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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Interregnum: 1649 - 1660 Part B


1650, Mar
The church was now in the highest power-every vestige of episcopacy banished, popery treated as a crime, the doctrine of the headship of Christ in full paramountcy and enabling the clergy to exercise an unlimited authority over the external religious practice and professions of the community. It was ruled that each head of a family should conduct worship and reading of the Scriptures daily in his house, catechise, reprove, and exhort amongst his children, servants, and dependents. On Sunday, after private devotions by the several members of the family, and a general service in the parlour, the master was to take care that all within his charge repaired to public worship. This being finished—in those days it lasted many hours—he was to exercise the family on what they had heard, and the remainder of the day was to be spent in ‘reading, meditation, and secret prayer.’ Diligence and ‘sincerity’ in these duties were strongly enjoined, and individuals were encouraged to confer with and prompt one another on religious subjects. But it was forbidden that families should meet together for religious exercises, as it had been found that such practices tended to schism.

It may be remarked, that the ministrations of the parochial ministers were not then confined to two services on Sunday. In Edinburgh, after March 1650, there was ‘a lectorie’ every afternoon in the week at four o’clock, the ministers of the city taking the duty by turns. ‘Which did much good to the soul and body, the soul being edified and fed by the Word, and the body with-halden from unnecessar bebbing [drinking], whilk at that hour of the day was in use and custom.’—Nic.

The morals of the flock were superintended with something beyond pastoral care. Promiscuous dancing was strictly prohibited. For ‘the downbearing of sin,’ women were not allowed to act as waiters in taverns, ‘but allenarly men-servands and boys.’ An elder had a certain little district assigned to him, which he carefully inspected once a month. Any scandalous sin which he discovered, or even the existence of any stranger without a certificate of character, he had to report to the kirk-session. The being drunk, or the utterance of a profane word, inferred kirk-discipline. The inspecting elder was also to take cognizance of how everybody spent his time on Sunday. For acts of a licentious character, both sexes were alike punished in the manner most likely to mortify persons of a sensitive nature. Whatever their quality, they had to stand three Sundays in sackcloth before the congregation. A second fault brought the same punishment for six Sundays; a third kept the delinquent on the seat of shame for half a year. That all this was done in honour and sincerity, and not primarily from the love of power, is shewn by the impartial severity which the clergy exercised upon each other; regarding not only moral aberrations, but such faults as that of conversing with ‘malignants’ (persons inclined to be loyal to the king without regard to the terms of the Solemn League and Covenant), and any shortcoming in efficiency either as preachers or as disciplinarians.

‘None of the clergy in those days,’ says one of their successors in the next age, ‘durst be scandalous in their conversation, or negligent in their office. In many places the spirit seemed to be poured out with the word. There were no fewer than sixty aged people, men and women, who went to school, that even then they might be able to read the Scripture with their own eyes. I have lived many years in a parish where I never heard an oath, and you might have rid many miles before you heard any. . . . You could not have lodged in a family where the Lord was not worshipped by reading, singing, and public prayer. Nobody complained more of our church-government than our taverners, whose ordinary lamentation was, their trade was broke, people were become so sober."

It is to be feared that Mr Kirkton wrote under the influence of that palliative spirit with which we are apt to look back upon a past age or upon the days of our youth, for, undoubtedly, strong evidences exist that the period now under review was not free from great vices and criminalities of a very deep shade. The diarist John Nicoll mentions, under February 1650, that ‘Much falset and cheating was detected at this time by the Lords of Session; for the whilk there was daily hanging, scourging, nailing of lugs [ears] and binding of people to the Tron [the public weighing-machine in Edinburgh], and boring of tongues; so that it was ane fatal year for false notars and witnesses, as daily experience did witness.’

Nicoll enumerates many of the offenders. One was John Lawson, of Leith, who had taken a leading part in causing a house, left by one who died of the plague, to come by a false service to one who had no claim for it. ‘He was brought to the Tron betwixt eleven and twelve before noon, and fast bind thereto, with ane paper on his head declaring his fault.... His tongue was drawn out with ane turkes [pincers] by the common hangman, and laid on ane little buird and run through with ane het iron or bodkin.’ Another delinquent was Thomas Hunter, a writer, guilty of perjury; for which he was declared incapable of ‘agenting ony business within the house and college of justice.’ William Blair, ‘messer,’ was hanged ‘for sundry falsets committed by him in his calling.’

At the same time, gross offences connected with the affections never abounded more, if we can believe Nicoll, than they did at this time. Some of an indescribable kind appeared in an unheard-of frequency, and continued indeed to do so all through the time of the Interregnum. In Lamont’s Diary, the number of gentlemen in Fife who are stated as having broken the seventh commandment during the time of the Commonwealth, is surprisingly great. Even the sanctimonious Chancellor Loudon himself had to give satisfaction to the kirk in 1651. The writer of the Statistical Account of Melrose remarks the surprising number of penitents which he finds in the session-books during the seventeenth century—’ far exceeding the average of the present day, when the population is nearly trebled.’ The churchmen of that period themselves not merely admit, but loudly proclaim the extreme immorality of their people, the following being cited, for example, among the causes for a solemn fast in 1653: ‘the growth of sin of all sorts, particularly pride, uncleanness, contempt of ordinances, oppression, violence, fraudulent dealing—maist part of the people growing worse and worse.’ We might set this down in great measure as the effect of entertaining a high view of human duty, were it not for the many facts which have been reported by diarists and others. In short, it fully appears that human nature was not effectually restrained by the rigorous discipline now temporarily reigning, but only shewed a tendency to go into moral aberrations of an abnormal and horrible kind. At the same time, the land was full of persecution on account of merely sentimental offences— Catholic gentlemen forced to leave their native country; moderate Presbyterians obliged to do penance, or else thrust from their offices, for being concerned in the Duke of Hamilton’s final expedition in behalf of the late king; corpses denied Christian burial if their ‘owners had not subscribed or adhered to the Covenant. ‘There was ane honest man in Glasgow, called John Bryson, who, being at the Mercat Cross of that city, and hearing a proclamation there, and a declaration against the Marquis of Montrose, wherein he was styled traitor and excommunicate rebel, did cry out and called him as honest ane nobleman as was in this kingdom. The magistrates of that town, being informed of his speeches, was forced to take and apprehend him, and carried him to Edinburgh by ane guard of the town’s officers, presented him to the Committee of State then sitting there; wha, by their order, was casten into the Thieves’ Hole, wherein he lay in great misery by the space of many weeks.’—Nic.

