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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of James VI. 1591 - 1603 Part B

1592, Aug
On the high ground which skirts the Carse of Gowrie to the north, near the village of Rait, once stood a fortified house called Gaskenhall. Only a bit of broken garden-wall and a few trees now indicate the site. Here lived, at the end of the sixteenth century, Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, chief of the family which had given Scotland a king three centuries before, and described in the grave pages of Douglas’s Baronage as a most respectable person, ‘in high favour with King James VI., who conferred on him the honour of knighthood at the baptism of his son Prince Henry.’ Let us see, from the actual doings of this knight, what sort of person he was.

In August 1592, some goods belonging to Bruce, having to pass through Perth, were subjected to payment of custom by the magistrates, who, on payment being refused, seized them. Clackmannan sent a letter of remonstrance, threatening, if his goods were not restored, to make the Perth citizens suffer for it when they chanced to pass his house. This not being attended to, he attacked a party of citizens on their way from Dundee, and despoiled them of their weapons; for in those days a party of quiet burghers passing through twenty miles of even this central and comparatively civilised district of Scotland, could not go unarmed. The only reply the laird got to a message offering the weapons back in exchange for his goods, was a visit from a company of Perth citizens, who destroyed a good deal of his growing corn with their horses. He came out to remonstrate, and an altercation ensuing, he was provoked to strike one of the aggressors with a pistol. He then seized the two chief men of the party, William Inglis and John Balsillie, and took them as prisoners into his house of Gaskenhall.

That same night, a large party of the citizens of Perth, headed by the bailies and council, came out in arms to Gaskenhall, where, upon the morrow, before daylight, they sounded their drum, besieged the laird in his house, and discharged hagbuts and pistols in at the doors and windows, whereby a servant of his was wounded. At last setting fire to the house, they entered at the roof, set free their friends, and seized the laird, whom they ‘transportit away with them ane certain space, barefooted and bare-legged, not suffering him to put on his awn claithes.’ They likewise ‘spulyit and took away with them his hail silver-wark, bedding, claithes, and all the plenishing of his house.’—P. C. B.

This affair came before the king, who seems to have taken no step in the case beyond declaring both parties in the wrong, and ordering the laird and the magistrates into divers prisons, there to lie at their own respective costs, until they should be subjected to an assize. A Perth chronicler states: ‘They were thereafter agreed upon the town’s large charges.’ The agreement, however, does not seem to have been effectual, for, on the 28th of April 1593, as John Wilson and John Niven, with other citizens of Perth, were passing the Coble of Rhynd on their way to the market of St Andrews, they were beset by the laird, accompanied with nine horsemen and footmen, all well armed. ‘The said John Wilson and John Niven, being baith hurt and wounded in divers parts of their bodies, to the effusion of their blood in great quantity, the said laird and his accomplices maist shamefully tirrit them baith naked, and in maist barbarous and shameful manner scourgit them with horse bridles through the town of Abernethy, as gif they had been thieves or heinous malefactors; [then] left the said John Niven lying there for dead, and took the said John Wilson, naked, as captive and prisoner away with them.’

On the complaint of the magistrates of Perth, among whom was the afterwards famous Earl of Gowrie, acting as provost, the Laird of Clackmannan was charged to appear before the king, on pain of being denounced as a rebel in case of failure.

‘The ministry of Edinburgh devised twa purposes, which they had baith in head at a time; either thinking to prevail in ane or else in baith, as tending to the glory of God, as they pretended. The ane was to discharge the merchants of Edinburgh from haunting and resorting to Spain; the other was, that nae mercatday should be halden in Edinburgh for selling of wool and sheep’s skins; whereat baith merchants and craftsmen were grieved. The ministers at nae time proponit thir matters to be reasoned or disputed by the provost of the town and his council, to whom it specially apperteinit; but, as they did, thought it mair expedient to divulgate the matter openly in the kirk, in presence of the haul people, alleging that the merchants could not make voyage to Spain withott danger of their sauls, and therefore willit them in the name of God to abstein. At divers times this was openly required, while at last, finding that the merchants continued in their trade as before, they cried out that unless they wald forbear, they should expreme their names to the people, and therefore cited divers merchants before their session, and there commanded them to abstein. The merchants, seeing this, gave in their complaint to the king, and tauld how they were discharged [forbidden] by the ministers, but wald disobey thereunto, if his majesty wald grant them liberty to pass, whilk was granted; whereat the ministers were sae grieved, that they boasted [threatened] the merchants with excommunication. But the provost and council interceded, and stayed that purpose, because that to the merchants divers Spanyards were addebted, whilk wald never be repaid unless they went themselves to make count and reckoning with them; and siclike divers of them were awing to creditors there, and in that respect till their counts were perfyted and ended, they could not abstein from travelling... Sae the ministers had patience for that time, otherwise this matter had turned to a great popular scism.

