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Domestic Annals of Scotland
Interregnum: 1649 - 1660 Part D

1656, Apr
The spring being alarmingly bad, ‘the presbytery of Lothian did. conclude a fast to be keepit in the beginning of May; whilk was keepit in all the kirks of the presbytery, and although with great waikness, yet it wanted not the awn happy effect and blessing, for frae that day the Lord did produce much fair and pleasant weather,’ and ‘the like summer and harvest was never seen in this age.’

‘This year produced abundance of bestial, such as horse, nolt, sheep, and some of these at ane very easy price. A mart cow was sold for [£1, 6s. 8d], these bestial being abundant, and the money exceedingly scant. There was also exceeding great numbers of salmon and all other sorts of fish taken this year.'—.Nic.

It is remarked how much of deceit and cheating was practised at this time among certain traders in Edinburgh. The beer, ale, and wine sold in the city were all greatly adulterated. It was customary to mix wine with milk, brimstone, and other ingredients. ‘Ale was made strong and heady with hempseed, coriander-seed, Turkish pepper, soot, salt, and by casting in strong wash under the caldron when the ale was in brewing.’ Blown mutton and corrupted veal, fusty bread and light loaves, false measures and weights, were common. In all these particulars, the magistrates were negligent, so that ‘the people were abused and neglectit’—Nic.

‘This year the Lord Cranstoun, having got a colonel’s commission, levied a new regiment of volunteers for the King of Pole’s [Poland’s] service; and it trysted well for his management and advantage. The royalists chose rather to go abroad, though in a very mean condition, than live at home under a yoke of slavery. The colonel sent one Captain Montgomery north in June, and he had very good luck, listing many for the service. In August the colonel himself followed after, and residing at Inverness, sallied out to visit the Master of Lovat, and, in three days, got forty-three of the Frasers to take on. Amongst the rest, Captain James Fraser, my Lord Lovat’s son, engages, and, without degradation, Cranstoun gives him a captain’s commission. Hugh Fraser, young Clanvacky, takes on as lieutenant; William Fraser, son to Mr William Fraser of Phopachy, an ensign; and James Fraser, son to Foyer, a corporal. The Lord Lovat’s son had twenty-two young gentlemen with the rest, who engaged by themselves, out of Stratherriek, Abertarff, Aird, and Strathglass. I heard the colonel say he was vain of them for gallantry—not so much that they were free and willing, but valorous. I saw them march out of Inverness, and most of the English regiment there looking on with no small commendation, as well as emulation of their bravery.’—Fraser of Kirkhill. This gallant little levy proved unfortunate, most of them being cut off early. Fourteen years later, the same diarist gives us some particulars of the few then surviving. ‘This October’ [1670], says he, ‘came to this country my brother-german, William Fraser. He went abroad in the Lord Cranstoun’s regiment, for the service of Carolus Gustavus, King of Sweden, and after the peace he went up to Poland, with other Scottish men, and settled at Plock as a merchant, and was married. He had given trust and long delay to the Aberdeen’s men, and was necessitated to take the occasion of a ship and come to Scotland to crave his own. He and young Clanvacky Hugh are the only surviving two of the gallant crew who ventured over seas with their chief’s son, Captain James. And he is glad of this happy occasion to see his old mother and brethren. He continued here among his friends all the winter, and returned back in the spring, never to see his country again. Two of his foster-brothers ventured with him, Farquhar and Rory—very pretty boys. We were six brothers mustered one day together upon a street, and six sisters waiting us in my uncle’s house—a pleasant sight. We were not vain of it, but willing to see one another in one society. We never were all convened again. We are here in this world planted in order to our transplantation, where we shall, I hope, one day meet never to separate.’

Aug 17
At four o’clock in the morning, according to Baillie, there was ‘a sensible earthquake’ in all parts of the town of Glasgow, ‘though I felt it not.’ ‘Five or six years ago, there was site other in the afternoon, which I felt, and was followed by that fearful burning, and all the other shaking [that] has been among us since. The Lord preserve us from his too well-deserved judgments!’

