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

Lord Home came to Lauder, [and] asked for William Lauder [bailie of that burgh, commonly called William at the West Port], being the man who hurt John Cranston (nicknamed John with the gilt sword). [William] fled to the tolbooth, as being the strongest and surest house, for his relief. But the Lord Home caused put fire to the house, and burnt it all. The gentleman remained therein till the roof-tree fell. In end he came desperately out amongst them, and hazard [ed] a shot of a pistol at John Cranston, and hurt him. But [it] being impossible to escape with life, they most cruelly without mercy hacked him with swords and whingers all in pieces.’—Pa. And.

Lady Marischal, sister of Lord Home, ‘hearing the certainty of the cruel murder of William Lauder, did mightily rejoice thereat, and writ it for good news to sundry of her friends in the country. But within less than twenty-four hours after, the lady took a swelling in her throat, both without and within, after a great laughter, and could not he cured till death seized upon her with great repentance.’—Pa. And.

A remission for this barbarous slaughter was granted by the king, in 1606, to the Earl of Home, Hume of Hutton Hall, Thomas Tyrie, tutor of Drumkilbo, John Hume in Kells, and other persons.

It does not appear that any effectual order was taken with the Laird of Johnston for his resistance to the royal authority at Dryfe’s Sands and the slaughter of Lord Maxwell (December 6, 1593). His turbulent proceedings at length caused him to be denounced as a rebel. A few days before this event, his portrait was hung, head downwards, on the gibbet at the Cross of Edinburgh, and he declared ‘a mansworn man.’—Bir. He was restored to his honours in 1600.

June 22
The king gave a letter of patent to Archibald Napier, apparent of Merchiston, for an invention of his, a ‘new order of gooding and manuring of field-land with common salt, whereby the same may bring forth in more abundance, both of grass and corn of all sorts, and far cheaper than by the common way of dunging used heretofore in Scotland.’ That nothing came of this plan need not be told.

The Merchiston Napiers must have been a theme of some curiosity and no little remark at this time, seeing that three generations were now living, all of them busy-brained, ingenious, and original-minded persons. First was the laird himself, master-general of the cunyie-house, still in the vigour of life, being not more than sixty-five years of age. Second was John Napier, the fiar or heir, only sixteen years the junior of his father, constantly engaged in puzzling out profound problems in mathematics and prophecies in the Apocalypse. Finally, this grandson of the laird, a youth of four-and-twenty, and already, as we see, exhibiting the active intellect of the family.

Archibald became a favourite courtier of James VI. and Charles I., by the latter of whom he was raised to the peerage. He joined the anti-covenanting party, and endured some adversity in his latter days.

The carboniferous formation, as is well known, does not extend in Scotland beyond the Ochils; but in the remote county of Sutherland, on the coast at Brora, there is a patch of colite, in the lower section of which is a workable bed of coal, between three and four feet thick. John, tenth Earl of Sutherland, had discovered this valuable deposit, but being cut off by poison (anno 1567), he had no opportunity of trying to turn it to advantage. The Sutherland estates were now under the management of a woman of some force of character, and who has by accident a place in our national history—Lady Jean Gordon. Being divorced by Bothwell, in order to admit of his marriage to Queen Mary, she had subsequently married one Earl of Sutherland, and become the mother of another, for whom she was now acting. By this clever countess the coal of Brora was for the first time worked, not merely for its use in domestic purposes, but as a means of establishing a salt-work. Some pans being erected by her ‘a little by-west the entry of the river,’ there was good salt made there, ‘which served not only Sutherland and the neighbouring provinces, but also was transported into England and elsewhere.’ This was a good effort, but, like all similar enterprises in that rude age, it met with interruptions. One vigorous renewed effort was made by the countess’s son, Earl John, in 1614. It was not, however, till our own time, when the first Duke of Sutherland spent £16,000 on the coal-works, and £2,387 on the salt-works, that the original designs of Countess Jean could be said to be fully realised. The works are stated to have given forth twenty thousand tons of coal between the years 1814 and 1826.

July 10
‘ . . . .
ane man, some callit him a juggler, playit sic supple tricks upon ane tow, whilk was fastenit betwixt the top of St Giles’s Kirk steeple and ane stair beneath the Cross, callit Josia’s Close head, the like was never seen in this country, as he rade down the tow and playit sae mony pavies on it.’—Bir.

Practitioners of such dangerous arts were not uncommon in those days. The death, in Edinburgh, of one Kirkaldy, ‘who had before danced at the cock of the steeple [St Giles’s],’ is noted in the history of the civil broils of 1571.

Mr James Melville reports in 1600: ‘Being in Falkland, I saw a funambulus, a Frenchman, play strange and incredible proticks upon stented tackle in the palace close before the king, queen, and haill court.’ He adds the vulgar surmise of the day: ‘This was politickly done, to mitigate the queen and people for Gowrie’s slaughter’

It appears that these diverting vagabonds were well rewarded. The juggler of 1598, called an ‘English sporter,’ had twenty pounds from the king for the steeple-trick. Two months after, six pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence was ordered to ‘David Weir, sporter,’ supposed to be the same person. To Peter Bramhill, the French pavier—that is, player of pavies—there is a precept from his majesty, ordering him no less a sum than £333, 6s. 8d. - but of course Scottish money.