'.... the other conceit had almaist have made a worse end; because it was sae prejudicial to the commonwealth and estate of the haul merchants and craftsmen, to wit, the abolition of the Monday’s mercat, whilk was the only special mercat-day of all the week in respect of the rest. The reason that the ministers had for them was, that all men that came to the Monday’s mercat did address him to his journey on Sunday, whilk day sould be sanctified and keepit holy; but amang many great infallible reasons, it was funden that the maist part of the mercat folks did never address themselves to journey while Monday morning, and therefore the mercat should not cease; and as to these that came far off, it became the pastors of their parochin to hinder them. Besides all this, that mercat-day was authorised to the town by the princes of ancient time, and therefore it became not a subject to consent to the abolition thereof, unless the matter was moved in presence of the three estates of parliament.’—H. K. J. The people in general murmured at these interferences with their secular affairs, well meant as they undoubtedly were. Calderwood speaks bitterly of the satirical rhymes vented on the occasion against the clergy, adding: ‘Such has always been the religion of Edinburgh, when they are touched in their particular.’ At length, in April 1593, the affair of the market came to a head. ‘The shoemakers, who were most interested in that business, hearing that the same was to be put in execution, tumultuously gathering themselves together, came to the ministers’ houses, menacing to chase them furth of the town if they did urge that matter any more. After which the motion ceased, the market continuing as before. This did minister great occasions of sport at that time in court, where it was said, "that rascals and souters could obtain at the ministers’ hands what the king could not in matters more reasonable." ‘—Spot.

Nov 17
‘Dame Margaret Douglas, sometime Countess of Bothwell, met the king at the Castle-yett of Edinburgh on her knees, having up her hood, crying for Christ’s sake that died on the cross, for mercy to her and her spouse, with mony tears piteous to behold. The king putting out his hand to have tane her up, she kissed the hack of his hand thrice. Then he passed into the castle, and the lady came down the street. The same day, ere the king came out of the palace, the Lairds of Niddry and Samuelston, with sundry others forfaultit of before, came on their knees in the outward close of the palace, wha were received in favours.’—Jo.

‘Ane proclamation that no man shall receipt the Countess of Bothwell, give her entertainment, or have any commerce or society with her in any case, wha had been so lately received in his majesty’s favour before. Behold the changes of court! ‘—Bir.

Dec 25
A few days before this date, the Earl of Mar was married at Alloa to Mary, the second daughter of the late Duke of Lennox and sister of the Countess of Huntly. The king honoured the marriage with his presence, and spent his Christmas with the newly wedded pair. It is rather surprising to find Mar, who had always been on the ultra-Protestant side, allying himself to a daughter of the papist Lennox; but tradition informs us that the god of love had in this case overcome that of politics—if there be such a deity. There were also some natural obstructions, for the earl was a widower of five-and-thirty, while the bride was little more than a girl. The story is, that his lordship, finding the young lady scornful, became low-spirited to such a degree as to alarm his old school-fellow, the king, for his life. Learning what was the matter, James told him in his characteristic familiar style: ‘By ——, ye shanna die, Jock,’ for ony lass in a’ the land!’ He then used his influence as virtual guardian of the Lennox family, and soon brought about the match. From this pair have descended some of the most remarkable patriots, lawyers, statesmen, and divines, to which our country has given birth.’

In the midst of the festivities at Alloa, the king was unpleasantly disturbed by intelligence of the capture of George Ker, adverted to in the next article.

Dec 27
In the latter part of this year, the king was nearly on as bad terms with the clergy as ever. They openly reproached him in their pulpits with slackness of justice against the enemies of religion. One maintained that he might very properly be excommunicated, if he resisted their behests. The king told the provost to pull them out of their pulpits when they spoke so against him; but this the provost plainly said he could not do—he preferred God before men. Things were in this ticklish state when George Ker was taken with sundry letters from Catholics at home to Catholics abroad, and three blank letters from Huntly, Errol, and Angus, believed to be the foundation of a conspiracy with Spain against the Protestant religion. The brethren met in Mr Robert Bruce’s gallery to devise measures, and a huge deputation went down to Holyroodhouse, to confer with the king. He received them in the great hall, and was at first very angry with them for their thus meeting unauthorisedly, saying, ‘"he knew not of it till all the wives in the kail-mercat knew of it." Yet in the end, to mitigate them in some measure, he said he liked well their zeal, for he knew they did it for love of the good cause.’—Cal. So began a sort of civil war, which lasted two or three years, and ended in the banishment of the three Catholic nobles, as already related.

1592-3, Jan 9
Mr Tytler attributes these new troubles to the persecuting spirit of the Presbyterian divines. ‘The principle of toleration,’ he says, ‘divine as it assuredly is in its origin, yet so late in its recognition even amongst the best men, was then utterly unknown to either party, Reformed or Catholic. The permission even of a single case of Catholic worship, however secret; the attendance of a solitary individual at a single mass, in the remotest district of the land, in the most secluded chamber, and where none could come but such as knelt before the altar for conscience’ sake, and in all sincerity of soul; such worship and its permission for an hour, was considered an open encouragement of Antichrist and idolatry. To extinguish the mass for ever, to compel its supporters to embrace what the kirk considered to be the purity of presbyterian truth, and this under the penalties of life and limb, or in its mildest form of treason, banishment and forfeiture, was considered not merely praiseworthy, but a high point of religious duty; and the whole apparatus of the kirk, the whole inquisitorial machinery of detection and persecution, was brought to bear upon the accomplishment of these great ends.’

