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The Highland Host of 1678
Chapter IV - The Withdrawal of the Host


BY the end of March, 1678, the situation stood thus in the West: in the city of Glasgow, where the Host had first been quartered, the Committee had been successful in inducing the magistrates to take the Bond for themselves, the burgesses and other citizens, but were still engaged in quartering soldiers upon recusants. In the western shires the great majority of the people still maintained their attitude of passive resistance, and the garrisons were therefore still maintained among them, being transferred from district to district as occasion required. Since the situation was at length somewhat more settled, the administrative work of the Committee had consequently decreased and the Council had modified their demands upon members so far as to declare that any three of them might form a quorum, instead of five as formerly. It had now been resolved also that the services of the Angus regiment and of the Perthshire horse should be dispensed with, the Council and Committee giving letters of thanks to the Earls of Strathmore and Airlie and their officers. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) p. 417. Letter from the Council to the Earl of Strathmore: "My Lord, Wee very well understand your care and vigilance in bringing out the foot and troup of horse of the heretours of Angus under your command from his Majesties service, that both were so full in their numbers and that you hay enow keept them so long together, for all which wee doe returne you our hearty thanks and shall be ready at all times to give evidence of your zeale in this his Majesties service. Wee have written to our Committee to give your officers our thanks as wet als their oune. Wee are, my Lord, your very affectionat freinds, subscribitur, Glasgow, Lawderdale, Marshall, Aboyne, Kintore, Caithnes, Elphingstoune Ch. Maitland, Tho. Murray, Geo. Mackenzie, Tho. Wallace." Similar letters were addressed to the Earl of Airly, commander of the Angus Horse, and to the Earl of Linlithgow, commander-in-chief.] To ensure the regiments an easy return home, it was decided that their route should be " by Linlithgow the first night, Inverkeithing the second, Kirkcaldy and Dysert the third night and to Dundy the fourth night, where they are to be disbanded." The Earls of Strathmore and Airlie did not accompany their regiments home, but remained on duty with the Western Committee. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, April 3rd, 1678, vol. v. (Third Series) P. 417.] This gradual withdrawal of troops from the West was due less to any alteration in the attitude of the disaffected shires towards the demands of the government than to the effect produced at Court by the deputation of Scottish nobles and gentlemen, which we have already seen mentioned in the letters of Dr. Hickes. Both parties had taken their case to headquarters, for, alarmed at the bold action of Cassilis and Hamilton, the Privy Council, on 26th March, had delegated the Earl of Moray and Lord Collington to wait upon the King, the former as having been constantly in attendance at the meetings of the Committee of the West, the latter as a trusted member of the Privy Council, so that their statements might counteract any effect caused by the representatives of the other party. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) p. 407. Historical KISS. Commission, Report XIII., Appendix ii. p. 80. Wodrow, vol. ii. PP. 418, 442.] So that all his interests in Scotland might be represented, Lauderdale, according to Dr. Hickes, had it in view to add to his agents already in London either the Archbishop of Glasgow or the Bishop of Galloway "as an agent for the Church concerns." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XIII., Appendix ii. p. 50.] In the meantime, the most astonishing news item in Scotland was the defection of the Marquis of Atholl and the Earl of Perth from Lauderdale, and their union with the Duke of Hamilton and his party. Dr. Hickes, to whom this had come as a most unexpected piece of intelligence, writes of the matter to his frind Dr. Patrick on March 26th, telling him that the three noblemen in question have now left the kingdom together, "nobody knows whither, most believe to London, and from naming the two last (Atholl and Perth) you may easily imagine to what a height the faction is flown." [Ibid. p. 50.] In the course of his letter, Dr. Hickes, unfortunately, throws no light upon the sudden change of front thus shown by the two leaders of the Host, contenting himself with remarking: "Would it not take up sheets, I would acquaint you with the whole intrigue, and with the reasons of the discontents of the Marquis and the Earl." [Ibid]

The two noblemen who had by acting thus given cause for wonder to men of all parties, had, throughout the whole period of the stay of the Host in the West, been noted among the Whigs as the most humane of the leaders of that force, and among those who were most active in repressing the violence of their Highlanders. "The Marquis of Atholl was particularly noticed for his mercy, and the Earl of Perth for his equity," [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 423.] writes Wodrow, who himself, however, ventures no opinion upon the reason for the change in their ideas. It may, as he remarks, be charitable to put it, that, beguiled by false reports as to the situation, and led on by mistaken ideas of loyalty and duty, they undertook the task of helping to reduce the Whigs to submission, but that, when they actually proceeded to the West and saw the real aspect of affairs there, their better feelings prevailed and they found it impossible to continue active in the service of the Council. [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 449.]