Mar
Throughout this and the ensuing two months, there ‘fell out much unseasonable weather, the like whereof was not usual, for weets, cold, frosts, and tempests.’—Nic.

The same writer informs us that on the 28th of May, ‘there rained blood the space of three miles in the Earl of Buccleuch’s bounds, near the English Border; whilk was verified in presence of the Committee of State.’

In the ensuing month there was an epidemic called the Irish Ague, ‘which was a terrible sore pain in the head, some saying that their heads did open. The ordinary remedy was the hard tying up of their head. A disease not before this known to the inhabitants of this kingdom.’

Gerard Boate, physician to the parliamentary forces in Ireland, who wrote about this time his Natural History of Ireland, specifies agues among the Endemii Morbi of that country, evidently alluding, in the opinion of a living medical authority, to the well-known Irish typhoid fevers. This ailment, the flux, and plague, had prevailed to a deplorable extent in Ireland during the time of the civil war.

May 15
‘The new Psalm-books were read and ordained to be sung
through all the kingdom. - Nic. This was the translation of the Psalms which is still used by the Church of Scotland and all Presbyterian congregations in the kingdom. It was based on a homely version produced originally in 1643, by Francis Rous, a member of the Long Parliament, who ultimately became provost of Eton, and died in 1658. What was rather odd, Rous was at this time joined to the sectaries, against whom the Scotch church entertained so bitter a feeling. It must be admitted that his version underwent great improvements in the hands of the committees of the General Assembly appointed for its revision. As now finally set forth, it was in many respects most felicitous. The general strain and metre is that of the old homely native ballad. It is occasionally harsh and obscure, has a few Scottish idioms, and sometimes requires an obsolete pronunciation to make out the prosody; yet, with all these obvious faults, it perhaps comes nearer to the simple archaic beauty of the original than any other metrical translation.’

May 21
The Marquis of Montrose, taken in an unsuccessful attempt to restore the
king without the ceremony of the Covenant, was hanged in Edinburgh on a gibbet thirty feet high. The heroic firmness displayed at his death harmonised well with the gallantry exhibited in his short but brilliant career. It affords a striking idea of the taste of men of the highest rank in that age, that the Marquis of Argyle appeared on a balcony to see him driven on the hangman’s hurdle to the prison from which he was two days after to walk to the gallows, and that Lord Lorn took post at a window near the scaffold, to see the body cut to pieces after death. The head being stuck on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and the limbs sent for exhibition over the ports of Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and Aberdeen, Charles II. was compelled to behold those ghastly relics of the most loyal of his subjects, when, less than a month after, he progressed through’ the country. If Montrose had died free of excommunication, his body would have been given to his friends; as matters stood, it was inhumed beneath a gibbet at the Burgh-moor. There was, however, a female heart that secretly wept for the untimely end of the great marquis. His niece, Lady Napier, sent men by night who dug up the body, and stole away the heart; and this relic she consigned to a steel case made out of the hero’s sword, which again she enclosed in a gold filagree box, which had been presented by a doge of Venice to her husband’s grandfather, the inventor of the logarithms. It will be found that, after the Restoration, when it became the fate of Argyle and others to atone by their blood for the severities inflicted on Montrose, the remains of the culprit of 1650 were gathered together and treated with a funeral that might have been honourable to a king. The heart and its case were, however, retained in the possession of the Napier family for several generations, and only were lost sight of amidst the confusions of the French Revolution.’

July
Cromwell having crossed the Tweed with his army on the 22d of this month, a large body of troops assembled on Leith Links to oppose him, all animated with a good spirit in behalf of their king and country, but unluckily not all equally sound in the faith of the Solemn League and Covenant. Thousands were sent back, ‘to the discontentment of much people.’ The leaders thought it safer to meet Cromwell with twenty thousand who were of right principles, than with thirty thousand of whom a third were merely patriotic and loyal. While the army, as honest John Nicoll remarks, ‘stood daily in purging upon the Links,’ the young king came to review them, and doubtless was right sorry to see so many hearty soldiers turned away from his banners.

A Glasgow citizen, full of zeal against the English army, as a type of the abomination of toleration, came to this singular leaguer, but even after all its purgation, did not find the service satisfactory. ‘While Oliver Cromwell,’ he says, ‘is reported to be come over the Border with his army, at my first hearing of it, I was so stirred in my spirit at the evil of toleration, that I never remember that I attained to the like again; and while I am pouring out my heart before the Lord on that account, there is a thought darted in upon my heart, that I should be healed of an impurity in my stomach which I had been under for several years . . . . and it really proved so, as since that time I was never troubled therewith. That same morning, while I am casting up the Bible, that place came first to my hand and eye which saith, "Though Noah, Job, and Daniel would pray, yet would I not hear them." Whereupon I was exceedingly confounded in reference to our present case, and some weeks thereafter, having gone to Leith to join myself to the forces there, I dried up in my prayers so as I would pray none at all, and was glad to take the first opportunity that offered to retire When Dunbar was foughten, and the news thereof came to Glasgow within a day or two thereafter, while I am thinking thereupon, it is borne in upon my mind, that our way in that business was not what it ought to have been; and after some getting it laid to heart, I was challenged for my implicit engaging therein; whilk came to that height that I resolved never more to follow any course upon the opinion of any person whatsomever, which accordingly the Lord has helped me to mind in some weak measure ‘—Spreull.

