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A History of the County of Renfrew from the Earliest Times
Chapter XVIII.—The Civil Wars


The war which broke out in England between Charles and his Parliament in 1642, was preceded by a civil war in Scotland. The English war was fought out mainly on political grounds; the war in Scotland originated in ecclesiastical or religious affairs.

Charles had been upon the throne but a few weeks when the whole of Scotland was startled by the proclamation at the Market Cross of Edinburgh of his well-known Edict of Revocation. By this he announced his intention to revoke all grants by the Crown of Church lands, and all acquisitions of them to the prejudice of the Crown, whether made before or after his father’s Act of Annexation in 1587. On October 12, 1625, the Edict passed the Privy Seal,1 and thus became law.

In Renfrewshire the individual most seriously affected by this Act was the Earl of Abercorn. To him it meant, if it were rigidly enforced, nothing less than the resumption by the Crown of the whole of the lands of the Abbey of Paisley, which had been granted by James VI. to his grandfather, Lord Claud Hamilton, in 1587, and the spirituality, which he had received in 1592. Others also in the county were affected by the Act, or would be if it were enforced. As early as 1552, Abbot Hamilton, probably seeing what was coming, probably also to meet his expenses, had begun to alienate for “large sums of money” and for other considerations, lands belonging to the Abbey. Others of them had been parted with by Lord Claud, and all to whom the lands had been thus alienated would be affected by the enforcement of the Act. For the object of it, as Hill Burton has aptly remarked, was to sweep up “ not only the grants made by the Crown, but the transactions made in a countless variety of shapes, by which those in possession of Church revenues at the general breaking up, connived at their conversion into permanent estates to themselves or to relations, or to strangers who rendered something in return for connivance in their favour or for assistance in some shape to enable them to take possession.

The passing of the Act met with so bitter and vehement a storm of opposition that its enforcement was rendered impossible. After a heated controversy, a compromise was arranged, by which the teind policy was adjusted on its present basis, and a statute passed for the endowment of parochial schools. But, in spite of this, the irritation continued, and bore serious results. Sir James Balfour, who lived at the time and was well able to judge of the effects of the Act, calls it that “ revocation of which the Kingdom conceived so much prejudice, and in effect was the ground-stone of all the mischief that followed after, both to this King’s government and family,” and adds, “whoever were the contrivers of it, deserve, they and all their posterity to be reputed by these three Kingdoms, infamous and accursed for ever.” “It was virtually,” says Hill Burton, “the first act of the war.”

Parliament met on June 29, 1633, immediately after the coronation of the King at Holyrood. The teind policy was settled, the Acts of the preceding reign were renewed, and, among others, an Act was passed by which the King was empowered to regulate the apparel of Kirkmen and others. The passing of this Act was vehemently opposed, and was passed, it was said “ without pluralitie of suffrages.” This the King denied as a calumny “ foule and blacke.” However, a supplication was prepared against it, and shown to the King by Lord Rothes, the leader of the Opposition.

From Edinburgh, Charles returned to London, shocked at the condition of the Church in Scotland and thoroughly bent on its reformation. In 1634, he established the Court of High Commission in Scotland. Among the Commissioners were Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, Sir Robert Montgomery, younger, of Skelmorlie ; Mr. John Hay, parson of Renfrew ; and Mr. William Brisbane, parson of Erskine. Nine bishops were in the same year appointed members of the Privy Council, and, in the following year, Archbishop Spottiswood was made Chancellor. The appointments of the bishops and of the Archbishop were extremely unpopular. They estranged the Presbyterians from the King and set the nobles against him.

In 1636, there issued from Raban’s press in Aberdeen a volume with the title: “Canons and Constitutions Ecclesiastical, gathered and put in forme for the Government of the Church of Scotland : ratified and approved by His Majestie’s Royal! Warrand, and ordained to be observed by the clergie, and all others whom they concerne.” The character of the volume is sufficiently described by its title. Its imposition upon the Church was a piece of pure autocracy. The saintly Bishop Juxon, who afterwards accompanied his royal master to the scaffold, predicted that it would “ make more noise than all the cannons in Edinburgh Castle.” Never was prediction more literally fulfilled. With the exception of the most Erastian, the whole country cried out against it. But the crisis was not yet.

In the same year, the Book of Ordination was issued, but this and the Book of Canons were only preliminary to one which was to appear in the following year. This was the famous Service Book. It was the joint work, it is said, of two Scottish and two English bishops, working under the directions of Charles himself, and was designed to bring the ritual of the Church of Scotland into closer conformity with that of the Church of England. An Act of the Privy Council in 1636 decreed the universal use of the book on pain of condign punishment, and ordered “ everie Parish betwixt and Pasche next [to] procure unto themselves twa at the least of the said Booke of Common Prayer.” It ordained also that the use of the book should begin on the following Easter Sunday. The Act was a little premature, as it was not till close on Easter that the book appeared. When it did appear, the bishops met and decided that the use of it in public worship should begin in Edinburgh on Sunday, July 23.

At eight o’clock on the morning of the appointed day, the familiar prayers from the Book of Common Order were read in the High Kirk of St. Giles by Henderson, a favourite reader. When he closed the book, his eyes filled with tears, and, addressing those present, he said : “ Adieu, good people, for I think this is the last time of my reading prayers in this place.” By ten o’clock many others had arrived. Among them were Spottiswood, the Chancellor, several bishops and Privy Councillors, and the Provost and Magistrates of the city. The scene which ensued when Dr. Hanna, the Dean of Edinburgh, began to read the prayers from the hated Service Book, is well known. It was caused chiefly by a number of serving-maids, who were keeping the seats which their mistresses, who cared nothing for the prayers, intended to occupy when the time for the sermon came. The disorder was put down by the Magistrates, who turned the unruly out of the building and locked the doors. Outside, the crowd surged hither and thither, hammering at the doors and throwing stones in through the windows. As soon as the bishops appeared on the streets, at the conclusion of the service, they were set upon by the crowd, and with difficulty escaped with their lives.

Similar scenes occurred in other parts of the country whenever an attempt was made to use the book in public worship. At Brechin, the bishop (White-ford) “went to the pulpit with his pistols, his servants, and, as the report goes, his wife, with weapons. He entered early, when there were few people ; he closed the doors, and read his service ; but when he had done, he could scarce get to his house; all flocked about him, and, had he not fled, he might have been killed : since [then] he durst never try that ploy over again.” “At Lanark, Mr. John Lindsay, at the bishop’s command, did preach. ... At the ingoing of the pulpit, it is said, that some of the women in his ear assured him, that if he should touch the Service Book in his sermon, he should be rent out of the pulpit. He took the advice and let that matter alone.” Mr. William Annan had preached in the same place the day before and had commended the Service Book. “At the outgoing of the church,” after Mr. Lindsay’s sermon, “ about thirty or forty of our honestest women, in one voice, before the bishop and Magistrates, did fall in railing, cursing, scolding with clamours on Mr. William Annan : some two of the meanest were taken to the Tolbooth. All the day over, up and down the streets where he went, he got threats of sundry in words and looks, but after supper, while needless he will go to visit the bishop, he is no sooner in the causeway, at nine o’clock in a mirk night, with three or four ministers, but some hundreds of enraged women of all qualities are about him with neaves (fists) and staves and peats, but no stones : they beat him sore ; his cloak, ruff, and hat were rent: however, upon

his cries, and candles set out from many windows, he escaped all bloody wounds, yet he was in great danger, even of killing. This tumult was so great, that it was not thought meet to search, either in plotters or actors of it, for numbers of the best quality would have been found guilty.”

The women, whether “ of our honestest ” or “ of the best quality ” or “ of the meanest,” seem always to have taken the lead in these disturbances. There can be no doubt, however, that the position of affairs caused by the imposition of the Service Book was very serious. Baillie was thoroughly alarmed, and anticipated nothing short of “ a bloodie civil war ” as the result of forcing the hated book upon the nation, and declared : “ I think our people possessed with a bloodie devil, far above anything that ever I could have imagined though the masse in Latin had been presented.”

How the book was received in Renfrewshire, there is little to show. The probability is that it was used in Paisley, where Mr. John Crichton, a great admirer of it, was minister. It may also have been used by Mr. John Hay, the parson of Renfrew. But it may be doubted whether it was used in any other parish in the county. There is no word of any disturbance having taken place in consequence of its use in any part of the shire.

In the Presbytery no action was taken against the use of the book till October 13, 1637, nearly three months after the serving-maids of Edinburgh had vindicated their orthodoxy. On that day the brethren “ thought it necessary to draw up a supplication unto the Lords of His Majesty’s Secret Council, and to give a commission to some of the brethren to go to Edinburgh and present the same unto the said Lords.”

The following is the text of the supplication :—

“Unto your Lordships humbly meane and show we the Brethren of the Presbytery of Paisley, notwithstanding that hitherto partly in respect of our vacation in time of harvest we did not apprehend or suspect that the charge given to us to buy the Service Book did stretch further than our own private perusing of it for our better information that we may give our judgments touching the fitness thereof to be received and embraced in our Kirk, we have been too negligent in supplicating your Lordships with the rest of the clergy and others well affected Christians. Yet perceiving now, partly by the proclamations made in December 1636, partly by His Majesty’s declaration of his pleasure thereanent, it is His Majesty’s will that the said Book of Service shall be presently embraced and perused throughout this whole Kirk and Kingdom, we cannot but think ourselves bound in conscience to join with the rest of our brethren and other good Christians in supplicating your Lordships most humbly to deal with His Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased not to urge upon his good and loyal subjects the said Service Book after such & fashion in our judgment contrary to the practice and custom of this Kirk and Kingdom, wherein as far as we know nothing hitherto of this kind hath teen established without the consent of the General Assembly and Parliament: And seeing we have had a Liturgy established by authoritie, wherewith we have been bred and educated ever since the Reformation, and the same not abolished and the Liturgy now urged seemeth to us in sundry particulars to be different from that we have embraced and professed, it would please His Gracious Majesty to use such a fair course whereby His Majesty’s pleasure may be accomplished without impeachment to the good and peace of the Church and without grief and offence to the consciences of His Majesty’s most loving and loyal subjects. And your Lordships’ answer humbly we desire.”

