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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of James VI. 1591 - 1603 Part H


Nov 26
Owing to the influence of the noble family of Maxwell, popery had a great harbourage in the town of Dumfries At this time denunciations were launched against sundry gentlemen connected with the place—William, Lord Herries; John, Master of Herries; Walter Herries of Knockshinnan, Edward Maxwell of the Hills, John Herries in Braco, Robert Herries in Killiloch, Adam Corsan, John Corsan, Robert Carran, John Homer, Matthew Forsyth, John Gibson, Robert Ka, Patrick Ka, Mr John Maxwell, and upwards of a dozen more, charging them with contravening sundry ‘guid and loveable acts of parliament and secret council’ against saying and hearing of mass, and entertaining priests. Mr John Hamilton, and Mr William Brown, sometime commendator of New Abbey, had been kept amongst them, and they had heard these men say mass, and allowed them to baptise some children, to the displeasure of God, and contempt of the king and his laws. For these reasons they were summoned to appear and answer, under pain of rebellion.—P.
C. R.

On the 24th of December, sixteen of the men who had been summoned, including Lord Herries, appeared. For some others a certification was presented, that they were prevented by infirmitv from travelling. Those who appeared were asked to declare upon their oath what they knew about the matters in the charge; and on their refusing to do so, they were ordained to be kept in ward in Edinburgh till they should be tried for their alleged offence. The others were again summoned.

These, on the 14th of January, the day appointed for their appearing, failed to appear, and were denounced as rebels.

Dec 11
Great hatred and strife had now lasted for some years between the Earl of Cassillis and Sir Thomas Kennedy of Colzean, on the one side, and the Laird of Bargeny, the Laird of Blairwhan, the Laird of Girvanmains, and some other Carrick gentlemen, on the other. The crafty Laird of Auchindrain, though professedly reconciled to Sir Thomas Kennedy, was mainly on the side of Bargeny, who was his brother-in-law. It is believed that he employed himself to inflate Bargeny, who was but a youth, with ambitious designs, making him believe that he could easily put himself on a level with the Earl of Cassillis. The king made an effort to reconcile the parties, but it had no permanent effect. For some time these Carrick chieftains were chiefly busied in devising plots against each other’s lives. On one occasion, the earl, having been induced to accept the hospitality of the Laird of Blairwhan, was apprised that certain of his unfriends, along with Blairwhan, intended to murder him in his bed; he therefore left the house by a back-door, and made his way by night to Maybole. On another occasion, with the consent of Bargeny, the Laird of Benand, with some associates, lay in ambush in the kiln of Daljarrock, in which they had made holes for their hagbuts, designing to shoot Lord Cassillis as he passed that way. Receiving timely warning, he escaped the danger by going his journey by another road.

On the 6th of December 1601, the Laird of Bargeny had occasion to go to Ayr on business. Along with him rode his brother and the Laird of Benand—the two leaders in the affair of the kiln—and ten or twelve other horsemen. Passing within a quarter of a mile of Cassillis Castle, and not stopping to pay their respects to the earl, they violated one of the most sacred of the social laws then existing. Lord Cassillis could interpret it into nothing but the grossest insult. He was the more enraged, knowing that Bargeny’s two principal companions had lately lain in wait for his life. He immediately took measures for gathering his friends about him, and sent spies to Ayr to apprise him of all Bargeny’s movements.

After spending four or five days in Ayr, Bargeny proposed to return to his own house, much against the advice of his friends, who feared dangers by the way. Setting out with a company of about eighty on horseback, in the midst of a dense snow-storm, he made a halt at the Bridge of Doon—that place since made so famous from another cause—and there addressed his people, protesting that he sought no quarrel with Lord Cassillis, but expressing his hope that, if attacked, they would stand around him, and do their duty as became men of honour. They all assured him that they would die in his defence. He then divided his train into two parties, and riding on, at the Lady Cross met the earl, who came out of Maybole with fully two hundred men. ‘Being all ready to meet, the ane on the Teind knowe, and the other on the next, within the shot of ane musket, they began to flyte [use despiteful language towards each other]. Patrick Rippet [of the earl’s party], cryit: "Laird of Benand! Laird of Benand! Laird of Benand! This is I, Patrick Rippet, that took thy [hagbut]. Come down here in the holm, and break ane tree for thy love’s sake!" Bit the other gave nae answer, albeit he had given the laird stiff council to ride forward before.’

