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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of Charles II.: 1660 - 1673 Part A


THE wild joy with which the people of England hailed the close of anarchy and military tyranny in the restoration of Charles II. to the throne, was fully participated in Scotland by a small loyalist party. The bulk of the community were also made happy by the event, for they were pleased to see the monarchy restored, accompanied as the event was by the revival of their national independence; but the general happiness was mixed with anxiety regarding the fate of their favourite church, to which they had long been accustomed to consider all other institutions as subordinate. In England, almost as a matter of course, the Episcopal Church was restored with the monarchy, to the slighting of that Solemn League and Covenant with which the interests of Presbyterianism had been so long bound up. The temper of the English people was now strongly against all that had been done during the troubles by those with whom the Scottish Presbyterians had been in alliance, and consequently against Scottish Presbyterianism itself. The joy of the Presbyterian monarchists of Scotland might therefore well be mixed with fear.

Very naturally, the men of high rank who had done and suffered most for the cause of monarchy in the late evil days, were appointed to be at the head of affairs in Scotland. The Earl of Glencairn, chief of the guerrilla resistance to Cromwell in 1653, was made Chancellor. Major-general Middleton, who had finally commanded in that insurrection, and was now promoted to the peerage as Earl of Middleton, was appointed to be his majesty’s commissioner to parliament. The Earls of Crawford and Lauderdale, Presbyterian monarchists of 1650—1, who had since suffered a ten years’ imprisonment in England, were made respectively Lord Treasurer and Secretary of State. With them came a host of inferior officials, all more or less under a sense of suffering through over-zealous Presbyterianism, and mostly eager to repair their broken fortunes at the expense of their enemies. A reassemblage in September of the remains of that Committee of Estates which had been captured at Alyth in 1651, was the first movement made. It was superseded by the new parliament, which sat down on the 1st of January 1661 and proceeded to pass many acts for the settlement of affairs on the new basis. One of these at a single blow annulled all the acts of the irregular parliaments of the last twenty-three years; another imposed on men holding offices an oath acknowledging the king to be ‘supreme governor in all cases, over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil.’ Finally, in July of that year, the Privy Council was reconstituted—a judicial as well as political body. At the same time, the Courts of Session and Justiciary were reconstructed, in place of the English judicatories which had sat for the last eight years.

The vengeance of the new government fell only on those who had carried the Presbyterian views to a disloyal extreme, or who had complied with Cromwell. The chief victim was the Marquis of Argyle—who no doubt had placed the crown on the king’s head at Scone in 1651, but who had also been the prime leader in nearly all those movements subsequent to 1638, which had been so destructive to the interests of royalty. His execution (May 27, 1661) was considered by the royalists as a righteous retribution for that of Montrose eleven years before. Mr James Guthrie, minister of Stirling, the leader among the Remonstrators, was hanged. Sir Archibald Johnston—who had perhaps done more than any other single man throughout the troubles to promote the pure Presbyterian cause—escaped to Holland, but after a little time was brought back and executed (July 1663). Several other ministers of the Remonstrant party, who failed to make timely submission, were imprisoned, and subsequently for the most part banished.

The one great subject remaining for consideration was the church—how was it to be settled? The king, unlike his father, could have endured the Presbyterian forms, though he is said to have privately declared Presbyterianism unfit to be the religion of a gentleman. But Presbyterianism involved something more than forms. As professed by its more zealous and intelligent adherents, it claimed to have Christ for its sole head, and therefore to be completely independent of all civil control. The men in whose hands its fate was now cast—for the reaction of popular feeling in the entire island made it helpless—had to consider that this claim had been a source of constant trouble to the state ever since the minority of King James; they had to judge whether the Presbyterian Church, holding such a claim as essential to it, would, if now established, comport with any species of civil government whatever. Under the light of recent experiences, and led by the general temper of the time, it was not surprising, though very unfortunate, that they resolved to restore the so-called moderate Episcopacy of 1638, minus the Book of Canons and Liturgy.

The moderate or Resolutionist party in the church, being the great majority, had sent Mr James Sharpe, minister of Crail, to represent their interests in the little body of men surrounding the king at his return from the continent. Full reliance was placed on Mr Sharpe, for he was thought to be a conscientious as well as able man: we find Robert Baillie speaking of him at the time with an affection which could not have been inspired in so virtuous a bosom without many merits. But Mr Sharpe proved unable to resist the contagion of feeling to which he was exposed: he was induced to consent to the restoration of prelacy, and to take the position of primate. The Presbyterians considered themselves as betrayed by their own representative. The bishops of 1638 being all dead but one, and he unable to travel, Sharpe and three other Presbyterian clergymen received the rite of consecration in London, and, returning, imparted it to the other bishops in Holyrood Church. In May 1662, an act of the Estates formally reconstituted the church on the Episcopal model; the bulk of the people quietly submitting to what they could not resist, while the more earnest regarded it as a desertion of Christ’s own standard, calculated to bring down judgments upon the land.

The burst of loyal feeling at the Restoration had probably led the government to believe that the settlement of Episcopacy would be an easy, if not popular act. If they had truly known the antipathy still entertained for the prelatic model, they might have hesitated to take such a step, for it might then have appeared more hopeful that the claim of independence for presbytery would be practically overcome or made innocuous—as it afterwards was at the Revolution—than that bishops could be maintained in peace amongst a hostile people. But here we must remember how force was universally looked to in that age as a proper and legitimate means of inducing conformity. Under the recent rule of the Presbyterian Church, there had been heavy fines, depositions, banishings, excornmunications, and confiscations, for Episcopalian and popish nonconformists; hangings and beheadings for those who proceeded to an active opposition. And the apparent conformity which such means can produce had really been attained. The authors of the new episcopate, having no light beyond their age on the subject of toleration; might very naturally think that what had succeeded in 1650 would succeed in 1662: they would compel the people to be Episcopalians. There was a difference in the two cases which it would have been well for them to observe. The severe measures of 1650 were the measures of a majority of really religious men—or at least men of very earnest religious convictions—against a minority of dissenters or indifferents. The measures now called for were to be carried out by a minority, chiefly animated by secular maxims, against a mass of people generally earnest in their peculiar religious views, and who were liable to become the more so, and consequently the more troublesome, under persecution. In the one case, the dominant church was a great Reality, solidly founded in the affections of mass of the people; in the other, it was little more than a piece of statecraft, with the affections of the majority of the people against it. The right of enforcing conformity we may allow to have been the same in both cases; but the consequences, we can easily see, were likely to be very different.