The king, whether from his natural disposition, or views of policy, was averse to harassing the papists. He one day spoke privately to Lord Hamilton of his unhappy position. "You see, my lord, how I am used, and have no man in whom I may trust more than in Huntly, &c. If I receive him, the ministers cry out that I am an apostate from the religion; if not, I am left desolate." "If he and the rest be not enemies to the religion," said the Lord Hamilton, "ye may receive them; otherwise not." "I cannot tell," saith the king, "what to make of that; but the ministry hold them for enemies. Always, I would think it good that they enjoyed liberty of conscience." Then the Lord Hamilton crying aloud, said: "Sir, then we are all gone, then we are all gone, then we are all gone! If there were no more to withstand, I will withstand." When the king perceived his servants to approach, he smiled and said: "My lord, I did this to try your mind." ‘—Cal. Few things could better illustrate the sanctity in which the principle of intolerance was then held, than to find a contemporary historian relating this anecdote as one simply illustrative of the infirm adherence of King James to the presbyterian cause.

The Earl of Errol, one of the exiled Catholic lords, writing to the king from Middleburg in July 1596, speaks of having undergone incessant troubles ever since he professed the Catholic religion, and of having for three or four years past been in daily and extreme peril of his life. He says: ‘My late and greatest extremities have proceeded only upon that over-great fervour and onnecessar rigour of the ministry, wha, disdainfully rejecting all reasonable conditions, will force men’s consciences, not as yet persuaded, till embrace their opinions in matters of religion.’’

Mr John Graham of Hallyards, a judge of the Court of Session, had an unfortunate litigation with Sir James Sandilands, the Tutor of Calder, about some temple-lands which his wife had brought to him. There had been a deed forged in the case, and a notary hanged for it, and a collision between the Court of Session and the General Assembly as to jurisdiction, and now Sir James Sandilands had become incensed to a degree of fury against his opponent the judge.

Feb 13
Graham, being charged by the king, for peace’ sake, to depart from Edinburgh, was passing down Leith Wynd in obedience to the order, attended by three or four score persons for his protection, when Sir James Sandilands, accompanied by his friend the Duke of Lennox, and an armed company, followed hard at his heels. Graham, thinking he was about to be attacked, turned to make resistance. The duke sent to tell him that if he proceeded on his journey, no one would molest him; but the message proved of no use, in consequence of some stray shot from Graham’s company. The party of Sandilands immediately made an attack; the other party hastily fled. Graham fell wounded on the street, and was carried into a neighbouring house. A French boy, page to Sir Alexander Stewart, one of Sandilands’s friends, seeing his master slain, followed the hapless judge into the house, ‘douped a whinger into him,’ and so despatched him. Such was the characteristic termination of a lawsuit in 1593.—Cal.

It is highly worthy of remark, that, not many months after, Sir James Sandilands was once more peaceably living at court.

Amongst the complications of the affair between Huntly and Moray in February 1592, there were mingled the details of a plot in which Huntly and the Chancellor Maitland were connected with three chieftains of the clan Campbell—Ardkinlas, Lochnell, and Glenurchy—against the life of John Campbell of Calder, who was obnoxious to the latter persons on account of his supreme influence in the affairs of the minor Earl of Argyle. By the exertions of Ardkinlas, a man called MacEllar was procured to undertake the assassination of Calder: and in the same month which saw the tragedy at Dunnibrissle, this wretched man shot Calder with three bullets, through a window, as the victim sat unsuspecting of danger in the house of Knepoch in Lorn.

The youthful earl having threatened vengeance against Ardkinlas, the latter seems to have lost heart; and being extremely desirous of recovering his young chief’s regard, he seriously made an endeavour to that effect by means of witchcraft, and was much disappointed when that resource failed him. He subsequently tried to accomplish his purpose by revealing what he knew of another plot in which the same parties were concerned against the earl’s life. This, however, is aside from our present subject. It may be sufficient to remark that MacEllar and a higher agent in the a person of John Oig Campbell of Cabrachan, a brother of Lochnell, were taken and executed for Calder’s death; but owing to various causes, among which the complicity and friendship of Maitland was probably the chief, Ardkinlas continued for a considerable time to keep out of the grasp of the law.

Mar 28
At the time noted, he sustained an assault of private vengeance which might well make him tremble. A complaint which he entered before the Privy Council sets forth that, having occasion to be at Dumbarton with some friends, including Duncan Campbell, Dean of Brechin, on his way to Edinburgh, whither he was going in obedience to a summons of the king, ‘he took purpose to hald forward in his journey that same night after supper, by reason of the troubles whilk are in the country, lippening [trusting] for naething less than ony injury or trouble to have been intended him.’ Nevertheless, John Buchanan of Drumfoid, with a party of friends, and ‘sundry others, broken men and fugitives, to the number of twenty-four persons, on horse and foot, all bodin in feir of weir, with lang hagbuts, jacks, pistolets, and other weapons invasive,’ took up a position in a yard beside the road, with the design of murdering Campbell. ‘The said Duncan and ane other of his [Ardkinlas’s] servants, being ganging a little before him, and the persons foresaid surely believing that ane of them had been the Laird of Ardkinlas, they dischargit ane dozen of hagbuts at the said twa persons, and shot the said Duncan in the head; and thereafter, coming furth of the yard, finding the said Duncan not to be dead, and still believing he had been the said Laird of Ardkinlas, they shamefully and barbarously mangled and slew him with swords, and cuttit off his head. And then, perceiving themselves to be disappointed, they sharply followit the said laird, shot aucht or nine hagbuts at him, and had not failed likewise to have slain him, were not that by the providence of God he escaped.’

