Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/89

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of the school in which he had been bred, he committed this base action with all the forms of sanctity. He pretended to be greatly troubled in mind, sent for a celebrated Presbyterian minister named Dunlop, and bemoaned himself piteously: "There is a load on my conscience; there is a secret which I know that I ought to disclose; but I cannot bring myself to do it." Dunlop prayed long and fervently; Ross groaned and wept; at last it seemed that heaven had been stormed by the violence of supplication; the truth came out, and many lies with it. The divine and the penitent then returned thanks together. Dunlop went with the news to Melville. Ross set off for England to make his peace at court, and performed his journey in safety, though some of his accomplices, who had heard of his repentance, but had been little edified by it, had laid plans for cutting his throat by the way. At London he protested, on his honour and on the word of a gentleman, that he had been drawn in, that he had always disliked the plot, and that Montgomery and Ferguson were the real criminals.[1]

Dunlop was, in the mean time, magnifying, wherever he went, the divine goodness which had, by so humble an instrument as himself, brought a noble person back to the right path. Montgomery no sooner heard of this wonderful work of grace than he too began to experience compunction. He went to Melville, made a confession not exactly coinciding with Ross's, and obtained a pass for England. William was then in Ireland; and Mary was governing in his stead. At her feet Montgomery threw himself. He tried to move her pity by speaking of his broken fortunes, and to ingratiate himself with her by praising her sweet and affable manners. He gave up to her the names of his fellow plotters. He vowed to dedicate his whole life to her service, if she would obtain for him some place which might enable him to subsist with decency. She was so much touched by his supplications and flatteries that she recommended him to her husband's favour; but the just distrust and abhorrence with which William regarded Montgomery were not to be overcome.[2]

  1. Balcarras; Notes of Ross's Confession in the Leven and Melville Papers.
  2. Balcarras; Mary's account of her interview with Montgomery, printed among the Leven and Melville Papers.