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


1663, Feb
Died David Mitchell, Bishop of Aberdeen, ‘a little man, of a brisk lively temper, well learned, and a good preacher. He lived a single life, and his manners were without reproach.’ This prelate had experienced some strange vicissitudes of fortune. Originally a protégé of Archbishop Spottiswoode, and probably by his favour advanced from a parish pulpit in the Mearns to be a dean, he had been thrust out by the Covenanters in 1638, and retired to Holland. There, ‘being a good mechanic, he gained his bread by making clocks and watches.’ At the Restoration, being enabled to return to his native country, he was made a prebend of Westminster, and thence advanced to the see of Aberdeen.

Mar
'There was ane lioness brought to Edinburgh with ane lamb in
its company, with whom she did feed and live; wha did embrace the lamb in her arms, as gif it had been her awn birth.’—Nic.

'This year was a very plentiful year of corns and stone-fruit,’ and the ensuing winter was ‘exceeding fair and warm weather, without any frost or snow.’—Nic.

Nov
‘At this time, came here that valiant Colonel Rutherford, born and brought up in Edinburgh, a stout champion, late governor of Dunkirk, and now of Tangier, a man famous for his actions abroad. He came, having licence from his majesty to visit his friends here for a very few days.
... It wald be here remembered that the Scottish nation in my time produced not a few such cavaliers; such as Colonel Edment, born in Stirling, a baxter’s son; Colonel Boog, Colonel Hepburn, Colonel Douglas, General Ruthven, General Leslie, General King, and many others, all valiant men, to the credit of this kingdom.’—Nic. Colonel Rutherford was ennobled under the title of Earl of Teviot, but did not long survive, being killed in May 1664, by an army of Moors. He left money to build eight rooms in the College of Edinburgh, where he had been educated.

1664, Jan
This month and the succeeding, there were many robberies throughout the country, and even in the streets and closes of Edinburgh, ‘occasioned by the poverty of the land, and heavy burdens pressing upon the people; the haill money of the kingdom being spent by the frequent resort of our Scotsmen at the court of England.’—Nic.

Apr 20
One James Elder, a baker in the Canongate, Edinburgh, was tried for usury. The witnesses deponed that they saw him receive 8 per cent, from his debtor, and one of them deponed that he refused to accept 6 per cent. till he got 2 per cent, more. Being found guilty, his goods were escheat, and he ordered to find security that he would be ready to undergo any further punishment that might be inflicted upon him.—B. of C.

What was then, partly under religious feelings, regarded as a crime, has since come to be held as legitimate traffic; and it is not unworthy of remark that the Bank of England was, at the time of the preparation of this article (November 1857), charging on bills 2 per cent. more than that rate of interest which caused James Elder in 1664 to forfeit his whole possessions.

July 15
The Earl of Leven, a young man, grandson of the great commander, ended his life in a manner characteristic of this mad-merry time. ‘He died of a high fever, after a large carouse with the Earl of Dundee at Edinburgh and the Queensferry. Some say that, in crossing, they drank sea-water one to another, and, after their landing, seck.’ A funeral-sermon was preached for him, on the text, ‘Our life is but a vapour, &c.,’ being ‘the first funeral-sermon that hath been preached in Fife these twenty-four years last past, or more.’—Lam.

July
At this time, while the plague raged with great violence in a Holland, carrying off as many as 739 persons in one day in Amsterdam, ‘there was much death in Scotland by ane fever called the
Purple Fever.’ —Nic.

Nov
‘There fell out much division between the king’s Customers [officers of customs] and the merchants of Edinburgh, anent the searching of their merchandise and goods, and payment of their customs; and the Customers being informed that the merchants had brought in privily from England certain braid claith, and had convoyed the same over the town-wall privily in the night, they thereupon received warrant from the Great Treasurer and his deputes for searching the haill merchants’ booths of Edinburgh, and to stamp and seal their haill braid claith, and to take their oaths of verity anent the quantity of their merchandise and goods customable. The merchants, hearing the report thereof, in a moment closed up all their shops and doors, and held out Sir Walter Simpson, principal Customer, and his associates, from entry to their shops; but he placed sentries at their doors, that they should receive nothing out.’ The affair ended in a riot, in the course of which Sir Walter’s house was pillaged and an apprentice shot, and which was only quieted by military force.—Nic.

This year, like the two preceding, was remarkable for abundance of the fruits of the earth. ‘Much corn cuttit down in July . the cherries sold at twelve pennies Scots [that is, one penny sterling] the hundred.’ Great penury nevertheless complained of.—Nic.

Dec
‘There appeared nightly, frae four hours in the morning till daylight, ane fiery comet, tending in our sight frae the south-east to the north-west, and seen in our horizon betwixt Arthur’s Seat and Pichtland Hills, with ane tail terrible to the beholders... This comet, in the head, was, in our sight, the breadth of ane reasonable man’s hand, and sprang out in the tail the length of five or six ells.’—Nic. It ‘began to appear about three o’clock in the morning, very terrible in its first apparition; after that, it appeared at evening. It was a star of a more dim and bluish apparition (like a candle dying out) than the rest of the stars, with a long train of lightning from it, sometimes a fathom and a half in appearance, sometimes shorter.’—.Lam.

Pepys relates that the king and queen sat up on the night of the 17th of December, to see this comet, ‘and did, it seems.’ He also tells us of a lecture he was present at, in Gresham College, where Mr Hooke made it seem ‘very probable that this is the very same comet that appeared before in 1618, and that in such a time probably it will appear again, which is a very new opinion.’

