Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter XXXVII


JAMES RENWICK BECOMES LEADER OF THE CAMERONIANS-THEY ARE PERSECUTED WITH ADDITIONAL RIGOUR-INCIDENTS OF "THE KILLING TIME" -MERCILESS PROCEEDINGS OF CLAVERHOUSE, COLONEL DOUGLAS, LAG, AND OTHERS - CAPTURE AND EXECUTION OF RENWICK-ROMANIZING POLICY OF JAMES VII. -THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS OF DUMFRIES INTERFERED WITH BY THE GOVERNMENT-MAXWELL OF BARNCLEUGH, A ROMAN CATHOLIC, MADE PROVOST, IN VIRTUE OF A PRIVY COUNCIL EDICTBAILIES, DEACONS, AND MERCHANT COUNCILLORS, APPOINTED IN THE SAME ARBITRARY WAY-TAE REVOLUTION: ITS RESULTS IN DUMFRIESPROVOST MAXWELL SUDDENLY DISAPPEARS-MUNICIPAL FREEDOM RESTORED TO THE BURGH-A REACTIONARY MOVEMENT PROMPTLY PUT DOWN, FOR WHICH THE TOWN AUTHORITIES ARE THANKED BY THE GOVERNMENT -THE PRINCE OF ORANGE PROCLAIMED KING OF SCOTS AT THE MARKET CROSS -CLAVERHOUSE SLAIN AT KILLIECRANKIS-PRESBYTERIANISM REESTABLISHED - MR. WILLIAM VEITCH SETTLED IN ST. MICHAEL'S AS SUCCESSOR TO MR. GEORGE CAMPBELL.

BEFORE giving any further particulars of the Persecution carried on by their means, we must notice briefly the career of one against whom much of its fury was directed, and who about this time came prominently forward as the leader of the Cameronians - James Renwick. Since the slaughter of Cameron in 1680, and the martyrdom of Cargill in the following year, the extreme party among the Presbyterians had been without a head - had no stated ministers, indeed, and were very imperfectly organized. Renwick, whilst quite a youth, adopted their views, and identified himself with their fortunes. When nineteen years of age, he witnessed the martyrdom of Cargill; which so stirred his whole moral nature, that he devoted himself heart and soul to the cause for which the aged martyr suffered. The Cameronian party, appreciating his fervour, piety, and talent, offered to send him to the University of Groningen, in Holland, to complete his training for the ministry - a proposal which he cheerfully accepted. Leaving his native village of Minnyhive, in Nithsdale, he proceeded to the university; and, after a six months' course of theological study, and being presbyterially ordained, he returned to the south of Scotland the accepted pastor, the recognized chief, of the wandering Covenanters. In a paper called the "Informatory Vindication," he explained the views and position of the United Societies; and in 1683 followed this up by the emission of a boldly defiant document styled "An Apologetical Declaration," in which they, after the manner of Richard Cameron's Sanquhar manifesto, abjured Charles Stuart as a cruel tyrant, and intimated their resolution to continue in the exercise of their Christian rights, and, if attacked, to repel force by force.

Whilst the publication of this paper nerved the courage of the Covenanters, it at the same time intensified the fury of their enemies. Before it was many weeks old, the Privy Council passed an Act ordaining that any person who owned, or would not disown it, was to be immediately put to death, though unarmed ; the only qualifications to this exterminating edict being, that it was to be enforced by the military in presence of two witnesses. On the 30th of December, 1684, a Government proclamation was issued having a still wider sweep-commanding, as it did, all the inhabitants of the country to swear that they abhorred, renounced, and disowned the Apologetical Declaration. The Abjuration Oath, thus first prescribed, soon acquired an infamous notoriety, and gave rise to much suffering in the west and south of Scotland, where it was ensnaringly tendered as the touchstone of loyalty to people of all ranks.

Under Renwick's leadership, the witnesses for "God's covenanted work of Reformation" had their courage renewed and their faithfulness confirmed: field-preaching, which had been for a season given up, was revived; and though no conventicles were held on a very large scale, as in former years, the hills and valleys of Upper Nithsdale and Galloway became at times once more vocal with the song of praise ascending from bands of worshippers, who thus foiled, in these solitudes remote, "a tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws," and prepared, sword in hand, if need be, to act upon the bold menace expressed in their Declaration.

A few illustrative details of the Persecution that set in  against them with redoubled fury, may now be given, the dates being chiefly 1684 and 1685, "wherein," says Patrick Walker, "eighty-two of the Lord's suffering people were suddenly and cruelly murdered in desert places;" so that these two years came to be called emphatically "the killing time." First let us record a few more of Sheriff Graham's own achievements: "His commission at this time," says Dr. Simpson, "was to scour Nithsdale, from New Cumnock to Sanquhar, in quest of all disaffected persons, and to search every nook and ravine, and hunt unsparingly on both sides of the Nith. As it regarded the populace, no exemptions were to be made-the peasantry, man, woman, and children, were to be driven like a flock of sheep before the soldiers to a given place, and there to be interrogated, and treated every one as the commander should dictate." When Claverhouse, by such means as these, ferreted out his victims, he usually made short work with them. Take the Test, abjure the Covenants, agree to all the other conditions of abject mental slavery prescribed by the Privy Council, and safety, except in the case of old opposers of the Government, was secured; but let the dastardly terms be rejected, then Heaven might have mercy on such as heroically repudiated them, but Claverhouse and his troopers had none.

On the 18th of December, 1684, he surprised six refugees wandering destitute on the banks of Dee, at Auchinday, in the parish of Girthon. Four of them, Robert Fergusson, John M`Michan, Robert Stewart (son to Major Stewart of Ardoch), and John Grierson, were, after brief warning, left lifeless on the sward. Three of the bodies were carried away by their friends and buried at Dalry, which so irritated Claverhouse, that the gory remains were disinterred by his orders, and lay exposed for several days, after which they were recommitted to the grave. The two other captives, William Hunter and Robert Smith, were carried to Kirkcudbright, condemned after the semblance of a trial, hanged, and then beheaded. In the same year, whilst three of the wanderers were returning from a conventicle held in the parish of Carsphairn, they were encountered by Graham and his men, and shot without ceremony. The martyrs -Joseph Wilson, John Jamieson, and John Humphrey-were buried in the neighbouring moorland of Crossgellioch; and about twelve years ago, when the foundation of a monument erected over the resting-place of the sufferers was being excavated, their bodies, says Dr. Simpson, were found embalmed in the moss, "shrouded in their hosen, in their coats, and in their bonnets, exactly as they fell."

