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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of Charles II.: 1673 - 1685 Part C


1678, Mar 7
Three enterprising persons at Haddington, including William Lamb, one of the bailies, and Mr James Lander, sheriff-clerk, formed a project for a twice-a-week stage-coach ‘to pass through the whole year betwixt Edinburgh and Haddington, which will be of great conveniency for travellers of all sorts who may have occasion to repair to Edinburgh from the eastward.' It was their resolution ‘to employ a considerable stock of money for erecting the said stage-coaches, buying of horses, and all other furniture requisite, in expectation of some small profit by progress of time.’ Wherefore they petitioned for the exclusive right to have stage-coaches upon that road. The right was granted for seven years.—P.
C. R.

July 29
A very few months after this date, William Hume, merchant in Edinburgh, appears to have set up a stage-coach between his own city and Glasgow, encouraged thereto by the liberality of the two municipalities. The city of Glasgow undertook to pay four hundred merks annually for two years.—M. of G.  Hume proposed that his conveyance should carry only six passengers, at 4, 16s. Scots
each in summer, and 5, 8s. in winter (respectively 8s. and 9s. sterling), being at the rate of 2s. 8d. a mile in summer, and 3s in winter. The Privy Council, on his petition, gave him an exclusive privilege for seven years, and assured him against his horses being pressed for any kind of public service.—P. C. R.

These are the first conveniences of the kind we hear of as established between one place and another in Scotland, except the coach between Edinburgh and Leith, first in December 1610, and secondly in September 1660 (which see). It is, however, probable that none of all these enterprises proved successful, or was carried on for any considerable length of time. A traveller in Scotland in 1688 tells us: ‘Stage-coaches they have none....The truth is, the roads will hardly allow them those conveniences, which is the reason that their gentry, men and women, choose rather to use their horses. However, their great men often travel with coach and six, but with so much caution, that, besides their other attendance, they have a lusty running footman on each side of the coach, to manage and keep it up in rough places.’ It is added: ‘This carriage of persons from place to place might be better spared, were there opportunities and means for the speedier conveyance of business by letters. They have no horse-posts besides those which ply betwixt Berwick and Edinburgh, and from thence to Port-Patrick for the sake of the Irish packets. From Edinburgh to Perth, and so to other places, they use foot-posts and carriers, which, though a slow way of communicating our concerns to one another, yet is such as they acquiesce in till they have a better.’

What makes it the more improbable that William Hume’s enterprise was successful, notwithstanding the well-meant patronage of the Glasgow magistrates, is that, in October 1743, the Town Council of the western city was found considering a similar project of one John Walker, merchant in Edinburgh, who proposed to ‘erect’ a stage-coach betwixt the two cities, with six horses, and holding six passengers, to go twice a week from the one to the other in summer, and once in winter. The corporation was called upon to guarantee that as many as two hundred tickets should be sold each year. The proposal does not appear to have been entertained.

In 1749, a caravan—a kind of covered spring-cart---passed twice a week from the one city to the other, taking a day and a half to the journey!—Strang.

May 2
Two old women, belonging to the village of Prestonpans, were tried for witchcraft by a commission, and, ‘on their confession, no ways extorted, were burnt.’ Before their death, they gave information regarding some other persons who, they said, were also witches; and, one telling on another, there were in September as many as eight or ten collected from the parishes of Ormiston, Pencaitland, and Crichton, besides seven who belonged to Loanhead of Lasswade. The justices shewed a disinclination to treat all these poor creatures as witches; and Sir John Clerk of Pennicuik—first baronet of a family which has produced many scholars, judges, antiquaries, and men of general talent—declined to be upon the commission appointed for the seven of Loanhead, ‘alleging drily that he did not feel himself warlock (that is, conjuror) enough to be judge upon such an inquisition.' The leniency of the justices was cried out upon by some, as interfering with the discovery of these enemies of mankind. As usually happened, the accused made confession of guilt, telling much the same story of intercourse with the devil, renouncing their baptism, and going about in the form of ravens, &c., as was set forth by the witches of Auldearn in 1661—a traditionary set of hallucinations, they may be called, the uniformity of which ought in itself to have put judges sooner on their guard against a misjudgment of these unfortunate beings. Fountainhall, who conversed with a few of the present group, speaks somewhat rationally about them, and it is evident he was inclined to regard their adventures with the devil as mere dreams. ‘Only,’ he says, ‘in these diabolic transports their sleep is so deep, that no pinching will awake them scarce ‘—an intimation, some will think, of the sleep being mesmeric. Sad to say, however, nine of the East Lothian women were condemned on their confession, although seeming rational and penitent; and were burnt, five between Edinburgh and Leith, and four at Painston, while the seven of Loanhead were reserved for future procedure.

