Chapter I. General
General view of Tranent—its antiquity and peculiar position on a
crust—its old customs—how its inhabitants have at times asserted
their rights, and how they have occasionally been robbed of them.
Chapter II. Colliers and Collieries
The way coal-pits were worked in the olden time, and the enslaved
condition of the miners—how slavery in Scotland appeared to people
at the time.
Chapter III. Witchcraft 1591
David Seton, of Tranent, through ignorance, or more probably to
curry favour with the weak and superstitious King, accuses his
servant maid of witchcraft, and by means of torture gets her to
confess that she and thirty confederates had been engaged in a plot
for the destruction of his Majesty and his Danish bride, which
confession eventually results in 17,000 people in Scotland being
burned at the stake, and Lord Seton is created Earl of
Winton—Shakespeare and Burns, as appears from their works, were
acquainted with the trials of the Tranent witches—John Kincaid, the
witch finder, resides in Tranent—Ministers of the Gospel, blind
leaders of the blind, were the firmest believers in witchcraft, and
the most merciless persecutors of the poor wretches who were
suspected of that impossible crime—the appalling consequences which
even the true Religion leads poor mortals into, when it is allowed
to take the bit between its teeth, and to throw Reason over its
Chapter IV. The Battle of Prestonpans
The Battle of Prestonpans, showing the extraordinary power of ‘
sentiment ’ when of the genuine and not the simulated kind.
Chapter V. The Massacre
The state of Scotland circa 1797, when Dundas was Dictator —the
reason why the Scotch, a warlike people, were so averse to the
Militia Act—Riots in Tranent and massacre.
Chapter VI. Stiell's Charity School
Stiell’s Hospital—Dr. Caesar takes the helm, and sets off on a
voyage which Stiell never dreamt of—the Doctor obtains a crew of
Trustees, and tries to erase the name from the stern and head
boards; but “Charity School” shines through the paint, although put
on an inch thick.