In the same year Claverhouse apprehended Thomas Harkness of Mitchelslacks, Andrew Clark, Leadhills, and Samuel M`Ewan, Glencairn. Not only were these men stanch Nonconformists, but they were charged with having assisted in rescuing a party of Covenanters when being conveyed to Edinburgh by the military through Enterkin pass. Harkness and his companions, exhausted by protracted wanderings, were caught sleeping on a hillside in the parish of Closeburn, and " brought into Edinburgh," says Wodrow, " about one of the clock, and the same day they were sentenced and executed about five." Before suffering martyrdom, they emitted a joint testimony, declaring that they owned all authority that is allowed by the written Word of God, sealed by Christ's blood, and disowned Popery and all other false doctrine; adding, that they blessed the Lord, who enabled them to bear witness on his behalf, being content to lay down their lives with " cheerfulness, boldness, and courage," and that if they had had a hundred lives " they would willingly quit with them all for the truth of Christ." James Harkness, brother to Thomas, and of the same heroic spirit, was also taken by Claverhouse, and capitally sentenced; but he succeeded, with twenty-five fellow-prisoners, in escaping from Canongate Jail, Edinburgh, and lived to a good old age, enjoying the sweets of the Revolution Settlement at his farm-house of Locherben.

[He was interred beside not a few of his kindred in the romantic churchyard of Dalgarno. Over his remains was placed a tombstone, thus inscribed: "Here lyes the body of James Harkness, in Locherben, who died 6th Dec., 1723, aged 72 years.

"Belo this stone this dust doth ly
Who endured 28 years, persecuted by tyranny,
Did him pursue, echo and cry,
Through many a lonesome place.
At last by Clavers he was tans, and sentenced for to die;
But God who for his soul took care did him from prison bring,
Because no other cause they had but that he would not give up
With Christ his glorious King,
And swear allegiance to that beast-the Duke of York,
I mean: In spite of all their hottest rage, a natural death did die,
In full assurance of his rest with Christ eternally."

Mr. Christopher Harkness, commissary clerk of Dumfries, is a lineal descendant of the Harknesses of Mitchelslacks. His nephew, Mr. Thomas Harkness, is tenant of that farm; and it has been possessed by the family of Harkness for two centuries or more.]

Among the barbarous acts chargeable against Colonel James Douglas are the following, perpetrated in 1685:- Five Covenanters, named respectively, John Gibson, Robert Grierson, Robert Mitchell, James Bennoch, and John Edgar, having taken refuge in a cave at Ingleston, in the parish of Glencairn, Nithsdale, were betrayed to Douglas by one Andrew Watson, dragged forth, and, without being left a breathing time for prayer, shot dead. In the same summary style he treated John Hunter at Corehead, Moffatdale; Thomas Richard, a veteran of seventy years, at Cumnock; and Andrew Macquhan, who was seized in bed when sick of a fever, and despatched at New Galloway.

Of Lag's persecuting achievements, Wodrow and the author of the "Cloud of Witnesses" preserve numerous instances. In 1685 he captured and shot, under cloud of night, George Short and David Halliday of Glenap, in the parish of Troquholm. In the same year, when scouring the parish of Tongland with a party of dragoons, he surprised another David Halliday, portioner of Mayfield, Andrew M'Crabit, James Clement, Robert Lennox of Irlintown, and John Bell of Whiteside, all of whom he put to death. When the last-named prisoner pleaded for a moment's respite, in order that he might commend himself and fellow-sufferers to God, Lag, it is said, exclaimed, in his usual irreverent way, " What the devil have you been doing so many years in these hills? Have you not prayed enough already?" and so saying, gave the fatal order which laid them lifeless at his feet.

The records of the time show that Captain Bruce was as ruthless a tool of the Privy Council as any member of it could have wished. In the same sanguinary year he surprised, at Lochenkit, parish of Kirkpatrick-Durham, six men, and instantly killed four of them, viz., John Gordon, William Stewart, John Wallace, and William Heron; the other two, Edward Gordon and Alexander M`Cubbin, after being allowed a day's grace, were, at the instance of Lag, hanged upon a growing tree near Irongray Church, and buried at the place of execution. About the same time, James Kirko, of Sundaywell, Dunscore, [There are two old square towers still standing in the upper part of Gleneslin, and on opposite sides of the glen, at a point where it contracts to a narrow pass. The names of these towers are Bogrie and Sundaywell, and both of them anciently belonged to district families of the name of Kirk, or Kirko. That of Sundaywell is still inhabited as a farm-house. There is a stone over the door bearing the initials I. K., and opposite S. W., meaning John Kirk of Sundaywell. Under the initials is the date 165L-Statistical Account, pp. 341-2.] while lurking in the parish of Kier, was betrayed by one James Wright into the hands of Bruce; who, as has been already incidentally noticed, carried his prisoner to Dumfries, detained him there one night, brought him forth next morning to the White-sands, and added one more to the list of martyred victims whose dust lies in St. Michael's churchyard waiting the resurrection day.

