John Knox and the Reformation eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 293 pages of information about John Knox and the Reformation.

They now took a new method of proving the Regent’s breach of treaty, that she had “set up the Mass in Holyrood, which they had before suppressed.” They were allowed to have their sermons in St. Giles’s, but she was not to have her rites in her own abbey.  Balnaves still harped on the non-dismissal of the French as a breach of treaty!

Arran, returning from Switzerland, had an interview with Elizabeth in England, in mid-September, was smuggled across the Border with the astute and unscrupulous Thomas Randolph in his train.  With Arran among them, Chatelherault might waver as he would.  Meanwhile Knox and Willock preached up and down the country, doubtless repeating to the people their old charges against the Regent.  Lethington, the secretary of that lady, still betrayed her, telling Sadleir “that he attended upon the Regent no longer than he might have a good occasion to revolt unto the Protestants” (September 16).

Balnaves got some two to three thousand pounds in gold (the sum is variously stated) from Sadleir.  “He saith, whatever pretence they make, the principal mark they shoot at is to make an alteration of the State and authority.”  This at least is explicit enough.  The Reformers were actually renewing the civil war on charges so stale and so false.  The Duke had possibly promised to desert her if she broke the truce, and now he seized on the flimsy pretence, because the Congregation, as the leaders said, had “tempted him” sufficiently.  They had come up to his price.  Arran, the hoped-for Hamilton king, the hoped-for husband of the Queen of England, had arrived, and with Arran the Duke joined the Reformers.  About September 20 they forbade the Regent to fortify Leith.

The brethren say that they have given no “provocation.”  Six weeks earlier they had requested England to help them to seize and hold Broughty Castle, though the Regent may not have known that detail.

The Regent replied as became her, and Glencairn, with Erskine of Dun, wrecked the rich abbey of Paisley.  The brethren now broke the truce with a vengeance.


Though the Regent was now to be deposed and attacked by armed force, Knox tells us that there were dissensions among her enemies.  Some held “that the Queen was heavily done to,” and that the leaders “sought another end than religion.”  Consequently, when the Lords with their forces arrived at Edinburgh on October 16, the local brethren showed a want of enthusiasm.  The Congregation nevertheless summoned the Regent to depart from Leith, and on October 21 met at the Tolbooth to discuss her formal deposition from office.  Willock moved that this might lawfully be done.  Knox added, with more reserve than usual, that their hearts must not be withdrawn from their King and Queen, Mary and Francis.  The Regent, too, ought to be restored when she openly repented and submitted.  Willock dragged Jehu into his sermon, but Knox does not appear to have remarked that Francis and Mary were Ahab and Jezebel, idolaters.  He was now in a position of less freedom and more responsibility than while he was a wandering prophet at large.

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John Knox and the Reformation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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