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The History of Brechin to 1864
Chapter VII. The History of Brechin from 1727 TO 1760


The early part of the reign of George II. is not marked by anything peculiar. People had now begun to look on the exiled Stewarts as a family whose fate was no longer connected with that of Scotland, and the arts of peace engrossed the attention of most burgesses. In May 1728, the council of Brechin resumed the practice, forborne for some time previous, of riding the marches, and in the same year the Little Mill was utterly demolished, and the stones of it taken to repair the gainshott, or ginshot, as it is sometimes called—the wall which defends the north-west side of the Inch, or public bleaching-green, from the ravages of the river South Esk. Next year the council took a more decided step; they feued off a piece of muir to John Ogilvy, under the name of “Little Brechin and this grant was soon followed by other feus. The numerous houses which have recently arisen there, promise fairly to realise the ideas entertained by the inhabitants of Muckle Brechin a hundred years ago. This village lies upwards of two miles north of the town of Brechin, about the centre of that tract of ground denominated “Trinity Muir,” of which the town council of Brechin are the superiors. But the other feus which followed close on the heels of the one to Ogilvy, alarmed the incorporations that all the “common guid ” was to be sold off. To quiet them, the council in 1729 voted a sum in name of a grant to the poor’s box of the six trades, and as a consideration for their trouble in -riding the marches! A new clock was, the same year, procured for the burgh from Alexander Gordon, silversmith in Dundee, at a cost, including extras, of 23 sterling; but the workmanship does not appear to have been fine; for in 1736 42 Scots are paid to “William Lawson of Ballewny,” for repairs on this piece of machinery.

The practice of granting indiscriminate burgess tickets continued till this time; so much so, that in 1732 the town-clerk is ordained to keep the provost always possessed of twelve blank tickets “to be disposed of at the discretion of the provost, or any of the magistrates.”

The ports of the burgh, which had been repaired in 1709, were in a ruinous and dangerous condition in 1733; but they were then repaired by “pinning and harling,” under directions of the magistracy; and in the subsequent year “the council taking into their consideration the ruinous state and condition of the cross and public market-place of this burgh,” directed the same to be rebuilt for “the good, utility, and profit of the inhabitants,” and “for the accommodation of the country people, merchants, and traffickers.” Thirty years saw cross and ports all removed as useless encumbrances in the way of the citizens. The contract for rebuilding the cross shows the price of labour in 1734. George Miller and John Hunter, masons, received for their fees seven hundred merks, besides a crown of earnest, and this exclusive of the expense of casting of the “pit for the vault to be built below the cross.” Robert Walker in East Drums, for furnishing the stones, got 126 Scots, including the price of the “stang or standing-stone for the top of the cross" with one shilling of earnest. George Davidson, “deacon convener,” and Alexander Low, carter, were allowed 6s. Scots, for each load of stones driven, “they being obliged to lead three stones at each draught, excepting where the stones are extraordinary bigg.”

The council had, no doubt, exercised the privilege of sending an elder to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, from the period their right to do so was recognised by that august assembly; but we see no notice taken of the exercise of such privilege till 1734, when Bailie Edward Leslie was named commissioner. The council yearly eleeted a ruling elder after that time till after the Disruption, when the Free Kirk was established in 1843, since which the election has been prctermitted. The certificate of the “uprightness of the walk” of the person elected to this office in 1843 was exactly in the same words as the certificate granted Bailie Leslie more than a century ago.

James Watson, tailor, applies to the council in 1735, to have feued to him the Gallowshill; and the burghal rulers finding that it is of small value, “and, as it now stands, of no use to the common good,” dispose of it to the man of needles. This formidable spot is now occupied with a square of houses, belonging to that enterprising body the North Port Distillery Company.

