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History of Aberdeen and Banff
Chapter XI


Charles II. and the Covenant—His landing at Speymouth and visit to Aberdeen—Provost Jaffray—Arrival of General Monk—Rule of the Commonwealth and Protectorate—Enforcement of toleration—Divisions among the Presbyterians—Cant's hostility to the Episcopalians—The Restoration in Aberdeen—Revival of Episcopacy—Flight and deposition of Cant—Archbishop Sharp—The Synod of Aberdeen unanimous for Episcopacy—Bishop Scougal revives the bright traditions of Aberdeen Episcopacy—The penal laws against nonconformity and conventicles — Harsh measures against the Aberdeen Quakers—Distinctive position of the two counties mainly ecclesiastical—The first Earl of Aberdeen—The Duke of Gordon's mild opposition to the Revolution—Viscount Dundee in Aberdeenshire—Collapse of Jacobite resistance after Killiecrankie—Only one Presbyterian minister in the two shires —Resistance in Aberdeen to the Presbyterian commission of "visitation"—The provost imprisoned — Division in the town council — The north - eastern clergy generally take the oath of allegiance — Gradual extension of Presbyterianism—The nonjurors—The "Rabbling of Deer"—Deprivations after the Rebellion of 1715—Persecution and close of non-jurancy.

Aberdeen was represented in the Parliament of 1649 by Provost Alexander Jaffray the younger, who was one of the commissioners sent over to Holland to treat with and bring home the young king. In his Diary he records how his conscience afterwards smote him because he took part in making Charles sign and swear to a Covenant which he did not himself believe in, but with regard to which he had allowed himself to be overborne by "gracious and holy men," one of whom we may suppose to be his imperious father-in-law, Andrew Cant. Charles landed at the mouth of the Spey on June 23, 1650, accompanied by the commissioners and a few of the Scottish Royalists, and after resting at Huntly's castles of Bog of Gight and Strathbogie— both at this time under the control of Argyll—and at Pitcaple, he arrived on the 28th in Aberdeen, where he was received with every manifestation of loyalty and goodwill. The first sight that met his eyes from the residence provided for him in the Castlegate, was the part of Montrose's dismembered body which had been sent for exhibition outside the Tolbooth. Its burial within the church of St Nicholas must have been by his orders or through his influence.

From Aberdeen the prince passed on to Dunnottar and to his coronation at Scone. Cromwell was soon in Scotland, fought his battle of Dunbar, and was master of the country. Among the prisoners taken at Dunbar was Provost Jaffray, who before his release had much intercourse with the Protector himself, and with Dr Owen and other Puritans, from whom he derived ideas differing much from those of the conflicting parties in Scotland. General Monk, with the forces of the Commonwealth, entered Aberdeen on September 7, 1651. Bishop Burnet, who "remembered well" the coming of the Cromwellian regiments, tells us that there was an order and discipline and a face of gravity among them that amazed all people; that they were gifted men, Independents and Anabaptists, who " preached as they were moved," and never disturbed the public assemblies in the churches but once, when they reproached the preachers with laying things to their charge that were false. The debate on that occasion grew very fierce, and swords were drawn, but no hurt was done; yet Cromwell displaced the governor of the town for not punishing this breach of order.1 When he was approaching the town, an assurance was given by the English commander that it should be free from all danger of a repetition of the plunderings of which it had such unpleasant recollections; and in view of the hardships it had suffered during the preceding dozen years, he agreed not to exact a contribution of ^12,000 Scots which had been imposed for its acts against the Commonwealth. The English garrison remained in Aberdeen till 1659, and it appears to have lived in harmonious relations with the citizens. The worst that is remembered against it is the removal of the stone buttresses of the cathedral to build a fort on the Castle Hill, whereby the great tower was so weakened that it afterwards fell. A month after his entrance into the city General Monk further dealt with the Covenanters by sending an order to the provost that any person either tendering or taking an oath or covenant would be dealt with as an enemy of the Commonwealth. Full protection was given to Aberdeen and Banff along with the other Scottish burghs, and Aberdeen, when it sent its representative to the United Parliament, was enjoying a measure of freedom and security which it had never before possessed.