The next notice we have of affairs connected with the Campbell conspiracies is a curious, though obscure one, regarding what was in the language of that time called a Day of Law, held in Edinburgh on the 19th of June (the king’s birthday) 1593. There appeared as seekers of justice for Calder’s slaughter, the Earl of Argyle (seventeen years of age), the sheriff of Ayr, the Earl of Morton, and some others; as defenders in that cause, Ardkinlas, Glenurchy, and others. The Chancellor Maitland, whose concern was suspected, but did not become clear till our own time, had his friends assembled also—namely, the Earls of Montrose, Eglintoun, and Glencairn, and Lord Livingstone, ‘who all accompanied Lord Hamilton on the streets.’ Against them were mustered the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Mar, Lord Home, and some others, who, favoured with the countenance of the queen, talked of bringing in Lord Quondam against the chancellor: by this name they indicated Captain James Stuart, long sunk out of credit and means, but still eager to take any desperate means of recovering his place. ‘To this goodly company it was expected that Lord Maxwell and the Laird of Cessford would soon be added. The affair seemed so threatening, that the king was seriously alarmed, and commanded all to keep their lodgings; after which he ‘dealt with the chancellor to entreat them to depart in peace.’ Such was a day of law in the reign of gentle King James.

It was not till September 1596 that Ardkinlas underwent a trial for the slaughter of the Laird of Calder. The matter having doubtless been arranged beforehand, no pursuers appeared, and he was set at liberty.

June 21
George Smollett, burgess of Dumbarton (an ancestor of the novelist), was denounced rebel for not answering certain charges made against him by the burghs of Glasgow and Renfrew. It was alleged that Smollett, having purchased a letter of the king, used it as a sanction to deeds of violent oppression against the Highland people resorting with merchandise to those towns. ‘He not only masterfully reives the goods and bestial, claithing, and other wares, brought by the inhabitants of the Isles and other parts of the Highlands, to the said burghs, by sea and land, but takes, apprehends, and imprisons their persons, and, sometimes pursues themselves by way of deid.’ It was added that the people of the Highlands were, in consequence, inspired with a deadly hatred of the burghs of Glasgow and Renfrew, and were already committing such reprisals as threatened civil war.—P. C. R.

July 7
An act of Privy Council, reciting that ‘vile murders have not only been committed within kirks and other places, but even within the burgh of Edinburgh and suburbs thereof, ewest [near] to his hieness’ palace, to the great hazard of his awn person,’ commands the authorities of the city, the king’s guard, the master and porter of his palace, to ‘search for all hagbuts and pistolets’ worn by any persons in the city and king’s palace, and convey the wearers to prison, the weapons to be escheat for the benefit of the apprehenders. In the parliament which sat down a few days afterwards, it was enacted: ‘Whaever saIl happen, at ony time hereafter, to strike, hurt, or slay ony person within his hieness’ parliament-house during the time of the halding of the parliament; within the king’s inner chalmer, cabinet, or chalmer of presence, the king’s majesty for the time being within his palace; or within the Inner Tolbooth the time that the Lords of Session sit for administration of justice; or within the king’s privy council-house the time of the council sitting there; or whaever sall happen to strike, hurt, or slay ony person in the presence of his majesty, wherever his hieness sall happen to be for the time; sall incur the pain of treason.’ For those who commit the like offences in places and presences of less importance, severe penalties are denounced. Another act aimed at strengthening the hands of the magistrates of Edinburgh in their endeavours to apprehend turbulent persons and rebels, seeing that the weakness of such authorities ‘is the original and principal cause wherefra the great confusion and disorder of this land, in all estates, proceeds.’—
S. A. and P. C. R.

July 22
The feud between the Lord Maxwell and the Laird of Johnston, which had been stayed by a reconciliation, broke out again afresh in consequence of a foray by William Johnston of Wamphray, usually called, from his reckless, dissipated character, the Galliard, in the lands of the Crichtons of Sanquhar and Douglases of Drumlanrig. The Galliard being taken in the fray and hanged, his friends, on being pursued for the recovery of the stolen cattle, stood at bay and fought so desperately that many of their enemies bit the dust. A remarkable scene was consequently presented in Edinburgh. ‘There came certain poor women out of the south country, with fifteen bloody shirts, to compleen to the king that their husbands, sons, and servants, were cruelly murdered by the Laird of Johnston, themselves spoiled, and nothing left them. The poor women, seeing they could get no satisfaction, caused the bloody shirts to be carried by pioneers through ‘the town of Edinburgh, upon Monday, the 23d of July. The people were much moved, and cried out for a vengeance upon the king and council. The king was nothing moved, but against the town of Edinburgh and the ministry. The court alleged they had procured that spectacle in contempt of the king.’---Cal.

