" I wish Mr. Hampden and others to his likeness," the Lord Deputy wrote bitterly from Ireland, "were well whipt into their right senses." Amidst the exultation of the Court over the decision of the judges, Wentworth saw clearly that Hampden's work had been done. His resistance had roused England to a sense of the danger to her freedom, and forced into light the real character of the royal claims. How stern and bitter the temper even of the noblest Puritans had become at last we see in the poem which Milton produced at this time, his elegy of "Lycidas." Its grave and tender lament is broken by a sudden flash of indignation at the dangers around the Church, at the "blind mouths that scarce themselves know how to hold a sheep-hook," and to whom " the hungry sheep look up, and are not fed," while "the grim wolf" of Rome " with privy paw daily devours apace, and nothing said! " The stern resolve of the people to demand justice on their tyrants spoke in his threat of the axe. Wentworth and Laud, and Charles himself, had yet to reckon with "that two-handed engine at the door" which stood "ready to smite once, and smite no more." But stern as was the general resolve, there was no need for immediate action, for the difficulties which were gathering in the north were certain to bring a strain on the Government which would force it to seek support from the people.
The King's demand for immediate submission, which reached Edinburgh while England was waiting for the Hampden judgment, at once gathered the whole body of remonstrants together round "the Tables" at Edinburgh; and a protestation, read at Edinburgh and Stirling, was followed, on Johnston of Warris-ton's suggestion, by a renewal of the Covenant with God which had been drawn up and sworn to in a previous hour of peril, when Mary was still plotting against Protestantism, and Spain was preparing its Armada. " We promise and swear," ran the solemn engagement at its close, "by the great name of the Lord our God, to continue in the profession and obedience of the said religion, and that we shall defend the same, and resist all their contrary errors and corruptions, according to our vocation and the utmost of that power which God has put into our hands all the days of our life." The Covenant was signed in the churchyard of the Grey Friars at Edinburgh, in a tumult of enthusiasm, "with such content and joy as those who, having long before been outlaws and rebels, are admitted again into covenant with God." Gentlemen and nobles rode with the documents in their pockets over the country, gathering subscriptions to it, while the ministers pressed for a general consent to it from the pulpit.
But pressure was needless. "Such was the zeal of subscribers that for a while many subscribed with tears on their cheeks;" some were indeed reputed to have "drawn their own blood and used it in place of ink to underwrite their names." The force given to Scottish freedom by this revival of religious fervour was seen in the new tone adopted by the Covenanters. The Marquis of Hamilton, who came as Royal Commissioner to put an end to the quarrel, was at once met by demands for an abolition of the Court of High Commission, the withdrawal of the Books of Canons and Common Prayer, a free Parliament, and a free General Assembly. It was in vain that he threatened war; even the Scotch Council pressed Charles to give fuller satisfaction to the people. "I will rather die," the King wrote to Hamilton, "than yield to these impertinent and damnable demands;" but it was needful to gain time. "The discontents at home," wrote Lord Northumberland to Wentworth, "do rather increase than lessen: " and Charles was without money or men.
It was in vain that he begged for a loan from Spain on promise of declaring war against Holland, or that he tried to procure two thousand troops from Flanders with which to occupy Edinburgh. The loan and troops were both refused, and some contributions offered by the English Catholics did little to recruit the Exchequer. Charles had directed the Marquis to delay any decisive breach till the royal fleet appeared in the Forth; but it was hard to equip a fleet at all. Scotland indeed was sooner ready for war than the King. The Scotch volunteers who had been serving in the Thirty Years' War streamed home at the call of their brethren. General Leslie, a veteran trained under Gustavus, came from Sweden to take the command of the new forces. A voluntary war tax was levied in every shire. The danger at last forced the King to yield to the Scotch demands; but he had no sooner yielded than the concession was withdrawn, and the Assembly hardly met before it was called upon to disperse. By an almost unanimous vote, however, it resolved to continue its session. The innovations in worship and discipline were abolished, episcopacy was abjured, the bishops deposed, and the system of Presbyterianism re-established in its fullest extent.
The news that Charles was gathering an army at York, and reckoning for support on the scattered loyalists in Scotland itself, was. answered by the seizure of Edinburgh, Dumbarton, and Stirling; while 10,000 well-equipped troops under Leslie and the Earl of Montrose entered Aberdeen, and brought the Catholic Earl of Huntly a prisoner to the south. Instead of overawing the country, the appearance of the royal licet 'in the Forth was the signal for Leslie's march with 20,000 men to the Border. Charles had hardly pushed across the Tweed, when the "old little crooked soldier, " encamping on the hill of Dunse Law, fairly offered him battle.
Charles however, without money to canyon war,was forced to consent to the gathering of a free Assembly and of a Scotch Parliament. But in his eyes the pacification at Berwick was a mere suspension of arms; his summons of Wentworth from Ireland was a proof that violent measures were in preparation, and the Scots met the challenge by seeking for aid from France. The discovery of a correspondence between the Scotch leaders and the French court raised hopes in the King that an appeal to the country for aid against Scotch treason would still find an answer in English loyalty. Wentworth, who was now made Earl of Strafford, had never ceased to urge that the Scots should be whipped back to their border; he now agreed with Charles that a Parliament should be called, the correspondence laid before it, and advantage taken of the burst of indignation on which the King counted to procure a heavy subsidy. While Charles summoned what from its brief duration is known as the Short Parliament, Strafford hurried to Ireland to levy forces. In fourteen days he had obtained money and men from his servile Parliament, and he came back flushed with his success, in time for the meeting of the Houses at Westminster. But the lesson failed in its effect.