THE Restoration of Charles II. as King and so-called
Defender of the Faith sounded the knell of Puritanism of all kinds in
England, and of Presbyterianism in Scotland. The bishops were restored
throughout the three kingdoms as the governors of the Church, and it was
again a crime to be present at any service where the Common Prayer Book
was not used. The new Scottish bishops, Sharp of St. Andrews; Hamilton
of Galloway; Leighton of Dunblane; and Andrew Fairfoul, who had been
appointed to Glasgow, were consecrated in Westminster Abbey by several
English bishops in December, 1661.
The royal mandate had gone forth from the former
Covenanted King, that all persons, especially those holding office in
the Church, were to acknowledge the bishops, under pain of the Kingís
displeasure. Heavy fines were levied throughout the kingdom on those who
were believed to have had complicity with Cromwell, and among those
fined in Glasgow were John Spreul, the late town-clerk; John Graham,
late provost; and George Porterfield, late provost. No fewer than 439
persons in the Glasgow diocese were fined, the total sum taken from them
being £350,490 Scots (£29,207 10s. sterling).
So far as Glasgow and the West of Scotland were
concerned, these measures failed to procure honour to Archbishop
Fairfoul and his suffragans, and this nonconformity resulted in a
meeting of the Privy Council in Glasgow. It was held in the college
fore-hall, and was according to Wodrow, termed the drunken meeting of
Glasgow, as it was affirmed that all present were flustered with drink,
save Sir James Lockhart of Lee, who was the only dissentient."
This drunken meeting passed on 1st October, 1662, an
Act of Conformity, and such as did not obey were to remove themselves
and their families from their parishes within a month. The people were
not to acknowledge such as their lawful pastors, by repairing to their
sermons, under the pain of being punished as frequenters of
conventicles. This was an act passed by men of whom it is said that
afterwards they drank the devilís health at the Cross of Ayr about
midnight, when they were in the midst of one of their debauches.
However, as a result of the Act, nearly four hundred
ministers were cast from their charges, fourteen of them being of the
Presbytery of Glasgow. The more prominent among them were Principal
Gillespie, Robert Macwaird, John Carstairs, Donald Cargill, and Ralph
Rogers. Three members of the same Presbytery conformed, their names
being Hugh Blair and George Young of Glasgow, and Gabriel Cunningham of
Kilsyth or Monieburgh.