professions 
to William, they were undoubtedly sincere in the 
avowal of their principles before King James. 
They were believers in the doctrine of non-resist- 
ance, and were keen to discover whose kingly for- 
tunes were in the ascendant, and their " prudence 
and self-preservation" led them speedily to range 
themselves on the side of the victorious monarch. 
When James' authority dominated in Ireland, they 
prayed for him and his reputed son, the prince of 
Wales, and that all his enemies, William included, 
might be brought into confusion. In the course 
of a single week, so rapid a change had the sword 
wrought on the banks of the Boyne that these same 
clergy were praying, with the same apparent fervor, 


for William as their lawful king, whom they had 
so recently denounced as a usurper and his sup- 
porters as rebels. As each contestant for the crown 
obtained the ascendency the prayers of the Estab- 
lished Church had to be changed to suit the new 
condition of affairs, and thus its clergy in Ulster 
had been, as stated by one of their own number, 
" four times in one year praying forward and back- 
ward, point-blank contradictory to one another." 
But all were not so inconsistent or inconstant in 
principle and conduct. Many were the warm 
friends and most determined and valiant defend- 
ers of constitutional liberty when imperiled by the 
illegal measures of James. Of these the Rev. Dr. 
Walker, the celebrated governor of Derry during 
its siege, was a worthy and noted example. 

When King William arrived in Ireland, he re- 
ceived from the commander of his army very favor- 
able accounts of the loyalty of Presbyterians and the 
support they had given his cause. Their continued 
fidelity, and their subsequent distinguished services 
in his behalf, but served to deepen His Majesty's 
impressions and incline him to return a gracious 
response to a petition of their clergy for protection 
and relief. Recognizing their influence both as to 
numbers and worth, the king proceeded to redress 
their grievances and vindicate their rights by estab- 
lishing civil and religious freedom, which was all 
that was needed from the government to restore 
prosperity to the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. 


During the commotions caused by the war be- 
tween the rival claimants for the throne, the Pres- 
byterians of Ulster suffered terrible privations and 
losses. Their clergy were especially obnoxious to 
the troops of James and his adherents, and were 
forced to leave the country. Public religious 
worship as a consequence was very generally 
suspended. Many of their churches were either 
pulled down or burned, and their people scattered 
and impoverished by the interruption of all meth- 
ods of industry. But the few who remained under 
the protection of King William labored with great 
zeal to repair the evils which former persecutions 
and the war had inflicted upon the Church. Not- 
withstanding the many difficulties they encountered 
from the scarcity of ministers and the poverty of 
the people, Presbyterians not only held their own 
in Ulster, but increased in numbers. Though their 
clergy had been prohibited during previous reigns 
from the public exercise of their ministry, except 
at brief intervals when the severity of the penal 
statutes was relaxed, the ordinances were secretly 
administered by them, and their people were gath- 
ered in private houses and instructed in the word 
of God, so that the great body of them adhered 
steadfastly to their principles. In 1692, as we 
learn from the best authority, the Presbyterians 
constituted by far the largest portion of the Prot- 
estants in the north of Ireland. " Some parishes/' 
says a dignitary of the Episcopal Church, " have 


not ten, some not six, that come to church, while 
the Presbyterian meetings are crowded with thou- 
sands, covering all the fields." In some regions, he 
admits, the Episcopal population did not bear a 
greater proportion to the Presbyterian than one to 
fifty. The sixty congregations of 1661 had in- 
creased to one hundred, of which three-fourths had 
settled pastors. 

With the close of the war presbyteries and syn- 
ods were again held, ministers ordained, houses 
of worship erected and congregations gathered. 
Ministers and their people returned from their 
enforced exile, and the Presbyterian Church once 
more entered upon a period of peace and prosper- 
ity. Nor were the loyalty and friendship which 
the Presbyterians had exhibited in behalf of King 
William forgotten by that monarch. Moved by 
their necessities, and by a wish to express his ap- 
preciation of the services rendered by their clergy 
in the maintenance of constitutional freedom, he 
authorized the payment to them yearly of twelve 
hundred pounds. This royal grant, known as the 
Regium Dontjm, was designed as a testimony, so 
says His Majesty, to "the peaceable and dutiful 
temper of our said subjects, and their constant labor 
to unite the hearts of others in zeal and loyalty 
toward us," and because we are " sensible of the 
losses they have sustained." 

The extent of these losses, and of the ravages 
occasioned by the war, may be inferred from the 


fact that nearly or quite fifty of the Presbyterian 
ministers of Ireland fled to Scotland, whither they 
were followed by a large number of their people. 
So great was the number of Ulster Presbyterians 
in Glasgow that the meeting-houses sanctioned by 
law for the use of indulged ministers were inade- 
quate for their accommodation. As a number of 
the Episcopal churches were unoccupied, and had 
been closed for months, an application was made 
to the convention-parliament at Edinburgh to per- 
mit these Irish exiles with their ministers to occupy 
some of these deserted churches. This request was 
at once granted, and two churches were appropri- 
ated to their use, and Rev. Messrs. Craighead and 
Kennedy were appointed to officiate statedly there- 
in. This they continued to do until their return 
to Ireland to their own parishes, and with such 
acceptance that they were earnestly entreated by 
their brethren in Glasgow to protract their stay 
in Scotland as long as possible. In a letter to the 
Irish ministers they say, " We cordially bless the 
Lord for the help and comfort that we have gotten 
by their ministry hitherto, and continue to suppli- 
cate that if you find it necessary to send any of 
your number to Ireland, you may spare these two 
reverend brethren for the present to carry on the 
great work which is now begun by them." A still 
more important circumstance was that this large 
influx of Irish Presbyterians gave occasion to the 
Scottish estates to take the first practical step to- 


ward abolishing the prelatical establishment and 
setting up the Presbyterian Church in its place. 
This action probably had a direct and decided in- 
fluence in inducing many of the Irish ministers to 
remain in Scotland ; for, from the many applica- 
tions made by congregations to the synod at 
Belfast for a return of their former ministers, it 
appears that twenty-five of them settled in Scot- 
tish parishes and remained permanently connected 
with the Church of Scotland. 

Presbyterian ministers were left for a period 
comparatively free to reorganize and build up 
their Church in Ireland. The laws against dis- 
senters, it is true, were still in force; but owing to 
the known wishes of the king in favor of toler- 
ation, and the impressive lessons of the war en- 
forcing the importance of Protestant unity, the 
penal statutes were not enforced. The conduct 
of King James had convinced the Episcopalians 
of the necessity of forgetting all ecclesiastical dif- 
ferences, and uniting with their Presbyterian breth- 
ren for the protection of themselves and their com- 
mon faith. But scarcely had the impending dan- 
ger passed by when symptoms of a renewal of the 
former unfriendly feelings were displayed by the 
High Church party. Instances of prelatical in- 
tolerance again occurred, and the dormant penal- 
ties of the law were revived in a few places against 
Presbyterian clergymen. Such bigotry, however, 
met with little sympathy. Besides, the Irish gov- 


eminent, in accordance with the promises of Wil- 
liam to the Presbyterians, protected them in the 
free exercise of their worship and discipline. 

Still, while the laws against dissenters remained 
unrepealed, there was danger of their revival at 
any time when it became the interest and policy 
of the prelates to use the power left in their hands. 
To relieve Nonconformists from this danger, King 
William obtained from the English Parliament 
the abolition of the Irish oath of supremacy, which 
had been in force since the commencement of the 
reign of Elizabeth, and had substituted in its 
place the English oaths of fidelity and allegiance. 
These the Nonconformists did not object to; and as 
no sacramental test was in force in Ireland, this 
English act would have opened all public employ- 
ments, civil and military, to the Presbyterians. But 
the liberal policy of the king was opposed by the 
Irish Parliament, which, after an interval of twenty- 
six years, met in Dublin. To it was submitted a 
bill for toleration similar to the one m favor of 
dissenters in England, but through the paramount 
influence of the bishops it was defeated, they re- 
fusing to give their consent to the legalizing of the 
public worship of Presbyterians unless the sacra- 
mental test was at the same time imposed. To 
this the king would not assent, and, consequently, 
Presbyterian worship was continued merely upon 
sufferance. These magnanimous prelates, moreover, 
wished to impose additional burdens upon those 


who had freely shed their blood for their common 
faith, and without whose assistance the Protestant 
religion would have been overthrown in Ireland. 
Among other things, these bigots demanded that 
all Presbyterians holding office should be required 
to partake of the communion three times each year 
in an Episcopal church, and that none of their 
clergymen should preach against the Established 
Church, under very severe penalties. 

The absence of an act of toleration was at this 
period no great grievance to Presbyterians. Their 
loyalty was well known, and their recent valuable 
services in behalf of civil and religious freedom 
were still so fresh in the remembrance of the gov- 
ernment and of the people that public opinion and 
the favor of the civil magistrates supplied the 
place of a legislative enactment. To nearly the 
close of King William's reign the isolated cases of 
attempted persecution, or of hardship suffered by 
them, could be readily brought before the agents 
of the government and prompt justice obtained. 
The failure of the attempts that were made to 
molest them in the enjoyment of their religious 
rights discouraged those who, moved by jealousy 
in seeing their prosperity and rapid increase in 
numbers, would have been pleased to obstruct their 
public ministry. Causes of irritation, however, 
were not wanting, occasioned by attacks made 
upon the worship and discipline in use among 
Presbyterians. One of the most noted of these 


was by Bishop King, of Deny. This High Church 
bishop, in 1693, published an anonymous pam- 
phlet entitled A Discourse Concerning the In- 
ventions of Men in the Worship of God, which 
contained very many unworthy insinuations and 
unfounded charges against Presbyterians. The 
tractate was written in a spirit of affected friend- 
ship for those whom it attacked, and with the 
design to show that their modes of worship were 
uot only very defective, but were without any war- 
rant from Scripture. The writer claimed to have 
been moved to his work by his concern " for a well- 
meaning people so strangely misled as to content 
themselves to meet together for years with a de- 
sign to worship God, and yet hardly ever see or 
hear anything of God's immediate appointment in 
their meetings." He charged that Presbyterians, 
as a rule, were very inadequately instructed by 
their ministers in the principles of religion ; that 
the Bible was rarely read in their religious assem- 
blies ; that few of them attended public worship ; 
and that the Lord's Supper was undervalued and 
neglected, being celebrated only at very distant in- 

The Rev. Robert Boyse of Dublin, and after- 
ward the Rev. Robert Craighead of Deny, replied 
to the bishop's accusations, exposing the inaccuracy 
of his statements and refuting the reasoning based 
on the false charges. Not content with producing 
unimpeachable testimony expressly contradicting 


the bishop's alleged facts relative to the religious 
ignorance of Presbyterians, their disuse of the 
Scriptures in divine service and their neglect of 
the Lord's Supper, they proceeded to discuss the 
subject of church government, and called in ques- 
tion, in their turn, the divine authority of many 
of the rites and ceremonies in the Established 
Church. This opened wide the field of contro- 
versy, which continued for many years and called 
forth many publications. 

By the able discussion which these subjects re- 
ceived, Presbyterians were more fully convinced 
than ever that their simple forms of worship were 
more in accordance with the word of God than 
those of the Episcopal Church. This in itself 
was a good, but the controversy was not without 
attendant evils. It excited animosities among 
Protestants when they should have stood shoulder 
to shoulder in resisting their common enemy. It 
led the ministers of the Establishment to preach 
frequently against the sin of schism, and those of 
the Presbyterian Church to defend their position 
as nonconformists and make prominent their ob- 
jections to Episcopacy. Without doubt it embit- 
tered the clergy of the Established Church against 
all dissenters and had a great influence with other 
bishops, besides King, of Deny, to cause them to 
resist every measure of toleration which the lib- 
eral monarch and his ministry were anxious to 
grant. They began at this period to exhibit their 


unfriendly feelings toward the laity as well as 
the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. In 
some parts of Ulster the people were not per- 
mitted to bury their dead, as formerly, unless an 
Episcopalian officiated at the funeral and read the 
burial-service of his Church ; in other places they 
were compelled to hold the office of churchwar- 
den and take certain official oaths which were op- 
posed to their consciences ; in some instances they 
were prohibited from having their families instruct- 
ed by tutors of their own religious faith, all teach- 
ers being required to conform to the Established 
Church; and strenuous efforts were made to pro- 
hibit Presbyterian ministers from celebrating mar- 
riages even among their own people.* These 
efforts to annoy and harass Nonconformists con- 
tinued through succeeding years, until, on the 
accession of a Tory ministry in England and the 
ascendency of the High Church party, a bill was 
passed requiring "all persons in office, civil, mili- 
tary or ecclesiastical, to take the oath of abjura- 

* After speaking of the persecutions of nonconformists sub- 
sequent to the Restoration, Mr. Froude states "that the full 
and free equality of privilege which they (nonconformists) had 
honorably earned, it was William's desire to secure to them by 
law. But in this he was prevented by the 'Irish Established 
clergy, the Irish peers and the great landowners, who were 
ardent High Churchmen,' and who were but a third of the 
nominal Protestants. In the opposition the bishops took the 
most prominent part, and were most vindictive and unrelent- 
ing." — Froude, vol. i., p. 237. 


tion." And in 1704 the Irish bishops succeeded 
in having the sacramental test imposed, by which 
Presbyterians were deprived of all public offices 
and places of trust which they then held, and were 
rendered incapable of ever afterward being ap- 
pointed to similar offices. Thus was a most fla- 
grant act of injustice finally consummated through 
the influence of the bishops and the High Church 
party. To carry their end in Parliament, and to 
obtain votes for its passage, they promised to pass 
an act of toleration giving the same legal security 
to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland that was by 
law allowed Protestant dissenters in England. But 
all such promises were forgotten when their main 
object had been obtained, and the Irish Presbyte- 
rians were left in a much worse position than their 
English brethren. 

The history of the many endeavors of the Irish 
Presbyterians to secure a legal toleration, and to have 
the numerous grievances under which they suffer- 
ed removed, differs but slightly from what has been 
already narrated. Their efforts were largely direct- 
ed to correcting the misrepresentations of their 
High Church adversaries, and to assuring the court 
of their loyalty and their desire to lead quiet and 
peaceable lives as good citizens. Strange as it may 
appear, they were not unfrequently charged with 
persecuting members of the Established Church, 
and with deliberate attempts to infringe upon the 
rights of its clergy. Easy of refutation as were 


these baseless accusations, they yet show to what 
lengths their adversaries were willing to go in 
order to prejudice them in the estimation of the 
persons who were in authority in the government. 
For more than half a century longer the Presby- 
terians were subjected to many civil disabilities 
and to unfounded suspicions of a want of loyalty, 
and in every attempt to secure their rights they 
were successfully resisted by the adherents of Epis- 
copacy. It was not until 1780 that the Test Act 
was repealed, and this was followed two years later 
by an act declaring that marriages solemnized by 
Presbyterians were valid in law. Temporary re- 
lief for short periods was enjoyed, as at the acces- 
sion of George I. to the throne, but the liberal pro- 
jects of sovereigns and their ministers were in the 
end thwarted by the bigotry and narrow-minded 
jealousy of the Irish Established Church, and the 
indulgence extended at times to dissenters was so 
curtailed as to be of little use to them. Against 
all these illiberal influences and these evils of in- 
tolerance the Presbyterian Church of Ireland was 
obliged constantly to contend. 