Freedom of conscience was not only proclaimed in edicts but practically enforced in action. The Presbytery of Aberdeen called upon Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum to subscribe the Covenant. Irvine replied in a letter to the moderator, reflecting severely upon the conduct of the Presbyterians, who, he said, had cried out against the tyranny of the bishops towards some ministers refractory to Episcopacy, but on getting into power had themselves usurped the authority of popes. He protested against the sentence of excommunication pronounced by the presbytery against him as null both in its spiritual and in its temporal character, and summoned his opponents to appear before Colonel Overton or any other judge who should be appointed by the English commissioners. In another letter he complained of the persecution of himself and his family on account of his appeal to Colonel Overton, "wherein," he says, " I imitated St Paul, who appealed from the cruelty of the Pharisees to Caesar, a civil judge and no Christian." The case became notorious in England as an illustration of the illegitimate pretensions and persecuting spirit of the Presbyterians. A similar appeal to Cresar was made by Principal Row of King's College, John Menzies, professor of divinity in Marischal College, and John Seton, minister at Old Aberdeen, who were proceeded against for Independency; and they procured an injunction from the military commandant ordering the presbytery to desist from pressing them. The kirk-session had some difficulty in getting a servant of Sir Gilbert Menzies of Pitfodels to appear before it to give an account of his religious profession, and when he came he refused to recognise its authority and "carried himself uncivilly and upbraidingly, thanking God that the times were not as formerly." Menzies himself had previously informed two members of the session who were sent to him that he had nothing to do with them. The spirit of toleration was enforced by the military authorities, and men of all classes availed themselves of its shelter.

The national division of the Presbyterians into Resolu-tioners and Remonstrants, the former favouring the Engagement to assist Charles I. and the latter protesting against such tolerance, had its local reflex in Aberdeen due to Cant's " novations," especially in regard to the communion, from which he wished to exclude "ordinary sleepers in time of sermon," Sabbath-breakers, malignants, and a long category of persons defective in conduct or belief. The town council and others opposed the regulations promulgated by Cant as admitting "only such as in a Pharisaical way offer themselves to be tried by him." The question was carried through kirk-session, presbytery, and synod, until during the deliberations of the last-mentioned body a Cromwellian officer entered and peremptorily commanded it "to desist from meddling any more in that business."

For twenty years before the Restoration the strong-willed, energetic, and intolerant personality of Andrew Cant had ruled the presbytery. The town council, representing apparently the prevailing sentiment of the citizens, nominated John Paterson, minister of Ellon, and afterwards Bishop of Ross, for one of the ministerial charges in Aberdeen. The nomination was vehemently opposed by Cant on the plea that as patronage and presentations to churches had been abolished by an Act of the Estates in 1649, the kirk-session had "a special interest with the people in the nomination, calling, and electing of their ministers." The matter remained in abeyance for some years, and when it came up again there were two appointments to be made. Paterson and George Meldrum, regent in Marischal College, having been nom.nated by the council, Cant and the session at once agreed to the appointment of Meldrum, but Cant resisted to the utmost the proposal as to Paterson. Professor Menzies argued in favour of the call, and after a long debate Cant abruptly left the meeting. The question went on appeal to the synod, to which it was reported that the council's action had the support of the congregation and community, and that a meeting of many hundreds of people was unanimously in favour of it with the exception of Cant. The synod, where Cant never had such influence as he exercised in the presbytery, sustained the call, and though he sent commissioners to oppose it before the Presbytery of Ellon his opposition entirely failed. Deprived of the co-operation of the "civil arm" his influence had waned, and the fortunes of the Episcopal party, to which Paterson belonged, were again in the ascendant.

The Restoration was received in Aberdeen, in the words of the town council record, as an exceeding great matter of rejo< ing. A representative of the city, Baillie Gilbert Molly-son, had been among those with whom Monk took counsel at Dalkeith before he went to London to make his pronouncement and prepare for the return of Charles; and the public jubilations on the king's arrival in England were in strong contrast with the sombre aspect of the town during its long period of oppression by domestic factions and restraint by the English army. After thanksgiving sermons by Paterson and Menzies—the old church "all hung over with tapestry"— there was a general procession to the market cross, where wine and confections were provided for all classes, the town resounding with clanging of bells, firing of guns, and the music of trumpets and drums.

