Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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THE BATTLE OF BALRINNES.             215
wisdom to see that it was not for his interest to ally himself with a power that sought the extinction of the faith which he professed, and the subjugation of a kingdom to which he was the heir. The Spanish overtures were rejected, and the great body of the people, warmly applauding the king's decision, entered into a combination to resist an attempt to land at any point on the Scottish coast. There was, nevertheless, a small party in Scotland which favoured the designs of Philip. At the head of this faction were the Catholic Earls of Huntly, Errol, and Angus. Even after the dispersion of the Armada, they kept up ne­gotiations with the Prince of Parma and the King of Spain, in the hope of restoring the ancient religion, or at least of obtaining for themselves an equality of privileges with the Protestants. More than once were the leaders of this party committed to prison for overt acts of treason, and released by the clemency of the sovereign, but suffering as the Romanists did under the oppression of a fanatical majority, rebellion was their natural condition.
After various acts of insubordination, continued for a series of years, it was proved beyond question that the Catholic earls had signed papers for an invasion of Britain by 30,000 foreigners. A Convention of Estates, summoned to consider the affair, finally de­termined that the three earls should be exempt from further inquiry on account of this conspiracy, but that before the first day of February, 1594, they should either renounce the errors of Popery, or remove from the kingdom. The Catholic leaders, relying on the number of their supporters, and not less on the inac­cessible nature of the country in which their estates