A strong party of influential men opposed to Lauderdale and his system of government was thus gathering together in London. Lauderdale knew that his position with the King was certain no matter what his enemies might contrive, but was, at the same time, determined that the work of the Council should be publicly vindicated. The Earl of Moray and Lord Collington already represented his interests in London, but Lauderdale wished to appeal to a wider audience, and therefore, on April 10th, gave orders, through the Privy Council, for the printing of a "True Narrative of the proceedings of the Council in the year 1678." [Ibid. p. 442, where it is quoted, along with a reply to the points raised.] The document was the work of Dr. Hickes, who states that it had given great satisfaction to Lauderdale, "not only upon the account of the service it may do him in this juncture, but because His Majesty hath desired that an account might be given to the world of that insolent sect of Presbyterians which troubles the world here, so that the printer need not feare to be troubled, though it be not formally licensed." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XIII., Appendix ii. p. 50.]

At the beginning of April, therefore, matters stood thus: the greater part of the Highlanders had gone home, but some of them, along with the regular forces and the Militia regiments, still remained at free quarter upon the inhabitants; the Duke of Hamilton, without leave asked from or granted by the Privy Council, was in London, supported by the Marquis of Atholl, the Duke of Perth and others of his party, determined to make a personal appeal to the King for the relief of the afflicted shires; Lauderdale and the Privy Council had resolved that their case should also be heard and had sent their representatives to Court. It was felt that matters had reached a crisis. Meanwhile, the Privy Council could rest secure, confident in the possession of a letter dated March 26th, 1678, sent to them by the King, in which they were assured of his entire confidence and whole-hearted support. "These courses being founded upon our commands," he had written, "and taken from the common interest of us and our people, wee owne as done by us; and wee hereby declare, that what ever person or judicatur shall offerr to quarrell any person for being in accession thereto, shall be punishable as murmurers against our authority and royal! prerogative. And for encouragement of all such as serve us wee declare that this our approbation shall have the force of ane ample and absolute indemnity and letter of thanks to all any wayes concerned in this expedition, either in Council!, command or execution, wee having very good reason to consider the same as our speciall and necessary service." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) p. 414.]

Such being the King's declared opinion, it seems strange to find that the Scotch noblemen who had gone to London were still of opinion that the King would judge with equity, were the matter represented properly to him. The Earl of Cassilis, for example, the first of the Scotch noblemen to petition the King directly, in stating his case, put it that "being assured that many of these proceedings of the Privy Council were illegal and not warranted by the statutes and customs of Scotland, he thought it his duty to repair to his sacred Majesty as the fountain of justice, to whose sentence he is content to submit his life and fourtune." [Historical MSS. Commissionz, Report X., Appendix vi. p. 185. Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 433-436.] Cassilis and his friends were soon to find that their trust had little justification in fact. Charles had already decided as to his attitude, and showed his position well by his reception of Cassilis' petition, as described in a letter from James, Earl of Arran, to the Duke of Lauderdale, dated March 28th, 1678. "He, the king, called me to him," Arran wrote, "and said aloud that at last he had gott the paper from E. Cassels, and that he had given it to my Lord Maynard, to send it to the Duke of Lauderdale to be considered, and answered in the Councell of Scotland. That for his part he thoght it a very silly paper, and that he could make a shift to answer it himself, although he was no lawer. Yet he knew Scotland pretty well. Then he said that it was a strange thing that he had been tormented for severall weeks, with horrible complaints of the cruelty and outrages done in the West of Scotland, yet He had done them faireplay, for he had cause send doun to Scotland as many complaints as he could gett, and that he had now receaved a full account of the wholl proceedings in the West, and that it was from persons he cuild trust, that he found all to be false as hell, and that there was nothing done there but what was done by law, and that things were not pushed so farr as the law allowed; that as he was a Christian he did not see what els cuild be done to prevent open rebellion; that he approved of what was done, and that he thought himself obliged in duety not to fall in a snare a second tyme, that he was now resolved to be befor hand with the Phanaticks, that he was sure they made use of religion as a pretence only, that he understood their desseins, and to show religion was not their business, he had granted them indulgence and allowed them there oun ministers; but that would not serve turne for they withdrew and railed more at these ministers than they did against the Bishops. That now matters were come to that hight, that there was necessity to use severity, for that now they kept feeld conventicles of 3 or 4 thousand men most armed—His Majesty said he knew Scotland as well as anybody, that he had been in it in the worst of tymes, that he was sure it was so farr from being unjust and severe, to make gentlemen answere for there tennants, that he knew it was the easiest thing in the world for them to doe it, that there was no natione or kingdome in the world, where the tennants had so great a dependance upon the gentlemen as in Scotland, and he was glad it was so, and that therefor they must be answerable for there tennants, that all they were to doe was to punish them according to law, when they went to Conventicles." The King proceeded to state his belief that the whole trouble was caused by the jealousy of certain noblemen of those in power in Scotland, "and therefor they must fall upon me, and stir up these people to rebellion, but they are fools and know not their own interest, for it is a foolish thing for scots men to complain or make work heir, or to endeavour a Rebellion in Scotland, for if it should begin there and afterwards come in to England, and that England should turne Commonwealth, Scotland would be a province nixt summer after. He said he thoght they wold not leik that well, I said it was not very pleasant the last`tyme they tryed it, and that those persons had as good estates and as much to lose as anybody."

