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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Reign of Charles I. 1625 - 1637 Part E

The patent granted to Mr Nathaniel Uddart for twenty-one years, for the sole making of soap within the kingdom, was now drawing near to expiration; and by the king’s favour, a new one, to commence with the close of the old, was granted to his ‘daily servitor Patrick Mauld of Panmure.’ The royal letter, recommending this matter to the Privy Council, proceeds on the consideration how ‘necessar it is, for the guid of his majesty’s ancient kingdom, that the same be furnished with good soaps at reasonable prices within the self ‘—that is, within the kingdom itself: further that soap-making ‘is not a trade of such a nature as can be communicat to all his majesty’s lieges, and that the publict would suffer if the same were left indifferently to all;’ while it is equally true, that, such being the case, ‘the choice of the person perteins to his majesty, as a part of his sovereign prerogative.’

Seeing that ‘Patrick Mauld is willing to undergo the said wark, and to provide for all necessars for continuing the same,’ his majesty granted to him and his representatives for thirty-one years ‘the sole and full licence to make and cause to be made, within the said kingdom, soap for washing of clothes, of all such colours and quantity as they sall think good.’ Any quantity made beyond what was required for the country, might be exported upon payment of a duty equal to that paid on soap imported from abroad. Foreigners might be introduced to work for Mauld; but were strictly forbidden to make soap for any other person. As necessarily connected with this patent, the king granted to Mauld, for the same time, ‘licence to fish and trade in the country and seas of Greenland, and in the isles and other parts adjacent thereto, and that for provision of the said soap-works with oils and other materials necessar thereto,’ but solely so, free from all challenge or hinderance on the part of any others of his majesty’s subjects. Considering that there are certain ingredients necessary for the making of soap, and which it would be well to obtain within the kingdom itself, the king further gave Mauld sole licence ‘to make potasses of all sorts, of such wood within the said kingdom, as is most fit for that purpose, and that can be most conveniently spared;’ likewise ‘of all sorts of ferns and other vegetable things whatsoever, fit for the purpose.’ Mauld was only to pay twenty pounds sterling per annum for his privileges. - P. C. R.

Nov 25
A proclamation was made by the king regarding ‘an abuse that has of late years prevailed in the kingdom, by the disorderly behaviour of some disobedient people, who ordinarily, when the communion is administrate in their parishes, and at all other times when their occasions and humours serve them, run to seek the communion at the hands of such ministers as they know to be disconforme to all good order.’ Punishment was threatened according to act of parliament. P. C. R.

John Urquhart of Craigston in Aberdeenshire had raised a handsome estate, ‘but court or session ‘—that is to say, without
court favour or by legal oppression—and built himself a beautiful semi-castellated house, the elegance of which is still calculated to impress those who visit it. As grand-uncle of the well-known Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, he had taken charge of that gentleman’s affairs, and thus came to be generally recognised as the Tutor of Cromarty. His death in November 1631 was bewailed by the elegant Aberdeenshire poet, Arthur Johnston, who says of him, in his epitaph in Kinedart church:

'Posteritas, cui liquit agros et praedia, disce
Illius exemplo vivere, disce mori.’

The son of the Tutor, John Urquhart of Laithers, being deep in debt—to the extent of £40,000 Scots—his father settled the estate upon the next generation, now a boy. As John Urquhart was returning from his father’s funeral, he took sickness suddenly by the way, and soon found himself upon his death-bed. It was a bitter moment for the spendthrift, for he knew that his death would occasion severe losses to many gentlemen who stood as cautioners for his debts, and leave his own widow unprovided for. He could only call the boy to his bedside, and desire him to be good to his step-mother, and pay his father’s debts out of the large estate which would shortly be his. ‘The young boy passed his mourning promise so to do. Then he desires the Laird of Cromarty, who was present, to be nae waur tutor to his son nor his father was to him, and to help to see his debts paid.’

It seems to have been impossible in that age for either boy or girl to be left as this boy was, without becoming the subject of sordid speculations amongst those who had any access to or influence over them. The Laird of Innes, who was brother-in-law to the deceased Laithers, immediately ‘gets the guiding of this young boy, and, but advice of his friends, shortly and quietly marries him upon his awn eldest dochter, Elizabeth Innes.’ Such an outrage to the decency of nature for the sake of rich connection, does not seem to have been thought more than dexterous in those days. Innes, who was one of the first baronets of Nova Scotia, is described as ‘a man of great worth and honour.’ As a member of the Committee of Estates, he took a prominent part in the war which was some years afterwards commenced for the defence of the national religion.

To the boy the affair became sadly tragical. When craved by the cautioners for his father’s debts, he was willing to comply; but the selfish father-in-law would not listen to any such proposition. The unfortunate gentlemen had to pay, in some instances to the wreck of their own estates. The many maledictions which they consequently launched at the youth, affected him greatly in his conscience and feelings. ‘And so, through melancholy, as was thought, he contracts ane consuming sickness, whereof he died, leaving behind him ane son called John in the keeping of his mother.’—Spal.

The singular fortunes of this boy of sixteen—for he is said to have been no older at his death—became the subject of a ballad containing some stanzas of a more poetical character than are usually found in that class of compositions.

Dec 14
Died at Stirling, the Earl of Mar, Lord-treasurer of Scotland, the school-friend of King James
VI., and a most respectable nobleman. Scott of Scotstarvet, who seems to have had rather more than the usual relish for the misfortunes of his neighbours, says of Lord Mar: ‘His chief delight was in hunting; and he procured by acts of parliament, that none should hunt within divers miles of the king’s house; yet often that which is most pleasant to a man is his overthrow; for, walking in his own hall, a dog cast him off his feet, and lamed his leg, of which he died; and at his burial, a hare having run through the company, his special chamberlain, Alexander Stirling, fell off his horse and broke his neck.’

