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THE THISTLE IN BUD

BETWEEN the troublous days of her
sovereign lady, Mary, when it was said of
Scotland, "Lo, here is a nation born in one day;
yea, moulded into one congregation, and
sealed as a fountain with a solemn oath and
covenant,"—between those days of the half-
mail-clad baron and his band of followers,
with swords and pistols, and the days of the
silken gallant in full periwig, who wore a
rapier for show, and quietly saw ruin in the
Revolution by which the existing political
system was brought near to a settlement,—there
lie about six score years of slow, yet certain
progress.They are years of progress from a
form of society full of strange features of
barbarity and violence, to another form that
was hardly in closer harmony with what we
see today.  The whole interval was occupied
by civil strife bred of religious differences; at
the close of it the people remained poor.
They had incompetent universities, no bank,
no newspaper, no permanent stage-coach
communication, no system of police: they
had only organised within five-and-twenty
years a post system upon a small scale.
They even imported their woollen cloth
and their paper. Judges were partial;
witches were burnt; it was still possible
for gentlemen of ancient family, by trick or
violence, to seize on heiresses of tender years;
monopolies were the great rule of trade;
intolerance was universal.

When the lesson of tolerance was learnt,
and concord was established in the land,
prosperity set in; "and, then," writes Mr.
Robert Chamberswho has very recently
collected The Domestic Annals of Scotland
from the Reformation to the Revolution, into
two most interesting volumes—"in five years
from the settlement of its religious troubles,
the country has its first bank; in a few years
more it has native newspapers. Other
troubles, or chances of trouble, being
removed by union with England, and the
suppression of all hopes in favour of a
discrowned dynasty , commerce becomes active;
an improved agriculture commences; and
nearly every kind of manufacture for which
England is distinguished takes hearty root
with us. Scotsmen, frugally reared, and
endowed with the elements of learning at
their parish schools, go forth into every
realm to take leading positions. Literature
and science are cultivated at home with the
most brilliant success. And the short period
of a century sees nearly every disadvantageous
contrast between our country and
her neighbours obliterated."

The privy council and other records
preserved in the General Register House at
Edinburgh, manuscripts of histories and
journals preserved in the Advocates' library,
burgh records, the volumes of curious record
published by the Maitland Club, the Spalding
Club, the Wodrow Society, the Bannatyne
Club,—from these and other sources of
information, Mr. Chambers has drawn an
assemblage of suggestive facts, illustrative of
life in Scotland during the important period
to which we have referred. These facts are
the Domestic Annals of the country,—"the
series of occurrences beneath the region of
history, the effects of passion, superstition
and ignorance in the people, the extraordinary
natural events which disturbed their
tranquillity, the calamities which affected
their well-being, the traits of false political
economy by which that well-being was
checked, and generally those things which
enable us to see how our forefathers thought,
felt, and suffered; and how, on the whole,
ordinary life looked in their days." To
collect a body of such annals has been the
well-devised and thoroughly fulfilled intention
of the book, from the surface of which
we propose to scrape a fact or two into this
paper.

To begin with the subject of intolerance,
there are many quaint illustrations in these
annals, not merely of the want of tolerance,
but of the utter absence of a perception that
any such principle of social life exists in
nature. Even at the close of the period
illustrated, Patrick Walker says of himself and
his friends, the extreme presbyterians, who
looked at the Revolution "as a surprising,
unexpected, merciful dispensation," that we
"thought it some way belonged to us
to go to all the popish houses and destroy
their monuments of idolatry, with their
priests' robes, and put in prison themselves."

There was some hankering after tolerance
in James the Sixth; which, when it shows

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