The nobles and lesser barons who had been Covenanters in the days of Charles I. were for the most part Royalists now. They had been of little account politically during the Protectorate ; and for this reason they welcomed a change that promised them the recovery of their former influence. Even before the advent of Cromwell some of them, and notably the Earl Marischal, had revolted from the developments of Presbyterianism and the ascendancy of Argyll. Marischal had been custodian of the regalia in the perilous days that followed the Coronation, had been captured at the Alyth Convention of Royalist leaders, and had spent the greater part of the Cromw ellian period as a prisoner in the Tower of London. At the Restoration his services and those of his family to the royal cause, and in the matter of the regalia, were recognised and rewarded by the elevation of his brother, Sir John Keith, to the Earldom of Kintore.

There was one man in Aberdeen who witnessed these demonstrations, and the drift of events, with bitterness of soul. Certain burgesses having on the day of the rejoicings seized and destroyed a copy of Samuel Rutherford's "treasonable and seditious book," which had been printed abroad, and was being surreptitiously circulated under the title of ' Lex Rex,' but without the author's name, Andrew Cant delivered a vehement sermon in vindication of the book and its author, and "did most unchristianly utter curses and imprecations " against these burgesses. On the town council taking proceedings upon their complaint, he fled for refuge to his son, the minister of Liberton, afterwards Episcopalian principal of the University of Edinburgh. After a time, however, he returned to Aberdeen, where he was put on trial before his co-presbyters, and deposed from the ministry. M ) one had been more high-handed and overbearing in the day of his power, when he had the military resources of Argyll and the extreme party of the nobles behind him. His rigidity in the matter of Church discipline had been the terror of sinners great and small, and his word had carried weight with the rulers of the land in the Covenanting days, but he suffered in the end that sentence of deposition which he had taken part in visiting upon the Doctors.

Not the least contribution of these counties to Scottish ecclesiastical history is found in James Sharp, son of the Sheriff-Clerk of Banffshire, student of King's College n the days of the Doctors, Presbyterian minister, regent of St Leonard's College, Archbishop of St Andrews, and primate of Scotland. Sharp was one of the Royalists made prisoners by Monk's troopers at Alyth, and he won a high reputation as a diplomatist by his success in pleading with Cromwell the cause of the Resolutioners or Broad party, which led to his being sent to London again when Monk had performed his coup d'etat, to urge that the "sinful" toleration established by the Commonwealth should be stopped, the freedom of the church judicatories restored, and ministers' stipends rightly applied and increased. During the critical time of decision between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism he went to London and Breda to negotiate with Monk and the king; and when he afterwards conformed to Episcopacy, and accepted the archbishopric, he was accused of betraying the Presbyterian cause. Sharp was not of sensitive nature, and by his acceptance of the highest office under the system he had been sent to oppose he subjected his conduct to sinister construction. The first day of 1661 saw the assembling of the Parliament, presided over, as royal commissioner, by the Kincardineshire soldier now ennobled as Earl Middleton, which passed the Act Rescissory sweeping from the Statute-book all legislation since 1633, and the accompanying Act empowering the king to settle the ecclesiastical polity of Scotland. Sharp, as a royal chaplain, preached before the Parliament on coronation day, and immediately afterwards accompanied Chancellor Glencairn and Rothes, President of the Council and son of the covenanting earl, to London, from which they returned with the king's proclamation re - establishing Episcopacy. Before this took place the synods in the south of Scotland had taken their stand against prelacy, but from the north of the Tay there was no voice of opposition to the impending change. Many of the older ministers had been educated under the Doctors, and had never been zealous Covenanters.

The Synod of Aberdeen met in King's College Chapel with fifty-four ministers in attendance, and unanimously voted an address to the Commissioner and Parliament, expressing their deep sorrow and regret for the national sin and their own guilt, in so far as they were accessory to the rebellious opposition to the late and the present king, and petitioning Irs majesty to settle the ecclesiastical government according to the "Word of God and the practice of the ancient primitive Church. The cue and even the words of the statute accompanying the Act Rescissory were followed in this document, which, as Dr Grub observes, expressed the real sentiments of the majority of the numerous body by which it waž drawn up, who " had submitted to a system which they believed not to be positively unlawful, but for which they entertained no affection."