The statement of this case has induced Fountainhall to mention one or two others by way of digression. In the time of James VI., a Scottish gentleman, being troubled with a disease, sought relief from a magician in Italy, but was told he need not have come so far from home, as there was a person in Scotland who could cure him, and this person he particularly described, so that the gentleman might know him. Some years after, being returned, the patient met, on the Bridge of Earn, one to whom the description in every particular applied; and, having accosted him, and asked for his aid, he was cured by this stranger with a few simple herbs. The story being told, the curer of the disease was prosecuted as a necromancer, in compact with the devil, and found guilty, notwithstanding his protestation that the cure was natural, and the devil’s having named or described him was no fault of his. In this narration, the reader will recognise a story which has been told with many variations, as to person, place, and circumstances, but always with the assumption of what would now in certain circles be described as an exercise of the power of clairvoyance regarding a person unknown and living at a great distance.

The other story is even more curious in its details. Fountainhail says: ‘As for the rencontre between Mr Williamson, schoolmaster at Cupar (he has writ a grammar), and the Rosicrucians, I never trusted it till I heard it from his own son, who is present minister of Kirkcaldy.’ A stranger coming to Cupar called for Mr Williamson, and they went to drink together at a tavern. When the reckoning came to be paid, the stranger whistled for spirits, and one in the shape of a boy came and gave him some gold. It is to be remarked that no servant had been seen attending the stranger while riding into the town, or at his inn. ‘He caused his spirits next day bring him noble Greek wines from the pope’s cellar, and tell the freshest news then was at Rome.’ Some time after, Mr Williamson, being in London, and passing along London Bridge, heard himself called by name, and turning about, discovered it was his Rosicrucian. At the request of the stranger, he met him at dinner in a house to which he was directed, and there found a magnificently spread table, with a company of good fashion, all being served by spirits. The conversation turned on the advantage of being served by spirits, and Mr Williamson was asked to join their happy society; but he started back with dismay, when it was mentioned as a necessary preliminary, that he should abstract his spirit from all materiality, and renounce his baptism. In his alarm, he fell a praying, whereupon they all disappeared. He was then in a new alarm, dreading to have to pay a huge reckoning; but the boy who answered his summous, told him that ‘there was nothing to pay, for they had done it, and were gone about their affairs in the city.’ It is barely necessary to remark to those who have seen and believed in the wonders of what is called electrobiology; there is nothing in Mr Williamson’s case which might not be explained on that principle—namely, a condition of brain artificially produced, in which the suggestion of objects and events is enough to make the patient believe them real.

After this date, witch-cases before the high court are rare, and there had evidently set in a disrelish for such prosecutions. The fact may reasonably be attributed in some degree to the publication, in 1677, of Webster’s rational treatise, The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft.

July 19
James Gray, a ‘litster,’ that is, dyer, in Dalkeith, went to Glasgow in March this year as a lieutenant in the Midlothian Militia. He there met, over a bottle, a young man, named Archibald Murray, son of the Laird of Newton, and who was a trooper in the king’s Life Guard. When heated with liquor, Gray began to boast that to be a lieutenant under the Duke of Lauderdale was as good as to ride in the king’s Life Guard—rather a petulant speech from a Dalkeith craftsman to the son of a laird in its neighbourhood. Murray stormed and called him a base fellow, to compare himself with gentlemen! They went out and fought, and Gray soon returned, saying: ‘I trow I have pricked him,’ never imagining that he had taken the young man’s life. Such, however, proved to be the case. Gray, who was a handsome, vigorous man, of about fifty, was tried for the act, and much interest was felt in his behalf, as it was believed that he had meant nothing like murder. Five thousand merks were offered to the friends of the deceased, by way of assythment. But all was in vain. On the day noted in the margin, ‘he was beheaded, dying with courage, and declaring that ambition, leading to discontents and quarrels, joined to marrying an old woman, had ruined him.’—Foun.

