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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of James VI. 1603 - 1625 Part F


May 13
‘The king entered into Scotland, accompanied with the Duke of Lennox, the Earls of Arundel, Southampton, Pembroke, Montgomery, and Buckingham, Bishops of Ely, Lincoln, and Winchester, and sundry barons, deans, and gentlemen. He stayed in Dunglass two nights, and a night in Seaton. On Friday, the 16th, he came to Leith, and about four afternoon, out of Leith to the West Port of Edinburgh, where he made his entry on horseback, that he might the better be seen by the people; whereas before he rode in the coach all the way. The provost, bailies, and council, and a number of citizens arrayed in gowns [of plain velvet], and others standing with speat staves, received him at the port.’ The provost, William Nisbet, and the town-clerk, John Hay, having severally harangued him, five hundred double angels in a silver double-gilt basin, were presented to him—’ wha, with ane mild
and gracious countenance, receivit them with their propyne.’ ‘The cannons of the Castle were shot. He was convoyed first
to the great kirk, where the Bishop of St Andrews had a flattering sermon upon the 21st Psalm, and thanked God for his prosperous journey. He knighted the provost. When he came to the palace of Holyroodhouse, the professors and students of the College of Edinburgh presented to him some poems made to his praise, and in sign of welcome.’—Cal.

May 17
‘. . . . the English service was begun in the Chapel-royal, with the singing of choristers, surplices, and playing on organs.’—Cal. Amid the general feeling of satisfaction at seeing their native prince amongst them once more, this exemplification of ceremonial worship was allowed by the people to pass without tumult, yet not without serious discontents and apprehensions. The bishops were so fearful of the popular spirit, that they endeavoured to dissuade the king, but without success. The common people in Edinburgh, as we are told by a native historian, considered the service in the chapel as ‘staining and polluting the house of religion by the dregs of popery. The more prudent, indeed, judged it but reasonable that the king should enjoy his own form of worship in his own chapel; but then followed a rumour, that the religious vestments and altars were to be forcibly introduced into all the churches, and the purity of religion, so long established in Scotland, for ever defiled. And it required the utmost efforts of the magistrates to restrain the inflamed passions of the common people.'

Having to meet his parliament a few weeks after, the king went to Falkland to hunt. But the park of his Fife palace did not content him. Carnegie, Lord Kinnaird, son of a favourite minister of old, and himself a friend of the king, dwelt in state in a noble castle overlooking the embouchure of the South Esk in Forfarshire, with an extensive muir full of game close by—Muirthrewmont or Muirromon (as the country people call it). James gladly rode thither, for the sake of the abundant sport. The house of Kinnaird was furnished on the occasion for various pleasures, and deficient in no sort of enjoyment, Two poets of temporary and local fame came with courtly Latin strains suitable to the occasion. His majesty tarried ten days in the district, and then came to Dundee, which welcomed him with poem and with speech. Returning to Edinburgh, he set himself to drive his ends with the clergy, who were now less able or disposed to resist his innovations than they had been twenty years before. At his command, several of the Scottish councillors and bishops received the communion in the English manner in the Chapel-royal, and William Summers, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, officiated there, ‘observing the English form in his prayer and behaviour.’ ‘On the 15th June, some noblemen and bishops who had not communicat before, communicat kneeling, yet not half of the noblemen that were required. The ministers of Edinburgh, in the meantime, were silent; neither dissuaded the king privately, nor opened their mouth in public against this innovation, or bad example.’— Cal.

On the 19th of June, the king formally visited the Castle of Edinburgh, in order to celebrate his fifty-first birthday on the natal spot. Andrew Kerr, a boy of nine years of age, welcomed him at the gate in ‘ane Hebrew speech.’ At the banquet in the great hall, the English and Scottish nobility and the magistracy of Edinburgh met in the utmost amity and satisfaction. By the desire of the king, who wished to advance his native country in the eyes of the English, the wives and children of the Scottish nobility appeared in their finest dresses, shining with jewels, and were treated with great distinction. The feast was not over till nine at night; and after its conclusion, the Castle rang with a chorus of the ladies’ voices and a band of instruments. On the return of the royal party to the Palace, a great multitude assembled there to see ‘pastimes with firework.'

On the 26th, ‘there was a timber house erected on the back of the Great Kirk of Edinburgh [south side], which was decored with tapestry, where the town prepared a banquet for the king and the nobility. The day following, sundry knights and gentlemen of good note were banqueted in the same house, and made burgesses. They danced about the Cross with sound of trumpets and other instruments; throwed glasses of wine from the Cross upon the people standing about, and ended with the king’s scoll [health.] ‘—Cal.

June 20
This day is dated from Leith a satire upon Scotland, heretofore
usually attributed to Sir Anthony Weldon, but upon doubtful evidence. It was entitled, A Perfect Description of the People and Country of Scotland, and was printed with the signature JOHNS E. It seems the splenetic effusion of some Cockney who had been tempted to follow the king’s train into Scotland, and had found himself a smaller man there than he expected.