The comet of 1664 passed its perihelion on the 4th of December, at a distance from the sun somewhat greater than that of the earth’s orbit. The remark of Mr Hooke is erroneous in point of fact, but nevertheless interesting, as shewing that the periodicity of comets was now a subject of speculation among the few then cultivating natural philosophy in England.

About the end of this year, Sharpe, Archbishop of St Andrews, purchased the lands of Scotscraig, a good estate in Fife, at 95,000 merks or thereby (about £5540). In the spring of 1669, he made a further purchase of the lands of Strathtyrum, near St Andrews, for about 27,000 merks. These doings argue the lucrative nature of the preferments for which Sharp; as his brethren believed, had sold his party and his conscience. He had a brother William, who was at the same time rising in prosperity, and who, in 1665, bought the lands of West Newton, near Musselburgh, now called Stonyhill, at 27,000 merks. This William Sharpe was knighted by the Commissioner Lauderdale in 1669.

1665, Jan 5
The Laird of Lundie, a young unmarried man, was buried in Largo Church, with that novel and superfluous pomp with which all important matters had been conducted since the Restoration. The funeral was attended by a great number of the nobility and gentry of Fife, Lothian, and the Carse of Gowrie, including the Earls of Crawford, Athole, Kellie, Wemyss, Tweeddale, and Balcarres, Lords Lyon, Elphinstone, and Newark, who all dined at the house of Lundie before the corpse ‘was lifted.’ The coach or hearse, decorated with the armorial insignia of the deceased, and a pall of black velvet, was drawn by six horses, preceded by three trumpeters and four heralds in proper costume.

‘The heralds and painter got, for their pains, about 800 merks; the poor ten dollars; the coachmen seven dollars; the trumpeters forty-eight dollars; the baxter, James Weiland, seven dollars; George Wan, master of the household . . . .; the cooks,.... Mr Waters, that dressed the coach, seven dollars; . . . . some men that served . . . . ; the Kirkcaldy man, for the coffin, 40 lib.; John Gourlay, apothecary, for drogs, attendance, and bowelling of him, . . . . ; James Thomson, in Kirkcaldy, for mournings, 412 lib. or thereby; at Edinburgh, for mournings, 600 lib. or thereby; Gid. Sword for drogs, 16 lib. or thereby; to the writer at Edinburgh for paper and the burial letters, 12 lib.; at Edinburgh, for claret wine, 200 merks; for seck, 100 lib.; at Edinburgh, two divers times, for spices, about 100 lib.; for sugar . . . . R. Dobie, for tobacco, seven lib.; R. Clydesdale, for ware, 54 lib., 11s.; Will. Foggo, for beef, 84 lib., 12s,; Capper, at Scoonie, for capps, 6s. ster.; An. Brebner, smith, for the chimlay and work, near ane 100 lib. or thereby; Robert Bonaly, for dyeing to the servants, 21 lib., 6s. 8d.; Glover in the Wemyss, for servants’ gloves, 4 lib.’.—Lam.

Jan 9
Died at Cupar, Thomas Seaton, who is described as ‘a great exciseman,’ meaning a farmer of the revenue over a considerable district. The event would not be worthy of notice, but for a connected circumstance. ‘He died a Catholic Roman, which was never divulged till his death.’—Lam. Such a fact, revealing a lifelong hypocrisy in a man of some consequence, is very startling amidst the universal professions of anxiety for ‘the true religion.’ But it may well be supposed to be but one of many instances in which intolerance produced one of its natural fruits, dissimulation.

Feb
In the latter part of this month, for several days, ‘there appeared in the clear light of day, even at twelve, one and two o’clock, and also in the haill afternoon, ane fiery blazing star in the firmament. This star continued and increased daily and nightly thereafter, by the space of many weeks, sometimes having a great brugh about it [a halo] like the moon.’
—Nic.

In consequence of the war between Great Britain and Holland, great stagnation of trade was experienced in Scotland, ‘to the heavy damage and wreck of the people.’ ‘The seamen were daily sought, taken, and warded, till they were shipped for that service.’ ‘The towns upon the north shore of the Firth of Forth had daily and nightly watches for their defence, in case they should be surprised by the Hollanders.’—Nic.

Snow had begun at Christmas 1664, and it lay upon the ground till the 14th of March this year—a storm of which the like had not been seen for many years before.—Nic. ‘Some began to say there would hardly be any seed-time at all this year; but it pleased the Lord, out of His gracious goodness, on a sudden to send seasonable weather for the seed-time, so that in many places the oat seed was sooner done this year [than] in many years formerly; for the long frost made the ground very free, and the husbandmen, for the most part, affirmed they never saw the ground easier to labour.’ Many sheep perished during the storm, and the frost was severe enough to kill the broom and whins in many places.—Lam.

Mar
In the end of this month, appeared a new and fearful comet, greater than that seen in November. It was visible in all parts of Europe, and ‘set many heads at work.’ The recent alarms spread by the Turks through Europe, and which had affected even Scotland, and the feeling of anxiety occasioned by the Dutch war and constant threats of invasion, gave more than its proper share of terrors to this celestial stranger. ‘They write from Frankfort, Dresden, Berlin, and other places, of strange sights and terrible in the air; many of which are undoubtedly augmented by imagination and report, yet a great part of the story is looked upon as a truth.’—Nic.

This comet, which was seen in France two months earlier than it seems to have been in Scotland, was observed by Hevelius, Cassini, and others. It passed its perihelion on the 24th of April, at a comparatively small distance from the sun, and with a great eccentricity of orbit.