The winter 1634—5 is described by a contemporary as ‘the most tempestuous and stormy that was seen in Scotland these sixty years past, with such abundance of snow and so rigid a frost, that the snow lay in the plains from the 9th of December to the 9th of March.’—Bal. Another chronicler says that between the 26th of January and the 16th of February, ‘there fell furth ane huge snow, that men nor women could not walk upon our streets [Perth]. It was ten quarter or twa ell heich through all the town. Tay was thirty days frozen ower. There was ane fast appointit, and there came a gentle thow, blissit be God.’ From the long stoppage of running waters everywhere, it became impossible to get corn ground, and a scarcity began to be felt. Ale became equally scarce, and no wonder—’they knockit malt in knocking stanes.’—Chron. Perth. Owing also to the depth of the snow and its lying so long, ‘many bestial, both wild and tame, died; the flocks of sheep in the Lowlands, and the goats in the mountains, went all in effect to destruction.’—Bal.

The excuse of the Marquis of Huntly not being held sufficient by the Privy Council, he was obliged to proceed to Edinburgh to answer for the Frendraught outrages. He commenced his journey on the 9th of January, and came by short stages to Aberdeen. In ten days, he had only reached Fettercairn in Forfarshire. Thence, after being storm-stayed in the place for three days, he advanced to Brechin, six miles; thence, next day, proceeded two miles further to his own house of Melgum. Here the snow detained him till the 10th of February. He and his lady then proceeded, ‘in ane coach borne upon lang trees upon men’s arms, because horse might not travel in respect of the great storm and deepness of the way clad with snaw and frost.’ This journey of about a hundred and fifty miles seems to have occupied fully five weeks, including the detentions on the way.

The appearance of the marquis before the Council ended in his liberation, and that of the gentlemen previously imprisoned, upon their undertaking to repress the disorders, and give surety for a second appearance at a fixed time, the marquis also giving caution to Frendraught that he and his tenants should be unharmed, under a penalty of a hundred thousand pounds [probably Scots money]. The affair being thus so far settled, the marquis returned to his own country in May. He returned to the capital in summer, and was favourably received by the Council on account of his endeavours for the quieting of the country.

Jan ?
‘. . . . there was seen in Scotland a great blazing star, representing the shape of a crab or cancer, having long spraings spreading from it. It was seen in the county of Moray, and thought by some that this star, and the drying up of the pot of Brechin, as is before noted, were prodigious signs of great troubles in Scotland.’—Spal.

This portent is the more worth noting, as the description so curiously recalls the appearance of some of the nebulae brought into view by the powers of Lord Rosse’s telescope—though, of course, from anything we know of the distance of these objects, the possibility of one of them coming into view of the naked eye, would scarcely be surmised by any modern astronomer.

Early in this year commenced a great mortality, probably in consequence of the scarcity which prevailed during the preceding year. The small-pox raged among the young for six or seven months with great severity, and, what was remarked as unusual, some persons took the disease for the second time.

There was also a scarcity this year. ‘The fiar was ten pounds Scots the boll of meal and beir... Several of the clergy, to the shame of them all, charged twelve pounds Scots and above.’

Mar 26
Grant younger of Ballindalloch, reported to the Council that he had lately taken an opportunity to attack some of the broken men who formed the company of the outlaw James Grant. Entering into pursuit of two, named Finlay M’Grimmen and — Cumming, he and his people had killed the first, and taken the second. They had carried Cumming three miles, intending to exhibit him alive to the Council, along with the head of M’Grimmen; but the country rising upon them, they had been obliged to put the man to death. The Lords accepted this act as good service, and ordered M’Grimmen’s head to be affixed to the Nether Bow Port; at the same time giving the infringer of it a guerdon of a hundred merks, ‘for encouragement of others.’—P. C.

The year at which we are now arrived is the epoch of the establishment of a regular letter-post in Scotland. There was previously a system of posts, in the proper sense of the word— namely, establishments at certain intervals, where horses could be had for travelling, and which had the occasional duty of forwarding packets of letters regarding public affairs. As illustrative of this system of posts, which was probably limited to the road between Edinburgh and Berwick (as part of the great line of communication with London), with possibly one or two other roads—On the 29th of March 1631, the lords of the Privy Council dealt with the fault of — Forres, postmaster of Haddington, respecting a packet of his majesty’s letters which had been lost by his carelessness. It appears that Forres was bound to have fresh horses always ready for the forwarding of such packets; but on one late occasion he had sent a packet by a foot-boy, who had lost it by the way, and he had never taken any further trouble regarding it. On the ensuing 3d of November, the Council had occasion to find fault with William Duncan, postmaster in the Canongate, and more particularly with a post-boy in Duncan’s employment, because the latter, instead of carrying his majesty’s packet to the postmaster at Haddington, had given it to ‘a whipman’ of Musselburgh, to be carried to Duncan’s house there (designing probably that it should be forwarded by another hand). The Council recommended Sir William Seton ‘to prescribe regulations to the postmasters, for the sure and speedy despatch of his majesty’s packet, both anent the postmasters their constant residence at the place of their charge, and keeping of ane register for receipt of the packets.’—P. C. R.

These circumstances appear as characteristic of a time when the postal arrangements were at once very new and very simple.

The necessity of having this system of posts for the communication of intelligence between the king and his Scottish Council was partly incidental to the time. In the days of King James, things were of so simple a nature, and in general so much left to the discretion of the Council, that a system of posts for the despatch of packets was scarcely required. Charles, having entered on a course more difficult, and in which great energy on his own part and that of his subservient Scottish Council was called for, and all little enough as being contrary to the general inclinations of the people, found a need for more frequent communication; and hence these posts in the Canongate and at Haddington.