Only one of the brethren, Mr. William Brisbane, minister at Killallan, was appointed to convey this supplication. He was directed to appear before the Lords of the Privy Council, on the 17th of the month, and to present the supplication to their Lordships in the name of the Presbytery. At the same time, he was instructed “ to advise and consult with the rest of the Brethren or other good Christians that shall happen to be in Edinburgh or elsewhere, concerning such a wise or fair course as shall be thought fit or expedient to be taken concerning the Service Book presently urged.”

There is no evidence to show how Mr. Brisbane fared in Edinburgh with the supplication ; but in February of the following year a royal proclamation was read in Stirling, Linlithgow, and Edinburgh, in which all the supplications presented against the Service Book were severely condemned.

Meantime, “The Tables” had been formed, and on February 28 the National Covenant, “ the grand result and conclusione of the Tables,” which was to be the occasion of much trouble and bloodshed, was signed in the churchyard of the Greyfriars in Edinburgh. It was afterwards signed, either willingly or under compulsion, in Renfrewshire, as it was elsewhere in the kingdom, with the exception of Aberdeen, where the Covenanters and all their ways met with the utmost resistance so long as resistance was possible.

On May 24, the brethren in Renfrewshire, keeping pace with the brethren elsewhere, ordained a solemn fast to be held on “ Sunday come eight dayes . . . throughout the whole Churches of the Presbytery for the removing of the sins of the land, especially, the contempt of the Gospel, which justly hath provoked God to permit Innovations to creep into the Church, and that it would please God to save the Kirk of Scotland from all innovations of religion, and that peace, with the profession of the present religion may with liberty be entertained.”

“ With the advice of the meeting of the Reverend Brethren in Edinburgh,” the Presbytery, on the 22nd of the following month, took a further step. Mr. John Hay, who had been appointed Moderator of the Presbytery by the Archbishop of Glasgow, and held the office permanently, was asked whether “ he was content to lay down the office as recommended by the ministers in Edinburgh.” Mr. Hay’s reply shows that if he was not altogether opposed to the Covenanters, he was not altogether in favour of them, and that the supplication laid by Mr. Brisbane before the Privy Council was in all probability not unanimously agreed to. “ He had received his office,” he said, “ of the Archbishop of Glasgow with the consent of the brethren of the Assembly, and therefore could not. unless his office were discharged by them of whom he had received the same.” Fifteen days were given him for further consideration, with an intimation that, in the event of his not giving satisfaction “ according to the said advice, the said Brethren of the Presbytery of' Paisley would do according as they were advised by the Reverend Brethren of the meeting in Edinburgh.” When the Presbytery next met, Mr. John Hay was absent. Without more ado he was deposed from his office, and Mr. Matthew Brisbane was appointed to succeed him, but only for six months.

As already remarked, Mr. John Crichton, the minister of Paisley, was an admirer of the Service Book. He was known to approve of the Five Articles-of Perth, and was suspected of “Arminianism.” His cousin, Mr. Baillie,. minister of Kilwinning, and afterwards Principal of Glasgow University, took much trouble to correct his theological opinions, and addressed to him a series-of letters on the subject, but apparently in vain.

On July 19, fourteen days after the deposition of Mr. John Hay from the office of Moderator, the Presbytery resolved to deal with Mr. Crichton. A number of his parishioners presented a petition to the Presbytery, on the day mentioned, in which they brought an indictment against him on no fewer than thirty-five counts. The Presbytery, who were no doubt well posted up in the matter and had probably had some hand in drawing up the indictment, were in hot haste to purge themselves, and ordered Crichton to appear before them on the 26th of the month to answer the charges.

For the great occasion of his trial, the brethren, acting under instructions from Edinburgh, associated with them six other brethren from the adjacent-Presbyteries. When he appeared before them, Crichton “ gave in his appellation from the brethren of the Presbytery of Paisley, declining always thereby the authority and judicatory of the foresaid Presbytery, and that for the pretended reasons contained in the said appellation.” The reasons are not given in the Presbytery’s records; but, after examination, Mr. John Hay, the deposed Moderator, found them sound. The rest of the brethren condemned them as “ frivolous,” and rejected them as “ not relevant.” Crichton, who in the meantime had left the court, was sent for, but refused to return. Whereupon, he was suspended and ordered to be summoned before the court for August 2. When the day came, Crichton failed to appear, and the brethren proceeded to take evidence. Among the witnesses against him were Robert Semple of Beltrees, Archibald Stewart of Orchardyardstoune, John Maxwell, eldest son of John Maxwell of Stanely ; Mr. Gabriel Maxwell, his brother ; John Yaus, formerly bailie of Paisley ; Robert Alexander, town clerk of Paisley ; and Robert Park, notary of Paisley.

The charges included errors in ritual and doctrine and faults of conduct. The errors in doctrine need not detain us. For the most part, they appear to have consisted of pieces of gossip, misunderstandings, or misrepresentations. As for the rest, they were such doctrines as an upholder of the Five Articles of Perth may be supposed to have held. He was further accused of advocating the wearing of surplices and the use of prayers for the dead, of abusing the sacraments, of striking a beggar to the effusion of blood, and of drunkenness. One witness testified that he had baptized a child “ without prayer or exhortation.” Four others swore that he profaned the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper . . . by casting away the long table and placing a short table altarwise with a fixed rail about it, within the which he stood himself and reached the elements unto the people kneeling without, about the rail.”

During the whole of this trial, which spread over a couple of months,. Crichton never appeared in the court and no evidence was led in his favour. He was found guilty, not merely on the charges of “ scandalous life and conversation,” but on all the counts of the indictment, and, on October 11, his case was referred to the Assembly summoned to meet at Glasgow on November 21 immediately following.

For some months back the disorders in the country, arising out of “ the fear of innovations,” had been increasing. As they increased, the Covenanting lords and ministers became more imperious and more determined to have their way in things ecclesiastical; the King, though somewhat alarmed, was quite as determined to have his way, whatever concessions he might make in the meantime. Of disorders in Renfrewshire at this time there is no mention; but there are abundant signs that the ministers of the county were in full sympathy with “ the Brethren of the meeting in Edinburgh,” and shared their spirit.

Affairs throughout the country grew more and more critical. On April 5, 1638, Baillie wrote to his cousin, Mr. Spang: “Our country is at the point of breaking loose; our laws this twelvemonth have been silent; divers misregard their creditors ; our Highlanders are making ready their arms, and some have begun to murder their neighbours.” Douglas, Abercorn, and Semple, three Catholic lords, two of whom belonged to Renfrewshire, were said to be openly arming, and other noblemen were expected to follow their example immediately. The Covenanters were arming, and the King was known to be making ready his fleet as fast as his depleted treasury would allow him.

In May, the Marquess of Hamilton was sent down as the Royal Commissioner with authority to suppress the obnoxious Service Book on condition that the Covenant was given up, and to summon a meeting of the Assembly and of the Estates, but when, on July 4, the proclamation, signifying the King’s pleasure and embodying his instructions to the Commissioner, was read at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, the Covenanters were dissatisfied with it, and refused to give up their “ bond with the Almighty.”

On the day appointed, November 21, the Assembly met in the nave of the Cathedral of Glasgow. About two hundred and sixty members were present, who, as far as possible, had been carefully selected by the Covenanters. Each of them was accompanied by from one to four assessors. Not a gown was to be seen among them, but many had swords and daggers. Writing to the King on the following day, to announce his arrival in Glasgow and the opening of the Assembly, the Marquess of Hamilton said : “There is such a crew assembled together, and that in such equippage, as I dare boldly affirm, never met since Christianity was professed, to treat of ecclesiastic affairs.”

To this singularly constituted and famous Assembly the Presbytery of Paisley sent the three ministers, Messrs. William and Matthew Brisbane and Mr. Alexander Hamilton; Sir Ludovic Houston of that ilk; Porterfield, the goodman of Duchal, and John Brisbane, the laird of Bishopton. “Mr. John Hay, abler much than any of them, was passed by for his too much countenancing of Mr. John Crichton, and other reasons not inconsiderable,” says Baillie. The Earls of Eglinton and Glencairn and Lords Montgomery and Ross were members. Eglinton arrived in Glasgow “ backed with great numbers of friends and vassals.” Glencairn was apparently silent. Eglinton and his son played conspicuous parts in the conduct of the business, Lord Montgomery being especially active against the bishops.

The Covenanters were not slow to show their temper. From the first they paid 110 respect to the wishes of the King, and carried everything with a high hand. After they had sat six days, the Marquess of Hamilton, finding himself unable to restrain them or to carry out his instructions, dissolved the Assembly. The members, however, with the Moderator, Henderson of Leuchars, and the Earls of Argyll and Rothes at their head, continued to sit, and “ went on at a great rate now that there was none to curb them.” They condemned all the Assemblies which had been held during the past forty years as prelimited and not free, declared Episcopacy to be unlawful, included the Service Book, the Book of Canons, the High Commission, and the Articles of Perth under the same condemnation, ordered the Covenant to be taken by all under pain of excommunication, arraigned the bishops and such of the ministers as were not of their way of thinking in ecclesiastical or political matters, and dealt out sentences of deposition or excommunication to them all. On December 21, they ended their business by drawing up a letter to the King, in which they endeavoured to justify their proceedings, and prayed His Majesty to regard them as good and dutiful subjects and to be satisfied with what they had done.

