Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/330

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Knox
Knox
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superintendent of Lothian in his visitation from Stirling to Berwick, and thereafter to visit Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham. His name stands first, with that of Craig, on the list of the standing committee which was to concur with the committee of the privy council on all matters touching the church. He was probably not made a superintendent only because he disliked an office which might lead, as in fact it did, to the restoration of a modified prelacy. In February 1568 Knox wrote a letter to John Wood of Tullidavy, the secretary of Murray, in which, in answer to a request that he should publish his history, he states that he proposed leaving it to his friends after his death to decide whether it should be suppressed or come to light, and sturdily maintains that his ‘Blast against the Regiment of Women’ had never been answered, implying, no doubt, that its argument had been confirmed by the conduct of Mary Stewart. He concludes with a declaration that he would gladly end his days with the dispersed little flock of Geneva, as it had pleased God to prosper the work in Scotland, for which he had left it. But the situation at home was still full of anxiety during the four remaining years of his life, which he passed in increasing bodily suffering. While Murray and the Scottish commissioners were at York and Westminster seeking to press home the charge against Mary Stewart, Knox recalled in a letter to Wood (September 1568) a passage of a sermon in which he had expressed his fear that some of those professing the Evangel would follow the example of Judas when the expectation of gain failed, and he now applied his prophecy to the conduct of Hamilton, who was daily expected with French troops ‘to restore Satan to his kingdom.’ He impressed upon his correspondent the necessity of the English alliance. The rumour of Mary's marriage to Norfolk roused all Knox's old fury. ‘It shows,’ he told his friend, ‘that England is more foolish than foolish Scotland.’ Well might Lethington, who favoured the marriage project, write to Mary, ‘I have of late dealt with divers ministers here who will not be repugnant to a good accord, however I think Knox inflexible.’

On 2 Jan. 1570 Knox wrote briefly to Cecil, ‘If ye strike not at the root, the branches that appear to be broken will bind again.’ It is difficult not to detect a counsel to put Mary to death, which comes painfully from one who signs himself ‘yours to command in God, John Knox, with his one foot in the grave.’

On 23 Jan. Murray was shot at Linlithgow, and on 14 Feb. was buried in the south aisle of St. Giles. Knox preached the funeral sermon from the text ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.’ Despite the general affection inspired in the Scottish people by the regent, there were not wanting contrary voices which accused him of aiming at the crown by the death of his sister, and, if necessary, even of his nephew. A satirical pamphlet, chiefly aimed at Murray, by a brother of Lethington, described a pretended conference between Murray, Knox, and others, in which Knox was made to persuade Murray to seize the throne. Knox never gave any such advice, either from the pulpit or in private.

Neither Lennox, who succeeded to and held the regency till his assassination in September 1571, nor his successor, Mar, who was regent till his death in October 1572, was a friend of Knox, and his influence in politics decreased, though he continued to direct ecclesiastical affairs. In October 1570 his bodily infirmity culminated in a stroke of apoplexy, which, though of the milder kind called by physicians resolution, threatened, to the joy of his adversaries, to silence his tongue. But his indomitable spirit knew no decay, and within a short time he so far recovered as to resume preaching on Sundays. The course of events in Scotland more than his own illness preyed upon his mind. The party of the nobles headed by the Duke of Hamilton, and supported by Lethington and Knox's former friend and supporter, Kirkcaldy of Grange, now openly raised Queen Mary's standard. Edinburgh Castle, garrisoned by its governor, Kirkcaldy, for the queen, made war upon the town. One of Grange's soldiers having killed at Leith Henry Seton, a soldier in the opposite camp, Knox on the Sunday following, 24 Dec. 1570, in his sermon at St. Giles, boldly inveighed against this outrage. The same afternoon Kirkcaldy sent a ticket or short writing to Craig, which he required him to read from the pulpit, in which he declared that he was not a murderer, as Knox intimated, and called upon God to prove his vengeance on the man who was most desirous of innocent blood. He also sent a charge of slander against Knox to the kirk session. Craig refused to read the ticket, and the session to take any action. Recrimination followed recrimination. In the spring the assembly met in Edinburgh, and Kirkcaldy renewed his accusation against Knox, when Bannatyne, his secretary, appeared and protested. Knox himself wrote a long answer to the accusation. More acrimonious correspondence followed, until, Kirkcaldy having received the Hamiltons into the castle, Knox was reluc-