Many Nonconformists died in captivity or in exile, who were as truly martyrs as if they had perished at the stake. A refusal to attend the curate or take the Test was, in countless instances, followed by an imprisonment which terminated only with life itself For such "crimes" as these Bailie Muirhead of Dumfries was consigned to the prison at Leith, fell ill there, and died; James Glover, while skulking among the woods of Tinwald, was shot at, wounded, and carried to Dumfries in a dying state, and breathed his last in the Edinburgh tolbooth ; Andrew Hunter, a burgess of Dumfries, old and decrepit, was immured in the town prison, and experienced the same fate-the poor sufferer praying in vain that he might get home, where he would be better attended to: a home of another kind awaited him. More pitiful still was the fate of those Nonconformists who perished in the vile, noisome pit at Dunnottar Castle, which is still known as "The Whigs' Vault." Among the hundreds of both sexes there confined during the sweltering summer months of 168:i, were twenty-nine men and women, who had previously been lodged in the Dumfries jail; two of the latter having first been scourged through the town by the common hangman, "merely because they would swear no oaths, and refused to engage to hear the curate of their parish." [Wodrow, vol. iv., p. 289] A devout matron of Dumfries, Euphraim Threipland by name, was also of the number. She was the widow of George Macbirnie, a merchant of the Burgh, who, "after he had been tossed since Middleton's Parliament, with finings, confinings, wanderings, and imprisonments, contracted a sickness whereof he died in 1681." [Ibid., p. 326] Because Mrs. Macbirnie would not specify the conventicles she attended, name the officiating preachers, and promise to hear the curates, she was fined in a very heavy sum, and being unable to pay it, was sent to "the thief's hole" at Dumfries, from which, though unable to leave her pallet from sickness, she was dragged, with her fellow-prisoners, and despatched to Dunnottar, where she lay for three months. She was fortunate enough to escape transportation, "by a mistake of her name in the clerk;" and, after an additional imprisonment of six months at Leith, she was liberated on giving bond to appear when called upon. "However," says Wodrow, "the Sheriff-Depute kept possession of her goods, and threatened her person if she returned to Dumfries." The tragedy of "The Whigs' Vault" at Dunnottar, has, not without good cause, been compared to that of the Black Hole of Calcutta. John Stock, a burgess of Dumfries, perished in the vault, and several others were suffocated by its noxious atmosphere, who drew their first breath in the same town, before the air of Nithsdale had become morally contaminated by a tyrant King and his minions. James Carran, John Renwick, and Andrew M'Lellan, all householders in Dumfries, were, among a multitude of other Covenanters-the flower of the country in every sense-cast out of it as if they had been vile human weeds, and died prematurely in exile. [It must not be supposed that we accept as beyond challenge all the instances of persecution recorded by Wodrow : he seems at times to have been too credulous; but, after making every reasonable deduction on this account, there still remain a vast number of well -authenticated cases, of which those specified by us are merely a sample.]

Whilst the sword of persecution was being wielded with increasing fury, the wretched King who had allowed it to be unsheathed died in the midst of his revels, not without suspicion of having been poisoned. In his closing moments he received the last rites of the Romish Church-thus avowing a faith which lie had long secretly cherished. He was succeeded, as James the Seventh, by his brother the Duke of York; who was not only an avowed and bigoted member of the Papal Church, but had never concealed his wish to establish it, and undo the Reformation throughout the British dominions. For a brief space after his accession, the Covenanters enjoyed a breathing time: anon the butcheries were renewed; and when the punishment of death was commuted for transportation to the American colonies, the sufferers were savagely marked to prevent their returning-the men having their ears lopped off, and the women being branded on the cheek. On the 30th of June, 1685, the Earl of Argyle was beheaded at Edinburgh, after the failure of an attempt made by him to defeat by force the despotic and Romanizing policy of the King-the martyred nobleman testifying on the scaffold that he died a Protestant, and "not only a Protestant, but with a heart-hatred of Popery, Prelacy, and all superstition whatever." Other victims followed; and their blood was not altogether shed in vain-proving, as it did, "the seed of freedom's tree," that still had its roots fixed in the British soil, and was destined, ere many more years elapsed, to flourish in unprecedented vigour.

James, encouraged by the overthrow of Argyle's attempt, and the suppression of a similar movement made in England by Monmouth, developed his measures with increasing boldness. That he might advance his Roman Catholic subjects to offices of power, he, under the colour of a universal act of clemency, set aside certain political disqualifications, the repeal of which incidentally benefited the Covenanters. Afterwards, early in 1687, he by direct means endeavoured to conciliate them: first, by a permission to assemble for worship in private houses during the royal pleasure; then, by allowing all Presbyterians to worship in their own churches, by repealing all the laws against them, leaving only those that prohibited field-preaching in full force. Many ministers accepted this toleration; and, favoured by it, the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr met in August of the same year, after a long interval, to resume their deliberations.

The young Nithsdale hero, Renwick, with many of his brethren, rejected these indulgences, because they emanated from an impure source, were clogged with dishonourable conditions, and were meant as part of the price with which the sovereign sought to purchase the establishment of Popery. He protested against them as a mockery and a snare; and the Government answered by offering a large reward to any one who should seize him, dead or alive. Bearing still unflinchingly the banner of the Covenant, his conscience would not permit him to make any compromise that might stain its unspotted blue; and thus, defending the ensign of the Church, separating himself from its pliant friends, defying its implacable enemies, bearding the power of the deceitful King, he became exposed to perils innumerable. "Thirteen times during the one year (1687) had the troops made the, strictest search for him throughout the whole country, prying into every cellar, and tearing off the thatch and pulling down the ceilings of the houses. He had to travel in disguise by the most unfrequented paths, chased like a partridge on the mountains; and to him the mist was a protecting garment, and the dead hour of midnight the guardian of his footsteps. He lived in rude and remote cottages, in shepherds' huts on the tops of the hills, in bosky forests, in caves and in rocks. Wherever he was, he had watches stationed all round to give the alarm. He preached with a fleet horse standing beside him, saddled and bridled, on which he could mount in a moment, and leave far behind him all the troopers in Scotland." [Dodds's Fifty Years' Struggle, p. 371.]

Renwick eluded their vigilance, whilst he continued preaching and testifying in his native district; but when visiting Edinburgh, in January, 1688, on business connected with a protest against the indulgences, which he had forwarded to the General Assembly, then sitting, he was apprehended in the house of a Cameronian friend, where he lodged, tried on charges of disowning the King, refusing to pay the cess, condemning the toleration, maintaining the right of self-defence, and holding conventicles; and having been found guilty on his own confession, was adjudged to death. Before his execution, whilst he lay in prison bands, strenuous efforts were made to induce him to recant-he was even tempted with the offer of life, if he would only renounce the principles for which he had been condemned; but he resisted the insidious tempters who visited his cell, with the same courage that enabled him to tread the hills of Closeburn, or the moors of Kyle, with the step of a freeman, when to do so was counted treason.