Of the ministers deposed, Mr. Crichton, minister of Paisley, was the first. "I held off his sentence,” writes his cousin, “ for some days : for I found him after his return from the Court of England, a much dejected man and willing to clear himself of many things laid to his charge, to confess his errors, and be directed by the Assembly for all time to come, on condition that he might brook [enjoy] his place; but when no assurance could be made of his continuance in Paisley, in regard of the parochiners great and universal just dislike, he did not compear at all: so sentence went against him in all was alleged.” According to Balfour, he was deposed on December 5, “ being found by witness that he was a professed Arminian and a Popish champion.”

After the rising of the Assembly, the Presbytery of Paisley began with renewed zeal to set their house in order. On January 24, 1639, the brethren took note of the conduct of the less zealous in the town of Paisley, and ordered them to be summoned to the, bar of their court. Two men who confessed “ their sin of profaning the Sabbath day by drinking and deboshing in time of sermon,” were remitted to the Kirk Session of the burgh for punishment. At their meeting on February 14, the Presbytery ordered Mr. Matthew Brisbane to proceed to Edinburgh and to attend the War Committee which had been ordered to sit there. A month later they took steps for the appointment of a successor to Mr. Crichton. Mr. Henry Calvert, the man upon whom they finally fixed, was of a quite different temper from his predecessor. A stern Presbyterian of the straitest sect, he had no weakness for surplices, prayers for the dead, or for railings about the Communion table. He could not abide even the finial crosses on the Abbey Church, but had them taken down, and the fact of their removal noted in the Presbytery Records.

At Glasgow the Covenanters had gone too far in their opposition to the King to hope for forgiveness. They knew that the King was arming ; for some time they had been arming themselves. In the month of January, 1639, they held a meeting in Edinburgh, when the War Committee already referred to was appointed to sit constantly in the capital. Similar committees were ordered to be formed in every shire in the country and in some parts in every Presbytery. They were to give orders in all military affairs, to enlist soldiers, to obtain provisions, and to raise money. A commissioner was ordered to be sent from every county to attend the committee in Edinburgh, and for the receiving and transmitting of orders. Arms and ammunition were collected and forbidden to be sold, except to such as were favourable to the cause. General Leslie sat daily with the General Committee, and rendered much help

by procuring officers and munitions of war from the Continent. “ In all the land,” writes Baillie, “we appointed noblemen and gentlemen for commanders; divided so many as had been officers abroad among the shires; put all our men who could bear arms to frequent drillings ; had frequent, both public and private, humiliations before our God, in Whom was our only trust; every one, man and woman, encouraged their neighbours : we took notice at Edinburgh of the names, disposition, forces, of all who joined not with us in covenant; appointed that in one day the castle of Edinburgh, Dumbarton, and all the chief adversaries should be essayed ; that, with diligence, Montrose, with the forces of Fife, Angus, Perth, Mearns, with the advice of Leslie and sundry of his officers, should go and take order with Huntly and Aberdeen ; that Argyll should set strong guards on his coasts; that Leith should be fortified.”

Their success was almost greater than they expected. More soldiers were enlisted than they could arm or maintain. The castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, Straven, and Douglas were soon in their hands. Aberdeen was taken and Huntly was compelled to flee.

In Renfrewshire, Lord Montgomery was appointed to the command, and his brother, Captain Montgomery, who had seen service abroad, was appointed commander in the county of Ayr. Under the latter, the West country had already furnished a double company of troops from the shire of Ayr, “ which,” according to Baillie, “ was most commended, even publicly from the pulpits, for example in pious, obsequious, and stout carriage.” But when, in the month of May, the Marquess of Hamilton appeared in the Forth with a fleet containing a considerable land force, orders were given to send out every fourth man in the country. Twelve thousand horse and foot were thereupon raised in Ayrshire under Lord Loudon. The men raised in Renfrewshire under Lord Montgomery were not sufficient to form a company, and were joined by a number of men from Glasgow. “This accrese to Baranthrow” [Renfrew], writes Baillie, “ with divers lands of Cunningham, made my Lord Montgomery’s regiment among the strongest; but the piety and military discipline of his people was commended above all the rest ; yea, none did doubt but in all our camp those of the West were the most praiseworthy. They came out most readily, in greatest numbers ; they made most conscience of the cause and their behaviour ; the fear of them made others stand in awe, who else were near whiles in mutinous insolence.”

When the Covenanters set out for Duns Law the Presbytery of Paisley “ thought it most expedient and necessary that Mr. Matthew Brisbane,” their commissioner at the War Committee in Edinburgh, “should go with Colonel Montgomery and the Company with him to Dunce Hill for their comfort and other exercise of devotion.” On May 23, the day on which the King set out with his army from Alnwick on his way to Berwick, the unwilling chaplain asked to be relieved, and Mr. John Hamilton was sent in his place, and appears to have remained at Duns until the breaking up of the armies in consequence of the treaty of June 18.

In accordance with the terms of that treaty, the General Assembly met at Edinburgh on August 12. The Presbytery of Paisley “ elected and chose the Right Honourable my Lord Montgomery commissionar as ruleing elder ” to attend it. Parliament also met, but in the month of November was prorogued to June, 1640.

To the Covenanters the proceedings neither of the General Assembly nor of the Parliament were satisfactory, and before the prorogation of the latter it was plain to the Committee in Edinburgh that the Covenant could be established only on the field of battle. “ I hear credibly,” wrote Sir Michael Ernley from Berwick, on October 28, “ that the Scots have given their officers satisfaction for the present, and have taken them in pay till May next.” On the day that Parliament was prorogued General Leslie arrived in Edinburgh, when preparations were at once set on foot for renewing the war, and on July 1 Leslie was again at Duns with his army.

To the General Assembly which met at Aberdeen on the 28th of that month, the Presbytery of Paisley sent Mr. Hew Blair, Mr. Robert Burnie, and the Goodman of Duchal, as their Commissioners, and such was the enthusiasm of the brethren that they offered to pay their expenses.

On the same day that Charles left London for the north, August 20, Leslie crossed the Tweed. Among the commanders with him was Lord Montgomery, the Colonel of Renfrewshire. The affair of Newburn was fought eight days later, and on the following day Leslie marched into Newcastle. Negotiations were begun soon after, and on October 26 the treaty of Ripon was ratified by the King. January 9 was appointed to be kept as a solemn thanksgiving to God for establishing peace in the kingdom of Scotland, but the Scots army was not disbanded till August 28, 1641, the anniversary of what Clarendon calls “that infamous rout at Newburn.”

In the General Assembly which met at St. Andrews, July 20, 1641, the Presbytery of Paisley was represented by Messrs. Hew Blair and Ninian Campbell, ministers, and the Earl of Glencairn, ruling elder. At the meeting of the Estates held in Edinburgh on the 25th of the month, at which the treaty made with Charles was ratified, Renfrewshire was represented by Sir Ludovic Houstoun of that ilk and Sir Patrick Maxwell of Newark. The concessions which were there made by the King were such that, besides completing the overthrow of Episcopacy, the whole government of the country was practically placed in the hands of the ministers.

By their various successes, the temper of the Covenanters was far from improved. During the sitting of the Assembly at St. Andrews, one of its members, while on his way to Leith, drew his whinger on a man with whom he had an altercation, and stabbed him fatally. According to Burnet, “ the strictness of piety and good life which had gained them so much reputation before the war, began to wear off; and instead of that, a fierceness of temper and a copiousness of many long sermons and much long prayers came to be the distinction of the party.” “ As every war broke out,” he adds, “ there was a visible abatement of even the outward shews of piety.” In Renfrewshire, their zeal and oppression became more and more intolerable. They forced every one to sign the Covenant, persecuted the Catholics and all who were suspected of leanings towards the ancient Church, prohibited piping and dancing, forbade penny-weddings, and began a campaign against kirk-burial.

By the successes of their troops in England, a new prospect was opened up to the Covenanters; and their leaders began to dream of a great Presbyterian propaganda. The first indications of this in Renfrewshire occur in the Presbytery Records, under date April 1, 1641, when we have the minute: “ This day the Brethren declared that they had kept a solemn fast with the Church of Scotland, appointed to be kept the fourth of this instant, for the preservation of the Scottish armie, keeping of the union and bond of peace among ourselves, the advancing of the reformation of all neighbouring countries with the disappointing of the practices of our adversaries and settling of religion and solid peace.” This was after the battle of Newburn, and while the Scots army was waiting to be paid for the “brotherly assistance” it had rendered to the English Parliament.

After Edgehill, the Parliament of England sent a letter to the Assembly, in which they expressed a desire to see one Confession of Faith and one form of Church government in all His Majesty’s dominions, and appealed for help. The letter was received with joy, and the prospect of “ the religous reformation of neighbouring countries ” seemed to brighten before the zealots. Mr. Henry Guthry, afterwards Bishop of Dunkeld, less enthusiastic and with a cooler head than many who were present, suggested that the English Commissioners should give them a clear declaration as to whether, after having uprooted Episcopacy, those who had sent them meant to establish Presby-terianism or Independency, but he “ was cried down as a rotten malignant and an enemy to the cause.” The following day, the Solemn League and Covenant, which had been hurriedly drawn up during the night, was produced in the Assembly, and, after being twice read, the brethren were asked to vote upon it at once. “ Mr. Matthew Brisbane, minister of Erskine, a worthy reverend man,” to use the words of Guthry, “desiring only that before men were urged to vote about it, leisure might be given for some days to have their scruples removed; and for that he was as much spoken against as Mr. Guthry had been the day before.”

Mr. Matthew Brisbane was speaking for himself only. In Renfrewshire, the brethren, whom he represented, had no scruples in the matter. They accepted whatsoever measures were suggested by the Committee in Edinburgh, and adopted the Solemn League and Covenant as a matter of course. They read the “ Warning for the Ministers and the Declaration of the Cross Petition ” which had been circulated in print from Edinburgh, held two solemn fasts to obtain a blessing upon the Convention of February, 1643, and, in obedience to a letter from the Estates, each of them declared his willingness to furnish a man, along with the brethren in other Presbyteries, for the expedition into England. Copies of the Solemn League and Covenant were afterwards circulated throughout the county and were largely signed; and, down to the execution of Charles, a majority of the people, as well as their clerical rulers, appear to have been as blindly infatuated with the idea of Presbyterianizing England as the Committee in Edinburgh was.