The Laird of Bargeny, anxious still to avoid fighting if possible, led off his men along the side of a bog; but the Cassillis party came by the other side, and met him at the bottom. He then made a dash forward across a ditch, with Mure of Auchindrain, his page, and three other gentlemen, but, not being supported by any others, found himself outnumbered by the enemy. A brief conflict took place, in which the laird and his friends did some damage to the opposite party; but it was all in vain. Auchindrain was wounded, the page was killed, one of his friends unhorsed, and another sore hurt. He himself, though but one of his friends remained, was not daunted, but rode rapidly into the ranks of the enemy, calling: ‘Where is my lord himself? Let him now keep promise and break ane tree!’ He was instantly set upon by a host of the earl’s friends, who strake at him with swords, and bore him back by sheer force. At that moment, one John Dick, who had formerly received benefits at his hands, thrust a lance through his throat and stopped his breath. The poor gentleman was then bone off by his horse towards such of his party as still stood their ground, and fell at their feet. The skirmish being now at an end, they were allowed to conduct him away from the field, taking him first to a barn at a place called Dingham, then to Maybole, and finally to Ayr, where he soon after died, being but twenty-five years of age, leaving a widow and two children to bewail his bloody end. ‘He was,’ says the contemporary historian of the Kennedies, ‘the brawest man that was to be gotten in ony land; of hich stature and weel made; his hair black, but of ane comely face; the brawest horseman, and the ae-best of mony at all pastimes . . . . gif he had [had] time to [have] had experience to his wit, he had been by his marrows [superior to all his mates].’

The procedure consequent on this sad tragedy is very notable. The Countess of Cassillis—a lady much the senior of her husband, the widow of the late Chancellor Maitland, and of course well acquainted with all the principal people around the king—rode immediately to court, to intercede for James’s favour towards her lord. With the help of the Laird of Colzean, she contrived to obtain an act of Council, making the earl’s part in the late conflict ‘good service to the king‘—the pretext being that, in the opposite party, was Thomas Kennedy, Bargeny’s brother, a denounced rebel. ‘The ten thousand merits given to the treasurer was what did the turn.' [Such is the account of a partial contemporary. In the Privy Council Record, it is stated that the conflict was provoked by Bargeny, and that his party were fully armed for the purpose with muskets, hagbuts, and pistolets, while Cassillis’s attendants wore only their swords. Cassillis’s defence, on the ground of his having commissions giving him authority over his district, was sustained.] The earl was able afterwards to reimburse himself by causing all the gentlemen who had been with Bargeny to come to him and purchase remissions for their concern in the death of one of his followers, slain in the skirmish.

‘The Lady Bargeny rade to Edinburgh, and made her complent to the king and queen, but was little better, or least but heard; for she was compellit to buy the ward of her son, and to give thirteen thousand merks for the same.’ It is alleged that she afterwards used all the means she could to take the life of Lord Cassillis, in revenge for her husband’s death. An ambush was laid for him at Monkton, but getting timely warning, he waited for an increase to his retinue, by which he overawed the intending assassins. Lady Bargeny died in 1605, on her way home from London, whither she had gone to consult Dr Martin for ‘the eittik’ [that is, hectic, meaning a pulmonary consumption]. Her body was met at Sanquhar by ‘the haill friends of the house,’ and by them brought ceremonially to Ayr, and placed beside her deceased husband in the church. She had, however, erected a sumptuous tomb to her lord in the church of Ballantrae, and to this the two bodies were transferred with great state, ‘the honours and all the rest being preparit very honourably.’ By this is meant, a procession bearing the escutcheon, pencil of honour, sword, helmet, corslet, &c., of the deceased. ‘The day being come, there was of noblemen the Earls of Eglinton, Abercorn, and Winton, with the Lords Semple, Cathcart, Loudoun, and Ochiltree, the Lairds of Bombie, Blairwhan, and Gairland [Garthland], with ane great number whilk I will not mint [attempt] to express; his honours being borne by the Guidman of Ardmillan, the Guidman of Kirkhill, with sundry mae of the friends; his sister’s son, Young Auchindrain, bearing the Banner of Revenge, whereon was paintit his portraiture, with all his wounds, with his son sitting at his knees, and this ditty written betwixt his hands: "JUDGE AND REVENGE MY CAUSE, O LORD!" And sae, conveyit to Ayr, bure all very honourably, to the number of ane thousand horse, of gentlemen, and laid in the foresaid tomb.’— Hist. Ken.

It is scarcely necessary to remark the amount of local means here indicated by a funeral train of a thousand mounted gentlemen. The Banner of Revenge seems to have been an imitation of that carried in the streets of Edinburgh in June 1567, to inflame the popular mind against Queen Mary.

1602
The winter of 1601—2 is described by Birrel as of unheard-of
severity and duration. It lasted from the 1st of November to the 1st of May. In February was a ten-days’ snow-fall. The Earl of Sutherland was at this time travelling with his ordinary train from Golspie through the glen of Loth, on his way to Killeirnan. The ground being already deeply covered with snow, the party found themselves in a hard plight, when a fresh storm burst upon them, driving thick snow full in their faces. The like was not seen for many years after. ‘Some of the company being thirsty, drank aquavititæ which by chance happened to be there. This made them afterwards so feeble, that they were not able to endure against the storm.’ This is an observation in conformity with a statement of Sir John Franklin respecting his men when travelling in the frozen regions. Spirituous liquor, according to him, did no one any good. The earl, being strong, made his way through the snow, and such of his company as kept close together near him were safe. ‘Some were dispersed by the extremity of the tempest; some were carried home upon their fellows’ shoulders, and recovered afterwards.’ Several others, including the earl’s harper, were found dead in the snow next morning.—G. H. S.

