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A History of the Border Counties
Chapter XIV


PROGRESS OF THE BORDERS RETARDED BY THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS WARS — SUMMARY OF EVENTS IN THE COUNTRY — AN ARMY UNDER LESLIE MARCHES TO THE BORDER — PROJECTED ATTACK ON COVENANTERS AT KELSO—THEIR ENCAMPMENT ON DUNS LAW—PRINCIPAL BAILLIE’S DESCRIPTION—PACIFICATION OF BERWICK—THE COVENANTERS PASS THE TWEED AT COLDSTREAM — POSITION OF MONTROSE BEFORE PHILIPHAUGH—BATTLE OF PHILIPHAUGH—FLIGHT OF MONTROSE— TRAQUAIR’S CYNICISM — CRUELTY OF THE COVENANTERS — TRADITIONS OF THE BATTLEFIELD — PERSECUTIONS OF CATHOLICS ; LORD LINTON ; THE MARQUIS AND MARCHIONESS OF DOUGLAS—SEVERITY OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE—CHARACTER OF THE TIMES—SIEGES OF NEID-PATH AND HOME BY CROMWELL—MARIE, COUNTESS OF BUCCLEUCH ; ANNA, DUCHESS OF BUCCLEUCH AND MONMOUTH — THE BORDERS DURING THE LATER PERSECUTIONS—DEATH OF SAMUEL RUTHERFORD— HENRY HALL OF HAUGH-HEAD AND HIS ASSOCIATES—GATESHAW BRAES —CONVENTICLE ON SELKIRK COMMON—THE “HARBOUR CRAIG” IN TWEEDDALE—MARTYR’S GRAVE IN TWEEDSMUIR CHURCHYARD—SACK OF TRAQUAIR HOUSE.

From the rigorous remedial treatment to which they had just been subjected the Borders emerged quieted, and, as might be believed, by no means ill disposed for embarking in the labours of civilisation and enlightenment. But, for this, the first thing needful was peace, and that was to be denied them. Scotland had issued triumphant from the battle for political independence, and that contest was now for ever ended. But the not less noble battle for liberty of conscience lay ahead of her, and must be fought out to the end ere she should be free to apply herself to the arts of peace and to the development of her resources.

Again she was to retire a victor from the field, her national life and character immeasurably deepened, dignified, and braced by the contest. But by the operation of a natural law, in gaining much she had lost something, and the “defeats of her victories” remain still to be retrieved.

Charles I. had inherited neither his father’s discernment nor the caution—if you will, timidity—of his disposition, and the first twelve years of his reign present a curious study of wanton and infatuated aggression on the rights and liberties of his subjects. Having made up his mind to bring the Scottish Church into conformity with that of England, he first endeavoured to recover, for Church purposes, those ecclesiastical tithes and benefices which had passed into the hands of laymen at the Reformation. Having by this means touched the nobles in what was nearest to them, he seemed now deliberately to turn his attention to rousing the people against himself. The steps by which this end was reached belong, of course, to national, not to local history. Suffice it, then, here to say that the opposition excited by the king’s interference with the constitution of the Lords of the Articles,- by his increase in the number of the bishops, and by his appointment of the Primate to be Chancellor, reached a head with the appearance of the Book of Canons, or rules for the government of the Church, and with the enforcement of Laud’s Liturgy. Then occurred the famous scene of uproar in St Giles’s Church which is associated with the name of Jenny Geddes, and the king’s work was well in train. He had sown the wind and would have to reap the whirlwind. The Earl of Roxburghe, who was present at the riot, saved the Bishop of Edinburgh by carrying him off in his coach amid a shower of stones. In the preceding year another Borderer, Samuel Rutherford, had been convicted by the High Commission Court of Galloway of preaching against “ Arminian-ism” and the ceremonial newly imported into the public worship of the country, and having been deprived of his parochial charge, had been directed to confine himself as a State prisoner at Aberdeen. It was now and from that town, as from “ Christ’s Palace,” that he sent forth the greater number of those fervent and edifying “Letters” on which his reputation rests. Instead of, as was hoped, allaying discontent, the intromissions with the Privy Council of the committees known as The Tables only tended further to inflame feeling, and in 1638 the National Covenant was renewed. Among copies of this widely circulated document which have been preserved, is one which bears the signatures “Lothian,” “Yester,” “J. Drumlanrig,” and, among the signatories for the counties, “ Robert Scott, for forrest.”

The demands of- the Covenanters now comprised a free Parliament and Assembly, with the abolition of the “ Canons,” Liturgy, and High Court of Commission. These demands were met by Charles with temporising, and in November 1638 the free Assembly was convened in Glasgow Cathedral. But the value of the king’s word had yet to become known, and hardly had the Assembly entered upon its business when the Royal Commissioner gave orders for its dispersal. The meeting was, however, in no submissive mood. It ignored the order, and proceeded summarily to enact the deposition of the entire bench of bishops, with the rejection of the Liturgy and Canons. Things were now ripe for war. External circumstance also favoured an appeal to arms, for the country at this time held numbers of professional soldiers trained in the great religious contest of the Continent. Nor were active operations long delayed. Montrose proceeded against the non-Covenanters of the North, whilst General Leslie, the “ old little crooked soldier ” whose military distinction had gained him the friendship of the great Gustavus, marched with an army to the Border. Meantime the king brought an army northward to put down his rebellious subjects.