In the air, the soil, and the natural productions of Scotland, this railer can find nothing goodly or agreeable. The thistle, he says, is the fairest flower in their garden. Hay is a word unknown. ‘Corn is reasonable plenty at this time; for, since they heard of the king’s coming, it hath been as unlawful for the common people to eat wheat, as it was of old for any but the priests to eat the show-bread. . . . . They would persuade the footmen that oaten cakes would make them well-winded; and the children of the chapel they have brought to eat of them for the maintenance of their voices.... They persuade the trumpeters that fasting is guid for men of their quality; for emptiness, they say, causeth wind, and wind causeth a trumpet sound sweetly.

‘They christen without the cross, marry without a ring, receive the sacrament without reverence, die without repentance, and bury without divine service. They keep no holidays, nor acknowledge any saint but St Andrew, who, they say, got that honour by presenting Christ with ane oaten cake after his forty days’ fast.... They hold their noses if you speak of bear-bating, and stop their ears if you speak of play.... I am verily persuaded if [the] angels at the last day should come down in their white garments, they would run away, and cry: "The children of the chapel are come again to torment us!" . . . . For the graven images in the new beautified chapel, they threaten to pull them down after his departure, and make of them a burnt-offering to appease the indignation they imagine is conceived against them in the breast of the Almighty for suffering such idolatry to enter their kingdom. The organs, I think, will find mercy, because they say there is some affinity between them and their bagpipes. The shipper that brought the singing-men with their papistical vestments, complains that he hath been much troubled with a strange singing in his head ever since they came aboard his ship; for remedy whereof the pastor of the parish hath persuaded him to sell the profaned vessel, and distribute the money among the faithful brethren.’

Our scribbler speaks of the women as huge-boned monsters, whereof the upper class are ‘kept like lions in iron grates. The merchants’ wives are likewise prisoners, but not in such strongholds. They have wooden cages [meaning the timber galleries in front of the houses], through which, peeping to catch the air, we are almost choked with the sight of them.... To draw you down from the citizen’s wife to the country gentlewomen, and so convey you to the common dames, were to bring you from Newgate to Bridewell.’

In an answer to this satire, a strong defence is entered on the subject of victuals and other materials of conviviality. ‘Except meat should have rained down from heaven, it could not be imagined more cheap, more plentiful. Ane of those twelve pies that were sold for a penny, might have stopped your mouth for his quarrel.... What else would you have had? You know there were some subjects that kept open butteries and cellars from morning till night.... The man is angry that all the taps were not pulled out, that every guid fellow might swim in sack. and claret.’

June 30
The king commenced a second excursion in his native dominion; by Stirling, Perth, St Andrews—thence back to Stirling, where he received a deputation of Edinburgh professors, who disputed before him in the Chapel-royal of the Castle, in the presence of the English and Scottish nobility and many learned men. Here the; British Solomon was quite in his element. The first question discussed ‘by the learned doctors was, "Ought sheriffs and other inferior magistrates to be hereditary?"—a question at this time agitated in the national senate, where it was the earnest wish of King James that it should be decided in the negative. As might have been expected, the oppugners of the question soon got the advantage; for the weighty arguments of royalty were thrown into that scale.

‘The king was highly delighted with their success; and turning to the Marquis of Hamilton (hereditary sheriff of Clydesdale), who stood behind his chair, said: "James, you see your cause is lost, and all that can be said for it is clearly answered and refuted."

‘The second thesis was On the Nature of Local Motion. The opposition to this was very great, and the respondent produced numerous arguments from Aristotle in support of his thesis, which occasioned the king to say: "These men know the mind of Aristotle as well as he did himself when alive."

‘The third thesis was Concerning the Origin of Fountains or Springs. The king was so well pleased with this controversy, that, although the three-quarters of an hour allotted for the disputation were expired, he caused them to proceed, sometimes speaking for and against both respondent and opponent, seldom letting an argument on either side pass without proper remarks.

‘The disputations being over, the king withdrew to supper; after which he sent for the disputants, whose names were John Adamson, James Fairlie, Patrick Sands, Andrew Young, James Reid, and William King, before whom he learnedly discoursed on the several subjects controverted by them, and then began to comment on their several names, and said: "These gentlemen, by their names, were destined for the acts they had in hand this day;" and proceeded as followeth:

"Adam was the father of all, and Adam’s son had the first part of this act. The defender is justly called Fairlie; his thesis had some fairlies in it, and he sustained them very fairly, and with many fair lies given to the oppugners. And why should not Mr Sands be the first to enter the sands? But now I clearly see that all sands are not barren, for certainly he hath shewn a fertile wit. Mr Young is very old in Aristotle. Mr Reid need not be red with blushing for his acting this day. Mr King disputed very kingly, and of a kingly purpose, concerning the royal supremacy of reason above anger and all passions. I am so well satisfied," added his majesty, "with this day’s exercise, that I will be godfather to the College of Edinburgh, and have it called the College of King James, for, after its founding, it stopped sundry years in my minority. After I came to knowledge, I held to it, and caused it to be established; and although I see many look upon it with an evil eye, yet I will have them know that, having given it my name, I have espoused its quarrel, and at a proper time will give it a royal god-bairn gift to enlarge its revenues." The king being told that there was one in company his majesty had taken no notice of—namely, Henry Charteris, principal of the College, who, though a man of great learning, yet, by his innate bashfulness, was rendered unfit to speak in such an august assembly—his majesty answered: "His name agrees well with his nature; for charters contain much matter, yet say nothing; and, though they say nothing, yet they put great things into men’s mouths."