After a conversation of this tenor, Arran might very well add by way of comment: "I assure your Grace that the King takes more painse to justify the Councell and you than your Grace wold doe yourself, and sayeth the very strong reason upon all things upon all occasions, and he loves to talke of it to everybody. I never have the honour to be by but he begins the discourse and with great earnestnes Both endeavour to convince people. My humble opinion is, that your Grace wold be pleased to send up such a relation of the proceedings of and against the Phanaticks since the King's restauration, that it may be printed, it wold certainly be very acceptable to the King; and your right, and render the Phanaticks excuseless." [The Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. pp. 99-102.]

A copy of the representation of his case by the Earl of Cassius despatched by the King along with a letter to his Council in Scotland on March 26th, was dealt with at a meeting of Council on April 3rd. They answered the statements of Cassius at some length in a letter submitted to Charles, their main arguments being that everything done in the West was justified by the state of the country, since field conventicles had been increasing so much that " there were far more armed men assembled in them almost weekly, than could be represented by almost thrice the number of your standing forces"; that they felt themselves bound to avail themselves of the services of the Highland noblemen when these offered their services "in this dangerous exigent," and that there was law and precedent for quartering the troops in the rebellious countries, particularly as only those were quartered upon who refused the Bond. Moreover, even in this matter of free quarter, it was to be noted, they said, that the standing forces were paid regularly by the Crown, and the Militia regiments as long as the stipulated allowance lasted. They considered the disarming of the shires and the seizing of horses fully justified by the necessity of the occasion, "these being still accounted amongst the armes and the instruments of war, and concluded by requesting that the Earl of Cassilis, since he had disobeyed the Council's proclamation forbidding anyone to leave the kingdom without licence granted, should be sent to them as a prisoner, to be tried and judged according to law. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) pp. 425-429. Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 437, 438, 439.]

With this letter of vindication, the Committee also forwarded to the King an account of their proceedings against the Earl of Cassilis, denying particularly the allegations of "free quarter and plunder brought forward by that nobleman," although euphemistically admitting that, learning that the people of his lands had become "encouragers and entertainers of John Welsh, and other outlawed preachers" to a greater extent than any others, even in the disaffected West, they had felt obliged "for the peace of that country, to send a considerable number of forces thither, they having just reason to suspect that country as in a state of rebellion." [Ibid. p. 431. Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 441.]

The matters thus set forth by the Council in these two letters of vindication were put in more permanent form in the "True Narrative" already referred to as the work of Dr. Hickes, the main purport of the pamphlet being to show that the rebellion of the shires was imminent, that many at the time were urging that the commons there had so shaken off all respect for authority that the few standing forces of the kingdom would not be sufficient to bring them to order, and that to arm the Highlanders was at once the least expensive, and the most effective method of quelling the flame of incipient rebellion. Continuing, the writer pointed out that in fairness it was more fitting that those rebels who were responsible for the bringing out of the Highlanders should maintain them, than that those should have to suffer who had come forward to help the King in such a crisis. Although admitting that irregularities had occurred, he held that such discipline was maintained that cases of disorder were not so common as might have been expected from such a large body of men, while "none were ever complained of to the council or their committee which were not redressed, and the clamours are raised by such only as resolve to cast an odium upon all that serve his majesty; and yet the clamours against what is done in the West, are much greater in Edinburgh than in the shires who are said to have suffered, and greater at London than in Edinburgh." ["True Narrative of the proceedings of the Council in the year 1678," printed in Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 442-446.]

In this last sentence reference is made to the presence in London of Hamilton and Cassilis, who had been joined by many others of the principal gentlemen of south-western Scotland, including Roxburgh, Haddington, and Lieutenant-general Drummond. Their opponents, Lauderdale's representatives, had also arrived at court, and on April 9th, sent their first report to Edinburgh to tell of their reception by the King. "My Lord Murray did deliver the Councell's letter to his Majesty; and gave a short account off the caus off our beeing sent up. The king said thatt yr wes strange reports off murders, raps, robreis and uther abuses comited by thes forces in the West off Scotland and desyred to knowe what wes the treuth thereoff; thereafter his Majestie seemed to be well satisfied with the full and satisfactorie ansuer which my lord Murray gave him. . . to make appear the hazard off the peec we took occasion to represent the insolenceis comitted by the fanaticks, as the feild conventicles invading ministers, and their pulpits, resetting and embracing declared traitors, vagrant preachers; we mentioned the orthodox ministers flying from their houses, the hazard of yr rysing in armes, and all things els; we mentioned the procedur off the councell by sending some off ther number to and conveening the heritors for taking course wt ther insolencies and their ansueir yt itt was abov their reach and the letters wes sent from yt cuntrie declaring yt all was lost wt out present remedie, and yt the people yr had forgot yr wer any power above them, the building off the meeting houses, etc., And in furder ansuer to the Duk of Monmouth itt was said thatt ther land sould rather ly waist then that itt sould be a nurserie for rebells; bott if the masters wold doe their deutie itt wer easie to have deutifull tennents, for the tennents depends upon the master. The King said thatt ther wes much reason for the bond for securing the peace and thatt the alternatives wer easie for the masters, and nothing hard in itt, and the bond being offered and refuised itt wes just thatt law of lawborrowes sould be made use off, he said we had in Scotland the best laws off any people in the World."