On the day fixed for his execution (the 17th of February) the Privy Council, fearing, if he made a speech from the scaffold, that it would dangerously excite the populace, enjoined him by a messenger to refrain from so doing, and intimating that if he offered to speak the drums would be set abeating. With characteristic resolution, he repudiated this last attempt at dictation by his persecutors; and though, when he delivered his farewell address, the roll of the drums rose harsh and high, a few broken sentences of it were caught by the eager ears of his followers, "and treasured up as the precious fragments of a distinguished martyr's dying testimony." "I leave my testimony," he said, "approving the preaching of the Gospel in the fields, and the defending of the same by arms. I adjoin my testimony to all that hath been sealed by blood, shed either on scaffolds, fields, or seas, for the cause of Christ. I leave my testimony against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism ; against all profanity, and every thing contrary to sound doctrine; particularly against all usurpations made in Christ's right, who is the Prince of the kings of the earth, who alone must bear the glory of ruling his own kingdom, the Church; and, in particular, against the absolute power usurped by this usurper, that belongs to no mortal, but is the incommunicable prerogative of Jehovah; and against this toleration flowing from that absolute power."

Under such circumstances died the pious, gifted, and heroic James Renwick, just as he had completed his twenty-sixth year. Nine months afterwards he would, if alive, have been hailed as a noble champion of national freedom. Pity, in one sense, that William of Orange did not arrive in February instead of November, for then the scaffold would have been cheated of its last Covenanted victim ; but the illustrious sufferer laid down his life cheerfully, and, as he himself declared, was ready to give ten hundred lives if he had possessed them, in the maintenance of the glorious cause for which he died.

In order that the King's scheme for subverting Protestantism might be promoted, the oath by which officials professed their adherence to it was set aside; and thus the door was opened for the admission of Roman Catholics to places of trust and power. By means of this device, Dumfries-Presbyterian and Covenanting though most of its inhabitants were-came to be furnished with a Romanist chief magistrate. Mr. John Coupland was Provost of the Burgh for the three years ending Michaelmas, 1683; at which term, James, Lord Drumlanrig, was chosen as his successor, and continued in office three years, though he was never present at the deliberations of the Council, and seems to have been little more than the nominal ruler of the town. In 1686 no new magistrates were appointed. Before the preliminary steps for the annual election could be taken, a prohibitory letter was received by the authorities from the Lord Chancellor of Scotland. [Burgh Records.] It was addressed on the back, "For the Provost and Baylies of the Brugh of Dumfreise, or any of them to whom this shall be first addressed, to be communicat to the Town Councillin heast;" and ran thus:"Affectionat freinds, Whereas his sacred Majestic hes by his royell Letter daited at the Court of Windsor, the twenty day of September instant, signified that all elections in royall burrows be suspendit untill his royall pleasure be known theranent: you are ther for in pursuance therof heirby expresslie prohibited and discharged, as you will answear at youre perill, to elect any new magistrats or counsell within your burgh for this yeir: and you and the present counsell are by his Majestie's authoritie heir by authorised to continew and exist as magistrats and counsell untill his Majestic shall signifie his further pleasure. Signed at command and in name of his Majestie's Privie Counsell-By-Your affectionat freind,

Edinburgh, the 16th        PERTH, cancell.,

September, 1686. I. P. D.

In accordance with this arbitrary exercise of the royal prerogative, Lord Drumlanrig and the other syndics of the town continued at the head of affairs for another year; and when 1687 arrived, his Majesty thought he might safely venture to stretch it a great way further, by nominating as Provost a distant relative of the powerful Nithsdale family, and who like its head

was devoted to his interests, and a decided Romanist. The Council having met on the 6th of January in the above year, John Maxwell of Barncleugh, Irongray, [So many families of distinction in Galloway and Dumfriesshire are connected by blood or marriage with the Maxwells of Barncleugh, that the following genealogical note may be deemed interesting. Thomas Maxwell, merchant burgess in Dumfries at the end of the sixteenth century, was a younger son of Maxwell of Kirkconnell, and thus a cadet of the Carlaverock Maxwells (see ante, p. 31). Thomas married Agnes Rig, whose father was a notary in Dumfries. John, their son and heir, married, in 1637, Agues Irving, daughter of John Irving (descended from the Bonshaw Irvings, probably), on the 7th of July, 1638. He obtained from George Rome of Irongray a wadsett right of the lands of Barncleugh and others. Agnes Irving survived her husband, and married secondly Robert Maxwell of Carnsalloch. It was the only son of the last-mentioned John who became Provost of Dumfries under the curious circumstances described in the text. Provost Maxwell married Margaret, daughter of John Irving (Provost of Dumfries in 1661-2-3-4, and 5, and again in 1668-9-70-1-2, and 3), by Elizabeth Crichton, his wife, who was daughter of Sir Robert Crichton of Ryehill, a brother of the Earl of Dumfries. James Maxwell, eldest son of the Provost, married Janet Carruthers, a widow, whose first husband was Alexander Johnstone. He married secondly, Mary, daughter of Dr. James Wellwood, a distinguished member of the College of Physicians, London, and whose father, of the same name, was parish minister of Tundergarth. By his second wife, James had Barbara Maxwell, who married James Johnstone, brother of Thomas Johnstone of Clauchrie, a cadet of the Westerhall family, Annandale. Wellwood Johnstone, born in 1747, youngest and only surviving son of James Johnstone and Barbara Wellwood, succeeded in 1776 as Wellwood Maxwell of Barncleugh, on the death of James Maxwell of Barneleugh, son of Wellwood's grandfather by the first marriage. Wellwood Maxwell (or Johnstone) married Catherine, daughter of John Maxwell of Terraughtie. He died in 1833, leaving five sons, John, Wellwood, Alexander, William, and George, and three daughters, Agnes, Mary, and Catherine. John, the eldest, born in 1784, married, in 1815, his cousin, Clementina Herries Maxwell, heiress of Munches, and died in 1843, leaving a son, Wellwood Herries Maxwell, born in 1817, now of Munches, and convener of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. He married, in 1844, Jane Home, eldest daughter of Sir William Jardine, Bart., the eminent naturalist, and chief of the ancient family of Applegarth. Wellwood, Alexander, and George carried on business together as merchants in Liverpool. The latter, who was proprietor of Glenlee, and unsuccessfully contested the representation of the Stewartry in 1857, died in 1858. The two other brothers, Wellwood Maxwell of the Grove, and Alexander Maxwell of Glengaber, after amassing a fortune, spent the autumn of their honourable and useful lives together at the Grove, and died within a few months of each other during the currency of the present year (1867). William, a Liverpool merchant, and Catherine, now Mrs. Davis, still survive.] appeared, and presented two Acts of the Privy Council dated the 16th of December, 1686, in one of which lie was nominated by them as Provost of Dumfries, and the existing bailies, dean, treasurer, and councillors were authorized to continue officiating as such for the ensuing year. 'The other Act was in the following terms:-" Whereas the Lords of his Majestie's Privy Counsell have by their act of the date heirof, pursueant to a letter direct to them from the King's most excellent Majestie, nominat and appointed the magistrats and other counsellors therein mentioned for the Brugh of Drumfreis, and particularly John Maxwell of Barncleugh to be proveist thereof, with the dispensatione after mentioned; therefore the said Lords doe heirby require and command the said John Maxwell to be entered and admitted proveist of the said Brugh without taking the Test, or any other oath, prescribed by law, except the oath de fideli administratione, conforme to his Majestie's said letter."