A detachment of about 4000 of the Covenanting troops had proceeded to the neighbourhood of Jedburgh and Kelso. Leslie, suspecting that they might be beaten up by the king’s horsemen stationed about four miles from the latter place, ordered them to draw in upon the town, to throw up trenches round it, and to maintain strict watch and ward. His precautions were justified, for the Earl of Holland, acting by the king’s order, now advanced, with thirteen troops of horse, 3000 foot, and four field-pieces, to drive out the Scots. Finding, however, that by Leslie’s forethought they had been reinforced and were well prepared to receive him, he beat a hasty retreat — the Scots being against their will restrained from pursuing him. For the present this was the nearest approach to an engagement that took place on the Borders. The next day, June 5, 1639, Leslie prepared to meet further hostilities by massing his troops in a strong position on Duns Law, where they commanded the highway to the north, and whence the king’s army was plainly visible, lying in pavilions, some six miles off, “in a fair plain along Tweed.”  So the two armies confronted each other.

The classical account of the Covenanters’ camp on Duns Law is that of Robert Eaillie, Principal of the University of Glasgow, who was present as preacher to the Ayrshire contingent. “ It would have done yow good,” he writes, “to have casten your eyes athort our brave and rich Hill, as oft I did, with great contentment and joy.” Nor did he stop short there. He continues: “ I furnished to half-a-dozen of good fellows, musquets and picks, and to my boy a broadsword. I carryed my self, as the fashion was, a sword, and a couple of Dutch pistols at my sadle; bot I promise, for the offence of no man, except a robber by the way; for it was our part alone to pray and preach for the incouragement of our countreymen, which I did to my power most cheerfullie. Our Hill was garnished on the toppe, towards the south and east, with our mounted canon, well near to the number of forty, great and small. Our regiments lay on the sydes of the Hill, almost round about: the place was not a myle in circle—a prettie round, rysing in a declivitie, without steepness, to the height of a bowshott; on the toppe somewhat playne; about a quarter of myle in length, and as much in breadth, as I remember, capable of tents for fortie thousand men. The crowners [colonels] lay in kennous [canvas] lodges, high and wyde; their captaines about them in lesser ones; the sojours about all in hutts of timber, covered with divott or straw. Our crowners for the most part were noblemen, . . . our captaines, for the most part, barrons or gentlemen of good note; our lieutenants almost all sojours who had served over sea in good charges. Everie companie had, flying at the Captaine’s tent - doore, a brave new colour stamped with the Scottish Armes, and this ditton, For Christ’s Croun and Covenant, in golden letters. Our Generali had a brave royall tent, bot it was not sett up; his constant guard was some hundreds of our lawers, mus-queteers, under Durie and Hope’s command, all the way standing in good armes, with cocked matches, before his gate, well apparelled. He lay at the foot of the hill in the Castle. . . . Our sojours were all lustie and full of courage; the most of them stout young plewmen; great cheerfullness in the face of all. . . . Had ye lent your eare in the morning, or especiallie at even, and heard in the tents the sound of some singing psalms, some praying, and some reading scripture, ye would have been refreshed : true, there was swearing, and curseing, and brawling, in some quarters, whereat we were grieved; bot we hoped, if our camp had been a little settled, to have gotten some way for these misorders; for all of any fashion did regraitt, and all did promise to contribute their best endeavours for helping all abuses. For my self, I never fand my minde in better temper than it was all that tyme frae I came from home, till my head was again homeward; for I was as a man that had taken my leave from the world, and was resolved to die in that service without retume. I fand the favour of God shyneing upon me, and a sweet, meek, humble, yet strong and vehement spirit leading me all along; bot I was no sooner in my way westward, after the conclusion of peace, than my old securitie returned.” Thus far the Principal. Of the religious exaltation which pervaded the army, a further idea may be formed from the fact that a landslip by which circular pebbles were uncovered was at once viewed as a miraculous provision of bullets to fire at the enemy; whilst even an acute lawyer like Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall was at this time accustomed to make entries in his day-book of words addressed to him by a voice from the Unseen. In comparison with this, the temper of the English was perfunctory; and though in other respects the armies were not ill-matched —numbering each something over 20,000—the king could scarcely fail to recognise the expediency of coming to terms. The result was the treaty known as the Pacification of Berwick.