From this the King proceeded to ask what was to be said concerning the free quarterings on the people so much complained of. The answer was "thatt itt was nott to be supposed such armeis could be furnish wt money to pay the quarters, sinc in Scotland yr wer no cashe nor found for maintaining off armeis, And our kings hes still been in use to quarter their forces without present payment, especiallie when they ar amongst such as hes stated themselves in disobedience and rebellione." To this the King made a reply showing clearly where his sympathies lay. "His Majesty was pleased to say I sail make itt shorter to you; if such a shyr which he named wer in rebellion and if I sould march into that shyr wt my forces, most I pay for the quarter to thes rebells wb I tak amongst them. No reason, and I am sure my father never did itt." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. pp. 103, 104, 105.]

Charles had thus received Lauderdale's friends with sympathy and with courtesy; it was soon evident that he was resolved to show no favour to the lords of the other party, who were naturally anxious to state their case to him as soon as could be arranged. Atholl had endeavoured to gain over the Duke of York to interest himself so far with the King on his behalf as to obtain an interview for him, excusing his presence in London without the permission of the Council by representing that "he thoght a licence from the Councell had nott been necessar sinc he had attended yt servic so long as was needful and that his troops or companies was dismisd." When the Duke of York, however, attempted to put Atholl's case before the King, Charles curtly declined to listen to any special pleading on behalf of anyone who had stood up against his chosen ministers in Scotland, saying: "No, brother, I will maintain my authoritie, I say I will maintain my authoritie." [Ibid. vol. iii. p. 106.]

In a short time more moderate counsels prevailed, and the King relented so far as to intimate to Hamilton and his followers that if they "did deport themselves quietlie and honestlie and nott medle wt the french ambassador nor wt the members off the hous of commons, the king wold appontt some to heer them, and if ther wer anything in yt affair yt wold allow it, the king wold possiblie return them to Scotland wt some recomendation to the Counsell," being careful at the same time to add, that he "wold never doe anything nor putt itt in any way to prejudg or weaken the government or authoritie off the councell." [Ibid. vol. iii. pp. 106, 107. Cf. p. 107. The Earl of Murray to the Duke of Lauderdale. The King said "iff it be found there correspondinge uithe the Frenshe Ambassadors or any of the Hous of Commons he would taek sever courses, if not he thoght he would return them to the Councill of Scotland and recommend them to be used uithe as much lenety as might consist uithe the peace and safety of the Church and Kingdom."]

Hamilton and his friends, however, had scarcely reached London before it was evident that they intended to effect their purpose by enlisting the sympathies of those in opposition to the King in the House of Commons. [Thus the Earl of Moray writes to Lauderdale on 9th April: As I am writinge this my Lord Maenrd and Lord Arlingetoune caem to me and after compaeringe nots we fynd all the paerty hear verry bussie tamperinge withe and misinforminge the members of the House of Commons, all shall be done that possibly can be to undeseave them of those malicious aspersions forged and spred abroad by them (Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p. 108).] The most active of their friends were Monmouth and Shaftesbury; on the other hand, Lauderdale had on his side the King, the Duke of York, the Earl of Danby, and the bench of English bishops. The mission of the Scots lords to London immediately became a party question in the House, feeling on both sides running high. The attitude of the King's supporters in the House towards Hamilton and his friends was well expressed by the Countess of Wemyss in a letter sent to the Duchess of Lauderdale. "I doe represent it to myself," she writes, "as a contrivance wher in I doe not know whither ther be mor of malice and ill nature, or of follie and precipitance; ther appears much of ill nature in it, that to act ther hatred and furie they have laid hold on a season wherein his majestie is encumbered with multitude and perplexity of great afairs, which they think to profite by, in bringing his majestie under ane aprehension of the great confusion and disorder that is in Scotland and so of a necesitie to grant their desyre, and that this may appear the mor probable they have sent up, without leave, and contrair to his majesties order, a great number of their partie, all of them persons of little or no experience in the world and of violent and boisterous passions, on purpus to mak the greatest noyce and clamour which will mak it the greter that they are all for most part persons of qualitie in this nation, this I doe think is the venome of ther desyn, bot in my poore judgement it is so foolishly contrived and managed that it is impossible it can tak elect, becaws ther is not anything that I can perseve in all thier contryvence that can give so much as the least shadow or pretext to hyd ther wreth and discontent which so palpablie shews it self throw ther wholl affair (which yet above all things they shuld have kiept hid), that it is open to every eye and will I am confident crush all their project, these are my present thoghts of this busines, which cawsis so great matter of talking and discours, bot I am verie houpfull that all this fire will goe out lyk the snuff of a candell in stench and smok." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. pp. 109, 110.]