Aug 15
Scotland now had a visitor of an extraordinary kind. In a petition presented to the Privy Council, he described himself as Mercurius Lascary, a Grecian priest, a native of the island of Samos. He stated that himself, his brother Demetrius, who was also a priest, and two sons, had been seized by night by Algerine pirates; and his brother had now been detained for three years in a most miserable condition in Barbary. Testimonials from the patriarch of Constantinople and various Greek bishops confirmed this sad tale; and on his petition, a general charitable contribution was ordered to be raised in his behalf.
—P. C. R.

En the history of the introduction of the more refined arts into Scotland, there is no reason why one so ingenious as cabinetmaking should not be included. We now first hear of it on the occasion of a petition from one James Turner, styling himself ‘cabinet-maker and mirror-glass maker.’ He having, as he says, ‘with much labour, pains, and expenses, attained to the art of making cabinet; mirror-glasses, dressing-boxes, chests of drawers, comb-boxes, and the like curious work, of the finest olive and princes’ wood, not formerly practised by any native of this country,’ had been peaceably exercising his craft, when he was assailed by the deacon of the corporation of wrights as an unfreeman. He had first been forbidden to work, and then they took away his tools and materials. On his petition, however, he received the protection of the Council.—P. C. R.

Not long after (February 1682), we hear of a kindred trade as being practised in Edinburgh. Hugh M’Gie, mirror-maker in the Canongate, gave in a bill to the Privy Council, representing that, by the practice of other nation; any tradesman having seven sons together, without the intervention of a daughter, is declared free of all public burdens and taxes, and has other encouragements bestowed on him, to enable him to bring up the said children for the use and benefit of the commonwealth; and claiming a similar privilege on the strength of his having that qualification. The Council recommended the magistrates to take Hugh’s seven sons into consideration when they laid their ‘stents’ upon him.—Foun.

Some years later (January 1685), Turner being again troubled by the wrights’ corporation, the Privy Council, on his producing an essay piece of ‘an indented cabinet and standishes,’ gave him a licence to set up as a freeman.—Foun. Dec.

Sep 13
At Prestonpans dwelt a respectable old widow named Katharine Liddell, or Keddie. During the late panic in East Lothian regarding witches, she had been seized by John Rutherford, bailie of Prestonpans, as one liable to suspicion of that crime. With the assistance of a drummer, two salt-makers, and other persons, he barbarously tormented her in prison in order to extort a confession, ‘by pricking of pins in several parts of her body, to the great effusion of her blood, and whereby her skin is raised and her body highly swelled, and she is in danger of her life.’ She had also been kept from sleep for several nights and days. It was not till she had undergone this treatment for six weeks that on her petition an order was obtained from the Privy Council for her liberation.

There must have been some unusual force of character about Katharine Liddell, for not only had she stood her tortures without confessing falsehood, as most of her sister unfortunates did, but she turned upon her tormentors by presenting a petition to the Council, in which she charged them with defamation, false imprisonment, and open and manifest oppression, and demanded that they should be exemplarily punished in their persons and goods. After hearing the accused in answer, the Council declared Liddell entirely innocent and free, and condemned Rutherford and his associates for their unwarrantable proceedings. In respect, however, of ‘the common error and vulgar practice of others in the like station and capacity,’ they let him off without any punishment. ‘David Cowan, pricker,’ the most active of the tormentors, they sentenced to be confined during pleasure in the Tolbooth.—P. C. R.

