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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Interregnum: 1649 - 1660 Part C

Regarding a man accused of witchcraft, it is mentioned a few days later by the same newspaper, that he first confessed a number of ridiculous things, including frequent converse with the devil, but before the judges he denied all, and said that he had only been in a dream. ‘The truth is, he lived in so poor a condition, that
he confessed or rather said anything that was put into his head.
. . . By this you may guess upon what grounds many hundreds have heretofore been burnt in this country for witches.’ A most pregnant remark, truly.

Whitelocke intimates letters from Scotland at this time, stating that sixty persons, men and women, had been accused of witchcraft before the commissioners for the administration of justice in Scotland at the last circuit; but ‘they found so much malice and so little proof against them, that none were condemned."

The Scottish civil bench having not long been free from an evil reputation for budds or bribes, and to the last liable to the charge of partiality, it is alleged that the English judges rather surprised the public by their equitable decisions. It is added that some one, in a subsequent age, was lauding to the Lord-president Gilmour, the remarkable impartiality of these judges and the general equity of their proceedings, when the Scottish judge answered in his rough way: ‘Deil thank them, they had neither kith nor kin !‘

1653, Feb 11
A person who was ‘both man and woman, a thing not ordinar in this kingdom,’ was hanged at Edinburgh on account of some irregularities of conduct. ‘His custom was always to go in a woman’s habit.’—Lam. This person passed by the name of Margaret Rannie. ‘When opened by certain doctors and apothecaries, [he] was found to be two every way, having two hearts, two livers, two every inward thing ‘—C. P. H. The same day, an old man was burnt for warlockry, ‘wha had come in and rendered himself to prison, confessing his sin, and willing that justice be execute on him, for safety of his saul.’—Nic.

Early in this month, a number of pellochs or porpoises were thrown ashore dead on the coast of Fife; ‘whilk was taken to be very ominous.’—Nic.

July 20
The humiliation of the ecclesiastical system of Scotland, lately so triumphant, was this day completed by the breaking up of the General Assembly at the order of Cromwell. The court had met in Edinburgh, and the moderator, Mr David Dickson, had prayed and begun to call the roll, when ‘there comes in two lieutenant-colonels of the English forces, and desired them to be silent, for they had something to speak to them. So one of the lieutenant-colonels [Cotterell] began to ask them by what authority they met—if by authority of the late parliament, or by authority of the commander-in-chief, or if by the authority of their late king? [Mr David Dickson, the moderator of the former assembly, ‘said to him: "Sir, you ask by what authority we sit here; we sit, not as having authority from any power on earth, but as having power and authority from Jesus Christ; and by him, and for him, and for the good of his church, do we sit." Cotterell answered: "You are to sit no more;" whereby he declared himself, and them that employed him, enemies to Christ.’—C. P. H.].
. . . He desired further, that all the names of the members of the assembly might be given him. The moderator replied that they could not give them, because they were not called; but if he would have a little patience till they called the roll, he should have them. He answered, if it were not longsome, he should do it. So the moderator began at the presbytery of Argyle, to examine their commission. Here the English officer replied that that would prove tedious, so that he could not wait upon it, but desired them to remove and begone; and if they would not, he had instructions what to do. [‘He would drag us out of the room.’—Bail.] Upon this the moderator protested, in the name of the assembly, that they were Christ’s court, and that any violence or injury done to them might not hinder any meeting of theirs when convenient occasion should offer itself. He desired they might pray a little before they dissolved. The moderator began prayer; and after he had spoken five or six sentences, the English officer desired them again to be gone. Notwithstanding, the moderator went on in prayer, but was forced at length to break off. So they arose and came forth. [‘When we had entered a protestation of this unexampled violence, we did rise and follow him; he led us through the streets a mile out of town, encompassing us with foot-companies of musketeers and horsemen without; all the people gazing and mourning as at the saddest spectacle they had ever seen.’—.Bail.] They were guarded on both hands up the way to the Weigh-house, where they were carried along to the Port, and thence to the Quarry Holes [Bruntsfield Links], where they made them to stand. The English required again all their names; they said they were most willing. So they told all their names. So the moderator protested again at that place. After their names were written, they discharged them to meet again, under the pain of being breakers of the peace The English desired them to go back to Edinburgh and lodge there all night, and be gone before eight o’clock next day; and discharged that not above two of them should be seen together.’—Nic.

‘The day following, by sound of trumpet, we were commanded off the town, under pain of present imprisonment. Thus our General Assembly, the glory and strength of our church, is crushed and trod under foot. Our hearts are sad, our eyes run down with water, we sigh to God against whom we have sinned, and wait for the help of his hand.’—Bail.

The suppression of the supreme church-court was followed (August 4) by a proclamation at Edinburgh, ‘discharging the ministry to pray for the king, or to preach anything against the title of England to Scotland. Mr Robert Laws, in his prayer, prayed for the king. When he came from the pulpit, he was carried to the Castle, but stayed short while, because an Englishman would be caution that he should answer whenever he should be called. Notwithstanding, the ministry, finding it a duty lying on them by the Covenants, continued all of them praying for the king, and gave their reasons for it to the English commissioners.’—C. P. H.