In some respects the hopes of the Countess concerning the projects of Hamilton and his party were to be fulfilled. As a matter of fact, had the King not had to face discontent in his English Parliament there is little likelihood that they would ever have gained any measure of success. Matters, however, were not going smoothly with France; the King, afraid of foreign complications, desired to have a united Parliament behind him, and was extremely anxious that the Scots lords should receive no backing in the House in their campaign against Lauderdale. Meanwhile, these noblemen assiduously endeavoured to obtain audience of the King, the Marquis of Atholl, who had influential friends at Court, being conspicuous in this. It might have been thought that Atholl, as a deserter from Lauderdale's party, would have had least chance of the King's favour, but, strangely enough, Charles seems to have spoken in kindlier fashion of him than of any of his colleagues. [ Lauderdale Papers, vol. iii. p. iii.]

That the assiduity of the lords of the Party was not to be without its effect is evident from a letter sent to Lauderdale by his agents in London, dated April 15th, 1678. The King, anxious to avoid all cause of complaint in the Commons, was now desirous that the forces not of the regular establishment, still on duty in the West, should be withdrawn within a fortnight, and that no proceedings should be taken by the Council against those gentlemen who, in defiance of their proclamation, had come up to London. [Ibid. pp. Utz, 113. The Earl of Moray and Sir James Fouleis to the Duke of Lauderdale. Whitehall, April i5th, 1678, Moonday at 11 of the clock at night. "May it please your Grace Having last night waited on his Majestie (in obedience to his comand) to give him a further account of the state of affairs in Scotland and to answer such questions as his Majestie thought fit to propose unto us, he was very well pleased with the information he received from us, but in regarde that by reason of the great appearance ther is of a forreigne warre, his Majtie thinks fit that all wordes may be prevented which at this time may be raised here upon occasion of frequent marching and quarterings of his forces in that kingdome, wee are now by his Majtie comanded to send this to acquaint your Grace it is his Royall pleasure that you call a meeting of his Privy Councell with all convenient expedition, after your receiving this letter, and let them know that as he is very well satisfied with their former procedors in reference to the quieting of the late disorders in the West, so he is desirous to know from them and your Grace what troopes (besides those of his standing forces) are now employed in that service? Where they are quartered? and whether that service, for this time, may be at an end within a fortnight. To the end that thereupon he may signify his further pleasure. And although his Majtie is graciously resolved to maintaine his authority in his Privy Councell there, and for that purpose to discountenance and punish all persons whatsoever who either have or shall presume to violat or contemne their orders. Yet for reasons considered by his Majtie in this juncture, it is his pleasure that if any sumonds be issued out against any of the noblemen or gentlemen who came lately hither from Scotland without the Councells leav, requireing them to make their appearance ther within three score of dayes, all procedors upon such sumonds may be stopped (or if not issued out already, may be delayed) untill he shall think fitt to give further directions in that aff'aire ; wherein his majtie will take the most proper course in this juncture, and is graciously pleased to say he will in due time acquaint his Privy Councell with it ; for as he is very well pleased with all their procedors in that matter, so he is resolved to order nothing about it but with their knowledge and advice, which doubtless will still tend the more to his interest, seeing his pleasure will certainly in all things determine them, whose only designes in all their procedors have been to promote his Majties service, in secureing the peace and endeavouring the happiness of that his Kingdome. Wee are, "May it please your Grace, "Your Gv. most humble & faithful servants, "MORAY.
"J. Foulis."]

By April 18th again, Sir James Foulis had to write to Lauderdale that he, with all his friends, was much troubled at the fact that Atholl and Perth had been admitted to kiss the King's hand, and this although the King had assured him that these lords "had petitioned him in an most humble maner; thai acknouledged yr fault and had begd pardone and had ingadged not to meddle in any publict bussines and he wes sure they would not." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p. 114.]

At length the King, to outward appearance, at any rate, relented towards the other Scots lords, and, on April 23rd, finally announced that to vindicate " his oune authorety and justice" he must give an audience to the Duke of Hamilton and his friends. As he intended, however, to listen to their petition before a body composed of not less than five members of the Scottish Privy Council, specially summoned for the purpose to London, along with the Lord Advocate and any others whom they thought fit to bring with them, [Ibid. vol. iii. p.118.] it is evident that his desire to do justice was more apparent than real. In replying to Lauderdale's agents, Moray and Collington, who feared the hearing of the case even before these chosen judges,6 Charles showed clearly the motives for his actions. "He told us this was the only proper expedient he could fall upon to quyet the humors of the House of Commons, and all the people who wear abused by the fals informations wear spread amongst them." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p 118.]