The new church had scarcely been constituted, when the unwiseness of the step might have easily been seen. The clergy generally, but especially in the south-western counties, showed their unwillingness to give up their collective powers into the hands of the bishops. On a precipitate edict of the Archbishop of Glasgow, calling on the ministers of his province who had been inducted since 1649 to take out new presentations from the patrons, and receive collation from their bishops, three hundred and fifty, being a third of the entire church, resigned their cures. This was a startling blow to the new system, for, under that incapacity of judging of the influence of religious feelings which is to be marked in worldly men, it had been supposed that not more than ten would resign. Of course these men became troublesome dissenters, notwithstanding all that could be done to disperse or silence them. In reality, the substitution of a new bishop-approved minister for one who would not submit to bishops, was a matter not very immediately affecting congregations, for, under the late alteration in the church, the forms of worship and professed Christian doctrine remained the same as before. But the Scotch, during the last twenty-five years, had been generally instructed regarding the Presbyterian polity, and trained up to regard it with veneration; insomuch that the parity of ministers in the church-courts and the headship of Christ, as exclusive of all supremacy of king or human law, were points for which they were as much disposed to martyr themselves as for the most essential points of faith contained in the catechism. They therefore began to desert the parish churches, and hold private meetings for worship under the displaced clergy. In our time, no statesman would think of opposing the people in such a course. They would be allowed quietly to raise dissenting meeting-houses for themselves and favourite clergymen, and the peace of the country would not be disturbed. But the reader must have been prepared to see that no such course could then be adopted. The Presbyterian establishment itself had only a few years before sternly put down all external expression of dissent. It had even forbidden private meetings of little groups of its own members for worship, lest these should lead to or give shelter to schism. If they, with their deep religious feelings, were thus intolerant of dissent, what might we expect from the worldly statesmen and prelates now at the head of affairs? What but the most vigorous measures for preserving an outward conformity? The extruded ministers were forbidden to live within or near their former parishes, lest their people should attend their ministrations. The people of those parishes were commanded under heavy pains to attend the regular church, however odious the new minister might be to them, Even to go to the church of some neighbouring parish where there was still one of the old clergy officiating, was forbidden under the like penalties. Finally, bodies of soldiery were sent to raise the fines, or to exact free quarters till the fines were paid. These soldiers would enter the churches of the old Presbyterian clergy yet in possession of their pulpits, noting such of the congregation as could not swear that they belonged to the parish, taking the money from their pockets, or stripping them of articles of wearing apparel, as a punishment for their breach of law. In some districts, where a very earnest feeling of religion prevailed, the people were harassed and impoverished to a degree that made them anxious to leave their native country.

Middleton’s administration came to a sudden close in 1663, in consequence of an intrigue against Lauderdale; and the latter noble then succeeded to the chief power. Although he had been a Presbyterian, and was not originally in favour of setting up the Episcopal Church, his rule brought no relief. Still, there was a certain leniency in high quarters, till Sharpe, in order to secure unfaltering severity, obtained the erection of a court of commission, in which the prelates should have chief sway. Then came a mercilessness greater than before. The doings of the soldiery were such as to produce an approach to desolation in certain districts. Ministers, for merely performing worship in their own houses, were thrown into vile prisons, or banished to half-desert islands. Even to give charity to any of the proscribed clergy was declared to be a crime. When the war with Holland commenced in the spring of 1665, it was feared that there would be an insurrection in the west of Scotland, and the whole district was consequently disarmed. Nevertheless, in November of the ensuing year, the extreme severity of the soldiery under Sir James Turner occasioned a partial resistance at Dairy, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and in a little time a small body of insurgents was collected. Marching through Ayrshire, their numbers increased to about two thousand, and they then turned towards Edinburgh, where they expected considerable accessions. It was a hasty and ill-considered affair, springing merely from the sense of intolerable suffering. The government, having a small standing army at its disposal, was at no moment in the least danger. About nine hundred poor half-armed peasants made a final stand at Rullion Green, on the eastern skirts of the Pentland Hills, where they were attacked by a strong body of dragoons under Sir Thomas Dalyell, routed, and dispersed (November 28, 1666). Many were killed on the field and in the pursuit, and eighteen were afterwards executed in Edinburgh. Several of these were previously tortured to extort confession, the instrument used being a loose frame of wood called the Boot, into which wedges were driven so as to crush the limb of the prisoner. Thirty-five more were executed in the country, not without some difficulty to the authorities, as the executioners generally refused to exercise their profession against such culprits.