This peace lasted but a year. The Scots had now become conscious of their power, and as this consciousness grew, their moderation departed. Finding himself openly defied, the king had no choice but to raise an army to proceed against them ; whilst on August 20,5 1640, the Covenanters on their part, having raised their camp at Chesla (Choicelee) Wood, near Duns, entered England. The crossing of the Tweed was accomplished at Coldstream. Montrose, to whom an appeal to the dice had assigned the leading of the van, was the first man to pass the river. This, in order to encourage the foot - soldiers, he did on foot, returning after he had crossed, and wearing the while a cheerful demeanour—which, according to Gordon of Rothiemay, was assumed, for he was already “ fallne in dislycke with the Covenanters’ actings, and was now waiting for the first opportunity for to crosse them.” Accordingly, when we next meet him on the Borders, it is in a very different character. The soldiers followed their leader, wading up to their middle in the stream. One man, belonging to Montrose’s company, was drowned in the passage.

It is no business of ours here to follow the great drama which culminated upon the scaffold at Whitehall. One more act in it, however, was played out upon a Border stage. In the interval between this and the event just described, the demands of Scotland had been granted, and the English Parliament—having resolved to follow Scotland’s example in resisting despotism by force—had, by adopting the Solemn League and Covenant, induced the neighbour country to support its efforts. Meantime, also, the king’s misfortunes were diverting sympathy to his side, and he had succeeded in winning over no less a person than the gallant and gifted Montrose.

Whatever may have been the purity of Montrose’s motives, no single gain could have been of greater moment to the cause, as no campaign could have been more brilliant than that which was to be disastrously cut short at Philiphaugh. And to Montrose must be awarded the credit of having created the weapon which he wielded with such startling effect. Of course the services of Highlanders had often before been called in in Lowland warfare, and as recently as in the Covenanters’ camp on Duns Law a Highland detachment had produced a profound impression. But it was reserved for the Great Marquis to test to the full the Highland powers, and to show what under able leadership the Highland soldier could accomplish. Having rapidly swept the entire North, and in a succession of dazzling victories won back nearly the whole of Scotland to the king, Montrose turned southward. But the weakness of the arm on which he most depended, and which had served him so well hitherto, was now to be disclosed. Under the constant excitement of forced marches and rapid attacks, the Highland soldier might be unrivalled; but with the withdrawal of such stimulants his interest in the campaign would be apt to flag, and he would seek to turn homeward with his spoil. These causes now operating in Montrose’s force, he found their numbers rapidly diminishing. But treachery was also at work. Great reliance had been placed by the king’s party on the support of Lords Roxburghe, Home, and Traquair. But as the younger Leslie advanced across the Border towards Melrose, he detached a party of horse to arrest Home and Roxburghe. The arrest was accomplished, but by the connivance of the parties themselves. The case of Traquair was not much better. Attracting attention by the unusual liveliness of his demeanour, he did indeed put in an appearance at Montrose’s camp, as though to testify his loyalty in person. But his son, l ord Linton, whom he left behind him with a troop of horse, deserted on the eve of the battle. Meantime, on the opposing side, the shires of Selkirk and Roxburgh had been directed to raise 1000 foot and fifty horse, to be commanded—the former by the Lords Lothian, Buccleuch, and Cranstoun, the latter by William Scott of Harden. But there was great difficulty in collecting the stipulated numbers. Surely all these things tend to prove the indifference of the majority of Borderers in the present struggle. The heart of the people, as represented by Baillie’s “ stout young plewman ” at Duns, might be sound, but they took little interest in the further development of the war; whilst those to whom they naturally looked as their leaders were likewise undecided or selfseeking.

Meantime, in the hope of meeting with promised reinforcements, Montrose had pushed on to Kelso and thence to Jedburgh. But he leaned upon a broken reed. The king either would not or could not support him, and when he fell back on Selkirk there is little doubt that he knew that his hopes were doomed. A certain relaxation of discipline, or at least of vigilance, seems now to have invaded his army, for without this it is impossible to account for the surprise which followed; and though the accounts of the opposing sides are at variance as to the surprise, it is but reasonable to accept the parties surprised as the better judges of the matter. Having disposed his little army round the house and offices of Philiphaugh 6 as their headquarters, the marquis himself spent the night of Friday, the 12th September, in a commodious house close to the West Port of Selkirk. As the hours went by, vague rumours of the approach of an enemy were brought to him; but it was generally known that Leslie had intended to push on northward, and Montrose’s scouts, having made some sort of examination of the surrounding country, had the hardihood to wish “ damnation to themselves ” if they could find an enemy under arms within ten miles. Hence all was false security.

Meantime Leslie had seen reason to alter his plans. He had, in fact, advanced as far as Melrose when news reached him—as some say through the perfidy of Traquair—of Montrose’s presence in the neighbourhood and of the weakness of his army. On this he resolved to disregard the orders which he had received, and, turning sharply to the left, took his way down Gala Water. As the morning of the 13th September broke, a thick mist covered his advance. The country through which he marched was on the whole friendly to him, and this also turned to his advantage; for, having informed himself of the exact position of the enemy, he took the advice of a veteran soldier of the district, and detached a strong party of horse to pass by an unobserved path, round Linglee Hill, to a point where it would command Montrose’s army in flank and rear. Meantime he himself pushed on to the attack.