The King's whole purpose, indeed, was merely "to prevent the Hye Humors of the parlament that when anythinge should be violently moved in the Hous his servants might tell them how they had no conserne in the affaers of Scotland and that His Majesty had put that matter alredy in a method of hearinge thes pretended complaents in a proper waye, and so vindicat his oune authorety and quyet ther passionat humors which wear sueld to a great hyethe." The question of Lauderdale's administration of Scotland, however, had bulked too large in the public view to be thus calmly shelved by quiet diplomacy. Lauderdale's opponents in the House seized eagerly on the occasion thus presented. The controversy was carried on daily between the two parties, until the King became alarmed at the fact that Hamilton and his friends had so far gained the ear of the opposition in the House of Commons that a debate on Scotch affairs might be expected at the earliest moment. Hence, to ease the situation, Charles, on April 25th, sent word to Lauderdale in a letter written by the Earl of Moray that all free quartering in the West must cease immediately, although, at the same time, Moray was carefully instructed to assure Lauderdale that the King did not act thus "withe his lykinge " but because he felt "clamord upon and pinshed by the talk of the Commons Resolutions." [Lauderdale Papers, edited by Airy, vol. iii. p. 122.]

Charles' fears were well founded; by the beginning of May the temper of the Commons was such that they voted an Address against Lauderdale and several others of the King's chief ministers, such sympathy being shown towards the Lords of Hamilton's party that they were " hyely cryed up in the Hous for noble Patriots, nyse and gentill persons."  This Address against Lauderdale was presented in the House on the 8th May, and was the occasion of a heated debate, in which the reports of Hamilton, Atholl, Perth and their friends upon the proceedings in the West were constantly referred to as evidence of the most trustworthy kind on the question of Lauderdale's wrongful government in Scotland. So strong, indeed, was the feeling of the House against the Duke that it was all that his supporters could do to secure a bare majority against the Address, the vote on the first part of the Address being 152 for, 151 against, the vote on the second part 161 for, and 157 against Lauderdale.

This was a sufficient climax to the agitation of the Scottish nobles against the injustice of which they had complained. The direct influence on the King, however, of this attack on his favourite was to cause him to confirm Lauderdale all the more strongly in his position in Scotland, and to utter stern denunciations against any who should in such fashion in future question his choice of a minister. His attitude was summed up in a letter dispatched to the Privy Council in Scotland on 28th May, in which he declares "Wee are highly dissatisfied with such as have raised these clamours, and wee will, on all occasions, proceed according to our laws, against such as endeavour to lessen our prerogatives, oppose our laws or asperse our Privy Council!. Wee doe also recommend unto you to take all such courses as may mantean our authority, secure the peace of that our king-dome, and support the government of the Church, as its now established by law." [Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. II., vol. iv., No. 328. Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. V. (Third Series) p. 467.]

The main object of the mission to London, however, had been to secure some mitigation of the hardships inflicted upon the Western shires by the presence of the regular and irregular troops, and we have already seen that, as early as April 19th, orders had been received from the King by the Council asking that an end might be put to the free quartering of soldiers and to anything else concerning which complaint had been made. All enforcing of the Bond and lawborrows was to be suspended, at any rate for the time being, while all irregular troops were immediately to be disbanded. [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 455.] To this the Council replied that the forces would have been already withdrawn from the West had information not been received that many in the shire of Lanark still retained their arms. To disarm this shire, Colonel Robert Dalzell of the Nithsdale Militia, in spite of a petition by the inhabitants themselves and the efforts of Queensberry, had been ordered to march to Lanarkshire to relieve the Midlothian Militia, a regiment whose conduct was causing the gravest anxiety to its commander, Sir John Nicolson. [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. p. 160. Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 452. S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 403, No. 15. Ibid. vol. 403, No. 85.]

The Earl of Queensberry was anxious to assure the Duke of Hamilton that the march of this Nithsdale Militia regiment upon Lanarkshire had not taken place with his sanction, and therefore wrote to tell him that he had done his utmost with the Council to prevent these troops going to Clydesdale, but had received "a most piguish and perremptor letter. . . ordering their present march upon our hyest perrell, in obedience to which the Annandaile companys was presently in reddines (sav thes belonging to me) with which Sir Robert Dallyel came the length of Drumlangoig, bott found nothing lyck willingness ther. I ordered thes I trust to shou him itt was'nt in my poer to gett my tennents persuaded to march and ther whoill servants wer goin to the West, Galloway and Clidsdale for shelter, so bed him ous my interest as he pleast and woud bee answerable for I would axe or expeck no favor. However, he was pleast to bee moir disscreatt then ordinar, and in 2 or 3 days tym with quartering and threats they are all goit up sav a very few, and the readgment martcht towards Lannerick Satterday last. Many moir ar deficient and that he'll represent us all to the Councell (with my remisnes) I don't in the least doubt in which caice I'll have great missing of Sir G. Lockhart."