The heat of the summer 1652, and the earliness of the harvest, had not been attended with such plenty as to produce extraordinary cheapness. During this summer of 1653, wheat was £1, 5s. sterling per boll, and the inferior grains about 20s. An excellent crop having been secured, ‘the prices fell strangely, so that from Michaelmas till the end of the year, oats were at [6s. 8d.] per boll, and wheat [11s. 8d. and 13s. 4d.].’—Lam.

The Trembling Exies—that is, ague—was this year ‘exceeding frequent through all parts of this nation, in such condition as was never seen before . . . . the smallpox also, whereof many people, both old and young, perished.’—Nic.

The gallant resistance made to the English by the loyal forces under Lord Kenmure, in the north of Scotland, was heard of with much interest by Charles II. and his little court at Paris. Amongst other adherents of royalty assembled there, was a Welsh gentleman of about twenty-three years of age, styled Captain Wogan, who, entering in mere boyhood into the service of the parliament under General Ireton, had been converted by the king’s death, and since distinguished himself in the loyal movements made in Ireland under the Marquis of Ormond. Wogan was one of those ardent spirits whom Montrose would have been delighted to associate in his enterprises. He now planned an expedition of a most extraordinary nature. He proposed nothing less than to march, with such as would join him, through the length of England and Lowland Scotland, in order to take part in the guerrilla war going on in the Highlands. Clarendon tells how reluctant the young king was to sanction so mad an undertaking; but at length he was induced to give it his countenance.

Captain Wogan accordingly landed with a few companions at Dover, and, proceeding to London, there went about engaging associates and making needful preparations, without attracting the notice of the republican government. The men and horses being rendezvoused at Barnet, Wogan commenced his march for the north with an armed troop, which passed everywhere as if it were a part of the regular army. By easy journeys, but keeping as much as possible out of common roads, they reached Durham, and thence advanced into Scotland by Peebles. It appears that one of their first adventures in Scotland was to pass through a fair in open day. Monk, hearing on a Sunday of their having been on the preceding night at Peebles, caused parties from Linlithgow, Stirling, and Glasgow to keep a look-out; but the people of the country did not help the English soldiery with intelligence, and this net was spread in vain. Wogan succeeded in conducting his troop in perfect safety into the Highlands.

This gallant little party met a cordial reception, and immediately entered with the greatest activity into the war of skirmishes and surprises which was then going on. The chief of the Camerons, the gallant Evan Dhu, hailed in Wogan a kindred spirit, and joined in some of his enterprises. No garrison within many miles of the Highland frontier was secure from their inroads. Their united names became a terror to the English. But one winter month of Highland campaigning formed the entire career of Wogan. A lieutenant’s party of the veteran regiment known as the Brazen Wall, left the garrison at Drummond one day, to recover some sheep which had been carried away by the Highlanders. It became enclosed unawares in a superior force of the enemy, of which Wogan and his troop formed part. The Brazen Walls got off with a severe loss; but Wogan had received a wound in the shoulder from a tuck. It was such an affair as a good surgeon and a week of quiet might have healed—the circumstances of the poor youth made it mortal in a few days, to the great grief of all who knew him. He was buried with military honours, and amidst the greatest demonstrations of Highland sorrow, in the churchyard of Kenmore (about February 1, 1654). ‘Great indignation was there,’ says Heath, ‘against Robinson, the surgeon that dressed him, for his neglect of him, the Earl of Athole having threatened to kill him; so dearly was this hero beloved by that nation.’ The hope of this English author ‘that some grateful muse should sing his achievements,’ has not as yet been realised; but the readers of Waverley will remember how the author represents his hero as gloating over Flora M’Ivor’s verses To an Oak-tree said to mark the Grave of Captain Wogan:

‘Emblem of England’s ancient faith,
Full proudly may thy branches wave,
Where loyalty lies low in death,
And valour fills a timeless grave.

* * *

Thy death-hour heard no kindred wail,
No holy knell thy requiem rung,
Thy mourners were the plaided Gael,
Thy dirge the clamorous pibroch sung.

Yet who, in Fortune’s summer tide,
To waste life’s longest term away,
Would change that glorious dawn of thine,
Though darkened ere its noontide day?’

1654, Mar
From October by-past to this date, the weather was dry and fair to such a degree as to make the period like a second summer. Nicoll states that, in all that time, there had not been above six showers of wet or snow, and two of these fell on Sundays. [Wogan lay at Weem during his illness, and might therefore have been expected to lie interred in the churchyard of that parish; but Heath gives Kenmore as his last resting-place.]