Sep 4
The efforts of the presbytery of Lanark to make sincere Presbyterians of the Marquis and Marchioness of Douglas had signally failed. Their parish minister reported sundry ‘outbreakings of sin’ in their house, ‘whereof he could get no order;’ above all, there was a neglect of family worship. After many ineffectual dealings, the presbytery declared at this date, that, ‘considering how the marquis and his lady and family continue to be an ill example, and scandalous divers ways, in regard that he himself does not ordinarily attend the public ordinance, but some time the forenoon withdrawing himself, and ofttimes the servants in the afternoon, in sight of the whole congregation; [and that] he and his lady cometh scarce to the kirk once in a year, and that there is no worship of God at all in their family,’ they must, ‘if he do not redress the foresaid scandals in some satisfying way, enter in process of excommunication with him and his lady at the next meeting.’

After many months, the reverend brethren are still found only ‘dealing’ with the noble marquis and his lady. A peer or peeress seems to have been a particularly difficult person to excommunicate. Years elapse in such cases without effecting the object, while a Quaker villager could be conclusively thrust out of the church in a few weeks.—R. P. L.

1657, June
Cromwell having been formally installed as Protector, Mr Robert Baillie notes a popular expectation in Scotland that a storm—that is, a storm of political trouble—would follow; and some things seemed to foretell it: for example, the blowing up of a powder-magazine, destroying many houses and persons; an army of pikemen appearing about the house of Foggo Muir, near Dunse Law; and the discovery of some thousands of objects in the form of cannon, shaped from snow without the hand of man. Yet, to the surprise of the reverend gentleman, months passed on without any interruption of peace.

The same writer, addressing a friend abroad, tells of many painful occurrences which broke the calm tenor of life in Scotland in this and the next preceding and following years. Several young noblemen were carried off by acute diseases. Lord Lorn, son of the Marquis of Argyle, playing at a game in Edinburgh Castle, where stone-bullets were used, one of them striking him on the head, he fell down as one dead, and continued so for some time. Three judges died suddenly, one of them in the court, as he was about to seat himself on the bench. Imprudence and vice also attracted attention. ‘The Earl of Eglintoun’s heir, the Lord Montgomery, convoying his father to London, runs away without any advice, and marries a daughter of my Lord Dumfries, who is a broken man, when he was sure of my Lady Buccleuch’s marriage, the greatest match in Britain; this unexpected prank is worse to all his kin than his death would have been. The Earl of Moray did little better, for at London, without any advice, he ran and married Sir William Balfour’s second daughter.’ The Earl of Rothes was clapped up in Edinburgh Castle, by the Protector’s orders, in great infamy on account of a certain light-mannered Lady Howard, who had come to his lordship’s house on a visit, and whose husband was now in Scotland, bent on obtaining a bloody satisfaction for his dishonour. At the same time, the wife of Lord Forrester sunk into the grave, through grief excited by the misconduct of her husband and her sister.

The number of cases of uncommon turpitude in a time of extraordinary religious purism forces itself upon attention. One Foyer, who was under the notice of the English judges at Glasgow in the spring of 1659, is described by Robert Baillie as ‘a most wicked hypocrite, who, under the colour of piety and prayer, has acted sundry adulteries.’ Being libelled for one only, ‘he was but scourged: many were grieved that he was not hanged.’ The reverend writer adds: ‘Great appearance of his witchery also, if he had been put to a real trial.’

Offences of a horrible and unnatural kind continued to abound to a degree which makes the daylight profligacy of the subsequent reign shine white in comparison. ‘More,’ says Nicoll, ‘within these six or seven years nor within these fifty years preceding and more.’ Culprits of all ages, from boys to old men, are heard of every few months as burnt on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh; sometimes two together. Young women, who had murdered their own infants—on one occasion it was ‘ane pretty young gentill woman ‘—were frequently brought to the same scene of punishment. John Nicoll states that on one day, the 15th October 1656, five persons, two men and three women, were burnt on the Castle Hill for offences of the several kinds here glanced at; while two others were scourged through the city for minor degrees of the same offences.