Apr
We get some idea of the expense of building at this time, from the sum at which Robert Mylne, master-mason in Edinburgh, undertook to erect an hospital at the kirk-town of Largo. It was a house of fourteen fire-rooms and a public hall; each room containing a bed, a closet, and a loom; besides which there was a stone-bridge at the entry, and a gardener’s house, two stories high. ‘Some say he was to have for the work, being complete, 9000 merks [£506], and if it was found weel done, 500 merks more.’—Lam. In 1661, according to the same diarist, when some mason-work was executed at Lundie, in Fife, the master had tenpence a day, and the other men ninepence, ‘and all their diet in the house.’

June 11
This day, being Sunday, the news of the great naval victory over the Dutch reached Edinburgh (in three days from London) during the time of service. ‘No sooner were these good news divulged, but they were saluted from the [Leith] Road and from the Castle; as also with all taikens of joy upon the morrow thereafter, by setting out of bonfires in the town and places adjacent, and by ringing of bells, shooting of cannons frae sea; the town of Edinburgh marching with their displayed colours frae the Abbey, the commissioner’s lodging, to the Castle yett; all of them dancing and louping for joy through the streets and bonfires as they went, drinking his majesty’s health at the bonfires.’—Nic.

July
Scotland was now under great alarm on account of the terrific plague which had broken out in London, and which lasted with great violence till October. Orders were issued .by the Privy Council, forbidding any to come on business from the south without a testimonial of health. ‘Albeit there were not a few travellers and resorters therefrae,’ it pleased God that the pestilence should not come to Scotland.—Nic. The exemption of our country is the more remarkable, as the plague made its way into Ireland, and proved highly destructive in Dublin.

The great plague of 1665 was the subject of serious remark in Scotland, in connection with circumstances much calculated to impress certain minds in that part of the world. ‘I find it taken notice of,’ says Wodrow, ‘by several papers written at this time, that the appearance of a globe of fire was seen above that part of the city where the Solemn League and Covenant was burnt so ignominiously by the hands of the hangman. Whatever was in this, it seems certain that the plague broke out there; and it was observed to rage mostly in that street, where that open affront had been put upon the oath of God, and very few were left alive there.’

Nov 2
The Lord High Commissioner, the Earl of Rothes, commenced a progress through the west country, attended by the life-guard, the foot companies, and a cavalcade of nine hundred gentlemen, with trumpeters, kettle-drum, and royal standard. He went to Hamilton, Paisley, Eglintoun, and Dumbarton, ‘in a triumphant and comely manner;’ next to the Earl of Montrose’s house of Mugdock, and thence by Callendar and Linlithgow, back to Edinburgh, everywhere ‘Royally entertained,’ and spending in all eighteen days on the journey.—Nic. It is to be suspected that idle and costly amusements of this kind, which had come in with the Restoration, had something to do with the poverty now complained of.

Nov
The light regard paid to the personal rights of individuals was shewn by a wholesale deportation of poor people at this time to the West Indies. The chronic evil of Scotland, an oppressive multitude of idle wandering people and beggars, was not now much less afflicting than it had been in the two preceding reigns. It was proposed to convert them to some utility by transferring them to a field where there was a pressing want of labour. On the 2d of November, George Hutcheson, merchant in Edinburgh, for himself and copartners, addressed the Privy Council on this subject, ‘out of a desire as weel to promote the Scottish and English plantations in Gemaica and Barbadoes for the honour of their country, as to free the kingdom of the burden of many strong and idle beggars, Egyptians, common and notorious thieves and other dissolute and louss persons, banished or stigmatised for gross crimes.’ The petitioners had, by warrant of the sheriffs, justices of peace, and magistrates of burghs, apprehended and secured some of these people; yet without authority of the Council they thought they might ‘meet with some opposition in the promoting and advancing so good a work.’ It was therefore necessary for them to obtain due order and warrant from the Council.

The Council granted warrant and power to the petitioners to transport all such persons; ‘providing always, that ye bring the said persons before the Lord Justice-clerk, to whom it is hereby recommended to try and take notice of the persons, that they be justly convict for crimes, or such vagabonds as, by the laws of the country may be apprehended, to the effect the country may be disburdened of them.’

Two months later, James Dunbar, merchant, bound for Barbadoes, was licensed to take sundry ‘vagabonds and idle persons prisoners in Edinburgh, content to go of their own accord.’

The population of Barbadoes includes a greater proportion of whites than that of any other island of the West Indies, and the industrial economy of the island is also admittedly superior. It is understood that this is in a great measure owing to the cruel deportations of the poor people of Scotland to that island in the seventeenth century.

Nov
Another good harvest, ‘whilk was the cause that a number of fee’d servants, both men and women, did marry at Martinmas, by way of penny-bridals, both within the town of Edinburgh and other parts of the country.’—Nic.

1666, Jan 1
Although the preceding had been, according to Nicoll, ‘a dangerous, cruel, and bloody year,’ and though at this time an order stood forbidding commerce with the plague-stricken south, yet ‘upon the 1st day of January 1666, there was
as much drinking and carousing as in former times.’

Apr 3
After the restoration of Episcopacy, the attendance at the churches in Glasgow fell so much off, that the collection for the poor no longer produced nearly what was necessary for their sustentation. At this date, we find the archbishop writing to the Town Council, adverting to the ‘several persons, men and women, who ordinarily dishaunts public ordinances, and flatters themselves with hope of impunity.’ His grace threatened to employ some of the officers of his majesty’s militia, ‘both to observe who withdraws from ordinances and to exact the penalties imposed by law.’ The magistrates then resolved to take steps for collecting the fines for non-attendance at church, as being better ‘than that any sodgers should have the collecting thereof.’
—M.of G.