Feb 14
James and George Vallam, sons of David Vallam of Woodwrae, were hanged in Edinburgh for stouthrief. The dittay reveals some of the practices of the age. These two men had, in June 1596, attacked two cadgers or carriers at the Cot-town of Melgum in Forfarshire, as they were ‘driving seven packs of merchant geir on seven horses towards Brechin, to the fair thereof,’ and did ‘thiftously and masterfully convey the same away with them, together with the said cadgers, to the mouth of Glenmoy, and disponed upon a grit part of the said merchant geir at their pleasure.’ The circumstances are precisely what might occur at the present day in Spain.—Pit.

Feb 26
After such a variety of examples of violence in the south and west provinces, where a comparative civilisation prevailed, it may be curious to see an example of the outrages occasionally committed in the north. On this day, if we are to believe the statement of the suffering party, the house of Moy, belonging to John Campbell, commissary of Inverness, was attacked, despoiled, and utterly destroyed by a party under command of Alexander M’Ranald of Glengarach. They came ‘to the number of three score persons, [The names of the party, as given in the Privy council Record, are curious as a sample of Highland nomenclature of the day. These were Donald Glas M’Rannald, and Ronald M'Rannald, brothers of the aforesaid Alexander; Allaster M’Ean Vich Innes, John, Angus, Donald, and Ronald, his sons; Gorie M’Allaster Vich Gorie, and Allaster his brother; John Dow M’Connell Vich Rannald, Allan and Angus his brothers; Gilespich M’Ean Vich Connell, William and Angus his brothers; William M’Connell Vich Gorie, and Angus his brother; John M'Ean Vich Finlay Roy, and Ewen M’Finlay Roy his brother; John Dow Vich Connell Vich Finlay; John M’Innes Vich Connachie, and Paul M'Connachie Vich Innes his son; Farquhar Dow M’Connell Vich Farquhar, Allaster Dow his brother; Gilliecallum M'Farquhar Vich Connell Vich Farquhar, son to the said Farquhar; Donald M’Innes Vich Ean Dowie; Gilespich M’lnnes his brother, &c.] all thieves, broken men, and sorners of clans, bodin and furnist with bows, habershons, twa-handit swords, and other weapons invasive, and with hagbuts and pistolets.’ Reaching Moy ‘upon fair day-licht,’ they ‘divided their company in twa several companies, ane whereof remainit about the complenar’s house and biggings, where they treasonably and awfully raisit fire, burnt and destroyit his haul house, onsets, and biggings; consisting of ane
hall, twa chalmers, ane kitchen, ane stable, and ane barn, and some other office-houses; together with his haill corns being in the barn and barn-yard, extending to twa grit stacks of aits, ane stack of wheat, and ane grit stack of beir, after they had spulyit, reft, and intromittit with his haill insicht plenishing.’

The other company ‘past to the house of umwhile James Buchan, the complenar’s tenant, where they first spulyit his house, guids, and geir, and then treasonably raisit fire therein. They took James Buchan, Patrick Buchan his son, and Robert Anderson his servant, and having cuttit off their legs and arms, and otherwise dismemberit them at their pleasure, they cast them quick in the fire and burnt them. In their departing, they reft and away-took with them twenty oxen and three score sheep pertening to the complenar, and wrackit and herryit his haill puir tenants. The like of whilk barbarous cruelty committit sae fer within the in-country has sendil been heard of.’

All that could be immediately done in this frightful case was to denounce the guilty parties as rebels for not appearing to answer Campbell’s complaint. Soon after, we find the Privy Council expressing its grief that the broken men of the Highlands, ‘not content with the robbery and reif whilk they were accustomed to commit upon the borders of the country, have tane the bauldness in troops to repair in fair day-licht within the heart of the in-country and to the ports of Elgin, whilk was the maist peaceable and obedient part of the haill land, and there to herry and sorn at their pleasure’ The gentlemen of Morayshire were summoned to advise with his majesty, as to the best means of restraining this insolence.—P. C. R.

There is afterwards (June 28), a complaint by Campbell of Moy as to the favour and entertainment which Dunbar of Westfield, sheriff of Moray, had given to the men by whom his estate was despoiled. It was even alleged that the Dunbars had brought the broken men into the country. This group of men accordingly had some trouble about this business, but not any of serious consequence. We do not find that any of the actual perpetrators of the outrage at Moy ever suffered for it.

