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History of Aberdeen and Banff
Chapter X


Beginning of the " Troubles "—The nobility and the Church endowments—Charles's ejection of Provost Patrick Leslie—The anti-Episcopal party in municipal politics — Samuel Rutherford in Aberdee'n—Visit of the Commissioners of the Tables—Death of the first Marquis of Huntly : Overtures by the Covenanters to his successor—Rival proclamations at the Cross—The Glasgow Assembly—: Abstention of Aberdeen clergy—Division of parties in Aberdeenshire—First occupation of the city by Montrose—Huntly entrapped and sent to Edinburgh—The Trot of Turriff—Royalists again hold Aberdeen—Invasion of the Mearns by Aboyne : Fiasco at Megray Hill—Battle of the Bridge of Dee—The forced loan and Articles of Bon-Accord — Monro's sieges of Royalists' residences— General Assembly in Aberdeen—Dr Guild appointed Principal of King's College—Lord Gordon joins the Covenanters —Supplies for the army in England—Rejection of northern recruits—Haddo and the Jaffrays—Execution of Sir John Gordon— Montrose as Royalist leader—Fight at Justice Mills and sack of Aberdeen—The "Cleansers" in Deeside—The battle of Alford —Huntly and Montrose—Huntly again in command of Aberdeen —His execution.

We are now on the eve of the "Troubles" of which so many pictures are preserved in the vivid ' Memorials' of Spalding. The ecclesiastical measures of the later years of James's reign, and still more those of Charles, alarmed the lay holders of the old Church lands and revenues, who availed themselves of the incidents of Charles's visit to Scotland in 1633 to make common cause with the Presbyterian clergy and hasten on the crisis. Much of the legislation of 1633, however, was clearly in the public interest, especially that relating to schools and vacant churches, and while many of the Aberdeenshire heritors were keen in their opposition to the Government and the bishops, their action has to be viewed in the light of their dealings with the ecclesiastical revenues and of their neglect to provide instruction for old or young.

Of the exercise of the royal prerogative Aberdeen was soon to have its own direct and special experience. The city had been represented in the Parliament of 1633 by Provost Sir Paul Menzies—the last Menzies in the list of provosts — and Patrick Leslie, of Iden, or Eden, on the banks of the Deveron, wrho was one of the baillies. Charles had attended the meetings of the Parliament and its legislative committee, and the attitude of the second representative of Aberdeen had attracted his notice and excited his displeasure. On Leslie being appointed to the provostship in the following year the king demanded his removal from office, and called on the town council to reinstate Sir Paul Menzies. " Some seditious convocations " connected with the election are mentioned in the letter conveying this demand, and from Spalding we gather that Leslie and his friends had succeeded in packing the council with a majority of their own partisans. The demands of the king were complied with, and at the election of the following year a letter was read from Archbishop Spottiswoode, as Chancellor, forbidding the appointment of Leslie to the provostship, and even his admission to the council. While the proceedings were going on Bishop Bellenden, the successor of Patrick Forbes, accompanied by the sheriff, intervened with a demand that an adjournment should take place till the king and Privy Council should be consulted ; and as a majority of the electing body—the old and new councils sitting together — was still determined to go on with the election, the bishop, as a Privy Councillor, dissolved the meeting. On the council reassembling a fortnight afterwards a scene of violent disorder took place between the rival parties, ending in the withdrawal of Leslie and his supporters in a body, and the election as provost of Robert Johnston of Crimond, a relation of Dr Arthur Johnston, and father of Colonel or "Crowner" William Johnston who had served under Gustavus Adolphus, and was to be for a time the military strategist of the Aberdeenshire royalists. This election, however, was annulled four months afterwards by the Privy Council, which nominated to the provostship Alexander Jaffray, father of the better-known provost, Member of Parliament, State official, and diarist, of Cromwell's time. Spalding tells us that many slighted the first Provost Jaffray as not being of " the old blood of the town," but the " oe," or grandson, of a baker, and he was publicly insulted by a "baken pie" being placed on the desk before his seat in church. In point of fact, the new party was closely connected with many of the county families—Patrick Leslie with the Leslies of Balquhain; Jaffray with the Erskines of Pittodrie (an offshoot from the Earls of Mar); and Matthew Lumsden, another of its members, with the Forbeses ; and it also included Robert Farquhar of Mounie, a wealthy merchant, who was himself to be provost and otherwise prominent as a Covenanter; and David Aedie, who was unquestionably of "the old blood."

Thus also there was a close affinity between this party and the lay holders of the Church endowments in the county. To what extent it represented the general feeling and attitude of the citizens is uncertain. One of the residents in Aberdeen in 1636-1638 was Samuel Rutherford, who had been removed from his incumbency in the south of Scotland for contumacy, and banished to this stronghold of Episcopacy by the High Commission j and from his correspondence we receive the information that he knew of only one "pious family" in the city. Rutherford had written his treatise against the "Arminian" doctrines, disputed with the doctors for the benefit of whose tutelage he had been sent north, and had to listen in silence while his Calvinism was controverted in three sermons by Dr Baron. A proposal for union with, the Lutheran Church of Germany had been referred by the Scottish Primate to the Aberdeen Doctors, and reported on with favour, but Rutherford could see in t only a step towards "reconciliation with Popery." If the new party in Aberdeen was opposed to Charles's measures and disliked his use of the royal prerogative, it had as yet, we may infer, but little of the temper of which Rutherford was a prominent example.