‘This year the wheat was blasted.’—Chron. Perth. ‘The ait meal sold for 6s. the peck.’—Bir.

There was, consequently, towards the end of the year, ‘ane extraordinar dearth of all kinds of pultrie and other vivres,’ throughout the realm, but particularly did this kind of scarcity prevail in Edinburgh, ‘where his hieness, his nobility and council, in sundry seasons of the year, make their chief residence.’ The king issued a proclamation, fixing a minimum of prices for the said articles, not to be exceeded under certain penalties. This, however, was now found ‘likely to become altogether ineffectual, partly through the avaritious greediness of some persons wha forestalls and buys the pultrie in grit, and keeps the same in secret houses, and there sells the same far above the prices exprest in the proclamation,’ and partly by the negligence of magistrates, who take no care to punish ‘the authors of this disorder.’ For these reasons, a more rigorous and menacing proclamation was now made.

A fortnight after, followed an edict of Council against twenty-four poultrymen of Edinburgh (surprising there should have then been so many in the business), who, it was said, had contravened the late proclamation by forestalling and secretly selling their poultry at high prices, representing the fowls as ‘his majesty’s awn kain fowls, or that they are bocht by them for his majesty’s awn month . . slanderand his majesty hereby, as if his majesty were the chief cause of the break of the said proclamation.’

It is amusing to observe the apparent astonishment of the king and his councillors on finding how little respect was paid to edicts of this kind, as if it were a most unrighteous and undutiful thing of the people to try to get prices for articles proportionate to the small quantity there was to sell. We must not, however, be too ready to indulge in a smile at the false political economy of the Scottish monarch of 1598, when we remember that a law-made scarcity of vivres was kept up in Great Britain till 1846, and observe that at the present day the sovereign of France still dictates the prices at which beef and mutton are to be sold in Paris. At the very time when this notice is penned (September 1856), the newspapers describe the conduct of butchers in Paris as precisely that of the twenty-four poultrymen of Edinburgh in 1599; that is to say, they sell their meat in secret to persons who will give suitable prices.

Considering the scarcity which marked the close of 1598, it is not surprising to find the Chronicle of Perth adverting next year to ‘ane great deid among the people.’

The Privy Council Record at this date gives an anecdote which reads like a tale of patriarchal times—the time when Jacob told his sons to go down into Egypt and buy corn, ‘that we may live and not die.’

On some recent occasion of pestilence, Dumfries, being specially and severely afflicted, was, as usual, sequestered from all intercourse and traffic—its markets became altogether decayed, and the inhabitants, in addition to all their other distresses, found themselves ‘evil handlit for want of necessar sustentation.’ In these circumstances, it seemed good to them to send two of their number, unsuspected of infection, to the country about the Water of Cree in Galloway, to purchase cattle. The two men, James Sharpe and John Mertine, set forth on this quest, and, coming to the burgh of Wigtown, were there well received by the magistrates, who seemed willing to give them Christian help and countenance for their object, on the condition that the cattle were paid for and the burgh of Wigtown satisfied in their customs. Thus sanctioned, the Durnfries emissaries went into the country and bought thirty-eight nolt, which they began to drive towards Dumfries, looking for no interruption or impediment. At Monygaff on the Water of Cree, they were met by a large armed party under the command of Patrick Ahannay, provost of Wigtown, and John Edgar and Archibald Tailfer, bailies, who laid violent hands upon them, and carried them and their cattle to Wigtown. We do not learn what was the motive of this conduct, but may reasonably surmise it was some claim in the way of custom which the Dumfriessians had failed to satisfy. At Wigtown the cattle were detained eight days, getting gradually leaner for want of food, till at last they were ‘extreme lean;’ and it was not till their owners had paid a hundred merks, that they were allowed to proceed with the beeves to the starving burgh of Dumfries.

This pitiable affair, which reads so strangely of Dumfries, now the scene of magnificent markets for the transfer of cattle, came under the notice of the Privy Council, and was remitted to the ordinary judges to be settled by them as they might think best.—P.C.R.

1598-9, Jan 19
Thomas Lorn, residing at Overton of Dyce, was brought before the provost of Aberdeen, accused of ‘hearing of spreits, and wavering ofttimes frae his wife, bairns, and family, by the space of seven weeks,’ they not knowing ‘where he has been during the said space.’ He agreed that, if he should ever be found absenting himself in that manner, without giving warning, he should suffer death ‘as ane guilty person, dealer with spreits.’—Ab.
C. R

1598, July 26
Andrew Melville, of whose courage and zeal for pure presbytery Scottish history is at this time full, presided at a disputation in the theological hall of St Mary’s College, St Andrew; where the question was, ‘Whether by divining or diabolical force of witches and hags, bodies may be transported or transformed, or souls released for a time from bodies, and whether this transportation or transformation of bodies, or resemblance of a projected corpse, without sense and motion, as if the soul were banished, be a simple lethargy, or a certain evidence of execrable demonomania?’