It is not a little interesting to observe the accommodation which was at this period deemed ample and sufficient for a gentleman. A committee of the town council report, that, in their opinion, a new house should be built for Mr Shanks, the minister of the second charge in Brechin, “49 feet, within the walls, in length, 14 in breadth, and 15 in height from the sole of the door, which will admit of two rooms on the first story, each 14 feet square; a stair with two flights or turnings, 7 feet broad, and a cellar 10 feet; in the second story there will be two rooms, each 14 feet square, a closet above the cellar, with a chimney upon the side wall, and above them garrets; and that a house of no less dimensions can serve the minister and family.” It is also said that in each room “there cannot be less than two windows; ” and the other comforts of the family are provided for by “ a brew-house of 12 feet of length, a stable and byre of 14 feet, and a bam of 15 feet of length.” Mr Shanks, we notice, gave 66,13s. 4d. to the session in 1744. The building erected, in consequence of this recommendation, in favour of Mr Shanks, was pulled down in 1803, when the house at present occupied by the Rev. Alexander Gardner was erected, to which manse, however, considerable additions have been made at various times since 1803.

But we must not imagine that because the nation was now quiet, the pugnacious people of Brechin were at peace. A fierce political contest arose in 1728, when Provost Robert Whyte was unseated, and John Knox was called to fill the chair. A law plea ensued, which only terminated with the death of Mr Whyte and his brother magistrate and adherent, Bailie Wind-ram, and for which law plea the council paid a pretty round sum of sterling moneys in 1730. In 1733, Mr Knox was himself unseated, and succeeded in liis office of provost by David Doig of Cookston, son of Mr Doig who was provost in 1715, and who was then imprisoned by the army of the Earl of Mar for his adherence to the House of Hanover. Provost David Doig was, like his father, a man of considerable energy, and, like him, he is not under any obligation to tradition. A legend, still preserved, notices his death in no very courtly phrase, and the popular voice asserts that “ large screids” were acquired for the estate of Cookston from the public property, at small prices. The legend, playing upon the provosts name, vulgarly pronounced Dog, runs thus:—

“Provost Doig dead—God be thankit;
Mony a better dog’s dead, since be was whelpit.”

The demon of discord, however, again invaded the council in 1740, and Mr Doig was turned off, Provost Knox being recalled to the chair.

Mr John Johnston, who had been a minister in Brechin, mortified in 1732, as the board in the session-house, so often referred to, tells us, * for a school in the west side of the parish, and other pious uses, upwards of 1000.” This school was long known as the school of Pitpullox, pronounced Pitbuiks, on the farm of Broomfield, but is now removed to a place farther north, a short way from Little Brechin.

In September 1741, the six incorporated trades fixed the second Wednesday of September for the yearly election of deacons and deacon-convener, and appointed that the latter official might be elected thrice in succession, but that no deacon should be continued in office for more than two years. This act yet regulates the mode and time of electing the convener and deacons of crafts.

About this time the first tea-kettle seen in Brechin made its appearance, specially commissioned from Aberdeen by the lady of one of the principal merchants, Mr John Smith. The carrier who delivered the kettle, declared it was the greatest curse ever brought to Brechin by him or any other person. The practice of tea-drinking, however, spread quickly, and superseded the pottage and milk, the former breakfast meal, as well as the ale and bread which previously formed the afternoon’s repast of all classes.

