Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/226

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20 JAMES MELVILLE.


Some months previous to the meeting of this parliament, letters were directed, to the two Melvilles, and six other ministers, peremptorily desiring them to pro- ceed to London before the 15th of September, to confer with the king on such measures as might promote the peace of the church. Although this was the al- leged cause for demanding their presence at the English court, there can be little doubt that the real object of the king was to withdraw them from a scene where they were a constant check upon his designs. Their interviews with the king and his prelates have been already noticed in the life of Andrew Melville, and it is only necessary to state here, that, after many attempts, as paltry as they were unsuccessful, to win them over, to disunite them, and, when both these failed, to lead them into expressions which might afterwards be made the ground- work of a prosecution, Andrew Melville was committed to the Tower of London. At the same time, James was ordered to leave London within six days for New- castle-upon-Tyne, beyond which he was not to be permitted to go above ten miles, on pain of rebellion. After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain some relaxation of the rigour of his uncle's confinement, he sailed from London on the 2d of July, 1607. 3 The confinement of James Melville at Newcastle was attended by cir- cumstances of a peculiarly painful nature. His wife was at this time in her last illness, but notwithstanding the urgency of the case, he could not be allowed the shortest period of absence ; he was, therefore compelled to remain in England, with the most perfect knowledge that he must see his nearest earthly relation no more, and without an opportunity of performing the last duties. It was con- sidered a matter of special favour, that he was allowed to go to Anstruther for the arrangement of his family affairs after her death ; and even this permission was accompanied by peremptory orders, that he should not preach nor attend any meetings, and that he should return to England at the end of a month.

The opposition of Melville to episcopacy continued as steady during his exile as it had been during the time of his ministry. When public disputations were proposed, in the following year, between the ministers who had yielded to the government and those who remained opposed, he disapproved of the plan, and stated his objections at full length in a letter to Mr John Dykes. He con- sidered such meetings by no means calculated for edification, and he well knew that, were their opponents to be persuaded by argument, abundant opportunities had already been afforded them. When the conferences were appointed to be held at Falkland and other places, he opposed them on the same grounds ; but, as the measure had been already determined on, he advised his brethren by let- ter to take every precaution for the regularity of their proceedings and the safety of their persons. As Melville had anticipated, no good effect was pro- duced ; the prelates were now quite independent of the goodness of their arga- ments for the support of their cause, and felt little inclination to humble them- selves so far as to contend with untitled presbyterians.

Notwithstanding the decided conduct of Melville, several attempts were again made, during his residence at Newcastle, to enlist him in the service of the king. In the month of October, immediately following his sentence of banish- ment, Sir William Anstruther 4 waited on him. He was authorized by the king to say that, if Melville would waive his opinions, his majesty would not only re- ceive him into favour, but " advance him beyond any minister in Scotland." Melville replied, that no man was more willing to serve the king in his calling

3 M'Crie's Melville, second edition, vol. ii. p. 187. The date attached by Wodrow to Melville's embarkation, is the 2nd of June, and to his arrival at Newcastle, the 10th of that month. Wodrow's life of James Melville, p. 132.

4 Wodrow's Life of James Melville, p. 133. This gentleman is named Sir John Anstruther by Dr M'Crie ; Life of Melville, 2nd edit. vol. ii. p. 234.