If the reader be at a loss to conceive how any body of learned men could gravely treat such a question, he may have the fact verified to his mind by looking into King James’s book on Demonologie, where the same matter is fully debated between Philomathes and Epistemon, the two interlocutors in the dialogue of which that treatise consists. In answer to the question of Philomathes, by what means may it be possible for witches to come to those conventions where they worship the devil and receive his orders, Epistemon coolly says: ‘One way, is natural, which is natural riding, going, or sailing: this may be easily believed. Another way is somewhat more strange . . . . being carried by the force of the spirit which is their conductor, either above the earth or above the sea swiftly, to the place where they meet; which I am persuaded to be likewise possible, in respect that as Habakkuk was carried by the angel in that form to the den where Daniel lay, so think I, the devil will be ready to imitate God as well in that as in other things. . . . The third way is that wherein I think them deluded: for some of them say that, being transported in the likeness of a little beast or fowl, they will come and pierce through whatsoever house or church, though all passages be closed, by whatsoever open the air may enter in at: and some say, that their bodies lying still, as in an ecstasy, their spirits will be ravished out of their bodies and carried to such places; and, for verifying thereof, will give evident tokens, as well by witnesses that have seen their body lying senseless in, the meantime, as by naming persons whom-with they met, and giving token what purpose was amongst them, whom otherwise they could not have known; for this form of journeying they affirm to use most, when they arc transported from one country to another.’

The reformed clergy did not at first take a decidedly hostile view of theatricals, and we have seen that even the Regent Moray allowed a play to be represented before him. In March 1574, the General Assembly forbade the playing of ‘clerk plays,’ and ‘comedies and tragedies made of the canonical scriptures’ both on Sabbath and work-days; but as to ‘comedies, tragedies, and other profane plays not made upon authentic parts of scripture,’ they were willing that such might be considered before they be proposed publicly, provided they were to be set forth on work-days only.—B. U. K.

Accordingly, it is not surprising that, when a company of comedians came to Perth in June 1589, and applied to the kirk-session for a licence to represent a play, of which they produced a copy, that reverend court expressed itself as follows: ‘Perth, June 3, 1589.—The minister and elders give licence to play the play, with conditions that no swearing, banning, nor nae scurrility shall be spoken, whilk would be a scandal to our religion, and for an evil example to others. Also, that nothing shall be added to what is in the register of the play itself. If any one who plays shall do in the contrary, he shall be wardit, and make his public repentance.’—P. K. S. R.

These are among the proofs to the general conclusion, that the puritanic strictness for which Scotland has been noted, did not reach its acme during the first age succeeding the Reformation.

Ten years had since elapsed, during which the English drama had passed through a vigorous adolescence, drawing the highest wits of the land into its service. No regular theatre had been set up in Scotland, nor was the time come when one could be supported; but some inclination was manifested by the London acting companies to pay occasional visits to the north, where the mirth-loving king and his court were ready to patronise them. The clergy were by this time disposed to look more sourly on the children of Thespis. An English company did come to Edinburgh about October 1599—possibly the Blackfriars company, to which Shakspeare belonged; but on this point, and as to the question whether Shakspeare was of the party, we have no information. It received a licence from the king to perform.

Roused by ‘certain malicious and restless bodies, wha upon every little occasion misconstrue his majesty’s haill doings,’ the general kirk-session of the city passed an act in direct opposition to the purport of the royal licence, threatening with censure all who should support the comedy; and this they ordered to be read in all pulpits, where, at the same time, the ‘unruly and immodest behaviour of the stage-players’ became the theme of abundant declamation. The king chose to take up this act as a discharge of his licence, and called the sessions before him, when, after a conference, they professed to be convinced that ‘his hieness had not commandit nor allowit ony thing carrying with it ony offence or slander;’ and they readily agreed to annul their former act. This was accordingly done next day, ‘sae that now not only may the comedians freely enjoy the benefit of his majesty’s liberty and warrant grantit to them, but all his majesty’s subjects, inhabitants within the said burgh, and others whatsomever, may freely at their awn pleasure repair to the said comedies and plays, without ony pain, reproach, censure, or slander to be incnrrit by them.’ - P. C. R. We learn, however, from Spottiswoode, that this was ‘to the great offence of the ministers.’

The Western Isles being a scene of almost incessant private war and strife, and the crown-rents remaining unpaid, the king became desirous to reduce that part of his dominions to obedience and the arts of peace. It was thought that a plantation of industrious Lowlanders might prove an effectual means of civilising the district. As a preliminary step, an act of parliament was passed (June 1598) for depriving of their lands all who should not shew their titles by a particular day—a most arbitrary measure, which to some extent the turbulent chieftains were justified in resisting. In this manner the islands of Lewis and Harris, the lands of Dunvegan in Skye, and of Gleneig on the mainland, were declared to be at the disposal of the government. It was resolved to proceed, in the first place, with the planting of the Lewis, where there were only two illegitimate sons of the late proprietor to give any opposition.