Apr 12
At a horse-race at Cupar, ‘the Lord Lithgow and the Lord Carnegie, after cups, there passed some words betwixt them, and about night they drew off from the rest, on the hill towards Tarbet Broom, and drew their swords one at another, till at last Carnegie gave Lithgow a sore wound. While this was noised abroad, divers of the nobility and others there present did ride to stop them; among whom was the Earl of Wemyss, who, labouring to ride in betwixt the parties, had both his own horse under him, and his man’s horse, thrust through by them, while they were drawing one at another, so that both the horses died; also one of Lord Melville’s horses was hurt, and the Lord Newark had one of his servants ridden down also and hurt. At night they were both put under arrest by his majesty’s commissioner [the Earl of Rothes] at Cupar, in their several quarters.’—Lam.

1666, Apr
For several years after the Restoration, various districts in the Highlands continued to be haunted by groups of wild and lawless men who made prey of their more industrious and peaceable neighbours. The only resource of the government was to appoint some considerable man of the disturbed district to raise a force among his tenants and dependents, for the execution of the laws against the delinquents. Thus, we find a small military party under the Marquis of Montrose appointed (April 5, 1666), under the name of a Watch, to keep the peace in the district of Cowal, in Argyleshire. Another watch of sixty men, under Mungo Stirling of Glorat, was appointed for Stirlingshire and Dumbartonshire. A third district, often and seriously disturbed by robberies, was Strathspey and the alpine ground extending from it towards Perthshire and Aberdeenshire—a country of Macphersons and M’Intyres, now the scene of an improved agriculture, and the nursery of vast herds of sheep and cattle devoted to the sustenance of the industrial cities of England. In those days, men who would now be successful farmers, exemplifying the decent virtues of the Scottish middle class, were little better than banditti. Their names and localities will verify this fact to all who are acquainted with the Strathspey of our day. Besides Patrick Roy Macgregor, who seems to have been the leader of the set, there were ‘John M’Inteir at Invereshie; M'Phatrig M’Inteir, in Auchnahad; Thomas M’Pherson, in Tullilundley; John Reoch, there; Walter Mitchell, sometime in Tulliboe; Duncan M’Connochy, sometime in Doghillocks; John Urqnhart, sometime in Caldwell; Ewen Cameron, in Glensyth; John M’Gremmon, in Rippach; John M’Fillech, alias Breck, in Delvorer; John M’Gremmon, in Bellerathens in Strathaven; Master M’Phatrig, in Elsheirland; James Strauchen, in Cairlies; William Storach, in the Mill of Auchinhandach; Thomas Forbes, sometime in Muiresk; John M’Andley, in Lesmurdie; Thomas Gordon in Tilliesoul, called the Skinner; John Oig Gordon, in Strathaven, called Moonlight; Donald M’Gillandries, who haunts in Spey; John Bane M’Alister Gourlay, in Auchnakint in Badenoch; M’Phatrig M’Inteir, there; John Roy M’Inteir, there; John M’Inteir, called the Ratton, in Glenlivet;’ and many other Gordons, Reochs, Forbeses, &c., together with the wives of several of the same individuals, all of whom were denounced at the horn for ‘not appearing to underly the law.’

The Council at length gave a commission of fire and sword to John Lyon of Muiresk and Alexander his second son, against these outlaws, and the two gentlemen were preparing means for its execution, when the whole banditti beset them at the house of Balcheiries, belonging to John Lyon. The outlaws set fire to the house in all quarters, and the two gentlemen were obliged to surrender themselves to their mercy. The assailants then unmercifully fell upon the unfortunate commissioner and his son with dirks and guns, and soon made an end of them (April 30, 1666). To the number of forty persons, they then made an attack upon the little burgh of Keith, which they plundered severely, after fighting with all who opposed them. A second commission to the Earl of Moray (May 9) had the effect of bringing Patrick Roy Macgregor and some others of the band into the hands of the authorities at Edinburgh, and these men were tried in the ensuing March for sorning, fire-raising, theft, and murder. Macgregor and one Patrick Drummond were sentenced to be hanged, their right hands being previously cut off. Pitmedden describes Macgregor as a short, strong-made man, of fierce countenance, and a quick, hawk-like eye. He bore the torture of the boots with the firmness of an Indian savage, and was perfectly undaunted at his execution, notwithstanding that the hangman bungled the cutting off of his hand, for which he was next day turned out of office.—B. A.

Two other men of this band were in like manner brought to justice in May 1668. On the 13th of July, there was an order in Council for a reward of £150 to John Ogilvie of Milltower and two others for their service in taking Patrick Roy Macgregor, on which occasion, it is stated, two of them had been wounded, and one of their attendants killed.

An unflattering light is thrown upon the internal condition of the Highlands at this time, by a petition from George Leslie, sheriff-clerk of Inverness-shire, to the Privy Council (April 8, 1669), shewing that it was not suitable for sheriff-clerks, ‘being but mean persons and not of capacity nor trust,’ to be employed in gathering his majesty’s taxation; and further stating, that it was particularly unsuitable for him to have such an employment, ‘who is clerk of the dismembered shire of Inverness, there being little or nothing left of that sheriffdom, but the Hielands and Isles, as Lochaber, Badenoch, Knoydart, Moidart, Glengarie, and other Hieland parts, whose inhabitants are not legally disposed, nor willing to pay his majesty’s dues, being infested with poverty and idleness—a task upon which account the petitioner is not able to undergo, seeing disobedience has been given by them to parties of his ‘majesty’s forces of a considerable strength."