Burnings of warlocks and witches were of not less appalling frequency. n February 1658, two women and a man were prisoners for this crime in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. One of the women died in prison; the warlock was executed. The other woman, named Jonet Anderson, who had been married three months before, confessed that she had previously given herself up, body and soul, to the devil, and that at her nuptials she saw her spiritual lover standing in the church behind the pulpit. Though this must have been merely such a case of hallucination as would now require simply medical treatment, Jonet was only spared till it was ascertained that she was not pregnant. She made ane happy end, and gave singular testimonies of her repentance by frequent prayers, and singing of psalms, before her execution.’ In the ensuing August, four women, ‘ane of them a maiden,’ were burnt on the Castle Hill, ‘all confessing the sin of witchcraft.’ Not long after, we hear of five women belonging to Dunbar, burnt on the Castle Hill together, all confessing that they had covenanted with Satan, renounced to him their baptism, and taken from him new names, with suitable marks impressed on their flesh. And presently follows again the case of nine from the parish of Tranent, all dying with similar confessions on their lips.—Nic.

Although these executions appear to us as tolerably numerous, they were not enough to satisfy the zealous people of that day. ‘There is much witchery up and down our land,’ says Robert Baillie; ‘the English be but too sparing to try it, but some they execute.’

It is to be feared that, so long as reputation is to be gained by mere religious professions, or the adherence to certain systems of doctrine, cases of hypocrisy like that of Foyer will be occasionally heard of. Nor will it be doubted that a moral code which presses too severely upon the natural affections is calculated in all circumstances to have the consequences here adverted to. Of the cases of witchcraft, we can only deplore, with humiliation, that such delusions should have formed a part of the religious convictions of the age. In the seventeenth century, the ruling minds had a clear apprehension of what they thought the truth, and went right to their point in seeking to work it out. Distinctions, refinements, explained-away texts, moderating reflections, fears of reaction, were reserved for a later day.

The magistrates of Glasgow at this time provided themselves with an engine ‘for the occasion of sudden fire, in spouting out of water thereon,’ after the form of one recently established in Edinburgh.—M
of G.

The magistrates of Glasgow, feeling the need for ‘ane diurnal’—that is, newspaper, a luxury hitherto little known in Scotland— ‘appoint John Fleming to write to his man wha lies at London,’ to cause one be sent for the town’s use. Whether John Fleming’s man, from the fact of his lying at London, is to be presumed as himself connected with the public press, may be left to the consideration of the reader.

Before this time, it appears that John Nicoll, a legal agent in Edinburgh, often quoted here on account of his Diary, had supplied the magistrates of Glasgow with weekly intelligence.

Mr Thomas Stewart, the hero of the plague anecdote of 1645, married in 1654, and retired to enjoy a quiet country life on his father’s estate of Coltness, in Lanarkshire. His relative, Sir Archibald, gives us a minute recital of what he did with the old place, in extending its accommodations and ornamenting its environs, and the result is that we get a tolerably clear idea of a Scotch gentleman’s country-house, according to the views and tastes which prevailed in the time of the Commonwealth.

‘He set himself to planting and enclosing, and so to embellish the place. But [as] the old mansion was straitening, and their family likely to increase, he thought of adding to the old tower (which consisted only of a vault and two rooms, one above the other, with a small room on the top of the turnpike stair, and a garret) a large addition on the south side of the staircase, of a good kitchen, cellar, meat-room or low parlour; a large hall or dining-room, with a small bedchamber and closet; over these, and above that, two bedchambers with closets; and yet higher, in a fourth story, two finished roof-rooms. And thus he made an addition of a kitchen, six fire-rooms with closets; and the vault in the old tower, built by Hamilton of Uddeston, was turned to a convenient useful cellar, with a partition for outer and inner repositories. The office-houses of bake-house, brew-house, garner-room, and men-servants’ bedchamber, were on the north of a paved court; and a high front wall towards the east, with an arched entry or porch, enclosed all. Without this arched gate was another larger court, with stables on the south side for the family and strangers’ horses, and a trained up thorn with a bower in it. Opposite to the stables, north from the mansion-house, with an entry to a good spring draw-well, as also leading to the byre, sheep-house, barn, and hen-house, all which made a court, to the north of the other court, and separate from it with a stone-wail; and on the east part of the court was a large space for a dunghill. The gardens were to the south of the house, much improved and enlarged; and the nursery-garden was a small square enclosure to the west of the house. The slope of the grounds to the west made the south garden, next the house, fall into three cross terraces. The terrace fronting the south of the house was a square parterre, or flower-garden, and the easter and wester, or the higher and lower plots of ground, were for cherry and nut gardens, and walnut and chestnut trees were planted upon the head of the upper bank, towards the parterre; and the slope bank on the east side the parterre was a strawberry border.