Notwithstanding their many hindrances and 
hardships, and the various inducements held out 
to both pastors and people to unite with the Epis- 
copal Church, Presbyterianism during all this pe- 
riod was steadily on the advance in Ireland. New 
congregations sprang up, houses of worship were 
erected, vacant congregations were gradually sup- 


plied with ministers, principally from the Church 
of Scotland, and increased facilities for education 
were afforded young men desirous of preaching the 
gospel in their native land. The congregations in 
1709 had increased to more than one hundred and 
thirty, and it became so inconvenient for their min- 
isters and elders to meet annually in one Assembly, 
to attend to the business of the Church, that pro- 
posals were made to make it a delegate body, and 
to limit the number of attendants. The five origi- 
nal presbyteries had been divided into two particu- 
lar synods, and some of the presbyteries, having 
grown too large for the proper discharge of their 
duties, were also divided. In this way two new 
presbyteries were formed out of Tyrone, and one 
out of that of Lagan. 

Much difficulty was now experienced in obtain- 
ing an adequate supply of ministers to keep pace 
with the rapid growth of congregations. This, 
however, did not lead the Church to lower the 
standard of qualifications demanded of its minis- 
try. It required that all candidates for licensure 
should have studied divinity for four years after 
they had completed their course of philosophy ; and 
to prevent candidates from entering the Church 
who were not sound in the faith, the synod of 1698 
enacted that all persons licensed or ordained should 
subscribe the Westminster Confession of Faith as 
their Confession. By these means the ministry of 
the Presbyterian Church became yearly more re- 


spected for its literary and theological attainments, 
and by these wise and continued efforts most of 
the congregations enjoyed the services of pious and 
educated men. 

At the same time, the missionary operations of 
the Church were carried on with vigor and suc- 
cess. To meet the necessities of the scattered and 
neglected members of its communion, the synod in 
1706 established a General Fund, and appointed 
a number of persons in each presbytery to solicit 
subscriptions. With the means thus obtained labor 
was actively begun among the Irish-speaking pop- 
ulation — a class which had been wellnigh neglected 
since the time of the revered Bishop Bedell. That 
commendable progress was made in this needed 
work is seen from the statement, by the synod of 
1710, that seven of its ministers and three of its 
probationers were able to preach in the Irish lan- 
guage, and that a plan had been formed for em- 
ploying these men in this work and supplying 
them with Bibles, Confessions of Faith and Cate- 
chisms, all in the Irish language. With this mis- 
sionary fund, to which large additions were made 
by wealthy members of the Church, the principles 
of Presbyterianism were much extended and the 
ordinances of religion provided in many destitute 
parts of the country. 

Though the government and worship of the 
Presbyterian Church were finally legalized in 1715), 
its members still endured many privations. Epis- 


copalian landlords possessing large estates refused 
to permit Presbyterian churches to be built upon 
them. Others exacted higher rents from Presbyte- 
rian than from Episcopalian tenants. By the sacra- 
mental test Presbyterians were still excluded from 
all places of public trust under the Crown. Presby- 
terian teachers could with difficulty keep open their 
schools, and private members were subjected to pros- 
ecution in the ecclesiastical courts for their mar- 
riages by their own clergy.* Is it any wonder 
they should grow weary of being thus constantly 
harassed, and should be led to look elsewhere for 
the relief they sought in vain in their native land, or 
that there should have been a growing desire among 
Presbyterians to emigrate to America ? When the 
lord-lieutenant, the duke of Shrewsbury, reached 
Dublin in 1713, several ministers laid before him 
a paper in which they stated the evils that both 
ministers and people yet suffered from the contin- 
ued imposition of the sacramental test. They 
stated also how discouraged they were by the fre- 

* Mr. Froude shows how the bill for the repression of po- 
pery in 1704 was used against dissenters by the prelates: "The 
bishops fell upon the grievance, which had so long afflicted 
them, of the Presbyterian marriages. Dissenting ministers 
were unsanctified upstarts, whose pretended ceremonial was 
but a license for sin. It was announced that the children of 
Protestants not married in a church should be treated as bas- 
tards, and, as the record of this childish insanity declares, 
'many persons of undoubted reputation were prosecuted in the 
bishops' courts as fornicators.' " — Froude, vol. i., p. 392. 


quent disappointment of their hopes of relief, and 
assured him that " the melancholy apprehensions of 

these things have put several of us upon thoughts 
of transplanting ourselves into America, that we 
may there in a wilderness enjoy, by the blessing of 
God, that ease and quiet to our consciences, per- 
sons and families which are denied us in our native 
country." But it was in vain that they petitioned 
for redress. If, through a change in the office of 
lord-lieutenant, or in those of lords-justices, the 
severity of the penal statutes in force against dis- 
senters was not inflicted, the relief was but tempo- 
rary, and rested mainly upon the pleasure of those 
in authority, and not on legal enactments. The 
dissatisfaction felt at this state of affairs naturally 
increased from year to year, and determined many 
persons either to return to Scotland or to seek 
refuge in America. In 1729 the disposition to 
emigrate received a new impulse. After the Rev- 
olution the landed proprietors, anxious for the culti- 
vation of their waste lands, had granted favorable 
leases, under which the Presbyterian tenantry had 
been stimulated to improve their holdings and ex- 
tend their cultivation. But as these leases, usually 
for thirty-one years, expired, the rents were so raised 
that the farmers became greatly discouraged, and 
many were obliged to relinquish their farms and 
find a home in some other country where they 
might improve their condition. To add to their 
discouragement, there was proportionate increase 


in the demand for tithes, while the three successive 
harvests after that of 1724 had proved so scanty 
that the price of food in 1728 far exceeded what it 
had been in the memory of that generation. Add- 
ed to all was the disqualification for office created 
by the Sacramektal Test. In these circum- 
stances the thoughts of many were turned to the 
New World, not only as promising a better and a 
surer reward for their labor and capital, but relief 
also from the civil and social evils which they had 
so long endured. 


Emigration to America. 

The emigrants to this country from Scotland 
and Ireland had so many things in common, and 
they mingled so naturally and constantly wherever 
they settled, that it is impossible to trace, with any 
accuracy, the separate streams of emigration. An 
approximation is all that will be attempted. 

During the bloody persecutions which prevailed 
in Scotland many of her best citizens were banish- 
ed to America. Some of them were transported as 
felons because they would not violate their con- 
sciences ; this was the only crime alleged against 
them by their accusers. Others fled because they 
saw no prospect in the future that in their native 
land they would be permitted to enjoy those modes 
of worship which they believed most in accordance 
with God's word ; while still others w r ere attracted 
to the New World by the prospect of improving 
their temporal affairs, Avhich had been impaired or 
wholly ruined by the fines and imprisonments to 
which they had been subjected. 



After the disastrous battle of Dunbar (1650), a 
large number of prisoners were sent to the Planta- 
tions, as they were called, to be sold for slaves. A 
like disposition was made of many who took part 
in the Pentland rising and the battle of Bothwell 
Bridge. The oppressed congregations also fur- 
nished many colonists, who, denied all religious 
freedom at home, fled to this country. A large 
number of these Presbyterians settled, from the 
years 1670 to 1680, on the Elizabeth River, Vir 
ginia, and in the lower counties of Maryland, and 
established several churches at least twenty years 
before the close of the century. 

Several Scottish noblemen and gentlemen, who 
had been active in their opposition to the prelatic 
measures of their sovereign, and so incurred his 
displeasure, conceived the design of providing a 
home for their persecuted brethren in America, 
and in 1682 they contracted with the lords-pro- 
prietors of Carolina for a large landed property. 
In the same State, and previous to the year 1670, 
" several hundred able-bodied men formed a settle- 
ment on the west bank of the Ashley River and 
named it Charles' Town." * As early as 1662 a com- 
pany of persons driven from Virginia by religious 
persecution settled on Albemarle Sound. They 
supposed they would be protected in their civil 
and religious rights, but no sooner did the Episco- 
pal Church acquire the necessary prestige and power 

* Howe's H'story of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina. 


than dissenters were taxed for its support, and were 
disfranchised if tliey failed to conform. Thus were 
they socially and' pelitically degraded by intolerant 
laws designed to prop up Episcopacy, and to escape 
from this injustice they removed to another colony. 
This settlement and a previous one on Chowan 
River were visited by Governor Berkley of Vir- 
ginia in 1663, who appointed William Drummond, 
a Scotch Presbyterian, the first governor of the 
colonies settled in North Carolina. At his death 
(1667) the colonists numbered about five thousand. 
The congregations of Marlborough and Bladens- 
burg, Maryland, were composed of Presbyterians 
who left Scotland during the persecution in the 
reign of James II. East Jersey subsequently re- 
ceived a considerable emigration, chiefly induced to 
remove there by George Scot of Pitloche, who had 
suffered everything short of death for his noncon- 
formity. In his appeal to his countrymen to em- 
igrate he dwelt especially upon the privilege they 
would have of enjoying their own modes of wor- 
ship; and this appeal was seconded by letters from 
their friends who had previously settled in the 
province. Other companies of Scotchmen found 
homes in Delaware and along the York and Rap- 
pahannock Rivers in Virginia; while, as we have 
seen, a large number of colonists had entered the 
southern colonies, landing either at Wilmington or 
Charleston. Those who remained in Charleston 
united with Congregational ists from New England, 


who were already settled there, in forming an In- 
dependent church, but the pastors for many years 
belonged to the Church of Scotland. This church 
was gathered probably as early as 1682. In 1695 
we know that a gift of one thousand pounds was 
made to it by Governor Joseph Blake. The 
French Huguenot church was established in 1686, 
and was the first purely Presbyterian church in 
South Carolina. Other churches were formed 
within a few years. A letter from South Carolina 
published in London (1710) states that there were 
at this time five Presbyterian churches in the 
colony, and the records show that a donation of three 
hundred acres of land was made in 1717 for the sup- 
port of a Presbyterian minister on Edisto Island. 

North Carolina was also largely indebted to these 
early Scotch colonists for many of her most useful 
and honored citizens. As early as 1729, and again 
in 1736 and 1739, there were large arrivals of em- 
igrants, who occupied the fertile plains along the 
Cape Fear River. The rebellion of 1745 caused 
many Highlanders to leave their native land. 
Shiploads of them are said to have landed at 
Wilmington, and from thence they made their 
way into the interior of North and South Caro- 
lina. Some of these were voluntary exiles, but the 
most of them had fled from Scotland to avoid per- 
secution, and even death itself. For many years the 
Gaelic language was retained among them, and was 
employed by their preachers in all public services. 


As early as 1698 a colony of French Presbyte- 
rians (Huguenots), numbering more than one thou- 
sand persons, settled upon the Santee and Cooper 
Rivers, South Carolina. The emigration of Hu- 
guenots continued for many years, and various 
colonies were formed in the State. From these 
have descended some of the most worthy citizen* 
in the South. Previous to the year 1700 seventy 
families of Swiss Presbyterians landed in the same 
State, and being largely mechanics and merchants 
made their permanent residence in Charleston. 

Though the emigration from Scotland began at 
an earlier period than that from the north of Ire- 
land, it never assumed the magnitude nor the 
organized form of the latter, especially from the 
years 1715 to 1750. During these years America 
received very large accessions to its Protestant 
population, most of whom were Scotch-Irish, and 
in hearty sympathy with the Presbyterian Church. 
So great were the numbers from Ireland who 
sought refuge in this country that the civil magis- 
trates "deplored the hallucination" which seemed 
to have seized the inhabitants, and which led them 
in such multitudes to forsake their adopted land. 

There were three causes impelling the inhabitants 
of Ulster to desert a country which they had re- 
claimed from barbarism. These were religious 
bigotry, commercial jealousy and the oppressive 
measures employed by landlords. 

Of the first little requires to be said in this con- 


nection. In the course of the previous history we 
have seen what evils were inflicted upon noncon- 
foi nists by an intolerant government, instigated 
by still more intolerant bishops. It may be well, 
however, to add here, and more in confirmation 
of previous statements than by way of elucidation, 
what Mr. Fronde* has said on this subject: "The 
Protestant settlers in Ireland at the beginning of 
the seventeenth century were of the same metal 
with those who afterward sailed in the Mayflower 
— Presbyterians, Puritans, Independents — in search 
of a wider breathing-space than was allowed them 
at home. By an unhappy perversity they had 
fallen under the same stigma, and were exposed to 
the same inconveniences. The bishops had chafed 
them with persecutions. . . . The heroism with 
which the Scots held the northern province against 
the Kilkenny Parliament and Owen Roe O'Neil, 
was an insufficient offset against the sin of non- 
conformity. . . . This was a stain for which no 
excellence could atone. The persecutions were 
renewed, but did not cool Presbyterian loyalty. 
When the native race made their last effort under 
James II. to recover their lands, the Calvinists 
of Derry won immortal honor for themselves, and 

* As Mr. Fronde was educated for the ministry of the Estab- 
lished Church of England, though not now in orders, it is prob- 
able that as an Englishman and a churchman he would not 
speak with undui severity, not to say injustice, of any matter 
where Ireland and dissenters were concerned. 


flung over the wretched annate of their adopted 
country a solitary gleam of true glory. Even this 
passed for nothing. They were still dissenters, 
still unconscious that they owed obedience to the 
hybrid successors of St. Patrick, the prelate 
the Establishment; and no sooner was peace re-es- 
tablished than spleen and bigotry were again at 
their old work. Vexed with suits in the ecclesi- 
astical courts, forbidden to educate their children 
in their own faith, treated as dangerous to a State 
which but for them would have had no existence, 
and deprived of their civil rights, the most earn- 
est of them at length abandoned the unthankful 
service. ... If they intended to live as freemen, 
speaking no lies and professing openly the creed 
of the Reformation, they must seek a country 
where the long arm of prelacy was still too short to 
reach them. During the first half of the eigh- 
teenth century, Down, Antrim, Tyrone, Armagh 
and Derry were emptied of Protestant inhabitants, 
who were of more value to Ireland than California 
gold-mines/' * 

Another cause for the large emigration from Ire- 
land was the repressive measures adopted by the 
English government toward commerce and agri- 
culture. At first these industries were fostered by 
the mother-country, and the encouragement, given, 
particularly to the culture of flax, so increased the 
linen trade that there was danger of Ireland con- 
* Froude, vol. i., pp. 129, 130. 


trolling the market. When this became apparent, 
England repented of the magnanimity shown to 
Ireland's most flourishing branch of industry, and 
began at once " to invade the compact," and by 
indirect yet effectual means to steal away the trade 
from her colonists in favor of her own people. 

A similar course was pursued with respect to 
agriculture. The prices at which the Irish farm- 
ers could afford to put their crops into market 
excited the fears of their English competitors, and 
so restrictions were put on the production, in order 
that English land should not be depreciated in 
value. " Her salt meat and butter were laid un- 
der an embargo when England went to war that 
the English fleets and armies might be victualed 
cheaply at the expense of Irish farmers." By 
such means a large portion of the people were 
remanded back to poverty and its attendant evils, 
and were rendered hostile to the oppressive gov- 
ernment; and such of them as had property re- 
solved to seek a home where they could escape 
from all these unnatural and unjust discrimina- 

But the arbitrary treatment of tenants by their 
landlords had much to do in swelling the tide of 
emigration. At the time when the six counties 
of Ireland were escheated to the Crown, and a 
portion of the land placed in charge of Scotch 
colonists, agriculture was in a low state. Such 
was the character of the former inhabitants, and 


the unsettled condition of the country, that the 
proper culture of the soil was wellnigh impossi- 
ble. A miserable peasantry dragged out a wretch- 
ed existence. Great changes, however, rapidly 
took place with the introduction of a more frugal 
and industrious class of farmers. Lands were 
cleared and improved in productiveness through 
a better system of farming. Mud hovels and 
wattled huts gave place to commodious home- 
steads, and the entire country showed evidence 
of increasing thrift and comfort. By the time 
the tenants' leases had expired, the lands culti- 
vated by them had largely increased in value. 