Soon after this time, the extreme severity of the government in Scotland made itself heard of and felt at court, and orders were sent down for the adoption of gentler measures. In 1668, a milder rule was established under the Earl of Tweeddale, who would at once have proceeded to grant some ‘indulgence’ to the Presbyterians, but for an attempt being made to shoot Archbishop Sharpe, as he was about to step into his carriage in Edinburgh. As it was, the Indulgence was granted next year, and consisted in permitting such of the extruded clergy as had lived peaceably to return to their parishes when a vacancy occurred, receiving the whole temporalities if they should take collation from the bishops; and where they did not, to be allowed the use of the manse and glebe; further, allowing four hundred merks per annum to all outed ministers, while unpresented to charges, provided they had lived peaceably, and would agree to do so in future. This was in reality a measure of greater generosity than the Presbyterian Church had ever extended to dissenters; yet it was not attended with much good. It was denounced by all the more zealous sort of people as Erastianism, and consequently the indulged ministers were not popular. The government, moreover, professing to consider the holding of irregular meetings for worship as less excusable than before, became more threatening against them, and thus caused the people to hold conventicles in the open fields in remote places, attending, in some instances, with arms in their hands. Hence resulted the fining of a vast number of respectable people of the middle classes, women as well as men, and the imprisonment of a considerable number. The parliament also passed an express act against conventicles, whereby an ejected or unlicensed minister who should perform worship anywhere but in his own family, or who should be present at worship in any other family, became liable to a fine of five thousand merks; the people being also forbidden to be present at such meetings under pain of fines proportioned to their circumstances. By this act, the performance of worship in the fields inferred death, and attendance was to be punished with double fines. The king is said to have disapproved of the act, remarking truly that bloody laws did no good; it was detested even by those who in parliament gave it their votes. In spite of its severity, the people continued in some districts to meet in the fields for worship, feeling that there was a great show of the ‘divine presence’ on these occasions. It seemed as if every attempt to enforce conformity only sent a certain portion of them into a stronger dissent. Although nearly every one of the measures of the government had its prototype in those of the Presbyterian regime, and no one thought of demanding liberty of conscience upon principle, yet such was the effect of the large scale on which these severities were conducted, that the Scottish mind was generally impressed with an abhorrence of prelacy and all its belongings, a feeling which no lapse of time has yet been able to efface.

The years 1671 and 1672 were distinguished by few events of note besides the acts of severity against troublesome ministers. During this time, there was going on a conspiracy on the part of the king and his ministers to establish absolute monarchy in England, the Earl of Lauderdale undertaking to secure Scotland, while the French king was engaged to give his assistance; and to favour the object, a new war was commenced against Holland. In 1673, the spirit of the English nation was roused against the ministry, and the contagion was in some measure communicated to Scotland, where the Duke of Hamilton gave such a resistance to Lauderdale (now created a duke) that he was obliged to dissolve the parliament. But no marked improvement in the government resulted.

1660, June 10
This day commenced a period of thanksgiving through all the parishes in Lothian, for the restoration of the king. The magistrates and town-council of Edinburgh went to church in solemn procession,. all in their best robes, and with ‘the great mace and sword of honour’ borne before them. After service, they went with a great number of citizens to the Cross, where a long board, covered with sweetmeats and wine, had been placed, under a burgess guard numbering four or five hundred persons. Here the healths of the king and the Duke of York were drunk with the utmost enthusiasm, three hundred dozen of glasses being cast away and broken on the occasion. At the same time, bells rang, drums beat, trumpets sounded, and the multitude of people cheered. The spouts of the Cross ran with claret for the general benefit. At night, there were bonfires throughout the streets, and fireworks in the Castle and the citadel of Leith till after midnight. ‘There were also six viola, three of them base viola, playing there continually. There were also some musicians placed there, wha were resolved to act their parts, and were willing and ready, but by reason of the frequent acclamations and cries of the people universally through the haill town, their purpose was interrupted. Bacchus also, being set upon ane puncheon of wine upon the front of the Cross with his cummerholds, was not idle. In the end, the effigies of Oliver Cromwell, being set upon a pole, and the devil upon another, upon the Castle Hill, it was ordered by firework, engine, and train, that the devil did chase that traitor, till he blew him in the air.’—Nic.

The same chronicler notes a circumstance very likely to occur at a Restoration. ‘There went out from Scotland an innumerable number of people of all sorts, ranks, and degrees—earls, lords, barons, burgesses, and some ministers—pretending their errand to be to congratulate the king; but the truth is, it was for procuring of dignities, honours, and offices, and for sundry other ends; carrying with them great sums of money, to the vastation of this puir land, being altogether ruined of before in their means and estate.’

‘His majesty not being able to satisfy all, there did arise great heart-burnings, animosity, and envy among them,’ particularly ‘betwixt the Earl of Southesk and the Master of Gray, for the sheriffship of Forfarshire; and in that contention they drew to parties, and provoked other to duels, in the whilk the Earl of Southesk did kill the Master of Gray upon this side of London.’

Aug
We hear at this time of a number of ‘louss and idle men in the Hielands,’ who had gathered themselves together in companies, and were employed in ‘carrying away spraichs of cattle and other bestial to the hills, and committing many other insolencies:’ that is to say, the more active spirits on the Highland border were taking advantage of this interval of regular authority to help themselves from the pastures of their Lowland neighbours. The newly reassembled Committee of Estates, having no force at their command for the repression of these disorders, were glad to revert to the old practice of holding the chiefs of clans ‘bund for the peaceable behaviour of their clan, kinsmen, followers, and tenants.’ They therefore (August 29) sent letters to the Earls of Seafortb, Tullibardine, Athole, Airlie, and Aboyne, the Lords Reay and Lovat, the Lairds of Ballingowan, Foulis, Assynt, Glengarry, M’Leod, Locheil, Macintosh, Grant, Glenurchy, Auchinbreck, Luss, Macfarlane, Buchanan, and Edzell, Sir James Macdonald, the Captain of Clanranald, Callum Macgregor Tutor of Macgregor, and others, calling on them to take special notice of their dependents, ‘and of all others travelling through your bounds whom you may stop or let,’ that they carry themselves inoffensively; certifying these heads of clans, that they will be called to account for any depredations or insolencies hereafter committed.

Having immediately after heard of an assault committed by one Robert Oig Buchanan and a companion upon Robert M’Capie, a tenant of Lord Napier (they had attacked him in his own house at night, wounded him, and cut off his ear, after which they drove off his cattle), the Committee ordered the Laird of Buchanan to forward the guilty persons to them before a certain day, in order that they might be brought to punishment. The two culprits failed to appear on summons, and their chief was then commissioned to seize them wherever they could be found.