‘These three terraces had a high stone-wall on the south, for ripening and improving finer fruits; and to the south of this wall, was a good orchard and kitchen-garden, with broad grass-walks, all enclosed with a good thorn-hedge; and without this, a ditch and dry fence, enclosing several rows of timber-trees for shelter; to the west of the house, and beyond the square nursery-garden, was a large timber tree park, with birches towards the house, and on the other three sides rows of ash and plane, and in the middle a goodly thicket of firs. To the north, the barn court; and north from the house was a grass enclosure of four acres, with a fishpond in the corner for pikes and perches. All was enclosed with a strong wall and hedgerows of trees: so the whole of this policy might consist of an oblong square, and the longer side of the square fronted to the south; the ordinary entries to the house were from east to west, but the main access from the east.

‘It was found still a convenient nursery was wanted for an interesting young family, and a lower addition was made to the east end of the new buildings, and to run parallel with the south side of the high house, towards the gardens. The low room was for a woman-house, and the upper room was the nursery; and both nursery and woman-house had passage to the great house, by proper doors, and a timber trap-stair made a communication betwixt the nursery and the woman-house. In short, after all was finished, the fabric was wholly irregular as to the outside appearance, and both house and policy were more contrived for conveniency and hospitality, than for beauty or regular proportion; and so was the humour of these times, that, if there was lodging, warmness, and plenty within doors, a regular front or uniform roof were little thought of. All above was executed the three years 1657, 1658, as appears from the dates on the upper lintel ornaments of the window.’

Notwithstanding a good harvest, ‘poverty and scarcity of money daily increased, by reason of the great burdens and charges imposed upon the people, which constrained them to sell not only their lands and estates, but even their household geir, insight, and plenishing, and some their claiths and habulyiements. Witness the bell, which did daily ring in Edinburgh, making intimation to the inhabitants of such frequent rouping as was in use.’—Nic.

1658, May
Stage-coaches were at this time advertised as to go from ‘the George Inn without Aldersgate’ to sundry parts of England thrice a week; to Leeds, Wakefield, and Halifax once a week, charge 40s.; to Durham and Newcastle, once a week, charge £3; and ‘to Edinburgh in Scotland, once in three weeks, for £4, 10s.’—in all cases, ‘with good coaches and fresh horses on the roads.’

During this yea; the people of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other considerable towns, were amused in succession with the performances of a horse brought from England, ‘wha, being trained up in dancing and other conceits of that kind, did afford much sport and contentment to the people, but not without gain, for none was admitted to see the dancing without twopence the piece, and some more.’—Nic.

Oct 1
A supplication was this day given in to the Town Council of Glasgow by one Robert Marshall, shewing that he was willing, if permitted, to exercise the calling of a house-painter in the city. The Council, having had it represented to them that there was ‘but one the like within this burgh, and not ane other in all the west of Scotland,’ gave Robert permission to wash and paint houses to any who pleased to employ him.—M. of G.

This gives a curious idea of Glasgow two centuries ago. The magistrates had a little before this time induced a printer to come from Edinburgh and settle amongst them. The man does not seem to have succeeded, for in May 1660, they give him fifty merks, ‘to help to transport his guids and flitting to Edinburgh again.’ A few months after this date, Robert Sanders was encouraged to set up a printing-office in Glasgow, with a pension of £40 a year, ‘he to print gratis anything that the town shall employ him to print.’ In 1660, they caused a plasterer to be sent for from Perth, ‘to come here for plastering of Hucheson’s Hospital.’—M. of G.

The lamentations, of which we have seen several examples, over the depressed condition of Scotland under the English tyranny, are repeated at this time by a man of moderate and sagacious character, the Rev. Robert Baillie. He says: ‘The country lies very quiet; it is exceeding poor; trade is nought; the English has all the moneys. Our noble families are almost gone: Lennox has little in Scotland unsold; Hamilton’s estate, except Arran and the barony of Hamilton, is sold; Argyle can pay little annual-rent [interest] for seven or eight hundred thousand merks [of debt]; and he is no more drowned in debt than public hatred, almost of all, both Scotch and English. The Gordons are gone; the Douglases little better; Eglintoun and Glencairn on the brink of breaking. Many of our chief families’ states are cracking; nor is there any appearance of any human relief for the time." It may give some idea of the reduced state of the nobility during these evil days, that the allowance made by the English government out of the sequestered estates of the Balcarres family for the earl, a minor, and his younger brother, was only ten pounds a year.