On the first tardy intimation of the enemy’s approach Montrose leapt upon a horse, and galloped down the steep incline leading from Selkirk to the camp. Hastily mustering and forming his troops, he found that he could oppose to Leslie’s advance but a few companies of foot and a small body of horse—their right wing resting on the river, the left flanked by a steep bank. Small as the force was, for a time it contrived to hold the Covenanters at bay; and if gallantry could have won the day, in face of unpreparedness and a position badly chosen from the first, Montrose might have added one more to the list of his victories. But the odds against him were too great. Presently his left wavered and fell back, and the flank movement of the enemy becoming about this time apparent, the Royalists perceived that all was lost. The rout now rapidly became complete, and those who had horses saw that it lay with them to save themselves. Montrose and his immediate companions, among whom was the Marquis of Douglas, literally carved themselves a path through the foe, who now surrounded them, and having gained the neighbouring high ground, took their way over Minchmoor Hill in the direction of Peebles.

As they went along, something of order was regained—the horsemen, under their vanquished leader, forming themselves into a rear-guard for the protection of fugitives on foot who had left the battlefield before them. They are even said to have made some prisoners from among the pursuers, whom they released on the understanding that prisoners of equal number and rank should be released upon the other side. Others of the fugitives were less fortunate, mistaking their way and being delivered by the country-people to the enemy. Others again, consisting of 200 horsemen under the Earls of Crawford and Airlie, having effected their escape by a different road, fell in with Montrose much later on—to the surprise and joy of both parties. In the meantime a scene of horrible butchery had been enacted on the battlefield, where a targe body of Irish had held out, upon a rising ground, until terms of surrender were negotiated. The Covenanters, however, seem to have repented of their leniency, and availing themselves of a subterfuge, put the whole party to death — according to some accounts, with untold barbarity. We have shown that the people of the neighbourhood were for the most part favourable to Leslie. In Tweeddale, however, the case was different — that is, if we may trust Pennecuik, whose information is that of one brought up in military traditions, who was likewise almost a contemporary, and who assures us that “ severals ” of that district were killed by Leslie’s army, and others, “the most eminent of their gentry,” taken prisoners.

Montrose’s party first drew rein at Traquair House, where they inquired for their friends the earl and his son—both of whom were, however, denied to them, though strongly suspected to be within the house. Soon afterwards the earl had the effrontery to congratulate the Covenanting leaders on their victory — a piece of cynicism which so pained his daughter, who was present, that she was unable to refrain from protest. (But Traquair lived to prove the bitterness of adversity in his own person. After the triumph of Cromwell in Scotland he fell into disrepute, and in the latter days of his life is said to have depended on charity for the means of subsistence. Turned from Traquair, the fugitives proceeded westward, crossing the Tweed at Howford, and following an avenue of old elm-trees which led them to the tower of Ormiston. Thence, by an old road leading over the high ground, they passed to Peebles, where they arrived at sunset, and having rested for some hours, forded the Clyde ere daybreak the next morning.2 And here Montrose disappears from Border history.

For his services at Philiphaugh the Committee of Estates awarded Leslie 50,000 merks. His soldiers were also rewarded or promised rewards—to pay for which, fines were imposed on those who had sided with the Royalists. Among the self-styled “ righteous,” the thirst for vengeance was singularly fierce. Thus certain Irish prisoners, including women, who, having escaped the massacre after the battle, had been incarcerated in the tolbooth, were shot in Selkirk marketplace—Leslie’s protest being overborne by the “ bloodthirsty clamour of the Covenanting clergy.” At the same time the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale presented a petition praying that Parliament would hear the voice of their brethren’s blood, and execute impartial justice on the Malignants now in bonds, that the land might be purged from blood-guiltiness. To so great evils did religion seek to persuade.

Numerous traditions still linger round the latest of Border battlefields. Of these the majority relate to buried treasures, deriving some support from periodical finds in the neighbourhood of coins of the seventeenth century. One story inconsistent with our previous narrative, tells that on the morn of the battle Traquair left home with a bag of gold for Montrose’s use. He was accompanied by a blacksmith, and when nearing Yarrow was met by the fleeing Royalists and carried with them as far as Tinnes, where, being pressed by the pursuit, the blacksmith threw the bag into a draw-well. Another story, which was a favourite with Sir 'Walter Scott, represents a young officer of Leslie’s army as having received kind treatment from a humble family of the neighbourhood. “ When parting from them, to join the troops, he took out a purse of gold, and told the good woman that he had a presentiment that he should not see another sunset, and in that case would wish his money to remain in her k’nd hands; but, if he should survive, he had no doubt she would restore it honestly. The young man returned mortally wounded, but lingered awhile under her roof, and finally bequeathed to her and hers his purse and blessing.” When the great novelist told this story, he would bring it to a climax by adding, “Such was the origin of the lairds of -, now my good neighbours! ” A third tradition shows us the vanquished Montrose flinging his military chest into the Meyster Pool near Harehead Wood, as he fled past the spot, and calling on the devil to keep it until he should come back to claim it. Not coins only, but weapons, cannon-balls, and even bottles containing what had once apparently been claret, have been brought to light in the neighbourhood of the battlefield.

