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The Scottish Nation

KING, a surname which, according to Douglas (Peerage, vol. i. p. 557) is of great antiquity in Scotland. A family of this name were in possession of Barra or Barracht, parish of Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, from an early period; “Robertus dictus King” is party to a charter temp. Alexander II. (1247), with the prior and convent of St. Andrews, who also held lands in the same parish. In the 16th and 17th centuries the family also acquired the lands of Birness and Dudwick, in Buchan. Among the successive residents in the old house of Dudwick (only recently pulled down), was General James King, a celebrated soldier under Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty-years’-war. Subsequently, during the civil war of England, he was second in command of the northern army of Charles I., by whom he was created Lord Eythen, 28th March 1642. In addition it may be said here that after the battle of Marston-moor, 2d July 1644, he embarked at Scarborough for the continent, with his superior in command, the marquis of Newcastle, and other noblemen, disgusted at Prince Rupert’s rash and obstinate tactics. Returning to Sweden, his past services to that crown were rewarded by Queen Christina’s conferring upon him, in addition to the order of knighthood received in 1639, a Swedish peerage under the title of Lord Sanshult, in the province of Calmar. He died in 1652, aged 63; and was buried at Stockholm, in the Riddarhohns church, the usual burial-place of Swedish royalty and nobility; being honoured by a public funeral, Queen Christina attending in person. As he left no surviving male issue, both Scottish and Swedish titles became extinct. In his will, dated April 10, 1651, he bequeathed his property to the children of his brothers in succession, urging them to endeavour to obtain the restoration of his titles and honours, which however was never done. (Vide Eythen.) Barra, is now the property of Ramsay of Straloch. A portrait of the general, a duplicate of one still preserved in Sweden, is in possession of Major W. Ross King, Aberdeen.

      Among several distinguished advocates, descended from an elder branch, were Alexander and Adam King. The latter published some learned treatises on Astronomy and Natural Science. The former was the author of a thesis, entitled “Oratio demonstrans Jacobum VI. Scotorum regem totius Albionis legitimum futurum monarchum,” which attracted considerable notice in its day. Cadets of this branch settled in various parts of the lowlands. From another who went over to Ireland was descended William King, D.D., born in 1650, bishop of Derry, and in 1702 archbishop of Dublin, and one of the lords justices of Ireland. Archbishop King died May 8th, 1729. He was author of the following well-known works, besides various others: –

      The State of the Protestants of Ireland. Lond. 1692, 8vo.

      De Origine Mali. London, 1700, 4to. In this celebrated treatise he undertook to show how all the several kinds of evil with which the world abounds are consistent with the goodness of God, and may be accounted for without the supposition of an evil principle.

      Inventions of Men in the Worship of God. Dublin, 11694, 4to.


      The Rev. JOHN KING, an outlawed minister of the covenant, fills a somewhat marked place in the episode of Scottish history which includes the battle of Bothwell Bridge. He was domestic chaplain to Henry, 3d Lord Cardross, and in 1674 was apprehended for keeping conventicles, with his lordship’s connivance. On that occasion he was brought before the council, and held to bail, to appear when called upon. In May 1675 he was again arrested at Cardross house for the same offence, being seized in the night time, by a party of the guards under Sir Mungo Murray. Next day a number of country people assembled, and rescued him from the military. Lord Cardross himself was absent from home at the time, but as soon as he heard of his chaplain’s arrest, he applied to the privy council by petition, complaining of the illegal entrance into his house. The matter was remitted for enquiry to a committee of the council, who found that the rescue was made with Lord Cardross’s acquiescence and connivance. He was therefore ordered to be imprisoned in Edinburgh castle, and fined £1,000 sterling, besides £1,350 Scots, for his tenants attending conventicles.

      Just previous to the affair at Drumclog in June 1679, King was, on May 31st, seized, with fourteen others, in the town of Hamilton, by colonel Graham of Claverhouse. “There was some pretence,” says Wodrow, “to seize King, being a vagrant preacher, and I think intercommuned, but there was no law for seizing the rest.” (History, vol. ii., p. 46). Some escaping from Hamilton, took the direction of Loudonhill, where a large field-meeting was to be held. This led to the skirmish at Drumclog. At Hamilton, Claverhouse first heard of the meeting at Loudonhill, and on Sunday morning, June 1st, he set out to disperse it, carrying King and the other prisoners along with him, bound two and two. After the defeat of Claverhouse, the Covenanters pursued the king’s troops for some distance, and liberated King and the other prisoners.

      Aster the battle of Bothwell Bridge, King, with another preacher named Kid, was again apprehended, and brought to trial. They pleaded that though found amongst the insurgents, they had taken no share in their proceedings, that they were in fact detained among them by force, that they had refused to preach to them, and had seized the first opportunity of escaping before the battle. But all was of no avail. They were first subjected to the torture of the boots, and then condemned to death. On the afternoon of Aug. 14, 1679, they were executed. On the scaffold they behaved with great serenity and fortitude, protesting their loyalty to the last.

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