Oct
At this time, eighty persons were detained in prison in Edinburgh, on account of matters of religion, waiting till they should be transported as slaves to Barbadoes.’—Foun.
Dec.

In connection with this distressing fact may be placed one of a different complexion, which Fountainhall states elsewhere. The magistrates, he tells us, were sensible of the inadequacy of their Old Tolbooth for the purposes of justice in these days of pious zeal. Consequently, one Thomas Moodie leaving them twenty thousand merks to build a church, they—declaring ‘they have no use for a church ‘—offered to build with the money a new Tolbooth, above the West Port, ‘and to put Thomas Moodie’s name and arms thereon! ‘—Foun.

In the entire history of the municipality of Edinburgh, this is not the worst of its attempts at the perversion of funds intended for the building of a church. And it really appears that our ancestors looked upon the building of a jail as a public act of some dignity and importance. PATRIAE ET POSTERIS [for our country and posterity] is the self-complacent inscription on the front of the Canongate Tolbooth.

Nov 13
A civil process of this date between Sir R. Hepburn of Keith and David Borthwick his tenant, reveals the fact that lime was ‘the usual way of improving and gooding land in East Lothian, at least in that corner of it.’—Foun. Dec.

1679
So early as 1590 a foreigner came to Scotland, and applied for some encouragement to his design of erecting a paper-work within the kingdom. There is reason to believe that this design proved abortive, and that there was no further attempt at a native manufacture of paper till 1675, when a work was established at Dairy Mills, a place on the Water of Leith, in the immediate vicinity of Edinburgh. This work obtained the benefit of an act passed in 1662, offering privileges to those who should erect such manufactories within the kingdom, and French workmen were introduced as necessary for the instruction of the natives. After suffering a temporary stoppage in consequence of the burning of the buildings, the work was again in such a condition in 1679, that it was able, according to the statement of its owners, to produce ‘gray and blue paper much finer than ever this country formerly offered to the Council.’

Mar 7
At this date, Alexander Daes, merchant, one of the proprietors, presented a petition setting forth how this work not only supplied good paper, but promised another general usefulness in the ‘improvement of rags, which formerly were put to no good use,’ and in the gathering of which many poor and infirm people could make their bread: in the work itself, moreover, ‘many Scotsmen and boys are already, and many more may be, instructed in the art of making paper.’ There was but one thing wanting for the due encouragement of the work, and that was the suppression of ‘a faulty custom, not practised anywhere else,’ of employing fine rags in the making of wicks for candles. This custom, it was alleged, involved a cheat to the liege; in as far as these rags, not exceeding eight or ten shillings (8d. or 10d. sterling) per stone in value, formed part of the weight of the candles, of which the price was three pounds ten shillings (5s.10d. sterling). It was represented that cotton-wicks should be employed, which, if dearer, were also better, as they gave more light. Thus it was that, in those day; hardened as every one was in the spirit of monopoly, one trade made no scruple in interfering with another, if its own selfish ends could thereby be advanced.

The Council did actually ‘discharge the candlemakers to make use of clouts and rags for the wicks of candles.’

A subordinate branch of the petition for an extension of the time during which the privileges granted by statute were to last, was silently overlooked.—P. C. R.

There is reason to conclude that this paper-mill was not continued, and that paper-making was not successfully introduced into Scotland till the middle of the succeeding century.

July 11
Robert Mean, keeper of the letter-office in Edinburgh, was brought before the Privy Council, accused of ‘sending up a bye-letter with the flying packet upon the twenty-two day of June last, giving ane account to the postmaster of England of the defeat of the rebels in the west, which was by the said postmaster communicated to the king before it could have been done by his majesty’s secretary for Scotland, and which letter contains several untruths in matter of fact.’ Notwithstanding an abject apology, Mean was sent to the Tolbooth, there to remain during the Council’s pleasure.—P.
C. B.

Mr Mean’s office was at this time a somewhat critical one. On the 19th of August 1680, he was imprisoned by a committee of the Privy Council ‘for publishing the news-letter before it was revised by a councillor or their clerk; though he affirmed he had shewn it to the Earl of Linlithgow before he divulged it.’ What offended them was a false piece of intelligence contained in it, to the disparagement of the Duke of Lauderdale. Robert was liberated in a day or two with a rebuke.