May 4
General Monk coming down to Edinburgh to take command of the forces against Glencairn and Kenmure, and to proclaim Oliver’s union of Scotland and England, had a most honourable reception. ‘The provost and bailies in their scarlet gowns met him at the Nether Bow Port, the haill council in order going before them.’ After the proclamation, they ‘did convoy him to a sumptuous dinner and feast, prepared by the town of Edinburgh for him and his special crowners [colonels]. This feast was six days in preparing, whereat the bailies of Edinburgh did stand and serve the haill time of that dinner.’ ‘There was great preparation for firewarks, whilk was actit at the Mercat Cross betwixt nine and twelve hours in the nicht, to the admiration of many people.’

Next day was proclaimed an act of grace, forfaulting the heirs of the Duke of Hamilton and some score of other nobles, and imposing huge fines upon sundry others; for example, £15,000 on the heirs of the Earl of Buccleuch, £10,000 on the Earl of Panmure, £6000 on the Earl of Roxburgh, £5000 on the Earl of Perth, and the latter sum and other sums down to £1000 on upwards of fifty others, noblemen and gentlemen [these sums being of sterling money].

If, as has been insinuated by cavalier writers, the Scotch nobles were prompted in their joining the religious movement of 1637 by a fear of the revocation of church-lands, they were now suffering a severe punishment for their hypocrisy. Under the late exhausting wars, in which they had incurred vast expenses, and the penal fines imposed on them by Cromwell, they might well be described by a contemporary writer as nearly all ‘wracked.’ Our authority sums them up in the following terms:

‘Dukes Hamilton, the one execute, the other slain; their [e]state forfault[ed]; one part gifted to English sogers; the rest will not pay the debt. Huntly execute; his sons all dead but the youngest; there is more debt on the house nor the land can pay. Lennox is living, as a man buried, in his house of Cobham. Douglas and his son Arran are quiet men of no respect. Argyle almost drowned in debt, in friendship with the English, but in hatred with the country. Chancellor Loudon lives like an outlaw about Athole, his lands comprised for debt, under a general very great disgrace. Marischal, Rothes, Eglintoun and his three sons, Crawford, Lauderdale, and others, prisoners in England, and their lands all either sequestrat or forfault[ed], and gifted to English sogers. Balmerino suddenly dead, and his son, for public debt, comprisings, and captions, keeps not the causey [that is, cannot appear in public].'

Landed proprietors, merchants, and indeed the entire community, were now in a state of prostration in consequence of the wars. According to the diarist Nicoll—’The poverty of the land daily increased, by reason of inlaik of trade and traffic, both by sea and land, the people being poor and under cess, quarterings, and other burdens. Falsets and dyvours [bankrupts] daily increased; sundry of good rank, nobles, gentry, and burgesses, denuncit to the horn, their escheats taken, their persons imprisoned, and deteinit therein till their death. Bankrupts and broken men, through all parts of the nation, for fear of caption and warding, were forced to the to Glencairn and Kenmure, who were now in arms against the English.’

In April of this year, an additional trouble and burden fell upon the people, in consequence of the royalist insurrections, no person being now allowed to travel from home without a pass, for which a shilling sterling was charged. Scotland must have then been in much the same condition as Hungary and Lombardy were under the Austrians after 1848.

The summer of this year was exceedingly fine, producing ripe peas and cherries at the beginning of June, and yielding an early and abundant harvest; so that the best oatmeal was only fourpence sterling per peck. ‘The lambs and fowls were also at ane exceeding cheap rate’ (Nic.), and it is also stated that, from the abundance of herrings in the west seas, these fish were sold so low as twopence a hundred. Cheese was, in the west country, at 2s. 6d. sterling per stone. - Caldwell Papers. This bounty of Providence is not spoken of by contemporary journalists as abating in any degree the sufferings of the people—tbough these, we cannot doubt, would have been much greater if there had been a dearth. Just at this time, Nicoll returns to the subject of the general distresses of the country. ‘Much people,’ he says, ‘were brought to misery,’ and the land ‘groaned under its calamities and burdens.’

Owing to the drought of the summer, the wells on which Edinburgh depended for water ran dry; ‘sae that the inhabitants could not get sufficient for ordering their meat.’ Nevertheless, ‘all the west country had more than ordinar abundance of rain and weet?—Nic. The same writer adds afterwards that the people of Edinburgh were obliged to go a mile before they could get any clean water, ‘either for brewing of ale, or for their pot meat.’

This seems to have been the time when the word Tories, since so notable, was introduced into our island. It had been first applied to a set of predatory outlaws in Ireland. Thus becoming familiar as a term for brigands, it naturally was applied to a number of irregular soldiers connected with the insurgent army of the Earl of Glencairn, who, according to Nicoll, lay in holes and other private places, and robbed and spoiled all who fell into their hands,
‘ofttirnes with the purse cutting the throat of the awner? The English troops bestirred themselves to capture these Tories, and in July, eight were taken out of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and as many out of the Canongate jail, besides others from Perth and Dundee, and shipped at Leith to be taken and sold as slaves in Barbadoes.—Nic

Sep 4
Andrew Hill, musician, was tried for the abduction of a young
pupil, Marion Foulis, daughter of Foulis of Ravelston. One of the many specific charges against this base fellow was, that he used sorceries and enchantments—namely, roots and herbs— with which he boasted that he could gain the affection of any woman he pleased, and which he used towards the said Marion.’ The jury, while condemning him for the main offence, acquitted him of sorcery, though finding that he had been ‘a foolish boaster of his skill in herbs and roots for captivating women.’ While the judges delayed for fifteen days to pass doom upon the culprit, he was ‘eaten of vermin in prison, and so died.’