Continuing, Queensberry expressed his great dread as to how these troops might behave in the course of this expedition, which they regarded as an invitation to spoil the land and live at free plunder. "I don't think," he wrote, "many from this countrey will stay or be reed, bott these from Annandaile I fear will bee wors then the Hylanders, besyds the offishers off the whoill are the scum off the countray and all beggars sav 2 or 3 and most overjoyt att this honnourable imployment," [Historical MSS. Commission, Report X1., Appendix vi. p. 161.] —information which cannot have proved pleasant reading for Hamilton.

Hamilton, indeed, seems to have thought that Queensberry had not done all that might have been done to prevent the assembling of this Militia and its march into Lanarkshire, and wrote angrily to the Earl on the subject, accusing him of being actuated entirely by motives of self-interest. "I am sorry," he wrote, "yours or my nevay Annandale's men should come to opress me or any of my friends, but I know wher to lay it; and I hope never to live to be so unhappy as any particulare interrest of mine should rander me in a condition to opres my neighbours and friends or be assisting in itt; but I hope to live to wether all these misfortunes. I hear of your being to be at Edinburgh, and I wish with all my soull you and your friends their may take right measures. These of late has been taken I am sure has been highly prejudicial) to those that may justly pretend to be your friends and perchance at long run may be found to be so to yourselves.... But, I will leave all reakinings till meeteng, and wish you may prefer more the publict interrest to your own particulare one; and then I am sure you shall never have reason but to believe me as I have all ways professed to you; so I beg of you lay aside all different methods and ways, and unite close with your friends and do some thing that it may appear so to the world, wherein as you will do the best service you can to the King and the cuntrie, so it will remove all mistakes, which I am sure I wish heartely being very desirous to continew in the real) friendship our relation and interrest tyes us to."  [Historical MSS. Commission, Retort XV., Appendix viii. p. 235.]

In reply to this letter from Hamilton, Queensberry in a letter dated from Sanquhar, May 21st, 16-8, wrote a vigorous defence of his conduct as to the Militia regiment. "Your Grace is pleast to say very sevear things for my men's going to Lanrick with the melitia readgment off this shyr," he wrote, " in which ye must exseus me to tell you ye injure me extreamly, for I nott only caust the Commissioners (of Militia) petition the Councell for ther stay bott order't matters so and gay sutch strick directions to my peopell (most whereof returned ere they gaitt ther) as your countray was better and no wors off them, nor is ther the least complent against any off them, so far wer they from opressing you or anny els; bot if they had bein als rud as others pray how come you to blam me; was't in my poor to stop the King's militia setteld by ackt off Parliament, or wood ye doon't in my place. Next that ye shoad mistack me in this affair and exseus others who offerd ther concurrence to destroy your countray with ther whoill fors seams hard. I'm sheur we gaint nothing by the expedition bott on the contrair itt stood the shyr over 10000 lib. and they stopt nott a week att Lanrick wher to my certain knowledg they left nott one pynt of eall to pay, bott my Lord, I perseav that in this and all things els ye'r pleast to mistack me." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. pp. 161-162.]

This march of the Militia of Nithsdale to replace the Lothian Militia was in great measure consequent upon a letter written by Sir John Nicolson, Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment, to the Earl of Linlithgow, in which he represented his troops as being in a state bordering upon mutiny. The Committee, on considering the matter, thought it better to recommend that the Council should give orders for the return of the regiment to Edinburgh than to coerce them by means of the regular forces in the West, since this "would bot make a noise." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) p. 590.] They therefore wrote in these terms to the Duke of Lauderdale on April 19th, having, as they said, chosen this way of "smothering this their mutiny," since, "wee doe not find that the militia is comprehended under articles of warr, for if they wer, the hanging of two or thrie of them had been the best cure for their disease and for prevention of the lyk in uthrs." [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series), p. 590.]

The warrant for the withdrawing of the regiment was issued on April 22nd, when the Major-General was "to give orders to Sir Jon Nicolson, leitennant Collonel of the Militia regiment under the command of His Grace the Duke of Lauderdale to call together the severall companies of that regiment that are at present quartered in and about Hamiltoun, and upon Wednesday nixt to march with them from thence towards Lanerk, and to quarter these companies in those parishes where the rest of that regiment is presently quartered upon Wednesdayes night, and upon Thursday yrafter to march with thyr haill companeis to the shyre of Edgr principall and there to dismisse the severall companies to yr oune houses." [Ibid. pp. 591-2.]