While these transactions were being carried out, the attainders on Huntly, Sir John Gordon, and Montrose were annulled, and Argyll was tried and executed for high treason. It was in November 1661 that Sharp was nominated to the see of St Andrews. John Paterson of Aberdeen became Bishop of Ross; Patrick Forbes, son of the exiled minister of Alford and nephew of the great bishop, was the new Bishop of Caithness; and to the see of Aberdeen was appointed David Mkchell, a Kincardineshire man, who had been a friend of Bishop William Forbes, censured by the Covenanters at the Glasgow Assembly, a refugee in Holland earning his living as a watchmaker, and latterly had gained a position for himself in England, where he had been made a Doctor of Divinity of Oxford and a prebendary of Westminster. The preacher at Holyrood Abbey, when a number of the bishops were consecrated, was James Gordon, parson of Drumblade in Aberdeenshire, which county in many ways had a prominent part in the restoration of Episcopacy.

From Bishop Mitchell's first diocesan synod only nine ministers were absent—some of these by reason of sickness and old age. The only important outstanders from the subscription to the promise of canonical obedience were Professor John Menzies and George Meldrum, minister of St Nicholas', and after a short period of suspension from their offices they conformed with the rest. Mitchell's episcopate terminated with his death in little more than a year, and that of Dr Alexander Burnet, who succeeded him, was rendered still briefer by his translation to the archbishopric of Glasgow. Patrick Scougal, minister of Saltoun, in East Lothian, who had been a protege of Archbishop Spottiswoode but kept his benefice when Presbyterianism came in, was the next bishop. Scougal's rule was mild and exemplary on the whole; and if his measures of repression against the Quakers cannot be justified, it has to be remembered to his credit that his latest public service was to oppose the Test, with the result that it underwent important mitigation.

Aberdeen was again fortunate in its clergy. Henry Scougal, son of the bishop, left behind him the brightest of memories as a saintly and ideal minister. At the age of twenty-two he was ordained at Auchterless, and in the following year the autumn synod nominated him to the professorship of divinity in King's College. After hesitation and delay he accepted the appointment, and became a worthy successor of Dr John Forbes. During his lifetime—he died at the early age of twenty-eight—his work on 'The Life of God in the Soul of Man,' which is still prized by the devout of different denominations, was first published by the celebrated Gilbert Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Sarum.1 There were other clergymen of note under Scougal's episcopate. Dr George Garden, one of the ministers of Aberdeen and editor of the works of Dr John Forbes, and his brother Dr James Garden, professor of divinity in King's College, cultivated a mystical and reflective theology. Both were deposed when Presbyterianism was restored, but Dr George Garden continued to minister as an Episcopalian clergyman.

The repressive measures by which the Government and the Episcopate made themselves odious in the south and west of Scotland did not operate so obnoxiously in the north-east, where the prevailing sentiment was favourable to the political and ecclesiastical order now established. Thus the Act of "The Drunken Parliament" of 1662, declaring vacant all churches where the incumbent had not obtained episcopal collation, did not touch a diocese in which Episcopacy was received with practical unanimity, though elsewhere it led to 350 ministers abandoning their benefices and taking most of their congregations with them. The Act compelling attendance at the parish church had more relevance to the situation of affairs in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire from its bearing upon the Roman Catholics, of whom there were considerable numbers in both counties, and on the Quakers, who were more numerous in Aberdeen and its neighbourhood than anywhere else in Scotland. To the same type of legislation belong the Acts imposing heavy penalties on holders of Conventicles and persons "intercom-muning" with them. To its own hurt the Church relied on and invoked the " arm of flesh," which at this time freely applied the boot and thumbscrew, hanged misbelievers, and transported many of the able-bodied for slavery at the plantations. These counties were entirely beyond the range of the insurrections of the " wild Westland Whigs"; they had 110 part in the fight of Rullion Green, in the overrunning of the south - western counties by the marauding " Highland Host," in the assassination of Archbishop Sharp as the " Judas" who had betrayed Presbyterianism, and the inspirer, as was supposed, of the repressive policy, or in the affairs of Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge. For a time, indeed, the Kincardineshire stronghold of Earl Marischal —so were times changed—furnished in its "Whigs' Vault" a prison in which a large number of Covenanters brought north from Edinburgh were immured pending their acceptance of the oaths or transportation to America.