It was surely a very perverse love of the supernatural which caused our ancestors to surmise the use of sorcery whenever Cupid played any extraordinary trick. At a later time, when the Earl of Rothes, his majesty’s commissioner, defied scandal in going about openly with Lady Anne Gordon, it was thought he had been bewitched by her. It was also believed that the Duke of Monmouth was spell-bound to Lady Henrietta Wentworth, the charm being lodged in that golden toothpick case which he sent to her from the scaffold. The means, however, thought to be most commonly employed was a love-philter. In 1682, James Aikenhead, apothecary in Edinburgh, was pursued before the Privy Council for ‘selling poisonous and amorous drugs and philters, whereby a woman had narrowly escaped with her life, had not Doctor Irving given her ane antidote.’ On this occasion, the case being referred to the College of Physicians, that sapient body pronounced that it was ‘not safe to give such medicaments, without first taking their own advice.’—Fount.

So lately as 1659, a Scotch gentleman is found communicating to a friend a receipt for that Powder of Sympathy which in a somewhat earlier age in England was held as qualified for the cure of wounds. It was in the following terms: ‘Take of asphodel Romano, and set it under the sun in the canicular days till it become in white ashes, or like white powder. That done, put it in a box. Then to apply: Take the blood or matter of the wound, on a clean linen, and lay on a little of the powder to the blood or matter; and keep the cloth in a box, where it may neither get much cold nor much heat. This done, dress the wounded person every day once, and keep always linen cloths above the wound. But let no linen cloth which hath been used or worn by any woman come near the powder or wounded person. Observe this secret, and keep it to yourself.’

In the course of this month, a number of hares came into the city of Edinburgh, even into its central parts, the High Street and Parliament Close, ‘to the great admiration of many.’ ‘The like was never heard nor seen before.’—Nic. This singular circumstance was probably in some way a consequence of the dry nature of the season.

At this time commenced the series of alleged incidents constituting the once famous history of the

A poor weaver, named Gilbert Campbell, at Glenluce in Galloway, had given offence to a sturdy beggar, named Agnew, ‘a most wicked and avowed atheist, for which he was hanged at Dumfries.’ The wretch went away muttering that he would do the family a mischief. Whether before or after Agnew’s death does not appear, the weaver and his family began to be annoyed with whistling noises, and by petty acts of mischief—as the mislaying and destroying of little articles, and the throwing of stones and peats, all by unseen hands. Their clothes were sometimes drawn from them as they lay in bed. At the suggestion of some neighbours, Campbell sent away his children, and for the time peace ensued. So it was, after all except Tom had been brought back, and not so after Tom had returned likewise; but, to shew that this was a point of indifference, when Tom had been again sent away in the keeping of the minister of the parish, the annoyances recommenced. This lad, it may be remarked, said he had heard a voice warning him not to go back to his father’s house; and when he did return, he was ‘sore abused,’ and thus once more driven away.

In February, the family began to hear a voice speak to them, but could not tell whence it came. ‘They came at length in familiar discourse with the foul thief, that they were no more afraid to keep up the clash with him, than to speak with one another; in this they pleased him well, for he desired no better than to have sacrifices offered to him. The minister, hearing of this, went to the house upon the Tuesday, being accompanied by some gentlemen; one James Bailie of Carphin, Alexander Bailie of Dunragget, Mr Robert Hay, and a gentlewoman called Mrs Douglas, with the minister’s wife, did accompany. At their first coming in, the devil says: "Quam literarum is good Latin." These are the first words of the, Latin Rudiments, which scholars are taught when they go to the grammar-school He cries again: "A dog!" The minister, thinking he had spoken it to him, said: "He took it not ill to be reviled by Satan, since his Master had trodden that path before him." Answered Satan: "It was not you, sir, I spoke be; I meant the dog there;" for there was a dog standing behind backs. This passing, they all went to prayer; which being ended, they heard a voice speaking out of the ground, from under the bed, in the proper country dialect, which he did counterfeit exactly, saying: "Would you know the witches of Glenluce? I will tell you them;" and so related four or five persons’ names that went under a bad report. The weaver informed the company that one of them was dead long ago. The devil answered and said: "It is true she is dead long ago, but her spirit is living with us in the world." The minister replied, saying (though it was not convenient to speak to such an excommunicated and intercommuned person): "The Lord rebuke thee, Satan, and put thee to silence; we are not to receive information from thee, whatsoever name any person goes under; thou art seeking but to seduce this family, for Satan’s kingdom is not divided against itself." After which, all went to prayer again, which being ended—for during the time of prayer no noise or trouble was made, except once that a loud fearful yell was heard at a distance, the devil threatening and, terrifying the lad Tom, who had come back that day with the minister, "that if he did not depart out of the house, he would set all on fire"—says the minister: "The Lord will preserve the house, and the lad too, seeing he is one of the family, and had God’s warrant to tarry in it." The fiend answered: "He shall not get liberty to tarry; he was once put out already, and shall not abide here, though I should pursue him to the end of the world." The minister replied: "The Lord will stop thy malice against him." And then they all went to prayer again; which being ended, the devil said: "Give me a spade and a shovel, and depart from the house for seven days, and I will make a grave, and lie down in it, and shall trouble you no more." The goodman answered: "Not so much as a straw shall be given thee, through God’s assistance, even though that would do it." The minister also added: "God shall remove thee in due time." The spirit answered: "I will not remove for you; I have my commission from Christ to tarry and vex this family." The minister answered: "A permission thou hast indeed, but God will stop it in due time." The devil replied: "I have, sir, a commission, which perhaps will last longer than your own." [The minister died in the year 1655, in December.] The devil had told them "that he had given his commission to Tom to keep." The company inquired at the lad, who said: "There was something put into his pocket, but it did not tarry."