The records of the burgh are miserably deficient during that interesting period of Scottish romance, the insurrection of 1745-6. All that we gather from these records is, that the elections were pretermitted for two years, and that a new council was chosen by poll of the burgesses in July 1747. A majority of the old council was re-elected at the poll election, but the dynasty was changed; and the family of Molison, aided by the Panmure interest, turned out Provost Knox and his friends, although the latter were supported by the Presbyterian clergy of the day, and eiked out their canvass by distributing to the populace rum punch, made in washing-tubs in the porch on the north aisle of the church, in which distribution one of the clergymen, an enemy to all Jacobites, is reported to have taken an active hand. Mr John Molison and his party continued predominant after this, during all the period which we mean to embrace within this chapter. Mr Molison took an active superintendence of municipal affairs, and deserves no little credit for the labour he bestowed in adjusting the rentals of the town and of the hospital, previously allowed to go into great confusion. The reason assigned for the poll election alluded to is, “that those in whom the right of election was, at Michaelmas 1745, were interrupted from completing their election at that time by the rebels who were then in possession of this place.” During this interregnum, the municipal affairs were conducted by two gentlemen within the burgh, acting as sheriffs-depute. An unhappy wight, James Warden, a town-officer, was then debarred from his office, for his attachment to Charlie, but, in 1748, the council records tell us that this worthy was reinstated in his situation, because, poor man, he was “actually forced by the rebels" to join them. The town council records of Montrose are equally defective at this period; on 23d September 1745, there is a minute of council about the ordinary affairs of the burgh, and the next entry is on 10th July 1746, when the old officials meet, by virtue of a warrant from the Privy Council, and elect, after a stormy debate, a new set of municipal rulers for the burgh, of whom David Doig of Cookston, formerly provost of Brechin, is chosen chief magistrate, he having by this time become a merchant in Montrose. But although the authentic records are thus scanty, tradition has given us many circumstances connected with this period.

It will be recollected that Prince Charles Edward Lewis Cassimer Stewart, son of James, who claimed the throne of Great Britain, as Eighth of Scotland and Third of England, landed in the Western Isles in July 1745, with only seven friends, and that, with little or no assistance from foreign aid, he took possession of the principal places in Scotland, and even bade fair to restore his father to the British throne, having advanced as far as Derby; when, on the 6th December, he saw fit to pause, and to commence a retreat to the North of Scotland. “Bonnie Prince Charlie” never was in Brechin, but he had many admirers in the burgh, and most of the gentry in the neighbourhood joined his standard. William Duke of Cumberland, the second son of George II., was sent by his father to cope with Charles; and on the field of Culloden, near Inverness, was witnessed, on 16th April 1746, the spectacle of two princes, the sons of kings, contending at the head of their respective armies for the right of their respective fathers to rule these realms. The result is well known—Charles was defeated—William was successful; the family of Stewart was for ever superseded, and the family of Guelph has since swayed the sceptre. We ourselves have received it from an individual, long since gathered to her sires, but who, as she described herself, was “a wee bit callant o' a lassie,” in 1746, that Lord George Murray passed through Brechin with part of Charles’s army early in the year, and was followed in a few weeks afterwards by Cumberland and his troops. She pictured Charles’s army as containing a most uncultivated set of beings, who excited terror amongst the inhabitants, even amongst those most friendly to the Stewart cause, and who were no ways scrupulous in helping themselves to anything which struck their fancy, and was of a palatable description, but who were chiefly noted for their predilection for gingerbread. These Highlanders were several days about Brechin, at least the advanced-guard, main-body, and rear-guard was each one, if not two days in the town. Murray’s men took possession of the Town-haU for their guard-room, broke up the benches, tore open the presses, and burned such records as fell into their hands to supply them with fuel. But notwithstanding of all these peccadilloes, the hearts of the ladies went with the Highlanders, and our little friend herself even found a sweetheart amongst them, whom she stated to have been a “ protty lad.” The troops of Cumberland were better disciplined, and the little lass alluded to described them as affording a beautiful sight when they marched along the Bridge of Brechin, having come from Forfar by Angus Hill, and what is now denominated the old road, the present turnpike not having existed till fifty years afterwards. A brewer who then lived at the end of the bridge, either from fear or loyalty, perhaps partly from both, spread tables in front of his house, and covered them with bickers full of beer, and small loaves of bread, to which he invited the soldiers of Cumberland; but Prince William, suspecting this over-hospitality, would not allow his men to taste a thing offered to them, not even a glass of water; and he caused his soldiers to seat themselves by the side of the Esk, eat what provisions they brought with them, and lap out of the river like dogs, or like the army of Gideon. When the troops were thus refreshed, and had enjoyed a few hours’ rest, Cumberland marched them up by the East Mill road, round by Pitforthie, and away by the King’s Ford, in the direction of Stonehaven and Aberdeen; so that King George’s army passed the south end of the town of Brechin, but was never in the city. The duke himself and his staff, however, rode through the town, and joined the army at Caimbank. Mr David Mather, one of the bailies of Brechin and a favourer of the fortunes of the family of Hanover, met Cumberland as he entered the limits of the burgh at the Muckle Mill, and, with a bottle of wine and a glass in his hand, pledged the duke, and requested of him and his officers to partake of a refreshment then prepared for them by some members of the town council and other gentlemen of influence in the burgh. Cumberland took the glass out of the bailie’s hands, and put the wine towards his mouth, expressing good wishes for Mather and his colleagues, but he did not even venture to let his lips taste the beverage, and pointedly refused to allow his officers to partake of the dejeune provided for them. Perhaps the duke's suspicions were more strongly excited at this time, in consequence of the folks of Forfar, the neighbouring town, having, a day or two before, contrived to cut the girths of his horses when he lay at Glammis, so as to retard his march northwards. Be this as it may, it is reported that neither the duke nor any of his army would taste a morsel that was offered to them; and that they drew their supplies wholly from their own commissaries, who were harsh enough in exacting what suited them from the country people, at such nominal price as the commissaries chose to put upon the articles. When the duke was slowly parading up the long main street of Brechin, anxiously gazed on by the inhabitants, he observed a singularly pretty girl standing on a stairhead opposite the cross; and, struck by the girl’s beauty, he bowed towards her; but the little minx, to the no small mortification of her admirer, and the great delight of the spectators, replied to this courtesy by the most contemptuous gesture she could adopt—a gesture fully as expressive as delicate.