This excited the cupidity of the landlords. Un- 
willing to share the benefits with the farmers, and 
only to raise their rents in a moderate degree, they 
extorted from them all they possibly could, irrespec- 
tive of their improvements and what the tenants 
had done to make the property valuable. Instead 
of an effort to reach an arrangement which would 
have been just to both parties, the landlords, as soon 
as the leases expired, invited proposals in writing 
for the leasing of their lands. This was an invi- 
tation to every covetous and malicious person to 
bid for the possession of his neighbor's improve- 
ments. Catholics stood ready to bid more than 
their value, and to promise anything in the way 
of rent, in order to recover their hold upon the soil. 
Thus the stupid selfishness of the landlords expelled 
their Protestant tenantry by letting the land over 


their heads to Romanists, and at once a whole 
countryside were driven from their habitations. 

As the landlords were sustained in this oppres- 
sion by the House of Commons, the Protestants had 
no hope of redress, and therefore hastened to leave 
a country in which they had been so cruelly dealt 
with. " In the two years/' says Froude, " which 
followed the Antrim evictions, thirty thousand 
Protestants left Ulster for a land where there was 
no legal robbery, and where those who sowed the 
seed could reap the harvest. . . . The south and 
west were caught by the same movement, and ships 
could not be found to carry the crowds who were 
eager to go." 

Similar testimony is borne by many other writers 
to the unprecedented exodus of the Protestants of 
Ireland, induced by the causes which have been 
described. Early in the year 1718 a minister in 
Ulster wrote to a friend in Scotland, "There is 
like to be a great desolation in the northern parts 
of this kingdom by the removal of several of our 
brethren to the American plantations. Not less 
than six ministers have demitted their congrega- 
tions, and great numbers of their people go with 
them ; so that we are daily alarmed with both 
ministers and people going off." 

The tide of emigration was somewhat checked 
for a brief period by the passage of the Toleration 
Act, and by further promises of relief. It, however, 
began anew in 1728, ten years later, as appears 


from a statement which Archbishop Boulter sent to 
the English Secretary of State, and which he calls 
a " melancholy account" of the condition of the 
north, and of the extensive emigration which was 
taking place to America : " We have had for 
several years some agents from the colonies in 
America, and several masters of ships, that have 
gone about the country and deluded the people 
with stories of great plenty and estates to be had 
for going for in those parts of the world ; and 
they have been the better able to seduce people by 
reason of the necessities of" the poor of late." He 
proceeds to assign reasons why the people desire to 
leave the country, and then adds: "But whatever 
occasions their going, it is certain that above four 
thousand two hundred men, women and children 
have been shipped off from hence for the West 
Indies within three years, and of these about thir- 
ty-one hundred this last summer. . . . The whole 
north is in a ferment at present, and people every 
day engaging one another to go. The humor has 
spread like a contagious distemper, and the people 
will hardly hear anybody that tries to cure them of 
their madness. The worst is that it affects only 
Protestants and reigns chiefly in the north." In 
a private letter the following year the bishop states 
that " the humor of going to America still con- 
tinues. There are now seven ships at Belfast 
that are carrying off about one thousand passen- 
gers thither." 


James Logan, who at this period was president of 
the Proprietary Council of Pennsylvania and iden- 
tified with the Quakers, and who was unfriendly to 
the emigrants arriving from Ireland, states that it 
is " the common fear that if they [the Scotch-Irish] 
continue to come, they will make themselves pro- 
prietors of the province." He further, in 1729, 
expresses " himself glad to find that the Parliament 
is about to take measures to prevent their too free 
emigration to this country. It looks as if Ireland 
is to send all her inhabitants thither ; for last week 
not less than six ships arrived, and every day two 
or three arrive also." Another authority states 
that in 1729 "there arrived in Pennsylvania from 
Europe six thousand two hundred and eight per- 
sons, and of these more than five thousand were 
from Ireland." Dr. Baird, in his History of Re- 
ligion in America, states that "from 1729 to 1750 
about twelve thousand annually came from Ulster 
to America." 

These emigrants entered the country mainly at 
the ports of Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston. 
Those landing at Boston settled chiefly in Maine, 
New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Previous to 
this period, and, in fact, from the first settlement of 
New England, a large number of Presbyterians 
had found homes in its several colonies. Cotton 
Mather tells us " that previous to the year 1640 
four thousand Presbyterians had arrived." Writing 
a few years later, he says : " We are comforted with 


great numbers of the oppressed brethren coming 

from the north of Ireland. The glorious provi- 
dence of God, in the removal of so many of a 
desirable character from the north of Ireland, 
hath doubtless very great intentions in it." Others 
estimate the number of Presbyterian colonists in 
New England as high as twenty-two thousand. 
These it is difficult to designate, as they united 
largely with Congregationalisms in public worship, 
on the terms of union that had been agreed upon in 
London prior to 1640 ; which union Mather states 
" existed between these parties almost from the first 
settlement of the country." The evidence of this 
union and the influence of this Presbyterian ele- 
ment are seen in the fact that the early churches of 
Salem, Charleston, Boston and elsewhere in New 
England had ruling elders, while in 1640 and in 
1680 respectively all the ministers and elders from 
each church met in synod at Cambridge, and by 
distinct act recognized the Presbyterian form of 
church government. 

Xor need there be any surprise expressed at 
the synod's action, for, independent of the leaven- 
ing influence of Presbyterianism upon the churches, 
the form of order of the church of Leyden, the 
mother-church of the Plymouth colony, was the 
same as that of the French Presbyterian churches. 
Plymouth was modeled after Leyden, and the 
constitution of the Plymouth church was copied 
by all the other churches. 


Presbyterians, in comparatively limited num- 
bers, also settled in New England at the period 
when the largest emigration took place from Ire- 
land. In 1719, Derry was settled, and subse- 
quently congregations were organized at Pelham 
and Boston, Massachusetts, and a presbytery was 
formed in 1745, and a synod, consisting of three 
presbyteries, in 1775 at Seabrook. Presbyterian- 
ism, however, never acquired much strength, owing 
probably to the plan of union, and many of the 
Presbyterian settlers subsequently found their way 
into Pennsylvania, and helped to swell the tide 
which was pouring into that State through the 
port of Philadelphia. 

These immigrants first occupied the eastern and 
middle counties of Pennsylvania and the adjoin- 
ing regions of Delaware and Maryland. Such as 
landed at more southern ports located themselves 
on the fertile lands of North and South Carolina 
and Georgia, and were afterward joined by large 
numbers of their brethren who had originally 
settled in the more northern provinces. Owing 
to the rapid increase of emigration and the occu- 
pancy of the best farming-lands in central Penn- 
sylvania, many of the Scotch-Irish in the latter 
State were led to turn their steps southward, and 
found homes for their families in the fertile val- 
leys of Virginia. At a later period western 
Pennsylvania was occupied by the descendants 
of the settlers in the middle counties of the State, 


find those of tlie more southern colonies passed 

westward to the country then called " between the 
mountains/' now known as Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee. From these points of radiation the Scotch- 
Irish have extended to all parts of the Union, and 
being an intelligent, resolute and energetic people 
have left their impress upon the institutions of 
all the States where they have settled. 

Referring to this great exodus from the north 
of Ireland, the Rev. Dr. Foote, the historian of 
Virginia and North Carolina, says: "In the early 
part of the eighteenth century the emigration be- 
gan, and, like the mighty rivers in the New World, 
went on in a widening and deepening current to 
pour into the vast forests of America multitudes 
of hardy, enterprising people. All the colonies 
from New York southward were enriched by ship- 
loads of these people, that came with little money, 
but with strong hands and stout hearts and divine 
principles, to improve .their own condition and bless 
the province that gave them a home." Many of 
these voluntary exiles landed at Philadelphia, and 
after a short stay with their friends and country- 
men in Pennsylvania, removed to the inviting val- 
ley of Virginia, or the more distant banks of the 
Catawba in the Carolinas. It thus came to paes 
that " in the southern part of the valley of Vir- 
ginia and in the Mesopotamia* of North Carolina 
and large districts of South Carolina, the Scotch- 

* The countrv between the Catawba nnd Y.idkin Rn • 


Irish had the pre-eminence both in time and num- 

With very rare exceptions, these colonists were 
Protestants, and were either communicants in the 
Presbyterian Church or strongly attached to its 
doctrines and polity. Families generally united 
in forming settlements, fixing their residences 
sufficiently near each other to furnish mutual help 
and protection from the savage foes who lurked 
in the surrounding forests, to gratify their social 
feelings, and to enjoy the privileges of religious 
worship. Wherever they formed a settlement, 
among the first things they did, after providing a 
shelter for their families, was to organize congre- 
gations for Christian worship and erect a taberna- 
cle to the Lord. This being their custom, we are 
not surprised to learn that in a decade from the 
time that these pioneer emigrants ventured into 
the valley of Virginia, there were at least twelve 
Presbyterian congregations organized. In an- 
swer to their earnest appeal, the synod of the 
Presbyterian Church appointed two of its mem- 
bers to visit them and to secure for them the favor 
of the governor, in order that they might enjoy 
their own methods of worship. And about the same 
period Samuel Blair, writing respecting a particu- 
lar congregation, adds, " All our congregations in 
Pennsylvania, except two or three, chiefly are 
made up of people from that kingdom" (Ireland). 

We have dwelt thus particularly upon the 


extensive emigration from the north of Ireland 
because of the influence which it exerted on the 
Presbyterian Church of this country. It gave a 
sudden impulse to its growth. As we have seen, 
the emigration was so general that frequently, when 
pastors sought relief from the hindrances to which 
their ministry was subjected, they were accompa- 
nied to the New World by nearly their entire 
congregations, or were afterward joined by them 
in their voluntary exile. Thus they brought with 
them the framework of Christian institutions, ready 
to be set up on landing on these Western shores, 
and these emigrants gave bone and muscle to the 
religious body, the Presbyterian Church, of which 
they became at once members. 

As was most natural, when these colonists, to- 
gether with their ministers, came to organize the 
churches, they adopted the same system of church 
order and government with which they were famil- 
iar at home, and to which they were so strongly 
attached. All the essential elements of presby- 
tery, parity of the clergy, the office of ruling ciders, 
with their clearly defined duties, and the province 
and obligations of the " kirk session/' from whose 
decisions an appeal could be taken to the higher 
court, were principles of church government well 
known to them. When Presbyterianism had ex- 
tended over a wide extent of territory, and ques- 
tions of common interest and importance had to 
be considered and deeided, the formation of synods, 


and finally of a General Assembly, naturally an< 
necessarily followed. 

The mode of worship in use in Scotland and 
Ireland was also introduced wherever churches 
were formed, great care being taken in defining 
the limits of each congregation or parish. The 
Bible and the catechism held an honored place in 
the instruction of youth in their schools and in 
their families. On the Sabbath all the members 
of the household were regularly assembled, and 
parents, children and servants recited the cate- 
chism. This was followed by explanations of 
the precepts and doctrines contained therein, and 
finally the duty of obedience was enforced by show- 
ing that its doctrines were derived from the Scrip- 
tures and conformed strictly to their teachings. 

A portion of the congregation was assigned to 
each elder, whose duty it was to look after the spir- 
itual interests of the people in that particular field. 
The pastor, accompanied with one or more of his 
elders, was accustomed to meet his people frequent- 
ly, either at a private house or in some other conve- 
nient place, in different parts of the congregation, 
to hear them recite the catechism, and to address to 
them words of Christian counsel and admonition. 
In this way, and largely through the fidelity of the 
eldership, impressions made by the preaching on 
the Sabbath were rendered permanent and fruit- 
ful. As a consequence, also, of this method of 
instruction, the members of the several churches 


were intelligent Christians, well grounded in the 
Scriptures, not tossed about by every wind of 
doctrine, and able to give a reason for the hope 
that was in them. 

During the early history of Presbyterian ism in 
this country, it was common for presbyteries to 
appoint committees to visit congregations, who were 
to question the pastor as to how fully and con- 
scientiously he had discharged all his duties to his 
flock; how the elders had met the responsibilities 
of their office; and how his people had attended 
upon the preached word and the ordinances of the 
Church; and whether they had fulfilled to him 
the pecuniary obligations they had voluntarily 
assumed. Very similar questions were asked sep- 
arately of each of these parties, and all complaints 
and causes of dissatisfaction were investigated, and, 
if possible, amicably arranged. 

Twice a year the Lord's Supper was celebrated. 
Previous to it a day of fasting was observed, and 
appropriate sermons were preached on the three 
days preceding the Sabbath, by the pastor or neigh- 
boring ministers. Members of adjacent congrega- 
tions generally attended in large numbers. On 
these occasions the preaching was often in the open 
air, as the congregations were too large to be accom- 
modated in the church. These seasons were an- 
ticipated with much interest, and were frequently 
accompanied with wonderful manifestations of the 
presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The em- 


blems were spread upon long tables, which extend- 
ed oftentimes through all the aisles of the church 
from the pulpit to the doors. At these tables the 
communicants were seated, none being admitted to 
this privilege unless they had previously received 
tokens* from their pastor or the session. To them 
the " Lord's Supper was in its fullest sense a mon- 
ument of the great facts of redemption, a memorial 
of the necessity of atonement, the glorious deity 
of the Son of God, the freeness of justification and 
the fullness of the promises. The mode in which 
it was administered rendered it necessary that the 
highest truths, the loftiest themes, should be 
preached, and with unction. Those were golden 
days, when the preacher spoke in the demonstration 
of the Spirit and with power, and when souls 
were enlightened by the knowledge of the grace 
of Christ. " 

So large an emigration, and of such a character, 
as flowed into the Middle and Southern States for 
nearly half a century, could not fail to exert a pow- 
erful and lasting influence upon the Presbyterianism 
of this country. For the most part, these colonists 
had been tillers of the soil in their native lands, 
and on their arrival on our shores went immediate- 
ly to work to make homes for their families upon 

* The tokens were small pieces of lead or spelter, and usually 
had the initial letter of the church stamped upon them. They 
were carried by communicants to neighboring churches when 
thev desired to commune. 


the fertile lands, which only needed the wise and 
persistent labors of these sons of toil to cause them 
to yield abundant harvests. They did not come as 
criminals fleeing from justice, or paupers to fasten 
themselves for support upon the industries of the 
country, but with money enough — the result of 
their previous energy and thrift — to purchase the 
choicest of the lands. As a consequence, prosper- 
ity attended their well-directed endeavors ; plenty 
ere long smiled around their happy households; 
churches and schools at once took their proper 
places and flourished in all their settlements ; and 
society received an impress which it retains to the 
present day. 

CHURCH IN AMERICA, 1681-1758. 


Foreign Ministers in America. 