But Aberdeenshire was not wholly without a share in the persecutions that unhappily proceeded from or accompanied the restored Stuart monarchy and the re-established Episcopacy. We hear nothing indeed of cruel measures against Presbyterians. Most of the ministers conformed, and cases of hesitancy or scruple were treated with leniency. The Test Act, placing church and people at the mercy of the king, raised alarm which was not completely removed by the explanatory and attenuating Act of Council, and several incumbents were deprived of their livings for non-compliance. Harsher measures, however, were directed against the Quakers, the town council ordering certain " traffickers" of this sect to be expelled from the town, and if they returned to be scourged by the hangman. Quakerism had made its appearance in Aberdeen at least as early as 1663, the first persons of position who professed it in the north-east being Alexander Jaffray, Colonel David Barclay, and his son Robert Barclay, author of the famous ' Apology'; and it is curious to read in Jaffray's Diary of his solicitude that his father-in-law, Andrew Cant, the highflying Covenanter, should have "grace before his death to repent of his bitterness towards such as fear the Lord." Another early leader of Quakerism in the north was George Keith, son-in-law of the Professor William Johnston who negotiated on behalf of the Royalists in the early days of the Covenant. So long as he remained in Aberdeen Keith was a tireless propagandist of Quakerism, but having gone to America he quarrelled with the Quakers, and in his latter days as a clergyman of the Church of England he was their keenest opponent. Alexander Skene of Newtyle, a graduate of Marischal College, magistrate of Aberdeen, and historian of the city,1 was another of the early converts, among whom were several ladies of high social status in the city, and some families of position in the county. The number of avowed Quakers or sympathisers with them rapidly increased, especially in Aberdeen itself and in the Inverurie district. The Privy Council, for which we may read Archbishop Sharp, passed an Act in 1667 for the suppression of "Popery and Quakerism," which began to be coupled together in political and ecclesiastical proceedings; and during the next few years the Synod of Aberdeen, with the approval of the bishop, excommunicated Jaffray and other "apostates," appointed a fast on account of " the desertion of the truth " by so many in this part of the land, and represented to the sheriff the propriety of putting in force against the Quakers the Act anent conventicles. In Aberdeen they were repeatedly attacked by the populace, their burial of their dead was interfered with by the authorities, such of them as were burgesses were deprived of their burgess-ship; and the Barclays and other visitors, as well as Quakers resident in the town, were thrown into prison and otherwise ill-treated. No persons were so active in stirring up the authorities against the Quakers as Menzies and Meldrum, whose Presbyterian consciences, after an Independent phase, had been strained by the enforcement of Episcopacy; and when the influence of Robert Barclay and William Penn obtained a relaxation of the repressive measures against their co-religionists, the Presbyterian party reproached the Privy Council and prelates with neglect of duty in not putting in force the laws for the repression of Quakerism.

The distinctive position of the two counties at and after the Revolution continued to turn mainly on ecclesiastical predilections. Few of their sons played any prominent part at this time in national affairs. One considerable actor behind the scenes was Bishop Gilbert Burnet, but he was now an English courtier and bishop, and had no particular connection with the course of affairs in Aberdeenshire. Sir George Gordon of Haddo, son of the victim of the Covenanters' vengeance, was first a regent of King's College, and then successively a Lord of Session, Lord President, Lord Chancellor, and first Earl of Aberdeen ; and he had the reputation of being a solid statesman and fine orator, but slow to speak. The Scottish primate at the Revolution, Archbishop Ross, born at the manse of Kinnernie in Aberdeenshire, a respectable man who stood by King James, had not force of character to exercise any marked influence at such a crisis. The head of the premier governing family of the north, now raised from the marquisate of Huntly to the dukedom of Gordon (1684), held Edinburgh Castle for King James when the Convention of Estates met in Edinburgh four months after the landing of the Prince of Orange at Torbay, but was careful to do nothing to exasperate the besiegers or the Convention. Though he preferred the old king, the heir of the Gordon traditions and power was not fanatically opposed to the Revolution.