The bringing of the news of the defeat of the rebels at Bothwell Bridge seems to have been looked upon as a matter of a high degree of consequence. The instrument was one James Ker, a barber in the Canongate, who acted as a messenger between the royal army and the capital, under favour of the Chancellor Duke of Rothes, whom he had perhaps attended professionally in Holyroodhouse. The lords of the Privy Council were so over-joyed at the intelligence, that they promised James some signal mark of their gratitude; and he soon after asked them, by way of discharging the obligation, to get him entered as a freeman in the city corporation of chirurgeons. They used influence with the deacon of this important body to get Ker’s wish gratified; but it could not be done—he had not served the proper apprenticeship. He went to London, and petitioned the king on the subject, ‘who, finding that the corporation stuck upon their privilege, was graciously pleased to refer [him] back to the Council, to be rewarded as the Council should judge fit.’ Upwards of three years after (December 14, 1682), he is found petitioning the Council for this suitable reward, representing that by the expense of his journey to London and the loss of his employment, he and his wife and numerous family had been reduced to ‘great straits and necessity.’ They could only refer him to the Bishop of Edinburgh, that be might deal with the magistrates, to see their first recommendation made effectual.—P. C. R.

In 1673, two brothers, probably of English birth, Edward Fountain of Lochhill and Captain James Fountain, had their patent formally proclaimed throughout Scotland, as Masters of the Revels within the kingdom. They thus possessed a privilege of licensing and authorising balls, masks, plays, and such-like entertainments; nor was this quite such an empty or useless privilege as our traditionary notions of the religious objections formerly cherished against public amusements might have led us to suppose.

July 24.
At the date noted, the two Fountains petitioned the Privy Council against sundry dancing-masters who took upon them to make ‘public balls, dances, masks, and other entertainments in their schools, upon mercenary designs, without any licence or authority from the petitioners.’ It was set forth that this practice not only invaded their privileges, but tended to ‘the eminent discouragement of the playhouse,’ which ‘the petitioners had been at great charge in erecting.’ Agreeing with the views of the petitioners, the Council ordered all dancing-masters to desist from the above-described practice, and in particular prohibited ‘Andrew Devoe to keep any ball to-morrow, or at any other time,’ without proper licence.—P.
C. B.

This, as far as I am aware, is the only notice we possess of a theatre in Edinburgh about 1679. It sounds strange to hear of a dancing-master’s ball in our city little more than a month after the battle of Bothwell Bridge, and while a thousand poor men were lodging on the cold ground in the Greyfriars’ Church-yard.

We find in September 1680 the two Fountains adverting to their playhouse as still kept up—’at great expenses;’ and they then petition for redress against such as ‘keep public games, plays, and lotteries’ without that licence which they, as masters of the revels, were alone entitled to grant. The Council on that occasion directed letters of horning to be issued against the persons complained of soon after, February 10, 1681, Andrew Devoe, who made his bread by teaching the children of noblemen and gentlemen to dance, complained that he was troubled by the two Fountains demanding from him that he should give caution not to have any more balls in his school. It was an unheard-of thing in Europe, in Andrew’s opinion, that a school-ball should be regarded as an infringement of the patent of a master of revels. The Lords, entering into his views, ordered that any former acts they had passed in favour of the Messrs Fountain should be held as restricted to public shows, balls, and lotteries.

The privilege of the Messrs Fountain must have in time become an insupportable grievance to the lieges, or at least such of them as were inclined to embroider a little gaiety on the dull serge of common life. While the parliament sat in August 1681, an act was projected, though not brought forward, to complain of some oppressive monopolies, and ‘particularly of Mr Fountain’s gifts as Master of the Revels, by which he exacts so much off every bowling-green, kyle-alley, &c., through the kingdom, as falling under his gift of lotteries.' In June 1682, Hugh Wallace appeared before the Privy Council as agent for ‘the haill royal burghs of the kingdom,’ shewing that individuals were daily charged by these gentlemen ‘upon pretence of gaming at cards and dice, and other games, or having such plays at their houses,’ acting thus on their pretended powers derived from certain general letters of the Council, and proceeding in due course to hornings and captions where their demands for money were not complied with. The Council ordained letters to be directed to the Masters of the Revel; if the petitioner could ‘condescend upon particular acts of exaction.’