On January 19, 1644, Leslie crossed the Tweed for the second time at the head of the Covenanters. Before, he had crossed it as a patriot; this time he crossed it as a proselytizer.

In the beginning of February orders were sent to Ireland recalling the troops which were serving there under General Munro. They were required, partly, to reinforce Leslie, who was meeting with a much stouter resistance than he expected, and, partly, to overawe the burghs which were refusing to pay the cess which the Covenanters had imposed upon them for the maintenance of the army. The soldiers were starving, and anxious to return; their officers, who were neither starving nor anxious to return, cast lots as to which of their regiments should sail first. The lot fell upon the two commanded by Lord Sinclair and Lawers and upon the Lothian regiment. Attempts were made to detain them; but in April, or the beginning of May, Sinclair’s regiment landed at Irvine, and the Lothians at Greenock.

Their fame appears to have gone before them. The two regiments marched eastward with the intention of lying at Paisley. The bailies of the burgh were advised of their intention by a letter which reached them at eleven o’clock at night and threw them into a state of great consternation. After consulting Sir William Ross of Muriston, who chanced to be staying at Hawk-head, they resolved to resist the entrance of the troops into the town. Hastily summoning the men and gentry of the town and parish, they collected over 700 men and nearly 200 horsemen. Their preparations were hardly made when news was brought to them that the Lothian regiment was at the Granter’s house at Ferguslie. The bailies at once marched at the head of their men outside the West Port, where they met Lord Sinclair, who had come to await the arrival of his men. He demanded that the town and county should lay down their arms; but the bailies, supported by the Earl of Glencairn, who in the meantime had arrived, and by Sir William Ross and others, refused. An altercation ensued which lasted about a couple of hours, when it was arranged that the first three companies of the Lothian regiment should pass through the town to Renfrew, Govan, and Pollok, and that the remaining two should be quartered in Paisley. Lord Sinclair proceeded to Glasgow, where he was refused admission.

Lawers’ regiment soon followed. On March 9, 1644, Sir William Ross wrote : “ We hear there are landed at Greenock three hundred of Lawers’ regiment, and we fear the over coming of the rest, which affrights the country very much, both in staying their labour and spoiling their houses.” The regiment appears to have passed through the town and afterwards to have quartered itself in Clydesdale upon the Earl of Carnwath’s land. From Glasgow, Lord Sinclair marched to Stirling, where he took up his quarters and was joined by the rest of his men.

Shortly after this, the Marquess of Montrose began that brilliant campaign which so soon ended in disaster to one of the noblest of Scotsmen. While Argyll and others were pursuing him among the hills, the men of Kyle, Cunningham, Clydesdale, Renfrew, and the Lennox assembled in Glasgow under Lords Montgomery and Lanark, waiting for they knew not what, and in great fear lest a new army from Ireland should fall upon the West.

Meantime, the brethren of the Paisley Presbytery were troubled by demands for chaplains for the army. Serving under Leslie were Lord Loudon and the Earl of Eglinton. The latter was a cavalry commander, and under both were apparently troops from the shire. Anyhow, both were in need of chaplains, and appealed for them to the Presbytery of Paisley. On May 16, 1644, “the brethren ordained Mr. Ninian Campbell to go to the army now in England and supply there as minister till he be liberated, and that, in my Lord Loudon’s regiment, and ordained Mr. John Hay to write to his Lordship to that effect.” The same day, “the brethren, having received letters from the Earl of

Eglinton and Mr. Robert Douglas for relief of Mr. Robert Wise, now at the army in England, and that the regiment might be supplied by one of their number, did then as now answer that they were few in number, some kirks unplanted, and many men old and weak and unable to undergo the charge, and have presently appointed one of their number to be preacher to my Lord Chancellor’s regiment, and could not spare any more at this time, which answer Mr. John Hamilton undertook to deliver to his Lordship.”

On January 2, 1645, Montrose was forfeited and his estates were seized. All the same, he went on in his victorious career. On August 15 came his victory of Kilsyth, which appears to have struck terror into the hearts of his opponents. According to Guthry, the Marquess of Argyll, “ who was present at the battle, never looked over his shoulder, until, after twenty miles riding, he reached the South [North?] Queensferry, where he possessed himself of a boat again.” Glencairn, who was busy raising levies, as soon as he heard of the battle, fled with the Earl of Cassillis to Ireland, while the Earls of Lanark and Crawford-Lindsay, with others, joined Argyll in Berwick.

From Kilsyth, Montrose moved to Glasgow, and from thence to Bothwell Kirk. Commissioners waited upon him from the shire of Linlithgow, “with an acknowledgement of bypast disloyalty for which they begged his mercy; ” “and which is more,” continues Guthry, “so did the shire of Renfrew and others in the West. Bishopton, Greenock, and Duchal junior, were their commissioners, who acknowledged rebellion as fast as any, laying the blame thereof upon their ministers.” Strongly Covenanting as the county was, Montrose was not without sympathisers in it; but whether they sympathised with him or not, all who had any dealings with him came under the condemnation of the Presbytery, even though their dealings had only been such as common-sense dictated or necessity in the presence of a victorious army compelled.

Soon after the battle of Philiphaugh, September 13, 1645, the Presbytery received instructions from Edinburgh as to the steps they were to take in regard to them, and on February 12 of the following year their instructions were renewed. At the two meetings of the Presbytery in March, and again at the meeting in April, the attention of the brethren was further called to the business, and instructions were given to them “ to inform themselves of malignants and complyers with the enemie.”

At their next meeting, May 7, 1646, the brethren began to report the results of their diligence. The two ministers of Paisley, Messrs. Calvert and Dunlop, declared that they had “ caused cite Sir William Rosse, John Wallace of Ferguslie, Allane Wallace, his sonne, Robert Wallace and Robert Fork, late baillies of Paisley, Archibald Stewart, John Vaus [bailie], James Alexander, William Wallace and James Rosse. The said Johne and Allane Wallace and James Rosse compeirit and gave in their declarations in writte ; the rest compeirand, the Presbitrie remittis thame all to the Kirk Sessione of Paisley to be processed be the Sessiounis for the despatch of the bissiness, and to be reported be the said Sessioun to the Presbitrie what they do in the bissines.” The minister of Houston reported that he had no knowledge of any malignants in his parish ; but the ministers of the rest of the parishes had each one or more to delate, and were ordered to proceed against them.

The malignants of the parish of Inverkip were taken in hand by the Presbytery itself, and were at once dealt with. The minute concerning them runs as follows : “The quhilk day (May 7, 1646) Mr. Jon. Hamilton, minister at Innerkippe, declares he has causit summond Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackball knicht; Jon. Stewart fiar thereof his son, and Mr. Thomas Younger servant to the said Sir Archibald, to compeir this day for the fawlte foirsaid. The said Sir Archibald sent in with his said sonne his letter excusing his absence, not being able to come be reasoun of his disease of the gowte in his feitte, quhilk being known to be a reall excuse by the presbitirie wes admitted: And it being dilated of Blackhall younger that he went in companie with his father and saluted Alexander M'Donald and wes in companie with him, declaired that he being occasionallie at Glasgow, had Alexander M:Donald be the hand without speaking to him or farder dealeings with him or onie of the reste : and declaired he wes verie sorie for that step; and for which the presbitirie did sharply rebooke him and accept his confession for satisfaction. And sicklyke it is dilated against Master Thomas Younger that he wente ordinarlie with Blackhall elder, his master, to James Grahame and Alexander M'Donald to their leiger [camp] and elsewhere and writte Blackhall’s letters for obedience of their orders when he callit their demands juste—he carriet intelligence betwixt thame, and his not being weill affected in speach concerning the Covenants, and shook hands with James Grahame and Alexander M‘Donald : The said Mr. Thomas compeirand, confesses he wes at the leiger, but had no conference with ather of thame, except James Grahame towld him over his showlder that thir were not the dayes he had seine in Edinburgh Castell: He confesses he writte letters for his master to the gentlemen of the shire anent just and reasonable demands fra James Grahame, albeit dyted be his master : He confesses he carriet a letter to Alex. M‘Donald writte be Blackhall elder, at direction of the gentilmen of the Shyre, and being also cballengeit for sayeing that James Grahame wes a defender of the Covenant, he denyit the sammyne. The Presbitirie concludes the said Mr. Thomas salbe suspendit from useing family exercise or prayer in Blackhall’s familie ; quhilk is now intimat to the said Mr. Thomas apud acta, and is appointit to be signified to the laird be Mr. Henrie Calvert, moderator, and furder, the said Mr. Thomas is appointit to confess his fawlt publicklie on the publick place of repentance In the kirk of Innerkippe.”