‘The king having signified that he would be pleased to see his remarks on the professors’ names versified, it was accordingly done as follows:

‘As Adam was the first man, whence all beginning tak,
So Adamson was president, and first man in this act.
The thesis Fairlie did defend, which, though they lies contein,
Yet were fair lies, and he the same right fairlie did maintein.
The field first entered Mr Sand; and there he made me see
That not all sands are barren sands, but that some fertile be.
Then Mr Young most subtilie the thesis did impugn,
And kythed old in Aristotle, although his name be Young.
To him succeeded Mr Reid, who, though Reid be his name,
Needs neither for his dispute blush, nor of his speech think shame.
Last entered Mr King the lists, and dispute like a king,
How reason, reigning like a king, should anger under bring.
To their deserved praise have I thus played upon their names,
And will their college hence be called
The College of King James.’

In the course of his excursion, the king had a hunt in the neighbourhood of Dunfermline. At this time, the coal-works at Culross, on the shore of the Firth of Forth, were conducted with great activity under their enterprising proprietor, Sir George Bruce. James invited his company to dine with him at a collier’s house, referring to an elegant mansion which Sir George had built for his accommodation in the town of Culross. They proceeded in the first place to examine the coal-works, which were then wrought a considerable way under the sea, issuing at some distance from shore in a little island or moat, where the product of the mines was put directly on board vessels to be transported to various places. The king and his courtiers, unaware of this peculiar arrangement, were conducted along the mine till they reached the sea-shaft, and here being drawn up, found themselves suddenly surrounded by the waves. James, always apprehensive of attempts on his life, was excited to great alarm by this unexpected situation, and called out ‘Treason!’ His courteous host reassured him by pointing to an elegant pinnace moored by the moat to carry him ashore, in the event of his not wishing to return by the mine. Doubtless the affair added a little zest to the banquet which the party immediately after partook of in the hospitable mansion of Bruce.

The king pursued his progress by Glasgow, Paisley, Hamilton, and Dumfries, passing across the Border to Carlisle on the 5th of August, amidst the general regrets of his subjects. It was remarkable how much peace and good feeling prevailed amongst the people during the royal visit. The Chancellor Dunfermline, in afterwards summing up the whole affair to the king, said: ‘In all the time of your majesty’s remaining in this kingdom, in sae great companies, and sae many noblemen and great personages of twa nations convened, never ane action, word, or appearance of any discord, variance, or offence betwix any of the nations with other, for whatsomever cause. I doubt gif ever the like has been seen, at sic occasion of so frequent a meeting of men, strangers, and unknown to each other.’—M. S. P.

It may be worth mentioning, that by warrant signed at Hitchinbroke, October 23, 1618, the king gave to Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank ‘a gilt basin which was given to us by our burgh of Edinburgh, with their propine of money, at our first entry of the said burgh, at our last being in our said kingdom; together with two gilt cups, one of them in form of a salmon, presented to us by our burgh of Glasgow; and another gilt cup which was given us by the town of Carlisle; together with some remanent of musk and ambergrise, which was unspent at our being there; and, lastly, ane large iron chest, which did sometime belong to the late Earl of Gowrie.’—An. Scot.

1618, Feb
The king’s attention was drawn to two abuses in the police of the city of Edinburgh. Notwithstanding the warning given by a fire in 1584, it was still customary for baxters and browsters to keep stocks of heather and whins in the very heart of the city, to the great hazard of adjacent buildings; and individuals disposed to build houses within the city were in some instances prevented by a fear of the risk to which they would be thus exposed. The other evil complained of was less dangerous, but more offensive, Candlemakers and butchers were allowed to pursue their callings within the town, to the great disgust of ‘civil and honest neighbours, and of the nobility and country people that comes there for their private adoes.’ Indeed, ‘it hath oftentimes fallen out, that in mony streets and vennels of the said burgh, the filth of slaughtered guids is in such abundance exposed to the view of the people, and the closes and streets sae filled therewith, as there can no passage be had through the same.’ A proclamation was launched against these abuses.—-P. C. R.