Accordingly, a set of gentlemen, chiefly belonging to Fife, associated themselves together as adventurers; namely, the Duke of Lennox; Patrick, Commendator of Lindores; William, Cornmendator of Pittenweem; Sir James Anstruther, younger of that Ilk; Sir James Sandilands of Slamanno; James Learmont of Balcomie; James Spens of Wormiston; John Forret of Fingask; David Home, younger of Wedderburn; and Captain William Murray. By the terms of a contract between these individuals and the government, they were, in consideration of the great expenses to be incurred by them, and the improvements which they were expected to make, freed from any payment of rent for the lands which they were to occupy, for seven years. At the end of that time, an annual grain-rent of one hundred and forty chalders of beir was to commence.

In October 1599, ‘tbe adventurers met altogether in Fife, where they assembled a company of soldiers, and artificers of all sorts, with everything which they thought requisite for a plantation. So, transporting themselves into the Lewis, they began apace to build and erect houses in a proper and convenient place fit for the purpose. In the end, they made up a pretty town, where they encamped. Niel Macleod and Murdo Macleod—now only left in that island of all Rorie Macleod his children—withstood the undertakers. Murdo Macleod invaded the Laird of Balcomie, whom he apprehended with his ship [near the Orkneys], and killed all his men: so, having detained him six months in captivity within the Lewis, he released him, upon promise of a ransom. But Balcomie died in his return homeward to Fife,’ after his releasement, whereby Murdo Macleod was disappointed of his ransom.’—G. H. S. [This James Learmont of Balcomie had, nearly twenty years before, fixed on the college-gate at St Andrews a placard offensive to Andrew Melville, who consequently broke out upon him as he sat in church, to this effect: 'Thou Frenchiest, Italianest jolly gentleman, wha has defiled the bed of sae many married [men], and now boasts with thy bastinadoes to defile this kirk and put bands on His servants, thou saIl never enjoy the fruits of marriage, by having lawful succession of thy body; and God shall baston thee in His righteous Judgments!’ ‘This,’ says James Melville, ‘was remembered when the said James lived many years in marriage without child, and taken by the highlandmen coming out of Lewis, was siccarly bastoned, and sae hardly used, that soon thereafter he died in Orkney.’]

The two brothers soon after quarrelled, and Niel took Murdo prisoner. The enterprisers entered into an agreement with him for the delivery of Murdo to themselves, promising him, in requital, a portion of their lands. Niel consequently obtained a pardon at Edinburgh, while Murdo was hanged at St Andrews, confessing that the Lord of Kintail, the ambitious chief of the Mackenzies, had been the instigator of his brother and himself in their opposition to the plantation, the fact being, that Kintail desired to obtain the Lewis himself.

The truth of this appeared when the Lord of Kintail soon after set at liberty Tormod Macleod, legitimate son of the late proprietor, who immediately proceeded to raise a new war against the undertakers. Niel joining him, they attacked the settlement, which they destroyed, killed most of the people, and took the commanders prisoners. These gentlemen were only released eight months after, on a promise that they should abandon the island, and never return; besides which, they undertook to procure a pardon from the king for their conquerors.

Thus ended, for a time, the attempt to plant the Lewis.

Till this time, the new year legally held in Scotland was that originally pitched upon by Exiguus when he introduced the Christian era—namely, the 25th of March, or day of the Annunciation. King James, probably looking upon the approaching year 1600 as the beginning of a new century, thought it would be a good occasion for bringing Scotland into a conformity with other countries in respect of New-year’s Day. There was therefore passed this day at Holyrood an act of Privy Council, in which it is set forth that ‘in all other weel-governit commonwealths and countries, the year begins yearly upon the first of January, commonly called New-year’s Day, and that this realm only is different frae all others in the count and reckoning of the years;’ for which reason they ordained that, in all time coming, Scotland shall conform to this usage, and that the next first of January shall be the first day of the year of God 1600.

Dec 27
A singular combat being intended betwixt Alexander Livingstone of Pantaskin and John Kennedy, appeirand of Baltersand, without any warrant from his majesty, the Privy Council denounced and prohibited the encounter as contrary to law, and ‘not likely to settle the trouble whereupon the challenge proceeded and procure peace to baith parties.’—P.
C. R.

On the 1st of April 1600, there was a strong edict for the execution of the laws against single combats, which were said, through slackness of the law, to have become frequent.

During this year ‘there were divers incursions in the Highlands and Borders, and sundry slaughters committed in divers parts of the country. Five sundry men were slain in one week within two miles of Edinburgh.’—Cal.