Aug
While the two hostile armies lay about Edinburgh, ‘there was such great scarcity, that all sorts of vines, meat and drink, could hardly be had for money, and such as was gotten was foisted [musty], and sald at a double price. The haill inhabitants were forced to contribute and provide for the [Scottish] army, not-withstanding of this scarcity; as also to furnish feather beds, bowsters, cods, blankets, sheets . . . . for the hurt soldiers to lie upon, with pots and pans for making ready their meat; and to collect money for providing honest entertainment to the hurt soldiers that lay in the [Heriot’s] Hospital and Paul’s Wark.’—Nic.

Sep
The bellman was accustomed to intimate the death of a citizen through the streets, and in the same way give invitations to the fuieral. At this time the Edinburgh official was ordered to give up the phrase, ‘faithful brother or sister,’ and retain brother or sister only. [The formula used on the occasion is given in the following terms by a writer of the seventeenth century: ‘When any one dies, the bellman goes about ringing the passing bell, and acquaints the people therewith in the following form: "Beloved brethren and sisters, I let you to wit, that there is ane faithful brother lately departed out of this present warld, at the pleesure of Almichty God (and then he veils his bonnet); his name is Wully Woodcock, third son to Jemmy Woodcock, a cordinger; he ligs at the slat door within the Norgate, close on the Nether Wynd, and I would you gang to his burying on Thursday before twa o’clock, &c." The time appointed for his burying being come, the bellman calls the company together, and he is carried to the burying-place, and thrown into the grave as dog Lion was, and there is an end of Wully.’—A Modern Account of Scotland, 1670. Harleian Miscellany, vi. 121.] —Nic.

Oct
This was a sore time for the southern counties of Scotland. Owing to the futile opposition presented to Cromwell by the ultra-Presbyterians in the west, a large detachment of the English army had to parade through the country. ‘Much corns destroyed by them and their horses . . . . the kirks and kirk-yards made stables and sentries for their guards and horses... The corns of the field were not only destroyed by this foreign enemy, and by the Scots armies at home, wha rampit and raged through the land, eating and destroying wherever they went, but also the Lord from the heavens destroyed much of the rest by storms and tempests of weet and wind. The seas also were closed up by the enemy, whase ships enclosed us on every side, so that no man was able to travel by sea, neither yet by land without a pass.’— Nic.

‘Cromwell and his army of cavalry domineered in all parts where they came, and in especial about Edinburgh, and in East Lothian. The good Earl of Winton, to whose well-furnished table all the noblemen and gentlemen had ever been welcome, was pitifully abused by them; his fair house of Seaton made a common inn; himself threatened to be killed, if they had not whatsoever they called for; his rich furniture and stuff plundered, and all the enormities that could be offered by Jews or Turks to Christians, he suffered daily; and when he complained to those of our nobility who now rule all, he got no redress, but [was] ordered with patience to give them whatsoever they called for. Their general, Cromwell, stayed in Edinburgh, a stately lodging being appointed for him. He went not to their churches, but it is constantly reported that every day he had sermons in his own lodgings, himself being the preacher, whensoever the spirit came upon him; which took him like the fits of an ague, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice in a day.

‘One of his commanders being quartered with one of the magistrates of the city, that he might be used with the more reverence, and entertained with the more graceful respect, the master of the house brought the preacher of the parish, a discreet and modest man, to accompany him, whose conversation, he hoped, would be pleasing to him. The preacher, after he had blessed the table, according to our Scottish custom, prayed for the continuance and prosperous success of the Covenant, which did so offend the English captain and those gentlemen who attended upon him, as the preacher was threatened and abused most beastly, for presuming in their presence to extol their rotten Covenant (as he termed it); and with many reproachful terms told the preacher, that they had in England trodden his Covenant under their feet, and they hoped, before it was long, to consume it in Scotland with fire, and with disgrace to extinguish the memory thereof The preacher would have answered, but he durst not...

‘In the time that the English stayed, there were daily and continual complaints given in; the people being unable to endure their insolent carriage, so that there were many brawls, fighting, and killing in private corners, where the Scots might be their masters. And one day in Edinburgh, upon the High Street, and before the general’s lodgings, where the English were always going forth in at the gate, one of their officers was coming forth and going to his horse in great chafe, because he had complained of a great injury done to some of the troop by the Scots, where they were quartered, and not being justly satisfied with the general’s answer, when he had mounted his horse, he spake aloud these words: "With my own hands I killed that Scot which ought this horse and this case of pistols, and who dare say that in this I wronged him?" "I dare say it," said one standing by; "and thus shall revenge it;" and with the word pulling forth his sword, thrust him quite through the body, and with a prompt celerity, as if he had been all in motion, just as he struck him—who was already falling to the ground—and mounting his horse, rides the way with a fierce gallop, and winning the port, goes to the fields, and by an honourable flight frees himself from all danger.’