Though the brethren excused Sir Archibald’s presence on account of his attack of “ gowte,” they did not excuse his “ fawlte.” After being allowed to “sleep” for about eight months, the charge against him was revived. The following is the Presbytery’s minute concerning it, under date January 7,1647 : “ The quhilk day compeirit Sir Archibald Stewart of Blackhall, knicht. Challengeit for complyance with the enemie James Grahame and Alexander M'Donald” ; he answered, that “he went to their leiger and wes with thame and had conference with thame. He receivit letters fra James Grahame quharin wes shewn the gentlemen of the shyre had broken promise to him, and therefore desyred the shyre should be advisit to levie ane trowpe of horse to send to him, and that he receivit the letter and advisit the gentlemen of the shyre thereof. He anserit: he wes at the leiger, and that James Grahame sent a threatening letter to him (bot no promise of the shyre allegit therein) quhilk lettre he receivit and finding thereby both danger to himselffe and his friends and nichbors, he acquaintit thame that they micht convene, lest being silent he had both wrongit them and himself; and therefter they met at Renfrew, quhare it was concludit to levie a trowp of horse bot not of intentione to send thame out, and onlie of purpose to temporise with the enemie, and after the day of randevouze wes apointit, he shiftit and contenowit the samin be lettris, quhilk he sent to some of his parochiners. The presbitirie having considered the premisses, ordered the said Sir Archibald Stewart to mak his repentance conform to the Acts of the Generali Assemblie, viz., First, humblie to acknowledge his offence on his knees before the Presbiterie, and there efter in the congregation of Innerkippe on ane Sabothe daye before the pulpit also on his knees. He thar presentlie obeyit the first part before the Presbiterie.” After this edifying spectacle, Andrew Semple, former Clerk of Renfrew, was called before the Court to be dealt with. He “ grantit he wis at the meeting of the gentlemen of the Shyre of Renfrew quhar there wis ane act made for outputeing a trowpe of horse for James Grahame. The Presbiterie hes warnit him apud acta to this day twentie dayes to give up ane roll of the gentlemen that were there.” When he appeared before the Presbytery as directed on the 28th of the month, Semple denied that he knew “ wha were at the meeting of the gentlemen at Renfrew,” alleging that he had given up his papers to the Commissioners of Ayr and Renfrew, who met at Kilmarnock, and was cited to appear again.

Meantime the malignants resident in Paisley had been dealt with. On October 1, 1646, Mr. Alexander Dunlop, one of the ministers of the parish, reported that “last Lord’s day Sir William Rosse, John Wallace of Ferguslie, Robert Wallace, Robert Forke” and the rest “had publiclie in face of the congregation declairit themselffis greivit and sorie for haveing hand in taking protection for the towne and parochin of Paisley, and withall confessit their fawlte.”

Brisbane of Bishopton, who, according to Guthry, “acknowledged rebellion as fast as any” at Both well, appeared before the Presbytery on April 1, 1647. He admitted being at Bothwell, but “ seeing bissiness there to be ^dangerous, he went,” he said, “ to Ireland with the Laird of Greenock without furder [dealings].” Six weeks before this the Laird of Greenock had made a statement ; and both in his case and in that of Brisbane the brethren declared themselves satisfied. The reader can choose between the account given of these two men by Guthry and that which satisfied the Presbytery. Guthry’s seems more likely to be true than that given by Bishopton and Greenock in self-defence. Their flight to Ireland is against them. Duchal younger is the only one mentioned by Guthry who does not appear to have been dealt with by the Presbytery. On the whole, the conduct of the Presbytery is much more open to censure than that which they condemned.

While the incidents just narrated were going on, the county was visited by the plague, which for more than a thousand years had been continually hovering about the country, and from time to time sweeping away vast numbers of its inhabitants. Its first recorded visitation occurred in the year 664, when, according to Tighernach, “ innumerable Kings and Abbots ” were carried off by it, and when, according to Adamnan, it laid waste all the countries of Western Europe with the exception of the small tract of country inhabited by the Piets and Scots. In the year 1456, it became the subject of legislation in Scotland, and as the Act then passed was in subsequent years frequently re-enacted, there can be no doubt that the scourge against which it was directed was frequently here. The fact that in or about the year 1456 the monks of Paisley set down in their copy of the Scotichronicon, or what is usually known as the Black Book of Paisley, a version of the smaller of the two treatises, written by John de Burgundia, otherwise known as Sir John de Mandeville, would seem to show that the plague was then either in the shire or was not far off. That it was in the county in the year 1588 is certain. Its prevalence in Paisley in that year is thrice referred to in the Town Council Records of Glasgow. It was in Paisley, again, in January, 1602, while in October, 1603 and 1604, it is evident from the Acts then passed by the Paisley Town Council that it was in the neighbourhood and was daily expected. Nothing more is heard of this terrible scourge in the county till the year 1645, when it raged with great virulence both in Paisley and in the surrounding country. The people of Paisley were reduced to such straits that, in order to relieve their necessity, the Town Council of Glasgow, on December 6 in that year, voted them twenty bolls of meal and made them a money grant of the same amount as had been sent to Kelso. By the middle of the following year the plague had abated in Paisley, and the town was able to send assistance to Glasgow, where, notwithstanding the attempts to ward it off, there was a great mortality. During the prevalence of the plague in Glasgow in this year, the Town Council applied to the bailies of Paisley for temporary accommodation for the University in Paisley. The bailies were willing to provide the accommodation, but the proposal fell through.

The Presbytery continued to follow the instructions of the Committee in Edinburgh. In obedience to that body, they denounced the Engagement, by which, among other things, Charles agreed to confirm the Covenant by Act of Parliament, so far as to give security to those who had signed it, but refused to allow any one to be constrained to take it in future. When, on May 3, Parliament ordered a levy of 30,000 foot and 6,000 horse, and despatched Lord Cochran and the Laird of Garthland to bring over General Munro and his army from Ireland, and the Assembly’s Committee protested against the measure, the brethren in Renfrewshire, acting upon instructions from Edinburgh, read the Committee’s “ protestation ” from their pulpits, and, on the last Sunday in May, backed up the protest with a public fast.

In Glasgow, the levy ordered by Parliament was resisted. A couple of the bailies of the city were promptly arrested, conveyed to Edinburgh, and there imprisoned, and Sir James Turner, having been sent to enforce obedience, “ anticipated the methods by which Louis XIV. afterwards attempted to convert the Huguenots.” From Glasgow, he marched to Paisley with his regiment, and quartered his troops in the neighbourhood. “ But the people from the several parishes came to me,” he says, “ so fast, offering their obedience to the Parliament that I knew not where to quarter my present men.”

On Saturday, June 10, 1648, he was joined by the Earl of Callender and Lieutenant-General Middleton, who were on their way to Stewarton, where they had appointed to meet the regiments commanded by Turner and Hurry, on Monday, the 12th. Callender and Middleton were met by the Earls of Glencairn and Eglinton, and, acting upon the information they gave, Middleton, taking along with him Hurry’s regiment, immediately set out for Mauchline, where, though not without difficulty, he dispersed the gathering from the Western shires which he and Callender had been sent to suppress.

In their passage through the county the Engagers, though unopposed, appear to have dealt roughly with the people, and to have provoked considerable resentment. Writing to his son, Colonel James Montgomery, from Eglinton, on the 21st of the following month, Lord Eglinton, who was a strong Anti-Engager, said : “ I see no appearance they have God’s direction in their ways, and there is small appearance they shall have good success to their intentions. They have been most rigorous in plundering this country, and as malicious against those that were not against them in the conflict at Mauchline, as those who were against them. . . . The nobility, gentry and country people are so incensed at their proceedings, it will not fail but will draw to a mischief.”

The Engagers who set out under the Duke of Hamilton, Callender, and Middleton to retrieve the royal cause in England and to rescue Charles I. from the hands of his enemies, were defeated at Preston, on August 17, by Cromwell. Immediately after, a fresh rising of those who were opposed to the Engagement took place in the West under the Earl of Eglinton. The Committee of the Estates at once resolved to call out all the fencible men in the kingdom for its suppression. They were placed under the command of the Earl of Lanark. But, instead of leading them straight to the West, he led them round by East Lothian to the border, under the pretext of going to meet General George Munro, who had recently brought over his troops from Ireland and with a part of them had escaped the disaster at Preston. Time was thus given for the rising in the West to spread, and the result was that Kyle, Cunningham, Renfrewshire, Clydesdale, Evandale, and Lesmahagow joined together and marched towards Edinburgh 6,000 strong, with the Chancellor, Loudon, and the Earl of Eglinton at their head, accompanied by Mr. Dickson and other ministers from the districts. In Edinburgh they were received with joy, the magistrates and ministers of the city going out to meet them and lead them in.

In the meantime, Lanark had been joined by Munro and his troops and by many others who had escaped from the rout at Preston. Marching by Haddington, they moved upon Edinburgh. Loudon and Eglinton took up a position with their forces on the craigs east of the town, as if to give battle. Munro was impatient to attack, but Lanark and his Committee refused. Presently the whole of the Engagers drew off to Linlithgow, and thence marched towards Stirling. The Marquess of Argyll, who in the meantime had joined forces with Loudon, and appears to have assumed the chief command of the Whiggamores, as the men from the West were called, unaware of Lanark’s intention, also resolved to move upon Stirling, and, marching at a quicker pace and by a shorter route, arrived there first. Having posted his men and held a meeting with his officers and the magistrates, Argyll went off to dine with the Earl of Mar. “ But,” to use the words of Guthry, “ while the meat was setting on the table, his lordship was alarmed with the approach of Munro’s army ; whereupon he presently mounted his horse, and taking his way by Stirling Bridge, fled with such speed, as if his enemies had been at his heels, and never looked behind him, until, after eighteen miles riding, he reached the north Queensferry, and there possessed himself of a boat again, now the fourth time.”2 On hearing that Argyll was escaping, Munro, without asking the permission of Lanark or his Committee, pushed on with all haste, cut down about a hundred men who were posted at the Bridge of Stirling, and then pressed on in pursuit; but he was too late.

The Whiggamores fell back to Falkirk. Lanark and Munro’s officers argued strongly in favour of attacking them, believing that it would be easy to obtain a victory; but the Committee of the Estates had other plans in view. Negotiations were opened with the Whiggamores, and on September 26 the Committee of the Estates abandoned all claim to the government of the country.

The Covenanters, with Argyll at their head, were now more firmly placed in power than ever. The two armies were disbanded, Munro quitted the country, and in the month of November Cromwell was received in Edinburgh by Argyll and the Committee of the Assembly. From his communings with Argyll and the leaders of the Covenanters, Cromwell hastened south, and shortly after the King was brought to trial and beheaded.

The Estates met in the beginning of January, 1649, when the dominant party proceeded to weed out of the new Parliament the Engagement element, and to form a Committee of the Estates entirely after its own mind. The Act of Classes for purging the judicatories and other places of public trust was passed, all who had been concerned in the “sinful Engagement” were excluded from public office for a period. measured by their iniquities, and the intolerance of the Covenanters knew no limits.