On the 4th of March 1619, the Privy Council sent an order to the magistrates of Edinburgh, demanding that they should take order for keeping the streets of the town clean, and describing the existing state of things in these terms: It ‘is now become so filthy and unclean, and the streets, vennels, wynds, and closes thereof so overlaid and covent with middings, and with the filth of man and beast, as [that] the noble, councillors, servitors, and others his majesty’s subjects wha are lodgit within the said burgh, can not have ane clean and free passage and entry to their lodgings; wherethrough their lodgings have become so loathsome unto them, as they are resolved rather to make choice of lodgings in the Canongate and Leith, or some other parts about the town, nor [than] to abide the sight of this shameful uncleanliness and filthiness; whilk is so universal and in such abundance through all parts of this burgh, as in the heat of summer it corrupts the air, and gives great occasion of sickness; and, furder, this shameful and beastly filthiness is most detestable and odious in the sight of strangers, who, beholding the same, are constrained with reason to give out mony disgraceful speeches agains’ this burgh, calling it a puddle of filth and uncleanness, the like whereof is not to be seen in no part of the world.’ The plan of police proposed by the Council is for each inhabitant to ‘keep the streets foment their awn bounds clean, as is done in other civil, handsome, and wed-governed cities.’ No idea of a cleaning department of police.

Considering how closely Edinburgh was built, and that its numberless narrow alleys were kept in the state which is described, it is not at all surprising that the pest so frequently broke out within its bounds. We learn from the above edict that the natural connection of decaying organic matter with pestilential disease, was not then unknown; the fact was admitted, but neglected. At this time, the attention of the public in Scotland was concentrated on questions regarding religious observances— many of them of little substantial consequence—while these real life-and-death matters were wholly overlooked.

It is rather remarkable, that so early as 1527, there appears to have been a general arrangement for cleaning the city of Edinburgh at stated times, and with a profit to the corporation. In that year, there is an entry as follows in the Council Record of the city: ‘The gait-dichting, and duties thereof, is set this year to come, with the aventure of deid and weir, to Alexander Peunicuik, for the soum of £20, to be dicht and clengit sufficiently ilk 8 days anes, with a dozen of servants.’ Pennicuik is enjoined to ‘tak nae mair duties for the dichting thereof, except and allenarly of fish, flesh, salt, and victuals.’

May 13
The king having proposed that ‘the most notorious and lewd persons’ in the middle shires (Borders) might be ‘sent to Virginia, or some other remote parts,’ the councillors answered that it was not necessary, because the country was now reduced to ‘obedience and quietness;’ and it might even prove detrimental, seeing that many who were ‘in danger of the laws for auld feids,’ but had latterly been at peace, might, if they heard of such a design, ‘mak choice rather to loup out and become fugitives, nor to underly the hazard and fear of that matter.’

Notwithstanding the peace and obedience described as now existing, scarcely two years had elapsed when we find evidences that the king’s proposal was found to be rational and of promise. In April 1620, ‘a hundred and twenty of the broken men of the Borders were apprehended by the landlords and wardens of the Middle Marches, at the command of the Privy Council, and sent to the Bohemian wars, with Colonel Andrew Gray.’—Bal.

June 2
The Privy Council issued a commission to certain gentlemen in Irvine, to try two persons of that burgh accused of witchcraft. In the recital on which the commission proceeds, it is set forth—‘
that John Stewart, vagabond, and Margaret Barclay, spouse to Archibald Deane, burgess of Irvine, were lately apprehendit upon most probable and clear presumption of their practising of witchcraft agains John Dean; burgess of Irvine, and procuring thereby the destruction of the said John, and the drowning and perishing of the ship called the Gift of God, of Irvine, and of the haill persons aifd goods being thereintill: likeas the said John Stewart, upon examination, has clearly and pounktallie confessit the said devilish practices, and the said Margaret, foolishly presuming by her denial to eschew trial and punishment, doeth most obdurately deny the truth of that matter, notwithstanding that the said John constantly avows the same upon her,’ &c.

It appears that Margaret Barclay had conceived and expressed violent hatred of her brother-in-law, John Deane, and his wife, in consequence of their raising or propagating a scandal against her. John Deane’s ship having been lost at Padstow, on the English coast, and John Stewart, a spaeman, having spoken of this fact before it was known by ordinary means, a suspicion arose that the latter had been concerned in some sorcery by which the vessel had suffered. On his being taken up, a confession was extorted from him, that he had taught magical arts to Margaret Barclay, by which she had brought about the loss of the vessel; and he narrated a ridiculous scene of enchantment as having occurred on the shore, with the devil present in the form of a lady’s lapdog, Margaret Barclay being the principal actor. Margaret was then apprehended, as also one Isobel Tosh, whom Stewart described as an assistant at the evil deed. Margaret’s servant-girl, a child of eight years of age, and Isobel Tosh, were, apparently through terror, induced to make admissions supporting Stewart’s statement. A most tragical series of incidents followed. Isobel Tosh, trying to escape from prison, fell and hurt herself so much that she died in a few days. Stewart hanged himself in prison. Margaret Barclay, tortured by the laying of weights upon her limbs, confessed what was laid to her charge; and though she denied all when relieved, yet was she condemned and executed, finally returning to an acknowledgment of guilt, which can only be attributed to hallucination. Throughout all this affair—to all appearance consisting of a series of forced accusations and confessions, till reason at length gave way in the principal party—the Earl of Eglintoun, so noted afterwards as a Covenanter, took part along with the commissioners; while the assistant parish clergyman, Mr David Dickson, and several other ministers, most of them noted in the annals of the time as men of extraordinary piety, assisted in working on the religious feelings of the accused to induce confession. It does not seem ever to have occurred to any of these well-meaning persons, lay or clerical, that a worthy duty in the case would have been to inquire into the facts, and judge by collating them, whether there was any ground whatever for the accusation.