Aug 26
The little village of Corstorphine, three miles from Edinburgh, was disturbed by a frightful occurrence. The title of Lord Forrester was at this time borne by a gentleman of mature years, who had acquired it by his marriage to the heiress, and had subsequently had a family by a second wife. He lived in the Castle of Corstorphine, the ancient seat of the family. It appears that he sided with the Presbyterians, and was zealous enough in their cause to build a meeting-house for their worship. He had nevertheless formed an improper connection with the wife of one Nimmo, a merchant in Edinburgh; and, what made this scandal the greater, the unfortunate woman was niece to his first wife, besides being grand-daughter of a former Lord Forrester. She was a woman of violent character, accustomed, it was alleged, to carry a weapon under her clothes. We are further informed that Mrs Bedford, an adulteress who had murdered her husband a few years back, was her cousin; and that Lady Warriston, who suffered for the same offence in 1600, was of the same family.

It was pretty evident that this was a woman not to be rashly offended. Lord Forrester had nevertheless spoken opprobriously of her in his drink, and the fact came to her knowledge. She proceeded to his house at Corstorphine, and, finding he was at the village tavern, sent for him. The meeting took place in the garden. After a violent altercation, the unhappy woman stabbed her paramour with his own sword. ‘He fell under a tree near the pigeon-house, both of which still remain, and died immediately. The lady took refuge in the garret of the castle, but was discovered by one of her slippers, which fell through a crevice of the floor.' Being seized and brought before the sheriffs of Edinburgh, she made a confession of her crime, though seeking to extenuate it, and, two days after, she was tried, and condemned to die. Taking advantage of a humanity of the law, she contrived by deception to postpone the execution of the sentence for upwards of two months. And in this interval, notwithstanding the great care of her enjoined to John Wan, the keeper of the Tolbooth, she succeeded in making her escape in men’s apparel, but was found next day at Fala Mill, and brought back to prison. On the 12th of November, Mrs Nimmo was beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh, appearing on the scaffold in mourning, with a large veil, which, before laying down her head, she put aside, baring her shoulders at the same time, ‘with seeming courage enough.’

Connected with the murder, a circumstance characteristic of the age took place. The deceased nobleman, leaving only heirs of his second marriage, who took the name of Ruthven from their mother, and who were in possession of his house, the family honours and estates, which came by his first wife, by whom he had no surviving progeny, passed, according to a deed of entail, to another branch of the family. In that day, no offence was more common than that of violently seizing and interfering with the legal writings connected with landed properties. Well knowing this, William Baillie of Torwoodhead and his mother dreaded that the young Ruthvens might play foul with the late lord’s charter-chest, and so prejudice their succession. They went with friends to the house, while the murdered nobleman’s body still lay in it, and intruded in a violent manner, by way of taking possession of their inheritance. Their chief aim, as they afterwards alleged, was to see that no documents should be embezzled or made away with. On a complaint from the Ruthvens, the Lords adjudged Baillie and his mother to lie in prison during their pleasure, and fined their assistant, a Mr Gourlay, in a hundred pounds Scots. The court at the same time took measures to secure the charter-chest.