The next event of considerable importance in the history of Aberdeen is the visit in 1638 of the commissioners from the " Tables." Laud and the king, since their return to England, had been aiming at a reconstruction of the Scottish Church on a basis of Anglican ritual and of so-called Ar-minianism. The Book of Canons had been printed by Raban at the beginning of 1636. Drafts or sketches of the regulations had been prepared by some of the Scottish bishops, and recast into a comprehensive and self-consistent unity by Laud. The Service-Book followed in 1637, and led to the disturbances in Edinburgh, and to widespread agitation. Spalding, writing from his Aberdeen point of view, asserts that these disturbances were organised by a band of nobles whose concern was with the Church endowments, and by some " miscontented Puritans," headed by Alexander Henderson, David Dickson, and Andrew Cant, who were envious of the bishops, and especially disliked the rule in the Book of Canons that each bishop should be judge of all disorders in his diocese.

The opponents of Episcopacy and of liturgical forms appointed the committee or body called the Tables, consisting of four members each from the nobility, lesser barons, burgesses, and clergy, professedly to escape from the inconvenience attending government by crowds and to try to arrange matters with the king's Council. Ceasing, however, to be Supplicants, as they had hitherto called themselves, the Tables proceeded to assume the powers of a provisional government and to draw up the National Covenant, consisting of Craig's Confession of 1580, a recital of Acts of Parliament in favour of the reformed religion, and a bond or covenant whereby the subscribers bound themselves, as they interpreted its terms, to oppose liturgical worship and the Episcopal system. The National Covenant, first publicly subscribed in Edinburgh on February 28, 1638, was promptly condemned by the University of Aberdeen, and the pens of Drs Baron and John Forbes were at once busy against it.

Almost alone among the Scottish burghs Aberdeen was unrepresented by commissioners at the ratification' of the Covenant, and during the progress of the subscription it was the only considerable place that stood out for the king and the episcopal establishment. Commissioners were sent north to procure its adhesion. First came certain barons of Angus and Mearns. They were entirely unsuccessful, and the king addressed a special missive of thanks to Aberdeen for its resistance to their demands. A second and more imposing commission followed in a few months, including James Graham3 Earl of Montrose—Covenanter then, but the great Royalist captain of a later day—Lord Coupar, and the Master of Forbes, with Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys, Graham of Morphie, and the three " Apostles of the Covenant "— Henderson, Dickson, and Cant. Cant, though born in Kincardineshire,—of the same family, it is believed, from which descended Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher,—had been educated in Aberdeen, and was minister first of Alford and then of Pitsligo. He was the only prominent minister among the first Covenanters who was born and bred in the north-east. Dickson also knew something of Aberdeenshire, however, for he had been sentenced to rustication at Turriff for non-compliance with the Perth Articles. This second deputation was hospitably received by the town authorities and offered a public entertainment and the time-honoured Cup of Bon-Accord. The offer was refused—" the like was never done to Aberdeen," Spalding says—until the Covenant were subscribed, whereupon, " somewhat offended " but without more ado, Provost Johnston and the bailiies ordered the wine provided for the entertainment of the visitors to be distributed among the poor men in the bede-house.

In anticipation of the visit of the Covenanters the Aberdeen Doctors had prepared a series of questions concerning the lawfulness of the Covenant, and the authority by which it was sought to be imposed. Conciliatory answers were returned by the three Presbyterian divines, but the Aberdeen incumbents refused them the use of the pulpits for the ventilation of doctrines contrary to the customary teaching. Thus baulked, the Covenanters repaired on Sunday to the Earl Marischal's residence in the Castlegate, from a balcony of which they addressed an assemblage in the " close " or courtyard below. " Divers people," Spalding tells us, flocked in "to hear these preachers and see this novelty." There was an element of rowdyism in the crowd, but on the following day, when the addresses were resumed, a few of the audience subscribed the Covenant, including Patrick Leslie, Alexander Jaffray (elder), and John Lundie, master of the grammar-school, with four or five country ministers and, subject to reservations, Dr William Guild, city minister and king's chaplain, who had signed the Doctors' queries a few days before. The Covenanter delegation made a short tour through the county. Most of the members of Cant's Presbytery of Deer, as also his former Presbytery of Alford, in which the Forbes influence predominated, had already subscribed. At Turriff, the minister, Thomas Mitchell, "finding the wind like to change," and, according to the Parson of Rothiemay, having personal reasons for shrinking from trial under the Canons by an impartial tribunal, veered round betimes, and, " after an imperious satisfaction of their scruples by Montrose," others were glad to subscribe.2 Strathbogie and Banffshire were not visited.

On the return of the party to Aberdeen, after a week's absence, they found a printed rejoinder from the Doctors waiting them, to which a reply was written by Henderson and Dickson during a few days' stay with Sir Thomas Burnett at Muchalls Castle, in Kincardineshire, on their way south. " Duplies" from the Doctors followed, and the Covenanters did not pursue the controversy. The Doctors were men of argument, the Covenanters men of action.

The stand made by Aberdeen was the subject of commendatory letters addressed by the king and the Marquis of Hamilton, his Scottish commissioner, to the civic authorities and the Doctors, and a few weeks afterwards the town received the more substantial boon of a royal charter confirming all its ancient rights, privileges, and immunities, and conferring on it additional grants and the status of a sheriffdom. This important writ is the last general charter granted to the citizens and their civic rulers.

