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The Reformation (continued); the Catholic Reaction. page 2

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Five years later the hour and the man for Scotland had arrived, and the work of Hamilton and Wishart was taken up by Calvin's greatest follower, John Knox. This illustrious man was born near Haddington in 1505. He was educated at Glasgow University, where he became expert in Latin and logic. Of his life for 18 years after he left the university we know nothing more than that he was ordained priest, and that in 1544 he was acting as tutor in some Scottish families where the Reformation doctrines were well regarded. He fell in with George Wishart, and his future course was soon decided. With all the intensity and self-devotion of his character, with what is called "fanaticism," which was, in Knox, combined with very shrewd sense, ready wit, and native humour, he became the apostle of the Reformation in Scotland. He moulded the future not only of Scotland, but of England, and, through England, of the large part of the world now ruled by natives or descendants of natives of the British Isles. It was no mere change of dogmas which was effected by Knox. The national life, spiritual and intellectual, was transformed and quickened. His work brought the triumph of principles which were to act upon all coming generations, in the very country, at the very time, when the victory was essential to the real progress of mankind. If the Reformation had failed in Scotland; if Mary Stuart had found the country, when she assumed power, united in the Catholic faith, she would have commanded the destinies of England. The great English queen would have been thwarted in her efforts for a religious settlement, and Protestantism would have been paralysed in the country whose moral and material support of the new system enabled that system to hold its ground against the assault of the united strength of Catholicism.

When Wishart was seized by the emissaries of Cardinal Beaton, Knox was wishful to follow his friend to the last, but Wishart, knowing what lay before him, cried, "Return to your bairns" (meaning Knox's pupils), "and God bless you. One is sufficient for one sacrifice." In 1547 Knox and his pupils were forced, for their safety, to take refuge in St. Andrews Castle, and, being formally called to the ministry, he preached there and in the parish-church. When the place surrendered, Knox became a captive for 18 months, first as a galley-slave on the Loire, and then in prison at Rouen. With health impaired for life by his sufferings, the Scottish reformer was freed in 1549, on the application of Edward VI. of England, and in that young monarch's country he made his home for the next four years, becoming a royal chaplain, and having an important influence on the composition of the Church Articles. When Mary Tudor came to the throne, Knox, with other leading Protestants, fled to the Continent, and in 1554 he was at Geneva. In September of the following year he returned to Scotland, and zealously preached against the mass, with the support of some leading nobles. The persecution of heresy was still in vogue, and Knox returned to Geneva, being burnt in effigy by the zealous bishops, at the cross of Edinburgh, when he failed to appear at their citation. Many Scottish nobles, with an eye, in some cases at least, to Church-property, banded themselves together on behalf of the Reformation, and in December, 1557, the bond called the First Covenant united them as men sworn to advance the cause, in maintaining "God's true congregation, and renouncing the congregation of Satan." The Protestant nobles hence became known as "the Lords of the Congregation." In May, 1559, Knox landed at Leith, and resumed his preaching at Dundee, Perth, and St. Andrews. The efforts of the queen-regent (Mary of Guise) and the bishops to repress the now irresistible movement were met by popular tumults, censured by Knox and other leaders, in which monasteries were sacked, "images" in churches destroyed, and altars defaced. The Lords of the Congregation were too influential for the regent, and sent manifestoes to her, one of them addressed "To the generation of Antichrist, the pestilent prelates and their shavelings within Scotland." The help of England was sought against the French troops, and Elizabeth, in January, 1560, sent a fleet and army to the Forth, to capture Leith after six months' siege, during which the queen-regent died. The French troops, under treaty, quitted the country, and at this crisis, in 1561, Mary Stuart, now widow of Francis II. of France, returned to Scotland and assumed her position as queen in her 19th year.

We need not do more than allude to the chief events in the career of this charming personage, a woman of great abilities and little principle. She was between two parties, the Catholics, headed by the earl of Huntly, and the reformers, led by John Knox who was a thorough politician, and by her half-brother James Stuart, afterwards earl of Moray (Murray). Her fatal mistake was her marriage, for his handsome face, with the vicious fool, her cousin, the Catholic Lord Darnley. Hence came the murders of Rizzio and Darnley; the rebellion of Mary's subjects; the abdication in 1567; the defeat of Langside, and the flight to England in 1568, with the fatal scene at Fotheringhay 19 years later. These matters are too familiar to need further account here.