Nicoll, adverting to the same time, says: ‘The condition of this nation of Scotland yet remains sad, by reason of poverty and heavy burdens.’ The crop of the year ‘was very poor by reason of the spring-time, whilk was very cold and weety the space of many weeks.’ The price of victual was consequently for this year double what it had recently been.

A Mr Tucker, who was commissioned by Cromwell in 1656 to introduce order into the customs duties of Scotland, has left a report from which we obtain particulars as to the trade then carried on with foreign countries. Notwithstanding that duties were in those days imposed equally on exported and imported goods, the revenue of Leith port was only £2335; that of Aberdeen, £573; Glasgow, £554. The respective sums drawn from these ports, for imports only, in 1844, were £631,926, £76,259, and £551,841. Other ports were in proportion, though not uniformly; thus Burntisland, which is now merely a ferry harbour, then drew nearly as much revenue as Glasgow. The native shipping, consisting of vessels of from twelve to a hundred and fifty tons, was in not less marked contrast to that of our day. Glasgow had only twelve such vessels; Kirkcaldy, an equal number, but not one above a hundred tons; Dundee and Anstruther, ten; Burntisland, seven; Wemyss, six; Dysart, four. The extreme narrowness of the resources of Scotland is strikingly shewn in these facts, and makes us the more disposed to wonder at the comparatively great sacrifices which the people had been making for many years for the sake of their church and for its promotion in other lands.

At the same time that so great poverty prevailed, there was such a protection to life and property as had never before been known. It was not, we believe, without cause that the famous Colonel Desborough, in a speech in the House of Commons (March 17, 1659), made it a boast for his party, that ‘a man may ride over all Scotland, with a switch in his hand and a hundred pounds in his pocket, which he could not have done these five hundred years.'

1659, Jan
The people of Edinburgh were regaled with the sight of a travelling dromedary, probably the first that had ever come into Scotland. ‘It was very big,’ says Nicoll, ‘of great height, and cloven-footed like a cow, and on the back ane seat, as it were a saddle, to sit on.’ ‘Being kept close in the Canongate, none had a sight of it without threepence the person. There was brought in with it ane little baboon, faced like unto an ape.’

At this time the public received a great surprise in the sudden reappearance of a nobleman, Lord Belhaven, who was understood to have been dead for the last six years and upwards. At the forfeiture of the Hamilton family under the English tyranny, Lord Belhaven found himself engaged as security to the creditors of that house for a much larger sum than he could pay; so, to escape comprisings of his lands and imprisonment of his person, he fell upon an extraordinary expedient. He took a journey to England, and when he had passed Solway Sands, he caused his servant to come back to his wife with his cloak and hat, and had it given out that he and his horse had sunk in the quicksands, and were drowned. None were privy to the secret but his lady and the servant. The report passed everywhere as authentic, and to make it more plausible, his lady and children went in mourning for two years. Passing into England, Lord Belhaven put on a mean suit of apparel, hired himself to be a gardener, and worked at this humble employment during the whole time of his absence, no one knowing this part of his course but his lady. During his absence, his only son, ‘a very hopeful youth and pretty scholar,’ was struck with a fever, which in a few days carried him off. ‘In this real death by God’s hand, who will not be mocked, the hope of that house perished.’—Bail. The Duchess of Hamilton having at length come to a composition with her creditors, his lordship returned to Scotland, and resumed his rank, ‘to the admiration of many.’—Nic.

Feb 9
The Countess of Buccleuch in her own right, a child of eleven years of age, the greatest heiress of her time in Scotland, was married at the place of Wester Wemyss in Fife, to Walter Scott, son of Scott of Highchester, a youth of fourteen. These indecent nuptials were performed, without proclamation, by virtue of an order from the presbytery of Kirkcaldy, ‘purchased by the Earl of Wemyss and some of the name of Scott:’ that is, obtained by their influence. The Countess of Wemyss, ‘a witty, active woman,' was mother of the bride. ‘This marriage was celebrate upon a great suddenty, few or none of her friends made privy to it till the day before, which day they were contracted. Many expected she should have got some great match (for both Scots and English had an aim for her); but this youth, that her mother (who was the only doer of this business) made choice of for her daughter, was only one of her own vassal’s sons—namely, an oy [grandson] of the Laird of Harden

An unsuccessful attempt was made by Sir John Scott of Scotstarvet to reduce the marriage, on the ground that he, her tutor, had not consented. While the question hung suspended, for there existed then no judicatory in Scotland, the young lady in August 1659 attained the age of twelve, at which it was competent for her to effect a marriage of her own will. She then accordingly emitted a declaration of her marriage, and her husband meeting her at Leith, amidst great demonstrations of joy, they went that same night to Dalkeith, to commence married life.—Nic.