At the beginning of October, the chancellor received a letter from the Laird of Grant, stating that he had apprehended ‘ane noted robber named Halkit Stirk.’ The Committee of Estates immediately sent an answer heartily thanking the laird ‘for doing so good a work for his majesty and the peace of the kingdom;’ further informing him that they would protect and maintain him against all injury that might be done to him or his followers on that account. They soon after gave the laird a commission to raise a band of forty men for the taking of Highland sorners and robbers.

The Halkit Stirk was subsequently ordered to be handed by the Laird of Grant to the magistrates of Aberdeen; by them to the magistrates of Montrose; from these again to those of Dundee; thence to Cupar and Burntisland in succession, under a suitable guard; to rest in the Tolbooth of Burntisland till further orders.

At the same time, the Highland bandit, John Dhu Ger, whom we have seen killed three times about twenty years before, is ordered to be brought under a sufficient guard from Stirling to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh.-R. C. E.

Sep 13
The Letter-office at Edinburgh was in 1649 under the care of Mr John Mean, a merchant noted throughout the reign of Charles I. for his zeal as a Presbyterian; which, however, had not forbidden him to be also a strenuous loyalist. Latterly, the same function had been bestowed upon Messrs Mew and Barringer, who, from their names, may be supposed to have been Englishmen, friends of the Cromwellian rule. At the date now noted, the king bestowed the office upon Robert Mean, superseding the two above-mentioned officials, and the Committee of Estates accordingly inducted him, ‘requiring the postmaster of Haddington to direct the packets constantly from time to time to the said Robert Mean, and cause the same to be delivered to him at Edinburgh.’—R. C. E.

The post-system for correspondence underwent a considerable improvement under the régime of the Restoration. The parliament, in August 1662, ordained that for this purpose posts should be established between Edinburgh and Port-Patrick, the intermediate stations being Linlithgow, Kilsyth, Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Drumbeg, and Ballantrae. Robert Mean was commissioned to establish these posts for the next ensuing year, and allowed ‘for each letter from Edinburgh to Glasgow two shillings Scots (twopence sterling), from thence to any part within Scotland three shillings Scots, and for all such letters as goes for Ireland six shillings Scots.’ To encourage him in the business, and help him to build a boat for the Port-Patrick ferry, he was allowed a gift of two hundred pounds, on condition that the boat should carry the letter-packet free. ‘All other posts, either foot or horse,’ were discharged.—P. C. R.

The horse-post of Mr Mean had not been long in operation, when it was found that sundry persons carried letters along the same line on foot, to the injury of the postmaster, and possibly to the encouragement of treasonable designs. At his request, a warrant was granted (December 26) against such interlopers.

Sep 28
William Woodcock, ‘late officer in Leith,’ was this day licensed by the magistrates of Edinburgh, to set up ‘ane hackney-coach, for service of his majesty’s lieges, betwixt Leith and Edinburgh.’ The hire up and down for a single person was to be a shilling; and if the person engaging the carriage chose to wait for one or two persons more to accompany him, the same fare was to be sufficient ‘If any mae nor three, each man to pay four shillings Scots [fourpence sterling] for their hire; and the persons coming up to Edinburgh, to light at the foot of Leith Wynd, for the steyness [steepness] thereof.’ This arrangement was not to prevent Woodcock from ‘serving others going to and from the country to other places, as he and they can agree.’

At the surrender of Edinburgh Castle to Cromwell in December 1650, one of the articles of rendition insured that the public registers, public movables, and private evidences and writs heretofore preserved there, should be allowed to pass forth, and that wagons and ships should be provided for transporting them. These precious documents, with certain exceptions, were accordingly taken to Stirling Castle, where, however, it was not their fate to rest long. In August next year, while the Scottish army was advancing through England, to be annihilated at Worcester, General Monk took Stirling Castle, with ‘all the Records of Scotland, the chair and cloth of state, the sword, and other rich furniture of the kings.’ These were soon after transported to the Tower of London, not under any such feeling as the wantonness of conquest, but with a view to their proving serviceable for the scheme then entertained by Cromwell of a complete union of the two countries. In the Tower, they were deposited in a building called the Boners’ House, which was also the residence of the keeper of the English Records, Mr Riley.

After the establishment of an English judicatory in Scotland, it was found necessary that such documents as referred to the rights of private, parties should be in possession of the English commissioners; and on the petition of these gentlemen (April 8, 1653), an order of parliament was issued for the sending of all such documents back to Scotland, to be deposited as formerly in Edinburgh Castle. This seems to have been done either partially now, and conclusively in 1657, or wholly at the latter date, the amount of documents returned being sixteen hundred volumes.

After the Restoration, the Scottish records remaining in the Tower, being those of a, public and historical character, were ordered to be returned to Edinburgh. Being put up in hogsheads, a ship was prepared to carry them down to Scotland. ‘But it was suggested to Clarendon, that the original Covenant signed by the king, and some other declarations under his hand, were among them. And he, apprehending that at some time or other an ill use might have been made of these, would not suffer them to be shipped till they were visited: nor would he take Primrose’s promise of searching for these carefully, and sending them up to him. So he ordered a search to be made. None of the papers he looked for were found. But so much time was lost, that the summer was spent. So they were sent down in winter.’—Burnet. They were shipped at Gravesend on board the Eagle frigate (Dec), commanded by Major John Fletcher; but, a storm arising, the captain was obliged, for the safety of his vessel, to trans-ship eighty-five hogsheads of these documents into a vessel called the Elizabeth of Burntisland. The Elizabeth having sunk with its whole cargo, the eighty-five hogsheads of registers were lost, ‘to the great hurt of this nation,’ as Nicoll with due sensibility remarks. From this wreck there escaped the records of parliament, and that of the Secret Council—the latter, we are bound to say, a specially fortunate escape for us, since the record in question has supplied the great bulk of what is at once new and curious in the present work. ‘The want of any inventory of the whole must leave us for ever in the dark as to the real extent of the loss which was then sustained. Among the lost records, however, we may probably reckon the rolls of the greater part of the charters of Robert I. and David II., and the far greater part of the original instruments of a public nature, which must be presumed to have existed in the archives of the kingdom, at their removal from Scotland in 1651.’