Apr 8
Thomas Musgrave, Captain of Bewcastle, being accused before the Privy Council of England, of sundry breaches of duty, particularly of having made Bewcastle a den of thieves, and open to the Scots at their pleasure, challenged the accuser, one Lancelot Carleton, to the trial by combat on Canonbie Holm, ‘before England and Scotland,’ on Thursday in Easter-week, being the 8th of April 1602, betwixt nine o’clock and one of the same day. It was agreed that they should fight on foot, armed with jack, steel-cap, plait sleeves, plait breeches, plait socks, two baslaerd swords, with blades a yard and half a quarter long, and two Scotch dirks at their girdles. Two gentlemen were to view the field, and see that the agreement as to arms and weapons was strictly observed; and the field being so viewed, the gentlemen were to ride to the rest of the company, leaving the combatants only two boys to hold their horses. The result is not known.

May 11
Sir Thomas Kennedy of Colzean was this day murdered in the immediate neighbourhood of the town of Ayr. ‘He was ane very potentous man, and very wise. He had buildit ane proper house in the Cove [the mansion superseded by the present Colzean Castle], with very brave yards; and, by ane moyen and other, had conquest ane guid living.’ We have seen, under January 1, 1596—7, an attempt upon the life of this gentleman at Maybole, by Mure of Auchindrain, who subsequently was reconciled to him, and, for the confirmation of amity, caused his son to be married to Sir Thomas’s daughter. It nevertheless became in time apparent that Mure was the prime mover of this atrocious murder, the circumstances of which are thus related by the king’s advocate, Sir Thomas Hamilton.

Sir Thomas Kennedy, ‘being only intentive on his own adoes, whilk did require his resort to Edinburgh, there to consult with his lawyers in his wechty business, he send his servant to Maybole, to seek Auchindrain and advertise him of his purpose; with direction, if he missed him there, that he sould certify him by letter of his intended journey; to the effect Auchindrain might, upon the next day, meet him upon the way at [the Duppil, a place near Ayr], and inform him of anything he wald wish him to do for him in Edinburgh, seeing it was but ane travel for him to do his friend’s business and his own. This servant of Colzean’s, missing Auchindrain in Maybole, desired Mr Robert Mure, schoolmaster at Maybole, to write ane letter of that substance to Auchindrain; who did so, and sent it by ane boy of his school, called William Dalrymple; who, finding Auchindrain at his house of Auchindrain, with his cousin Walter Mure of Cloncaird, ane deadly enemy to the Earl of Cassillis; so soon as he [Auchindrain] fand himself certified of Colzean’s purpose and diet, he dismissed the boy, commanding him to return back in haste, carrying the letter with him; directing him further to shaw to his master and Colzean’s man that he had not fand him at his house. Immediately thereafter, [he] resolved with his cousin Cloncaird, that this occasion of revenge of Bargeny’s slaughter by Colzean’s murder was not to be unslipped....After some deliberation, [he] concluded upon the choice of the actors and manner of the execution, making advertisement thereof; as weel by letter to Thomas Kennedy of Drumurchy....as by message to Cloncaird.... The said Thomas Kennedy, Walter Mure of Cloncaird, and four or five servants with them, weel armed and horsed, convoying themselves near the way appointed by Colzean’s letter for his meeting with Auchindrain, did lie await for Colzean’s by-coming; who, being in full security of his dangerless estate, riding upon ane pacing nag, and having with him ane servant only, they suddenly surprised him, and with their pistols and swords gave him ane number of deadly wounds; and, not content to have so barbarously and traitorously bereft him of his life, spoiled him of ane thousand merks of gold, being in his purse, ane number of gold buttons upon his coat, and some rings and other jewels.’

‘He being slain, his man Lancelot brings him with him to the Greenan, and there gets ane horse litter, and takes him to Maybole, where there was great dule made for him.’- Hist. Ken.

Sir Thomas Hamilton proceeds to narrate that, while the actual murderers were first outlawed and afterwards forefaulted, Auchindrain fell under strong suspicion of having been the deviser of the deed. He, ‘being summoned to underlie the law, did boldly compear, and, seeing that the pursuers, for want of sufficient evidence, were not then to adventure his trial, fearing that he might be cleansed and so perpetually freed of that crime . . . . he seemed grieved thereat, as bragging exceedingly of his innocency, whereof he had given proof; by offering himself to trial of law - [He now proposed] if there were any man of Colzean’s kindred or friendship, who wald advow him any ways participant of the device or execution of that murder, he wald readily offer himself in that quarrel to the trial of combat to the death . . . . So, wanting ane party, [he] was dismissed, more free in the persuasion of most part of such as were present, than in his own conscience.’