It was in August, 1560, that Protestantism was formally established by Parliament as the national religion of Scotland, on the basis of a Confession of Faith, mainly drawn up by Knox. The new Scottish Church was organised by him as a Presbyterian and democratic body, the episcopalian rule of the Roman Church being exchanged for that of Church-courts in every parish, composed of. the minister and lay-elders, with representative presbyteries in every group of parishes, and a representative General Assembly for the whole country. Knox, then minister of St. Giles' Church in Edinburgh, had no part in the revolt. He retained his influence until his death in 1572. His great successor, Andrew Melville, born in 1545, and a student at St. Andrews and Paris, was a fine " Humanist," or scholar in the new Greek learning, who became a professor of classics at the Academy of Geneva. On returning to Scotland in 1574 he became principal of Glasgow University, and then of St. Andrews, rendering great service to the cause of Scottish learning, and having a great share in drawing up the great document of Presbyterian polity known as the Second Book of Discipline. His bold opposition to attempts at restoring episcopacy caused his withdrawal for a time to England, and in 1605, when James was king of England, Melville was imprisoned in the Tower for five years for his invectives against the archbishop of Canterbury (Bancroft) on account of his encouragement of "Popery." In 1580 episcopacy was abolished in Scotland by an Act, and the Covenant, revised in 1581, became the standard of orthodoxy, being signed by James VI. and his council. Eleven years later the Presbyterian system was fully established in its present form. James, with additional power derived from his kingship in England, set up episcopacy, with many sees, in 1610, allowing bishops to preside at Presbyterian synods, and depriving ministers and "elders" of their powers of discipline. An attempt to force some of the practices of the Anglican Church on the Scottish people was made in 1618 in the Five Articles of Perth. Further proceedings in the way of persecution will be seen hereafter.

In Ireland, when the Act of Supremacy was passed, some abbeys were at once suppressed, and another Act, five years later, confiscated the property of some hundreds of religious houses. A vain attempt was made, under Henry VIII., to anglicise the Irish in language, dress and manners, and to compel the sole use of the English (or Latin) language in the services of the Church. Under Henry's successors (save Mary), the English government strove to force the Reformation on the Irish people, but they would have none of it. All classes, Irish and Anglo-Irish, closed their ranks. The destruction of venerated relics aroused general indignation. An attempt at English settlement was made under Mary by the seizure of lands which formed King's County (in compliment to Philip) and Queens County The history of the country under Elizabeth is one ot horror and of shame for modern Englishmen. The Anglican Church-system was set up, like a foreign garrison, amongst people firmly cleaving to the old faith. Constant rebellion was met by stern repression in which the native Irish were treated as mere savages to be slain. In 1566 Sir Henry Sidney, a very able man became lord-deputy, and found the country, in the south and west terribly wasted by war. He exercised sway with the most ruthless vigour against the turbulent, burning villages destroying the crops, driving off cattle, and blowing up castles, after hanging the garrisons in lines over the battlements. In 1579-80, when Lord Grey de Wilton was governor, new trouble came from foreign invasions. Sir James Fitzmaurice, under Papal sanction, landed at Smerwick, in County Kerry, and sought help in Connaught from the Desmond faction, but was killed by some of the Bourkes. Then some Spanish vessels, carrying 800 men, mostly Italians, escaped the English fleet, and landed in Kerry, also at Smerwick. Lord Grey arrived with troops including Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser, then both young men almost unknown to fame, and, with the help of cannon from the fleet, he forced a surrender of the invaders. The men were butchered in cold blood, the few women and priests were hanged, and the officers were held to ransom. Two years later, in 1582, the head of the Fitzgeralds or Geraldines, the earl of Desmond, rose in Munster, and was slain, hunted down like a wild beast, after a great slaughter of his followers. In 1594 the famous Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, rose in Ulster. He had experience in war, and was more of an English politician and courtier than an Irish chieftain. This formidable rebel obtained arms and stores from Spain, and kept the field for eight years, winning great victories over the queen's troops, and rendering the absolute conquest of Ireland necessary. Elizabeth's favourite, the earl of Essex, went across the sea in 1599 and utterly failed. At last the right man was found in the cold, prudent, steady, solid Lord Mountjoy. This relentless conqueror called famine to his aid. Military posts were established at different points in the north, and the land between them was utterly wasted. The people died in tens of thousands, and the power of Tyrone faded away. At this time a large Spanish squadron, with 3,000 soldiers on board, came to Kinsale. Mountjoy, ever prompt and vigorous, hurried south with every man he could muster, routed Tyrone's force which followed him, and received the surrender of the Spaniards, who had been left by their own fleet, and were blockaded by English ships. The Spaniards were allowed to return to their country, and many Irish went with them. The earl of Tyrone submitted, receiving a full pardon for himself and his followers, and retaining his titles and lands, on abjuration of all alliances with foreign powers or with any enemies of the Crown. A few days later Elizabeth died, when her troops had, for the first time, effected the real subjugation of Ireland.