One of the records, that of the Privy Seal, had escaped the general seizure by the English, and passed through some adventures not much less romantic than those of the Regalia. Consisting of about a hundred volumes, it rested in the care of Andrew Martin, writer in Edinburgh, who, on the approach of danger, carried it into the Highlands, and there preserved it from the enemy ‘with great expenses and fatigue, for ten years at least, to the hazard of his life and irrecoverable ruin of his family.’ After his death and that of his son, this record fell into the possession of John Corse, writer in Edinburgh, who had advanced considerable sums to the Martins, ‘on the faith of those books.’ On the 24th of March 1707, Mr Cone addressed a petition to the Scottish parliament, setting forth these particulars, and claiming a remuneration for ‘the expenses and great pains that has been expended in preserving these records,’ requesting at the same time that they should be taken into public custody. The parliament accordingly recommended Mr Cone’s claim to the queen.

1661, Jan
Reduced as the state of Scotland was at the close of the Interregnum, no sooner had the Restoration taken place than such a ‘bravery’ broke out as if there had been no such thing as poverty in the land. The City of Edinburgh surrounded the Cross at the proclamation of the first parliament with twelve hundred men in arms. When the Earl of Middleton came on the last day of the year to open the parliament next day, sixteen hundred persons met him on horseback a few miles from town— ‘there was seldom the like shaw.’ ‘All the nobles at this time, as also the barons and burgesses, were metamorphosed like guisers, their apparel rich, full of ribbons, feathers, and costly lace, to the admiration of many.’ It was all from joy at the idea of the troubles of the country being now brought to an end.

The people were delighted to see the parliament sit down, merely as a token of the restoration of their national independency. They felt a peculiar joy in seeing the Earl Marischal and his two brothers come to Edinburgh, bearing with them the long-lost emblems of the native sovereignty. Nicoll says, the gallant carriage of the people generally was ‘wonderful;’ ‘all of them, even the landward people [rustics], belted in their swords and pistols.’ ‘Our gentry of Scotland,’ he elsewhere adds, ‘did look with such joyful and gallant countenances as if they had been the sons of princes. It was the joy of this nation to see them upon brave horses, prancing in their accustomed places, in tilting, running of races, and such like, the like whereof was never seen in many score of years before.’

‘Our mischiefs,’ says the Mercurius Caledonius, ‘began with tumults and sedition, and we are restored to our former felicity with miracles. The sea-coasts of Fife, Angus, Mearns, and Buchan, which was, famous for the fertility of fishing, were barren since his majesty went from Scotland to Worcester; insomuch that the poor men who subsisted by the trade, were reduced to go a-begging in the in-country. But now, blessed be God, since his majesty’s return, the seas are so plentiful, that in some places they are in a condition to dung the land with soles. An argument sufficient to stop the black mouths of those wretches that would have persuaded the people that curses were entailed on the royal family. As our old laws are renewed, so is likewise our good, honest, ancient customs; for nobility in streets are known by brave retinues of their relations, when, during the captivity, a lord was scarcely to be distinguished from a commoner. The old hospitality returns; for that laudable custom of suppers, which was covenanted out with raisins and roasted cheese, is again in fashion; and where before a peevish nurse would have been seen tripping up stairs and down stairs with a posset or berry for the bird or the lady, you shall now see sturdy jaekmen, groaning with the weight of sirloins of beef, and chargers loaden with wild fowl and capons.’

Mercurius is careful to state that, on the 1st of January 1661, the swans which used to dwell on Linlithgow Loch, and which had deserted their haunt at the time of the king’s departure from Scotland, did now grace his return by reappearing in a large flock upon the lake. There was also a small fish called the Cherry of the Tay, a kind of whiting, which returned from a voluntary exile along with the king.

John Ray was at Linlithgow in August 1661, and heard from Mr Stuart, one of the bailies, about the return of the swans. Mr Stuart alleged that two had been brought to the lake for trial during the commonwealth, but would not stay. ‘At the time of the king’s coming to London, two swans, nescio unde sponte et instinctu proprio, came hither, and there still continue.'

[In the pariah of Aberdour, on the north coast of Aberdeenshire, is the house of Auchmedden, once belonging to a family named Baird. A local Writer in 1724 reports that, among some high rocks near the Auchmedden millstone quarry, ‘there is an eagle’s nest; and the pair which breed there have continued in that place time out of mind, sending away their young ones every year, so that there is never more stays but the old pair.’ ‘At one period,’ says a writer of our own day, ‘there was a pair of eagles that regularly nestled and brought forth their young in the rocks of Pennan; but, according to the tradition of the country, when the late Earl of Aberdeen purchased the estate from the Bairds, the former proprietors, the eagles disappeared, in fulfilment of a prophecy of Thomes the Rhymer, "that there should be an eagle in the crags while there was a Baird in Aucbmedden." But the most remarkable circumstance, and what certainly appears incredible, is, that when Lord Haddo, eldest son of the Earl of Aberdeen, married Miss Christian Baird of New Byth, the eagles returned to the rocks, and remained until the estate passed into the hands of the Hon. William Gordon, when they again fled, and have never since been seen in the country. These facts, marvellous as they may appear, are attested by a cloud of famous witnesses.’]