We have seen that, on the whole, “trimming” and indifference were the characteristics of the Border counties during the struggle just described. But it must not be imagined that on this account they escaped the persecutions of the time. An example or two may suffice to prove the contrary. In 1649 Lord Linton was married to Henrietta, daughter of the recently executed Marquis of Huntly, and like him a Catholic. For performing the marriage ceremony the minister of Dawick was excommunicated and banished by the State, his church being declared vacant Linton was excommunicated and imprisoned. A similar case was that of the Marquis of Douglas. A Catholic and the husband of a Catholic, neither he nor his wife was allowed to practise their religion without constant annoyance at the hands of the Presbytery of Lanark. Without following the various steps of this peculiarly irritating molestation, it is sufficient to state that the marchioness found herself forced, under pain of losing the custody of her children, to attend the parish church; whilst a strong sense of expediency, coupled with the misfortunes which followed his support of Montrose, induced the marquis actually to do penance on his knees before the august body afore-mentioned. As if this were not enough, he was still from time to time required to answer sundry challenges— as “for not keeping his son at school with a sufficient pedagogue approven by the presbytery; for not delivering his daughter to some Protestant friend under the approbation of the presbytery; for not having a sufficient chaplain approven, as said is, for family exercise in his house; for not calling home his son who is in France”—on all of which points he was forced to make “professed concessions.” Truly the primary inspiration of the Covenanting movement had undergone strange transformation, since liberty of conscience had come to mean the right of imposing bondage on the consciences of others! Still the intolerable interference of these wretched jacks-in-office was continued, until at last we see the poor marchioness declare (small blame to her pliancy!) that “ she had no more doubts,” and, at the command of one of the ministers, hold up her hand and solemnly accept the Covenant before the congregation. Can we wonder if six years later the presbytery are still denouncing the rare attendance -of herself and husband in the kirk?

But of course those in high positions were not the only or the worst sufferers. From the records of the parish of Innerleithen alone, the historian of Peebles cites numerous instances of petty persecution. Omitting grosser delinquencies, the favourite offence is Sabbath-breaking. Thus we find persons cited before the presbytery for having dined during the hour of afternoon service on Sunday. These are sentenced to appear on the stool of repentance on their knees. For ricking corn on the Lord’s Day a man is put to the pillar, or compelled to stand at the door of the church with his neck in an iron collar chained to the wall. For “knocking beir” another humbly acknowledges his guilt upon his knees. A miller, for keeping his mill' working, occupies the stool of repentance. One man is charged with carrying a load of meal; another with hounding his dog on his sheep “ mair throughly than ordinar.” For gathering nuts several women do public penance. Then the harmless practice of gossiping in the kirkjard after service is repeatedly censured; the dancing together of persons of opposite sexes is denounced as sinful; and, indeed, from the latter days of Charles I. to the Restoration there is no mention of any form of public amusement except for the purpose of condemning it. In these circumstances it might perhaps be expected that an exceptionally high standard of social order would be obtained. The reverse is nearer the truth. From “almost every page of the parish records ” the historian of Peeblesshire attests the fact that “ Church discipline, now carried to excess, failed in its object.” The writer of the Statistical Account of Melrose calls attention to the surprising number of penitents appearing in the session-books during the seventeenth century—a number far exceeding the average of a period when the population had nearly trebled itself. Nor can this state of matters be solely, or even principally, attributed to special vigilance exercised at the time. The diarists are impressed by the immorality of the age; the citations of William Chambers from the burgh-books of Peebles supply abundant evidence in support of it; and finally, the Churchmen themselves acknowledge, among the causes of a solemn fast in 1653, “the growth of sin of all sorts, particularly pride, uncleanness, contempt of ordinances, oppression, violence, fraudulent dealing—maist part of the people growing worse and worsec. Meantime superstition kept pace with sin. On May 4, 1650, the session-book of Lilliesleaf reports the trial by the minister and elders of Selkirk of two women suspected of witchcraft, “quhairupon markis of Satan were found upon them both.” Later the goodwife of Bewlie complains to her minister and session of a warlock, by whom “her stirks had been elf-shot, her cows witched, and all the milk taken out of them ” —a complaint received with due solemnity by the court. But no person in the least conversant with the records of the time will require to be reminded of the incredible extent to which they abound in notices of witchcraft. In conclusion, then, as there is no tyranny so terrible as a religious tyranny— none so remorseless or inexorable, or which so makes its oppression felt in every detail and department of life— it may perhaps be regarded as questionable whether existence in the Border counties was at any period since the Dark Ages so truly and essentially miserable as in the years preceding the Restoration.