In harmony with this picture is an order from the Privy Council, August 25, 1670, proceeding on the information that ‘divers of the inhabitants of the Highlands are in the use, when they travel through the country, to be attended by a multitude of louss and idle persons, not being their domestic servants,’ whereby ‘occasion is given for stealing and sorning.’ All persons were strictly forbidden to travel or hold meetings in the Highlands in that manner.

Old grudges amongst neighbouring clans still occasionally worked themselves out in regular military invasions accompanied by extensive depredations. There was an old feud between the Clan Cameron in Lochaber, and Struan Robertson in the upper part of Perthshire; and on the 14th of August 1666, the renowned chief, Ewen or Evan Cameron, came with above eighty followers, including several good duniwassals, (men near akin to the chief), to Struan’s lands of Kinloch— quartered there for a night upon the tenants, beat and threatened them, broke into and searched houses, all for the purpose of laying hold of their enemy, who, however, was out of the way. Disappointed of their primary object, the Camerons took twenty-six head of cattle, and made off with them to their own country. The misdeed being fully proven in November against Ewen Cameron Locheil, Sorlie Cameron, John Oig Cameron, and John and Duncan M’Ewen Camerons, the lords of the Privy Council ordained the first (who did not appear) to pay Struan a fine of a thousand merks, and the others, who had been confined for some time in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, to restore to Struan the twenty-six stolen cattle.

As might be expected, the record of the Privy Council about this time contains many complaints from messengers-at-arms, regarding the violent resistance they had encountered in the Highlands when attempting to apprehend debtors or delinquents, or even to deliver letters in form of law.

The Earl of Airth had procured letters of caption against John Graham of Duchrae, and Thomas Graham, his son, and studied to obtain an opportunity of putting them in execution. Learning that Thomas Graham was to have a child baptised at the kirk of Aberfoyle, and judging that the whole family might probably be found together on such an occasion, he proceeded thither (February 13, 1671) with Alexander Mushet, messenger, and a strong party of his friends and dependents, all well armed. Duchrae, though he considered himself in possession of a sufficient protection from the king, deemed it necessary that his christening-party should also be well armed. Where debt and Highland blood were concerned, there could scarcely but be bloodshed in such circumstances.

At the Bridge of Aberfoyle, the Duchrae party—including, by the way, the minister and elders of the parish—met Alexander Mushet, who had come forward with a few attendants, to execute the writ, while the Earl of Airth remained with some others of his party at a little distance. When Mushet told Duchrae to consider himself as his prisoner, the latter took out a protection, which he held forth with words of scornful defiance, calling out: ‘What dar ye do? This is all your masters!’ the truth being that the paper was not a protection from civil debt, but merely bore reference to another question regarding the removal from certain lands. Meanwhile, the baby was set down upon the ground, and the Duchrae party prepared their swords, guns, and pistols for a conflict, avowing to Mushet and his friends that they would kill the one half of them, and drown the other. They did accordingly press first upon Mushet, and then upon the earl and his friends, who quickly gave way, but rallied and stood upon their defence. It was alleged that the earl was narrowly missed by several bullets, and it was certain that some of his servants were wounded, one Robert M’Farlane losing two of his fingers. With great difficulty, they were allowed to get off with their lives.

Duchrae, notwithstanding an attempt at counter-action, was condemned to go into Edinburgh Tolbooth, and give ample caution that he would keep the peace towards the Earl of Airth and his tenants.

In the same year, John Campbell, a messenger, having to execute letters of caption and inhibition against certain gentlemen in Caithness, proceeded to that remote province with a couple of concurrents, and was seized upon by a Captain George Sinclair, and shipped off with his two associates for France. By mere chance of winds and waves, the ship, after being a considerable time at sea, came back to Thurso, when the three unfortunate officers of the law were put up in prison, where ‘they are keepit under a guard, as they were malefactors.’ The Council ordered them to be liberated, because they had given security to answer any charge that Captain George Sinclair might bring against them!

One evening in the spring of 1671, a number of gentlemen, including the Lairds of Lochnell and Lochbuie, and James Menzies of Culdares, were assembled in the house of John Rowat in Inverary, conversing about certain private concerns, when, some differences arising, and the candle having gone out, some one fired a shot whereby the Laird of Lochnell was killed. This could not but be a fact of considerable importance at Inverary, as Lochnell was the nearest relative of the Earl of Argyle after his brother, Lord Niel. It was soon ascertained by the confession of one Duncan Macgregor, who was present on the occasion, that he had fired the fatal shot; yet the earl thought proper to detain Culdares in durance, notwithstanding his protestations of innocence, and his being in reality grieved as a friend for the death of the murdered gentleman.

The case is perhaps chiefly worthy of notice on account of the traits of clan-feeling which it brought out. Culdares represented his case to the Privy Council as one of the greatest hardship. Here he was, a prisoner in a strange country, inaccessible to his friends, remote from the advice of lawyers, about to be subjected to a tribunal, the head of which was a near relative of the deceased, and where no assize of barons, his own compeers, could be had. The defunct, moreover, was ‘so related to all the gentlemen of that country,’ and ‘so generally beloved,’ that an impartial verdict was evidently not to be hoped for. In short, he ‘finds it very unsafe for him to pass to the knowledge of ane assize in these places.’ He was, however, ‘most willing to abide a severe and legal trial at Edinburgh, where he may have the opportunity of lawyers and ane fair and impartial proceeding.’

The Council ordered the earl before them, to shew cause why Culdares should not be sent to Edinburgh for trial; but we do not hear of any subsequent procedure.—P. C. R.