In Renfrewshire, John Wallace of Ferguslie and his son Allan, Robert Fork, elder, and Robert Alexander, late bailies of Paisley, were, on April 12, 1649, made to appear before the Presbytery there to answer “for their accession to the late sinful Engagement,” and “ referred to the Assembly.” A month later (May 16) the same Presbytery appointed a “ solemn thanksgiving for the overthrow given by the Majesty of God to James Grahame,” to be held “ on Wednesday eight days.” Five days after this appointment was made, Montrose, that “ pure-souled champion of monarchy,” was beheaded, and the joy of his adversaries was great.

But neither the brethren of the Paisley Presbytery nor their masters, the Committee in Edinburgh, were to enjoy their unbridled licence long. They were soon to learn that there were others in the island who on occasion could be as fanatical as themselves, and that the undisciplined armies they were able to place in the field were no match for the trained troops of those to whom they had once given their “brotherly assistance.”

The proclamation at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, on February 5, 1849, of Charles II. as “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland,” was tantamount to a declaration of war against those who had usurped the royal authority in England. Charles was not then in Scotland, and he was not to be permitted to land upon its shores until he became a Covenanter ; all the same, the execution of Charles I. at Westminster and the proclamation of his son in Edinburgh made war between the two countries inevitable. So at least thought the Covenanters, and, immediately after the proclamation, preparations began to be made, men were drilled, and soldiers were hired.

On April 2 the Town Council of Paisley resolved that “ all inhabitants of the town shall be restrained in time coming during the time of levying to take on to be soldiers with any but the town ; ” and further, that the wives and children of those who had already “ taken on with gentlemen outwith the town ” should at once be sent to dwell on the lands where the husbands and fathers were serving, in order to prevent them becoming a burden upon the inhabitants. On the same day, the Council ordered the sum of two hundred pounds to be levied upon the burgesses, heritors, and inhabitants of the town for the “ outreike ” of a troop of horse. On July 8 the same Town Council resolved to “outreik twa horse on the towne,” and to raise “the town’s part of thirtey seven footmen.” Twenty-one days later a resolution was passed “ to appoint the town presently [i.e., immediately] to be put in a position of war, and appointed guardmasters to see the town drilled.”

On June 23, 1650, Charles II. landed at Speymouth and was recognised throughout Scotland as its Covenanted King. Five days later, Cromwell set out for the north with the intention of preventing an invasion of England by the army which it was known in London the Scots had been preparing to that end. On July 19 he halted near Berwick, where he mustered about 18,000 men, of whom about 5,500 were cavalry. The Scots army numbered about 18,000 foot and 8,000 horse. Its nominal head was “ old Leslie,” now Earl of Leven, but practically it was commanded by his nephew, David Leslie. Though more numerous than the English army, the Scottish was inferior to it in quality, consisting for the most part of men drawn, and even dragged, from their homes, and possessing very little of the military instinct and still less of military discipline. The best regiment in it had been levied by means of voluntary contributions from the ministers, among whom not the least enthusiastic were the ministers of Renfrewshire. It was commanded by Colonel Strahan, who had defeated Montrose at Carbiesdale.

Cromwell left Berwick on Monday, July 22, and, marching by Cockburns-path, Dunbar, and Haddington, reached Musselburgh on the evening of Sunday, the 28th, where he quartered his troops, “ the enemy’s army,” he says, “ lying between Edinburgh and Leith, about four miles from us, entrenched by a line Hankered from Edinburgh to Leith ; the guns also from Leith scouring most part of the line, so that they lay very strong.”

Next morning he “resolved to draw up to them, to see if they would fight us.” Leslie was well posted, and for good reasons refused to fight or to come out of his lines. Cromwell was obliged to retire, and “ the enemy, when we drew off, fell upon our rear.” But the cavalry under Lambert and Whalley coming up, “our men charged them up to the very trenches and beat them in.” In the next encounter, which happened early on the following morning, we hear of the men from Renfrew and Ayrshire and the ministers’ regiment. The description is Cromwell’s. “We came to Musselburgh that night [July 29] : so tired and wearied for want of sleep, and so dirty by reason of the wetness of the weather, that we expected the enemy would make an infall upon us. Which accordingly they did, between three and four of the clock this morning; with fifteen of their most select troops, under the command of Major-General Montgomery, and Strahan, two champions of the Church :—upon which business there was great hope and expectation laid. The enemy came on with a great deal of resolution; beat in our guards, and put a regiment of horse in some disorder; but our men, speedily taking the alarm, charged the enemy, routed them, took many prisoners, killed a great many of them, did execution to within a quarter of a mile of Edinburgh.” “ This is a sweet beginning of your business, or rather the Lord’s, and I believe is not very satisfactory to the enemy, especially to the Kirk party.”

After much manoeuvring and a little fighting, but nothing decisive, Cromwell, through sickness and uncertainty of provisions, was obliged to draw off from the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and on July 31 set out for Dunbar, which he reached on Sunday, September 1, Leslie hanging on his rear all the way, and finally hemming him in on the south from the hills overlooking the town. Two days later the Scotch army was broken to pieces. Ten thousand fell into the hands of Cromwell. David Leslie reached Edinburgh at nine-o’clock at night—“ old Leslie ” did not get there till two o’clock next morning.

From Dunbar, Cromwell marched to Edinburgh and Leith, which he occupied without resistance, the Castle of Edinburgh alone holding out. Leaving a force behind him to block the Castle and complete the fortifications of Leith, he marched, on September 14, to assail Leslie, who had retreated with his shattered forces to Stirling. Here Leslie’s skill as a strategist stood him in good stead again. Finding him too strongly posted to be attacked with advantage, Cromwell let him alone and returned to Edinburgh to push on the siege of the Castle.

Meanwhile, Colonels Strahan and Ker had charged Leslie with being the principal cause of the defeat at Dunbar. Leslie resented the accusation and threw up his command, but withdrew his resignation at the urgent entreaty of the Committee of the Estates. Immediately after, Strahan and Ker, in order that they might be out of the way, at least for a time, were appointed with Sir John Chiesley to levy troops in the West. But before going there, Strahan took upon him to write a letter to Cromwell offering that if the English army would leave Scotland, he would undertake that England should suffer no harm. The letter was intercepted, and Leslie being refused permission to punish the officer on whom it was found, resigned again.

Cromwell pushed on the siege of the Castle, keeping a watchful eye upon the coalition which was now being formed between the Committee of the Estates and the leading Royalists and Engagers, and always hoping that Strahan and Ker and the leaders in the West would, out of their bitter hatred for Malignants of any kind, join him. Shortly before October 8, Strahan wrote another letter to him, which was more fortunate in its bearer than the former. To Cromwell it seemed of such importance as to induce him to start for Glasgow. He arrived there on Friday evening, October 8, 1650, and remained over Sunday, listening calmly to Mr. Zachary Boyd as he “ railed ” upon him and his officers “ to their very face in the High Church.” But on Monday, hearing that Leslie was about to interrupt the siege, he hastened back to Edinburgh. Strahan and Ker he had failed to win over, but he had the satisfaction of finding that they were not likely to give much assistance to his enemies.

Among the supporters of the Western leaders, none were more eager than the ministers and people of the shire of Renfrew. From its beginning they had taken part with the Western Association, the spiritual leaders of which were Mr. Patrick Gillespie, minister of Glasgow, and others of the more intolerant ministers. At its meeting in September, about a month before Cromwell’s visit to Glasgow, the Presbytery of Paisley resolved that “ in respect of our army in the field against the Sectaries is scattered at Dunbar, and that the gentlemen and ministers of the Western Shires are to meet at Kilmarnock, the Presbytery appoints Messrs. Alexander Dunlop and John Mauld to repair thither, and to concur with them in any good and necessary course for the safety of the cause and kingdom.”

This meeting at Kilmarnock was attended by “ some of the chief gentlemen and ministers of the sheriffdoms of Ayr, Clydesdale, Renfrew, and Galloway.”

The principal figure at it was Gillespie, at whose suggestion it was resolved, in view of the “ present necessity, to raise a strength of horse and dragoons, as they had designed in their Association, but far above the proportion of any bygone levy,” and “ to put tbem all under the command of four colonels, the likliest men to act speedily against the enemy, Ker, Strahan, Robin Hacket, and Sir Robert Adair.”

The resolution was not unanimous. “My Lord Cassilis kept off Carrick; Galloway also did disrelish the matter ; ” and the committee of Renfrew, seeing the “ vast expense of the enterprise (for the very first ‘ outrek ’ would amount to five hundred thousand pounds, and the daily charge to four or five thousand pounds  upon the shires aforesaid) were generally averse from the motion.” It was carried, however, by the committees of Clydesdale, Kyle, and Cunningham. Gillespie, Sir George Maxwell, and Glanderstone were sent with this “voluntarie offer” to Stirling, where, “though many did smell and fear the design of a division,” “ they obtained an Act of State for all their desires,” which “ did quash all farther opposition.”

Paisley, as we saw, had already been put into a “ state of war,” and men and money were now raised with zeal for the strengthening of the Western army, which, the Committee of State had assured Strahan, would be permitted to act apart and not be troubled with any orders from David Leslie, under whom Strahan was unwilling to serve. According to the Town Council Records of Paisley, under date September 10, four men had “ condescended and undertaken to go forth for the town in the present expedition, and the Town Council undertook to procure the best horse in the town to send to the army,” for the payment of which horse the bailies and councillors were to give their bond. On the 23rd of the month a levy of 959 8s. Scots was made upon the inhabitants of the burgh, in order to discharge the town’s share in the cost of the “ outriek ” of the Five Shires Association.