It is no part of our purpose here to trace the successive steps by which in the meantime Scotland had reversed her earlier role—becoming champion of royalty, and opponent of the English Roundhead faction. When, in July 1650, Cromwell’s invading army crossed the Tweed in its progress northward, it had found the Border swept and garnered. After its victory at Dunbar, a force—supposed by Chambers to have been under command of General Lambert—was detached to attack Neidpath Castle, held by Lord Yester, son of the Earl of Tweeddale. It is on this occasion that, according to the common historic formula, Cromwell’s troopers are supposed to have stabled their horses in St Andrew’s Church at Peebles. During the siege which followed, Yester’s garrison is understood to have behaved with great courage and energy. But the odds opposed to it were too great; the castle was exposed to the play of artillery from the south side of the river, and in December 1650 it was compelled to capitulate. In the following February Lamont notes in his Diary that, a breach being made in the walls of Home Castle, the governor, John Cockbum, did yield the same to Cromwell and his forces. At the same period John Nicoll has the curious entry that the “greatest releiff at this tyme wes by sum gentillmen callit moss-trouperis, quha, haiffing quyetlie convenit in thretteis and fourteis, did cut off numberis of the Englisches, and seased on thair pockettis and horssis.” Thus we see that the old Border leaven was not dead, but, on the contrary, ready to reassert itself the moment occasion offered.

In 1651 Francis, second Earl of Buccleuch, having died without heirs-male, his daughter Mary, a child of four years, succeeded to his great possessions. The competition of the marriage-market was as keen in those days as at any time, whilst the means resorted to for obtaining the hand of an heiress were often highly unscrupulous. Accordingly the little countess was soon the centre of a network of intrigue, resulting in her marriage at the age of eleven to Walter Scott, younger of Highchester, a boy of fourteen, created in the next year Earl of Tarras. Scheming had led up to this marriage, and no sooner was it entered upon than attempts were made to dissolve it. But meantime the unfortunate subject of so much cupidity was pining. In 1660 she was “touched” by Charles II. for the cruels, and in the year following she died. Her childish formal letters to her husband have been preserved, and are a touching memorial of her short and troubled life.3 She was succeeded in the title and estates by an only surviving sister, Anna by name. Warned by experience, the child’s mother took steps to secure a suitable establishment for her charge. Probably the doggerel of Satchells represents the vulgar gossip on the subject when he says—

“Then her mother to London by coach did hie,
And search’t her a husband beyond the sea.
A pretty youth and of high birth,
By the name of Graves that buy did pass;
One Mr Ross his pedagogue was,
In France, in Holland, and in Flanders.”

This young Graves, also called Crofts, was, in fact, none other than the offspring of the liaison of Charles II. with his first love, Lucy Walters. The king could not but welcome the proposal of an alliance between his son and the richest heiress in the country, and accordingly the children were united by the Bishop of London in the king’s bedchamber on the afternoon of the 21st April 1663. On the same day the boy, who had already been created Duke of Monmouth, received the additional title of Duke of Buccleuch.

His superficial perfections in maturer years have been again and again described. Of his figure and the graces of his person, the critical Anthony Hamilton remarks that perhaps nature never formed anything more complete. “ His face was extremely handsome; and yet it was a manly face, neither inanimate nor effeminate. He had a wonderful genius for every sort of exercise, an engaging aspect, and an air of grandeur: in a word, he possessed every personal advantage ; but, on the other hand, was greatly deficient in mental accomplishments.” The pitiful weakness of his character was to be afterwards painfully displayed; but, indeed, the balance in worth lay entirely on the side of the wife. Both of them have been immortalised in verse —he as the Absalom of Dryden’s great political satire, she as the Duchess of Scott’s ‘ Lay of the Last Minstrel.’ On the Borders they have left few recoverable traces, and we need cite but one. In the beginning of 1674 occurred the great snowstorm, long remembered by the name of the Thirteen Drifty Days, by which the sheep and cattle over large tracts of the country were destroyed wholesale—in some cases not to be replaced for years to come. The bringing in of live stock from Ireland was at that time contrary to law; but in these extraordinary circumstances, the duke and duchess obtained a special licence to import sheep and cattle to restock their vast desolated pastures.

Anna Scott passed with spotless reputation through the turbid element of the Merry Monarch’s Court; but her husband was less steadfast. He contracted an intimacy with the young and beautiful Henrietta Wentworth, heiress of Nettlestead in Suffolk, whom he loved with fond devotion, and is said to have regarded as his wife in the sight of Heaven. When he was about to start on the rash enterprise which terminated in the rout of Sedgemoor, she sold her jewels to furnish him with funds. Her praise was on his lips when on the scaffold, and it was to her that he consigned as a last gift the gold toothpick-case which in the estimation of the vulgar held the secret of her magical power over him. She survived him only nine months. In striking contrast to this passion was the coldness of the Duke’s paring with his wife, when, accompanied by her children, she visited him in the Tower before his execution. “Though she was a woman of great strength of mind,” says Macaulay, “and had little cause to love him, her misery was such that none of the bystanders could refrain from weeping. He alone was unmoved.” The duchess married as her second husband Lord Cornwallis, and dying in 1732 at the age of eighty was succeeded by her grandson Francis, as second Duke of Buccleuch.