July 5
In obedience to a letter of the king, the Privy Council decreed that, ‘in order to the conversion of the Marquis of Huntly and the better ordering of his affairs’ [the marquis was now about sixteen years of age], his mother should be removed from him and retire with her family to some of his lordship’s houses in the north. This she was ordered to do before the 1st of August. It appears that the lady had been dealt with privately on this matter; but being unwilling, as was very natural, to part with her son, the king had been obliged to send his special command to the Council to have the separation effected.

It may be remarked as a strange conjunction of circumstances, that Charles II., in whose name ran the letter expressing such anxiety for the Protestant upbringing of the young Gordon, was, in his private sentiments, a Catholic, while Lauderdale, by whom the letter was officially signed, was indifferent to all religion. The effort now made was not successful. The young marquis,—who was raised to be a Duke by James II., and distinguished himself by his fidelity to that monarch at the Revolution, when he held out Edinburgh Castle against the new government— continued a firm papist to the day of his death in 1716.

Another remarkable case of the same kind of interference with family arrangements on account of religion, occurs in the Council record of the same day. Walter Scott of Raeburn, brother of William Scott of Harden, had been converted to Quakerism, and on that account was incarcerated in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. There it was soon discovered by his relations that he was exposed to the conversation of other Quakers, prisoners like himself, ‘whereby he is hardened in his pernicious opinions and principles, without all hope of recovery, unless he be separat from such pernicious company.’ There was, however, a more serious evil than even this, in the risk which his children ran of being perverted to Quakerism, if allowed to keep company with their father. On a petition, therefore, the Council gave the brother Harden warrant (June 22, 1665> to take away Raeburn’s children, two boys and a girl, from their father, that they might be educated in the true religion. He, ‘after some pains taken with them in his own family, sent them to the city of Glasgow, to be bred at the schools there.’ On a second petition from Harden, the Council ordered an annuity of £1000 Scots to be paid to him, out of Raeburn’s estate, for the maintenance of the children; and they also ordered the father himself to be removed to Jedburgh Tolbooth, ‘where his friends and others may have occasion to convert him.’ ‘To the effect he may be secured from the practice of other Quakers,’ the Lords ‘discharged the magistrates of Jedburgh to suffer any persons suspect of these principles to have access to him.’

The younger son of the Quaker Raeburn was Walter Scott, commonly called Beardie, great-grandfather of an illustrious modern novelist. Beardie, so styled from his wearing a long beard, escaped Quakerism, but fell into Jacobitism at a time when that was not less dangerous than Quakerism had once been. The circumstances here narrated form part of what is alluded to by Sir Walter Scott, when he makes Jedediah Cleishbotham confess himself as bound to a kind of impartiality between the Prelatic and Presbyterian factions of the seventeenth century, by reason that ‘my ancestor was one of the people called Quakers, and suffered a severe handling from either side, even to the extenuation of his purse and the incarceration of his person."

Raeburn continued to be a prisoner in Jedburgh jail in June 1669, when the Privy Council gave a fresh order that ‘none of his persuasion should have access to him, except his own wife.’ It was at that time found that ‘John Swinton, Walter Scott of Raeburn, Mr George Keith, and Mr Robert Burnett, Tutor of Leys, are not only Quakers themselves, but also studies by all means to pervert and seduce others from their duty and obedience and to engage them in the same error with themselves,’ for which purpose they, ‘in contempt of the laws, keep frequent meetings with other Quakers.’ Swinton was ordered to enter himself as a prisoner in Stirling Castle, where none but his son should have access to him. On the 29th of July, the Council gave warrant for the imprisonment of Mr George Keith, Quaker, in the Edinburgh Tolbooth, and that no one suspected to be of his persuasion should have access to him.

At length, on the 1st of January 1670, after suffering imprisonment for four and a half years, Raeburn was ordained to be set at liberty from jail, but still to remain within, the bounds of his own lands, and to see no other Quaker under a penalty of a hundred pounds, his children meanwhile remaining as they were. Mr George Keith was set at liberty on the 6th of March, but only to go into voluntary exile.

Under apprehension that the Tutor of Leys would seek to affect the mind of his nephew Sir Thomas Burnett, who was now a minor, the mother of the child caused him to be carried away from all his father’s friends, ‘which,’ says the Tutor, ‘will inevitably ruin him in his education in literature and all other virtuous breeding.’ The Tutor brought the matter before the Privy Council, representing that, in order to clear himself of all suspicion of a desire to influence the child’s mind, he was arranging ‘to have sent him to Glasgow, to Mr Gilbert Burnett, professor of divinity there, who is ane brother son of the family, there to have been educat at schools and universities under the said Mr Gilbert his inspection and care,’ when the mother took the matter thus violently into her hands. The two parties being summoned before the Council, and having made their respective statements, it was ordered that the child should be restored to the Tutor, all Quaker as he was, that he might be sent to school.

Sep
Another excellent harvest was secured in Scotland, and very early.—Nic.

About this time the commencement of a standing army was made in Scotland, in the raising of two regiments of foot and five troops of horse, under the command of General Sir Thomas Dalyell.—Lam.

Nov
In this month, while the poor west-country Presbyterians were engaged in their hopeless expedition, ‘there was sundry fresh, caller, ungutted herring taken upon the north side of the water of Forth . . . . like Dunbar herring, but smaller . . . . a thing rare and wondrous to the haill people.’—Nic. He notes that, all this winter, all kinds of fish, including herring, abounded, ‘whilk was very ominous.’

The defeat of the insurgents at Rullion Green (November 27), and the subsequent execution of upwards of fifty persons, made it a dreary yet exciting time. ‘I have,’ says Wodrow, the Presbyterian historian, ‘met with several prodigies seen in the air about this time; and persons who lived then, of good information, have left behind them a very strange passage, that several people about Pittenweem made public faith upon, that the night after the battle, and after some of these [subsequent] executions, they heard the voice of a multitude about Gilston Mount praising and singing psalms with the sweetest melody imaginable.’