Circa 1599
M’Alexander of Drumachryne in Ayrshire had a lease of the teinds of his estate from the Laird of Girvanmains, who in his turn was head-tenant of these teinds from the Earl of Cassius. ‘But this Drumachryne, being ane proud man, wald now be tenant to my lord himself, and his man. [That is, he preferred being man or vassal to the earl.] The Laird of Girvanmains came to my lord, and said his lordship "had [done him wrang] in setting of his teinds to his awn man ower his head; and for ony gains he sall reap by that deed, the same sall be but small." My lord answerit and said: "Ye dar not find fault with him; for, an ye do, we knaw whare ye dwell." The other said: "An he bide by that deed, he should repent the same, do for him wha likit!" My lord said: "Ye dar not steir him for your craig [neck]!" and bade him gang to his yett [gate]. The Laird of Girvanmains rides his ways, and thinking that the Laird of Drumachryne wald come after him, he stayit, and his twa servants with him, on a muir called Craigdow, behind ane knowe [knoll], while that he saw him coming. His brother, the Laird of Corseclays, being with him, and Oliver Kennedy of . . . .; but they strake never ane strake in his defence. Girvanmains pursues him, and his twa men with him, callit Gilbert M’Fiddes and William M’Fiddes, ane boy, wha was the spy. They come to them on horseback, and strake him on the head with swords, and slew him. My lord was very far offendit at this deed, and avowit to have ane mends thereof, and causit denounce Girvanmains to the horn; and did all he could to have his life, and wrack him in his geir.’—Hist. Ken.

A less tragical, but equally characteristic affair occurred in the same district about the same period. Let it first be understood that Kennedy of Bargeny and the Earl of Cassius had long been on hostile terms.

‘My lord, having ane decreet against ane servant, of the Laird of Bargeny’s, callit John M’Alexander, of the lands of Dangart.... wald put the same in execution, and intromit with the haill corns that was upon the grund; and send his household servants, and gait [caused] intromit with some of the corns, and shore ane part thereof. This coming to the Laird of Bargeny’s ears, he loups on in Ardstinchar, and rides to the land, and with horse and carts brought the corns that they had shorn with him to Ardstinchar; for, he said: "My lord had nae richt to the corns, albeit he had obteenit deereet against the land." This being on the Saturday, my lord provides with all his force he can, against Monday, to shear the rest of the corns. And the Laird of Bargeny, in the same manner, provides for the same effect. The Laird of Bargeny, [being] the nearest hand, comes first to the grund, and to the number of six hundred men on horse, with twa hundred hagbutters. And my Lord of Ochiltree came also, with the number of ane hunder horse; so that, in all, he was, or [ere] twelve hours, the number of nine hunder men, on foot and horse. My Lord of Cassillis come also, with his haill force that he might mak, to the like number or few mae [more]. But the Laird, being in the house and yards, and he having many basses and hagbuts of found with him, the same was onpossible for my lord to mend himself. But my Lord of Cathcart, being ane nobleman wha had married to his wife ane near kinswoman of my Lord Cassillis, and his son having married the Laird of Bargeny’s sister, travelled amang them, and took up the matter in this sort, that the laird should have the haill corns that was on the grund to his servant, and should find caution for the duty of the land, whilk was my lord’s; and that my lord should come to the grund of the lands, and, according to his deereet, tak possession of the same, but not to steir the corns; and the Laird of Carleton and the Gudeman of Ardmillan to be cautioners for the foresaid duty, and my lord fand caution not to trouble the corns, nor the man in the shearing of them. And [according] to this agreeance, the laird rade his way to Ardstinchar; and my lord came to the land and took possession; and John M’Alexander shore his corns in peace.’ —.Hist. Ken.

1600, Jan
There was a feid of old standing between the Lindsays of Forfarshire and the Lords Glammis; but for some years the parties were put under the restraint of letters of assurance. On a particular Sunday, during this month, Sir John Lindsay of Woodhead was passing along the High Street of Edinburgh, ‘gangand to the kirk,’ when he met Lord Glammis. The noble and gentle, ‘for the reverence they bure to his majesty and for observance of the assurance standing betwix them, past by other without provocation of offence or displeasure in word or countenance offerit by ony of them.’ As in the case of Montague and Capulet, however, the servants were not always to be restrained by the same feelings as the masters. After they were past, Patrick Johnston, a servant or tenant of Glammis, ‘drew his sword, invadit and pursewit the complenar [Lindsay] of his life, and strak and cuttit through the shoulder of his cloak, coat, and doublet, without the allowance of Lord Glammis, and thereby did what in him lay to have begun ane new feid and quarrel betwixt them, whilk wald not have fallit to have fallen out were not Lord Glammis himself and the complenar stayit it.’

Jan 13
Two days after, Lord Glammis appeared personally before the Privy Council, and ‘renouncit Patrick to be his man, tenant, or servant, sae that he sall not be repute, halden, nor esteemit to be his man, tenant, or servant hereafter;’ further avouching that ‘he sall quarrel nor beir grudge to nane that sall invade or pursue the said Patrick’ The Council at the same time charged Patrick to compeir and answer for ‘his late violent and unhonest pursuit and invasion of Sir John Lindsay, without the consent, knowledge, or allowance of Patrick Lord Glammis, in whais company he was for the time, doing thereby what in him lay to have brocht on and protinued furder trouble and inconvenients betwixt the said Lord Glammis and the friends of the house of Crawford, to the break of his majesty’s peace and disquieting of the country.’—P.
C. B.