At this time, as in every crisis in the affairs of the two counties during the preceding two hundred years, much depended on the attitude and action of Huntly. The first Marquis, broken in spirit by the misfortunes of his latter days, was being carried from Edinburgh to Strathbogie to die, in 1636, when his death occurred at Dundee, and his son, the Earl of Enzie, who had been commander of the Scottish Guards in France, having returned home, the Covenanters tried by offers and menaces to enlist him on their side. To Colonel Robert Monro, who had been an officer in the Swedish service, and whom the Earl of Rothes, the head of the Protestant Leslies, had employed to make overtures, the marquis replied with characteristic spirit that his family had risen and stood by the kings of Scotland, and that if King Charles was to fall, his own life, honours, and estate would be buried in the same ruins. Thus the second Marquis assumed his hereditary position as Royalist leader in the north.

The aspect of affairs changed in the autumn when Charles in alarm revoked the Service-Book and Canons, dissolved the High Commission, promised repeal of the Perth Articles, and enjoined subscription to Craig's Negative Confession of 1580 and the Bond for the Maintenance of the True Religion of 1589. Spottiswoode and other members of the episcopate were already refugees in England, the Bishop of Aberdeen alone having general support among his clergy. Many of the nobles were satisfied with these concessions, and in a short time 28,000 signatures to the Confession and Bond were obtained, 12,000 of them through the influence of Huntly. As commissioner for obtaining the adhesion of the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and Inverness, he first called for the signatures of the provost and magistrates of Aberdeen. Provost Jaffray, who had just returned to the civic chair, " for removing all scruple out of the minds of the people," called on Drs Baron and Sibbald to subscribe, and in performing an act so little to their liking they declared that they accepted the Confession as it condemned all Popish errors, but that they did not understand the Perth Articles, Episcopal government, or any doctrine, rite, or ceremony not repugnant to Scripture or to the practice of the ancient Church or the modern reformed and sound Churches, to be condemned by it. In this sense also the Confession and Bond were signed by the provost and baillies. On the following day the marquis, accompanied by his sons and others of the Gordons, with Irvine of Drum, sheriff of the county, and the city authorities, proceeded to the market cross and had the proclamation published by the Rothesay herald. As soon as the cross was cleared another party ascended it, headed by Lord Fraser and the Master of Forbes, who protested against the proclamation and "took instruments," according to Scottish legal form and phraseology. Following the example that had been set by Huntly, Fraser concluded by calling for cheers for the king; but while there had been a general response to Huntly's call, few of the Aberdonians paid any heed to that of the Covenanting peer.1 At Old Aberdeen the bishop, the principal and regents, the resident gentry, and the general community willingly signed the Confession and Bond.

The predominance of the Covenanters in other parts of Scotland was, however, beginning to tell in Aberdeen. The king had hoped that the Doctors would take part in the Glasgow Assembly which met in November 1638, about a month after these events, and Huntly also desired them to be in readiness; but (says Spalding) " none obeyed for plain fear." Drs Baron and Sibbald were appointed commissioners, with Guild, and Lindsay the parson of Belhelvie, but did not attend. King's College sent John Luncie of the Grammar-School, its common procurator, with a commission limited to answering complaints against the principal and regents. Lundie, however, not only went beyond his commission but seems to have acted in a manner entirely contrary to its spirit. At his instance, on a petition for the abrogation of Elphinstone's foundation as revived by Forbes, a committee was appointed to " visit" the college.

The proceedings of the Glasgow Assembly are part of general history—how Hamilton, as king's commissioner, dissolved it when it proceeded to pass judgment on the bishops; how it sat on, nevertheless, declared the bishops to be deposed and all acts of Assemblies at which they had been present annulled, and re-established the Presbyterian system. Its acts were proclaimed illegal and invalid by Hamilton in Edinburgh and by Huntly in Aberdeen, where the magistrates and clergy refused to allow them to be read in the churches. But Aberdeen was almost the only place where it was set at defiance.

Associated with Huntly in the Royalist or anti-Covenant-ing interest was the powerful Gordon connection, John Gordon of Haddo (ancestor of the Earls of Aberdeen) and George Gordon of Gight being at this time its mest influential members. The Leslies were divided, but the Leiths, Urquharts, Johnstons, Setons, Abercrombies, and Elphinstones were Royalists. Royalist too were Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, with his considerable family connection and following, Sir Thomas Crombie of Kemnay, luring of Foveran, Udny of Udny, and the city family of Menzies of Pitfodels. In Banffshire the Ogilvies were Royalists at the earlier stages of the Troubles, and though Lord Findlater soon fell away, Sir George Ogilvie, afterwards Lord Banff, remained a leading member of the party. Huntly also carried with him the Highlanders of Badenoch and Lochaber, and his party had the support of the western Clan Donald. In the country beyond the Spey, however, almost the only prominent Royalists were Lord Reay and Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty. Generally speaking, the Scottish nobles, with very few exceptions, allied themselves with the Covenanters. The seventh Earl Marischal, then a very young man, had given assurances to the king but soon turned to the Covenant. The leader of the Aberdeenshire Covenanters was the Master of Forbes, who, in common with so many of his contemporaries, had seen service in the Thirty Years' War; and he was followed by nearly all the Forbes family, the notable exceptions being Dr John Forbes of Corse and Abraham Forbes of Blackton. Associated with the Forbeses were the Frasers and Crichtons. The Erskines, Barclays, and most of the Burnets were also Covenanters. The Earl of Erroll was a minor under the tutorship of the Earl of Kinghorn, by whom the administration of his estates was turned to the Covenanting interest. A versatile soldier of fortune on this side was Sir John Urrie or .Hurry, of Pitfichie, in Monymusk.