Cumberland, it would appear from the records of the presbytery of Brechin, was at Montrose on the 22d and 24th February. On the first of these days that presbytery met at Brechin in the forenoon, and adjourned to Montrose in the afternoon to address the duke, but “ his Royal Highness having called together his general officers to consult about matters of importance, could not be at leisure this night, but would very willingly receive them on Monday next in the forenoon;” and accordingly, on the 24th February 1746, that reverend body having desired access to his Royal Highness, they were graciously received and had the honour to kiss the duke's hand; and after a short address by their moderator, testifying their loyalty and steady adherence to his Majesty's person and government, “ and expressing their just abhorrence of the present unnatural rebellion, and wishing safety and success to his Royal Highness," they had a most favourable answer by his Royal Highness himself. Whether it was before or after this that Cumberland was in Brechin we have no certain information; but we should rather suppose the duke had come to Brechin to meet a detachment of his troops, after he had left Montrose, where apparently he had kept his head-quarters for a few days.

Before marching into England, in October 1745, Prince Charles named David Ferrier, tenant of Unthank and merchant in Brechin, to be commandant of a party of troops left at Montrose. Mr Ferrier was a captain in Lord Ogilvie’s regiment, and had raised two companies of militia, with whom he did much service to the Pretender's cause, and was in consequence appointed deputy-governor of Brechin by James Carnegy Arbuthnott of Balnamoon and Findowry, who acted as deputy-lieutenant of the county of Angus for the Stewart party* During the winter of 1745-46 the Hazard, sloop-of-war, anchored in the. river South Esk, off Montrose, preventing all inter- . course by sea, and annoying Ferrier s troops when they made their appearance on land within range of the guns. Captain Ferrier planned, and with no little boldness executed, a scheme for getting rid of the annoyance. He first mounted some old guns found about the harbour, and placed them at a narrow part of the river, to prevent the vessel running out to sea, and he next availed himself of a thick fog to surround the ship with boats manned by his own soldiers, and steered by sailors favourable to his cause. The crew of the sloop, taken by surprise, surrendered at discretion; some were killed in the action, and the rest were marched into prison. This vessel was afterwards despatched into France as a Snow, under the name of The Prince Charles, and returning to Scotland with a valuable cargo, was chased by the Sheemes8y man-of-war, to avoid which the crew ran the vessel ashore on Lord Beay’s country, where it was plundered by the Hanoverian party. In the library of Carmichael, Lanarkshire, there is a book entitled, “ List of Persons concerned in the Rebellion, with Evidences to prove the same, transmitted to the Commissioners of Excise by the several Supervisors in Scotland;’1 and in this volume Mr Ferrier is thus noticed:—