Nov 13
At this distressing time, when the best part of the country was in the hands of foreign invaders, and the ancient monarchy of Scotland threatened with destruction, there occurred a calamitous event which must have been peculiarly bewailed. The palace of Holyrood, being then in the occupation of a party of the English troops, took fire, and was in great part destroyed. The most interesting portion of the building—the north-west tower, containing the apartments of Queen Mary—was fortunately preserved; but the principal façade was laid in ruins, so that the general appearance was, on a restoration, much changed. About the same time, the English soldiery, for the sake of fuel, broke down the furniture of the University buildings, the High School, and of three churches—College, Greyfriars, and Lady Yester’s—besides the plenishing of many houses in town and country.

‘In all parts of the land, where the English army come, the ministers fled, and the Lord’s houses were closed and laid waste; so that the word of the Lord became very precious to many.’ ‘The land [was] mourning, languishing, left desolate, every part thereof shut up, and no safe going out nor coming in the Lord hiding his face all this time for the sins of Scotland.’—Nic.

Dec
‘I thought it good to remember here how that the names of Protestant and Papist were not now in use. . . . in place thereof raise up the name of Covenanters, Anti-Covenanters, Cross-Covenanters, Puritans, Babarteris, Roundheads, Auld Horns, New Horns, Cross-petitioners, Brownists, Separatists, Malignants, Sectaries, Royalists, Quakers, Anabaptists.’ - Nic.

1651, May 6
The bitter feeling of the ruling powers towards the English sectarian army was shewn in the way they treated any erring enthusiast who, in the spirit of dissent, sent information to Cromwell. One Archibald Hamilton, who acted in this manner, was ‘condemned to be hanged on a gallows in chains, so long as one bone could hang at another of him.’ We now find the son of an old acquaintance in their hands for this high offence. His father was that John Mean, a merchant of Edinburgh, who had been in trouble as a resister of Episcopal fashions in the reign of King James, and whom we have just seen in the capacity of post-master in Edinburgh. His mother was believed to be the identical female who cast the stool at the bishop’s head in St Giles’s Church, on the first reading of the Service-book in 1637. The delinquent confessed his guilt, and was condemned by a council of war sitting at Stirling; but as he was going to be hanged, the king pardoned him, ‘in respect his father, old John Mean, in Edinburgh, put him out to General Leslie as a knave and one corrupted by the English, and entreated him to cause apprehend him.’ —Bal.

The son of a pair so peculiarly noted, being pardoned by Charles II. for treason in favour of Cromwell, is a curious conjunction of circumstances.

June 22
Some idea of the enormous sacrifices made by Scotland to resist the English sectarian army, may be formed from a tolerably exact account, which has been preserved, of what was done in that cause by the county of Fife alone, between the 1st of June 1650 and the present date, being somewhat less than thirteen months.

In June 1650, when Cromwell was about to invade Scotland, Fife sent forth 1800 foot and 290 horse, the former ‘with four pounds of outreik money for every man, with a four-tailed coat, stockings and shoes,’ the latter at 300 merks each; being in all 151,800 merks. In the ensuing month, a second levy, precisely the same as the first, was made by the county. In September, 700 men were raised for the artillery force, with a third levy of 290 horse and 350 dragoons. In January, two regiments, amounting in whole to 2400 men, were raised in the county by the Earls of Kelly and Crawford, and to this force the county gave twenty-four pounds per man for arms and bounty. So much for the personal force contributed, being in all 7920 men out of a population which, so lately as 1801, was under 100,000. Then the county made large contributions of meal and other provisions, besides money, and also horses, for the use of the army; 5000 bolls of meal at one time, 3000 at another, 100 stone of cheese, tents, dishes, and axes, oats for the horses, quarters for ten horse regiments, and so forth. The sum of the whole was reckoned up to 2,395,857 merks, which we assume to have been equal to £137,309.—Bal.

It is difficult to understand how a province of a country so poor as Scotland then was could spare so much means towards even so cherished an object as the resistance of the English sectares.

Sep 1
During the occupation of the southern, parts of Scotland by the English army, Dundee had become the retreat of many of the principal people of the country, and a storehouse of much valuable property. On the Sunday before the battle of Worcester, it was assaulted by General Monk, who played upon it with battering-pieces all night, and in the morning entered and subjected it to massacre and pillage. Upwards of a thousand men and sevenscore women and children, are said to have been killed. ‘It is reported by credible men that the English army had gotten above twa hundred thousand pound sterling, partly of ready gold, silver, and silver wark, jewels, rings, merchandise and merchant wares, and other precious things, belonging to the city of Edinburgh, beside all that belonged to the town, and other people of the country, wha had sent in their guids for safety to that town.’ —Nic.

This year was one of even greater dearth than the preceding, bear being £20 Scots per boll—equal to £1, 13s. 4d.—in many parts of the country. The best sack wine was 4s. sterling, and French wine is. 6d. per pint.. The best ale 4d a pint.’ ‘Yet God’s providence was such toward the nation, that even when our awn corns failed us, the English nation did bring in abundantly wheat, bear, peas, and such like, and brought down the dearth of our mercats, by [beyond] expectation.’—Nic.

Nov 13
James Somerville, younger of Drum and Cambusnethan, author of the Memorie of the Somervilles, was this day married to Martha Bannatyne, of Corehouse, at Lesmahago kirk, he being nineteen, and she eighteen. The bridegroom’s own account of the affair: ‘A matchlier pair was not seen within the walls of that kirk this last century, nor a greater wedding—considering the great consternation the country had been in for some few months preceding—for nobility and gentry; there being one marquis, three earls, two lords, sixteen barons, and eight ministers present at this solemnity, but not one musician. They liked better the bleating of the calves of Dan and Bethel—the ministers’ long-winded and sometimes nonsensical graces, little to the purpose— than all musical instruments of the sanctuary, at so solemn an occasion, which, if it be lawful at all to have them, certainly it ought and should be upon a wedding-day, for divertisement to the guests, that innocent recreation of music and dancing being much more warrantable and a far better exercise than drinking and smoking of tobacco, wherein these holy brethren of the Presbyterian [persuasion] for the most part employed themselves, without any formal health or remembrance of their friends; a nod with their head, or a sigh, with the turning up of the white of the eye, served for that ceremony.’