July 24
Bothwell had now been little heard of for upwards of a twelve-month, a long interval of quietness for such a politician. The time had at length come for a third attempt to regain favour with the king. ‘At eight hours in the morning, the Earl of Bothwell, the Laird of Spott, Mr William Leslie, and Mr John Colville’ [‘ to the number of twa or three hundred men’], ‘came into the king’s chalmer, weel provided with pistol. It was reported that the said Earl and Mr John were brought in by the Lady Athole, at the back yett of the abbey. This earl and his complices came not this way provided with pistols and drawn swords to harm the king’s majesty any ways, but because he could not get presence of his majesty, nor speech of him, for the Homes, who were courtiers with the king, and enemies to the said Earl of Bothwell. Sae they came into his majesty’s chalmer, resolving themselves not to be halden back till they should have spoken with him; and sae after they came in, his majesty was coming frae the back-stair, with his breeks in his hand, in ane fear—howbeit he needed not. The foresaid Bothwell and his complices fell upon their knees, and gave their swords upon the ground, and beggit mercy at his majesty; and his majesty being wise, merciful, a noble prince of great pity, not desirous of blood, granted them mercy, and received them in his favour; and at four hours afternoon proclaimed them his free lieges.’

‘There was ane great tumult in Edinburgh for this. They come all down in arms, and cried to understand the king’s mind, who cried out and said, that he was not captive, but weel, in case that whilk was promised by them should be keepit; and commanded them all to the abbey kirk-yard, to stay there till he called for them. Immediately thereafter, [he] sent for the provost and bailies, and commanded them to dissolve and go homeward; he houpit all should be weel.’—Moy. Bir.

For a time the Chancellor Maitland, Lord Home, and other courtiers gave way before the replaced Bothwell. The English ambassador exerted influence in his behalf. The zealous clergy befriended him, not for any virtues he could be said to possess, for he had none, but for that which was a compendium of all virtue, his professing to be for ‘the trew religion.’ King James was obliged to seem his friend, and to be quite against the Catholic lords. One day, as the king was travelling by Fala, near Soutra Hill, these nobles came up unexpectedly, threw themselves on their knees before him, and entreated forgiveness and favour. He told them be could do nothing for them unless they satisfied the kirk, and ‘he sent back, that same nicht, the Lord Treasurer and the Abbot of Lindores to the ambassador of England and the ministers of Edinburgh, desiring that they should conceive nae evil opinion of his part for their coming to him.’—H. K. J. Such were the relations of royalty to the priesthood in those days.

Dec 11
Notwithstanding such powerful support, Bothwell could not long maintain his place at court. We soon find him again at the horn, and passing through a rather picturesque adventure on a mountain-road a few miles to the south of Edinburgh. ‘It fortuned Sir Robert Kerr, younger of Cessford, accompanied only with one of his awn servants called Rutherford, to pass out of Edinburgh, homeward to his wife quietly; in the way of plain accident, [he] forgathered with the Earl Bothwell, and ane Gibson with him, beside Humbie on this side of Soutra Hill; where, meeting twa for twa, they fought a long time on horseback . . . . The Laird of Cessford’s man was hurt in the cheek, and at length baith the parties so wearied with long fechting, [that] they assented baith to let the others depart and ride away for that time. Cessford came back to Edinburgh, and tauld the king’s majesty of that accident.’—Moy.

July 31
Aberdeen, a commercial town with a university, bore a singular moral relation to the adjacent Highlands of the Dee, where a wild and lawless population, speaking a different language, and using a different dress, existed. Many were the troubles of the industrious burghers from these rude neighbours, who would sometimes come sweeping down upon their borders like a flight of locusts, and leave nothing of value uneaten or undestroyed. At this time, we find the council of the northern city meeting to consider ‘the barbarous cruelty lately exercit by the lawless hielandmen in Birse, Glentanner, and thereabout, not only in the unmerciful murdering of men and bairns, but in the masterful and violent spulying of all the bestial, guids, and gear of a great part of the inhabitants of these bounds . . . . committit near to this burgh, within twenty miles thereto;’ for which reason it was ordained that the whole inhabitants should be ready with arms to meet for the defence of the town, and to resist and repress the said hielandmen, as occasion shall be offered.’

The Crichtons and Douglases, whom the Johnstons had plundered in the summer of this year, having induced Lord Maxwell to take up their cause, and enter with them into bonds of manrent for mutual support, it behoved the Laird of Johnston to be stirring. To his aid came the reiving clans of Scott and Graham, and with them he fell upon and cut off a party of the Maxwells. This led to a decisive attempt of Lord Maxwell to bring the Johnstons to subjection; but, though undertaken under sanction of his office as warden of the west marches, it ended in a way very unfortunate for himself.