At length this system merged in one applicable to the sister-kingdom also, and in which a regular periodical transmission of letters for private individuals was included. To quote from a contemporary writer—’Till this time [1635] there had been no certain or constant intercourse between England and Scotland. Thomas Witherings, Esq., his majesty’s postmaster of England for foreign parts, was now commanded "to settle one running post, or two, to run day and night between Edinburgh and London, to go thither and come back again in six days; and to take with them all such letters as shall be directed to any post-town in the said road; and the posts to be placed in several places out of the road, to run and bring and carry out of the said roads the letters, as there shall be occasion, and to pay twopence for every single letter under fourscore miles; and if one hundred and forty miles, fourpence; and if above, then sixpence. The like rule the king is pleased to order to be observed to West Chester, Holyhead, and thence to Ireland; and also to observe the like rule from London to Plymouth, Exeter, and other places in that road; the like for Oxford, Bristol, Colchester, Norwich, and other places. And the king doth command that no other messenger, foot-post, or foot-posts, shall take up, carry, receive, or deliver any letter or letters whatsoever, other than the messengers appointed by the said Thomas Witherings: except common known carriers, or a particular messenger to be sent on purpose with a letter to a friend.""

The post between London and Edinburgh was of course conducted on horseback. It usually went twice a week, sometimes only once. Three years after, when the troubles had begun, the communication became insecure. A person in England then wrote to his friend in Scotland: ‘I hear the posts are waylaid, and all letters taken from them and brought to Secretary Cooke; therefore will I not, nor do you, send by that way hereafter.’

‘There was seen in the water of Don a monster-like beast, having the head like to ane great mastiff dog or swine, and hands, arms, and paps like to a man. The paps seemed to be white. It had hair on the head, and the hinder parts, seen sometimes above the water, seemed clubbish, short-legged, and short-footed, with ane tail. This monster was seen swimming bodily above the water, about ten hours in the morning, and continued all day visible, swimming above and below the bridge without any fear. The town’s-people of both Aberdeens came out in great multitudes to see this monster. Some threw stones; some shot guns and pistols; and the salmon-fishers rowed cobles with nets to catch it, but all in vain. It never shrinked nor feared, but would duck under the water, snorting and bullering, terrible to the hearers and beholders. It remained two days, and was seen no more.’—Slightly altered from Spalding.

It seems most probable that this was one of the herbivorous cetacea, as the manatus. ‘They have,’ says Cuter, ‘two mammae on the breast, and hairy moustaches; two circumstances which, when observed from a distance, may give them some resemblance to human beings, and have probably occasioned those fabulous accounts of Tritons and Sirens which some travellers pretend to have seen.’ The manatus haunts the mouths of rivers in the hottest parts of the Atlantic Ocean, and it is just possible that a stray individual may have found its way to the coast of Scotland, more especially as it was the summer season.

The author of an Account of Buchan, supposed to have been written about 1680, tells us that, some years before, two mermaids had been seen at Pitsligo, by a group of persons, one of whom was Mr Alexander Robertson, chaplain to the Laird of Pitsligo, ‘known to be ingenious.’ This writer refers to the strange marine animal of 1635, as a mermaid.

Aug 19
George, first Earl of Kinnoul, Chancellor of Scotland, had died at London in December 1634, and now he was to be interred in his family tomb at the parish church of Kinnoul, near Perth. The funeral was one of those grand heraldic processions, of which that of the Earl of Buccleuch, under June 11, 1634, has been given as an example. There were saulies, trumpeters, and pursuivants in great numbers; relatives to carry the arms of the deceased, his coronet, his spurs, his gauntlet, his mace, and great seal, and the arms of many of his ancestors on both sides. His physician and chaplain in mourning, ‘a horse in dule,’ and two pages of honour, were other figures. And finally came the coffin, surmounted by a pall of black velvet, carried by twelve gentlemen, followed by the deceased’s son, in a long mourning robe and hood, assisted by six earls and three lords going three abreast. ‘In this order went they through the town of Perth, and near the bridge crossed the water (wharves and boats being appointed on purpose), and so marched to Kinnoul church, where, after the funeral-sermon being ended, the corps were set in the tomb prepared for them.’

A full-length figure of the earl still surmounts his tomb; a good illustration of the full dress of a man of first rank in that age. The spiteful Scott of Scotstarvet tells us, ‘he was a man of little or no learning, yet had conquest a good estate—namely, the baronies of Kinnoul, Aberdalgie, Dupplin, Kinfauns, Seggieden, Dunninald, and many others; all which estates in a few years after his decease, his son made havock of.’

Sep 26
The pest was at this time at Cramond, near Edinburgh— supposed to have been introduced by a ship from the Low Countries, where the disease largely prevailed. The inhabitants were ordered to keep within their own parish, and two clengers from Newhaven were despatched to bury the dead and take all other needful steps to prevent the spread of infection. A strict order was issued to prevent the landing of people out of ships from Holland, or any intercourse with such vessels as might come into the Firth of Forth. The wife of Thomas Anderson, skipper, having gone on board her husband’s vessel, and remained there some time, after which she returned to her house in Leith, she was commanded to remain within doors. One Francis Vanhoche, of Middleburg, had embarked in a ship bound for Scotland, in order to settle his accounts for lead ore; he had been detained by contrary winds, and then landed at Hull, whence he proceeded to Edinburgh, and took up his quarters with Gilbert Fraser, a merchant-burgess of the city. To the surprise of Francis, he was shut up in the house as a dangerous person, and not liberated till the Laird of Lamington engaged to take him immediately off to Leadhills, where he had business to attend to. The order for the seclusion of the parishioners of Cramond caused enormous misery to the poor, who, being prevented from working, could obtain no supply of the necessaries of life. After a representation of their extreme sufferings, the order was removed (December 15).—P. C. R.

During the ensuing year, the plague declared itself in London, Newcastle, and other towns in England, but hardly appeared in Scotland till November, when the towns of Preston, Prestonpans, and Musselburgh were slightly infected.