Mr. Maxwell had for some time previously to this appointment been town-clerk of Dumfries, and appears to have occupied a highly respectable position in both Burgh and County. It need scarcely be said that the commands of the Privy Council respecting his appointment were implicitly obeyed. Barncleugh, as he was usually called, remained Provost for the current year; and soon after it expired another edict came down from Edinburgh authorizing his reappointment, and embodying such other orders as rendered the whole members of the burghal senate nominees of the Romanizing Court. This tyrannical missive is so richly illustrative of King James's general policy at this time, as well as so interesting locally, that we must introduce it verbatim. The Town Council having met on the 22nd of February, 1688, received and resolved to give effect to the following letter, dated the 9th of that month:-" The Lords of his Majestie's Privie Counsell, in pursuance of his Majestie's royall commands, signified to them in a letter dated at Court of Whitehall, the tenth day of November last, Heirby nominate and appoynt the persones underwrit to be Magistrats and Counsell of the Brugh of Drumfreis during this current year, they being such whom his Majestic judges most loyall and ready to promote his service, and most forward to support the good and interest of the said brugh, viz.:- John Maxwell of Barncleugh, to be proveist thereof; John Irving (son to the deceast John Irving, late proveist), Walter Newall, and John Rome, bailliess; Andrew Coupland, dean of gild, and James Dalzell to continue treasurer; and Gavin Carlyle, merchant, Richarde Gibsone, merchant, John Leith, merchant, and John Shillingtoune, merchant, to be new counsellors; and the deacons of crafts to be John Corsbie, present deacon of the squairemen, and deacon convener, John Dicksone, deacon of the shoemakers, John Mairtine, deacon of the ffleshers, Thomas Dicksone, deacon of the weavers, William Blacklock, deacon of taylers, Walter Newall, deacon of the smiths, and James Lawsone, deacon of the glovers-all which persones are heirby authorized to continue in their respective offices untill Michaelmas next to come, in the year 1688; and appoynts the twentie-twa day of Ffebruary instant ffor their entrance and admittance. And recommends to the Shereff-Principal of Drumfreis, or his depute, or any of them, to be present and to sie his Majestie's pleasoure afoiresaid regularly and effectually put in executione."

Before "Michaelmas next" had come and gone, however, the King's fortunes had reached a perilous stage. When, in the summer of this eventful year, he caused six bishops of' the Church of England to be sent to the Tower, because they refused to allow a crowning Act of Indulgence to Papists to be read in their churches, the storm that had been long gathering reached a crisis. The nation was still Protestant at heart; and now, thoroughly aroused by the infatuated conduct of the bigoted King, turned for relief to his nephew and son-in-law, William, Prince of Orange, already distinguished as the protector of the Reformed faith against Louis XIV. of France. Responding to the expressed wish of the country, William landed at Torbay on the 5th of November, with about 14,000 men; and, as has been well said, " his march through the English counties was more like a military promenade or triumphal procession, than an invasion in which the crown of three kingdoms was to be won."

King James, after leaving London in dismay, departed in a fishing-smack from the land that had literally cast him out, and to which he never returned. Renwick denounced his reign as a usurpation; and it was now so regarded by all save the sect he had pampered, and the minions he had promoted. Many of the latter, sharing his alarm, followed him in his flight. His Commissioner in Scotland, the Earl of Perth, never for once thought of making a bold stroke on behalf of his royal master; but fled, like his officials in London, when startled from their propriety by the hurried tramp of the troops from Holland. To the honour of the populace, no bloody saturnalia were indulged in when the power of the detested Privy Council was broken, and they and their satellites, the Episcopal clergy, were left defenceless. The people of Scotland, who had suffered from a cruel oppression for twenty-eight years, rejoiced when the day of deliverance came, but resorted to no violent acts of retaliation or vengeance, well content when they saw the last of their persecutors-when the Test and the Abjuration Oath, the thumb-screw and the bootikin, the hangman's rope and the headsman's axe, and all the vile system of mental and physical torture from which they had suffered, vanished with the men who had planned and carried them mercilessly into effect.

The great lords of the Court decamped like the King, and so did the smaller magnates whom, in his zeal for Romanism, he had invested with civic rule. Before Michaelmas day, 1688, came round, in Dumfries the cry arose, " Where is the Provost?" He had disappeared suddenly, and no one could tell his whereabouts. Little did lie imagine at midsummer of that year, that before many months elapsed, lie would be degraded from office, a fugitive and an exile. It seemed really at one time as if the Papal Church had acquired its old predominance in the town: its chief magistrate, and some of his subordinates, were devoted members of it, and basking under the radiance of the house of Nithsdale, as well as of the royal favour, they thought "their bow would long abide in its strength;" and that, by and by, mass would be said in St. Michael's, and Protestantism be fairly sent to the wall.