“David Ferrier, merchant in Brechin, acted as deputy-governor of the town of Brechin, practised the highest tyranny over the loyal subjects of the Government in every shape, and particularly extorted men, money, and horses and arms throughout the. whole country, levied his Majesty^s Excise, and gave his own receipts for the same; was the principal person who promoted and carried on the affair of taking the Hazard sloop-of-war, in which some of the crew were killed and wounded, and the rest made prisoners, and treated by him in so barbarous a manner that they must in all probability have perished had it not been for the assistance they received from the Government in Montrose, Brechin, and elsewhere. He also bore arms in Lord Ogilvie’s regiment, and recruited and forced out no less than two companies of rebel militia; was present at the skirmish of Inverury as captain of one of said companies; burnt the customhouse at Aberdeen; received and conveyed the French arms and ammunition to the rebel army, for which purpose he harassed . and oppressed the whole country, in pressing their horses and carts. He joined the main body of the rebels at Stirling with his companies, accompanied them to Inverness, from whence he returned to Glenesk, raised a great many of the inhabitants there with a design to force back rebel runaways, and make well-affected people prisoners, and marched with the said Glenesks to Cortachie, in order to force a garrison of the king s troops there. These facts are well known to every person in these places of the country. Supposed to be lurking among the neighbouring hills.” Mr Ferrier succeeded in getting abroad, and, not being included in the Act of Amnesty, he subsequently resided in Spain, where he died. He must have been a bold, clever fellow, and well deserving of a better fortune.

Many of the natives of Brechin were present at the battle of Culloden, but only a few returned to give an account of that awful day; and these few, for obvious reasons, were not very anxious to speak of what they had seen. One gentleman, who had served in the army abroad, but whose predilections led him to join the prince, (he was careful in avoiding to say which prince,) used to tell that he surveyed the Highland line immediately before it charged the regular troops, and that the eyes of each Highlander then gleamed like coals, while each countenance was marked with an expression of determination fearful to look upon.

Amongst those who did return from “following Prince Charlie,” was Peter Logie, the cripple tailor of the Tiggerton of Balnamoon. Mr Carnegy, the laird of Balnamoon, already alluded to, was a zealous Jacobite, collected the cess of the county of Forfar in name of James VIII., and followed to the M battle-field ” with all his train, for which he was subsequently taken to the Tower, and only escaped in consequence of a “misnomer,” when brought to trial for his connexion with the rising. Mr Carnegy, although he made as much haste home as was possible after the battle of Culloden, found that Logie, with his club-foot, had preceded him by a day. The tailor was subsequently apprehended, and questioned about his connexion with the rebellion, by the Elector of Hanover’s magistrates, as he termed them. When asked if he was present at the battle of Preston, the battle of Falkirk, and the battle of Culloden, he answered affirmatively, and with much seeming candour, to each question; and when asked what station he held in the rebel army, he replied, with a glance at his club-foot, “ I had the honour to be his royal highness’s dancing-master.” Peter, it is needless to add, was immediately liberated. Balnamoon used to tell this story with considerable glee. Though there was no doubt that Logie was in attendance upon Balnamoon at Preston and Falkirk, those in the secret doubted whether the “ sly tailor loon ” had ever got the length of Culloden Muir.