June 11
The Privy Council was informed of ‘an abuse lately taken up by a number of young boys and pages, servants to noblemen, barons, and gentlemen.’ It was represented that these persons, ‘whenever they fund ony boy newly enterit in service, or pagerie, as they term it, lay hands upon him, and impose upon him [the payment of] some certain pieces of gold, to be spent in drinking, riot, and excess, for receiving of him in their society and brotherheid.’ It was further alleged that, ‘if ony of thir new enterit boys refuse to condescend to them in this point, they do then shamefully misuse them, awaiting all occasions to harm and disgrace them;’ so that many open disturbances were the consequence. The Council issued a proclamation against these practices, threatening heavy punishment to all who might be guilty of the like in future.—P. C. R.

June 20
‘At twa afternoon, David Toshach of Monyvaird, younger, [was] slain in the south gate of Perth by Lawrence Bruce, younger of Cultmalindy, his brother, and divers others their associates; the twa that was with Monyvaird, ane deadly hurt, but died not; the other [David Malloch], his right hand clean stricken fra him. This done in a moment of time. All the committers thereof eschewit out of the town, before any of the townsmen heard of ony such thing."

No one seems to have immediately suffered for this outrage; but, four years after, the Privy Council informed the king that Cultmalindy, besides banishing his two sons and a servant, had offered a thousand crowns by way of assythment to the friends of the slaughtered man, and £2000 to the two men who had been mutilated. ‘This feid,’ it is added, ‘has altogether undone auld Cuitmalindy; for his estate is exhausted and wracked, and he is become very waik of his judgment and understanding, by the grief that thir troubles has brought upon him; whilk were the occasion of his wife’s death, and of the exile and banishment of his sons and friends, now by the space of four years; in the whilk exile twa of his friends of good rank and quality has departed this life.’—Pit.

Mr Pitcairn quotes a local proverb as having apparently taken its rise with reference to the misfortune of one of Monyvaird’s servants:

‘Hands aff’s fair-play:
Davie Malloch says nay.’

It was rather a bitter jest for David. This person, from the locality, may be presumed to have been an ancestor, or near collateral relation, of David Malloch, subsequently called Mallet, the poet.

June
The king’s declaration regarding sports on the Sunday and other holidays came to Edinburgh. It commenced with a judicious allusion to the abundance of papists in Lancashire. He had there found, too, the people complaining that they were prevented from indulging in their ancient sports. One effect of this must be that they would think papistry a better religion, since it allowed of sports. Another inconvenience is, ‘that this prohibition barreth the common and meaner people from using such exercises as may make their bodies more able for war, when we or our successors shall have occasion to use them, and, in place thereof, sets up filthy tipplings and drunkenness, and breeds a number of idle and discontented speeches in their ale-houses; for when shall the common people have leave to exercise, if not upon the Sundays and holidays, seeing they must apply their labour, and win theft living in other days.’ The king therefore willed that no lawful recreation be barred to the people—’such as dancing, either men or women; archery fur men, leaping, vaulting . . . . nor from having of May-games, Whitsun-ales, and Morris-dances, and the setting up of May-poles;’ seeing, however, that no one was allowed so to indulge who had not previously attended service in church.

When James Somerville of Drum was at school at the village of Dalserf in Lanarkshire, about 1608, it was customary ‘to solemnise the first Sunday of May with dancing about a May-pole, firing of pieces, and all manner of revelling then in use.’ His grandson tells an anecdote apropos: ‘There being at that time few or no merchants in this petty village, to furnish necessaries for the scholars’ sports, this youth resolves to furnish himself elsewhere, that so he may appear with the bravest. In order to this, by break of day, he rises and goes to Hamilton, and there bestows all the money that for a long time before he had gotten from his friends, or had otherwise purchased, upon ribbons of divers colours, a new hat and gloves. But in nothing he bestowed his money more liberally than upon gunpowder, a great quantity whereof he buys for his own use, and to supply the wants of his comrades. Thus furnished with these commodities, but with ane empty purse, he returns to Dalserf by seven o’clock (having travelled that Sabbath morning above eight miles), puts on his . . . . clothes and new hat, flying with ribbons of all colours; in this equipage, with his little fusee upon his shoulder, he marches to the churchyard where the May-pole was set up, and the solemnity of that day was to be kept. There first at the foot-ball he equalled any that played; but for handling of his piece in charging and discharging, he was so ready, that he far surpassed all his fellow-scholars, and became a teacher of that art to them before the thirteenth year of his own age. The day’s sport being over, he had the applause of all the spectators, the kindness of his condisciples, and the favour of the whole inhabitants of that little village.’ —Mem. Som.

In June 1625, the presbytery of Lanark exercised discipline upon John Baillie, William Baillie, John Hirshaw, John and Thomas Prentice; and Robert Watt, a piper, ‘profaners of the Sabbath in fetching hame a May-pole, and dancing about the same, on Pasch Sunday.’—R. P. L.