The better to consolidate his power, Provost Maxwell left his residence in the country, and commenced housekeeping in Dumfries on a grand scale-lavish hospitality then, even more than now, being deemed a valuable auxiliary to municipal government. The members of the Corporation appreciated his liberality so much, that on the 5th of April, 1688, when the political sky was yet untroubled, they adopted a grateful resolution on the subject, as embodied in the following minute:- "The Counsell taking to their consideratione the expense and trouble of John Maxwell of Barncleugh, their present proveist, in comeing with his family from the country to dwell in this brugh, not only in taking of a lodgeing, and other incident charges, bot in taking in of wines to his house, to sustaine the inevitable charge of his office; and it being customary in other burrowes of note, to lay in provisione of wynes yearly to their proveist, out of their common good ; thairfore, and for his incuradgment to dwell within this brugh, the Counsell have thought fitt to allow, and doe heirby allow to him of cellarie for this present yeir, and yeirly in tyme comeing, during his Majestie's will to continue him in the said office, the soume of ffyve hundred merkes Scotts money, with ane tierce of Ffrench wyne yearly, provydeing alwayes, the common good of the brugh be so manadged be him that it shall not be burdened with any accompt of incident charges, or accompts of spending be him within brugh, except at extraordinar occasiones, to be approven or not by the Counsell." [Town Council Minutes]

Jovial doings are indicated by this extract from the minutes of Council: but brief though merry was the burghal reign of Barncleugh. News of Prince William's landing having reached the town, a sympathizing crowd of the inhabitants gathered in the market place on the evening of the 17th of December, and proceeded noisily through some of the streets. We cannot tell whether or not they threatened the magistrates, or passed revolutionary resolutions: they must, however, in some highly significant way have shown their antipathy to the ruling powers, and their sympathy with the Prince's movement, since Provost Maxwell no more ventured to appear at the Council Board, and the Bailies had to organize an armed force for the purpose of preserving the peace of the town. Again, on the 25th of December (Christmas-day), the populace made a fierce Anti-Romanist demonstration. " They collected," says Burnside, "from the religious houses in the neighbourhood all the remains of Popish vestments and imagery they could lay their hands upon; they tore down the carved work from the upper story of the Castle of Dumfries, wherein mass had been celebrated, and burnt all together, with effigies of the Pope, at the Market Cross." [The New Church of Dumfries was built upon the site of the Castle, and partly out of its remains. In 1866 the church was taken down to make room for a more imposing ecclesiastical structure. ; and during this process some relics were picked up, the most interesting of which was a bronze image of the Saviour, four and a half inches in length, very artistically executed. The position of the figure, with the expression of the face, show that it must have been attached to a cross, and have formed, with its wooden appendage, such a crucifix as is used by Roman Catholic worshippers. The arms were wanting, and they were probably fractured by the forcible removal of the image from the cross. The likelihood is that it formed part of the furnishings of an upper chamber of the Castle that was used as a chapel, dedicated to St. Bride, when the fortress belonged to the Maxwell family, and that it was torn down during the wrecking of the chapel as described above.] Before the month closed, the Revolution was received by the nation as an accomplished fact; and Dumfries, like other parts of Scotland, was once more in the enjoyment of religious and municipal freedom-exempt at once from the scourge of the Persecution and the Papal incubus.

The first evidence of this happy change is supplied by a minute of the Town Council, dated 26th December, from which we learn that on that day a letter was received by the civic body from Lord Athole, President of the reconstructed Privy Council, restoring to the burghal representatives of Dumfries the right to elect their own magistrates. We subjoin the substance of this important communication:- "Gentlemen, -His Majestie's Privy Council understanding that, in the late nominatione of magistrats and counsell for your brugh, Papists have been imployed in offices of power and trust among you, which may occasion fears and jealousies, to the indangering of the peace and quiet, and the Counsell being willing to remove any ground of such fears, have thought fitt heirby to authorize the magistrats and Town Counsell who were in before any such nominatione, and were legally chosen by your predecessores, to meit and choose magistrats and Counsell for the ensuing year, conforme to the custome and constitution of your brugh: for doeing whereof this shall be to you, and all who may be heirin concerned, a sufficient warrant." [Town Council Minutes.] In accordance with these instructions, the Council, on the following day, by " a plurality of votes," chose the Presbyterian Laird of Duchrae, [RATIFICATION OF WILLIAM CRAIK OF ARBIGLAND, 1681.-" Our sovereign lord affirmes and confirms the charter made and granted by his majestie under the great scale at Whitehall, the eight day of June, 1666, in favor of his majestie's lovit William Craik, Provost of Dumfries ... all and haill the lands of Duchraw, extending to ane Ten-pound land of old extent, containing and comprehending the particular lands under written, viz.: the lauds of Tornorroch, Rone, Drumglass, the two Duchraws, Clone, Barbech, Uroch, Uliack. The Maines, the two Craigs, Drumbreck, with the milne of Duchraw, milne lands, multurs, &c., togither with the fishing in the water of Die, belonging to the said lands, all lying within the parochis of Balmaghie and Stewartree of Kirkcudbright and Sheriffdome of Dumfries."-Acts of Scot. Part., vol. viii., p. 393.] Mr. William Craik, who had ruled over the Burgh before, as Provost, and they superseded six members by appointing other six in whom they had more confidence. The radical change thus effected in the government of the town, caused considerable commotion among the Romanist party. For the "care and diligence shown by the authorities in preventing threatened disturbances," they received a letter of thanks from the Privy Council, which communication closed in these terms:-We "doe aprove of your procedure in this affair, and look upon it as good and acceptable service at such a dangerous juncture as this, and alowes you to detaine as prisoners in your tolbuith thos persones apprehended be you on this account, except the Laird of Barncleugh, your late proveist, who is to be sent hither prisoner by the gentry of your shire, by order of the Laird of Lag, [We thus see that Sir Robert Grierson managed, in spite of his past misdeeds, to gain favour from the revolution Government; which may be accounted for by the circumstance that he was brother-in-law to the abler but almost equally pliant Queensberry, as well as by the necessities of the new Administration.] and others who have the Counsell's former commands anent him; and the Counsell doe heirby give order and warrant to Lag and Closeburn, or any two of your Toune counsell, to sight what is in the said Barncleugh's cloak-bag, found with him, for his disguise, and to delyver to him such papers therein as properly belong to himselfe ; and such as pertaine to your toune, to you ; and such as belong to the public, to be sent, under your sealls, to the clerke of counsell. Your cair and diligence for the future, to prevent troubles and to keip peace amongst yourselves, and keiping your toune in a conditione of defence for the Protestant religion and security of the kingdom, is expected, ther being ane frie electione allowed you by the counsell, in whose name this is signified to you by your humble servant, ATHOLE." [Town Council Minutes.]