The nobility, as represented by the Lords of Secret Council, having " turned their coats," in Spalding's homely phrase, by accepting the decisions of the Glasgow Assembly within a short time of their subscription of the King's Covenant, Charles declared the Scots in rebellion, sent a force against them by sea under the command of Hamilton, proceeded to raise an army in England which he was to accompany in person to the Border, and commissioned Huntly to organise the Loyalists north of the Grampians, the Earl of Airlie, and Lords Douglas, Nithsdale, and Herries to co-operate in the centre and south of Scotland. The portents of coming civil war were passing over the country. The nobility had been recalling their cadets from the Continental wars, and the numerous body of soldiers of fortune began to flock homeward. By the influence of Rothes the task of organising an army to oppose the king and overthrow the ecclesiastical system was committed to Alexander Leslie, who had been born in humble circumstances, and returned from the Swedish service with the rank of field-marshal; and when Charles reached the Border with his army of undisciplined and discontented English levies, he found himself confronted by a well-equipped Scottish army commanded and stiffened by experienced soldiers.

In Aberdeen the military training of " fencible persons," which had been neglected in the quiet times, was systematically resumed a short time before the meeting of the Glasgow Assembly, and in January 1639, when it had become manifest to the municipal authorities that the distractions and divisions would end in bloodshed, a council of war was appointed and a body of officers commissioned under whom the fencible persons in the several quarters of the town were to serve, the general military command being conferred on Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston. Rumours of a projected attack on the city by the army under Montrose led to the issuing of orders for the construction of earthworks.

Both Royalists and Covenanters had been holding meetings in the county. A large muster of the Covenanters took place at Turriff on February 14, for the twofold object of raising funds and obtaining lists of possible recruits from each parish, and of consultation between the southern nobles and their Aberdeenshire and Banffshire allies. Montrose, Kinghorn, Coupar, and others, with an escort, had crossed the Grampians without approaching Aberdeen, and from Lord Fraser's residence of Muchall-in-Mar had proceeded to Turnff, where the Forbeses and Crichtons, with bodies of the Marischal and Erroll tenantry and a contingent from Morayshire, were already assembled—in all, a force of about 800 men. The Royalists had been summoned to rendezvous in the neighbourhood of Turriff on the same day, with the intention, as would appear, of occupying the place and preventing the Covenanters from holding their meeting, and 2000 men, according to Spalding, responded to the call. In battle array but indifferently armed, they marched into the town ; but the Covenanters, having heard of this counter-move, were already in possession, and their arms were imposingly displayed along the walls of the churchyard. When Huntly, accompanied by Findlater and most of the prominent Cavaliers of the north-east, entered the town and saw how matters stood, they prudently passed on, the two parties surveying each other without hostile act or word. Some of the Royalists counselled attack, but Huntly replied that, having no warrant from the king, he would only act on the defensive if assailed. Such a futile reconnaissance, as the chroniclers of the Troubles remark, did little good to the royal cause, for it served as a parade before the keen eye of Montrose of the forces with which he had to reckon. One lesson which Huntly derived from it was that to cope with the Covenanters his men must be better armed and disciplined. Arms, to a certain extent, they were soon supplied with from a stock consigned to him in a king's ship, from which also the city magistrates purchased additional muskets, pikes, and ammunition.

The Royalists, now that Huntly was residing in Aberdeen, had complete control of the town, and citizens who had signed the Covenant co-operated with the rest in the common defence. Even Provost Jaffray, whose loyalty had been impugned by some of his opponents, was afterwards declared by the unanimous voice of a head-court of the inhabitants, at the instance of Robert Johnston, his predecessor in the provostship and an unimpeachable Royalist, to have acquitted himself dutifully and honestly as a loyal subject and painstaking magistrate. That a Covenanter like John Lundie should have gone to Huntly's residence and subscribed the king's Covenant and Bond of Maintenance may be regarded as an indication of the pressure of public sentiment or other constraint.

Then it became known that Montrose was coming north at the head of an army on the pretext of carrying out the "visitation" of King's College ordered by the Glasgow Assembly and to complete the overthrow of Episcopacy, the Doctors, who were still at their posts, took alarm and left the town. That such was Montrose's pretext had been elicited by a deputation sent to him by Huntly and the town to urge a suspension of proceedings until it should be seen if there might not be a treaty between the king and "the nobility." The deputation went a second time—George Jamesone, the painter, being one of the delegates from the town—to seek the good offices of Earl Marischal as they passed Dunnottar, and to urge the nobility to send their committee to visit the college and publish the acts of the Assembly with an escort of only a hundred men at most. To this proposal a temporising answer was returned by Montrose, to whom the deputation once more went back for the purpose of seeking an assurance that no hostility should be used against the town, and that none of its magistrates, ministers, or inhabitants should be "forced in their consciences or wronged in person or goods." To these representations Montrose gave a written answer to the effect that his visit to Aberdeen was only to carry out the decisions of the Assembly as had been done in other places, and that no violence was intended unless it should be necessary for safety and the cause.1 Huntly thereupon left Aberdeen to meet his party and followers at Inverurie, but Earl Findlater, "whom he chiefly expected," was absent; and after stating that he was practically unable to resist the large army coming from the south, especially having regard to the great assistance ready to meet it in Aberdeenshire, he disbanded his forces and retired to Strathbogie.