Norway had fallen into a declining condition after the Union of Calmar in 1397. Spirit, enterprise, and intelligence seemed almost extinct; her commerce had been absorbed by the powerful Hansa League; and her old colonial possessions, the Orkneys and Shetlands, had passed from her to Scotland. In Denmark, which remained united with Norway, the people, under their olden right of election, chose as their king Christian of Oldenburg, in northern Germany, who was descended, in the female line, from the old royal family. The Oldenburg line, which continued unbroken until 1863, was thus established in the person of Christian I. (1448-1481), who was at the same time elected duke of Schleswig and Holstein. His death was followed by half a century of international struggles in Scandinavia. Christian II., a ferocious half-insane tyrant, who reigned from 1513 to 1531, became king of Sweden by conquest in 1520, and in the same year, with a view to his own safety, he perpetrated the atrocious massacre, at Stockholm, of 94 of the foremost men of the country. A popular revolt drove him from Denmark to the Netherlands, and his uncle became king as Frederick I. This sovereign, reigning from 1523 to 1533, favoured the Reformation, and under his son, and, after a brief period of civil war, his successor Christian III. (1536-1559), the Lutheran form of Protestantism was fully established in Denmark and Norway, the latter country being now treated as a conquered province and forced to accept the reformed religion. We must now turn to the events which caused the final separation of Sweden from Denmark. In the history of patriotism, the name of Gustavus Vasa stands high. Born in 1496, of a noble house, he was treacherously carried off to Denmark in 1518 by Christian II. and kept in confinement as a hostage. In a year's time he escaped, and wandered about in Sweden, at great risk, striving to stir up a spirit of resistance to the Danish oppressor. With a price set on his head, he made his way to Dalecarlia, in central Sweden, and worked on farms and in the mines. The massacre of 1520, or "Blood-bath" of Stockholm, followed by the slaughter, in the provinces, of about 500 leading patriots, was the signal for revolt. Gustavus, whose father was among the victims of the Danish king, led the hardy miners of Dalecarlia, and soon had a large force under his command. Fortress after fortress was captured by the patriots, and the fall of Stockholm in 1523 brought the final expulsion of the Danes and independence to Sweden. The Scandinavian union was thus ended, and Gustavus, chosen king of Sweden, with hereditary rights in his line, reigned until 1560 with excellent results to his country. Law and order were completely restored; the Lutheran religious system was introduced; the Lapps were converted to Christianity, and the Finns, for the first time, received religious instruction through parts of the Bible and hymn-books printed in their own tongue. Education and trade were promoted by the erection of schools and colleges, the conclusion of commercial treaties, the establishment of fairs for merchants from abroad, and the making of roads, bridges, and canals. The only blot upon a rule always firm and, in case of need, severe, was the wholesale plunder of the Romish clergy, in the style of Henry of England. The Lutheran ministers, with very moderate stipends, were made dependent on the Crown. Financial reforms and renewed prosperity enabled this excellent king to leave Sweden, after his nearly 40 years of power, in possession of a well-trained army of 15,000 men, a powerful navy, and a full exchequer. Gustavus' eldest son, Eric, was deposed after eight years of foolish and somewhat tyrannical rule. Two of his successors favoured the cause of Catholic reaction, but the people, resolutely Lutheran, deposed the latter of them (Sigismund) in 1600, and placed his uncle on the throne as Charles IX. His rule of n years was beneficial to Sweden, now assuming importance in European affairs. We shall see his son and successor, the greatest of Swedish sovereigns, at a later stage, and we need here only note further the acquirement by Sweden, after a war with Denmark in 1643-1645, of the southern part of the country or Scania, and of the Baltic islands Gottland and Oesel.

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