Oct 26
The Duke of York arrived in Scotland, designing to reside in the c country till the storm of the Exclusion Bill should blow over. He and his family experienced a favourable reception in Edinburgh. In July 1681, he was joined by his daughter, styled the Lady Anne (subsequently Queen Anne). The royal party occupied the palace of Holyroodhouse, which had recently received such large additions as to give them handsome accommodation. According to the report of Mr William Tytler, who had conversed with many who remembered the duke’s visit, the gaiety and brilliancy of the court of Holyroodhouse on this occasion was a subject of general satisfaction. ‘The princesses were easy and affable, and the duke studied to make himself popular among all ranks of men.’ It was indeed an unpropitious time for the duke to be in his father’s native kingdom—when a large portion of the people were at issue with the government about matters of faith, and men were daily suffering extreme seventies on account of their religious practice. Nevertheless, he was far from being unpopular. It is clearly intimated by Fountainhall that his birthday came to be observed with more cordial demonstrations than the ldng’s. Though the contrary has been insinuated, there are many instances, credibly reported, of his shewing humanity towards the unfortunate ‘phanatiques,’ as they were called, who came under the notice of the local authorities during the period of his visit.

Mr Tytler reports that the duke and the princesses gave balls, plays, and masquerades, much to the enjoyment of the nobility and gentry who attended them, though to the disgust and horror of the more rigid Presbyterians. It will be found that Nat Lee’s play of Mithridates, King of Pontus, was acted privately at the palace (November 15, 1681), with Lady Anne and the maids of honour as the only performers. It was probably afterwards that a portion of the duke’s company of players came down to Edinburgh to give regular performances. Mr Tytler had a dim recollection of seeing one of their playbills, advertising in capital letters The Indian Emperor, as to be played by them at the Queen’s Chocolate House, which, he thought, would be near the palace, though we must regard the High Street as a much more likely situation. This was Dryden’s play on the sad story of Montezuma. The great English poet comes into connection in another way with this histrionic expedition to the north, for, when the remainder of the company appeared at Oxford, he had to write a prologue apologising for the weakness of the corps, and did it ludicrously at the expense of Scotland.

‘Our brethren are from Thames to Tweed departed;
And of our sisters all the kinder-hearted,
To Edinborough gone, or coached or carted.
With bonny Blue-cap there they
act all night,
For
Scotch half-crown, in English threepence hight.
One nympth to whom fat Sir John Falstaff’s lean,
There with her single
person fills the scene.
Another, with long use
and wont decayed,
Dived here old woman, and there rose a maid.
Our trusty doorkeepers of former time,
There strut and swagger in heroic rhyme.
Tack but a copper lace to drugget suit,
And there a hero’s made without dispute,
And that which was a capon’s tail before,
Becomes a plume for Indian emperor.
But all his subjects, to express the care
Of imitation, go like Indian bare:
Laced linen there would be a dangerous
thing,
It might perhaps a new rebellion bring—
The Scot who wore it would be chosen king.’

Mr Tytler also states that ‘tea, for the first time heard of in Scotland, was given as a treat by the princesses to the Scottish ladies who visited at the abbey.’ He adds: ‘The duke was frequently seen in a party at golf on the Links of Leith, with some of the nobility and gentry. I remember in my youth to have often conversed with an old man, named Andrew Dickson, a golf-club maker, who said that, when a boy, he used to carry the duke’s golf-clubs, and to run before him and announce where the balls fell.’

In July 1681, hearing that the Duke and Duchess of York were now residing in Scotland, an Irish theatrical company thought it might be a good speculation to visit Edinburgh, ‘to set up a playhouse for the diversion and entertainment of such as shall desire the same.’ They, to the number of thirty persons, landed at Irvine in Ayrshire, bringing with them ‘clothes necessar for their employment, mounted with gold and silver lace,’ when a difficulty was encountered, arising from the late act of parliament regarding laced clothes. The company was obliged to send a petition to the Privy Council in Edinburgh, shewing that ‘trumpeters and stage-players’ were exempted from the said act, and supplicating a pass to be exhibited to the tax-collector at Irvine. His Royal Highness and the Council at once acceded to the prayer of this petition.—P. C. R.

The Duke of York left Edinburgh by sea, on the 6th of March 1682, ‘being desired to see his majesty at Newmarket. There was great solemnity and attendance at his parture.' He returned to Scotland, on the 7th of May, also by sea, on which occasion occurred the disastrous shipwreck of the Gloucester frigate in which he sailed. His purpose at this time was to bring back his family from Scotland, and, accordingly, he and the princesses finally departed on the 15th of the month.