After a great deal of the like talk with the unseen tormentor, ending with a declaration from him that he was an evil spirit come from the bottomless pit to vex this house, and that Satan was his father, ‘there appeared a naked hand, and an arm from the elbow down, beating upon the floor till the house did shake again.’ This the minister attested, and also that he heard the voice, saying: ‘Saw you that? It was not my hand—it was my father’s; my hand is more black in the loof [palm].’

Sinclair, who relates these things, states that he received them from a son of Campbell who was at Glasgow College with him. ‘I must here insert,’ he adds, ‘what I heard from one of the ministers of that presbytery, who were appointed to, meet at the weaver’s house for prayer and other exercises of that kind. When the day came, five only met; but, before they went in, they stood a while in the croft, which lies round about the house, consulting what to do. They resolved upon two things: First, There should be no words of conjuration used, as commanding him in the name of God to tell whence he was, or to depart from the family, for which they thought they had no call from God. Secondly, That when the devil spoke, none should answer him but hold on in their worshipping of God, and the duties they were called to. When all of them had prayed by turns, and three of them had spoken a word or two from the Scripture, they prayed again, and then ended, without any disturbance. When that brother who informed me had gone out, one Hugh Nisbit, one of the company, came running after him, desiring him to come back, for he had begun to whistle. "No," says the other, "I tarried as long as God called me; but go in again I will not." After this, the said Gilbert suffered much loss, and had many sad nights, not two nights in one week free; and thus it continued until April. From April to July, he had some respite and ease; but after, he was molested with new assaults. Even their victuals were so abused, that the family was in hazard of starving; and that which they ate gave them not their ordinary satisfaction they were wont to find.

‘In this sore and sad affliction, Gilbert Campbell resolved to make his address to the synod of presbyters, for advice and counsel what to do, which was appointed to convene in October 1655—namely, Whether to forsake the house or not? The synod, by their committee, appointed to meet at Glenluce in February 1656, thought it fit that a solemn humiliation should be kept through all the bounds of the synod; and, among other causes, to request God in behalf of that afflicted family; which being done carefully, the event was, that his trouble grew less till April, and from April to August he was altogether free. About which time the devil began with new assaults; and taking the ready meat which was in the house, did sometimes hide it in holes by the doorposts, and at other times hid it under the beds, and sometimes among the bed-clothes, and under the linens, and at last did carry it quite away, till nothing was left there save bread and water. This minds me of a small passage in proof of what it said. The goodwife one morning making pottage for the children’s breakfast, had the tree-plate wherein the meal lay snatched from her quickly. "Well," says she, "let me have my plate again;" whereupon it came flying at he; without any skaith done. It is like, if she had sought the meal too, she might have got it; such is his civility when he is entreated; a small homage will please him, ere he went. After this, he exercised his malice and cruelty against all persons in the family, in wearying them in the night-time, by stirring and moving through the house, so that they had no rest for noise, which continued all the month of August after this manner. After which time the devil grew yet worse, by roaring and terrifying, by casting of stones, by striking them with staves on their bed in the night-time. And (September 18) about midnight, he cried out with a loud voice, "I shall burn the house." And about three or four nights after, he set one of the beds on fire, which was soon put out, without any prejudice except the bed itself.’

Robert Baillie, writing to his friend Mr Spang at Rotterdam in 1659, answers an inquiry of his correspondent regarding ‘the apparition in Galloway,’ stating that it is ‘notourly known.’ He adds a short narrative of the chief particulars, informing us that for a twelvemonth the apparition had been silent.