Soon after the Marquis of Huntly’s summer journey to Edinburgh, Captain Adam Gordon of Park, offended at the severe proceedings of the great lord against himself and others, went to the Council in Edinburgh, and making a separate peace, gave information which led the Council to believe that the marquis had receipted and supplied some of the broken men after undertaking their reduction. The aged noble was accordingly summoned once more, and forced to obey, though it was now ‘the dead of the year, cold, tempestuous, and stormy.’ He and his lady again travelled ‘by chariot.’ On this occasion, he had to submit to a period of imprisonment in the Castle of Edinburgh, in a room where he had no light, and was denied the company of his lady, except on a visit at Christmas. He was afterwards permitted to live in ‘his own lodging, near to his majesty’s palace of Holyroodhouse, with liberty to walk within ane of the gardens, of walks within the precinct of the said palace, and no further.’ Thence, in June 1636, finding himself growing weaker and weaker, he set out for his northern castle, ‘in a wand-bed within his chariot, his lady still with him.’ He died on the journey, in an inn at Dundee, whence his body was brought in a horse-litter to Strathbogie, for burial.

At the end of August, this great man was buried in state at Elgin, according to the forms of the Catholic Church, to which he belonged. ‘He had torch-lights carried in great numbers by friends and gentlemen.’ His son and three other nobles bore the coffin. ‘He was carried to the east style of the College Kirk, in at the south door, [and] buried in his own aile, with much mourning and lamentation; the like form of burial with torchlight was seldom seen here before.’—Spal.

This grand old nobleman had been in possession of his honours for sixty years. In his youth, he had great troubles from his rivalry with the Earl of Moray, and his adherence to the ancient faith. But he had lived down all difficulties, and, considering the sad affair at Dunnibrissle in 1592, died with a wonderfully good character. ‘The marquis,’ says Spalding, ‘was of a great spirit, for in time of trouble he was of invincible courage, and boldly bare down all his enemies. He was never inclined to war himself, but by the pride and influence of his kin, was diverse times drawn into troubles, whilk he did bear through valiantly. He loved not to be in the law contending against any man, but loved rest and quietness with all his heart, and in time of peace he lived moderately and temperately in his diet, and fully set to building all curious devices. A good neighbour in his marches, disposed rather to give than to take a foot wrongously. He was heard to say he never drew sword in his own quarrel. In his youth, a prodigal spender; in his old age, more wise and worldly, yet never counted for cost in matters of credit and honour. A great householder; a terror to his enemies, whom he ever with his prideful kin held under subjection and obedience. Just in all his bargains, and was never heard for his true debt.’

The marquis had had infinite trouble through life in maintaining his faith as a son of the Church of Rome, and it fully appears that the Presbyterians had the trouble of converting him four or five times. ‘In 1588, he gave in his adherence to the reformed establishment, and subscribed the Confession; but in his intercepted letters to the Spanish king, he says that "the whole had been extorted from him against his conscience." In 1597, his lordship was again reconciled to the kirk, with much public solemnity, signed the Confession of Faith, and partook of the sacrament. His fidelity, however, was wholly feigned, and did not last long. In 1607, Mr George Gladstanes, minister at St Andrews, was appointed by the General Assembly to remain with the Marquis of Huntly "for ane quarter or ane half year, to the effect by his travels and labours, the said noble lord and his family might be informit in the word of truth." In the following year, Mr Gladstanes reported that he had stayed three days with the marquis, apparently at the time when his lordship was engaged in the re-edification of his castle of Strathbogie, of whose grandeur the existing remains as yet afford ample proof; and having among other things inquired at his lordship "why he resorted not to the preaching at the ordinar times in parish kirks," he was informed that he could not well resort to the parish kirk, partly in respect of the mean rank of such as were within the parish, and partly in respect his lordship’s predecessors were in use to have ane chapel in their awn house, whilk he was minded to prosecute now, seeing he was presently preparing his house of Strathbogie." In 1606, he was accused of giving encouragement to the Roman Catholics, and thereby occasioning a great defection from the reformed opinions, and in 1608 be was excommunicated. In 1616, he was absolved from excommunication by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and afterwards by the General Assembly which met at Aberdeen in that year. There is, however, no doubt that during his whole life he was a warm adherent of the ancient religion.' It would be difficult for a candid mind to say which was most to blame in all this—the marquis for his insincerity, or the church-courts for exercising force and accepting professions where they knew that there was no hearty concession attainable.

In his latter years, the marquis devoted himself much to what was then called policy—that is, building and planting. We have already seen that he erected an elegant mansion at Strathbogie— the now ruinous Huntly Castle. ‘He built a house at Kinkail on the Dee, called the New-house, which standeth amidst three hunting-forests of his own. He built the house of Ruthven in Badenoch twice, [it] being burnt by aventure or negligence of his servants after he had once finished the same. He built a new house in Aboyne; he repaired his house in Elgin; he hath built a house in the Plewlands in Moray; he hath enlarged and decored the house of Bog-Gicht, which he hath parked about; he repaired his house in the old town of Aberdeen.’—G. H. S.

We light upon a curious bit of life in the book of the Privy Council. One day, not long before the date noted, Nicolas Johnston, wife of Mr Francis Irving, commissary-clerk of Dumfries, was walking on the street of that burgh, passing from her mother’s house to the residence of ‘Lady Cockpool,’ when she met Marion Gladstanes, spouse of the schoolmaster. Marion, after many flattering words, invited Nicolas Johnston into her house ‘to drink with her.’ Yielding with some reluctance to this invitation, Nicolas was taken into a quiet room in Marion’s house, where presently a mutchkin of white wine was brought in for the solacement of the two ladies. Marion, as the hostess, drank the first cupful to the health of her gossip’s husband; then, while Nicolas was looking at the hangings of a bed (few rooms were in those days without beds), she filled the cup again. ‘Nicolas, looking about, perceived her tottering the cup in her hand, as if she had the perellis’ [paralysis]. Then she gave it to Nicolas to drink. It appeared to have some brayed nutmeg infused into it. Nicolas, having drunk a little, handed back the cup to Marion, who, ‘pretending it was to the said Nicolas’s husband’s health, urged her at three drinks to drink the same out. Thereafter Marion took the cup, and set it down, saying: "The last that drank out of that cup, loved the wine the better of the nutmegs," and with that changed her countenance and grew red. Nicolas, fearing some harm, and yet not suspecting any poison to be in the cup, the said Marion took ane clean linen and said: "I think you love not nutmegs," rubbed the cup clean, filled a drink of wine, drank thereof; and her servant also.’