‘In the year 1668 or 1669—in these places where the gospel was most frequently preached afterwards [fields and desert places], how surprising and astonishing was the sight, both by night and day, of brae-sides covered with the appearance of men and women with tents, and voices heard in them! Particularly the first night that Mr John Dickson preached in the fields in the night-time, east from Glasgow upon Clyde-side . . . . several people together, before they came to the appointed place, saw upon their way a brae-side covered with the appearance of people, with a tent, and a voice crying aloud: "This is the everlasting gospel; if ye follow on, to know, believe, and embrace this gospel, it shall never be taken from you.’ When they came to join them, all disappeared. Other companies of people, in another way going there, heard a charming sweet sound of singing the 93d psalm, which obliged them to stand still till it was ended. Other people, who stayed at home, in several places, some heard the singing of the 44th psalm, others the 46th psalm. When the people who were there came home, they who stayed at home said: "Where have you been so long? for the preaching was near by, for we heard the psalms sweetly sung, and can tell you a note of the sermon "—which was the foresaid note. Worthy Mr John Blackadder, who used to call these years the Blink, was at all pains to examine the most solid Christians in that bounds, upon their hearing and seeing these things; who all attested the truth of the same.

‘Before the gospel came to that known place Craigmad [Stirlingshire] . . . . one day Alexander Stirling, who lived in the Redden, near that place, a solid, serious, zealous Christian, who told this several times to some yet alive, worthy of all credit, who told me of it. That he, with some others, one day was in that desert place, and saw that brae-side, close covered with the appearance of men and women, singing the 121st psalm, with a milk-white horse, and a blood-red saddle on his back, standing beside the people; which made that serious, discerning, observing Christian conclude that the gospel would be sent to that place, and that the white hone was the Gospel, and the red saddle Persecution.

‘That known place Darmead, where the gospel was more frequent afterward than any place I know betwixt Clydesdale and Lothian . . . . the like was seen there, singing the 59th psalm. And whoever will consider the foresaid psalms will see how suitable they are to these dispensations, and were oft sung by the Lord’s suffering people in that time ‘—Pat. Walker.

Although these incidents are stated by Walker to have happened at places subsequently remarkable for preachings, it is evident that the people who saw and heard them were pious persons, deeply interested in the religious affairs of the time, and in an excitable state on that subject. Modern science is at no loss to account for such experiences under certain predisposing causes, without recourse to the supernatural. In the learned and laborious work of De Boismont on Hallucinations, they are fully treated and accounted for. ‘Illusions of sight and hearing,’ he says, ‘have often assumed the form of an epidemic. History records a number of facts of this character. One of the chief is the transformation of clouds into armies, and all sorts of figures; to which religious belief, optical phenomena, physical laws then unknown, high fevers of a pestilential character, and the derangement of the brain, all give a very natural explanation. Pausanias relates that, four hundred years after the battle of Marathon, the neighing of horses and the shock of armies were nightly heard on the spot. At the battle of Platrea, the air resounded with a fearful cry, which the Athenians attributed to the god Pan According to Josephus: Before sunrise on the 27th of May, there appeared in the air, throughout the whole country, chariots full of armed men, traversing the clouds and spreading round the cities, as if to enclose them. On the day of Pentecost, the priests, being at night in the inner temple to celebrate divine service, heard a noise, and afterwards a voice that repeated three several times: "Let us go out from hence."

History abounds in such facts, for facts they are in one sense. The predominant popular idea always appears in the vision. When a dreaming shepherd-boy in a Catholic country has a religious vision, the person most apt to be presented to him is the Virgin Mary. When a Scottish peasant had a similar experience in the seventeenth century, it took the form of preaching and psalm-singing.

1667, Jan 31
Heretofore there had been only an irregular transmission of letters by means of foot-messengers between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and in the latter city there had been ‘long experience of the prejudice sustained, not only by the said burgh of Aberdeen, but by the nobility, gentry, and others in the north country, by the miscarrying of missive letters, and by the not timous delivery and receiving returns of the samen.’ It was now thought that there ought to be a constant post at Aberdeen, whereby ‘every man might have their letters delivered and answers returned at certain diets and times.’ It was therefore arranged with the consent of Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie, his majesty’s postmaster-general, that Lieutenant John Wales should establish a regular horse-post at Aberdeen, to carry letters to Edinburgh every Wednesday and Friday, returning every Tuesday and Thursday in the afternoon; every single letter to pay 2s., and every double letter 4s., every packet 5s. per ounce (in all cases Scots money). All other posts were discharged. Two years later (January 28, 1669) Inverness became sensible of a need for the same accommodation, though on a humbler footing. Accordingly, Robert Mean, keeper of ‘the Letter-office’ in Edinburgh, having, with concurrence of Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie, his majesty’s postmaster-general for Scotland, undertaken ‘to settle a constant foot-post between Edinburgh and Inverness, for the advancement of trade, correspondence, and convenience of the king’s subjects,’ the Privy Council, on petition, granted warrant for the purpose, the post ‘to go and return two times every week to Aberdeen, and once every week to Inverness, wind and weather serving,’ and the rates to be—’ For the conveyance of every single letter not exceeding one sheet of paper, to and from any place not exceeding forty miles Scots distant from the place where such letter shall be received, 2s. Scots money, and every double letter for the miles foresaid 4s. Scots, and for every ounce-weight the foresaid miles 5s.;’ for distances of threescore and fourscore miles, in proportion. ‘Wind and weather serving’ is an amusing qualification, considering that there was only one ferry of six or seven miles and another of two miles to cross. The Inverness post had not yet acquired the resolution which is said to have been expressed many years later by a carrying communication between Edinburgh and that northern burgh, when it was announced that ‘a waggon would leave the Grassmarket for Inverness every Tuesday, God willing, but on Wednesday
whether or no.’