The memorable persecutions of the reigns of Charles II. and his brother have left strangely little trace on the history of the Border counties. Wodrow, it is true, assures us that, considering its smallness, none went before the Shire of the Forest in all manner of trials;1 whilst another Church historian, Kirkton, makes mention of Merse, Teviotdale, and the Borders generally, as " fixing many posts in the fields, mosses, muirs, and mountains,” where multitudes gathered almost every Sabbath. “ At these great meetings, many a soul was converted to Jesus Christ, but far more turned from the bishops to profess themselves Presbyterians. The parish churches of the curates [or authorised clergy] in the mean time came to be like pest-houses; few went to any of them, and none to some, so the doors were kept locked. . . . The discourse up and down Scotland was the quality and success of last Sabbath’s conventicle, who the preachers were, what the number of the people was, what the affectionsof the people were; what doctrine the minister preached, what change was among the people; how sometimes the soldiers assaulted them, and sometimes killed some of them; sometimes the soldiers were beaten, and some of them killed.” In spite of these assertions, the fact remains that to-day Galloway and Clydesdale count martyrs and witnesses by tens and scores where the Borders count them by units. Pennecuik, a contemporary of the events alluded to, states that there were not a dozen persons from Tweeddale present at Rullion Green or Bothwell Brig.

The state of matters described by Kirkton had sprung from the reactionary tyranny which followed the Restoration —an Act of Parliament, passed in 1662, requiring all holders of public offices to declare the Covenant unlawful, whilst all ministers refusing to be “collated,” or instituted, in their benefices by the revived Episcopacy were to be evicted from them. When the temper of the times is remembered, it must be admitted that more wantonly offensive measures could scarce have been originated. One of the first to suffer by the change was Samuel Rutherford, whose work entitled ‘ Lex Rex ’—said to anticipate and to advocate some of the more advanced principles of recent political speculation—was burnt publicly at Edinburgh and St Andrews,—in the latter case at the instance of Archbishop Sharpe himself. At the same time the author, having been deprived of his position as Principal of the new college at St Andrews, was cited to appear on a charge of high treason before the next Parliament. Had he lived to obey the summons, it is thought that he would hardly have missed martyrdom. But his health had long been declining, and he replied to the summoner,

“Tell them I have got a summons already, before a superior Court and Judicatory, and 1 behoove to answer my first summons.” His anticipation was fulfilled. As his end approached, he was visited by visions of the Celestial City, and was heard to exclaim, “ I shall see Him as He is; I shall see Him reign, and all His fair company with Him. Mine eyes shall see my Redeemer, these very eyes of mine, and none for me.” He died at the age of sixty one, March 20, 1661, passing peacefully away with the words on his lips, “ Glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.” The last of his celebrated letters, written a month before his death, had been addressed to James Guthrie, the martyr.

To Rutherford and to his like succeeded a more extreme, but less humane or genial, type of religionist. Ever since the first quarter of the century the home of the valiant and pious Hoby Hall at Haugh-head had maintained its reputation for sanctity. In the neighbouring churchyard of Eck-ford are the graves of a whole race of Halls.1 In the reign of Charles II., as the abode of Henry Hall, Haugh-head House was the scene of the licensing of the fanatical Richard Cameron. The son of a Fifeshire shopkeeper, Cameron is thought to have been tutor in the family of Scott of Harden, when he was persuaded to become a preacher by one John Welsh, who is said to have enforced his persuasion with the words, “ Gae your ways, Richie, and set the fire of hell to their tails.” In obedience to the charge, Cameron became the leader of the most extreme sect of the time. “Lord! spare the green and take the ripe,” was his prayer on the eve of Airds Moss—the battle in which he was himself to fall. His hands, .which he had that morning been observed to wash with peculiar care, were then brutally cut off by the enemy, and fixed, with his head, upon the Netherbow Port of Edinburgh, the fingers pointing upwards in mockery of the attitude of prayer. The temper of Henry Hall may be guessed from that of his leaders or associates. He was captured with Donald Cargill at Bothwell Brig, and though rescued by some female sympathisers at Queensferry, he died soon afterwards of his wounds. It is most probable that, during his occupancy, Haugh-head was a centre of Covenanting enthusiasm, and this lends colour to the popular tradition which points to the caves in the neighbourhood as refuges of the persecuted. Gate-shaw Braes, in Morebattle parish, are in like manner pointed out as the scene of a local conventicle, or open-air prayer-meeting. Here superstition was accustomed to allege that, if the ear were applied to the ground, a strain of far-off music might be caught. Hence the banks received the name of the “ Singing Braes.”

