Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/91

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the border he was at the mercy of the government of which he was the deadly foe. The Claim of Right had recognised torture as, in cases like his, a legitimate mode of obtaining information; and no Habeas Corpus Act secured him against a long detention. The unhappy man was arrested, carried to Edinburgh, and brought before the Privy Council. The general notion was that he was a knave and a coward, and that the first sight of the boots and thumbscrews would bring out all the guilty secrets with which he had been entrusted. But Payne had a far braver spirit than those highborn plotters with whom it was his misfortune to have been connected. Twice he was subjected to frightful torments; but not a word inculpating himself or any other person could be wrung out of him. Some councillors left the board in horror. But the pious Crawford presided. He was not much troubled with the weakness of compassion where an Amalekite was concerned, and forced the executioner to hammer in wedge after wedge between the knees of the prisoner till the pain was as great as the human frame can sustain without dissolution. Payne was then carried to the Castle of Edinburgh, where he long remained, utterly forgotten, as he touchingly complained, by those for whose sake he had endured more than the bitterness of death. Yet no ingratitude could damp the ardour of his fanatical loyalty; and he continued, year after year, in his cell, to plan insurrections and invasions.[1]

Before Payne's arrest the Estates had been adjourned after a Session as important as any that had ever been held in Scotland. The nation generally acquiesced in the new ecclesiastical constitution. The indifferent, a large portion of every society, were glad that the anarchy was over, and conformed to the Presbyterian Church as they had conformed to the Episcopal Church. To the moderate Presbyterians the settlement which had been made was on the whole satisfactory. Most of the strict Presbyterians brought themselves to accept it under protest, as a large instalment of what was due. They missed indeed what they considered as the perfect beauty and symmetry

  1. Burnett, ii. 62, Lockhart to Melville, Aug. 30, 1690 and Crawford to Melville, Dec. 11, 1690, in the Leven and Melville Papers; Neville Payne's letter of Dec. 3, 1692, printed in 1693.