The superstitious Wodrow notes the fact of the swans in his History, and adds: ‘Upon the citadel of Perth, where the arms of the commonwealth had been put up, in May last year a thistle grew out of the wall near the place, and quite overspread them. Both these may be, without anything extraordinary, accounted for; but they were matter of remark and talk, it may be more than they deserve.’

The jollity so highly appreciated by Mercurius Cakdonius is generally described in the writings of the Presbyterian clergy as beastly excess. ‘Nothing to be seen but debauch and revelling,’ says Kirkton; ‘nothing heard but clamorous crimes, all flesh corrupted their way.’ The commissioner Middleton, keeping high festival duly during the sitting of parliament, sometimes was so manifestly drunk when he took his place on the throne, that it was necessary to adjourn the sitting. In his progress through the west country in autumn 1662, ‘such who entertained him best had their dining-rooms, their drinking-rooms, their vomiting-rooms, and sleeping-rooms when the company had lost their senses.’ It was averred that, while he and his court were at Ayr, ‘the devil’s health was drunk at the Cross there, in one of their debauches, about the middle of the night.’—Wod. ‘The commissioner had £60 English a day allowed him, which he spent faithfully amongst his northern pantalons; and so great was the luxury, and so small the care of his family, that when he filled his wine-cellars, his steward thought nothing to cast out full pipes to make way for others. They made the church their stews; you might have found chambers filled with naked men and women; cursing, swearing, and blasphemy were as common as prayer and worship was rare.’—Kir. It was thought a suspicious circumstance regarding a man that he exhibited any gravity; it smelled of rebellion. If he wished to pass for a loyal man, to advance his prospects, or even to escape being thought a dangerous person, it was necessary he should put on the air of a swaggerer and a drunkard.

Jan 7
By order of the king, the magistracy of Edinburgh raised the a trunk of the Marquis of Montrose from under the gallows on the Burgh-moor, in presence of a great number of nobles, gentlemen, and others, who expressed the most lively interest in the scene. This relic being wrapped in ‘curious cloths’ and put into a coffin, was carried along under a velvet canopy, to the Tolbooth, the nobles and gentry attending on horseback, while many thousands followed on foot, colours at the same time flying, drums beating, trumpets sounding, muskets cracking, and cannon roaring from the Castle. At the Tolbooth, the head of the Great Marquis, which had grinned there for ten years, was taken reverentially down, ‘some bowing, some kneeling, some kissing it,’ and deposited in its proper place in the coffin, ‘with great acclamations of joy: the trumpets, drums, and cannon giving all possible éclat to the act. The coffin was then carried in solemn procession to the Palace, to rest till a proper funeral-ceremony should be ordered. While the ‘excommunicat traitor’ of 1650 was thus treated, the triumphant and all-powerful noble of that time, the Marquis of Argyle, was a prisoner in the Castle, waiting a doom which was precisely to resemble that of Montrose, excepting in some particulars of inhumanity, which vengeful loyalty could not descend to.

The Presbyterian historians, however, have taken care to chronicle that the Laird of Gorthie, who took the head off the spike, died within a few hours, and the Laird of Pitcur, one of Montrose’s great adherents, went to bed in health, and was found dead next morning. This was a mysterious circumstance, which would probably be cleared up if we had a return of the quantity of brandy which Gorthie and Pitcur had drunk on the occasion. ‘Such was the testimony of honour Heaven was pleased,’ says worthy Mr Kirkton, ‘to allow Montrose’s pompous funerals.’

The four members of Montrose were also recovered from the four towns, Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, and Aberdeen, to which they had been severally sent for ignominious exhibition; and these being now placed in the coffin, the body was complete as far as circumstances permitted, excepting that the heart remained in the silver case where Lady Napier had enshrined it, and in which it continued to be preserved, under the care of the Napier family, till the period of the French Revolution.

Four months afterwards (May 11), the ceremonial funeral of Montrose was performed with an amount of joyful display that rendered it a most singular affair. Twenty-three companies of a burgess-guard lined the streets, that the procession might pass without interruption. First went the new Life Guard; next twenty-six boys in mourning, carrying the arms of Montrose and the great men of his house; then the provost, bailies, and council of Edinburgh, all in mourning habits; after whom, again, came the barons of parliament and the members representing burghs. A gentleman clad in bright armour was followed by eighteen others, carrying banners of honour, and the spurs, gloves, breast-piece, and back-piece of the deceased, on the ends of staves. Next came a led horse in the accoutrements used by the marquis at the riding of parliaments, and attended by his lackey in armour. The flower of the Scottish nobility followed in good order; then the Lord Lyon, and his officers. Followed the friends of the deceased, bearing the marquis’s cap of state, coronet, &c. Then the coffin, under its rich pall, carried by honourable lords and gentlemen, with six trumpets sounding before it. Some ladies clad in mourning followed. The Lord Commissioner (Middleton), in his coach of state, closed the long and splendid column, which, however, was closely followed by an honourable procession doing like honours to the corpse of Hay of Dalgetty, another royalist victim of the Civil War. The bells rang all the time while the corpse of Montrose went on to its final honourable resting-place in St Giles’s Cathedral. It was remarked that this was a funeral where the relatives of the deceased wore countenances of joy, while there were others, not related to him, who beheld it with sadness and gloom, or shrunk aside into holes and corners, not daring to look upon it.

The strong feeling which existed in loyal breasts at the Restoration regarding the treatment which Montrose had experienced, is shewn by the long imprisonment and sufferings of Neil M’Leod of Assynt, who had taken the marquis prisoner after his defeat in Strathoikel, and delivered him up (for a mean reward, it is said, of certain boIls of meal). On the 10th of December 1664, the Council received a petition from M’Leod, shewing that he had now been confined in the Tolbooth and city of Edinburgh for four years, so that, by the neglect of his affairs, he was ‘brought near the point of ruin.’ ‘Being; he said, ‘a stranger and far from his country and friends, and out of all credit and respect by reason of his long imprisonment,’ he could have ‘no one to engage for him as caution;’ but he offered to come under any kind of bond for his reappearance, if allowed a temporary liberty. The Earl of Kincardine offering to be security that M’Leod would send a guarantee to the amount of twenty thousand pounds Scots, he was favoured by the Council with liberty to go home for the next four months. It was not till February 1666 that a special letter from the king at length freed M’Leod from trouble on account of his concern in the doom of Montrose.—P. C. R.