Nicolas Johnston afterwards proceeded to Lady Cockpool’s, but in the way experienced a violent attack of thirst, ‘so that she was forced to call for drink, and could scarce be slockened. Thereafter, she came to her mother’s house, and being troubled with the like thirst, drank weak ale and got little rest all the night.’ Next day, her body, from the middle downwards, was enormously swelled, making her a monstrous figure, and this illness did not much abate for twenty days. Soon after, she had to take to her bed again, nor did she begin to recover ‘till she received an antidote from Dr Hamilton.’ Her health did not fully come back.

A commission was issued for inquiry into this affair, but with what result does not appear.—P. C. R.

1636, Jan 14
Instances of the capture of Scottish mariners by Barbary rovers, and of charitable efforts at home to redeem them from a cruel slavery, have been already intimated as numerous. At this time, we are informed of one which must have formed a powerful appeal to the humane bosom. A ship called the John of Leith, commanded by John Brown, and having ten sailors on board, is quietly proceeding on a mercantile voyage from London to Rochelle. Near the coast of France, it encounters three Turkish men-of-war, who give chase from sunrise to sundown, and at last take and sink the vessel, after easing her of her crew and all her valuable goods.

The poor skipper Brown and his ten men, being carried to Sallee, were taken to market and sold as slaves. Each bearing iron chains to the weight of eighty pounds, the eleven men were employed all day in grinding in a mill, with nothing to eat but a little dusty bread. ‘In the night, they are put in foul holes, twenty foot under the ground, where they lie miserably, looking nightly to be eaten with rottens and mice.’ It was further stated, that ‘being but a company of poor seafaring men, having nothing but their hires whereby to redeem themselves, and their kin are so mean and unworthy as they will do nothing in that errand, their thraldom and misery will be perpetual unless they be assisted and helped by the charitable benevolence of his majesty’s good subjects.’

The Privy Council, looking kindly on the wretched state of the men, recommended a contribution in their behalf throughout Lothian, Berwick, Stirling, and Fife, under the care of ‘John Brown and Walter Ross, indwellers in Preston.’

In the ensuing month, the Privy Council had in their hands a supplication from James Puncher, setting forth his pitiful estate as a prisoner among the Turks in Algiers. He had been kept for a long time there, forced to carry water on his back through the town, ‘with an iron chain about his leg and round his middle, instead of sark, hose, and shoes;’ and no food ‘but four unce of bread daily, as black as tar,’ while obliged to endure ‘forty or threescore of stripes with ane rope of four inches great upon his flaked body, sometimes on his back, and sometimes on his belly.’

‘When the ship is to go to the sea, he must go perforce arid sustein the like misery there, and all because he will not renunce Ms faith in Christ and become ane Turk.’ His cruel masters having offered to liberate him for twelve hundred merks, he now entreated the Privy Council to recommend his case to the charity of his fellow-countrymen, that that sum might be raised and sent to him. The Council looked kindly on this sad petition, and appointed a collection to be made in the sheriffdoms of Edinburgh and Berwick, the proceeds to be handed to ‘David Corsaw in Dysart, uncle of the supplicant,’ who had undertaken to administer the money for Duncher’s relief.—P. C. R.

Jan 27
A bark belonging to Dundee, carrying goods from Camphire, was overtaken near the mouth of the Firth of Forth by a storm, which obliged the master, after struggling with great difficulties, to run the vessel on shore in an inlet called Thornton Loch, near Dunbar. Immediately she was, beset by a multitude of farmers, Dunbar tradesmen, and others, provided with horses and carts, who, cutting a hole in her side with axes, seized and took away her whole cargo. The enumeration of the articles gives some idea of what might constitute a grocer’s stock in those days, and speaks rather more strongly of comfort and luxury than many may be prepared for. There were ‘ten lasts of white pease, three lasts and a half of soap, four great pipes of "alme" [alum?] and three puncheons of " alme," a ball of madder, three balls of galls, twenty hundred pund weight of sugar, ten trees [barrels] of white stun [starch], twenty trees of raisins of the sun, three trees of figs, [three] puncheons of Corse raisins, ten kinkens [kegs] of powder, twa small trees of brimstone, ane thousand pund weight of tobacco, seven barrel pipes, four kinkens of indigo, four hundred pund of pepper, fifty pund of cannell [cinnamon], thirteen pund of maces, fifteen pund of saffron, twenty pund of nutmegs, ane thousand pund of ridbrissels (?), ten piece of Holland cloth, thirty-six pund of silk, ane steik of Spanish taffeta, three trees of capers, ane packet of pannis’ (?), and ‘four hundred pund of pewter vessel and stoups,’ besides ‘six hundred and fifty merks of ready gold and silver, being in a purse, with the haul abulyiements and clothing belonging to the company and equipage of the ship.’ Having carried off these articles, they proceeded to sell them to the country people, without any regard to the remonstrances of the master of the ship. ‘The like of whilk barbarous violence, committed in the heart of the country by people who ought to have respect with wines and other goods to the value of a thousand pounds, for law and justice, has not been heard of; whereanent some exemplar and severe course ought to be ta’en, lest the oversight and impunity thereof make others to commit the like.’

It is gratifying to find the Council taking up the East Lothian wreckers in this spirit. They did proceed with great energy against such of the individuals accused as they found to be truly guilty, imposing on them severally certain fines, from fifty merks up to fifty pounds, in order to make up a proper compensation to the owners of the goods.—P. C. R.