An order to denounce Patrick as rebel for not appearing, was given on the 6th of March.

We receive in this notice a rich illustration of the relation of superior and ‘man’ in Scotland at the close of the sixteenth century. Johnston’s crime of assault is here touched upon lightly; what is pressed, is his committing this assault without the consent of his lord, and endangering a further quarrel between that lord and the assaulted, man.

The affair appears to have had a sequel not less remarkable than itself. On Sunday the 6th of August 1601, as Patrick Johnston, designated as tenant of the Halltown of Belhelvies, was leaving the kirk of that parish, in time of the ministration of the sacrament of baptism, accompanied by his wife and two of his children, he was set upon, within two paces of the door, by Lord Glammis and a party of his lordship’s relatives and servants, and mercilessly slain with pistols and swords. We can scarcely doubt that this was the same Patrick who had incurred his superior’s anger by attacking Sir John Lindsay. A complaint against Lord Glammis and his ‘complices’ for the act was made before the presbytery of Aberdeen, by ‘the wife and aucht fatherless bairns’ of the slain man, and by that reverend court an effort was made, but in vain, to bring the matter to an arrangement in their favour. The guilty parties were cited for their crime before the Court of Justiciary in March 1602; but no punishment appears to have followed. Lord Glammis obtained a remission for his concern in Johnston’s slaughter, under the great seal. The ancient feudal ideas of Scotland were still too strong to allow of such a case being deemed one of common murder.’ The fact did not prevent Lord Glammis from receiving advancement in court-favour and elevation in rank. He was made Earl of Kinghorn in 1606. It is also somewhat curious to reflect that to his taste and munificence we owe much of what is grand in the architecture of Glammis Castle.

At this time arrived in Edinburgh the young Earl of Gowrie, and his brother, Alexander Ruthven, from Padua, where they had been studying for some years. To all appearance, they were disposed to be peaceable subjects of the king, notwithstanding the hard measure which had been dealt out to their father sixteen years before. When, some months afterwards, they came to so tragical an end, a circumstance, which occurred not long after their arrival in Edinburgh, was remembered, as betraying a state of mind different from what appeared on the surface of their general behaviour.

A certain Colonel Stuart of Houston, who, as commander of the royal, guard, had been employed in seizing the late unfortunate Earl of Gowrie, was still employed at court. One day in June, as the young earl, accompanied with seven or eight of his servants, was passing along the long gallery of the palace, on his way to the king’s chamber, he observed Colonel Stuart come forth from an interview with his royal master. To avoid a too close meeting with one so painfully associated with his family history, he stepped aside a little, in order to let Stuart pass by. ‘The same being espied by ane of the said earl’s servants, going in the rank before him, callit Mr Thomas Kinrosser, [he] said ardently till him: "What, my lord, are you going back for ony man here? Come forward, my lord, bauldlyl" Whilk going aside and then coming forward again, being seen by Colonel Stuart, he went in again to the king.

"Sir, it will please your majesty hear ane strange matter, that, for guid service done to your grace, I sould be so evil rewardit as I am. Here comes in the Earl of Gowrie, and I see he minds to begin first at me; but beware next of the best of you all."

Herewith the said earl enterit in his majesty’s chalmer, and the colonel went out thereof; but there was nothing of that purpose spoken betwixt his majesty and the earl at that time. But, the colonel’s words to the king being reported to the earl, he answered:

"Aquila non captat muscas." ‘—Jo. Hist.

Mar 14
The king, returning from a General Assembly in Edinburgh to his palace of Falkland, crossed the Firth of Forth by the ferry between Leith and Kirkcaldy. The weather was fair at starting, but became foul on the passage, and the mariners were obliged to run their boat upon the sands at Kirkcaldy, where the king was taken out on horseback. ‘He exclaimed with execration, that he was ever in danger of his life in going to those assemblies.’—Cal.

Apr 2
'....being the Sabbath-day, Robert Auchmuty, barber, slew James Wauchope at the combat in St Leonard’s Hill, and upon the 23d, the said Robert [was] put in ward in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. In the meantime of his being in ward, he hang ane cloak without the window of the iron house, and another within the window there, and, saying that he was sick, and might not see the light, he had aquafortis continually seething at the iron window, while [till] at the last the iron window was eaten through. Sae, upon a morning, he causit his prentice-boy attend when the town-guard should have dissolvit, at whilk time the boy waited on, and gave his master ane token that the said guard were gone, by the show or wave of his handcurch. The said Robert hung out ane tow whereon he thought to have come down. The said guard spied the wave of the handcurch, and sae the said Robert was disappointit of his intention and device; and sae, on the 10 day, he was beheadit at the Cross, upon ane scaffold.’—Bir.