Another retainer of Balnamoon’s, in the same rank of life as Logie, and who was generally believed to have seen the flight at Culloden, retained all his keenness for the cause till the close of a very old age. When he heard his neighbours complaining of the taxes, his usual answer was, “Deil hae’t cares, ye widna hae a guid king when we gae you the offer o' him!’

Many of the prisoners taken to England at this time were confined in Tilbury Fort, a low dulUooking place, upon the side of the Thames; and so wearisome was the detention of these active spirits in this inanimate place, that none of them could ever afterwards bear to hear even the name of their prison. One person belonging to Brechin was seated by his fire on a winter evening, when his wife, honest woman, was reeling the yarn which she had that day spun. Our friend was musing on his past fortunes, and, dreaming that the click-cluck-clack, dick-cluck-clack noise made by the reel in its evolu-

tions resembled the word Til-bury-fort, Til-bury-fort, he started up in a passion, seized the poker, and, with one ruthless stroke, demolished the emblem of industry, exclaiming, “I ’se Tilbury-fort ye.” The person who thus allowed his imagination to get so much the better of his reason, was a James Allardice, who resided in the Nether Tenements, now called River Street. During his imprisonment, he displayed no little heroism and firmness. Being strongly tempted to give evidence against his associates, he replied, “ My life is in your hands, and you may take it, as you have taken the lives of better men; but my honour is in my own hands, and I will keep it—that you shall not take from me.”

The Swan Inn, the principal inn of the town, was kept by a Mr Low, who was a member of the town council in 1746, and, as was alleged, one of those who prevented an election of magistrates and a renewal of the oaths to Government at that time. After the rebellion was quashed, Mr Low was taken to London, upon the information, as was supposed, of an over-zealous Presbyterian clergyman, Mr Blair. Nothing particular could be brought against Low, but it was thought he might be cajoled or frightened into being a witness against some of the leading men of the county, for whose conviction evidence was rather scanty. Accordingly, Mr Low was confined under the charge of one of the king's messengers, who gave him every indulgence, and took him round London to see all the sights. One day Low was suddenly sent for and examined by one of the secretaries of State. After some preliminary questions, to all of which Mr Low gave very distinct answers, the querist said, “You will recollect, Mr Low, on such a day, of seeing Lord Airlie and other gentlemen of the county (whom he named) in your house, wearing white rosettes (the Stewart livery) in their bonnets?” “It's not the practice, my lord,” responded Low, “for gentlemen in my country to wear their bonnets in the house.” “Take him to jail,” was the rejoinder, an order which was instantly obeyed, and Low was for nearly twelve months in confinement; but he ultimately returned to Brechin, to be the choice host of all the Jacobites of Forfarshire, and the general favourite of his townsmen. Being in a friend's house with the suspected clergyman, years afterwards, the conversation turned upon London, when Low and the minister, who had also been in London, detailed, for the amusement of the company, what they had seen there. One of the gentlemen present, without reflecting, remarked it was strange Mr Low and Mr Blair appeared to have been in London at the same time, and yet had never met. “Sir,” said Low—with a Johnsonian dignity which he could easily assume—“ sir, I was sick and in prison, and he visited me not.” The minister soon found an excuse for leaving the company, and, it was said, ever after shunned talking of London when Mr Low was present.

The Duke of Cumberland was much exasperated at the Scottish Episcopalians, most of whom were Jacobites, and he was especially exasperated with the Episcopalians of Forfarshire, who raised no few men to assist Prince Charles. After the battle of Culloden, therefore, Cumberland adopted very harsh measures against the Episcopalians, causing their chapels to be burned, and all their property to be destroyed. His soldiers, under the superintendence of the Christian pastor alluded to, tore up the benches of the Episcopal chapel of Brechin, and burned all the wood-work of the interior, together with the prayer-books found in the chapel. The soldiery were also about to destroy the building, when the presbyter spoken of requested it might be spared, as it could be used for the Wednesday sermon—the sermon then usually delivered in the cathedral each Wednesday, and for which purpose the kirk was rather too large and cold. This was spoliation and appropriation in the true sense of the terms. The house was spared, but never used for the purpose intended. It is now occupied by a congregation in connexion with the United Presbyterians.