The city was thus left in a helpless plight. It had been depending on Huntly to lead in its defence, and he had retired from the struggle. It had been looking for assistance from the king, but none had arrived. Though there had been an appearance of unanimity while the preparations had been in progress, this new situation of affairs revived the old divisions and paralysed the Royalists. Many of them left the town. Sixty young men took ship at Torry to proceed to the king, and with them embarked Principal Leslie, Drs Baron, Sibbald, and Guild, Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, Menzies of Pitfodels, and others. Dr John Forbes, Dr Scroggie, Bishop Bellenden, and the sub-principal and three of the regents of King's College, retired to the country.

Montrose with about 6000 men arrived at the Tollo Hill, near the Bridge of Dee, on the 29th of March 1639, and had an unopposed entry into the city on the 30th. He was accompanied by General Leslie, and by Marischal, Kinghorn, Coupar, Elcho, and others of the southern nobility. His ensign, inscribed with the motto, " For Religion, the Covenant, and the Country," and four other banners, were borne aloft as the Covenanter army slowly threaded its way by the Upper Kirkgate, the Broadgate, the Castlegate, and the Justice Port to the Queen's Links, each soldier wearing a blue ribbon, each regiment of horse preceded by trumpeters, and each regiment of foot by drummers. To the Links also repaired the forces of the Aberdeenshire Covenanters, some 2ooo strong. The reception of this army by the Aberdonians being the reverse of cordial, Montrose sent for Provost Jaffray and complained that the soldiers could get neither welcome nor food, and that extortion was being practised, directing him at the same time to have the trenches filled up without delay. Leaving Kinghorn with 1800 men in command of Aberdeen, Montrose with the rest of the army and its leaders proceeded to Inverurie; and on the following day, which was a Sunday, " strange ministers " occupied the Aberdeen pulpits and read the sentences on the bishops and the other decisions of the Assembly.

Demand after demand was made upon the citizens. They were required to dismount their cannon and place them in front of Earl Marischal's house, to deliver up their ammunition, to fortify the blockhouse for the defence of the port, to agree to the billeting of soldiers—the town council to provide payment in the first instance—and to sign the Covenant with an additional article abjuring Episcopacy and declaring the holding of civil offices by the clergy to be unlawful. The town " took time to be advised before giving its answer" to the last requirement; to the others it submitted at once, as being "under bondage and thraldom for the present and nowise able to resist." A further demand was that the town should pay an indemnity or contribution of 100,000 merks, together with the entire cost of the soldiers since they had come to Aberdeen, the citizens who were Covenanters to be exempt from these payments. This demand was rejected as unreasonable and beyond the power of the town. " If the noblemen "—so runs the missive of the town council on behalf of the citizens—" insist to have the said taxation, they desire a competent time, a month or thereby, to be granted them to remove themselves and their wives and bairns, with bag and baggage, out of the town, and thereafter let the noblemen dispose of the town at their pleasure."

After Montrose's meeting with the Aberdeenshire Covenanters at Inverurie a conference, ostensibly of a friendly nature, took place between him and Huntly, who was afterwards induced to visit Aberdeen and was entertained by the nobility at their headquarters in " Skipper Anderson's house." Several demands were then made upon him, in response to which he agreed to resign his lieutenancy and contribute to the cost of the army; but to another demand he pleaded that, having resigned his commission, he could do nothing against the outlaws Grant and Dugar, and he absolutely refused reconciliation with Frendraught. By this time he found himself a prisoner. It was vain to plead that he had come to Aberdeen under assurances from Montrose, and that he had been made a prisoner by unfair and dishonourable means. With his eldest son he had to accompany the nobles to Edinburgh. Offered his liberty on condition of accepting the Covenant, he replied that he was not so bad a merchant as to buy liberty at the cost of conscience, fidelity, and honour, and that he would not join in rebellion under a pretence of religion. "For my own part," he said, in the spirit of his answer to Monro, " I am in your power, but resolved not to leave the name of traitor to my posterity : you may take my head from my shoulders, but not my heart from my sovereign." During his imprisonment the leadership devolved on his second son, Lord Aboyne, who had been allowed to go to Strathbogie for money when his father went south, and was persuaded by Banff and other chief men of the party to remain among them.

Meanwhile the work of enforcing acceptance of the Covenant was carried on, under menace of plundering, by Marischal, Seaforth, Fraser, and the Master of Forbes. Both Covenanters and Royalists made requisitions for the support of their troops, and the system of raiding inseparable from such warfare began to be carried on with unrelenting severity. Strachan of Glenkindie, " a great Covenanter," plundered Donald Farquharson of Tillygarmonth, Huntly's bailie in Strathaven, and Farquharson retaliated by a foray on Earl Marischal's Deeside territory, and by taking possession of Durris belonging to Forbes of Leslie. Montrose himself had allowed his troopers to forage in Kemnay as they returned from Inverurie, and a company of 500 Highlanders sent by Argyll to join him at this time was ordered to "sorn " upon the lands of the Royalist lairds of Drum and Pitfodels.

Shortly after the deportation of Huntly a gathering of Covenanters was held at Monymusk, attended by a commissioner from Aberdeen and eighty men; and one on a greater scale was to take place at Turriff. On reports that Aboyne was calling the Royalists to arms, however, the Turriff meeting was postponed, and a force of about 2000 men having responded to his call, he sent representations to Earl Marischal, as Governor of Aberdeen, that it should be abandoned. The reply of Marischal showed that the nobility were determined to persevere with their resolution to bring the two counties into line with the rest of Scotland. In this situation of affairs, cut off as he was from communication with the king, Aboyne shrank, as his father had done, from the responsibility of entering on a war. By their unaided exertions, it was evident, the north-eastern Royalists could not prevail against the power of practically the whole body of the Scottish nobles. So he disbanded his force, and sailed from the Banffshire coast to consult with the king and his advisers.