Much the largest proportion of the early Pres- 
byterian ministers in this country were from the 
Irish Church. They, however, were originally 
either natives of Scotland or descendants of those 
who had removed to Ireland, and, with few ex- 
ceptions, were educated in Scotland. Webster states 
that nearly two-thirds of the ministers of the Pres- 
byterian Church in America, previous to 1738, were 
graduates of Glasgow University. It is now im- 
possible, from accessible records, to determine the 
nationality of all these ministers, so intimate was 
the intercourse between Scotland and the north of 
Ireland, and so constant were the accessions from 
both these churches to the ministry in this country. 
We shall, therefore, not attempt this distinction, but 
content ourselves with giving, in the limited space 
at our command, the names of the clergymen, the 
time of their arrival in America, the places of 
their ministry, and, in some few instances, the 
character and results of their labors. Even this 


hare recital we believe will be sufficient to secure 
the conviction of the importance of the services 
they rendered not only to Presbyterianism, but 
likewise to civil and religious liberty, in the 
land of their adoption. 

Francis Makemie, to whom the honor has 
been ascribed* of laying the foundations of the 
Presbyterian Church in this country, was born in 
the county of Donegal, Ireland, educated in a 
Scotch university, and licensed in 1681 by the 
Presbytery of Lagan. An application from Mary- 
land for a minister to settle in that colony led the 
Presbytery to ordain him as an evangelist for 
America. Arriving in this country, by way of 
Barbadoes, either in 1682 or 1683, he organized a 
church at Snow Hill, Maryland, in 1684, which 
was, so far as now known, the first regularly or- 
ganized Presbyterian church in America. The 
Eastern Shore of Maryland and the adjacent coun- 
ties of Virginia continued to be his principal field 
of labor, though he extended his journeys at times 
as far south as the Carolinas. Over all this region 
he performed with great fidelity the duties of a 
primitive bishop, organizing a number of churches 

* " Rev. Richard Denton, a graduate of the University of 
Cambridge, had charge of the Presbyterian church at Hemp- 
stead, Long Island, from 1644 to 1658, when he returned to 
England." — Rev. P. D. Oakley, in the "New York Observer." 

If this statement can be fully established — and the evidence 
adduced is very strong — then must Rev. Mr. Denton be re- 
garded as the first regular Presbyterian minister in this country. 


and supplying them, so far as he could, with preach 
ing. Feeling the need of help, he opened corre- 
spondence with Boston and London in order tc 
obtain aid for destitute places, and made two jour- 
neys to England, returning in 1705 with two min- 
isterial brethren. In 1705 or 1706 he assisted in 
forming the first presbytery, that of Philadelphia, 
consisting of seven ministers ; and afterward con- 
tinued until his death (1708) actively and usefully 
engaged in missionary-tours among the destitute 
settlers, in gathering congregations and furnishing 
them with competent ministers, thus exerting an ex- 
tensive influence in behalf of Presbyterianism in the 
entire region. He is represented as " indefatigable 
in effort, clear-sighted and sagacious in his views, 
fearless in the discharge of duty, a man of eminent 
piety and of strong intellectual powers." 

Samuel Davis was the next minister, in point of 
time, to Makemie. He preached at Lewes, Dela- 
ware, and afterward at Snow Hill, Maryland, and 
was moderator of Philadelphia presbytery in 1709. 
John Frazer and Archibald Riddel came to Amer- 
ica 1685 ; the former preached at Woodbury, 
Connecticut, the latter at Woodbridge, New Jer- 
sey. David Simpson and John Wilson arrived 
1686, and the latter was settled at New Castle, 
Delaware. George MacNish accompanied Make- 
mie on his return from England in 1705, and 
labored at Monokin and Wicomico, Maryland, 
settling at Jamaica, Long Island, where he was 


instrumental in forming, 1717, the Presbytery of 
Long Island. John Hampton, the other associate 
ofMakemie in labor and in imprisonment by Lord 
Cornbury for preaching without a license, was pas- 
tor at Snow Hill, Maryland. 

Josias Mackie labored for nearly a quarter of a 
century in Virginia; John Boyd, 1706, pastor 
at Freehold and Middletown ; James Anderson, 
1709, pastor at New Castle, Delaware, and then 
in New York city; John Henry, 1709, was the 
successor of Makemie ; George Gillespie, 1712, 
pastor first at Woodbridge, New Jersey, and 
then at White Clay Creek, Delaware; Robert 
Lawson, 1713; Robert Witherspoon, 1714, labored 
in Delaware; John Bradner, 1714, pastor at Cape 
May, New Jersey, and Goshen, New York ; Hugh 
Conn, 1715, pastor at Patapsco and Bladensburg, 
Maryland; Samuel Gelston, 1715, labored at Kent, 
Delaware, in Virginia, and as pastor at South 
Hampton, Long Island; John Thomson, 1715, 
preached at Lewes, Delaware, Middle Ootorara 
and Chestnut Level, Pennsylvania, and removed 
in 1744 to Virginia; he took a prominent part 
at the division of the synod, being the originator 
of the overture which resulted in the adopting 
act. His Explication of the Shorter Catechism,* 
his treatise on the Government of the Church and 
his sermons on Conviction and Assurance are pro- 

* The only known copy is in the possession of Rev. B. M. 
Smith, professor in Hampden-Sidney College, Va. 


nounced to be as "able, learned, judicious and 
evangelical as any of the writings of Dickinson 
and Blair." 

William Tennent, 1716, was orginally a deacon 
in the Established Church of Ireland; he left it on 
account of conscientious scruples, and coming to 
America was received by the presbytery of Phil- 
adelphia. First settled at East Chester, New 
York, then at Bensalem and Smithfield, Penn- 
sylvania, and in 1726 at Neshaminy. Here he 
established the celebrated " Log College," and 
made it his great lifework to educate young men 
for the Presbyterian ministry. In it some of the 
very best men of the Church were educated — men 
eminent alike for learning and piety. He was a 
warm personal friend and admirer of Whitefieldj 
and a zealous promoter of revivals. 

Robert Cross, 1717, pastor at New Castle, Del- 
aware, and colleague pastor to Jedediah Andrews 
in Philadelphia, where he was the leader of the 
Old Side party and author of the protest that 
divided the synod. James Macgregor, 1719, 
came to Boston with one hundred families who 
had been connected with his church in Ireland. 
These settled near Haverhill, calling the place 
Londonderry, and electing Mr. Macgregor as 
their pastor. Many regard this as the first Pres- 
byterian church in New England, and it grew 
rapidly under his able ministry. Though but a 
youth at the time, he was among the brave de- 


fenders of Londonderry, Ireland, and discharged 
from the tower of the cathedral the large gun 
which announced the approach of the relief ves- 
sels. Robert Laing, 1722, supplied Snow Hill, 
Maryland, and Brandy wine and White Clay Creek, 
Delaware; Alexander Hutcheson, 1722, supply at 
Drawers, Delaware, and pastor of Bohemia Manor 
and Broad Creek churches, Maryland ; Thomas 
Craighead, 1723, pastor of White Clay Creek, Del- 
aware, then at Pequa and Big Spring, Pennsylva- 
nia; Joseph Houston, 1724, preached first at New 
London, Connecticut, then pastor of a church on 
Elk River, Maryland, and finally pastor at Wal- 
kill, New York; Adam Boyd, 1725, pastor of Oc- 
torara and Pequa churches, Pennsylvania, where 
he labored for forty-four years. 

Gilbert Tennent came with his father to this 
country in 1716, and was installed pastor at New 
Brunswick, New Jersey, 1726, where he remained 
sixteen years. He accompanied Whitefield in 1740 
on a preaching-tour to Boston, which they extend- 
ed as far north as New Hampshire and Maine, and 
which was attended with great religious interest. 
He accepted a call to a new congregation in Phila- 
delphia that had been formed of Mr. Whitefield's 
admirers in 1743, where he passed the residue of 
his life, twenty years, endeared to all by reason of 
his loving and compassionate nature. Few equaled 
him as a preacher. John Tennent, the third son 
of William Tennent, Sr., was licensed 1729, and 


ordained pastor of the church of Freehold, New 
Jersey, 1730, where he passed his brief ministry 
of three and one- half years, eminently success- 
ful in winning souls to Christ. John Moorhead, 
1729, came to Boston, where he had charge for 
forty-four years of the "Church of Presbyterian 
Strangers," and where his labors were attended 
with great success; James Campbell, 1730, labored 
in Pennsylvania and North Carolina ; John Cross, 
1732, minister at Baskinridge, New Jersey, was a 
great promoter of revivals ; and John Campbell, 
1734, labored in Pennsylvania. 

William Tennent was installed pastor of his 
brother's congregation at Freehold, New Jersey, 
where he remained until his death, 1777, occa- 
sionally making preaching-tours into Maryland, 
Virginia and New York. His ministry was 
attended with frequent revivals, and resulted in 
the establishment of a number of churches. He 
was an earnest and active patriot, and zealous in 
resisting the aggressions of the enemy. 

Samuel Blair, 1733, accepted a call to Middleton, 
New Jersey, where he remained until 1739, and 
then removed to Fagg's Manor, Pennsylvania. 
Here he established a celebrated classical school. 
He was distinguished as a preacher for solemnity 
and impressiveness. President Davies refers to 
him "as the incomparable Blair," and stated that 
in his travels in England he had not heard his 
superior. His published writings were seven ser- 


moos, three of them on Justification, a Vindication 
of the Excluded Brethren, an answer to John Thom- 
son on the Government of the Church, and to Alex- 
ander Craighead's Reasons for Forsaking our 
Church, also a Treatise on Predestination. 

Alexander Craighead, 1734, pastor of Middle 
Oetorara, from whence he removed to Virginia, 
1749, and then to North Carolina, where he passed 
the remainder of his days in the active duties of 
the ministry ; was an earnest, fervid preacher 
and a zealous promoter of revivals. His ardent 
love of personal liberty, and his advanced views 
on civil government and religious liberty, made 
him obnoxious to the civil governors of Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia, and led to his removal to 
North Carolina, where he became an " apostle of 
liberty,"* to whom "the people of Mecklenburg 
county are indebted for that training which placed 
them in the forefront of American patriots and 

Francis Alison, 1735, was pastor of New Lon- 
don, Pennsylvania, for fifteen years, where he es- 
tablished a classical school, which in 1744 was 
taken under the care of synod. He removed to 
Philadelphia in 1752, where he took charge of an 
academy, which in 1755 was erected into a college, 
of which he was vice-provost and professor of moral 
philosophy. He had the reputation of bein^ the 
best scholar then in America ; acted at the same time 
* Rev Dr. Miller of Charlotte. 


as assistant pastor of the First church, and had 
great influence in all the judicatories of the Pres- 
byterian Church. John Elder, 1736, was installed 
pastor of Paxton and Derry churches, Pennsylvania, 
J 738, where he continued for more than half a 
century, sharing with his people the hardships and 
exposures of their frontier-life. He superintended 
the military discipline of his people, and acted as 
their captain in their warfare with surrounding 
savage foes. His ability and experience in this 
frontier warfare led to his receiving a commission 
as colonel in the colonial service, and to his be- 
ing placed in command of the blockhouses and 
stockades from the Susquehanna to Easton ; he 
was respected and beloved by his congregations, 
and very useful as a minister. 

John Craig, 1737, labored first in Maryland, and 
then in Western Virginia. He was installed pastor 
of the congregations of Augusta and Tinkling 
Spring, and was the first Presbyterian minister set- 
tled in Virginia. His congregations extended over 
a territory thirty miles long by nearly tw T enty broad, 
and suffered greatly in the French-and-Indian war. 
By precept and example he encouraged his people 
to resist their enemies, which they did successfully, 
and from these congregations went forth many 
hardy soldiers to fight in the various Indian 
wars and in that of the Revolution. His memory 
is held in the highest veneration by the descend- 


ants of those to whom he preached for thirty-four 


Charles Beatty came to this country in 1729, 
and was installed, 1743, pastor at Neshaminy, as 
successor of Mr. Tennent, where his entire min- 
istry was spent. His services as a missionary to 
visit the frontier settlements and to ascertain the 
condition of the Indian tribes, and also in connec- 
tion with the fund for the relief of destitute min- 
isters, were of the most important character. He 
was an active patriot, and served as chaplain of 
the provincial forces raised to defend the frontier. 

John Blair, brother of Samuel Blair, was 
settled, 1742-1748, as pastor in Pennsylvania, 
during which period he made two visits to Vir- 
ginia, preaching with great power in various places 
and organizing several churches. His next pas- 
torate was Fagg's Manor, Pennsylvania, from 
whence he was called to the professorship of 
divinity at Nassau Hall, in connection with the 
duties of vice-president of the college, and served 
as president until Dr. Witherspoon'a arrival. His 
last pastoral charge was at Walkill, New York. 
He was a judicious and persuasive preacher, and 
eminently successful in the conversion of the im- 
penitent. He published several works. 

Samuel Finley, D. D., was pastor of the church 
at Nottingham, Maryland, for seventeen years, 
where he founded an academy to prepare young 
men for the ministry, which acquired a great rep- 


utation. He was an accomplished scholar and 
teacher. At the death of President Davies, of 
Nassau Hall, he was chosen his successor, and his 
administration proved of great advantage to the 
college. He was a distinguished pulpit orator. 
His learning was extensive, every branch of study 
taught in the college being familiar to him. The 
degree of doctor of divinity was conferred on 
him by the University of Glasgow. John Roan 
was licensed, 1744, and sent on a missionary-tour 
to Virginia, where great numbers were converted 
under his preaching. Returning to Pennsylvania 
in 1745, he was settled over the united congrega- 
tions of Paxton, Derry and Mount Joy, where he 
remained until his death, 1775, proving an able, 
courageous and faithful minister of the gospel. 

Robert Smith, D. D., was licensed, 1749, and 
settled over the churches in Pequa and Leacock, 
Pennsylvania. Here he opened a classical school, 
which was attended by a large number of young 
men, many of whom became distinguished in the 
ministry and in the professions ; he was moderator 
of the Assembly, and highly esteemed as an able, 
faithful pastor. Three of his sons entered the 
ministry : Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith, President 
of Nassau Hall ; Dr. John Blair Smith, president 
of Hampden-Sidney, and afterward of Union, Col- 
lege; and Dr. William Ramsey Smith, pastor of 
the Second Presbyterian church, Wilmington, Del- 

foreign ministers in America. 297 

Other ministers who came from abroad and aid- 
ed in establishing Presbyterianism in this country, 
to whose labors we cannot refer, were: Robert Orr, 
1715; Henry Hook and Samuel Young, 1718 ; 
Archibald McCook and Hugh Stevenson, 1726; 
John Williamson, William Orr and David San- 
key, 1730; William Bertram, 1732; Benjamin 
Campbell, 1733; Samuel Hemphill, James Mar- 
tin and Robert Jamison, 1734; Hugh Carlisle and 
Samuel Black, 1735; John Paul, 1736; Charles 
Tennent, 1737; David Alexander, 1738; Samuel 
Caven, David Megregor and Francis McHenrv, 
1739; Alexander McDowell and James McCrea, 
1741; John Steel, 1744; Andrew Bay, 1747; 
Samson Smith and Samuel Kennedy, 1750: Rob- 
ert Smith, 1751 ; James Finley, 1752 ; John Kin- 
kead and James Brown, 1753 ; Hugh Knox, 1755 ; 
and Henry Patillo, 1757, an author, and a patri- 
arch in the churches of North Carolina. 