The reader must be referred onward to July 1611 for the remainder of the history of this extraordinary criminal. Here, however, may be introduced the remarkable fact, that the Earl of Cassillis made an attempt to obtain a private revenge on Auchindrain for the murder of his uncle Colzean. The earl had long been on bad terms with his brother Hugh, whom we have seen as the guilty associate of Auchindrain. Now, he made up all past quarrels with Hugh, and granted him a bond, September 4, 1602, stating: ‘Howsoon our brother, Hugh Kennedy of Brownston, with his complices, takes the Lain! of Auchindrain’s ljfe, we sall mak guid and thankful payment to him and them of the sum of twelve hundred merks yearly, together with corn to six horses, [until] we receive them in household with ourself, beginning the first payment immediately after their committing of the said deed. Attour [moreover], howsoon we receive them in household, we shall pay to the twa serving gentlemen the fees, yearly, as our awn household servants. And hereto we oblige us, upon our honour.’

Oct 8
A proclamation issued by the king at Dumfries, gives some idea of the social state of the middle marches, and of the arrangements required for the execution of justice amongst the rude and turbulent people of that district, while as yet the government had no standing force at its command. ‘Forsamickle,’ it proceeds, ‘as the king’s Majesty has causit proclaim and appoint justice-courts to be halden within the burghs of Peblis and Jedburgh upon the fifteen and twenty-sex day of October instant, for punishing and trying be order of justice the monyfauld enormities and insolencies whilk has been sae frequent and common thir years bygane within the middle marches, Like as his Majesty, accompaniet with a nowmer of his council, intends to be present at the said courts, and to hald hand to the due execution of justice, Wherefore necessity it is that his Majesty be weel and substantially accompaniet with a force of his guid subjects, Therefore ordains letters to be direct, charging all and sundry his Majesty’s lieges and subjects betwixt saxty and saxteen years, and others fencible persons, as well dwelling to burgh as to land, regality and royalty, within the bounds of the sheriffdoms of Peblis, Selkirk, and Roxburgh, that they ilk ane of them weel bodin in feir of weir in their substantious and weirlike manner address themselves to meet his Majesty at the days and places following; That is to say, the saids inhabitants within the sheriffdoms of Selkirk and Peblis to meet his Majesty at Peblis the said fifteen day of October instant, and the saids inhabitants within the sheriffdom of Roxburgh to meet his Majesty at Jedburgh upon the twenty-five day of the same month, provided to remain and attend upon his Majesty the space of fifteen days after their coming to the said burghs under the pain of tinsel of life, lands, and guids.’—P. C. R.

From some expressions in this proclamation, it seems likely to have been written by the king himself.

He did make a progress by Peebles and Jedburgh, and executed justice upon a number of luckless Elliots and Armstrongs.

A quarrel at this time took place between two chiefs of the North Highlands, Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail and Macdonald of Glengarry. It were not easy to arrive at a just understanding of the case, or of the degrees of blame to which the several parties were liable; but it is not necessary. Enough that there was blood between these fierce paladins of the north, and that, however the right stood, the affair boded ill for Glengarry, seeing that he had to contend with an enemy crafty and able far beyond his class, and one who, by these means, was generally able to keep on good terms with the heads of administration in Edinburgh.

According to an unprinted memoir of the Clan Mackenzie— Glengarry and his son Angus, who had recently attained perfect age, took advantage of the temporary absence of Kintail in France to make a charge against the latter before the Privy Council; and Mackenzie was summoned at the pier of Leith to ‘compear’ before a certain day, under pain of forfeiture. This ‘moved Mr John Mackenzie of Tollic, parson of Dingwall, to travel to France, and bring his chief against the day of compearance. He came to Edinburgh only the night before, and having advised with his friends, he kept the diet unexpectedly before the Council. [n the meantime, Mister M’Gorrie and Ronald M’Rorie [Glengarry men] made another onset to the Brae of Kissearn, and killed a gentleman of the family of Davachmaluach, called Donald M’Kinnich Vich Allister, sleeping in his bed; whose bloody shirt Mr John Mackenzie presented that day at Edinburgh. Glengarry could prove nothing against Mackenzie done in his time; but Mr John proved Glengarry to have been the instruments of this murder. Likewise he proved him to be a worshipper of the Coan, which image was afterwards brought to Edinburgh, and burnt at the Cross. Also he gave in against him that he was an extortioner and oppressor, sorning on his own commons and the commons of others, and that he still lived in adultery. Which moved Glengarry to steal from the place of justice, and to take to the hills, whereupon he was proclaimed rebel, and Mackenzie got the laws against him.’

Glengarry’s son having invaded Kintail, and done some mischief there, Mackenzie raised a force of seven hundred men, and retaliated by spoiling the district of Moray. Then the Macdonalds came in thirty-seven boats to Loch Broom, and counter-retaliated. Here Alister M’Gorrie, one of their party, was killed, and. his party beat back to sea. Indeed, the whole expedition failed. Soon after, however, while Mackenzie was absent in Mull, the Macdonalds came once more to his country, at Loch Carron, and committed great devastations. Their leader, Glengarry’s son, not only carried off all the cows he could find, but slew all the people that fell in his way, even the women and children. He was overtaken, however, by a fearful retribution.