Disappointed though they were at this turn of affairs, the Cavaliers of the north-east resolved to keep the field. Their first demonstration took place at Towie-Barclay, where some arms taken from Sir Thomas Urquhart had been stored, but the house was successfully held by the Covenanters. The Turriff meeting was to take place on May 20, but by the 13th the Covenanters, 1200 strong, were already in possession. At nightfall the Gordons and their allies from Central and Western Aberdeenshire, Ogilvie of Banff with a party, and Colonel Johnston with a number of the Huntly retainers and four field-pieces from Strathbogie, quietly assembled in the neighbourhood, and as daybreak approached they entered the town with a sudden blast of trumpets and drums (May 14). Some volleys of musket-shot had been exchanged when one or two discharges of the cannon threw the Covenanters into a panic and put them to flight—Skene of Skene and Forbes of Echt, who had more nerve or less swiftness than the rest, being taken prisoners by the Cavaliers. Such was the "Trot of Turriff," as it was called, a harmless and indeed ridiculous beginning of civil war in the north-east. Following up their bloodless victory, the Cavaliers rode to Aberdeen on the following day, and, improving on the example that had been set by Montrose, demanded free quarters for themselves and their men in the houses of the Covenanters. To this demand the citizens, at a general meeting convened by Provost Jaffray, resolved to reply that, being "members of one body and incorporation," they would equally share all burdens, it being understood that this principle applied likewise to the exactions already imposed by Huntly and Montrose. Another demand was for men for the king's service, and to this the answer was that so many had gone to foreign countries, while some were in the king's service already, that those remaining in the town were too few for its defence in such dangerous times. Similar demands by the Covenanters for aid to " the cause" in Edinburgh, and for the transference of the Aberdeen artillery to the town of Montrose, had met with no better response. A practical sense of the costs of political steadfastness had been borne in upon the citizens, who now desired above everything to be let alone — both by the southern nobility, who for their own ends were working with the Covenanters, and by the north-eastern Royalists, who, however strong in the two counties, were clearly the weaker party f the issue was to be a national one and was to be fought out by the sword.

An effort to come to terms with Earl Marischal was barren of fruit, for the earl was dominated by stronger wills than his own, and Montrose was immediately on the scene at the head of a force of 6000 or 7000 men. On the approach of this army the Royalist leaders disbanded their men and left Aberdeen, their departure being immediately followed by the pillaging of the bishop's palace, and the destruction of the corn and "girnals," or meal-storeS, of the Royalists near the city. Spalding also mentions a slaughter of dogs, because waggish Royalists had decorated them with blue (Covenanting) ribbons.

Having regard to the strength of the army now brought against them, and the prospect of its being largely reinforced from beyond the Spey, several of the Royalists, deeming further resistance hopeless, followed Aboyne's example, and put to sea from Doune (Macduff) in order to go to the king at Berwick. On the way, however, they met and returned with a convoy of royal ships coming north with Aboyne, now commissioned as king's lieutenant, Irvine of Drum, the Earls of Tullibardine and Glencairn, and several of the Episcopalian clergy who had gone south as refugees, one of them being John Gregory of Drumoak. The ships had also military stores on board, and the king had ordered that soldiers should be sent, but Hamilton, who was in command of the fleet in the Firth of Forth, declared himself unable to send them at the time. A vessel southward-bound with the cannon which the citizens had been obliged to surrender on the return of the Covenanting nobility was intercepted by Aboyne, and brought back to Aberdeen.

The arrival of these ships once more changed the aspect of affairs, and Montrose, who had begun a siege of the House of Gight, hastened south for reinforcements. Aboyne reoccupied the town with a force at first consisting mainly of 1000 predatory caterans, who had arrived by way of Deeside under the nominal command of his boy-brother, Lord Lewis Gordon ; but in a short time the recently disbanded men returned to the royal standard, so that he had in all a force of about 4000. With ill-directed energy he committed the provost and his son to prison, and otherwise acted with a high hand. It was probably under a sense of the necessity that spoliatory warfare should be in prospect if his Highlanders were to be kept together, that he started on an expedition into the Covenanters' territory of the Mearns. As military expert and chief of the staff, a Colonel Gun had been sent with him from the royal headquarters. Gun was a bad exchange for Johnston, and a fiasco resembling the Trot of Turriff soon put an end to this expedition. When it reached Megray Hill, near Stonehaven, it was met by a Covenanting force, which in turn began to play upon it with artillery (June 15). A few shots broke up the Highlanders and sent them in disorderly flight towards the hills, and they returned home with such spoil as they could pick up by the way, especially on Marischal's Strachan estate. Aboyne retired towards Aberdeen with the more reliable part of his army, and prepared to defend the Bridge of Dee. He was closely followed by Montrose, who, after encamping for a short time at the Covenanters' Faulds, as the place was afterwards called, overlooking the bridge, proceeded to open fire on the Royalists and the earthworks by which they had fortified their position. For a whole day (June iS) a cannonade and musketry fire were continued with little effect, and operations were resumed next morning. By a feint of crossing the river at a point some little distance above the bridge, Montrose lured away a large portion of the defending force, and then by a vigorous attack overwhelmed the weakened defence of the bridge itself. The town, again at the mercy of the Covenanters and their able commander, escaped pillage on payment of a fine of 7000 merks. Montrose was urged by some of those about him to give effect to the orders of the Tables for its destruction, but, having no taste for such barbarity, he first temporised, and then, fortifying himself by a written guarantee of indemnity from Marischal and Fraser, he refused to yield to these sinister counsels.