In the above enumeration we have confined 
ourselves to those clergymen from Scotland and Ire- 
land who entered the ministry of the Presbyterian 
Church in this country previous to the union of 
the synods in 1758. This was the period when 
the largest emigration took place, and the forma- 
tive period of Presbyterianism in America. If 
we would give proper weight to this influence, we 
must bear in mind that at the union of the two 
synods of New York and Philadelphia, in 1758, 
there were but ninety-four ministers connected with 


the Presbyterian Church in this country, and of 
this number forty had come either from Ireland 
or Scotland. From the origin of the Church, at 
least ninety ministers of foreign birth had helped to 
plant Presbyterianism in the New World and aid- 
ed in its subsequent growth. At the union of the 
synods more than half of these clergymen had 
ceased from their labors, their places, however, 
being largely supplied by their sons, who had been 
trained for the ministry in the humble yet efficient 
educational institutions of the Church. The in- 
debtedness of the Presbyterian Church in Amer- 
ica, therefore, to the churches of Ireland and Scot- 
land can scarcely be overestimated ; and this is as 
true of the membership of the Church as of the 
clergymen who ministered to them. 


Peesbyterians and Education. 

Presbyterians have ever been the earnest 
advocates and patrons of general learning. The 
influence of their religious system, when in prac- 
tical operation, inevitably tends to this result. The 
academy of John Calvin, established at Geneva, to 
which so many of the youth of Europe resorted, is 
well known to fame. One of the first things that 
the Church of Scotland did when its privileges 
were restored by the Prince of Orange, King Wil- 
liam III., was, through its General Assembly, to 
make ample provision for the education of the peo- 
ple. Schools of different grades were established 
in every parish throughout the kingdom, which 
were so far supported by public funds as to render 
education possible to the poorest in the community. 

As in Geneva and in Scotland, so wherever Pn-s- 
bvterianism has been planted, it has invariably 
shown a similar love for learning. The first emi- 
grants to this country were no exception. Many 



schoolmasters accompanied them to America, and 
at an early period each Presbyterian settlement 
made suitable provision for its schools. Even 
among their servants it was a rare thing to find 
one that could not at least read God's word. 

A higher education than could be acquired in 
the ordinary schools of the country, also, early en- 
gaged the attention of the colonists. The synod 
of the Carolinas enjoined upon all its presbyteries 
" to establish within their respective bounds one or 
more grammar-schools, except where such schools 
are already established." And thus, through the 
influence of an educated ministry, a large number 
of classical schools and academies were speedily 
organized, which acquired a wide and deserved 
reputation. In these many of the youth of the 
country received an education which fitted them 
for after-usefulness in the liberal professions of 
law and medicine, while their main purpose was 
to raise up and qualify ministers for the rap- 
idly increasing congregations. As instructors of 
the rising generation the Presbyterian clergy ex- 
erted an immense influence for good upon society, 
then in a formation -state, and subsequently their 
example fostered a zeal for education in other de- 
nominations, and led them also to found schools 
and colleges. 

In this connection some of the more important 
of these classical schools deserve special notice, as 
the efforts and sacrifices necessary to sustain them 


will show how devoted the ministers and members 
of the Presbyterian Church were to the cause of 
liberal education. 

The first literary institution of the kind was 
established in 1728 by the Rev. William Tennent, 
and was known in after-years as the Log College 
— a name derisively given to the school by its en- 
emies. The building was composed of logs, was 
about twenty feet square, and was situated in Bucks 
county, Pennsylvania, twenty miles north of Phil- 
adelphia, and "about a mile from that part of 
Neshaminy Creek where the Presbyterian church 
has long stood." Though the edifice was wanting 
in architectural grace and beauty, it vindicated its 
right to the title of a college, for it was a truly 
noble institution, and proved a fountain of rich 
blessing to the Presbyterian Church. 

Its founder was a native of Ireland, a graduate 
of Trinity College and an accomplished scholar, 
"to whom Latin was as familiar as his mother- 
tongue, and who was an honor to the Church of 
his adoption." When received by the synod as a 
member, he delivered an elegant Latin oration be- 
fore that body. He was also said to be a proficient 
in the other ancient languages, and to have the 
power to inspire his pupils with a love for learning. 

His motive for founding the school was to pro- 
vide a pious and educated ministry for the Church, 
which he saw must ultimately be furnished from 
within her own bounds. Hitherto the most of her 


ministers had received their education in the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow, some in Ireland and others at 
New England colleges. As yet no college had 
been established in any of the Middle States, where 
young men looking forward to the ministry could 
obtain a proper education, and they had been 
obliged to resort either to Scotland or New Eng- 
land to study — an expense which at that time few 
were able to incur. This was a condition of things 
very unfavorable for the growth and prosperity of 
the Church, and one which Mr. Tennent deter- 
mined to remedy so far as he could. To this work 
he devoted the remainder of his life; and in addi- 
tion to the classics, he instructed his pupils in the- 
ology, and sent forth a large number of men into 
the gospel ministry who were eminent alike for 
piety and learning. " To him," says Webster, 
" above all others, is owing the prosperity and 
enlargement of the Presbyterian Church. He had 
the rare gift of attracting to him youth of worth 
and genius, imbuing them with his healthful spirit, 
and sending them forth sound in the faith, blame- 
less in life, burning with zeal, and unsurpassed as 
instructive, impressive and successful preachers." 
Similar testimony is borne by Dr. Archibald Al- 
exander to the influence of this honored teacher: 
" To him the Presbyterian Church is more indebt- 
ed than to any other individual for the evangelical 
spirit that pervaded its early ministry." His three 
sons, the Revs. Samuel and John Blair, William 


Robinson and Charles Beatty, and Dr. Samuel 
Finley, not to mention others of his pupils, are a 
sufficient justification of any eulogy that has been 
pronounced upon this school. 

Soon after the division of the original synod of 
the Presbyterian Church, in 1741, measures were 
adopted to establish a classical and scientific institu- 
tion which would be under the supervision of the 
synod of Philadelphia. For years the Old Side 
party had been dissatisfied with the Log College, 
and the rupture of ecclesiastical relations served 
to separate still more widely the former friends and 
supporters of the college, and to make it more ne- 
cessary that another school should be started. After 
much discussion and consultation among those who 
favored the enterprise, a public meeting was held 
in 1743, when it was resolved to found an institu- 
tion, under the direction of the synod, to which all 
persons who pleased might send their children, to 
be instructed, without charge, in the languages, 
philosophy and divinity. 

An academy of the kind having been already es- 
tablished at New London, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. 
Francis Alison, the synod adopted it, and appointed 
a board of trustees to manage it. Mr. Alison was 
retained as principal, and had charge of it until 
his removal to Philadelphia, in 17*52, to take the 
direction of an academy in that city, which in 1755 
was merged into the University of Philadelphia. 

With the reputation of being the foremost schol- 


ar at that time in the country, and a man of 
" unquestionable ability," as his pupil Bishop 
White testifies, he was admirably qualified to 
instruct the youth who in large numbers re- 
paired to his institution. While it did not aspire 
to the name and dignity of a college, the school 
was justly celebrated and widely useful, and was 
" a powerful auxiliary to the cause of theological 
education." It not only furnished the early Pres- 
byterian churches of this country with many dis- 
tinguished pastors, but the State with many of its 
ablest civilians. Among the pupils of this school 
were the secretary of the Continental Congress 
and three of the signers of the Declaration of 

The Rev. Alexander McDowell succeeded Mr. 
Alison as principal of the New London school, 
which, after a long and useful career, was subse- 
quently removed to Newark, Delaware, and has 
been since known as Delaware College. 

A classical school was instituted at Fagg's Ma- 
nor, Pennsylvania, in 1739, by Rev. Samuel Blair, 
in which such distinguished ministers as Samuel 
Davies, John Rodgers, Alexander Cu minings, 
James Finley and Robert Smith received their 
education. Mr. Blair is represented as one of the 
most learned as well as pious and excellent men of 
his day. Profound as a theologian, he was still 
more eminent as a preacher, and in every respect 
a burning and shining light in the Church. 


Having been educated at the Log College, and 
sympathizing strongly with the Tennents in their 
views, and also in their efforts to promote revivals, 
the purpose and character of his school were similar 
to that at Neshaminy, and, like it, was celebrated 
both for the superior education imparted to its 
pupils and the high moral and religious purposes 
with which they were animated. 

Soon after his settlement at Nottingham, Mary- 
land, 1744, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley opened an 
academy in order to prepare young men for the 
ministry, which soon acquired such a reputation 
that students resorted to it from a great distance. 
Mr. Finley was eminent as a scholar and skillful 
as a teacher, and in his instructions religion was 
united to learning, according to the principles of 
Scripture. When president of Princeton College, 
to which office he was unanimously elected at the 
death of President Davies, in addition to his official 
duties, he taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew to the 
senior class, and superintended an English school 
held in one of the college-buildings. 

With such superior qualifications as an instructor, 
we are not surprised that the Nottingham academy 
acquired a great reputation and sent forth from its 
walls some of the ablest and best men, both in 
Church and State, whose memories are cherished by 
their countrymen to the present day. Among these 
may be mentioned the names of Benjamin Rush, 
M. D., Governor Martin of North Carolina, Dr. 



McWhorter, Ebenezer Hazzard, Dr. Williams, Mr. 
Tennent and Dr. James Waddell. 

Dr. Robert Smith, when settled, in 1750, at Pequa, 
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, opened a school 
in which Latin, Greek and Hebrew were taught. 
It soon became the resort of many young men, over 
whom the instructor exerted a strong religious 
influence. Large numbers of them were induced 
to devote themselves to the ministry, and afterward 
also studied divinity under him. After Princeton 
College was established, students continued to be 
prepared here to enter that institution. With 
scarcely an exception, those who were trained in 
this academy were the uniform friends of religion, 
and the Presbyterian Church was greatly indebted 
to Mr. Smith for the number of faithful pastors 
who received their education in his school. 

The first classical and scientific school that was 
opened west of the mountains, and designed to train 
young men for the pastoral office, was that of the 
Rev. Joseph Smith, at Upper Buffalo, Pennsylva- 
nia, 1785. His kitchen, in the absence of any 
other building, was devoted to the school. Here, 
McGready, Patterson, Porter, Brice, Holmes and 
many other pious youth received their education, 
who were afterward the missionaries and ministers 
of the Redstone and Ohio presbyteries. In their 
course of study they were supported in part by 
the ladies of the neighboring churches, who pro- 
vided them with their clothing. 


The school was continued for several years, and 
then, by mutual arrangement, was transferred, and 
reorganized, near Canonsburg, under the care of 
the Rev. Dr. McMillan. It was the nucleus out of 
which grew eventually the Canonsburg academy, 
the log cabin being superseded by a building of 
stone in 1790, which served the double purpose of 
a church and a school. This led to the organization 
of Jefferson College, in 1802, so that the log cabin, 
the academy and the college may be considered 
one and the same institution, under progressive 
forms of enlargement and usefulness. 

Similar institutions of learning, at an early period 
of the Church, were established by the Rev. Jona- 
than Dickinson at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the 
germ of Princeton College; by the Rev. Thomas 
Evans at Pencader, Maryland ; by Samuel Kennedy, 
a highly accomplished scholar, at Baskinridge, 
New Jersey; by Hugh Stevenson, who opened a 
grammar-school, 1740, in Philadelphia; and by 
Eliab By ram at Mendham, New Jersey. The 
Presbyterian colonists of Virginia also made as 
ample provision for the education of their youth as 
their circumstances permitted. In most of their 
congregations pastors established classical and scien- 
tific schools. West of the Blue Ridge such a school 
was carried on at New Providence, by the Rev. John 
Brown, while east of the Ridge a similar institu- 
tion was conducted by the Rev. John Todd, under 
the patronage of Dr. Samuel Davies. The first of 


these, after removals to Mount Pleasant, where it 
was known as Augusta academy, and then to 
Timber Ridge, as Liberty Hall, finally became 
Washington College. The widespread desire for 
literary institutions of a high order led the pres- 
bytery of Hanover, as early as 1771, to take measures 
to establish an academy in Prince Edward county, 
which subsequently was chartered as Hampden-Sid- 
ney College. These institutions, so humble in their 
origin, awakened such a thirst for knowledge in the 
minds of large numbers of the youth of that State 
that not a few of them afterward became eminent 
for their literary attainments and were distin- 
guished in the pulpit and at the bar. 

Classical schools of great excellence were organ- 
ized by Dr. David Caldwell at Buffalo, and after- 
ward at Guilford, North Carolina, in which many 
of the most eminent men of the South — lawyers, 
statesmen and clergymen — were educated ; by 
Dr. Samuel E. McCorkle, a thorough scholar and 
earnest student, whose school at Thyatira, North 
Carolina, bore the significant name of Zion Par- 
nassus, and in which there was a department for the 
education of school-teachers, and provision was 
made to have poor and pious young men taught 
free of expense, of whom forty-five entered the pul- 
pit ; by the Rev. William Bingham at Wilmington, 
and subsequently at Chatham and Orange; by Dr. 
Joseph Alexander at Sugar Creek ; by Dr. Alex- 
ander McWhorter, principal of " Queen's Museum," 


in whose hall the debates preceding the Mecklen- 
burg Declaration were held, and which the legis- 
lature of North Carolina afterward chartered un- 
der the name of Liberty Hall academy. Other 
classical and scientific schools were taught by Rev. 
Dr. Robinson at Poplar Tent; by Dr. Wilson at 
Rocky River ; by Dr. Hall at Bethany ; by the Rev. 
Henry Patillo at Orange and Granville; and by 
Dr. Waddell at Wilmington, under whose instruc- 
tion some of the ablest civilians of the State were 

A large number of Presbyterian families moved 
at an early day from Virginia and the Carolinas 
into Tennessee, who carried with them their love of 
education. Rev. Samuel Doak, a graduate of 
Princeton College, opened a classical school in 
Washington county, which was afterward incor- 
porated under the name of Martin academy, and 
finally became known as Washington College. 
This was the first literary institution established in 
the Mississippi Valley. The books that formed the 
nucleus of the college library were transported from 
Philadelphia over the mountains in sacks on pack- 
horses. After acting as president of the college 
for several years, Mr. Doak resigned and removed to 
Bethel, where he founded Tusculum academy, and 
continued to be the active advocate and patron of 
learning, as he had ever been the decided friend of 
civil and religious liberty. 

Greenville ( lollege was indebted mainly for it - ori- 


gin to the Rev. Hezekiah Balch, and it was through 
his patronage that it subsequently rose to great 
usefulness, as was Blount College to its first 
president, the Rev. Samuel Carrick, the friend and 
co-presbyter of Balch. If Davidson academy was 
not originated by the Rev. Thomas B. Craighead, it 
was indebted to his untiring labors in its behalf for 
its subsequent prosperity. After serving for twenty 
years as president of its board of trustees, he was 
elected president of Davidson College when the 
academy was chartered as a college. 

Without enumerating the other institutions of 
learning founded in these new and sparsely-set- 
tled regions of country, we perceive that the Pres- 
byterian clergy of the South, like their brethren 
of the North, were the devoted friends of educa- 
tion. They felt the necessity of promoting the 
general intelligence of the people, but more par- 
ticularly of training up an educated ministry for 
the rapidly extending missionary-field. Hence in 
nearly every congregation a classical school was 
taught by the pastor. And who can calculate the 
influence for good which such men as these exerted 
in training noble minds who have given impulse 
and direction to the intellect of the entire country? 
The names of many of these ministers and teach- 
ers may be forgotten, but their labors, by which 
they so largely contributed to the intellectual ad- 
vancement of the people, are imperishable. 