We thus see that the missing ex-Provost, who was objected to solely on account of his religion, was found at last; and the records show that, after being for awhile imprisoned in Dumfries, he was sent to Edinburgh-where, we doubt not, he was leniently dealt with, like other greater offenders. On the 9th of January, 1689, the new Town Council met under the presidency of Provost Craik, and gave orders that the Prince of Orange should be proclaimed King at the Market Cross. This ceremony, however, was not performed till the 24th of April, in order, probably, that due time might be given for rendering it imposing. A minute of the preceding day states that the Council had fixed "the morrow, betwixt thrie and four o'clock in the afternoon, for proclaiming King William and Queen Mary, King and Queen of Scotland, with all solemnities used in such caises, conforme and in obedience to the meiting of the Estates, their proclamatione published thereanent; and appoynts intimatione to be made throu the toune be touk of drum, to the effect the inhabitants may appear in the Sandbeds at the bating of the drum, in their best arms." The treasurer's accounts show that "10 pound 6 unce of powdere," value 8 6s. Scots, was burnt on the joyous occasion; that whilst the cannons fired salutes, a bonfire made of "9 gritt loads of peitts," costing 1 16s., sent forth a ruddy blaze; and that the health of the new sovereigns was toasted at the Cross in six " pynts of ale," ordered by Bailie Irving: [Burgh Treasurer's Accounts. ] indoors, doubtless, the same toast would be honoured in more patrician liquor.

Whilst these events were transpiring, Graham of Claverhouse, no longer hunting Covenanting game on the hills of Dumfriesshire and Galloway, hurried to the Highlands with the view of upholding the desperate fortunes of King James. Complimented with a coronet by the royal fugitive, who had really ceased to be the "fountain of honour," Claverhouse entered upon his chivalrous enterprise, and for the first time in his career appeared as a hero.

"He waved his proud arm, and the trumpets were blown,
The kettle-drums clashed, and the horsemen rode on;
Till on Ravelstone crags, and on Clermiston lea,
Died away the wild war-note of Bonnie Dundee."

But the cause he sought to maintain was rotten at the core. King James was doomed; and the days of the doughty cavalier on whom he placed his chief reliance were numbered. Though victory smiled on the royal flag at Killicrankie, it was with a faint, dismal, deceptive smile, in view of the dead Dundee - all gory and cold as ever lay John Brown on the sward of Muirkirk, or any of his other victims in the glens of Nithsdale. The fall of Viscount Dundee, on the 17th of June, 1689, the failure of his followers before Dunkeld, and the decisive defeat of James at the battle of the Boyne in the following year, destroyed all the remaining hopes of the Stuart dynasty; and the discrowned monarch, deeply mortified by the failure of his schemes and the overthrow of his house and throne, retired to France.

Mr. Richard Brown, the Prelatical curate of St. Michael's, who succeeded Mr. Alexander Cairncroce [Mr. Cairncroce, who was seventeen years parson of Dumfries, was, on the recommendation of the Duke of Queensberry, promoted to the see of Brechin in August, 1684, and to the bishopric of Glasgow at the close of the same year.] in 1684, disappeared about the same time as the Papistical Provost; and on the 15th of August, a month after the battle of Killicrankie, the Presbyterian form of church government was once more, after an interval of twenty-six years, brought into full operation in Dumfries. A meeting of Session was held that day, attended by Mr. George Campbell, reponed as minister of the parish, John Irving of Drumcoltran (afterwards Provost of the Burgh), and John Shortridge (formerly deacon of the glovers), elders; assisted by Mr. Robert Paton, minister of Terregles, who had that day preached in St. Michael's Church. The Session having been duly constituted by prayer, proceeded to consider what could be done in the way of constituting ruling elders and deacons, so as to fill up the blanks created during the persecuting times. A lamentation was made "that hithertoo there was little access by reason of many letts and impediments in the way, and that difficulties not a few did continue." "Nevertheless," continues the record, "seeing endeavours should be essayed, there was ane list offered of persons fit for these employs; and forasmuch as some of these had been in the time of the late violent trials and troubles, hurried into a sad compliance with illicit engagements, who in the judgement of charity are looked upon as much grieved for, and dissatisfied with themselves for that, and judged to be no less fit, but more than many others, it was enquired what was fit to be done for such." [Session Records] This question having been fully debated, it was unanimously agreed that the persons referred to should be desired to signify before the minister and one or two elders, their sorrowful sense of their conduct, and that other likely individuals not similarly involved, should be requested to attend next meeting of the Court. Accordingly, on the following day, several elders and deacons, after professing penitence for having taken the Test, were received into the Session. Others were afterwards admitted; so that by the 30th of the month the elders numbered thirteen, and the deacons twelve.

For some time before the Revolution, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Paton, and Mr. Francis Irving, the faithful remnant of the Dumfries Presbytery, met occasionally to exercise a stealthy jurisdiction over the district; and when King James, for his own purposes, put a grain or two of toleration into his government, these ministers, officiating more openly and systematically, supplied pastors not only to several parishes within the bounds, but to Canonby, Borgue, Glencairn, and others, Mr. Campbell at the same time preaching occasionally to the faithful remnant of his flock in a small meeting-house situated in the East Barnraw, now called Loreburn Street. [Raw, or row, was synonymous with "street." The High Street was the Midraw, Chapel Street was Rattenraw, and now Loreburn Street was Last Barnraw.] Before 1690 commenced, not only the Session, but the Presbytery and Synod of Dumfries, were reconstructed; and the Parish and County were placed once more, by the authority of Parliament, under that ecclesiastical system which the greater portion of their inhabitants had openly or secretly adhered to during all the protracted troubles of the Persecution.