The interest connected with this important institution may perhaps justify the preservation of one or two notices in themselves trivial. February 20, 1668, a complaint was made to the Privy Council by certain Edinburgh merchants, against Robert Mean, as to his charges of ld. for each single, 2d. for each double, and 3d. upon each triple letter, in addition to the former dues of 4d., 8d., &c., and Robert was peremptorily ordered to discontinue these extra charges.—P. C. R.

In August 1672, Anna Keith, relict of John Wales, keeper of the Letter-office in Aberdeen, complained to the Privy Council against the magistrates of Aberdeen, for having, on her husband’s death, extruded her from the office, in contravention of the contract between them and her husband, which provided that, in the event of his death before the expiration of the seven years engaged for, his heirs and representatives were to have the option of carrying on the business, by providing a qualified substitute. The magistrates had gone so far as to incarcerate Mrs Wales’s servants for going about their duties, ‘and by touk of drum discharged all persons from employing the complainer any further in the said office.’ They had also conferred the office on another person, without waiting to set it up to auction, ‘though several of the burgesses did offer considerably for the same.’ The Council replaced Mrs Wales in her husband’s office.—P. C. R.

There is a whimsical incongruity in the connection of a Graham of Inchbrakie with a thing of such modern and commercial associations as the Post-office. Patrick—his common name was ‘Black Pate ‘—was a semi-Highland cavalier of the purest lustre. It was at his house, situated on the skirts of the Highlands, that Montrose had raised his meteor-like standard in 1644. The trouble he had given to the lords of the Covenant and to Cromwell could only be rewarded at the Restoration with this office, which in 1674 descended to his younger son John. One could scarcely imagine a more heterogeneous assemblage of ideas than that of Montrose’s friend as postmaster-general, and the son of the lady who threw the anti-prelatic stool in 1637 as keeper of the Edinburgh office under him.

Apr
During the unfortunate and discreditable war with Holland in. 1665—6—7, a field was obtained for the enterprise of the Scotch in the trade of privateering. A very considerable number of cappers, as they were called, generally vessels of from a hundred to two hundred tons burden, were fitted out from Glasgow, Leith, and Burntisland, under clever and adventurous captains, in order to take the Dutch merchantmen. We hear of one belonging to Glasgow, so low as sixty tons burden, yet carrying five guns, and a crew of sixty persons, having further on board thirty-two firelocks, twelve half-pikes, eighteen pole-axes, and thirty swords, with provisions for six months.’ A Glasgow privateer, commanded by one Chambers, distinguished itself by seizing a Dutch capper of eight guns and bringing it up the Clyde, along with a merchant-vessel laden with salt.

Towards the close of the war (February 1667), a Glasgow merchantman of three hundred tons, returning from Spain with wines, encountered a Dutch man-of-war. The captain sent most of his crew below, and remained on deck himself with seven men, to give tokens of submission. The Dutchman sent twenty-two men in a boat to take possession of his supposed prize, and, seeing another vessel at the moment, set off in pursuit of it. The captors suspecting no stratagem, the concealed crew came forth in the evening, and easily overpowered them, thus retaining possession of their vessel, which they brought safely into Glasgow with twenty-two prisoners.

Apr 30
The ports of Leith and Burntisland having in this way given great annoyance to the Dutch, a resolution was made to attempt a retaliation; and little more than two months before the celebrated attack on the Thames shipping, a fleet of thirty sail appeared one day at the mouth of the Firth of Forth. At first it was supposed to be the English fleet under Sir Jeremy Smith; but the Dutch colours soon appeared, and there was then a hasty effort made to protect the coast. The royal commissioner Rothes placed militia along both shores. Some of the Burntisland privateers took their cannon on shore, and raised a battery to defend the harbour? The Dutch ships lashed out with their ordnance against that town, and knocked down a few chimneys, but did no further harm. Seeing no great encouragement for landing, they yielded at length to a somewhat violent west wind, and ‘that night did tak sail and removed from our coasts, without hurt done to any person.’—Nic.

June 4
Mr William Douglas, son of the deceased Laird of Whittingham, was tried for his concern in an unfortunate duel, in which Sir James Home of Eccles was killed. The affair took its origin in a quarrel in a tavern in Edinburgh, ‘after excessive drinking.’
—Lam. We learn from the evidence of a hackney-coachman, that being employed by four gentlemen—namely, the two who have been mentioned, the Master of Ramsay, and Archibald Douglas of Spott—he drove them to a lonely spot on the shore near Leith, where they all came out, and drawing their swords, ‘went through other.’ He saw Sir James fall under the thrust of the accused party. Another person saw the accused standing over Sir James after he fell, and when the unfortunate gentleman was carried into Leith, he beard the accused ask him forgivenness. A third witness observed the Master of Ramsay with his foot on Spott’s neck, and when he (the deponent) removed the Master, Spott got up, ran at the Master, and called him ‘cullion!' It seems to have been a barbarous quarrel barbarously wrought out; and when we see how the men acted after they began fighting, we cannot but wonder that they were able to come to the field in one vehicle. William Douglas was sentenced to have his head stricken off his body three days after at the Cross of Edinburgh.—B. A.

There was a great drouth this summer, so that the grass was burned up, and the victual whitened before the middle of July, and ripened at the end of that month.—Lam


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