it is pleasant to find that little more than two months after Worcester fight, it was possible to bring such a large and brilliant company to a wedding in Scotland. Even when the public at large is the stricken deer, there will be individual, ‘harts ungalled’ who will ‘go play.’ Somerville’s description of his first visit to his bride’s house and of herself, is interesting. It was just after the rout of Dunbar, when the young Laird of Corehouse, who had been at that battle, spent a few days at Cambusnethan, and insisted on young Somerville accompanying him to the banks of the Clyde. ‘They set forth, weel furnished with hawks and dogs, which gave them much sport, the fields and ways between Cambusnethan and Corehouse being fitted for hawking and hunting. At night they came to the Corehouse, where they were courteously received by the lady, and modestly by the young ladies... Martha, the youngest, was not seen till supper, and then came into the room in a plain country dress. The truth is, she needed nothing else, being always an ornament to her clothes when at the best... At her age of fifteen complete, she attained to her full height, which was so far above the stature of most women, that she was accounted among the tallest of our nation, but so as that diminished nothing of her handsomeness, every part answering thereto, as a slender waist, large shoulders, big breast, henches full and round... Her visage was long, her nose high, her brow brent and smooth as alabaster, her chin and cheeks somewhat full, with a little red, especially in hot weather. There was nothing bore so little proportion to her body as her hand and foot, both being extremely little, but weel-shapen, white and full of flesh. Her skin was smooth and clear, but what was covered not so white as I have seen several of her complexion that was purely sanguinean; her hair, being of a bright flaxen, which darkened as she grew in age, added much to her beauty; wherein there was no blemish, her mien being answerable to that, and her person gave occasion to those that saw her at church or any other public meeting, to assert she graced the place and company where she was. It has often been observed that, when this gentlewoman walked upon the street— which was but upon occasion, being better employed at home— the eyes not only of the men, but also of her own sex, was upon her, so far as their sight could serve them, admiring her parts and handsomeness. ‘—Mem. Som.

Nov
The western clergy sought in their meetings to learn the cause of the heavy wrath which the Almighty was pouring out upon the land. ‘After long attendance, their resolutions ended in confusion, distraction, and division among themselves, prognosticating much more desolation on the land. Whilk did manifestly appear among all estates and ranks of people; for religion and justice being the twa pillars of the land, were houghed [tripped] and near drawn down... There were no courts of justice, sic as the Secret Council, Session, and Exchequer sitting for the time. All our records and registers carried aff the kingdom to the Tower of London; the Lords of Council, Session, and Exchequer, with their clerks and members of court not daring [to] kythe in their strength for the use of the lieges, but, for fear of the English armies, were forced to abandon themselves; for the whilk cause the people of the land were forced to suit justice frae the English governors and commanders. As for Edinburgh, there was no magistrate there, nor no common council since the fecht at Dunbar; and therefore all petitions and complaints went to the captain of Edinburgh Castle and governor of Leith, whit in effect (to speak truly) proceeded more equitably and conscientiously in justice nor our awn Scottish magistrates.’ - Nic

We hear about this time of a paper given in by ‘a godly Scot’ to the Commission of the Kirk, alleging that the causes of the evils of the country lay, among other things, in the undertaking of solemn engagements unwarranted by the word of God, in a fleshly zeal in carrying on of these obligations by cruel oppressions for the constraint of the unwilling, and the idolising of individuals and receiving doctrine from them implicitly.’

At this very time, a lively controversy was going on between Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum, in Aberdeenshire, and the presbytery of Aberdeen, as to the title which the latter body assumed of controlling his spiritual interests. A quarrel had taken place between the parties regarding the settlement of an incumbent in Sir Alexander’s parish, and he had appealed from the power of the local court to the English commander, Colonel Overton—a proceeding which must have been deeply grievous to the presbytery. A sentence of excommunication having been consequently pronounced against the knight, he uttered a protest against it in animated terms. It proceeded, he said, ‘from men more full of fiery zeal to advance their own interests than the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ They had urged him by threats to subscribe the Solemn League and Covenant, ‘as gif it had been a matter of salvation for me to swear to establish by arms Presbyterian government in England.’ And not only would they have had him to forswear himself, but ‘they did urge with the like threatenings my wife and three young maids, my dochters, who, for their age and sex, are not capable of such politic theology.’ To make good their charge against him of being a papist—a ‘pretext to satisfy their restless ambition and execute their rage upon all who will not implicitly obey them ‘—they ‘enforced my servants to reveal upon oath what they saw, heard, or knew done in my house—beyond which no Turkish inquisition could pass.’ Sir Alexander, therefore, now appeared by procurator, declaring, ‘I separate myself from the discipline of presbytery, particularly that of Aberdeen, as a human invention that is destructive to the civil peace of Christians;’ farther appealing them before Colonel Overton, or any other judge who shall be appointed by the English commissioners, to hear yourselves censured and condignly punished for your open contempt of their authority, for your false slanders raised against me, and for your cruel proceedings and erring sentence of excommunication.’

Whitelocke, in January 1652, quotes letters which speak of the ‘great pride and insolency of the presbyteries in Scotland,’ with particular reference to the Laird of Drum’s case. It is stated that the laird wrote a letter of thanks to Lieutenant-general Monk, ‘for relieving those who were oppressed in their consciences by the presbyteries.’ The Cromwellian army was on principle favourable to toleration, and adverse to all sorts of church-discipline. Monk was therefore ready to issue an order, ‘that no oaths should be imposed by any of the kirk-officers upon any person without other from the state of England, nor any covenant, and, if they do, that he will deal with them as enemies The provost and bailiffs of Aberdeen were to proclaim this.’