But these schools, though so excellent and use- 


ful in the com m unities where they were located, 

did not do away with the necessity of establishing 
still higher institutions of learning, in which the 
benefits of a regular collegiate education might he 
enjoyed. Without permanent funds, libraries, sci- 
entific apparatus and an enlarged corps of instruct- 
ors, they could not meet all the intellectual needs 
of the young men of the country. And as it was 
extremely difficult, and in most cases impossible, 
for parents, on account of the great distances, to 
send their sons either to Scotland or to the colleges 
of New England, the synod of New York and 
Philadelphia turned its attention at an early period 
to making provision for a more liberal education 
nearer home. A charter to incorporate the College 
of New Jersey was procured from the governor of 
that province, mainly through the influence of Jon- 
athan Dickinson, of Elizabethtown, where the in- 
fant institution was first established, with Dickinson 
as its first president. His death occurring the fol- 
lowing year, the Rev. Aaron Burr was chosen his 
successor, and the college was removed to Newark, 
where it continued until 1755. Buildings for the 
accommodation of the students having been erect- 
ed at Princeton, the college went into more com- 
plete operation at that place, where it has Bince been 
permanently located, and has continued more and 
more to realize the expectations of its founders. 

It was with extreme difficulty that the means 
were provided during thp firs! year- for the cur- 


rent expenses of the institution and for placing it 
on a solid basis. Ministers freely contributed for 
its support from their meagre salaries, and the 
synod of 1752 ordered collections to be taken up 
in the churches on its behalf. A deputation of 
ministers was also sent to England and Scotland 
to advocate its claims. Their mission proved emi- 
nently successful. Between four and five thousand 
pounds was collected, which placed the college on 
a sure financial basis, and cheered the hearts of all 
the friends of liberal education in the Presbyterian 

The first commencement under the new charter 
was held at Newark in 1748. Governor Belcher, 
the friend of religion and the patron of learning, 
was on the platform, and around him was gathered 
a company of honored trustees — of ministers, Sam- 
uel Blair, Pierson, Pemberton, Gilbert and Wil- 
liam Tennent, Treat, Arthur, Jones and Green ; 
and of laymen, Redding, president of the council, 
Kinsey, Shippen, Smith and Hazzard. It was a 
great day in the annals of our Church and of the 

Most of those who had been actively engaged in 
founding this college, whose fruits now began to 
appear, had been educated at the Log College or 
in schools taught by those who had been instructed 
there. Thus it came to pass that a humble insti- 
tution established by a single godly minister was 
the means of training many talented youth for 


honor and usefulness in their generation, who in 
their turn founded other schools of learning, and 
eventually became the originators of not only the 
College of New Jersey, but of Jefferson and Dickin- 
son College in Pennsylvania and Hampden-Sidney 
and Washington College in Virginia. These insti- 
tutions, together with many others which have come 
into life of Presbyterian parentage, which have 
sent forth so many men of learning and piety to 
bless and adorn our country, evince the high cha- 
racter and intelligence of the early ministers of our 
Church, as also the wisdom of their labors and 
sacrifices in behalf of liberal education. 



No people had a clearer perception of the essen- 
tial principles of liberty, or had done and suffered 
more to assert and defend them, than the Presbyte- 
rians of Scotland. Their great and incomparable 
Reformer, Knox, when obliged to flee his native 
land, had repaired to Geneva, where he "studied 
with unwearied diligence" under Calvin, and be- 
came so charmed with that independent common- 
wealth, and with the simple scheme of church gov- 
ernment there established and the spirituality of 
the worship connected with it, that on his return 
to Scotland he began to propagate his matured sen- 
timents with great earnestness and success. The 
adoption of these wise and liberal views by his 
countrymen led eventually to the triumph of re- 
ligious and political liberty. What these were, 
so far as rulers and subjects were concerned, was 
shown by Knox's memorable reply to Queen Mary 
when she asked him the question, " Think you 
that subjects having the power may resist their 
princes ?" " If princes exceed, their hounds, madam, 
no doubt they may be resisted even by power." This 



the learned historian Fronde calls " the creed of 
republics in its first hard form ;" and so John Knox 
became the representative of civil equally with re- 
ligious freedom in Scotland. 

To this is to be added a sense of past wrongs 
and the remembrance of how their ancestors had 
been hunted like wild beasts by the soldiery, and 
had their houses pillaged and burned, while they 
were compelled to fly for safety to glens and moun- 
tain-fastnesses when the despotic attempt was milk- 
ing to impose prelacy upon Scotland. Thus it was 
that the history and the traditional memories of the 
Scottish people, who constituted so important a part 
of the Presbyterian Church of America, made them 
earnest and active patriots when called upon to 
choose between resistance or submission to arbi- 
trary power.* 

* The single exception was that of some Highlanders in 
North Carolina at the beginning of the Revolution. Banished 
from Scotland for taking up arms for the Pretender, their par- 
don was conditioned on a solemn oatli of allegiance to their 
sovereign. Such obligations they regarded with peculiar sa- 
credness, and they had required the king to swear to the Sol- 
emn League and Covenant. Not feeling to any great degree 
the evils complained of by the other colonists, they were slow 
to engage in the contest. Some of them at first sympathized 
with and aided the royalists; but when the monarchical gov- 
ernment came to an end, they became the fast friends and sup- 
port m of republican institutions. We may respect their moral 
principles, while we deplore their error of judgment, that led 
them at first to battle with freemen who were only demanding 
their ripht.-. 


The causes were many and obvious why the 
patriotism of the Scotch-Irish should have been 
so universal and ardent in the war with England. 
Their antecedent history furnished abundant rea- 
sons why they should distrust the mother-country 
and dislike her methods of governing her colonies. 
Under the rule of those who had controlled the 
policy of that government, and through the op- 
pressive measures which were imposed upon Ire- 
land, they, and their fathers before them, had been 
made to feel all the evils that the arrogant bishops 
could inflict; they had seen their manufacturing 
industry paralyzed to please the mill-owners of 
Lancashire, their agriculture discouraged in or- 
der that English-grown corn might have a more 
lucrative market, and Ireland cut off from the sea 
by the navigation laws and compelled to sell her 
products to British merchants rather than in the 
open markets of the world. In a word, they had 
seen that England's policy was to use her colo- 
nies for her own interests, irrespective of their 
rights or their consent. 

With their past experience, it would indeed have 
been strange if they had not been among the first 
to discern the threatened evils and the most earnest 
in resisting them. Ireland was but a colony of 
longer standing ; and having seen to what a pitia- 
ble condition an English colony could be reduced 
whose rights and interests were disregarded, is it 
any wonder that these people were the earliest to 


take alarm? The question in both colonics was 
substantially the same. The same governmental 
measures were sought to be employed in America 
as had been in Ireland. The wrongs which the 
American people were called upon to resist had 
been inflicted upon the people of Ireland for gen- 
erations. The trade of this country was already in 
English hands. Under the fostering care of the 
proprietary governors, active means were beMng 
employed to make the Episcopal the established 
Church of the country, and then farewell to all lib- 
erty of conscience. Oppressive laws which would 
destroy the manufactures and the agriculture of the 
new colony, as they had those of the older one, 
might be enacted at any time; and the only way 
to prevent the recurrence of the evils and the in- 
justice from which they had fled was firmly to 
resist the first encroachments of irresponsible au- 
thority. So that if the Scotch-Irish were more 
suspicious than other settlers of the mother-coun- 
try, and more positive and outspoken in their 
opposition, the reason was none had such cause 
for complaint on account of the grievances they 
had previously endured. 

Their hostile feelings, moreover, were kept alive 
by the continued arrivals of their friends from 
Ulster, driven out, so to speak, from a country 
which they had reclaimed from desolation and 
made rich and prosperous. It required, too, more 
than the wide waste of waters which separated 


them from their former oppressors, to efface the 
resentment which these exiles carried with them 
to their new homes. It blazed up anew at every 
remembrance of the wrongs they had endured ; and 
when the possibility of a recurrence of these evils 
confronted them, it is not surprising that " in the 
war of independence England had no fiercer ene- 
mies than the grandsons and great-grandsons of 
the Presbyterians who had held Ulster against 
Tyrconnel." They and succeeding colonists " were 
torn up by the roots and bid find a home else- 
where, and they found a home to which England, 
fifty years later, had to regret that she had allowed 
them to be driven." * 

The patriotism of the Scotch-Irish Presbyte- 
rians, as was true also of their brethren from Scot- 
land, was influenced largely by deep religious con- 
victions. Many of them were voluntary exiles for 
conscience' sake. These would be very naturally 
the faithful advocates and supporters of religious 
freedom. Here, in the land of their adoption, they 
wished to enjoy and to transmit to their children 
not only the blessings of a liberal civil govern- 
ment without the prescriptive rights of a nobility, 
but one in which they would be equally free from 
the impertinent interference of an ecclesiastical 

They were ready to grant to others the rights 
and privileges they claimed for themselves. If any 
* Fronde. 


were enamored with the "trappings of Episcopacy," 
and preferred a Church with subordinate, and 
superior orders of clergy, culminating finally in 
bishops with powers of supervision and control, 
they were not disposed to quarrel with them about 
their choice. But what they knew of the prerog- 
atives of bishops beyond the sea induced them to 
deprecate their presence and power in the Church 
of Christ. " Our forefathers," said they, " and 
even some of ourselves, have seen and felt the 
tyranny of bishops' courts. Many of the first in- 
habitants of these colonies were obliged to seek an 
asylum among savages in this wilderness in order 
to escape the ecclesiastical tyranny of Archbishop 
Laud and others of his stamp. We dread the conse- 
quences as often as we think of this danger." And 
what was here said of Archbishop Laud by these 
Connecticut colonists, could have been uttered 
with equal truth of nearly every prelate of Scot- 
land, including that arch-traitor and archbishop, 

Nor were they without good reasons for fearing 
that Episcopacy might be established in this coun- 
try. The instructions given to the governors of 
the several provinces required them u to give all 
countenance and encouragement to the exercise of 
the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishop of 
London," and particularly directed that " no school- 
master be hereafter permitted to keep school within 
this our said province without the license of the 


bishop of London/'* In 1730 an order of council 
was passed approving the instructions that had 
been sent to the governors of the provinces, direct- 
ing them "to support the bishop of London and 
his commissioners in the exercise of such ecclesias- 
tical jurisdiction as is granted to them." f I n 
several of the provinces the Episcopal Church was 
either established by law or was peculiarly favor- 
ed by the colonial governments. Already some of 
them had experienced the tender mercies of Epis- 
copacy in Virginia, in the Carolinas and in New 
York, where it had secured a preponderating in- 
fluence and was supported by the strong arm of 
the civil authority. In these colonies "dissent- 
ers" had been subjected to grievous and unjust 
hardships. In some instances they had been fined 
and imprisoned for being present at, and taking part 
in, religious services after the Presbyterian mode of 
worship ; in others they were obliged to aid in the 
support of clergy upon whose ministry they did not 
attend, and were denied the rights of citizenship 
and the right of marriage by their own pastors. 

Besides, the intention to introduce Episcopacy 
into this country, and make the Episcopal the 
established Church, was early and frequently 
avowed. "Americans in England were openly 
told that bishops should be settled in America 
in spite of all the Presbyterian opposition." The 
Episcopal clergy of New York and New Jersey pe- 

* Maclean's History of Princeton College. f Ibid. 


titioned for the episcopate, and at as early a period 

as 174* it was proposed to introduce Episcopacy 
into New England by elevating some of the min- 
isters to an ecclesiastical pre-eminence over their 
brethren. Thus the memories of the past, together 
with these avowed intentions and attempts, united 
all the other denominations in resisting the proj- 
ect to make the Episcopal the established Church 
in America. They wanted no Courts of High Com- 
mission, no lords-spiritual, no prelatical arrogance, 
in their new homes. 

It was not only, then, because their civil rights 
were imperiled, but also because their religious free- 
dom was in danger, that our Presbyterian fathers 
were such steadfast, earnest patriots. As in Scot- 
land and Ireland, so here, they recognized the fact 
that civil and religious liberty stood or fell together. 
Bo that, while they protested against taxation with- 
out representation, they were equally opposed to 
anv interference with the rights of conscience. 
Feeling it to be their duty to resist all arbitrary 
power in civil government, they naturally feared 
and distrusted the influence of Episcopacy, since 
in their former homes it had ever been found the 
strong ally of despotism, and in this country they 
saw that its clergy and their flocks "leaned, with 
very few exceptions, to the side of the Crown." 

These principles and sentiments were common 
to the Scotch and Scotch-Irish colonists and their 
descendants, and sustained them through the sac- 



rifices and perils of a seven years' conflict for in- 
dependence. But while they were conspicuous in 
their zeal and devotion as patriots, they were not 
alone or singular in this respect in the Presbyterian 
Church. For its members, though coming from 
sources widely diverse, were yet wonderfully har- 
monious and united in support of the cause. So 
well known were the opinions and sympathies of 
Presbyterians that they were subjected to all the 
evils the enemy was capable of visiting upon their 
persons or their property, and wherever found they 
were regarded and treated as arch-rebels. 

History accords to Presbyterians the honor of 
being the first to combine to resist the impositions of 
the mother-country upon the colonists. Mr. Adol- 
phus, in his book on the Reign of George III. y 
uses the following language : " The first effort 
toward a union of interest was made by the Pres- 
byterians, who were eager in carrying into execu- 
tion their favorite project of forming a synod. 
Their churches had hitherto remained unconnected 
with each other, and their union in synod had been 
considered so dangerous to the community that in 
1725 it was prevented by the express interference 
of the lords-justices. Availing themselves, with 
great address, of the rising discontents, the con- 
vention of ministers and elders at Philadelphia 
enclosed in a circular-letter to all the Presbyterian 
congregations in Pennsylvania the proposed articles 
of union. ... In consequence of this letter, a 


union of all the congregations took place in Penn- 
sylvania and the Lower Counties. A similar con- 
federacy was established in all the Southern prov- 
inces, in pursuance of similar letters written by 
their respective conventions. These measures ended 
io the establishment of an annual synod at Phil- 
adelphia, where all general affairs, political as well 
as religious, were debated and decided. From this 
synod orders and decrees were issued throughout 
America, and to them a ready and implicit obe- 
dience was paid. 

"The discontented in New England recommend- 
ed a union of the Congregational and Presbyterian 
interests throughout the colonies. A negotiation 
took place, which ended in the appointment of a 
permanent committee of correspondence, and powers 
to communicate and consult on all occasions with 
a similar committee established by the Congrega- 
tional churches in New England. . . . 

" By this union a party was prepared to 


Stamp law presented itself as a favorable object of 

Equally explicit testimony is borne in a published 
address of Mr. William B. Reed of Philadelphia, 
himself an Episcopalian : "The part taken by the 
Presbvterians in the contest with the mother-coun- 

* Undue political importance was attached to these measures, 
but it indicates the close connection between the religions and 
civil part of the contest now begun. 


try was indeed, at the time, often made a ground of 
reproach, and the connection between their efforts 
for the security of their religious liberty and opposi- 
tion to the oppressive measures of Parliament, was 
then distinctly seen" Mr. Galloway, a prominent 
advocate of the government, in 1774, ascribed 
the revolt and revolution mainly to the action of 
the Presbyterian clergy and laity as early as 1764. 
Another writer of the same period says : " You will 
have discovered that I am no friend to the Presby- 
terians, and that I fix all the blame of these ex- 
traordinary proceedings upon them." And Rev. 
Dr. Elliott, editor of the Western organ of the 
Methodist Church, in answer to an assailant of 
Presbyterians, says : " The Presbyterians, of every 
class, were prominent, and even foremost, in achiev- 
ing the liberties of the United States, and they 
have been all along the leading supporters of the 
Constitution and law and good order." 