We possess the rental-sheet of the Marquis of Huntly for this date, and obtain from it a striking idea of the worldly means resting with that noble and potent lord. In the first place, the document extends over fifty-nine pages of print in small quarto, detailing the particulars of money and produce due from each farm on his lordship’s various estates—in the lordship of Huntly, the lordship of the Enzie, the lordship of Badenoch, the barony of Fochabers, the lands of Man, the Cabrach, and Lochaber. The sum of ‘silver mail’ or money-rent is £3819, besides £636 of teind silver. The ‘ferm victual’ payable to his lordship was 3816 bolls, besides which there were 55 boils of custom meal, 436 of multure heir, 108 of custom oats, 83 of custom victual, 167 marts (cattle for slaughter), 483 sheep, 316 lambs, 167 grice (young pigs), 14 swine, 1389 capons, 272 geese, 3231 poultry, 700 chickens, 5284 eggs, 4 stones of candle, 46 stones of brew tallow, 34 leats of peats, 990 ells of custom linen, 94 stones of custom butter, 40 barrels of salmon, 8 bolls of teind victual, 2 stones of cheese, and 30 kids. The large proportion of payment in kind speaks of a country in which there was little industry or commerce beyond what was connected with husbandry and store-farming; but it is easy to see what an amount of power the noble marquis would derive from possessing the means of feeding so many retainers.

In old times, so wealthy a lord was a kind of kinglet, owning, indeed, the superiority of a sovereign, but at the same time enjoying among minor lords and gentlemen a sway which barely owned a restraint in the royal authority. Men approaching him in influence were glad to form alliances with him, either through the ties of marriage, or by direct bonds of manred, in which they mutually agreed to support each other in all causes, against all living or dead, excepting only the king’s grace. Of such bonds, the Gordon charter-chest exhibits a grand series, extending from 1444, when James of Forbes ‘becomes man till ane honourable and mighty lord, Alexander of Seton of Gordon. . . . again all deadly,’ down to 1670, when Alexander Rose of Tillisnaucht, gave George, Marquis of Huutly, an engagement to live peaceably under his protection; being a hundred and seven in all. Even within the last seventeen years, during which the now existing marquis had been conducting his own affairs, the house had been receiving bonds of manred from a remarkable number of important men in the Highlands. The Earl of Argyle, in 1583, promised to concur and take aefald, true, and plain part’ with the Gordon, ‘in all his honest and guid causes against whatsomever that live or die may, our sovereign lord and his authority alone excepted.’ Two years later, Macleod of Lewis receives promise of maintenance on the condition of obedience. At the same time, the chief of the Clan Kenzie, Colin of Kintail, enters into a bond of faithful service, ‘contrair all persons.’ His lordship received the like engagements from Monro of Foulis, the chieftain Glengarry, Macgregor of Glenstrae, and Drummond of Blair. In 1586, Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail, Donald Robertson, the heir of Strowan, Donald Gorm of Sleat (progenitor of the present Lord Macdonald), John Grant of Freuchie, and the Lady Menzies of Weem, entered into similar undertakings. In 1587, Rattray of Craighall binds himself, with his dependents, ‘to serve the said earl in all his actions and adoes, against all persons, the king’s majesty only excepted, and sall neither hear nor see his skaith, but sall make him foreseen therewith, and sall resist the same sae far as in me lies, and that in respect the said earl has given me his band of maintenance.’ The remaining bonds before 1593 are from the Earl of Orkney, Menzies of Pitfoddles, Lord Lovat, Menzies of that Ilk, Scott of Abbotshall, the Laird of Melgund, Mackintosh of Dunnachtan, Innes of Innermarky, Lord Spynie, Cameron of Locheil, the Clan Macpherson, sundry barons of Moray, and the Laird of Luss. We may thus see what a formidable person this Earl of Huntly was to the Protestant interest in the year last named, and what a problem it must have been to the pacific King James to give him effectual opposition, however well he had been so inclined.

The Marquis of Huntly chiefly dwelt in an ancient seat called Strathbogie Castle, situated where the rivulet Bogie joins the Doveran, near the village of Huntly, in Banffshire. He had another seat, called the Castle of the Bog or of Bogangicht, on the extensive plain at the embouchure of the Spey, in the same county. The migrations of the family between the two places, and between them and a town-mansion in Aberdeen, are frequently alluded to by the annalist Spalding. In 1602, the marquis rebuilt Strathbogie Castle in a handsome style; and the remains of the house yet attest a grandness of living suitable to the wealth and political importance of the family. ‘A spacious turnpike-stair leads to what has been a very grand hall, and still bears the marks of splendour and magnificence. Its length is about forty-three feet, its breadth twenty-nine, and its height sixteen. There is another grand apartment over this, thirty-seven feet in length, and twenty-nine in breadth. The chimneys of both are highly ornamented with curious sculpture of various figures Most of the apartments are still in tolerable preservation, particularly the ceilings, which are ornamented with a great variety of paintings in small divisions, containing many emblematical figure; with verses expressive of some moral sentiment in doggerel rhyme.’

July 2
John Kincaid of Warriston, near Edinburgh, was married to a handsome young woman, named Jean Livingstone, daughter to a man of fortune and influence, the Laird of Dunipace. Owing to alleged maltreatment, the young wife conceived a deadly hatred of her husband. A base-minded nurse was near, to whisper means and ways of revenge, and the lady was induced to tamper with a young man named Robert Weir, a servant of her father, to become the instrument. At an early hour in the morning marginally noted, Weir came to Warriston, and, being admitted by the lady into the gentleman’s chamber, there fell upon him with his fists, and soon accomplished his death. While Weir fled, the lady remained at home, along with the nurse. Both were immediately seized, subjected to a summary kind of trial before the magistrate; and condemned to death.

