Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/323

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Knox
Knox
317

another minister, Robert Hamilton, went by sea from Pittenweem to Holy Island, and in Percy's absence Knox visited Sir James Croft at Berwick. He had received on 1 Aug. 1559 instructions from the congregation at Stirling urging the necessity of a league with England to suppress the Roman antichrist, and to maintain the liberties of England and Scotland against foreign violation. Knox now suggested to Croft that money should be granted to support a garrison in Stirling and forces sent by sea to Dundee and Perth, and to seize the fort at Broughty Ferry; he added that pensions would be acceptable to some of the nobility. On 6 Aug. Knox wrote to Croft of his safe return to Stirling; and urged the English council to be ‘more forward in the common action.’ The lords of congregation wrote to the same purport, and a convention meeting at Glasgow on 10 Aug. appealed to Cecil for a plainer answer. Writing from St. Andrews on the 15th, Knox frankly informed Cecil ‘that unless without delay money be furnished to pay their soldiers, … they will be compelled every man to seek the next way for his own safety,’ and added in a postscript: ‘Haste answer of the former articles, for we have great need of comfort at the present.’ At last, on 24 Aug., Sir Ralph Sadler, who was on his way to Scotland, was directed to secretly furnish a little money to Knox's friends. The convention again met on 10 Sept. at Stirling, where Arran joined the congregation, and through him Chatelherault, who as Duke of Hamilton claimed to be next heir to the crown. On 21 Sept. Knox wrote to Croft from St. Andrews, again pressing that money should be given to the particular men of whom he had furnished a list. The regent had vainly attempted to detach individuals from the reforming party. Knox and others refused to receive her letters because of the pledge they had given not to treat with her separately. In his second letter to her he asserted that he had never shown any hate against her, but only gave her good counsel, yet threatened God's plague upon her and her posterity if she persisted in her malice against Christ Jesus, his religion, and ministers. This letter Lockhart, the regent's messenger, declined to deliver to his mistress.

Encouraged by the adhesion of so many of the chief nobles and the hope of English support, and alarmed by the fortification of Leith and the arrival of more French troops, the convention in Edinburgh, on 21 Oct. 1559, proceeded to the bold step of deposing the regent. The sentence, owing to Knox's counsel, was worded as one of suspension.

The reformers now laid siege to Leith, but there was dissension among their leaders, and a sally made on Edinburgh by the besieged French garrison forced the reformers to withdraw to Stirling on 5 Nov. 1559. Next day Knox preached on the 80th Psalm, and ascribed their discomfiture to their own sins and dissensions, applying his discourse to the Duke of Hamilton and his friends who were present, and whom he specially distrusted. He ended with a strong assurance that God would give his children the victory in the end. The council met on the afternoon of this sermon, and Lethington, formerly the regent's secretary, who had joined the congregation before it left Edinburgh, was sent to London to implore the help of Elizabeth.

Knox was still writing urgent letters to Croft, Cecil, and others, pressing not merely for money, but for troops and experienced commanders. In one letter he adroitly alluded to Mary's claim to the English crown, an argument for supporting the congregation which touched Elizabeth, he knew, more nearly than the principles of the Scottish Reformation. At length these tactics succeeded. Elizabeth sent a fleet to the Forth under Admiral Winter before the end of January, and a treaty between her and the lords of the congregation was concluded at Berwick on 27 Feb. 1559–60.

Knox had remained in St. Andrews since November 1559, and the French troops in their raids on Fife had come within eight miles of the town and placed him in imminent danger. The arrival of the English ships filled him with exultation. The French troops withdrew from the neighbourhood. Towards the end of March the English land forces joined the reformers, and Leith was again besieged. Knox returned to Edinburgh in April 1560, and was active both in preaching and in counsel. On 1 April Mary of Guise took refuge in the castle of Edinburgh. On 7 May an assault on Leith failed, and Mary, watching from the castle wall the corpses of her enemies lying in the sun along the wall, exclaimed, ‘Yonder is the fairest tapestry I ever saw.’ Knox denounced her cruel speech in the pulpit, and affirmed ‘that God would revenge the cruelty done to his image,’ a prophecy which he believed was fulfilled by her death from dropsy on 16 June 1560. Two days before preliminaries had been adjusted at Berwick for a treaty between France and England, which was concluded at Edinburgh on 6 July, and which provided for the withdrawal of English and French troops.

The Scottish parliament met on 1 Aug. The commissioners of the burghs, with some of the nobility and barons, had previously been appointed to see to the ‘equal distribution of