It is the first, but not the only case of such spiritual visitations, which is reported as occurring in Scotland during the seventeenth century: another, which happened at Rerrick in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright in 1695, attracted great attention. The Glenluce and Rerrick spirits belong to a class familiar in Germany under the name of Poltergeist. In Beaumont’s Gleanings of Antiquities, 1724, the author quotes from Aventinus’s Annals of Bavaria a case of poltergeist resembling in many circumstances this Glenluce one. ‘This pestilent and wicked genius, taking a human shape, gave answers, discovered thefts, accused many of crimes, and set a mark of infamy on them, stirred up discords and ill-will among them. By degrees, he set fire to and burned down cottages, but was more troublesome to one man than the rest,’ &c.

1655, Jan
Baillie, writing a little before this time, laments ‘the abolition of almost all our church liberties.’ By the putting down of our General Assemblies and Kirk Commission, licence had been given, he says, to ‘any who will to profess grievous errors.’ This, where ‘we expected a full and perfect reformation, does oft break our heart.’ It has already been seen that, so soon as the incoming of the English sectaries had to some degree checked the ‘church liberties,’ dissent had begun to appear in various forms. We now hear of off-breakings of a kind more alarming than ever.

There arose at this time—to use the language of a contemporary—‘great numbers of that damnable sect of the Quakers, who, being deluded by Satan, drew away mony to their profession, both men and women." ‘They, in a furious way, cry down both ministry and magistracy. Some of them seem actually possessed by a devil; their fury, their irrational passions, and convulsions are so great.' ‘Sundry of them walking through the streets, all naked except their shirts, crying: "This is the way, walk ye in it ;" others crying out: "The day of salvation is at hand; draw near to the Lord, for the sword of the Lord is drawn, and will not be put up till the enemies of the Lord be destroyed."

Under the same mania, several of the English soldiers and certain of the native inhabitants created disturbances in the churches of Edinburgh, calling on the people not to believe the false doctrine which was preached to them. ‘The devil, working strongly upon their imaginations, made them to believe that the Spirit descendit upon them like ane dow; carried them from one place to another, and made mony of them cry out: "I am the way, the truth, and the life,"’ and ‘make circles about them [selves] with their hands, with many like actions.’ The devil also told them he was ‘putting aft the old man, that the stones were taken out of their hearts, and they had now got hearts of flesh.’ He threw stones among them, crying out: ‘Lo, here is my heart of stone!’ made swallows come down from chimneys, and cry out: ‘My angels! my angels!’ ‘They continuing in this motion, he made them to believe that Christ pointed at them, and to leave wives and children, and to hear voices, sometimes condemning, sometimes pardoning their sins....Some of thir Quakers, being recalled [to sanity], began to question whether that power by which they were so strongly act[uat]ed, were divine or diabolical. Thereupon they were stricken with panic fears, and some hands were carried to take up a knife lying upon a table, and their hands carried to their throat, and a voice said: "Open a hole there, and I will give thee the words of eternal life;" which made some of them to apprehend that it was the devil, he being the prince of the powers of the air... This evil spirit prevailed with much people, and charged them to deny all ministerial teaching and ordinances, together with all notional knowledge formerly gained by such means, to become as though they had never learned anything savingly, and to lay ane new groundwork—namely, to be taught of God within ourselves by waiting upon ane inward light . ... and much more.’ —Nic.

It is remarked by Nicoll, under May 1656, that the Quakers were at that time increasing and becoming more confident, and that their pretended sermons and hortations on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh were well attended. It was alleged that the continued divisions among the clergy contributed much to the increase of this heresy.

Towards the end of 1656, the Quaker doctrines had begun to appear among the people in the presbytery of Lanark. The ministers of Douglas and of Lesmahago gave in the names of certain of their parishioners who had been thus deluded. One named William Mitchell compeared, and denied the Confession of Faith; and it appeared soon after that he maintained that ‘there was no baptism with water in the church—God gives every man saving grace—sprinkling of infants and marrying of people with joining of hands was the mark of the beast—there is no natural light in man—no man was fallen—and the preaching of the gospel as it is in Scotland by the priests thereof was anti-Christian.’ Others ‘reset’ the Quakers, ‘saying they get as much good of them as of anybody else.’ On the 30th of April 1657, the presbytery excommunicated eight persons on account of their obstinate adherence to these doctrines.—R. P. L.

In consequence of excessively stormy weather this month, many thousands of dead eels were cast out upon the banks of the North Loch at Edinburgh, ‘to the admiration of many.’—Nic.

A severe frost set in, and continued till the middle of April, to the interruption of farmwork; and it was deemed necessary to announce a fast for an early day. ‘No sooner was this fast and humiliation intimate from the pulpits of Edinburgh, but it seemed—and there was no doubt—the Lord was weel pleased; and it was his pleasure to tryst the desire of the people with fair and seasonable weather.’—Nic.