It is manifest from the church-registers of that time, that the universal external observance of the Sunday as a Sabbath, for which Scotland has long been remarkable, was not yet established. In August 1628, the minister of Carstairs regretted to the presbytery of Lanark the breach of the Sabbath ‘by the insolent behaviour of men and women in foot-balling, dancing, and barley-breaks.’ About the same time, two tailors were libelled before the same court for working on Sunday. Such things could not have happened a few years late; or at any time since.

July
A mysterious affair occupied the attention of the state-officers. While the servants of one Kennedy, a notary, residing in Galloway, were ‘filling muck in beir-seed time,’ they had found a withered human hand amongst some dung. No person having lately been murdered or missed in the country, it was impossible to tell whence this severed member had come or to whom it had belonged. Kennedy, who had lately come to the house, professed to know nothing of the matter. It seemed to him that the hand had been there many years. This affair might have passed over with little notice, if it had not been followed up by a series of marvellous occurrences. As his wife was sitting with some gossips at supper in her husband’s absence, some blood was observed upon the candlestick, and afterwards some more matter resembling gore was found on the threshold of the cellar door. It was also stated that, as Kennedy was walking one day with the minister, near the parish church, some drops of blood were seen upon the grass. All these things being reported to the authorities in Edinburgh, they gave orders for Kennedy’s apprehension, and he was accordingly brought thither, and kept six weeks in the Tolbooth. When examined, he could assign no cause for the above facts, but ‘complained that his cattle and horses had died in great number, and that his wife had long been vexed with extraordinary sickness; all which he ascribed to witchcraft used against them.’ It being impossible to bring anything home against the man, he was dismissed.—M.
S. P.

That eccentric genius, John Taylor, the Thames waterman, commonly called the WATER-POET, set out from his native London on the 14th of July, on a journey to Scotland—’because,’ says he, ‘I would be an eye-witness of divers things which I had heard of that country.’ He called it a Pennyless Pilgrimage, because he intended to attempt making his way without any funds of his own, and entirely by the use of what he might get from friends by the way. Having traversed the intermediate distance on horseback in about a month, he entered Scotland by the western border, walking, while a guide rode with his baggage on a gelding. Somewhat to his surprise, he observed no remarkable change on the face of nature.

‘There I saw sky above, and earth below,
And as in England, there the
sun did shew;
The hills with sheep replete, with corn the dale,
And many a cottage yielded good Scotch ale.’

As he passed along Annandale, he counted eleven hundred neat at as good grass as ever man did mow. At Moffat, where he arrived much wearied by his walk from Carlisle, he ‘found good ordinary country entertainment; my fare and my lodging was sweet and good, and might have served a far better man than myself.’ He travelled next day twenty-one miles to a sorry village called Blyth, in Peeblesshire, where his lodging was less agreeable. Next again, passing through a fertile country for corn and cattle, he entered Edinburgh.

A gentleman named Mr John Maxwell, whom he casually encountered, conducted him to see the Castle, which he deemed impregnable, and where he noted the extraordinary piece of antique ordnance which still exists there under the name of Mons Meg. ‘I crept into it, lying on my back, and I am sure there was room enough and to spare for a greater than myself.’ He describes the principal street of the city as the fairest and goodliest he had ever seen, ‘the buildings on each side of the way being all of squared stone, five, six, and seven stories high.’ ‘I found entertainment beyond my expectation or merit, and there had fish, flesh, bread, and fruit in such variety, that I think I may without offence call it superfluity. The worst was,’ he adds waggishly, ‘that wine and ale were so scarce, and the people there such misers of it, that every night before I went to bed, if any man had asked me a civil question, all the wit in my head could not have made him a sober answer.’

At Leith, he met a bountiful friend in Bernard Lindsay, one of the grooms of his majesty’s bed-chamber, and was informed that ‘within the compass of one year, there was shipped away from that port fourscore thousand bolls of wheat, oats, and barley, into Spain, France, and other foreign parts, and every boll contains the measure of four English bushels . . . . besides some hath been shipped away from St Andrews, Dundee, Aberdeen, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland, Dunbar, and other portable towns.’

In good time, Taylor commenced a progress through the country, entertained everywhere by hospitable gentlemen, who probably considered his witty conversation ample recompense. At Dunfermline, he viewed with pleasure the palace and remains of the abbacy, and the surrounding gardens, orchards, and meadows. Then he went to visit at Culross the enterprising coal-proprietor, Sir George Bruce, who entertained him hospitably and sent three of his men to guide him over the works. The imagination of the Water-poet was greatly excited by the singular mine which Sir George had here formed, partly within the sea-mark. ‘At low-water, the sea being ebbed away, and a great part of the sand bare—upon this same sand, mixed with rocks and crags, did the master of this great work build a circular frame of stone, very thick, strong, and joined together with bituminous matter, so high withal that the sea at the highest flood, or the greatest rage of storm or tempest, can neither dissolve the stones so well compacted in the building, nor yet overflow the height of it. Within this round frame, he did set workmen to dig . . . . they did dig forty foot down right into and through a rock. At last they found that which they expected, which was sea-coal. They, following the vein of the mine, did dig forward still; so that in the space of eight-and-twenty or nine-and-twenty years, they have digged more than an English mile, under the sea, [so] that when men are at work below, a hundred of the greatest ships in Britain may sail over their heads. Besides, the mine is most artificially cut like an arch or vault, all that great length, with many nooks and by-ways; and it is so made that a man may walk upright in most places.’

