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sisted in his design, and was frustrated only by these noblemen getting knowledge of it, and suddenly leaving the city for their own houses where they stood on their defence. The absurdity of this story, as given by Clarendon, was pointed out by Hume, who remarks, that all the time the king was in Scotland, Montrose
was confined to prison,' and, consequently, was physically incapable of making any such proposal to the king, far more of executing it. Laing and Brodie have given modifications of the story, which avoid the absurdity attaching to the statement of Clarendon only by engrafting upon it certain supplements which are utterly without foundation in fact. Mr. Napier's reasonings appear to us quite conclusive as to the perfect impossibility, under the circumstances in which Montrose was at that time placed, of his having acted any such part as this story attributes to him. He has not, however, succeeded in removing the whole of that obscurity which attaches to the history of the incident. His researches have thrown deep suspicion upon the motives of Argyle, and will tend very much to deepen the shadows that already darken the character of that wily politician. There can be no doubt that, in the scramble for offices which took place at this time, Argyle's ambition was deeply mortified by his missing, through the king's firmness, the office of Chancellor, on which he had set his heart. It is equally true that, while the king urged an investigation into the matter of the incident, Hamilton and Argyle did all in their power to prevent any judicial inquiry taking place; which looks as if they were afraid of something sinister on their part being brought to light. All this renders it probable that the object of their flight, and of the reason which they assigned for it, viz. their dread of assassination from some person connected with the king, was the embroiling of the king in fresh difficulties, and the perpetuation of a state of things which they found to be of advantage to their own designs. But whilst this conclusion is at best only conjectural, it still leaves the transaction involved in considerable obscurity, especially as respects the motives which dictated the particular expedient to which these noblemen resorted in order to compass their designs.
On the 18th of August the king left Edinburgh on his return to England, but not before he had secured the liberation of Montrose and his friends. A short period of retirement in the bosom of his family, succeeded the stormy scenes through which that nobleman had passed, and gave him opportunity for devising schemes for the guidance of his conduct in the still more stormy period on which he was about to enter. From this time his career is identified with that of Charles, though it was not till the spring of 1644, when he was appointed under Prince Maurice, Lieutenant General of his Majesty's Forces in Scotland, that he commenced
active measures on the king's behalf. Through the brilliant though fiery course which after this he pursued, Mr. Napier follows him with a fond and admiring minuteness; but the only part of his details to which we can at present advert, is that which relates to the cruelties which Montrose is said to have practised on his enemies, and especially on the defenceless inhabitants of those districts which he overran. On this subject Mr. Napier corrects one very important misconception of previous historians, by showing that the passage in Spalding's narrative, on which the latter part of the charge almost exclusively rests, does not refer to Montrose at all, but to the Earl Marischall, with whom he was contending. The passage referred to occurs in Spalding's account of the Siege of Dunnotter Castle, the seat of Marischall, and the burning of the adjoining towns of Stonehaven and Cowie by Montrose, and is as follows: It is said that the people of Stonehaven and Cowie came out, man and woman,
children at thair foot, and children in thair armes crying, houlling “and weeping, praying the Erll for God's cause to saif them from 'this fyre, howsone it was kendlit. Bot the poor people got no "answer, nor knew they qwhair to go with thair children. Brodie adduces this as “a proof of inexcusable cruelty in Montrose,
scarcely credible of one in civilized life;' and Godwin and Laing have fallen into the same mistake. It is somewhat strange that these authors should have forgotten that, at the time referred to, Montrose was not an Earl, but a Marquis, under which title Spalding speaks of him in the immediate context of the passage quoted. The obvious meaning of the anecdote,' as Mr. Napier remarks, “is that the poor people looked to the Earl Marischall to
save them from the fire, either by acceding to Montrose's sum'mons, or by admitting them within his extensive fortifications. So much for the only precise fact that has been hitherto adduced in proof of Montrose's 'inexorable cruelty' to the defenceless peasantry of the districts through which he passed! As respects his conduct on the field of battle, and against his armed opponents, Mr. Napier does not deny that it was marked by unsparing severity; but as the object of fighting is to destroy one's enemies, we do not very well see how, on the supposition that war is lawful, the extent to which a general carries this is to be urged against him as a crime, so long as nothing is perpetrated inconsistent with the rules of civilized warfare. Where victory is to be obtained only by the shedding human blood, it is absurd to commend a general for his victories, and then blame him for killing so many men in order to obtain them.
We are no great enthusiasts, either for Montrose or for the cause for which he struggled; but we confess it has been with a feeling of more than pleasure that we have entered into Mr. Napier's explanation of those parts of his public conduct which have hitherto cast so deep a shadow upon his memory. It is
refreshing to find, after a long lapse of years, that men are not always so bad as contemporary spite and party-spirit would make them; and that, if at one time it be the office of impartial history to pluck unmerited laurels from brows they have too long adorned, it is at another its more pleasing duty to disperse the clouds with which the breath of faction may have obscured the fair fame of the really noble and virtuous. There has always appeared to us something incongruous, and as it were, impossible, in the representations which have hitherto been given of Montrose. So strange a compound of valor and meanness; of chivalric enthusiasm and iron-hearted cruelty; of educated taste and brutal ferocity; of blunt honesty and detestable duplicity, as he has been depicted, we venture to affirm, is hardly compatible with the ordinary conditions of human nature. Mr. Napier has, at length, restored to the portrait its proper colours, and set it in a proper light. He has shown us that the conduct of his hero, even when most exposed to censure, was under the guidance of honorable, though it may be mistaken, principle; and that though, in the desperate enterprise in which his closing days were spent, he was necessarily the occasion of much bloodshed and suffering to his countrymen, he did not steel his heart against the call of humanity when the interests of that cause which he had espoused permitted him to listen to it, nor was he a stranger to that
• Hath dwelling in heroic hearts.' We do not go the length of affirming that the portrait as given by Mr. Napier is perfect in all its lineaments; but, unquestionably, to use a common phrase, it is greatly more life-like than any of the others we have seen.