Heavy and continual rains in August threatened the crop with destruction. A solemn fast and humiliation was held on the 16th of August, in the hope of averting the threatened calamity. But ‘the people were not rightly humbled; there was no fervent prayer; the Lord’s face was not earnestly sought . . . . as was evident by the Lord’s frowning countenance and augmentation of the rain, whilk daily increased and sometimes three days and three nights together without intermission, continuing sae... till the 15th day of September.’

For two years past, ‘victual of all sorts was exceeding cheap, the best peck of meal in the mercat of Edinburgh being sold for a groat, and sometimes for [3½d.], the boll of wheat for [6s. 8d.]. But immediately after this extraordinary rain, the mercats did rise, for this unseasonable weather put many in fear of dearth and famine.’—Nic.

We incidentally learn the wages of a skilled artisan in Scotland at this time from the account which Lamont gives of the expense of slating and pointing the house of Lundie in Fife. The work was done by David Brown, slater in Anstruther, and his son, and so well, he said, that it would not need to be touched again for seven years. David and his son were paid for this work—their diet in the house during the twenty-four working-days they were engaged upon it, and twenty-four shillings Scots, or two shillings sterling, per day, in money.

On a Sunday, at the close of this month, the communion was administered in Edinburgh, the first time after an interval of six years, for so long had the rite been discontinued in the capital and other parts of the kingdom, by reason of the troubles and divisions which had prevailed. From one disqualification and another, ‘much people was debarred.’—Nic.

The Council of State having forbidden the clergy to pray for the king on pain of being silenced, they, ‘knowing that it lay upon them to preach, and that, if only for naming a king they should occasion the closing of their own mouth, therein they would greatly sin, generally desisted from praying for him as king.’—
C. P. H.

Owing to the dearth of victual, the burdens of the people were felt as more than ever oppressive. Yet at this crisis, the cess imposed by the English was augmented a fifth. In Edinburgh, another cess was imposed, ‘for buying of home and carts, for carrying away and transporting of the filth, muck, and fulzie out of the closes and causey of Edinburgh; whilk [the tax] much grievit the people, and so much the more because the people receivit no satisfaction for their money, but the causey and closes continued more and more filthy, and no pains taken for clenging the streets.’—Nic.

Rather oddly, the more the poverty of the people increased, vanity the more abounded; ‘for at this time it was daily seen that gentlewomen and burgesses’ wives had more gold and silver about their gown and wyliecoat tails nor their husbands had in their purses and coffers.’ ‘Therefore, great judgment was evidently seen upon the land, and the Lord’s hand stretched out still.’—Nic.

The Edinburgh municipality, though it had for some time had a plack on every pint of ale sold in the city, was 1,100,000 merks [upwards of £61,000] in debt. ‘Oh, for the miseries of kirk and state at this time!’ exclaims Nicoll. ‘The Lord’s anger hot against both, and nane to stand up in the gap.’

Dec 10
After some weeks of severe and stormy weather, there befell this day a tempest of the most terrible character, from the northeast, producing fearful havoc among the ships on the east coast, and causing likewise the loss of great numbers of people, bestial, and goods by land. ‘The like storm was not seen by the space of many years before; no, not that great storm that did arise at the death of King James the Sixth [in March 1625] did equal this storm.’—Nic.

Dec 19
Died, in Westminster, Sir William Dick, of Braid, Baronet, once reputed the richest man of his time in Scotland, but latterly in great misery and want; aged seventy-five. In his earlier life, he conducted merchandise on a great scale in Edinburgh. The government in those days pursued that mode of collecting revenue which made farmers-general so much the objects of popular wrath and hatred in France in the time of Voltaire. Dick farmed the Scottish customs—also the revenues of Orkney—yet we do not hear that he bore his faculties with marked ungentleness. He was rather a simple man, accessible to the insinuations of vanity, and inspired with a full share of the earnest religious feelings of his age. When the affair of the Covenant came upon the tapis, it was thought well to secure the co-operation of this rich merchant by getting him made provost of Edinburgh. Thus he was easily persuaded to advance considerable sums in order to enable his countrymen to resist the king. Sir Walter Scott alludes in one of his novels to the tradition describing sacks of dollars poured from a window in Provost Dick’s house into carts, that carried them to the army at Dunse Law. When the Scottish Covenanters afterwards prepared an army to assist in putting down the rebellion in Ireland, it could not have marched without meal and money furnished by Provost Dick. It appears from an authoritative document, that, on this occasion alone, Sir William became a national creditor to the extent of £10,000. In all the other movements of his countrymen at that time, for the protection and advancement of their favourite church-polity, Dick shewed the same large faith in the good cause, and probably, but for him, things might have taken a different turn on many occasions from what they did. What finally remained owing to him in Scotland amounted to £28,131. The English parliament was at the same time his debtor to the amount of £36,803—sums rarely heard of as belonging to an individual in that age. Sir William had been assured by the leaders he dealt with, both of thankful repayment from themselves, and of the blessing of the Almighty for the trust he had reposed in the cause of truth and righteousness. But the actual result was simply the utter wrack of his worldly affairs. Efforts were indeed made to repay his advances, but wholly without effect. In 1652, he proceeded to London, to urge the government to do him justice. By this time, his affairs had got into confusion, his credit as a merchant was gone, and his creditors were pressing upon him. It does not appear that he succeeded in wringing more than a thousand pounds out of the hands of the Commonwealth men. Finally, incurring fresh debts for his subsistence in the metropolis, he was thrown into prison in Westminster—a memorable example of the reverses of fortune incidental to a time of civil strife.