Advertisement was sent to Kintail and Lochalsh, who gathered as fast as they could; but he [Glengarry’s son, Angus] had his boats laden before they came. After they gave him a flight of arrows, he took the sea, and they wanting boats, could not follow; but part of them went afoot to the Kyle; others made straight to Ellandonan, where they got a ten-oared boat and a four-oared boat. Mackenzie’s lady carried to them arrows and ammunition with her own hand. They rowed to the Kyle boldly, having no chieftain, but ilk ane striving who would act more for his mistress’s credit, and for the country’s defence. They came to the Kyle [a narrow strait] after the night had fallen. When they spied the first of Glengarry’s boats, they resolved to let her pass without challenge. He followed next himself in his long-boat of thirty-two oars, loaded with men and spoil, which, when they perceived, they rowed calmly to meet him; and he challenging them, and asking who they were, they answered: "We are all Clan Vich Allister," giving them balls and arrows alike; at which they took alarm. The clouds overshadowing the moon, made a dark shadow on the sea; so they thought it had been shore, and got all to the fore-end of the boat, which made the boat to sink. When the Mackenzies saw their boat sink, they sent their little boat ashore, lest any should make their escape to land, and the Kiritail men had the killing of them like selchies [seals]. At last they killed Glengarry’s son and all those that were in that great boat with him. The rest, when they heard the alarm, retired to Strathardle, and left their boats; from whence they went afoot, and took boats from the Isles to Morer. When they knew their chieftain was dead, with the best of his company, they gathered all together to ane isle, where the Lord Kintail came timeously the next morning in the sight of the Isles...

‘When Mackenzie came to the Kyle, he spied a number of dead corpses which the rage of the sea had casten ashore, which made him to think, seeing his enemy together a little while before, that it was his own men that were killed there. He had in his company two of Glengarry’s natives, who had quat Glengarry and submitted to him, and who were acquaint with both the country people [both clans or sets of people in the district] whom be desired to go ashore and see who they were that were dead. No sooner were they ashore but he espied them strike their hands upon their breasts, making great lamentation. "Praised be God!" said Kintail, "it is not for my countrymen you make such great lamentation. I am confident that God hath been favourable to my countrymen in giving them a pleasant victory." When Robert [one of the Glengarry men] returned to the boat, Kintail asked: "What news?" "My lord," saith he, "good news for your lordship; there is many a brave fellow of your enemies dead in yonder place; not so much as one of your countrymen amongst them." Immediately they sailed away to Ellandonan, where Kintail’s men were no sooner landed but he met his countrymen returning from the burial of young Glengarry, whom they buried in the very door of the Kirk of Kintail, as testimony that they might trample over his body whenever they went to church.’’

Next year, Glengarry and some of his friends were indicted for slaughter in the Mackenzie country; and not long after, his lands of Lochalsh and castle of Strome had passed to the possession of the chief of Kintail.

In a Catalogue of the Scots Nobility and Officers of the Estate, by John Colville, written between 1600 and 1603, several of the Highland or rather Hebridean chiefs are described, as ‘The Lord of the Isles, callit Makrenald; ane Irish [Celtic] and barbar— The Lord of Kintyre, callit Makoneill; Irish and barbar—The Lord of the Lewis, callit Makgloyid; Irish and barbar—The Lord of Makklen, callit Makklen; Irish, a child of good expectation.’  The chief personage of the preceding notice is thus introduced: ‘The Lord of Makkenzie, callit Makkenzie; Irish; a protestant and verey politique.’

Nov 1
At Perth—’ Henry Balnaves and William Jack made their repentance in their awn seats on Sabbath afternoon, for making libel against Mr William Couper, minister, and Henry Elder, clerk—

As King David was ane sair sanct to the crown,
So is Mr William Couper and the clerk to this poor town.

Ane act of council against them, that nane of them should bear office or get honourable place in the town thereafter.’—Chron. Perth.

Dec 1
It had become a practice for persons who had revengeful feelings towards their neighbours to obtain petards from the continent, and employ them for the destruction of those against whom they had an ill-will. The king now issued a proclamation against ‘sic detestable and unworthy crimes, without example in any other kingdom,’ whereby ‘na man of whatsomever rank and calling can assure his awn safety and preservation within his awn house and iron yetts.’ He ordered all who have any ‘pittartis’ to surrender them at the next burgh immediately, and forbade any more being brought home by sea, or made or mended within the country.—P.C.R.

It seems not unworthy of observation, that by his familiarity with this explosive practice in his own country, as well as by the recollection of his father’s fate at the Kirk of Field, James might be in some measure prepared to smell out the gunpowder treason, as he did a few years later.

1603, Jan 3
‘John Haitly of Mellerstanes [was] slain at the Salt Tron [in Edinburgh] by William Home, his guid-father.’—Bir.