In July 1636, the Council dealt with a case of wrecking which strongly illustrates the state of morals in the Western Islands. The Susanna, a bark of twenty-four tons, was proceeding, in December 1634, from the port of St Malo, in France, to Limerick, when she twice encountered stormy weather, and by force of winds and waves, was carried to an inlet in one of the Hebrides. Having lost their boat, the mariners made signs to the people on shore, who presently came on board, armed with swords, pikes, and crossbows, ‘and demanded of the company of the bark what they would give to bring the bark into we harbour.’ It was agreed by the distressed crew, that a butt of sack and a barrel of raisins should be given for that service and for some provisions of which they stood in need. Then the islanders cut the ship’s cable and brought her to land.

The master and his crew expected here to find kindly entertainment and to be in full security; but, instead of this, a great number of people, of whom the captain of the Clanranald and the Laird of Castleborrow were the chief (three hundred in all, it is said), came down upon them in armed fashion, and furnished with barrels and other conveniences; ‘drank and drew out the wine day by day, carried away all their goods and merchandise,’ and even robbed the strangers of their wearing apparel, ‘as wed that upon their bodies as whilk was in the bark.’ By threats and ill-usage, they also obliged a young man, a member of the crew, to assume the character of factor of the vessel, and make a mock sale of her merchandise, ‘in consideration of a sowm of money, although he received nane.’ Finally, under a threat of being sent with the crew ‘to the savages that dwells in the mayne,’ the owner was compelled to accept eight pounds for the vessel, though it was worth a hundred and fifty, and then the crew found it necessary to get away as best they could, for fear of their lives.

The Council summoned the accused persons, and on their failing to appear, denounced them as rebels.—P. C. R.

A difficulty occurring about the election of magistrates for Aberdeen, a leet was sent to the Privy Council, who selected out of it Alexander Jaffray, a distinguished merchant, whom we shall meet again in this chronicle. ‘Many lichtlied both the man and the election, not being of the old blood of the town, but the oy [grandson] of ane baxter [baker], and therefore was set down in the provost’s dais, before his entering, ane baken pie, to sermon. This was done divers times; but he miskenned (overlooked] all, and never quarrelled the samen.’—Spal.

Apr 1
On the application of Mr William Gordon, professor of medicine and anatomy in the university of Aberdeen, who had hitherto been obliged to illustrate his lessons by dissecting beasts, the Privy Council gave warrant to the sheriffs and magistrates of Aberdeen to allow him the bodies of a couple of malefactors for the service of his class, if such could be had, but, failing these, the bodies of any poor people who might die in hospitals or otherwise, and have no friends to take exception; this being with the approbation of the Bishop of Aberdeen, chancellor of the university.

July 27
This was a terrible day for the broken men who had for the last few years been carrying on such wild proceedings in Moray-land and other districts bordering on the Highlands. Lord Lorn—who soon after, as Marquis of Argyle, became the leader of the Covenanting party—had exerted himself with diligence to put down the system of robbery and oppression by which the country had been so long harassed; and he had succeeded in capturing ten of the most noted of the catterans, including one whose name enjoys a popular celebrity even to the present day. This was Gilderoy or Gillieroy; such at least was his common appellation—a descriptive term signifying the Red Lad—but he actually bore the name of Patrick Macgregor, being a member of that unhappy clan which the severity of the government had driven to desperate courses about thirty years before. Another of the captured men was John Forbes, who seems to have been the fidus Achates of the notorious outlaw, James Grant. A natural son of Grant was also of the party. These ten men were now brought to trial in Edinburgh.

It was alleged of Gilderoy that he and his band had for three years past sorned ‘through the haill bounds of Strathspey, Braemar, Cromar, and countries thereabout, oppressing the common and poor people, violently taking away from them their meat, drink, and provision, and their hail guids.’ They had taken fifteen nolt from one farm in Glenprosen; had lain for days at Balreny, eating up the country, and possessing themselves of whatever they could lay hands on, and in some instances they had carried off the goodman himself, or the man and wife together, in order to extort money for their ransom. One of the charges leads us to the romantic scenery of Loch Lomond, where there is an island called Inchcailloch (Women’s Island), from having been the seat of a nunnery in ancient times. Gilderoy, in company with his brother, John Dhu Roy, and his half-brother, John Graham, had come to William Stewart’s house in this island, and taken from it ‘the whole insight plenishing, guids, and geir,’ besides the legal papers belonging to the proprietor. There had also been a cruel slaughter of one of the Clan Cameron. The other men were taxed with offences of a similar kind.

If the doom of the ten catterans was duly executed—and we know nothing to the contrary—they were all, two days after, drawn backwards on a hurdle to the Cross, and there hanged, Gilderoy and John Forbes suffering on a gallows ‘ane degree higher’ than that on which their companions suffered, and further having their heads and right hands struck off for exhibition on the city ports.

Gilderoy, as is well known, attained a ballad fame. There is a broadside of the time, containing a lament for him by his mistress, in rude verses not altogether devoid of pathos. She says:

‘My love he was as brave a man
As ever Scotland bred,
Descended from a Highland clan,
A catter to his trade.
No woman then or womankind
Had ever greater joy
Than we two when we lodged alone,
I and my Gilderoy.'

* * *

There is something almost fine in the close of the piece:

‘And now he is in Edinburgh town,
‘Twas long ere I came there;
They hanged him upon a pin,
And he wagged in the air:
His relics they were more esteemed
Than Hector’s were at Troy—
I never love to see the face
That gazed on Gilderog.’

A various version of this doleful ditty appears in A Collection of Old Ballads (London, printed for J. Roberts, &c., 1724). It contains some stanzas not quite consistent with modern taste, and takes such a view of the offences of the hero as might be expected from a woman and a mistress:

‘What kind of cruelty is this,
To hang such handsome men!’

As it breathed, however, a strain of natural feeling, it attracted the attention of Lady Wardlaw, the authoress of the fine ballad of Hardiknute, and by her was put into such an improved form as may be said to have rendered the name of Gilderoy classical.