From a petition presented to the king after the Restoration by his son, the bitterness of Sir Alexander’s experiences throughout the troubles appears to have been much the same in character as that of which an example has been given in the case of Farquharson of Inverey. ‘His lands were the first of Scotland that were spoiled.’ He was ‘twice fined in £4000 sterling, his house of Drum four times garrisoned and at length totally plundered, and his wife and children turned out of doors.' For five years his revenues were detained from him by ‘one Forbes’—doubtless the same minion to whom the government had committed the fining of old Inverey. Another Aberdeenshire laird, Sir Gilbert Menzies of Pitfoddels, being really a Catholic, had come even worse off. Throughout the whole period of the troubles, not only were his lands taxed like those of his neighbours for the support of the Covenanting armies, but he suffered endless finings, quarterings, and repeated banishments, on account of his inability in personal sentiment to go along with the popular movement. It appears from a petition he presented after the Restoration, that fully £12,000 sterling had been extorted from his estate, leaving it greatly reduced in extent and ‘like to ruin;’ as a matter of course, he and his family had undergone the greatest poverty abroad, and in one of the flights made by his family from Scotland, his wife and one of his sons had perished in a storm at sea.’ We obtain from these historiettes, which are but examples of a large class, some notion of the grounds of the charges brought by cavalier writers against the men who, in all sincerity, believed they were establishing the reign of Christ upon the earth. Trusting to force for the attainment of the ideal which they had placed before them, they stirred up a spirit which made their object only the more unattainable.

Dec
One good consequence of the English military rule now established in Scotland was the introduction of some improved police regulations into Edinburgh. Householders were compelled to hang out lanterns, from six to nine at night, at their doors and windows; by which arrangement, ‘the winter night was almost as light as the day.’ The expense was reckoned to be about forty-five pounds a night. Rigorous measures were also taken for the cleaning of the streets and lanes, and for preventing foul water being thrown forth from windows.

It would appear that these regulations were steadily kept up during the English occupation. In April 1657, there was a petition from the magistrates of Edinburgh to the commissioners of justiciary craving remission of certain fines, amounting in all to £50 sterling, which had been imposed on the magistrates ‘for not cleansing the streets.’ They alleged that they had ‘employed scavengers’ with a view to giving the commissioners satisfaction.—B. A.

Nicoll, writing towards the close of 1651, gives a second and most unflattering picture of the moral conditions of Scotland. ‘Under heaven,’ he says, ‘there was not greater falset, oppression, division, hatred, pride, malice, and envy, nor was at this time, and diverse and sundry years before (ever since the subscribing the Covenant); every man seeking himself and his awn ends, even under a cloak of piety, whilk did cover much knavery.’ He adds: ‘Much of the ministry, also, could not purge themselves of their vices of pride, avarice, and cruelty; where they maligned, they were divided in their judgments and opinions, and made their pulpits to speak ane against another. Great care they had of their augmentations, and Reek Pennies, never before heard of but within thir few years. Pride and cruelty, ane against another, much abounded; little charity or mercy to restore the weak, was to be found among them... This I observe not out of malice to the ministry, but to record the truth, for all offended, from the prince to the beggar.’

It is instructive to observe that no sooner had the ecclesiastical system recently paramount received a blow, than dissent, so long repressed, began to make itself heard. Nicoll notes that ‘much hypocrisy and falset formerly hid did now break out amang our Scots, wha, leaving their former principles of religion, became papists and atheists.’ Many sought favour with the English by supporting their rule, advising that liberty of conscience which was regarded with such abhorrence by the Scottish church, and calling for a restraint to be put upon the power of presbyteries as ‘anti-Christian and tyrannical.’ ‘Others vilipend the Covenant, holding it lawful for all men to break it, as being ane human institution;’ at the same time denouncing many of the clergy as not worthy to teach, declaring the Sabbath to be unnecessary, and propounding that children should not be baptised ‘till they could give confession of their faith.’

About April 1652, we begin to find dissent taking recognisable forms. There were now Antinomians, Antitrinitarians, Familists, and Seekers, as well as Brownists, Independents, and Erastians. Where there had formerly been no avowed Anabaptists, there were now many, ‘sae that thrice in the week—namely, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—there were some dippit at Bonnington Mill, betwixt Leith and Edinburgh, both men and women of good rank. Some days there would be sundry hundred persons attending that action, and fifteen persons baptised in one day by the Anabaptists.’ Among the converts was ‘the Lady Craigie Wallace, a lady in the west country.’—Nic. In autumn, at Cupar, Mr Brown, preacher to Fairfax’s regiment, re-baptised several of the soldiers ‘in the Eden, near to Airdrie’s lodging, by dipping them over head and ears, many of the inhabitants looking on.’ —Lam.