The Pacification of Berwick gave a shortlived respite from the alternate oppressions of Royalists and Covenanters; but the meetings of the Assembly and the Parliament, with their confirmation of the abolition of Episcopacy, were soon followed by the resumption of the war. In the spring of 1640 Earl Marischal exacted a so-called "loan" from the citizens of all their gold and silver work and coined money for the Covenanters' war - chest ; while towards the end of May General Monro arrived with about 1000 men, and imposed the "Articles of Bon-Accord," by which the town was bound to furnish supplies on an extensive scale for the army. Recruits were impressed for service in General Leslie's expedition to England ; an instrument of torture called " the wooden mare " was employed for the punishment of recalcitrants, and requisitioning in its severest form was again directed against the Royalists of Aberdeenshire. Drum and other residences were besieged; Monro himself took possession of Strathbogie Castle, and cleared the district round it of men, money, horses, and arms, and the towns of Banff and Peterhead were occupied. For outstanding against "the good cause" Irvine of Drum and Gordon of Haddo, with many country gentlemen and burgesses, were arrested and sent in custody to Edinburgh. One of the prisoners was Sir George Gordon of Gight, but as he was dying his liberation took place soon after their arrival in Edinburgh. Most of the other prisoners were kept in the Tolbooth for six months, and then set free on payment of heavy fines. One of them was Jamesone, who had painted the portraits of Rothes, Montrose, Marischal, Kinghorn, and most of the northern chiefs of the party in power, and Spalding records that " by moyan he wan free and paid no fine."

During Monro's occupation of Aberdeen the General Assembly met in Greyfriars' Church and deposed the Doctors, Archdeacon Logie, John Gregory, and other clergymen. It also conferred the benefit of Andrew Cant's ministrations upon the congregation of St Nicholas' by appointing him one of the city ministers. Gregory was treated with exceptional harshness, being taken from his bed at night by a party of Monro's troopers, and closely secluded in Skipper Anderson's house. The universities had already been "visited," and their anti - Covenanting professors removed from office. The principalship of King's College, from which Dr Leslie had been ousted, was conferred upon Dr Guild, who had returned from exile, made his peace with the prevailing powers, and displayed the zeal of a turncoat, —to be ousted in turn by General Monk and the Commonwealth as too much of a Royalist. The Snow Church and the bishop's house were demolished by the new principal, the stones of the church being used to build "the college-yard dyke" and the windows of his own house; and destruction of churches and their "ornaments" was again in fashion. Guild is more favourably remembered as the great benefactor of the Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, to which he gifted the Trinity monastery and chapel for a hospital and meeting-house. These properties he had acquired by purchase some years before the Troubles began.

The north-eastern Royalists gradually succumbed to the pressure that was forcing the Covenant upon them. On his liberation at the Peace of Berwick Huntly went abroad for a time, and Lord Gordon, on the advice of his uncle, Argyll, subscribed and made his peace with the Covenanters. Requisitions were imposed on the counties for the supply of provisions for the Scottish army occupying the north of England, and 12,000 bolls of oatmeal had to be shipped for Newcastle in 1641 at the Aberdeenshire and Banffshire ports. The contribution of the town of Aberdeen was in clothing. Men were also in request, and 100 recruits from the Gordon estates were directed by Earl Marischal to proceed to Morpeth, but when they reached Edinburgh their uncouth appearance so little commended them to the Committee of the Estates that it sent them home again as " unworthy soldiers."

Meanwhile Montrose had parted company with Argyll and the extreme Covenanters, and as a signatory of the Cumbernauld Bond and an alleged plotter against Argyll, he now suffered imprisonment at the instance of his former associates. For a time he withdrew from public affairs, but in the early days of the English Civil War we find him at Kelly in consultation with Marischal, who was also inclined to dissociate himself from the extreme party, and with Gordon of Haddo, Ogilvie of Banff, and others of his former opponents.

Sir John Gordon of Haddo, who had a strong dislike for Covenanters, resented the incarceration of one of his servants by Alexander Jaffray, the younger, in the exercise of magisterial functions in Aberdeen, and meeting Jaffray and his brother at Kintore, he gave them a line of his mind and a thrust with his sword, following up this action by a foolish parade at the Cross of Aberdeen. On the suit of the Jaffrays the Privy Council imposed on him a fine of 20,000 merks. When hostilities broke out again in 1644 one of his first acts was to ride to Aberdeen with a party of his friends and about 60 horse, seize the four most prominent Covenanting laymen—Provost Patrick Leslie, Robert Farquhar, and Alexander and John Jaffray—and lodge them in the cells of Strathbogie Castle, whence they were transferred to Auchindoun.

The enforcement of the international Solemn League and Covenant and the alliance of the Scottish Convention with the English Parliament revived the struggle in these counties. Dr John Forbes, who wished to live at peace with the Presbyterians, left the country when acceptance of this Covenant was made compulsory; Robert Burnet of Crimond, the father of Bishop Burnet, followed the same course. Huntly called his men to arms, but on the approach of forces from Fife and Argyle he retired from the strife in despair. His heir and the Banffshire Ogilvies were now acting with the Covenanters, and being excommunicated along with Montrose, the marquis took refuge in the obscurity of Strathnaver. Sir John Gordon of Haddo and John Logie, son of the archdeacon, were captured, conveyed to Edinburgh, and beheaded — the first victims of the political vengeance of the Covenanters (July 19, 1644).