This poor victim of the cupidity of her seniors was taken by her mother next year to London, to be touched for the cruels by the king, and died in the next ensuing year, leaving the succession to her younger sister Anne, who became the victim of an equally discreditable affair, in being married while still a child to the king’s natural son, a boy, subsequently Duke of Monmouth.

The marrying of heiresses under twelve years of age was a not infrequent misdemeanour in the seventeenth century. ‘1st March 1677, Trotter, Lady Craigleith, was fined at Secret Council, in 6000 merks, for conveying away her daughter, heiress of Craigleith, and sending her to Berwick, where she married young Prestongrange (Morison), and stayed some two or three months, till she completed her twelve years of age, after which the marriage could not be dissolved, nor she resile... Her maternal uncle, Mortonhall, was fined for his accession in 3000 merks, and young Prestongrange in 1000 merks.’—Foun.

In 1680, Patrick Carnegie, brother of the Earl of Northesk, was prosecuted for conveying away Mary Gray, daughter of the Laird of Baledgarnie, in the Carse of Gowrie, she being but eleven years and one month old. ‘Some spoke harsh things, that if he could be got, he deserved hanging, for ane example to secure men’s children from such attempts.’ While Patrick escaped from justice, his assistants Kinfauns, Finhaven, and Pitcur were sent to Edinburgh Castle, and ‘ordained, under highest pains, to produce him who wounded the servant while he was resisting their rapt: they came weel off, that their acknowledgment of the fault was accepted instead of a fine.’—Foun.

Mar 27
Died this day, ‘sitting in his chair at his awn house, without I any preceding sickness,’ and but ‘little lamented’ (Nic.), John Earl of Traquair—a remarkable example of the mutabilities of fortune in a period of civil broil and revolution. By cleverness and address, unaccompanied by any nobler qualities, and by making himself useful to Laud in his views for the reformation of the Scotch church, he had risen from the condition of a private gentleman to titles, wealth, and the office of Lord High Treasurer. Of his means and taste at the zenith of his fortunes, the house of Traquair, with its formal avenues and garden, is an interesting surviving monument. Clerical zeal ruined what the skill of Traquair might have built up. The Service-book was pushed on against his advice, and he could not control the storm. The most conspicuous service he rendered after that period was to act as his majesty’s commissioner to the Scottish parliament and General Assembly of 1640. He did his best to maintain the royal authority, but all was in vain. His subsequent conduct was not of a bold character; but there is all reason to believe that he continued a loyalist and a friend of Episcopacy at heart. Accompanying the army of the Engagement in 1648, along with a regiment of horse of his own raising, he was taken prisoner at Preston, and committed to Warwick Castle, where he lay for four years. For this final act of loyalty, the Covenanting parliament forbade his return into Scotland. At length, when his country had been taken into the bands of the English, he was liberated, and came home; but it was to poverty and obscurity. His estate had been sequestered; it was a time of general suffering and humiliation. Reflected on as an instrument of the king and Laud in their arbitrary schemes, he enjoyed respect from no party. In such circumstances, it is scarcely surprising to be told, as we are on credible authority, that this once great noble and state officer was reduced so low as to be beholden for the necessaries of life to charity. ‘He would take an alms, though not publicly ask for it,’ says the author of a work quoted below,’ where it is added: ‘There are some still alive at Peebles that have seen him dine upon a salt herring and an onion.’ A worse humiliation remained for him, if Nicoll be right in reporting that the earl was (August 1655) ‘pannelled and accused before the Criminal Court for perjury at the instance of his son-in-law."