Jan 8
This day appeared the first number of the first original newspaper attempted in Scotland. It was a small weekly sheet, entitled Mercurius Caledonius; comprising the Affairs now in Agitation in Scotland, with a Survey of Foreign Intelligence. The editor was Thomas Sydserf, or Saint Serf, son of a former bishop of Galloway, who was soon after promoted to the see of Orkney. Principal Baillie alludes to this ‘diurnaler’ in bitter terms—’ a very rascal, a profane atheistical papist, as some count him;’ the truth being that he was an Episcopalian loyalist of merely a somewhat extravagant type. Little is known of his previous history, beyond his having borne arms under Montrose, and published in London in 1658 a translation from the French under the title of Entertainments of the Cours, or Academicall Conversations, dedicated to the young Marquis of Montrose. Of the Mercurius Caledonius, only nine numbers were published, the last being dated March 28, 1661. It must be admitted that the style of composition and editorship was frivolous and foolish to a degree surprising even for that delirious period.

At various times throughout the Civil War, when transactions of moment were going on in Scotland—as, for instance, in the autumn of 1643, when the Solemn League and Covenant was in preparation—news-sheets referring to our country had been published in London. There does not appear, however, to have been any regular or avowed attempt to give Scottish news in connection with English and Irish, until June 1650, when the march of Cromwell with an army to put down the Scots and their puppet king excited of course an unusual interest regarding Scotland. Then was commenced by ‘Thomas Newcomb, near Baynard’s Castle, Thames Street,’ a weekly diurnal, under the title of Mercurius Politicus; comprising the Sum of all the Intelligence, with the Affairs and Designs now on foot in the three Nations of England, Ireland, and Scotland. In Defence of the Commonwealth and for Information of the People. A weekly number of this work, consisting of two sheets of dwarf quarto, being sixteen pages, presented letters of news from the principal cities of Europe; and during the years 1650, 1, 2, 3, and 4, the intelligence from Scotland, chiefly of military operations there, was a conspicuous department.

According to Mr George Chalmers, Cromwell conveyed to Leith in 1652 one Christopher Higgins, who, in November of that year, began to reprint, for the information of the English garrison, a London newspaper, entitled A Diurnal of some Passages and Affairs. This is said to have not survived many months. It was followed up by a reprint of the afore-mentioned Mercurius Politicus, which Higgins commenced at Leith in October 1653, but soon after transferred to Edinburgh, where it was carried on till the eve of the Restoration—the imprint being, ‘Edinburgh: Reprinted by Christopher Higgins, in Hart’s Close, over against the Tron Church.’ This paper was afterwards resumed under a slight change of title, and continued till not earlier than June 1662. Partly contemporary with it was a paper entitled the Kingdom’s Intelligencer, begun at Edinburgh on the same day with the Mercurius Caledonius, and carried on till at least December 24, 1663. The number for the latter date contained among other articles, ‘A Remarkable Advertisement to the Country and Strangers,’ to the following effect: ‘That there is a glass-house erected in the citadel of Leith, where all sorts and quantities of glasses are made and sould at the prices following: To wit, the wine-glass at three shillings two boddels; the beer-glass, at two shillings sixpence; the quart bottel, at eighteen shillings; the pynt bottel, at nine shillings; the chopin bottel, at four shillings sixpence; the muskin bottel, at two shillings six-pence, all Scots money, and so forth of all sorts; better stuff and stronger than is imported.’

Mar
Horse-races were now performed every Saturday on the sands of Leith. They are regularly chronicled amongst the foolish lucubrations of Mercurius Caledonius; as, for example, thus: ‘Our accustomed recreations on the sands of Leith was much hindered because of a furious storm of wind, accompanied with a thick snow; yet we have had some noble gamesters that were so constant at their sport as would not forbear a designed horse-match. It was a providence the wind was from the sea; otherwise they had run a hazard either of drowning or splitting upon Inchkeith! This tempest was nothing inferior to that which was lately in Caithness, where a bark of fifty ton was blown five furlongs into the land, and would have gone further, if it had not been arrested by the steepness of a large promontory.’

In the ensuing month, there were races at Cupar in Fife, where the Lairds of Philiphaugh an4 Stobbs, and Powrie-Fotheringham appear to have been the principal gentlemen who brought horses to the ground. A large silver cup, of the value of £18, formed the chief prize. These Cupar races were repeated annually. It is said they had been first instituted in 1621.— Lam.

As a variety upon horse-racing, Mercurius Caledonius announced a foot-race to be run by twelve brewster wives, all of them in a condition which makes violent exertion unsuitable to the female frame, ‘from the Thicket Burn [probably Figgat Bun] to the top of Arthur’s Seat, for a groaning cheese of one hundred pound weight, and a budgell of Dunkeld aqnavitae and rumpkin of Brunswick Mum for the second, set down by the Dutch Midwife The next day, sixteen flsh-wives to trot from Musselburgh to the Canon-cross for twelve pair of lamb’s harrigals.’

Mercurius, seems to have been thrown into great delight by the revival of a barbarous Shrovetide custom, which, strange to say, continued to exist in connection with seminaries of education down to a period within the recollection of living persons. ‘Our carnival sports,’ says he, ‘are in some measure revived, for, according to the ancient custom, the work was carried on by cock-fighting in the schools, and in the streets among the vulgar sort, tilting at cocks with fagot-sticks. In the evening, the learned Virtuosi of the Pallat recreate themselves with lusty candles, powerful cock-broth, and natural crammed pullets, a divertisement not much inferior to our neighbour nation’s fritters and pancakes.’