The Synod of the Presbyterian Church, which 
met in Philadelphia a year before the Declaration 
of Independence, was the very first body to declare 
themselves in favor of open resistance, and to en- 
courage and counsel their people, who were then 
ready to take up arms. But a few weeks before, 
the bloody conflict had taken place at Lexington, 
and created great excitement throughout the land. 
The General Congress was also in session in Phil- 
adelphia, consulting concerning the crisis which had 
been precipitated upon the colonies. At this im- 


portant period the Synod gave expression to itt 
deep sympathy for the cause of freedom, and its re- 
ligious convictions respecting the rights of the peo- 
ple. u Rarely," says Dr. Gillett, " on any occasion, 
has there been a parallel utterance more significant 
or effective, and it came at the opportune moment 
when political zeal needed to be tempered and sus 
tained by religious sanctions." Rev. Dr. Lang, in 
his volume entitled Religion and Education in 
America, thus speaks of the same document : 
"As a literary production, the letter is evidently 
of a superior order, highly creditable to the body 
from which it emanated ; as a political document, it 
is unexceptionable; as a Christian testimony and 
admonition, it is all that could be possibly desired." 

The spirit which actuated these men is shown 
by the following extract from the Synod's pastoral 
letter: "Perhaps no instance can be given, on so 
interesting a subject, in which political sentiments 
have been so long and so fully kept from the pul- 
pit, and even malice itself has not charged us with 
laboring from the press, but things are now come 
to such a state that, as we do not wish to conceal 
our opinions as men and citizens, so the relation 
we stand in to you seemed to make the present im- 
provement of it to your spiritual benefit an indis- 
pensable duty." 

It proceeds to exhort those who belong to its 
communion "not to suffer oppression, or injury 
itself, easily to provoke you to speak disrespectfully 


of the king/' but to " let it ever appear that you 
only desire the preservation and security of those 
rights which belong to you as freemen." With re- 
spect to union in defence of their rights, it says : 
" Be careful to maintain the union which at present 
subsists through all the colonies; nothing can be 
more manifest than that the success of every meas- 
ure depends on its being inviolably preserved, and 
therefore we hope that you will leave nothing un- 
done which can promote that end. In particular, 
as the Continental Congress now sitting in Phil- 
adelphia consists of delegates chosen in the most 
free and unbiased manner, by the body of the peo- 
ple, let them not only be treated with respect and 
encouraged in their difficult service, not only let 
your prayers be offered up to God for his direction 
in their proceedings, but adhere firmly to their 
resolutions, and let it be seen that they are able 
to bring out the whole strength of their vast coun- 
try to carry them into execution." 

The letter further urges " mutual charity and 
esteem among members of different religious de- 
nominations, vigilance in regard to social govern- 
ment and morals, reformation of manners, per- 
sonal honesty and integrity, humanity and mercy, 
especially among such as should be called to the 

In order that these sentiments might exert their 
appropriate influence over the people connected 
with their congregations, copies of the pastoral 


letter were transmitted to all the churches,* and 

it aided largely in kindling and sustaining the 
patriotic zeal of the country. Particularly did 
it give prestige and influence to the counsel and 
ads of the Congress then in session, for whom, as 
we have seen, prayer was unceasingly to be offered, 
and to whose resolutions they were exhorted "firm- 
ly to adhere," in order that they may " be able to 
bring out the whole strength of this vast coun- 
try to carry them into execution." From every 
Presbyterian pulpit in the land, and from every 
Presbyterian household altar, went up the voice 
of supplication in behalf of a Buffering country. 
Thus it was that the Presbyterian Church, by the 
act of its highest judicatory, took its stand by the 
side of the American Congress, and helped to sus- 
tain the struggle for independence by its wise, 
brave and patriotic words. 

Of the highest significance were the resolutions 
adopted by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of North 
Carolina in convention at Charlotte, May 20, 1775 
which are known in history as the Me< klexburc- 
Declaration.! This high-spirited people had 

* This paper had a wider circulation than the bounds of 
the Synod. The official record of the provincial congress of 
North Carolina states "that two hundred copies of the lettex 
were presented to the delegates by Rev. Mr. Boyd." 

f All the members of this convention srere connected with 
the seven Presbyterian churchts and congregations that em- 
braced the entire county of Mecklenburg. One was a Presby- 
terian minister, and nine were elders of Presbyterian chtirchi -. 


carefully watched the progress of the controversy 
between the colonies and Great Britain ; and when, 
in May, 1775, they received news of the address 
that had been presented to the king by Parliament, 
declaring the American colonists to be in actual 
rebellion, they concluded that the time for action 
had arrived, and accordingly proceeded to renounce 
their allegiance to the Crown. Two delegates 
from each militia company in the county were 
called together in Charlotte as a representative 
committee. The result of their deliberations was 
to form, in effect, a declaration of independence, 
as well as a complete system of government. All 
laws and commissions, civil and military, derived 
from the king or Parliament, were declared void, 
and the provincial congress of each province, under 
the direction of the great Continental Congress, 
was invested with all legislative and executive 
powers. This action was made binding on all; 
and to give effect to it, the freemen of the county 
formed themselves into military companies and 
entrusted judicial powers to men selected by vote 
of these companies, the tenure of all offices being 
conditioned solely on the pleasure of their several 

The importance of the resolutions adopted at 
Charlotte justifies the insertion here of two of them. 
In the second they resolve, "That we do hereby 
dissolve the political bonds which have connected us 
with the mother- country, and hereby absolve ourselves 


from all allegiance to the British Crown ;" and in 
the third, " We hereby declare ourselves a. free and 
independent people ; are, and of right ought to be, a 
sovereign and self-governing association, under the 
control of no power other than that of our God 
and the general government of the Congress, to 
the maintenance of which we solemnly pledge to 
each other our mutual co-operation and our lives, 
our fortunes and our most sacred honor." 

These extraordinary resolves were sent by a mes- 
senger to the Congress in Philadelphia, and were 
printed in the Cape Fear Mercury and widely dis- 
tributed throughout the province. A copy of them 
was transmitted by Sir James Wright, then gov- 
ernor of Georgia, to England, in a letter of June 
20, 1775, and the paper containing these resolu- 
tions may still be seen in the British State-Paper 
Office. Owing to the remarkable coincidence of 
language, as well as the many phrases common 
both to the Mecklenburg and the national decla- 
ration, the question has arisen which had prece- 
dence in point of time. However this may be 
decided, or whether they both were not indebted 
to some common source — such as the National Cov- 
enants of Scotland and England — it is certain that 
the Presbyterians of Mecklenburg were in advance 
of Congress and in advance of the rest of the 
coantry in proclaiming "the inherent and inalien- 
able rights of man/' and that the historian Ban- 
croft was right in stating that " the first voice pub- 


licly raised in America to dissolve all connection 
with Great Britain came from the Scotch-Irish 

The Presbyterians of Western Pennsylvania, as- 
sembled at Hanna's Town, May, 1776, after express- 
ing sympathy for their Massachusetts brethren, and 
their abhorrence of the system of tyranny which 
England was attempting to enforce upon them, 
resolved, that it was "the indispensable duty of 
every man who has any public virtue or love for 
his country, by every means which God has put 
in his power, to resist and oppose this oppression; 
and as for us, we are ready to oppose it with our 
lives and fortunes." 

A similar spirit was shown by the freemen of 
Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, who were among 
the first to conclude " that the safety and welfare 
of the colonies did render separation from the 
mother-country necessary." Their sentiments were 
embodied in a memorial presented to the assembly 
of the province, May 28, 1776, in which they say: 
" If those who rule in Britain will not permit the 
colonies to be free and happy in connection with 
that kingdom, it becomes their duty to secure and 
promote their freedom and happiness in the best 
manner they can without that connection." This, 
and other considerations, "induced us to petition 
this honorable house that the last instructions 
which it gave to the delegates in Congress, where- 
in they are enjoined not to consent to any step 


which may cause or lead to a separation from 
Great Britain, may be withdrawn" 

Besides expressing the present convictions of the 
people under their new and changed circumstances, 
the memorial shows that the citizens of the county, 
who were at the time almost exclusively Scotch 
and Scotch-Irish, were in advance of their repre- 
sentatives in the assembly and in Congress. These 
were brave words, but they were followed by equal- 
ly brave deeds when the call was made upon them 
to meet the enemies of their country. 

The presbytery of Hanover presented a memo- 
rial to the legislature of Virginia in 1776, in which, 
as will be seen, an earnest devotion to the cause of 
independence was expressed: "Your memorialists 
are governed by the same sentiments which have 
inspired the United States of America, and are 
determined that nothing in our power or influence 
shall be wanting to give success to their common 
cause. We would also represent that dissenters 
from the Church of England in this country have 
ever been desirous to conduct themselves as peace- 
able members of the civil government, for which 
reason they have hitherto submitted to several eccle- 
siastical burdens and restrictions that are inconsist- 
ent with equal liberty. But now, when the many 
and grievous oppressions of our mother-country 
have laid this continent wider the necessity of cast- 
ing off the yoke of tyranny, and of forming inde- 
pendent government* upon equitable and literal 


foundations, we flatter ourselves we shall be freed 
from all the encumbrances which a spirit of domi- 
nation, prejudice or bigotry hath interwoven with 
our political systems." 

Further testimony of the same kind might be 
adduced were it necessary. But it is indisputable 
that Presbyterians were the first to combine in 
resistance of the arbitrary acts of England, and 
made the first practical declaration of independ- 
ence in America. 

Throughout the entire period of the war with 
Great Britain, the Presbyterian ministry bore a 
conspicuous and honored part. Their superior 
culture, the respect and the affection in which they 
were held by their people, their well-known princi- 
ples and patriotism, and their resolute and unflinch- 
ing courage, — all combined to make them leaders. 
They not only taught their people the duty of re- 
sisting oppression in every form, but many of them, 
by example as well as precept, encouraged the 
members of their churches to take up arms in 
defence of their country. And when disasters 
came upon the American army, and the future 
of the cause appeared dark and forbidding, they 
inspired their fellow-citizens with fresh courage, 
and with confidence in the God of nations. Many 
served as chaplains in the army, not a few as sol- 
diers and officers, while others were of equal ser- 
vice in State and national councils ; and others 
still placed their property and their lives upon 


the altar of tlioir country with a devotion rarely 

The sympathy and services of the Presbyterian 
clergy were so universally on the side of the col- 
onists that there is danger of appearing invidious 
in any endeavor to point out those who were prom- 
inent and influential advocates of the cause of lib- 
erty in the pulpit and in legislative halls, and 
who by their example as well as by their words 
greatly aided the patriots fighting the battles of 
their country. 

Dr. Witherspoon, of Princeton, stands in the 
front rank of those who rendered eminent service 
in establishing a free government. He was a lineal 
descendant of John Knox, and, like the celebrated 
Scotch Reformer, was fitted to be a great leader 
among men. He was almost equally eminent as a 
scholar, a theologian, an orator, teacher, author and 
financier; and in all these relations he reflected 
honor upon his adopted country. Immediately on 
his arrival in America he identified himself with 
the colonial cause, and in the ensuing struggle 
with England his powerful advocacy of the rights 
of the colonists placed him by the side of Jefferson 
and Franklin, and the other noble defenders of 

From the commencement of the Revolution he 
was a member of the various committees and 
conventions whose object was to obtain redress 
from the king of the evils the people endured. 


In 1776 h3 was a member of the New Jersey con- 
vention tint formed its republican constitution, and 
the same year took his seat in the Continental 
Congress, in which he helped frame the Decla- 
ration of our rights, and to which he affixed his 
name, " appealing to his God for the approval of 
his act, and to the world for the justice of the cause 
he espoused." And he urged the other delegates, 
some of whom were hesitating, to take the same 
patriotic stand. " That noble instrument upon 
your table," said he, " which ensures immortality 
to its author, should be subscribed this very morn- 
ing by every pen in the house. He that will not 
respond to its accents, and strain every nerve to 
carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy the 
name of a freeman. For my own part, of property 
I have some, of reputation more. That reputation 
is staked, that property is pledged, on the issue of 
this contest. And although these gray hairs must 
soon descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely 
rather they should descend thither by the hands of 
the public executioner than desert at this crisis the 
sacred cause of my country."* He remained a 
member of Congress until 1782, with the exception 
of one year, and contributed perhaps as largely as 
any other one man to the success of the patriot- 
cause. His labors were incessant, his industry un- 
tiring, his perseverance unyielding, and his patriot- 
ism fervid, and as pure as the crystal fountain. 
* Eev. r>r. Krebs, as quoted in vol. i. Southern Review. 


Most of the measures he proposed in Congress were 
either at the fcjne or subsequently adopted. 

His influence in the legislative hall was deserv- 
edly great, for he had a mind that was able to grasp 
and expound the principles of government. His 
perceptions were clear and his judgment acute; and 
when he spoke he was listened to with the utmost 
interest, and his clear and strong reasoning rarely 
failed to secure the conviction of his hearers. 
Several eloquent appeals, recommending the people 
to observe days of public fasting and prayer, were 
from his able pen. " Few men acted with more 
energy and promptitude; few appeared to be en- 
riched with greater political wisdom ; few enjoyed 
a greater share of public confidence; few accom- 
plished more for the country than he did in the 
sphere in which he was called to act. In the most 
gloomy and formidable aspect of public affairs he 
was always firm, discovering the greatest reach and 
presence of mind in the most embarrassing situa- 

Worthy allies of Dr. Witherspoon, and only 
less celebrated, were Dr. Patrick Allison of Bal- 
timore, pronounced the ablest statesman in the 
Presbyterian Church, an earnest defender of his 
country's cause, and one of the committee of the 
Assembly of 1789 to draft an address to President 
Washington; William Tennent of Charleston, a 
member of the provincial congress of South Car- 
olina, and appointed by the committee of safety to 


arouse the people in behalf of independence ; George 
Duffield of Philadelphia, chaplain of the Colonial 
Congress, and often consulted on public questions 
by civil and military officers ; and Dr. John Rogers 
of New York, one of the council of safety, and 
chaplain in the war, first of Heath's brigade, then 
of the convention of the State. 

In Pennsylvania were John Carmichael, who 
before the military on several occasions preached 
by request a sermon on " the lawfulness of self-de- 
fence," which exerted a great influence ; John Craig- 
head, who raised a company from the members of 
his congregation, serving as captain and chaplain, 
and who is said to have " fought and preached 
alternately;" Dr. James Latta, who to encourage 
his people shouldered his knapsack and accom- 
panied them on their campaign ; Dr. Robert Da- 
vidson, who by his patriotic sermons before mili- 
tary companies inspired the soldiers with courage 
and fortitude; Dr. William Linn, chaplain, who 
was present at the taking of Fort Washington; Dr. 
Robert Cooper, who " bore arms, marched and coun- 
termarched through the Jerseys on foot so long as 
he was able ;" John Elder, a colonel in the colonial 
service; John Steele, who served as captain, "and led 
the advance company of nine hundred men in their 
march to the seat of war, and often preached with 
his gun standing by his side;" John Rosbrugh, 
first a private soldier, then a chaplain, and who was 
killed in cold blood by the Hessians; Dr. John 


Kin*!;, eminent for his patriotic zeal, doing duty 
as a chaplain, and by his many addresses increasing 
the devotion of the people to their country's cause. 