We have no account of what led to this dreadful kind of homicide; but, five years after (April 28, 1608), we find that the king had exerted himself to reconcile the friends of the parties, and they were ordered by the Privy Council to come forward on a particular day, and chop hands on the subject.— P.C R.

Jan 30
‘Francis Mowbray brak ward out of the [Edinburgh] Castle, and he fell owir the wall, and brak his craig [neck]. Thereafter, he was trailit to the gallows, and hangit; and thereafter he was quarterit, and his head and four quarters put on the four ports.’

In this brief manner Birrel narrates the sad end of a sprightly and gallant, though intemperate spirit. Francis Mowbray was a son of Sir John Mowbray of Barnbougle, an ancient house long since gone down to nothing. Francis himself was the friend and companion of the Earl of Buccleuch, the hero of the attack on Carlisle Castle in 1596. He had taken part in that exploit, but soon after got into trouble, in consequence of a quarrel with one William Schaw, whom he struck through with a rapier, and killed. Worse than this, he was a Catholic, and engaged himself actively in some of those underhand political practices which at length came to a head in the Gunpowder Treason. He spent some time in a most suspicious place—the Infant’s Court at Brussels.

An Italian fencer named Daniel, residing in London, denounced Mowbray to Elizabeth’s government as having undertaken to kill the king of Scots. Mowbray denied the accusation, and offered the combat. The two being sent down to Edinburgh, it was arranged that they should fight hand to hand in the great close of Holyroodhouse; but before the appointed day arrived, notice came from England that some witnesses had come forward who could prove the treason. On the 29th of January, Mowbray was confronted with the two witnesses, who, however, were considered as ‘of light account,’ being men of bankrupt fortunes, who had from that cause left their country. Mowbray still stood stoutly to his denial, uttering this adjuration before the king: ‘If ever I thought evil, or intended evil against my prince, God, that marketh the secrets of all hearts, make me fall at my enemies’ feet— make me a spectacle to all Edinburgh, and cast my soul in hell for ever!’ The two were placed in several apartments in Edinburgh Castle, the Italian occupying a room immediately above Mowbray.

At eight o’clock in the evening of the 30th of January, being Sunday, Francis Mowbray was found dying at the foot of the Castle rock. It was stated that he had sewed his blankets together, and let himself down over the wall; but the line being too short, he fell, and mortally injured himself. The unfortunate man died in the course of the night. An attempt was made by some friends to raise a report that he had been thrown over the window; but this was believed by few, and really is not very credible. The authorities shewed no hesitation about the matter; but, concluding on the guilt of the deceased, had his body dragged backwards through the streets to the bar of the Court of Justiciary, where sentence was duly passed against him. The corpse was then dealt with as Birrel relates. The superstitious remarked the verification of the fearful words of the deceased—that he might fall at his enemies’ feet, and become a spectacle to all Edinburgh. —Pit. Cal. Spot. Notes to Russell’s edition of Spottiswoode, 1851.

This year was published in Edinburgh a comedy, entitled Philotus, which we must consider as a curiosity in its way, since it is the first known effort of the Scottish muse in that department of literature. It is founded on a story which we find under the name of Philotus and Emilia in a volume by Barnaby Riche, originally published in 1581, being, in plain terms, a somewhat licentious Italian novel. The Scotch comedy is in rhymed verse, and entirely in the characteristic Scotch manner of that age; but not a shadow of plausible conjecture has yet been indulged in regarding the possible author.

The main series of incidents involves the fate of a young woman, Emilia, who is solicited to become-the second wife of Philotus, an old and rich man. A Macrell, or go-between, is employed to bring her to his wishes, and addresses her in a long speech, which incidentally illustrates the life of a fine lady of that age:

‘Ye neither mell with lad nor loon,
But with the best in all this toun;
His wife may ay sit foremost doun,
At either buird or bink,
Gang foremost in at door or yett,
And ay the first guid-day wald get,
With all men honourit and weel-tret,
As ony heart wald think.

See what a woman’s mind may meese,
And hear what honour, wealth, and ease,
Ye may get with him, an ye please
To do as I devise:
Your fire sall first be burning clear,
Your maidens then sall have your geir
Put in guid order and effeir,
Ilk morning or you rise.

And say: ‘Lo, mistress, here your muils;
Put on your wyliecoat or it cuils;
Lo, here ane of your velvet stuils,
Whereon ye sall sit doun:
Then twasome come to kame your hair,
Put on your head-geir soft and fair;
Tak there your glass—see all be clair;
And sae gaes on your goun.

Then tak, to stanch your morning drouth,
Ane cup of Malvoisie, for your mouth;
For fume cast succar in a fouth,
Together with a toast.
Three garden gowps tak of the air,
And bid your page in haste prepare,
For your disjune, some dainty fair,
And care not for nae cost.

Ane pair of plovers piping het,
Ane partrick and ane quailie get,
Ane cup of sack, sweet and weel set
May for ane breakfast gain.
Your cater he may care for syne
Some delicate, again’ you dine;
Your cook to season all sae fine,
Then does employ his pain.

