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Two Letters of Peden hitherto unpublished


I AM happy to be able, through the kindness of a friend, to publish here for the first time, two Letters of our famous Ayrshire Covenanter, Alexander Peden. The first of them was written to some unknown person from the farm-house of Knockdow, in Ballantrae parish. It may be remembered that Peden was taken prisoner at this house in the following month, and it is to be feared that this very letter may have given the clue to his hiding-place. It is interesting to notice the habit in those days of referring to persons in cypher, in case the letter should fall into an enemy's hands, which, in point of fact, this one did.

"Knockdow, Carrick, May 15th, 1673. " My dear friend,—I send this to you to lett you know that I have come to this place in some safety, but have no hopes of remaining long before the arch-enemy is upon me, but I pray you to remember me to'those I have left toiling there, that I am in good heart, but greatly tried. Tell John to keep the monies by him until I can find some trusty friend. I am not seen abroad just now, as I have some warning that injury is intended me. 331 and 334 are well, and send you health. You will find D. means us no good, and no good quality can be expected from L. " Ever your faithful friend,

"Alexr. Peden."

The second Letter was written to the Lord Stair of those days. He was the first Earl of Stair, afterwards Lord Advocate, a warm friend of the Covenanters, and who was himself several times imprisoned for the Cause. It was written about eleven years after the other, when Peden was again in hiding, and about a year before his death.

"My Lord,—I have but tyme to send you this scrip to lett your Lordship know that I have not yett given up my faith in the Restoration of this Remnant, and that I have got no news of my persecutors except that I have to encloss for fear. And I am tauld that 200 men have been doun this way. but I write this to you to show that the Lord has still protected me. I dare not comit more to this than I have done, because I know not into whose hands itt may pass, but praying the good Lord to keep you and yours in all health, and as much happiness as may be, I remain, in all obedience in the Lord, Alexr. Peden.

"From my place of 16, known to your Lordship, this 13th of Nov., 1684.

"For my Lord Stair, in all haste."


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