‘All I saw was pleasure mixed with profit,
Which proved it to be no tormenting Tophet;
For in this honest, worthy, harmless hall,
There ne’er did any damned devil dwell.'

‘The sea at certain places doth leak or soak into the mine, which by the industry of Sir George Bruce is conveyed to one well near the land, where he hath a device like a horse-mill, with three great horses and a great chain of iron, going downward many fathoms, with thirty-six buckets attached to the chain, of the which eighteen go down still to be filed, and eighteen ascend still to be emptied, which do empty themselves without any man’s labour into a trough that conveys the water into the sea again. . . . . Besides, he doth make every week ninety or a hundred tons of salt, which doth serve most part of Scotland; some he sends into England, and very much into Germany.’

The pennyless pilgrim proceeded to Stirling, of whose castle and palace he speaks in terms of high admiration; stating, moreover, that at his host Mr John Archibald’s, his only difficulty was for ‘room to contain half the good cheer that he might have had.’ Advancing to St Johnston (Perth), he lodged at an inn kept by one Patrick Pitcairn. It was his design to visit Sir William Murray of Abercairny; but he here learned that that gentleman had left home on a hunting excursion. It was suggested that he might overtake him at Brechin; but on reaching that city, he found that Sir William had left it four days before.

Taylor now made a journey such as few Englishmen had any experience of in that age. Proceeding along Glen Esk, and passing by a road which lay over a lofty precipice, he lodged the first night at a poor cot on the Laird of Edzell’s land, where nothing but Erse was spoken, and where he suffered somewhat from vermin—the only place, however, in Scotland where he met any such troubles. With immense difficulty, he next day crossed Mount Skene by an uneven stony way, full of bogs, quagmires, and long heath, ‘where a dog with three legs would outrun a horse with four,’ and came in the evening to Braemar. This he describes as a large county, full of lofty mountains, compared with which English hills are but ‘as a liver or a gizzard below a capon’s wing.’ ‘There I saw Benawne [Ben Aven], with a furred mist upon his snowy head, instead of a night-cap.’

He here found his friend, Sir William Murray, engaged in Highland sports, along with the Earl of Mar, the Earl of Enzie (afterwards second Marquis of Huntly), the Earl of Buchan, and Lord Erskine, accompanied by their countesses, and a hundred other knights and squires, with their followers, ‘all in general in one habit, as if Lycurgus had been there.’ ‘For once in the year, which is the whole month of August, and sometimes part of September, many of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, for their pleasure, come into these Highland countries to hunt, where they conform to the habit of the Highlandmen, who for the most part speak nothing but Irish... Their habit is shoes with but one sole apiece; stockings which they call short hose, made of a warm stuff of divers colours, which they call tartan: as for breeches, many of them, nor their forefathers, never wore any, but a jerkin of the same stuff that their hose is of, their garters being bands or wreaths of hay or straw, with a plaid about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours, [of] much finer and lighter stuff than their hose; with flat blue caps on their heads, a handkerchief knit with two knots about their neck; and thus they are attired Their weapons are long bows and forked arrows, swords and targets, harquebusses, muskets, durks, and Lochaber axes. With these arms, I found many of them armed for the hunting. As for their attire, any man of what degree soever that comes amongst them, must not disdain to wear it; for if they do, they will disdain to hunt, or willingly to bring in their dogs; but if men be kind to them, and be in their habit, then they are conquered with kindness, and the sport will be plentiful. This was the reason that I found so many noblemen and gentlemen in those shapes.’

Taylor allowed himself to be invested by the Earl of Mar in Highland attire, and then accompanied the party for twelve days into a wilderness devoid of corn and human habitations— probably the district around the skirts of Ben Muicdhui. He found temporary lodges called lonchards, designed for the use of the sportsmen, and he himself received a kind of accommodation in that of Lord Erskine. The kitchen, he tells us, was ‘always on the side of a bank, many kettles and pots boiling, and many spits turning and winding, with great variety of cheer, as venison—baked, sodden, roast, and stewed beef—mutton, goats, kid, hares, fresh salmon, pigeons, hens, capons, chickens, partridge, moorcoots, heath-cocks, cappercailzies, and termagants; good ale, sack, white, and claret, tent (or Alicant), with most potent aquavitæ.’ Thus a company of about fourteen hundred persons was most amply fed.