One may in some faint degree imagine the sorrowful indignation with which the survivors of those who put down Christmas and Easter in 1642 would view these coarse celebrations of Shrovetide.

Apr 2
A royal life-guard, consisting of sixscore persons, noblemen and gentlemen’s sons, was this day embodied on the Links of Leith, under the command of the Earl of Newburgh. They then rode through the city, ‘in gallant order, with their carabines upon their saddles, and their swords drawn in their hands.’—Nic.

In July 1662, ‘it pleased his majesty to cause clothe their trumpeters and master of the kettle-drum in very rich apparel,’ also to give rich coverings of cramosie velvet for the kettle-drums. At the same time, a pair of costly colours was presented. Soon after, it is intimated that the king gave them each a buff-coat, and made an augmentation of their daily pay. Their chief occupation at this time seems to have been attendance on the royal commissioner, as he passed daily to and from the Parliament House.

May 27
‘At two afternoon, the Marquis of Argyle was brought forth of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, fra the whilk he was conveyed by the magistrates to the place of execution; the town being all in arms, and the life-guard mounted on horseback, with their carabines and drawn swords. The marquis, having come to the scaffold, with sundry of his friends in murning apparel, he made a large speech; after whilk and a short prayer, he committed himself to the block. His head was stricken from his body, and affixed upon the head of the Tolbooth, where the Marquis of Montrose[’s] was affixed of before. It was thought great favour that he was not drawn and quartered.’—Nic.

All the men who came to the scaffold at this time, and also some of those who obtained high and unexpected preferment, became the subjects of popular rumours which mark the ideas of the age. Robert Baillie tells us, as a piece of information he had from his son-in-law, Mr Robert Watson, who was with the Marchioness of Argyle at Roseneath on the night the king landed, that ‘all the dogs that day did take a strange howling and staring up at my lady’s chamber-windows for some hours together.’ The venerable principal adds: ‘Mr Alexander Colvill, justice-depute, an old servant of the house, told me that my Lady Kenmure, a gracious lady, my lord’s sister, from some little skill of physiognomy which Mr Alexander had taught her, had told him some years ago that her brother would die in blood.’

It has been stated by Wodrow, that after spending the forenoon of his last day in settling ordinary accounts, a number of friends being in the room with him, ‘there came such a heavenly gale from the spirit of God upon his soul, that he could not abstain from tearing [shedding tears]. Lest it should be discovered, he turned in to[wards] the fire, and took up the tongs in his hand, making a fashion of stirring up the fire in the chimney; but he was not able to contain himself; and, turning about and melting down in tears, he burst out in these words: "I see this will not do. I must now declare what the Lord has done for my soul. He has just now sealed my charter in these words: ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee." It is certain that the marquis stated in his speech on the scaffold that he had that day received such an assurance.

Mr A. Simson, who had been four years in the Marquis of Argyle’s family, lived to tell Wodrow that, on the night before his lordship’s execution—being a Sunday—he was at Inshinnan, where the communion had been administered, and where next day there were to be prayers in behalf of the suffering nobleman. He spent the hours from four to ten in religious exercises alone, and during this time, ‘with a power he scarce ever felt the like, eight or ten times that petition was borne in upon him: "Lord, say to him, My son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee !" He did not much notice it till afterwards he saw his [lordship’s] speech, and saw the account that others had been put to wrestle for the same.’

Mr James Guthrie, who suffered a few days after Argyle, had also had warnings, according to the historians of his party. When first induced in Mr Samuel Rutherford’s chamber at St Andrews to take the Covenant, ‘as he came out at the door, he met the executioner in the way, which troubled him; and the next visit he made thither, he met him in the same manner again, which made him apprehend he might be a sufferer for the Covenant, as indeed he was. He also had a warning of his approaching sufferings three years before the king’s return, and upon these he frequently reflected.—Kir. The latter warning was probably a violent bleeding of the nose, which came upon him in the pulpit, while discoursing on the famous believers (Heb. xi.) who sealed their testimony with their blood.’

Guthrie seems to have been the very type of the extreme kind of the Presbyterians, perfectly inflexible in what he thought the right course, and wholly devoted to the doctrines of his church. When the generality of his brethren were tacitly allowing men who were only loyalists to come to the standard in 1651, and union was of the last degree of consequence, Guthrie, being the minister of Stirling, the very head-quarters of the army, denounced these backslidings, and really must have produced great inconvenience to the king. It is told of the inveterate protester, that Charles thought proper to visit him one day, hoping perhaps to soften him a little; when Mrs Guthrie bustling about to get a chair placed for his majesty, the stern divine calmly said to her: ‘My heart, the king is a young man; he can get a chair for himself.’

It is also related that, at the same crisis, when a resolution was adopted to excommunicate General Middleton, and Guthrie was to perform the duty, the king sent a gentleman on the Sunday morning, to entreat at least a brief delay, when Guthrie quietly told him to come to church, and he would get his answer. The unyielding divine duly proceeded to pronounce the excommunicaton.

It was generally believed that the doom of Guthrie was in some degree owing to the vindictive feeling which this act had engendered in Middleton. Wodrow relates that, some time after the execution, Guthrie’s head being placed on the Nether Bow Port in Edinburgh, Middleton was passing underneath in his coach, when a considerable number of drops of blood fell from the head upon the top of the coach, making a stain which no art or diligence availed to wipe out. ‘I have it very confidently affirmed, that physicians were called, and inquired if any natural cause could be assigned for the blood’s dropping so long after the head was put up, and especially for its not wearing out of the leather; and they could give none. This odd incident beginning to be talked of, and all other methods being tried, at length the leather was removed, and a new cover put on.’


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