In the brief interval between the sentence and execution, this unfortunate young creature—she was only twenty-one - was brought, by the discourse of an amiable clergyman, from a state of callous indifference to one of lively sensibility and religious resignation. Her case was reported in a small pamphlet of the day. She stated that, on Weir assaulting her husband, she went to the hall, and waited till the deed was done. She thought she still heard the pitiful cries uttered by her husband while ‘struggling with his murderer. Afterwards, by way of dissembling, she tried to weep; but not a tear could she shed. She could only regard her approaching death as a just expiation of her offence. Her relations, feeling shamed by her guilt and its consequence; made interest to obtain that her execution should be as little public as possible, and it was accordingly arranged that, while the nurse was being burnt on the Castle Hill at four in the morning, and thus attracting the attention of any who might be out of their beds, the lady should be conducted to the Girth Cross, at the opposite extremity of the city, and there despatched by the Maiden.

According to the contemporary pamphlet: ‘The whole way, as she went to the place of execution, she behaved herself so cheerfully, as if she had been going to her wedding, and not to her death. When she came to the scaffold, and was carried up upon it, she looked up to the Maiden with two longsome looks, for she had never seen it before. This I may say of her, to which all that saw her will bear record, that her only countenance moved [her countenance alone would have excited emotion], although she had not spoken a word. For there appeared such majesty in her countenance and visage, and such a heavenly courage in her gesture, that many said: "That woman is ravished with a higher spirit than man or woman’s!" After reading a short address to the multitude at the four corners of the scaffold, she calmly resigned herself to her fate, uttering expressions of devotion till the descent of the axe cut short her speech.

Weir, being taken four years after, was broken on the wheel (June 26, 1604), a severe death, scarcely ever before inflicted in Scotland.—Pit. Bir.

July 21
In Edinburgh, this day, ‘at nine hours at even, a combat or tulyie [was fought] between twa brether of the Dempsters, and ane of them slain by John Wilson. [He], being tane with het bluid, was execute at the flesh-stocks, where he had slain the man the night before.’—Bir.

Quick as legal vengeance was in this instance, we have proof of its being of little avail for prevention of like outrages. Alexander Stewart, son of James Stewart of Allanton, had applied for admission to the king at Holyroodhouse, at a time ‘when his majesty desirit to be quiet,’ and Alexander Lockhart, one of the ushers of the chamber, had accordingly denied him admittance. The young man, conceiving deadly hatred at Lockhart for this, trained him out of his house unarmed, and there set upon him with sword and bended pistol to take his life. For a wonder, Lockhart escaped with only two wounds in the head. The guilty youth was denounced rebel for not answering for his offence.— P.C.R

The calamities of dearth, want, and a high mortality continued this year to press upon the people, in almost all parts of the country. ‘A sheaf of oat-straw was sold for forty shillings in Edinburgh. There was also a great death of little children; six or seven buried [in Edinburgh] in a day.’—Cal.

In October, the pest was in the town of Findhorn, in consequence of which there was an edict of the Privy Council, charging all the people there and thereabouts to keep at home, lest they should spread the infection.—P. C. B. We find the magistrates of Aberdeen in December ordaining a fast ‘in respect of the fearful infection of the plague spread abroad in divers parts of Moray.’— Ab. C. R

‘The year of God 1600, fourteen whales, of huge bigness, were casten in by the sea, upon the sands under the town of Dornoch in Sutherland. They came in alive, and were slain immediately by the inhabitants, who reaped some commodity thereby. Some of these fishes were ninety feet in length.’—G. H S.

Aug 5
In the midst of a time unmarked by great events, great excitement was caused by the attempt of the Earl of Gowrie and his brother upon the king’s liberty or life, at Perth. James Melville notes that ‘a little before or hard about the day of this accident, the sea at an instant, about low-water, debordit and ran up aboon the sea-mark, higher nor at any stream-tide, athort all the coast-side of Fife, and at an instant reteired again to almaist low-water, to the great admiration of all, and skaith done to some.’

Aug 6
While Robert Bruce and some others of the clergy professed to regard the conspiracy with incredulity, the great bulk of the people, going with their loyalty, as often happens, far beyond the merit of its object, manifested all tokens of extreme satisfaction at the king’s escape. On the arrival of the news, ‘there was sic joy, that the cannons shot, the bells rang, the trumpets sounded, the drums strake. The town rase in arms, with shooting of muskets, casting of fire-works, and banefires set forth; the like was never seen in Scotland, there was sic merriness and dancing all the nicht.’—Bjr.

The same day, the state-officers, with some other nobles, went to the Cross, ‘and there heard Mr David Lindsay make ane orison, and the haill people sat down on their knees, giving thanks to God for the king’s deliverance out of sic ane great danger.’—Bir.

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