‘The manner of the hunting is this: five or six hundred men rise early in the morning, and disperse themselves divers ways, and seven, eight, or ten miles compass, they bring or chase in the deer in many herds (two, three, or four hundred in a herd), to such or such a place, as the noblemen shall appoint them. Then, when day is come, the lords and gentlemen of their companies ride or go to the said places, sometimes wading up to the middle, through burns and rivers; and then they, being come to the place, lie down on the ground, till those foresaid scouts, who are called the Tinchel-men, bring down the deer....After we had stayed there three hours or thereabouts, we might perceive the deer appear on the hills round about us (their heads making a show like a wood), which, being followed close by the Tinchel, are chased down into the valley where we lay. Then, all the valley on each side being waylaid with a hundred couple of strong Irish greyhounds, they are let loose, as occasion serves, upon the herd of deer, [so] that with dogs, guns, arrows, durks, and daggers, in the space of two hours, fourscore fat deer were slain, which after are disposed, some one way and some another, twenty or thirty miles, and more than enough left for us to make merry withal at our rendezvous.’

After spending some days in this manner in the Brae of Mar, the party, attended by Taylor, went into Badenoch, and renewed the sport there for three or four days, concluding with a brief visit to Ruthven Castle. This grand old fortress—anciently the stronghold of the Cumins, lords of Badenoch—seated on an alluvial promontory jutting into the haugh beside the Spey, occupying an area of a hundred and twenty yards long, and consisting of two great towers surrounded by a fortified wall with an iron gate and portcullis, was now the property of the Gordon family. Here, says Taylor, ‘my Lord of Enzie and his noble countess (being daughter to the Earl of Argyle) did give us most noble welcome for three days.’ ‘From thence we went to a place called BaIlo[ch] Castle, a fair and stately house, a worthy gentleman being the owner of it, called the Laird of Grant....Our cheer was more than sufficient, and yet much less than they could afford us. There stayed there four days four earls, one lord, divers knights and gentlemen, and their servants, footmen, and horses; and every meal four long tables furnished with all varieties; our first and second course being threescore dishes at one board; and after that always a banquet; and there, if I had not forsworn wine till I came to Edinburgh, I think I had there drank my last.’

The Water-poet was afterwards four days at Tarnaway, entertained in the same hospitable manner by the Earl and Countess of Moray. He speaks of Morayland as the pleasantest and most plentiful country in Scotland, ‘being plain land, that a coach may be driven more than four-and-thirty miles one way in it, alongst the sea-coast.’ He spent a few days with the Marquis of Huntly at the Bog, ‘where our entertainment was, like himself, free, bountiful, and honourable,’ and then returned by the Cairn-a-mount to Edinburgh.

Here he was again in the midst of plentiful good cheer and good company for eight days, while recovering from certain bruises he had got at the Highland hunting. In Leith, at the house of Mr John Stuart, he found his ‘long approved and assured good friend, Mr Benjamin Jonson,’ who gave him a piece of gold of the value of twenty-two shillings, to drink his health in England. ‘So with a friendly farewell, I left him as well as I hope never to see him in a worse estate; for he is among noblemen and gentlemen that know his true worth and their own honours, where with much respective love he is worthily entertained.’

In short, Taylor, in his progress through Scotland, seems to have been everywhere feasted sumptuously, and supplied liberally with money. So much of a virtue comparatively rare in England, and so much plenty in a country which his own people were accustomed to think of as the birthplace of famine, seems to have greatly astonished him. The wonder comes to a climax at Cockburnspath, near his exit from Scotland, where he was handsomely entertained at an inn by Master William Arnot and his wife, the owners thereof: ‘I must explain,’ he says, ‘their bountiful entertainment of guests, which is this:

‘Suppose ten, fifteen, or twenty men and horses come to lodge at their house. The men shall have flesh, tame and wild fowl, fish, with all variety of good cheer, good lodging, and welcome, and the horses shall want neither hay nor provender; and at the morning at their departure the reckoning is just nothing. This is this worthy gentleman’s use, his chief delight being to give strangers entertainment gratis! And I am sure that in Scotland, beyond Edinburgh, I have been at houses like castles for building; the master of the house’s beaver being his blue bonnet, one that will wear no other shirts but of the flax that grows on his own ground, and of his wife’s, daughters’, or servants’ spinning; that hath his stockings, hose, and jerkin of the wool of his own sheep’s backs; that never by his pride of apparel caused mereer, draper, silk-man, embroiderer, or haberdasher, to break and turn bankrupt; and yet this plain home-spun fellow keeps and maintains thirty, forty, fifty servants, or perhaps more, every day relieving three or four score poor people at his gate; and besides all this, can give noble entertainment for four days together to five or six earls and lords, besides knights, gentlemen, and their followers, if they be three or four hundred men and horse of them, where they shall not only feed but feast, and not feast but banquet; this is a man that desires to know nothing so much as his duty to God and his king, whose greatest cares are to practise the works of piety, charity, and hospitality. He never studies the consuming art of fashionless fashions; he never tries his strength to bear four or five hundred acres on his back at once; his legs are always at liberty, not being fettered with golden garters and manacled with artificial roses... Many of these worthy housekeepers there are in Scotland....

‘There th’ Almighty doth his blessings heap,
In such abundant food for beasts and men,
That I ne’er saw more plenty or more cheap.’


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