July 28
A petition given in to the Privy Council by the parishioners of Denny, craving assistance to rebuild a bridge which had been carried away by a ‘speat’ of the Carron, stated the circumstances of the accident in terms which illustrate the power of running-water in a remarkable manner. The tempest, it was said, exceeded all that could be remembered, ‘by the violence whereof not only houses, with men, wives, and bairns, were pitifully carried away and drowned, but great craigs and rocks were rent, and huge parts of the same, of forty foot of length and above, carried with the violence of the speat, above four or five pair of butts lengths from the craig, within the water of Carron, to the dry land.’— P. C. R.

Aug 2
Lady Rothiemay, after a long detention under caution, was this day subjected to trial for giving encouragement to the Frendraught spoilers two years before. There seems to have been a disposition to look lightly on the offence of a woman who had had the deaths of a husband and a son to excite her feelings, and the charge, after being twice delayed, was finally allowed to fall to the ground.

Nov 10
The Privy Council, learning that a number of gipsies bad been seized a month before, and thrown into jail at Haddington, decreed that, (whereas the keeping of them longer there is troublesome and burdenable to the town,’ therefore the sheriff or his depute should pronounce sentence of death ‘against so many of thir counterfeit thieves as are men, and against so many of the women as wants children, ordaining the men to be hangit, and the women to be drowned;’ while ‘such of the women as has children should be scourged through the burgh."

Dec 8
John Greg, ‘in the Haughs of Fingoth,’ complained to the Privy Council of the conduct of Mr James Stuart, commissary of Dunkeld, who, after passing upon him sundry affronts, had lately fallen upon a new trick for his disgrace—namely, to insert ‘Macgregor’ as his name in all public documents in which he was concerned either as pursuer or defender. ‘Now, lately, under the borrowed name of David Martin, servitor to the Laird of Ballechin, he has ta’en the gift of the complainer’s escheat, and in that same gift he calls the complainer John Macgregor, alias Greg.’ By this it was assumed that the Dunkeld commissary intended ‘to draw the complainer under all the courses that sall be ta’en with the Clan Gregor.’ Greg further affirmed that his family name for generations past memory had been simply Greg, ‘and had nothing to do with the race of Clan Gregor.’

The Council obliged Stuart to give caution that he would discontinue this singular kind of persecution.—P. C. R.

1637, Feb 23
We have notice at this time of a very pretty quarrel between Lord Fraser and the Laird of Philorth. ‘The kirkyard dike of Rathin being altogether ruinous and decayed, the gentlemen and others of the parish, out of respect to the honour of God and credit of the parish, concluded to repair and big up the said kirkyard dike,’ except a part which fell properly to be done by the late Lords of Lovat and Fraser. Owing to the death of Lord Lovat, the duty of building the latter portion fell solely upon Lord Fraser, who, when he had executed it, ‘caused put up aboon the kirkstyle his name and arms in carved stones, after a decent and comely order, never thinking that any man would have been so void of modesty and discretion as to have maligned the said wark.’ Nevertheless, Alexander Frisell of Philorth had come with a number of armed followers, under cloud of night, and put up three great brods with the arms of Philorth painted on them, right over the Lord Fraser’s arms, which were now consequently invisible.

Such a proceeding, it was held, could only be interpreted as meant to stir up Lord Fraser into a deadly quarrel; ‘but he, out of respect to his majesty’s obedience and laws, whilk he will ever prefer to his awn unruly passions, has forborne to tak upon him the sword of justice.’ He applies to the Privy Council for the just redress of ‘this inexcusable wrong.’

The Council had the accused parties summoned before them, and the Laird of Philorth, having appeared, could only excuse himself by alleging what he felt to be due to his late father’s ‘funerals.’ The Lords therefore contented themselves with ordering the ‘brod’ with the arms to be taken down ‘at mid-day, in presence of the minister of Rathin.’ A counter complaint from Philorth against Lord Fraser for putting up his arms in stone on the kirkyard dike, was remitted to the judge ordinary of the district.—P. C. R.

Feb 23
It is remarkable that the government never previously exerted itself more strenuously for the repression of spoliation and common theft than just before its hands were paralysed by the outbreak of the religious spirit. We have just seen justice done upon a number of broken men of the north and the gipsies of the south; we have now to see even more stern proceedings against the Border thieves. A commission, headed by the Earl of Traquair, sat at Jedburgh on the day noted, when whole droves of culprits came before them, and were dealt with in the most rigorous manner. The number hanged was thirty! Five were burned, and as many fined. Fifteen were banished from the country, under caution never to return. While fifteen were ‘cleansed,’ forty were declared fugitives for non-appearance, and twenty dismissed with assurance that they should be treated in a similar manner if they failed to bring forward caution before a particular day.

The commissioners framed a number of statutes, some of which speak strongly of the state of things which they were meant to correct. Any person going to Ireland without a licence was to be held as a thief, and brought to trial. It was culpable for any innkeeper to have beef, mutton, or lamb in his house, without ‘presenting the skin, heed, and lugs thereof, to two or more of their honest neighbours, who may bear witness of the mark and birn of the skin and hide, and that the flesh thereof is lawfully becomit.’ No one was to purchase cattle or sheep otherwise than in open market, ‘at the least before twa famous witnesses testifying that the guids is lawfully becomit.’ It was a misdemeanour for any one who had goods stolen to negotiate for their recovery and leave the thief unprosecuted. No one was to give harbourage or assistance in any way to men declared fugitives from justice.—P. C. R.

During the spring and early summer of this year, the border counties were afflicted with the pest. Various orders were issued with a view to confining the range of the sickness as much as possible. From one of these arose a complaint on the part of Sir John Murray of Philiphaugh, who, as convener of the justices of his county, had occasion to see the arrangements carried out. Having gone to Selkirk for this purpose, he found a citizen named James Murray about to have a daughter married, and ‘a great part of the country’ expected to gather to the ceremony. He forbade the assemblage as dangerous, and enjoined that not above four or five should be present as witnesses; but James Murray would not listen to his remonstrances. When Sir John afterwards sent for him to press still further the necessity of having only a small company, James Murray proudly answered: ‘If ye be feared, come not there.’ Sir John then called on the ballies to commit him to prison, but ‘there was no obedience given thereto;’ and next day, when the marriage took place, ‘there was about four or five score persons who met and drank together all that day till night.’—P. C. R.