Dec 6
‘The Lord Maxwell, being on foot 1500 and horse together, coming to the Lochwood, having special commission of the king to have destroyed the said Lochwood, and banished and destroyed the hail Johnston; because he [the laird] was ane favourer of the Earl Bothwell in some of his turns—being come over the Water of Annan—the Laird of Johnston, with the Scotts, to the number of 800 or thereby, ombeset the said lord in his way; where, without few or na strakes, the said lord was slain with the Laird Johnston’s awn hand [or, as is alleged, by Mr Gideon Murray, being servitor till Scott of Buccleuch]; never ane of his awn folks remained with him (only twenty of his awn household), but all fled through the water; five of the said lord’s company slain; and his head and right arm were ta’en with them to the Lochwood, and affixed on the wall thereof. The bruit ran that the said Lord Maxwell was treacherously deserted by his awn company.’—Jo.

Such was the famous clan-battle of Dryfe’s Sands, the last of any note fought in the southern part of Scotland.

1593-4, Jan 21
For some time we have heard nothing of Eustachius Roche, quondam tacksman-general of the Scottish mines. From this circumstance, and the difficulties he seemed to be labouring under the last time we heard of him, it is little to be doubted that he had found his adventure unprofitable and hopeless, and given it up. Now another comes forward, one really notice-worthy, since he prospered to some extent in his undertaking, and laid the foundation of a property and a work which still exist. This was Thomas Foulis, goldsmith in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh goldsmiths of that day, though only occupying a few small obscure shops stuck between the buttresses of St Giles’s Church, comprehended in their number two or three persons of such considerable wealth, as to verge upon a historic importance. Such, for example, was George Heriot, who in 1597 became goldsmith and jeweller to the king, and in time accumulated the fortune which enabled his executors to erect the magnificent hospital bearing his name. Another of the number was Thomas Foulis, who, when in spring 1593 the king had to march an army against the Papist lords in the north, supplied a great part of the funds required for the purpose. What the Bank of England has often in modern times been to the British government, Thomas Foulis, the Edinburgh goldsmith, was in those days to King James—a ready resource when money was urgently required for state purposes. On the 10th of September 1594, the royal debt to Thomas was no less than £14,598; and as a security so far for this sum, the king consigned to him ‘twa drinking pieces of gold, weighing in the haill fifteen pund and five unce,’ which the consignee was to be at liberty to coin into ‘five-pund piece;’ if the debt should not be otherwise paid before the 1st of November next, ‘the superplus, gif oney beis,’ to be forthcoming for his majesty’s use. The value of the gold of these drinking-cups at the present day would be about £950, which shews that the debt in question was expressed in Scottish money. It may be remarked, that on the same day the king consigned another gold drinking-cup, weighing twelve pounds five ounces, in favour of John Arnott, burgess of Edinburgh, who had lent him £6000. It further appears that Thomas Foulis, very soon after, lent the king £12,000 more ‘for outredding of sundry his hieness’ affairs.’

In consideration of the loans he had had from Thomas Foulis, the king granted him (January 21, 1593—4). a lease of the gold, silver, and lead mines of Crawford Muir and Glengoner for twenty-one years. The Edinburgh tradesman probably had the sagacity to see, in a little time, that there was not, in those districts, a sufficiency of the more precious metals to pay the expense of collecting. We find, however, that in 1597 he was working the really valuable lead deposit of Lanarkshire, as there are acts of council in that year for the protection of his lead-carriers against ‘broken men of the borders.’

We shall meet Thomas again. Meanwhile, it may be observed that his lead-mines in time passed through his granddaughter into the possession of (her husband) James Hope of Hopetoun, sixth son of the great lawyer, Sir Thomas, and the founder of the noble house of Hopetoun. It has long been one of the best estates in Scotland; and it is certainly curious to trace its origin to the hypocritical military expedition against the Catholic lords, into which King James was forced by his ultra-zealous Presbyterian subjects, when he would have much rather been ‘drinking and driving ower in the auld maner’ at home.

Whatever became of the gold-diggings in Foulis’s hands, we find that, before the expiration of the term of his lease, they were actively worked by another person. An Englishman named Bulmer, with the licence and favour of Queen Elizabeth, and a patent from the king of Scots, set seriously to work in five different moors—namely, Mannoch Muir and Itobbart Muir in Nithsdale, the Friar Muir on Glengoner Water, and Crawford Muir in Clydesdale, and Glengaber Water in Henderland, Peeblesshire. ‘Upon Glengoner Water he builded a very fair country-house to dwell in; he furnished it fitting for himself and his family; he kept therein great hospitality; he purchased lands and grounds round about it; he kept thereupon many cattle, as horses, kine, sheep, &c. And he brought home a water-course for the washing of and cleansing of gold; by help thereof he got much straggling gold on the skirts of the hills and in the valleys, but none in solid places; which maintained himself then in great pomp, and thereby he kept open house for all comers and goers; as is reported, he feasted all sorts of people that thither came.’ A verse upon the lintel of the door of the house in Glengoner has been preserved:

Sir Bevis Bulmer built this bour,
Who levelled both hill and moor;
Who got great riches and great honour
In Short-cleuch Water and Glengoner.

Bulmer also set regular apparatus at work in Short-cleugh Water and Long-cleugh Braes, in Crawford Muir, and often found considerable quantities of the ore: in the latter place, his people found one piece of six ounces’ weight within two feet of the mosses. He also found a considerable quantity in Glengaber, but erected no apparatus there. After a persevering effort, he became embarrassed, in consequence, it is affirmed, of prodigal housekeeping, and retired from the adventure no richer than he commenced it.