The Nithsdale Militia had marched to Lanark to take the place of the Lothian regiment, but the turn that affairs were taking at London rendered it unsuitable to the King's purpose either to press the Bond further upon Lanarkshire or to demand the surrender of arms, and the Nithsdale men had scarcely been a week in Lanark when they were sent home to be disbanded. [Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 452. Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. pp. 161, 162.] Towards the end of April the Committee of the West were themselves recalled to Edinburgh in accordance with the King's instructions to the Council, and finally, the withdrawal on May 10th of the garrison left in Ayr at the instance of the Bishops ended this particular phase in the long struggle between the nonconforming West and the powers of Episcopacy. [Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) pp. 454, 455. Wodrow, vol. ii. p. 452.]

As the Committee of the \Vest left the disaffected shires, they must have felt that, in spite of all the energy displayed in the effort to secure obedience to the decrees of the Council, their work had been singularly unproductive of practical results. The recusants had, indeed, suffered many hardships and had been severely punished for their obstinacy, but they had neither accepted the hated Bond nor consented to remain unarmed. The soldiers had not been entirely removed from the shires before the Whigs were already provided with new arms in place of those seized by the King's troops, [S.P. Dom. Car. II., vol. 403, No. 15.] such being their spirit that "many a man with but two cows was eager to sell one of them for a pair of pistols." [Ibid. vol. 405, No. 227.] Persecution had but made the Covenanters more determined than before to listen to the preaching of none but their own chosen pastors, and consequently conventicles were already being held again even before the leaders of the Host had left for Edinburgh. Thus on May 8th a correspondent writes to London to Sir Christopher Musgrave, "The phanattickes keep there conventicles as frequent as ever. Upon Sunday last there was 3 within 4 myles of Dumfries." [Ibid. vol. 403, No. 15.] Writing again to Sir Christopher from Dumfries on May 22nd, this same correspondent tells him of a large conventicle held near Glasgow on May 12th, which was dispersed by a company of the Earl of Linlithgow's regiment. "The minister," he writes, " made his escape, but they took a great many prisoners, amongst the rest 6 merchants in Glasgow, and for the women that was ther, the souldiers left not a ring upon any of ther fingers." [S.P. Dom. Car II., vol. 403, No. 243.]

Neither were those in authority in Scotland ignorant of the state of affairs; Queensberry, for example, writing to Hamilton on May 21st, 1678, says " Hill sermons wer never so frequent and numerous, tho they coomn't yett to this shyr. They thunder ananthemas against the blak-bonders (as they call us), and one maid his repentence publickly Sunday last for tacking't, befoir Mr. Welsh wood chrissen his child." [Historical MSS. Commission, Report XI., Appendix vi. p. 162.] Charles himself wrote on May 7th, 1678, to his Privy Council. in Scotland in a manner which clearly showed that, while entirely approving of everything done by Lauderdale, he recognised that the people of the south-western districts were as determined as ever in their opposition to the government, since "they still with great insolence flock'd together frequently and openly in ffield Conventicles, those randevouzes of rebellion." The King affected to despise " such insolent attempts " at rebellion, but at the same time, deemed it prudent to call upon the Council to provide fresh levies of troops in readiness for any possible emergency. [Warrant Book, Scotland, Car. III., vol. iv. No. 314. Register Privy Council, Scotland, vol. v. (Third Series) pp. 455-456.] No one in Scotland, indeed, who knew the temper of the Covenanters and of those at the head of affairs could doubt that a conflict was imminent. Mr. Matthew Mackaile, for instance, writing to Sir John Frederic, member of the House of Commons, on June 19th, 1678, sums up thus the state of affairs in Scotland. "The kingdom is divided between three parties, the Episcopall and court interest, the interest for Liberty and priviledges, now followed by Hammilton and his partie, and the interest of religion and presbyterie," although Lauderdale considered these two last factions to be divided not in reality but merely in appearance. Mackaile, like so many others, was assured that a national crisis was at hand, since armed conflict between the Whigs and the Government was inevitable. What the result of that conflict would be he could not venture to predict; "no mortal man," he writes, "can tell the event till it come to pass—both parties have hope and both parties feare." [S.P. Dom. Car. 11., vol. 404, No. 187.]

Meanwhile, it seemed as if Lauderdale were endeavouring rather to goad the Whigs on to rebellion than to conciliate them. Charles, by ordering the withdrawal of the Highland Host, had removed an intolerable burden from the shires, and had seemed, for once, to be casting reflection upon Lauderdale's policy in Scotland. If the Covenanters thought for a moment that the intervention of the King was in future to mitigate the harshness of the rule of his minister, they were soon to be rudely awakened. Before August, 1678, Lauderdale showed his opponents that he was still absolute master of the situation. Dexterously playing upon the feelings of self-interest of the servile nobles who composed his Council, he had obtained from them an Act which must have seemed to those who had already suffered so much at the hands of the Host, the last drop in the cup of bitterness forced upon them, since by its terms they were compelled to supply the money necessary for the payment of the army which had pillaged them. As if to add, if possible, to the irony of the situation and to dissipate utterly any dream of Lauderdale's waning influence, the Act also contained a strongly expressed commendation of his whole administration of Scotland.


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