In New Jersey were Dr. Alexander McWhorter, 
who was appointed by Congress in 177o to visit 
North Carolina to promote independence among the 
people ; who was afterward at the battle of Trenton, 
and at General Knox's request acted as chaplain 
while our army lay at White Plains; Dr. Asa 
Hillyer of Orange, who assisted his father as sur- 
geon in the army; James Caldwell, chaplain of 
the Jersey brigade and assistant commissary-gen- 
eral, in which position his services were very val- 
uable, who had a price set upon his head, and who 
was subsequently killed by the enemy; James F. 
Armstrong of Elizabeth town, "chaplain of the Sec- 
ond brigade of the Maryland forces;" John Miller 
of Dover, bold in the expression of his freedom- 
loving views, preaching to his people prior to the 
Declaration of Independence from the text, " We 
have no part in David, nor any inheritance in the 
son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel!" Dr. Ash- 
bel Green, an orderly sergeant in the war, risking 
his life repeatedly in defence of his country; and 
Dr. Elihu Spencer of Trenton, who was conspicu- 
ously engaged on the side of the patriots, and em- 
ployed by the provincial congress of North Caro- 
lina to convince some of her colonists of the jus- 
tice of the American cause. 

In Virginia were Dr. John Brown, who u fought 



with intrepid spirit by the side of Sumter," and 
was afterward president of Georgia University ; 
William Graham, who encouraged the members of 
his congregation to enlist, and served as a captain ; 
John Brown and Archibald Scott, neighboring pas- 
tors, who entered warmly into the American cause, 
and exhorted their people to fight for their freedom ; 
Dr. James Waddell, who was one of the first and 
most earnest vindicators of liberty from the pulpit ; 
Dr. Moses Hoge, who served for a time, previous to 
entering the ministry, in the army of the Revolu- 
tion ; and Dr. John Blair Smith, who was an active 
patriot and captain of a company of students of 
Hampden-Sidney College, of which he was pres- 

In the Carol inas were Alexander Craighead, who, 
though not living to see the clash of arms, " sowed 
the seeds of the Mecklenburg Declaration •" Dr. 
David Caldwell, a distinguished patriot and edu- 
cator, and member of the convention that formed 
the State constitution of North Carolina, and had 
his library burned by the enemy; Henry Patillo, 
a valuable member of the provincial congress of 
North Carolina, and active in carrying on the 
war against the enemy ; Hugh McAden, who suf- 
fered the loss of all his property by the enemy ; 
Dr. James Hall, a commander and chaplain ; Dr. 
Francis Cummins, a Mecklenburg patriot, who 
fought in several engagements ; John Simpson, who 
encouraged his people to deeds of heroism, and 


was himself in several battles; James White Ste- 
phenson, who served throughout the war, and had 
his gun shivered in his hand by the enemy's shut; 
Joseph Alexander, a fugitive from his home, which 
was n>vd by the patriots as a hospital for their Biok 
and wounded; Lewis F. Wilson, who served for 
many years as surgeon in the Continental army, 
having studied medicine previous to entering the 
pulpit; Dr. Thomas PI. McCaule, a zealous patriot, 
who was by the side of General Davidson when he 
was shot by a Tory; and Adam Boyd, one of the 
earliest friends of liberty, chaplain of the State bri- 
gade, editor of the Cape Fear Mercury, and a mem- 
ber of the committee of safety of North Carolina. 

These were some of the more prominent advo- 
cates and defenders of the independence of their 
country. Whether engaged in preaching to their 
own congregations, or addressing public assemblies, 
or deliberating in legislative halls, or serving in 
the army as officers or soldiers or chaplains, they 
were known as earnest, active patriots, who fear- 
lessly had committed themselves on the side of 

:: ' Though the Scotch and Scotch-Irish colonists were in point 
of numbers relatively small as compared with the entire pop il- 
lation of the country, yet they furnished a great many of the 
general army officers. At this late day anything like a full 
or accurate designation is impossible, owing to the tact thai in 
the biographical sketches of these nun very frequently there is 
no mention made of their nationality. Enough, however, can 
be traced to justify the assertion thai the Presbyterian colonists 


With the exhibition of such patriotic zeal and 
devotion as was evinced by the clergy, we may be 
sure that the elders and members of their churches 
stood in the front rank of battle when their country 
needed defenders. From the investigations we 
have made, we are persuaded that, could the facts 
be properly presented, they would be as surpris- 
ing to most persons as they would be honorable to 
the Presbyterian Church. In confirmation of this 
remark, our space will permit of but two illustra- 

In one county of Pennsylvania, settled almost 
exclusively by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, it is on 
record in the State papers that fourteen days after 
the battle of Lexington over three thousand men 
had already united in military organizations, fif- 

were conspicuous and able and brave in the battles of the Rev- 

Of major-generals we may refer to Anthony Wayne, John 
Stark, Hugh Mercer, Thomas Sumter, Henry Knox, William 
Alexander (Lord Stirling), Alexander McDowell, Richard 
Montgomery, John Sullivan and William Moultrie. Of gen- 
erals, to Daniel Morgan, John Beatty, Francis Marion, Grif- 
fith Rutherford, George Graham, William Irvine, John Moore, 
Charles Stewart, John Armstrong, William Davidson, Joseph 
Graham, Isaac Hughes, Andrew Pickens, Arthur St. Clair and 
Joseph Reed. Of brigadier-generals, to John Armstrong, 
Jr., Jethro Sumner, Matthias Ogden, Otho H. Williams, Ste- 
phen Moylan, Francis Nash, Flias Dayton, Edward Hand, 
Andrew Lewis, Lachlan Mcintosh, William Thomson, Andrew 
Porter, James Moore and William Macpherson. Of colonels 
and of other subordinate officers we attempt no enumeration, 
as in point of numbers they were almost legion. 


toon hundred stand of arms had been returned, and 
that delegates from the different precincts of the 

county had met in convention and voted thai five 
hundred effective men should be at once armed and 
equipped to march on the first emergency, and to 
be paid by a tax on all estates, real and personal, m 
the county. Reinforcements for the army con- 
tinued to be sent forward as the public exigences 
of the war required, so that by its close "almost 
every man able to carry arms had been in the 
military service of his country." And while the-.' 
volunteer forces, in such surprising numbers, were 
marching to battle, there were already in the Con- 
tinental army a great many officers and soldiers 
from this county who had joined it the previous 
"year. These patriots very generally selected their 
own officers, and as a rule were commanded by 
their loved pastors, or the elders of the churches 
to which they belonged, who cheerfully encountered 
with the common soldiers the privations incident to 
an active campaign. 

To give proper weight to the patriotism here 
displayed, it should be known that this was a 
frontier county, with a comparatively sparse popu- 
lation, the people poor and obliged to defend them- 
selves from the Indian savages, who were instigated 
by the enemy to commit deeds of violence and to 
murder the unprotected inhabitants. 

The other illustration of the military services 
rendered by Presbyterians in the Revolutionary 


struggle we take from a widely separated part of 
the country. Referring to the war in South Caro- 
lina, Rev. Dr. Smith writes: " The battles of the 
Cowpens, of King's Mountain, and also the severe 
skirmish known as Huck's defeat, are celebrated as 
giving a turning point to the contests of the Revo- 
lution. General Morgan, who commanded at the 
Cowpens, and General Pickens, who made all the 
arrangements for the battle, were both Presby- 
terian elders, and nearly all under their command 
were Presbyterians. In the battle of King's 
Mountain, Colonels Campbell, Williams, Cleve- 
land, Shelby and Sevier, as also Colonel Hamilton 
and Major James, were all Presbyterian elders, and 
the body of their troops were collected from Pres- 
byterian settlements. At Huck's defeat, in York, 
Colonel Bratten and Major Dickson were both 
Presbyterian elders. Major Samuel Morrow, who 
was with Colonel Sumter in four engagements and 
in many other battles, was for fifty years a ruling 
elder in the Presbyterian Church." 

Thousands of others identified with the Presby- 
terian Church, either as office-bearers or private 
members, freely risked their lives in defence of 
their country, and many of them sealed their devo- 
tion to it with their blood. As descendant* of those 
heroic men who so successfully resisted oppression 
in all its forms in the Old World, they, in the hour 
that tries men's souls, proved themselves not un- 
worthy of their lineage, and it was because the 


American Presbyterian Church contained within it 
such elements as tlnsc that it was able to take the 
patriotic stand it did in establishing a free repub- 
lican form of government.* 

After the part taken by Presbyterians in achiev- 
ing the independence t of the colonies, it would have 
been strange if many of them had not been called 
into the civil service of their country. This was the 
fact, but our limits will only permit the mention 
of a few of the more distinguished of the number. 

General Moultrie of South Carolina was twice 
governor of that State subsequent to the war ; 
General Joseph Reed served in Congress, and was 
thrice governor of Pennsylvania ; General Sullivan 
was president of New Hampshire for three years; 
General Henry Knox was selected as secretary of 
war; General Sumter, member of Congress, min- 
ister to Brazil and senator from South Carolina; 
Governor Clinton, elected vice-president; Patrick 

\- the Puritans of England were for a long time unques- 
tionably Presbyterians, Robinson's church ;it Leyden having 
the same government as the Protestant churches of Prance, and 
as not less than from twenty to thirty thousand Presbyterians 
from t lie north of Ireland entered New England at an early 
period and united with tin- churehes already established, and 
that were so similarly constituted to those thej had Left, Presby- 
terians should he credited with no "insignificant nhare of the 
splendid patriotism displayed by New England in tli- Revolu- 

f Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, 
we recognize at least fifteen of them as having been of eithei 
Scotch, Irish or Huguenot ancef I 


Henry, appointed secretary of state and minister 
to France, which posts of honor lie declined, and 
was elected governor of Virginia; Robert R. Liv- 
ingston, minister to France; General Morgan, a 
member of Congress from 1797 to 1799; Richard 
Stockton, member of the Continental Congress, 
and one of the signers of the Declaration of In- 
dependence ; General Stewart, a member of Con- 
gress in 1784-85; Samuel Spencer, judge of the 
Superior Court of North Carolina ; General Wil- 
liam Irvine, member of the committee on the war, 
and afterward in Congress — a judicious statesman 
and zealous patriot ; James Wilson, representative 
in Congress, who gave the casting vote in the Penn- 
sylvania delegation for independence, and a mem- 
ber of the war committee; John Meheling, member 
of the provincial congress of New Jersey, 1775, and 
quartermaster-general ; Alexander Martin, gov- 
enor of North Carolina and senator; General 
Anthony Wayne, a member of the committee of 
safety of Pennsylvania; General John Armstrong, 
member of Congress; Thomas McKean, member 
of Congress from 1774 to 1783, and judge of the 
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; Richard Cas- 
well, governor of North Carolina and president of 
the convention that framed the State constitution ; 
Hon. William Killen, chancellor of the State of 
Delaware; George Read, signer of the Declaration 
of Independence, and honored with many civil ap- 
pointments; George Bryan, judge of the Supreme 


Court, and author of the plan to abolish slavery in 

Pennsylvania ; John Montgomery, member of ( !on- 

and of the committee of safety of Pennsyl- 

nia; John Byers, member of the supreme exec- 
utive council of Pennsylvania; Andrew Porter, 
surveyor-general of Pennsylvania, and declined the 
office of secretary of war; and John Armstrong, 
Jr., a member of General Gates' staff, and after- 
ward ambassador to France and secretary of war. 

We forbear further mention of those who sat in 
the legislative halls of the nation, or were elevated 
to positions of honor and great responsibility. Our 
object has been merely to show that these men, and 
those of like lineage and spirit, enjoyed the confi- 
dence of their fellow-citizens, and were chosen by 
them to frame, expound and administer the laws 
and government of a free people. 

Thus called into the councils of the nation for 
the purpose of settling the forms of our govern- 
ment, it is not surprising that Presbyterians should 
seek to introduce into the Constitution the simple 
elements of representative republicanism contained 
in their own loved system. From the remarkable 
similarity between the constitution of the Presby- 
terian Church and the political Constitution of our 
country, it is evident that the former gave charac- 
ter to our free institutions. "The trainers of the 
Constitution of the United States" ±<\y* Chief-Jus- 
tice Tilghman, " were greatly indebted to the stand- 
ards of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 


modeling that admirable instrument." So, too, 
Hon. W. C. Preston of South Carolina states: 
" Certainly it was the most remarkable and sin- 
gular coincidence that the constitution of the Pres- 
byterian Church should bear such a close and strik- 
ing resemblance to the political Constitution of our 
country. This may be regarded as an earnest of 
our beloved national Union. . . . The two may 
be supposed to be formed after the same model ." 
Nor is this to be wondered at when we recall the 
agency which Dr. Witherspoon, the embodiment of 
Presbyterianism, had in framing and adopting that 
instrument, and the valuable services which so 
many other distinguished members of the Pres- 
byterian Church rendered in establishing a con- 
stitutional, representative republic. 

The elements of civil and religious liberty thus 
happily embodied in the Constitution did not 
spring, Minerva-like, from the brain of any one 
individual, but were the results of years of perse- 
cution, conflict and suffering endured by God's 
people in behalf of freedom in the Old World. 
And just so far as our Presbyterian fathers had 
shared in these struggles against religious and po- 
litical tyranny, and so far as their descendants had 
imbibed the spirit and shared the opinions of their 
worthy ancestry, were they prepared to take a lead- 
ing part as founders of new States. 

Presbyterians, while lovers of liberty in the Old 
World, were not anarchists. While they resisted 


the establishment of a monarchy on the basis of 

non-resistance and passive obedience, they desired 
a constitutional government, with proper restraints 
on the royal authority and proper guarantees for 
the people in their religious worship. They clearly 
perceived the province and duties of the civil 
magistrate, and so long as he used his office to pro- 
mote the welfare of his people he was to be re- 
spected and obeyed ; but when he assumed the pre- 
rogatives of a spiritual ruler, and sought to bring 
the Church into bondage to the State, and deprive 
it of the rights and jurisdiction with which it was 
entrusted by Christ, his claims were to be denied. 
The temporal power of the civil ruler and the 
spiritual power of the Church they insisted should 
be separate, but harmonious ; but when the former 
enjoins what the Head of the Church forbids, then 
God rather than the sovereign was to be obeyed. 
If they yielded their civil rights, their bitter ex- 
perience in the past had taught them that spiritual 
despotism was sure to follow. For no sooner was 
the arbitrary will of the monarch supported by an 
obsequious Parliament, accepted as superior to the 
hereditary rights of the people, than Episcopal 
prelates, adopting the policy of Rome, immediate- 
ly began to assume lordship over their consciences. 
The danger to which they were thus exposed they 
were quick to discern, and they met it with promp- 
titude and calm decision. And it was their clear 
perception of these important principles that caused 


them to cling to them with such tenacity of purpose 
and led them to make the great sacrifices they did 
of ease, property, and life itself. In the hardships 
of persecution they learned to prize more than 
ever the privileges and truths of their simple and 
scriptural faith, and so, that they and their descend- 
ants in America might enjoy the same inestimable 
blessings, they were ready to lay all they had upon 
the altar of their adopted country, and resist, even 
unto death, every attempt to deprive them of 
their religious or civil liberty. 



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