When the Estates resumed their sittings as a Parliament, in June 1689, under the sanction of King William and Queen Mary, and the Earl of Annandale submitted his Bill for the abolition of prelacy and the settlement of Presbyterian government, the Earl of Kintore presented an address from the Synod of Aberdeen referring to its testimony against Popery, its general concurrence in praying for King William, and its earnest desire for union with all Protestant brethren who differed only in doctrine, and petitioning for a General Assembly to consider the matters in dispute and prepare overtures for the accommodation and the peace of the Church. The Duke of Hamilton, as commissioner, was favourably inclined to this proposal, which, however, was obnoxious to the Presbyterians, who in the actual condition of the Church would have been outvoted in such an Assembly. Attention was soon diverted from such matters by the exaggerated announcement of a conspiracy against the Government, the arrest of the Duke of Gordon and thirty-seven other persons, and the insurrection under John Graham of Claverhouse.

General Mackay, who knew the Highlands and had been trained as a soldier in Holland, was sent north with a small body of dragoons to deal with the insurgents. In Forfarshire, Graham's own county, he found nothing to arrest his. progress, and he continued his march to Aberdeenshire by the Cairn-a-Mounth and Kincardine O'Neil. Here he was met by the Master of Forbes with five or six hundred ill-armed followers, whom he promptly relegated to the defence of their own fields. Meanwhile Viscount Dundee, by which title Claverhouse had been raised to the peerage by James, crossed the Grampians into Braemar, and passed thence into Strathdon and Strathbogie3 and onward towards Inverness. Before Mackay reached that town his nimble foe was back in the Lowlands. The history of Montrose's Cavalier days was repeating itself in the case of his kinsman. After much marching, and having forced the capitulation of Ruthven Castle in Strathspey, Dundee is again reported in Strathdon at the head of a large force; then in due course the large force melts away to dispose of the spoils of warfare. Mackay meanwhile returns to the Lowlands, and, reinforced by trustworthy Barclays and Leslies, passes to the uplands of West Aberdeenshire, and sends a detachment to dispose of Farquharson of Inverey, which has to be rescued by a larger force. Then follow the burning of Braemar and Inverey Castles and the occupation of Abergeldie by a Lowland garrison. These and other preliminaries over, the sharp and decisive battle of Killiecrankie was fought (July 27)—a victory more disastrous than defeat, for the leader had fallen who alone could turn it to account. General Buchan, who succeeded to the command of the Jacobite Highlanders, made Aberdeenshire the scene of his operations, but without achieving any notable result. Mackay occupied the city for a considerable time. There is a curious entry in the parish records of Kemnay under date of Sunday, August 11, 1689, a fortnight after the battle of Killiecrankie, to the effect that the bells were tolled and the minister was ready but no meeting of the people took place, because General Mackay was marching to Inverurie with his army, and Kemnay being the parish next adjacent, its people stayed from church to watch their corn, lest it should be destroyed by the horses of the military. With the affair of the Haughs of Cromdale in the following spring the desultory warfare in the north was brought to a close.

