Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/329

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Knox
Knox
323

prayer. One of the main ends of the fast he declared to be a protest against the mass. It was subsequently postponed for a week, but commenced on Sunday, 3 March 1566. On Saturday, the 9th, Rizzio was murdered. On the following day Murray and his party returned to Edinburgh, and a proclamation was issued in the king's name that all papists should quit the town. Where Knox was at this time, and whether he was privy to the murder of Rizzio, is not clearly ascertained. The language of the ‘History,’ ‘The next day, which was the second Sunday of our Fast in Edinburgh,’ suggests that he was still in Edinburgh, but there is no sufficient proof that this passage was written by Knox. In a list of the conspirators sent in a letter, on 21 March, by Randolph to Cecil, the names of Knox and Craig occur, but as they are described as being ‘at the death of Rizzio,’ which they were not, ‘as well as privy thereunto,’ and their names are omitted in a second list, sent in a letter of 27 March by Randolph and Bedford to the English privy council, it is fair to infer that the foreknowledge of the murder is not brought home to Knox. His approval of it is scarcely open to doubt, and he appears to have remained in Edinburgh till Sunday, 17 March, when the queen returned along with her vacillating husband and a force, which compelled Murray and the rest of his party once more to take to flight. The same date is given by the ‘Diurnal of Occurrents,’ a contemporary diary, for Knox's departure from Edinburgh. The fifth book of the ‘History of the Reformation’ substantially agrees with the ‘Diurnal,’ for it states: ‘Now a little before the Queen's entrance into the town [i.e. the 18th] … Knox passed west to Kyle.’

In the assembly in December Knox obtained leave to visit England on condition that he returned before June 1567. Before leaving Scotland he wrote, along with the other ministers, to Beza, now head of the Genevese congregation, offering to send a copy of the Scottish confession, and pointing out that they did not dare to acknowledge the festivals of the life of Christ, because they were not prescribed by scripture. He also sent a letter in the name of the superintendents and ministers in Scotland to the bishops and pastors of God's church in England in favour of the clergy who refused to wear vestments. He probably had a share in the supplication of the general assembly of 25 Dec. 1566 to the nobility, exhorting the council to recall the commission granted by the queen to the Archbishop of St. Andrews. He received a safe-conduct from Elizabeth, and a letter was entrusted him to the English bishops, asking for toleration in favour of the clergy who objected to vestments. What parts of England he visited does not clearly appear, but it seems to have been chiefly the north, and probably the county of Durham, where his sons were residing with their mother's relations.

He was absent when Darnley met Rizzio's fate, but returned home after the flight of Bothwell from Carberry Hill and the imprisonment of Mary in Lochleven. Throgmorton, the English envoy, mentions that Knox came to Edinburgh on 17 July 1567, and that he had several meetings with him, when he found him ‘very austere.’ In his sermon on the 19th, which Throgmorton heard, he inveighed vehemently against the queen, and the envoy tried to persuade the privy council to advise him and other ministers not to meddle with affairs of state. The attempt was vain, for Knox continued his custom of preaching daily against the queen and Bothwell, in favour of the English and against the French alliance.

The assembly appointed him, John Douglas, John Row, and John Craig commissioners to request the lords who had hitherto remained neutral or belonged to the party of the Hamiltons to come to Edinburgh and join with the lords in the settlement of God's true worship, the maintenance of the ministers, and the support of the poor. But the commissioners did not succeed in their mission, and the articles which ratified the reformation of 1560 were the joint work of the assembly and the nobles of Murray's party alone. After Mary's forced abdication and the call of Murray to the regency, Knox went to Stirling for the coronation of James, and preached the sermon on 29 July 1567 from the text ‘I was crowned young,’ in the Book of Kings, relating to the coronation of Joash. He refused to take part in the ceremony of unction. On 22 Aug. Murray was solemnly invested with the regency, and a parliament was summoned for the middle of September. From this time Murray and Knox were again closely associated. Before parliament met the regent appointed a committee of nobles and burgesses to prepare the business. Knox and four other ministers were added to assist in ecclesiastical matters. The parliament at last made an arrangement as to the thirds of benefices favourable to the ministers, but the provision for education, on which Knox set great store, was still delayed.

While the presbyterian reformation was confirmed no notice was taken of the ‘Book of Discipline.’ In the assembly which met on 25 Dec. Knox was appointed to join the