Dec 19
A commission composed of country gentlemen and advocates sat in the Tolbooth of Borrowstounness to try a number of poor people for the crime of witchcraft. There was Annaple Thomson, who had had a meeting with the devil in the time of her widowhood, before she was married to her last husband, on her coming betwixt Linlithgow and Borrowstounness, when he, ‘in the likeness of ane black man, told you, that you was ane poor puddled body, and had an evil life, and difficulty to win through the world, and promised if you would follow him, and go alongst with him, you should never want, but have ane better life; and about five weeks thereafter the devil appeared to ye when you was going to the coal-hill about seven o’clock in the morning. Having renewed his former tentation, you did condescend thereto, and declared yourself content to follow him and become his servant.’ There were also women called Margaret Pringle, Margaret Hamilton (two of the name), and Bessie Vicker, besides a man called William Craw. ‘Ye and each person of you was at several meetings with the devil in the links of Borrowstounness, and in the house of you Bessie Vicker, and ye did eat and drink with the devil, and with one another, and with witches in her house in the night-time; and the devil and the said William Craw brought the ale which ye drank, extending to about seven gallons, from the house of Elizabeth Hamilton, and you, the said Annaple, had ane other meeting about five weeks ago, when you was going to the coal-hill of Grange, and he invited you to go along with him and drink with him in the Grange-pans.’ Two of the other accused women were said to have in like manner sworn themselves into the devil’s service and become his paramours, one eight years, the other thirty years ago. It was charged against Margaret Pringle, that ‘the devil took you by the right hand, whereby it was for eight years grievously pained, but [he] having touched it of new again, it immediately became hail;’ against Margaret Hamilton—’ the devil gave you ane five-merk piece of gold, whilk a little after becam ane sklaitt stane.’ And finally, ‘you and ilk ane of you was at ane meeting with the devil and other witches at the cross of Muirstane, above Kinneil, upon the thretteen of October last, where you all danced, and the devil acted the piper.’

These poor people were solemnly tried by the commissioners before an assize of fifty persons, and, notwithstanding that the indictment charges scarcely any hurtful attempts against individuals, the whole were adjudged to be taken four days after to the west end of the town, and there worried at a stake and burnt.

Thomas Kirke, a Yorkshire squire, this year published a Modern Account of Scotland, containing an extraordinary effusion of bile against the country, but also preserving a few traits probably not far from the truth. He describes the gentlemen’s houses as generally of a fortified character, ‘with strong iron grates before the windows—the lower part whereof is only a wooden shutter, and the upper part glass—so that they look more like prisons than houses of reception. Some few houses there are of late erection, that are built in a better form, with good walks and gardens about them; but their fruit rarely comes to any perfection. The houses of the commonality are very mean, mud-wall and thatch the best. But the poorer sort live in such miserable huts as never eye beheld; men, women, and children pig together in a poor mouse-hole of mud, heath, and such-like matter. The Lowland gentry go well enough habited, but the poorer sort almost naked, only an old cloak or part of their bed-clothes thrown over them. The Highlanders wear slashed doublets, commonly without breeches, only a plaid tied about their waists and thrown over one shoulder, with short stockings to the gartering-place, their knees and part of their thighs being naked. Others have breeches and stockings all of a piece of plaid ware, close to their thighs [trews]. In one side of their girdle sticks a durk or skene [knife], about a foot or half a yard long . . . . on the other aide a brace at least of brass pistols: nor is this honour sufficient; if they can purchase more, they must have a long swinging sword.

‘The highways in Scotland are tolerably good, which is the greatest comfort a traveller meets with amongst them. They have not inns, but change-houses [taverns], poor small cottages where you must be content to take what you find. The Scotch gentry generally travel from one friend’s house to another; so seldom require a change-house. Their way is to hire a horde and a man for twopence a mile;’ they ride on the horse thirty or forty miles a day, and the man who is his guide foots it beside him and carries his luggage to boot.’


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