A scene enacted near Selkirk in 1676 serves to present the pressure of the times. To act as a check upon conventicles, the Privy Council had quartered soldiers at Newark and at the house of the Laird of Riddell; but in spite of this measure it was determined to hold a great meeting to hear John Blackader, the preacher. The place first chosen for the purpose was Lilliesleaf Moor, but in consequence of a report that the sheriff was patrolling the district with an escort, the scene was shifted to Selkirk Common, so as to be beyond his jurisdiction. Watches were set, and the morning exercises were performed without interruption; but in the middle of afternoon service an alarm was raised. The preacher there upon broke off his discourse, and exhorted the congregation to calmness. Two horses were placed at his disposal for flight; but he preferred to don the broad bonnet and grey cloak of a countryman, and, thus disguised, mingle with the crowd. The sheriff, Laird of Heriot, and his troop, now advanced at the gallop, and drawing up before the people, cited them in the king’s name to disperse. To this some answered that they were met in the name of the King of heaven; and the sheriff’s own sister, stepping out from the crowd, and catching her brother’s bridle, cried : “ Fie on ye, man, fie on ye! the vengeance of God will overtake you for marring so good a work.” Meantime some soldiers who had come in amongst the people on the mocking pretence of beseeching mercy, but in reality to search for the preacher, were ordered instantly to rejoin their comrades. Then the sheriff called out Bennet of Chesters and Turnbull of Standhill, two lairds present in the congregation, and urged them to dismiss the meeting, that violence might be avoided, and at Bennet’s request the congregation consented to disperse—the preacher retaining his disguise until the dragoons were out of sight. He. then set off for Edinburgh, and riding all night—so as to avoid recognition next day, when there was to be a race-meeting at Caverton Edge, and the roads would consequently be crowded—reached the capital as the gates were being opened the next morning. But the consequences of the meeting did not end here. The Laird of Chesters, charged with having attended it, and refusing to answer the charge, had his goods confiscated, and was sentenced to imprisonment on the Bass. Later on he acknowledged his attendance, and likewise that he had harboured John Welsh and other preachers; but refused to promise to cease to frequent conventicles, or to attend his parish church. He was fined 4000 merks, and imprisoned pending payment.

In Tweeddale, a remarkable rock, situated among what were once wild and sequestered glens, at the north east end of the lands of Carlops, in the neighbourhood of New-Hall House, is pointed out as the place of refuge and concealment used by the Covenanting fugitives from Rullion Green, and hence is known as the “ Harbour Craig.” It is inscribed with numerous initials and dates—among which is the name of J. Giffard, supposed to have been one of the few persons from Tweeddale who took part in the battle of the Pentlands. In the churchyard of Tweedsmuir is a solitary martyr’s grave —that of one John Hunter, shot in the dispersal of a conventicle at Corehead, by the soldiers of General Douglas, brother of the first Duke of Queensberry. Years afterwards, a tombstone was erected over it.

Such were some of the effects and manifestations of the Covenanting movement in the Borders. Like all great movements, it reflected the characteristics of the motley multitude who engaged in it, and to this day it remains difficult to strike a fair balance between its pure and noble inspiration and its pathos on the one hand, and its stubbornness, blindness, and vindictiveness on the other. That the latter were not unrepresented in the Border country the following incident sufficiently proves. The Revolution, of course, put an end to the sufferings of the Presbyterians, and now was certainly the time when one would have expected a set of persons imbued with true Christian feeling to illustrate the virtues of returning good for evil. Did they do so ? Hear themselves. At the end of 1688, writes Peter Walker of Bristo Port, in his ‘ Vindication of Mr Richard Cameron,’ we “thought it some way belonged to us to go to all Popish houses and destroy their monuments of idolatry, with their priests’ robes, and to apprehend and put to prison themselves ; which was done at the cross of Dumfries and Peebles, and other places.” The headquarters of Catholicism in Peeblesshire was at Traquair House, and thither repaired a band of zealots,’under the leadership of Donald Ker of Kersland— described by Walker as an “ honourable and worthy gentleman,” but by a more recent critic as “an astute and doublefaced traitor and hired informer.” Arriving at Traquair in frost and snow, they found that the earl and priests had prudently withdrawn, and proceeding to ransack the house, discovered a great quantity of “ Romish wares ”—including an altar, more than one crucifix, a triptych covered within with cloth-of-gold of arras work, a eucharist cup of silver, an Agnus Dei of amber with a picture above, together with boxes of relics, beads, wafers, candles, above 130 books—some of them with silver clasps—and many other articles. But this was not all they wanted. They then turned to the house of a Mr Louis, who passed as a Presbyterian minister, and there, by dint of breaking open coffers,- discovered the main objects of their search—to wit, the priests’ robes and a golden cradle “with Mary and the Babe in her bosom.” These and the other articles mentioned they seized, and bearing them in triumph to Peebles, burnt them at the cross. It is said that the insensate Kersland even proposed to burn the house.


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