Feb 19
'.... between twa and three hours in the morning, the queen was delivered of ane young prince, within the Castle of Stirling, in his majesty’s chalmer there; whilk was a great comfort to the haill people, moving them till great triumph, wantonness, and play, for banefires were set out, and dancing and playing usit, in all parts, as gif the people had been daft for mirth.’—Moy.

The king had scarcely seen his wife out of the perils of childbirth, when he was obliged to come to Edinburgh to take measures against the Earl of Bothwell, who was now breaking out into open rebellion. Fearing to live in Holyroodhouse, which had already been twice broken into by the turbulent lord, he took up his quarters in ‘Robert Gourlay’s lodging’ within the city.

Mar 13
‘. . . . being Sunday, his majesty came to Mr Robert Bruce’s preaching, [who] said to his majesty, that God wald stir up mae Bothwells nor ane (that was, mae enemies to him nor Bothwell), if he revengit not his, and faucht not God’s quarrels and battles on the papists, before he faucht or revenged his awn particular.’—Bir.

1594, Apr 3
The king ‘came to the sermon, and there, in presence of the haill people, promised to revenge God’s cause, and to banish all the papists; and there requested the haill people to gang with him against Bothwell, wha was in Leith for the time. The same day, the king’s majesty raze, and the town of Edinburgh in arms. The Earl of Bothwell, hearing that his majesty was coming down, with the town of Edinburgh, rase with his five hundred horse, and rode up to the Hawk-hill, beside Lesterrick [Restalrig], and there stood till he saw the king and the town of Edinburgh approaching near him. He drew his company away through Duddingston. My Lord Home followed till the Woomet, at whilk place the Earl of Bothwell turned, thinking to hiae a hit at Home; but Home fled, and he followed; yet by chance little blood. The king’s majesty stood himself, seeing the said chase’ [at a safe distance, namely, on the Burgh-moor] .—Bir.

Within a few days after this affair, the earl, seeing he could not effect his object, retired into England. Soon after, much to the scandal of the preachers, he joined the papist lords. All his plans, however, were frustrated; and early in the next year, he left Scotland, an utterly broken man, never again to give his royal cousin any trouble.

Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail was rising to be a wealthy and influential man in the west of Inverness-shire. Beginning as simple chief of the Clan Kenzie, with a moderate estate, he ended as a peer-of the realm and the lord of great possessions. A remarkable notice regarding him occurs at this time in the Privy Council Record, and it is the more so, as he had been for some time a member of that body. It is recited that he had, some time before, purchased a commission of justiciary from the king, for a district including the lands of certain neighbours, besides his own, and conferring the power of proceeding against persons accused of treasonable fire-raising. This was declared to have been given on wrong representations, and to be contrary to the laws of the kingdom, and Kenneth was commanded to appear by a certain day before the Council, and meanwhile abstain from acting upon the commission.—P. C

As a specimen of how nobles possessing castles acted towards meaner men who had fallen under their displeasure—James, Lord Hay of Yester, was charged before the Privy Council with having, on the day of June previous, gone to the house of Brown of Frosthill, and taken him forth thereof, and carried him to his ‘place of Neidpath,’ where ‘he put him in the pit thereof, and detenes him as captive, he being his majesty’s free subject.... having committit nae crime nor offence, and the said lord having nae power nor commission to tak him.’ The king had granted letters charging Lord Yester to liberate Brown, and that they should both come before him; and this had been of none effect. The matter being now before the Council, and a procurator having appeared for Brown to explain that he was still a prisoner at Neidpath, while Lord Yester made no appearance, officers were charged to go and denounce the latter as a rebel if he should refuse to obey the king’s command, Brown having meanwhile given surety to the extent of two hundred pounds that he should be ready to answer any accusation that might be brought against him.—P. C. R.

Robert Logan of Restalrig is one of the darkest characters of this bloody and turbulent time. A few years later, he was plotting with the Ruthvens of Gowrie for an assault upon the king. So early as February 1592—3, he was denounced for trafficking with the turbulent Bothwell. In June of this year, he was again denounced, and for a more serious matter—his sending out two servants, Jockie Houlden and Peter Craik, to rob travellers on the highway, near his house of Fast Castle in Berwickshire. They had attacked Robert Gray, burgess of Edinburgh, as he was passing the Boundrod, near Berwick, and taken from him nine hundred and fifty pounds, besides battering him to the peril of his life.—P. C. R. His residence, as is well known, was a fortalice perched on an almost inaccessible crag overhanging the waves of the sea, with black cliffs above, below, and nearly all round— perhaps the most romantically situated house in our ancient kingdom. Here, it is known, Logan had Bothwell for his occasional guest.

In July of this year, Logan entered into a contract with John Napier of Merchiston, proceeding upon the fact of ‘diverse auld reports, motives, and appearances, that there should be within the said Robert’s dwelling-place of Fast Castle a sowm of money and pose, hid and huirdit up secretly? John Napier undertook that he ‘sall do his utter and exact diligence to search and seek out, and be all craft and ingyne that he dow [can], to tempt, try, and find out the same, and, be the grace of God, either sall find out the same, or than mak sure that nae sic thing has been there? For this he was to have a third of any money found. He was also to be convoyed back in safety to Edinburgh, unspoiled of his gains.