Montrose maintained his gallant defence of his master's cause long after that master had himself fallen; nor did he relinquish his daring enterprise until his last hope was extinguished, and his last army cut to pieces. He then surrendered himself to Macleod, of Assint, a hungry highlander, who sold him to the Covenanters for four hundred bolls of meal. A brief trial, and a speedy execution followed. He was hanged upon a gibbet of the prodigious height of thirty feet; and his head was afterwards ó fixed upon
the Tolbooth, with an iron cross over it, lest by any of his • friends it should have been taken down.' His spirit and his confidence in the rectitude of his cause remained unbroken to the last. His final words were, . May God have mercy on this afflicted kingdom.'
Little more than ten years after the execution of Montrose, his great rival, the Marquis of Argyle, was beheaded on nearly the same spot, and his head was placed upon the same spike from which that of Montrose had been recently removed. He died
with less heroism than his antagonist, but with more of composure than might have been expected from his naturally timorous disposition. It would be unjust to doubt that the fortitude which he exhibited was derived from the source to which he himself ascribed it-faith in the atoning merits and promised grace of Christ. Whatever may have been the hypocrisy by which the commencement of his career was stained, there are many circumstances in the later years of his life which give us confidence in indulging the hope that he closed it with penitential sincerity, and humble faith. His conduct on the scaffold was such as he himself assured his friends it should be not that of a Roman braving death, .but that of a Christian, whom death could not affright.'
These days of bloodshed and disorder have, in the good providence of God, passed away, we trust for ever. But the history of them shall not have been written in vain if it serve to teach our rulers a lesson of the danger of invading the rights of conscience, and to impress upon men of all parties that it is only as equal civil and religious privileges are enjoyed by every
class of the community, that the supremacy of law can be quietly maintained, and the peace and well-being of society at large secured.
Art. II. New Zealand : being a Narrative of Travels and Adventures
during a Residence in that country between the years 1831 and 1837. By J. S. POLACK, Esq., Member of the Colonial Society of London. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 844. Bentley. 1838. IT would seem a little strange that our curiosity
to know more of the human race, whether historically or geographically, should not be at all repressed by the certainty beforehand, and the often renewed experience of the fact, of our finding in the acquirement just so much additional manifestation of the depravity and wretchedness of that race.
Let a previously unknown, or very imperfectly known, section of it be clearly brought into view, and though it should appear under the most degraded aspect of human existence, exhibiting the most odious moral and intellectual deformities, accompanied by physical and economical circumstances the most repulsive to our taste, we nevertheless gladly receive the information, and thank the man whose adventures and researches have supplied it as a kind of benefactor. If there were to come to us a slight rumour of a tribe or nation, existing perhaps in the hitherto absolute terra incognita of Africa under or near the line, reported as more hideous in barbarism and turpitude than any yet known, we should be so much the more, for that peculiarity, eager to have them brought into our acquaintance. If an explorer had dared the peril of such a scene, and escaped to tell us what he had
beheld, we should demand from him a most full and particular report; and nothing would fret us more than if he should say, that there were some things which, for the credit of humanity, or even to save himself a probable imputation on his veracity, he judged it best to pass over in silence. We should want, of all things, to have a confidential personal communication with him, in order to get at those concealed treasures of knowledge.
In the indulgence of that passion (as it may almost be called) for geographical discovery which has distinguished the age, we never dream of the finding of any such thing as a region adorned and blessed with a decided prevalence of the virtues, and their accompaniments and consequences. We never expect to hear of man in any thing better than his old and general character--the ascendency of evil over good. Whether the region heretofore unvisited be described to us as favoured with all the beauty and fertility that a benignant nature can lavish on it, or as rugged, frowning. and inhospitable,-if the describer should go on to say, that there is a moral beauty which rivals the one, or compensates for the other, he would instantly be told that he has miscalculated our credulity; and that, without advancing one league toward the distant scene of his investigation, we can virtually go thither and survey it in the strength of a principle which authorizes us to contradict him. The human race, we should tell him, has been too uniform in the manifestation of one great, sad, radical property of its nature, through all time and all the known world, to allow our belief of any such exception as a tribe from whose happy domain the vices and miseries are excluded or departing-unless, indeed, he means his report to testify that somewhere the millennium has commenced ; and then we shall be apt to think that felicitous visitation can hardly have so missed its way as to alight on central Africa, perhaps, when it is so lamentably wanted in England.
Still we are inquisitive how this creature, man, is acting out his qualities in another, and another tract of the earth. The novelties in the manner will most likely be found to be but different modes of what is bad. We are philosophically content to expect no otherwise; but want to know them notwithstanding. And the age is past when the adventurers into distant and imperfectly known regions could presume to impose delusive representations on the people at home. Those of the present and recent times, a surprising number, and in rapid succession, have maintained, for the most part, a substantial adherence to truth. So that we have now the means of a real and accurate knowledge of what sort of people there are, and what they are doing, in tracts and corners of the world which, but a few generations since, lay under a cloud of mingled ignorance and fiction.
Perhaps the ascertainment of the reality has struck a kind of balance between the opposite licenses of fiction. If some fine