1652, Mar
The Castle of Dunnottar was now almost the only place of strength in the kingdom which resisted the English arms. It held out with a small garrison under the command of George Ogilvie of Barras, whose anxiety to maintain his post was increased by the consideration that within these sea-girt walls rested the regalia of the kingdom—the crown, sceptre, and sword of state— which had been consigned by the Committee of Estates to this fort, under the care of the Earl Marischal, as being the strongest place in the kingdom that remained untaken after the reduction of Edinburgh Castle. For many months, Ogilvie and his little garrison had defied the English forces; but now it was likely that he could not hold out much longer—in which case, of course, the regalia must fall into the hands of the enemy. The Earl Marischal had been taken with the Committee of Estates at Alyth, and shipped off to London as a prisoner. He contrived, however, to send by a private hand the key of the closet in which the regalia lay, to his mother, the Dowager-countess, who by the advice of her son, opened a communication with Mr James Grainger, minister of Kineff, a person in whom the family reposed great faith, with a view to his assisting in the conveying away of the precious ‘honours.’ The minister and his wife, Christian Fletcher [posterity will desire the preservation of her whole name], entered heartily into the wishes of the countess. Mrs Grainger, by permission of the English commander, visiting the wife of the governor of the castle, received from that lady, but without the knowledge of her husband, the crown into her lap. The sceptre and sword, wrapped up in a bundle of hards or lint, were placed on the back of a female attendant. When Mrs Grainger and her maid returned through the beleaguering camp, it appeared as if she were taking away some lint to be spun for Mrs Ogilvie. So far from suspecting any trick, the English officer on duty is said to have helped Mrs Grainger upon her horse. The castle was rendered three months afterwards, when great was the rage of the English on finding that the regalia were gone. It was adroitly given out that they had been carried beyond sea by Sir John Keith, a younger brother of the earl, and handed to King Charles at Paris.

In reality, on reaching the manse of Kineff, Mrs Grainger had delivered the crown, sceptre, and sword to her husband, who took the earliest opportunity of burying them under the floor of his church, imparting the secret of their concealment to no one but the Countess Marischal. To the credit of the worthy minister and his wife, they preserved their secret inviolate till the Restoration, eight years afterwards, when ‘the honours’ were exhumed, and replaced under proper custody. An order of the Scottish parliament, dated January 11, 1661, rewarded Mrs Grainger with two thousand merks; Ogilvie was created a baronet; while Sir John Keith, whose immediate concern in the affair does not appear to have been great, was made Knight Marischal of Scotland, with a salary of £400 yearly; to which rewards was added in 1677 a peerage under the title of Earl of Kintore.’

‘In these times, the English commanders had great respect to justice, and in doing execution upon malefactors, such as thieves, harlots, and others of that kind, by scourging, hanging, kicking, cutting off their ears, and stigmating of them with het irons.’—Nic.

The diarist acknowledges that the English judicature established at Leith condemned the native one by its impartiality, suitors returning from it ‘with great contentment.’ He adds: ‘To speak the truth, the English were more indulgent and merciful to the Scots nor the Scots were their awn countrymen and neighbours. They filled up the rooms of justice-courts with very honest clerks,’ &c.

Mar 29
Being Monday, a celebrated eclipse of the sun took place between eight and eleven in the morning, with a perfectly clear sky. ‘The whole body of the sun did appear to us as if it had been covered with the moon; only there was a circle about the sun that appeared somewhat clear without any light [the corona?]. At that time there did a star appear in the firmament, near to the place of the eclipse.’ ‘There was ane manifest darkness for the space of some moments.’—Lam. ‘The time of the eclipse it was exceedingly fearful and dark, to the terror of many.’—Nic. Another account says, the darkness continued about eight minutes, and the people began to pray to God. ‘The like, as thought by astrologers, was not since the darkness at our Lord’s passion. The country people, tilling, loosed their ploughs, and thought it had been the latter day The birds clapped to the ground.’—Law. The day of this eclipse was long remembered, under the name of MIRK MONONDAY.

Apr 20
Died at the Wemyss in Fife, Eleanour Fleming, Countess of Wemyss, without children. She had been married to her husband only two years, but in that time had made him, if report spoke true, ‘a hundred thousand merk worse’ than before. ‘She caused her husband give a free discharge to her brother, the Lord Fleming, of her whole tocher, being about twenty thousand merks Scots, before any of it was paid to him. She caused her husband and her brother to give Mr Patrick Gillespie a bond of four thousand merks... She caused also a door to be strucken through the wall of her chamber, for to go to the wine-cellar; for she had, as is said by many, a great desire after strong drink.’—Lam. Verily, a trying sort of lady for a quiet nobleman like Lord Wemyss, who nevertheless ventured on a third wife before the year was out—the mother of Anne Duchess of Monmouth.

June 17
‘It pleased God to lay the town of Glasgow desolate by a violent and sudden fire... The far best part of the fore streets and most considerable buildings were burnt, together with above fourscore lanes and closes, which were the dwellings of above a thousand families, and almost all the shops and warehouses of the merchants, many whereof are near by ruined. Besides, a great many more of widows, orphans, and distressed honest families, having lost what they had, are now put to starving and begging. The like of this fire has not been formerly heard of in this nation.'—Nic. ‘It was said 1060 houses burnt.’—C. P. H.

Five days after this fire, the Town Council appointed ‘the provost, with John Bell, to ride to Ayr, to the English officers there, wha has been here and seen the town’s lamentable condition—such as Colonel Overton and others—and to obtein from them letters of recommendation to such officers or judges who sits in Edinburgh, to the effect that the same may be recommendit by them to the parliament of England, that all help and supply may be gotten thereby that may be, for the supply of such as has their lands and guids burnt.'

It must have been with a sore heart that the newly subjugated city of the west condescended to beg from the parliament of the sectaries. The case, however, was one of extreme misery, for the resources of Scotland, and of the west as much as anywhere, had been exhausted by the war, so that without foreign help it must have been impossible to repair the calamity.

Little more than four years after this period, Robert Baillie speaks of Glasgow as much revived. ‘Our people,’ he says, ‘has much more trade in comparison than any other: their buildings increase strangely both for number and fairness.’ He adds, that in his time the city had been more than doubled.