Montrose, now raised to the marquisate and appo.nted the king's Lieutenant-General for Scotland, with a fluctuating army of plunder-loving Highlanders, opened his wonderful campaign by defeating Lord Elcho at Tippermuir, near Perth (September 1). Gathering recruits from the Braes of Angus, he hastened on towards Aberdeen, crossed the Dee at Mills of Drum, and encamped at the Two-mile Cross, from which he despatched a letter to the local authorities notifying that "being there for the maintenance of religion and liberty and his Majesty's just authority and service," he demanded the immediate surrender of the town, failing which, he advised all old men, women, and children to leave, as no quarter would be shown. The committee of the Covenanters resolved to resist him, and Montrose advanced towards the town (September 13). He was met by Lord Burleigh and the Aberdeenshire Covenanters with nearly 3000 men, his own force being little more than half that number. An encounter took place at the Justice Mills, near the scene of the Crabstane skirmish. It lasted tvo hours, and was not deadly until the Covenanters began to give way before their skilful opponent. Then followed a disorderly rout, in which about 150 of the Covenanters fell, and the town was given over to rapine and violence. Montrose had saved it on previous occasions, but his present army was differently composed, and could not be restrained from plunder. Spalding records, in illustration of the savagery of Montrose's "Irish," that seeing a man well clad, they would first strip him to save the clothes, and then put him to death.

From Aberdeen the victorious leader passed to Strathbogie in the hope of enlisting the co-operation of Huntly, but the marquis was nowhere to be found, and without him all appeals to the loyalty and patriotism of his people were vain. Argyll had been ravaging Aberdeenshire and planting on Deeside a body of his Highland and Irish soldiery, who were called " the Cleansers," from the thoroughness with which they stripped the country of everything that could be consumed or taken away, and now he retired for the winter to his own country. Thither Montrose unexpectedly followed him, and inflicted the sharp defeat at Inverlochy. Montrose's motions were swift, and to his opponents bewildering. Early in spring he surprised the town of Dundee. In May, when he had been joined by Lord Gordon (who had now left the Covenanters) and Lord Aboyne, he was attacked by Urrie at the head of a superior force at Auldearn, where a blunder of one of Urrie's subordinates enabled him to carry the day with the rush and claymores of the Hignlanders. But as usual, the greater part of his army melted away after the battle, and for a time he had to evade General Baillie, who had hastened through West Aberdeenshire to the assistance of the Covenanting force.

Having collected his men again to the number of about 2000, Montrose took up his position on the rising ground near the village of Alford, and with Lords Gordon and Aboyne in command of small bodies of horse on the right and left respectively, the centre consisting mainly of the Gordon tenants and vassals, he awaited the attack of the Covenanters. There was no great disparity of numbers, but Baillie had the advantage in cavalry with Lord Balcarres's strong regiment. A stiffly-contested battle resulted in another important success for the Royalist cause (July 2), won, however, at the cost of Lord Gordon's life. With the further victory at Kilsyth the Royalist cause seemed destined to triumph in Scotland. Montrose, in his desire to raise a reliable Lowland army, offended the Highland leaders, and General David Leslie, who had been sent in haste from England to check the rising tide of Royalism, achieved his signal victory at Philiphaugh.

The spell was now broken. Montrose retired to the north to reorganise his forces, and tried earnestly to enlist the cooperation of Huntly. Huntly, however, had not forgotten or forgiven the treachery that led to his imprisonment, and was not cordial in his response to the overtures, but presently he took the held in person.

General Middleton, commissioned by the Estates to watch Huntly and Montrose, passed through the two shires in April on his way to Inverness, which Montrose was besieging, and when he had crossed the Spey the Aberdeenshire Royalists were mustered by Huntly at Inverurie and Kintore to the number of 1500 foot and 500 horse. After repulsing Colonel Hew Montgomerie, wrho had been left in command and had gone out to reconnoitre, the Royalists advanced towards the city. They attacked simultaneously at three points (May 14), and Aboyne, getting entrance at a part which had been set on fire, routed Mont gomerie's cavalry, the thinned ranks of which escaped by swimming the Dee. The infantry took refuge in the Tol-booth and in the residences of Marischal and Menzies of Pitfodels, but soon had to surrender, and 350 prisoners, 16 colours, and a large quantity of ammunition fell into Huntly's hands.

But Charles had surrendered himself to the Scottish army at Newark, and his orders immediately reached Aberdeen calling on Huntly to lay down his arms. Never was conclusion of peace more welcome than it was at this time to the sorely - tried Cuizens of Bon - Accord. Aberdeen had suffered grievously by the Troubles. Its trade had fallen off, its population had been thinned, and it had been subjected to intolerable exactions by its successive military masters.

The dark sequel belongs for the most part to general history. Charles's "Engagement" with the Scottish commissioners added greatly to the number of Scottish Royalists. Huntly laid down his arms, but he had an implacable foe in Argyll—none the less implacable that Charles had come to terms with the more moderate of the Scottish nobility. The reward that had been offered years before for his body, living or dead, was still held out. His sons retired to France, and he himself went afresh into hiding. Betrayed at last at Delnabo, in Upper Banffshire, he was led to the block in Edinburgh a few weeks after Charles had similarly perished in London. Montrose, who had reluctantly laid down his arms at the king's command and retired to Norway, returned, with Sir John Urrie, now turned Royalist, for one of his lieutenants, to fight the battles of Charles II. His fate, however, was defeat and betrayal, and to be conveyed in ignominy through these counties, and beheaded in Edinburgh without fresh trial.


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