July 23
The intrusion of a service-book or liturgy upon the Scottish Church has been alluded to in the introduction to the present section. There was an almost universal unwillingness, even among the friends of the reigning system, to give efficacy to the royal orders; for it was seen that the congregations would not calmly see this innovation effected. It was resolved, however, that on Sunday the 23d of July the book should be used in the cathedral of Edinburgh—the ‘Great Church’ of St Giles—where the privy councillors, including the bishops and the lords of session, as well as the city magistrates, usually attended worship, besides a large congregation of the upper class of citizens.

To pursue the narrative of a contemporary’How soon as Dr George Hanna, dean of Edinburgh, who was to officiate that day, had opened the service-book, a number of the meaner sort of. people, most of them waiting-maids and women, who use in that town to keep places for the better sort, with clapping of their hands, cursings, and outcries, raised such an uncouth noise and hubbub in the church, that not any one could either hear or be heard. The gentlewomen did fall a tearing and crying that the mass was entered amongst them, and Baal in the church. There was a gentleman standing behind a pew and answering "Amen" to what the dean was reading; a she-zealot, hearing him, starts up in choler: "Traitor," says she, "does thou say mass at my ear!" and with that struck him on the face with her Bible in great fury.

‘The bishop of Edinburgh, Mr David Lindsay, stepped into the pulpit, above the dean, intending to appease the tumult, minding them of the place where they were, and entreating them to desist from profaning it. But he met with as little reverence (albeit with more violence) as the dean had found; for they were more enraged, and began to throw at him stools, and their very Bibles, and what arms were in the way of [their] fury. It is reported that he hardly escaped the blow of a stool, which one present diverted. Nor were their tongues idler than their hands. Upon this, John Spottiswoode, archbishop of St Andrews, then Lord Chancellor, and some others, offering to assist the bishop in quelling the multitude, were made partners of the suffering of all these curses and imprecations which they began to pray to the bishops and their abettors. The archbishop, finding himself unable to prevail with the people, was forced to call down from their gallery the provost and bailies and others of the town-council of Edinburgh, who at length, with much tumult and confusion, thrust the unruly rabble out of the church, and made fast the church doors.

‘The multitude being removed, the dean falls again to read, in presence of the better sort who stayed behind; but all this while, those who had been turned out of doors, kept such a quarter with clamours without, and rapping at the church doors, and pelting the windows with stones, as that the dean might once more be interrupted. This put the bailies once more to the pains to come down from their seat, and interpose with the clamorous multitude to make them quiet. In the midst of these clamours, the service was brought to an end; but the people’s fury was not a whit settled; for after the bishop had stepped up into the pulpit and preached, and the congregation dismissed, the bishop of Edinburgh retiring to his lodging not far distant from the church, was environed and set upon with a multitude of the meaner people, cursing him and crowding about him, that he was in danger of his life, and to be trodden down amongst the people; and having recovered the stairs of his lodging, he no sooner began to go up, but he was pulled so rudely by the sleeve of his gown that he was like to have fallen backwards. Nor was he in more security, having gotten to the top of the stairs; for the door he did find shut against him, and so was at a stand, likely to have been oppressed, had not the Earl of Wemyss, who from the next lodging saw the bishop in danger, sent his servants for to rescue him, who got him at last, breathless, and in much amazement, into his lodging.’—Gordon’s Hist, of Scots Affairs.

Tradition in modern times has represented an herb-woman, named Jenny Geddes, as the heroine who more especially cast her stool at the bishop. Wodrow, however, has given us a different account in his Analecta. ‘It is,’ says he, ‘a constantly believed tradition, that it was Mrs Mean, wife to John Mean, merchant in Edinburgh, that cast the first stool when the service-book was read in the New Kirk, Edinburgh, 1637; and that many of the lasses that carried on the fray were prentices in disguise, for they threw stools to a great length.’ Mrs Mean had been the subject of a relenting and humane act on the part of the government. When her husband was under restraint for nonconformity in 1624, he was liberated on a petition setting forth the delicate state of his wife’s health, in order that he might be enabled to return to Edinburgh and attend upon her.’

‘After this Sunday’s wark, the haill kirk doors of Edinburgh was lockit, and no more preaching heard [for four or five weeks]. The zealous puritans flockit ilk Sunday to hear devotion in Fife; syne returned to their houses.’—Spal.

The poor and scattered success of the new liturgy is quaintly dwelt on by a nobleman who took a leading part in the proceedings for obtaining its abrogation. ‘Sundry bishops,’ he says, ‘did establish [the service-book] at their cathedrals, as the bishop of Ross in the Chanrie, Brechin at the kirk of Brechin, Dunblane at Dunblane. It was not fully practised at St Andrews; only a few of the prayers were read by the archdeacon, and having no assistance, left the same, after a few months’ practice of a part of it only. The minister of Brechin, Mr Alexander Bisset, would not practise it; but the bishop read it by his own servant. At Dunblane, the ordinary minister, Mr Pearson, a corrupt worldling, read it . . . . yet did the said Pearson, after consideration of the general dislike of the service-book, at a meeting of the small barons of Strathearn, subscribe the supplication against the service-book, as the Laird of Kippenross. At Chanrie, it was read by one appointed by the bishop. Except these places, it was not entered nor practised in no place in Scotland; except Dr Scrimgeour at St Fillans read it, and neither being dextrous, nor having any to assist him, as it began to be discountenanced, he dishaunted it. Also in Dingwall in Ross, one Mr Murdo Mackenzie, under censure for divers heinous and foul crimes, practised the same, to obtain remission of his offences. Certain prayers were also read in the New College at St Andrews, some of these that are not themselves corrupt, though joined with the rest—and this obedience given by that fearful man, Dr Howie, who hath fallen back from the truth of his first profession.’’

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