It would appear, however, the Duke of Cumberland had some cause to be alarmed at the Brechin Jacobites, if the representations made to the Presbytexy by the ministers of Brechin are correct The Presbytery records of 2d March 1748, contain the following curious entry:—“Then Mr Blair and Mr Fordyce, ministers at Brechin, being called upon, gave in the following representation. That they were sorry to say that a spirit of disaffection did greatly prevail in their town and parish, and that, for the present, there was little appearance or probability of its decrease—nay, that it was more than before the late unnatural rebellion, which will be evident when it is considered;—1st That of thirteen members of which the town council of Brechin consists, six were the constant attendants of a non-jurant meeting-house, during the time of the foresaid rebellion, and it deserves a remark, that the provost or first magistrate, and one of the bailies, are of that number; 2d, That all the members of the said town council, except three, were some way or other concerned in the late execrable attempt, some of them by keeping guard on the Hazard sloop prisoners, others of them by harbouring the goods of rebels, others of them by drinking the Pretender’s health publicly at the cross; 3d, That in the month of August last, his Majesty and the royal family were made the objects of scurrilous language and songs upon the public streets. That Mr Blair, one of the ministers of Brechin, took notice of these wicked and treasonable practices from the pulpit on a Lord’s day, and warned the people against them, as things extremely evil in themselves, and which, if continued, behoved to draw down the just displeasure of the Government upon the place. That though he did this on a Lord’s day in presence of the gentlemen who had lately been put upon the magistracy, yet this warning was so far from having its proper effect, that a daughter of Mr Allardice, one of the present bailies of the town, sung a song in contempt of his royal highness, the duke, by way of insult upon Mr Blair, on the Monday immediately after the said warning was emitted; 4th, That sometime in the month of August last, John Strachan, who had been committed to Tilbury Fort on suspicion of treasonable practices, and had returned again to this place, said, in a public company, that the Pretender, whom he impudently called King James the Eighth, was the only rightful sovereign of those realms, for whom he had suffered, and wished to God there were not a living man in Bergenopzoom, which was then besieged by the French; 5th, That so little care has been taken to put persons well affected to his Majesty’s person and Government in the place upon the administration, that one Alexander Low, {our merry host of the Swan,) reputed a Jacobite by all that know him, and was taken into custody for treasonable practices during the time of the rebellion, and detained prisoner for several months, undertook to be evidence for the crown, and afterwards declined it, was, notwithstanding all this, by the influence, no doubt, of his brother* in-law, Mr Molison, the chief magistrate of this place, made one of the town councillors at Michaelmas last, since which time, as a proof that he is still under the influence of the old spirit of rebellion, he had a child baptized by the non-jurant minister who resides in this town; 6th, That there are no less than two non-jurant ministers, one who has his constant residence in the town, and another who comes from the country, viz., Mr James Lyall at Carcary, in the parish of Farnwell, who make it their business to go from house to house, and to instil bad principles into the minds of their deluded votaries, and baptize their children, and it ’a apprehended with too great success, for numbers of those frequented the meetings of the Established Church immediately after the rebellion, yet they have now, almost to a man, withdrawn from them, those three or four excepted, who being upon the public management, still continue to attend them in order to save appearances. Nay, to this purpose, it's observable that on the seventeenth of February last, being the day of public humiliation appointed by his Majesty, there was not above three or four who had been the attendants of non-jurant meeting-houses before, and during the time of the late unnatural rebellion, who attended worship in the Presbyterian Church, or paid the least regard to that solemn day; 7th, That, so far as the ministers foresaid know, the magistrates of the place bestow no care to discourage the spirit of disaffection which rages here, or to give check to the non-jurant ministers, or so much as to inquire into their conduct and seditious practices. It is a strong presumption of this that though (as said is) they attend publio worship in the Established Church themselves, yet none of them have ever brought their wives or any of their children, who are come to majority, along with them. Nay, that it is well known that their wives and daughters are among the most zealous friends of the non-jurant preachers; 8th, That his Majesty’s most zealous friends who have persisted in attending worship where King George was prayed for, when both ministers and people were in the greatest danger from armed rebels in the church, have been insulted and beat upon the public streets by disaffected persons, and such as bore arms in the rebellion, without receiving the smallest redress from the magistrates of the place, who ought to protect the king’s lieges by the execution of the laws.” A report grounded upon this representation was laid before Government, but no proceedings followed in consequence against ihe contumacious magistrates.