Though the Jacobite party was strong in these counties it offered no serious resistance to the Revolution Settlement or the new king. The Episcopalian majority included most of the clergy, of the regents in the universities, and of the nobility and gentry, and was, therefore, the party of wealth and education. But it was without the zeal of the Presbyterians, who were supported by the force of their party in the south, and had the Revolution Settlement as a basis of action. Beginning in 1690 with only a single minister in the Synod of Aberdeen and Banff, the number of Presbyterian incumbents had risen to eight by the middle of 1694, when a Presbyterian kirk-session was formed in the city of Aberdeen, and to fifteen by the spring of 1697; but it was not until 1704 that the Communion was first administered in Aberdeen to the members of the Presbyterian Church.1 At the General Assembly which followed the Parliamentary sanction of Pres-byterianism, in October 1690, the country north of the Tay was almost entirely unrepresented. The Assembly had received power from Parliament, by a system of " visitation," to " try and purge out all insufficient, negligent, scandalous, and erroneous ministers," and it accordingly appointed two commissions of visitation, one of which arrived in Aberdeen in March 1691. In anticipation of its coming, a number of the citizens and country gentlemen had entered into a bond to support their ministers. The commission had not sat half an hour when, according to the Privy Council minute on the subject, " the house was surrounded with a great confluence of the baser sort of the people, consisting of tradesmen, students of the universities, and a rabble of other sort of persons," who, armed with various weapons, attempted to break open the doors, which the commissioners "fortified within for their own preservation"; and this rabble ceased not to cry and threaten that they would drag the commissioners out of the house and stone them out of the town." In these circumstances no business could be done. Provost Sandilands was committed to prison over the affair, and a new election of provost was ordered by the Privy Council, while three other citizens had to do public penance in the Tron of Edinburgh. There was again, in the following year, as in the days of Sir Patrick Leslie's first election to the provostship, an active Presbyterian party in the town council, at whose instigation in 1692 a memorial was presented on the subject of Dr George Garden's not praying for the king and queen or observing the fasts and thanksgiving days. The minority, alleging that the council did not truly represent the sentiments of the community, protested that no action should be taken in the matter without the advice of the citizens, assembled in head-court, or at least of the " double council"; and all the more that some of the councillors concerned in the memorial had absented themselves from Dr Garden's ministrations for years. But the majority refused to consult the citizens, and carried out its purpose of referring the matter to the General Assembly. Principals Middleton and Paterson, and most of the regents of both colleges, took the oath of allegiance and complied with the terms of the Act of Parliament, some of them with avowed reluctance. As Earl Marischal was at the head of the committee of visitation, his influence may have weighed with the members of his own college. Dr James Garden of King's stood out and was deprived of his professorship, a fate which had previously overtaken the Aberdonian Dr David Gregory at Edinburgh, though there was no impediment to his admission immediately afterwards to the Savilian Chair at Oxford.

The General Assembly of 1692 had before it a letter and proposed formula, by which the king sought to provide for the comprehension of the Episcopal clergy within the Presbyterian system, and most of the north-eastern clergy who had subscribed the oath of allegiance met in King's College Chapel and agreed to accept the proposed compromise; but it was not welcome to the Presbyterians, whom it would have placed in a minority in many of the Church courts, and without dircctly opposing it they set it aside by the fam: 'iar device of reference to a committee. Two years afterwards the Commission of Assembly renewed its attempt to displace the Episcopal clergy, and in anticipation of its visit to Aberdeen, in June 1694, the clergy of the north-eastern diocese, with representatives from Moray, Ross, Caithness, and Orkney, and from the shires of Angus and Mearns, met at King's College and appointed delegates to appear before it, and, following the precedent set by the famous queries of the Doctors, to demand an answer to certain questions as to its authority, as also to enter a protest against the proceedings of the late Assemblies, which were Assemblies of only a comparatively small minority of the Church. Nothing was done in the way of carrying out the contemplated deprivations, but the Commission induced several of the Aberdeenshire ministers to conform, and obtained possession of the Cathedral of St Machar. On ts •return to Edinburgh the Privy Council was invoked, and three of the ministers who subscribed to the protest were deprived and put in prison, while two others escaped by conforming. At Inverness fourteen of the clergy gave in a paper in which they declared their adherence to the Aberdeen protestation.

The Act of 1695, securing incumbents who had taken the oath in possession of their benefices though without a share in the general church government, was taken advantage of by many of the old parochial clergy. As late as 1710, however, there were still Episcopal holders of benefices north of the Tay. Most of the Aberdeenshire and Banffshire incumbents appear to have taken a practical view of the question of church government, and while preferring the moderate Episcopacy of the days preceding the Revolution to the new Presby-terianism, they did not think the question of form so vital as to preclude a provisional acceptance of the church order forced upon them. There were a certain number of nonjurors, but during the reign of Queen Anne the Episcopalians were generally well affected towards the sovereign, whose zeal for Episcopacy promised a return of better days, of which indeed they had an earnest in the Toleration Act of 1712. Many of the deprived clergy in Aberdeenshire submitted to the queen, including the two Gardens, who presented to her an address by the clergy of Aberdeen on the conclusion of the Treaty of Utrecht, referring to the freedom they now enjoyed, and in view of the abolition of the ancient and apostolical order in their Church petitioning for further relief.