The annotator on Scot’s Staggering State of Scots Statesmen, says that at his burial this unfortunate nobleman ‘had no mortcloth [pall], but a black apron; nor towels, but leashes belonging to some gentlemen that were present; and the grave being two feet shorter than his body, the assistants behoved to stay till the same was enlarged, and he buried.’

1659, June 21
This day, Heriot’s Hospital, which had been founded in 1628, being now complete, was solemnly dedicated by the ceremony of a preaching in presence of the magistrates of Edinburgh, the preacher, Mr Robert Douglas, receiving five double pieces for his pains. There were placed in it ‘thirty-five boys, of honest parents, but decayit in means, all of them weel arrayit in purpour clothes and cassocks.’ ‘This hospital,’ says Nicoll, ‘was not ane ordinary hospital, but a hospital very famous, with halls, chalmers, kitchens, brew-houses, yards, orchards, a chapel, and all other necessaries.’

Sep 1
The town of Edinburgh obtained an additional impost upon the ale sold in its bounds; it was now a full penny sterling a pint, so that the liquor rose to the unheard-of price of 32d. Scots for that quantity. ‘Yet this imposition,’ says Nicoll, ‘seemed not to thrive; for at the same instant God frae the heavens declared his anger by sending thunder, and unheard tempests, and storms, and inundations of water, whilk destroyed their common mills, dams, and warks, to the town’s great charges and expenses.’ Eleven mills belonging to Edinburgh, and five belonging to Heriot’s Hospital, all upon the Water of Leith, were destroyed on this occasion, ‘with their dams, water-gangs, timber and stone-warks, the haill wheels of their mills, timber graith, and hail other warks.’ The chronicler, somewhat awkwardly for his hypothesis, admits that many neighbouring towns suffered by the like destruction of their mills.

Sep 21
Nicoll states himself to have seen this day, a youth of sixteen, a native of Aberdeen, who, having been born without power in his arms, either to eat or drink, or do any other thing for himself or others, ‘Almighty God, who is able to do all things, gave him power to supply all these duties with the toes of his feet, and to write in singular good legible and current write, and that with such haste as any common notar is in use to do. Yea, further, with his toes he put on his clothes, kamed his head, made his writing pens, [and] threaded a needle, in such short time and space as any other person whatsomever was able to do with his hands.’

In the Council Records of Inverness occurs, under this year, the following petition: ‘To the Right Honourable the Magistrates and Town Council of the burgh of Inverness, the supplication of Frederick Fraser, tailor burgess of Inverness, and Alexander Duff, burgess there, for ourselves and in behalf the remanent freemen of that trade, humbly sheweth—That your supplicants are very much damnified and prejudged in the enjoyment of their trade, the same being in-falled upon and taken away by many outlandish men, who dwell round about the burgh for eschewing of burden, and yet peeps in by night and by day and steals away the trade of the place, and works the same in the landward, to our great loss and apparent ruin, so that if speedy redress be not found, and this evil to this poor trade be not stayed, your supplicants and our poor families will undoubtedly perish. We are able to shew your lordships, and to make it out, that in these times we gain not by our trade for our own subsistence and the upholding of the burdens of the place, that which our servants were wont to gain under us. May it please your lordship; therefore, to take the premises into consideration, and to allow us, your supplicants, or such others of the trade as your lordships please to nominate, such power and freedom in the exercise of that trade as formerly we had, and that for the better restraining of all such as are neither profitable nor allowable to the place, and for the further and better encouragement of us your poor supplicants who has and are willing daily to contribute with the place in weal and woe according to our poor power.’

A local journalist, after giving a transcript of this petition, adds: ‘Provost Cuthbert and the council turned a friendly ear to the supplication, and authorised the petitioners to "look and see to restrain all outlandish tailors," and empowering them to seize upon the work of the transgressors, and bring the whole before a magistrate. Two years afterward; however, the same parties with the addition of John Cumming, tailor, again complain of the outlandish tailors. They petition that all unfreemen in the town should be discharged from usurping to themselves the benefits of freemen, and from keeping apprentices and servant; and made to live within the verge of their own calling. The provost and council granted the desire of the petition, and authorised the supplicant; with the concurrence of the burgh officers, to put the act in force. The principles of political economy or free-trade were not then understood, but the inhabitants seem to have been willing enough to avail themselves of the cheap services of the outlandish tailor; else the freemen would not so strongly have urged their claims upon the council."

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