July
In a General Assembly which sat at Edinburgh, sixty-five of the clergy protested against the lawfulness of the last General Assemblies, in which resolutions in favour of the king had been sanctioned. Andrew Cant, Samuel Rutherford, and Robert Traill were the leaders of this zealous faction—the Protesters or Remonstrators - against whom the censures of the kirk were threatened by the majority in vain. By this schism, the hitherto admired unity of the Scottish kirk was broken up, and henceforth, for several years, there scarcely ever was a meeting of any of its courts unmarked by scenes of indecent violence. At a synod held at Glasgow in October, two days being spent in contentions about the choice of a moderator, the meeting dissolved without attempting any other business.—Nic. Not long after, when the General Assembly ordered a fast for the sins of the nation, and because ‘few were seeking the things of Jesus Christ,’ the Remonstrators disallowed it, and appointed among themselves ‘a day of humiliation for that humiliation.’ In all matters regarding the settlement of ministers in parishes, there was furious and uncompromising war for a series of years between the two parties.

This summer was remarkable for clear, dry, warm weather, parching up the herbage, and producing exceedingly light crops on the best lands. The harvest commenced in June, and in a field near Dundee there were stooks on the 7th of July. At the end of July and beginning of August, the harvest was general; and before the end of the latter month, all was ‘in ‘—circumstances unexampled, and which have perhaps never again occurred. ‘The pease wallowed [that is, faded in the bloom] a fortnight before Lammas, whereas some years they continue till Michaelmas.’— Lam. ‘All the corn was got in without rain, and long before the usual time. The like harvest was in England.’ ‘It is truly reported that in England there was such abundance of white butterflies as was never heard of before. They destroyed all cabbage; and divers cobles coming from sea, hardly could see the land for them.’—Nic.

The summer ‘produced ripe wine-berries and grapes, and abundance of Scotch chestanes openly sauld at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, and baken in pasties at banquets.’—Nic.

The weather, strange to say, remained of the same character all the latter part of the year, so that fruit-trees had a second blossoming in November, and some of them brought forth fruit, ‘albeit not in perfection.’ The furze and broom bloomed again; the violet, not due till March, presented its modest head in November. Birds began to build their nests, and lay eggs, at or near Martinmas, and salads and sybows were cried and sold in Edinburgh on the 27th of November. - Nic.

The letters sent home by the English soldiery now marching through the Highlands, describe the country as mountainous, yet the valleys rich; the houses of earth and turf so low that the horsemen sometimes rode over them; the people generally going with plaids about their middles, both men and women; ‘simple and ignorant in the things of God, and some of them as brutish as heathens;’ nevertheless, ‘some did hear the English preachers ‘with great attention and groaning.'

In some churches in Fife, as Kirkcaldy and Kennoway, the English soldiers ‘did pull down the stool of repentance; they did sit in them also, in contempt, in some places where they came, in time of sermon.’ Several ministers were openly challenged for their expressions in prayers and sermons, by these soldiers. Mr George Hamilton at Pittenweem was so troubled by some of Fairfax’s regiment, that he had to break off; ‘at which time there was great uproar in the church there.’—Lam.

Aug
The Earl of Crawford, having been taken by the English at Alyth a twelvemouth before, now lay a prisoner in the Tower. The countess—a sister of the late Duke of Hamilton—desiring to visit her husband in his affliction, left Scotland for the purpose in a stage-coach which had recently been established for the keeping up of communication between the two countries—’ the journey coach,’ says Lamont, ‘that comes ordinarily between England and Scotland.’ We do not learn the periods of departure, or any other detail regarding this vehicle; but from a paragraph which occurs under May 1658, we may presume that it did not go oftener than once in three weeks, and charged for a seat fully as much as a first-class railway ticket of the present day.

Sep 30.
‘There came into the very brig of Leith ane little whale, which rendered much profit to the English.’—Nic.

This ‘little whale’ would probably be a stray member of a flock of the Deiphinus globioceps, which so frequently are embayed and slaughtered in Zetland and the Faröe islands. The appearance of such an animal in Leith harbour is an event of a very rare character.

Oct
Four English gentlemen, Messrs George Smith, John Martin, Andrew Owen, and Edward Mosley, the commissioners appointed by Cromwell for the administration of justice in Scotland in place of the Court of Session, commenced their labours in the criminal department at Edinburgh. Three days were spent in the trial and fining of persons of impure life, of whom there were above sixty brought before the judges in a day. ‘It is observable,’ says an English newspaper of the time, ‘that such is the malice of these people, that most of them were accused for facts done divers years since, and the chief proof against them was their own confession before the kirk, who are in this worse than the Roman religion, who do not make so ill a use of their auricular confession. Some of the facts were committed five, ten, nay, twenty years. There was one Ephraim Bennet, a gunner in Leith, indicted, convicted, and condemned for coining sixpences, shillings, and half-crowns. Also two Englishmen, Wilkinson and Newcome, condemned for robbing three men, and for killing a Scottishman near Haddington in March last. But that which is most observable is, that some were brought before them for witches, two whereof had been brought before the kirk about the time of the armies coming into Scotland, and having confessed, were turned over to the civil magistrate. The court demanding how they came to be proved witches, they declared they were forced to it by the exceeding torture they were put to, which was by tying their thumbs behind them, and then hanging them up by them: two Highlanders whipped them, after which they set lighted candles to the soles of their feet, and between their toes, then burned them by putting lighted candles in their mouths, and then burning them in the head: there were six of them accused in all, four whereof died of the torture.... Another woman that was suspected, according to their thoughts, to he a witch, was twenty-eight days and nights with bread and water, being stripped stark naked, and laid upon a cold stone, with only a haircloth over her. Others had hair-shirts dipped in vinegar put on them, to fetch off the skin.’—Mercurius Politicus.’ The resolution of the judges to inquire into these cruelties is intimated.


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