As Logan was competent to make simple mechanical search for the supposed treasure without the aid of a philosopher, there is much reason to believe that Napier designed to use some pseudoscientific mode or modes of investigation, such as the divining-rod, or the so-called magic numbers. The affair, therefore, throws a curious light on the state of philosophy even in the minds of the ablest philosophers of that age, the time when Tycho kept an idiot on account of his gift of prophecy, and Kepler perplexed himself with the Harmonices Mundi.

It is not known whether Napier did actually journey to the spray-beaten tower of Fast Castle, and there practise his craft and ingyne. Probably he did, and was disappointed in more ways than one, as, two years after, he is found letting a portion of his property to a gentleman on the strict condition that no part of it shall be sub-let to any one of the name of Logan.

This year, in the Merse, there was a great business about sorcery and the trial of witches, and many was there burnt, as, namely, one Roughhead, and Cuthbert Hume’s mother of Dunse, the parson of Dunse’s wife, and sundry of Eyemonth and Coldingham; near a dozen moe, and many fugitives, as the old Lady A. Sundry others were delated, and the Ladies of Butt: and Lady B.: the Laird of B.: his sister; one in Liddesdale by virtue of [a] superstitious well, whereat was professed great skill; one Dick’s sister, who had her mother hanged before in Waughton. They confessed the death of the whole goods [live-stock] of the country.’—Pa. And.

The disposition to violent and lawless acts at this time is strikingly shewn in the proceedings against Claud and Alexander, two sons of James Hamilton of Livingstone, in Linlithgowshire. Having some ground of offence against David Dundas of Priestinch, they had gone at mid-day with an armed party to his fold, and, there barbarously mutilated and slaughtered a number of his cattle. They and their elder brother, Patrick, also destroyed a mill leased by the same person, and further set fire to his barn-yard at Duddington. Two months afterwards, when John Yellowlees, a messenger, went with two assistants to the Peel of Livingstone, to deliver letters of citation against these young men, the laird, with his wife and four sons, came forth to the gate, and taking him first by the throat, proceeded to beat him unmercifully, and then, with a bended pistol at his breast, and many violent threats, forced him to eat and swallow his four letters, and to promise never to attempt to bring any such documents against them in future; besides which, they struck the two witnesses with swords and pistols, and left them for dead. The family were denounced as rebels.—Pit.

1594-5, Jan 19
A great tulyie or street-combat this day took place in Edinburgh. The Earl of Montrose, head of the house of Graham, was of grave years—towards fifty: he was of such a character as to be chosen, a few years afterwards, as chancellor of the kingdom: still later, he became for a time viceroy of Scotland, the king being then in England. Yet this astute noble was so entirely under the sway of the feelings of the age, as to deem it necessary and proper that he should revenge the death of John Graham (see under February 13, 1592—3) upon its author, under circumstances similar to those which attended that slaughter. On its being known that the earl was coming with his son and retinue to Edinburgh, Sandilands was strongly recommended by some of his friends to withdraw from the town, ‘because the earl was then over great a party against him. His mind was, notwithstanding, sae undantonit, and unmindful of his former misdeed, finding himself not sac weel accompanied as he wald, he sent for friends, and convokit them to Edinburgh, upon plain purpose rather first to invade the said earl than to be invadit by him, and took the opportunity baith of time and place within Edinburgh, and made a furious onset on the earl [at the Salt Tron in the High Street], with guns and swords in great number. The earl, with his eldest son, defendit manfully, till at last Sir James was dung [driven down] on his back, shot and hurt in divers parts of his body and head, [and] straitly invadit to have been slain out of hand, gif he had not been fortunately succoured by the prowess of a gentleman callit Captain Lockhart. The lord chancellor and Montrose were together at that time; but neither reverence [n] or respect was had unto him at this conflict, the fury was sae great on either side; sae that the chancellor retirit himself with gladness to the College of Justice. The magistrates of the town, with fencible weapons, separatit the parties for that time; and the greatest skaith Sir James gat on his party, for he himself was left for dead, and a cousin-german of his, callit Crawford of Kerse, was slain, and mony hurt: but Sir James convalescit again, and this recompense he obteinit for his arrogancy. On the earl’s side was but ane slain, and mony hurt.’—H.
K. J.

Feb 18
Hercules Stewart was hanged at the Cross in Edinburgh, for his concern in the crimes of his brother the Earl of Bothwell. The people lamented his fate, for ‘he was ane simple gentleman, and not ane enterpriser. ‘—Moy. He ‘was suddenly cut down and carried up to the Tolbooth to be dressed; but within a little space he began to recover and move somewhat, and might by appearance have lived. The ministers, being advertised hereof, went to the king to procure for his life; but they had already given a new command to strangle him with all speed, so that no man durst speak in the contrary.
‘—Pa. And.

Mar 10
Commenced ‘ane horrible tempest of snaw, whilk lay upon the ground till the 14[th] of April thereafter.’ Bir.

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