The queen died, however, before further progress towards restoration of Episcopacy had been made. Many of the influences that attached the Episcopalians to Anne repelled them from George I., on whose accession they allowed the interests of Episcopalianism to be identified with those of Jacobitism. The Gardens, unhappily for themselves and their cause, appeared before the Pretender at Fetteresso with an address from the Episcopalian clergy, and henceforth Episcopacy was associated in the public mind, and especially in the mind of the Government, with Jacobitism and rebellion. The Episcopal clergy had now to seek an asylum at a distance from Aberdeen, and in the case of Dr George Garden, who escaped from prison, by leaving the country. Of those who remained at their posts some were tried for the political crime of rebellion, others for the ecclesiastical offence of using the English Liturgy and ceremonies. Altogether, about three dozen clergymen were deprived at this time within the diocese or synod of Aberdeen, of whom a majority were parish ministers.

The state of popular sentiment in regard to church affairs on the eve of the first rebellion is illustrated in the trouble arising out of the presentation by the Presbytery of a son of Provost John Gordon of Aberdeen to the incumbency of Deer in the spring of 1711. Gordon's presentation was forcibly resisted by the Episcopalian parishioners, when, according to a chronicler of the time, " the Presbytery and their satellites were soundly beaten off by the people, not without blood on both sides." This is the " Rabbling of Deer," celebrated in William Meston's "Mob contra Mob, or the Rabblers Rabbled." A party had gone out from Aberdeen in support of Gordon, among them apparently Provost Fordyce, who had been lessee of the Mill of Bruxie in Deer, and substantial burgesses engaged in the Campvere and Danzig trades; but for the time the "intrusion" was successfully resisted. It was an application against the Presbyterians of the weapon of " rabbling," which they had exercised in different parts of Scotland, and the incident was the immediate prelude of the Act of Toleration and the Act for the restoration of Church Patronage, and was more or less the cause to which these measures were due.

Few of the old Episcopalian incumbents, and none who were obtrusive in the expression of Jacobite sentiments, remained in the parochial benefices after the overhaul that followed the suppression of the rebellion. The early decades of the Guelph dynasty saw Presbyterian ministers of the "Moderate" school appointed to most of the parishes of the north-east. This school commended itself to many of the patrons, and such patronage as appertained to landlords strongly tainted with Jacobitism passed into the hands of the Government and its supporters. Ministers of Episcopalian-Jacobite tendencies, even could they have been found, would no longer have been appointed. There remained, indeed, through foul weather as through fair, a small body of non-juring clergymen, more numerous in Aberdeenshire than in any other part of Scotland, whom no penal laws or persecution could extinguish. After Culloden a rigorous enforcement of the law took place, and a new statute was passed for the punishment of persons resorting to any " meeting-house " where non-jurors officiated, and for the shutting-up of the meeting-houses, and the imprisonment or transportation of the pastors; but the history of the rebellion affords no evidence that the non-juring clergy had to any considerable extent been a cause of the rising. The penal laws were still unrepealed, and the Scottish bishops and clergy still held to their non-jurancy when, in 1784, a year after the acknowledgment of American independence, Dr Samuel Seabury, the first American bishop, was consecrated in Aberdeen by three of the four bishops who then formed the Scottish episcopate. Two of the three were the Primus (Bishop Robert Kilgour of Aberdeen) and his coadjutor, John Skinner, son of the poet, historian, and nonjuring clergyman of the same name. It was not till the death of Prince Charles in 1788 that the bishops and clergy took the oath of allegiance to the sovereign in possession, and obtained the repeal of the penal laws, the enforcement of which, however, had been relaxed since the accession of George III.


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