Just before Strahan and Ker had their interview with Cromwell in Glasgow, somewhere between the 11th and 14th of October, Ker’s regiment was in Paisley ; for on the 7th of that month a levy of four-score pounds was ordered to be made upon its inhabitants to pay the cost of quartering it in the town during the week preceding, and for the former expense of the “ outriek of sexe trowp horse.” Paisley at this time, indeed, appears to have been one of the headquarters of the Association, and a depot for its military stores. Later on, November 11, the bailies and Town Council record that, “in obedience of the letters and acts of the Committee of the Association,” they

had appointed the powder, match, and balls in Paisley to be carried to the castle of Avondale, and on the 8th of the following month they ordered the shire arms in the Tolbooth to be conveyed that night “ to some convenient place, where they might be hid from the enemy.” The reason for this we shall see.

In the meantime Strahan and Ker, in conjunction with Gillespie and those with him, had issued at Dumfries, on October 17, a Remonstrance, in the drawing up of which Messrs. Dunlop and Mauld may possibly have had a hand. It was a remarkable manifesto. In it the leaders of the Western army declared their intention not to fight for the King until he gave satisfactory evidence of sincere repentance and ceased to have dealings with Malignants. Their intention to issue this manifesto may have been, and probably was, the only piece of satisfaction which Cromwell obtained in his interview with Strahan in Glasgow some three or six days before. Shortly after its issue, Strahan, finding his position between Cromwell and the King’s Government untenable, resigned his commission, and after a while joined Cromwell. Ker, who now became commander of the Western army, resolved not only not to entangle himself with the English, but also to take no orders from the Committee of the Estates.

Parliament met at Perth on November 26. Neither the county nor the burgh of Renfrew was represented in it. One of the first acts of the Parliament was to send Colonel Montgomery to the west to bring Ker to his senses. But before he could reach him, Ker had rushed upon destruction. On the 30th of the month a letter was read in Parliament showing that Lambert had marched west with 7,000 dragoons to watch the movements of Ker, and if possible drive him north of the Forth. That same day Lambert reached Hamilton. Ker was then lying at Carmunnock  with his army, and at four o’clock next morning (December l) attempted to surprise him. The attempt was an utter failure. Ker was wounded and taken prisoner, and his troops, which were easily beaten off, were pursued that day to Paisley and Kilmarnock, and immediately thereafter to Ayr. One of the leaders under Ker was the “ Laird of Rallstoune.” Montgomery, who had been sent to Ker, was in the neighbourhood of Glasgow when Lambert was pursuing the shattered army of the West, and must have had some 3,000 horse with him, but on hearing of Ker’s defeat he marched back to Stirling without attempting anything against Lambert, or in aid of the men he was pursuing. After this, troops were kept moving about the county for some time, and on December 16 the Town

Council of Paisley ordered a levy of 300 merks to be made upon the inhabitants to defray the cost of “ Colonel Kennedy’s quartering of his regiment.”

After the coronation of the King at Scone, January 1, 1651, the authorities of the Church, led and almost compelled by the Committee of the Estates, were reconciled after a sort to the employment of Malignants in the army, and in places of public trust, on condition that they went through some form of penance. In this new and almost unexpected arrangement—an arrangement, however, which had for some time been commending itself to the laity—the shire of Renfrew appears to have acquiesced, and began to do its utmost for the support of the King and the Royalist army.

For military purposes the headquarters for the shire were at Dumbarton, where the committee charged with the military administration of the district appears to have sat daily. In the Records of the Town Council of Paisley, almost the only source of information there is for the county at this time, numerous payments are set down as having been made by the Burgh for the King’s troops. From an entry under date May 14, 1651, it appears that the town was assessed in the sum of 89 merks a day for the maintenance of a regiment of dragoons, stationed in the shire of Dumbarton. Bailie Sprewl was sent to obtain, if possible, some relief from the assessment; and, having met Colonel Campbell at Erskine, appears to have accomplished his mission, though to what extent is not stated. A later minute shows that a sum of 150 was required to be paid by the town. About the same time, or in the beginning of May, a number of English troops were quartered in Paisley. They appear to have made free with the property of the farmers resident in the surrounding country, much of which they brought into the town and left behind them, from which it may probably be inferred that their departure was somewhat hurried. Anyhow, on May 19, a small engagement was fought near the town, in which the Royalist Lieutenant Buntine defeated a troop of sixty horse belonging to the enemy, killing and taking prisoners most of them. A little later, a part of the Laird of Preston’s regiment was quartered in the town for a night, and were sent from Paisley to assist in the protection of the town and parish of Dumbarton. Numerous other entries occur in the Town’s Records showing the extent to which the Burgh was taxed for the support of

the Royal cause. Similar assessments were laid on the shire. They were frequent and heavy ; but, notwithstanding one or two complaints, they appear to have been cheerfully borne.

When Cromwell set out in pursuit of Charles II., on August 4, 1651. he left behind him Lieutenant-General Monk to complete the conquest of Scotland. Monk’s first object was to capture Stirling. The town surrendered on August 6, at the first summons, and the castle, unable to resist Monk’s well-served artillery, yielded on the 14th.

During the siege, Colonel Okey was despatched with his regiment to Glasgow and the West country, where, according to information received, “ some Lords ” had returned from the King with full commissions to raise in these parts 600 horse and foot, and had their Commissioners sitting at Glasgow and Paisley levying them. Okey started on the 11th, and marched to Glasgow, Paisley, and Irvine. Then, dividing his forces, he sent out parties in all directions, who “ so scoured the country that we may now march 100 horse from this place [Stirling] all over the West and South.” At Paisley, a regiment was being raised for Colonel Cochrane. Okey fell upon the new levies, sent them flying, and captured some of the King’s chief Commissioners, one of whom was “the Lord Orbiston.” He fined Glasgow 000, Paisley 150, and Lord Ross 50.*

“A party of ours also,” Okey adds in his letter, “ which I sent to Boghall, brought me 14 ministers prisoners, who were all met together in a barne by a wood side 6 miles from Glasco, but were released again, being about a work that I hope will prove advantagious to us. It is thus : The General Assembly having silenced many of them and forced them to preach both in publique and in private, they were there met together to seek the Lord, whether they should obey or disobey the Generali Assembly’s order. And they assured us, as in the presence of the Lord, that they were about no other work; and that God had set it upon their hearts, that it were better to obey God than men, and so accounted their Generali Assembly a malignant usurped Authority, and ought not to be obeyed. And therefore they, being set at liberty by us, did on the last Lord’s day, in Glasgow and other parts, preach publickly against that wicked authority. The Lord hath done great things for us in these parts, whereof we have great cause to be glad.”

After the battle of Worcester, September 3, 1651, Cromwell’s troops were quartered in Renfrewshire as well as in the rest of the Western shires. Those sent to Paisley were under the command of Captain Robeson, whose immediate chief, Major-General Deane, had his headquarters at Dumbarton. His own

headquarters Robeson fixed at Castle Semple, and was careful to exact payment from the inhabitants of the shire, not only for the maintenance of his men, but also for certain losses one of his cornets had sustained in the parish of Cathcart. In the town of Paisley, his exactions appear to have been bitterly resented.

Under date February 13, 1652, the town’s official Minute Book bears :— “ John Sprewll is appointed to go to Dumbarton to Generali-Major Deane, and there represent to him the many burdings that the town of Paisleye have borne beyond the shire of Renfrew within which it lies : And that now, albeit that they have common burding with the said Shire in the payment of the assessment, that yet notwithstanding Captain Robeson’s trowpe now keeping guard on them, the said towne, doth burden them with coill and candle both day and nicht to the said guard, nevertheless that all the burdings that the said town 'doth beare besyde on sending of posts, guyds, and horses to send : And to labour for remedie with the said Major-Generall.” Whether the bailie succeeded, is uncertain. One demand made by Captain Robeson the Town Council indignantly refused to comply with. This was that they should furnish him with feather beds and send them out to Castle Semple. As nothing further is heard of the demand, it is probable that the captain thought it prudent not to press for the beds.

As early as January 23, 1651, four months after Cromwell’s victory at Dunbar (September 3, 1650), the Long Parliament had recommended the despatch of Commissioners to settle the army’s accommodation in Scotland, and to ease the charges of its administration in the districts within its occupation, but after the “ crowning mercy ” of Worcester, the circumstances were changed, and the English Parliament contemplated nothing less than the entire annexation of the country as a conquered province.

On September 9, six days after Worcester, a Committee was appointed by Parliament to bring in a Bill “ for asserting the Right of this Commonwealth to so much of Scotland as is now under the Power of the Forces of this Commonwealth, how the same may be settled under the Government of this Commonwealth.” The Council of State next received instructions to nominate “ fit persons to be sent as Commissioners to Scotland ” for the settling of its affairs. On October 22, seven were nominated, among whom were Chief-

Justice Oliver St. John, the younger Sir Harry Vane, and Major-Generals Lambert and Deane ; and on the following day, October 23, their appointment was confirmed. On the same day, the Scottish and Irish Committee was directed by the Council of State to prepare instructions for the Commissioners, and upon December 4 the instructions they had prepared were presented to Parliament, where, after amendment, they were passed on December 11.

In these instructions1 the idea of annexation was abandoned and the policy of political incorporation adopted. The Commissioners were provided with ample powers, and those of them who were not already in Scotland, set out from London, and, on January 15, 1652, arrived at Dalkeith, where “the great hous and castle belonging to the Erie of Buccleuch wes ordered for thaime.”

The Commissioners began their work by putting forth a Declaration, by which they abolished all “ Power, Jurisdiction or Authority derived from, by, or under Charles Stuart ... or any of his predecessors, or any otherwise than from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England,” and undertook to create temporary magistrates for the administration of justice. Some time had evidently to elapse before these temporary justices were appointed. As late as April 26 the Town Council of Paisley resolved to meet upon Thursday, “the penult of this instant,” not in the Tolbooth, their official place of meeting, but in the “heigh hall” of James Alexander, one of the bailies, to choose a treasurer, admit burgesses, and to transact any other business relating to the town.