The delight of the Dumfriesians in getting back their old minister, Mr. Campbell, must have been very great; but his venerable father-in-law and colleague, Mr. Henderson, never preached to them again after parting from them in 1662, and he died an exile from the Parish before Presbyterianism was restored. In October, 1690, Mr. Campbell again took farewell of his flock, but this time under different circumstances, the General Assembly having appointed him Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh-."a situation," says M'Crie, " which he was extremely averse to, but for which he was eminently qualified by the `learning and modesty' ascribed to him, even by the avowed detractors of the Presbyterian ministers of that period." Considerable difficulty was experienced in finding a suitable successor at Dumfries for this good man and gifted preacher, and it was not till nearly four years afterwards that one was obtained, in the person of the celebrated Mr. William Veitch.

When only twenty-six years of age, Veitch, as stated in his memoirs, was " prevailed with, by Mr. John Welsh, minister of Irongray, and others, who came to his house at the Westhills of Dunsyre, to join with that party who were so oppressed by the inhuman cruelties and excessive robberies of Sir James Turner and the forces he commanded, lying at Dumfries, for their non-compliance with abjured Prelacy, so that they were necessitated to endeavour their own relief if possible." [M`Crie's Memoirs of William Veitch, pp. 23-4.] Though not present when the persecutor was captured, he thoroughly identified himself with the insurgents, took part in the battle of Pentlands, and narrowly escaped from that disastrous field. When, towards nightfall, the Covenanting ranks were broken, he "fell in," to use his own words, "with a whole troop of the enemy, who turned his horse violently in the dark and carried him along with them, not knowing but that he was one of their own." " But," he goes on to say, "as they fell down the hill in pursuit of the enemy, he held upwards till be got to the outside of them, and the moon rising clear, which made him fear he would presently be discovered, he saw no other way of escape but to venture up the hill, which he did, being well mounted; which, when the enemy perceived, they cried out, 'Ho! this is one of the rogues that has commanded them!' Several pursued him up the hill a little, and shot at him sundry times, but their horses sunk, and were not able to ascend the hill; so that lie escaped, and came that night to a laird's house in Dunsyre Common, within a mile of his own dwelling." [Ibid., p. 44.]

Mr. Veitch, after continuing in hiding, for several days, fled to the north of England, where he resided many years, ministering to various attached congregations, when such a liberty was allowed him. In 1678, when Prelacy was rampant, he was apprehended at Stanton, near Morpeth, on a magistrate's warrant, charged with being " a preacher or teacher to the Nonconformists in the Church of England," and with being an outlawed rebel fugitive from Scotland. Dragged before the Scottish Privy Council, he was subjected to a searching interrogation by Archbishop Sharpe; and, as the Council failed to make him criminate himself, and they had no evidence of his having been engaged in the Pentland rising, he was sent back to prison. "The next news was a letter from the King to turn him over to the criminal court, and there to intimate an old illegal sentence of death unto him;" but, owing to an opportune change in his Majesty's counsellors, and much influence being used on his behalf, the sentence was commuted to the lenient one of banishment from Scotland for life, in virtue of which he was left at liberty to rejoin his old friends in Northumberland.

At the Revolution, this uncompromising champion of the Covenant, who had suffered so much for his principles, obtained welcome repose. Several calls from vacant parishes having been addressed to him, he accepted one from Peebles, where he remained for four years, though, strangely enough, objections to his settlement there were made at the instigation of the Duke of Queensberry, on account of his being compromised in the Pentland affair; and before these were finally disposed of he received competing calls from Edinburgh and Dumfries, the latter of which, in accordance with the decision of the Assembly, he accepted in September, 1694. Mr. Veitch, as he himself narrates, was at first disinclined to accept the charge demitted by Mr. Campbell, and only did so after preaching repeatedly at Dumfries, and "acquainting himself with the people;" "and," he adds, "this was a great encouragement, that after several conferences with some leading persons in the town, wherein he told them, among other differences, needless here to be mentioned, that except they would free him of the drawing of the tithes (with which he had got on the finger-ends at Peebles, and 'burnt bairns fire dread'), and take a tack thereof from him, as long as he should continue minister of the place, he could not settle among them. They at length, consulting among themselves, complied with this, and so he set them a tack of them so long as he was to continue their minister, at the rate that they had often told him the tithes were worth, viz., twenty-two hundred merks per annum, out of which he is obliged, by charter from the King, to pay the second minister four hundred merks per annum." [Memoirs, p. 191.]

In the following year Mr. Veitch concurred with his Session and the magistrates in giving a call to Mr. Robert Paton, minister of Carlaverock, who was admitted as his colleague in February, 1696. It is pleasant to contemplate the venerable man, after all his troubles and trials, ministering in comfort to his Dumfries congregation, and looked up to with respect throughout the parish. He had been of some service to Mr. Gilbert Elliot, afterwards Lord Minto, when that young lawyer was in a humble condition, for which favour his lordship had afterwards an opportunity of showing his gratitude; and when the old friends met in Dumfries, which they often did, their conversation was sure to turn on the perils of the Persecution, contrasted with the peace of the present times. On one of these occasions, Lord Minto facetiously remarked, "Ah! Willie, Willie! had it not been for me, the pyets wad hae been pyking your pate on the Netherbow Port!" and Mr. Veitch's happy response was, "Ah! Gibbie, Gibbie! had it no been for me, ye would have been writing papers for a plack the page!" In 1709, his constitution, though vigorous, gave way, so that he had to obtain. successive assistants; one of whom, Mr. Patrick Linn, was ordained on the 19th of May, 1715, as the second minister of Dumfries, Mr. Paton being recognized as occupying the first charge. Mr. Veitch demitted his charge on the same day, on account of his increasing infirmities, though he still retained a right to preach occasionally. His faithful partner, to whom he had been married fifty-eight years, died in May, 1722; and next day he breathed his last, at the ripe age of eighty-two.


Return to Book Index