To see your servants may you gang,
And look your maidens all amang,
And, gif there ony wark be wrang,
Then bitterly them blame:
Then may ye have baith quoifs and kells,
Hich candle ruffs, and barlet bells,
All for your wearing and nought els,
Made in your house at hame.

And now when all thir warks are done,
For your refreshing after noon,
Gar bring into your chamber soon,
Some dainty dish of meat;
Ane cup or twa with Muscadel,
Some other licht thing therewithal—
For raisins or for capers call,
Gif that ye please to eat.

Till supper time then may ye chuse,
Into your garden to repose,
Or merrily to tak ane glow,’
Or tak ane book and read on;
Syne to your supper are ye brought,
Till fare, full far that has been sought,
And dainty dishes dearly bought,
That ladies love to feed on.

The organs then, into your hall,
With shalm and timbrel sound they sall,
The viol and the lute withal,
To gar your meat digest:
The supper done, then up ye rise,
To gang ane while, as is the guise-
By ye have roamit ane alley thrice,
It is a mile almaist.

Then ye may to your chalmer gang,
Beguile the nicht, gif it be lang,
With talk, and merry mows amang,
To elevate the spleen.
For your collation tak ane taste,
Some little licht thing till digest,
At nicht use Rhen’sh wine ay almaist
For it is cauld and clean.

And for your back I dare be bold,
That ye sall wear even as ye wold,
With double garnishings of gold,
And crape above your hair.
Your velvet hat, your hood of state
Your missle when ye gang the gait;
Frae sun and wind, baith air and late,
To keep that face sae fair.

Of Paris wark, wrought by the lave,
Your fine half-cheinyies ye sall have;
For to decore, ane carkat crave,
That comely collar-bane.
Your great gold cheinyie for your neck,
Be bowsome to the carle and beck,
For he has gold eneuch, what-reck?
It will stand on nane.

And for your gouns, ay the new guise
Ye with your tailors may devise,
To have them loose with plaits and plies,
Or claspit close behind:
The stuff, my heart, ye need not hain,
Pan velvet raised, figurit or plain,
Silk, satin, damask, or grograin,
The finest ye can find.

Your claiths on colours cuttit out,
And all pasmented round about,
My blessing on that seemly snout,
Sae weel, I trow, sall set them!
Your shanks of silk, your velvet shoon,
Your broidered wyliecoat aboon,
As ye devise, all sall be done,
Uncraipit, when ye get them.

Your tablet, by your halse that hings,
Gold bracelets, and all other things,
And all your fingers full of rings,
With pearls and precious stanes,
Ye sall have ay while ye cry ho,
Rickles of gold and jewels too,
What reck to tak the bogle-go,
My bonny bird, for anes.’

Feb 9
This is the date of an outbreak of private warfare which throws all contemporary events of the same kind into the shade.

In pursuance of a quarrel of some standing between the Clan Gregor and Colquhoun, Laird of Luss, the former came in force to the banks of Loch Lomond. The parties met in Glenfruin, and the Colquhouns, out-marneuvred by the enemy, were overthrown. The Macgregors, besides killing a number of persons, variously stated at three score and four score, in the battle, are alleged to have murdered a number of prisoners (amongst whom, by the way, was Tobias Smollett, bailie of Dumbarton, very likely an ancestor of the novelist, his namesake), and also some poor unarmed people. The whole slaughter is set down at 140 persons. Besides all this, they carried off 600 cattle, 800 sheep and goats, fourteen score of horse and mares, ‘with the haill plenishing, gudes and geir, of the four-score-pound land of Luss, burning and destroying everything else.’ It has been alleged that they killed the laird after taking him prisoner, and murdered a number of school-boys from the college or school of Dumbarton; but these would appear to be groundless charges. Such as their guilt was, it proved the commencement of a long course of oppression and misery endured by this clan. According to a contemporary writer, a mournful procession came to Edinburgh, bearing eleven score of bloody shirts, to excite the indignation of the king against the Macgregors. There being no friend of the Macgregors present to plead their cause, letters of intercommuning were immediately issued against them.

The feeling of a state-officer of these days regarding the unruly population of the north, comes strongly out in a letter of the President Lord Fyvie, written to the king a few weeks after he had gone to London. ‘Your majesty will understand by your Council’s letters the estate and proceedings with the Macgregors. Gif all the great Highland clans war at the like point, I wald think it ane great ease and weel to this commonwealth, and to your majesty’s guid subjects here.’

It was arranged soon after that a large number of the Clan Gregor should be deported from the country, but whither does not appear. The Privy Council requested the king to allow a ship to be sent for them, ‘seeing all these wha are to depart, in whilk number the laird himself is ane, are . . . . unable of themselves aither to defray their charges, furnish themselves of victuals, or pay their fraught.’


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