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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


YAMES l? TO ABDICATION OF QUEEN MARK 59 This year also is the period of John Knox's return to Scotland. On his escape from France-whither he had been carried a prisoner, after the taking of the Castle of St Andrews-he had remained in England till the death of Edward VI., whence he went for a time to Geneva. Immediately on his return to Scotland, he began preaching against the mass, as an idolatrous worship, with such effect that he was summoned before the ecclesiastical judicatory, held in the Blackfriars' Church in Edinburgh, on the 15th of May 1556. The case, however, was not pursued at the time, probably from apprehension of a popular tumult; but the citation had the usual effect of increasing his popularity; " and it is certain," says Bishop Keith, '' that Mr -Knox preached to a greater auditory the very day he should have made his appearance, than ever he did before."' At this time it was that the letter was written by him to the Queen Regent, entreating for reformation in the Church, which, on its being delivered to her by the Earl of Glencairn, she composedly handed it to the Archbishop of Glasgow, after glancing at it, saying- " Please y-o.u , my Lord, to look at a pasquill I "-a striking contrast to the influence he afterwards exercised over her royal daughter.' No sooner had John Knox accepted an invitation, which he received that same year, from an English congregation at Geneva, than the clergy cited him anew before them, and in default of his appearance, he was condemned as an heretic, and burned in effigy at the Cross of Edinburgh. Towards the close of the year 1555, the City of Edinburgh gave a sumptuous entertainment to the Danish Ambassador, at the expense of twenty-five pounds, seventeen shillings, and one penny Scots I doubtless a magnificent civic feast in those days.' About this time, the Queen Regent, acting under the advice of her French councillors, excited the general indignation of the Scottish nobility and people in general, by a scheme for raising a standing army, to supersede the usual national force, composed of the nobles and their retainers, and which was to be supported by a tax imposed on every man's estate and substance. Numerous private assemblies of the barons and gentlemen took place to organise a determined opposition to the scheme ; and at length three hundred of them assembled in the Abbey Church of Holyrood, and despatched the Lairds of Calder and Wemyss to the Queen Regent and her council, with so resolute a remonstrance, that the Queen was fain to abandon the project, and thought them little worthy of thanks that were the inventors of what proved a fertile source of unpopularity to her government' The contentions arising from differences in religion now daily increased, and the populace of the capital were among the foremost to manifest their zeal against the ancient faith. In the year 1556, they destroyed the statues of the Virgin Mary, Trinity, and St Francis, in St Giles's Church, which led to a very indignant remonstrance from the Queen Regent, addressed to the magistrates ; but they do not seem to have been justly chargeable with sympathy in such reforming movements, as we find the council of that same year, in addition to other marks of honour conferred on the Provost, ordering that for his greater state, the servants of all the inhabitants shall attend him, with lighted torches, from the vespers or evening prayers, to his house.6 On the breaking out of war between England and France, in 1557, the Queen Regent, . 1 Bishop Keith's History, vol. i. p. 150. 8 Council Registers, Maitland, p. 14. Calderwood's Historp, Wodrow Soc., voL i. p. 316. Bishop Leslie'n Hist., p. 255. Maitland, p. 14.
Volume 10 Page 64
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Volume 10 Page 65
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