On February 12 the Commissioners issued the Parliament’s Declaration, in which the policy they were sent to carry out, was set forth, and at the same time circulated an order directing the shires and burghs to meet at convenient places and elect representatives “of integrity and good affection to the welfare and peace of the Island,” who were to appear at Dalkeith in the course of the month, “ with full power ” on behalf of their constituencies, to assent to the proferred Union.

By the people generally the proposed Union was regarded with favour, but Gillespie and the rest of the Remonstrants were strongly opposed to it. They feared that it would “ draw along a subordination of the Church to the State in the things of Christ,” and predicted that it would be followed by “ the gathering of private churches, toleration as in England, a reversing of righteous laws established relating to religion, or rather to their Carnall

Interest, together with an introducing [of] magistrates of contrary principles to the Kirk, and a pressing of oaths, etc.”

The shire and burgh of Renfrew were ordered to send their representatives to Dalkeith on Thursday, February 12. Of the five shires belonging to the Western Association, three sent their deputies on the days appointed for them, but neither Ayrshire nor Renfrewshire did. Of all the counties, with the exception of Kirkcudbrightshire, they were the only two non-assenters to the Tender of Union. Among the burghs, nine sent no representatives. Renfrew was one of them; others were Irvine and Ayr. In the shires of Renfrew and Ayr the Remonstrants were strong, and it is not unlikely that their refusal to send deputies and to assent to the Tender of Union was due to the influence of Gillespie and his friends.

Their influence, however, in the county of Renfrew and in the county of Ayr was rapidly on the wane. After many meetings, the gentlemen of both these counties, which had hitherto been “ the greatest pillars of the Protesting party,” in the month of September suddenly seceded from the Remonstrants and owned the General Assembly at St. Andrews, “which was the Assembly that voted in the King and Cavaliers.” They also sent commissioners to several presbyteries within their shires, which consisted for the most part of Protesters, “ to intimate their dislike of their protesting against and separating from the Kirk of Scotland and to let them know that if they did not insist [cease] in their way of protesting and labouring to heighten the breach, and thereby entangle the people of their shires, they would take all the wayes they could to obviate [frustrate] their design.”

The antipathy towards the English did not abate. Their soldiers were murdered whenever an opportunity occurred. Arms were procured, and great care was taken to conceal them. In the month of December, Colonel Overton’s regiment was stationed in the shire, with its headquarters apparently at Paisley, under the command of Major Richardson. Some of the troopers under Captain Weddel were quartered at Houston Castle. Here, hid behind some hangings, they found sixty muskets, with bandoliers and boxes of powder and of “ new cast bullets.” The discovery was communicated to Richardson, who, having heard that arms had been concealed in the churches, sent for the magistrates and ministers of Paisley and interrogated them. All protested that they had no knowledge of any arms being concealed in the churches. The Major was not satisfied, and, going to the Abbey Church, a search was made. A part of one of the walls appeared to have been quite recently built up. On being asked whether any arms were hid there, the magistrates and ministers persisted in their denial. Again the Major was not satisfied. The soldiers were ordered to break down the newly-built wall, and took out from behind it 155 muskets, 63 pikes, 120 bandoliers, 313 swords, together with match and powder. ,

The relations between the ministers and the English Government, which had never been friendly, had for some time been growing in hostility. The Government had hoped to win over the Remonstrants, and, with a view to this, the Commissioners appointed in February by Parliament to visit the universities, had forced Patrick Gillespie, their chief leader, upon the reluctant College of Glasgow as its Principal. But “ a Government which allowed soldiers to dispute publicly with ministers in churches, and sheltered the few Independent and Anabaptist congregations which defied the sacred authority of the Presbytery, could hardly long retain the good-will of ministers to whom submission to the Presbyterian order was a matter of Divine obligation.”

The General Assembly was to meet on July 21. 1653. The prospect of its meeting filled Lilburne, who was then in command, with anxiety “in regard of the fickleness of the times and present designs that are amongst many.” To his request for instructions, Cromwell gave him no immediate reply, and being informed that the assembled ministers were likely to open a correspondence with the Royalists in the Highlands, he resolved to act on his own responsibility. When the Assembly met, after two sermons had been delivered, before each of which the preachers offered up a prayer for the King, Lieutenant-Colonel Cotterell, acting under the orders of Lilburne, and supported by Captain Hope, entered the Assembly House and, mounting upon a bench, ordered all who were present to disperse, on the ground that they had no warrant to sit as an Assembly “ either from the Parliament of England or from the Commander-in-Chief in Scotland.” The Moderator appealed to the law of the land and to the “ power and warrant ” which the Kirk had received from Jesus Christ. Cotterell paid no heed to the appeal, but, calling in his soldiers, the ministers, guarded by horse and foot, were marched out to Bruntsfield Links, and there told to go home with all speed.

On August 10, 1653, the Presbytery of Paisley met within the Abbey Church, when, according to the Records, “ unexpectedly Captain Grene, one of the English army, with some parties of soldiers, invadit the Presbytery and by violence interrupted their sitting, carried them out to a house in town, and detained them there as prisoners, alleging that all presbyteries were discharged and had no power to sit. Thereafter, they being dismissed, did again convene, and considering the distractions of the times, and the uncertainty of the continuation of their liberties, appointed the ordination of Mr. William Thomson to the ministrie at Merns to be at Merns to-morrow, and the day to be observed as ane day of humiliation.”

This rough usage may be accounted for in the same way as Lilburne’s treatment of the Assembly. Lilburne had suspicions that the shire and Presbytery were sympathisers with the Highlanders in the North who had risen under Glencairn, and were about to join or assist them. By the 22nd of the month a number of the gentlemen of Renfrew had been apprehended and searched for evidence. But, so far as the gentlemen of the shire were concerned, the suspicions were unfounded. A number of them met in Paisley on August 22, and sent a deputation to the colonel to “ endeavour by all fair means to vindicate and clear the shire of any design, correspondence or intercourse, directly or indirectly, with any in the North in arms or any purpose of rising or troubling the peace of the country.” The deputation met Lilburne at Falkirk when on his way to Stirling, and subsequently, when they appear to have satisfied him.

The Presbytery ventured to sit again on the first of the following month, when, according to the Records, “ Compeared Captain John Grene, one of the English officers, who, declaring that he was come to sit with the Presbytery, exhibitet ane warrant from Collonell Lillburne for that purpose. The Presbytery did declare their great dissatisfaction therewith, and that with their consent he should not sit with them. Whereupon he did forbear for the time.” The captain2 had evidently received instructions to watch the brethren, and, if necessary, to use force to bring them to submission.

Paisley, which was then, though not a Royal burgh, the most important town in the county, was faring no better than the Presbytery. Its municipal authorities had been abolished, the Tolbooth was occupied by the English soldiery, and it was with the utmost difficulty that any business connected with the affairs of the burgh could be transacted. The election of Bailies and Town Councillors, which was to have taken place on September 29, 1653, was postponed to November 22, and then again till January 16, 1654. In the month of November in that year the town twice begged in vain for liberty to elect a bailie to hold courts and administer justice. A petition presented to General Monk in January, 1655, was more fortunate. On the 17th of that month John Wallace, a notary, who had been employed in the business, returned from Edinburgh, and intimated that he had obtained for the town “ a liberty and license to choose a bailie in place of umquhile James Alexander Baillie, with power to administer justice and use regular uplifting of the cess and other burdens.

The Protectorate and the Union of Scotland with England were proclaimed in Edinburgh on May 4, 1654, and the first United Parliament, in which Scotland was to have thirty representatives, was summoned for September 3. The Shire of Renfrew sent no representative. The Burgh was associated with Lanark, Glasgow, Rutherglen, Rothesay, Ayr, Irvine and Dumbarton, and was represented by John Wilkie of Bromhouse. In the second Parliament of the Protectorate, which was summoned to meet on September 17, 1656, Renfrewshire was associated with Ayrshire and was represented by William Lord Cochrane of Dundonald. Renfrew and its associated burghs were represented by George Lockhart of Tarbrax, Commissary of Lanarkshire. When the Parliament of Richard Cromwell met, on January 7, 1659, the shire was unrepresented, but the burghs with which Renfrew was associated had for their representative Captain John Lockhart.

The right of the Scottish Members to sit was challenged, but on a vote taken after considerable debate, their right was affirmed. The Union which Cromwell contemplated was never legally consummated. Before marching to London, Monk summoned the Scots Parliament to meet in Edinburgh, where it continued to meet until the Union of 1707.

There were two things, if not more, which the representatives of the shires and burghs, whether they were Deputies or Members of Parliament, steadily kept in view and aimed at. These were the reduction of the cess and relief from the quartering of soldiers. Both were bitterly complained of by the people both in town and country. The country people had to bear their share of providing coal and candle for the soldiery equally with the burghs when the soldiers were acting as garrisons, and in a county like Renfrew, where the soldiers appear to have been fairly numerous, the burden seems to have pressed heavily upon all classes. The county was re-valued in 1653, and when the cess was not paid, the collectors of it appear to have resorted to Colonel Turner’s plan of quartering soldiers upon the “ passive resisters ” until such time as it was paid. The plan, needless to say, was speedily efficacious. The efforts to obtain relief from the burdens were unavailing. Before returning to Scotland from Cromwell’s first Parliament, the Scottish representatives visited Cromwell to take their leave and to represent how burdensome the maintenance of the English army in Scotland was. “ His Highness told them that the reason thereof was because the Ministery did preach uppe the interest of Charles Stuart, and did much inveigh against the present authority, soe that there was a necessity of their continuance, but if they could propose any expedient with a salve to the security of the Nation, hee was willinge to answer their desires therein: whereuppon the said members are now [February 8, 1653] consideringe of an expedient.”  No expedient was discovered, and the cess continued to be levied and the soldiers to be quartered in the shire until close upon the time when Monk gathered his forces for his famous march upon London.


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