A curious and very rare pamphlet in folio, entitled The Lamentable Estate and Distressed Case of the Deceased Sir William Dick in Scotland and his Numerous Family and Creditors for the Commonwealth, contains two prints, the first representing Sir William at the crisis when he was so serviceable to the cause of the Covenant, mounted on a handsome dress, and with a goodly retinue, his horse trampling on money and money-bags scattered along the ground. On one hand is seen Hamilton’s fleet in the Firth of Forth, with the significant date 1639 inscribed on one of the vessels; on the other, Edinburgh Castle undergoing siege, with the date 1640, evidently referring to the leaguer which the Castle underwent when the Covenanters were endeavouring to wrest it from the officer who held it for the king. Below this print is inscribed:

‘See here a Merchant who for’s country’s good,
Leaves off his trade to spend both wealth and blood,
Tramples on profit to redeem the fate
Of his decaying church, and prince, and state.
Such traffic sure none can too highly prize,
When gain itself is made a sacrifice.
But oh, how ill will such examples move,
If Loss be made the recompense to Love.’

Sir William’s favourite mottoes are inscribed above—PUBLICA SALUS NUNC MEA MERCES, and PRO FOEDERE, REGE, ET GREGE. The second print, of which the original painting is still preserved at Prestonfield House, near Edinburgh, represents the unfortunate merchant in his prison-cell, seated on a bulk in a mean dress, manacled and fettered, with his family weeping around him, and four officers of the law at his back, scourges and fetters being scattered about the floor. Below are inscribed the motto, PUBLICA FIDES NUNC MEA SERVITUS, and these lines:

‘He whom you see thus by vile sergeants torn,
Was once his country’s pattern, now their scorn;
Whilst into prison dragged, he there complains,
Who least deserves doth soonest suffer chains.
And who for public doth his faith engage,
Changes his palace for an iron cage.
Then add, to shew his unbecoming fate,
He had been free had he not served the state.’

The preface to the pamphlet speaks of him as once ‘renowned at home and abroad as a famous merchant. When all men have sought their own, he, contrary to the principles of his outward calling, in the time of public calamity, did cheerfully embark himself, his estate, which was very considerable, and his credit, which was greater, known by his fame abroad that his bills were never protested, but accepted through all Christendom, yea even in the dominions of the Turks—and this not out of any private end, but for the public good cause, which had so many prayers laid out for it then, which he believed would be answered in due time.’ In the ‘Case’ as addressed to parliament, after a recital, of his loans and the many acknowledgments and efforts to pay previously made, it is said: ‘Notwithstanding all this, and of the aforesaid Sir William Dick his expense and painful satisfaction by agents and friends the space of sixteen years, and of his own personal attendance upon three parliaments and his highness’s council from November 1652 until November 1655, in his great old age of seventy and five years, and gray hairs full of sorrow and heaviness of heart, for such deplorable sufferings in credit and estate, by so good service performed in England, and with his cries to heaven for justice and mercy to his so deep afflictions for well-doing; yet, nevertheless, little or nothing was recovered all his time here, but one small sum of one thousand pounds in August 1653; insomuch that, by reason of this delay, floods of desolation and distress have overwhelmed him and his children with their numerous families and little ones; their lands and houses being extended and possessed by the creditors in the cruel execution of the law; their chattels and goods, too, yea their ornaments, the covering of their nakedness, and the coverlet in which they should sleep, being publicly distrained and seized upon for these debts and disbursements engaged in by them to promote the public service. Neither is this all; one woe is past, and behold two woes come after this. Ah! the old man himself was once and again disgracefully cast into prison for small debts contracted for necessary livelihood, during his attendance for satisfaction.’ ‘In the end, through heart-break by so long disappointment,’ he died, ‘in great misery and want, and without the benefit of a decent funeral, after six months’ petitioning for some little money towards the same. And to complete the third woe and perfection of sorrowful afflictions, his children are cast at this day, and lying in prisons these twenty months past for public debts, in great sufferings of their persons, credit, and calling, and weariness of life, longing for death more than for treasures, and where they and their numerous families had already perished for want of bread, if some little supply by his highness’s goodness had not been lately appointed them.’

It appears that after the Restoration the parliament, as might have been expected, declined to acknowledge the debts contracted by the irregular governments of the preceding twenty years; so Sir William’s large loans were never refunded. An advance (100,274 merks) on the Orkney revenues was ignored in 1669, still further wrecking the property of the family. The only compensation which Sir Andrew Dick, son of Sir William, could obtain, was a pension of £132 sterling, which lasted for a few years only.

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