Mr James Fordyce, who concurs with Mr Blair in the report of the Jacobitical spirit in Brechin, was the eloquent writer of “ Sermons to Young Women,” and “ Addresses to Young Men,” besides other theological works. He was ordained to the second charge of this parish in 1745, and continued a clergyman in Brechin for eight years, when he removed to Alloa, and soon after to London. Mr Fordyce was the first Presbyterian clergyman settled in Brechin in consequence of a presentation from the Crown and it was only after his case had gone through all the church courts that the settlement took place, a number of his brethren contending that a leet by the Presbytery, followed by a call from the people, ought to have preceded the presentation.

Mr Blair, who held the first charge of the parish, died at Brechin in 1769, aged 69, in the thirty-sixth year of his incumbency, as recorded in a marble tablet placed inside the church, which also states, that about 1760 he established in Brechin the first Sabbath evening school in Scotland.

In 1748, the church of Brechin was repaired at an expense of 753 Scots,, a sum which appears to have been entirely expended on the roof and windows.

Mr William Maitland, the laborious historian of London and Edinburgh, died at Montrose on 16th July 1757. He is generally supposed to have been bom in Brechin about the year

1690, and the newspapers which report his death, mention that he died at an advanced age, and possessed of 10,000 sterling, realised by trade. In the prosecution of his business, he travelled through many foreign places; but, in 1730, he settled in London, and applied himself to the study of English and Scottish antiquities; and, in 1733, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Antiquarian Society. In 1739 appeared his “History of London,” which was well received. The same year he removed to Scotland, and in 1740 published his “History of Edinburgh,” a valuable and useful work.

The unfortunate close of Charles’s romantic attempt destroyed all the hopes which the Scottish Jacobites had hitherto nourished, and although, for a few years, some zealous song-singing ladies, and equally zealous three-bottle, health-pledging gentlemen, might entertain hopes that the “king should enjoy his nain again,” every cool thinking Jacobite saw that the sun of their hopes had set on the field of Culloden. Hereditary jurisdictions and military tenures, which had been as vexatious to the subject as they were annoying to Government, were now abolished. The nation became united, and free from faction; it grew less warlike, but it became more attached to agriculture and manufactures. The advantages of the Union with England then began gradually to be perceived. The town council of Brechin, anxious to display their new-found loyalty, were active in offering bounties and raising men for the Royal Navy. Yea, they published proclamations against smuggling, and petitioned to have the alehouses in Scotland regulated like those of England; and, still more strange assimilation, they applied to Parliament to raise a militia in Scotland upon the same footing as in England. With the aid of a grant from the trustees for improving manufactures, the Inch was levelled, and let to a person regularly bred to the bleaching of linen, the son-in-law of Mr Low, so often mentioned. Nuisances were removed from the streets; the waste lands of the burgh were turned to account; the regular maintenance of the poor was thought of; and for the thirty years succeeding this civil war, the attention of the town council of Brechin was occupied with matters of a peaceable and profitable native. One act only, prohibiting the letting of houses within the burgh to strangers, shows that the civil rights of the citizens were not yet fully recognised. Finally, the town council, in . 1759, pulled down the ports of the burgh and sold the materials, thus' showing that for their part they feared no further invasion.


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